Dec 102013

A new entity called Crowd Companies launched today and what an exciting new future that it’s creating! Kudos to Jeremiah Owyang for taking this bold leap of faith with courage and conviction to reboot the business model of companies and corporations. The one slide from his Le Web 13 presentation that vividly portrays this transformation is this – purposeful brands provide shared value.
Do you see what I see? Companies of the future have to be more than about profit and value exchange, it’s got to be more about societal development! And for my interest in non-profits and churches, I’d love to have conversations incubate and acceleration on what it’d mean for there to be no difference between employees and customers/constituents!

See Crowd Companies‘ website at for more. Presentation slide deck below.

May 022011

Thanks to the conference organizers of Imagination Summit 2011 at Biola University, you too an watch the inspiring talk with Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy. In that talk, he talks about the history, the meaning of restaurant being a place of restoration, and how that ties into their restaurant business as a place of restoration through food and through customer service. Their 2-year effort to make “second mile second nature” was instrumental in growing revenues in a down-economy and keeping their stores closed on Sundays; great service like fresh-ground pepper, free refills, and possibly personalization-tracking on iPads in the near future.

Watch the video in HD at Youtube or play all 16 videos from Imagination Summit via playlist

Inspired me so much that I went to Chick-Fil-A the very next day for breakfast. And great customer service was demonstrated by their adding cream to my coffee at the drive-thru, although I wish they’d change the company policy, so it’s not just cream and coffee for me.

More recently, I went to a Chick-Fil-A in Orlando (during the Exponential Conference) that hosted a teens’ dance party in the evening — music cranked up LOUD, alcohol-free, and the sweet-tea was flowing! Noticed how my Icedream soft-serve ice cream didn’t melt after slowly savoring it for over an hour. Their use of a styro cup kept it cool and yummy for much longer than the typical paper cup!

Feb 072011
wad of money

In a world where business models dominate, and an economic engine to required for an initiative’s sustainability, that is too often the dark cloud that blocks our vision of what’s possible. Financial pressures like that govern the running a media business, like a magazine, that’s usually advertiser-supported. This Editor’s Note in January 2011 issue of Koream Journal describes the situation::

It’s true that our magazine—due to the pressure to sell issues, remain afloat and cater to a broad readership—must often headline the VIPs prominent in their respective fields. And those familiar with our annual gala also know that we do tend to indulge the Asian American red carpet. The media—even ethnic, independent outlets such as ours—must be mindful of the business aspect of our enterprise. It’s not the perfect model, but it’s the reality.

But money doesn’t have to be the limiting factor for something that could be done, should be done, and needs to be done. 2 other viable options must be more of the conversation about how ideas can become reality. 1 is the whole non-profit sector. Granted, that has challenges of its own wrt to financial sustainability.

The other is the world of open source. Our internet-infused world enables humanity to build some incredible things collaboratively, and this is the sector that excites me the most. You’ve heard of them: Wikipedia, Firefox, Quora, Linux, Creative Commons. In the church world, the fuel that keeps the organized institutional church sustainable is volunteerism and charitable donations.

What keeps all of that going, the open-source kinds of efforts that don’t have paid staff & organizational infrastructure (e.g. overhead) to keep them going? Mission. Meaning. Community. Faith.

Sure, in the real world, most of us have to be responsible & concerned for putting food on the table, paying the rent (or mortgage), buying gas for the car (or tix for public transit), etc etc. There are other ways to get the bills paid. There’s much to be done that consumerism, business, and finances cannot address.

The profit motive and self-interest do not define who we are as human beings and the things we do with our time, energy and effort.

Think different. The world can be a different place. Call me idealistic. I’ll say it. I am idealistic. And I do dream of a world that’s better and free. And I’ll do my part towards that reality.

photo credit: Andrew Magill

May 262010

This is a watershed milestone kind of book for social media and businesses & organizations both non-profit and governmental. Millions of us have a good sense of how social media is connecting people individually in the informal social sense.

Not so many have figured out how to connect business goals with social media.

Now there’s a book to guide organizational leaders and managers to develop an effective social media strategy. There are a number of great examples mentioned in this new book by Charlene Li, Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead, citing case studies from Zappos, Starbucks, Best Buy, and more. (Apparently JetBlue didn’t make the cut.) Watch my video review:

At the time of this writing, the 8 free critical resources mentioned in the book’s appendix are not yet posted online. Or, I haven’t found them on the website yet. I hope and wish they’ll get it online very very soon. Can’t wait!

And stay tuned this summer for the book that’s “social media for non-profits.” Authored by none other than Beth Kanter, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change. From the same publisher as Open Leadership, Jossey-Bass. Genius.

Aside: I first heard about the book during the Catalyst West conference, where Charlene Li was a main speaker. While I was mesmerized and transfixed on every word, dozens in the audience were stirring in their seats — maybe because they were hungry since the talk was right before lunch. I knew right off I had to get a copy, and I was able to get an advance review copy there, with a voucher for the real printed hardback edition. And it was delivered to my home yesterday. Yes!

[update] Read an excerpt of Open Leadership in BusinessWeek::

This discomfort of not being in control is the reason why I wrote Open Leadership. It’s my attempt to help leaders understand how the rules have changed and how they need to adjust. At the core, leaders have to acknowledge that they are not in control and probably never really were. Instead, leadership is about establishing a relationship, and social technologies are redefining how relationships are formed, grown, and supported.

p.p.s. I actually had queued up a blog post in my Drafts folder before the book launched…
Continue reading »

Mar 262007

I’m a fan of Starbucks, but not quite the zealot that Winter is (he’s that guy trying to visit every single Starbucks in the world). Congrats on the new documentary film Starbucking releasing in April 2007 [see trailer], and the free London trip he got on the Wayne Brady show.

Starbucks just had their annual shareholder meeting, where they revealed key business drivers behind their growth strategy: exapnd store footprint, increase average unit volumes, promote continuous innovation, leverage the Starbucks brand with complementary offerings, remain employer of choice, extend the Starbucks Experience beyond our stores, leverage business partners.

I sure hope they come up with better growth strategies and tactics. Maybe try some of these ideas — 2 former Starbucks marketing strategists over at Brand Autopsy and Idea Sandbox volley back and forth on solving Starbucks problems: loss of coffee theatre, loss of coffee aroma, loss of store soul, lack of merchandise focus, and loss of identity. [note to self: brilliant idea, have to do a blog volley with Next Gener.Asian Church some time]

Wallstrip weighs in with their take on SBUX: