Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Starbucks Update #2: Save the last scone for me!

Today my local Starbucks had actually run out of the vegan scones before I arrived at 9AM.

So, Barista #2 (out of two very helpful, friendly baristas who have talked to me about the vegan scone situation) told me she would always make sure to save one aside for me on days they had them.

They are now basically guaranteeing...through a combination of great customer service and instilling of terrible guilt if I ever don't show up for the last scone...that I will go there every single day on my way to work.

Seriously, who knew Starbucks baristas could be such great sales people?

Labels: ,

Monday, August 25, 2008

Starbucks Update: The Vegan Scone has Landed!

That's right, folks. All because of me, the Starbucks near my house is once again carrying the vegan scone. They may be carrying fewer of them (in fact there was only one left when I popped in at 9AM) but they are carrying them.

All because I asked, and they listened. No seriously, I know this because they told me.

Oh, and by the way: this has nothing to do with Starbucks the big, corporate conglomerate, right? This has to do with a local employee who felt empowered to tell her local manager, and a local manager who felt empowered to adjust his or her local bakery order to accommodate one regular customer who spoke up (and doubtless represented more than a few other folks).

It's a little thing done well, so let's give credit where credit is due.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Starbucks Scone Situation: Amazing customer service waiting to happen

I have two Starbucks that I hit regularly. Sometimes I hit the one on the way to the freeway in the morning, so I can be sufficiently awake for my commute. Sometimes I hit the one that is almost at my workplace, so I can have that little pleasure from my desk tackling the first fire drills of the day instead.

The big motivator to go to Starbucks #1, by my house, is that they also carry a vegan scone. (PS-I'm a vegan, in case you didn't know.) When I neglect to eat breakfast at home, which is fairly regularly, grabbing that soy latte and scone is a quick fix.

Even so, I don't hit Starbucks #1 every day, but probably 2 times a week easy.

Last Monday when I hit Starbucks #1, the vegan scone was not there. I asked about it and was told they weren't going to carry it anymore. It didn't sell well enough. I moaned that that scone was the only reason I hit this particular Starbucks. I asked the woman who seemed to be shift manager how many scones they needed to sell in order to bring it back. She said a mere three a day. (And I was, apparently, the second vegan to ask about where they'd gone and to request their return.) I told her that if they brought them back, I would make sure this was the only Starbucks I went to in the morning. And I might even buy two :)

She said she'd look into it, but when I went back later in the week, no vegan scones. I asked if they were really going to bring them back, and that same shift manager said she was working on it with the store manager. Then she even asked me how many days a week I came in. I told her that since I worked from home on Wednesdays I wouldn't be there on that day, but that I would on every other day of the work week. She actually wrote my schedule down.

So, I'm still waiting. Will my local Starbucks really start carrying 3 scones a day on the days I could potentially go there, because I asked?

That would be pretty cool. And shows that having a blog isn't the only way to listen to your customers.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 22, 2008

Deadline approaching: 2008 Excellence in New Communications Awards

I am a very naughty founding advisory fellow for the wonderful Society for New Communications Research, run by the intrepid and ground-breaking Jen McClure.

I say "naughty", because I feel that I would do more for Jen and SNCR if I had the bandwidth. Like, for example, blog in a more timely fashion about the various activities the Society has going on.

So, here's one, and while I should have blogged it a few weeks ago, at least you still have over two weeks to participate:

The final submission deadline for the 2008 Excellence in New Communications Awards is Monday, September 8th, so submit your entries soon!

Each year the Society for New Communications Research presents the prestigious SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards. These awards honor corporations, governmental and nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, media outlets, and individuals who are innovating the use of social media, ICT, mobile media, online communities and virtual worlds and collaborative technologies in the areas of business, media, and professional communications, including advertising, marketing, public relations and corporate communications, as well as entertainment, education, politics, and social initiatives.

Full details about the divisions and categories follow. If you have any additional questions, please contact the SNCR at +1 650-331-0083 or info@sncr.org.

Awards are granted in six divisions:
Technology Innovation (for New Communications and Social Media Technology Vendors)

There are seven (7) categories this year.

1. Online Reputation Management

A case study submission in this category should explain how an organization is monitoring conversations and content online related to its brand, product or service. The case study should also explain what the organization is doing to either encourage or counter this information online.

An example: An organization that found consumer criticism of its service online, and what it did to discover, strategize and respond to that criticism. An explanation of the outcome of the response would also aid the nomination.

2. Behind the Firewall

A case study submission in this category should explain how an organization is using new communication and/or social media tools internally to enhance employee communications

An example: An organization that uses a blog internally to communicate with employees, or has built an internal online community for its employees.

3. Blogger Relations

A case study submission in this category should explain how an organization is proactively engaging and building relationships with bloggers as part of an initiative, campaign, or ongoing program.

An example: An organization that successfully worked with its industry bloggers around a milestone or an announcement.

4. External Communications & Communities

A case study submission in this category should explain how an organization is communicating with and/or participating in external online communities. This includes both online communities built and managed by the organization as well as other communities and social networks.

An example: An organization that has official spokespeople participating in an industry forum or message board. The external community could also be associated with a social network, like Facebook or MySpace.

5. New Media Creation

A case study submission in this category should explain how an organization is creating and using social media and new communications tools and technologies, with an emphasis on audio, video and imagery.

An example: An organization that created a podcast series or a video blog. An explanation of why a particular medium was chosen and how it aided with a communication or marketing strategy would be helpful.

6. Collaboration & Co-creation

A case study submission in this category should explain how an organization is using new media tools to either help groups and teams communicate and collaborate in new ways, or is using new media as the means for enabling outside sources to provide input and ideas in a collaborative way.

An example: An organization that's using a wiki to communicate and exchange ideas. Another example nomination could be an organization that's enabling consumer to submit their ideas and inputs on products and services.

7. Mobile Media

A case study submission in this category should explain how an organization is using mobile media in its communication or marketing projects.

An example: An organization creating mobile applications or using SMS as part of a campaign or initiative.


FREE for SNCR members. (This is a great time to join SNCR if you're not already a member. Join SNCR now to enter for FREE and to save $100 on your attendance at the 3rd Annual SNCR Symposium & Awards Gala. For more information about membership levels, rates and benefits, visit http://sncr.org/get-involved.

Non-member award entry fees: $70.USD per entry

That's a LOT of categories, and a LOT of opportunity right there. So, what case study can you share to rock the new communications world?


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Local Speaking Event: Women in Consulting this Thursday the 21st

Yikes, I keep meaning to post that I'm speaking on a panel about blogging this Thursday for Women in Consulting.

The panel is entitled: "Blog Your Business to Another Level: Building Business Through a Dynamic, Interactive Web Presence"

The description is:

Are any of the following beliefs preventing you from starting a blog or short-circuiting the success of your existing blog:
  • You don’t understand the technology

  • You’re worried about the time commitment

  • You’re afraid of getting sued

  • You don’t think you can compete with the 112 million bloggers who got there first

  • These are the most common fears people have about blogging, but they’re based on misconceptions. The truth is a lot less intimidating. Let our panel of experts at the WIC meeting on August 21st show you how to build your business and raise your profile by blogging—without neglecting your clients or your family.

    The schedule is (and it even includes dinner!):
    Thursday, August 21, 2008
    6:00pm-6:30pm Networking
    6:30pm-8:30pm Presentation & Dinner, Q&A

    And my fellow panelists are:

  • Moderator and "author-izer" Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with "sketch") has been publishing online since 1994, when she cofounded a scholarly electronic journal. She started writing a weekly business e-zine in 2003, and began publishing it as a blog in 2005. Sallie is a social media evangelist and a self-confessed "ghost blogger."

  • Karen Greenwood Henke, managing director of Nimble Press, founded her company in 1999 to provide strategic communications and website consulting to corporate and nonprofit clients. She specializes in helping companies bring the latest technology to the K-12 education market by creating awareness campaigns through the Web.

  • Colette Vogele practices intellectual property law, specializing in technology and new media. She heads Vogele & Associates, where she represents bloggers, podcasters, and Web 2.0 interactive companies in matters of contract and licensing, copyright, fair use, privacy, reputation and security, trademark/brand management, and related topics.

  • Last bits of info:

    Michael's at Shoreline
    2960 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94025

    REGISTER HERE (It's pretty cheap.)

    Labels: ,

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Couple of quick links

    1. Mona Weathers is an entrepreneurial blogger who has started a new site, HerProBlog.com. The site's purpose is to be resource for women bloggers who want to make money either with or through their blog.

    Part of her plan for the site is to intersperse interviews with various blogging women, and I'm honored to help her kick off that series, with this interview with me. It's short and sweet, but i do get to do my usual rabble-rousing about identity, blogging and reputation.

    2. In the department of "ask and ye shall receive", BlogHer Member CoolMomsRule tweeted asking whether BlogWorldExpo could offer a discount for BlogHers to attend the conference, since I'm speaking there. I told her it couldn't hurt to ask, so I did.

    Organizer Rick Calvert kindly responded with the following offer:

    BlogHers can use the code BHVIP to get 20% off the current registration price. The code is good through 09/01/08, but please note: earlybird pricing ends 08/22/08, so you'll get 20% off of a lower price if you act by then.

    That's it...have a good week :)

    Labels: , ,

    Saturday, August 09, 2008

    Time to vote for SXSW panels

    So, there is a daunting task ahead of you if you're up for the challenge: reviewing all the panels submitted for inclusion at SXSW '09 and rating them. There are over 1,000 panels. Yikes. Once again SXSW is using their Panel Picker application to allow people to vote. There are a dozen different categories to choose from.

    You do have to set up an account to vote, which I urge you to do if you're at all interested in SXSW. The voting only represents 30% of the equation for a panel to be picked, the other contributing factors are the advisory board feedback (Disclosure: I an once again on the advisory board) and the staff itself.

    Having scanned mostly only the categories in which I'm interested, here are the panels I hope you'll check out and perhaps vote on if so inclined:

    First and foremost: Shameless plug to vote for mine:

    Grokking Bloggers: It's About Love and Underpants. Yeah, you heard me right...underpants!! The fact is that blogs are changing the world in ways large and small, and like any true cultural phenomenon, the power and glory of blogging is best communicated via storytelling. Stats are great, and I've got some, but stories are powerful...and I've some amazing stories to tell about bloggers you may know nothing about, but should.

    But other panels I urge you to check out include:

    1. Tara Hunt: Making Whuffie: Raising Social Capital in Online Communities, because I love Tara, and she is so smart.

    2. Kami Huyse: Measure This! Practical Ways to Quantify Social Media Results...also featuring such powerhouses at KD Paine and Charlene Li!

    3. Katie Laird: Strategic PR for Social Media Geeks, mostly because kicking off with a thesis that "Social Media hacks are ruining the PR profession." should ensure a lively debate!

    4. Jenna Woodul: First on the Dance Floor: How to Socialize Your Brand, because I love Jenna, and she is so smart.

    5+. Ben Metcalfe: Puppets, Theatre and the Conflation of ’Successful’ with ‘Popular’, because in a world where women are still Internalizing the "Catfight" moniker, it sounds like this panel will remind us that feuds, fusses and conflicts are a human condition, not a female condition. It's the main reason I ranked this way over Rebecca Fox's similar Why Is Professional Blogging Bloodsport for Women?. But YMMV.

    6. Rachel Kramer Bussel: Nom Nom Nom: The Secrets of Successful Foodblogging, because did you say "free cupcakes"???

    7. Aruni Gunasegaram: Building a Web Business After Hours, since that's exactly how BlogHer was for the first year.

    8. Charlene Li: Achieving Balance Between Work And Life (Yeah, Right!). I used to never relate to such discussions, not being a mom and all, but it's not just moms that have trouble achieving balance.

    9. Allyson Kapin: Breaking Through the Digital Ceiling. Given how much I blog about the value of diversity here, how could I not point you to this panel?

    10. Beth Kanter: Social and Nonprofits ROI: Case Study Slam, because it's Beth and because the format sounds cool, and because I like hearing about social media for social good.

    11. Gwen Bell: Women Engaging Tech: Ferocity Fuels the Phenomenal, because I love Gwen, and she is so smart.

    12+. Suzanne Freyjadis-Chuberka : How Feminist Bloggers are Changing the World. i do wish who else Suzanne was lining up, but gotta support my feminist blogger sisters. On a similar note (and with a similar desire to see the panelists they'll line up), check out Heather Gold's Everything I Needed to Know About the Web I Learned from Feminism and Samhita Mukhopadhyay's That's Not My Name: Beating Down Online Misogyny

    13. Deb Rox: Queerosphere: Same Sex (Link) Love Interactive, because I love Deb, and she is so smart. And because we need t push back on the homophobia that is actually pretty problematic in some male-dominated geek spaces (think WoW.)

    14. Chris Carfi: Flashmarkets: From The Roman Agora to the Mobile Web, because I love Chris, and he is so smart.

    15. Angela Conyers Benton: Digital Urbanites: How to Become Part of the New Social Capital, because I saw Angela speak at Blogging While Brown, and she is young and smart and entrepreneurial.

    16. Dawn Foster: Reputation Systems Smackdown: Community Benefit or Detriment, because I love Dawn, and she is so smart. And because we're always trying to wrap our heads around how to enable community feedback, without encouraging popularity contests or facilitating gaming of any such system.

    17. Louis Gray: Beyond Aggregation -- Finding the Web's Best Content, because I think Louis is a great new tech blogger on the scene, and because information overload is my constant companion.

    18. Liz Henry: Open Source Disability Gadgets: DIY for PWD, because I love Liz, and she is so smart.

    19. Carmen Van Kerckhove: Can Social Media End Racism?, because I sure hope it can.

    20. A bonus WTF, is this serious? panel for you to check out:

    Katje Sabin's Weaves, Waves and Wisps: Human Hair Sculpture. it is what it sounds like: A session on hair braiding. Camp Baby would be so proud.

    There you go...please register and vote away.

    Labels: , ,

    Thursday, August 07, 2008

    Fascinating post: Gender and the Semantic Web. And my feelings on our new cultural record.

    Marshall Kirkpatrick has written a lengthy and fascinating post entitled Will the Semantic Web Have a Gender? over at Read-Write Web.

    Frankly I'm not qualified to discuss the point from a geek point of view, I have trouble grasping what the semantic web in action looks like.

    But I do think it's relevant to discuss how history is written in this context, and I do think it's relevant to discuss what I think is one of the most astounding beauties of the blogosphere: We are creating a new kind of history...and a broader cultural record. If we assume that in some way the human race will find a way for the Internet to always be archived, even as technologies change, then imagine how much easier blogs and social media will make the lives of historians.

    If we look back in time history has primarily been about three things: War, Government, Commerce. And until relatively recently these three activities were pretty heavily male-dominated. (At least so we've been led to believe, right?) Artists of various kinds also inform us about times past, but it was as historically difficult for minority or marginalized groups to find mainstream acceptance in the arts as it was in War, Government and Commerce.

    The web, the blogosphere: They allow us to find those voices if we want to hear them. And once we find them, and find more and find more...suddenly we don't really need mainstream acceptance and validation. We are creating our own form of history, our own cultural record of these times.

    For a moment think about WWII and the Holocaust. Can you think of, for example, a woman's perspective of those world events?

    Probably Anne Frank, right? Who else?

    Well, I can think of my grandmother's perspective. A bride who actually married somewhat late for the times, who lost her first baby to a miscarriage, whose husband saw the impending doom and convinced her and his mom to leave Czechoslovakia...but could not convince her parents to leave their home. A woman who at 28 (again late for the times) had her first child in Paris, a mere 4 months before the Nazis invaded. Who escaped via auto, with her infant, her husband and her mother-in-law, over the Pyrenees and into Portugal, eventually taking a boat to the US...where they stayed only briefly before they were booted to wait for Visas in South America. Yes, they had money which is the only way they could have done all of the above. And the parents she left behind, of course, perished.

    And that single paragraph I just wrote is about all I know about her experience.

    She did not discuss it.

    Once, when she was just a year or two out from her death at 89, bedridden and fading, she told me she still dreamed of her parents just about every single week.

    We always talked about taking her oral history and we never actually did.

    What a loss for us.

    On a somewhat lighter note, I think of my mom. Three kids by the time she was 27. And when we ask her now? Oh, we were great, easy, she doesn't remember it being hard. Sure, she tells the story of her first flight with my older brother as a baby...how he cried and cried, and she couldn't calm him or ignore the withering glances of the other passengers.

    And that single story is about all I know about how my mom might have struggled as a young stay-at-home mom.

    But there must have been more. After all, she is one of those who read Betty Friedan's "The Feminist Mystique" and thrust herself into the work force...eventually contributing to the end of her marriage...and leading to a working life that she refuses to leave although she is past traditional retirement age.

    She was part of a movement...that second wave that women my age and younger were too young to really understand or experience.

    And her daughters have no record of it. Our memories decades later can never match reality, can they?

    So I wish my grandmother had blogged. I wish my mother had blogged. And I think the children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews (since I have no children, after all, and someone's gotta care about my cultural record, right?) of today's bloggers will cherish these records. Not just parenting bloggers, but anything that told the story of their life...their working life, their parenting life, their leisure life

    And historians and anthropologists will have data from every corner of the globe, from every possible perspective to build a richer, more accurate portrait of what our world is like.

    So I may not understand some of the academic or technical ramifications behind Marshall's post and researcher Corinna Bath's concerns, but I know the conversation matters.

    Labels: , , ,

    Wednesday, August 06, 2008

    This Month's Silicon Veggie

    Yes, i am still writing my monthly column in the Silicon Valley Metro about being a vegan. It seems to come last on my list, and often I find myself going to bed writing the column in my head, getting up and writing it out in <30 minutes and turning it in...all on the last possible day.

    So, why keep doing it. I'm sure any of you who have written for an alternative weekly know that I'm not in the money. Well, i still feel like it's an awesome opportunity to reach a pretty wide circulation, talking about something in which I believe most passionately.

    This is a lesson for life, and it's a lesson for business:

    If you are passionate you often find a way to make it work.

    I've always thought when someone in a budding relationship broke it off saying they didn't have space or time for a relationship, that it was just the person's way of letting the other down easy.

    I've always thought that most people show you what they really care about by what they manage to finish, despite all odds. It's amazing what I do manage to complete...and sometimes revealing what tasks get carried over from week to week. Which blogs don't get updated.

    So yes, I am still writing Silicon Veggie, and here is this month's: The Lazy Vegan


    Vote on where BlogHer '09 should be held

    Make your voice heard :)

    Labels: ,

    Saturday, August 02, 2008

    One downside to the "micro-blogging" apps: The hit and run

    For some time people have been calling apps like Twitter and FriendFeed and Pownce and the like "micro-blogging." I prefer to call such apps "mega-chat."

    And lately I've seen the down-side of these apps.

    -No, it's not the proliferation of spam Twitter accounts being created.
    -No, it's not the fact that FriendFeed assumes I want to see the feeds of friends of friends, forcing me to opt-out, rather than allowing me to opt-in, of such FOF feeds.
    -No, it's not even the threat that we will all stop creating lengthier, more intelligent posts in favor of 140 character tweets filled with acronyms, abbreviations and gross mis-spellings required to fit into said 140 characters.

    Rather, I find that these asynchronous mega-chat applications are the perfect vehicle for committing a hit-and-run. Here's what I mean:

    Twice recently I saw people make observations (once about me, once about BlogHer) that were based on erroneous assumptions. In each case they made rather nasty sweeping statements (again: once about me personally, once about BlogHer) based on aforementioned erroneous assumptions. They didn't ask a question. They didn't DM me or check with any reliable source that I could tell. One was a tweet, and one was a comment left on a FriendFeed thread.

    In each case i responded to correct the erroneous assumption. and in each case the micro-blogger or mega-chatter went absolutely silent. No "my bad", no "Oh, got it, thanks", no, Heaven knows, "Sorry about that." Just nothing, pulling a disappearing act from the conversation they had started or been part of.

    Who cares?

    Well, this is where the asynchronous thing comes in. If they had posted on their blog, and I had commented (and they had actually let my comment be published) then everyone who saw the misstatement would see the correction. Oh, maybe people would have argued about it. Maybe people would have doubted my word, since clearly I'm biased about myself. But everyone would see the whole conversation.

    But when someone tweets, only their followers see the tweet, and their followers don't see an @reply, and there is no way to make sure they do. I can't reach someone else's followers the way I can attempt to reach their blog readers via a comment. And if someone wants to make a sweeping, and erroneous, statement they can do so to their heart's content. And neglect to do any follow-up if that follow-up would require them admitting they were wrong.

    Is it just me? Does this bug anyone else? Lots of folks ramble on about where the conversation is going (off our blogs, into Twitter, or FriendFeed) but is the concept of "conversation" disintegrating altogether in favor of pronouncement?

    PS-This is, by the way, not a new argument. It's why i've always objected to people who thought comments on blogs aren't necessary because if you want to respond you can always write a blog post about it. That argument ignores the fact that 80% of blog readers don't actually blog themselves. Similarly, I don't think you can count on everyone following the ever-more distributed threads of conversations.

    Oh, and I realize I've been a bit blog-absent lately. Little thing called BlogHer '08 totally sucked the life (or at least the bloggy life) out of me for a few weeks. Maybe this subject has already been discussed and we've all arrived at a wonderful solution, or at least philosophy about it. If so? Please share the smartest take on it you've seen, because these hit and runners are BUGGING me. kthxbai

    Labels: , , ,

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?