Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanks for coming

I would like to say a big THANK YOU to all those who has already come and/or will come for the first time and/or will continue coming to TEN Happy-Hours and other types of events.

It´s interesting to notice that people come for different motivations, interests and needs. Or a combination of many of them. Let´s see some main reasons and divide them into 3 categories:

A) Good reasons:
  1. Lead by serving your network
  2. Educate people about the values and principles of business networks management
  3. Understand the value of being connected to high level people
  4. Come and donate gifts for raffle prize while introducing themselves to the crowd
  5. Meet in person some of your online connections
  6. Look for new talents for his/her business
  7. Received an invitation and decided to experience it
  8. Liked the first experience and brought many friends along
  9. Want to see the event to grow month after month
  10. Is a personal friend of the organizer

B) Average reasons:
  1. Look for job in the old fashion "salary only" way instead of focusing on value added contribution to the business
  2. Look for new customers and business only
  3. Interested in meeting new & quality people randomly

C) Not so nice reasons but still....:
  1. Come for the taking only. Never sharing, never giving
  2. Just because the event is around the corner and have nothing else to do
  3. Watch and see without further interaction with others
  4. Because it´s the 3rd-4th time that you are invited, so it´s about time to show up

As an event organizer, one need to distinguish these three different groups and adjust the approach in order to guide them all towards category A. However, may you feel that some people are consistently playing in the category C only, we recommend to put this person away from your invitation list until he/she gets more mature about the true essence of these events. Otherwise, they may contaminate the environment with some unfair comments and even send some people away.

Anyway, in principle, all top executives and entrepreneurs are the most welcome. Some fine tuning will be needed over time. It´s part of this amazing voyage named Business Networks Management (BNM).

Enjoy it!

Octavio Pitaluga
TEN - Top Executives Net
CNO - Chief Networking Officer

Monday, November 17, 2008

Does Business Networks Management work?

Of course, it does work very well indeed. As long as the leader is skillful enough to develop a win-win conversation with all concerned stakeholders. This joke below portraits clearly well how to allign needs, motivations and interests in order to create a new and more interesting scenario.

Jacob and Judith had a 30 years old son named Moishe, who didn´t get married up yet. Everyone in the family was asking why he didn´t find a nice jewish woman ("or even a gentile, as long as it is a woman", they said) so far.

One day Jacob says to Moishe during breakfast: "Son, I have found you a wonderful woman so you can marry !"
Moishe: "Dad, I don´t want to marry just ´cause you say so !"
Jacob: "Moishe, she is Bill Gates' daughter !"
Moishe: "Well.. if you put that way, then I think its fine !"

When Jacob gets to his office, he calls Bill Gates and says:"Bill, I have found a great husband for your daughter !"
Bill Gates: "Jacob, I know you are a good friend, but you must remember my daughter is a little girl.. she cannot just marry anybody !"
Jacob: "Bill, this boy is vice-president of an international bank !"
Bill Gates: "Oh well.. if you put that way, then its fine !"

5 minutes later Jacob calls Isaac, his old friend, owner of an international bank, and says "Isaac, my old friend. I remembered you today.. I found a great boy to be your vice-president !"
Isaac: "Jacob, I have seen plenty of them.. thank you, but no"
Jacob: "Isaac, this one is different.. he is Bill Gates' son-in-law !!"

Yes, the joke fails in terms of taking into account Bill Gates´daughter´s opinion, another very important stakeholder but let´s assume that she was also happy with the proposal. Counting on your nice sense of humour.

Have fun!

Octavio Pitaluga
CNO - Chief Networking Officer
TEN - Top Executives Net

Sunday, November 16, 2008

And what comes next?

After the first successful happy-hours when the organizer will have nice photos and testimonials posted everywhere, it´s time to start:
  1. Considering new formats, e.g., two events every 15 days with with different approach (a) business with small lectures (2) and (b) more social, open networking event;
  2. Expanding your network in the chosen social networks. Focus your invitations on social networks because it makes easier to control attendees list;
  3. Emailing all other who are outside social networks showing evidences of your events;
  4. Scheduling 1:2:1 meetings with those who are genuinely interested in becoming your friend and/or business partner;
  5. Recruiting some supporters who will participate in all events and bring new people in.
The show must go on! Understand that people have needs, timing, motivations and expectations. The organizer is just offering a free trial experience with newcomers. Some people will click right away (a minority) while the great majority will not get it and may need to come over and over again until they get the real essence of CNO - Chief Networking Officer´s work, i.e., leading by serving people in an open and democratic environment.

As the calendar evolves naturally, people will discover that they found a nice and controlled environment where they can meet high quality and reliable people. All the rest is consequence.

Enjoy life!

Octavio Pitaluga
CNO - Chief Networking Officer
TEN - Top Executives Net

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Soon after Happy-Hours

On the following day after the happy-hour:
  1. Upload all photos & videos to main social networks
  2. Send a thank you email to all participants informing about photos & videos
  3. Call some people and even schedule 1:2:1 meetings afterwards
  4. Ask for feed-back and ways to improve & organize different events
  5. Sound if there is anybody interested in co-moderating this initiative
  6. Invite all participants to connect to you on social networks
As a result, you will start creating an amazing relationship capital which is a very tangible asset for future opportunities. Actually, this is the main benefit that the event organizer offers to all attendees as well for him/herself.

Best regards,

Octavio Pitaluga
CNO - Chief Networking Officer
TEN - Top Executives Net

Friday, November 14, 2008

During Happy-Hours

Considering that you are the organizer of the event, just follow some quick action points:
  1. Bring all equipment listed in the previous post
  2. Arrive 30 minutes earlier (at least)
  3. Check the attendees list and have a bowl at the checking-in desk
  4. Instruct receptionists to ask people to drop their business cards into the bowl or to write their contact details in a notepad.
  5. Welcome everyone. Ask what they do, look for & offer
  6. Take a lot of photos
  7. Connect people making quick introductions
  8. Make a short welcome speech after 1h or so
  9. Invite other participants to the stage to offer a raffle prize
  10. Record short video testimonials
  11. Stay until the end. Be the last one to leave
In terms of things to avoid, the main one is DO NOT SELL YOURSELF. Let the audience feel comfortable with you and curious about what you do. Then, communicate continously as we will see in the next posts.

Best regards,

Octavio Pitaluga
TEN - Top Executives Net
CNO - Chief Networking Officer

Monday, November 10, 2008

How to start cool happy-hours

Define your set of criteria. We did it as follows:

1. Choose your audience: we are focused on corporate market and high caliber professionals

2. Find a nice location in line with your public. The partnership must offer a low entry barrier and a low exit barrier to all invitees. We recommend the following format:

  • No entry fee
  • Individual payment
  • Card control
  • Place must offer support with (a) flier preparation, (b) receptionists & (c) sound equipment
  • Choose a date in which the place is normally empty (mon – wed)
  • A courtesy drink is optional but welcome.

We strongly recommend to avoid committing with minimum number of people or advanced payment or any sort of risk. It´s a partnership in which the happy-hour organizer is the promotional arm while the place is the operational one. If the location can not see it as such, just close file and move on.

3. Select some online social networks: we are focused on TEN – Top Executives Net (business), ASW (social) and Internations (ex-pats) only.

4. Invite professionals selectively: we watched all profiles one by one and send customized messages to all executives who resembled our target audience.

5. Set up event in those social networks: Given that we are in Rio, we normally send the first invitation with 10 day pre-notice and a reminder 3 days before the event. We understand that in other parts of the world, the event organizer will need to start promoting it 2-3 weeks in advance, at least.

6. As soon as confirmations start coming, ask professionals if they would like to (a) bring their friends and/or (b) donate a gift for the raffle prize.

7. Send the attendees list to the location a couple of hours before

8. Make sure that you have at the event:

  • Recepcionists, who will also take some photos during event
  • Camera and/or video (photos & testimonials)
  • Enough battery (recharge them at the night before)
  • Plenty of business cards
  • Bowl to put all business cards at the entrance
  • An extra booklet to register contact details of all participants
  • Tags to put names at the entrance
  • Red or Blue pen to write these names on tags

In the next article, we will disucss how the event organizer should conduct it before the crowd.

Best regards,

Octavio Pitaluga
CNO - Chief Networking Officer
TEN - Top Executives Net

Sunday, November 09, 2008

How to organize cool happy-hours

As you can see in recent posts, TEN has started organizing executive happy-hours in Rio de Janeiro (see photos and testimonials:

The great majority of participants came from invitations posted on online social networks. There a couple of distinguished social networks and a good number of quality people dormant inside them just waiting for a call. We decided to be this call. The good result encourages us to move forward.

In order to share this positive experience, we will write a couple of articles giving some hints in order to set up the same model in your region. We will talk about 4 phases:
  1. How to start
  2. During happy-hour
  3. Post event
  4. What is next...

May you wish to roll-out the same model in your region, please skype us for further assistance.

Best regards,

Octavio Pitaluga
CNO - Chief Networking Officer
TEN - Top Executives Net

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Internet War and the US Presidential Elections

On Oct 16th, 2008, Search engine Watch´s Erik Qualman wrote a very interesting and precise article entitled "Obama is Winning the Internet War", which we are pleased to share below.

Election Day in the U.S. is fast approaching and it's anyone's guess who will win. However, is this really true? Based on five key indicators on the Internet, maybe we already know who will next be sitting in the Oval Office.

1. Site Traffic Winner: Obama

Barack Obama's site receives 5.5 million unique visitors, while John McCain's site receives 3.1 million, according to Compete data. While McCain has gained slightly in recent months, he hasn't made up much ground on Obama's 44 percent lead in this key metric. Alexa, another tracking tool, shows the same trend.

McCain vs. Obama Unique Visitors Chart

Business Nugget: Businesses should constantly monitor tools like Compete, Alexa, Hitwise, Nielsen, comScore, and the like to benchmark where they stand in relation to competition. Many of these tools have free and premium offerings.

2. Social Media Winner: Obama

McCain has garnered the support of 572,009 "fans" on Facebook, which is among the highest on the site. However, it pales in comparison to Obama's 2,071,473 fans. Obama's lead is even larger than this indicates because these numbers don't add in separate fan pages for Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Students for Obama, Women for Obama, etc.

It's interesting that there aren't too many ancillary support pages like these for McCain. For example, Michelle Obama has 127,000 fans, while Cindy McCain has 758 fans. It's also intriguing that searches for Sarah Palin funnel to the McCain-Palin page, whereas Biden has his own distinct fan page. Unfortunately for the McCain ticket, their largest ancillary group is the rogue "I Have More Foreign Policy Experience than Sarah Palin," with 220,000 participants.

The "friend" divide is just as prevalent on MySpace with Obama having 697,535 friends to McCain's 169,326. McCain gets some help from Palin on MySpace where she has 81,988 friends on her profile to Biden's 27,652.

Business Nugget: As has been pointed out in this column for quite some time now, Facebook is dominating MySpace (in this instance by volume of fans/friends). Also of interest for businesses are the different strategies that must be decided upon in social media. If I'm Coke, do I funnel everyone to one fan page (i.e., McCain) or do I send those interested in the various brands (Diet Coke, Coke Classic) to unique fan pages (i.e., Obama).

Obama and McCain's Facebook Supporters

3. Paid Search Winner: McCain

Republicans have been savvier on paid search throughout the election year. The most glaring example of this is if you type in the keyword "Presidential Election." Two listings come up for McCain in the sponsored listings, whereas Obama has zero.

The same holds true for the search term "vote." Shockingly, though, both parties fail to have a listing for the key phrase "register to vote."

Business Nugget: Paid search is mission critical to most businesses these days. However, many fail to do one basic thing: constantly manually check major key term results. With all the sophistication in paid search, businesses often get mired down in the details and miss major problems on the most important search terms.

4. Organic Search Winner: Tie

Of the five Internet items we selected to view, this one is the most intriguing. Let's use Google Insights to see what the public was searching on more: "McCain" or "Obama."

Over the last year for every search on "McCain," there have been 2.2 searches for "Obama." This ratio remains relatively constant if you only look at the last 90 and 30 days of data as well.

However, when you throw Palin into the mix, Palin searches way outperform McCain searches, and actually even outperform those of Obama. Hence, when you combine Palin and McCain, there are actually more searches than if you combine Obama and Biden.

This holds relatively true as you look at the battleground states of Ohio and Florida. In Florida on an indexed scale over the last 30 days, the searches broke down as follows: Palin (73), Obama (61), McCain (38), Biden (10). Part of that could be from people searching for videos of Tina Fey spoofing Palin on "Saturday Night Live." The national intrigue in Palin is something we've never seen and is difficult to account for.

Compete data shows that two of the top five search terms driving traffic to McCain's site include "Palin," whereas "Biden" doesn't show up in the top five search terms driving traffic to Obama's site.

Because of Palin's recent effect, call this one a tie instead of an Obama win, even though "Obama" has more than twice the amount of searches than "McCain."

Business Nugget: Smart corporations use Google Insights to help predict where their business may be going and what their users are interested it. Super smart corporations go one step further and drill down into geographic nuances.

5. YouTube Winner: Obama

The Barack Obama YouTube channel has 100,000 subscribers and the videos have been viewed 17.1 million times. The John McCain YouTube channel has 24,000 subscribers and has been viewed 11.1 million times. These numbers speak for themselves.

Business Nugget: Every business should have a dedicated brand channel on YouTube. Marketing departments should also keep an eye on what corporate and competitive videos are out there. YouTube Insights shows the number of views a video has on sites outside of YouTube (embedded) and identifies what parts of the video people don't find interesting. Also, we decided to call-out YouTube as it's own item, but it could have been rolled into social media.

These five Internet items are interesting to look at in an election context since the same methods of research and strategy can and should be used to build your company's brand.

Overall Internet Winner: Obama. But will it be enough to win the election?


We know now that Mr. Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States of America. It would be interesting to know how much his massive presence on Internet compared to his rival made the difference in the final outcome.

Looking forward to hearing your insigths.

Best regards,

Octavio Pitaluga

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Network Citizens: power and responsibility at work

The UK based think tank for "everyday democracy" Demos´, Peter Bradwell & Richard Reeves, wrote a very nice masterpiece which explores how social networking is changing how organisations work.

"Humans are social animals, spinning intricate webs of relationships with friends, colleagues, neighbours and enemies. These networks have always been with us, but the advance of networking technologies, changes to our interconnected economy and an altering job market have super-charged the power of networking, catapulting it to the heart of organisational thinking.

Social networks are providing tremendous opportunities for people to collaborate. But until now, thinking has focused only on how organisations can respond to and capitalise on networks. This report argues that we have to look equally at how networks use organisations for their own ends. That is where the new contours of inequality and power lie that will shape the network world. We have to face networks’ dark side, as well as their very real potential.

Bringing together in-depth case studies of six organisations, Network Citizens maps the key fault-lines that people and organisations will have to address in the future world of work. Not doing so puts at risk the very qualities we had invested in them: openness, innovation, collaboration and meritocracy. Since networks can act for good or ill, incubating the talents and ideas of the many, or promoting the interests of the few, the need for a new set of responsibilities is growing. If we are network members, we must be network citizens, too."

Read more....