The mission of the Young President Organization (YPO) is Better Leaders Through Education and Idea Exchange”™ and it’s that core value that I’ve been honored to be a part of through the years. One of my passions in life is teaching and thanks to YPO and many successful corporations, I’ve been able to be a keynote speaker and share my knowledge of sales and social media marketing.
On December 27 I’ll once again be speaking for YPO’s Israel chapter and addressing members on the topic, “It’s not what innovative technology does for people; it’s what the innovative people do with technology.” In preparing for this presentation I became a bit nostalgic and came to realize exactly how much technology has actually helped shape my career. So, I thought I’d share my personal path and take you along for a brief ride down memory lane.
In 1981 there was a communication revolution, though it wasn’t heard by many people, it starting was a turning point in my life. That was the year the Hayes Smart modem was introduced. Some of you may recall that 30+ years ago there was no such thing as broadband and computers communicated through telephone lines. You’d pick up a phone, dial a number (of another computer), rest the handset on the modem and then you’d be able to log into a mainframe computer.
What the Hayes Smart Modem enabled you to do was dial a number without the use of a phone and it could auto answer if another modem was calling. That’s all I needed to come up with an idea and then put it into motion by creating a Bulletin Board System, BBS, on my TRS-80 Color Computer by Radio Shack.
I guess you can say, “Once a techie always a techie.” Even before I created BBS I was interested in computers and networking. As early as sixteen years old, I worked for a computer software store to support my technology habit. It was there that I got my first experience in sales - I was the #1 salesperson in the #1 store in the country. But it wasn’t because I knew how to sell (that came later), I simply understood very early on that you need to have a good message and a network to share it with. Although it was many years later, that’s exactly how I built Sneeze.it, my social marketing company. We build the core messages, share the social media tips and help businesses find their way into the social media world.
Why all the tech talk? Well, I think the saying goes, “It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” BBS systems though archaic, were the predecessor of the social media applications we use today. When I look back it’s apparent to me that a lot of the strategies now used for marketing online stem from the one underlying principal that supports these extremely effective, tight knit online communities -- content. No matter the social media platform, if you’ve got quality content that gets your audience’s attention then you’re ahead of the game. Couple that with a good social marketing plan and consistency in messaging and you’ve got innovation joining technology. This is what I try to convey when I’m presenting – today’s technology makes it convenient to share your products and services virally, but if your content isn’t up to snuff, it won’t matter where you publish it.
After all, when you strip away the polished interfaces of modern day social media applications you’re left with your core message, and that can get lost in the shuffle in our digital world. I hear it all the time at these events and when working with new clients. They know about Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites, but they can’t seem to figure out why they aren’t reaching more people. Which brings us full circle and back to my prepping for Israel. If you want to grow a garden, you have to plant the seeds and water the flowers –I can’t wait to get help the YPO Israel team cultivate growth. Thankfully, it will probably be from a laptop or an Ipad and not a tin box with a monitor that resembles a television. You’ve got to love progress!