Clemson’s Bill Treadaway Print Leadership Forum 2011

I was asked to speak to about 250 students for the 2011 Graphic Communications Bill Treadaway Print Leadership Forum. Speakers from around the country flew in to take part in this one day event. Leaders from big companies like HP, Praxair, Sonoco Trident, and InterlinkOne.

“Get the Big Picture: The Integration of Graphics, Packaging and Marketing.”
“The forum will feature key leaders in brand management, package printing, package design and marketing from across the industry. Their focus will be on how these disciplines use carefully aligned strategies to capture the interest of the consumer.”

So here I am, little entrepreneur chasing my passion in a line-up of big box organizations. So…I did what I know how to do best, challenge the students to find their passion and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.

So here is my presentation. Some of the pictures in the presentation need an explanation, but for those who attended…it might help them as a reminder for for the points I made. Also…I ended the talk with a video, it is below the presentation.

If you cannot see the presentation in this screen, CLICK HERE to download the PDF. Also, if you want to download the poster listing all the speakers and event information, CLICK HERE to download the PDF.

Video and Blogs together…hmm, great combo

There is a reason why video and blogs work together…well, it brings personality. People want more than just a reading experience that is based on search-ability and getting information; they sometimes want to connect. As much as they hate to admit it…they want to learn more. They want to learn what makes the writer tick.

Video is such a crazy thing in this world of blogging, online media, social media, and mobile connection. Video provides depth. It takes us further than the textual words, those words that writers work so hard to bring color inside each syllable. Video does that…it brings texture.

There are a few reasons I work with clients to bring video into the everyday web experience, here are a few reasons:

  1. It brings emotion to the screen. People get to see how someone talks, breaths, laughs, sighs, expresses, etc. It reveals the true emotion behind the written word.
  2. It brings texture. The written word is a two dimensional field where we write our thoughts and hope that our ability to craft sentences provides depth. Video provides a three dimensional look into the screen that Brenda Laurel describes as the “theater.”
  3. It connects social platforms together. If video is placed on YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, or any of the other social video sites…it connects rich media outlets together creating a great SEO experience for the user looking for information.
  4. It breaks up the monotony. As bloggers and writers, we get into a habit of just filling the screen with text within our blogs and web experiences. Bringing video into this online experience can bring a depth beyond the words providing connection points. People get to see who they are reading, and hear those words that are typed.
  5. Video reinforces the brand experience. It allows the user to see the branded message in action, connecting those visual cues to the written word.
  6. It takes the pressure off writing too much content. Sometimes it is better for something to be explained visually in video form, those ideas that are sometimes normally hard to explain in the written word. This takes the burden off of the copywriting or creative writing experience; allowing visuals, music, interviews, graphics to take the place of the written word.

There are many times in the world of blogging, people have a hard time articulating thoughts in written form. There are many times that a thought comes to mind, but we are not in a place to write. We are surrounded by devices that allow us to capture video. We can capture a special moment, an interview, an emotion, or we just want to talk into the camera. What ever presents itself, sometimes the camera is better suited to capture the moment than trying to write down the thought.

Use the media, do not be afraid. Video is a powerful tool especially if you want to supplement the written word.

Here are a few people who do it so well in the blogging context:

Organizations that do it well:

So bottom-line, do not be afraid to use that camera and integrate some video into your online experience. You can provide the rich insight many people are seeking.

Innovation…needed…

As I sit here this Sunday afternoon and work on the company’s finances, what was the major expense this month…gas. Yes, my business takes me on the road all over the Southeast. With rising gas prices brings higher overhead. Yes…many businesses pass off the cost of traveling to their clients. But bottomline…someone is paying.

As I ride from place to place, watch television…companies are touting their hybrid technology. But here is the bottom-line on hybrid technology…it is still oil dependent. Yes, they require some natural resource like gasoline to power the propulsion of the vehicles.

Ever since the creation of the modern vehicle, we have used some sort of gasoline or oil dependent resource to combust and create propulsion. If we want to rid ourselves of oil dependency and truly create vehicles that use a sustainable resource for propulsion, we must get rid of the internal combustion engine. Yes…

As long as we are creating “hybrid” cars, we are still using yesterday’s technology to provide propulsion. That means those that are trying to innovate with the idea of using water (H2O) in an internal combustion engine, we are still using yesterday’s technology to provide propulsion and a natural resource that many argue will one day be just as scarce as crude oil.

Many automotive engineers are creating engines that use electric compulsion. Where do we get our electricity? How much of the electric grid is producing electricity that is not compromising a natural resource. Is the earthquake and tsunami in Japan teaching us anything when it comes to creating electricity from nuclear energy?

We must start from scratch. We must be able to throw away what we know and think beyond the conventions we have been using for the last two hundred years. Where are those who are willing to innovate…those entrepreneurs that have nothing to loose, and create the next wave of technology. Who are the Francois Isaac de Rivaz’s of tomorrow?

Our story of the last two centuries has been written, who will write the story for tomorrow? We need you, oil dependency is driving business of today into the dark ages…un-sustainable. Small businesses of America need you.

Are you inspiring…



Write passionately I say…

Blogging is so hard to wrap our heads around. Finding our voice is even harder. We sit down to write and nothing comes out…nothing translates to from our head to our fingers. Who are we talking to…who are we trying to relate. Are we trying to write to inspire ourselves or writing to inspire others?

Sometimes it takes defining our motives…looking deep inside to define our voice and and defining those who we are writing with and for.

Do we write to meet a length quota or do we write without recognition of length, unknowingly fulling our space inside the walls of our blog…inspiring thoughts to inspire others. We write for ourselves but we write to be “read”. We want to articulate…we want to connect…we want to be heard.

So why do you write. Do we write to fulfill other people’s parameters or do you write with the same passion you find in life.  Are we so wrapped up in the technology that we forget to write our thoughts that bring inspiring thoughts to our daily lives. Watch out, we might say something that inspires another person…and create a culture of change.

We must write…write what drives our soul. We must ignore the constraints, forget the technology, forget the competition, and write the inner most passion that makes us get up in the morning and conquer the world.

We are entrepreneurial writers at heart…we believe in our ethic…to write passionately.

What is social video???

So I have been thinking what makes video social? Yes….what makes our video content connect with audiences in a social, fluid environment. Well, it is my opinion that it comes down to technology and content. Seriously, there has to be relevant content that relates to an audience in a way that makes them have the desire to share. Then, once they want to share…it has to be supported by technology that does not prohibit the ability to share.

Recently I have been harping on Flash Video and how it marginalizes certain audiences…and this is all about technology. If I have a device and a friend shares a video with me, I click to watch and cannot view the content because the technology does not support Flash…then the video is not social.

So when I think about the technology aspect of social video, it can be broken into two arenas: enabling the ability to share the video and enabling the ability to search and find the video. But before we get to technology…let’s try to talk about characteristics of social video. So let’s think through this a bit…ways we can make our video content social.

Content:

  • The video message has to be compelling.
  • The video message has to have an action item.
  • The video appeals to our emotions.
  • The video message makes us want to share.

Technology:

  • The video has to be hosted and compressed so that it plays fluidly in majority of online environments.
  • The video player that displays the video is using the latest technology to meet your target audience’s devices needs. If it is HTML5, Flash, Quicktime, or what ever…it needs to be able to reach the largest section of audiences to consume the video content.
  • The video content has to be associated with searchable terms. We know what it means to make our webpages rich with searchable words…but now our video has to SEO rich. So whereever it is hosted, it must support searchable tags and video descriptions.
  • The video content must have a permalink to link directly to that video. You do want people to share your video, so it must have a link to post on social sites and email for reference.
  • The video content must have rich embed options. You want the masses have the ability to embed your video into your blogs, websites, and other online media outlets.
  • The video content needs to have the ability to have a title that is associated with the video. Places like YouTube and Vimeo provide that option to make the content searchable.

Let me give you two examples:

1) IT-oLogy Open House:

I worked on a project a few months ago with the sole purpose of telling the story of a new brand at an open-house. IT-oLogy was formerly the Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management. They were launching their new brand at the open house for their new building. So we produced a video that had all their partners and supporting agencies describing IT-oLogy in their own terms. We made the video fun, goofy, yet appealing to the 250 plus people that would attend.

When I showed up to make it play on their new big screen, the people were still installing the technology that supported video playback. So…we uploaded it to YouTube in full 1080p and played it on a big 50 foot screen from YouTube. They had the bandwidth to support the higher quality and it played well. When we uploaded it to YouTube…we made sure we named it properly, gave a rich description, and implemented logical tags. When people left, they wanted to go find the video. Why…because it was cool plus most of the people in the room knew the people in the video and wanted to share with their co-workers. They were able to embed in their blogs, email the YouTube link to their friends, share it on social outlets. A quality message maximizing technology to enable sharing.

2) My Class at Clemson

I was putting together a presentation about finding your passion. I found this great video called “Where good ideas come from.” I wanted to share it with my class during my afternoon session. I like to use my business Facebook page as a place to save cool links that I might want to comeback to later. So I posted the YouTube link to my Facebook page with a description of it’s intended purpose. So when I got to class, I pulled up the video from my Facebook page and played it for the class and they loved it. Afterwards, I noticed that a conversation started happening on Facebook under the link I posted.

The conversation was around entrepreneurship and where great ideas come from. People from the academic world, business world, entrepreneurs, etc. were commenting and discussion the underlying theme behind the video. At the same time, before I could email the link to my students, one of them posted the link to their Facebook page thanking me for sharing in class. That means that they were able to do a Google search for the video, find it, grab the link from the video, and share with her friends. Steven Johnson was the speaker in this video and a group called RSA Animate produced the visuals. These people not only inspired me to share with my friends, students, and colleagues….but they also inspired and enabled others to share. The content was engaging and inspiring and the technology was seamless to enable the ability to share.

What are your thoughts? How are you using video socially?

Listening for moments…

This past weekend…I was on the coast. Actually on the Outer Banks near Kitty Hawk, NC. I found myself in the middle of a story…one of many layers. For the past few months, I have been working on a project surrounding Clergy Health in North Carolina…going inside the lives of a few pastors in North Carolina.

I found myself in Poplar Branch, NC on Currituck Sound…just inside the Outer Banks (OBX). My goal, to interview Pastor Renee Edwards and capture her story. Her story is one of amazing grace…finding her place with a congregation on the OBX. But this post is not about the project, but this little moment in time while following her. See this post is the story behind the story! It is about the story that probably will not make in the final project.

As I walked into the Sunday School room…I was so worried that my big camera would take away from the morning’s chat. So I tried to do my best to be like a little mouse, moving all around capturing moments without disturbing anyone. Paston Renee Edwards introduced me as the session began…it was 9:45am and the talk for the day was about a letter.

There were probably 12 or 13 in the class and each wrote a letter to God. One of those exercises that has such a personal place. I was so worried…this small little room and this big ole camera intruding in this little moment in time. My goal was to capture some interaction between Pastor Renee Edwards and the rest of the class…let’s just say I was in the right place at the right time.

Each person had an opportunity to share their letter. A few shared and tears broke through. It was like I was suspended in time watching from a 1000 miles above yet feeling the emotion like I was sitting next to each person reading. One of the gentleman chose to read his letter…as he moved to the toughest part of his letter, he passed it to his wife to finish the last few lines. As I looked over, Pastor Renee Edwards was holding his hand, shedding tears with him. Such exposure, so much trust, willingness to share for all to hear.

As each person read their story, their letter…Pastor Renee Edwards was there to listen and comfort. Letters to God are words from the depths of our souls. Words crafted from our deepest feelings, expressed in ways we have never been able to articulate. Language gave life to these deep thoughts, expressions for all to hear. The tears provide relief and resolve that the burden have moved from their hearts to their pens.

As we moved around the room, I was slowly moving from spot to spot…trying to be prepared to capture the moment. I wore soft shoes that morning and made sure I had the rubber footings on the end of each leg of the tripod. This allowed to move quickly and reduce noice for noticeable movement. Churches have a tendency to creek and echo with the movement of video equipment. I have to have the ability to move fast, effortlessly so that I can be in the right place at the right time…capturing that moment.

A gentleman on the opposing corner from Pastor Renee Edwards decided to share. He fumbled through his book and decided to pass for someone else to read. You could tell he was going to have a hard time reading his deepest thoughts. His son-in-law was sitting next to him and he too past it on for someone else to read. Pastor Renee Edwards was next in line to read this letter. As she agreed and began to read, it was apparent that the letter was about her. As she read the words, her eye-lids began to fill with tears. Tears…those tears that express thankfulness and humility. It was the ultimate compliment, the ultimate moment…to capture the subject of the day reading a letter to God…and it was thanking her!

Moments in time make storytelling so wonderful!

POSSCON 2011 – Day One – It is all about COMMUNITY!

As soon as you walk into the doors of the Columbia Convention Center…you can feel the energy. It is more than hustle and bustle, it is more than meeting new people, it is even more than learning about open source software…it is about the community. There was even a special Gowalla spot created for the event…pretty cool!

I spent some time talking to speakers from the conference, that had lots to say. “POSSCON is a great event, lovely convention center, fabulous event, spectacular speakers,if you at all are interested in open source or that technology community wrap around…this is a place to be,” says Phil Yanov who is the founder of GSATC.

So what is POSSCON…well, let’s take a second to figure that out. POSSCON is the Palmetto Open Source Software Conference hosted in Columbia, SC. It is a community of conversation around the idea of how open source software can provide solutions for businesses, educators, healthcare, developers, and the list goes on. So you ask, what is open source software?

“Open source is more than cost reductions and savings, it is also about creating effective, productive, high performance production shops and there is a real connection between the empowerment that open source gives developers and their ability to put together solutions that really matter for their end users,” says Jeffery Hammond, Principal Analyst for Forrestor Research.

Wikipedia defines open source software (OSS) as computer software that is available in source code form for which the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license that permits users to study, change, improve and at times also to distribute the software.

WOW, what does that mean? Well, it is software that openly allows users to use, alter, and integrate to fit their needs. Think of a piece of software you have recently purchased and thought, man if I could change it to fit my needs. Well, open source provides that opportunity.

POSSCON is a conference that is surrounded with professionals, educators, students, executives who find value in learning and collaborating to find and build software solutions to meet their needs…outside of proprietary software. Everywhere you look, there are leaders inside the walls of the convention center; teaching, educating, and providing best practices surrounding how they are using open source software to solve problems.

Leslie Hawthorn, Open Source Outreach Manager at Oregan State University said it best, “It is also great to see so many people from the business community here, breaking out of those traditional ‘hackers’ ‘suits’ silos.”

POSSCON is more that just software…it is a community. A community of people connecting, engaging, and problem solving. This open source community is a place to freely exchange ideas, connect, solve a problem, and learn something new. “There area lot of people here and they are engaged!” Jim Jagielski, President Apache Software Foundation/Redhat goes on to say, “As you are talking, people are typing and listening…they are engaged! There is a wide variety of people here…we have students, we have CIO’s, CTO’s, we have guys in jeans, people in suites and ties.”

I think William Hurley, better known as Whurley and CTO of Chaotic Moon Studios, summed up the conference rather nicely, “At the end of the day, you want to go somewhere where you are surrounded by like minded people, who have some similar goals and objectives, who are totally willing to share very honestly, very openly…everything they know…and this is the a great environment for that. POSSCON is a little bit more about active participation.”

Enough said…check out POSSCON!

The Hybrid Movement…

As you know, I have been teaching the idea of Hybrid Entrepreneurship at Clemson and it is amazing how the class is evolving. What are we finding, that it is hard to define exactly what a hybrid entrepreneur and how it is applied to a business.

Here is our basic definition: A hybrid entrepreneur is an entrepreneur that has identified a social cause and using an entrepreneurial business idea to solve this social problem and will generate a profit.

The most common example is Tom’s Shoes. For each pair of shoes Tom’s Shoes sales, they donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. Solving the social problem of children in need, yet generating a profit from the enterprise.

The biggest debate in the class, does this business model have to start with the social cause as the main focus; or can the business have a great product/service and searches for a social case to solve as a way to meet the criteria. There is an in-class debate either way…but it is my opinion that it comes to the social cause as the main initiative. I think there is a hierarchy in this definition:

1) Entrepreneurial
2) Solving Social Problem
3) Generating A Profit

There are so many organizations in the latest “Green” movement to “Save The Earth.” There is a whole class of individuals that have the social desire to solve social problems, but they do not want to create non-profits…they want to generate a profit. They want their cake and eat it too! I do not blame them.

So for the rest of the semester, the students of this class have two months to identify a social problem, create and start a entrepreneurial business model, document the process, and present their business. Yes…two months. They have lots of work to do and they have some cool social business ideas. Bottom-line, they have to find something that is micro enough to get it up and running and find a way generate a profit.

We are in the process of reading a book called “Starting from Scratch” by Wes Moss. It is a book full of case studies of entrepreneurs that have found their passion, started a business, and succeeded against the odds. This book has a few that might fit the hybrid business model. So why am I telling you this…because I want this class to be able to write the book on hybrid entrepreneurship. I want this class to be the first to really talk and explain this model, research and find case studies of examples, and put the model to work.

It is my hope this class comes closer to helping us all define what hybrid entrepreneurship is all about.

Healthcare Innovation & Mobile Devices

What does this video have to do with this post? Well, the exchange of information across the “Cloud” in a secure fashion. We are in a new world when it comes to patient information…especially with new devices like iPad2 and Motorola Xoom. So, let’s shift gears…let’s think about the possibilities with these new devices and this growing network.

So the iPad2 is out…and the buzz is HIGH! What is so cool, it has a two cameras with the ability to connect with 3G access. But it is not the only device/tablet out there with the same specifications. There is the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab…also carrying two cameras on the front and back and 3G access. So what does this mean for the healthcare industry…A LOT.

Imagine you are having a heart attack and the ambulance drive is 20 minutes. The EMT’s that show-up put you in the ambulance and start screaming down the road. The EMT pulls out one of these devices, connects via 3G and has a video conference call with the cardiac physician at the hospital. The physician can look at the patient, talk with the EMT, see the EKG, and communicate. Imagine the vital information that is exchanged via video conference while taking notes via an EMR on one device…wirelessly communicating with the physician…in real time. Life saving communication.

OK…hold your horses before you get too excited. We have to figure out how to protect the patient’s information. We have to decide, where is this data going to live? Seriously, will these tablets be able to access the EMR’s as a host or actually download the data to the device? Well, if it is downloaded to the device…what if it is stolen or the EMT decides to take it home to play? There are some talks about maximizing the GPS capabilities within tablet, and when it gets so far away from the ambulance or mobile care unit, it wipes the internal drive. Yep…you try to run away and poof, the data is gone.

Another concern…should the EMT need to access the full EMR? Do they need to know all the patient’s history for critical care situations or just recent history, current medications, and DNR requests.

Lot’s of logistics and IT infrastructure issues to think through. But with the upcoming release with the 4G LTE network from Verizon along with AT&T possibly purchasing T-Mobile…the infrastructure is going to be in place to support this transfer of data. Combine that with the scalability of “Cloud” computing…even a bigger WOW!

I think the biggest perk of these devices, the ability to combine the front and back cameras with access to EMR’s simultaneously, in a mobile situation. Being able to review a chart and consult with a physician via video streaming…all in one device. Video is going to become ever more present in the charting experience for providers. Not only sitting down to write in notes, but to record physician thoughts via video. How about the physician being able to video interview the patient with a mobile device and upload it to the EMR. Powerful information that cuts through the textual notes from the physician. No offense to you physicians that input great information and do great dictations.

These devices are going to transform mobile healthcare especially for critically ill patients. The ability to video conference via a wireless 3G device (4G on the way) and take notes on the EMR…this will help streamline critical decision making so when the patient crosses the doors of the ER/ED, assessment time has been cut dramatically.

The possibilities are endless…I think?

Open source development is great in theory…yes, I said it.

This big ole movement for open source development is great…yeah. But really what is this movement? I was exposed to the idea of open source development about 4 years ago. It was when I joined a start-up company and every dollar was important. We were distributing video messages via email and needed a cost effective solution to manage the email distribution. So PHPlist was used as an open source solution. It was available to download, tailor to our needs, and provided the framework for the core part of the business. As a part of the GPL license, we had to “give back” to the community to make this community based software solution a richer offering. What do I mean by giving back, well offer findings, new code, ideas for updates, etc. that would allow others to adapt and improve this software.

So…from this software, I was exposed to other pieces of open source, web-based platforms like Joomla, WordPress, Moodle, Drupal, PHPlist, and the list goes on. All available to download and install in our server based environments to use. Numerous projects, numerous solutions, free software, open source software…maybe?

So…how many of us that download this open source software give back to the community. How many of us are takers and not givers?

I hear all the time, large companies trying to find new ways to save dollars…tired of paying large dollars for word processing and other office-based solutions. Oh yeah, there is Open Office by Sun Microsystems. Free to download, free to install, free to use, open-source software? But is it open and are we giving back to keep the community alive?

So does open source mean community?

Many people are touting the Android mobile market because of the open-source offering. What they mean is they want the flexibility to alter the source code to fit their needs. Maybe people interpret open source software as the means to alter the source code to fit their needs. But I thought the idea was to alter the source code and share this with the community. Are people sharing in this movement to make the community better or is it just leverage free software…to hack Motorola products in order to avoid paying fees for access. It is happening on Apple products as well, accessing and altering the base code to fit our wants. But what is the point? Oh yeah, for personal gain.

OK…I am not getting on a soap box, I speak from experience. But how many of us are just downloading this open-source software and not adding the the community project?

So is this open source movement really an open source movement? Are we really educated about the open source movement, the benefits, the burden, and the commitment to further the movement. Well, education is key. The point of this little post, there are places out there talking about open source software, talking about the community. Interested in learning more? POSSCON 2011 is in Columbia, SC on March 23, 24, and 25 and you can register here: http://posscon.org/register/

If you want a discount code, read this blog post and request a discount code. Yes…I did not mean to try to sell you a conference…but to raise your awareness about my thoughts and offer a logical solution. I will be there learning more about this community of open source.

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