My First LA Marathon

la marathon

Ashley, Carrie and Brindey at the start of the LA Marathon

I did it! I completed my first marathon on Sunday, at home in LA. When my “sister” called and asked if I wanted to run the marathon with her, I said yes, and then got really scared. Let me be the first to tell you, 26.2 miles is a long way. But the feeling of accomplishment crossing the line is incredible. I encourage anyone to try a marathon-and believe me, they are addictive. I am definitely in for more marathons. I wanted to share, though, my favorite part of the marathon with you.

Los Angeles has a large problem with childhood obesity in underprivileged communities. Specifically in East LA,  fast food is cheap, the school systems are underfunded and playgrounds aren’t safe. Finding healthy food and room to run is nearly impossible for low-income families and it makes leading an active lifestyle impossible for teens.

Students Run LA is a program to get secondary school kids in shape to run the LA Marathon whose course now includes a jaunt through their neighborhoods. Running through the same streets I would normally be afraid to drive in the early morning glow made them seem cleaner, brighter, and safer. It was sort of like looking at the place through a lens of what it could be. I saw parents standing and cheering on street corners and banners hanging from balconies. I saw entire families decked out in green to support their sons and daughters. Huge bowls of cut oranges and bananas were offered to runners by bystanders who probably worked for hours to pay for them. I am still in awe of the changes I saw.

The course officials had decided that East LA deserves to be shared. Students Run LA put the kids – the future – into the spotlight. That’s passion, sweaty, blistering and tired passion, at work for the future.

Social Media Survey

Social Media SurveyI am putting together a social media survey of clients, partners and potential customers of my company, Stratus Technologies.

For once, the answers I seek are not Googlable. But I am looking for direction on what makes a successful survey. I think short, easy and fun are my thoughts- but how short? How snarky or peppy can I be in a social media survey coming from a high availability hardware and software company? It will go into an Eloqua email, and hopefully get me the information I need to better connect online with our customers.

This is what I have so far in Survey Monkey. I will take any and all advice you can give me.

Feedback and notes from #IDC Directions 2010

IDC directions 2010I attended IDC’s Directions 2010 at the Boston Sheraton last week and now that I am out of jury duty, I have time to sit and write a post my best take-aways from the event.

1. Go get your answers. Michael Gerard suggested finding vendor communities, surveying customers on their social media usage, and grilling asking the sales people about what they find.  Everything I want to know is not always on already on Google.

2. John Gantz warned conference-goers not to use new technology to do old things better.  I think that sentiment is worthy of meditation or a plaque or something.

3. Rich Vancil stressed a need to “operationalize” social media. What does that mean, you ask?

  • Congrats- everyone in the company is in marketing.
  • Do digital marketing training.
  • Research where your customers are hanging out.
  • Develop tools and staffing capabilities for mining conversations.

4. Michael Fauscette said social change breeds technology and business change. What is social business?

  • Transparent: trust, credibility, openness.
  • Employees are empowered to contribute.
  • Customers are engaged in an ongoing relationship.
  • Inter-dependant ecosystem
  • Service when/where/how the customer wants it.
  • Power is shared and distributed
  • Power is shared-not controlled
  • Leadership coaches, not controllers
  • Customer-defined products and services
  • Anticipated customer needs
  • Collective intelligence

5. Karsten Weide pointed out that social media penetration levels are higher in developing countries than in developed countries because new web users go directly into web 2.0 instead of changing from web 1.0 to social networking. Specifically the penetration levels of social networking by country are:

  • US 56%
  • UK: 58%
  • Germany 61%
  • France 72%
  • India 87%
  • Brazil 88%
  • China 89%

6. Mary Wardley said something interesting: crowds are smart. They consist of self-organizing networks, foster two-way unstructured information exchanges, are egalitarian and feature people at the center.  Awesome….now what?

  • Acquire knowledge and ask questions of a community.
  • Share knowledge
  • Listen to and monitor conversations
  • Increase awareness
  • Gather feedback on company/products/services
  • Participate in market conversations
  • Manage relationships
  • Get ideas for new products and services
  • Communicate with colleagues outside your company