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  • Eyes Down, Heads Up

    Eyes Down, Heads Up

    A year goes by real quick when you are busier than a bee. I will be somewhat humbled to end the year shortly with over a dozen new websites and countless campaigns under my belt.

    For one of these digital initiatives, our agency launched a new digital publication for the life sciences market called "Pharma's Almanac". During the production process I put time aside to do some exploratory research on the ways in which brands on improving the reader's experience online. I'm somewhat embarressed to say I (somehow) missed the launch of two key sites that Google has developed which I'm now happily following; Google Arts & Culture and The Keyword. I also discovered Medium.com this year by digging into the platform behind ReadThink.com - a HubSpot curated business blog for like-minded business creatives.

    Each of these platforms offer something very unique.

    Google Arts & Culture: Explore the world's creative arts through virtual 360 tours, video, photography and editorial. It's simply fantastic. You can also see what's happening in the fine arts near to your current location. The hero image above is an exploration of color use by the modern master Yoo Youngkuk. Google just doesn't throw these images online, they find ways to engage the reader by making these interactive. In this case, they created a color selection tool to filter the artists work in a very inventive way. Yoo Youngkuk Color Exploration

    The Keyword: There's so much to follow online these days. And, honestly, I have a lot of difficulty picking where to start. Recently (Sept 2016), Google consolidated their many blog channels into one mega-blog and it's lovely. :) I'm sure that there's a ton of user metrics going on behind the scenes and I'm getting profiled a million different ways to deliver releavant content my way -- and everything has a "googley" spin to it. But, all that aside, I don't mind. This blog is delivering some really exciting stories and I'm drawn in by the positive theme they share. Everything is covered from Travel, Technology to Google Doodles, News, Arts, Culture and lots more. Here's a sample piece about how a teacher in San Diego is re-engineering his classroon to foster creativity. Matt Martin, Chemistry Teacher + Google for Education 

    Medium.com: This platform is just slick. There's really no other way to describe it. Yes, the stories and editorial content is informative, intelligent and sometimes hilarious. But it's the little UX choices that they have made that make this site stand out. One such feature is the abiltiy to highlight any amount of text and save it - share it - comment on it. This is a fantastic way to provide feedback to an author, but also remind yourself what part of an article resonated with you the most. It's like a virtual highlighter -- similar to the physical ones you might have used in college to help study. A ton of companies have now leveraged this platform to host their blog. So, I'm sure we will be seeing more features pile in with the diversity of readers now following medium.com websites. Check out ReadThink.com to get a good sample of what's going on on Medium. 

    Pharma's Almanac: As you explore these sites, be sure to also check out our team's fine work on PharmasAlmanac.com. You will see some design influences from around the web for sure. We have big plans in the works as we aspire to become one of the leading mags in the industry.

  • Inbound vs Outbound

    What's the big difference between Inbound versus Outbound Marketing? This superbly produced infographic clearly explains it all.

    The part that amazes me most is that this information was produced back in 2011. For the most part, four year's later, marketeers have embraced the concept. It just makes sense... gain trust to gain an audience. But here's the good news, the corporate world is finally catching on.

    I'm an enormous fan of HubSpot's platform to manage these types of activities. (And I'm partial. Our organization won HubSpot's Best ROI at Inbound 2015.) They have truly shaped this strategy and brought it to market in a way everyone can take part. Be sure to follow their blog on Sales and Marketing for amazing insights into the magic of Inbound. http://blog.hubspot.com

  • How to Run a Meeting

    A few key lessons from none other than Steve Jobs as brilliantly identified by Justin Bariso. Excerpt below. Originally published March 13, 2015. Full article here: http://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/8-essential-lessons-from-this-meeting-led-by-a-young-steve-jobs.html

    Note on video: This piece was filmed from December 1985 to March 1986 at NeXT's team retreat in Pebble Beach. Steve Jobs had already left Apple at this time. He's 31 years old in the video. 

    1. Show your passion (3:46)

    Jobs was well known as an excellent presenter, and his skills are on full display in his introductory speech. He uses repetition well. He's enthusiastic. He's natural. But most important, he believes what he's saying, and he's not afraid to put himself out there.

    If you don't get passionate about your idea, no one else will.

    2. Focus on creating value (4:50)

    Jobs: "We're doing this because we have a passion about it...because we really care about the higher educational process. Not because we want to make a buck."

    As an entrepreneur, there's no greater feeling than providing a product or service that people feel will make their life better.

    3. Challenge your team (6:15)

    Throughout the video, Jobs probes and challenges his people. He doesn't accept anything at face value. He wants to know why people feel the way they do. And often, he lets them know exactly why he disagrees.

    Yes, Jobs could be overbearing. But as Guy Kawasaki (who worked for Steve Jobs twice) put it: "If you ask an employee of Apple why they put up with the challenges of working there, they will tell you: because Apple enables you to do the best work of your career."

    4. Keep everyone on course (6:53)

    Jobs: "There needs to be someone who is the keeper and reiterator of the vision.... A lot of times, when you have to walk a thousand miles and you take the first step, it looks like a long way, and it really helps if there's someone there saying 'Well we're one step closer.... The goal definitely exists; it's not just a mirage out there.'"

    As your company evolves, it's easy to lose sight of what's important. Culture shift is a danger.

    But it's your company. Don't compromise on things you believe in. It's what got Jobs kicked out of Apple in 1985, but it's also why they brought him back--and what made Apple such a success.

    5. Define the right priorities (7:26)

    As the NeXT team discusses its priorities, you can witness Jobs's remarkable ability to focus on what's most important, and even more critical, to defend why it's important.

    When team members challenge priority No. 1 (keeping the price of the computer at $3,000), Jobs vehemently defends it:

    "They didn't say if you made it go three times faster we'd pay $4,000.... They said, 'Go to $3,000 [or] forget it.' That's their magic number.... Nobody else says that they can do that.... Whether it is or not, in reality, who knows. Whether it is or not in terms of their commitment to push us, we've established that."

    The team followed his lead, and price stayed priority No. 1.

    You know what's important, but can you prove why it's important? If so, then your team will follow.

    6. Know when to interrupt (9:52)

    A member of the team proceeds to goes on a rant. She goes on and on, and Jobs remains patient...at first. But as she continues, his patience runs out. He interrupts to refocus.

    Many years ago, I sat in on a meeting where a senior member of the team talked for 20 minutes without interruption. We were all thinking the same thing, but nobody had the courage to speak up.

    Finally, another manager (who was new to the company) respectfully put an end to the speech, to everyone else's relief. I learned a lot from that episode.

    Be a good listener. Be patient. But know when you need to step in, and you'll save a lot of time and resources.

    7. Learn from the past, but don't let it own you (11:11)

    As one team member laments past failures, Jobs speaks up:

    "I don't want to hear 'Just because we blew it last time, we're going to blow it this time....' This is a window we've got...it's a wonderful window."

    Any great entrepreneur knows that failure is part of the process. The more you try, the more you fail--but success is out there. You've just got to find it.

    8. Focus on the positive (12:22)

    At the end of the weekend retreat, Jobs said the following:

    "I find myself making lists of things we don't know, and then I remember that our company's 90 days old. And I look back to all the things we do know. And it's really phenomenal how far we've come in 90 days."

    When you have a long road ahead of you, it can be intimidating to focus on what's left. There will always be plenty to do.

    Remember to look back at what you've already accomplished, and that can give you the motivation you need to move forward.