Third Tuesday participants rave about Jeff Jarvis' Public Parts

Jeff Jarvis launched his new book, Public Parts, in Canada last week at Third Tuesday Toronto #3TYYZ and Third Tuesday Ottawa #3TYOW. Judging from the participant reviews on the third Tuesday websites, Jeff presentation was one of the most popular and well-received presentations in six seasons of third Tuesday.

What people said

Stephen Da Cambra: really enjoyed Jeff’s presentation. It appealed to me directly because of my own struggles with giving up my privacy on the web. Even high-profile guests can ramble on a bit – but Jeff was on point throughout, with enough short divergence to keep it interesting.

Rick Weiss: Jeff Jarvis was great. He’s an engaging speaker and presented a lot of food for thought around privacy in the digital age.

Aggie Fortier: The speaker was very engaging with interesting examples to support his position. More importantly, Jarvis opened the door to discussion on the implications of public versus private. He has raised the bar for future speakers who follow.

Martin Waxman: Jeff Jarvis speaks the way he writes and is entertaining, provocative and insightful. Really enjoyed the talk; looking forward to reading the book.

Dave Fleet: Fascinating subject and a phenomenal speaker. One of the best presentations I’ve been to in a while.

Jim Courtney: Really excellent introduction to and perspective on privacy issues. Loved the stories and historical perspective.

Nigel Newton: Jeff Jarvis is an evangelist for societal change enabled by the net. His generosity of spirit and his belief that we, the users of the net, are capable of respecting the ethics of privacy and public sharing is persuasive. If fear of technology is the primary emotion holding back the natural evolution of the net and its influence on society, then Jeff’s well-crafted perspectives will be a source of courage for the faint-hearted.

Eden Spodek: Jeff Jarvis is a fantastic speaker and I would attend a Third Tuesday anytime he’s invited here – even if he’s not launching a new book. He brings the online privacy discussion to a whole new level and I enjoyed his insights on cultural differences and privacy. I can’t wait to devour Public Parts.

Zach Klein: Great session. Super smart dude.

Mark Blevis: Jeff is an engaging and animated speaker. I really enjoyed this event. It was of high caliber. I could have happily listened for another two hours.

Alfred Coates: I really enjoyed how Mr. Jarvis’s message of openness and sharing felt like a mix of opportunity and challenge to those in attendance. Mr. Jarvis speaks with passion and conviction and a healthy dose of humor. I will be reading public parts this weekend and working my way through Buzzmachine in the foreseeable future.

Karen Runtz: While many speakers may be entertaining at the time, what they say won’t stick with you. That’s not the case with Jeff Jarvis. I have his book for reinforcement! No, seriously, I did find his presentation memorable. It brought me in mind of the excitement I felt at a conference some 15 to 20 years ago hearing and Ithaca U prof talk about the changing nature of communications. She was encouraging us to think of our “products” as workable clay, instead of finished polished pieces sent on their way. That resonated with me, just as Jeff’s words about the Internet did last night.

Read all the reviews

That’s just a selection of the rave reviews for Jeff Jarvis’s Public Parts presentation at third Tuesday. If you want to read the full set of reviews, you can find them at the Third Tuesday Ottawa and Third Tuesday Toronto event sites.

We are hoping that Jeff will be able to come back to Canada for third Tuesday Calgary and third Tuesday Vancouver in either January or February. And if you’re in another city and are looking for a great speaker with thought-provoking content, Jeff Jarvis won’t disappoint.

What others thought

Melanie Coulson, the online editor at the Ottawa Citizen blogged her impressions of Jeff’s presentation.

Don Butler of the Ottawa Citizen also interviewed Jeff for an article which appeared in Saturday’s edition of the newspaper.

Were you there?

If you were at the event and wrote about it, please leave a comment and post the link to your coverage.







Three questions to ask before accepting a controversial client

Have you ever been found yourself  presented with the opportunity to work for a client who might be controversial.

Recently, my company was asked to work for an organization that many would consider controversial. We struggled with whether we should accept the assignment and, ultimately chose to decline it.

Even though we encounter this type of situation many times in business, it is all too easy to become mired in the specifics of a situation and to lose sight of your longer term objectives.

So, as we deal with these kinds of issues, I’ve written down three questions that I think will always guide us to the right outcome. I’d like to share them with you and get your feedback on this approach and what you do in your own company when confronted with this type of situation.

Business should not be value-free; But it’s complicated

As the CEO of a company, I have to be concerned about the impact our roster of clients will have not only on our public image, but also on our self-image and our internal culture. People should spend their time working on things they believe in. They shouldn’t be compelled to work on assignments or for clients they disagree with.

In the 1980s and early nineties, the CEO of the firm I then worked for famously declared that we would not shy away from taking on controversial clients because “just as every person is entitled to a vigorous defence in court, they also deserve a vigorous defence in the court of public opinion.” Well, I disagreed with that position then and I disagree with it now. There are some bad people in life and they don’t deserve a vigorous defence – at least not from me.

But that’s easy. The “clearly bad” are at one extreme. But we don’t live life in the extremes. We live them in the mushy middle, in shades of gray.

We can’t expect everyone to agree with us or believe in the things we agree in. But we also can’t shy away from supporting a cause or belief that not everyone supports. If we did that, we’d lose ourselves in the depths of political correctness and we’d never do anything.

How do you decide whether to take on a client that may be controversial?

First, avoid the trap of believing that you have to make the decision on your own. I lead a company. But I also work as a team member in that company. The route to the right decision about accepting a potentially controversial client lies first in remembering that we all have a stake in this decision and involving more people than myself in the decision.

Once past this hurdle, I have three questions that will get you to the right outcome for our organization:

1) Do we support the objectives of the potential client as well as the way they go about attempting to achieve them?

The world is full of business opportunities. Why not look for those whose objectives and methods we applaud? Conventional management wisdom advises against grabbing every business opportunity which presents itself but which is off strategy. Similarly, why not focus on bringing in business from organizations and companies that you can easily support. In our case, ff can’t say with pride that we work for a client, we will walk away from the opportunity to work for them.

2) How will this affect the culture of your company?

The answer to the first question cannot be fully provided without reference to the entire organization. Are there people within your company who feel strongly about the potential client? Will it create division and alienation?

This doesn’t mean that anyone individual (including the CEO)  should have a veto. Don’t be afraid to have a vigorous internal discussion. It can lead to an understanding and respect of the different perspectives held by people. Reasonable people should be able to understand another’s point of view and respect that point of view.

Ultimately this is the issue on which management must make a call. Can the normal and healthy differences in opinion be accommodated or is this a situation in which the cultural cost will be too high? If the latter, take a pass on the potential client.

3) How will this be perceived by the external world?

This question comes last because, if you’ve answered the preceding two, you will be ready to weather the disapproval of those who disagree with your decision. And there will always be those that disagree. That’s the great thing about an open and liberal society. We hold different views and we are free to express them.

My objective is not to stop people from criticizing us. My objective is that we appear reasonable and reasoned in our defense of our decision. And if we do that, it will loop back into our internal culture

Bottom line

While we can’t eliminate controversy from attaching it to our businesses (unless we are prepared to be so nondescript and bland that we leave no footprint), by answering these three simple questions we can be true to our essential nature, build a stronger culture, and be ready to respond to comments from the outside world.

How do you handle this kind of situation?

I’d welcome your views on this. What practices do you follow in your company to manage potentially controversial situations?

Protect yourself against online fraud during the holidays and every day

The Internet opens a world of possibility to each and everyone one of us – the possibility of finding anything we want, regardless of how obscure, the possibility of forming communities of interest with longtime friends and new acuaintances, the possibility of conducting business and shopping online. All from the comfort of our offices, our homes or anywhere that we carry a smartphone.

iStock_000003413901XSmallBut the Internet also provides a playground for those who would take advantage of our trust.

When I signed onto my online banking site this morning, I noticed a link to a “Special Holiday Alert.” The link led to a page of advice on how to avoid being duped by online scammers. As I read it, I realized that this is good advice not just for the holiday season but year round.

Good advice on staying safe online that I want to share in its entirety.

(And a hat tip to RBC for acting like a true partner with their customers. No hard sell here. Just useful information that will help us all enjoy the benefits of the Internet.)

Avoid Getting an Unwanted Surprise this Holiday Season!

It’s the holiday season, traditionally a time of celebrations, joy and goodwill. Not all holiday traditions are pleasant ones, though. Holidays are also a time when fraudsters increase their efforts to give gifts to themselves – gifts of your credit card information, your social insurance/social security number, your money and your identity.

During this holiday season, consumers need to be mindful about widespread online scams. Ensure your computer protections are up-to-date, avoid shopping on public computers such as those in internet cafes and libraries and follow these easy steps to help protect yourself:

Spoofed Shopping or Auction Websites
Always be extremely wary of anything online that looks “too good to be true”.  It’s not only during the gift giving season that fraudsters will send emails or post websites promising “amazing” discounts on luxury or everyday gifts. By trusting these offers you could end up buying items that you never receive and putting your credit card information into the hands of fraudsters. Avoid those emails and website links. Instead, independently go to any reputable company’s website. If the deals are legitimate, you will find them on that site.

Social Networking Sites’ scams
Always ensure you limit the information that you put on social networking sites and don’t automatically trust all “new friend requests” you receive. Social networking sites give fraudsters a wide audience for their scams. Some of the current trends are bogus email requests from a “friend” who is travelling and needs money wired to them for a “medical emergency” and deceptive “new friend requests” that contain links which, if you click on them, will download malicious software that will steal your personal information. Independently verify any request for “emergency funds”, i.e. don’t use the email address or phone number that you received the request from.

Email Scams

Avoid unsolicited emails that request any action on your part which involves divulging financial or other personal information or your sending money in order to receive money or goods.

Phishing emails: NO legitimate financial institution will send you a website link or phone number in an unsolicited email, asking you to confirm or enter any of your account or login information.
NO legitimate credit card company will send you a “transaction warning” with a website link or phone number, in an unsolicited email, asking you to confirm your account information.
NO legitimate financial institution will request that you send money in order to facilitate an online transfer, i.e. supposedly to bring your transfer amount up to a “minimum transfer limit”.
Even if these look convincing, these are scams. If in doubt, contact your financial institution or your credit card company using contact information that you’ve independently obtained.

Password Stealing Scams: Password theft remains a popular online scam as the financial rewards to cybercriminals can be immense. Do not click on links or attachments from unsolicited emails, to help avoid downloading password stealing software. A safeguard to follow is to always use different passwords for online bank accounts and for anything that contains your credit card number or other personal information.

Charity emails: Many of us take pleasure in giving to charitable organizations at this time of year. Be cautious of emails that appear to be from legitimate charitable organizations, but take you to fraudulent websites that will steal whatever personal or financial information you enter onto the site. Ignore these emails and independently go to the valid website for your charity of choice.

Job-related emails: During the holidays, there is also unfortunately a rise job-related email scams. Be wary of job opportunities that require initial start-up fees. Be on your guard for phony recruiters and employers that request personal or financial information prior to your commencing “employment”. Instead of a job, you may find your personal information, and your money, stolen.

Phony “Delivery Charges to Release Package” emails: Delivery Service companies do not request, via unsolicited email, payment or personal information in return for goods that are in transit or being held for you. Do not respond to these emails or click on any links within them.

Holiday-Themed emails: holiday e-cards and websites with cute holiday-themed downloads are tempting “clicks” during this season. But malicious code may be lurking behind those links. Always be careful what sites you access and what email links you click on.

rbc3dTo help stay safe online during the holiday season, be careful what you access (see “Cyber Criminals”). Use a little caution in your online activity and when in doubt, take the time to verify email requests that you receive, before you act on them.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Thanks again RBC. You earn my trust each and every day.

Trust Agents co-author Julien Smith to speak at Third Tuesdays across Canada

JulienSmithLooking 091104Julien Smith is co-author with Chris Brogan of Trust Agents, a New York Times best-seller that has been named one of Amazon’s top 10 business and investing books of 2009. And Julien Smith will be the next speaker to “go cross-Canada” with appearances at Third Tuesdays in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver.

I found Trust Agents to be a smart, practical introduction to the mindset that underpins success in the interconnected world of social media. A few quotes from the book that will give you a sense of what to expect from Julien:

“You need to be liked, and you start becoming likable by being worthy of being liked.”

“Helping others is probably one of the most effective ways to help yourself. By spreading ideas that help others, you get credit and people get the help they need. It’s win-win. What a change from the scarcity mentality most people live with every day, isn’t it?”

“One element of being considered One of Us is that the benefits or rewards you will encounter come from genuine interactions. Exchanges of kindness or transactions involving social capital tend to build on each other.”

Julien will be sharing his insights into the nature of social capital, the role of trust agents and how we can form tribes with others who care about the things we care about. In Julien’s words: “We will never need more advertising. We will always need more community, and tighter links between those we care about. Learning to build tribes using the new radios has never been more important, and understanding social capital has never been more valuable.”

Register to attend

Third TuesdayJulien will appear at Third Tuesday Ottawa on November 30 and Third Tuesday Toronto on December 1. He’ll then do a pair of appearances at Third Tuesday Calgary on January 18 and Third Tuesday Vancouver on January 19.

You can register online now to attend Third Tuesday Ottawa and Third Tuesday Toronto with Julien Smith. The links to the Third Tuesday Calgary and Third Tuesday Vancouver events will be posted soon.

It takes a community to make Third Tuesday possible

Our sponsors – CNW Group, Rogers Communications, Molson Coors Canada, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, and Radian6 – underwrite the cost of bringing speakers to Third Tuesdays in cities across Canada. Their sponsorship goes toward travel, accommodation, the costs of the venue and audio visual.

Our speakers donate their time. Thank you Julien.

And volunteers in each community organize the events. So, a big thank you to our volunteers – Michelle Sullivan and the Montreal team; Tanya Davis and Monica Hamburg in Vancouver; Doug Lacombe and Andrew McIntyre in Calgary; Kirsty MacRae in Ottawa and Sarah Laister in Toronto.

Without you, Third Tuesday simply wouldn’t be possible.

Disclosure: We're on the Zoompass team

Thornley Fallis has been engaged to help EnStream launch the Zoompass mobile payment service. (Zoompass users can request and transfer money between one another directly from their smartphones. They can also transfer money directly to a prepaid touchless MasterCard to make purchases.)

zoompasslogoDuring the launch phase, Kerri Birtch (@kerribirtch), Dave Fleet (@davefleet), and I (@thornley) will be monitoring the online discussions about Zoompass and participating in them through the Zoompass Twitter ID and through posts on the Zoompass blog. We’ll be supporting Zoompass’ Vice President, Aran Hamilton (@aranh) in this effort.

It’s our hope that, working as a team, we’ll be able to be present in the conversation from early in the morning to late at night seven days a week.

If we refer to Zoompass on our own Twitter accounts, we’ll insert “(client)” into the tweet to be sure that the reader, whether they know us or not, is alerted to the fact that we have a relationship with Zoompass.

I’m really excited about being part of the launch. I’ve been playing with Zoompass for a couple months prior to the launch and I think it will add a whole new function to my cellphone.

If you are curious about Zoompass and how you could use it, click over to the Zoompass Website to sign up to try it out. And once you start to use it, follow the Zoompass Twitter stream. If you ask a question or offer a comment there, you can be sure that we’ll respond to it.

Customer service is the new marketing

Freshbooks lives in the open wilds of social media. The officers and employees blog and use twitter. Customers respond in kind. So far, all has been good. But what happens when a disgruntled customer attacks?

Michael McDerment argues that by being transparent and proactively communicating with people, a company like Freshbooks builds up a reservoir of good will that causes most people to hold their fire when the company trips up.

Saul Colt tries to handle the situations in which people are angry. His approach: “First rule, you can never win one of these arguments. So treat people with the utmost class and respect. Never get into a shouting match. Kill these people with kindness. If they have a problem, try to work it out in the most level headed way. Never ignore people. I try to answer any blog post we can find, even if it’s a ‘hey we love you’ post. … We really believe that customer service is the new marketing.”

Saul provides an example of how Freshbooks dealt with an actual disgruntled customer. Watch the video to get the complete story.

Final note. This is the last of the series of posts with videos of Freshbooks’ appearance at Third Tuesday Toronto . I hope that you found them interesting and informative.

Other clips with Freshbooks’ Michael McDerment and Saul Colt :

A Fresh(books) approach to social media by Dave Fleet

Building a Winning Team

Your next great business idea may be staring you in the face

Freshbooks: Don’t talk about the product. Talk about what it means to people

Freshbook Execs listen and respond to customers

Online media deliver results. But traditional media still add legitimacy

There’s no shortcut past setting realistic expectations

You have to trust people

You have to trust people

It should be apparent from the series of posts about Michael McDerment ’s and Saul Colt ’s session at Third Tuesday that Freshbooks is a very social media savvy organization.

Not only does CEO Michael McDerment blog, but at least five other employees also blog. And there will likely be more.

So the obvious question: What will you do if one of your employees messes up and gives out a company secret or does something to hurt the company? Do you try to curb your employees’ blogging?

Michael McDermont: “It comes back to hiring. You’ve got to find people with shared values. And at the end of the day you have to trust people. … That’s the best you can do.”

It strikes me that this is a problem for large organizations which, by their nature, lose the ability to ensure fit between employees and company culture. But having acknowledged that, for organizations that still are of a size where this is practical, McDerment focuses on exactly the right place – management’s hiring decisions and attitudes.

Other clips with Freshbooks’ Michael McDerment and Saul Colt :

A Fresh(books) approach to social media by Dave Fleet

Building a Winning Team

Your next great business idea may be staring you in the face

Freshbooks: Don’t talk about the product. Talk about what it means to people

Freshbook Execs listen and respond to customers

Online media deliver results. But traditional media still add legitimacy

There’s no shortcut past setting realistic expectations

A new twist on an old scam?

I received this in my Gmail inbox:

Dear Joseph Thornley,

Good day sir. I am a newly signed up member with you meetup.I am into software development for bloggers and podcasters for the past 10 years.I saw you group and its activities i was interested and decided to join to make a change and a growth.

I own a small website called [xyz].

We have a web based service that will be ready for beta testing
early next week. It is geared towards website operators and
bloggers in the US and Canada. What this service does, is reads
the text in a blog or website, by placing a badge on the users
site, where visitors can listen to the audio or download it.

Our main objective is to help podcasters and blogers to make money for their work and talent.we have been sponsored by a non-profit organisation so we charge no body who signs up with us.

All you have to do is for your members to provide me their profile url in your meetup group when they sign up .they are to send it to [zyx] or [zyxw] .

You will recieve the sum of $10 per person who signs up. Your podcasters or bloggers will recieve $500 for every blog or podcast they publish in that website : [xyz].

note: they must sent their meetup URL from your meetup webpage
to either of those above e-mails after they sign up to the
website.if not they will not be considered and you will not be
paid.because its from the i will know the number that signed up
to pay your money.

You can inform them have one of the biggest blogging
meetup group in Torronto.So we choosed you group to benefit
from this.The offer last for 5 days after which signing up will
charge a fee.But if you sign up now you and your members who
sign up will not be charged.

This offere has been granted also to some USA blogging groups.
I look forward to see you there.

best Regards,

The spelling and syntax errors look suspiciously similar to correspondence I’ve been receiving from a banker in Nigeria asking for help in moving his millions out of the country.

Is this a new twist on an old scam?

The Spirit of Generosity

A while back Shel Israel wrote a post which touched upon the impact of the “cult of generosity” on marketing.

Tara HuntToday, Tara Hunt has a great post about the real meaning of the spirit of generosity and the gift economy. This is a must-read post for anyone who really wants to understand what motivates many of the social media thought leaders.

Thank you Tara for reminding us about what this should all be about.

The spirit of the blogosphere translates into real world meet ups

In the wake of the inaugural Third Monday with Shel Israel, Ryan Anderson reflects on how bloggers reach out to one another in the real world. And as we do, we apply the online blogging culture to those encounters. Ryan says,

I go to a lot of events where I don’t know anyone, but I’ve always found that events with bloggers who I’ve “met” through comments or just reading are always much easier. 

We are a group of like-minded individuals, who are accepting of each other by virtue of a membership to a group, which we earned through a ritual of writing and reflecting and of sharing our insights with other bloggers.  Our beliefs, independent as they may be, are largely influenced by a book that is at the core of the culture.  When we come together as a group, there is an automatic acceptance, because we know that bloggers are there not to self-promote, but to share.  Those that were there to promote, were kept outside the group because they were there for themselves, not for the greater good.

Bloggers allI think he’s right on here. I’ve been at bloggers events in the past week in Chicago, Ottawa and Toronto. And at each one, people approached one another with an openness and an eagerness to share stripped of all the usual trappings of competition. We’re happy to meet the people with whom we share so much online and we approach them as we find them – through their thoughts and words, not as competitors or rivals.

In fact, I was reminded of this at the Third Tuesday in Toronto. When Shel Israel referred positively to Sun CEO blogger Jonathan Schwartz, a voice was heard from the back of the room boasting loudly, “They’re our client.” YECCCHHHHH!

The boaster clearly didn’t get what the evening was about. It wasn’t about bragging about wins. Or who is winning at the competitive table. It was about exploring the frontier of social media together.

And the crowd demonstrated this with their response. They room responded with silence and by ignoring this outburst of braggadocio.

We were there for one another. Not to make points.

That’s just one of the many things I like about blogging and bloggers.