Destinations: A New Journey Rooted in Lessons Learned

Before today’s post, I want to again thank Jeff for that launch guest post.  I learned and continue to learn from reading Jeff. I was very touched when he sent me his post.  I also want to thank all of you for the good wishes, encouragement and significant sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (For the measurement and data folks, yes they are listed in order of referring links :-)).  Wow…..I am blessed by wonderful friends, colleagues and the overwhelming support you have shown. Thank you from my heart.   Richard.

Destinations: It’s the title of this photo and represents that journey to places we all want to get to — off in the distance and a little higher up.


Ten plus years in agencies, seven years inside a large company like Dell and here I am today — a one person band.  That’s a big change. It is a journey to a new destination.

I thought of doing a post that was simply 600+ words of one word: “you”…and linking to each of you.  But I knew I’d miss someone — every one of “you” that have made this an incredible journey toward a new destination.  See the blogrollabout me or search on google for all the “you’s”  who have been part of an incredible journey.  Thank you.

Today, a little bit of the backstory of how I got here, which underpins where we are going.

Besides being here on my own as a big change, here was the other big change. It happened nearly 7 years ago when sitting in the back corner of Dell’s “corp comm all hands” meeting.  Our senior vp of corp communications  and investor relations, Lynn Tyson ( whom I adore and is a wonderful friend) announced that my colleague John Pope ( now doing great work or nokia) and I were going to go out and start responding to bloggers and figure out a way forward in this new online world.  Lionel, my social media brother, was already hard at it as chief blogger.  By the way his imitation is pretty funny…maybe even accurate 

It was an assignment I had not asked for, didn’t know I was getting, and frankly, one I was not sure I wanted. In addition, we had no idea what we were going to do — this looked like a sink or swim situation, so we needed to figure out how to swim, fast.  That’s what it felt like.  That night, July 2006, I went home and looked up in Wikipedia what a blog was….and then read posts by Jeff Jarvis on buzz machine and others —  not to understand “dell hell” because I had every confidence in our own tech support teams on the web to get us through that.  To do my job, I needed to understand the fundamental changes and how companies, communications, relationships and reputations were being changed.  And we learned.

Those learnings have relevance today.  It’s important to reflect on the basics, to reflect on the premise and reason for the journey in the first place.  What were some of those key learnings?  They were things like:

  • Conversations are two way and personable
  • Comments by people matter, and connecting with them matter too
  • Human Connections and links make stories move
  • The Clue train manifesto   is quite a manifesto that if you are in any way touching social media you should read and understand the premises.
  • Sharing counts
  • Bubble up is as important as top down and can be more effective than what you say — because others say it for you
  • Engagement and involvement versus command and control
  • Push but pull too
  • Any Relevant topics not business silos
  • Chaotic and messy sometimes
  • Nascent infrastructure with rapid innovation, change and evolution
  • And more…

You’ll notice that list doesn’t say Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or even blogs.  The list doesn’t include content marketing or social marketing or big data or even ROI.  While all those missing mentions are important,  fundamentally the social web is about people — the people of your business connecting directly with other people interested in your business — all to build a more connected and better business.

If you don’t start from some of the underpinnings than all that other stuff is just more of the same tactical activities — and more of the same tactical activities will simply be overwhelming, as well as unlikely to deliver the long lasting success you seek.  You may not find your own better way to your destination without recognizing how and why the social Web is quite different than how your business traditionally approached things.

Idealistic?  Perhaps. I like to think of it as pragmatic and thoughtful approaches to moving forward on that journey to a new destination; to get the job done — building the bridges for better, more respected and admired business.  And that = competitive advantage, a stronger and genuine corporate reputation, brand strength and better customer and stakeholder relations.

That, is “from whence we come.”  Onward to “miles to go before we sleep”

18 links and counting, Lionel.   I learned 🙂

6 thoughts on “Destinations: A New Journey Rooted in Lessons Learned

  1. Thanks for sharing your insights Richard and so excited about the next chapter in your professional journey. I have always learned so much from you!

  2. Richard:

    This post is awesome. Thanks for the shout out, and for the last sentence in the post. Your 18 links kicked the crap out of my 4!

    I wish you well on the new journey as you teach other companies how to engage their customers the right way. No doubt in my mind that you are one of the best!

    Thanks brother.


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