Seth Priebatsch – The Game Layer On Top of The World

In this talk, Seth Prebatsch shows us how different aspects of games take hold of our attention and can influence massive amounts of people; we just have to lay the framework first.

The last decade was the decade of “the social”. Priebatsch tells us that this next decade will be the decade where “the game” framework is built. He breaks games down into 7 “game dynamics”, and gives real-world examples of 4 of those. If we take these game dynamics and apply them to communications and marketing, we can steer people’s behaviors and reshape their patterns.

“Seth Priebatsch: The Game Layer on Top of the World”

Take Action and Implement

Games are all around us, and whether we are aware of them or not they have a massive impact on our society and the world. From the extreme of the War Games the military conducts with thousands of troops that involves the cooperation of many nations, to coupons from the local supermarket.

Do you leverage any games with your prospects, clients, and team? Think about how you could apply game dynamics to motivate people to achieve specific goals. If you are like me, the games you will come up with at first will be time and cost prohibitive to implement, involving special registration features with points being award for all sorts of actions. However, what follows will likely be some simple game layers that can be implement quickly and easily.

Dan Pink – The Surprising Science of Motivation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

“There’s a mismatch between what science knows and what business doesn’t. Here’s what science knows. One, those 20th century awards, those motivators we think are the natural part of business, do work but only in surprisingly narrow band of circumstances. Two, those if-then rewards often destory creativity. Three, the secret to high performance isn’t rewards and punishments, but that unseen intrinsic drive. The drive to do things for their own sake. The drive to do things because they matter. And here is the best part. Here is the best part. We already know this. The science confirms what we know in our hearts. So if we repair this mismatch between what science knows and what business does,. If we bring our motivation, notions of motivation into the 21st century. If we get past this lazy, dangerous idealogy of carrots and sticks, we can strengthen our businesses, we can solve a lot of those candle problems, and maybe, maybe, maybe, we can change the world. I rest my case.”

-Dan Pink: Author of a trio of provocative, bestselling books on the changing world of work.
Quote taken from “Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation”

Simon Sinek – How Great Leaders and Organizations Inspire Action

In this talk, Simon Sinek reveals his astounding discovery: he has codified why companies succeed, where others with even greater resources fail.

Once grasped and applied, the concept that Simon reveals will be a “pillar of geometric growth” (PGG) for you and your company. The more PGGs you establish at the foundation of your business, the greater and more enduring your success will be.

“People Do Not Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It”

simon sinek why how what

Take Action and Implement

Think about why you do what you do… what is the purpose / why do you exist? Ask that question on a personal and business level. Do you communicate that message to your friends, colleagues, customers, and prospects?

Gamestorming: Free Ways to Generate 100 New Members

This post is a window into how we are leveraging visual thinking to generate and prioritize ideas. This exercise comes right out of the book “Gamestorming” by Dave Gray, the founder of XPLANE, from Page 69. The exercise is called “Post-Up”. The goal is to generate ideas silently by writing them on a sticky note, and then categorize them as a team.

Backstory

Since we started our first major paid marketing campaign, we thought it was fitting to make the topic of today’s Post-Up game “Free Ways to Generate 100 New Members,” a modest target for new members that will keep us focused on ideas that are quick and easy to execute. We decided not to make the goal time-bound because this is the first stage of brainstorming.

We’ve been in business for almost 3 years. Up until now, we have generated all of our members from referrals and a few JV webinars. We have kept our marketing activities to a minimum because we almost imploded after our first co-sponsored webinar about 2 years ago that generated over 300 new members 60 minutes. Since then, we have been building out our internal knowledge base and the infrastructure of the company to ensure we can handle surges of new customers when we switch on the spigot again. I can’t say that we have it all figured out yet, but we do have a solid piece of software and a training program that enables business owners to build trust into their sales process by leveraging video email, and when you have trust you have sales!

For those of you who do not know what we do here at jiveSYSTEMS, here is a snapshot:

We can teach you how to shorten your sales cycle and increase conversions by supplementing text-based emails and autoresponder sequences with video email messages. The jiveSYSTEMS video email software has a rapid-authoring workflow that allows you to record straight from a webcam or flip style camcorder, and also creates mini landing pages with customizable exit links to make the videos actionable. Plus, video emails sent through jiveSYSTEMS can be viewed on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android devices.

The Exercise

Step 1 – Sit in silence for 10 minutes and write our ideas down on a bunch of sticky notes.
Step 2 – Present our sticky notes to each other and stick them on the board.

Will Franco aka Flywheel posing for his mug shot

Step 3 – Organize the ideas into the categories.

Reed “Propellerhead” LaFerriere giving you the big cheese

Step 4 – Prioritize the ideas.

The final product in less than 30 minutes

Conclusion

Ideas can be generated, organized, and prioritized more efficiently and effectively by leveraging sticky notes, a big whiteboard, and creating a simple game around the process. The result greatly exceed that of a conversation alone. We identified 5 key areas that will have a positive impact on our goal of generating 100 new members. You will notice none involve selling or sales – we don’t believe in that approach. Our goal is to educate business owners about the value proposition of our service so they can make an informed decision, resulting in a low churn rate and a high level of member satisfaction.

P.S.

We use a special Ceramicsteel whiteboard that doesn’t ghost. You can learn more about our whiteboard in the post The Ultimate Whiteboard: Melamine, Porcelain, or Ceramicsteel?

4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Compress Video for Email

After updating our keyword research this month, I was surprised to see how many people are Googling “compress video for email”. I had assumed that everyone knew that it was a bad idea. As it turns out, I was wrong. This reinforced my thoughts that keyword research is for more than SEOs, it is a valuable research tool that enables you to tap into your prospect’s needs.

In this post I am going to explain the 4 main reasons that you shouldn’t compress video for email.

Spam Filters

Video files can be quite large. Compressing them is resource intensive and take a considerable amount of time, even for a short video that 3-5mins in duration. Let’s pretend that you have compressed your video for an email, and have gotten it under the usual 10mb file size limit that most mail clients have. The first step is to upload the video file to your mail client before you can send it. [Another step in the process which eats time.] Let’s say you make it this far and get to the point when you are sending the video. On the recipients end, email clients do not like large attachments and usually send them to spam. This is an EPIC Fail (aka: a big waste of time).

Note: If your video is very short (less than 2min in duration) and you set your webcam to record in 320×240 format, you can usually bypass the need to compress the video. However, “compatibility” is still going to bite you.

Compatibility

Forgive my sarcasm here; I am British, and we have a very dry sense of humor. Okay here goes: you are compressing the video for email because you ultimately want the recipient to watch it, right? Let’s pretend you made it by the spam filter (which is a miracle in itself). Here’s where we run into another issue: most business users are on a Windows computer and use Microsoft Outlook. Webcams usually record to a Windows Media file (.wmv). Guess what, .wmv isn’t universally compatible with Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android devices. Let’s say you compress the video to Flash (.flv). You will still be SOL on Apple mobile devices.

Tracking

I am a big-picture guy. Too much data can definitely weigh you down, but knowing if a recipient actually watched your video is a key piece of information. When you compress a video for email and then send it, you can’t track if the recipient(s) have watched it. I guess, if you have a lot of time to spare, you could call and ask them.

Privacy

Circulating hard copies of your video files via email is a huge liability. The recipient could upload the video to a video sharing site and distribute your private message to thousands. While this may be unlikely, it is possible and it does happen. A stray email message is one thing, but a private message circulated publicly can cause some real problems. Just imagine the extreme side of some of the things you say in an email being aired on public television, and you will get the idea of what I’m talking about.

Conclusion

When you use a business-class video email service like jiveSYSTEMS, you get all of the benefits without any of the headache. To gain a better understanding of what our video email software has to offer, check out the “7 Core Features of jiveSYSTEMS“.

Is Video Email the Next Step in the Evolution of Communication?

Knowledge of the past is one of the best ways to understand the present and predict the future; how do you think investors make money? In my opinion, video email represents communication coming almost full circle. It’s the next logical tool for us to communicate with each other.

People made vast fortunes by realizing that the internet would be an indispensable tool, but how long was it before you started using it? It’s a well-known fact that the big bucks are made by the pioneers – the people who start using and discover the applications for a new technology.

The Beginning

Sometime in the distant past, the warm sun rises over the African Serengeti signaling a new day. Humans were starting to make the jump from just grunting to speaking. The sounds eventually become words that ran together to convey complex ideas. This was the seed from which modern communication was born, the foundation on which we have built the material world of today.

We, like many of our fellow creatures, have different ways of communicating. Traditionally, we can convey our message through audio, visual, and kinetic (physical touch) channels. Once speech developed, we were able to communicate with the entire human race. The collective wisdom of the ages became available to all.

Technology and distance are two limiting factors that have shaped the way we have developed in different parts of the world.

Messengers were the earliest form of long distance communication. An actual person was delivering the message, so the recipient could still receive information from all three communication channels. This was the earliest form of communication that incorporated audio, visual, and kinetics into the message.

Flashback to ancient Egypt in 2400 BC and the birth of the paper mail system. Pharaohs wrote royal decrees on papyrus paper (scrolls) and sent them to distant parts of their empires. While the written word was effective enough, it could never convey the full intention of the author. As time passed, mankind was able to find quicker ways to get letters to their destination. As early as 1000 BC, the Egyptians and Persians were using carrier pigeons to expedite the process. Pigeons have been used for everything from announcing Olympic winners to delivering messages in World War I and II, three millennia later.

The rate at which a society develops is due in part to the speed with which its inhabitants can communicate with each other. The same principle applies to the growth of a business.

Around 150 AD, the Romans established a network of towers to transmit smoke signals. Each tower was visible to the previous and next tower in line. In 1792, French engineer Claude Chappe developed semaphore, a series of mechanical devices. He created a building that had rods sticking out of the top. There were 192 different positions making transmission of a message fairly easy. The navy modified the semaphore system to create a version that uses flags. The system is still used today.

On April 3rd, 1860, the Pony Express started in America. By using horses, sending messages across long distances now became possible and made them accessible to a large cross-section of the population.

Jumping Forward

Modern visual communication has taken two main forms: email and instant messaging. Even though these technologies became prominent during the dot com boom of the early 90s, they were around for quite some time before that due to a phenomenon called the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. MIT spawned both email and instant messaging in the mid-1960s. Basic email was part of a limited number of private network operating systems as early as 1965. Instant messaging had been achieved through several different programs. Even though the technologies were primitive, they still remain the most recent communication innovations dealing with visual interaction between people.

Auditory communication over long distances has been around longer than you might think. Starting around 1000 AD, the Mandinka people of West Africa developed a basic communication system using drums to send messages to tribes that were miles away. Certain parts of Africa still use drums today to communicate. In 1833, Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber were able to successfully transmit an electrical signal over a long wire – the concept of the telegraph was born. It wasn’t until Samuel Morse developed Morse code that communication via telegraph became standardized. Even though it wasn’t a vocal system, an operator could easily decipher the clicks and beeps of a message.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone and changed auditory communication forever. Now people could converse over long distances. As the technology matured, it connected people across the country and throughout the world. When Motorola released the 1st generation of cell phones in 1983, the telephone broke new frontiers. Now we were no long bound by a wire to connect to the outside world.

Present Day

We live in one of the most exciting times in human history. Everybody can communicate with anyone on the planet, almost instantly!

Video can now successfully merge audio and visual components of a message. The video file type .avi actually stands for audio/video interleave. For the first time in history, audio-visual communication is accessible to the masses; we can convey the full meaning of a message [short of reaching out and touching the recipient]. This technology is still cutting edge and the applications for it are only just being discovered – the first image processing textbook didn’t exist until 1989!

What Do You Think?

Is video email going to become a staple in our communication toolbox, alongside text based email?

Video Email Comparison: Putting Myself on the Chopping Block

I just redid my video email tips that we use in our prospect and member education sequences. As part of the process, I reviewed the video email tips that I recorded 10 months ago.

This tip is part of our new member video email tip sequence that runs parallel to the training we do on our video email marketing software. I have published them to the blog rather than linking to the video email messages themselves for ease of reference.

Old: Video Email Tip (recorded June 2009) “Proper Energy”

Shock, Horror, Impostor

New: Video Email Tip (recorded April 2010) “Proper Energy”

The main changes I made:

  1. Changed the poorly lit room to a well lit one*
  2. Switched from bushy goatee to trimmed beard
  3. Old grey shirt to black t-shirt
  4. Bushy hair to short hair
  5. Plain white background to nifty little set

*Aside from being in a better lit room, the increased quality of video is also related to an upgrade we made to our encoding process.

In my opinion I’m just repeating the same content, but the difference in my appearance changes the impact of the message significantly. What do you think?