Another coffee morning arrives: North Sydney Coffee Mornings #NthSCM

Tomorrow marks the debut of the latest coffee morning in Sydney, North Sydney Coffee Mornings

We’ve been talking about this for a while – and although its still all evolving, a group of us have decided on every Tuesday from 8am.  All welcome to attend.
If you’re curious about “coffee mornings” have a look at the community that has evolved around Northside Coffee Mornings which occurs every Thursday in Mosman.
Here are the details for tomorrow’s debut:
Home Espresso, 3/107 Mount St, North Sydney 2060
Phone: 02 9954 7402
Here’s a great video from my friend Scott Drummond which captures the magic and atmosphere of coffee mornings.  This one was filmed at the Surry Hills coffee morning by Scott Drummond which takes place every Friday morning in Sydney.

Single Origin Gypsy Friday from Scott Drummond on Vimeo.

Please drop us a comment here, or even post to this blog – it’s open to everyone.  Simply email your post to post @ nthscm.posterous.com and it will land here in the blog!
Hope to see you at #NthSCM 🙂

Getting results from crowdsourcing – SME Technology Forum Series

In Sydney tonight a bunch of interesting folk gathered to share their experience at The Insight Exchange’s first SME Technology Forum Series event – Getting Results from Crowdsourcing.  After opening remarks from The Insight Exchange’s Chairman Ross Dawson, keynote speakers include IdeasCulture’s Yvonne Adele, Freelancer.com’s Matt Barrie, DesignCrowd’s Alec Lynch and MediaConnect’s Phil Sim.

What I liked about this event is the focus on an interactive format – the majority of the time spent with the keynote speakers was in conversation:  attendees asked questions and became involved in the discussions.  The interactive component continued with four “expert roundtables” to choose from.   I  facilitated a discussion on how building online communities can scale up your relationships for business success.  The other facilitators were Anjaware’s Graham Dawson, Seggr’s Luke Harvey-Palmer and Lead Creation’s Toby Marshall.

It was a very intense 2 1/2 hour event – great use of time but arguably not the best timeslot for the event given the amount of content to digest: I wonder if a lunchtime event or morning event would be better for people’s attention and concentration.  What do you think?  Fortunately its easy to catch up on some of the key content shared via the live tweet stream.  There are a number of ways to do this.  Thanks to a tweet from Annalie Killian yesterday about a new hashtag aggregator called Tagal.us, I created one for this event: see #TIECrowd on Tagalus for the results.

For now, Twitter Search will also display the tweets (Twitter tends to keep search results for 7-10 days).  Another longer-term way is using FriendFeed.

Perhaps my favourite way of keeping track of the tweets, first brought to my attention by Chris Brogan’s How to Listen for Opportunities on Twitter, is by using RSS to import the search results into your RSS Reader.  Read Chris’s post for the low-down on this.  I’d also like to thank Leslie Barry who participated in my discussion tonight and reminded me about Gist – an interesting content aggregator which purports to help you “build stronger relationships by connecting the inbox to web to provide business-critical information about the people and companies that matter most.” (says their website)  Leslie describes Gist on his blog post as his “Life Dashboard” and invaluable so I look forward to trying it out.  I first signed up to the Gist beta in 2008, received an invite in 2009 which had remained unopened in my Inbox until now!  Thanks again Leslie.

My role in the event was to facilitate a discussion on how building online communities can scale up your relationships for business success.

Firstly I introduced myself and talked about what I currently do.  I “synergise people and technology” – these “share words” themselves are the result of a recent crowdsourcing exercise facilitated by my friend Robin Dickinson, which serves as an excellent example of the power of crowdsourcing in itself.  I’ll come back to this in a moment.

Professionally: I started as a programmer, moved into analytical and client service roles in the business information and market research industry, moved into enterprise software sales and currently am a  freelance consultant.  Right now I’m building startups around a new IBM-powered cloud-computing platform, and online communities.  You can connect with me on LinkedIn here.

Personally: on my Twitter Profile I describe myself as a “Geek interested in: Technology (@AskTonyIT) Food (@AskTonyFood). Family man. Values relationships, community, connecting, sharing, learning & helping others.”

I love connecting people and sharing my knowledge – sharing stories and demonstrating how technology generates business benefits.  In my work with IBM Business Partner Task Exchange:
– I bring interesting people to our door (enhancing serendipity/building relationships and opportunity)
– tell stories about what we do (Twitter, Website, blogs/Marketing/relationships and opportunity)

Now back to crowdsourcing.  The Internet has allowed tools to be built which let us connect, collaborate, converse and build community.  Why build community online?  You can scale up your relationships for business success.   Relationships add value to your network, to your brand, and ultimately your bottom line.  I’d rather have someone recommend me to you, than me having to do all the recommending.  How do you feel about “shameless self-promoters”?  You know you’re good, so my advice is to demonstrate why to others, then they will promote you.

The key: it’s in your sharing, not your selling (thanks to @iconic88 for reminding us of this).  Are you prepared to give before you can get?

Some examples of how you can do this:
– create a Group on LinkedIn and link your Twitter updates.  This generates membership and builds relationships with content you choose to share.   A community manager links people to content that interests them.
– Coffee Mornings: informal networking groups (or tweetups) which meet weekly for conversation and ideas. This builds relationships and opportunity for you.  Have a read of the post and comments on How Twitter fosters good “old fashioned” community on the Northside Coffee Mornings blog.
– Nortshide Coffee Mornings regular Robin Dickinson posted on 5th May – “How can I make it easy for people to recommend you” Today there are over 450 comments.  Yvonne Adele who spoke tonight also participated in this exercise and her share-words “freswhly squeezed briliance” were built with assistance from the crowd on that blog.  An excellent example of crowdsourcing for business benefit.
– use any number of Twitter tools to manage the real-time information and help you build your community.  My current favourite is Hootsuite – popular tools are TweetDeck, Seesmic and PeopleBrowsr.

What are the areas of your business that could benefit from crowdsourcing?  Please let me know if you have further questions about this.

Sydney Cricket Ground Trust SCG or Gold Member? Vote for my friend Craig Meagher for board election

Many of you would have connected with my friend Craig (@Meaghery on Twitter, Craig Meagher on LinkedIn) and if you have you would see his experience profile described as “GM & Strategic Marketer, Executive, Family, Friends, Marketing, Strategic Branding, Sponsorship, Entertainment and Sports Guy”.   What you wouldn’t know is that Craig and I have been friends for over 25 years, having attended high school together and stayed friends ever since.

I am writing this blog post to support Craig who needs our help – from the 18th May, The Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust (SCG Trust) is holding their Member election for the SCG Trust Board, and Craig is standing for election.

If you are a Member of The SCG Trust, consider voting for Craig who I believe would be a great addition to the SCG Trust Board.  If you know any Members please let them know about this post by sharing this link  to this post: http://bit.ly/CraigSCGTrust Only Members can vote so I appreciate your support.

Craig has provided me with some background on himself which clearly articulates his suitability for admission to the SCG Trust Board.

Craig has been a Gold and SCG Member for over 20 years.   He regularly attends winter and summer events with his family and uses the Stadium Fitness Centre gym facilities as well as playing tennis as a Member of the Sydney Lawn Tennis Club at the Sydney Football Stadium.   He is a career marketer, general management professional, former Australian Rugby Union Head of Marketing and former SCG Trust General Manager.  Importantly, Craig understands all the members’ issues and can make a difference representing their interests on issues such as: car parking, seat allocations, reserved seating for the Ashes, availability of Member seats at premium events, Rugby and Cricket fixtures moving to ANZ Stadium, Member subscription increases, match day queues, the return of South Sydney, fitness centre facilities, bookings and food and beverage prices.

On  a personal note, I have watched Craig over the past couple of years embrace the new connection technologies that you know I so enjoy using for business and personal benefit.   I had been discussing the benefits of using tools like LinkedIn and Twitter with Craig for some time, and he decided to first join LinkedIn, and later Twitter.  It is now clear to all that connect with Craig that he is passionate about sports and marketing, and shares his knowledge and experience with those who connect with him.  I am even pleased to say that Craig has been experimenting with the newer “location-based social network” Foursquare, where he regularly “checks-in” at the Sydney Football Stadium.  This interest in modern connection and communication technologies will serve him well as an informed commentator should he be elected to the SCG Trust Board.

Even more relevant today – Gerd Leonhard’s advice on capturing new opportunities for yourself and your company

Great post from 2008 which business futurist Gerd Leonhard linked to on Twitter again today.  This post was actually created by Hootsuite which allowed me to cross-post to this blog.  The post required tidying up to make sense – which I’ve done here now – so I am thinking that Posterous is probably doing a better job than WordPress of sharing links to to your blog.

Anyway, here’s a direct link to the post from December 2008: 6 survival tips to prepare for a tough 2009: time-wasters will become life-savers

Should people “live tweet” during an event or presentation?

I recently attended a course called “Presenting with Confidence“, delivered by Steve Herzberg.  Steve is a teriffic bloke, and is someone I would describe as “keeping it real” – his style of delivery is guaranteed to have you laughing, and learning.  I mean this seriously: the good thing about Steve’s course is the relaxed and confident manner in which he presents his material – he’s throroughly prepared, and the printed material you receive is professionally produced and rich with content.  There’s a great interview with Steve here you can watch and see for yourself here just how well he communicates.

Steve and I often discuss the business value of  using “social networking” tools, and we have had some excellent debate about the value of these tools in a business context.  One such tool I believe in passionately is Twitter, and I was explaining to Steve the increase in “live tweeting” at an event or conference, and how this is transforming the behaviour of both speakers and attendees at these conferences, and adding enormous value to attendees and others interested in the event.  For more on the concept of “live tweeting” have a read of “Live Tweeting: bird-brained or brilliant

Some interesting questions arose during my discussion with Steve about the value of live-tweeting, including:
– is it distracting for the presenter (who doesn’t get to meet the eyes of their audience who are all typing away)?
– is it distracting for the audience, because their attention is diverted from the content being delivered to the rest of the “Twitter stream”?
– does it demonstrates a lack of respect for the speaker, who deserves your full attention?

Personally I have derived enormous value from the collective contribution of others “live tweeting””, particularly after the event when I can catch up on what other’s were saying.  However I have also been distracted by it, and missed some of the content being delivered by the speaker.  I can also appreciate that a speaker unaccustomed to their audience “live tweeting” could interpret this behavious as a lack of respect.

What is needed is education and understanding of current and emerging practices.  Live tweeting is here to stay, many events now encourage it, and attendees are asking for it.  The choice is yours to embrace it or not – I would encourage you to explain to others the benefits as you see them, and let them decide for themselves.  There are no rules – but I believe we should be mindful of speakers and respect them, and show them the value that is being added (to their brand and their content)

What are your thoughts?   Do you agree “live tweeting” an event adds value or not?

Today is the launch of the book “The Perfect Gift for a Man – Stories about re-inventing Manhood”

Today is a very special day for me, as it marks the launch of a new collaborative book I have contributed to in support of an important cause – improving the mental health of young men.   Special mention should go to the hard work of local Sydney bloggers Gavin Heaton and Mark Pollard, and to the 30 people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience who have written stories for the book.

The book is called The Perfect Gift for a Man – 30 stories about reinventing manhood.  Here’s the front cover:

You can preview and order the book here.

Some of the contributors have recorded a personal video message about the book.

This is a very important cause – please tell your communities about this book, and consider buying a copy for a man in your life who may benefit from it.

For more background on this project, the Mornings with Kerrie-Ann show interviewed Gavin Heaton and Steve Crombie here:

The Perfect Gift for a Man book – interview on Mornings With Kerri-Anne from Tony Hollingsworth on Vimeo.