Monday, July 6, 2015

Creative class growth: NY Times vs. Fast Company

As I was reading an article in Fast Company on the US cities where creative job growth was happening, the results seemed in direct opposition (NY has both the largest AND one of the fastest-growing creative class populations) to a recently controversial NY Times article that implied creatives were leaving NYC for Los Angeles. It's easy because of the income inequality gap and the extraordinarily high cost of living in New York City to buy into the Zeitgeist of creative class decline, but maybe the numbers tell a different story.

As both a marketer and in the tech industry, and having lived in Montreal, NYC and San Francisco, I of course have an insider view to much of this debate. I think part of what makes a city livable is how creative is it's population. And more studies seem to verify this. When the creative class is healthy, a city is more livable and interesting. When it declines (like my much beloved Montreal), I think the city loses out.


Sadly, San Diego saw a significant drop over the same time period. If we're going to attract more Millenials and creatives, we need to do a lot more to evolve the San Diego city scape to be competitive to LA, Austin, Portland, Seattle, and yes, New York: more density, more alternative transportation, more startups.

I'm certainly not arguing we lose San Diego's essential charms (outdoor lifestyle, laid-back atmosphere, etc.) but our long-term prospects aren't good when we're arguing about how many billions in taxpayer dollars to give to NFL fat cats that in all probability will not generate a whole heck of a lot of benefit for the local economy, versus. the types of neighborhood, educational, and job creation projects that money could buy us.

***07/13 update: looks like John Oliver is also getting on the anti-stadium bandwagon with his usual, outrageously funny take.***

Saturday, July 4, 2015

If Dublin can do it, why not San Diego?

I've been a follower of the sdurban blog since coming to San Diego 4 years ago. One reason: growing up in and spending most of my life in dense urban settings like Montreal, New York City and San Francisco, I have a deep appreciation for the benefits of mass and alternative transit vs. the world-choking car. The "freedom" of individual car ownership has always been a very heavy cost to bear: environmental, personal, cultural.

So it was with great interest I read in Fast Company how Dublin is joining a longer list of cities looking to replace cars in their city centers.  Who knew their traffic was as bad as LA or Rio??? From Manhattan finally getting bike lane serious, to Montreal's success with bike-friendliness (in one of the coldest major cities in the world, to boot!), to Copenhagen's Smart Traffic project, cities all over the world are experimenting with ways to cut back on their toxic dependence on cars.

I'm lucky, I admit. I work for  a great company that, among other things, lets me telecommute 100% of my time. So I get how many people in Southern California are critically dependent upon their cars. But unless you challenge conventional thinking, you can't move past it. If Dublin and Montreal and New York and even LA can do it, isn't it time San Diego (and the retrograde, suburban car junkies in SANDAG) do the same? From taking 1 lane away from selected avenues for dedicated bike lanes, to improved express bus service, to expanded trolleys, especially as Millenials continue to prefer denser urban-style living and we see expansion of housing stock in denser areas like Mission Valley, there are plenty of options to encourage smarter alternatives to 100% car 100% of the time.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Too much fragmentation in (San Diego) Marketing Associations

Something that's been bothering me since I left New York City, but it's taken on renewed emphasis since moving here to San Diego. There's just too much split inside the marketing community:

It's hard enough to sustain this many groups in a city of almost 9 million and a metro area of over 25 million. It's virtually impossible to do so in a city 1/8th the size. It wasn't much better in the Bay Area  with 6.5 million, but with that irritating "Peninsula/SF vs. Silicon Valley crap. I can't imagine Chicago, Atlanta, Houston or other Top 10 cities fare much better, let alone smaller metro areas.

I'm not necessarily advocating a single group. What I do think is needed is a more collaborative, federated approach at both the local and national levels.

  • Better Scale. By bringing together groups that overlap a little, sometimes a lot, we can get size and scale we couldn't get otherwise. Many of these groups suffer from the same too-small number of attendees. A similar federated approach has been taken by the San Diego MBA Group, which brings together 10 East Coast MBA schools (including my alma mater, NYU Stern School of Business, but also Columbia, Wharton, and others). They realized a while ago that they couldn't get the level of participation just from their schools, but if they had regular joint activities, suddenly they got critical mass.
  • Enhanced Innovation.  Innovation happens at the intersection. It's where two or more disparate subject matter domains interact with one another that interesting things happen. Music and video? The Virtual Choir. Mobile and Cloud? The API Economy. If we got different marketing, strategy, and digital domains together, really interesting things could start to happen, and drive a more dynamic, interesting community.
  • Millennial appeal. Millennials tend to be more collaborative, and less hierarchical (per a few recent studies like this one from IBM). All this hyper segmentation I suggest is a turn off rather than a selling point, making it harder to collaborate across disciplines, setting up duplication of effort, and too much emphasis on narrow domain expertise. Millennial are less patient for this kind of stuff than their older counterparts, I would wager.

Don't get me wrong. I love San Diego, especially for its sunny, laid-back vibe (why do you think I left San Francisco and New York City?). But it doesn't mean we still can't have a vibrant, interesting and ultimately fulfilling professional and entrepreneurial community here.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

AGILE development means AGILE marketing

IBM has been applying AGILE development theories and Design Thinking to its product development for some time. In the age of Cloud (the "API economy") and Big Data & Analytics (the ability to glean insights at scale), it's only natural. And it's paying dividends, with the release of cool new products like IBM Verse (for which I'm leading the marketing), IBM Watson Analytics, IBM Journey Designer (which a friend of mine is working on).

What I'm finding interesting is that this renewed emphasis on the complete digital experience a customer has with our (any) Brand has pretty much broken down all the old silos. Customers don't care -- if they ever did -- who is responsible for a particular element of their experience. They care about the experience, period. The traditional lines between product management, development, design, marketing, sales, support are blurring. One bad touchpoint impacts the entire brand, so how can Marketing NOT be involved in the entire customer lifecycle?

But if Design and Product Management and Development are being transformed through AGILE, then by extension Marketing has to also be impacted. I've been thinking about this a lot: how can traditional marketing keep up in a world of continuous delivery? Short answer: it can't.

That's why I'm trying to learn more about how to apply AGILE techniques to the Marketing function. There's been quite a bit written about the concept already, from the Agile Marketing Roundup, Agile Marketing Manifesto, or the thousands of search results.

There are significant challenges we as a marketing profession need to address if we're to be more responsive to customer needs and market shifts:

  • traditional annual (or even quarterly) marketing planning cycles are rigid but well-established. There's significant psychic pain in moving away from that well-rehearsed model, especially for executives who made their bones on that structure
  • foregoing Big Bang campaigns for rapid iterations and small experiments means a permanent state of discomfort, but also means giving up ego.  Your portfolio is now about the many small successes, and not the Coca Cola ad.
  • data-driven marketing takes precedence over (but doesn't replace) gut feel. That means most marketing professionals will have to develop their left brain quantitative faculties, no easy task for a predominantly creative profession (I think people who actually have STEM backgrounds but show artistic passion will wind up being the winners here). More importantly, most company's marketing systems (let alone data systems) can't handle or are so NOT ready for data-driven marketing. This is not just marketing automation, but collection, analysis and synthesis of massive quantities of customer and market data coming from every possible direction.
  • true 1-to-1 marketing (whether B2C or B2B, those distinctions start to disappear) with customized experiences based on omni-channel interactions
  • collaboration replaces traditional hierarchies as more Millenials enter the workplace, but older marketing professionals are used to chain of command and formal structures, which is a major change management challenge
I covered some of these topics in a recent talk I gave at the Business Marketing Association's Southern California Chapter in a panel session with an amazing marketing director from Qualcomm.

I'm only just starting this AGILE marketing journey. I know I have a LOT to learn. I'm looking forward to the journey :-)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Why leaders need a better Face at Rest

As I put in my final preparations for this year's massive IBM InterConnect event, I suprisingly found a little time to reflect on the leadup. Anyone who gets involved in big trade shows or vendor events knows that mad, chaotic dash to the finish line. Some of us handle the stress well, others, well, not so much.

As I looked around at those who didn't handle the stress, an uncomfortable truth snuck up on me. Last year I was one of those people. I finally got to be a people manager, which I was thrilled about. But with it came unexpected new stresses I really wasn't mentally prepared for. I have an amazing team of folks that I lead, and could never in a million years have asked for a better group. It was more the extra workload as both a leader AND subject matter expert (in IBM, managers still have to actually develop continued subject matter expertise), and the subbtle and not-so-subtle shifts in sideways and upways teaming that caught me offguard.

As a result, I was, well, grumpy cat. As Kaplan Mobray said at the recent San Diego Art of Marketing conference, my FAR (face at rest) wasn't a positive one (an amusing meme right now is Bitchy Resting Face).

More importantly, though, was the effect it was having on that amazing team of mine. They were getting grumpy from my own grumpiness. My curtness and impatience led them in that direction. I had no idea that hoary old adage "Culture flows from the top" really was true. As a fantastic mentor of mine, a VP of development at IBM, said to me:

"I have to watch my words and actions more carefully than ever. Not because I'm in the public eye. But because I can send my entire team scattering in completely the wrong direction with one ill-timed word."

So watching some folks in the leadup to this massive event not taking the stress well, like me, reminded me it's not a luxury to have a positive attitude, especially when you're a manager or leader.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Happy 25th Birthday Notes and Domino!

Much like yesterday, I had the pleasure of MCing a fun 25th birthday party for Notes and Domino here at IBM ConnectED. There have been others like Ed Brill's blog, a developerWorks post, and even the Lotus Museaum Online, who have documented that past 25 years much better than I could, So it felt right to take a more humorous trip down memory lane and a look towards the next 25 years.



Welcome all to our Notes and Domino 25th anniversary party. Happy birthday to us!

I'm your host for today, Jacques Pavlenyi, Marketing Programs Director for Enterprise Social Solutions. 

First of all, a big thank you to Alison Fesler and Beth McElroy for pulling together this wonderful celebration!

I joined this team almost 7 years ago, but there are folks with us today who've been around almost since the beginning who deserve so much credit for the staying power of this amazing product. 

People like Jan Kenney, Dwight Morse, Ed Brill, Pete Janzen, and many more. 

We also have newer folks like Kramer Reeves, Carol Sormilic, and others. 

And a huge thank you and hello to our faithful, partners like John Head, customers like Jon Rollins, Champions past and present, industry analysts like Alan Lepofsky, and even Mat Neuman who traded in his trademark yellow for Big Blue.

But now it's time to put my Best Man hat on, drink one too many champagnes, and embarrass our dear friends with a little pop music infused trip down memory lane.

Remember 1989? While I was just finishing college, the top pop song was Chicago's "Look Away", and out of Ray Ozzie's garage debuted Notes, wearing yellow scrunchies and pastel yellow polos with turned up collars. Scott was one of those early cheerleaders, and back then he could pull off those polos.

In 1993, Ed Brill and Dwight Morse joined the team supporting the R3 Notes server. Yes, Notes Server,  before there was even a Domino. They were the Kevin Costner to Lotus' Whitney Houston in that year's big song, "I Will Always Love You".

Oddly enough, in 1994 there seems to have been no Lotusphere, making for the world record longest Lotusphere hangover. Hey, 1993 called, they want Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner back. But leave the cookie.

In 1995, Jan Kenney started as a Release manager, with her running down the hall at the 11th hour yelling 'stop the presses' at the top of her lungs to correct one last must-bug fix, forcing the team to burn new CDs and pack them in suitcases for folks to carry to Lotusphere. Her earlier stint as Joan Cusack's understudy in "Network News" certainly helped

In 1996, R4 came out with a whole new look, but sadly, like everyone else, was also doing the Macarena.

In 1998, R4.5 came and we unleashed the Work the Web tv spots with Dennis Leary upon the world. And yes, we're still apologizing.

In 1999, Cher was topping the charts with "Believe", and so did we with a big R5 launch. We shouted "I Am" in loud TV ads and loud t-shirts (I see Jan is wearing one now) Working for Lotus was not just a job, it was a wardrobe.

Skipping ahead to 2007, Beyonce suddenly became "Irreplacable", and once again so did we, with a huge R8 that brought in Eclipse, Connections integration and Lotus Symphony.

In 2011, Adele was "Rolling in the Deep" while we rolled out the long-awaited Notes 8.5 that started shifting the conversation towards a more social workplace.

In 2012, Gotye sang "Somebody that I used to know", and sadly (but thankfully not nearly as dramatically as the song) the irrepressible Ed Brill decided it was time for a change. Clearly he hasn't gone too far <point>. Kramer Reeves decided to fill some big Chicago shoes, joining the team to become the new face of Notes and Domino to the world.

In 2013, Macklemore may have been rapping the praises of his local "Thrift Shop", but Scott Souder finally ditched the worn yellow polo for a bluer Notes 9 Social Edition, taking social and mail integration, as well as his travel budget and wardrobe, to new levels.

In 2014, Pharrell Williams was way too "Happy", and suddenly so were we, with a renewed energy and visibility with IBM Verse, bridging Domino and Connections in a completely unexpected way.

So as we welcome in 2015, it's been an amazing ride, and the next chapter is just beginning. So here's to our highs, learning from our lows, changing our wardrobe, and most importantly, to the next 25 years!

A Toast to IBM Verse at ConnectED 2015

As part of the festivities at IBM ConnectED 2015, our big collaboration and digital experience user group conference in Orlando, I had the pleasure of introducing one of the products my team is working on, IBM Verse, to a "launch party". Our events team was able to get some champagne and sweets, and asked me to provide a few introductory comments to the party. Here's my Johnny Carson moment that I wanted to share, hope you enjoy

Welcome to today's celebration of all things IBM Verse! <raise glass>

I'm your host, Jacques Pavlenyi, Marketing Programs Director for Enterprise Social Solutions.

There are definitely a few people I think we should all thank for getting us where we are today. 

First of course, a big thanks to Alison Fesler and Beth McElroy on our events team for pulling this wonderful little party together. 

And of course a huge thanks to the product, development and design teams for IBM Verse including Scott Souder, Jane WIlson, Kramer Reeves, Rebecca Buisan, Lily Ryzebol, Carolyn Pampino, and so many more that naming them would require another 20 bottles of champagne.

There are tons of great sessions and content in the Developer Labs and the TechnOasis and even here in the Engagement Lounge. So rather than go into Verse, I wanted to look at some other notable launches throughout the ages that, like IBM Verse, have been about simplifying our life. This is of course an enormously biased list based on my slightly skewed sense of humor.

We're going to skip the fire age (the invention of fire), the stone age (the invention of the wheel), and the iron age (plowshares and swords), and go right to the Middle Ages. 

First up, of course, is the Printing Press, which had the unintended consequence of turning the Bible into the worlds' first junk mail.

Skipping ahead to 1879, next up is the first practical commercial application of the lightbulb by Thomas Edison. It wasn't enough to be an insomniac workaholic, he had to make everyone else one, too.

Right around the same time, Alexander Graham Bell commercialized the telephone. It wasn't enough for the lightbulb to keep us up at all hours, now every household with teenagers had it doubly bad.

It took a long time to free the telephone from its wires. It wasn't until 1973 when the first hand-held cell phone was demonstrated by Motorola, using a handset weighing around 4.4 pounds. Because nothing shouts "look how cool I am" like carrying a beige brick bigger than your 1970s hairdo.

In 1967, Amana introduced the first popular home model of the microwave oven, the countertop Radarange, at a price of US$495. That's over $3,500 in today's money. It took about half as long to make chicken as a regular oven, but had the added benefit of making it twice as rubbery.

In the 1980s, the concept of personal serving bottled water took off. Now we can never feel like we'll ever be dehydrated ever again. What's 1000 years of plastic waste and paying $1 for something that's free, compared to saving the 3 minutes it takes to look for a tap?

Text messaging was used for the first time on December 3, 1992, by sending the message "Merry Christmas" from a PC to the phone of Richard Jarvis who was at a party, setting the stage for a far way to ignore people at parties than hiding behind the ficus tree in the corner.

Getting serious for a moment, though. For all our grousing about unintended consequences of technology, the reality is these advances have made complaining about mundane things actually possible. When you're running away from predators or freezing in a mud hut, complaining is kind of the last thing on your mind.

And, being an optimist, I think the pace of good change is only going to go faster. From ARPANET, to USENET to Compuserve to AOL to Mozilla and the Web, to social and Web 2.0, the morphing and merging and mashup of mobile, cloud, social technologies, to a renewed emphasis on designing not just beautiful things, but beautiful experiences, digital or otherwise, each day brings us another unexpected way to simplify our lives. 

It may sound corny, but I honestly do believe IBM Verse, and similar ways to rethink business technology from a distinctly user-centric view  is going to be another one of these great moments. I hope you share my enthusiasm.

So here's to our newest member of the team looking to create a new way to work, IBM Verse!