Sunday, June 25, 2023

Who are you and what do you do?

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

We have now hosted 100 video podcasts. Which means that I have asked "Who are you and what do you do?" 100 times.  And, the more famous the person, the more interesting the answer to that question.

Some of the guests that we interview have (literally) millions of followers on LinkedIn. Let me tell you something: if you have millions of followers - ON LINKEDIN - you've got something going on. 

I have interviewed actors, authors, entrepreneurs, comedians. My favorite interview is with authors, especially folks from the world of business. When someone writes a book for the business world, it is very much like they are giving back a piece of themselves to the world. 

A subject matter expert (SME) is someone who possesses a high level of knowledge, expertise, and experience in a particular field or domain. Here are some factors that contribute to being recognized as a subject matter expert:

1. Deep knowledge and expertise: An SME has extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of their subject area. They have accumulated expertise through education, training, practical experience, and continuous learning. They possess a comprehensive understanding of the concepts, theories, principles, and best practices within their field.

2. Experience and practical application: SMEs have hands-on experience applying their knowledge in real-world situations. They have worked in their field for a significant period, allowing them to gain insights, solve complex problems, and navigate challenges. Their practical experience adds credibility to their expertise and enables them to provide practical advice and solutions.

3. Continuous learning and staying current: Subject matter experts continuously invest in learning and staying up to date with the latest developments in their field. They actively pursue professional development opportunities, attend conferences, read relevant literature, and engage in discussions with peers. They are aware of emerging trends, advancements, and changing industry standards, ensuring their knowledge remains current.

4. Recognized authority and reputation: SMEs are recognized as authorities in their field by their peers, colleagues, and the wider community. They have built a reputation for their expertise through their contributions, publications, presentations, and speaking engagements. Their opinions and insights carry weight and are sought after by others in their industry.

5. Problem-solving and critical thinking: SMEs possess strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills. They can analyze complex issues, identify patterns, and propose effective solutions. Their expertise allows them to see connections and opportunities that others may miss, making them valuable resources for problem-solving and decision-making.

6. Effective communication skills: Being an SME involves effectively conveying complex information to different audiences. SMEs can distill and articulate their knowledge in a clear and understandable manner. They can adapt their communication style to meet the needs of diverse audiences, including experts, novices, or stakeholders.

7. Contribution to the field: SMEs actively contribute to their field through research, publications, thought leadership, and mentorship. They share their knowledge and insights through books, articles, blog posts, white-papers, or industry reports. They may also serve as mentors, trainers, or consultants, helping others develop their expertise.

It's important to note that becoming a subject matter expert is a journey that requires continuous learning, practical experience, and ongoing engagement with the field. It takes time and effort to develop the depth of knowledge and expertise necessary to be recognized as an SME.

I love books on Audible. Especially when the book is read by the author. For me, it is like attending a "Master Class" and it feels like the author, the subject matter expert, is talking - to me. Talking directly TO ME. 

I love going to the park with my dog, loading up an Audible book, and attending my own private Master Class with an SME. One day, maybe I will be interviewed for my own book, and they will ask me: "Who are you and what do you do?"

And I'll get to say "My name is and I ask people who they are and what they do." 

My Classroom with Prof. Konta 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Trade Show A-Go-Go

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

The Big Apple:

“A-go-go” is an adverb that means “as much as you like” or “to your heart’s content”. For example, you might say “food and drink à gogo”.

“A-go-go” is also used in the names of nightclubs, cabarets, and discotheques. For example, you might say “They danced all night at the Mistral à gogo”.

“Go-go” is an adjective that means “of or relating to discotheques or to the energetic music and dancing performed at discotheques”. For example, you might say “a go-go company is very energetic and is growing fast”.

Last week was a major ProAV Trade Show in Orlando. And, there was a minor trade show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Attending both, for me, was impossible. So I had to pick one. One trade show would require flying, the other, driving. One would require me spending around $2,500 and the other around $50. One was one single full day, the other multiple days. 

Being in business since 1983, I have seen much. And I have attended every type of show, from CES in Vegas, to NRF in New York City. Trade Shows that have (literally) hundreds of thousands of attendees, to simply hundreds. And here is what I have learned:

Bigger is not better. Better is better. 

There are several reasons why attending a trade show can be beneficial. Here are some key reasons:

1. Networking opportunities: Trade shows bring together professionals, industry experts, and potential customers or clients from a specific industry or niche. Attending a trade show allows you to network with like-minded individuals, build relationships, and make valuable connections. These connections can lead to partnerships, collaborations, and future business opportunities.

2. Market research and industry insights: Trade shows provide an opportunity to stay updated on the latest trends, innovations, and developments within your industry. You can explore the booths and exhibits to gain insights into new products, technologies, and market strategies. Gathering market intelligence and understanding industry dynamics can help you stay competitive and make informed business decisions.

3. Brand exposure and visibility: Participating in a trade show allows you to showcase your products, services, and brand to a targeted audience. It offers a platform to create brand awareness and attract potential customers or clients who may be interested in what you have to offer. Trade shows often attract industry-specific media coverage, which can further enhance your brand visibility.

4. Product demonstrations and launches: Trade shows provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your products or services in person. You can showcase the features, benefits, and functionalities of your offerings directly to potential customers. Additionally, trade shows can serve as a platform to launch new products, generating excitement and buzz among attendees.

5. Competitive analysis: Trade shows offer a unique chance to analyze your competitors. By observing their exhibits, presentations, and interactions with attendees, you can gain insights into their strategies, product offerings, and market positioning. This knowledge can help you assess your own competitive advantage and make necessary adjustments to stay ahead in the market.

6. Education and learning: Many trade shows feature seminars, workshops, and educational sessions conducted by industry experts. Attending these sessions can expand your knowledge, provide insights into industry best practices, and help you acquire new skills. Learning from experienced professionals can inspire innovative ideas and approaches that can be implemented in your business.

7. Building customer relationships: Trade shows often attract existing customers or clients. Attending a trade show allows you to meet them face-to-face, strengthen relationships, and address any concerns or questions they may have. It also offers an opportunity to gather feedback and understand their evolving needs, which can be invaluable for improving your products or services.

Overall, attending a trade show can provide a range of benefits, from networking and market research to brand exposure and customer engagement. It's an effective way to stay connected to your industry, gain a competitive edge, and explore new business opportunities.

Trade Shows continue to exist, because they create value. You should go to such industry events. You should send people to such networking opportunities, if you cannot attend yourself. People still do business with people. The old adage: it's not what you know, it's who you know is very true. If you cannot attend a show yourself, send someone. 

Go. In person. If you cannot go yourself, send an ambassador to attend for you. The business of business is done by people. The size of the show, is not the factor. Big, small, attend them all. 

 Yes, “A-go-go” is an adverb that means “as much as you like” or “to your heart’s content”. Attend Trade Shows and industry events to your heart's content. Attend in-person, live. Trade Shows - they're good for you.

Hey North America:

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Your Show of Shows

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Your Show of Shows was a 90-minute long comedy television series appearing weekly in the United States on NBC, from 1950 until June 5, 1954. It was a very big deal. Only I Love Lucy would get more eyeballs during the golden age of TV.

This week, millions of people will attend InfoComm 2023 in Orlando (hyperbole intended). It's a big deal - if you are in the Professional AV business. InfoComm is a professional trade show for the audiovisual industry in North America. It features the latest technologies for audio, video, display, projection, lighting and staging, digital signage, conferencing, digital content creation, networking, signal distribution, and more. InfoComm is owned and produced by AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. The first InfoComm conference was held in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1982. Since then, it has been held in many locations around the world, including China, Japan, Israel, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and many other regions of the United States.

On Wednesday there is another industry specific event in Hershey PA, with around 500+ attending. (No hyperbole). I'll be one of the 500. This too, is a big deal if you are in the telecom or technology business. And next month is the National Convention for Distance Learning - I'll be back in Orlando. Again, this convention will be a big deal... if you are in (fill in the blank). 

A trade show, also known as a trade fair, exhibition, or expo, is an event or exhibition where companies from a specific industry gather to showcase their products, services, and latest innovations to potential customers, business partners, and the general public. 

Trade shows are typically organized by industry associations or event management companies and are held in large venues such as convention centers or exhibition halls.

The primary purpose of a trade show is to provide a platform for businesses to promote their brand, generate leads, network with industry professionals, and conduct business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions. These events often feature booths or stands where companies set up displays to showcase their products or services. Attendees can explore the exhibits, learn about new products, compare different offerings, and engage in conversations with company representatives.

Trade shows often include educational seminars, workshops, and keynote speeches by industry experts, providing valuable insights and knowledge sharing opportunities. They may also host competitions, demonstrations, or product launches to create excitement and attract attention.

Trade shows offer numerous benefits to businesses, such as increasing brand visibility, launching new products, building relationships with potential customers, identifying market trends, and gaining a competitive edge in the industry. Additionally, trade shows serve as a meeting place for industry professionals, fostering networking and collaboration opportunities.

Both exhibitors and attendees can benefit from trade shows. Exhibitors can showcase their products, generate sales leads, establish partnerships, and gain market exposure. Attendees, on the other hand, can explore a wide range of products and services, learn about industry trends, and connect with industry peers and experts. Overall, trade shows play a crucial role in facilitating business interactions, promoting industry growth, and fostering innovation within specific sectors.

This brings me back to Your Show of Shows - the TV show. Before TV, you had live shows, and you had the movies. If you wanted to see a comedian or a singer live - you would need to go (physically) to a nightclub or Radio City Music Hall or similar venue. Watching Elvis or The Beatles LIVE on TV was game changing. 

2023, everything is hybrid. Physically going to Orlando or New York City or Vegas is of course, common. Now that COVID has passed, people want to travel. They want to buy plane tickets, pay for hotel rooms, and "get out of town" to hang out with friends and colleagues. Or do they??? Hmmm... see tomayto, tomahto. 

The technology of today allows for a good part of the experience to be, well, experienced without the need for travel. Tools like BlueJeans by Verizon (Studio or Events) allows for HD Video, and Dolby audio - from anywhere. You can have 500+ LIVE at the trade show or convention, 50K+ LIVE via BlueJeans and 5M+ watching the Livestream, or watching the archives of the event like a TED talk. 

“No one goes there anymore, it's too crowded” is a famous quote by the late Yogi Berra, a professional baseball player known for his witty sayings. The quote itself is a contradiction, if no one goes there then it wouldn't be crowded, but it is.
And so, because of the technology of today - because of streaming media - because of HD Video and "the cloud" - no one travels to trade shows anymore, they're too crowded. 

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Why did you do that???

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

One of the coolest things that I do (that I get to do) is interview people. Cool people. Sometimes really famous people, sometimes people who are not famous (yet) - but just give it a minute

I vividly remember the first time I met Simon Sinek. It was in 2011 during his first Start With Why book tour in NYC, not long after he caught lighting in a bottle via his amazing TEDx Puget Sound Talk (up to 62,156,566 views). I saw that Simon was doing a book signing in the city. I yelled to my two sons, who were sleeping upstairs. "Boys, let's go into the city, I want you to meet someone!" They said...... "WHY?" And I said: "EXACTLY!" 

It hit me this morning. First it was audio only podcast interviews. Then, jumping on the bandwagon, I moved over to doing video podcast interviews. But when it really took off, when it really became "my thing" was because I met Dr. David Burkus

I came across David's audio interviews back in 2013. We met for lunch in NYC in 2016 at Gramercy Tavern - and David picked up the tab (I noticed - and remember - stuff like that...). Also in 2016 we had a really big snowstorm, where we had several feet of snow. I was stuck at home for a few days. I remember praying that we would not lose electricity. It was during that snowbound weekend that I (get ready for it) listened to in every interview on David's website. Easily 100+ interviews, I think it was called Radio Free Leader at the time. I consumed all of them. So many thought leaders, subject matter experts, so many.... Behavioral Scientists

A behavioral scientist is a professional who studies and analyzes human behavior, often using scientific methods and principles. Behavioral science is an interdisciplinary field that combines insights from psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and other related disciplines to understand and explain human behavior.

Behavioral scientists conduct research to investigate various aspects of human behavior, including individual behavior, group behavior, decision-making, and social interactions. They may design and conduct experiments, surveys, and observational studies to collect data and analyze patterns and trends in human behavior.

The work of behavioral scientists has wide-ranging applications. They may study consumer behavior to understand how people make purchasing decisions, work with organizations to improve employee productivity and motivation, analyze public health behaviors to develop effective interventions, or examine social dynamics to address societal issues such as discrimination and inequality.

Behavioral scientists often work in academic settings, research institutions, government agencies, or private organizations. They may also collaborate with policymakers and businesses to develop evidence-based strategies and policies that promote positive behavioral change.

Overall, the field of behavioral science seeks to provide insights into why people behave the way they do and use that knowledge to improve individual and societal outcomes.

And now, on this Sunday morning, I sit in the same room at my home where I listened to (all) of David's Radio Free Leader podcast interviews all those years ago. I sit and I write (another) Sunday blog. 

Since meeting Simon in 2011, then David, and now (the list is long...) our Coffee In The Clouds aka interviews have become a thing. My thing. And, so many of the folks that I met because of David - through David - have over the years agreed to do video podcast interviews - with me. It went something like this, via LinkedIn: "Hello, I just listened to your interview with David Burkus - you would make a great interview for the community - please say yes." And, many did. Not all, but most agreed

Timing in life is everything. So is taking action. Physically going into the city to meet Simon in 2011. Listening to (all) of David's interviews in 2016 - making a spreadsheet - contacting them for "my" show, that was action. The amazing cloud technology of 2023 (Zoom, BlueJeans, Teams, etc.) allow us to "be in the room" from anywhere in the world. When we do video podcast interviews today from NYC it is in HD Video, and Dolby audio. We can have 50+ people physically LIVE in our NYC office, 50K+ attending LIVE Powered by BlueJeans Studio and 50M+ (yes, that is million) attending on Livestream or watching the archives like a TED Talk.  

Ah yes, Behavioral Scientists. On this Friday, I shall interview Dr. David Burkus as we talk about his new book Best Team Ever: The Surprising Science of High-Performance Teams. Yeah, I am not a classically trained professional who studies and analyzes human behavior, using scientific methods and principles. 

But I do play one on TV - wait, make that - I play one in the clouds