Had a very pleasant lunch meeting today in the city of Luleå in the province of Norrbotten in northern Sweden with Matz Engman, CEO of Luleå Business Agency (Luleå Näringsliv) currently busy marketing The Node Pole. Matz has had a multifaceted and intriguing career both as an executive in bigger corporations, as an entrepreneur, and even as a Swedish Elite League hockey referee. He had many stories to tell about the two-year sales cycle from initial contact to Facebook’s official announcement to establish themselves just an hour south of the Arctic Circle. Sounds like a challenging sales job to get one of the most iconic brands of our times up here. Ironically, he said that once they had fine-tuned their sales pitch, it was easier to bring Facebook to Luleå than to get a Stockholm-based company to set up shop way up north!
100 years ago, the personality and the perceived character of salespeople were key determinants of success as these traits would command both liking and respect.1 However, in Arthur Miller’s 1949 play Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman complained that the sales profession was becoming “all cut and dried” and that you no longer could sell with “personality” or the personal relationships you have with your customers.
This week, Facebook made it clear that it wants to become the hub for even more of our online experiences through enhanced levels of integration with other services and serendipitous sharing of our real-time actions using the “open graph”. No doubt we will all drown in a sea of information overload if we try to keep up with everything that our friends are up to as Facebook literally is pointing a firehose full of detailed information about our online lives to anyone thirsty for information. Even obsessive Facebook lurkers and stalkers are going to find it difficult to keep up and may be gasping for some fresh air. The implication is that if all of us are going to share exponentially more bits and pieces of ourselves, we must find new approaches to deal with the information flow. Here comes some such ways:
After Wednesday’s Back-to-School Night at our kids’ Elementary school, I made it slightly late to a very educational and entertaining Linked Orange County event with Social media superstar Mari Smith at the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa. In what should have been a stop on a book tour (new release date October 25), Mari eloquently laid out the key elements of her upcoming book “The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web” (not an affiliate link).
In recent years, social media has played a key role in bringing about dramatic changes in business, consumer cultures, and even whole societies. Businesses are becoming more transparent and are also held accountable for their actions as citizens are empowered with more real-time and unbiased information. Consumers are (perhaps reluctantly) accepting a reduced amount of privacy as a price they are willing to pay as they feel the urge to share their day-to-day lives with a wider set of “friends”. Societies undergo revolutionary transformations as social media serves as the communication platform needed for collective action to be mobilized against oppressive regimes such as in the case of the 2011 revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.