The Miracle of Life

December 19, 2013 | Steve Golab

jive world 13
Special thank you to Robert Preliasco and Techzette for featuring more about my recent brush with death. I am so thankful to be living, so I can share it with you - Less Is More: Steve Golab on Professional Collaboration and Life’s Journey.

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Bijoy Goswami – JOurneYing (TM), Part 3 of 3

October 16, 2013 | Steve Golab


 
What is the hero’s journey, why is it important, and how does it relate to one’s life journey? How can we find ways to expand upon it and apply it to different dimensions of our journey—to work and relationships and connections with things greater than ourselves? These are just a few of the questions that Bijoy Goswami and I address in the final installment of my interview with him, available online here.
 
I am in the process of taking a personal inventory of my own journey capital and shaping it into a meaningful story, which I will make available on the FG SQUARED website soon.
 
The fugue notion of journeying is perhaps the idea that is influencing me the most right now. How can I apply what I have learned from my entrepreneurial journey to other aspects of my life, and bring things together congruently? Uncovering opportunities to make important changes and having thoughtful conversations with those I care about are helping me to answer this question. I believe that making even small changes can make a big difference in one’s life, especially when expressed with authenticity and practiced daily, one step at a time, independently or in conjunction with others, in a concert of change.
 
At present, I feel so much gratitude for the important people in my life, the communities that I belong to, and the cities that have informed my own journey (like Austin, Texas, Portland, Oregon, and Tampa, Florida). Looking back, it seems that each one has led me further along my path, and that often, I wouldn’t have had the next opportunity or experience had I not had the last one. I’ve also noticed that many fellow journeyers come into my life, leave, and come back again—in some cases, many times over. It has become increasingly important to me to give to others along the way, and to have whole, meaningful interactions at each juncture.
 
What journey capital have you accumulated in your life? What journey are you on right now, and what meaning might you uncover by reflecting on it? How might that meaning help you express your Self in different ways and bring more enjoyment and peace of mind to your life today?
 

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Bijoy Goswami – JOurneYing (TM), Part 2 of 3

October 12, 2013 | Steve Golab


 
In part two of my interview with Bijoy Goswami, founder of Bootstrap Austin and Austin’s premier entrepreneurial scene evangelist, we discuss the three stages of becoming a journeyer, his workshop, JOurneY: Bootstrap 101, becoming and expressing yourself, bootstrapping entrepreneurs, and the challenges associated with helping others to become congruent with their journeys.
 
Click here to read part two of my interesting and insightful interview with Bijoy.
 

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Bijoy Goswami – JOurneYing (TM), Part 1 of 3

October 9, 2013 | Steve Golab

 
My friend, Bijoy Goswami, is on a mission to help bootstrapping entrepreneurs and others better understand the importance of one’s journey and being conscious of the journey capital one accumulates along the way.
 
What Bijoy has been exploring throughout a lifetime of discovery, years of research, and a five-week course he led this past month (in which I participated), is how uncovering the common threads in the journey—your personal journey, your enterprise’s journey, and even your city’s journey—can help you, your enterprise, and your city remain relevant and sustainable throughout challenges and changes.
 
Bijoy’s explorations and findings within the realm of journeying are of genuine interest to me. Since FG SQUARED opened its doors in 1994, whether it’s been out of necessity or inspiration, or both, the company’s business models, focus and goals have shifted and adapted many times over. Understanding my journey as a bootstrapping entrepreneur has helped and continues to help me meet my company’s needs and the demands of the current marketplace. It also helps me better serve FG SQUARED’s stakeholders and Austin’s entrepreneurial scene.
 
Recently, I interviewed Bijoy in order to create a sharable discussion on journeying. The interview has been broken up into three parts. The first part, which you can read in full now on his blog reveals Bijoy’s thoughts and insights on stewardship, plugging into the entrepreneurial scene, history’s impact on one’s journey, being yourself, the idea of Austin being the Journey City in the world, and much more. I hope that it helps you think more consciously of your own journey as you move forward personally and professionally.
 

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FG SQUARED’s New Lease on Life

September 26, 2013 | Steve Golab

FG SQUARED headquartered on Austin's historic 6th Street
 
Woo-hoo! We at FG SQUARED are excited to make public that we have negotiated with our landlord to extend our office lease for another three years. We have also negotiated an option to extend the lease for an additional three years once the current lease expires. FG SQUARED has been headquartered on Austin’s 6th Street for nine out of the nineteen years the company has been in business.
 

 
We are equally excited to announce that we have plans to partner with our clients at Plantronics to redevelop the acoustical design of our workspace. Our mutual goal is to better serve the contemporary needs of a knowledge workforce through true thought leadership in the area of #smarterworking. By creating a “showroom of the future” that not only serves FG SQUARED, but as an example of a revolutionary workspace environment, we hope to inspire the business community at large to work smarter!
 
Stay tuned. More updates on our journey are to come.
 

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FG SQUARED is hiring, pass it on.

May 7, 2013 | debbiebyers

 
Jive Platform and Development Specialist*
Location: Austin, TX**
 

FG SQUARED is looking for a developer dedicated to customer service. What?!
 
Here is your chance to join a growing team of very experienced solution providers focusing on “the world’s #1 social business platform.”
 
Responsibilities:
 
Supports FG SQUARED customers’ Jive Software implementations by:

  • Knowing front-end and back-end feature sets of Jive Software’s social business platform
  • Responding promptly and professionally to support requests and customer needs
  • Providing technical support in the configuration, installation, and maintenance of Jive software
  • Designing software solutions by studying information needs; conferring with users; studying data usage, and work processes; investigating problem areas
  • Providing information by collecting, analyzing, and summarizing development and service issues
  • Solving customer issues based on knowledge of the platform, technical possibilities, and our customers’ use cases
  • Guiding and interacting with a team of developers writing plugins and apps that integrate with the platform
  • Testing and providing feedback for a team of developers writing plugins and apps that integrate with the platform
  • Staying current with system information, changes and updates

 
Requirements:

  • Loves to write code
  • Ability to juggle, prioritize and manage time effectively
  • Expert knowledge of JavaScript and expert knowledge of web technologies (HTML/CSS) including HTML5/CSS3
  • Experienced with Restful http APIs
  • Aware of JavaScript Frameworks (jQuery, Backbone, Node.js etc.)
  • Familiar with J2EE development using Spring and Struts frameworks, with Maven for build management
  • Experienced with Freemarker and Google Closure (SOY) templates
  • Experience developing rich applications with HTML5/CSS/JS
  • 3+ years of experience building web applications
  • Enterprise web application architecture experience (LAMP, J2EE, or equivalent)
  • Experience in API design
  • Has contributed to product deliveries, ideally in a variety of languages (Ruby, Java, JavaScript, etc.)
  • BS or MS degree in Computer Science or a related technical field
  • Excellent written and verbal skills a plus

 
Apply by emailing your resume to jobs@fg2.com.
 
*We will consider applicants looking for either full-time, part-time, or contract positions.
 
**FG SQUARED is located in Austin, TX but we will consider applicants working remotely from other areas of Texas or the United States.
 

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March, 2013 Meeting of Jive Texas User Group

April 2, 2013 | Amy Janota

 

A third meeting of the Jive Texas User Group took place on March 21 at the SolarWinds Headquarters in South Austin. Many thanks to Danielle Higgins, Michael Torok, and all of the folks at SolarWinds for hosting!

Members from Houston and Dallas joined the Austin locals — in all, 30 people from 16 different companies were able to join in the fun. The agenda again centered around the “Help a Member Out” feature, during which we shine the spotlight on one or two of our members (and the current challenges they are facing with their communities) and brainstorm how we can help the member succeed in their endeavors. This quarter’s meeting featured Patrick O’Brien with Dachis Group Collaboratory talking about his experience with upgrading to Jive 6.

Other features of the meeting included another installment of our “Spotlight on Technology” series featuring Solarwinds’ Thwack Jive installation and their new Alert Central software. This was followed by Jive’s Ryan Rutan presenting The Jive Roadmap: What’s coming in Jive 7 and Beyond, and FG SQUARED presenting a comparison of the benefits of Jive Apps vs. Plugins.

 

Following are the details of the agenda and you can also read more detailed meeting notes on the Texas User Group site.

 

1:30 – 2:00 Gathering; pre-event networking

 

2:00 – 2:10 Member Introductions

 

2:10 – 2:25 Help a Member Out – Patrick O’brien at Dachis Group Collaboratory talking about his experience with upgrading to Jive 6

 

2:25 – 2:55 Spotlight on Technology – Solarwinds thwack and their new Alert Central software

 

2:55 – 3:25 Jive Roadmap (presented by Ryan)

 

3:25 – 3:45 Plugins vs Apps Comparison (FG SQUARED)

 

3:45 – 4:00 Meeting evaluation and planning for Q2 event

 

After 4pm – Continue the conversation at Abuelo’s around the corner at Barton Springs Mall for Jalapeno Margaritas. (They have an excellent happy hour for other items as well!).

 

We hope you’ll join us this summer for the next meeting and become a member of the Jive Texas User Group today.

 

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Join Us for South by GoLab

February 25, 2013 | Amy Janota

FG SQUARED is excited to announce our involvement in this year’s South By GoLab festival. The theme of this year’s festival is “Smarter Working” and we are co-creating the event with the GoLab Austin Coworking Community and our title sponsor Plantronics Developer Community. If you happen to be in Austin on Saturday, March 9 for the big interactive festival that will be in town, you should think about dropping by!
 
The main event is the Identity Biegarten from 5-8:30pm, but you won’t want to miss the daytime activities either. The entire day’s schedule follows below. This event is free and no badge is required, but you must RSVP to attend the main event. Get your FREE golden ticket at Thundertix.
 
Wordle: SxGoLab 2013
 
Our title sponsor for this event is Plantronics, Inc..
 

 
While you are at the South By Golab party, make sure to stop by and see the Plantronics Developer Connection Smarter Working demo station. Here you will learn more about the Plantronics Developer Connection community, the Spokes SDK, and see examples of current, in-market apps that take advantage of the “beyond audio” headset capabilities using Contextual Intelligence.
 
SxGoLab is all about discovery and new business connections, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect with Plantronics and see how easy it is to become an Application Partner and take your business to the next level by working smarter.
 
SATURDAY, MARCH 9
 
11.00am – 3.00pm – GoNews Austin Live Interviews / Suite 200
Shumway Ink., a GoLab partner, will be recording presentations delivered by company representatives participating in GoNews Austin.
 
3.00pm – 8.30pm – Smarter Working Demo Center / Suite 200
Sponsored by Plantronics
See demos from partners who use Plantronics’ APIs to tap into headset sensors. The context aware headset is here and open for business.
 
5.00pm – 8.30pm – VIP Coffee Lounge & Presentation Theater / Suite 100
Sponsored by MindQuilt, a GoLab Partner.
 
5.00pm – 8.30pm – Identity Biergarten / Suite 200
Live music by Ryan DeSiato; fine art by Tina Schweiger; cartoonist Benjamin Frisch; freshly baked pretzels; beer kegs from local breweries; wine; strong coffee; Voyager Legend UC giveaways sponsored by Plantronics, iPAD giveaways sponsored by Jive Software, prizes; VIP gifts; wristbands by OneID. Elvis and Bejoy Bobble are planning to join us too.
 
6.30pm- 7.30pm – PR Over Coffee: Meet Tech Bloggers / Suite 100
 
8:30pm -10:30pm – Biergarten Afterburner / El Sol Y La Luna
Sponsored by Salsa Mobi, a GoLab partner.
 
Also join us for this bonus event as well:
 
Thursday, March 7, 11.00 am – 12.00 pm
App Inventor Workshop / Suite 200
Sponsored by Gluu, a GoLab partner.
 
 

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New Jive Plugin for Sharing Brightcove Videos

February 4, 2013 | Amy Janota

FG SQUARED is proud to announce the release of a slick, new, open-source Jive plugin developed by our Technology Director Brad Warren in conjunction with Brightcove.
 
Jive Community Managers now have a quick and easy way to share their existing Brightcove Video Cloud assets with the community so that their users can view, share, like, and comment on them.
 
The Brightcove Video Cloud plugin for Jive Community Managers offers a simple synchronization based on rules set up in the admin console. Videos are created and uploaded to a Brightcove Video Cloud playlist which is mapped to a Space in Jive. The videos in the playlist are then dynamically rendered in the Space as Jive Documents that display a player for easy viewing by community members.
 
Members can then take full advantage of what makes Jive so special – its socialization features.
 
Some of the plugin features include:

  • One-way, read-only synchronization of Brightcove videos into Jive
  • Brightcove Video Cloud playlists mapped to Jive Spaces
  • Video player embedded directly in the Jive Document for easy viewing
  • Brightcove Video Cloud title, description and tags are preserved in Jive
  • Jive social features for individual video documents – users may share, like, rate, and comment on videos
  • Administration is handled through simple Jive system properties

 
Let us show you how this plugin can make your Jive installation more robust. Read all about the Brightcove Video Cloud Plugin for Jive Community Managers.
 
Find out how else you might benefit from FG SQUARED’s Jive expertise.
 

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Welcome Rob Brewster, Jive’s VP Global Alliances

January 25, 2013 | Steve Golab

I had the pleasure to sit in on a conference call with Jive’s newest executive this morning.
Rob Brewster, VP of Global Alliances at Jive Software
 
Rob Brewster is the former Eloqua SVP who joined Jive this month.  I haven’t actually met Rob yet, but a few people in my network rave about their experiences working together with him.
 
Rob has the distinction at Jive as the VP of Global Alliances.  After the call, I sent Rob a diagram that illustrates FG SQUARED’s point of view on the Jive Partner Ecosystem.  I’m really excited to hear how/whether he thinks it maps into his mental model.
 
Jive partner ecosystem

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December Meeting of Jive Texas User Group

December 19, 2012 | Amy Janota

The Jive Texas User Group met for a  second time on December 5th in Austin at the stunning downtown offices of Premiere Global (PGi). Hosted by PGi’s Cora Rodenbusch and FG SQUARED’s Steve Golab, the meeting was a tremendous success, and the second of many to come.

 

Cora Rodenbusch

 

The meeting was attended by 27 people from 12 different companies and 6 different cities. The agenda was centered around a feature entitled “Help a Member Out,” during which we put a spotlight on a few of our members (and the current challenges they are facing with their communities) and brainstormed how we can help the member succeed in their current endeavors.  The plan is to continue with this feature moving forward – at each meeting we’ll put the spotlight on a few different members and we’ll rotate through our ranks until each one of us is a roaring success!

 

Heather Foeh from Eloqua

 

Vo Doan of National Instruments

 

 

Following are the details of the agenda:

 

1:30 – 2:00 Gathering / networking prior to the meeting.

 

2:00 – 2:10 Welcome and meeting overview. Identify a notekeeper.

 

2:10 – 2:20 Member introductions

 

2:20 – 2:45 Help a Member Out: Cleaning up a Community featuring Heather Foeh from Eloqua

 

2:45 – 3:10 Help a Member Out: Upgrading to Jive 6 featuring Vu Doan from National Instruments

 

3:10 – 3:35 Spotlight on technology – PGi iMeet demo

 

3:35 – 3:50 Meeting evaluation

 

3:50 – 4:00 Next Steps:

  • Share copies of Engagement Study presented by Susan Scrupski at the least meeting
  • Discuss Timing and Location for Q1 2013 Meeting
  • Solicit volunteers for Q1 2013 Help a Member Out sessions
  • Gauge interest in Ryan Rutan’s informal gatherings on semi-monthly or monthly basis
  • Gauge interest in Spotlight on Technology for the next meeting: examples – Brightcove, Bunchball, Salesforce, Goshido, Jive Analytics, Virtual Conference

4:00 – 5:30 Informal happy hour and networking at Annie’s at 319 Congress Avenue

Results of the Meeting Evaluation Next Steps Discussions included:

  • Next location – SolarWinds during the 3rd or 4th week of March
  • Help a Member Out Volunteers – Dachis Group
  • Ryan to post informal gatherings inside the User Group
  • Cora to create poll inside the user group community for spotlight on technology
  • Member Input – What were the best ideas to come out of SXSW?

We hope you’ll consider joining us for the next meeting in March, 2013!

 

View from the PGi offices in downtown Austin

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Jive World 2012 – Afterthoughts

October 19, 2012 | Steve Golab

 

A few months ago I felt a true adrenaline rush (the kind that gamblers thrive on!) when my team decided to bring our entire crew to this year’s Jive World at Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas. After five grueling years of building our expertise and partnership with Jive, the fruits of our labor were getting ripe. The timing of this year’s conference lined up perfectly with the completion of several important Jive projects for our clients, so this year’s show promised to be rich with fresh opportunities and face-to-face networking with Jive’s ecosystem.

 

Now that the show is behind us, I am extremely happy to report that this year’s event was a very important step on our journey together. It was exciting to learn about the new and upcoming features in Jive 6 and to hear all of the cutting-edge ways that people are using the Jive platform. Here are my observations from this year’s conference:

  • When CEO Tony Zingale questioned, “What would you do if you could take back a day of your work week, every week?” in his keynote, I was dreaming of all the different ways that increased productivity can improve the world we live in. The list is literally endless.
  • Key industry players like Salesforce and Microsoft have further validated the enterprise social space and deeper integration between all of these platforms is possible thanks to the battle-hardened Open Social standards that continue to evolve.
  • Today’s Jive platform is intrinsic to the success of many of its early adopters. Since the release of the Jive Clearspace platform in 2007, Jive has solidified its role as THE visionary leader in the social business category. This can be demonstrated through its recent release of strategic technology such as Jive Anywhere, Jive Cloud, Jive Apps Framework as well as through new strategic partnerships like the one with Box.
  • The first wave of enterprise social has already passed. Many of Jive’s clients have a stronger understanding of how the platform can be leveraged to unlock the business value of teams working together across business, geographical, and technological boundaries. At the same time, the platform has become an effective place for building a company’s culture so that it is better equipped for increased levels of collaboration over the next decade.
  • Existing enterprise social networks continue to mature. Senior members of major industries across the world are working more closely together to develop applications that were nearly impossible to fathom in 2007. McKinsey Global Institute estimates the potential value that can be unlocked will top out around $1.3 Trillion annually. WOW!!!

Jive’s Ecosystem is Paramount to Shareholder Value

 

Wall Street’s demand for immediate returns places a tremendous pressure on the entire Jive ecosystem. Jive is going through growing pains, which is to be expected for a company moving at such a rapid pace. It will take a significant investment in the platform and building long-term relationships over the next decade to stay positioned as the leader in the enterprise social space.

 

The out-of-the-box Jive Software Platform is the best there is but platforms are more than software. Successful platforms nurture the many players who comprise the ecosystem, i.e. stewardship. Every Jive community should reflect the steward’s individual business and culture. But customization takes strategy and experience.

 

Some community managers have chosen to build an in-house team from the ground up but this takes a large investment of time and resources. Others have turned to Jive’s expert Professional Services team for large scale projects such as a massive data migration or highly specialized systems integration projects.

 

For companies whose needs don’t quite fit into the categories above, there’s FG SQUARED. As a Jive Alliance Agency, we have years of experience helping clients strategize, customize and implement their Jive community. We’ve been there since the beginning – when Jive was called Clearspace! We’re adept at creating custom themes and plug-ins and developing tailor-made functionality to make your Jive community your own.

 

Fortunately, the Jive platform is the backbone of their service delivery model and that gives Jive an edge against competition especially over the long run. As they have done in the past, I expect Jive is going to learn as they go, navigate the course and ultimately raise the bar to a whole new level of magnitude.

 

What’s next?

 

Social can be fun, but, let’s face it, platform stewardship is hard work. Together, we can leverage enterprise social technologies to unlock $1.3 Trillion of business value annually and transform the world that we live in. My team greatly enjoyed the time that we spent.

 

Next year is going to be even better.

 

See our huge photo gallery from Jive World 2012.

 

Great video footage from the Dance Off at the Jive World 2012 Wrap Party – you gotta see this!
 

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What is a Jive Alliance Agency?

October 8, 2012 | Steve Golab

We have already bloodied our brow on many corners and learned many lessons as a result. FG SQUARED clients benefit from this experience in countless ways. Initially, “New to Jive” customers still need to develop more experience and deeper understanding of what it takes to build a Jive community end to end.

 

As a Jive Alliance Agency, FG SQUARED helps Jive customers form and implement strategies to increase the adoption of Jive inside and outside of their organizations. We customize their communities by creating engaging user experiences and developing plugins to extend Jive’s functionality to meet the needs of their organization and their community members.

 

 

Unlike super agencies like Accenture or CSC who are uber expensive, FG SQUARED brings a flexible approach to Jive’s entire customer base including major industry leaders and smaller organizations too.

 

Unlike most boutique digital agencies who are learning Jive for the first time, FG SQUARED brings over five years of direct Jive experience across every phase of community development.

 

Unlike freelancers who cannot scale quickly as your community strategy takes shape, FG SQUARED brings a responsive team with end-to-end capabilities.

 

Are you ready to Jive with us?

 

For the love of Jive, please contact us, bring us up to speed, and give us a shot at earning your business. We are ready to pitch in and can quickly address highly specialized issues. In many cases, we will train and support your in-house team while your team develops its own Jive experience.

 

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The Benefits of Social Capital

| Steve Golab


Following are some of the notable benefits of Social Capital:

 

LONG TERM RELATIONSHIPS

During both economic downturns and prosperous times, dependable relationships are critical for success in business and in life. By nurturing these relationships with an ongoing communications and networking plan that provides mutual respect, you can weather both economic storms and prosperity with your friends in business.

 

COOPERATION

The ability to maintain authentic and transparent lines of communications allows for the clarification of expectations and ongoing accountability. When everyone involved on a project is clear on common goals and what each party is undertaking and accomplishing toward their achievement, a team creates and maintains a spirit of cooperation throughout the life of a project.

 

NETWORKS

With the greater need for geographic diversity in search of talent, ideas, and partners coupled with increased travel costs and rising fuel prices, online social networks provide a means for connecting that is key to business survival. No longer can executives be the only contacts for a company; more and more team members should be involved with spreading the message and bringing back information from outside the organization.

 

RECIPROCITY

As old as the principles contained in the golden rule―do for others what you would want them to do for you―is the common sense notion that by helping someone else they will be more likely, in return, to help you.

 

When your knowledge and experience is available online and off for people and companies in your network, often their knowledge and experience is available for you in return. This growing resource is worldwide in its capacity, and being connected to that world greatly enhances your capacity to utilize it.

 

OPEN PLATFORMS

The only barriers to entry to the many social networking platforms proliferating across the world are the ability to access the web and the effort needed to learn your way around. The increased availability of broadband cable, satellites, and mobile devices connected to the web, combined with the expectations of digital natives and digital immigrants to have that access, is leading to an explosion of options for connection through social networks. Facebook, with over 1 billion users, is only one leading example of many options for connecting online. Every day new networks aimed at specific groups and niches emerge. Interconnectedness between platforms is being demanded and given by their developers. People demand interconnectedness between platforms, which developers by and large provide.

 

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With or Without You

| Steve Golab

Because of the connected world in which we live, made possible again through a massive change in how we communicate online and off, each of us is defining ourselves in ways that were not possible only a short time ago.

 

This is particularly true among the newer members of the workforce and will be almost universally true of the workforce of the future.

 

DIGITAL NATIVES, people who have grown up using online tools to connect with their peers, are already becoming a major force in the process of purchasing decision making.

 

DIGITAL IMMIGRANTS, those who are adopting online means of communication and conducting business, are a rapidly growing group.

 

In and around these populations, communities are developing spontaneously and with varying degrees of organization, allowing individuals to find others who share their interests, concerns, and preferences on a variety of topics.

 

These communities are as strong as the relationships within them. Any of these groups may or may not include employees of any particular corporation or organization.

 

The interaction between an employee and the rest of the group creates the potential for communications that reflect positively or negatively on the company. How the employees for Company X represent themselves online and while off the job can potentially impact the reputation of the company.

 

A positive interaction between senior management and the company’s workforce, through a progressively organized intranet, can provide for an authentic, largely transparent, and organic means of evolving the internal relationships that will then be carried outside of the firewall of the company.

 

So the question isn’t whether senior executives of a company or organization should accept the new connectedness of its employees with the outside, it is about how they will do it. Even if the company computer won’t allow access to popular websites such as Facebook and Twitter, the employees’ iPhones will.

 

Choosing not to participate is certainly a choice, but it is a potentially costly choice from a competitive standpoint. It’s also a choice that will be more costly to the company the longer it waits, given the clear evidence of participation in the younger population.

 

By choosing to participate, corporations and organizations open up a whole world of potential. That potential can be easily identified as the social capital of their enterprise.

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Definitions and Misconceptions of Community Platforms

| Steve Golab

In these days of nascent communication and collaboration technology, businesses find themselves confronted with a plethora of choices, one of which is enterprise collaboration software. Well, that’s certainly a smart and savvy sounding term, but just what is enterprise collaboration, and how does the software support enterprise goals? The most prevalent incarnation of this technology is a community, but calling them simply “communities” carries a whole host of positive and negative associations that may or may not be accurate and doesn’t really tell the whole story. So here’s a list—high level and by no means comprehensive—of what this kind of platform is for and the purposes it serves:
 

Top 5 Definitions

 

1) Online communities exist to support enterprise document management (wikis and posting documents), a sense of community, storing and updating documents, helping manage and track projects, sharing knowledge, hosting open-minded discussions (that exist, for reference, in perpetuity), facilitating both external corporate communication (with customers, clients, and audiences) and/or internal corporate communication (to employees and stakeholders), and much more.

 

2) Enterprise collaboration offers a new, one-stop place where you can get all the things done that you do now.

 

3) These communities act as data, knowledge, document, and discussion archives, cross-referenced, tagged, and easily searchable.

 

4) Community platforms can be both internal and/or external, and can be manipulated to serve both employees and clients/customers for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways.

 

5) Communities can act as an information knowledge management tool, helping organize documents and wikis, and certainly supports both collaboration and social interaction at both entry and management levels, and beyond.

 

With any emerging technology come a number of misconceptions, too:

 

Top 5 Misconceptions

 

1) Enterprise collaboration does not empower employees to endlessly chat and goof off. (Unless you want them to goof off for whatever reason.)

 

2) Work does not take more time, and the software is not “just another tool to learn and have to spend time on.” This tool can replace many others, meaning it takes less time to accomplish the same tasks.

 

3) Enterprise collaboration cannot solve all problems and replace all other programs. Communities serve a variety of functions, but don’t overestimate their capabilities. Take the time to ask questions and get an understanding of what they really can and cannot do for you.

 

4) “Build it and they will come.” These communities do not become popular and 100% adopted overnight. In reality adoption is a slow, incremental process that requires top-down encouragement to get people to engage.

 

5) Communities do not replace Client Relationship Management (CRM) software. It can support CRM software and in many ways can enhance it, but cannot completely fill in for all the functions of CRM software.

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Deconstructing Thought Leadership

October 6, 2012 | Steve Golab

 

I hate to break it to you. The phrase “thought leadership” has jumped the shark.  A Social Web tsunami has spun out over the past decade and made it easier for everybody to claim an area of thought leadership. In its wake, the real meaning of thought leadership has been washed away as social publishing tools, online community platforms, and smart phones proliferate. This has been especially evident to me during our recent global economic crisis.

 

What exactly is thought leadership?
To my way of thinking, generosity and action are at the heart of thought leadership.  Thought leaders are willing to get very actively involved in, and to build, a community of inspired people who are working together to create a future distinctly different from the past.

 

The thought leader’s job is to convene the community in a way that fosters shared experience and productive conversations around opening new possibilities.  Also, a highly engaged thought leader will actively bring the gifts of fringe thinking, and members, to the center of the community.

 

These days, “thought leadership” — as a term — feels empty. It seems to me reduced to the status of a popular catchphrase, which is a shame.

 

In many ways, the efforts of creative thinkers in creative agencies and technology companies are futile when it comes to inspiring others to take a genuinely new course of action. These are the consultants and talking heads who spend too much time blogging and speaking about their ideas, and not enough time experimenting with new applications of their ideas.

 

Thus, today’s version of thought leadership is not commanding a premium in the marketplace. Instead it seems already contrived, manufactured, or forced.

 

Incessantly describing “thought leadership” to other self-titled thought leaders sorely misses the point — and in this non-stop, hyper information-driven culture, that’s a recipe for backlash, or worse yet: obscurity.

 

However, true innovation (and not merely your desire to show off your latest, cool Keynote presentation), is ultimately what’s going to position you, your brand, or your company for whatever it is that we refer to today as thought leadership.

 

Innovation is something Austin is really strong at. If you view marketing as a world community, look no further than SXSW, and it’s evident that Austin is “followed,” and is not a “follower.” There is a lot of talk around here about Austin becoming the next Silicon Valley.  On the contrary, many of us here believe Austin is “sui generis,” and to compare it to anywhere else is not only inaccurate,but probably a waste of time!

 

Today, we in the Austin creative and technology spaces are drawing on the unique skills and people who are part of our community to create a future that reflects our legacy and builds on how we enjoy being here. The question that keeps crossing my mind is, “What do we want to create together?”

 

That’s where true Thought Leadership lives.

 

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What is Social Capital?

| Steve Golab

Social Capital is the combined potential of the relationships that exist within your organization, and fosters a bond between you and your clients, partners, and employees.

 

Social Capital is as critical to an enterprise as is Human Capital (net intellect, your ability to out-maneuver competitors through thought-leadership driven innovation) and Economic or Financial Capital (in the traditional sense, manifesting itself, for example, as the ability to respond to a market opportunity).

 

“Social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups.”
—Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

 

THE POWER OF RELATIONSHIPS.

 

In the new world of connectivity, it’s not what you know, or even who you know. It’s who and what your online social network knows. In this ultimate word-of-mouth environment, every person in your extended network holds the potential to change your business model.

 

Social Capital refers to the connections within and between social networks. An ever-evolving array of communications technologies enables workers to connect through diverse and far-flung social networks.

 

The result? Connectivity and socialization are no longer segregated between work, family, and friends.

 

Online social networks, as well as the new communications channels inside and outside of the enterprise, intertwine to form this new world of connections, providing opportunities for sharing, collaboration, and innovation.

 

Some catalysts reduce the energy required to reach these powerful new outcomes. Those changes must come from within.

 

By incorporating social technologies with core business processes, an inside-out approach enables you to build innovative online solutions that seamlessly blend your organization and the rest of the online world.

 

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Celebrate the Journey

| Steve Golab

Eighteen years ago FG SQUARED opened its doors as Fellman and Gum Enterprises, a technology consultancy company co-founded to subsidize creating the prototype Easy Beader, an automated necklace beading machine. As we soon found out, it was much more lucrative to “ride the big wave” into the executive suites of global enterprises that were trying to harness the power of the web and digital media.

 

How far we’ve come.

 

Back then, the big wave was the Internet, a fairly nascent commercial technology and an exciting frontier to explore. Netscape Navigator 1.0 was the dominant web browser, Forrest Gump and The Lion King led the box office, OJ Simpson was the big-ticket news story, and three UT students co-founded FG SQUARED.

 

We’ve been through the wringer from those first forays into the business world to where we are now as a leading-edge social business agency. What a long, strange road it’s been.

 

The one constant throughout the years has been how much we’ve changed. From bartering our Local Area Networking skills for office space in our first location to working on the cutting-edge of 3D technology to exploring the possibilities of enterprise social media, we’ve had to adopt new technologies and adapt to our environment to survive. Being open to change is entirely familiar in the innovator’s world, since maintaining the leading edge means having the courage to embrace and adopt the unfamiliar as a matter of course.

 

As I look ahead at all the possibilities and new and unfamiliar technology before me, I constantly remind myself and others to embrace change. It’s easy to be afraid of the unfamiliar, but if there’s one thing I know, it’s that giving in to fear can be paralyzing.  As John Wooden once said, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” Accept both the fear of failure and the uncertainty that inevitably accompanies change, and move forward despite them.  Once you have done this, you will probably look back and wonder what you were afraid of in the first place.

 

I’m not saying the road has been particularly smooth for FG SQUARED, but that was never my expectation as a true pioneer in the Internet era.  I decided long ago to take a longer, more high-level view of things and stop along the way to savor the journey with my family and closest friends. While it’s important to have goals and to strive to achieve them, the journey itself is what gives achieving those goals depth and meaning.

 

Eighteen years have wrought changes in both my personal life and the life of FG SQUARED, and I am still crazy about what we do at FG SQUARED and the relationships we forge together. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be completed if we are going to maximize the positive impact we can have on the world, and I look forward to forging the road ahead for the next eighteen years.

 

Ready, set, go!

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