Are bright, young professionals your organization’s greatest asset?

April 5, 2010

Below, Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd:

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The best kept secret of American government and politics is that it powered by the enthusiasm, passion and over-drive of young professionals. And it’s no secret at all. Year after year, you see the swarm in Washington, DC.

Start ups too are mostly about young professionals and twenty something dreamers who can give everything they got. They tend not to have families or mortgages that chain them down. And multinationals can’t exploit them enough in emerging economies.

Bright, young professionals are the greatest asset to the organization that can channel their energy and passion to creative, innovative and productive purpose.

It’s cat herding at its best. And it can be an extreme challenge – especially if you are focused on processes and technology rather than people.

Moreover, not all young professionals are equal. Identifying those with a leader’s heart early (and coaching them) is critical to moving the herd in the direction of success and results. They are the golden key. Read the rest of this entry »


Mentoring, Harvard Business Review, and the Customer Community.

March 14, 2010

Below, Alan Parson Project, Eye in the Sky

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Harvard Business Review and the Customer Community.

This morning, I was excited when I discovered that Harvard Business Review had launched an online customer community: HBR Answer Exchange. The URL is http://answers.hbr.org/

The HBR Answer Exchange is described as follows: “The HBR Answer Exchange is a resource for business professionals in search of advice–or with advice to share. Ask a question, read answers selected by HBR editors, or share your experiences.”

I immediately signed up and logged in. And with great expectations! The concept is brilliant and I would like to imagine that the HBR Answer Exchange is going to be a highly active network. If it is managed well and the proper resources are put to it.

It will also need intelligent members willing to contribute, exchange ideas, share insights and interact with other (hopefully) intelligent members. This is, of course, stating the obvious.

Building a Customer Community: Wrong and Right Ways

Lists and bullet points are convenient. They can be useful tools to summarize so-called key points and help the reader to remember and organize information. The list in the HBR Editor’s comment to the HBR Editor’s question about Mentoring, for example, suggests interesting tools.

I appreciate HBR’s attempt to get the conversation and interaction going. It’s not easy to build a customer community where participation requires a higher level of contribution, consideration and insight than say Twitter or Facebook (F/B).

Myself, I believe quotations substituting for personal insight and interaction often present as commonplace, sterile, or impotent cliché – and nowhere is this more true than Twitter and F/B. Worse, cliche tends to make for good humor.

The HBR Editors might use quotes from HBR books in the questions they pose. Such quotations could provide guidance and a starting point from which community members might embark upon a well considered comment.

A more interesting approach to community building would be to get HBR’s writers to weigh in here. And, perhaps, let it be known that significant contribution here can lead to becoming a contributing writer to HBR.

To the question: How can I get the most from my mentor?

As one who was mentored and as one who has endeavored to mentor others, I have to say that the tools mentioned by HBR’s editors cannot substitute for the necessity of a true human relationship – a relationship that involves all sorts of wonderful fuzzies and, above all, perhaps the greatest of natural virtues… friendship.

C.S. Lewis illuminates the subject in his book, The Four Loves. (You can get the hardback from Amazon.com.)

Writes one top 500 Amazon reviewer (NotATameLion) of this book:

“C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves was not a book that I expected to reshape my thinking. I first picked it up while following the reading guide at the end of Lindskoog’s Mere Christian. I thought it would be a fun read during valentine’s season. One often is most vulnerable to the trap when one is not alert…

And so, once more, C.S. Lewis has changed my thought on a broad portion of life…”

And so, I am skeptical that mentoring can be institutionalized as an organizational strategy to be applied across the large organization- irregardless of vision and resources.  Mentoring depends completely upon the character, mind, and heart of actual persons. Mentoring can, however, be celebrated, encouraged and rewarded. Tools can and should be made available. But tools can only make such relationships more or less effective.

Perhaps, I am mistaken. Maybe Dale Carnegie will come back from the dead to write the uber book about Mentoring.

Until that happy day, I believe that coaching is more suited to organizational strategy. Coaching does not demand the vulnerability and personal investment which would be inappropriate to require of the employee- leader or otherwise.

Furthermore, large organizations are unprepared to make appropriate compensation for such private and personal risk. Nor would they be ready to insure their mentors against such risks and potential claims.

Harvard Business Review

I wish HBR every success in their endeavor to extend the value they already bring to their online community through their website, blog and tweets. The HBR Answer Exchange is an exciting aspiration. And I hope it shall flourish with wisdom and insight.

Make it so.

Stan Faryna
March 14, 2010
Bucharest

If you’d like to connect with me, follow @Faryna and tweet me up on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/faryna

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About Stan Faryna

Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago DefenderJurnalul NationalThe Washington TimesSagarSaptamana FinanciaraSocial Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2009 by Stan Faryna.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content:

If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. Generally speaking, as long as you are not acting as an agent or on behalf of a corporation or institution, I am not interested in any payment for the quotation or use of a complete article. Nevertheless, you may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission by inmail through Linkedin. Or DM me at Twitter.


Making Lots of Money on Yuwie?

April 18, 2008

Below, some beautiful and exhilarating music for your reading. Polovtsian dances from Alexander Borodin’s opera, Prince Igor. Performed in this clip by the Berliner Philharmoniker and conducted by Seiji Ozawa.

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Make Lots of Money

Less than a year online, another social network platform is slotted for takeoff on the runway of success. It’s called Yuwie. Based on open source technologies used by MySpace and others, Yuwie allows users to customize profiles, import videos and pictures, blog, easily make friends with Yuwie members, make clubs, and interact with their Yuwie group of friends.

According to Alexa, the Internet traffic keeper, Yuwie is one of the top 500 most trafficked websites. But what’s driving the popularity of Yuwie is not its features and cheap dressing on an open source solution. It’s the business model. Yuwie ‘s business model is based on sharing advertising revenue with its users. Remind you of MLM? Yup. Yuwie is MLM. And the so-called unwashed masses of online users like that idea a lot.

People like it so much that Yuwie boasts almost 600,000 registered users within nine months of going online. It went online in July 2007. According to my estimates, Yuwie has about 3,000 active users on the website at any given time. If Yuwie is lucky, they have about 200 users that are so active that those users spend four hours or more per day, everyday, on Yuwie.

Revenue Sharing

Some critics are horrified by Yuwie’s seemingly indecent revenue sharing plan. Revenue sharing seems to some to be a contradiction to the spirit of social networking. Although name brand companies and rock star developers are championed on Wall Street (NYSE), Hyde Street (London), and elsewhere for the unrealistic cash value of their social networks, the same financial analysts suggest that social networking, users, and money should not mix. That it’s vulgar.

Those critics are terribly mistaken.

Yuwie has problems, but the concept of sharing advertising revenue with users is not one of Yuwie’s problems. In fact, not sharing advertising revenues may become a big problem in the near future for MySpace, Facebook, HighFive, and Linkedin. Web 2.0 without users is nothing more than Web 0.0 (game over).

Already, Yuwie is capturing on MySpace, Facebook and Youtube defections and recruitment at a rate of thousands of users per day.

Yuwie

That’s not to say that Yuwie doesn’t have all the ear marks, tell tale signs, and stink of a hustle, scam or pyramid scheme. In fact, Yuwie promises users some very abstract concepts on how users can earn money from page views. Yuwie also seems to deliver less than a little of the cash it gets from advertising. Worse, most of Yuwie’s ads represent cheap bulk ads handled by the same weasels that do spam and spyware. Despite these often discussed problems, Yuwie users seem to be more forgiving than any other user base.

By the skin of the founder’s teeth (Korry Rogers), Yuwie just barely avoids being defined as a scam or pyramid scheme. However, many suspect Yuwie to be a scam and a scheme. Using Yuwie’s website and services costs nothing; anyone can register and get started without a credit card or paypal account. In my opinion, Yuwie’s users might benefit from paid premium services. But let’s leave that rant for later.

In a BBC News feature on Yuwie, Korry Rogers seems to suggest that Yuwie users can make between 400 and 500 dollars per month. In Yuwie introduction videos, it is also suggested that it is possible for high performance users to build up to incomes as much as $5,000/month. After corresponding with active Yuwie users, I found there are very, very few people who have been known to make thousands of dollars in a single month. Most people are self-reporting earnings a lot less than they had expected.

Pyramid Principle

Yuwie earnings include earnings based on referral or downline activities. According to an article in the UK’s Guardian, earning on the downline can reach down to 10 levels of referral’s referrals. However, few users are reporting having downlines past level three at this early stage. The bigger problem, explains one active Yuwie user, is keeping the downline focused on the recruitment, mentoring, and creation of interesting content that will generate sufficient page views.

Below, some more background music. Cold Play, See You Soon.

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Yuwie Earnings

Yuwie earnings are based on pageviews lasting from three to five seconds each. These pageviews generate the ad impressions that Yuwie provides to advertisers and online ad networks. A user’s pageviews include both the personal pageviews of the user (looking at other people’s profiles and content AND those pageviews of the user’s profile and content made by others. As most realize, building a strong downline seem to be key to Yuwie earnings. Alone and single-handedly, the most hard-working user may not get $20/month for 16 hours/day of Yuwie contact building.

Best Practices

According to some of Yuwie’s most successful earners, building a successful Yuwie practice and downline requires six things:

1. Coming into Yuwie with a group of 12+ persons committed to roughly two to four hours per day through a two year effort, come hell or high water…

2. Developing ongoing insight into common issues, the big challenges, and Yuwie-user best practices

3. Converting insights into strategy, methods and practices that can be easily adopted by the group and effectively used by every level of the downline

4. An attitude of experimentation and open-mindedness to trying out new methods with the patience and understanding that most of this will not pan out as individual experiments

5. Technical support to develop scripts and other tools that will enable automatic realization of Yuwie connections, etc.

6. Determination of each individual to succeed in developing a powerful downline and their empathic ability to provide morale support for the other members of the group.

Imho, any business is likely to succeed with such a force behind it.

Case Study

Myself, I’m interested in making a case study of Yuwie and I’d like to form a group of 24 persons (ideally, half that never had any experience with Yuwie but are interested in it and half that may already be involved in Yuwie). Whatever happens will happen.

I am mostly interested in the experience of users across the long haul. Such a case study may provide me with the needed insight to strengthen a business plan that I am developing for a new kind of social network service. This doesn’t mean that I won’t participate actively in the group’s work. In fact, I can provide several of the needed factors to ensure we are doing everything we need to do for this group to succeed.

With the help of a top Yuwie user, I have set up my Yuwie profile and achieved a high level performance (1000 Yuwie friends and 16,000 page views) within 15 days with no more than two hours spent on Yuwie per day. I am told that the average user would accomplish the same results in three months with 2x to 3x the hours spent per day.

For example, I have retained a top Yuwie earner that is providing consulting to me on best practices and common problems. I’d like to get started with this next week. What about you?

If you would like to join me in this online adventure in network marketing, please let me know by contacting me through Buzzfuse or Linkedin.

If you would like to learn more about Yuwie, click here. OR read more about Yuwie in my Yellow Brick Road series, click here.

Below, some beautiful piano music. Helen Grimaud plays the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17, The Tempest.

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Stan Faryna
April 16, 2008
Bucharest, Romania
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About Stan Faryna

Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

Stan Faryna is also a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content:

If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. Generally speaking, as long as you are not acting as an agent or on behalf of a corporation or institution, I am not interested in any payment for the quotation or use of a complete article. Nevertheless, you may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission by inmail through Linkedin or contact me through Buzzfuse.

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