A week ago today, I attended Unsummit4 conference at CoCo in St. Paul. It was great, and I'm sharing some of the nuggets I walked away with below:
Kirk Horsted should get props for not using PowerPoint. He has an admirable perspective on taking sabbaticals to recharge, and you can learn more about that here.
In true Unsummit style, Meghan Seawell and Andrew Eklund combined their workshops and presented together. Andrew spoke about the need for us to stop using social media terminology with clients.
- Followers = Hand-raisers
- Fans = Advocates
- Conversions = Referrals/Sales
- Tweet/Post/Message = Communicate
- Grow our Followers = Build Scale
- Community = Target Audience
There was a lot of emphasis placed on solving problems for customers. In other words, use social media to listen to customers and respond to their needs. It's an opportunity to turn your biggest detractors into your biggest advocates online.
"The 25 minute MBA: How to Do Strategic Business Consulting" with Rohn Jay Miller was very informative. One nugget is a business plan should be no more than 10 pages, can be explained in 20 minutes, and uses 30 point type font. Also, Venture Capitalists care about 1) Management Team, 2) Market Needs, 3) Management's ability to adapt when their idea is proven wrong, and 4) the actual business idea in that order. Finally, taken from McKinsey, the title of your slide should always be an insight. I also shared about John Boyd's OODA Loop which I just wrote about here.
Joseph Reuter presented the philosophy behind the software product he's been developing, Curation Station. One quote that really stuck me was by a museum curator, "(an exhibit) is a certain plan, thesis or idea that is given to the public as an enrichment (or as a performance)." I think Curation Station has an interesting business model utilizing earned media that copies paid content. A version of his presentation can be found here.
"How's your digital identity?" with Pete Barry was thought provoking. One thing that really jumped out at me was the quote Pete often frustrates clients with "How well does your site work while someone's dancing?" It's not as crazy of a question as it may sound. You can learn more about Pete's perspective on digital identity here and links to resources here.
The final session I attended was "Escaping Wage Slavery: How can freelancers, consultants & creative shops get beyond charging by the hour?" with Don Ball. This was one of the most lively sessions of the day. Don opened by asking some provocative questions:
- Is what you're doing scalable?
- Do you earn while you sleep?
- Are you disability proof?
- Is your income recession-proof?
- Do you own your work product?
He challenged us to think about instead of just providing services and charging by the hour to think about creating a product, productizing our services, or delivering our expertise differently. He also quoted a founder of the Coudal Partners, that essentially said "build the audience and then create a product to serve them" which is opposite of what we currently do.
All and all it was a great day, and I can't wait to attend the next Unsummit!