Canada set to announce Olympic Team. Who will be picked?

Canada

If you thought there was a bunch of a hubbub after USA Hockey announced their roster for the 2014 Olympics, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Tuesday morning at 10:30am EST, General Manager Steve Yzerman will unveil the final 25-man Canadian squad. Half the squad is obvious no-brainers (Sidney Crosby), a quarter is guys of “almost locks” (P.K. Subban), and the last quarter is bubble players (Logan Couture).

Those bubble players will be the ones that have the potential to ignite a civil war north of the 49th parallel. It has already been widely debated who should fill out the roster. Do you go for existing chemistry from their NHL teams like Chris Kunitz and Crosby or Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook? Do you just take the best available players and hope chemistry figures itself out? Or do you look for “roles” that are “unfilled” and look to “fill” them with remaining players? Will Yzerman show loyalty to the players he selected for the 2010 team that don’t necessarily deserve a spot in 2014?

… Continue reading at TalkingBaws.com

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Update!

Hey everyone.

If you’re still stopping by, (and a few of you are!) you can find my lastest pieces at http://talkingbaws.com/?s=adam+pyde

Neat story: I got that writing gig there because the editor there saw my social media blog on Twitter. #winning

Signing off.

Industry… Transform!

Source material: groundswell by Li C., Bernoff, J

Autobots! Transform! The… industries. Because of the groundswell. Attack? Help these companies understand the mobile age! If you’re company connects and taps into the groundswell and listens properly then your company should never be the same again. It is like constantly innovating customer service, because that is what it is really all about. Good businesses serve their customers well because they know what their customers want. Social media opens that up in entirely new ways. But it isn’t quite that easy. global-mobile-data-traffic-by-device I’ve said before that the word is going increasingly mobile and that it is rapid. This article from Business Insider predicts that it will basically explode five-fold in the next 4 years. If you’re a big company, you best make an app. Send push notifications through it. That could very well be a new form of direct mail. Push notifications all pop up on my screen until I dismiss them. Why not use that for marketing? What about Snapchat for short time-span hype? A 5 second picture that gets auto erased would be awfully hype for your customers. If you’re a game company teasing box art or a sports team teasing a new uniform, wouldn’t that be a cool way to go about it? Type out a mini-message, take a picture of a corner and send it off. Sounds like viral marketing to me. You have to start somewhere. 1. Start small Company transformations are not easy tasks. Its a lot like a merger, which as history has shown, are full of hiccups to the point of causing big old failure. You’re merging new ideas into a company full of different personalities and peoples with different beliefs about how to do business. You can’t come in with these ideas, say “Everything we used to do sucks. Now we’re doing this!” and expect it to go smoothly. You just end up insulting people. But if you start small and strategically it can work. Like slowly dripping food colouring into water, and then slowly stirring it so the momentum doesn’t make anything spill. Change takes time so pick your strategy strategically for ultimate strategery. 2. Educate everyone This is especially true for executives who tend to believe social media and newer business practices are for kids or them daggum hippies and not customers. But wait, these “kids” are getting older and becoming the core customers and target audience/market. Proof and evidence always works best. One great example of proof would be to construct an in-depth Social Technographics Profile packed with all the facts and numbers a lot of the “older school” thinkers tend to favour. It also wouldn’t hurt to set up an internal version of any external efforts so people can see first hand how it works on a small scale to help them understand the benefits on a larger scale. Have an internal sort of social media sharing platform on the company’s intranet. You can’t make successful changes if people don’t understand them. 3. Get the right people in place This is one of the simplest business concepts. Getting the right person for the right job. This usually comes down to knowledge of the situation, but more importantly passion. If someone is passionate about something then they are more likely to succeed. You need this relationship with the customers established  and for it to be successful or else what is the point? The most successful sports teams hire the right people to coach and manage, and that is why they are successful. Ownership is proactive in finding the right people but once they have them they sits back and say “You are the guy. This is up to you. You win us a Super Bowl/Stanley Cup/World Series.” They don’t put people without the right knowledge or passion in that position. If you have the right ownership group in place, they’ll find the right management group, to find the right coaching staff, to find the right player personnel to win. No team has won a Cup/Bowl/Series by putting someone who just had spare time into a position they weren’t suited for. A business shouldn’t do that either. 4. Synchronize your third parties nsync-nsync-1998 This involves getting your technology partners, contracted agencies, third party anything’s coordinated on to your plan. You’re paying them to do work for you, but if they don’t know what is happening, with you and your other agencies too, you’re probably not going to get very good work from them. This could be duplicate work, wrong work, bad work. Plain old confusion. That is never a good thing in business. Also be ready that if push comes to shove, change agencies or partners. If the one you’re working with cannot do work the way you want need then it is a waste of time and money that could be better spent elsewhere. 5. Plan ahead You want to know where this is supposed to take your company. What are the expectations? Where are you planning to take this objectives? Why? Plan a couple steps ahead at all times. Anticipate twists and turns. You don’t drive a car only paying attention to the first 3 feet in front of your vehicle, why would you figuratively do that in business? ____ Read my latest  sports bits at Talkingbaws.com Goalie Mike Smith scores with less than a second to play High school umpire Tag Team’s his strike out call Don’t be upset that Joe Thornton would touch himself _____ Authors note: I have to apologize for the late post. I was suffering from some sinus infection induced migraines as well as midterms this week at college.

5 Points for Understanding Social Media

So I read an article called “Users of the World, Unite.” Why is this important? It acts really well as something to hold your hand through learning social media.  Considering this is a social media blog (well primarily except for rants/opinions/jokes that will come on Wednesdays-ish) I am going to share my 5 favourite points from the piece and how they relate to the video game industry.

But first, social media isn’t just Twitter. It is basically anywhere and everywhere information is shared online. Google searches, Facebook, forums, chat rooms, etc.

1. Virtual game worlds (3.5) and virtual social worlds (3.6) and how they’re becoming one.

avatar-kinect-screenshot-tailgate-party (source)

About 12 years ago virtual game worlds primarily were for just beating up on people online in Madden or whatever your game was.  Virtual social worlds resembled The Sims where you would make a character and fake live a fake life. However, the two virtual worlds have been moving consistently towards absorbing the most popular aspects of each other.  Console companies like Xbox Live with the creation of avatars and Nintendo creating Mii‘s are two examples of gaming moving towards the virtual world. Game developers such as Blizzard have been doing the same for longer with the interaction levels in their games such as World of Warcraft and Diablo, while Rockstar will be launching Grand Theft Auto Online on October first to act in the same mold.  These are very customizable online representations of ones self and there is the ability for you, as your avatar or Mii or elf or monk or psychopath, to interact with other people’s avatars or Miis or elves or monks or psychopaths.

Second Life has expanded over the years to include elements from dungeon crawlers and role playing games to expand the world from simple virtual simulations of daily interactions to immersive environments and interactions.

I also want to mention Nintendo with street pass for the 3DS, as they bring the virtual and gaming world to the actual world.

The point is, expand your presence. Games are not just a single player thing any more. Gaming has become more and more social. Its moved from hooking up four N64 controllers at once and playing GoldenEye to being in massive matches with friends and foes with a seemingly unlimited amount of people.

2. Ensure activity alignment (4.1.3) and Media plan integration (4.1.4) – communications

This is something that companies like Telus do extremely well, and companies like Xbox with the release communications of the Xbox One have done terribly. Integrated Marketing Communications is a first year concept in any basic Marketing 101 class. Every piece of Telus anything looks exactly the same and they’ve carved out instant brand recognition.  White backdrop? Bits of purple and green? Cute animals? Telus. Does not matter if it is some piece of spam mail, web advertising, television commercial, a billboard or on the side of the bus.  The imagery and information is always aligned.

Xbox One? Holy moley.  Third console curse and it hasn’t even released yet. Why? Because no one knew what they were saying or the audience they were actually talking at. They had fantastic ideas. The same ideas Steam just announced and everyone loves. What made the difference? How it was communicated.  The Xbox One keynote was all about the engineering behind the features rather than the features and what they do. Most gamers only heard all the words they never wanted to hear (DRM, always online, no game sharing, etc.) instead of why those words actually made for good things.  Then after the keynote, no one at Xbox was saying the same thing as anyone else:

“No, used games still work like they do now”

“Used games only work sometimes”

“Used games only work from certified retailers”

All paraphrases of statements made within a week of the keynote. You had Xbox reps on Twitter saying different things than each other which were saying different things than the official Xbox press releases which were saying different things than guys that were being interviewed by websites like IGN and GameSpot.

PS4 has most of those nasty words above, but they didn’t say it. They just implied it. “Your PS4 is asleep and can wake up from our website” – Your PS4 is always on and connected to the internet. But all gamers heard was “Oh, my console is just in asleep and I can wake it up.” How do you wake up a console from the internet if it isn’t connected to the internet? But hey, PS4 preorders are through the roof and it is out-polling the Xbox One in consumer satisfaction before it is even released.

boring_social_media

3. Be active (4.2.1), Be interesting (4.2.2) and Be Unprofessional (4.2.4)

Be active – post content when it is relevant. Have a new game coming out? Make sure that Twitter account is going. Don’t have one coming out? Keep it going but not on full speed. Game franchise dead and burried? Delete the Twitter account. There is nothing dumber than finding a certified affiliated Twitter account for a product and seeing the last tweet sent in 2011. Devalues your brand. Also, make sure you’re replying to, or at least reading, every mention or hashtag.

Be interesting – do not spam bit.ly links. Do not spam in general. Make sure what you’re Tweeting or Facebooking or Pinteresting or whatever, is relevant to what you’re audience wants to see. If I am following Mortal Kombat on Twitter and it is Tweeting links to boring unrelated to anything Mortal Kombat links, stop. I’m hitting unfollow and your Twitter just lost value.

Be unprofessional – this is bad wording. Be casual. No one likes a Twitter that is all business all the time. Share some fan art or cosplays if you’re video games or comic books. Have some replies involved. Show there is a person that runs your social media instead of a robot. The Vancouver Canucks Twitter account does a terrific job of this.

4. Strengths first.

This is simple. When you Google “Apple” what comes out? All this neat info about features and engineering and cool stuff you can do with your life. What don’t you see? Pricing information. When you Google “Kia” what do you get? A few things about general info and then… this headline. A lot of people don’t believe Google searches to be part of social media, but they are. Make sure that your positives are always at the top. Nobody goes past page 2.

5. Understand the one-to-many.

OneToMany(source)

When you do it well, you get viral marketing. When you don’t, your stock drops and you’re issuing apologies and trying to do damage control which is damn near impossible on the internet.

Nothing on social media is private. That is not how it works. How many times have we seen athletes or media personalities get busted for rude DMs or Tweets, inappropriate pictures or general misconducts to which they apologize for half heartedly and then make another half hearted apology for their first one? A lot. Someone can always see you and what you are doing. Damage control is harder and harder to do these days. Just watch any election and see how well one slip up by a politician is scrutinized and their entire campaign is ignored because of that comment. Heck, Xbox One did not understand the one to many aspect and it caused mass confusion and anger to the point of cancelling most of their big new ideas. Ask Bioware how the one-to-many worked out with the ending (l liked it) to Mass Effect 3? People that knew nothing of the game were criticizing it because it was the popular thing to do. All it takes is for one person to make a statement and people will either flock to it in anger or joy.

References

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010, February).   Users of the world unite. Business Horizons, pp. 59-68.

401 Words on Equality

Person: “Oh my god can you believe COMPANY is using a TYPE-OF-PERSON for (position)? Pretty rude to NOT-TYPE-OF-PERSONs! They’re a horrible company!”

Me: “All I saw was a person.”

equity_promo

(source)

I am a believer in equality. My definition is different though. I believe that you do not create equality through inequality. If all men are created equal then all men should be treated equal. But equality isn’t always fair. It is not equity.  So why is it often attempted by the creation inequalities?  If you have managed to become “improved” or “privileged” you should not be punished for it.

For example, I do not think it is right to tax wealthy people at a higher rate. I understand the temptation but the goal of society in the developed world seems to abundantly be that of equality. I do not think wealthy people should pay less tax but I do not think they should pay more tax. It is the same reason I am bothered by the principal when companies hire based on “quotas”. It imbalances the playing field in the attempt to balance it.  Isn’t the goal of companies, whether they say so or not, to serve their customers in the best way possible? So why wouldn’t you hire the most qualified person for the job? Who cares if that person is anything.

Imagine if you’re favourite sports team started to operate the same way? They’d be worse than the Astros and Jaguars put together.  Or Starbucks started hiring deaf people to take your order? Would it be okay if they kept screwing up your order because it is “fair”?

Everyone should be treated the same and not favoured because of a set of rules. Morgan Freeman has said something to the effect of “The best way to stop racism is to stop talking about it.” By continuing to imply to someone that ‘A’ is better than ‘B’ it will only continue that divide and further breeds the idea. Instead I believe that ‘A’ equals ‘B’ regardless of what ‘A’ and ‘B’ are and no preference should be given to either the same way no disadvantage should.

And yes, this is absurdly idealistic. I get it. I know. Naive? Sure. But isn’t the point of ideals to be idealistic?

(For clarity, to my knowledge I’ve never been a “victim” of any of this, but its the principal that drives me insane.)

(I’ll be back to social media Sunday)