Saturday, March 14, 2009

PoST Wrap Up - The Last Class

Considering the experiences we have each had during our time in Professor Aaker's Power of Social Technologies class, today will certainly be a day of mixed emotions and reflection.  Here we go:

One sticky insight from the class:

Clarity of Ask/Storytelling
Give up Control

Putting it out there – iterate – user interaction
Think small
Share yourself – belong to the group
Learn from others through the process
Put yourself in someone else’ shoes – what did they have for breakfast?
The messenger matters
People are good (viral) People are lazy (busy – need a clear call to action) People are simple (reduce)
Find one clear emotion to tap into and to drive

As we went around the room sharing our stickiest takeaways, it was clear that while there were similarities in lessons learned, each person's experience was unique.  I also enjoyed hearing the comments and knowing what that particular team had accomplished having seen their presentation a few days before.  Moving quickly, we transitioned this wrap-up discussion into Professor Aaker's lecture on Happiness.  

This lecture is data driven and provides a great opportunity for self-reflection.  A couple of funny videos helped to articulate some of the challenges we face in our attempts to be happy:

From Conan O'Brien - this comedian helps us to remember why gratitude and recognizing how fortunate we are is a key to happiness.  Louis CK:

From SNL - this clip help us to remember that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence and something's gotta give when we pour the majority of our time and effort into a career.  Kelly Ripa – Crack Cocaine:

This lecture is posted online so I will spare the details, but I did want to share 2 tactical takeaways:

1. Carve out your areas of incompetence:  There was some debate about the downside of such a principle (ie: young girls jumping quickly to say "I'm bad at math" when they might have a tremendous, although dormant, capacity for mathematics) but overall there are some apparent benefits to this practice.  One tangible example was given of a consultant who joined some firm and, rather than follow suit with his colleagues and claim he could handle any of the potential tasks thrown his way, he chose to be very upfront, to carve out his areas of incompetence, and tell the people he worked with exactly what he wasn't good at.  The story goes that he was promoted faster than any of his peers because of this practice.

2. Brand Family Traditions:  we talked about the power in branding traditions to create powerful memories for our children.  One example that will stick with me forever was of one family's "Linda Evangelista Spring Cleaning Fashion Show."  The family would, each Spring, pull out all the clothes from the closet, have a fashion show, round up all of the old clothes, and before the end of the day drop them off at Goodwill and organize the closet.  These clever parents were able to brand an activity, Spring cleaning, in such a way that it became the treasured memory of their 19 year old daughter when asked "What is your favorite family memory?"  Pretty impressive.

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