January 27, 2011

How to make your product go viral


Viral product design is far more effective for product adoption than email marketing or banner ads

David SparkHere’s some of my coverage from the ICIS Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. I was covering the event for Dice and Dice News.

Can firms engineer products so they’re more likely to go viral, so there’s contagion and dispersion? This was the question Sinal Aral and Dylan Walker of the NYU Stern School of Business asked and answered in their research paper Creating Social Contagion Through Viral Product Design: A Randomized Trial of Peer Influence in Networks.”

What the two discovered is that firms can increase adoption of a product 400 to 500 percent by adding simple design elements to make it go viral. The two elements they tested were active personalized invites (e.g., “Hey Dave it’s Steve, check out this cool app”) and passive broadcast notifications (e.g., “Your friend Steve is using this new app”). Continue reading

November 10, 2010

How social tools are improving human resources

From left, Oliver Marks (Sovos Group), Eric Lane (Intuit), Ciara Smyth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Tony Treglia (Aviva), Bill McNee (Saugatuck Technology)

There’s gold in your employees’ personal social networks

David SparkI’m at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, Calif., this week covering the event for Dice and its companion media division, Dice News.

Human resources is a time- and people- intensive task. Recruiters spend the majority of their time just building relations with prospective employees or people who could refer them to talent. We all know that social media in general has increased our ability to build and maintain relations with people. Prior to Twitter and Facebook, do you remember anyone telling you they had more than 1,000 friends?

If social media has proved to accelerate relationships and knowledge of these relationships, how can that information be put to better use to support all of human resources’ needs? Social tools can be used to manage compensation, benefits, acquiring talent, grooming talent, aligning employee success with business success, matching like-minded employees and cultivating innovation within the organization. How can HR people leverage social media to make their job more efficient and easier to do?

Somebody’s got to be doing it better, and luckily those people were on a panel discussion “Human Resources Meets Enterprise 2.0 and the Cloud” (#e2conf) at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif.:

Continue reading

August 25, 2010

How to crowdsource the production of a feature length film

There’s no trick to it — just a lot of hard work

David SparkWhat Hollywood has discovered is that people can be really passionate about stories and characters. Fans are so emphatic they just want more. Hollywood appeases them with additional content such as t-shirts, extras on a DVD, and maybe a podcast.

But what if the entire production is fully shut down, yet the fans want the story to continue? This was the question Steve Fisher and Mike Dougherty asked about the TV series “Firefly” and its subsequent movie “Serenity.” They were avid fans who wouldn’t be satisfied with just another piece of fan fiction. They set their sites on creating a movie. They first asked for permission from the series producer, Josh Whedon, made a call out to fans to help, and spent two years organizing and producing the film “Browncoats: Redemption.”

It took 160 volunteers, a lot of work, a ton of favors, and only $27,000 to produce the film. In the end, all the proceeds from the film will go to five different charities connected with Firefly’s original creator and cast members.

When Fisher and Dougherty are asked, “What’s the secret to pulling off a crowdsourced film?” the two of them simply said, “We just did it.” There is no trick. It really is that hard to do. Above is my interview with the two filmmakers at Gnomedex 10 in Seattle. I was shooting a series of interviews for Dice and Dice News at the event. I asked Fisher and Dougherty about the project and some of the hurdles they had to overcome.

For more on Gnomedex, read my piece, “The cool and not-so-cool from Gnomedex” and check out other videos from the event on Dice TV and Dice Out Loud.

Here’s the trailer for “Browncoats: Redemption.”

August 23, 2010

Tips for using social media & events to get your dream job

Even with social media, half of success is just showing up

David SparkSocial media as we all know is not a panacea to achieve your goals, but rather an enabler. If you want to land your dream job using social media, it still takes a lot of work. I chatted with Adria Richards of But You’re a Girl, who believes the secret for dream job success starts with attending events and building your relationships in person.

Are you a little shy about meeting people at conferences? Do you not know the best ways to follow up? Richards has some great answers to those questions. Watch this 4-minute video.

This interview is part of a series of videos I produced at Gnomedex 10 in Seattle this weekend as I was reporting for Dice and Dice News. They’ve got a fun contest to win an iPad on their Facebook Page. Just explain what makes you a true geek and you’re entered to win (August 31 is the deadline). Plus, check out Robert Scoble’s tips for getting started in social media.