Tag Archives: Social Media

How Real Is Silicon Valley?

I just started to watch the HBO show, Silicon Valley, and so far I like it a lot (though not as much as Betas, an early Amazon Prime show that it rips off liberally). The case is full of quirky characters, and overall it seems like Mike Judge (Office Space, Beavis and Butthead) has finally found a voice that leans more on good writing and less on sledgehammer gags (Parker and Stone, you’re next). It’s funny, but more importantly, it has a compelling storyline that makes you want to see what happens next.

But how real is it? Is life in Silicon Valley really like how it is on Silicon Valley? You might think that I am unqualified to answer this question, given the fact that I have never actually been to Silicon Valley. And for the most part, you would be right. I can’t say for certain what it’s like to work at a giant search engine company where you ride a branded company bus to work and play dodgeball over your lunch break. But I can tell you one thing that the show gets completely right: Silicon Valley is all about business.

On the show, the leader of one large search company preaches relentlessly to his cult of followers about how their job is to make the world a better place. His true colors show quickly, however, when he loses out to a rival in a bid to acquire the main character’s new search algorithm. He quickly switches to bribery, intellectual property theft and overall dirty tricks (his so-called “spiritual advisor” is hilarious, a yogi yes man who simply agrees that everything the tech mogul says is “right” and then jets off to Aspen to spend his rewards).

At the same time, the kindly billionaire benefactor who saves the day by helping our hero start his new company turns out to be a jerk in his own right, a savant with limited social skills (he never looks anybody in the eye) who demands a business plan and a cap table without any guidance or advice. A cross between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, he is clearly meant to show us what the hero will become once he has given into the dark side (they share the same mannerisms, etc). In some ways, he is Darth Vader in a bad sweater and a tiny, ridiculously narrow Tango commuter car – nerd on the outside, all business underneath.

As someone who deals every day with Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., I can tell you with 100% accuracy that the main priority of all of these companies is to make money, not to make the world a better place. Their mission statements may disagree, but their actions speak louder than words. Facebook’s lack of oversight on Cambridge Analytica illustrates perfectly where the company’s focus is at, for example.

So while I can’t tell you if the programmers in Silicon Valley are really bullies from a 1980s coming-of-age movie (they seem like it on the show), I can tell you that the business models on display seem to be rooted in real life. In many ways, that’s a bad thing, with decisions being made solely based on financials. On the other hand, however, there is comfort in knowing that even Silicon Valley bows to the mighty dollar, giving the industry a sense of predictability that helps people like me do our jobs with a degree of confidence.

I may not live in Silicon Valley, but my job is Valley-adjacent, and that makes life interesting enough as it is.

Social Media Explained

If you can spare a couple of minutes of your day between checking out your colleagues on LinkedIn, uploading your latest pictures to Instagram, checking out what your friends are up to on Facebook and following your favorite Tweeter, I invite you to jump into the world of social media. Specifically, how can social media help our organizations, market our products and what does the future hold?

Here’s what we know; social media has forever shaped the way we use the internet. social media has affected marketing strategy, Google’s search algorithm and, at the very least, made it easy to reach out to long lost friends. But is it right for your organization?

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Social Media Explained With Donuts Via Instagram

Generating Sales

Every organization needs sales. I’m guessing that you would benefit if more people bought what you’re selling. The question is how can social media help? Let’s look at some typical questions we field from our client base.

We’ve all heard about a video going “viral” on YouTube, but how does that happen?

  • “Online sharing, even at viral scale, takes place through many small groups, not via the single status post or tweet of a few influencers…Content goes viral when it spreads beyond a particular sphere of influence and spreads across the social web via ordinary people sharing with their friends…the median ratio of Facebook views to shares [is] merely 9-to-1. This means that for every Facebook share, only nine people visited the story. Even the largest stories on Facebook are the product of lots of intimate sharing—not one person sharing and hundreds of thousands of people clicking.” (Ad Age)

Which social media service should I use to increase sales?

This question can really only be answered once your organization uncovers where your target audience “lives” online. But consider some of the following:

  • LinkedIn is the only major social media platform for which usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year-olds than among 18- to 29-year-olds.  (HubSpot)
  • Although Facebook is the most important social media lead generation tool for b2c marketers (with 77% saying they had acquired a customer through Facebook, compared to 60% for a company blog), among B2B companies, LinkedIn was the most effective, with 65% having acquired a customer through the professional network, followed by company blogs (60%), Facebook (43%) and Twitter (40%). (Marketing Charts)

Do we really need to use social media?

This question begs another question. What do your customers want? If they want to find you using social media or search engines and you aren’t there, they may look elsewhere. Here are a couple thoughts on this subject:

  • B2B marketers believe social media is critical to organic search success. Marketers rate social media as the second-most important factor (64%) in search, behind only strong content (82%). (BtoB Magazine)
  • social media sites and blogs reach 80% of all U.S. internet users. (Mindjumpers)