Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Even good leaders make mistakes, but few admit it, especially publicly

Friday, June 10th, 2011

I was pleasantly surprised when I read the recent article about former Google CEO and current Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s public admission that he’d screwed up by underestimating the threat Facebook posed, not taking it seriously. 

How many times do you hear a prominent executive admitting point blank that he or she has made a mistake, especially the leader of a powerful company like Google (which is seen by many as somewhat infallible and arrogant)?  I found it extremely refreshing to hear such honesty, particularly given who it came from.  Even more refreshing was the fact that he was taking personal accountability for this failure.

It takes a very confident leader to admit failure, a mistake or a shortfall.  Some argue that the best leaders are in fact those who fail, but who learn from their mistakes and bounce back to achieve great success – that this is the test of a true leader. 

If anything, I thought this admission gave a bit of a boost to Google’s sometimes arrogant identity – that one of its executives could admit having made a mistake. 

I wonder how many other leaders would have the confidence to utter those same three words “I screwed up”?

Brand names that mean nothing

Friday, April 29th, 2011

I’m always intrigued by brand names that are “different”.  It makes me wonder how the company came up with the name, and what it was intended to stand for – the “story” behind the name.  The purist in me shakes me head, but as I admitted in an earlier related blog (What’s in a name?), the realist in me accepts that this is simply reality, especially in today’s online world. 

One brand name that got me thinking was Zoosk (as in zoosk.com), the world’s largest online dating community, and Facebook’s #1 dating application, which has been around since late 2007.  As a happily married person I wouldn’t typically come across, or perhaps be aware of the site, but an ad on TV caught my eye.  My reaction – what a great name, whatever it is or isn’t meant to mean!  It’s short and punchy.  It starts with an unusual letter – and is also a bold move because it’s the last letter of the alphabet, which some would consider as being disadvantageous when it comes to listings, which tend to be alphabetical.  

The name also reminded me of something I learned about branding and selecting a name – that a name is often an empty vessel, which takes on meaning over time, based on what its customers think or feel.  It takes a wise (or brave) brander to settle on a name that appears to have no real meaning to it. 

The brand has been a huge success, that’s obvious.  How much of it is the actual name, which they’ve leveraged to call their community members “Zooskers”?  And how much of it is due to the offering itself and the experience its members have – i.e. that they’ve “gotten it right” and the service is simply better than what’s out there?  Regardless, the name certainly isn’t holding it back, and is more likely adding to the intrigue and appeal of the brand. 

What do you think about the Zoosk name?  Should brand names “mean” something?

OMG, I’m becoming my father

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Be forewarned, this isn’t going to be a “typical” blog posting, but more of an introspective one as we near the end of the year. 

You know that old stereotypical (and horrified) statement you often hear in women…“oh my god, I’m becoming my mother”?   Well I have a slightly different twist on it.

As I started to explore the world of social media – tweeting, blogging, being on Facebook (particularly the blogging) I thought to myself “oh my god, I’m becoming my father” – Robert (Bob) Sauvé.  He has been dead for almost 5 years now, but he used to be a very active “letter to the editor” writer and commenter on various columns in the newspaper (in particular Barbara Kay’s column in the National Post).  I have to admit, I never really understood his strong desire to express his opinion, and hopefully “be heard”.  I’m sure that at times I cringed knowing he was doing this – and that readers may connect us – but there he was…a trend-setter ahead of his time in the world of self-expression. 

When my dad died, Barbara Kay wrote a wonderful article in his honour, saying he was the best reader a columnist could have.  Through his interest in her column, and the comments he sent her, he developed a relationship with her that was valued, to the point that she honoured him with this tribute.  Fast-forward to today and you’ve got the makings of the kind of relationship that many seek to cultivate in the world of social media. 

It’s too bad my dad died when he did – just as the world of self expression online was exploding.  He’d have been in his glory today.  (Although Twitter wouldn’t have been this thing, as 140 characters would have been way too short for him!  And I don’t think he’d have had the time of day for Facebook, as he wouldn’t have seen that as intellectually stimulating enough!)  My guess is that he would have become a blogger.  As a self-proclaimed curmudgeon, a blog would have given him an ideal platform for sharing his views and engaging in “conversation” (and much-loved debate) with anyone who would be interested.  And I’m sure he’d have been a regular commentator on many other blogs. 

Something also tells me he would have gotten a chuckle about me becoming a blogger, although he would probably think that my subject matter was not meaty enough as it didn’t relate to politics, ethics and other “intellectual” matters of the world.  But I’d probably get the nod for “becoming a blogger”.  When I write my blog I often think of him and how he would have been in his glory had he been alive today – blogging away to his heart’s content.  I guess I’ve become my father in some ways.  And with that I say “dad, this blog’s for you”!