Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Google Docs and the Lonely Road Warrior

A friend who recently retired as an airline sales rep talked about the challenges of her job. Because she traveled across the Midwest making sales calls, she often felt disconnected from her manager and colleagues. Weekly office meetings were the only opportunity for the sales team to brainstorm, share customer comments, discuss new promotions, and review sales figures.

I told her about Google Docs and asked her to take a quick look at the Google Docs blog. When I asked if this tool's features would have made her life easier and the sales team more productive. I received a resounding, "YES!"

Using Google Docs, the six sales team members who traveled throughout the country could view and edit spreadsheets and crunch numbers together. Airline contracts are frequently affected by market conditions, i.e. oil prices, and her team could discuss adjustments before meeting with their next customer.

Documents could be uploaded, created, revised and polished before a presentation. Edits could be tracked and versions saved to gear marketing tools to specific clients. It was common to want to share customer feedback with team members after a sales visit. She described this feature as an answer to the prayer of lengthy emails with attachments "that I could never open".

She added, too, that today's market is so volatile that collaboration and discussion shouldn't wait, can't wait until all sales people can meet face to face. They need to be proactive in selling and responding to their customers, and having data at their fingertips is key. She sees Google Docs as a way to keep the lonely road warrior apprised and connected.

The power of bloggers

This article, Blogs on Glob Show Power of Populace appeared in today's Tribune. It's another example of corporations dealing with the groundswell!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Favorite Brand Quality Value Convenience

Yes, my favorite brand is the on-air, online shopping outlet, QVC. I'm hooked. While I feel guilty visiting brick and mortar stores since I've been unemployed, I feel no shame sneaking a peek at channel 95 to see what's selling. I don't have to make a purchase, but I can revel in the discussions and presentations. It's true the hosts' chatter can be a bit corny and overly zealous, but they're a lot more fun than surly salespeople. I can buy sandals, sterling silver jewelry, make-up or a camera at any time, day or night.

QVC is a multi-media retailer offering 24/7 shopping via on-air presentations, , text messages, and an iPhone app. There are YouTube, Facebook and Twitter pages supporting the company's efforts to build a loyal customer base. Conversations between followers/shoppers and the QVC team can be found at the Community page which also includes blogs. The latest thread announces the addition of yet another access point to QVC via Android. An April community posting by the QVC team announces improvements to the platform as a result of customer feedback. The two key ingredients of the groundswell can be found at QVC: technology and people.

I can set up e-mail alerts for reminders of an upcoming show of a favorite vendor. If I'm in doubt about a product, I can read reviews from other customers to help me decide. On the QVC site, I'm a "Spectator" as defined in Groundswell. I don't write reviews of the merchandise, but I'm an avid reader of them. attracts more than six million viewers per month and yet the number or reviewers is much smaller suggesting what the Groundswell authors have noted, "since being a Spectator requires so much less effort than the other activities in the groundswell, it's no surprise that this is the largest group". I don't want to take the time to write a review, but what others say impacts my decision-making. Was that Isaac Mizrahi tartan plaid cheesecake really tasty?

The website also offers a chat feature for immediate customer assistance. I can create a wish list to share with friends via e-mail. No more excuses for not knowing what I want for my birthday! I'm not always ready or able to buy, but QVC is there...everywhere...when I am.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Blog Post #5- Weaving the Web

As our Lis753 class comes to a close, I've been thinking about the Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 tools we learned to use: wikis, blogs, Flickr, YouTube, podcasts, rss feeds. I've wanted to contemplate them in a larger context than just the technology of it all. I wondered if the Web's inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, had any foresight as to how the Web would impact our society, our world. In Weaving the Web, Berners-Lee discusses the ultimate destiny of his invention which debuted in 1991.

His closing chapter opens with the question, "Can the future Web change the way people work together and advance knowledge in a small company, a large organization, a country?" We can answer that question. We know that the Web has changed the way libraries work and the way they advance knowledge.

Berners-Lee observes, "that people seem to be naturally built to interact with others as part of a greater system". Blogging? Flickr? MySpace?

"If we lay the groundwork right and try novel ways of interacting on the new Web, we may find a whole new set of financial, ethical, cultural, and governing structures to which we can choose to belong, rather than having to pick the ones we happen to physically live in".

I thought about our class visitors, Erik and Jaap, and how we were introduced to their library in Holland from their physical visit, yet we can continue to learn about their work at the Delft Library via the Web.

In a discussion of his goal for the Web, Berners-Lee describes a system that would take advantage of "ingenuity, inspiration, and intuition of individuals in a special way". We've seen examples of libraries subscribing to those technologies that maintain that goal. And for those librarians that have shied away from the technology, they may want to visit Berners-Lee's insights to understand the true nature of the Web and to use the evolving Web2.0 tools to provide their patrons with the information and services they need and want.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Ning? Library 2.0?

Is anyone familiar with Ning site: Library 2.0?

Have a look!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Blogpost #4 Library Blogs of Note

Ricklibrarian is written by”baby boomer” reference librarian, Rick Roche of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library in Western Springs, IL.

I learned of the blog through an article, Balancing the Online Life in the January 2007 issue of American Libraries.

The AL article notes that Roche began working in libraries in 1976 “long before the birth of the web”, and quotes him as saying, “Boomers do not have to be left behind and can catch up technically, but it helps to partner with the younger librarians”.

There’s much written about the resistance of “old school” librarians to the technologies of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0, and yet here’s a great example of a professional who has taken it upon himself “to make a conscious commitment to keep up with the technology trends”. Roche attended the LITA forum for six years and while he observed that many of the presentations were beyond what he could understand, he learned from the effort:

“In demonstrating his points, the speaker completely lost me. You may not need to write code, but you need to read it and know what bits to take, how to combine it, and where to put it. He moved a little too fast for me in this presentation. I need to start again with this topic” (Roche’s comments about a Mashup Application presentation at the Internet Librarian 2006 conference).

Ricklibrarian , “a review of books, websites, movies, or anything worth reviewing with comments about libraries and librarianship”, is valuable for it’s diversity of content as well as the observations and spirit of its creator.

It's comforting to read these musings from a fellow boomer who's challenged, but not defeated, by the new technologies, and whose adventure and humor make for enjoyable and informative reading.