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Jive is excited to be co-sponsoring a booth at the Marketing Nation Summit today through April 15 in San Francisco. The slogan for this conference is 'Inspiration in the Nation.' There is clearly a lot to be inspired about with over 6,000+ marketers attending, 100+ sponsors, 100+ engaging sessions, and keynotes from Arianna Huffington, Phil Fernandez, Salman Khan and John Legend.


If you have the pleasure of attending, visit the Marketo Community Lounge Powered by Jive at booth #425. Here are the top 5 reasons to do so:


1. We've got the power!
With all the tweeting you'll be doing, you're going to need to recharge your devices. Stop by our Powered by Jive charging stations with your charger in hand - we have plenty of standard outlets!

2. Meet Marketo champions
Meet Marketo certified experts and community users - they'll be present to answer your toughest questions. You can always reference this great document by Wim Stoop that shares specifics about the ability to integrate Jive communities with Marketo, which was rolled out in the Winter 2015 cloud release: Marketo integration - FAQ

3. Enjoy Mom's cookies
Every conference has afternoon doldrums. Channel your inner cookie monster because sugar, butter and flour will fix your energy slump.

cookie monster.gif


4. AJA: Ask Jive Anything

Do you have a customer community? Do you know how consumers make choices? Here are some interesting stats about customer communities:

92% of global consumers trust personal recommendations over any advertising

84% of worldwide consumers take action based on reviews and recommendations of trusted sources

95% of Millennials worldwide want brands to court them


The Marketo Community Lounge will feature an 'Ask Jive' bar. Stop by to learn about the new Marketo Marketing Nation Community, Jive-x and to see a live demo of Jive-x.

You'll be able to meet these friendly Jivers at the booth: Billy Volpone, Sam Nik-Pay, Jonathan Guzman, Belinda Joseph, Sandra Cheng, Jon Phipps, Stephen Salazar, Jackie McElaney.


5. Get a sneak peek of the New Marketo Marketing Nation Community

Marketo's Global Nation Builder, Scott K Wilder,  Marketo's Senior Community Manager, Liz (Courter) Oseguera and Jiver Cathy Won will be leading a session: Introducing the New Marketing Nation Community! Marketo's community, over four years old, is embarking on a new chapter in which they will provide members with a new experience and capabilities. Catch a sneak peek of the New Marketing Nation Community launching in May at this session.


Marketo employees, are there other activities that we should be getting pumped about at the Marketing Nation Summit?

Glen Lipka, Nathan Brauer, Mark Siciliano, Emir Elliott-Lindo, Bharti Hathalia, Scott K Wilder,Bill VanderWall, Jeff Young, Kenneth Law, Davis Lee, Jenny Chang, Lou Beckert, Lynn-kai Chao, Mahesh Jeswani, Vinish Benny, Vic Madrigal

Not long ago, Ilya Pozin at Inc Magazine blogged that collaboration often fails and is not always a good thing.  He quoted Steve Wozniak in a 2012 NY Times article ("The Rise of the New Groupthink") by Susan Cain, the famous introvert, as saying:

I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone... Not on a committee. Not on a team.


But Wozniak was also active in the Homebrew Computer Club and in fact stated that “without computer clubs there would probably be no Apple computers.”  So how can we reconcile these two views from the same person?  I think it’s the subtle difference between collaborating and sharing.  Collaboration implies a certain amount of give-and-take between multiple parties, but sharing is simply offering up something without necessarily expecting anything in return.  water cooler.jpg


I've talked about working out loud a lot here in the Jive Community and also in other places.  It’s the idea that you make your work observable as you are doing it.  Certainly many great collaborations came out of computer clubs, but the clubs themselves weren't so much about collaborating as they were about sharing.  Lone wolves often tinkered in their garages, then came to the clubs to show what they had done and see what others were doing.


In the physical world, companies have long recognized that cafeterias, coffee machines, and water coolers can be magnets for the sharing of ideas within an organization.  Steve Jobs famously obsessed over bathroom locations at Pixar in order to maximize the opportunity for “serendipitous personal encounters.”  So it’s surprising to see how many companies recoil at the notion of having a virtual Water Cooler on their employee social platforms, a place where employees can feel free to talk about whatever they want.


On the surface, it’s easy to understand why.  A virtual Water Cooler can look like a giant, highly visible, ever-growing waste of time and resources that keeps employees from being productive.  Collaboration software vendors and consultants will often counter this perception by arguing that having a Water Cooler increases employee engagement and speeds adoption by creating a fun way for employees to become familiar with the tool’s features, thus developing skills which then can transfer over to more productive collaborative efforts.


I wholeheartedly agree with these benefits, but I want to point out two other often overlooked ways in which a Water Cooler can add real value at a much more strategic, organizational level.   We’ve had a Water Cooler operating in our Jive internal platform for three years and have noticed a couple of interesting things.


First, a vibrant, active Water Cooler contains a ready audience that is a microcosm of the entire organization.  Because anyone can talk about anything, readership is drawn from all areas of the business.  Our Water Cooler regularly draws in about 25% of our employee base as readers in a given month.  The charts below show the distribution of Water Cooler visitors by business area and by geographical region as compared to the distribution of the total employee base (labels have been removed for confidentiality purposes).


ba.jpg  geo.jpg


As you can see, the Water Cooler readership mirrors overall employee distribution reasonably well, meaning that there’s a good chance that when you post something there, your readership represents the company at large.


Here’s an example of how that becomes beneficial.  One of our product development teams was deliberating on several different design options for a new product feature.  They posted their ideas to the Water Cooler and asked for comments.  In less than two days they had over 40 comments from multiple countries and from employees in roles they would have never thought to include, and the result was actually a hybrid design that was better than the ones they had been considering.  This kind of innovation and productivity was able to occur because the audience was already there for other reasons, some of them non-business related.


The second way that a Water Cooler can provide strategic value is by surfacing patterns of interest.  It’s a good idea to periodically review and categorize the posts that are made there to see if such patterns exist.  For example, we found in our case that:


  1. questions about how to get something done in the company (where the poster didn’t know where else to ask), and
  2. discussions of new technologies


each comprised about 10-15% of the total discussions in our Water Cooler (I’m happy to say that it was our CEO who first noticed these!).  So we recently revamped the design of our home page to encourage and put more focus on these two types and to ensure that questions about work are promptly answered.


Casual conversations at work will always happen, whether at the physical water cooler or the virtual one.  I don’t think having a virtual Water Cooler increases non-business conversation, it only makes what was already going on more visible.  But it does create a larger space for more of Jobs’ “serendipitous personal encounters” to occur, and smart companies will recognize that as an asset, not a liability.


So I say to all you companies who are on the fence, embrace your inner Water Cooler!  It's not only cool and refreshing, but can be awesomely strategic as well.

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