Sunday, May 27, 2012

rant about boomers and tech and facebook and rapid internal ideation - -

See, I'm right.

This is not a guide to social DIY-ing.  It's a quick statement.

Late August 2011 I approached some target companies with a proposal to get them up and running with regularly published, internally generated, rapidly "ideated," social content.  I'm going to call it "social content," because quite frankly, all social content is marketing.

One part of my criteria for targeting a company was that they had to have a physical product: a box on a shelf, a unit in a showroom - - something that their end users could actually touch.

If you would like a very simplified version of my August 2011 proposal, which includes step by step instructions, metrics for ROI, and things like that, shoot me an email and I'll send it to you. NSA.

Today, I read this article that reinforces my opinions and theories, which I came to after several months of intensive careful research.  Here's an excerpt (parts of this quotes George Mason U economist Tyler Cowen),

...the Internet is a wonder when it comes to generating “cheap fun.” But because “so many of its products are free,” and because so much of a typical Web company’s work is “performed more or less automatically by the software and the servers,” the online world is rather less impressive when it comes to generating job growth.
It’s telling, in this regard, that the companies most often cited as digital-era successes, Apple and Amazon, both have business models that are firmly rooted in the production and delivery of nonvirtual goods. Apple’s core competency is building better and more beautiful appliances; Amazon’s is delivering everything from appliances to DVDs to diapers more swiftly and cheaply to your door.
By contrast, the more purely digital a company’s product, the fewer jobs it tends to create and the fewer dollars it can earn per user — a reality that journalists have become all too familiar with these last 10 years, and that Facebook’s investors collided with last week. There are exceptions to this rule, but not all that many: even pornography, long one of the Internet’s biggest moneymakers, has become steadily less profitable as amateur sites and videos have proliferated and the “professionals” have lost their monopoly on smut.
The internet is free, and the content is going to be more and more self-generated, and catching eyeballs will require being more and more ENGAGING and AUTHENTIC.  And SHORTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Get to the f-ing point in 10 seconds!!!!!!!!!!!   The more you need to tell me about your product or service, the less I need it!!!!!!!!!!!!  Don't convince me, I'm already doing that myself!!!!!!!!!

As I sat behind the camera taping a 2 hour ppt presentation given by a 70-year-old retiree a couple weeks ago (to be archived for future use....hahahahaha), my one overwhelming thought was, "If I have to sit through something for 2 hours, it better be Avengers quality."

AND, this comes back around to my current thoughts on the massive culture shift that we're going to be experiencing in 5 years, stretching for the next 10-20 years as the boomers retire and transition to those pleasant sunny acres in the sky:

  • Creating online content is not intuitive to most boomers.  
  • Creating online content is very intuitive to most gen-y-ers.
  • Gen x is the fulcrum around which these two massive generations will transition during this culture shift.  It's the generation that will allow relevant knowledge and processes to pivot from the old school boomer way of doing things to the new wave of no-attention-span nu skool gen y way of doing things.
Simple example:  right now I have to explain to, clients of a certain age, how to download email attachments, how to properly extract files from zipped folders, those kinds of things.  Technology may or may not change to simplify this sort of task, but the people who will be doing the task will most certainly be changing.

What are you thoughts on the upcoming culture shift?

What are you doing right now to be engaging, authentic, and are you GETTING TO THE POINT!?!?!?

Some additional food for thought:  right now you can have media content online within a couple hours - - or in most cases a couple minutes - - of creating it.  You can have media content on broadcast channels and publications within about a day of creating it.  As long as you have the money to create and the money to pay for the schedule.  Rapid internal ideation is key key key.

If you would like a very simplified version of my August 2011 proposal, which includes step by step instructions, metrics for ROI, and things like that, shoot me an email and I'll send it to you. NSA.

btw, just for fun, my favorite campaigns right now are on the radio, and the only product name I'm recalling is Cabot Stain:
Cabot Stain "How did this DIYer turn so pro?"
The hot dog commercial that talks about springtime being adequate grilling weather, and taking off your jacket to: put on a lighter jacket.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

CSI: Denver - - Tim Tebow is Missing

***this is a draft, I'm sure, certain even, that the final will be award winning***

LORAINNE SCHOEMAKER:  Has anyone seen Tim Tebow since that last amazing game where football things happened but we didn't win?


Monday, February 20, 2012

a quick rant about flexible spending accounts

Flexible Spending Accounts

Cool, I lost you already. 

These are called HSAs, MSAs, HRAs, FSAs, HDHPs.  My inspiration to write this comes from this link.

There, I truly lost you.  I rock.

The problem with Flexible Spending Accounts (beyond having another financial acronym) is that you’re giving stressed out tired employees one more thing to do, one more piece of paper to manage, and the perceived bother of managing that paper does not outweigh the perceived savings they can achieve.

If you’ve targeted CPAs you’re in luck, they will take probably take advantage.  If you’re targeting anyone else, consider it luck if they do take advantage.

Flexible Spending Accounts save people money.

If it’s your job to help people use their Flexible Spending Accounts, help them understand, and repeatedly reinforce, what’s in it for them (WIIFT?  WIIFU?).

An HR person telling me to use my Flexible Spending Account and providing me with endless handouts about it never worked.

Hearing directly from my manager how much he saved with 2 kids in daycare, and how easy it was to set up and use, DID WORK.

But it didn’t stick.    NOPE.  (And at base I’m a video editor who thrives on monotony…I should be taking moar paperwork to a lobster dinner.)

My manager’s Flexible Spending Account success was just one story.  It wasn’t repeated.  BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE USED IT!!!

Training programs for Flexible Spending Accounts have continuously been “Here’s the information.  Now do it.”  To be successful they need to have multiple success stories, and they need repetition!  And why not toss in a gaming element as well?  Show off how much employees are saving with their Flexible Spending Accounts.  Compete.  Celebrate.  Win stupid prizes.  Have something to show for it!

And make a big difference in employees lives because they WILL save money through their Flexible Spending Accounts….that you educated them all about through a personal, extended release strategy.

I’m Scott.  I help the people at corporations and organizations create web based training and eLearning tutorials.  Specifically, I help you write it, I create the video and graphics that go with it, and I help you put it all together.
 Scott Bell

Sunday, February 19, 2012

wrapping up eLearning with frosting, bows and glitter

eLearning: Summary

Download the full PDF article by clicking here.

So, this has been a journey!

Hi.  My name’s Scott.  I help the people at corporations and organizations create web based training and eLearning tutorials.  Specifically, I help you write it, I create the content (sound, video, graphics, etc.) that goes with it, and I help you put it all together.

While writing this article, I came across a quote: Learning is chaotic. 

Today’s hard and fast rules for learning do not apply to every learner, and will not be the same hard and fast rules for tomorrow.

As creators of training materials, we try to build a framework around this chaos called learning.  We have to be adaptable and change with the times.

Learning is an interruption.  If we are going to be successful, we have to be disruptive.

I’m writing this summary on the day that some training courses I created for the University of Washington Social Work Continuing Education Department have been glowingly approved.  Direct quote from the project manager, via my email: 

Scott - Thank you Thank you Thank you.  These 3 courses really look great!

And one of the project manager’s bosses:

Scott, these look great!  I appreciate your rapid response and flexibility.
These are fantastic products!

For this UW project, I
·         Helped write the narration scripts (they drafted, I revised)
·         Created the content, which means:
o   Sourced the voice over talent
o   Used at least 6 different programs to create the graphics and
o   Edit the video
o   Created downloadable course transcripts, and then
·         Assembled the video, graphics, transcripts, quizzes, into training courses on their system

Two years ago, I created content for a 25 volume online University-style training system for a multinational insurance agency.  This is my Real World Example B from that section of this article.

As of this writing, that training required for all sales agents, and profits have risen.

For that project, I
·         Interviewed SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and then drafted and revised their speaking scripts
·         Hired and supervised two freelancers to help me out with videotaping, video editing and graphics
·         Assembled the video, graphics, training manuals, subtitles, quizzes, pages, chapters, and modules on a beautiful custom system

Back in the wings right now I have a training project for a state agency.  My source material is Power Point files.  With them I am:
·         Writing the narration script
·         Sourcing the voice talent
·         Hiring help for particular parts
·         Putting everything into self-contained courses with Articulate
·         Posting the finished product to the agency’s system

Is this starting to look familiar?

Unique needs can be approached with simple steps and still create a unique, desired outcome.

I step in and execute those steps.  There might be a whole lot of steps (every need is unique), but I make my clients feel like it’s easy.

My clients (or more directly, my clients’ Project managers, managers at businesses and organizations, educators, human resources) already have their daily jobs to do.  When something like “build a training program for X,” is dropped on their plate, it can be a large order.  It took me 20-some pages to describe the various moving parts.  Particularly where creating the content is concerned; they may have never written a narration script, they might not understand the difference between the content itself and the way it is organized. 

I don’t think they should have to know any of this.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with not knowing how to do these things.  They are tasks best left to specialists.  There is no shame in not knowing how to do something, as long as you know how to hire someone who does.

A competent content specialist will be able to mesh his work seamlessly with your project.

Since 1994, I’ve been doing exactly this for all kinds of clients.  All kinds.  As I listened to a friend of mine giving me feedback on this article, he said something like, “Scott, do you know what a truly powerful force you are, how you have been so helpful to me and others as a project manager and content creator.  How you are able to quickly size things up then synthesize, reorganize and guide people.  Do you have any idea what a benefit that is?”

Yes, I do.  That’s why I wrote this.  What he said.  I like to call it my blender head.

                                                     haha, that’s a band logo.  Who knew?

BUT, back to the others described above:

Something I’d love to do for these educators, and any client with the need and the fit, is take advantage of Apples iBook Author, and start creating-then-posting fully engaging interactive iBooks to iTunes U, and otherwise branded eBooks for other convenient devices.

Something else I’d love to do, since I’m playing with ZebraZapps right now, is include this game-changing power (“game changing” - - get it?  Lol.) of game creation in more and more courses.

What do you want to do?

What do you want to create?

Learning should not be a hurdle to progress or a brick wall to growth. 
It should be fun.  And it has to be helpful - - to both the employee and employer.

I’m Scott.  I help the people at corporations and organizations create web based training and eLearning tutorials.  Specifically, I help you write it, I create the video and graphics that go with it, and I help you put it all together.