Last week, I attended the social media week from Wednesday to Friday. It makes me really excited to know more and more companies are focusing on social media strategy, because companies finally realize how important customer’s voice is, and how efficient social media will influence more people.  

Social media week is free registration for everyone; I got the news from @hegranes.  I signed up for a lot of sessions and went to as many as I could in order to get the social media trend in New York.  All of them were held as panel styles, which invited 2-4 people from social media departments in some famous companies, such as IBM, Nokia, JWT, LinkedIn, Time Warner, and L’Oreal. Some of the sessions and panels I attended didn’t teach me any new approaches, they all talked about the current popular topics: engagement, influencer, and ROI.  As Brian Solis' said in his latest blog "Brands Face Stream Fatigue as Consumers Look Beyond Gimmicks in Social Networks", I think a lot of companies just do whatever popular on the market, they don't have their innovative social media solution to let their services or products meet their customer want and market needs.

However, two of the interesting sessions peaked my attention, which were held in Bloomberg, which always treats the visitors very well, providing snacks and meals and plus I got chances to visit their awesome snack bar. They also showed off the high-tech badges and personalized wifi code once you sign in to their building.

My first interesting event was four new start-ups talking about their retail banking social media approaches.  They all had great ideas regarding the payments and credit card solutions.  “Move n Bank”, incorporates credit card into Mobile technology.  It sorts the spending category, can show which how much money you spend on each category, whether it is for fast food, or grocery, coffee and Powerball.  It can even find out you have spent $279 in Starbucks this month, reminds consumers of their spending behavior. Another feature of it is that consumer can show some credit score through social networking. That, how many good friends you connect, decides you how much you can lend from the bank.  “The Simple Card” talked about powerful searching engine to sort where, what, when, with whom you spent money and the platform designed friendly for users to pay among the friends, it is also keep track of your spending.  “Venmo” is mobile solution, similar to PayPal, to pay friends and charge them, but also show your friends’ social activities, for example, two friends ate at Jean George last Tuesday, just like Foursquare , you can “stalk” your friends.  “Bill Guard” is a secure system to avoid other merchants to overcharge consumer, but majorly to target to banks to save their time to deal with mistake charges between consumer and merchants, such as some companies renew subscription without notice you, some restaurant charge you more tips than you signed.  Once internet has some customer complains or suspects related to certain merchants, Bill guard can capture the information and warn you on your e-bill or send you an e-mail. I was totally brain washed by those new start-ups.  Retail bank is a really difficult segment to establish start-up because it has to deal with too many regulations.  But it is also a really smart way to provide consumer advanced convenience in social media world.
I also liked Reid Hoffman’s interview.  I made sure to get there early – first 100 people got a free copy of his new book “the Start-up of You”, as we saw the brief interview “ 8 job search tips” from Mashable the day before.  Reid talked about Plan A, Plan B and Plan Z.  I think people will most likely to have Plan Bs, but never thought of Plan Z, which is the plan if Plans A & B fail. I have admired LinkedIn for its networking capability and always surf on LinkedIn to find connections or apply for jobs.  Reid said everyone needs to be entrepreneur of yourself, to take responsibility and to have the spirit as a start-up.  He is not necessarily suggesting that everyone founds own companies, but promote yourself on the job market, connect with people as if you would need to for developing your business.  I got the book and can’t help reading 30 pages in that afternoon.  I might have deep thoughts about the book later.  But the first section has really attracted me.  Reid uses a lot start-up stories, such as Netflix and Zappos to inspire us that we always need to keep adjusting as startup beta stage, improving the feature, skill and knowledge to meet the market and “customer’s needs. Also it will be very easy for individual to build your knowledge and experience on your existed assets.  Donal Trump built his real estate because his dad is a real estate developer.  Google co-founders both have PHD on computer science. I really concurred that current job market is not a traditional market anymore, companies will never spend a lot of money to train employees from a white piece of paper, instead, they direct hire someone who already has the experience and knowledge.  Also traditional applications will become harder and harder to get an interview, the only efficient way is networking.  I think I learned a lot from the first 30 pages of his book.  

I read an article from Businessweek that Google, Facebook, Skype, Twitter and Zynga all have set up their another core offices in New York, and plan to expand more, which means those social media gurus all think New York is an important hub and excellent place to development their business.  I hope it also provides me an excellent opportunity to find a social media job, to let me have more space to execute my creative ideas.

Some Interesting Session Links
LinkedIn Platform Use 
How to Build a Global Facebook Architecture for a Global Brand
Retail Bank Social Media
Whole Social Media Week Video

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