storytelling

Listening deeply: getting to know you, developing products, advising startups

This is my last week at the Storia App by Selfish Inc's headquarters in San Francisco. After more than a year leading early growth, product strategy, community building and operations management of this visual story sharing app at RocketSpace, I’m moving on…

I’ve really enjoyed exploring a new realm of expression with everyone in the Storia development, design and product management team and the Storia user community, the gift of getting to know creative thoughtful people better through your creations in the app, sharing stories with hundreds of people around the world, and all the candid discussions we've had about our life and passions.

I also admire the vision of so many beta testers and content creators for this new storytelling service and its budding community. The feedback shared with me about shaping Storia as a technology that supports your life and most important relationships and pursuits has been insightful, and generous.

To everyone I've talked with in the past 16 months -- whether you used the app or not, whether you're on Android or iOS or only the web, whether we've known each other for ages or just met on the side of the road for a few minutes, believe me, we talked about it -- I thank you for your contributions to the development of this story sharing social network and want you to know that I was listening deeply.

Even as I move on, I'm looking forward to what Storia has planned, and what people everywhere are going to do with Storia in the future.

What's next for me? I'll be around, and engaging with you about where we're headed with content, community, visual storytelling, and all things digital media and startup.

I'll also be talking with startups about chief product or chief community builder roles, and consulting on product, operations, marketing, growth.

On June 4, I'll be holding a speed advice clinic for startup founders in San Francisco.

With CXO advisor visiting from London Shefaly Yogendra -- who recently exited her fine jewellery venture and has two decades of international business building, and has been named a top writer at Quora for the past three years -- in 20 minute slots, we'll listen deeply to your problem and offer possible implementable steps.

Let me know if you want to come that day with a question related to product strategy, content and community building, branding, market outreach, governance, global growth. We'll get you a spot, and tell you where we'll be.

Can A Visual Story Become A Book Proposal?

That's what Toronto celebrity chef Zane Caplansky and I are going to find out, and you're invited to join us.

We're collaborating at Storia.me (formerly named Selfish), the new visual storytelling service where I've been heading content and community for the past year, to create the foundation of a book about his adventures building a deli empire.

Zane's a great storyteller, and his quest for the perfect smoked meat sandwich has taken him on a personal and professional journey around the world, from dive bars and divorce into foodie business ventures on wheels and construction lots, and onto the shelves of Whole Foods and television shows judging donuts and national radio airwaves talking about what makes Canadian food uniquely Canadian.

He's changed his name and returned to his roots and now he's serving handmade, homemade Jewish deli food the way his mother and grandmother taught him, and sharing his biggest lessons about life and how what we crave -- yes, it could be a sandwich -- holds the key to our future.

It's a story we can all enjoy.

In fact, a major Canadian literary agent requested Zane's book proposal.

Two years ago.

Does that sound familiar?

It's a common story and nightmare of many promising writers. You're busy. It's a lot of material to get your arms around. It's overwhelming! It takes time to pick out a narrative, pin down the content you want to draw from when you start writing. It also takes time to compare and contrast other related titles.

So here's what Zane and I are going to try at Storia.me, with its topic-specific, ongoing stories and its moments of photo, video and text:

We'll start capturing chapter ideas for his memoir in an exclusive story, and in this collaborative story Proposing Deli Man we'll walk you through what we’re doing together. Kind of like a blueprint for how we're doing it.

If you're a writer you'll probably find it interesting in a behind-the-scenes-in-publishing kind of way (and you might want to try it yourself, right along with us).

If you're a fan of Zane's food and his life stories, you might like to see him put together this book like he puts together his lovingly made smoked meat sandwiches.

He'll also be sharing about this project on all his platforms -- like a media- and audience-savvy book author needs to -- and inviting people to come peek in and comment. That includes you. We want to hear your thoughts every step of the way.

"It's a good example of collaboration, as well as a brilliant idea and useful for me," Zane says.

We can't wait to get started. So subscribe right now to our behind-the-scenes story Proposing Deli Man, and Zane Caplansky's Storywhere we'll be capturing all the delicious material representing his story, and be sure you're following Zane too so you don't miss any new stories he starts.

If you know anyone who would like to watch this unfold, or take part themselves, share this right now.

See you in the story!

Executing Global Rollout Of A New Social Networking Collaboration Tool

 

photo-9BetaList highlights to thousands of tech-savvy early adopters the upcoming mobile app of Selfish.me, the San Francisco startup I joined in February as director of community...

So fun strategizing and executing the global rollout of this new social networking collaboration tool! Sign up now to be notified as soon as it hits the app store.

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Another Storytelling Venture Sheds Old Media Constraints For 21st Century Creativity & Context

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 4.09.26 PMBlogger and columnist Ezra Klein (formerly of the Washington Post) just announced in The Verge his new news venture "Project X" at Vox Media. It aims to address the question: "why hasn't the Internet made the news better at delivering crucial context alongside new information?" "New information is not always — and perhaps not even usually — the most important information for understanding a topic," Klein writes in The Verge. That's the way news has functioned in the past, often due to space restrictions. "The web has no such limits. There's space to tell people both what happened today and what happened that led to today."

As a 21st century content creator with an old media background, I'm familiar both with the restrictions Project X's founders (including Melissa Bell and Matthew Yglesias ) have been bristling under and the avenues they want to pursue.

News is a natural field for building a rich new ecosystem of information around content.

 

For the past decade I've been committed to doing on a personal scale what Project X aims to do for news: Plumbing the content of deep interests and creating transmedia stories that can live and grow online.

Our time is coming!

SEO Yourself By Filling Out Your GooglePlus Profile

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Your G+ profile page is a web-wide cheat sheet for you & everyone else.

 

And when it’s time to update your avatar, your bio, your tagline, or whenever you’ve got fresh content to share, it'll help you remember where you are online too.

By hot linking all the places you need to update you’ll make your task so much easier. Since your G+ profile is prioritized by the Google search engine, when someone searches for you, they’ll also find all the other places you exist online too.

That's from my latest guest post for Jan Gordon's Curatti: Editors of Chaos.

I've been writing a weekly series about online community building at this social business and marketing site. My posts so far have incorporated aspects of curation, storytelling, branding, content strategy, conversation, cocreation, collaboration, discoverability, persuasion, fascination and engagement -- as well as highlighting best practices and work of industry figures I see leading the way.

Some of my Curatti guest posts:

Fast Company On Creative Career Reinvention For GenY & Boomers Through Social Media Savvy & Storytelling, Sounds Like The GlobalNiche Recipe

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 12.46.31 PMLoved to see this "Second-Act-Career Success Stories" article in Fast Company today by Lydia Dishman, focusing on non-digital-natives who have been using digital tools and social techniques to dynamically reinvent themselves.

They're not at a disadvantage because they're non-native digital beings. In fact, as these examples show -- we digital immigrants have more to work with for our online transformation.

 

The second-act career successes Dishman writes about sound very much like GlobalNiche recipes. It's what we've been pioneering in our own lives, creating training and showing others how to enact.  For instance:

Reframing your experiences for value

  • using your previously produced content/material to reach goals you set today

Embracing the power of the social web to grow

  • to find communities of mentors, peers, employers, clients, and customers, as well as to rapidly educate yourself in leading edge business techniques

Dishman also notes that 94% of recruiters are using or plan to use social media to find candidates and 78% of them already have placed people they found online. That only underscores my point here about the need for career counseling and training personnel to meet rising expectations....wonder what the percentage of trainers for mid career counseling are embracing these new realities.

Using Pinterest As An Author

Literary agent Amanda Luedeke posted at Jane Friedman's blog about using Pinterest as an author. Anastasia Ashman's memoir in progress at PinterestHere's how I use Pinterest as an author.

I have a board for a memoir WIP which is a way to keep it active as a project (and something others can peek into the themes of) even when I am not writing.

Here's what I pin.

Comparable titles. Images of people who remind me of characters. Expressions and sayings that capture major themes. Images that capture what it feels like to be writing the book.

 

I have pinned news items and fashion pictures that would be of interest to my subject (my best friend, who's deceased).

I have pins of settings in the story, and figures she liked and things she'd be interested in today.

In this way, the project is alive. The subject is alive. The whole thing can be interacted with, now, before it has been published.

And, the transmedia storytelling is taking place right now.