The final two speakers on day one of the World Innovation Forum had a lot in common in terms of message. First up was Andreas Weigend, former Chief Scientist at Amazon.com, with a message for companies that the world they are operating in has changed completely—from a world in which they used to give information to customers to one where customers give information to one another, regardless of the company. As a result, the major takeaway he had for anyone interested in tapping into modern technology for business purposes was as follows: listen to what customers are saying. His chosen methodology: data mining search queries.
Probably by design, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone was up next, for a moderated discussion in which he fielded a lot of questions about how people should use his service properly. His answer: people should “find their own path.” And how they should do that? “Start by listening” before jumping in.
Stone cited an example from Jet Blue, a company he said was not having much success using Twitter to issue press release-style information. The company’s “epiphany” came when the CEO asked on the company’s Twitter stream what kind of tweets they would like to see. Cue a torrent of suggestions, and the birth of a successful social media strategy.
Of course, that’s all well and good for a major company—or someone employed in a social media function at a company—but the takeaways needn’t be all that different for anyone seeking to use social media tools* to build a personal brand, which can be an important component of career management and the job search process.
That’s it for the day. We’ll be back bright and early tomorrow morning for Day Two. The one thing we’re hoping to see more of: suggestions for where we might be headed in terms of innovation in established career fields like consulting, finance and law.
*Note: Stone says Twitter isn’t social media; it’s more of a news/information-sharing service. But the term is convenient, so I’m sticking with it!