Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day One at Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup a Success!

It was hard to fall asleep last night. My head was reeling with ideas from the first day at Ypulse.

With a great turnout, hosting a variety of people from all over, we listened, talked and tweeted our way through a series of great presentations. I figured I would jump on the blog this morning and make a few notes about some of what I saw and heard:

Congrats to Mike Roberts - who won the Totally Wired Teacher Award.
He delivered a video acceptance speech showing just how he has adapted to the technologies kids are using and now incorporates that into his teaching methods. Bravo. We did a study on Tech and Education that was fascinating. If you are looking for more ways tech can be used to teach or help kids learn, check out this webcast and ping me if you want to know more.

Bill Carter from Fuse Marketing once again hit a home run.
His new study on teens and advertising highlighted some of the facts and fiction running amok in marketing departments worldwide. Most interesting - kids like print advertising! (If you lived at my house, you'd know that was true!) We recently did a study on tech devices and advertising for the Market Advantage Youth Lab - here's a quick synopsis if you want to see what we learned.

3. The Ypluse Advisory Board was a hoot!
Using a great format - commenting on the juxtaposition of competitors' ads (Pepsi vs Coke; Mac vs PC; and two public service ads). We get asked a lot if our teen panelists really tell us the "truth" when we ask them questions and we always say, "oh yeah - they don't hold back." That was true yesterday - the panelists did not hold back! Candid, funny and unedited, they easily commented on what did and didn't work in the ads. Our guest bloggers - teens from our panel - do the same. Want to see an honest point of view? Check out their blogs here.

Guess it's time to get dressed and get downstairs for another great day. You can follow the Tweets at #ypulse09 - check it out - we wish you were here!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Five Reasons Attending the Ypulse Mashup Will Help Your Business

On Monday, June 1st, another fantastic 2009 Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup will kick off in San Francisco. If you aren’t already reading the daily Ypulse newsletter, you should be. But more importantly, if you haven’t figured out the value of attending the Mashup, let me give you a few good business reasons why you should.

  1. What today’s youth are doing now, will affect your business’ future.
    From social networks to adapting technology, young people today aren’t afraid to try new things and then talk about it. At our company, it’s our motto – listen to youth to discover the future of your business.

    Here’s one example: nearly every business is considering how to use social media to help promote their business. Twitter? Facebook? How about text messaging? By following what kids are doing, you can identify best practices to help guide your efforts.

  2. Today’s youth are your future employees.
    If you haven’t hired millennials, and I bet you have, you may not understand their different approach to the workplace. From flex time to creative problem-solving, our youthful new team members are having a tremendous impact on the work force.

    While many seasoned professionals want to dismiss them for their “poor work habits”, there’s more to the story. Sure they need training – but didn’t we all? The tradeoff is exuberance, fresh ideas and a consumer approach that could breathe new life into whatever you are doing.

  3. Get actionable advice from the presenters.
    I have attended every Mashup – each one better than the year before – and I expect no less this year. Hearing a case study from Disney about how they leverage all their properties to launch a new music act or listening to Fuse talk about CEO predictions for mobile technology – the information runs the gamut.

    But even if you aren’t marketing Miley Cyrus, the underlying principles the speakers share are bound to inspire and fuel your own business planning. I always leave fired up and ready to try way-too-many new things when I get home.

  4. You will create some amazing business relationships.
    Okay. I just went and counted. I have eight contacts on Facebook from last year’s Mashup and five from the year before. These aren’t the “professional acquaintance” type friends but rather people I have talked with for the last year about their businesses, their new ideas, supported their launches, and helped them with trials.

    Ypulse attracts people from all industries with many interests and passions. Typically they are accessible, invested and willing to forge new relationships. It never fails that I end up brainstorming with someone about how we could work together or a way to extend our ideas.

  5. It’s one hell of a club.
    Yep. Ypulse is a bit of a club. Not exclusive, rather very inclusive. The Ypulse team wants you to succeed and my experience – throughout the year – is that they are there to make introductions, open doors, share information, salute your good ideas and much more.

    I believe the brand is the extension of its founder, Anastasia Goodstein, who is a total content diva (amazing actually). She’s having a good time and she’s committed to making sure you have a good time too. Once you attend a Mashup, you will want to come back – to see friends, to learn more, to share what you have done, to refuel and get inspired.

So I hope to see you there next week. If you come, send me (@jcarole) a Tweet! or a text (831.239.6496) - you do know how to text don’t you?! I can’t wait to meet you and add you to my collection of Mashup Facebook friends!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pass the Ball - Social Media Project is On!

Listen2Youth has been working closely with the team at WebEx to create the new website - Passtheball.com.

The idea is simple - create a place where good things happen - donations for a wonderful cause (Teachers Without Borders) while individuals can share ideas and watch them grow. Along the way, increase brand awareness for the WebEx product and run the campaign across a variety of social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to take it viral.

You can read more about the campaign here or simply visit the site and share your idea! And let us know if Listen2Youth can help you with your social media marketing plans.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Meet Listen2Youth at Tech Titans SD Forum Event

Join us on Wednesday, May 13 in Palo Alto to learn how today's teens are also today's entrepreneurs. SD Forum is hosting an event that looks really interesting if you are following the teen market.
"Teenagers are in constant contact through multiple means of technologies, including Facebook, Twitter, email, IM, MySpace and cell phones. We will be joined by corporate executives, not-for-profits, venture capitalists and teenage entrepreneurs in discussing how teens are using technology and encouraging them to undertake new projects and enterprises." - SD Forum
Jennifer Carole, from Listen2Youth, will be joining the 10:45 panel titled, "Understanding the Teen Market". If you are there, make sure to introduce yourself, she'd love to meet you. If you miss the event, Listen2Youth is always available to talk about teens and technology. We just wrapped a study on advertising and we are in the process of conducting some research on social media.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Video: It Does it All! The G1 Android Phone!

One of our teen panel members has some fun imagining all the things his new Android phone can do. See if you agree with his vision of the future!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Millenials: The Apple Generation?

Check out this great video - a winner in our youth panel video awards! Michele not only managed to lure her dad into making the video but found some great props as well. And the story -- you know how it turns out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Leadership and the User Experience: Is there a relationship?

With the changes at Apple – Steve Jobs stepping down for awhile, it has me thinking about the relationship between leadership and the user experience.

I have had the privilege of working for a number of great high tech companies in the last twenty years. I have been part of teams at Adobe, Cisco, Sun, Second Life, Borland, Alcatel-Lucent and more. At most of these companies, there was a specific focus on the user experience.

My Favorite “Apple” Story
I didn’t get to work at Apple in the heyday (just a little too young) but I have worked for a number of incredible people who were there in the early days and they tell some good stories. One always stands out in my mind: apparently early on Jobs was working on the Macintosh and wanted to see what end users thought of the design. He put 10 people in a room and they all said the on/off switch was in the wrong place. His lesson to his team: “people behave similarly. It doesn’t take a huge study to find that out.”

I have no idea if the story is true but is passes down as a folk tale with a good lesson. Jobs’ single-minded focus on the user experience set the pace for the company and his allowed them to deliver incredible products over the years including the rebirth of Apple with the iPod and iPhone.

Last One to Leave Lotus, Turn Out the Lights
When I joined Borland in the late 80s, we were a bunch of whippersnappers focused on knocking Lotus off the block. What was our competitive advantage? Our singular focus was user experience (and a killer direct marketing strategy). We all knew the only way to beat Lotus was to make our spreadsheet easier to use – intuitive – and it worked (and you could find bumper stickers sporting the headline above all over our building!).

We got so good at it that we then went after Ashton-Tate in the relational database space. Our leader, Philippe Kahn set out his clear vision and we all marched determined to free our end users from the constraints of the software giants and a miserable user experience.

Are PowerPoint Users Graphics Professionals?
At Adobe, the leadership there had a similar impact on the user experience but with different results. I arrived when Warnock and team were still highly focused on the graphics professional. It was his passion and the product reflected it. The user experience was based on creating digital replicas of the tools graphics experts used to use non-digitally. And Photoshop and Illustrator sold well as a result.

But things got tough when “management” decided we needed to reach new markets. We needed to “simply” our products to entice Microsoft users. Not a bad strategy to build market share but the in the transition, no one bothered to adapt the user experience to these new users.

Instead, the team decided to simplify existing products – think Photoshop Elements – but use the same graphic professional lingo and toolset. I have no idea how many units of Photoshop Elements the company sells, but I can tell you if they had adapted the product with features and language that match what business users are used to, they would sell more. In fact I wonder if it didn’t backfire and erode some of their Photoshop high-end market as graphics professionals figured out they could get 50% of the features at one-tenth the price.

Leadership Can Improve the User Experience
So what’s my point? I believe leadership is essential for creating a great user experience. With a clear commitment from the top – if not the vision, at least the drive – the rest of us know what to do. We understand who we are creating products for and how to set priorities and make decisions. The best feature in the world doesn’t matter if the user can’t find it.

Do you have a story from your experience? We would love to hear about it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Top 10 Most Embarrassing Moments for Teens, Families and Tech

In the process of talking with our panel members about how they have helped their families with technology, we discovered some great stories. So we couldn’t resist. Here are the Top 10 tales from our kids from around the world as they coach their families through the technology landscape!

“My parents were in the middle of telling me off for not keeping my room tidy, and then my phone ran out of battery leaving them unable to continue to tell me off.”
– Samuel, 18, Australia

“We were trying to set up a DVD player and we couldn't figure out why it wasn't working. We spent an hour working on it and we could see it was plugged in. However, we found out later, the outlet strip it was plugged into wasn't.”
– Mike, 16, United States

“My mother wanted to talk to my father on the phone, but she was driving so I had to call him. Turns out I actually called my tennis coach by mistake and the first thing she said was ‘Hello darling…’.”
– Ahmed, 16, England

“When I was helping my dad set up his home theater he got so mad because he couldn't hear the audio on the TV. He was ready to throw the system out the window. I passed by and asked him, ‘Are you sure you're not on mute?’ He checked and that wasn’t it. Then I saw the brand-new Bose home theater component and said ‘You sure you’re in the right audio channel?’ I was right and he was so embarrassed he didn’t want to admit it. He denied it. I picked up the remote, clicked a button and there was sound! He was so mad that I was right!! I just laughed.”
– Martha, 18, Mexico


“My brother spent a huge amount of time looking for the button to unlock his new iPhone. All he had to do was touch the screen!”
– Alexandra, 18, United States


“Once, my mother tried to use the remote control to call my grandfather!”
– Tobias, 18, Sweden


“I once accidentally called my mom instead of my friend and asked when and where I should meet for a party. Busted.”
– Ted, 20, France


“One time my phone got wet and I put it in the microwave to dry.”
– Kelly, 14, United States


“I left my Gmail account open when I went on vacation. While I was gone, my mother chatted with all of my friends.”
– Cameron, 18, United States


“Once I complained about my parents on my blog. The next day, I found out my parents had left comments on it.”
– Angela, 16, China

Do you have a great “embarrassing moment” based on tech and your family? Let us know!