EMC Elect discount code giveaway for EMC World 2015

This post will be short but effective. The EMC Elect have been given a good number of discount codes to giveaway to people who are about to register for EMC World.

Each code gives a discount of $150 off one EMC World Registration. Cool giveaway right!

All you have to do is reach out to the EMC Elect via twitter with #EMCElect saying you want a discount code.

You can also reply to this thread on the EMC Community Network right here: http://bit.ly/1bRdJU0

There is of course a catch, these codes expire on April 6th, which means you have to get one and use it by April 6th. 

So Don’t delay, secure your $150 discount for an EMC World Registration and attend the premier conference hosted by EMC and learn thier vision for Big Data, Converged Infrastructure, Hybrid Cloud and Flash in the  IT future.

Looking forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.

Welcoming the members of the EMC Elect of 2015

347028-graphic-EMC Elect 2015-hires.jpg Well today has been a long time coming. In its third year, the EMC Elect program continues to be the premier advocacy program from EMC. What makes it unique is that it’s for the community and by the community. Members of the EMC Elect of 2014 were chosen as a Nominee Selection/ Judging panel to evaluate and score the nominations. Now that has never been an easy task for these people, and this year was probably the hardest of all. It was really tough for the Selectors/ Judges, as the caliber of the nominees was quite high in most cases. But they got there in the end and now here we are. Following an evaluation of 450 nominations, and getting down to 200 finalists, we came out with 102 EMC Elect members for 2015. The list will have some familiar names and new ones. See it here It’s exciting to see the anticipation for the announcement. And EMC Elect has really become a coveted title. I know there will be a slew of excitement as the new Elect members joyfully share their news. There will be plenty of analysis of who’s in and where they are from and the breakdown. All good stuff to know and you can learn a bit more from some of our Nominee selectors / Judges. Check  our Rob Koper’s blog and Dave Henry’s blog on the subject. What I want to call out in my own blog is the intention of EMC Elect in 2015. It’s going to be about empowering the members. We are still going to deliver on the excellent EMC Elect experience as we have always done. The private community, private briefings, the betas, inside look and the fun of EMC World and other conferences will continue. In addition to these things this year we intend to redefine the experience by empowering the EMC Elect to expand those social conversation about the Industry and EMC to other venues beyond the typical conference events. This means that EMC Elect members can pick their own venue to talk about the Elect program, the industry and the technology / services involving EMC anywhere they choose. That can be around a pizza with 4 people or at an internal or external conference or user group. and we are also at looking at ways for the EMC Elect to get together at EMC briefing centers around the World for mini user conferences / groups. All of this is intended to expand the EMC Elect members horizons and let them do what they do well naturally. They are naturally curious  and knowledgeable about technology, passionate about their community and authentic about what they share. It gives the members more oppurtunity to speak at other events beyond the traditional ones and allows more people to interact with the members. And its fun too. And who knows the collaborative and creative direction these events and discussions  could take amogst people. it should be very interesting and fun. So congratulations to all of the EMC Elect of 2015. Its the third installment of EMC Elect and its going to be the most exciting one yet. See you out there!

And Yes even the EMC Elect take selfies 🙂

Wrapping up 2014: A challenging but fulfilling year (part 2)

Well I would be remiss if I did not wrap up things talking about EMC Elect. This program, holds a special place in my heart because it was a dream I was able to see made real. Again this was not my doing, it was the EMC Elect community members that made it happen. And boy did they!

Again, Lets set out what the EMC Elect Program is:

At its heart, EMC Elect recognizes what our influencers did over the last calendar year. And this distinction thanks them for what they did then. But by recognizing these advocates the distinction of EMC Elect empowers them. And because of that recognition they get to see a little bit more under the covers of EMC.

It’s the premier advocacy recognition program at EMC, and its is a runaway success externally.

2014 has been our best year in engagement, briefings and yes fun when it came to the Elect. While the EMC Elect are technically “the cool kids” its not about being popular. Influential, yes, but popularity is not whats sought. And this group is influential. Just look at the following they have.

80 Members, with a collective 50,000 followers on twitter and a social reach across multiple platforms of 500,000. That’s a big audience.

They average 27,000 social media impressions per day.

And at major conferences  like EMC World, VMWorld its 500,000 social media impressions per day.  This has a major impact.

The total EMC Elect at EMC World 2014 impressions  was 5,500,000!

Yes the typical EMC Elect membe would tweet much more than the average EMC World attendee.

Elect _at_World

By comparison the Total EMC Elect at EMC World 2013 impressions was 700,000. So clearly this program is growing in scale.

In Total the EMC Elect garnered 9% share of the Social Media voice At EMC World 2014.

At the EMC Mega Launch in London this year, the #EMCElect was the  #2 hash tag, overtaking the other EMC product hash tags. The had a social media impression number of 2.2 million. Clearly it was the influencers who had the ear of those interested in EMC Mega Launch. Yes #EMCElect certainly was popular and had influential metrics at VMWorld in US and Barcelona. Everywhere the EMC elect are present they have an impact.

Yet we have to remind ourselves of who the people that are called EMC Elect really are.

They are essentially humble heroes and heroines. They are real people with real jobs. But are passionate about community and collaboration and very curious about technology. But it is their community aspect which makes them so influential. They represent their peers, and what they learn they share (when an NDA does not get in the way 😉 ). They are not cheerleaders for EMC by any stretch of the imagination. They give feedback to EMC, not all of it positive, but all of it is candid. And they disseminate what they discover with their community.  As EMC Elect they were able to attend private briefings, roadmaps online and in person, have the benefit of a private EMC Elect community , and have exclusive alpha and beta testing offerings. All of which they put to good use for the benefit of themselves and their community. And that’s why they hold an influential position.

When Matt Brender and I got this program started, we honestly did not know how big this was going to be. But fundamentally we knew that the Elect program would empower the right people and influencers for the benefit of the EMC community as we said at the time in this impromptu video.

And at its core that’s what the program continues to do.

I’d also like to say that 2015, while capitalizing on the roaring success we had with Elect, we are going to bring it back to its fundamental basics. It’s about the community. And we intend to improve the program refocusing on this. We will still do what we have always done very well, in fact even better than before. We will keep those exclusive opportunities coming for the EMC Elect. But as well as making big social noise we will be focusing on further engagement, building stronger ties with the EMC community. And we are going to go further to empower the EMC Elect members. I won’t give too much away as to how yet. You will see it roll out in 2015.

Now if this sounds interesting to you and you’d like to be involved in the EMC Elect, or could see one of your peers fitting in nicely to this, there is still time. Nominations for the EMC Elect of 2015 are still open. But you’d better hurry, nominations close on the 31st December, 2014.

So don’t delay, nominate today. 

And that concludes my wrap up, at least from my professional perspective. And I have so many people to thank. The EMC Elect of course, Sean Thulin and Dennis Smith particularly. Todd Forsyth, Brace Rennels, Chris Gardner. A special thanks to Mary Kilgallen as well, who is the reason why EMC Elect works at all.  Another special thanks goes to Rachael Foster, another lady that is an unsung heroine for the program. And lest I forget, I owe a debt of gratitude to Tommy Trogden and Brian Carpenter for their unwavering support and keeping me focused on the community.

What I love about community is that I have met so many people, who have helped, me and I am forgetting to mention so many. But I have to conclude this post. They know who they are anyway.

I am looking forward to this break. A lot was achieved in 2014. But there is much more to do in 2015. I look forward to it with great anticipation.

For those that celebrate it, Happy Christmas! For those that don’t Happy Holidays! And a Happy New Year for good measure.

Wrapping up 2014: A challenging but fulfilling year (part 1)

Well it is that time of the year, where once again I reflect on things. I am getting this done early because quite frankly come Friday the 19th of December, 2014, I am going dark and on my Christmas holidays. Some proper family time, good cheer, overindulgence and some much needed down time and reflection is the prescription I am following.

During the drafting of this post I realised it would have to come in two parts. I dislike writing overly long posts when I don’t have to. So this is part 1 🙂  This one focuses on the Ask the Expert Program.

As I am getting used to my role in EMC IT following my departments re-org from Customer Services, I feel obliged to wrap up some numbers on how well the EMC Ask the Expert has done in 2014. These are early numbers mind you, going from the start of the year to December 10th, but as the program takes a hiatus from the 19th, the discrepancy of the final result should not be a major difference. I recently posted some stats on the program. EMC Ask the Expert: a little more insight. And I posted the 2013 results which can be seen in this post: Happy Holidays, belated Merry Christmas and a recap of 2013 and into 2014!

Its just amazing that since its inception back in 2012, the program has had phenomenal growth. Its really no longer a project, its a genuine service provided by EMC online. and its free. This is all down to the amazing community participation of EMC Community Network members. This program would have none of the success it has had without the EMC community backing it. The accolades and praise for this success is theirs. I am delighted to have facilitated it. To me I was its trustee.

So before I share the numbers, let me define the program direct from our executive summary:

ATE_exec

And this is what our numbers look like for participation in 2014 (at least up to December 10th, 2014)

ATE_metric_2014

  • 145,561 page views. 16% increase on 2013
  • ~ 13,232 page views per month
  • 92,276 visits. 29% increase on 2013
  • ~ 8388 visits per month
  • 62,487 unique visitors. 34% increase on 2013
  • ~5680 unique visitors per month

And as you can see primarily anonymous users, indicating these events are being found via web search. These numbers account for 2.5% of all the EMC Community Network traffic in 2014 (up to December 10th) , which itself looks like 6,000,000 views this year. Indeed this program takes a fair chunk of the ECN traffic. It says a lot about the program.

And when we look at how long people stay in the Ask the Expert Community?

28.7% of visitors stay from 5-10 minutes, with a further 13.2% staying from 30 minutes to an hour. That means a lot of people find this community via web search and stay a good while to search the content. And they keep coming back.

It is amazing to think, that when this program started in 2012, we had 3 experts and one program manager, all from customer services. Now The stake holder list has grown rather substantially.

They now include:

  • EMC Total Customer Experience Team
  • EMC Global Services
  • EMC Product Marketing
  • EMC Technical Leadership Academy
  • EMC Elect
  • EMC Inside Sales
  • EMC Customer Services

It’s a program that has had humble beginnings, and now is a critical service online for EMC. It’s been a pleasure to lead it, work with amazing experts, community managers, customers and partners. And this has to include the Multilingual teams. The local language Ask the Expert events in Chinese contribute a lot to the metrics shown here. and events are growing in number in local languages such as Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese. Just look the global heat map to see the interaction taking place

ATE_Heat_map_2014

It’s been an amazing three years building and taking the lead for this program. I have learned a lot, made superb connections I would normally not have been able to do in a traditional customer support role. I have mentioned plenty on that before. It’s not been easy either, but I learned quickly to let the community tell you whats a hot topic. They will anyway. I learned to listen, be ambitious, to continue a maniacal focus on supporting our customers and a thing or two about EMC products 🙂 And I thank all those people, in EMC and outside EMC for making this program what it is.

In  2015, I will be focusing on EMC Community Network Forums, helping redefine the communities and improve the overall experience. Its a big project and I will be sharing more on that as I dive in next year. I am still heavily involved in the EMC Elect program management. Nothing has changed there in any way. I will still be consulting on the Ask the Expert program but my colleague, and my current joint program manager partner on this,  Roberto Araujo will be the primary contact on the program. It’s been great working with Roberto over the last ten months on the program and he has definitely been a great partner in this program and done some great hard work supporting it.

So thus concludes part 1 of this blog. I’ll be posting more tomorrow to round out my end of year roundup. Thanks for reading and listening to what is entirely my perspective. And feel free to comment. I welcome any feedback you want to provide.

Part 2 will deal with my perspective on the EMC Elect program over 2014.

EMC Forum in Dublin, December 2nd. Why attend?

If you do have the oppurtunity to attend the EMC Forum Tour, arriving in Dublin on December 2nd, make sure you do.

First of all its free!

Second of all its got two track of amazing content, one for technical and one for business, both with awesome content.

“The EMC Forum Tour is specifically designed for IT managers and executives looking for insights to cloud solutions and opportunities to network and share with peers. It is also ideal for technical architects, storage administrators, and infrastructure and information security managers/directors.”

If you are  curious about how Hybrid Cloud, Flash Storage, or Big Data redefine IT, you need to attend this Forum.

And you’ll get to network with an amazing number of your peers who are Partners and customers of EMC.

It’s  a jam packed day, but well worth it for the insight into EMC’s perspective on Hybrid Cloud, Data Lakes and Software defined strategies.

Don’t miss out.

For your free Registration : http://emc.im/TourIE

Don’t delay, the 2nd of December fast approaches.

Exploring the idea of community architecht

I have been doing a fair bit of research and honestly a fair bit of reflection. In fact this blog post is a long time in coming. I warn you now, this will be a long enough post, with limited links and no photos. So you have been warned.

This post is about my own reflections on community, community management, social interaction and maybe an honest look from my perspective at the Enterprise business. But this post is not to focus on me, even though I am talking about my journey.  I am telling my story to see if it resonates out there with other people on their social journey.

This all started for me almost a year ago, delving more into the title of “Community Architect”.  Perhaps it was folly of me to choose the title and then look into it. But I really liked the title. And understanding  that I really don’t know anything ( 🙂 ) and that’s it wrong to have an answer before asking the question, I rolled it back. So I asked my self, if I choose to call myself a “Community Architect”, what does it actually mean?

Something I have learned to do recently, is to actually look at the origins of words. I find it more informative, because we get to see what was the original intention and origin of words. It helps me think. Because I am one of those of those people who needs to look into where things come from. I don’t just accept things at face value anymore.  I just can’t do that.

So lets look at the etymology of the word community:

“late 14c., from Old French comunité “community, commonness, everybody” (Modern French communauté), from Latin communitatem (nominativecommunitas) “community, society, fellowship, friendly intercourse; courtesy, condescension, affability,” from communis “common, public, general, shared by all or many,” (see common (adj.)). Latin communitatem “was merely a noun of quality … meaning ‘fellowship, community of relations or feelings,’ but in med.L. it was, like universitas, used concretely in the sense of ‘a body of fellows or fellow-townsmen’ ” [OED]. 

An Old English word for “community” was gemænscipe “community, fellowship, union, common ownership,” from mæne “common, public, general,” probably composed from the same PIE roots as communis. Community service as a criminal sentence is recorded from 1972, American English. Community college is recorded from 1959.”

That’s a pretty powerful word. and for me it hits on community, society, fellowship, courtesy affability, union.

Now lets look at the etymology of the word architect:

1550s, from Middle French architecte, from Latin architectus, from Greek arkhitekton “master builder, director of works,” from arkhi- “chief” (see archon) +tekton “builder, carpenter” (see texture). An Old English word for it was heahcræftiga “high-crafter.””

Another rather powerful word. I really do have high notions about myself huh? 😉

But putting the words together, it means community builder, from my own perspective anyway. Well that makes sense. In an operational sense and work perspective I have been doing that. But this reflection made me understand what that means. And how as I have moved thorough my community management working roles ,that I have evolved into a community builder. I began to ask myself what do others in this sphere say about being a “Community Architect” ?

Looking around the web I discovered posts on this topic by Lee White. Now you might look at his blog and say “well Mark, Lee was a Community Architect and subsequently lost his job.!”  True, but don’t take anything away from Lee White, because this man gets community. In fact his post on The Practice of Community, really helped me define my own words for talking about what I do. And because I searched “community architect,”  I found his piece on it and understood well what he was trying to achieve.

What Lee White writes about are really key and core to community management and engagement. I can’t disagree with this, from lets say, an operational perspective. But lets look at something here. If I took a position of “Community Architect” in the morning, where is it defined from an IT, online community, perspective?

There is no definition in a formal sense in this business. People would probably take it to mean a “Chief Community Manager” with a subject matter expertise in building and deploying communities. Why would I make such an assertion? To me if I was to assert or pursue such a role and convinced my management to create the role and assign me to it, it would be like going to “special projects” and likely floundering and perhaps end as it did for Lee White. Mr White even pointed to why it would go that way by referring to an article in PC World that said this :

“Gartner predicts that through 2015, 80 percent of social business efforts will not achieve their intended benefits due to inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology…”

In the IT business the expectation is deployment and execution. Be it marketing ,support or engineering, its build deploy, deliver, execute, solve the technology. That is the business consensus. People like myself run square into this time and again in this business. Consensus thinking leads to consensus business. And why not? Who the hell am I to argue with it when it seems to prove itself by making money?  And at face value, that appears to be true.

This is,  from my perspective, why social media changed the world, but did not really change it all that much. It bucked against the consensus, and businesses are getting involved in it because everyone else is, but as Gartner points out, not many really get it. And the consensus remains the same. “IT” is about technology fundamentally. Or at least the focus is primarily on that.

So what is the missing piece of being a effective and heard community architect?  Well to me, I like to think that you need to bring in thought leadership.  So what the heck is thought leadership ?

Looking at the  etymology of the word thought we get:

Old English þoht, geþoht “process of thinking, a thought; compassion,” from stem of þencan “to conceive of in the mind, consider” (see think). Cognate with the second element in German Gedächtnis “memory,” Andacht “attention, devotion,” Bedacht “consideration, deliberation.” Second thought “later consideration” is recorded from 1640s. Thought-crime is from “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (1949); thought police is attested from 1945, originally in reference to war-time Japanese Special Higher Police (Tokubetsu Koto Keisatsu).”

And looking at the etymology of the word leader we get:

Old English lædere “one who leads,” agent noun from lædan (see lead (v.)). As a title for the head of an authoritarian state, from 1918 (translating führer, Duce,caudillo, etc.). Meaning “writing or statement meant to begin a discussion or debate” is late 13c.; in modern use often short for leading article (1807) “opinion piece in a British newspaper” (leader in this sense attested from 1837).”

So is a thought leader someone who gets consideration and deliberation started?

Well the Thought Leadership article on Forbes hits the nail on the head for me.

Especially these points:

How To Create Thought Leadership That Drives Results 

  1. Identify the questions your customers are asking. Identify them all. Then prioritize them.
  2. Answer those questions across multiple formats and multiple channels in a way that adds value to your audience. Start with the most important and work your way down the list. All you have to do is have the right content to answer the basic questions.
  3. You gotta “Give to Get”  so do not promote or put registration hurdles in front of your thought leadership content.
  4. Make it interesting. My SAP colleague Timo Elliott calls this the “Return on Interesting” that you get when your content rises above the noise of all the boring, overly-promotional, gated content that is bombarding your audience.  Educate them? Yes. But try to entertain them in the process. Tell stories. Use examples.
  5. Invite customers to participate: I love the idea of interviewing customers to create content or curating content from other sources while adding your own perspective.

But I somewhat disagree with number 2, “Answer those questions.” I would add a conditional acceptance, that I would answer your questions on condition I may answer with a question. That’s not to say I would not provide information upon being asked, but sometimes you need to clarify things and ask people why they want that information or why they want it a certain way. Not to annoy, but to take the emphasis off automatic consensus and get a real consideration of what they are trying to achieve or find out. Thats’ how i see thought thought leadership. Anyone with a rapport in their community can do it, And yes I do have high notions about myself.:) Just kidding, I happily stand at 5ft 2″. 🙂

I consider myself a thought leader. I will also go on the record here  and say I don’t really know anything 🙂 Some thought leader eh? Now I am not saying I am devoid of knowledge. I have knowledge and experience of IT, knowledge management, community management, engagement and leadership, over a career that spans 18 years so far. When I say I don’t really know anything, I mean to say as a thought leader, I don’t know what you need to do, but I can lead you in the thinking necessary to figure that out. Because in the community its not for me to tell you the story you should tell. I can help you tell your own story. Thats what thought leadership is to me. This is an important piece of the puzzle.

I had started by discussing why I wanted to be known as a community architect. I see it now as my vocation. Its not my job and I am not vying for a position with that title. Being a community architect is a vocation to me because of my community involvement in my working life. It’s an evolutionary track.  One that sneaked up on me. But by looking back at the evolution, it makes sense to me. Over 18 years I have been an IT help desk technician, technical trainer, Knowledge Base consultant, technical writer, support community moderator, community manager and a program manager. And even more importantly I was immersed as a community member in these roles.

And this experience prepared me to build  two very impactful community programs at EMC. Those being EMC Ask the Expert Program, and the EMC Elect Advocacy program.  Both have had a huge impact at EMC.

Now I don’t claim to be the kingmaker or the one who made these programs successful. The Community did that. I just happened to know the programs would be very successful. I was the  community architect and through my rapport with the community I used thought leadership to get these programs created. The Community did the rest.

So there you have it. That is my perspective on my social journey. In my humble opinion, being a community architect is vocation, not a job. A big part of that is thought leadership and, in my humble opinion, you won’t change consensus unless you are a part of and engage with community and have a lot of patience and dedication. Here ends the exploration !

if you are looking around for more on community, story telling, and thought leadership you should check out Gary Vaynerchuk . This gentleman is to me the premier example of a thought leader and someone I listen to.  So if you are not impressed with me you can look to him 🙂  And for that matter look to the likes of Amy Lewis, Lauren Malhoit, John Mark Troyer, Matt Brender, Tommy Trogden, Josh Atwell and Jeremiah Dooley to name a few.  Great people and thought leaders.

Please do share your thoughts and comments on this post. And thanks for taking the time to read it.

I would really like to get peoples perspectives on this and their social journey in their career.

My #VMWorld Europe experience representing #EMC (part 3)

Well I intended this post to be done on the final day of the conference. However between packing and getting work done and the valued conversations to have, as well as a flight to catch, it never happened.  So it is now written from my home office in Bantry, by the Atlantic ocean rather than the Mediterranean sea 🙂

I wanted to wrap the conference by pointing out the announcements that were made throughout the week. But I found this summary and point you to it now. Its quite informative but brief.

It is entitled VMWorld 2014 Europe – Announcements.  Thanks to Michael Otey.

For EMC related stuff regarding VMWorld you can go to our Everything VMWare at EMC Community.

The main reason for my attendance, along with my colleagues, Dennis Smith and Sean Thulin was to inform and remind people that the EMC Elect Nominations are open and to encourage nominations.

We were also there to highlight those EMC Elect members who were attending the conference to show case what EMC Elect members do that gets them the accolade. And we did just that by highlighting their sessions via the social channels, and getting some face time on camera with all of the EMC Elect in attendance.

In due course we will be editing the footage and sharing it on the EMC Elect Community.

Conferences are a lot of fun, that is true, but in equal measure, and probably more so, they are hard work. You have commitments while you are there for the business. Your real job still exists and does not wait so it can be a real headache to juggle it all. And it is important to note that the value of attending a technical conference from a networking and professional relationship building point of view. It is an invaluable resource to make that personal connection, both for your own brand and the business. That is something Sean, Dennis and I as part of the EMC Elect Management team strive to point out out time and again.

EMC Elect is in fairness one of many advocacy programs out there. Each has their value. In EMC we are continuing to stress the EMC Elect program benefits to the business and the EMC Community of peers. Thankfully for us, even though we enjoyed attending the conferences, we are glad to see that VMWorld Europe 2014  is the final tier 1 conference, with a heavy EMC Elect presence.  This gives us the opportunity to focus on promoting and developing the program inside EMC. We’ll also be planing and preparing the EMC Elect Program for 2015.   Lots to do, busy as ever.

In any event its been a very successful conference for the EMC Elect. Its been a learning curve for us too and we will certainly be using what we learned to improve our conference  facilitation of the EMC Elect in the future. In the mean time I have a simple ask of those you who read my blog. Please nominate someone, or yourself for the EMC Elect program. Help us recognize those people who live and breath community participation, engagement and advocacy of EMC.