Posts Tagged ‘Matt Davis’

Confessions of a reformed wallflower

April 8, 2009

When I was a kid, I was painfully shy. Those of you who have met me in person would probably not believe it, but it’s true.

When I met William Azaroff of Vancouver in Manchester, NH a couple of weeks ago to tour America’s CU Museum, and then later that same night went out for dinner and drinks with Matt Davis of North Carolina and Ron Shevlin in North Reading, MA, we discussed that one of the criticisms leveled at us “social media” types who attended and presented at the 2008 Partnership Symposium in Indianapolis was that we didn’t mingle with others. I hadn’t consciously realized that, but looking back, it was true. And I am sad about that.

And though there is no excuse for that, there is a reason for it, and l will explain and tie paragraph one to paragraph two. It’s human nature to greet friends warmly, and not to walk up to strangers to introduce yourself. I try to greet people at most opportunities, and say hi to those I pass in a hallway. When given a choice between giving a handshake or a hug to an old friend, and introducing yourself to a stranger, it’s human nature to greet a friend first, because that’s much easier.

And that’s the amazing thing about social media and social networking. Sometimes you give an especially hearty greeting to someone you are meeting in person for the first time if you have already gotten to know that person online. Because, as Ron Shevlin has pointed out, you can get to know, online, a person who lives 3,000 miles away better than your colleague down the hallway who isn’t online in any meaningful way. When you get together, you already “know” that person. Especially given the conversational nature of twitter, you probably know more than you ever wanted to know about them on a personal basis. When you meet, you don’t need to use small talk to find common interests, you just naturally pick up the conversation that you’ve already been having online, and will continue online later.

I remember my first PodCamp Boston experience; it was the second of the PodCamps that they have held. I missed the first day entirely, but arrived in time to catch the tail end of the official evening party. I met a couple of folks who I had connected with online previously, but felt very much the outsider. It seemed like everyone else already knew each other. Undaunted, I continued to meet people throughout the second day and learn more about what this social media thing was all about.

And so I write this blog post to encourage everyone who is a.) relatively new to social media, b.) naturally shy, or c.) both, to put aside that shyness and to do your best to overcome that feeling of being a social media “outsider” when you come upon a group of social media people hanging out with each other, such as that which occurred just two weekends ago at PodCamp WesternMass. Bear in mind that most people involved in the online social world are exactly that: fairly social. Please understand that although it’s human nature to hang out with friends that you already know, most of us involved in the field really WANT to meet new people. Sometimes we just need a nudge of encouragement.

Remember that everyone in the world of social media was an outsider at first. If you introduce yourself, the folks worth talking to will be more than glad to have met you.

The NCUA Corporate Stabilization Program

February 5, 2009

Here are links to discussion and resources about the NCUA Corporate Stabilization Program:

Resources from the NCUA itself and CUNA:

Webinars/teleconference about it:

Blogs about it:

If you are an employee of a CU, League, or Corporate, discussion here:

Credit union reaction/outrage:

News articles:

Here’s what Corporate Credit Unions are saying:

Please feel free to improve the wikipedia article I started on it:

The Innovator’s Dilemma

January 29, 2009

Today, Matt Davis, aka the CUWarrior, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at last October’s 2008 Indy Partnership Symposium, and has a blog here, posted a great article on Open Source CU, titled Using the Blue Light to get a Green Light.

He brings up some great points about innovation, which I can’t disagree with in the abstract. It is indeed an excellent technique to start an innovative project at the lowest cost possible in order to get buy-in from upper management. It doesn’t make sense to spend large dollar amounts if the payoff is unsure. Financial institutions, or any businesses for that matter, would go downhill rapidly if they did so often.

But I want to make the case that it’s not always possible or advisable to innovate by dipping a toe in the water. Here are a few cases where “DYI” innovation won’t make the grade:

1.) The innovation requires a large scale for the desired effect to be realized, or it’s launched in such a small scale that it doesn’t get noticed.
2.) More cost in dollars is expended trying to do it yourself than it would have taken to hire a professional
3.) The innovation does not take off because it was ahead of its time
4.) Your competitor spots your innovation, and implements it more fully than you did, stealing customers in the process

But on the flip side, here are reasons why you SHOULD attempt something on a small scale before going bigger:

1.) It turns out no one wanted your innovation after all. At least you didn’t through money away, and you’ve learned something along the way about your customers and/or your organization.
2.) Your original idea was too complicated; it turns out that the foundation was right, but it needed to turn in a different direction. By expending the minimum resources in development, you can make the necessary adjustments without having spent too much.
3.) If the innovation is a good one, it should reach a self-funding state relatively quickly. You can test, prove the business case with results, then develop it in due course as funds warrant.

So how do you tell in which camp an innovation belongs? It comes down to your organization’s DNA, the filter by which you run everything. The more an innovation directly lines up with your organizations brand, its DNA, the more resources should be allocated to the innovation.

On a completely unrelated note, check out this cool restoration of an old school traffic light, made before the color yellow was invented.

Thrift: Matt Davis, the CU Warrior

October 2, 2008

Symposium 2008Matt Davis, the CU Warrior, was this year’s vote-in video submission winner, and his talk is on Thrift in today’s world, at the Partnership Symposium

[Brent Dixon recorded this session on video here.]

Edward Filene, Desjardin, Raiffessen: If you read their writings, thrift is much more than simply savings.

Son was born: Want to save for his college.

Went to a college site: if they save $250/month, which is a lot (a car payment!), will only be able to afford 2.5 years of college. Doing the right thing, BUT FAILING. Imagine how bad off all the people are who are doing the wrong thing by not saving at all.

People TRYING to save are failing. They need to start experience savings VICTORIES.

Saving for retirement is even more difficult than saving for college!

Let’s start encouraging members to save for small goals. Create successes, then go to bigger goals. Need members to stop feeling like saving is hopeless.

Set up blog: What are you saving for?

First entries: Medical Scooter, Daughter’s Wedding, An Emergency Fund.

Oh good, this is going to work! Building a conversation around saving.

Setting up a support group; training staff about this. Congratulating members when goals achieved. Story can be shared online. Every 6 months, a biggest saver is selected. Featured in Yahoo! Finance and Fast Company magazine (for a $285 web site).

Thrift is cool now. (B of A Keep the change, created $1 billion in deposits by rounding up).

The I Series Savings Bond from US Government is a better deal than a savings account, where you end up with less in buying power than when you started.

Progressive Auto Model: Show competitors.

If we are in the business of promoting thrift, can we tell members about deals better than us?

Let members have access to better information about their savings account like PFMs, or Matt Dean’s presentation earlier today.

Credit union created a zero percent auto loan, which is misleading because actual rate is 4.74%. Other CUs using teaser rates to encourage spending.

Courtesy Pay: not promoting thrift.

• Insurance: well within the CU mission.
• Make thrift interesting. (Rate is boring).
• What’s best for member is sometimes not what’s best for CU.
• Give members better ways to improve their spending/saving behaviour
• Don’t teach bad habits.

Q: Saving for motorcycle or plasma TV is not thrift, right?
A: It’s not the CU’s place to tell them what to save for or not. The community can lend it’s own voice if it wants.

Rev up your Twitter bio; Twellow is here

June 30, 2008

Twello.comI learned today, from a Facebook group about Twitter, of a site launched on June 24, 2008, called Twellow. Twellow is named for “Twitter Yellow Pages.” It’s a searchable directory of Twitterers, aka Twits, aka people who use Twitter.

I was interested in this new web site because just recently someone said that a twitterer version of ought to be created. Lo and behold, a few days later, here it is in the form of Twellow. I scanned the main categories and they looked like a typical yellow pages. There was no category on the home page for ‘finance’, and none for ‘social media.’ So I really didn’t give it a second thought. However, some of my twitter friends (CUWarrior and Christopher Stevenson) were more thoughtful, and plugged ‘credit union’ into the search field to see the results. The results showed 15 credit union twitterers. By default, people are shown in descending order by the number of followers. At the time of this writing, the Top 10 results were: @CUWarrior, @TonyMannor, @weatherchaos, @RobWright, @CreativeBrand, @Clint_Williams, @mfagala, @markiev33, @Kent_CULifer, and @BenJoeM.

I took at look at who was being listed, and have deduced some of the ways in which the site works to list people.

Up until now, the only real purpose of your Twitter bio (limited to 160 characters), was to be interesting. If someone was interested in being your Twitter friend, their decision might be influenced by your bio. But if Twellow takes off in popularity (Mashable calls Twellow the people directory that Twitter itself ought to have built. Review hat tip: Ginny Brady), then your Twitter bio becomes much more important.

Twellow uses your twitter bio to categorize you.

Suddenly a creative bio is much less attractive than a straightforward bio if you are interested in being listed “well” in this directory. Each of the 15 people on the search results for ‘credit union’ had (surprise, surprise) the word “credit union” in their bio. This prompted Tim McAlpine to question why he wasn’t on the list. The answer is that right now Twellow is DUMB when it comes to singular vs. plural. Searching for “credit unions” yields a different list of five people than “credit union”, and includes Tim. We’ll see how long Twellow remains “dumb” in this way.

One last point about how Twellow categorizes people: Twellow has an algorithm that puts you into certain categories based on the keywords in your twitter bio. This is different than the simple and straightforward search (i.e. searching “credit union” yields the results of those who have “credit union” in their bio.) Keywords have been sorted, so that the word “CEO” in your bio puts you into three categories: Management, Management -> Executives, and Management -> Executives -> CEOs. Check out the categories that other people have been put in, and examine their bios to deduce what keywords have put them there.

I have updated my twitter bio armed with this new information. I am wondering how long it will take for Twellow to re-index me. I’m guessing I’ll be waiting for a re-index longer than it takes the Twellow programmers to get “smart” about singulars vs. plurals.

***Update 11:50 pm***
@William Azaroff cracked the code after reading this post, of how to get Twellow to re-index you after you change your Twitter bio. Once you’ve changed your Twitter bio, go to the Twellow page Get Listed, and submit your twitter username. Twellow will give you an error message, saying that the name is already indexed. However, within a couple of minutes, Twellow will re-index your profile and get the latest information available from twitter, including latest tweet and bio. Within five minutes, your changed bio will be reflected in Twellow’s search results. Feel free to mix, experiment and optimize how you want to be found on Twellow.

On the intertubes, everyone gets to be a rock star

March 21, 2008

In the Sixties, Andy Warhol predicted everyone would get their 15 minutes of fame. In today’s World 2.0, everyone gets to be a rock star. I’m usually not starstruck…but tonight I got to rub elbows with a true superstar – Guy Kawasaki. I bought Guy Kawasaki’s first book way back in the mid-eighties… it was called the Macintosh Way, and it is awesome.

Guy has had a pretty interesting career, especially as an early Macintosh evangelist, and when he started blogging, I started reading his blog. He is passionate about business, about entrepreneurship, and is an all-around cool guy. Guy is now a Venture Capitalist and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.

Earlier tonight, @itsjustbrent (Brent Dixon) twittered to Guy Kawasaki that he should add Charlie Trotter’s (@chaztoo) cartoon/comic site called Lolzies to Guy’s new site called Brent then twittered to the rest of his followers that everyone should petition Guy to add Lolzies to Alltop. At that time, my skeptical radar went on red alert. (I nearly turned into Mr. Grumpy Cranky, aka Ron Shevlin.) I thought to myself there is NO WAY GUY KAWASAKI is going to put Lolzies into his latest online endeavor.

Here’s some background on Guy Kawasaki’s recent online presence: Being well-connected in Silicon Valley, and with a great self-brand and entrepreneurial message, Guy quickly rose to the Top 50 of all bloggers in the world. (A-list, true technorati.) When twitter went mainstream for the technorati, Guy was there. Unfortunately, Guy didn’t follow the hundreds and hundreds of people who were following him. Since Guy likes to promote the projects he’s working on, many followers accused him of “using” his twitter presence just to shill his wares. Guy realized this wasn’t cool behavior, and to prove his detractors wrong, started to follow EVERY one who was following him. Well, that is now more than 6,200 twitterers. So I thought to myself, even assuming Guy is following Brent, how is he going to spot his tweet out of THOUSANDS that must be flying by his twitter-reader every second?

Personally, as much as I like Guy, I have slowed down with following his blog regularly. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the speeches he gives online there, but I’ve felt a need to focus on my own work. And since I don’t follow his blog as regularly as I used to, I definitely didn’t want to follow him on twitter. I didn’t want to see a stream of interesting, but distracting, information coming my way from him. But since Brent was trying to flag his attention, I figured I’d check and see if it were true that Guy follows those who follow him, so I followed Guy. And sure enough, I got an email back saying that Guy was following me just minutes later.

Then I joined in Brent’s petition to get Charlie’s Lolzies onto Alltop. This was followed by @CUWarrior joining in the petition to Guy for Lolzies. I think it might have been the giant feathers on @CUWarrior’s twitter picture that got Guy’s attention, because Guy tweeted back saying isn’t Lolzies a humor site and not a cartoon site? At this point my jaw hit the floor that GUY KAWASAKI was actually tweeting with us! So I jokingly asked Guy to sign my twitterrific interface, to which he responded “you’re scaring me”. He then returned the joke and said “sure, just send it over to me.”

After some banter, and Guy requesting that we all pimp Alltop in return for putting Lolzies into the comic area of it, he put it into the Comic feed, if Charlie was also willing to work some pictures of Guy into the comic itself if he sent over some photos of himself, and mention Alltop. Which Charlie quickly said yes to. (

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the true story of how Charlie Trotter became a rock star overnight. Do something worthwhile, and it could happen to you, too.

Addendum: This is the promise of social media– that quality and talent wins. Everyone with something to say has a chance to say it. Within every single one of us is a unique talent, and we are all rock stars. Traditional media gatekeepers are no longer in charge of what becomes popular or not. As Brent tweeted this morning, “Congrats, @chaztoo. Awesomeness wins again.”

Congratulations to the 30 under 30

December 3, 2007

Congratulations to the thirty CU employees under 30 who have been chosen by the Filene Research Institute to develop innovative young adult programs for credit unions to implement. Included in the group are EverythingCU members Melissa Troiano, Chad Warneke, Rachel Parrent, Brandi Melo, Carma Parrish and Matt Davis.