“Eat shit and die” - we’re all familiar with this common place insult. But amazingly enough, it’s what half the world spends its life doing. And the other half? Well they’re busy starving. So what’s my point?
You know me. I’m far from being a tree hugger. I love a noisy V8. I grok mass consumption, and the need to scale food production to feed hundreds of millions at a time. I’m a huge Target and Walmart fan (although convinced these places are more about show business than retail). I love shopping Sam’s Club and Costco.
And I don’t think people should “go back to their roots”, organize in communes, parade around half naked, and start growing carrots for a living. Our “roots” involve fighting saber tooth tigers for a weekly meal. So thank you very much. I’d rather call in for reservations.
That being said, I hate mass chicken “farms”, fast food chains, industrial wines, bio-engineered meats, mercury-loaded fish, and pesticide-washed vegetables and fruit that taste like stale cardboard - cancer included. Just add water. Our mass-produced foods are an aberration of the above. What to do?
Enter New York City-based Farmigo. A startup I’ve been following for a while now. These guys are building a connected social network of consumers (you and me) and food producers (local farmers) meeting at dedicated exchange points (businesses). Right now they only function in selected US major cities. But they’re out to scale this thing globally. By building a social networked community. Sounds funky enough - some would say idealistic - but I’m pretty sure these ex-SAP dudes are on to something pretty significant. Here’s why.
We live in an age of uncertainty and danger - insert doh moment - bobbing in very unstable and choppy seas. And two solid anchors remain: family and land. The only “genuine” staples left. Social media can help connect both.
The strength of the “clan”. And the life-sustaining safety of land. Family, food, and water. Whoever owns, controls, influences, and connects these is assured success and longevity. Not to mention riches. It’s that simple.
It wasn’t possible to pull this off before the age of social. And the Con Agras and Frank Purdues of the world ruled the land. Rightly so. But it’s a different ballgame now.
In 2005, I was telling anyone who’d listen that the future wasn’t in bonds, sub-primes, or other Wall Street hokus pokus of the day. I was preaching about people owning their own chunks of land to farm and then distribute locally. At one point I sought out acres in the Coachella valley, around the Salton Sea, and in Idaho (great wine-growing dirt out there).
Maybe it came from living in the California desert for several years. But I learned something really important back there. Whoever owns the means of food production and water rights rules the world. One day, fresh food, water and rights to it will be more precious than diamonds.
So I’m pretty big on farmers. Some of my best friends are farmers. Farmers are wealthy. Real wealth. Most wouldn’t know it. The guy in the picture above is Arthur Wilson. He owned a bean farm in Yellow Jacket, CO. I spent some of the most precious moments of my childhood on his land. I discovered farming there. And what real food meant and tasted like. I was barely 10 years old. Starry eyed kid from NYC thinking food came from Dagostino’s :)
And I’m pretty jazzed at the concept of connecting these unsung heroes with regular folks. And saving countless colons in the process.
I just read an interview with the guy pictured above - who happens to run Marketing at SAP. Quoting a CMO to support social media philosophy might be a little convoluted, but this piece was too good to pass up. Some key takeaways from a social media perspective:
“we have to move away from the notion that we can control the message to a mindset where we orchestrate the conversations”
That’s a solid, and I think most people get this now. But sometimes you find those who just pretend to get it. People who use social channels as yet another way to carpet-bomb messages are of the latter persuasion.
“Being in B2B or B2C is an arbitrary distinction. Buildings don’t buy from buildings, people buy products from people”
This is a relatively new concept, and I would have argued against it only a few months ago. But I’ve seen the light now. Consumer, corporate buyer. Same expectations, same funnel. All merged now.
80% of customers do not visit corporate web sites prior to making buying decisions
Although I’ve read many articles quoting research to that effect, I find it hard to believe it’s that high. Nonetheless, WOM and coupons <sigh> drive purchase decisions nowadays. If you have a functioning website but, say, no mobile presence to speak of, or no social integration, place your bets on the mobile/integration table and forget the stupid website. No one cares (apparently).
SAP [has] a goal of having 50% of their own website content authored by third parties in the future.
I’m very wary of crowdsourcing in general, but in certain cases Community (and not internal “experts”) knows best. Put customers in charge. Better bang for the buck. This is particularly true for support content provided strong curation is practiced.
SAP has started taking consumer cultures into consideration for their product positioning as well
I’ll just note this should also apply to social media. In the current effort to paint everything with a global brush, it’s easy to forget people don’t drive on the same side of the road in every country. And social tactics should adapt to ground conditions accordingly. Especially with social support.
Passion needs to be organized, it needs to be channeled
Clearly, however passion needs to (1) exist at and (2) flow from the top. It doesn’t miraculously appear. Only once you have vision at the top, then you can have passion. And then seepage. Worry later about channeling it. It’s a good worry to have anyway.
Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.
True that. The trick lies in separating the two :) And presenting things differently depending on which altar you pray at - Marketing, PR, Service - All of the above?