Social climbing at the Influencer Summit

Exchanging ideas with CEO of Kred, Andrew Grill, Karen Fewell, Tania Duarte & Mark Batchelor
Another trip to London and another epic evening in great company at one of London’s iconic hotels. This time it was The Mayfair Hotel for a very exclusive invitation-only event in the company of some of the most influential movers and shakers in the world of Social Media and Social Business (Yes, there is a difference.) You’d also be right in wondering what the heck I was doing there...? Looking around the room, I had to wonder myself now and then, but that’s part of the fun; It’s a brave new world and I want to be at the frontier. 

To understand what it's all about, I’d better just explain to those unfamiliar with this stuff, that on that thing we call the internet there are a couple of tools (think of them as websites that you sign into) for measuring how much ‘influence’ one has in their social groups online. The two major players in this arena are Klout and Kred. (I like that they begin with ‘K’ - it is a very influential letter you know.). Klout was first, but Kred is better due to it's transparency. Since it was the 'Kred London Influencer Summit' that I was attending, I guess you can figure out my allegiance at this stage. But how did I get invited in the first place?

Attending a party a few weeks ago, I was chatting with Jeremy Waite (Social Strategist for Adobe - Get Well Soon Jeremy!), when we were interrupted briefly by the very dynamic entrepreneur Andrew Grill who went on to explain why he had a free iPad under his arm courtesy of EE. (It’s a good story by the way and worth a read here.) On my way home I saw that he had connected with me on Twitter, which was very generous and that was when I realised he was the CEO of Kred. Wow. Since then, we’ve had a few exchanges on the philosophy of ‘Social Business’ and probably the reason why I found myself on this prestigious guest list tonight.

To put Andrew Grill and Kred into some sort of perspective, I learned tonight that they have

200 million subscribers with a potential audience reach of 500 million people on Twitter and Facebook. That’s a lot of influence right there.

Now before you get all hung up on the flaws and challenges of influence being benchmarked as a number, you have to remember that it is only relevant within your zone or sphere of influence. Justin Bieber will have massive influence in your life if you happen to be a hyperactive screaming ‘tweener, but he will have no influence whatsoever in the world of offshore oil exploration as an example. At least online that is. Furthermore, he also has a very low score in terms of ‘reaching out’, since he hardly replies to these hordes of marauding teenagers. So the bottom line is that your ‘influence’ can be very large when looked at through the niche audience that you might appeal to.

From a personal perspective, my twitter feed has about 375 400 followers made up of mostly Hospitality professionals, social media guys and some public speakers. So within the realms of talking and tweeting about hospitality and marketing, I could be described as a giant. Beyond that however, I am merely a footnote at the bottom of the page in comparison to the Stephen Fry’s and Jamie Oliver’s of this word who command huge influence over all sorts of people since they're exceptionally famous AND are generous enough to reply and engage with their respective audiences.

That said, I have found the ‘Social Media Set’ quite an interesting bunch due to the crossover nature of their medium. They operate in a place where IT, Marketing, Mathematics, Sales, Research, PR, Sociology, Psychology, Entrepreneurship and Communications all get together to drink from the same watering hole. But the one thing that brings us together is our love for humanity and that social interaction, even if it is with someone you haven't met personally.

I’ll write a little about the products and vision Andrew revealed tonight in another post, but I am honoured to have been invited to have a sneak peek at his new kind of future and wish all the team at Kred every success in the coming months with this hugely ambitious rollout.

You guys rock.

Every person. Every day. Every Time.

Are we delivering excellence? A profoundly simple question I put to my team this week on our first day back after a fantastic Christmas break. Giving it some consideration, a variety of answers came back ranging from 'yes totally' to others who felt 'we could do better'. I tend to agree with the latter.

But first, let me explain how this bout of philosophical navel gazing cropped up. As we neared the end of another hectic term last November I found myself looking for some nugget of motivation that would slingshot me through the hectic Christmas period ahead and into 2011. It came in the form of a rather innocuous question in my annual and first ever - appraisal at that time; “Are you delivering excellence?” Hmm, I would have to think about this carefully because truthfully I knew there was room for improvement.

A few days later in a very unkempt changing room I suddenly had an epiphany about this excellence I was meant to be delivering which has since given me enough motivation for months to come - enough to start this blog even! You see, while I had been thinking about the big showy VIP things that we tend to focus on most of the time, I was overlooking the everyday mundane tasks (such as keeping this changing room tidy) that also require excellence from every member of my team.

With this newfound perspective, I put it to them; how does our Kitchen Porter deliver excellence? How can HE deliver excellence when he doesn't cook fabulous food for a living? (Or even mediocre food for that matter). Nor does he serve Champagne to our guests with panache. After all that's not his job. His lot is to mop the floor, wash the pots, throw out the trash and keep smiling throughout. I guess in his case the more fundamental question is 'how can WE help him to deliver excellence?'

Picture yourself, I continued, standing in the changing room with the state it is in most of the time and consider the question again. Would a visitor, senior manager or contractor using the facility think so?

From this point of view, they all agreed we had some way to go. But in doing so, we had just taken our first steps towards this elusive state we seek out. Because in admitting to our deficiency in such a key component of Hospitality, we had taken our first small step towards delivering that excellence. Every person. Every day. Every Time.

My new mantra for 2011, and I have promised to bore my team silly with it, is for each of us to ask of ourselves 'Are we delivering excellence?' Because if we do so in the banal tasks, the big showy VIP ones will take care of themselves.

Look around at the area within arms reach of you. Are you delivering excellence in how it looks?...

Start there.