If, This, Then, That… Wow!

I’ve wrestled with the whole “how do I most efficiently get posts to all of my blogs and social feeds thing?” So I’ve been playing around with IFTTT for a few weeks now; and I gotta tell you; this is one of the top 5 web services that I would pay real money for to use on a subscription basis.

Basically IFTTT acts as a event triggered engine that monitors the happenings in your web 2.0 world (say twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn posts, or updates to email, Google docs, or Dropbox files) and will perform an action.

Your source and destination web applications, e.g. Facebook are called ‘channels’ and putting an activity together with your channels is called a ‘recipe.’ So for example, one of my recipes activates when I create a Twitter post; IFTTT takes my Twitter post, and adds it to an excel worksheet in my Google docs, boom, I now have a log of all of my twitter posts with time and date stamps.

Another recipe takes my blog posts from blog.ross-sivertsen.com creates a link and posts a message on my Facebook timeline.

The service is still in beta, so I’m sure somewhere along the way they’re going to monetize it, and I’d actually pay for this service. This has the chance of automating so much of my activities. And will simplify web use for a lot of people in NPOs who don’t have the technical staff to facilitate or have the bandwidth for upkeep of their social media campaigns.

Take a look, and I’d be interested in your comments:



The Two Biggest Lies Told During an Audit… Part Deux

I wrote this original post over four years ago before I was hired for my current position at Peerless; you can find the link to the posts HERE and below. Having completed a recent, now called ITGC for SOX, audit, the content is as relevent today as it was then.

I find it facinating at how increasingly prescritive the PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board) is becoming in the assessment over internal controls. If you were to read over the AS5 guidance, there is a fair amount of flexibility built in to an auditors ability to make judgements on their client's engagements.

But over the last several years, I'm finding that internal controls audits are becoming increasingly more about form over substance. I'm not being critical of any one professional services firms, I'm making my judgements as a matter of general observation…

That said, it's interesting that Grant Thorton published a survey early in 2013 of 243 Corporate General Counsels, that specifically citing increasing pressures of regulatory compliance and corresponding litigation, rather than competition, are the biggest threats to growth in US companies.

Here's a link to the survey:

In house counsels more concerned with regulators than competitors.

Link to the original post:

The Two Biggest Lies Told During an Audit…


If You Want to Know How to Engage in the Social Conversation… Then Converse!

I just finished a meeting where we were discussing the topic of how best to use Facebook to reach the constituency of an organization. I immediately went in to a spiel about needing to do a presentation on how non-profits use social media to extend their reach, blah, blah, blah… I hate it when I do that. I sound like those corporate marketing hacks.

Anyway, someone at the table said something really profound (thanks Matt), resulting in me having one of those V8 moments. He said "we don't need more information, we need people. The problem isn't going to be solved just because we understand the tool. SOMEONE must use the tool."

It hit me right while I was prattling on about the subject when what I should say, and eventually did say is "it's not about the tools or having a 'person' to use the tool, it's about the conversation and always has been."

I was so wrapped up in the use of the technology that I neglected to mention the most important part of social media is THE SOCIAL CONVERSATION. I posted a comment a couple of days ago on the topic of not 'reading yourself in to social media, you just have to dive in and use it (http://pulsene.ws/bRvF).

My point here is about gaining trust through joining the conversation and being in the middle of it. If we want to extend our reach, touch the lives of people and have them want to read what we're saying, we first have to say it. Contribute to the conversation, and natural selection will determine if others read it.

And even if they don't want to read what you have to say, then at least you've said it. Come on in, the water's warm, and there are plenty of people out there that share similar thoughts and feelings as you, but you'll never know it unless you just get out there, be authentic, transparent, don't sell, and simply say what you have to say. You'd be surprised. I know I was.

Many people want to be a writer.

I would say don't try to be a writer.


BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

The Five Macro Trends Driving Business (and Life) in the 21st Century

I'm at a global conference for ERP applications and Ray Wang, technology futurist, is speaking about five macro trends that will be the primary technology driver for business in the 21st century.

1. Mobility (Band on the Run)
We are changing the way we work. Forrester estimates that 283 million smart devices will be shipped this year. Where we are working has changed and we're not tied to the office any longer. I am working today from the conference floor of Perspectives the Epicor global conference (of which I'm presenting on Wednesday); I'm writing this blog post on my iPhone.

Location independence is critical to keeping people working and leveraging the best skills not from any one geographic region, but from anywhere. ANYWHERE.

2. Social (Butterfly) Media
How many of you are connected on LinkedIn or Facebook. Social media is neither a fad nor a passing fancy. Facebook added 100 million users last 9 months. People are by nature social animals; we want to connect as a community. Extending social media to business and extends information across business and consumers.

What does social media mean to business? Consider this, how do we either connect to our customers, or if you are a non-profit your constituency? I'll bet you either connect to your 'peeps' via email blasts or email or phone calls or face to face.

How about connecting to people by like interests? You connect to your friends on Facebook because they're you friends and you have common interests. Why not connect to your customers or constituents the same way.

3. Get Your Head IN the Cloud (Computing)
Part of mobility and location independence is the ability to work anywhere. As I write this article, I did so originally on my iPhone while at the presentation on the floor, I saved the draft to my Evernote account, then as I had time today, sat down to edit the article in the hotel atrium on my MacBook. What does this mean, well software is quickly becoming a service and moving all of our applications to the web. I never required any software ‘loaded’ on my notebook per se.

I could have just as easily sat at the Internet café in the hotel and edited this article from Evernote and a web browser. This idea of location independence no longer ties me to any one particular notebook, workstation, or machine, as long as I have access to the Internet and a web browser, I can continue to work. It is an ongoing experiment for me, and it occasionally works better sometimes than others.

I still prefer Word as my ‘power’ text editor, especially for particularly long papers and articles, but as a rule, I tweet, post on my blog, and write on Facebook using mobile devices, and web services exclusively.

4. Business Intelligence and Enterprise Dark Matter (Not the Dark Side)
Informatics and data visualization is at the center of translating data to information to knowledge and wisdom. How do we better understand the Internet of Things?

It’s not about the numbers, in as much as it is about understanding the patterns in the numbers, we are increasingly faced with a deluge of data, Ray noted that we estimate the amount of data in the universe is on the order of 1.3 Exabytes (That’s a 1.3 with 18 zeros behind it or a REALLY big number).

Understanding the patterns of all that data is the world of analytics. It’s about connecting the patterns in the data in the context of the real world, for example what does the increased number of tweets Twitter receives on President Obama’s vacation mean in the context of the world economy? Does it mean that he’s simply foolish to take a vacation during the mid-term elections, or that people care about what Michelle is doing with the girls at Disneyland?

5. Unified Communications and Video (Come Together)
Looking at the jet blue model of how they communicate to their customers for reservations have nothing to do with call centers. When you call jet blue to make a reservation you aren't calling a call center you're calling Donna at home in Kansas City. Unified communications are about communicating in real time from anywhere. Do you use Skype or SMS or instant messaging? Think about it.

I completely agree with Ray’s assessment, these trends will have a significant impact on our society for the next several years.

So, have you tweeted recently?


Social Networking Extravaganza!

For the last couple of months I’ve been working on my general internet presence, looking in to how organizations and individuals can create an effective marketing and internet presence using the technologies that have been popularized in the media over the last couple of years.

This entry isn’t really going to present any new information, but I wanted to understand, first hand, what this is all about, and you simply can’t read a book about it, I dove in and started doing this on my own.

I’ve used sites like LinkedIn for a while; it’s an easy place to be very specific about my business contacts. I’ve also played around with MySpace, and more recently Facebook. What I found in a really short time is that just in the last several weeks, I can start to see the sites I’ve created take on a life of their own.

The real intent of this exercise was to find out how to apply these technologies to specifically non-profits on how they can create a more effective marketing campaign, and connect with their constituents. I have a lot of material, found out a lot about what’s going on, and I’m beginning to understand the impact this can have on the organizations connecting to people.

With sites that focus on interest ranging from photos, to blogs, to music, to business contacts, social networking isn’t about Facebook and MySpace any longer. Aggregating these sites together to create a composite of interests can including event photo’s on Flickr, event music play lists on iTunes, or Virb, websites using del.icio.us and live updates using Twitter or Pownce. Organizations can even create encyclopedia articles using Wikipedia.

All of this together can be used to create a powerful marketing tool for those organizations who know how to use them, aggregate the information together, and market that to the internet. A couple of important points to remember for organizations wanting to use the Web 2.0 are:

1. It’s highly important to use a consistent look and feel, organizations have spent a great deal of energy creating their "brand," it’s important to carry that forward in an internet presence; in my own efforts I’ve started using the same picture thumbnail on every site (it’s not a picture I particularly like but it’s something I had on hand).

2. Understand the strength of each of the technologies and how to apply them, e.g. Flickr is great for sharing photos, but not for blog entries or editorials, and you wouldn’t use LinkedIn in the same way you’d use Facebook.

3. The real power behind this is not only the separate nature of each of the sites, Facebook being different than MySpace which is different than Pownce, but rather that organizations create mechanisms for aggregating this sites together to create a uniform presence, with a single static site acting as a “hub” to all other services, this is called a mashup. Very much the same way that MySpace and Facebook uses “widgets” and RSS to aggregate content from other sites.

This, IMHO, is both a good and bad thing from several perspectives; first it’s become incredibly easy, with just a little bit of savvy, to create an entire internet presence complete with contacts, networks, and so forth. That said, with Google and other search engines in the mix, this internet presence becomes the encyclopedia galactica for your life, all of a sudden it’s not as difficult as it used to be to find you in the background of a flag burning photo from college hidden. You 20 somethings, and 30 somethings, take note; the internet has a VERY long memory.

I’ll be continuing this as a project over the next several months, but in the meantime, here’s a list of my places on the information superhighway:

Connect with me on LinkedIn
My Facebook Page
MySpace Page
My Flickr Photos

Ross’ Tumblr Page
My links on del.icio.us
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Pownce
Follow me on Jaiku
This is the software I use posted at Wakoopa
Connect with me on Xing

My Playlists on Virb
Google me

The Bamboo Project Blog

Link: The Bamboo Project Blog.

I’ve mentioned before that I sit on the board of a couple of non-profit organizations. I have a passion for the organizations I work with, and I have a passion for the type of work I do, that is being a technologist.

I figured, shoot, I have over 25 years of experience being in technology, what better way to use the gifts I was given than by helping organizations understand and apply technology in new and inventive ways? That’s what I get paid to do at my day job.

What I discovered though, as I worked through the process of deploying systems in very small non-profits is that I didn’t understand their requirements nearly as well as I thought I did. I have a thorough understanding of engineering systems and how to apply technology, especially in the private for-profit sector, I do it every day, and I do it well. But I am fortunate enough to work with a team of very talented people that are helping me get to a place of understanding what was necessary for a small start-up non-profit.

I have to thank Kerry P., Karen M., Casie C., and Connie F. all of whom are helping me along this journey; they have a tremendous understanding of the needs for our projects, thanks for all of your guidance.

So, as I was beginning to scour resources on the understanding what it means to apply technology to the non-profit (especially small NPO) sector; I ran across Michele Martin’s blog titled "The Bamboo Project," her blog has, over the last several weeks become a resource for me on my projects in working with these organizations. Her blog centers on the use of technology for the social and non-profit sector.

I have found myself referring back to her site on more than one occasion, with her, through her posts, providing some real, practical, and valuable advice and information. Michele’s writing style is conversational and very approachable.

Thanks very much Michele for the valuable advice, I’ve added you (uh, your blog) to my del.icio.us tags, and certainly in my favorites.

» The Magic Quadrant: Team collaboration and social software | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com

Link: » The Magic Quadrant: Team collaboration and social software | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com.

Ok, so I’ve been looking in to the whole use of Web 2.0 applications for use in the enterprise, the Enterprise 2.0 concept. Now call me provincial, and I probably should learn much more about this than I have, but one of the things we’ve really been struggling with during the last several years is the work group collaboration over dispersed geographic regions.

So I’m sitting here on Thanksgiving day thinking about this stuff while I’m eating my turkey and dressing (also eating collard greens being the good southern boy I am). I’m doing some casual research on the subject and run across this article on ZDNet. Seems Gartner has already published a report on the concept of the use of social software (like Facebook, Twitter, blogging, wikis and the like) to facilitate team collaboration.

Now everything said and done, the "money shot" of this report is the "Magic" quadrant, see figure 1, a graphic representation of leaders, bleeders, followers and trailers in the social software sector using applying this technology to solve the problems of collaboration in the enterprise.

Alright, so the long and short of this image are two interesting organizations coming even anywhere close to being leaders, and that’s Microsoft and IBM, two of the largest behemoths in the technology industry. What does that really mean? Well, that just because an organization is big that it doesn’t have vision, and just because an organization is small and agile, that it does have vision.

This is a really intriguing topic for me, and one I’m going to continue to write about. Let’s see how this is all going to apply to my new projects, and where this is going to lead.

Stay tuned…