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  • Mark Wallace
    Sandwiches or Salads2
    Entry last edited January 19, 2012 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor 

    As we ready ourselves for 2009, I am sure many of you are thinking about your personal New Year's Resolution.  For those of you who are hoping to improve your eating habits, drop some weight, and feel better, I encourage you to check out My Best Size.  It is an advertising free online community that has healthy eating and diet discussions, expert blogs, and peer insights. 

    For those of you who are not going on a diet, I have included an aggregated list of the "Best Places to Go to Get a Sandwich" as submitted by other environmental professionals in the field - your fellow members of commonground.

    Salumi - Seattle, WA
    Grinder's Hot Sands - Aurora, WA
    Lolita's - Paddington Station, London
    Amighetti's - St. Louis, MO
    Yellow Sub - Kansas City, MO
    Pottbelly's - Chicago, IL
    Testo's - Bridgeport, CT
    Rawvelution - Santa Monica, CA
    Papacito's - Houston, TX
    Firehouse Deli - Fairfield, CT
    Gaetano's - Stratford, CT
    Harold's New York Deli - Edson, NJ
    Marco's Italian Cold Cuts - Woburn, MA
    Fulcineti's - Waltham, MA
    Nick's Famous Roast Beef - Beverly, MA

    Also, I have noticed that many local Boston restaurants have significant initiatives to reduce their environmental impact.   If you are interested in trying out some of these enviromentally friendly locales next time you in Boston, the list included in the article is a good place to start.

    If you have any others you would like to add, please visit the discussion and participate.  It is not too late!

    Hope this helps you achieve your personal weight loss objectives or get a great sandwich - or both.

    Bon Appetit!


  • Mark Wallace
    YOU Really Are Making Progress3
    Entry last edited January 19, 2012 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor 

    Recently, I did some general housekeeping at my home office and came across a couple of my favorite old magazines.  I often find it entertaining to flip through old magazines just to check and see how much things have changed.

    Remember the week of December 25, 2006 - January 1, 2007?  I do.  It is was when TIME Magazine announced its Person of the Year.   "YOU" were the winner and there was a mirror on the cover of the magazine to prove it.  For me, my coworkers, and others that follow social media closely, it was the moment when our favorite band went from the opening act to headlining the main stage.  It was a huge day!

    So, I decided to do my own little experiment.  The premise is if "social media" is a trend, then it would be interesting to see how many of the companies featured in the issue are still around.  After all, two years have passed.  In an emerging technology marketplace, that is a long time. So, I opened to pages 60-61 where 19 companies were featured as leaders.  Below, is the list of companies that are still around.

    Second Life - popular 3-D virtual world
    YouTube - users broadcasting themselves
    BitTorrent - free open source file sharing
    Revver - free video sharing network - free internet radio
    Netflix - online videos shipped to your home
    iTunes - music and video for your iphone
    Craigslist - community moderated local classifieds
    LinkedIn - business contact management and social networking
    eBay - online auction site
    Wikipedia- online encyclopedia built via crowdsourcing
    Google - online search - online store with customer reviews - friends connect online
    Blogger (now Google) - blogging service
    iStockphoto - member generated design and photo community
    Flickr - online photo scrapbook
    Digg - readers can rate stories and articles - bookmarking service
    Technorati - search and rank topics in blogosphere
    BlogLines - search and subscribe to content and news sources

    None of the companies included on these pages are no longer around.    In my opinion, that is a pretty significant statistic. 

    It becomes even more interesting given that TIME just announced its person of the Year - Barack Obama.  We all know how he leveraged social media, crowdsourcing, and the collective "We" comprised of many of "You's" to make history. 

    As I discussed in Social Everything, there are often questions about whether this market is here to stay or if we are simply in the midst of another technology trend.   In a world where many of the traditional brand name companies are struggling, social media seems to be pretty stable and will likely continue to headline the main stage in the coming years.

  • Mark Wallace
    Stumped by a Four Year Old4
    Entry last edited January 19, 2012 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor 

    Yesterday morning, I had just paid for my coffee at the Starbucks drive thru when out of the blue something happened that left me speechless.   My four year old, who often says entertaining things when we are driving, said to me "Daddy - Why are so many stores out of business?  Why are all those stores empty?".

    I am assuming this question had something to do with a Thanksgiving day conversation with a few family members about some local and big businesses that have gone away.  However, I am not sure and never expected that question!

    My response (the best I could come up with on the spot) was "That is a great question.  Give me a minute to see if I can explain it in a way that would make sense"....  He said "OK" and patiently waited.  The clock was ticking.  The silence was deafening.  As I drove through the parking lot scrambling in my mind for a logical answer, I thought to myself:

    - because of the greed on Wall Street
    - because the company that rented this building inflated its projections, missed its targets, is in hot water, and had to close
    - because until 2 months ago, anyone with a pulse could get a loan and start a business
    - because people have less discretionary money and these stores don't provide something deemed a "necessity"
    - because it makes more sense for small business owners to declare bankruptcy and start over again under a new name
    - because many homeowners paid much more for their homes than they are now worth which is requiring them to change careers for stability
    - because the big stores put the little ones out of business because they have the resources to innovate

    I quickly realized that I was running out of time to answer the question - how am I going to explain this in a way that makes sense? 

    Then it came to me and I said..."The reason why is because people are finding it more convenient to buy things on their computer like Mom and Dad do all the time". 

    As I look back, I am not sure I could have come up with a more logical and accurate answer.  For this years holiday season, over $10.41 Billion has already been spent online and ecommerce on Black Friday was up slightly over 2007 according to Comscore.    Avoid the lines, get easy access to peer reviews of the products/services, and research the products from our homes - sold.

    Let's hope the next few months revive optimism and help us to eliminate some of these awfully difficult questions.

  • Mark Wallace
    "Social" Everything2
    Entry last edited January 19, 2012 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor 

    Unlike most of the people who actually read my blogs on commonground, I must disclose again that I do not have an environmental background or education.   My background is in building businesses in emerging markets, sales, and social media.  Therefore, as you might expect I am pretty passionate about helping companies embrace and think about leveraging social media to improve sales, marketing, and customer service.

    There is not a day that goes by when there is not something new that is tagged "social media".  Many of my peers ask me why everything seems to be labeled that way.   And specifically, in the last couple of weeks, there have been discussions around whether the whole "social scene" is going to survive long term or crash like the stock market.

    Here is my view.  I firmly believe the "social" scene is here to stay and that it will be here for a long time.  Why?  Because of one simple reason.   As humans we like to help one another out and in return expect others to help us out.  Remember the Golden Rule from the Bible, "Do Onto others as you would like done onto you...".   Social principles are simply not new.  And, the technology has also been around for a long time too (collaboration, ratings, chat, blogs, instant messaging, many more).  There is nothing really new there.  What is new is the creative and unbelievably effective ways they are being improved, packaged together, and leveraged. 

    Take into consideration the following.   Millennials will outnumber baby boomers by 2010 and they were born digital.  See the below points covered in a recent talk done by Ben Grossman at a conference I attended.

    1984 - first personal computer was announced
    1989 - the world wide web arrived
    1996 - the palm pilot was introduced
    1999 - Napster entered the picture changing music forever
    2001 - The ipod was introduced
    2005 - Podcasts were introduced
    2006 - By this time, 77% of millennials owned cell phones

    I could add a lot more detail, but the fact is that millennials have never experienced a time in their existence on the planet when they did not have the internet.  During this time, they have used the internet to socialize, manage contacts, help each other, become educated buyers, and so much more.  And, they will be the future leaders of organizations involved in environmental due diligence.

    Today, it is estimated that over 230 million people belong to social sites and there is no doubt the social market is still emerging.  So, it would seem to me that we are still at the early stages of the development of this market and that everyone involved in environmental due diligence should prepare for this trend to last a very long time. 

    I am curious - what do you think?  Are communities and social networks here to stay for the long haul and how do you think it will impact the future of environmental due diligence?

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  • Mark Wallace
    Ever Wondered What Obama Was Thinking...2
    Entry last edited January 19, 2012 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor 

    Have you ever wondered what must be going through the minds of the presidential candidates on election night?   Imagine the adrenaline rushes, the letdowns, the reality that soon you will call 1600 Pennsylvania Ave your home!

    For those of you who have had similar thoughts, I encourage you to check out the Obama Blog.  Specifically, check out Scenes from Election Night which answers the very simple question "What was Election Night like?".   My recommendation is to speed up the slide show as it takes a couple of minutes.

    To me, the slides are very powerful - even a week after election night.  It is very interesting to see:

    -the "Human" side of things
    -the reaction of the family
    -a story unfold that we would normally not have access to (that I am aware of)

    I am the last person to discuss politics and I am not even tipping my cards as to who I may or may not have voted for by writing this.  However, each day I appreciate more and more how the Obama camp was able to raise small donations, loyalty, and a following by enabling everyone to have a role (and truly participate) in his campaign.

    The rules of politics have changed.  I would expect that in coming years, political social media strategies will be step #1 of every campaign. If you have not considered this for your business, you really should.  I suspect you will be surprised with the results. 

  • Mark Wallace
    Must Read...SEO Part #12
    Entry last edited January 19, 2012 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor 

    I spent the last two days at the New Media Marketing Summit at Gillette Stadium – the home of the New England Patriots.   Although I did not get offered a tryout, I did get to hear some very bright people share their ideas, experiences, and knowledge.

    I have always been a huge fan of SEO, search engine optimization, and attending the event and listening to some of the speakers only furthered my feelings.    To that end, I thought I would share some feedback on the dramatic impact your presence on the web today can have on your ability to reach current and future customers.    Today, I will discuss why so many people have blogs.

    Executives are always going to ask about the metrics of having their staff spending time writing blogs.  I too, have often wondered.  See my first post after becoming part of commonground.  I am a metrics driven guy.   The truth be told blogging has an enormous amount of power.  

    Why you ask?  The algorithms that are driving blogs are positioning blogs higher in Google search results.   Freddie Laker, with Sapient, indicated that on average 8 of the top 10 search results displayed on the left hand side of the page typically come from some type of social media methodology, like blogs, vs. traditional marketing collateral or a company’s web site.  

    Where is the one place everyone goes to get information today?  Yes, you are right - Google

    Let me share some results with you that we are thrilled about.   According to Alexa, which is’s rating of web site traffic, commonground’s ranking has moved up nearly 275,000 places since August 28th!   Blogs, external links, and traffic driven through search, were key contributors to this accomplishment.

    Today, bloggers are quickly becoming more powerful than traditional media and press.    David Meerman Scott, marketing strategist for the World Wide Rave, talked about the NHL’s New York Islanders providing press privileges to bloggers and breaking new stories to them because they have better reach.  And, their readers have reach, and their readers readers have reach....think chain letter approach online.  

    Social media will be a key area of focus for every company moving forward.  Stick with it, if you do it right, you will reap the rewards….more to come.

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  • Mark Wallace
    Financial Market "Exemptions"4
    Entry last edited January 19, 2012 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor 

    As you know, I typically focus my blogs on social media topics and emerging trends.   However, today, I am writing about something that just makes no sense to me. 

    As members of commonground, you are well aware that when a property is deemed contaminated or damaged, resulting in the need to clean it up, the government goes after the following people to pay for the situation to be remedied.

    1)      The current owner or operator of the site

    2)      The former owner or operator of the site

    3)      The person or company that arranged for the disposal of the contaminant

    4)      The person or company that transported the contaminant for disposal

    For those of you that have had experience with a friend or relative, who as they got older required medical care, you are likely very aware that the government goes after that persons assets to pay for any unpaid medical or care costs.  The government puts liens on their assets.

    Why are the Executives at these major financial institutions, who are benefiting from insane salaries, bonuses, and severance packages, not financially and sociably held accountable in some way for the messes they have created?   Instead, the government lets them off the hook by coming in and bailing them out.   Then, we pay for it.

    Are you aware of the government demanding that these Wall Street Executives help to remedy the situation?   I am not.  I suspect that these folks who benefited are currently sitting down with their financial advisors and planning to reinvest in the market at its lowest point and quickly double down on their money when the market turns.

    I just don’t get it.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this (especially if you are the CEO of a Wall Street financial firm).

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  • Mark Wallace
    How Much “Influence” Does Google Have2
    Entry last edited January 19, 2012 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor 

    This morning, I was reading a Businessweek article that caught my attention.  It was called Making Social Networks Profitable and provided a quick overview of Google’s new plans to sell social networking advertising.   

    In summary, Google has developed a patent pending technology that ranks a person’s influence within their social networks – facebook, myspace, etc. .  All of us will be assigned a score that rates our influence as compared to just about anyone in the world.  Folks that are well connected will be considered very influential.    Google will charge a premium to advertisers for access to these influential people who are more likely to post things they believe in on their “friends” sites.        

    Am I surprised?  Nope - not at all.   Why?

    - 83% of online consumers trust the opinion of a friend or acquaintance who has used a product or service  - Forrester Research

    - Even if the economy slides into recession. US ad spending on social networks will climb to $1.6 Billion in 2008, from $920 million in 2007, a 70% growth rate - eMarketer

    - Online ad spending was $21B in 2007 – Interactive Advertising Bureau

    So, we shall see what happens in the months ahead.   Stay tuned…

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  • Mark Wallace
    Facebook Controversy at Ryerson U.11
    Entry last edited January 19, 2012 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor 

    I was just introduced to a controversial article by our CTO that is near and dear to me.  It is about a student at Ryerson University, who set up a facebook networking group, to collaborate with other students in his chemistry class.  He now is being faced with potential expulsion and being accused of violating, get this, 147 academic charges!

    About three years ago, I was part of a team that used wiki technology to write the first ever community written business book titled We Are Smarter than Me.   It was collaboration between Wharton, MIT, Pearson Publishing, and Shared Insights, where nearly 5000 contributors (authors) wrote about the impact social networks will have on all aspects of business.   The editors ranked it the #6 best business book of 2007 and it was also recognized as a top read for CEO’s.

    The premise was very simple and timely– that in business, the collective wisdom of groups is greater than that of an individual leader or contributor.  That should be no different in the classroom.  As a result,  today’s teachers needed to embrace the use of technology moving forward if they were to properly ready their students for today’s business world and to be our future leaders.    

    Even though in business, we are taught that collaboration is critical, no one has relayed to teachers that collaboration now takes place in person, online, and over the phone.   The fact is, many colleges and universities are filled with ego maniacs that believe in the “me are smarter than we” and “I am the expert” style of teaching.   Some professors still do not read their emails, never mind carry a blackberry, have a facebook account, etc.. even though 90% of US college students are using facebook.   And, many  Gen Y’ers don’t even use email anymore.   

    What is next, are we going to expel them for recording their own videos (they could potentially broadcast them to millions of people)?  How about making cell phone calls (97% of college students own cell phones)?  How about using wikipedia versus going to the library?    Maybe we could get them a great price on a used set of encyclopedias.  Nope, we cannot do that because we may have to do the research and then buy them online!

    The goal of colleges and universities should be simple – prepare students to be leaders in the real world.  Perhaps it is time for the administrators and teachers at Ryerson to fork out $200,000 over four years and go back to school.

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  • Mark Wallace
    Text Messaging…Ever Wonder?2
    Entry last edited January 19, 2012 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor 

    I just read an interesting article on cell phones being the center of the universe for teens that had a few eye opening statistics.   Below is a quick summary.

    1)       17 million (4-5) teens carry a wireless device (increase of 40% since 2004)

    2)      47% can text with their eyes closed

    3)      57% credit the mobile phone with improving their lives

    One of the main messages is that texting is quickly replacing talking amongst teens. 

    This info was gathered as part of a study done by CTIA and Harris Interactive . 

    I often get in conversations about texting with coworkers, peers, and family members.  Why does everyone text so darn much these days?  Why don’t people pick up the phone anymore and talk?  Whatever happened to talking through issues? 

    My feeling is, without knowing it or realizing it, we, as parents, are to blame.   Most parents that have teenagers have been using email as one of their main methods of communication for years.  Many have also been glued to their PDA’s sending emails.    We check PDA’s all the time - at the store, during events, on vacation, etc.. 

    So I often ask this question back to parents with teenagers, when your kids were younger , do you think they saw you  talking on your “phone” or  typing/emailing on your “phone” more often?

    Maybe the above info shouldn’t be all that surprising…

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