Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Carnival: The Best Development Resources

This week's Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants is: "The best professional development resources and strategy for nonprofit marketers. This includes professional development resources for nonprofit marketers, and my own strategy for sustaining your learning, inspiration and information sharing in the field. I'll leave the list linking and resourcing to folks who are much better at it than myself and address my own strategies.

This post will also attempt to answer the question that I get from time to time from friends and colleagues:

"When do you sleep?"

I do in fact get 7 hours of sleep every night (which if you are counting, means that I TIVO Lost and watch it the next night sans commercials like you are supposed to!!!). I've refined my strategy for learning, inspiration and information over the years quite a bit.

There are 3 main ways that I stay current and inspired.

1. Reading books. I pride myself on the fact that I'm a reader. You may have stumbled on my list of business and non-business books. I always have a huge stack of books on my nightstand that I queue up over time depending on what I want to learn, brush up on or explore. I mix up my reading as much as possible between pure biz/marketing books, biographies and sci-fi/fantasy stuff. My favorite way to find new books is by flipping through bibliographies of my favorite books or best of all - visiting author web sites or blogs and finding what they are reading. I've gotten a TON of great book ideas from Tom Peters and Seth Godin's blog. You can also stumble on some terrific books by reading blog comments or scanning amazon book reviews.

It's also worth noting that sometimes books will simply help you connect the dots on stuff that you have been thinking about. This happened as I was finishing up Obama's latest book, and especially as I was reading Man's Search for Meaning a few weeks ago. I still can't articulate it, but there is something VERY powerful about connecting disconnected things and coming up with unique ways to solve problems.

My MP3 player is also a massive resource. I download anywhere from 3-5 podcasts per week and listen to them during my commute. There is some great content out there including TED Talks and IT Conversations.

2. The blogosphere. I do read the Wall Street Journal every day, but the truth is that I get most of my best content from bloglines. I've added a TON of blogs and feeds that I scan a few times a day. I absorb new concepts best on paper. Reading on screen is fine, but I really love printing a few articles and stuffing them in my bag. I'll find them a few days later and read them on the train or in bed.

3. Talking to People. I call experts up all the time and introduce myself. Then I ask them good, solid questions about what they are doing about something I want to know about. I talked to 4 different mobile marketing consultants and service providers to educate myself. I talked to just about everyone who'd take a few minutes with me to discuss gaming and Second Life. The networking is actually incidental and not intentional (but a wonderful side benefit) - I'm mining for knowledge!

Once I've absorbed new concepts and ideas, I typically do one of two things.

If the concept or idea sounds like a no-brainer (mobile marketing did), I typically jump in immediately and start experimenting as fast as possible. This past week for example, I attended a great SEO seminar with SEOClass. During the seminar they talked a lot about social marketing. After learning that Netscape was quite Digg like, but more focused on Politics with a slightly older user base I knew I was going to try it. Within a few hours I had an account, had posted a story and was seeing how I could drive votes from myspace and facebook. I'm literally fearless when it comes to experimenting with these types of marketing ideas. I take the concept, prove it for myself and turn it in to a best practice. I'm in the midst of doing this with Squidoo as well. The act of doing completes the act of learning for me.

If the concept or idea is shaky or needs marinating, I'll let it sit or continue to read or look for examples. As I search, I'll use Delicious to tag "references" so I can go back later to review before making any moves. My tags become like a tickler file - never too far from me and festering just under the surface. I've noticed that if I leave stuff on the backburner, a random randomly connected thing will bring me back to the idea and it will either click on or off at that point. Or not, which is also good because it indicates that I've wasted enough time.

To summarize:

1 part love of learning.
Huge amounts of reading (and listening)
Willingness to try new things
Sheer curiosity

Tags: , , , ,

Labels: ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home