Social Media continues to be the hot topic on Fox6 Milwaukee's Wakeup show. Anchor Shawn Patrick invited Trivera president Tom Snyder back, this time to talk about Foursquare.
Social Media continues to be the hot topic on Fox6 Milwaukee's Wakeup show. Anchor Shawn Patrick invited Trivera president Tom Snyder back, this time to talk about Foursquare.
Following the Theater shootings in Aurora Colorado, a Fox6 Milwaukee reporter contacted me to get a little insight on Social Media use during breaking news events like these. 30 minutes of videos was shot, the following feature included my remarks.
When a friend first showed me this new-fangled thing called the Internet back in 1994, I immediately knew it would change everything. And as someone who shortly after that started a company that helped businesses and organizations leverage that power, I've been talking (and writing) about how it is changing the relationship between companies and anyone who does business with them, ever since. Of course, that change goes beyond just customers. It extends to include vendors, suppliers, partners, media and the community. We've also included employees in that group, but I don't ever recall writing a blog about how this technology changes that relationship. So when TDS Metrocom invited me to Madison to show me how what they're doing in the area of connected workplaces is as big a game changer as anything else that has happened on the web since its beginning, I was fascinated enough to give up a day in my own office to see what the fuss was about.
In the interest of total disclosure, I've gotten to know a few local TDS salespeople from networking events, and a few years ago, even won a Vegas vacation from them when they drew my business card in a drawing at the local BizTimes BizTech Expo. Shortly after that, I was invited to do a Social Media presentation to their team. But quite honestly, I never REALLY knew what it was they did. I knew it had something to do with data, communications, and businesses. I also knew they had a data center where they hosted web servers. But beyond that, I was clueless.
The day tagged as a "blogger event" began with discussions among several of the Midwest's respected and visionary bloggers, causing me to ask the most obvious question: "how did *I* get invited?"
The theme was "The Connected Workplace," and began with a discussion about how a growing number of companies are using Facetime, Google Hangouts and Skype to facilitate face to face communications and even staff meetings. One of the first sessions even used the technology to video conference in the speaker. As the technology becomes easier and more ubiquitous, it is possible for team members miles, states and even countries apart to stay and feel connected. Telephone and data systems that run on the web offer the appearance that everyone is together, regardless of how apart they really are, make it almost ridiculous to NOT use.
The host for the day's event, Emmy award winning film producer and screenwriter John Roach, offered his perspective...and investment advice...about a connected workplace:
"Short sell commercial Real Estate."
He talked about how big offices that congest freeways, cost hours of commute time and decrease the number of productive hours are going the way of the dinosaur. The trend to replace a workplace that everyone "goes to" with digital connections that allow the workplace to be wherever you are is the situation that he admitted he's been waiting for for 20 years. His thoughts resonated with me, as a digital experience that "comes to you with what you need when you need it" was my theme of a recent blog about mobile. It now extends to our jobs.
The concept is still a bit foreign to those of us who have a culture based on people working next to, looking at and eating lunch with each other in an open environment. But offices that are just rows and rows of beige cubicles will soon be realizing the tremendous cost savings from a workplace that minimizes expenses by maximizing a team of workers working in pajamas at a desk at home, but still connected
Early in the day, I realized that TDS Metrocom sells phone systems. The difference with their product is that instead of a bunch of hardware in a closet, the stuff that runs their phone systems is hosted at a remote...and pretty amazing...data center. But as the day progressed, I realized that the even bigger difference is that they understand that they really are in the business of using Internet technology to connect people, build relationships and conduct business. Pretty much the same thing Trivera does. Unlike my space, where the devices have been computers and laptops, their devices have been office phones. But, in today's rapidly converging connected world, we're also both using mobile, online video, hosted applications and API's. My biggest takeaway was the fact that when my first exposure to the Internet convinced me that it would change everything, I didn't realize how big "everything" really was.
The growing challenge for companies large and small in this connected world is the total integration of all the internet has to offer into all aspects of their business: Sales, Marketing, Management, Human Resources, and Communication, and most importantly finding people with the technological expertise to perform that integration. Fortunately there are companies like TDS and Trivera who can take care of that.
Photos of the TDS Blogger Event are posted on Pinterest.
In addition to the great design and amazing interactive backend stuff Trivera creates, we also make sure we're driving traffic to the sites we build, and then measuring and improving the success rates of that traffic. Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click are important components of that effort.
Our growing client list has created the need for us to add another SEO/PPC Specialist to our team. To fill that position, you'll need to be able to translate clients' business goals into successful search engine optimization strategies, perform technical site analysis, competitive/keyword research, and link analysis. You'll also be responsible for optimizing various site elements, including site structure, link popularity and copywriting. You'll develop ongoing customer reports, which yield qualitative and quantitative trends for ongoing SEO efforts. We have a team of technicians who take care of the technical aspects, so the position doesn't require a great deal of HTML, coding or server command line expertise, but you will need to be able to communicate client goals, and tactical directives clearly and completely so they can correctly implement what needs to be done.
Our level of passionate customer service can't be trained. You'll have to already have that in you. That service includes educating, relating and interacting well with customers and having patience even with those who have a complete lack of comprehension of how any of this SEO stuff works. The biggest challenge with this position is managing client expectations, so knowing (and being able to communicate) exactly what we will be delivering is critical.
"Plays well with others" is how others describe your relationship with co-workers. While our project manager keeps scope, feature and budget creep to a minimum, flexibility to accommodate evolving client goals is a must. An intuitive knowledge of exactly when to function without constant guidance and when to ask questions is an intangible and undefinable quality that we expect.
This is an in-house position. We provide an extraordinary environment, flexible start times, and an office in the coolest building in Waukesha County. We have had no staff layoffs, salary reductions or major cutbacks in benefits in over 16 years. Free soda, coffee, candy and snacks. Staff lunches whenever there's a birthday, and we wrap up every week with a happy hour at 4 on Friday. This is truly an amazing place to work.
Send your resume, salary requirement and examples of some of your successes to email@example.com . Trivera Interactive is an EOE.
What your company is doing with the web is a lot like a hockey game. If your only focus is a web site based on an assumption that all your visitors are sitting at their desks viewing your site on a 1024 x 768 resolution desktop monitor, you're skating to where the puck was. Even if you've begun to toy around with making your website more mobile friendly, you're still skating to where the puck is.
As an early adopter of the Internet as a powerful marketing tool, and founder of one of the Midwest's first Web development firms, I remember the days when 87% of all businesses polled said they would never have a need for a website. My challenge for over 16 years has been to be chasing after the future and dragging clients kicking and screaming behind me, hoping they'll keep up.
And it's about to get even harder.
Over the past few days, I've been spending time with the presentation Stephanie Rieger gave to the Breaking Development conference in Orlando, Florida. It's an eye opening look at how the web is evolving. Where it used to be something you'd go to the computer or your mobile device to "do," it's rapidly becoming something that's always on, connected to everything we use to provide us with any knowledge we need just as we need it. As Brad Frost aptly put it:, you need to get your content ready to go anywhere because it's going to go everywhere. Skating to where the puck is going means moving to a world where internet touch points go beyond browsers, smart phones and tablets to now include treadmills, refrigerators, cars, and a million other "smart things" that we haven't even begun to imagine. A world where search engine queries are replaced by contextual information fed to us based on our interests, needs, and location, the keyboard having been replaced by GPS's, our voice or even our retinas. The journey to where the web is headed has shifted into hyper drive, and in the process is shattering the paradigms. And it's about to leave many businesses, and even some self-professed "web development firms" in the dust.
That's why I'm so fortunate to have the team here at Trivera. While still understanding the need to provide superior, best practice web experiences for our clients (delivered on time, scope and budget), we take regular time out of the office every Friday to talk about, and plan for, the technologies, platforms, tools, ideas and directions that will help us embrace the future web.
As a result we've continued to push the envelope and come up with some pretty amazing stuff:
I've always been totally flabbergasted by traditional ad agencies who say "Oh, yeah, we do web too." Many are still trying… and still failing…to embrace even 10 year old best practices, and thus skating to where the puck was. A few conceptually get it but don't have the breadth, depth and length of experience to hire, manage or direct a team with the necessary skillsets, and so also are still skating to where the puck is. In the minority are the brave, visionary few who not only are embracing concepts like responsive web, but even seeing that as an experience we'll one day look back on with the same quaint nostalgia that we have for stuff like Cue Cat, Flash, 56k dial up and AOL.
I guess there are parts of the marketing world where a business just needs a small desktop-sized brochure-ware website, and the agency that does their direct mail, yellow page ads, and print handouts can create a cute little site for them. And there are other parts where an agency is able to convince a business to pay megabucks for a pay-per-click-supported big honking Flash landing page.
You won't find Trivera or our customers there. We're all too busy skating to where the puck is going.
Trivera Interactive currently has an opening for an Internet Applications Developer with a proven track record of developing and supporting dynamic Linux/Apache/ MySQL/PHP- driven websites and online applications.
This is an in-house position. We provide an extraordinary environment, flexible start/end times, and an office in the coolest building in Waukesha County working with some of the coolest fellow teammates and most awesome customers in the world. We wrap up the week with a happy hour at 4 every Friday afternoon. We encourage use of Social Media during work hours (it helps build our brand). There's always free coffee, soda, flavored water, popcorn and candy. We offer health insurance, a great PTO plan, and all the typical paid holidays. We have had no staff layoffs, salary reductions or major cutbacks in benefits in over 16 years.
If that sounds appealing, AND you can demonstrate you have the self-discipline, drive, enthusiasm and commitment to deliverables that meet scope, budget and time requirements, then read on:
This individual will build and maintain programming functionality for Web-based commerce, database, administrative and other similar modules for our client Web sites. Being able to assist in maintaining the systems those applications run on is a plus. Our center of excellence is development of Web applications in Linux/Apache/ MySQL/PHP, so depth and breadth of practical and operational experience in this environment is critical.
He or she will need to be proficient building and maintaining elegant and robust custom applications in a PHP environment...from scratch or finding ways to re-purpose existing code. Experience with Concrete5, Joomla! and Wordpress will help them hit the ground running. Magento is our preferred e-commerce engine, so experience with it is a position requirement..
While we don't pitch .ASP, .Net or Cold Fusion projects, a basic understanding of how those work will be of benefit when we take over a client with a site that runs on those platforms.
We are passionately customer service driven and require our team members to naturally possess that same attitude. The ideal candidate will be a team player who can work well with rapidly evolving client goals, must be able to function without constant guidance and ask questions when something doesn't make sense. He or she understands they don't "write code," they solve business problems. An absolute requirement is a skill set that includes understanding of best practices for usability and intuitive navigation, that comes not from just reading about it, but also being a Web consumer them self. We need our developers to relate and interact well with customers and have patience even with those who have a complete lack of comprehension of how this stuff works.
Send your resume, salary requirement and URL's of programming projects you've done to firstname.lastname@example.org . Trivera Interactive is an EOE.
After a successful launch in Chicago, Dabble, which gives people an opportunity to attend and/or teach inexpensive classes in a wide range of topics has brought an ambitious schedule to Milwaukee. That schedule includes two Social Media classes taught by Trivera president and CEO Tom Snyder.
The concept is brilliant. It allows people to attend hour or two-long classes covering a wide range topics, from beer brewing to bicycle repair, from swing dancing to ceramics. But the topics also include topics of interest to small businesses, including entrepreneurship and Wordpress, and Tom's 2 classes: Foursquare for Business on February 15th and Twitter for Marketers on February 28th. The cost for each class is $20 per student.
People with talents and skills and an ability teach can also sign up to do a class of their own, and keep half the registration cost themselves.
Initially, the classes will be held at Spreenkler in the Grand Avenue Mall downtown, but plans are to expand into other areas as participation grows. Plans are also to expand into virtually every city in the US.
For more information, and to sign up, check out the Dabble website.
As we celebrate the sixteenth anniversary of our founding as a Milwaukee web design company, I thought about what I could write besides the typical "we look back on another year" stuff. A couple articles I stumbled upon teamed up to lob me a softball.
The first was from Inc. Magazine. The article praised the value of "the designer who codes" as a "new breed of tech experts." I had to re-read the piece several times to see if it actually said what I thought it did. The premise is that the best user experience comes from team members that understand what it takes to create both the intuitive design and the robust back end technology to make it happen. My beef isn't with the concept. That's dead on. It's the fact that somehow it's the coolest new thing to roll down the highway, when it's been at the core of what Trivera has been doing for 16 years.
From the very beginning everyone on our team has understood that results-producing web sites are about creating relationships that build trust and result in a transaction. A critical component is to make sure that the technology doesn't get in the way, but rather, transparently re-enforces the brand experience between the company and the customer. That kind of interactivity requires the "smart design" and "creative technology" that have actually been our tagline all along.
The other article trumpeted a "new" idea called a responsive web design, which it defined as an approach that proposes that a web site's design should respond to a user's environment and behavior, based on the platform, orientation and screen size.
For some reason, now that there are iPads and Smartphones, we suddenly must now pay unique and individual attention to what visitors should see and experience when they come to a site. And while Web developers are playing "stupid HTML tricks" now to make sure the design looks perfect in every device possible, again, they're missing a bigger point. Truly responsive web design is based on more than just the device being used to view the site.
Over 16 years, I've met with hundreds of prospects and clients to discuss what they need to do take meaningful advantage of the Web. As I talk about our approach, I recite the mantra that I've used from day 1:
Every single web-based contact point needs to be created with the following 5 considerations:
1.) Who is coming? 2.) How did they get there? 3.) What did they expect to find? 4.) What did they use to access it? 5.) What does it need to do to encourage and facilitate a transaction as quickly and easily as possible?I've said it a million times. Even though it's at the heart of our unique selling proposition, it sometimes becomes just recitation. But the other day as I went through the list, a prospect stopped me. He grabbed a pen, took out a piece of paper and said: "Can you repeat those, please?"
It's not rocket science, so why does it seem so revolutionary? Because so much of the web over the past 16 years has been "about the art.' Pretty pictures. Built in Flash. Incompatible with many browsers and devices. Limited in functionality due to lack of technical expertise. It's been created by agencies who view index.html as a new canvas that can't wait to be the vehicle for their next wonderfully creative expression. Who needs concepts like usability, intuitive navigation, conversion funnels when it's really all about the art?
I'm not diminishing the power of great graphical presentation, but a tepid economy is forcing businesses to demand measurable results for their marketing. For too many years businesses have laughed at the axiom: "Half my marketing money is well spent, the other half is totally wasted, but I just can't figure which is which," and then went on to pay marketing firms and advertising agencies huge sums of money for campaigns that favored creativity over measurability, and art over ROI.
The fact that everything that happens on the web is measurable is causing marketing gurus finally to see the light. But those of us who have been shining that light for over a decade and a half are saying it's about time. Since that January day in 1996 when we opened our doors as one of Milwaukee's very first web development companies and introduced "web sites with vision," we have focused on delivering demonstrable, measurable, and improvable value for our clients. It is…and always has been…about knowing exactly what the client's goals and visitor expectations are, and making sure that the design and technology work together intelligently to meet them both.
From our first e-commerce-enabled web site in 1997 and our first mobile website in 1999, "responsive web" has been at the core of what we do. What's now being called responsive design isn't just the next shiny object. It's "Smart Design and Creative Technology" that has differentiated us from our competition these past sixteen years, and is what will keep us leading the pack for the next sixteen.
Milwaukee's Clear Verve Marketing has released “100 Ways to Build Your Business in 2012, " a collaborative effort between Clear Verve, and 20 Milwaukee area firms who all contributed ideas to the book.
Trivera Founder and President Tom Snyder's contribution to the book is "5 Procedures to Resuscitate your Website." Other sections of the book deal with topics from marketing to management.
“I was honored to be considered one of the smart Milwaukee business people chosen to contribute to the project," said Snyder. "We've always been a fan and partner of Clear Verve founder and president Christina Steder. To be a part of this project with her and so many other local business heroes was a no brainer. "
The e-book is full of ideas for businesses to implement over the coming year, and the site where the e-book can be downloaded also provides readers with the opportunity to receive monthly emails with tips to help maintain their momentum.
The e-book is available for download for free at www.100Ways2012.com. Sign up for the email tips is also available by clicking on the Continued Success tab.
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