Social Capital underpins share values

Fabio Sabatini recommended Social Capital Blog and now I have added it to my blogroll. It is the handy work of Thomas Sander, Executive Director of the Saguaro Seminar at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

He has a great post up entitled Economy dangling by the thin thread of trust that has some great links to some seminal and more recent contextual pieces on trust, the economy and the banking system.

I hung out because this vid that Thomas includes from “Its a Wonderful Life” kinda says it all …

These are painful times. I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to focus on emergent value when practical, pressing concerns are breathing down my neck.

I am wondering about the differences and similarities between brands and financial products.

Are there similar factors at work in the debasing of traditional brand value and complex financial products? Aren’t both concepts some sort of derivative?

Will we emerge from this transition recognizing that it is the underlying relationships that contain value yielding assets not commodities like houses or oil or flavored water?

ChangeThis’ 50th Issue includes Social Capital Value Add

Here is a repost from the 800CEOread blog:

September 10, 2008

ChangeThis: Issue 50

That’s right folks, Issue number 50. For this landmark issue, we brought ChangeThis founder Seth Godin back to discuss Tribes, the opportunities now available to lead a tribe of one’s own, and what the Grateful Dead has to do with any of it. Next up, we have John Kotter, providing us with A Sense of Urgency while writing about its fundamental importance to organizational change programs. The third spot in the lineup is filled by Jonathan Salem Baskin–author of Branding Only Works on Cattle–with 10 Rules for Branding in a Post Branded World. Hitting cleanup is Vince Poscente, former olympic speed-skier and member of the Speaker Hall of Fame, with a manifesto on how to excel in this, The Age of Speed. And, bringing the issue home, we have Michael Cayley, discussing his “spin-out of brand management,” Social Capital Value Add, and Andrew Abela–author of Advanced Presentations by Design–who will show you how to give an effective presentation before a smaller audience (as most of your presentations probably are).

Snippets and links below. Happy reading everybody!


How to Sell a Book (or Any New Idea)(step 1 is the hard part) by Seth Godin

“My friend Fred has a new book coming out and he was trolling around for new marketing ideas. I think he’d be surprised at this:

Sell one.

Find one person who trusts you and sell him a copy. Does he love it? Is he excited about it? Excited enough to tell ten friends because it helps them, not because it helps you?

Tribes grow when people recruit other people. That’s how ideas spread as well. They don’t do it for you, of course. They do it for each other. Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work. If Fred’s book spreads, then he’s off to a great start. If it doesn’t, he needs a new book.

You don’t get to take step 2 if you can’t do step 1.”

Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.

It All Starts With A Sense of Urgency by John P. Kotter

In a turbulent era, when new competitors or political problems might emerge at any time, when technology is changing everything, both the business-as-usual behavior associated with complacency and the running-in-circles behavior associated with a false sense of urgency are increasingly dangerous.

In bold contrast, a true sense of urgency is becoming immeasurably important. Real urgency is an essential asset that must be created, and re-created, and it can be.

Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.

10 Rules for Branding In a Post Branded World by Jonathan Salem Baskin

“We live in the twilight of a branded world born over 100 years ago.

Most marketing remains blinded by the fading glare of its old, outdated promises.

Yet there is a new approach to brands ahead of us, based upon a definition that is less about static image and imagined identity, and more about real-time interaction and actual involvement between company and consumer.

This is your Manifesto for making branding work in a post-branded world.”

Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.

The Age of Speed Manifesto by Vince Poncente

“In the following manifesto, we will explore our present relationship with speed and examine four behavior profiles that can help you determine if you (a) embrace speed and (b) harness the power of it. By the end, you just might discover that our 24/7, CrackBerry, more-faster-now world is not threatening to eat you alive, but rather, to set you free.”

Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.

Social Capital Value Add: Value Based Management for the Networked Age by Michael Cayley

“The marketing/communications mix is completely different than it was before 2004. Broadcast’s monopoly on attention is dead. The symbolic brand, which has been the fastest growing source of corporate value for the last quarter century has reached its pinnacle. It is being absorbed and replaced by memetic brand. Technologies have evolved and mapped so tightly to the way humans transact, form relationships and create self-identity that it is time for business management to link the pioneering academic studies of social capital and social network analysis (SNA) to value based management and the priorities of marketers.

The transition required is no less abrupt than that moment when the search of Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion reaches confrontation with the Great Oz facade and the curtain is pulled back to reveal a mere mortal. The corporation is at risk of being the ‘humbug’ caught shouting into the loudspeakers and pulling at the mechanistic levers of the past.”

Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.

Presenting to Small Audiences: Turn of the Projector! by Andrew Abela

“The typical presentation to a small group today is designed just as if it were being made to a large group in a big auditorium. We follow the same advice in creating our slides, and then we turn on the portable projector and inflict slide after deadening slide on our audience–vintage Death by PowerPoint.

Too much of this effort is wasted. There is ample research evidence that projecting lots of text and speaking at the same time is so distracting to your audience that it is less effective than projecting your slides and asking your audience to read them while you remain silent, or speaking with no slides at all!”

Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.

How did this dog get in the boardroom?

A dog has been set loose in your boardroom to bark at you about how business management has changed since 2004.  The story of how it got there is a great little case study in how valuable ideas move from inception anywhere in the world to you in the networked age.

It started with a need and a Google search.

After slugging it out in the social media startup world for years, I was ready for a glass of wine.  So we packed up the family and headed to Paris.  I looked at my MBA program there as an opportunity to put to rest a nagging set of ideas about Web 2.0.  The way in which business value is created and defended has fundamentally changed, but most of the “conversation” about social media is not designed for investors and “C” level corporate management.  From an academic perspective, I was a relative amateur.

Enter a few Google searches …

I discovered a local conference on Social Networks.  Then found myself in a room of about 10 top social network theorists.  I was waaaaay out of my league, but fortunately I was able to connect with Olav Sorenson and Matt Jackson.

Olav took the time to direct my reading.  Google helped me discover additional key pieces.  Matt was encouraging and challenging.  When I finished the paper, I sent it to almost everyone whose work I had read during the formulation, looking for credible feedback.

I received encouraging notes back.  One from Al Ries, co-author of Positioning, which is a book most consider to be a marketing bible.  Top blogger Matt Ingram said the work was “valuable.”  Then Seth Godin, author of the world’s most popular marketing blog and the best selling business books over the last decade, suggested that I submit the idea to, a Digg-like site for ideas that he co-founded (but no longer runs).

The editorial board at ChangeThis selected the proposal and that is when its fate moved from the hands of a few key “influentials” into the “wild.”

To be published by ChangeThis, the idea had to compete against about a dozen others and be voted to the top.  Social Capital Value Add did not become the 8th most demanded proposal in ChangeThis history because I am a famous author.  I asked my friends and colleagues to support it.  Social capital went to work.  Through a combination of support from close connections and blog entries from looser links,  the idea gets a blast to 20,000 people who care about this sort of thing as part of the 50th issue of ChangeThis (along with the great ideas of John Kotter, Seth Godin, Andrew Abela, Vince Poscente and Jonathan Baskin).

At some point along the way, the momentum has changed.  I started out trying to take this idea as far as I could.  Now I am trying to keep up with it for as long as I can.

My search has changed how information flows around me.  After months of trying to find information, information finds me through connections far and wide. Four people on three different continents alerted me to Mike Arrington’s related post.  I have wandered or been invited into online groups like Seth’s “Triiibes” where Adam Helweh and dozens of others have instantly offered their help just as quick as I can ask.

Paul Wilmott has invited me to write something to introduce SCVA in his small but influential magazine that serves the quantitative finance community and I have connected with the right folks at Dell and Procter & Gamble about reporting on how the principals in SCVA are showing up in their businesses.  I am not sure how these initiatives are going to work out yet, but they are encouraging.

UPDATE: In February 2009, SCVA was selected as a finalist among almost 400 “game changing” ideas from 48 countries in the WeMedia/Ashoka Power of Us: Reimagine Media co-petition.

Social Capital Value Add (SCVA) is an idea that started in the social media startup trenches and was connected by a Google search to experts and influentials.  Wrapped up in a Wizard of Oz metaphor and signaled by a nameless dog, SCVA is powered by the social capital of a few concerned groups and now it has made its way to you from a trusted source.  It is a management and valuation approach that has been developed as a framework to help companies understand and track the impact that communications technology is having on their ability to create and defend value.  Woof, woof.

UPDATE: The SCVA ChangeThis manifesto has been released:

Active Waiting

Two days before the ChangeThis release of “Introducing Social Capital Value Add”, this is how I feel about it.

Not all problems are open to a quick fix. Sometimes waiting is your best action.

"Not all problems are open to a quick fix. Sometimes waiting is your best action."

This is from a great little piece in Harvard Business Review by Don Moyer.  You should check it out here.

Hopefully the active waiting on SCVA is over and some great new connections and directions will evolve in the weeks ahead.

ChangeThis 50th Issue, coming September 10th

These are the authors who will be releasing a ChangeThis manifesto on September 10th.

John Kotter – Leading Change, The Heart of Change.

Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority on leadership and change.  His is the premier voice on how the best organizations actually “do” change.

Seth Godin – the founder of ChangeThis and the one who suggested that I submit “Introducing Social Capital Value Add” to the site is contributing a manifesto marking the 50th release of ChangeThis and his new book entitled Triiibes.

Seth writes the most popular marketing blog in the world.  He is the author of the bestselling marketing books of the last decade and he speaks to large groups on marketing, new media and what’s next.  He is also the founder of

Andrew Abela – PhD, consultant.  Professor Abela has developed an approach to presentations that he evangelizes at his blog.  His manifesto will focus on presentations to small audiences.

Vince Poscente – New York Times best selling author Vince Poscente, on the “Age of Speed”.

Jonathan Baskin – Advertising Age columnist Johnathan Baskin, promoting his new book, “Branding Only Works on Cattle”.  You can catch his blog at

Michael Cayley – “Introducing Social Capital Value Add” by a hopeful guy that you know.  Thanks for your help in making this release happen.

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