Interesting vs Interested? And thoughts from #TechPhx

My favorite part of speaking and meeting people is learning their stories and seeing how our lives are interconnected. Social media is a very personal thing. For me, especially so (if you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know why).  So I want anything that I present, educate or facilitate to be deeply that, personal. Otherwise, whats the point?

Stop trying to be interesting. Just be interested.

I don’t know where that quote came from, or if its the saying is exact. Regardless, its a lot harder than it seems. I don’t have children yet, but I do have friends and family, and this seems to be a key pillar when in how we establish our relationships offline and online. I see so many people who are dying for a bit of authentic attention, for someone to just care, truly interested, about what someone else is doing, saying, learning, experiencing, feeling. Have you ever been on the phone with someone clearly doing something else, and you know they’re not really “there“? Yeah. Thats what I am talking about.

This past November I spoke as the opening keynote at #techPHX a local technology conference. Last year I presented a session about using Enterprise Social Technologies within the walls of your own organization, aka Yammer. This year my focus was about the external uses of social technologies as well as providing a few of predictions for 2015. It was fun to get the audience involved and engaged so early in the morning. And try to really be interested.  Plus, who doesn’t love memes & mullets?


Click here to see the recordings (mine will be up shortly).

Check out the Storify here.  

Now, I get thats being interested, truly, is the complete OPPOSITE of social media and how everything is portrayed, but wouldn’t our conversations within our community look a bit different if we were genuinely interested. Early on in my career, I had a boss that did just this. And it stuck because when I had other leaders who weren’t as “interested” you can tell.  So what does this really look like?

Here’s 2 things you can do to be more “interested” 

  1. Ask questions and care about what is being answered by listening.
  2. And when someone asks you a question, really answer them.


I mostly need this reminder for my own reflection and learning most of all, especially during the crazy busy holiday season. Maybe someone else needs to hear it too.



And, if anyone knows where the saying came from let me know. I’d gladly source it!

Is the CrockPot similar to Social Media?

The other day I was talking to my mom and I was explaining to her about some of the details and functionality of Hootsuite and my new job. 

My mom get’s social media. She gets on Twitter Chats, she pins, she likes, she gets it. As I was explaining in a bit more depth about Hootsuite and how I am currently using it for an upcoming event I lead.  It dawned on me.

Social Media is kind of like cooking with a crock pot.

I hate cooking. Love to eat. Cooking just feels rushed. Or hurried. Or I don’t know what, but I don’t enjoy it. I am always SO stressed. However, I love meal planning. And I grocery shop, but more or less, I like the pantry stocked for basics of a quick throw together meal (like tonight’s was black bean, corn, and mango salad, so easy and so good). I also love to sit around the table.  Anyways, my favorite cooking tricks is the crock pot. And since its almost fall, its almost time to bring it back out again…

Why? Because you fix it. And forget it. And its really hard to burn something. Like it’ll probably something else will happen with your meal first before your crockpot dinner is ruined.

What do you need for crockpot meal to be a success?

  1. Recipe (or not) –  I like a starting point. And then I just add whatever I have. Always more veggies. Always more greens.
  2. Ingredients – (Canned, fresh, spices!) I like a lot of variety and not afraid to mix and match. Again, more veggies and more greens.
  3. Right temperature – too hot, you’ll dry everything out. not hot enough, it’ll take FOREVER to cook.
  4. Side dishes – so, unless its an entire meal in the crockpot (and it totally could be) what else are you serving?
  5. A good crock pot – I’ve had some that get TOO hot, or some that are way cheap and break too easily. Ours is literally from the 1990s and its worn. And good.
  6. TIME! You have to have patience and time to get the crockpot meal done right. Trust me. I’ve rushed too many of them.

These 6 things could be similar in social media as well.

  1. Recipe – its your plan. Doesn’t have to be elaborate, just evaluate and get your  thoughts down before you start down the meal and realize you forgot the main ingredients.
  2. Ingredients – Its what you are pulling together to make it taste good! Take stock first, and literally go shopping if you need something! And then don’t be afraid to add a pinch of this or that, or turn up the heat!
  3. Temperature – Turning up the HEAT – This one in social media is tricky because you’ll need to run some tests, to see what resonates with your community and your communication mediums, what is HOT for your community, and what isn’t worth investing in.
  4. Side Dishes – I think this is the opportunity to partner with other people, brands, products to build a really good “meal”.
  5. Equipment – You have to think about the right tools. And you know, you get what you pay for. You might be lucky snagging a deal at a garage sale but, do your research. Know what you want, for what you need. And be prepared. (I could go on for days about this…)
  6. Time – Learning new tools,  brand awareness , community building, networking, all good things, but really they do not happen overnight. Microwaving your food has a completely different taste.

I know those viral videos trick us into thinking WE could be the next big viral THING and customers lining up at our door, but reality is, probably won’t last and you want something that lasts, thats meaningful. I don’t think people microwave their food thinking they will get the same results after a crockpot or another type of meal.

What do you think? Have you ever had a good or bad crockpot meal? What was it about it that you enjoyed?

OK, so who is hungry. I wish we could all eat dinner together. At a table. It would be great.

What I’ve learned from the #ALSicebucketchallenge

That the world is small. Like super small.

I couldn’t believe how fast it spread throughout all of my family, friends, and co-workers. People who don’t even know eachother. I kept thinking, this world is a giant network. And see what happens when we “Work like a network”


That sometimes its not about self and it about helping others.


This challenge really showed how important the “network” is offline as well as online was. Ten years ago we wouldn’t have had this platform. But you know what we did have, those chain letters. Still based off the networks and most importantly people.

Technology doesn’t trump people. It amplifies the good, and the bad. Technology is just the mouthpiece for what’s really going on. In our hearts. Minds. And kitchens.

I’ll admit, I was bitter at first. I thought, “Why are people WASTING water, can’t we just donate instead of making it about self promotion” . Kids in Africa don’t have water for weeks. And we donate and build wells for them all the time. And then selfishly I thought, why hasn’t anyone picked me, challenged me? Urgh. I hated that, why I am making it about myself. ITS NOT ABOUT ME. So instead I just donated and kept quiet. Because I didn’t want attention on me. I know there are people in all of my network’s life that have been affected and its so not about US.

And clearly its has worked. They have raised over 20 million dollars just with this campaign, almost over a 1/3 of what they normally raised all last year.

If you haven’t been challenged yet, consider this your challenge. Or just watch this video


Marketers, Trainers, Communications teams — what sort of “challenge” could you incorporate into your programs for change? Now that we’ve learned that

  1. People love competition.
  2. We are very connected, more than we give ourselves credit for, think beyond your four walls of your organization.
  3. Normal people can make videos and not like fancy video, just like raw video from a camera phone.
  4. Create a movement that is personal, tugs on people’s heart.
  5. Social. Everything about this challenge was social. The tweets have broken records.
  6. Keep it simple. This took off because most people could find ice, water, bucket and a camera.
  7. Lurkers matter. People on the sidelines count. I don’t know if all the people who DID the ice bucket challenge ALSO donated, but enough people were watching that the $$ skyrocketed.


So regardless of a persons income level or fame, they still screamed like babies when the ice was dumped on them.


The chapters don’t end in our story. There’s more to be written…

People thought I was crazy. Leaving the comforts of familiarity and moving too many miles to count to an unknown start-up. Leaving behind the white picket fence. The great job and incredible manager. And friends and family. Then moving again! We were crazy. But that’s because big risk equals big reward.

So I started to write the chapter in my life with the title, “Yammer – taking me places I never imagined“. Quickly, we wrote this chapter together, and all over the world, you all included! We thought and wrote our pages as we were living them. Our story has characters of all walks of life, industry, and passions. We wrote it not knowing what would come on the next page.

And now, it’s time to finish this chapter and begin the next chapter. I’ve joined Hootsuite. Read more details here

My advice to you, don’t be afraid to write a new chapter. Even if there is risk. Even if you aren’t sure what story will be told in the chapters that follow. Fear, is the one way to miss out on authoring the pages of your life.

Dream big. Author your own pages. Title your own chapters.

And don’t forget that at the end of the day, its about people.


(Selfie of my last training session with Yammer! They are PUMPED!)
It’s about people who you can share and re-live the stories you have written — that matter most.

Image Today, 13_49_32




Keep calm and Yammer on




I wanted to capture my contributions to Yammer and Enterprise social in one post, more for my own knowledge but feel free to check out these links for more information!


View recording of my presentations of Yammer at Microsoft Conferences: Channel 9 Speaker (Includes Topics such as Power User Training, Enterprise Social Scared Straight, and Best Practices for overcoming Organizational Barriers to success)


Read more about my story here: Microsoft Careers Blogs

Yammer 101 Video

Yammer Blog Contributions:

Using Yammer to roll out O365

This is not your Parents Training Software

Using Yammer in your Training Programs

Social Onboarding


Other Yammer Related Articles & Blogs:

L&D Calendar Spotlight

Afterglow from ASTD 2014

Yammer for Internal Knowledge Sharing

ASTD Blog Publications:

Making you Yammer community work – Tips & Best Practices

Social Learning Fear Factor


Do we have our own Vanity Metrics?

Recently I am loving Lead Startup and Consumption Economics. I am reading and consuming so much lately that I haven’t taken time to reflect.

> Take a look at what I am reading currently. Lots to learn



Friday, I got a brand new Garmin GPS  Heart rate monitor.


I’ve been wanting a new one, to help count steps and track distance. lf-lg

I’ve been running 2-3 times (sometimes more) a week for the past year or so. I’d usually run about 30-60 minutes around the neighbors or along a trail. I always bring my gear when I travel to explore the new cities I visit. Last week I visited the White House on my run. And I  don’t run anymore with my phone, as its my only time without a device in my hand and my time to disconnect.  This was hard at first, very “loud” actually listening to the sounds around me instead of the latest pop hit on Pandora. Now, I couldn’t imagine starting the day with it.

Today, early, before it started to get hot,  I went on my first run with my new GPS Heart rate monitor.  After a quick 3 mile run I came back satisfied. For one, because I actually knew the distance and how many calories I burned. I even knew how fast I had run each of the three miles! I felt like high fives were deserved all around. Look at me and all this data and information. I was chatting with my husband reviewing the numbers and he looked at me and said “For as often as you run, you should be running a faster mile than that!” Really? I thought to myself, had this whole time was I measuring the wrong things? Surely the calories and time meant something.

So here’s the thing. Because I was measuring calories and time, they were my vanity metrics (Vanity Metrics as described in Lean Startup are metrics that give the rosiest picture possible , more details here ). Calories burned and time spent running were metrics that look good, but displayed a different way, like the minute per mile, tell a different story.  In other news, I am slow! And probably why I haven’t  had any real changes physically, even though I have been diligent and consistent. The metrics were telling me one story, the one I was believing, but my results showed something else.

How often do we measure things within our lives, and the lens from which we measure, makes it look good, the rosiest picture has been painted.  But turn it a different way, it’s not quite as good as we thought. And then what questions are we asking ourselves? And what problems do we need to solve? Do we measure things in a way, that we try and trick ourselves in deserving an “atta boy” when we really might need a kick in the pants to get moving?

In our personal lives, its comparison. Of families, jobs, opportunities, houses, vacations and children. It our professional lives, its success. Big promotions, new projects, happy customers and traveling the world. What are our true measures of these things? Or are they just our own form of vanity metrics?

In Lean Startup, Reis writes,

The engine is turning, but the efforts to tune the engine are not bearing much fruit (p. 129).


What are you doing that isn’t bearing much fruit? Is that considered a failure? Or is it time to pivot, as Reis often recommends.

For me, and my running, its time to pivot and track what I should be tracking instead of patting myself of the back for what I was measuring. Even if I don’t plan on running a race, I want to get better, and go further.

6 Tips for Working at Home

So lately, I’ve been chatting with people who also work from home.

If you are new around here or wonder what my story is, here is a short post where I was interviewed by Microsoft Jobs Blog about how I got my current job (at Yammer, not Microsoft). And there is a Yammer group for us Remote workers, and its odd because you’d think we would want to talk to each other and sometimes we do share articles and tips, but if we don’t work together day in and day out, its not a very active group but we were sharing some tips today to spark this post. (Maybe I’ll write about how to use Yammer as a remote worker, because its helped me feel connected!)

So since working remotely now for 2ish years (and I love it.) I have learned a few things about how it works for me.

  • Get Active! If I am at home I always try and work out in the morning or at least get outside for at least walk before I stare at the computer all day inside. This helps get some fresh air. And when its nice out I can do a quick walk at lunch if I want to.
  • Create a space you actually want to be in! I have a standing desk that helps (and sometimes when I am lazy I just sit at my kitchen table, but I try not to..). I have decorated my office like as a place I want to spend time in. Its not perfect and something I want to re-design but I enjoy spending time here. I have a love seat too that I can go to sit in something more comfortable and I love my bookshelf of REAL books. I just gave a bunch away because I had too many…

Office 2

Office 1

  • Take a break from the screen for lunch or snack. Or you will forget to eat. I have done this.  (I have also burned through an entire teapot full of water because I didn’t hear it…another story for another time).   Don’t be afraid to walk away from your computer for 30 minutes for lunch and sit outside and read or something not electronic for a few minutes just to break the day up. This was hard for me at the beginning because I was like WHAT IF I MISSED SOMETHING!! But I realized that with technology, I can catch up pretty quickly if needed and get to it when I can.
  • Schedule. I like to try and schedule calls in the morning and then use the afternoon to crank through content, review things and catch up on Yammer. It doesn’t always work like that, but when I can create the time of uninterrupted silence, it helps me zone in and focus and bust through the content I’ve needed to get through without distractions. And there are always distractions if you are remote or not! Finally, I try and catch up on Fridays for mundane tasks like T&E so it doesn’t catch me by surprise at the end of the month or something.
  • See people!  Like literally, in person and use Video when you can (no makeup required!). When I can, I try to go to the local office if there is an event or when I need to meet a customer but I don’t go in regularly (mostly because the traffic is horrible and I don’t like to drive). And I haven’t ventured into the co-working spaces yet but its on my list for this next year! I don’t often go to a coffee shop to work, but I know people who do.  Because I travel often I like being at home in between (helps to throw a load of laundry too). And when you can, travel as much as you can to see your team in person! It helps build the relationships to make it better when you are back at home.
  • End your day! Have a stopping time for the end of the day. Otherwise you just work and work and work. (or get sucked into Yammer networks in my case, I could spend hours reading everything…) I really struggled with this when I first started working from home. My husband would come home from work, and I would just work and and work and work (and forget to eat!). So, now I try and set expectations letting him know I’ll be done in 30 minutes and not to bug me until then and then come and grab me away from the computer… It doesn’t always work but its a good practice!
  • Bonus tip… Create a THIS WEEK List instead! On Monday’s I like to make a list of “THIS WEEK” of things I need to take care of and finish and work through that list during the week, instead of a daily TO DO list. This helps me focus on what needs done now (urgency vs important) and what things I can work on in the next week.


With using Yammer and other technology like video conference and Twitter, I feel connected to people and to what’s happening. Sometimes you miss the “life” things that happen in your co-workers lives but I just have to be more intentional about getting and keeping in touch with them. And schedule time to catch up. Its good and worth it!


So, what tips do you have for working at home?

First Form of Social Media… The Table.

It was during one of the panels during the Social Learning Bootcamp, Dan from BMS said, “Lets not forget what the first version of social media was… the table” when it clicked for me.

I am now focusing on the community aspects of Yammer and helping to connect people of like-mindness and goals together. This is a lot harder than you would think! I am a connector by nature and I love meeting new people and seeing my customers and the community face to face. So the challenge I have ahead of me is interesting because I’ll need to think through opportunities that connect people, thus build a community.


Sit at the Table


So when thinking about learning in our organizations and what needs to change, I think we need to consider the power of community and the power of the table. I think sometimes we forget because of all the devices, and systems and processes that it is good and well to connect with others and look the in the eyes to truly understand how they are doing and help them along the way.


An organization that is doing this and focus on this is If:Gathering. They are doing an IF: Table on the second Sunday of every month. The concept is you invite 6 people, 4 questions and 2 hours of conversation and connections over the table. The 6 people are supposed to change each month, with every new person to host their own table the next month. (Of course you should tweet, instragm and facebook your table!) I love this idea and will be hosting my own IF:Table this summer.

However, I wonder how I could work this similar idea into the fabrics of our Yammer Customer Community and they could do it within their own networks and organizations. These types of connections help build trust as well as relationships that carry over to the online community. Could you host informal learning opportunities over lunch next month at your organization? Would you be interested in attending one that I hosted? I’ll be chewing over this the next few weeks, but if you have any ideas or want to come to my “table” let me know!

What about in your organization? Could you incorporate the “Table” in any part of your learning solutions or programs? Have you done this already

5th Year Attendee at ASTD International Conference

Last week, my team and I attended ASTD (now ATD) international Conference in Washington DC. I have gone to ASTD just about every year I could. I love the people and the community. This year, there were more international people than ever before, and it was incredible to just hear the languages in the hall.

My first year, I remember I focused on anything cultural or internationally focused. The second year I went to every session I could find about social. Last  year my big focus was on Sales EnablementImage.



This year I went to a few sessions for me but mostly I went to sessions to support my personal learning network (PLN). I had friends who had first time speaking opportunities this year, and I wanted to be in the stand supporting them (and tweeting about them!).

The one most interesting session I did attend was Marcus Buckingham about performance management systems. I was curious because at Microsoft we have just revamp our performance management systems, and I was interested to see what he had to say. Plus I have my performance reviews for my team coming up and I needed to take some notes on how to continue to improve the facilitation of the conversation.

After very thoughtful research and insights into why performance management systems don’t work (Long story short, providing feedback is hard and most people do it relative to themselves, and even in a 360 review its based off themselves instead of the people they are supposed to be evaluating. And if you don’t think feedback is hard, try giving some to your spouse or family member, the people whom you love the most…). He encouraged us that there was a way to engage our employees early and often.

He mentioned that feedBACK was fine but hard to give on past things, but we should focus on near term future focused coaching. Meeting with team members to understand what they are working on, how they can work on what they like to do, and if they and the team understand the definition you have of quality. He also went on to explain that quality could change based on the organization and possibly team. This aspect of quality is something I need to dig further into when setting expectations with my team and my leadership.

There was also 4 questions he would ask of managers for the employees every quarter.

  1. Would you hire them again?
  2. Would you want them on your team?
  3. Is this person ready for a promotion?
  4. Are there performance issues?

With laying the ground work with simple question that provided a better framework for evaluating a persons work it was a more subjective way to review someone. And a way I would like to be reviewed as well.

He made an interesting comment, that we need to make and create performance management systems that are based on the user strengths and not based on corporate objectives and use the system as a crutch to align with goals. I’d love to learn more about this, as this was one of the first sessions I’d been to focusing on performance management in the years I have been at ASTD.

What did you learn? What are you applying?

5 Life Lessons from MOM

In honor of Mother’s Day I want to reflect on five of the many lessons my mom taught me.


(Photo Credit Imaginale Design

  1. Treat others how you want to be treated. From a very little age this was our standard and a golden rule for our family. And while I don’t always do this, she reminds me that you never know when someone will come back into your life, and you hoped you treated them well. Its not worth it to be rude or disrespectful, you never know how it will impact the reach of your relationships with others. My mom has always extended an extra pair of hands, even when she was tired or had a million other things to do. Her ability to show up and help someone else inspires me. Even when its a Saturday morning, she would be there cheering on her students Karate competition and enjoying conversation with a single mom.  This is hard because we are selfish, but its worth it to remind yourself of this, at least as a baseline.
  2. Its a very small world and most people around you have really good intentions. Drama is hard and it sometimes consumes us. But its a very small world and going back to the first lesson, because you never know how you have impacted a relationship be mindful of the way you interact and treat others. With technology, it makes the world even smaller. People don’t often remember everything you’ve said to them, but they will remember how you treated them.
  3. When no one else wants to do it, raise your hand and step up. Or lean in. This has helped me get a variety of opportunities or projects I might not have otherwise had the opportunity to get. I am always going above and beyond what’s expected of me based on a job description or my goals for the quarter, because I never know the opportunities of learning that come from raising my hand, my next job, my next customer or my next friend.  My mom always goes beyond the call of duty and has had some great opportunities because of it.
  4. Its ok to ask others for help. This one is hard because my mom did it all. And she struggled with this, but when it mattered most she allowed others to help. And she’s not afraid to ask. Recognizing that I can’t do anything alone and that we are better together, I am always asking for help because I know I have people in my life with different expertise and experiences than me that can help with a better product to serve my team or my customers. When I look back on any accomplishments or proud moments in my life, I didn’t do it alone, I had a team of people pulling their strengths to pull it off.
  5. Its not about you. For my mom its about her students. For me, its about my customers and my team. I want to be able to know them and help them from where they are in their journey through life. Even if its just listening to them over coffee or supporting them on their next 5K.  When my team members mother died, we all cried and rallied together to support her. When my team member had a baby, we delivered food so they didn’t have to think about it for the few weeks as they were experiencing so many changes. Its about the relationships and the people that you meet along the way. And sometimes its messy, but that’s what happens when people are involved. But its worth it. Sometimes we forget that its about the people, the way technology has wired us to become consumed with status updates (but this is a topic for another post!).


I could probably go on and on but I wanted to keep it short and sweet.


Today, reflect back on the lessons your mom has taught you and how has it shaped the person you have become (or not become!)? Would love to hear how you learned from your mom.


Thanks Mom!