The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.
Jan 13, 2010

We can talk about the value of social media forever, but sometimes, the best lessons come from just using it.

I was in a foul mood last Thursday morning. I had just read a series of blog posts from a former client who was using the ideas I taught his company to build its social media business. Normally, I’d be ecstatic about such an event, but the fact that the company owes me a considerable sum of money tempered my enthusiasm. I felt as if someone had stolen from me.

My first testosterone-fueled-caveman-impulse was to write about it, to expose the company’s business practices to the online world. But that’s when a more sane idea emerged. What would my social network say about the situation? So, I posted the following question to Twitter:

“If a former client was using your work to expand their business, yet they’ve owed you money for six months, when would you blog about it?”

Within 11 minutes, five people who I really respect (and their collective 35,000 followers respect them too) offered their advice.

My mood changed instantly upon reading these rapid responses. I loved how each person cared about one of two things: 1) me and my reputation and 2) the poor soul who may fall prey to the company in the future.

In eleven minutes, I had a totally different perspective on the problem. Had I taken the caveman route, I may have done something stupid that limited my options. Instead, subsequent conversations have yielded plenty of them to choose from. Presently, I’m weighing those options.

I am so grateful to my social network board of advisors who care enough about me to offer such good and timely advice. Thank you Kirsten, Shel, Eric, C.C., and Adrianne.

So, who’s on your board of advisors?

Filed under: Miscellaneous



I have been in the exact situation that you are – unfortunately court doesn't even always work. In my case, my client lost, and was required to pay. But small claims court won't hunt down the money for you, and so here i am, almost a year later, still without what he owed me. I wish now that I had shared the full story of what happened (including the clients name) when I talked about it last year. I know that if anyone else were to get screwed by the guy, I would feel awful. I am glad that we could be your sounding board and I wish you luck in your decision!

January 14, 2010


Yeah, it's definitely frustrating. But the good thing is that we can have conversations about it. The next time we are at the same meetup or conference, we can commiserate:-)

Thanks for your help…AND I just fixed the spelling of your name. Sorry about the “Kristen” typo!

January 14, 2010

“So, who’s on your board of advisors?”

Well duh, you are.

Jonathan Gordon
January 14, 2010

Ron: Don't forget what happened to the cavemen. Oops; cave persons. They lost the evolutionary game show to Homo Sapiens, who understood that it's important never to burn a bridge. It's Hard Times all around, so that much more important to cultivate goodwill. Probably not a deliberate rip-off, but cash is tight for everyone and if there's strength in numbers, the corollary is also true, unfortunately.

I'm almost finished reading this, and believe that it's more important than ever:

Yours in the On-line World,

Andy in Aliso Viejo.

Andy P. Bender
January 15, 2010

The question I ask here is, can we preempt these situations by anticipating these situations arising in the first place?

My general attitude is to deal with people that feel right and the same is true for project management, that time taken at the front end equates with time not taken at the back end.

In this situation it is what it is, but it is good to talk about it simply because it gives people like me an added reality check that relationships are everything today. Due diligence does not have to make us skeptical but people who have a reputation for dodgy business practice hurt themselves in a more relational environment.

What we really need to do is talk up the good gals and guys so our collective noise drowns the marketing sludge of the not-so good guys. We don't need to score people with reputation marks, we have to honour people whose business ethics are an example. We also need to ensure that we honour out of authentic spirit rather than out of currying favor – reputation is still a two way street.

Sorry to hear about this situation, but fundamentally this is about raising the bar on quality relationships, and we do that by setting our sights higher and bringing to surface the unsung heroes, not as a branding exercise but for their dues & respect.


Emeri Gent [Em]
January 16, 2010

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