“Recently, one of the best authors on technology and human interaction, David Passiak included me in his book, “Disruption Revolution, a New Innovation Handbook”. It’s always great to sit and talk with David because he gets to spend a lot of time looking at the way people think and act around the big changes technology has affected to our world. I really like how the interview turned out, but I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I learned quite a bit in reading the other interviews. I highly recommend this book to anyone trying to understand the path and pace of technological evolution, and this book should be required reading for any MBA program and entrepreneur looking to hone his or her offering. I hope you have as good a time reading through it as I did. “
–Frank Speiser, Co-Founder, SocialFlow

‘Using Tech to Sound Human,’ Frank Speiser and “Disruption Revolution, a New Innovation Handbook”

A message from David Passiak:

I’m pleased to share with you a contribution from SocialFlow’s Frank Speiser to Disruption Revolution, a new innovation handbook. It features thematic interviews with 20+ leading innovators including Brian Solis, Chris Anderson, Robert Scoble, Sarah Lacy, Jeremiah Owyang, Seth Godin, James Altucher, and Steve Rubel. We wanted to publish in a disruptive and innovative way, so we made the entire 300-page book available by donation as a free download.

Free download: http://trib.al/ZOHCYvc

Hard copy on Amazon: http://trib.al/kYjwBXz

Disruption Revolution is organized into four main sections of five-interviews each, based on a four-part innovation process that I developed over the last 10 years. These are the areas that impact all aspects of any size organization, from startups to global brands:

  • Why Disruption is the New Norm: analyze external trends in technology and the marketplace for opportunities and competitive threats

  • Entrepreneurship and Leadership: define goals, values, and a mission statement in order to align leadership with a long-term vision for growth

  • Innovation and the Enterprise: how to streamline workflow, encourage employee participation, and leverage SaaS tools to scale innovation

  • Marketing and Communications: how to develop meaningful relationships with customers using social media, online, mobile, email and big data

Frank is featured in the section on Marketing and Communications. As co-founder of SocialFlow, I considered Frank the best person in the industry to explain how big data can help optimize decisions about publishing the right content at the right time for the right audience, creating authentic connections at scale – that’s why we titled his chapter “Using Tech to Sound Human.” Highlights include:

  • How social media can exponentially create more value

  • What it takes to forge partnerships with Facebook and Twitter

  • Why big data can allow conversations to sound more human

  • What a company is for founders, investors, and employees

Frank and I also had the pleasure of working together earlier in our careers at Heavy, and our conversations over the years were an inspiration behind the book – in fact, this is the first interview that I conducted. I’m thankful for his participation in Disruption Revolution, and am pleased to share his chapter with SocialFlow.

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DP: A lot of people complain about how social media is making us dumb and reducing the world down to lowest common denominators, and yet its promise is to be this incredible platform to share and communicate ideas faster and more efficiently, which includes using tools like SocialFlow. Tell us a bit about your motivations for founding SocialFlow and what you do.

FS: There are so many people doing so many great things that really the world is not dumbed down. It’s just that you see the dumb stuff as much as you look for it. It almost becomes this self-fulfilling prophecy, where if you go looking for dumb stuff on the Internet, I guarantee you you’re going to find it. And obviously, if you find it once, you’re probably going to find it a lot more. But it depends on what you’re looking for.

One of the reasons why we started SocialFlow was to make sure that the right messaging got to the right people at the right time, so you could make the most use of it. Now, if you want to click on stories about Kim Kardashian, that’s great, but it doesn’t marginally improve your life that much to where I could notice it. However, if you start discovering news or ideas and then acting on them faster, then the world gets better the more that happens. By getting people paying attention to things with a lot of utility and seeing each other doing better because of it, the world starts to re-align around value exponentially faster instead of around perceived value or gratification.

So, if you switch from the model based on gratification towards one of lasting value—happening to as many nodes in the network as possible—then you start to get a better self-ordered world instead of feeling dumb, lost and disconnected. Seeing other people benefit from making smart choices, and sharing useful ideas, is going to make the best advertisement for sharing the good stuff you come across.

DP: You take this idea of lasting value a step further by trying to use data to help someone sound more human. Can you explain how data helps us to have meaningful conversations at scale?

FS: It’s not any different from what we have always done. When you come across something useful and pick up the phone to call someone, you are exchanging data, just on a peer-to-peer model, right?

Everybody talks about how social has changed everything, but really, social is just the next iteration in broadcast media. It’s not a conversational medium for the most part. It’s like we all have independently-owned TV stations. I broadcast, but then I can get feedback to change things. Data lets you know whether or not you are connecting with people, and it lets you assess what the appetite is for what you want to share.

If you have something important, data can help you overcome your selection-bias and avoid missing your audience. I think that is probably the most important role for it, because by nature it is our tendency to think what you’re going to say is the most important—if you count, in a set of one, it’s definitely the most important thing.

As you start expanding the possible reach of your message, the odds of your being right drop dramatically. You go from being sure it’s the most important thing, but then, even in the example of your calling on the phone—now you’re only half as sure. When you open it up to a set of a thousand followers on Facebook or Twitter, your odds are pretty low that you are going to hit the best time to deliver your message if you are only polling yourself. Data on what people are topically connecting with allows you to model-out how to get the right messaging in front of the right people at the right time.

DP: This type of modeling out communications using data is also related to what people refer to as an interest graph. Can you explain the concept of an interest graph?

FS: An interest graph is the landscape of what people are talking about, but it also has a temporal component to it as well. It’s not just a demographic assessment of what we’ve been connected with; it’s a map that shows how interesting something is to me at one given time.

There could be a thousand possible things that I could talk about, but it’s all a function of the context that I’m currently engaged. So when you look at the interest graph—all of the participants that you could potentially assess—it’s a field guide to what those people are willing to talk about at a given moment. A good analogy would be an electrical circuit; what would conduct across that interest graph? Then imagine that circuit board rewiring itself every few minutes.

It’s like mapping of nodes with the context of the topicality in play, and the estimated shelf life across each of those topics.