2014: Shine On!

shine on in 2014

After a 2013 very rich in achievements on my side, onto which I’ll come back more in details later on, I just wanted to share with you this inspiration: Shine on! Just let the glitter spring out of you. Smile. Like. And smile. And like again.
And Shine On .. You Crazy Diamond!

Best wishes for 2014.

Dress For A Party Every Day And The Party Will Come to You

One day before next TEDxLausanne opens its doors and one day after my birthday, I’d like to share this inspiring talk of Steve Bridge from last year’s conference, one that could inspire you every day of the year:

“Dress for a party every day and the party will come to you”


So, I’ll be dressed for a party for the theme: “What if we do(n’t)? “

Blending intimate with universal

Image credit @gapingvoid

After having read “This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier Of Business”, I definitely decided to embrace my different sides, without boundaries of “professional” or personal or whatever other artificial frontier. No, we are all made of multiple facets, every one nourrishing the other ones.

Once again, it is an intimate event that forced me to take a slight distance with my usual “stance”, to take a step back.

And it finds its natural place here, where I aim at bringing together convergent tracks.

It’s a story about a loss. Such a big loss that one cannot keep going as if nothing had happened. Because the world will no longer be the same. Never. Ever.
Loss means “hole”. Disbalance. Dizziness. Grief.

The risk is seing the hollow instead of the full. To fall into the hole.

But one can also chose to see the “full”, the bright side, what has been received, more than what has been lost.

That’s what I have decided to do.

Being of that “Gen Flux”, it naturally came to my mind to mix different elements in order to achieve a result full of meaning, diving into the intimate to extract some universal sense. A sense of humanity. Of sharing.

Strangely, it brings me back to the origins of this blog, initially created at the death of my uncle, a visionair.

So, this project is called “Ursulove”, to celebrate what I received from my 27 years of friendship with my friend Ursula, who so tragically passed away 2 months ago. This is the intimate part. I will share some bits of thoughts via Instagram, linked to a tumblr blog.
Why this format? Because I very often have thoughts to share, but never have the time to build them more consistently. So I thought that an addition of pictures, augmented with texts, related by a common tag, #ursulove, would create, in “the end”, a true story rich of meaning.

But, I’ve been thinking, too, that personal losses have a universal side. And that it would be enrichening to have in addition testimonials of other people about what they have “received” through similar events, losses. So I would like to encourage people to share their stories on Instagram, with the tag #lifeisgoodclo. Or to participate to the blog.

So that it wouldn’t be just a personal testimonial of a loss , but a sense of universality in this experience. That coul be helpful or inspiring to many other people.

The project URSULOVE is HERE.

It is just in its raw shape.

But if you feel like participating, adding your voice, your own experience, I would love to add it to the blog. So contact me at cbenassi at convergenttracks dot com.

The project is in French, but open to any other language.

One of the first presents that I received through this experience, is the need to connect back to a passion: writing.

But I am forever grateful to my friend for every second shared together, for every smile, laugh, worry, for her children smiles, for connecting back to old friends, for being her, simply. I will cultivate the flowers of this garden.

Happy 2012

This time is dedicated to celebrate joy, love, even for a little tiny second, it matters.

Life can be stolen so abruptly, sometimes, it’s good to remind the moments of “fullness”, to be thankful for what we’ve got and stop a second to think about it.

In a period where I can feel the loss, where a part of me has been teared away, making the ground uncertain, bringing waves of saddness, I want to see everything that has been sowed and that I can cultivate.

And, from there, I’d like to share with you some thoughts, on what to cultivate in 2012, for any of us, to make it sparkling & joyful:

* the joy of a smile
* a kind word
* listening
* giving: time, attention, a thought, a gaze
* opening the space

For, every moment cultivated in that spirit will help make the following come true. And it matters:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” -Maya Angelou*

I felt good so many times thanks to my friend. To her, I say “Thank you”.

And other friends and family help me feel good, and to them I say “Thank you”.
And to all of you: A Happy 2012.

* Quotation offered by a friend. :-)

On my way to Neuchâtel, an early Sunday morning. #cycling

Initially, this post was a mistake! It wasn’t intented to be published here, but on another blog, where I post more “on the go”. What is specific to Posterous, is that you can automatically link it to other platforms (Facebook, Twitter, blogs). But this is at the same time a tricky functionnality, since having multiple blogs usually means different “targets”. And you don’t necessarilly want to overflood your “public” (friends, followers) with the same content. Usually, I manually choose to what platform what content to share.
What happened is that I tried Instagram, a mobile application that lets you transform your pictures and give them a 70’s feeling. I linked it to Posterous, thinking it was a nice place to start with. But, O surprise! I found the same picture on all my social networks, automatically published! The system didnt’ allow to select to which site to publish the photo.
I decided then to delete some of them (on Twitter, Facebook) and leave it on some blogs, and to build meaning around it.

What kind of meaning?, one could ask.

A meaning arising from different perspectives brought together: a service like Instagram is more than just another application. Photos have a strong emotional power. Moreover, by its “retro-like” effects it convokes nostalgia; by having you transforming your own pictures, it makes you more engaged; by connecting you with other people and giving to all of you the possibility to interact, to share, to like, to comment, it touches you.

And creates an emotional connection.

You are free to live the experience on a personal level.
But you can also see it as an opportunity as communications’ link for a brand, a company. All while keeping live the genuine aspect. Just interacting on a more emotional level, to share passion, to connect in the instant. And go.

It can be seen as anecdotic, but it represents an opportunity to create a connection, a link. The famous one to one relationship. Without being intrusive or “evil”!
I see it as an opportunity, for example, for hotels: being located in beautiful places, like many of them are, in Valais, for instance, gives them an advantage. Pictures are an ideal way to convey the beauty of a place. And social networks like Facebook (Page) a perfect medium to share it. That’s what I explain (with the same picture, posted there automatically !), on a blog dedicated to hoteliers and tourism pros (in French).

So, now, you know: I am on Instagram, too. Let’s connect!
If you’d like to discover other mobile applications for photography, here are 2 links really interesting: on NYT and on Mashable.
Enjoy! And come back here and share your experiences with those applications. Or others. Do you use mobile applications for photography? How? With what purpose? In a private way? Professional? Both?

Make a Wish: Use Art to Turn the World Inside Out

In my previous post, I was asking “What can the Future do for you/me”?, taking upon my own #lift11‘s title. Obviously, you don’t get – nor give – answers to such a question in a few words but you can get tracks of reflexions, and that’s one of the reasons #lift is so much appreciated. The following article gives you a deep understanding and good highlights of this year’s conference: Reflections on LIFT Conference 2011.

After the conference, Lift launched kind of a reverse project, called “What can you do for the future”? (I don’t find the link). And, oddly, it’s the speaker of another conference, that gave me a clue to this question, by making a wish: “Use art to turn the world inside out”.
And creating insideoutproject .

Grab a cup of coffee, lean back and take the time to watch this video (images are very important). Maybe will it whisper to you an idea, the small idea creeping in the back of your head, waiting for the right moment to light up. It acted that way on me. I already see which face will be on the picture. A picture with a voice, wanting to tell his whole story to his sons, daughters, grand-children, and to the world. Because his memories override History’s. And his face will be worth hundreds of words.

What Can The Future Do For [You] Me? #lift11

As every year before the Lift Conference‘s kick off, I have a look back and a look forward, in order to assess where I hope and want Lift to lead me to.

Looking back from now on, I see lots of – personal – progress, human connections and new horizons made possible, as already largely evoked.
But at the same time, tools like Twitter and Facebook have become mainstream and play now a role of “talents discoverer”, trends detectors. You know the latest hype – product, platform, application, etc.., the latest success stories, case stories, and all other industry experts and reports. With good sources, you really are ahead of the wave. My favourite, as you surely already know, is Paper.li, a good curation tool. You can call yourself ” a trend watcher”, “trendhunter” or whatever trendexpert, following the maturing wave of “digital experts”.
In this context, answering to the question “What can the future do for you”, as promises the #lift11 theme is highly challenging. How to deliver a message different from what you can already find in your timeline? How to deliver added-value?

I see tracks of answers in the speakers, of course: not all of them are “mainstream” and they surely have specific angles for their presentations and outstanding qualities. Other tracks of possibilities could lie in the quantitiy and quality of “lifters” (yes, it has become an official term :-)), in the interactions arising during the workshops, in the Lift experience and other networking spaces, like the fondue.

In this context, what I expect from this promising Lift’s edition is: getting back in touch with people met at Lift, some becoming friends :-), catching up with them, getting true insights into future issues and opportunities – especially linked to marketing/social media/business model – being inspired, be it by people, Lift experience, speaches. I also set objectives for Sosoftware, having a couple of interesting meetings scheduled. I really hope to get means to cut down into the noise of some digital platforms and get true value.

Side considerations: some of friends met at Lift will be missing. I’ll regret them (you know who you are!).
I also have a special thought for a person met during my very first Lift, more precisely during the workshop where I opened this blog, with Stephanie Booth. That person was among the participants, we talked a bit and kept contact over the years. He very sadly passed away a couple of days ago, he was my age, I have a special thought for him, I know he was very respected.
Last but not least: I am looking forward to listening to @BrianSolis live tomorrow morning at a special presentation organized by Label.
I’m lifted! Follow me on Twitter with my brand new #lift11 avatar made by @nicktalop

Convergent Tracks in 2011: Marketing and Technology

As we’ve seen it in the past couple of years, the acceleration of technological innovations has been impacting many sectors, marketing included. Some disciplines like communication, PR, marketing, customer service have partially blended, technology contributing to “dis-cluster” them, bringing along in the same time new challenges.

As stated in this excellent article, “Social technology is permeating everything in our lives. It seems that every medium of media has integrated social into the message. The Facebook craze has pulled over 500 million people into use of social technology for multiple purposes. Humanity is experiencing connectivity to the human network like never before in history.

The influence of technology on humanity is affecting all market sectors whether private or public, on-line and off line. The intersection of technology and the human network is disrupting old business models, organizational theories and beliefs systems founded in old knowledge.

In this disruption context, question is: How to bridge the gap? How to leverage those (r)evolutions to empower your organization’s global efficiency?
It has become essential to understand new technologies, how they can augment your marketing’s objectives, impact your business results.

New kinds of jobs are emerging: community manager, chief marketing technologist, digital strategist, etc, that all have in common to mix combined skills in technology and communication, marketing.

Paradoxically, the more fragmented the world becomes, the more “convergent tracks” we’ll see, with an emphasis on the convergence of: mobile (highly fragmented)-social-local.

Here are some of the -new- challenges marketers are facing:

  • keeping track of new trends
  • understanding the mechanisms underlying the power of technologies
  • understanding how they can impact your product/price/communication/distribution/customer experience
  • figuring out strategies optimizing a mix of media according to the objectives (acquisitoin, loyalty, brand awareness, ..)
  • understanding key data factors: analytics, performance, ROI, social CRM, …
  • diving into social media…
  • And enjoying this high-pace evolving environment!

And, at the converging point between marketing and technology, connections and emotions, the lattest being the central linchpin to valuable connections.

That’s why you see those 2 signs on the image: <3 is the symbol of love in the digital media and the other one, on the right, is the symbol of sharing/connecting (via 2.0 technologies).
It is my personal way of wishing you all a happy 2011, under the sign of love and connections, all real, no matter the media!

If you’re interested in decryptering the discussed trends, you can focus on these 2 information sources:
Adage Digital
The Marketing & Innovation Daily

And for the upcoming months:
10 digital predictions for 2011
Top 10 Stories on AdAge.com in 2010
Social Media in 2011: Six Choices You Need to Make

PS: social media is implicitely included in the article, as being one of the most disrupting trends, mix of platforms, technologies, participation, interaction, crowdsourcing potential, etc, etc…
PS2: Focus. It’s getting more and more noisy out there.
PS3: Follow your own track

Image courtesy of a dear friend, Jacques-Antoine Besnard, quadruple airship world champion who’s leading the engine on the image. Official site of the last world championship. His official Fan Page (not regularly updated). A model of a focused mind. Merci Jacot :-)
Icons taken from The NounProject

Carambars, Sugus, Cailler: Swiss Love in a Box Flying to Missoula

Those kind of things that Skype cannot do – yet?

Read My #Paperli Daily News Rather Than My Twitter Account

A couple of months ago, during a lift@home event – Think Data, sitting among a couple of other “happy fews”, we assisted to the presentation of a brand new project, called “paper.li“, by Small Rivers. The idea? To create a new kind of “newspaper”, online, offering the quintessence of curated information through the lense of a person (until now, her or his Twitter account) by a subtle and complex aggregation between the shared tweets of that person and followers. The initial project has improved a lot, allowing for instance to create a newspaper based on a #hashtag or a Twitter list.
paperli claudiafalt ClaudiaFaltysBenassi Daily

One of the main benefits is to offer to a specific audience an “augmented information“: selected, curated, and augmented by the “curator” and her/his “followers”. The resulting aggregated information, displaying multi-media formats – videos, pictures, slideshare, tags, themes, real-time tweets, selected articles, links, ..- is a highly value-added information.

In these times where it is very challenging to sort the “good” information out of an ever-increasing “noise”, this Daily Newspaper is a breathe of fresh air… and a gain of time!

For your followers, for your company, for your customers, try to think of the best Paper.li that could offer them most of added-value? Think of a theme (a hashtag on Twitter), a Twitterlist?

For me, for you, I’m of the meaning that http://www.paper.li/claudiafalt, aka The ClaudiaFaltysBenassi Daily is of higher value than my Twitter account (@claudiafalt), if you want to have a “bigger picture” of the key trends and sectors I follow and share. Above all if your are NOT on Twitter.
Some great examples I like to follow:
The #etourisme Daily: a field I’m active and interested in (in French, here), gives me in a glimpse the major information of the latest 24 hours. Easy to stay up-to-date, easy to share!
The Musee de l’Elysee Daily : for personal interest in arts (in my region and wider)
The EdelmanDigital Daily: for same kind of things as on mine, but far more popular! (shared by @armano) (Note: I don’t publicize my Daily Paper.li on Twitter)
So many interesting newspapers out there!

Personnally, I decided to share this link as one of my major (most representative) digital accounts on my LinkedIn Status and added it to my other “websites”. Still thinking how to organize next steps, for example for the business card.

Since I’m committed to share information that 1. I read thoroughly 2. I think is worth to share, and since I decided to broadcast my daily Paper.li, I’ll be more restrictive with the people I follow, in order to offer a valuable information.

For the moment, as you cannot interact yet via paper.li, it’s still a restriction for a broader adoption (as of right now, but things seem to evolve very quickly).

But you can already import your Daily paper into a blog or site (click on “promote”), (not yet for wordpress.com..).

For more, up-to-date information, on Twitter, follow @SmallRivers

And you? Did you plan to integrate a Paper.li Daily on your blog? For your company?
Do you already follow some paper.li’s Daily News? Would you like to share them?
Here’s a video of one of the co-founders explaining Paper.li during lift10Conference (via the article below)

Some more articles (French):
Paper.li: la veille sur Twitter
Le Temps: SmallRivers, de l’eau au moulin des média