Chasing ROI on Social: Hire a Mathlete

Marketing_ROI_Cartoon

I have no doubt 2010 was the year social media took a seat at the marketing table. After 2011’s launch into mobile, I predicted that 2012 would be the year of augmented reality – instead, in the dank, creative pit of the Great Recession, 2012 brought practical decisions made by a wizened marketing force: Clients were demanding ROI.

While agencies continued to jump into the game with “fresh approaches”, that “integrated marketing communications” and became a “conversation with your audience”, while “leveraging key opinion leaders”, many smaller companies shook off the “consultants” and freelancers who had failed to hit black on the bottom line. Instead, these businesses, (finally), hired recent college grads who could manage twitter channels all day for minimum return and field basic customer service questions without the ego.

And the big agencies? They bought brains. Digital powerhouses, fusing creativity with analytics and tracking innovation. Radian6 had become the corporate standard. Google Analytics was blown out into customized campaign tracking, following every click from every source. Smaller link trackers like Bit.ly bowed to full-functioning social media systems. An industry was created for fresh startups, the future Buddy Medias, bringing better and more detailed conversation analysis, semi-natural language processing and conversion tracking.

Even after GM pulled out of Facebook, online social media marketing has grown more popular with marketing managers. This is because the ability to mine data on individuals, campaigns and over time is being refined by minds bright enough to be found in the quant quarter at a financial firm. Programmers are able to funnel that data into beautiful dashboards, but the real impact comes on exporting into spreadsheets, parsing, analyzing and color coding into graphs, until you can slip it into a PowerPoint and say to the decision maker, yes!, Oreo sales went up in Q1!

My advice for anyone wondering if their marketing team’s efforts are in vain, is start digging for data. Even if it’s just running sales over time against your campaign efforts over time, find the geekiest person on your team and give him or her undivided time. Marketing data is almost always trackable. When it comes to the economic rebound though, my guess is as good as a guru’s.

Next post I’ll share tips on tracking and benchmarking I use.

Where Does Trust Fall in the Four Ps of Marketing?

Protesters raise their open palms showing the word "No" during an anti-bailout rally in Nicosia

I’ve finally dribbled through “Buffet: The Marketing of an American Capitalist”, and ironically, the most thought-altering thing I’ve learned has not been directly about investing. It was the  value proposition in trust.

Warren Buffet made a mistake investing in a well known firm, Salomon Partners. The firm had had a great run, becoming the one of the exclusive Treasury trading partners and competing with the likes of Meryl Lynch, when one bad apple spoiled the barrel. The trader in charge of bidding on Treasury bonds successfully cornered the market by making illegal bids, some in the names of Salomon’s customers. John Gutfriend, the much feared CEO at the time, had neglected to disclose the illegal activity to the Fed.

he-worked-his-way-up-and-was-made-a-partner-at-salomon-brothers-in-1972Once discovered, the case blew up, and as trust in Salomon disappeared down a sink hole, and customers dried up. Investment banking is an industry built almost entirely in trust. Companies trusted Salomon to pull together investors and provide capital. Clients trusted Salomon to obtain the securities they desired at the best price. Salomon would have gone under right away if Warren Buffet hadn’t stepped in to infuse the firm with what it had lost: Trust.

Trust is stronger than faith: It’s built from experience. Trust is knowing your doubles partner will hit that perfect serve in the lefthand corner every time. Trust is knowing the phonecall to your mom or dad will always reveal the answer. Trust is opening the fridge knowing your roommate didn’t finish off your beer. Trust in China is knowing those Korean noodles are clean and safe to eat. Trust is that brilliant coworker that always solves the problem.

hypocrisy-superman-dupont-reducedA brand is an insurance seal on your favorite product, the Brooks Brother’s shirts that don’t shrink, the bottle of Tide that never fades your sundresses, the Teflon coated pans that eggs fall smoothly off of. In the Four Ps of marketing, branding falls both in product and promotion. Tony the Tiger promised the same sugary goodness every morning, in the same way Batman promised the same daring rescue at the end of each 30 minutes – with commercials – program.

bank-run

Building trust for a brand means can mean providing awesome customer service, every time, like Zappos. It can be a slow process, taking years like the bakery next door. Trust can come from a base of brand advocates, as Salesforce used at nationwide conferences. You can build off trust in another brand, as Facebook built its user base off college brands. A brand can also be inextricably tied to a trust in a single person, as Apple was with Jobs or Berkshire is with Buffet.

For social media, your followers trust your personal brand to deliver similar content, in a consistent voice. It’s said to gain followers 90% of your tweets should not defer from your “brand”. Different networks offer consistent types of content: Pinterest has beautiful travel photos and recipes; Instagram offers angles on views you missed and styles that will make you cooler; Spotify always has different bands and playlists with artists you forgot about. Even Google Plus has found a following with gamers and other subsets that want to talk all day, every day about some obscure topic.

So what’s the value of trust? Procter and Gamble once calculated a lifelong Kleenex customer as being worth $600. Today P&G deals with Tide thieves who retail stolen bottles for half the price, so coveted is the brand that promises to make Kmart jumpers smell as special as Crewcuts. Trust lost can destroy a politician’s career, a marriage, a brokerage firm, an imported brand, a livestock industry.

rfd-tide-sfSpan

Maybe the true value of trust can be measured in time: the seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, decades you spent experiencing the same mouthfuls of frosted flakes, loads of laundry, fried eggs, crisp shirts and restful nights knowing your money was safe in the bank.

8 Reasons GenZ is Kicking GenY’s Bieber at Social Mediaing

As a marketing manager overseeing over 300 Facebook pages with an audience of 17-23 year olds, there is one thing that keeps me up at night: What if Facebook disappeared?
I’m sleeping easier after Social Media Week, where a poll done of AU and GWU students by the American University Social Media Club, and Peter Corbett of iStrategy Labs, both independently confirmed to this bleary-eyed community manager that Facebook isn’t going anywhere. In fact, most believe Zuckerberg and my generation are going to live a nice happy life growing old together.

justin-bieber-ashton-kutcher-lead

So why should I still be worried? While my organization’s current student members and alumni, 17 to 30-something will stay by my side as we marry, produce little super Millennials and commit to real estate, the up-and-comers, current high school students to little iPad owners won’t be joining us. And I’m jealous of why.

Researchers in digital think it’s parents who are “scaring” kids away from Facebook. In fact, it’s just that kids today are so much better at social networking than GenY. Teenagers today don’t need a social “network”, but merely social media to interact with their personal networks and consume information.

1. Teens don’t need computers to IM
They can text, use messaging apps, Gchat, call, or tweet at their friends. They love video conversations, which is a more real way of interacting because you get facial and vocal expressions.

2. Mobile apps replace giant social networks
Apps like WhatsUpApp let kids create mini-social networks that are just their group of friends. GoogleGroups is better than Facebook Groups for organizing clubs because you get email on your phone instead of having to log-in.

3. GenZ is obsessed with music
They follow celebrities on Twitter, Youtube and gossip blogs, and even returned to MySpace for music. Youtube and Pandora are great for free music, but they will join Facebook just to be on Spotify. Best of all, Youtube lets them make and share their own music, and iTunes will let aspiring Demi Lovato’s sell their own mp3s.

4. All teens aspire to reality tv
Inundated with reality tv and able to access a web that supershoots nobodies to stardom, their role models range from the Biebs who broke out via Youtube videos to Kim Kardashian, known for doing nothing. Every iPhone’s video camera is a viral video or a musical moment waiting to happen. The paparazzi culture has made celebfans like “#lovatos” and wannabiebs, and Twitter lets them hear the real thoughts of these stars instantly, like they were friends in real life.

5. If there’s no pic, it didn’t happen
They love taking pictures of themselves and everything they see, whether with their mobile computers, on Instagram or with oldschool professional cameras. The web has become a scrapbook for all those #memories and a place to showcase their obvious talents.

6. “You have a voice” => I’m an expert
With all the web in photography and video, not only capturing their artistic sense, YOLO life moments and fashion savvy in Instagrams isn’t enough. They want to share it and show how awesome they are on Pinterest, Youtube, blogs, Tumblr and Twitter.

7. They all have phone and web cams
Finding a camera to shoot a school project used to be tough. With phone and web cams, teens can all make Youtube channels with “expert” advice, SNL digital skits and movies on everything from make-up to doing stupid stunts a la Ashton Kutcher style.

8. Info overload makes everyone ADD
There is so much to choose from, so much being created with everyone having web access and it’s so impossible to consume it all, that the sharper, the shorter, the more in-your-face wow your content is, the better. Buzzfeed and HuffPo have taken hold of this generation’s and our content consumption by being provocative, following celebrities, highlighting social posts like tweets from real people and sharing photos that shock us.

SMO: Facebook Backlinks, Do These Matter?

Recently my coworkers and I attempted something sacrilegious to most social media “gurus”: We proposed killing our organization’s Facebook page. No one representing our company had posted on the page in months, and despite many events and photo opportunities, only one neglected album held tiny images from a year past. “Embarassing”, “waste of time” and “dead already” were some of the internal comments regarding our not-oft-visited site. It looked like we were moving forward, on a train driving Facebook out of our town. Then our PR agency threw a wrench in wheels, “You’ll lose your backlinks!”, they said. Our what?

Backlinks in SEO are hyperlinks from other websites which lead to your site. Backlinks are like votes. The more links you have, the higher your Google search score is. The more highly ranked the sites leading to you, the more the backlinks are weighted into you score. Not only is Facebook the highest ranked website in the world, over even Google.com, but at the beginning of the year Google admitted to factoring social media links into its algorithms.

Social media backlinking was rarely discussed when I interned in SEO, nor was it mentioned in my social media positions and even social media optimization (SMO) discussions. SMO is the practice of using social media to drive traffic your site, the “All Roads Lead to Rome” idea. SMO traditionally focuses on actual clicks. Content is optimized to increase clickthrus using tactics such as link-baiting, content creation, images and keyword tagging. SMO came into mainstream last year as a weapon in the search engine wars, (which Google no doubt won with the help of mobile).

My organization already had top two SEO ranking and a never-ending supply of niche research publications to continually feed to our SEO rankings, so our rankings really weren’t affected by backlinks. From an SMO standpoint, however, the Facebook page was relevant for sharing content and bringing in referral traffic. (Direct traffic comes straight to your site; Referral traffic clicks a link on another site. Usually SEO analytics tools break down what referral traffic is coming from search engines and what is from “all other sites”.)

Although LinkedIn offered great referral traffic by percent clickthru per link, referral traffic from Facebook was negligible. This was consistent with our hypotheses regarding how our membership and target audiences used the web. Despite having Facebook buttons on our website, every email we sent out and printed material, as well as membership and subscribers numbers in the tens of thousands, we were at only 150 likes. (This compared to thousands of group members on LinkedIn). Clearly, Facebook was not where our audience was finding us. The argument was made and Facebook was sentenced.

The question for you is, do Facebook backlinks help my site? It is true for a relatively unknown or low-SEO-ranking site Facebook backlinks can be beneficial to increasing SEO. For maximum SEO ROI, you want to focus on a few “call-to-action” pages, such as a contact page, a company overview, your main page or a submission form, (Examples: proposal submission or membership sign-ups). For maximum SMO, you want to focus on content and “call-to-action” pages which may be generated by the type of social media content.

Articles hosted on your site shared on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is the most common SMO backlink, but video and picture content are beginning to dominate the web as networking bandwidth allows larger file hosting. While keyword tagging pictures and video content has been a part of SEO since before SMO was a discipline, linking back to your site wasn’t as prevalent as today. Increased blogging and sites like Instagram, Twitter, via Yfrog and Pinterest have made image linking more relevant.

Some examples of SMO backlinking:

Shortened Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn links which are retweeted or shared by several people
Blogposts or highly trafficked blogs which reference your website
Lists (not as common since search), such as Angie’s List, which recommend your company or website
Yelp, Yahoo, Hotels.com or other rating sites which evaluate and link back to your company site
Proprietary content images used on other sites, such as a blog, which hyperlink to your site
Pinterest pictures which lead to a point-of-purchase on a commerce site or services, (example: Home renovation company)
Embedded video content on other sites which is hosted on your site or Youtube channels

Exporting Technology from China: Is It Legal?

Just when China is starting to look promises for foreign companies looking for a higher educated workforce, they go and change their patent laws. As of a few weeks ago, Beijing has decided to issue “compulsory” licenses to domestic companies looking to manufacture patented drugs in China. The changes are said to be “for public health” and is allowed under the WTO for nations where expensive drugs are unaffordable. With a burgeoning middle class, China clearly intends the generic drug licenses for export markets.

China’s MNC licensing and operating regulations aim to keep the export-to-import ratio high, block foreigners from marketing competing products in China, and develop the Chinese economy into a global competitor. Although Chinese IP laws have become increasingly reliable with a few major cases such as the WTO U.S. versus China win on movie licenses, the tech industry continues to struggle. Apple is facing a lawsuit over its iPad trademark while Chinese phone manufacturers are warned of impending suits thanks to their rapidly expanding Andriod export market.

合作项目: Right to Produce

A common model for foreign companies has been a 合作项目, hezuo xiangmu, sharing-the-work mutually: “是指专利权人将其所拥有的专利技术许可他人实施的行为”; “The law allows says the licensor allows the licensee to exploit the patent”, exploit meaning implement or carryout the patent. These are often manufacturing agreements and the foreign company retains protection for its patents. These type of relationships are tricky because the intellectual property transferred has been very difficult to protect, and Chinese courts historically sided with domestic companies in order to facilitate domestic development.

WOFE: Right to a Factory

In order to protect technology, beginning in the eighties some companies chose to set up WOFEs, wholly owned foreign enterprises, located in SPZs, special economic zones. SPZs can offer lower taxes and local government investment in infrastructure. WOFEs can only take advantage of Chinese labor for manufacturing and are not allowed to sell their products in the Chinese market. Protecting intellectual property is easier in a WOFE, because not only is there complete sharing of patented technology with a Chinese firm, but the MNC can keep tabs on exactly who else may have access to technology, such as suppliers and temporary workers.

合资企业: Right to Sell

When looking to sell products domestically, foreign companies found the easiest entry was through 合资企业, “hezi qiye”, joint ventures or “mutual earnings enterprises”. Most original ventures were with a 国有企业, guoyou qiye, state-owned enterprise. In a Communist country, all companies were state-owned. In modern times privately owned Chinese companies not only exist, but are doing extremely well. Joint ventures with any Chinese companies usually allow 51%+ ownership by the foreign firm, and contracts may stipulate the foreign enterprise is allowed managerial control.

As the Chinese name implies, 合资企业 financial gains are shared based on the percent ownership, but what about the intellectual gains from products developed in China? In a joint venture, the enterprise which is established is a new company. Board members represent both the Chinese and the foreign company. Intellectual property developed by the enterprise belong to the newly created Chinese-based company, and joint venture contracts with the companies may span decades, effectively tying the foreign company to the Chinese firm.

Conversely, in recent years foreign companies are feeling less attractive to Chinese entities, and more of a short-term partner. The change is coming as China comes into itself and has begun to think of itself as a global competitor. The joint ventures which once helped Chinese the government through 国有企业 share profits from foreign businesses operating in China, now are consider a training process for Chinese companies looking to acquire technology and go global. Companies entering these type of relationships first should register IP with Beijing.

R&D: Right to Innovate

In order to win over the Chinese government, many MNCs have created R&D centers in China. L’Oreal, Seimens and Merck are a few. The Chinese government often builds R&D centers with the latest infrastructure, design and telecommunications systems to cater to foreign MNCs. The trade-off is giving the foreign MNC access to domestic markets while giving educated Chinese workers experience in high technology and science industries.

Right to Remunerations?

What began as a show of good will, has turned into a battle for rights to the innovations coming out of developed R&D centers. According to article 20 of Chinese patent law, a Chinese entity or individual looking to file a patent abroad must first file in China. China’s patent laws are a first-come-first-serve basis and do not require proof of invention. Although an R&D center may be a WOFE, as long as it is on PRC soil, it is subject to the PRC’s patent law.

The Chinese government assumes a right of the Chinese entity to any improvements made, meaning any contractual or joint-work done in China allows the Chinese counterpart to claim IP rights, equity, profit-sharing or some other ownership of any invention done by them. This rule even applies to Chinese citizens employed by a foreign firm!

In order to file for a patent abroad, the foreign firm must then go through the Chinese patenting procedure. The process begins with finding a Chinese patent agent to represent you, then obtaining the right to file a patent claim. According to article 10: An assignment, by a Chinese entity or individual, of the patent application right, or of the patent right, to a foreigner must be approved by the competent authorities designated by the State Council. This process can test a company’s guanxi, or political connections, and may subject it to bribery requests.

Once patent filings are made, the Chinese patent bureau will investigate the claim in a similar way as the U.S. government does – however the patent will be liable to Chinese export-import laws which regulate technology and industries considered advantageous or unique to China. The laws also take into account technology such as computer security, which may be considered a domestic threat if exported to foreign countries.

If the patent is approved, the Chinese employees working on the development may still claim royalities or payouts for their work. MNCs employing Chinese workers need to stipulate in contracts that the rights to patent filings and any work done under their employment belongs to the foreign MNC’s parent company. A compromise may be joint patent ownership in China and full ownership abroad.

From the Madtown: I Stand With Walker

Tonight Scott Walker is the winner of a state he already won the right to run. They are saying its a test for the country, the “stirring of something on a domestic level” and a warning for Obama. While the pundits speculate about the 62 million, (by some estimates 34 million Republican, 4 million Democrat, the rest special interests), which lambbasted the state the last months, I can’t help but wonder: Have any of these people ever been to Wisconsin?

Do they know it’s mostly Catholic and Lutheran, and yet prochoice? Do they understand the thick accent derived from German and Scandanavian settlers which still influences the socialist ideals? Do they know it’s one of the most literate states in the country? Or the fattest? Do they know that La Crosse is a place, not a sport, and jorts never went out of style..the rest of the country merely came back in? Do they understand, to a Wisconsin voter, politics are the most fun since football season is over?

Last fall as the nation turned its attention on my hometown, I hoped they would see what I saw: The liberal, diverse, highly educated (most PhDs per capita), Best City to Live In several years running capital city. Madison’s economy is a town similar to my new home, Washingon, D.C. It runs on the government, a handful of insurance companies and the internet and tech fueled startups like ShopBop and Epic, which employ the bright, hard-working and conscientious graduates the UW turns out every year.

It’s a smart city. Which is why I was shocked in horror to watch last fall as a bunch of out-of-towners drove tractors around the capital, and my little brother and sister’s high school classes poured into the Rotunda to cheer in red and white sweatshirts along side my former classmates. But then that’s Wisconsin. We’re the only state that owns our own football team: This is not a sit back and watch the t.v. ads kind of voter.

Is this a state which reflects the country? I’d like to think this country’s population is half as passionate, as well-informed and half as loyal as the average Wisconsinite. This is a state of people who will paint their faces blue or red or green, (my Catholic gradeschool voted for Ralph Nader one year), but never gets drunk on anything except beer. Political affiliations are an identity, and supporting some cause, any cause, is a favorite past-time in a state with 3 seasons of winter, but every mind is always independent.

If you ask an 18 year old Wisconsinite why they voted for Walker, or against, beyond the tears and jeers, you will hear a logic as crisp and as clean as the air on a January morning in Eau Claire, (where Obama once said he’d create green jobs). In the satirical outfits worn by college students and postgrads, (some of them my friends – see Where’s Waldo), you’ll find ideological statements that hit too close to reality. No, there was no way Democrats could outspend Republicans in Wisconsin.

In this heated liberal seat like Madison, my mother said it was bad enough you couldn’t put a Walker sign on your front lawn for fear of retaliation. The teachers had taken the fight into the classrooms, (National Honors schools, some of the best public schools in the country). And yet, when you drove into the cornfields just beyond the Beltline, spreading between Madison and Milwaukee, and down to Janesville where the oldest GM plant still operates, there were the “I’m with Walker signs”.

There on the front lawns in an America as idealistic as a BP commercial, Wisconsin voters were loyal to their governor. Just like they were loyal to Tommy Thompson, Republican, and in Tammy Baldwin, Democrat and openly gay, and to Paul Ryan, Republican and antiwar. Because the funny thing about a state that tried to recall their governor, they’re a pretty loyal bunch.

Scott Walker did what he believed was best for the people of Wisconsin. He balanced the budget, decreased unemployment, and protected the majority of the state in a time of economic uncertainty. He didn’t win on womens rights, or social issues, or individual privacy, or gun rights, or domestic security, or foreign policy, or social welfare programs. He didn’t win as a Republican governor; He won as the governor of Wisconsin.

Obama and that rich guy Mitt Romney? That’s a whole other game.

From my Facebook

Tom –
A victory for taxpayers across Wisconsin and America! Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this historic victory possible!

Amanda –
Guess I won’t be taking my teaching career back to Wisco for a while…

Michael – shared a link.
Misinformed USA: Why average Americans vote for Republicans

Christopher –
Yet another day in Wisconsin history that makes me so happy I no longer live there.

Sarah –
Yay! Proud to be a Wisconsinite!

Rachael –
today was a good day because i got my first hire, pretty little liars returned, and i realized how smart my decision was to move to chicago. =)

Newman –
Its times like these I just retreat more into myself.

Kristin V. –
Learned 2 “important” things today: 1. The Turtle Lake mascot is not a turtle but rather a “Laker” and is a picture of an anchor (very disappointing). 2. it is legal to throw anything out your window in this part of the state.

Kyle –
I’m moving to the moon.

Annie –
Wisconsin will live to fight another day. Tomorrow is my last day before finals with the freshmen. Even if my state doesn’t respect what I do, my students have.

Kristen E. –
miller park with my favs!!

My favorite:

Mona –
BREAKING: Madison, Wisconsin Voter Turnout Over 100% http://t.co/XrJ2Silh

Ellen Pao: Fifth Generation Feminism in Silcon Valley?

This morning the Twitter story of the day screamed at me “Men invented the internet“. “Ellen Pao, a junior partner in her early 40s at the distinguished venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against the company and her colleagues there.” Her claims in the wake of Facebook’s board “diversity” scandal, sound all too familiar: The frathouse behavior, the silent passing over for promotions, the “quiet” acceptance of male dominance in leadership roles. Her accusation a partner retaliated against an office fling gone sour could be straight out of “The Social Network”. Is there no fury like a Silicon Valley tech nerd rejected?

No. There isn’t. I say it from experience, from the women I’ve known who think coke-bottle glasses are cute, and attend Girls in Tech events, and the coders, and designers, and social media geeks who pepper the dark corners of the internet with their unfulfilled fantasies. While chasing their interests they’ve inadvertently struck gold. The tech community is an incredibly self-assured, physically insecure and competitive subculture. The competition to be known, to make it big and to bring in the dollars, is a brilliant light show streaming from the tiny liquid crystals we are composed of. Competition is coded into their DNA.

In biology there is only one kind of competition: Gaining the most resources to have the most successful offspring.

According to Pao’s accusations, the men at Kleiner justified keeping women in the lower level roles and salaries. They said women would not succeed because they were “too quiet”. One partner told Pao women were not invited to dinner deals because they would “kill the buzz”.

Competitive instinct is part of a new thought school both sides of the feminist debate are trying to understand: How do the biological differences between men and women affect the way they behave in the business world? Ellen Pao was a venture capitalist. Interestingly, finance is analyzed most often because it is one of the most lucrative career paths, and if success can be measured by accumulation of resources, a money career definitely trumps them all. It is also a male dominated field.

One study was investigating testosterone levels of women in finance. Another study had shown men tended to make riskier decisions, and earn the top most and bottom majority of ROI in their portfolios, while women made “safer” decisions and the middle to upper-middle in ROI. The scientists wanted to know if women with higher testosterone levels engaged in riskier or more competitive behavior than women with lower levels: The answer was yes, the more testosterone, the riskier the behavior within a gender.

So where does that leave us? Is it fair that men can be expected to be more competitive? Can women compete with them while they are competing for women? Should we start testing testosterone levels instead of personality tests?

There have been five eras to feminism:

1. Getting the vote
2. Entering the workforce
3. Demanding equal pay
4. Wanting to be “one of the boys”
5. Gaining maternity leave and the acknowledgment women are different, but equally capable.

In fourth-generation feminism we’re taught it’s better not to complain. Stories like Pao’s raise the hair on our backs, but are dismissed just as quickly. Sandy Kurtzig, an entrepreneur funded by Kleiner Perkins, would be a fourth-generation feminist. She is quoted: “I always thought the world was going to be gender-blind.”

I was raised by a fourth-generation feminist, in a slightly socialist city which caters to smart girls with athletic abilities. In the 1960s my mother had been given a common test to determine how “masculine” or “feminine” she was. She was an only child who liked trucks, sports and rough-housing with a family of five boys. The test makers told her she “thought like a boy”. Thirty years later in shoulder pads and Chanel, she was still playing with boys, while I was growing up with Barbies and not knowing the difference.

When I left for a university which was 70% women, in the business school, I never knew why my friends complained about the gender ratio. All my classes were filled with tall, masculine bros. In business school, they taught us a survival of the fittest theory which states all discrimination is ultimately bad for financial success because it illogically excludes a potentially better fitted talent pool from competition. Rather than teach business students it’s morally wrong to discriminate, the idea appeals to our pocket books: Why exclude a bunch a intelligent workers who can make you more money?

No transition in thought is ever complete, and fourth and fifth generation feminism run parallel in society still. I’ve seen the divide in academia and the transition to the career world, where fem lit majors choose to put on skits from the Vagina Monologues, and business majors put on closed-toed heels to give presentations on Michael Dell and Steve Jobs besides their 6 ft. tall team mates. A “blind” fourth-generation feminist can walk confidently into a PR firm or Wall Street after graduation, but as soon as she’s found herself in a cubicle farm of pearls or briefcases, the gender lines become clearer. A career choice that was based on personal interests or financial ambition begins to elicit a subconscious nagging question: Was this my choice or society’s?

How to Time Travel on Web: 2 Research Tips

A lot of what I’ve done at various jobs involves research, and most research today is done through the web. In science and business, knowing where you have been is critical for knowing where you are going. Scientists read hundreds of “old” papers to find methods and discoveries they can use to plan their own experiment. These papers in a way are “case studies”. Business analysts use financial, distribution, product cycle, interest rates and loads of other data when looking at company, making a deal or solving a problem.

Social media analysts use some old data to create new business proposals, but mostly they want “new” data: the latest information and technologies available. On occasion however, to illustrate the evolution of the web, I’ve used this amazing tool, “The Way Back Machine“, which allows you to see archived snapshots of your website. This is a picture from the front page of my blog, a year ago:

Try it yourself!

The second tip I’m proffering up is a simple variation on a Google Search. I choose daily topics for my community’s Twitter handle. Today’s topic was “Chimeras”, as from the recently created chimeric monkeys. (Chimeras are organisms with multiple genomes, different DNA.)

The search was unfruitful thanks to Google’s recent algorithm changes which give greater weight to newer content. (A reason one should blog on one’s company website, and often.) The results I was receiving were for the monkeys or a successful hockey game from yesterday. Search for chimeric:

Search for chimera:

In order to eliminate the cute little baby Rhesus monkeys, I used Google’s time period search. I started in 2000 because information in in DNA research over ten years old doesn’t have much significance with modern discoveries and changing technology. I picked a month ago as the end date, although even last week would have been far enough to clear the viral monkey story.

The results were exactly what I was hoping for, no more big black monkey baby eyes looked back at me imploring the necessity of a future of hybrid creatures. Now I could browse articles which topped the news in another time, a simpler time, like January 2011.

And this is how I stumbled upon….HUMAN CHIMERAS!!!

What are you researching? What you like to discover? Happy hunting!

“Missing Women”: China’s Greatest Challenge

In 2004 NBC reported on the rising social problem in China:

The male surplus progressively rose to 111 in 1990, 116 in 2000, and is now is120 boys for each 100 girls at the present time, according to a Chinese think-tank report.

The shortage of women is creating a “huge societal issue,” warned U.N. resident coordinator Khalid Malik earlier this year.

“In eight to 10 years, we will have something like 40 to 60 million missing women,” he said, adding that it will have “enormous implications” for China’s prostitution industry and human trafficking.

A new problem is emerging in human trafficking as women are being literally “kidnapped” and “sold” to men without wives. One report actually blames the families.

This has put a premium on baby boys, while baby girls are often sold off as couples try for a male heir.