Monday, April 26, 2010

The Love Powered Economy

Last week was the 140 Characters Conference on Twitter which I wasn't able to attend, however I did catch big chunks of it live on In keeping with Twitter's concept of brevity, the 2-day event played host to an ongoing string of Twitterers, some more well-known than others, who had up to ten minutes to tell their story (see schedule here).

We heard from celebrities like Ivanka Trump, MC Hammer and Anne Curry, as well as 8th graders, dating experts and ex-convicts. It was at times moving, insightful, educational, surprising and funny, but mostly it was, well, a big, fat love fest. There was lots of hugging and plugging of each other. Jeff Pulver, the organizer of the twitfest, titled the event "The Power of Now" but I would rename it to the "Power of Love". So much of what goes on in the Twittersphere has to do with people giving -  their time, their expertise, and giving thanks and recognition to others - often without expecting anything in return.

Jeff spread the love by inviting the Twitterati to speak about how they're making the most out of the tool, and then opening it up for the whole world to see it live online for free on - plus now it's also available for playback on demand. In doing so, he's reaching many more social media fans and giving them very valuable information, while at the same time getting wider exposure for his conference. According to Pulver, there were 1000 people attended in person, but the live broadcast on Ustream added a worldwide audience of 77,728 unique viewers / 128,664 total viewers, and on Twitter, they were also one of the top 10 trending topics of the week.

For those that couldn't be watching it live, you could also follow it on Twitter by entering the hashtag "#140conf" in the search box. That's where attendees like Amy Vernon (@amyvernon) gave us a play-by-play of the whole event, listing all the screen names of the participants and adding interesting quotes as they spoke. More giving! But that's probably why she has almost 20,000 followers.

One of the speakers, Jessica Gottlieb (@jessicagottlieb), ended her speech by prompting people to "give a little bit more than you take to help keep this a magical place", which got me thinking.

Small business owners, myself included, often say - how will I find time to tweet or update my status? In this age of instant gratification, we can't see how the time we spend on social sites will amount to business. If we don't see results right away, then why bother? But actually, when you give, that's when the magical part kicks in. 

Last week I met someone that was graciously offering to introduce me to potential prospects and wanting to do all sorts of things for me, without asking me for anything in return. First I was a little suspect, as any good New Yorker would be, but as we continued our conversations I felt flattered by her kind gestures because it's not often that strangers are so gracious. Secondly it made me want to give back by doing something for her: the "magical" part.

Also taking place last week was Kimora Lee Simmons' 2-hour talk hosted by the Learning Annex here in NY. When an audience member asked her how to get widespread exposure for a line of clothing, Kimora recommended giving products away for free. And the media mogul did the same - everyone in the audience received a free bottle of her latest perfume, Dare Me, which I actually kind of like (it smells a little like Angel by Thierry Mugler). By rewarding her fans - who already love her - with a small gift, they're going to appreciate it that much more and tell others about it, like I'm doing right now.

So for all you small business owners that are still on the fence about giving - whether it's putting in time on the social nets, or giving away free products or services - take a leap of faith. Power up your business with some L-O-V-E. Trust that what you give out will reap rewards. But be smart about it - give strategically.

How good are you at giving? Please share!


Jessica Gottlieb said...

I just saw this, and thank you so much for the kind words.

You really never know where your next referral is, but I sure hope you have tons of them.

Carmina Pérez said...

It's so true. Your words made me want to be more giving, in all aspects of my life!

Nunzio Bruno said...

This really was a great post. I tried to follow the conference as best I could..I really wish I could have been there. I agree 100% with the whole giving without expectations. It's a great way to do business which people think is crazy. But giving a little time, a little product, or a little intention to a worthy cause has the power to turn heads and create great visibility for your business! I'm all for it!

andzia said...

Thanks Carmina

Enjoyed every word and will take your advice!


Daniel Milstein said...

That is true. As an author and business man, I can relate to how you said, "One of the speakers, Jessica Gottlieb (@jessicagottlieb), ended her speech by prompting people to "give a little bit more than you take to help keep this a magical place", which got me thinking". I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you're talking about. Can't wait to read more from you!