Monday, April 09, 2007

The Time Has Come to Join the 'Conversation Age'

Have you noticed that so many companies continue to struggle to come to grips with how to reach their customers? Especially online, customers are communicating by using tools such as blogs, podcasts, and wikis, and companies are left wondering what in the world is happening. They are on the outside looking in, and wondering how they can break through the clutter and begin to speak and converse with customers in their space, using their tools.

That's where the brainchild of Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan comes in. Gavin and Drew had the idea to bring together up to 100 of the top social media minds together to create a comprehensive e-book on this new 'Conversation Age' that we have entered into. The book will serve as a primer and explanation of what these tools are, and more importantly, how they are being used to change the landscape of how companies and customers communicate.

Here are the contributors to date:

And if you want to join us, you have until April 11th, or THIS WEDNESDAY to click on the above picture and email Drew. There's 2 big reasons why you'll want to help. First, the book itself is being dedicated to Sandra Kerley, mom of CK. Given that CK seems to have gotten her community-building skills from momma, I think Sandra would love this. CK found out about this while in Guntersville last week and it REALLY helped with a horrible week.

Second, the book will be sold for a small fee, and all proceeds will be donated to Variety International, the Children's Charity. Variety takes its name from The Variety Club, a group of 11 'high-rollers' in show business that created a sort of social club for themselves in the Roaring Twenties. Their futures were forever changed on Christmas Eve, 1928, when a baby was abandoned outside a theater in Pittsburgh, with the following note:
"Please take care of my baby. Her name is Catherine. I can no longer take care of her. I have eight others. My husband is out of work. She was born on Thanksgiving Day. I have always heard of the goodness of show business and I pray to God that you will look out for her.

A Heart-Broken Mother"

The men took it upon themselves to become Catherine's godfathers, and underwrote her support and education. The group cared for Catherine for 5 years, then decided that she deserved a 'real' family, and after screening 300 applicants, gave Catherine to a deserving family. Catherine went on to serve the Navy during the Korean War, was a registered nurse in Vietnam, and eventually married and raised a family of four children.

The publicity from this story inspired the creation of the Pittsburgh office of Variety International, and also sparked other members in show business to create similar offices around the country. Today, that reach has expanded worldwide, with Variety helping children in Australia, Barbados, Canada, Channel Islands, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. Variety provides everything from schooling and hospital care, to Christmas parties for children around the world.

I think we are all truly blessed to be in a position where doing something as trivial as creating one page of content can help the lives of children around the world. I've always thought that as this blog's reach grew, that it was my responsibility to use some of that influence to draw attention to others, and this is an incredibly worthy extension of that idea. The authors above have answered that call, and now you have the chance to do the same.

Drew and Gavin are holding open 100 author slots for the book, and you have until THIS WEDNESDAY to email Drew if you want one of the remaining slots. All you do is email Drew and tell him the topic you want to discuss. Drew says the e-book's audience is "anyone who has to create marketing tools in this Conversation Age. It might be a small business owner, a CMO, a marketing student, an agency type, a marketing blogger, or even a professor who is teaching tomorrow's marketers."

And we need your help. The more quality contributions we have, the better the product, which means we can sell more copies of the e-book, and by extension help more children around the world. I'm touched and honored to have been asked to contribute, and I hope that you'll email Drew so that you can join us in this wonderful project.

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Anonymous said...


I am really enjoying reading all the different ways in which this group is posting about the project. It already gives potential readers a taste for the quality writing and thinking behind the project.

Bob G said...

Man, what a great synopsis of the charity! I love stories! And thanks for the update on our dedication - outstanding, Mack!

Kim Klaver said...

I have just emailed Drew - be delighted to contribute something here if my specialty - direct sales and network marketing fits...

Anonymous said...


Thanks for helping spread the word! The book is going to be remarkable, based on what we're seeing so far.

And you captured the spirit of Variety perfectly. Millions of dollars are given to make the lives of disadvantaged, disabled and sick children a little brighter.

As you say...a wonderful win for all of us to make that sort of difference.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the Variety story Mack- I'd never heard it before.