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Techlife » Business Networking

Business Networking

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Travel. That single word sparks thoughts of exotic beaches, hidden towns, memories, and enjoyment. Techlife has covered unique mapping toolsmaking your own mapsfinding the perfect place to stay and more. Our diverse readership, You; often comment how much travel is a part of your life.

Meet Travelista (Techlife slang for Travel Expert) Anne Hornyak, who holds a Masters in Music; loves photography and travel; and has a day job advising Travel and Convention Bureau’s. We asked her to help Techlife readers with an education in what travel means in today’s super connected world of mobile sharing, bite size ideas, and off the path finds.

Techlife: How did you get started in the Travel and Tourism industry?
Anne Hornyak: I began my tourism career with Chicago Plus, a regional tourism office for Chicagoland. As a staff of one, I mostly managed marketing projects for the 17 Chicagoland Convention & Visitors Bureaus but also handled everything from finance to social media.

TL: What do you do today for the industry?
AH: I work mostly as a Social Media Strategist for tourism clients. I’m a cofounder of #tourismchat, a biweekly twitter chat focusing on social media in the tourism industry, and frequently tweet and blog about the same topic.

TL: Why is online travel and tourism so big? And how big is it?
AH: People love to travel and share their experiences with others. Social networks, especially Facebook, are perfect for this type of sharing. Many are also planning their trips, searching for the best discounts and then booking these trips, all online. Everything from Frommer’s to Budget Travel, Expedia to Priceline, Flickr to YouTube and travel blogs to a simple Facebook update about a friend’s recent trip…it’s all online. The travel industry is massive. Over 7.4 million U.S. jobs are directly related to it.

TL: How do you disconnect from the digital realm?
AH: I used to joke about needing a “social media detox” every once in a while but it has become rather habitual lately. Whether hiking in a state park or photographing lighthouses along Lake Michigan’s coast, I have to make time “off the grid.”

TL: What digital tips do you have for a traveler pre-trip?
AH: Research! Ask your Facebook friends and Twitter followers for recommendations and tips. Take advantage of CVBs (Convention & Visitors Bureaus) in your preferred social networks. Many of them are on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube, and have blogs and interactive websites that can help you plan your trip. Find them on your network and connect before you travel.

TL: In-trip?
AH: Have fun! If you have a smartphone, send photos and updates to your friends on Facebook and Twitter but be sure that it doesn’t get in the way of your experience. If you’re on Flickr, upload your photos regularly so you can add descriptions and geotag them accurately.

TL: Post trip?
AH: Talk about it! Create photo albums on Facebook, upload Flickr photos and YouTube videos, write a special blog post and add write reviews to TripAdvisor. Share your experience with others who are in the research stage.

TL: As of this question being written you had 3,673 Followers on Twitter who have seen 16,406 updates via your username “WhosYourAnnie“. What’s one thing you never talk about? Why?
AH: Tweets about my family and personal life are usually kept pretty vague. The internet is public and safety is the primary concern. I’ve received a few google alerts for random things I’ve tweeted about my dogs. I don’t need to give stalkers extra information.

TL: What percent of your followers and updates are related to your career?
AH: I would say that 65-75% of my followers are somehow related to the travel industry, either as travel bloggers, CVBs, or people who just like to travel and talk about it. Probably 50% of my updates are conversational replies, most of which are to friends within the tourism industry, leaving around 30% as content tweets directly related to my career.

TL: Is Twitter your main channel?
AH: Most definitely! To me, twitter is all about connecting and having conversations. It’s a little surreal but some of my closest friends, a few I have yet to meet in real life, started as twitter followers.

TL: Last question, Who’s Your Annie?
AH: I’m your Annie.

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What is your organization’s magic number?

Searches resulting in your website? Visitors to your brick and mortar store? Subscribers to your social media page; fans, friends, feeds, readers? For each business owner the answer is different.  I propose the answer is: 1,000 Loyal Customers.

Recently an excited Techlife reader called about to start a business.  They had some great long term ideas on their success once they had tons of website visitors.  But they were missing the element of growth in their plan.  I politely listened to all their excitement and unbridled energy.   But when I asked how would they get their first 1,000 Loyal Customers they didn’t know.

A Historical 1,000

In the days of the general store in America, small towns would have a single store that carried a wide variety of  products.  Often times this store was too small to carry all the things people would need, so a proprietor would stock catalogs from various places allowing a patron to pick out items that could be ordered and shipped to the store for future pickup.  This made the customer loyal, partly because they had no where else to turn, and partly because in small towns supporting a local business was good for the whole town.

Fast forward to today, where there are megastores with megabrands advertising on megastations offering megasavings if you spend megabucks.  Three example companies that have grown into megabrands Google, Ebay and Amazon don’t manufacture any “real” products (yes Amazon does have the Kindle, to push the purchase of more ebooks.) These three company’s are general store’s of data.

What is a Loyal Customer?

A Loyal Customer for most organizations is a person who actively seeks out your brand.  Loyal customers aren’t swayed easily to switch brands.  Loyal customers refer their favorite brands to others.  Loyal customers ride out a small problem or a price increase.   Most important of all, Loyal Customer’s return again and again.

1,000 Loyal Customers is admittedly simple math which states for each employee an organization needs a 1,000 Loyal Customers who return $100 net profit each year.  Good examples of unique organizations with easy to spot Loyal Customers are local restaurants, local clothing stores, museums and summer camps.  In each of these examples if the organization releases a new product or revenue stream Loyal Customers eagerly support the effort.

Techlife was once again inspired by Kevin Kelly, who’s column on 1,000 True Fans is aimed at artists such as; painters, musicians; photographers; writers and more.  His goal is make those artists realize having a megahit is hard, but achieving 1,000 True Fans is enough to sustain the artist comfortably.

Start with One

When expanded to organizations, readers of Techlife are able to use online tools like websites and social networks to connect and build their community of 1,000 Loyal Customers.  It may seem daunting, but break it down.  Who are your Loyal Customers today?  Where did you find them?  Will they refer you to the next Loyal Customer?

Share with us in the comments.  How many Loyal Customers do you have today?  What’s your goal?

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OLPC on 60 minutesWayan Vota from OLPC News

While writing a recent article, on the OLPC XO Laptop, one of the all time most popular articles on Techlife, we got to meet Wayan Vota the founder of OLPC News. Wayan’s a strong, independent voice in the community of OLPC and the XO Laptop. He was featured on 60 Minutes for his work. (see 7:06 mark on Techlife TV for Wayan) I appreciated his grasp of both technology and non-profits and how the two mesh, so we sat down with him to learn more about what makes Wayan tick (tick, tick.) (unabashed 60 Minute pun for the OLPCNews readers who know me.)


Lesley Stahl discusses the 60 Minutes piece on the OLPC on Techlife TV.

Techlife: Wayan Vota. Interesting name, what are the origins?

Wayan Vota: Born on Bali to hippie folks. Got a local name in the process.

TL: Why did you start OLPC News?

WV: In the summer of 2006 I noticed there was much hype around OLPC, but little thoughtful analysis of its proposed methods and assumed impacts. I wanted to explore the details of OLPC’s implementation plan – how it expected to actually get laptops in the hands of children worldwide – in public form of open commentary and discussion. With ~5,000 daily readers, over a dozen writers, and too many contributors to count, I feel that OLPC News is successful beyond my wildest dreams.


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Bub Hub  Business Networking LogoToday BubHub comes out of stealth mode. Techlife readers may recall helping name the business networking group and things going quiet. BubHub springs from the end of inBubbleWrap, a site about business books and growing smarter in business. The leader inBubbleGuy, is stepping down from his post of writing a daily blog about the books and giving them away to readers.

Figures Education 3 by Sanja GjeneroDo you think your Business Networking could be better? BubHub aims to help make it better. I have kicked it off by getting BubHub set up as a Linked In group. (Linked In is a free online business service.) The group setting allows us to begin to network with a few nice bells and whistles. To join the group I need to invite you and for that we need an email address. Click here to fill out your email address to be invited. (If this does not work, add a comment to this post and we will use the email to invite you.) Both people who already have a Linked In account or are those new to Linked In are welcome to join the BubHub Group.

This is just the beginning of BubHub. Our members are some of the smartest, well-read people in business. We want your smarts to help make BubHub even better. Everyone has something unique to contribute, so please consider yourself for a leadership role. It is easy, just add a note to your email sign-up or comment here. We will contact you about joining the leadership team and making your contributions a part of the future of the group. If you just can’t wait, fill free to start commenting some of your ideas below.

This group was started by me, but it will succeed because of you.

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