Fortunately, I’m homebound with my new son for the next week, but I was able to get away tonight for a dinner at Salt Lick (best BBQ in TX!) with many bloggers who came to Austin for SXSW. Friends made it such as Charlene Li of Forrester and Groundswell, Shel Israel of Global Neighborhoods (Author of Naked Conversations), Bob Pearsons of Dell (runs Dell’s community /conversation / social media team), Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester and Web Strategist, and others. I also met some new folks: Jim Long, an NBC cameraman (great stories !) and Twitter pro at newmediajam, and Hugh MacLeod of gapingvoid.
If you haven’t heard of gapingvoid or Hugh, he is the "Web 2.0" cartoonist on business cards. He is most famous (I think) for this doodle:
Hugh explained that some Microsofters replace their standard cards and put this on the back. Microsoft actually hired Hugh to walk the halls of Microsoft and doodle on cards as a culture catalyst.
This is awesome on a couple levels:
1) Microsoft recognized that an ‘on the edge’ cartoonist was capturing the imagination of its employees and embraced it. That they embraced someone who inspired their employees through an emotive cartoon that described what they as a company want to do and what the employees want to do. Talented people work at Microsoft not because they enjoy a big company, but because their talents can make a big change occur.
2) What Hugh has created is an incredible hook for himself, one that is so simple to grasp and interesting that he has built a name for himself. But also a hook that can carry a message across boundaries. A business card that can be shown as a piece of art to others to that spreads word of mouth, not only of the message, but also for Hugh. Brilliant. (Suggestion: Read Made to Stick.)
So he did a doodle on my card, and in three words captured what we are trying to help companies embrace…"The user generation".
What’s your hook? What’s your company’s hook?