The World Has Changed – Evolve Video

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When we set to produce a video to help introduce Coffee Bean Technology to the market, our initial idea was to create a 3-minute film talking about Technology and its effects in society.

But as we started working with Luciana Eguti and Paulo Muppet from Birdo (an internationally recognized and award-winning video studio in Brazil), we shifted towards producing a shorter, animated film using a more universal language.

In Luciana and Paulo’s words: “For the art style, we wanted a cartoon style, taking us back to the classics of the New Yorker magazine and the animation movies of the 50’s.”

The result is Evolve.

The voice-over is by Megan, daughter of my colleague Graham.

Call your children and show it to them. Send links to your friends.

Visit the Coffee Bean Technology YouTube channel.

The Funnel is Still a Valid Model

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Shall we put “Social” in front of it?

In my quest for a term that had not yet been attached to “Social”, I discovered that Google could find only 7 instances of “Social Marketing Funnel”. Next to about 37 million – and growing by the minute – results for “Social Media”, it seems to be a relatively under-explored concept.

While that is true, this is not how I started thinking about the Funnel. Sometimes we need to balance the power of an existing metaphor (like “Files” for digital data or “Funnel” for the process of identifying and nurturing leads into customers) with the need for new models that better represent reality.

The Classical Marketing Funnel pictured above is straightforward: among all potential buyers in the market, a company needs to nurture them from awareness (know it exists) to consideration (think of it as viable supplier) to preference (consider it the most adequate) to action (decision to buy) to loyalty (experience value and remain a long-term customer).

The mission of Marketing is to recruit new leads through marketing actions, and then nurture them and hand them off to Sales.

Others have discussed fundamental changes in the model caused by the transition to social media (most notably, Brian Haven from Forrester Research in 2007) but, with the benefit of 3 years of hindsight, I believe the funnel model is still valid and useful to visualize the marketing/sales process and we can keep the baby from going with the bath water.

But some adaptations are needed. Lets look at the Social Marketing Funnel.

Terminology and Frame of Thought

While the basic model can stay the same, some of marketing terminology needs to change to remain meaningful. Referring to potential customers as “suspects” or having accounts that are “owned” by a sales person is out. Thinking about customers as people rather than a name in a list and treating them as such is in.

People move through the funnel and decide to stay or to get out.

Rules of Engagement

When it comes to execution, in the classical media, the “nurturing” process often ends up consisting of a mix of not-always-welcome broadcasts (e-mail blasts, newsletters, ”educational” white papers, webinars, etc). Because there is not much listening going on, those communications are more or less indiscriminate.

In social media, the funnel is not an opt-in e-mail list but the group of “followers” in the several venues (company web site, online communities, twitter, etc). Companies need to listen first, and then dispense communication that resonates with the audience. Social Media let companies communicate more often without being intrusive because social channels and controlled by recipient-discretion.

If isolating and segmenting customers was the norm before, that is no longer the case. Customers are going to talk to each other whether or not the companies provide the venues, so you better join them in the conversation.

Marketing action focuses on providing a resonance chamber for customer advocacy, rather than only recruit new leads to fill the top of the funnel.

From Loyalty to Advocacy

When Marketing thought of customer life cycle, it aimed for Loyalty among long-term customers as the ultimate goal.

Social Media adds another dimension to the influence of customers: their social graph. Loyal customers do more than provide repeat revenues, they become your main recruiting resource to feed the funnel with other potential customers who value their opinions.

The Social Marketing Funnel goes further and hopes to cultivate Advocacy.

This article was originally written for and posted at

Light Effects – Photography in New York City

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A few years ago, I was at Times Square in New York City in a cold winter night and took a few experimental photos of anonymous crowd silhouettes against the city lights. I liked the unexpected result.

Then, just last month, I was back in New York for a Social Media conference and returned to Times Square to take new photos. The technique I used was to shoot from a low-perspective with a compact camera and using the resulting blur to produce a dream or painting-like result. I do not use flash and do not look through the viewfinder (I am roughly pointing the camera to people from waist-level as I walk past them), so the shots are quasi-random.

After these photos, I had dinner at Tout Va Bien on 51st St (Margaret’s recommendation). Service is wonderfully bad as it should be if you don’t speak French. But if you persist, you end up loving the place. If you ever go there, order the Coq au Vin and tell the owner you know Marcio from California and that I told you he would give you an extra carafe of house wine. You are guaranteed to get two free carafes.

These first two shots are similar to the original ones I took several years ago. This is the effect that inspired me to explore the technique.

The next two are my favorites of this batch. Both are blurred female bodies against the night lights and produced the painting-like effect I was looking for, making them almost abstract.

The last two in this series are more literal. I like the hand-in-pocket pattern in the photo on the left.

Climbing Mt. Shasta

(updated Jun 2017)

I have been to Mt. Shasta some 15 times and summited it 9 times (plus I’ve stopped right below the summit a couple of times for safety reasons). My first climb was in Sep 1994 and the most recent was in June 2016. I’ve led several groups with no climbing experience safely to the summit.

Shasta is home to most of my mountaineering experience, but I have hiked up Mt. Whitney (the highest point in the continental US) twice, Half Dome in Yosemite a dozen times, Mt. Lassen in California, Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo, Trails on the Swiss Alps near Interlaken and other smaller hills around the world.

All information in this article is correct to my knowledge, but it is for you to use it at your own risk. If you are planning to go there and have questions, feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below.

Aug 2004 Climb – My first as an expedition leader

Mt. Shasta is a beautiful volcano in Northern California that rises to about 14,179 feet (4,322 m) and its summit is within a couple of hundred feet from Whitney, the highest in the continental US. It stands alone and more than 10,000 ft above the surrounding terrain, it is an amazing view.

Climbing Shasta doesn’t require any more than being fit and some basic equipment, but it is not a casual project. One should not try to do it without a knowledgeable guide. Train by climbing a local hill with a 30 lb backpack for a few hours. If you wake up next day and feel nothing, you are ready.

A typical first climb will take place during summer (best time ranges from late May to early August, depending on snowfall during the previous winter) and take 2-3 days. The easiest route is on the South slope of the mountain (Avalanche Gulch).

Day 1: Drive to Mt. Shasta City, get a motel room and get a good night of sleep (alternative: drive to Bunny Flat, hike for about 1 hour and spend the night at Horse Camp).

Day 2:  Drive to Bunny Flat (about 8,000 ft). Get a self-issued permit, collect a few human waste kits, gear up and start climbing before mid-morning and set camp at Helen Lake (10,000 ft) by mid-afternoon. Study the route, melt snow, cook, and sleep early.

Day 3: Start early (preferably by 4AM) while snow is still firm, make it to Red Banks before sunrise, and summit by mid-day. Turn back and glissade below Red Banks. You can either break camp and descend all the way or spend an extra night at Helen Lake.

Camping at Helen Lake – Jun 2005
Summit of Shasta on a beautiful day -Jun 2005

To climb Shasta, you need a guide who knows the mountain (or someone with a lot of mountaineering experience). Check weather forecast and climb only if there are no chances of storms. You must be fit and well prepared to climb. People die on the mountain, so do not be foolish.

You will carry 4 liters of water (bottles can usually be filled at Horse Camp after Jun or so – 1 hour above Bunny Flats) and will need to collect, melt and purify snow at Lake Helen. There are several water purification methods, do some research. For North America, I carry a basic filter and then use chlorine tablets.

There is about a 50-50 chance you will get Acute Mountain Sickness, usually starting around 12,000ft (Red Banks-Misery Hill). Never leave someone with AMS alone. If symptoms are any more than mild headache, turn back and descend safely. Stay hydrated.

July 2008 – Summit Approach

Here is a time-tested equipment list for a summer South Face Avalanche Gulch climb, think twice before leaving anything behind or bringing any additional item. Your pack will weight 40-45 lbs. Gear will include mountaineering boots, crampons, ice axe, helmet, water purification and camping gear.

Personal Gear:

  • 1 long thermal bottom (no cotton)
  • 2 thermal tops (no cotton, short/long)
  • 1 mid-weight fleece jacket
  • 1 waterproof shell with hood (Goretex or equivalent)
  • 1 pair of waterproof pants (Goretex or equivalent)
  • 2 pairs of trekking socks (liners optional)
  • 1 pair of waterproof gloves (liners optional)
  • 1 pair of shorts (just so we don’t have to look at you in underwear)
  • 2 sets of underwear (preferably synthetic material)
  • 1 pair of crampon-compatible boots (part of mountaineering package)
  • 1 Ice axe with leash (part of mountaineering package)
  • 1 pair of crampons (part of mountaineering package)
  • 1 hat (for sun protection)
  • 1 mountaineering helmet (bike helmet works)
  • 1 pair of gaiters (optional in late summer)
  • 1 internal frame backpack (real 4000+ cu in – rated 75 liters or more is ideal)
  • 1 Summit pack (2000 cu in, any good pack will do it)
  • 4 straps (to secure sleeping pads, other accessories)
  • 1 sleeping bag (15F or better)
  • 1 foam sleeping pad (2 if you tend to feel cold)
  • 1 Sunglasses and/or goggles
  • 1 Headlamp with extra batteries
  • 4 Lexan 1-liter water bottles (at least one wide mouth)
  • 1 Plastic whistle for signaling and emergency
  • 1 Lexan spoon
  • Sunblock
  • Toilet paper in a handy ziploc bag
  • Medications that you need
  • 2 packs of day-time food (bars, nuts, jerky, cheese, etc)
  • 2 packs of freeze dried food (cook in bag for less mess)
  • 1 Plastic wristwatch with alarm
  • Toiletries, wipes, foot care (band-aid, moleskin, duct tape, body glide)
  • Nylon stuffing bags (to organize gear)
  • Ziploc, plastic bags (useful for food, garbage, clothing, protection)

Group Stuff:

  • 4-season tent (3-season can survive in late summer)
  • Metal stakes and rope to secure tent
  • Stove/White Gas/Safety Matches
  • Cookware to collect and boil water
  • First-aid Kit
  • Shovel (can be left behind in late summer)
  • Knife, Multi-tool
  • Water Purification (filter, iodine, chlorine)
  • Communication device (cell phone/radio)
  • Map/Compass/Altimeter/Binoculars
June 2016 – Probably my last time leading an expedition – we were the only group on the mountain that evening and had the sunset at Lake Helen all for ourselves (the tent you see in the background is the ranger’s tent, but they weren’t there that night). Our tent (a North Face Himalayan Hotel), has been to Shasta circa 1994 and it is still going.

My First Book – Or Almost

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Since I was a child, I have nurtured the thought of one day writing a book. With the emergence of the digital medium, I worry that books might not be a mainstream method of dissemination of ideas for too long, so there is some sense of urgency in fulfilling my dream.

I am still going to write a proper book one day, but in the meantime I have joined John Lima, an old friend, and co-wrote a small booklet on the transition from a culture defined by the print medium to a future society primarily influenced by the digital medium.

Since the time I got involved with the Free Software movement in the early 90’s I had thought about how community-based work can be powerful if we let people collaborate freely. John introduced me to Marshall McLuhan, whose work provided the analytical framework for our text.

It is ironic to have a booklet that talks about the end of the print medium available in printed paper format, but we wrote it for old-fashioned people. If you select the “Social Media” category in this site, you can check my ideas on the subject.

The Click Company was sponsored by and is Copyright (c) Coffee Bean Technology, the company I work for. The interactive version of the book is in The Click Company Community.

If you would like to check the booklet, it is freely available online and you can even order printed copies here.

Enlightenment at DiVerso

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DiVerso was a an exhibition of Brazilian contemporary artists organized by the Consulate General of Brazil to celebrate the opening of new premises in San Francisco.

It run from Nov/2009 to the first quarter of 2010 and featured works by Aparecida Abdalla, Vera Costa, Sidnea D’Amico, Mauricia Gandara, Silvia Poloto, Regis Silva, and Mariangela Smania.

My friend Mariangela Smania is an artist born in Rio De Janeiro. I collaborated with her in “Enlightenment”, the mixed media piece she displayed at DiVerso. My task was to help to conceive the installation and then design and build the box that creates the light effects and supports the fiberglass panel.

Here is the text I wrote to introduce the piece at the exhibition:

“Enlightnement” (Mariangela Smania, Mixed Media, 2009)

Philosopher and Scholar Marshall McLuhan stated that “The Media is the Message”, that the most important effect of an expression should be attributed to the medium itself, more than the content it carries. He also wrote “The serious artist is the only person able to encounter technology with impunity, just because she is an expert aware of the changes in sense and perception.”

In this piece, Mariangela Smania combines unlikely medium components to create a work that is both minimalistic and complex. She lets the medium carry the message and leaves space for us to interact with it and get to our own conclusions. Using its own light source, Enlightnement is not a work of art passively waiting to be observed and interpreted. It grabs and brings us in to imprint its effects on the observer.

While using new experimental medium, in this work Mariangela brings her signature element from her previous work: pieces of tree bark and natural fibers, creating layers of texture and representing moments and experiences in our lives.

The combination of light, water and life is full of energy and impetus, but also surprising peace and balance. On a different dimension, the juxtaposition and harmonious integration of electronics, resin medium, and organic bark elements seems to suggest our minds of the need to create space for nature in the synthetic environment we live in.