General business issues and discussions.

Size doesn’t predict significance!

The day after America celebrated its 170th Independence Day in 1946, French designer Louis Reard unveiled a daring two-piece swimsuit that would forever liberate legions of water-bound women: the bikini.

Proclaiming a two piece swimsuit wasn’t a bikini “unless it could pulled through a wedding ring,” Reard capitalized on the sensation of his invention and ensured its lasting success. Although comprised of only 30 inches of fabric, the impact of the bikini was felt worldwide — much like the shockwaves from the nuclear bomb tests that took place on Bikini Atoll (the suit’s namesake).

According to a Smithsonian article titled The Bikini’s Inventor Guessed How Much It Would Horrify the Public, “He chose the name because he hoped that the raunchy two-piece would elicit the same shock and horror that the atomic bomb did.”

The birthday of the bikini is a reminder to small businesses that they can overcome the odds and atomize their adversaries. No matter the size, the potential for success of an organization and the individuals that comprise it is unlimited.

The secret to their success is about captivating people with clever storytelling; once an organization uncovers clarity, embraces creativity, and commits to consistency in its communication, the possibilities are limitless.

“Yusajel Hadaf!”

eafl-shieldThis phrase can be heard among Arabic speaking people in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when their football (soccer) team scores a goal. However, the 2012 founding of the Emirates American Football League (EAFL) along with changes in athletic interests that include the National Football League (NFL) could change this.

Recognizing the increasing relevance of American football globally and in the UAE, I wrote a chapter about the EAFL in the book The Routledge Handbook of International Sport Business profiling its social media strategy. Titled “Arabian Gulf Game Plan: The social media marketing strategy of the Emirates American Football League,” the chapter:

  • Explores the origins of the EAFL.
  • Looks ahead to the future of the league and American football in UAE.
  • Shares the league’s social media strategy as a means of marketing while creating a community of fans, players and their families.

On May 1, 2017 I presented my chapter to faculty, students, and staff at the American University in the Emirates (AUE). I joined with two AUE colleagues who also contributed a chapter to the book: Prof. Kamilla Swart and Dr. Kevin Heisey, who is also one of the book’s editors.

This was the third “Library Distinguished Guest Speaker Series” event hosted by the Library and Information Resource Center (LIRC) and the Office of Research and Advancement at AUE. I previously presented my book, “edX E-Learning Course Development” at the inaugural event of the series.

You can watch a recording of my presentation below via YouTube (it was originally streamed live to my Facebook page):

The Routledge Handbook of International Sport Business is an essential resource for any course on sport business, sport management or international business. The book, which was published in September 2017, offers the broadest and most in-depth guide to the key themes in international sport business today, covering every core area from strategy and marketing to finance, media, and the law.

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” — Helen Keller

Here’s my video wrap-up of Raj Kotecha‘s successful “My Friends Your Friends” networking event on March 1st at Dusty’s Dubai. “My Friends Your Friends,” is a social gathering where everyone is connected through mutual friends. Attendees are invited by the hosts (of which I was one), who will ensure you have a great time and get the most value from attending.

Hosts are responsible for bringing along friends with an eclectic mix of stories, interests and goals. The hosts will ensure you always know somebody and make memorable connections.

More than 200 interesting, intriguing, and intelligent individuals shared great conversations, started new relationships, and enjoyed an environment where luck felt at home. I was honored to be one of the 14 hosts and am already looking forward to the next event!

Here’s my video recap of the event (originally posted on my Facebook page):

Are you a connector — or looking to connect?

malcolm-gladwellIn his 2000 book “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” author Malcolm Gladwell argues that ideas, products, messages, and behaviors “spread just like viruses do.”

He then explains how “word-of-mouth epidemics” and trends are triggered through “The Law of the Few” by three pivotal personality types:

  • Connectors: people who know large numbers of people across a wide array of social cicles who enjoy making introductions between individuals in those different circles; a connector is the social equivalent of a computer network hub.
  • Mavens: a subject matter expert expert who connects us with new information; they gather knowledge and understand how to share it. Gladwell explains that mavens are the people who start “word-of-mouth epidemics”  because of their knowledge, social skills, and ability to communicate.
  • Salespeople: charismatic persuaders with powerful negotiation skills responsible for advertisements and marketing through which they strive to convince others of “needs” (which may or may not exist). They are masters of “The Stickiness Factor,” and know how to make ideas and products simpler and more attractive. Notably, Salesmen are often paid for their skill, while Mavens use their skills for the simple pleasure of sharing knowledge and and helping others

On Wednesday, March 1 from 6 to 9 pm at Dusty’s in Dubai you can discover if you are a Connector, Maven, or Salesperson at “My Friends Your Friends,” is a social gathering where everyone is connected through mutual friends.

mfyfExpect great conversations, new relationships and an environment where luck feels at home. Visit the event’s website to learn more and to register at https://myfriendsyourfriends.com; you can also explore the gathering’s Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/755312037978472/.
Attendees are invited by the hosts (of which I am one), who will ensure you have a great time and get the most value from attending. Hosts are responsible for bringing along friends with an eclectic mix of stories, interests and goals. The hosts will ensure you always know somebody at My Friends Your Friends and make memorable connections. They include:
  • Anika Morjaria: online personality Literally Anika; content creator, brand ambassador and model.
  • Arthy Baheerathan: founder of Arthyreally and Patches & Flash; photographer and digital content creator.
  • Harshana De Silva: founder of Alliance Events, Dubai’s best kept secret for corporate events.
  • Hunter Lee Soik: head of global community at Dubai Future Foundation; tech entrepreneur and futurist.
  • Kanchan Kulkarni: founder and fashion designer at Kara, a home grown label making noise on catwalks globally.
  • Lobito Brigante: DJ; organiser and curator of cultural events; party rocker and turntablist.
  • Matthew A Gilbert: instructor at The American University In The Emirates; tech and marketing expert.
  • Omar ‘Ot’ Tom: co-founder and co-host of The Dukkan Show; established Dubai’s number one podcast; MC and strategic planner.
  • Raj Kotecha: founder of Creative Content Agency and My Friends Your Friends; co-founder of Vaynerworld; DJ.
  • Richard Boullemier: news presenter at Arabian Radio Network; head of business development at First and Ten Productions.
  • Ritesh Tilani: founder of Joi; active member Of Dubai’s entrepreneur and investor community.
  • Saana Azzam: founder and CEO of Mena Speakers, responsible for bringing incredible speakers to Dubai.
  • Shyam Savani: brand manager in lifestyle, fashion, and travel; Trendsetter of The Year, 2015
  • Sonal Kotecha: interior designer at Pallavi Dean Interiors; Young Interior Designer of The Year, 2015.
Learn more about the hosts at https://myfriendsyourfriends.com/#hosts-section. If you don’t have an invite from a host, you are still very welcome, just register now at https://myfriendsyourfriends.com/attend.
mfyf

Indicate your interest in attending this event by registering now!

Delighted to have met Mohammed Alsiddiq, a founding partner of Eight Creative Technology, in Dubai last week on Thursday, July 28, 2916. This was the first time I have met a reader of my book, edX E-Learning Course Development, and by coincidence he also lives in the United Arab Emirates!

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Founded in 2015 and based in Twofour54 Abu Dhabi, Eight Creative Technology is Khalifa Fund‘s first initiative focused on digital innovation.

Their services include digital‬ strategy, platform development,‪ social media, business applications,‬ and ecommerce‬. They collaborate with industry leaders to deliver a broad range of training‬ programs and‪ workshops‬ in areas of digital marketing‬, social media and multimedia‬.

Mohammed is developing an Open edX installation for an online learning program that will soon launch here in the UAE. He bought my book, “edX E-Learning Course Development” on Amazon.com to help him design, develop, and deploy his edX initiative.

If you are evaluating (or have chosen) edX as an online learning platform for your enterprise or educational organization consider buying a copy of my book; you can get it on Amazon or directly from Packt Publishing.

raj-kotechaOn Sunday, November 29, 2015 Raj Kotecha delivered a guest lecture — “Content is the New Oil” — at American University in the Emirates (AUE). Notably, I met Raj  the same night I met Robert Scoble here in Dubai.

This was the first in a planned series of “Business of Marketing” guest lectures from the Department of Marketing, Logistics, and Supply Chain Management in the College of Business Administration (COBA).

Raj is the founder of Creative Content Agency (CCA) where he has designed and implemented marketing campaigns from events to social media for industry leading brands such as The Fragrance Shop, GolfOnline and Carrier Bag Shop.

CCA has also supplied creative strategy and production services for a range of professional institutions including Accenture, Endava, Westminster Business Council, Royal Bank of Scotland and London Business School.

Today is Raj’s 36th birthday and, to celebrate, his lectures are shared in this post. There are five videos of his lecture in total; in the video below I introduce Raj.

In this video, Raj outlines his objective, strategy, and tactics for his guest lecture.

In this video, Raj informs attendees of his guest lecture that they can essentially create their own qualifications for job opportunities by creating content relevant to their career goals.

In this video, Raj informs attendees of his gueate their own qualifications for job opportunities by creating content relevant to their career goals.

In this short clip, recorded just after his 2 hour lecture and discussion, Raj shares his thoughts on which metrics to use for your content marketing campaign and how to measure the impact of your efforts.

Raj’s lecture was engaging, insightful, and most importantly practical. A very interactive experience, Raj spent a significant amount of time answering career and content creation questions from the 40 students and faculty members who attended. Looking forward to having Raj back whenever he is inspired to join us again!

To learn more about Raj please visit:

Writing well can influence your success and position you for professional achievement — in spite of (or perhaps because of) everyone embracing emojis and txt speak.  If you are not convinced, consider the results of a Grammarly study of 100 LinkedIn profiles as explained in a Harvard Business Review article:

“Professionals with fewer grammar errors in their profiles achieved higher positions. Fewer grammar errors correlate with more promotions.  Fewer grammar errors associate with frequent job changes.”

If you’re looking to improve your written communication skills please read the following “5 Ways to 5 Ways to Improve Your Business Writing” and start “writing gooder!”

1. Cut the Clutter: Embrace editing and remove extra words; be mindful of filler words like “very” — they add nothing to your writing.

2. Start Sentences with Verbs: Using verbs to being your sentence makes them active and actionable; get to the point and give your readers a clear idea what you want them to do.

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3. Use Bullets: Business is about doing not about reading; it is not a narrative! Condense your writing and write with bullet points; start your bullet points with verbs and you can move mountains with your memos!

4. Organize for Readers Eyes: Break up your writing into smaller sections; use section headings to make your writing clearer. Remember that we read with our eyes; how your writing looks is as important as what your writing says.

5. It’s About You: No, not you — them: the people reading what you’re writing. Borrow a classic marketing approach and use lots of “you” and “yours” in your business writing. This engages your reader and connects them to your communication.

Some people claim to have a “hunger” for knowledge, but have you ever had your hunger fed in class — literally? Twice in less than one week I experienced this very phenomenon in two separate classes.

During the first experience — in an “operations management” class on Thursday, July 19, 2012 — I led my students in a gastronomically rewarding “class exercise”: order pizza!

To complete this exercise we had to define our specifications, locate and select a supplier, and order our inventory. A photo of the whiteboard on which we worked out all of the variables can be found below:

Pedagogy Meets Pizza in My "Operations Management" Class

We then had to pay for and — most importantly — eat the inventory when it was delivered 30 minutes later. The class consensus: great success!

Not only was this in-class exercise a success academically, but since we selected Domino’s Pizza as our supplier, the entire experience was full of the spirit of Ramon De Leon and his famous #RamonWOW!

If you’ve somehow never heard of Ramon, consider this: if ever there was a great example of someone whose social media strategy embodies the essence of an individual and his organization, it is Ramon DeLeon.

Not only is he the managing partner of six Domino’s Pizza franchises in Chicago, but he is “The Pizza Guy to Know in downtown Chicago!”

Ramon symbolizes how a small business owner can leverage social media to build a business. Beyond his effervescent presence in Chicago he has spoken at conferences around the world, sharing his infectious energy that he calls #RamonWOW!

Watch the 30 minute video below of Ramon delivering the keynote address at the 2010 Gravity Summit conference at UCLA and experience WOW:

The second experience occurred on the following Tuesday, July 24, during the last meeting of my buying behavior class at UCSB Extension.

In this instance one of my student groups gave an informative brand analysis presentation about Domino’s Pizza — and they even bought pizza for the class!

The presentation can be viewed below or directly at SlideShare.net.

After my class left, I tweeted @Ramon_DeLeon and @Domino’s letting them know about my students’ impressive presentation (below):

@MatthewAGilbert's Tweet to @Ramon_DeLeon and @Dominos

Less than eight hours later @Domino’s had posted a humorous and personable tweet in reply (below):

@Dominos Tweet to @MatthewAGilbert

All things considered it seems that pizza is unquestionably a powerful partner in pedagogy!

When you first hear the phrases “Miami Heat” and “Oklahoma City Thunder” do you think someone is talking about the weather?

nba-finals-logo

If you do, you would be wrong. As right as that might sound, you would be wrong: On Tuesday, June 12, 2012 the NBA Finals will feature the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly the Seattle SuperSonics) vying for the title.

Full Disclosure: I am a Boston Celtics fan so, since the Heat beat them to advance to the Finals, I am rooting for the Thunder (my enemy’s enemy is my friend). Coincidentally, last year I was also rooting against the Heat and for the Dallas Mavericks (due to my virtual acquaintanceship with Brian Cuban, brother of the team’s owner, Mark Cuban). Maybe I am just not a fan of “heat” in general?

Allegiances aside, as a teacher and writer the aspect to this match-up I find most fascinating is both team names are what is called a “collective noun.”

According to Grammar Girl, collective nouns — of which there are approximately 200 that take a singular or a plural verb — are “nouns that describe a group, such as ‘family,’ ‘orchestra,’ and ‘board.'” Another source further explains “collective nouns, a special class, name groups [things] composed of members [usually people].” Interestingly, Americans generally treat them as single units (e.g. “the faculty is meeting today”), but in England, they are considered plural (e.g. “Cambridge are winning the boat race.”).

According to another source: “the names of sports teams, on the other hand, are treated as plurals, regardless of the form of that name.” Therefore, you would write “the Boston Red Sox are the best baseball team in the world” and not “the Boston Red Sox is the best baseball team in the world” (another disclosure: I am a Red Sox fan). Likewise, when you refer to a team by the city in which it is located, you use the singular form of the noun (e.g. “New York is attempting to sign two assistant coaches Boston hopes to keep.”

Is there are a finite number of traditional plural nouns after which you can name a team? There seems to be a growing trend towards sports teams using names that are collective nouns. Teams from various U.S. professional sports leagues — Arena Football League (AFL), Major League Soccer (MLS), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) — and a few noteworthy college teams whose names are collective nouns include:

  • Atlanta Dream (WNBA)
  • Chicago Fire (MLS)
  • Chicago Rush (AFL)
  • Chicago Sky (WNBA)
  • Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
  • Columbus Crew (MLS)
  • Connecticut Sun (WNBA)
  • D.C. United (MLS)
  • Georgia Force (AFL)
  • Harvard Crimson
  • Houston Dynamo (MLS)
  • Indiana Fever (WNBA)
  • Kansas City Command (AFL)
  • Miami Heat (NBA)
  • Minnesota Wild (NHL)
  • Montreal Impact (MLS)
  • New England Revolution (MLS)
  • New Orleans VooDoo (AFL)
  • New York Liberty (WNBA)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)
  • Orlando Magic (NBA)
  • Philadelphia Soul (AFL)
  • Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
  • Pittsburg Power (AFL)
  • Seattle Storm (WNBA)
  • Spokane Shock (AFL)
  • Stanford Cardinal
  • Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)
  • Tampa Bay Storm (AFL)
  • Tulsa Shock (WNBA)
  • Utah Blaze (AFL)
  • Utah Jazz (NBA)

I am not a grammar expert, despite my having earned a BA in English from UC Santa Barbara. However, having been writing since as far back as I can remember, I have a feel for “good” grammar. And, while collective nouns might be perfectly proper, they always sound awkward to me as team names.

From a branding perspective, these types of team names sound odd. I believe a team name simply sounds better as a standard plural noun. Maybe I am “old school” but then again, if you look at the preponderance of team names that are collective nouns they are frequently newer organizationserhaps.

Maybe I am the only one — or one of very few — who noticed this trend towards collective nouns in team names, but it nevertheless strikes me as something about which a discussion is at least relevant.

Speaking of Grammar: regardless of whether or not you are not a fan of either team in this year’s NBA Finals, consider watching the 2000 movie Company Man. According to Wikipedia, the plot of the film is as follows:

In the 1960s, Alan Quimp is a school teacher of English grammar and married with the very demanding woman Daisy Quimp. In order to avoid the constant mockery in Daisy’s family, Alan says that he is a secret CIA agent. Daisy tells everybody, the CIA acknowledges the lie, but due to a coincidence, Alan has just helped and hidden the professional Russian dancer Petrov who wanted to leave Russia. The CIA decides to hire Alan as an agent, to get the credits of bringing Petrov to USA, and immediately decides to send him to a very calm place, Cuba.

A humorous, grammar-laden scene from the film follows — enjoy:

So, in regards to (with regard to?) the information above, who (whom?) do you want to win the 2012 NBA Finals?