Ben Yoskovitz at The Instigator blog has an interesting campaign for lessons learned in 2006 with an altruistic bent ... here's my best from this last year, Ben thanks for the $5 donated to charity, hopefully this list of 11 has earned it.
#1 - Great ideas always bubble to the top - if you work hard enough, with enough passion and perseverance (and a good dose of listening), a great idea will triumph.
#2 - Marketing changes never happen in revolution - radio didn't radically change the way we market in the 20s, TV didn't in the 50s, the web didn't change it in the 90s and social media and word of mouth will take time to grow in this decade - why? in every changing world, there is the establishment and the movement and it is rarely a one-sided win
#3 - Competence in the new marketing world has few credentials - some of the best blogs on subjects I'm interested in are written by 22 year old students and enthusiastic young professionals - the takeaway for the more experienced - without continued reinvestment in learning and participating, you and your old ideas can get left behind quickly - a span of two years is an eternity in this economy
#4 - Bloggers can be angry - even with the best intentions in approaching the blogosphere, a spirit of contrarianism runs through bloggers - sometimes it's a real positive in promoting change, expressing dissatisfaction with things that are unfair or exposing bad and negligent practice, sometimes it's just plain ego, envy or politics at play - caveat emptor
#5 - Word of mouth has never been more important - in full disclosure, as a WOM specialist, I should feel this way - but the facts are on my side - never before has the media world and marketplace been more cluttered with a more overwhelmed consumer - word of mouth from friends and family has risen in importance in the real world and thankfully, this year in the lense of marketers and mainstream media (see the headlines)
#6 - Community is not a list or an event - every communications agency I know is laying some kind of claim to word of mouth or community building - there is a built in arrogance that if you're great in X it should easily translate to Y - in this peer-to=-peer game, might does not make right - some of the best examples from this year are entrepreneurs working out of garages producing inspired peer-to-peer buzz because they are passionate about what they do, know their consumer well and live and die by the results (Stormhoek wines)
#7 - The Web is a Friendly Place - beyond the reputation that the web has had for lurkers, fraudists and scheisters - in 2006, I have connected with a fascinating group of people that i would never have come in contact without participating in the conversation through this blog, my company and other social networks
#8 - You Can't be an Expert in Everything - although confident in my own skills, there really is just not enough time in the day nor interest in the heart to be a top tier performer in everything you do, this year I learned partnering with specialists can have big advantages, the dividends will reveal themselves in 2007
#9 - Work/Life balance is not just a motto - in 2007 is the year I need to do a much better job at this and lay down some ground rules for ensuring a business that has become a cause doesn't turn into a "life noose"
#10 - Shorter and more two-way blogging - candidly, I participate in blogging for different reasons - I don't need reams of eyeballs (although I do enjoy them) and I don't need to spread link love to the world (although I do like to profile people who have great insights), what I try and do is provide some thought leadership and profile for things and ideas I care about. However, this year I should blend in more and become more of a "best practices" blogger by: 1) keeping my posts shorter, 2) becoming more a gatekeeper for conversation, 3) ensuring I always reciprocate comments, 4)scanning the universe of my blogroll more regularly and 5) adding an audio or video element
#11 - Doing something today and failing is better than envisioning something for tomorrow that doesn't get done - perfectionism only exists in religion and perhaps science, the key to this economy is moving fast, keeping momentum and addressing and learning from failure quickly when it happens.. as Emerson wrote "the reward of a thing well done is to have done it"