Flourish by nurturing both kinds of social capital

Alex Pentland, author of Social Physics, is one of the under-recognized leaders of sociology research. He recently shared his work on distinguishing two kinds of social capital: 

  • Bonding capital is built by sticking with your tribe
  • Bridging capital is built by exploring and building connections outside your tribe. 

Quartz: A pioneer of wearable technology explains how it can connect instead of divide us, 2019-Dec-17 by Jenny Anderson

There is tension between the two types of capital. “This is one of the fundamental conflicts of the human nature,” he says. “People need that tribe that reinforces them, but new opportunities and things come from exploring,” he said.

The people who build up bridging capital by pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and getting away from the tribe tend to do better in life (pdf). They learn different perspectives, see more opportunities, and make more money. “They just live better,” Pentland says. “But it is uncomfortable.”

The key is to invest in both types of capital. But few are aware of how they divide their time between the two (or that they even exist). Pentland’s hope is that awareness of how people live might incentivize them to live better, so he’s spent 20 years developing metrics to quantify social connections.

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To build trust, ask questions and listen carefully

We have the mistaken impression that people trust us because we do what we say. Actually, they trust us because we ask what they do. 

Trillion Dollar Coach, by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg & Alan Eagle, 2019 by Harper Business

When you listen to people, they feel valued. A 2003 study from Lund University in Sweden finds that “mundane, almost trivial” things like listening and chatting with employees are important aspects of successful leadership, because “people feel more respected, visible and less anonymous, and included in teamwork.” And a 2016 paper finds that this form of “respectful inquiry,” where the leader asks open questions and listens attentively to the response, is effective because it heightens the “follower’s” feelings of competence (feeling challenged and experiencing mastery), relatedness (feeling of belonging), and autonomy (feeling in control and having options). Those three factors are sort of the holy trinity of the self-determination theory of human motivation, originally developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ry...

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How to reach inactive subscribers through subjects lines

Email marketing guru Dela Quist has a very good point about inactive email subscribers. They are labeled 'inactive' because the email server can't detect any activity, but that tells you NOTHING about the person and what they've read or done with the information you sent. I am friends with a lot of IT professionals who block systems from collecting information from them. I, myself, read some emails with the images turned off because I know that I'll get slammed with needless follow-up emails if I don't. 

  1. Segment inactives.
  2. Review the names as much as possible. You may find people you know to be active in responding and purchasing. 
  3. Segment some more and send GREAT subject lines.
  4. Assume they'll unsubscribe if they want to. 

Only Influencers: Case Study: What is an Email Address Worth and How to Increase Its Value, 2019-Nov by Dela Quist

There are two key learnings to take from this case study.

The first is how valuable your inactives are and the second is how important it is to spend time and effort on reactivation

Start by identifying your inactive subscribers, but don’t remove them from your list, though as the data proves an inactive subscriber is a way better customer than a non-subscriber. What we recommend is to treat the your inactives as a separate, high value segment in the same way as you would your frequent purchasers or 30-day buyers. 

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Finally, when it comes to re activating dormant subscribers nothing beats the subject line it is the only thing every subscriber will see... 

 


Communicating one-to-few-to-many

A great email subject line is valuable, but targeting your message to the interests and preferences of your audience is even more important. If you can get someone who trusts and supports you to forward a message, that's worth more than a list. 

Quora: What is a good way to start promoting a church or business? 2019-Dec-4 by Paul O'Brien of MediaTech Ventures

Where once, a message sent was likely received by all (or at least most), now the two way relationship between communicator and receiver has changed; with the receiver being empowered to decide HOW and WHEN they receive. The communicator must participate on the receivers’ terms if they hope to be heard.... 

We used to live in a world where that 1 email, that one meeting, that one office flyer, or that one letter mailed, would reach and communicate with everyone. If I can impart upon you ONE lesson only, it’s that that no longer works.

Trickle down your communication to distinct groups, who can further and more effectively communicate what matters within their audience....

Where one-to-many... and newsletters fall short, is that they think in terms of the quality of the email exchange or the performance of an email sent. That is, they’re optimized for reception and engagement....

In organizational communication, our key metric isn’t an open or conversion rate, it’s KNOWING our “clients” and serving them meaningful communications.

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Two art guys from Houston: Robert Boyd and Michael Galbreth

One of my favorite Houston bloggers is Robert Boyd. The recent surprising death of Houston art icon Michael Galbreth hit him pretty hard but stimulated a couple of amazing posts on his blog "The Great God Pan Is Dead." 

Michael Galbreth was one-half of the internationally famous "Art Guys" who introduced thousands of Houstonians to performance art, and caused us to question the conventional way of life: drive around, consume a lot of things, take your friends for granted, etc. Jack Massing is the other Art Guy. 

The Great God Pan Is Dead: Tod and Verklarung, 2019-Oct-25 by Robert Boyd

I hope that someone organizes a memorial exhibit of Michael Galbreth's work. Because so much of it was in the form of performance, such an exhibit would necessarily contain a lot of video and other documentation.

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Recognition and loyalty

In the future, I want to commit to making this blog more and more about dispensing loyalty and recognition to others.

Zabar's delicatessen represents so much of what I love about New York. It's a symbol more than a store. It turns out the most recent heir (of many) to this family business is also a Columbia Business School student. I feel even more connected to this company. 

Read more here

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