“Cliques” Need Communication


Dear Des Moines, your event communication stinks. Why are there so many cliques in your city that won’t talk to each other?

Justin Brady, Test of Time Design, on Twitter

Good question.  I’m sure that this is something that people privately say to themselves at one point or another through the years.

Justin posted this tweet upon learning about the Iowa Entrepreneurial Conference coming up.  The problem was that Justin was unaware of the conference until now (which is October 5-6).  It only gives him about a week to hurry up and register.

Nevertheless, his complaint about the lack of communications is as a valid one.  Much is the same for Steve Wilke-Shapiro when he lamented the lack of information about other elections/ballot proposals in his blog “The Des Moines Perspective” (credit to “Des Moines is Not Boring” for highlighting this site in its blog today).

Wilke-Shapiro’s comment about elections I will get to as the election season gets closer (or if you want to, read my comment on Pete’s blog).  But, I want to get to the “clique” comment Justin wrote in his tweet.  My interpretation from it is that he was frustrated with the lack of communication between groups when an event or something important is coming up.  I see it a little differently.

There is a culture of “cliques” in the Des Moines business community. People may not like reading that, but there is an element of it going around.

You have your Wells Fargo crowd, the “Principal” crowd, the “suburban” crowd, et cetera.  As far as I can gauge (and I could be wrong), the social media community is the only “community” that engages and encourages information to be distributed, re-sent to other networks, and help foster conversation.  With that said, there are certain “communities” or networks that have either “closed” communication (within their own groups), or has flat-out failed to understand how important it is to let people know what’s going on.

With as many entrepreneurs in Des Moines, Justin is right:  why tell everyone now, a few days out,  about the Iowa Entrepreneurship Conference, when the news should have been out earlier?

What makes social media interesting and attractive is the conversations that are being held on these mediums.  You don’t just post something and hope it will get around.  You have to explain what it is, how is it relevant, why it’s important, and who to send it to.

Apparently, not everyone is crazy about social media, but I see it as another avenue to contact a group of individuals that you would not otherwise pay attention to.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Justin Brady says:

    Hi Geoff,

    I understand your diplomatic approach. One thing is for sure, I need to follow silicon prairie news more closely. 😉

    I think the big difference between “community” and “clique” is the flow of resources: In communities, resources flow in and out. If you want to cross promote, or include others, a community will jump at the chance. A clique on the other hand, is exclusive. There is no free flow of information. The only time a clique will allow flow of information it’s members benefit. (Community = inclusive ; clique = exclusive)

    All I want to see is a free flow of ideas and to shut off the mentality of “mine!” As far as I can tell this clique mentality resides in one specific group. Under 35 startups / entrepreneurs (like myself). Why?

    I believe it comes from business examples (the Enron generation) that taught us that business is a every-man-for-himself-attack-your-competition game. I remember bosses (bad ones) slamming their competitors both professional and even personally. Is this approach infecting our new bosses of today? I hope not.

    My father taught me that honesty, integrity and being open with people is the best approach to business, and now at the age of 58 he is expanding his dental practice and finally able to add patients (he hasn’t been accepting to patients for years, because he didn’t have the room). Here is a new article about him! http://businessrecord.com/main.asp?SectionID=45&SubSectionID=136&ArticleID=10836

    I must confess, I am still trying to dissect this problem. (It is a problem) Steve Farber’s book is a great resource for fighting this “mine” approach, and here are a few books I have read / plan to read to understand it better.

    The No Asshole Rule. – Robert Sutton
    Click – The Brafman Brothers
    The Mesh – Lisa Gansky
    Good Boss, Bad Boss – Robert Sutton

  2. Geoff Wood says:

    Update for clarity: I will probably attend this conference in a press capacity for Silicon Prairie News. That decision came after I posted the comment above.

  3. Geoff Wood says:

    Hi Justin and Romelle,

    A couple thoughts:

    Personally, I don’t think cliques in the right word in this case. In my opinion, you’re referring to communities and when you substitute “cliques” you’re casting them in a pejorative and I don’t think they any of them are intending to purposefully exclude others.

    At what point is the onus on the person seeking the information to look for it? I don’t think the Iowa Venture Capital & Entrepreneur Conference does a particularly excellent job at marketing (and if it was my event I would execute the whole thing much differently) but it’s hardly a secret. I’m not sure when the date was announced but I’ve been vaguely aware of it since last Spring, I personally added it to the Silicon Prairie News event (http://spne.ws/events) calendar back in June and have seen it other places like the Technology Association of Iowa’s website. Could it be marketed better? Obviously, yes, but the date shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

    FYI, I’m not affiliated with this conference in any way nor will I be participating in it.

  4. R.H. says:

    Justin, I know that SM has the same problems as well, at least they’re trying and hopefully some are addressing it. Cross-pollination (reaching out to different Twitter networks and followers, for example) to me is vital. I run my local chapter’s ADA twitter account. I want to do more than plug events, re-tweet other affiliates information, and just “be on” Twitter, Facebook, etc. If I don’t have any “local” information (classes, support groups, etc) to put out there, then we’re just existing and living off of what we’re planning and what we gather from other sources.

    I do my best to read every post (even insignificant ones). That’s how I find info that is new or interesting that I feel everyone should know about, if they have interest in knowing for themselves.

  5. Justin Brady says:

    BTW: I WANT to come to your event. I don’t care which social circuit you are plugged into. Please let me come.

  6. Justin Brady says:

    Thanks Romelle,
    I see the social media community as a problem too. They have a bad habit of promoting their events ONLY within social media circles, defending their approach siting their “social” distribution method.

    Regretfully, the very thing that makes social media a great tool, is the very reason some news doesn’t get around: Your network are the only people following you on Twitter — and to make matters worse, over 70% of your followers don’t actually read anything you post. (i know this might be a shocker to some)

    There are also a lot of groups that will not cross promote or even mention events that are not 100% controlled by, or branded by their business. After all, WE want all the credit for this, because when we get all the credit, we get the all the social leverage. Certainly anyone using Steve Farber’s GTY concept don’t get anywhere. Right? Right? Hello? Anyone?

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