What I learned from Rochester’s Eyes on the Future 2011

Five years ago, if you had asked me, “Could you see yourself living in Rochester?” I would have returned a blank stare. But after attending today’s Eyes on the Future Expo and Summit, I have never been more excited to respond to that question with a resounding yes. The following video is just part of the pumping factor from today’s event.

When I decided to go to the conference, I didn’t really know what to expect. I have never been to a regional business summit event like this before, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to get out and learn a little about the city and its business, while perhaps meeting some new people, too.

I gained a ton of insights from the conference and even got to catch up with a friend from St. Bonaventure. One major lesson I learned is how challenging, yet rewarding, it can be to tweet from a live event. Learning how to balance listening with typing words for a tweet and learning how to pick out the best information is tough. Also, you want to communicate with others tweeting at the event, which is a challenge in and of itself.

A few other things I learned include the following.

  • Innovation and collaboration are important for companies, of course, but they’re also important for individuals if Rochester is to continue being a smart city. Panelists suggested average citizens innovate at every opportunity they get. This means whenever possible, look for a better way to do something, whether better means more efficient, more enjoyable, more effective or something else.
  • Education and business must work together in today’s society. Gone are the days of having separate academia. Today we all need to work together to help each other. Universities need businesses to provide research and funding to while businesses need universities for new talent and creativity.
  • People in New York state and in the country often focus on downstate New York, ignoring the various regions we have in upstate New York. We have so much to offer here if we could work together as neighbors while still differentiating each area.
  • All you young professionals will love this quote from Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York: “Paid internships are critical to retaining our grads.” As a precursor to that, Zimpher and others expressed that retaining graduates is critical to New York’s and Rochester’s success.
  • Education is so important, and not just college education. We need to work with students from early childhood all the way through higher education.
  • Higher education should involve more entrepreneurship because we now realize this is something that can and needs to be taught.

I could go on and on about more that I learned about business in Rochester and upstate New York, and if you’re interested in what myself and others tweeted, check this out. But what do you think? If you attended, what advice or information stands out most prominently in your mind? If you followed via Twitter, what did you think of the tweets? If you were unable to attend, do you have a question for someone who did attend?

Share your thoughts. I’d love to get a discussion going surrounding Rochester business. I really am excited to be relocating there!

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Social Media: A Small Biz Alternative to Donating Money

The explosion of social media has made one thing clear: Giving is something that extends well beyond the holiday season.

While many companies push the love during the season of red and green, the most successful know to carry that giving feeling year round. They know giving will help their companies. In a press release posted Dec. 12, Will Marre, CEO of Realeadership Alliance, says companies that give are more likely to receive.

“When giving becomes an essential part of your culture, employees are inspired to create more value and consumers choose you.”

But what kind of giving? For huge, well-known corporations like Apple or Zappos, it’s easy to give a few thousand here, a few thousand there. But what about small businesses that can’t afford to give thousands and thousands?

Thanks to social media, small businesses can prove their desire to give and they can, in effect, increase what they’ll receive from current and potential customers.

Continue reading “Social Media: A Small Biz Alternative to Donating Money”