Nothing like meeting someone in person as a catalyst to finish reading their book :-)

I'm in Austin today, where I will be working with longtime industry figure Paul Gillin on a webcast tomorrow morning. The topic is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and it is hosted by Please join us if you'd like to talk about IBM MobileFirst management and IBM's solutions in this space such as Endpoint Manager for mobile devices.

Recently, Paul graciously took the time to read and review my book Opting In, with an insightful evaluation of the content. His is the first pure "outsider" view on the book that has been published, yet he recognized some of the core themes and stories of the book easily.

Now that I've read his book, Attack of the Customers, I understand why. Gillin, and his co-author Greg Gianforte, come at the same set of core organizational challenges through only a slightly different lens. Down to recommendations, and even one or two stories, our books cover some similar ground. Should you read both? Yes, absolutely. Opting In is focused on the role of a product or brand manager in the social business world, while Attack of the Customers uses a viewpoint of how empowerment of the market plays out and how companies should anticipate or defend public attack that gets amplified through social media. Chapters 4-5-6 of Opting In have a similar lens, and the two fit together like hand-and-glove.

Attack of the Customers
is approachable reading, with stories that will either be familiar or relevant throughout. Gillin and Gianforte view what were high-profile PR crises through the lens of history, and focus instead on how social media was relevant to those events. For example, the beef industry's lack of preparedness for the "pink slime" incident, where consumer outrage over the industry's practice of using "lean finely-textured beef" to make processed foods boiled over, is surprising in hindsight.

Brand managers especially will find Attack of the Customers useful in identifying strategies for dealing with the four phases of an attack, the eight steps that the authors recommend for preparing a policy and strategy for attacks, and how brand loyalty (or disloyalty) play a major role in both reach and amplification of customer attacks.

I had to smile several times as I could relate to examples or points made in this book: Astroturfing, a mention of TD Bank's use of "internal social tools" (likely IBM Connections), setting up community councils (like IBM's Champions program) and policies (like IBM's social media guidelines). Still as a marketing exec, I found many of the book's stories and suggestions to provide good reminders of things we can do to engage in the market even more around IBM MobileFirst.

Just after I finished the book, I sent out an invite for the very first IBM MobileFirst community call, inviting IBM Champions, IBM Select program members, speakers at the upcoming IBM Impact conference, and other influencers. This is a proactive outreach format that worked well in the Lotus community. I am clearly hoping to reproduce that success now in looking after IBM MobileFirst in the market. Assuming we do well next week, in the future we'll expand  -- and, hopefully, grow a community around enterprise mobile - in the future.

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