Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Experts in the Industry: Laura Fitton (18 of 45)

Laura Fitton, principal of Pistachio Consulting, is not only a close friend but she's also one of the original "stars" of Twitter. One of the things I like most about Laura was that she came from a background -- not of social media -- but helping executives make their presentation "suck less." Since then, she and I have hung out at SXSW, been on panels together with friend Scott Monty and even teamed up in Jim Storer's annual all day scavenger hunt along with friends Shannon DiGregorio and Dmitri Gunn.

But enough about us, onto the questions from the Experts in the Industry: 45 Interviews in 45 Days series.

In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you're good at it. 
I see things. I connect things. And I try to explain it all in useful ways. I only work with things I really believe in and I'm not afraid to let my passion and enthusiasm show. My overwhelming focus is helping people make full use of the business, personal and even cultural value of Twitter and things like it, what I call microsharing. These tools will become more powerful than we've already experienced, in more ways than many have imagined.

How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing? 
Honestly? It got into me. It's been life in a (wonderful) tractor beam ever since I got started. It's been a pretty wild ride and I'm just so grateful for and humbled by the journey and the transformative effect it's had on my life. I want to see as many people as humanly possible benefit from the kinds of opportunities social media can create. This cuts WAY deeper than "marketing" -- it's about fundamentally new ways to organize, coordinate and collaborate efforts and lives.

If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of "social," which company would it be and why?
This one is SO obviously "Twitter" for me I feel like I should come up with a #2 instead. I'm going to say Cisco. My gut tells me they will be among the first to really tap into the value of microsharing for presence, collaboration and improving real business results. They have great leadership and innovative technology. I love how their CTO Padmasree Warrior (@padmasree) uses Twitter and the smart questions she asks about it as a collaboration tool. I just hope they can synthesize it all together, remain open to "new ways" of doing things and turn around and demonstrate to the world "what now becomes possible." 

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
I'm really curious about what makes Richard Branson (@richardbranson) tick. That mashup of bravado, brains and yet a fanatical devotion to customer experience and businesses that bring fun, lively things into the world. The willingness to go to extremes both in business and in seizing the possibilities of life. 

Would you join a toothpaste community? Why? 
Oddly enough I would. When I see Tom's of Maine in someone's bathroom right away there's a bunch we might have in common simply because we have those values and made that choice. But I'd want the community integrated into the everyday flow of my life, just the way real life communities are. It's a real estate fundamental - build where the people already are, put it conveniently in their flow and make it easy to integrate. I'm a big skeptic about community as "destination."

Freeform – here's where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
I don't think microsharing can change the world because just because I happen to have a lot of readers on Twitter. I think microsharing can change the world because it can. People don't have to be alone anymore. Barriers to opportunity don't have to be so high and people don't have to work in conflict and isolation. This isn't something I started saying because I want sell people something or because of the weird increased visibility thing that's happened to me on Twitter, it's something I started saying after just a few weeks using it. That ability to gather your social network around you wherever you go, and reach out to them easily and inobtrusively in order to give into, take out of or share ideas and social currency with a social network on-the-go, that's amazing. That changes lives.

Thanks kindly for inviting me Aaron. [My pleasure Laura!]


  1. What a great interview Laura! You're absolutely right about microsharing as a means to reduce the barriers to opportunity. I know Twitter was one of the first places that I got networking help when I was laid off, and I've definitely used it to help my community as they've been laid off.

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