Friday, March 13, 2009

Experts in the Industry: Stephanie Agresta (45 of 45)

First off, I wanted to let folks know that haven't been featured in the Experts in the Industry series that I plan to run well beyond 45 interviews (I have at least another 30 or so to go). So with that out of the way, let me tell you about one of my other favorite people in the world of social.

Stephanie Agresta, co-founder of TechSet (not coincidentally, there is a TechSet event tonight so if you're in Austin, be sure to sign up) and Affiliate Karma, is smart, funny and super well connected. She's also a an avid Twitter-er, blogger and event planner extraordinaire.

The timing of this post is not completely accidental as it is almost exactly one year to the day that I first met Stephanie in the blogger's lounge at SXSW. Since then, we've had drinks in Boston, lunch in LA and more drinks in NYC (yes, we both get around to some fun places). To that end, I'm looking forward to seeing her in the blogger's lounge over the next few days.

So with that as a backdrop, let's get onto Stephanie's answers:

In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I’m good at connecting people, ideas, products, and services using digital technology in new and inventive ways; I’m good at it because I am creative, I know a lot of people and I have a deep passion for and knowledge of Internet Marketing (built up over the last 13 years). Sorry, I needed a semi-colon for that one.

How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
For me, entry into social media was a natural progression. I got into online marketing in the mid-90s and always stayed on the cutting edge of developing channels. I know a lot about CPM, Affiliate, SEO, SEM, and Email Marketing (what I call 1.0 customer acquisition). I see it as my responsibility to understand the effectiveness of emerging strategies in online marketing. We’ve entered into a world of 2.0 customer acquisition. It is smart for companies to get on this bandwagon early because, trust me, it will get more complex and expensive. I look at social media through a much wider lens.

From a personal perspective, “social” is something I’ve been since I was born. As a business development professional, networking has been my life blood for over 15 years. I love connecting with people and talking about myself. I’m loud and outgoing – perfect for social media. That was a joke, but seriously, not everyone gravitates toward this medium. It doesn’t lend itself well to shyness. For me, it is a very authentic, accurate representation of my life. And I truly enjoy listening to others and participating within the community.

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?
SlideShare. I love the demographic they serve and I think they have a unique offering. Plus they have a great management team and board of advisors.

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
Tough question – I can’t pick just one. How about one of each!?!
  • Business Leader: Esther Dyson rocks. Esther is such a smart, confident, strong woman and she changed the face of technology. I’ve been lucky enough to hang with Esther and every time I am in her presence I am amazed by her grace, intelligence and strength.
  • Politician: Al Gore post being a VP. He took his passion and went all the way. What do most VPs do after leaving office? He could have just chilled out and disappeared from the scene. He helped make green super cool and changed the world in the process.
  • Public Figure: I’m a fan girl of so many. If I had to pick one, I’d say I have a lot of respect for Bruce Springsteen. He does a lot for the community (both locally and globally) and his music and poetry enriches my life and has added so much to the musical catalog of history. 
Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
No, because I am not passionate about toothpaste (although I do brush multiple times per day) and I take dental hygiene very seriously. I would, however, join a community for people who LOVE the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. That’s a household product I can get behind. I talk about the brands I love regularly – online and off.

Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom
I riff all day long on my Twitter stream. I’ll go with the pearl of wisdom, if I may be so bold. After many years in business, social media helped me to realize that it is way more important to be surrounded by the people and ideas that truly excite you and fit with your personality. No matter how great a project is, if you don’t like the people you work with, it is not worth doing.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who knows Stephanie very well, I had tons of fun reading this post. Her great sense of humor and personality shine through in her responses.

    I'm so sad I'm missing the both of you at Blogger Lounge and SXSW this year.

    You guys are on my list of favorites. Have a margarita or two.... or three... for me :)