Thursday, April 9, 2009

Experts in the Industry: Dave Evans (68 of 45)

What can I tell you about Mr. Evans. Well, for starters he has one of the best background photos on his Twitter page EVER [hint: think Whole Food's "Miles of Chocolate"]. In a more official capacity, Dave is a big brain in the social space and has been thinking about all things digital for a while now. In addition to being the author of the book, Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day, Dave is also a principal at Digital Voodoo and writer for ClickZ.

Having followed Dave on Twitter for a while (note, he's @evansdave), it was a pleasure to finally meet him in person down in Austin. Fortunately for me, Dave lives down here so we get together semi-regularly for coffee with a group of other smart folks like Bryan Person, Peter Kim, Heather Strout, Tim Walker, Jackie Huba, Paul May, Kyle Flaherty, Ben McConnell, Kate Niederhoffer, John Johansen and Sara Dornsife.

But enough about coffee and chocolate though, let's get on to Dave's answers:

In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I work with marketing and operations professionals interested in applying social media based concepts. I am good at this because I have direct experience in ops (Product Management, Progressive Insurance), marketing and advertising (Interactive Strategy Director, GSD&M), and a passion for understanding the fundamental issues (BS, Physic and Mathematics.)

How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
I was involved with advergaming and decided to pursue non-interruptive forms of media. That led me to Web 2.0 and the Social Web as a business platform.

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?
Powered, of course! Quite seriously, it was through my work with Powered and its predecessor, Not Harvard, that much of my quantitative thinking around social media and its application to business developed. Clearly, the company has “social” in its DNA.

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos. Tony has been built an amazing company, in a segment (online shoe sales) that few thought possible, and fundamentally positioned the firm for success via social media by aligning his people with his customer’s best interests.

Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
Yes, absolutely. One of the best jobs I ever had was as a Product Manager for Progressive Insurance. They recruited me from Jet Propulsion Labs where I was working in Mission Control on the Voyager Spacecraft. My initial inclination was to say “no way” -- I mean, how do you go from rocket scientist to insurance guy? But I interviewed anyway, based on what I’d learned about the company. The ten (yes, 10!) people who interviewed me were among the smartest, brightest, and engaged people I’d ever met. I took the job--opening up the business offices in Austin, TX--and proceeded to learn how business actually worked. One of the best decisions of my life.

Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
The Social Web is, to me, the dream of Tim Berners Lee come true: “An interactive sea of shared knowledge… to bring our friends and colleagues closer (so) that by working on this knowledge together we can come to better understandings.”

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