Careers: Interviews
Sean O'Driscoll - Top International Authority on Social Media, Founder/Chief Evangelist, CGT Consulting

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., DF/NPA, MVP, CNP has an exclusive interview with Sean O'Driscoll.

Sean O'DriscollSean O'Driscoll is the founder and chief evangelist for CGT Consulting where he focuses on education/immersion workshops on social media / communities / advocacy programs. Sean also provides extensive strategy development sessions focused on working with clients turning his workshops into business strategy for organizations with roadmaps, metrics, and action plans.

Prior to founding CGT Consulting, Sean was the Global Manager for CSS and the MVP Award Program at Microsoft Corporation. As the Global Director, Sean was responsible for the worldwide team that identified, awarded, and engaged 4000 MVPs spanning 90+ Microsoft technologies and in more than 90 countries. O'Driscoll began his career at Microsoft in 1992 as a customer service and sales professional responsible for business development and client relationships. Most recently, he was responsible for Premier and Professional Services sales and delivery to Independent Software Vendors in the US. Prior to that, Sean served as a business development manager working with ISVs on joint development, co-marketing and channel development with Microsoft.

Before joining Microsoft, O'Driscoll graduated from Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR (1992) with degrees in Business and Philosophy. He and his wife Kari, have two daughters, Erin and Lauren.

To connect with Sean, try:

425.443.7064 (Work)
425.443.7064 (Mobile)

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:46: Can you profile your current role and what were the catalysts to enter this field - are you able to name some of the clients you are working with?
"....I spend a lot of my time and am now focused on this topic of social media because I believe that it is one of the most powerful tools available for driving that client intimacy objective....It's been really fun to begin to learn how the knowledge and ideas formed over the past few years are transferable across the industry...."

:03:21: From a business perspective, define social media and its impact on organizations?
"....People talk about social media sometimes as a really new thing and in some ways I would argue that it is not new at all....What has essentially happened is that it has been digitized. As all that conversation medium has been digitized it has brought a great deal more discoverability to knowledge and expertise across a much broader set of topics to all of its users...."

:05:36: Do you have a sense of the penetration of this whole area of social media?
"....I think penetration has been reaching a tipping point with some of the social sites. But when it comes to the corporate sites I think we are still very, very early. I think corporate interest in the topic is exceptionally high...."

:07:35: What does social media mean to content models?
"....I think the content model just got a lot more complicated. What companies are going to have to think through is, what is the trust and reputation model associated with both the content types (ie. video or documentation, etc) as well as the reputation of its contributor or author, and creating programs that support both how you demonstrate the trustworthiness of that content and content sources and the individuals in the communities...."

:09:53: What are the kinds of inputs that organizations need to listen to?
"....probably the five dimensions I would first break this out into.....Sentiment, learning, associations, storytelling, and feedback. And as you break it out, figure out what the accountability model in your company is for taking action...."

:14:06: Can you comment on reputation management in the online environment?
"....The influencer model is clearly one of those important assets as you think more broadly about growing a community strategy...."

:16:32:  Please provide your perspective on conversations and learning, enabled through social media.
"....The first step is the listening process and deciding what categories those conversations fit into and deciding what are you going to do about it..."

:18:28: What is social media strategy?
"....Social media strategy is really much more about stepping back and going through a process of understanding what business problem you are trying to solve....Think about it as six pillars from a strategy development standpoint: people - places - process - platform - patterns - participation...."

:22:25: Delving further into loyalty and influencer programs using social media. Can you comment further?
"....If satisfaction is 'I like you' and loyalty is 'I recommend you', then I would describe affinity as 'I defend you'.....The business lesson in this is how do you create a birthright for your user or your customers, and how you do give them a voice back into the product design, product definition, into the content and content model, the reputation and utility of what's being designed and developed. At that point in time where your customers are part of the innovation process, your ability to create behaviors that look like affinity (I defend your brand) are substantially higher...."

:26:05: Sean contrasts and comments on the Influencer Framework in Web 1.0 versus Web 2.0.
"....The business challenge is how do you find those influencers that are most engaged throughout the product cycle, draw them in at the right point of your product lifecycle to give you insight and feedback, and then close the loop back with them so that they can really see what changes you made because of their participation...."

:28:47: Sean speaks further about his 6Ps' of social media (people, places, process, platform, patterns, participation) in terms of outcomes for the brand.
"....The outcome is really the purpose....There will be user to user conversation, brand to user conversation and user to brand conversation. The outcomes will really come from those three clusters and your ability to participate and derive value from those conversations...."

:29:58: Sean comments on how this all translates into a business framework.

:35:50: Sean comments on and defines the Social Network Effect and Social Graph.
"...Social graph is really just a fanciful term for the representation of all the connections amongst people in a community....It's really about understanding what are all the behaviors going on behind how messages flow through connected people in online groups...."

:39:13: Which are some recommended resources to examine trend this further?
".... get involved in social media....Go personally experiment, there is no better way to learn what its potential uses could be...."

:41:02: Provide your predictions of future trends and their implications/opportunities?
"....A way for me to bridge my online social connections to my offline experiences is one of those scenarios we're on the cusp of...."

:43:01: Some interesting and innovative things which sparked Sean's interest.

:45:29: What have we missed in our discussion so far? What comments would you like to add?
"....It is very easy to get caught up in the ocean of opportunity around social media....If you think about it as a process, step 1 - go listen and categorize that conversation, step 2 - identify those influencers who are at the core of that conversation, step 3 - figure out your preparation readiness required or culture change initiative, step 4 - drive the accountability and process improvement, step 5 - repeat...."


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