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Critical Mass

by Randall Craig on August 23, 2011

Filed in: Blog, Blogging, Career Planning, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media, Strategy

[Special Announcement:  Since 2009, I have hosted a webTV show where I interviewed the nation’s thought-leaders each week.  I am inviting you to a special “sneak peak” at the show’s new beta website.  We’re still filling in the gaps, but with over 115 episodes, guest blogs, and other features, there is quite a bit there.  We will be launching it formally in September, but thought that you’d appreciate seeing it early:  www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com.]

What do Google, Apple, HP, Facebook, and General Motors have in common?  Those with a financial background might suggest that each of these companies has a market capitalization in the billions.  The patriotic would suggest that each is an example of American ingenuity – and that each represented the best in their day.  But on a recent trip through Silicon Valley in California, I noticed something else:  each has made a substantial investment in the area:  yes, and that includes General Motors.  The question, is why.

What each of these high tech companies know is that magical things happen when there is critical mass.  Many educational institutions graduate highly skilled staff.  A strong venture capital community provides financing.  Many companies provide employment opportunities, attracting more skilled workers, financial resources, and entrepreneurial high-tech energy.  GM doesn’t have a factory in Silicon Valley making cars, it has a brain trust working on GM’s most advanced automotive software.  GM is there so it can take advantage of this critical mass, and achieve a competitive advantage through innovation.  And it realizes that recruiting the best software engineers means recruiting in Silicon Valley.  (It also means recognizing that a silicon valley is far more appealing than… Detroit.)

While Critical Mass as a concept is important on an industry or geographical level, it is also useful at the corporate level, albeit with a different name: Focus.  The more focused an organization is, the greater the “internal” critical mass:  people work towards tighter common goals, less effort is spent on extraneous activities, and external branding becomes tighter.

This week’s Action Plan: The concepts of Focus and Critical Mass work at the personal level as well.  Think about it: do all of your activities mesh together into a critical mass?  Or are they so disjointed and unrelated that developing a synergy benefit from your efforts is just about impossible?

Social Media Perspective: Critical Mass is a Social Media key success factor too.  If you are doing so little that nobody notices, then your efforts are pretty much wasted.  (Of course, if you do so much that it overwhelms, your audience will become disengaged, also an unproductive outcome.)  Developing Social Media Critical Mass isn’t merely a focus on quantity, but a focus on the quality of your efforts: carve out a niche that helps define who you are, aimed at a defined target market.  Then execute the plan across the Social Media venues that this target market frequents.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com

www.108ideaspace
.com
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com

About 

Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at randallcraig.com and 108ideaspace.com.

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