2BalanceU.com News

One of the beautiful things about being an entrepreneur is the opportunity to learn and make mistakes and learn more. After trying for three years to make 2BalanceU the portal for sharing resource recommendations around the globe, I realised we were going about it all wrong. The last thing we needed to do was to create yet another destination that fills our time, distracts us and requires us to learn how it works before we get anything out of it. The vision was right, empowering through simplified global knowledge sharing. But the approach was wrong.

What will emerge from the next version will amaze you with its simplicity and delight you. It will free you up by requiring less time and effort getting to what’s relevant from the sources you already draw from and others that provide information important to you. You will be more effective through greater accuracy in sending out what we wish to share to your intended audience. We have things pulling us in so many different directions, because we are multidimensional individuals. The knowledge sharing tool will come out this Fall. This new tool will be build as a cooperative effort between 2BalanceU and Off The Red with the input of several Advisory Members to ensure we have a sound business model for sustainability. The new site will have a new name (we are still working on that part) and logo, so keep posted and I will let you know when we have it.

2BalanceU remains as a consultancy that provides the vision, the network and input to the executive team. This enables me to continue my passionate work and study of how technology has enabled the evolution of the women’s sacred circle to the modern professional women’s network. I need to find someone to fund my PhD work, as it cannot be done by the former 2BalanceU as planned. (Ideas welcome…) I will also continue speaking at global conferences on social media and network optimisation as well as empowering women in leadership through knowledge sharing. I find this work inspiring and very fulfilling as a great way to really understand the different needs and tools around the world used for knowledge sharing. I will also continue to consult on Internet strategy, particularly on how to engage consumers in dialog.

So thank you for your notes asking, when will 2BalanceU be “live” again. I am so glad to see there is interest and I appreciate your support. I am sure you will be happy with what is coming soon.

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Putting a Pricetag on Knowledge Sharing

When you speak to lawyers, agents, consultants, accountants, they all have the same approach to sharing; they charge. If they do not physically send a bill they count it as “pro-bono” advising so they can deduct it because money=time. This is a very rational and professional approach. The question that has come up lately in several conversations is boundaries between sharing for mutual benefit, the value of credit for ideas, and the building of your brand through mastering expertise. It basically comes back to the same question of return on investment (ROI) but takes into consideration the benefit to the provider of knowledge as well as the receiver.

As is my nature and the nature of my work, I include the other social components in my ROI model that may not be considered in the traditional approach. So we are talking value creation and relationship building. On the soft side, we talk about “karma” and it coming back to you later. But that won’t pay the bills and you can’t get a loan based on the promise that someday your sharing efforts will pay off. And yet, what drives our creativity and the ability to learn from each other is often sharing. Here is a very basic model I have been using recently to determine whether what is shared should be followed by an invoice (of course, this should be agreed to in advance). But in most cases it ends up being driven by the receivers ability to pay.

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Old Networks Using New Social Media

I have been working a lot recently on social media and network optimisation. So here is my “2 cents.” Many women’s networks, provide a great format and vision for the future. A common issue that many established face to face networks face is the need to connect their members online. The communities are more physically dispersed and in need of connecting for sharing and maximum effectiveness. It is for precisely this reason that social media sites like Connected-Women come about and are very much needed.

When building any organisation, whether it is a new entrepreneurial endeavor or an established business, it is important to focus on the vision. Building Technology platforms is an entirely different business than face to face networks. If advertising revenue is not part of your business model for the network, you do not need to drive traffic to your site. What networks do need to do is get information to their members. This can be done with a clean and easy to use Internet site, that is well connected to other complementary sites. What they need to learn is how to optimise where their members are already rather than creating yet another place and time consumer for members.

As I mentioned, this is a growing problem for established face to face networks with geographically dispersed communities. My best advice is do NOT build another LinkedIn or Connected-Women for your members. Create a space there (the sites which your members use) for members to interact with other members. They should have a way to identify each other as part of the same network within those sites. Of course, a membership directory is useful. But once they find the members they need, let them link to them elsewhere that they are already active. Non-profit networks have too many other great things to do with the limited resources they have. Don’t waste resources on trying to keep up with building a new technology platform (that by the way will be out of date in a year so will need updating constantly in order to keep interesting for members).

This is adapted from my entry on a thread question on Connected-women.com about what we want from FCEM (World Association of Women Entrepreneurs). To see the complete thread click here

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Warm Holiday Wishes

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season full of joy and peace. I look forward to 2009 and the experience the power in knowledge sharing. This economic “crisis” is an opportunity for us all to focus on our missions, evaluate our priorities, reconnect to our networks and find new ones only to come out stronger in the end.

I would like to thank all of you for your support during 2008. Thanks to you, your participation and feedback we are getting closer to accomplishing our vision:
To empower women through knowledge sharing to be change agents for themselves, their businesses and their communities.

I personally would like to thank you for your continued encouragement and validation for the need of pursuing our mission. We recognise that the site was not clear enough in the approach to sharing and how to fullfill the intended vision. We therefore are doing a complete redesign which will be available Spring 2009. We appreciate your patience.

note: The current site will remain active, and all data will be merged, so please do not hesitate to continue sharing on 2BalanceU.com. 2BalanceU will be relaunched as 2BU.

Your thoughts and opinions matter to us greatly. Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@2balanceu.com should you have any questions or feedback.

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Looking at the ROI on Social Media & Networking

Economic Downturn has the world in a buzz. Where are they buzzing? The numbers are clear, to keep the economy moving and engaged, they are returning to and joining new networks. LinkedIn experienced a 25% percent membership increase since September alone. The question of whether that is simply the cast offs resulting from financial markets failure or whether they suddenly hit their tipping point remains to be seen. Given that other networks (both virtual and face to face) seem to be experiencing similar gains. Facebook is increasing by over 10 million users a month.

What is drawing people in (connecting, job hunting, entertainment, reconnecting, building businesses, knowledge sharing,…)? Whatever the cause it is encouraging. I plan to explore the impact further. We must invest further both in time and money in networks. We know they build strength in communities through knowledge sharing and simplifying connection. But it is important to recognise the implications of obtaining new clients, build professional skills and personal skills, connecting to new distributors, channels and markets, creating a sense of community that increases satisfaction, exposing us to new ideas and approaches, and more.

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Simple knowledge sharing

We often take for granted the things that are most simple and common parts of our days. Providing the quick directions to the lost traveler, recommending a favourite article or book that provided a moment of inspirational thought, Finding a quick conversation table for the recipe passed on by a friend, discovering a new culinary delight from a passing dish and an appreciative “mmmm”, can all provide a moment of quality that enriches our lives and others. Understanding that it is nearly universal that adjusting spectacles is a complementary service, has never ceased to amaze me. In this day of commercialism and rushed lives, I am thankful for these little moments that make me appreciate both my own and others knowledge and specialisations.

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Pass It On

It is exciting to see so much changing so rapidly in technology. I am finally getting a chance to play with new technology. It has been a part of my passion since the early days in school when we were printing out banners of repetative letters from Basic programming on Apple IIs. The disks were literally floppy. But it was exciting, as it is now. Now we have reach and a reason. So, my theme for this posting is pass on the passion for the little bit of nerd in you. We may not all have an apptitude, in fact seom simply have fear. So, I will try to simplify.

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A Whisper to a Roar

The sound of a whisper can scarcely be heard. The whisper of many can be a thundering roar. I don’t expect women to roar alone. But I do hope that women will rise to the occassion and part with a whisper. It might be in the form of sharing a burning question. It might be simply by sharing a favorite book, story, event, website or words of wisdom and inspiration passed to them. It might even be all of the above.

The feeling of giving is equal when one is sharing their thoughts. Each question inspires a thought, and in that a connection is made. We are not alone in our needs. We are more alike than we are different. I look forward to the roar created by parting with whispers in unison with women around the world. It has only just begun.

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Reflections from WIN

Taking a moment to reflect while in transit from the Women’s International Networking (WIN) Conference 10th anniversary in Oslo back home where my family and office await. It is a powerful experience to be with 700 professional women from around the world networking, learning, sharing for 5 days. Each one had different goals in mind for why they were there and what they will achieve during the conference. All expressed a desire for change, with an interest in being part of that change. Most presented a positive hope for the future. Those who brought in unconstructive negative energy became a dance of sorts for the rest of us to turn redirect to the positive (or at least seeking solutions instead of complaining).

Last year, I came to WIN with a curiosity and desire to learn more about what women were doing to connect and share. This year, with my ear to the ground, I wanted to learn more about what I could do to not only advocate sharing but enable it. I was encouraged to see that validity in my work. A tool is needed to bridge the gap between networks, to help them grow, to help women extend their reach for inquiry and sharing.

Like many events such as these, we return home to our lives with a renewed energy and inspiration from all the new connections we have made and things we have learned. Knowing that this energy fades, I only hope that these women will seek each other out to maintain this energy. Build momentum for change in themselves and their environments not only through their networks, but also as individuals. The laughter and smiles shared is a powerful connection. Remember that there is a human behind each card that sits in the stack. As I take each in my hand, I consider the conversations, the shared expressions, the smiles and occasional miscommunications that became opportunity for discussion.

Thank you Kristin for doing your magic and pulling of another great conference.

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Tradition of Women Sharing Wisdom

Women Sharing Wisdom is the oldest form of education and communication. Sharing wisdom ensures the survival of the next generation and the community as a whole. In the information age, we are provided tools to simplify this process. We are now are able to seek answers from individuals in far reaching corners of the globe, as well as those next door. As our lives become more complex, we are in need of better tools to navigate the transitions we go through.As modern women, we our required to reinvent ourselves on a regular basis. Traditions come and go, and the rules are always changing. In order to best prepare ourselves, we need to expand our community of sharing to include others outside our traditional, geographical and organizational boundaries. We choose our own paths, whether it be career, motherhood, entrepreneur, adventurer or all of the above. There is no need to forge it alone. We can find support in the decisions we make, in the transitions we go through and the unexpected bumps along the way.

As a passionate expat career woman who also happens to be happily married and mother of two adventurous souls, I have found the greatest sources of wisdom have the been the women that have crossed my path unexpectedly. My inspiration for the work that I do is the relationships that I have been blessed with along this journey. I have always been one who learns from experience living by the words of, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”

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