Mario Sundar's Speakeasy

Spero Ventures. Early LinkedIn, Twitter. These are my thoughts on tech, brand, marketing and community.

Community 2.0 – Meeting your users

1. Lunch 2.0 at Netgear

It seems like just last week when we hosted one of the biggest Lunch 2.0’s ever at LinkedIn (well, it was actually only last week). And, the team’s back at it again… This time around, we had Lunch 2.0 at Netgear. I had an opportunity to meet with a slew of friends, LinkedIn users and the Netgear crew. The Podtech and crew were there filming again and it was just a perfect summer BBQ. Here’s a nice post by Jeremiah. (Jeremiah’s site seems to be down, will update it with link shortly)

2. My take on Lunch 2.0 (from a community manager’s perspective)

Now, there could be those of you wondering what are some of the benefits of hosting these events. Here’s my simple three-fold take based on my experience organizing it for LinkedIn:

1. Bringing your users/evangelists together

2. Bringing your own company together

3. Sharing of ideas

This definitely references my recent blog exchange with Hugh Macleod (Gaping Void) on the role of the community manager. My take on Hugh’s Porous Membrane post was that every community manager’s role involves two groups: Community (Users) and the Troops (Your product, engineering, and other teams). As the membrane (Community Manager), which delineates these two groups, its events like Lunch 2.0 that enable you to bring in both groups and facilitate a free flow of information between sides.

As an example, when we had Lunch 2.0 at LinkedIn, one of our co-founders, Allen Blue, outlined some of our recent milestones, our vision and future plans, in a style and format reminiscent of our weekly Wednesday lunches at LinkedIn. That way you take a core attribute of your company, add hundreds of your users to an event and voila! You have one huge community event, with the sole purpose of engendering conversations users and your company. It’s productive and enlightening to see some your users directly interact with your product team, developers and engineers and that’s something any community manager should aspire to do.

3. Learn more about Lunch 2.0

Want to know more about Lunch 2.0. Check out the official blog here and also read about the genesis of Lunch 2.0 from Terry Chay, one of the guys who started it all.

I’ve also been asked by the founders of Lunch 2.0 to be an advisor in helping out with some of these events. If you’ve got a tech company in any part of the world interested in bringing together your community and troops over a free lunch, let us know. Lunch 2.0 is already recreating itself in other parts of the US (currently Seattle) and we’re sure it holds potential in any other part of the world with a passion for technology?

Is your community ready for Lunch 2.0?

Email me at

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Here’s Customer Evangelism for you…

Jeremiah recently expanded to an existing little piece on the differences between marketing, pr, advertising and branding (via Pronet Advertising. Source: Ads of the World)

From Marketing to PR

And, then Advertising to Branding

Here’s Jeremiah’s definition of Social Media Marketing

Come to think of it how would you define Customer Evangelism along the same lines. Here’s my take:

Also, customer evangelism doesn’t stop there, she then goes on to tell ALL her friends what a great lover he is… Examples of companies that practice it: Apple (what other companies do you think fall under this category. Leave a comment).

Have a great short-week ahead!

Filed under: Miscellaneous

When LinkedIn met Lunch 2.0…

When LinkedIn met Lunch 2.0, you got LunchedIn. I was elated that we’d a great turnout today at the Lunch 2.0 that we hosted at our new digs in Mountain View. We had over 200 guests, most of whom were LinkedIn users (well, I know that, since not a single hand was raised when Allen Blue, one of our co-founders asked the audience how many present were NOT LinkedIn users)

Check out a more descriptive Lunch 2.0 post that I crafted for our corporate blog. You can also access Jeremiah’s Lunch 2.0 post (w/ video) and some archived footage from

Stay tuned for more content.

That’s Kay and me w/ the founders of Lunch 2.0

As a community manager, it was a great opportunity to hear from users in person. I’m sure I’ll have many more such opportunities but Lunch 2.0 definitely facilitated a slew of such conversations. From an events perspective it was a great experience working with my friends within LinkedIn who chipped in with eager contributions, like my colleague, Jerry Luk , who took some great pictures for us.

Check out the pictures taken at Lunch 2.0: My camera | Jeremiah | Jerry Luk

Filed under: Latest at LinkedIn

So who has been viewing my LinkedIn profile?

First off, have you submitted a 5-word speech for the LinkedIn Webby Award, yet? Last week, we opened the floodgates on receiving user submissions for our speech at the Webbys. The goal: select one of our users to accept the Award for social networking at the Webby Gala in New York.

And one week into it, we’ve received 161 submissions (both public and private entries) and we still have 5 more days, so feel free to go ahead and give it a shot. The author of the best user submission will be flown to New York on June 5 to accept the Webby on our behalf. And, you’ll get a chance to hang out with David Bowie, Meg Whitman, the YouTube guys, a Ninja and a lonely girl at the awards function. What’s your favorite?

As I’d announced last week on the blog, we recently launched a new feature at LinkedIn called “Who’s viewed my profile?”. You may have already checked it out when you logged into LinkedIn, or through our blog, TechCrunch or TechMeme.

So who has viewed my profile in the last 24 hours?

Filed under: LinkedIn Features

Rubel, Lunch 2.0 and a new LinkedIn feature!

Breaking News: We just announced a nifty little feature on LinkedIn called “Who’s viewed my profile?” (having a self-explanatory title definitely helps). Here is the settings page. Check it out on the right hand side of your homepage as soon as you log on.

Check out a write-up by my colleague, Steven Stegman, on our blog as well as another overview of the feature by Michael Arrington on TechCrunch. Coming up: My personal thoughts/experience on this feature.

Now that I’ve gotten the exciting news out of the way, here’s what I wanted to say for today:

1. The perks of being an advocate: Being a customer advocate and responding to urgent user requests is an integral part of being a community evangelist. Imagine my surprise earlier yesterday, when I read Steve Rubel twitter about his LinkedIn account going down. He also blogged about it!

We immediately restored the account and let Steve know about it (both on his blog as well as on Twitter). I never thought I’d say this but twitter can be used as a customer service broadcast and feedback tool. It’s relevance however is entirely dependent on its users. Also, thanks to my bud Jeremiah for his kind words and observations.

Either way, I’d recommend any community marketer to follow a central system to monitor chatter about your company. Here’s how I do it using Google Reader. I monitor a slew of discussion forums, yahoo! groups, google alerts (news and blogs), LinkedIn Answers — all of which are RSS enabled.

2. Lunch 2.0 (110 attending. Are you?): You’ve probably heard that we’re hosting Lunch 2.0 at LinkedIn and as of today (more than a week before the event) we have a total of 110 RSVPs. We’ve also received a slew of RSVPs from all your favorite bloggers including my good friends Jeremiah, Scoble, Shel Israel, Dave McClure, Noah Kagan, Jeremy Pepper (tentative) and more — we even have a surprise guest! So, if you are in the Bay Area and haven’t confirmed yet; what are you waiting for.

RSVP for Lunch 2.0 here

So, once again, why should you be at Lunch 2.0? That’s easy: friends, peers, technology, LinkedIn, games, fun and free lunch!

Filed under: LinkedIn Features

I told you so; Google Search = Identity

Well, you know a conversation has come full circle when it appears in either the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) or New York Times and then enters the echo chamber via Techmeme. At the expense of hearing myself echoing similar sentiments that were once echoed by a set of bloggers ranging from Darowski, Bocardo, Jeremiah and myself. Here is a summary of one such discussion.

Yesterday, Kevin J. Delaney of WSJ wrote a piece (“You’re a nobody unless your name Googles well”) on how central a Google vanity search is to your online identity:

In the age of Google, being special increasingly requires standing out from the crowd online. Many people aspire for themselves — or their offspring — to command prominent placement in the top few links on search engines or social networking sites’ member lookup functions. But, as more people flood the Web, that’s becoming an especially tall order for those with common names. Type “John Smith” into Google’s search engine and it estimates it has 158 million results.

I concur. Actually, in the previous discussion generated by Adam Darowski on how your blog is the new resume, I voiced a similar opinion:

As I’d mentioned in my post below, the best repository for your online identity is your vanity Google search. My online brand a.k.a vanity search yields my blog, my other blog (mprofs – where I contribute), my LinkedIn profile (Disclosure: I work for LinkedIn), my Images (Flickr), Video, Events, etc… Now, that’s a comprehensive identity.

On boosting visibility, Kevin writes that:

Some people have taken measures to boost their visibility online, including creating listings in professional directories and paying companies to help them appear more prominently in search results.

One of my earlier posts, I contend that finding your dream job inevitably depends on your online identity and there are two ways to get there. Option A: Blog regularly, between 3 to 5 times a week (as I’m doing today at 12:20 in the morning) on topics that you’re passionate about. This is definitely going to raise your online profile and result in a very high Google ranking for your name. Option B: A less time intensive approach, would be to use a tool like LinkedIn to create a profile and thereby define your professional identity (I currently work for LinkedIn).

Is there any easier way to define your online professional identity?

Filed under: Miscellaneous