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Wanted to let you all know that Jive and Community Roundtable will be posting a new eBook on Monday Feb 23rd, that's full of great information about the distinction between community management roles and will include job descriptions. Let us know now...What's your biggest pet peeve about community management related job descriptions? Share some examples that you feel are out of sync with reality. We can then compare them to the eBook findings.

Super Puzzle Header.png

Think of a number but don't tell me.


Welcome to the Super Puzzle II, a fun and interactive way to learn more about me. Why about me? Actually it's not about me, but I'm the guinea pig here. The Super Puzzle II is an example of how you can use magic and a little creativity to get people to explore the nooks and crannies of your social business platform. For the sake of this experiment you will explore some of my digital properties, and in the process both learn more about me and help me guess that number that you just thought of.


So are you ready? You may want a piece of paper to jot some things down. Do you remember the number that you thought of? Any number will do but if you are not a fan of math perhaps keep it between zero and ten.


Please write down the number that you thought of.

Clue #1 - Vine

Vine is a handy little social tool that allows you to create and post very short looping videos. Everyone recognizes the value of refining your elevator pitch to something that is concise and effective, but can you get your pitch across within the six seconds of a Vine video? Click here to watch my Vine on innovation. To discover this clue subtract the numeral of the day I posted this Vine from the number of seconds I suggest for my innovation pitch.


Number of pitch seconds - Date of posting = Clue #1

Clue #2 - YouTube

I have created a number of apps, web apps and so forth but one of the coolest ones was my augmented reality hardware scanner. YouTube is a handy way to get your message across to audiences. Click here to watch my teaser clip about the Mobile Scan Book AR on youTube. Make a note of how long the movie says it takes to recognize a screw or a bolt.


Clue # 2 = # of seconds MSB AR takes to recognize an item

Clue # 3 -

A brand specific webpage is of course a great way to promote your product brand or service, or even yourself. Click here to visit my web page at Once there please find the download menu then open up my single page resume.

  • Add up the single digits in my cell phone number. The equation for my phone number aaa-bbb-cccc looks like this a+a+a+b+b+b+c+c+c+c ( __+__+__ )+ __+__+__ +__+__+__+__ = ____
  • Next add up the single digits of my house number ___ +___+___ = ____
  • Make a note of how many solutions appear in the management circle in the left hand graphical part of my resume.


To discover Clue # 3, divide the sum of my cell phone numerals by the sum of my house number numerals and then add the number of apps in the management circle to the result.

(sum of cell phone numerals ÷ sum of house number numerals) + # of solutions in management circle = Clue #3


Clue #4 - LinkedIN

I love publishing on LinkedIN. Click here to see all of my posts on LinkedIN, but for this clue click here for a specific article called Use yah blinka - A Massachusetts drivers guide to social business Please, read through the article and make a note of the route number mentioned in the section subtitled, The Boston Effect.


Route # mentioned in the Boston Effect section of Use ya blinka = Clue #4


Clue #5 -

In the video section of my webpage, there is a video about the time saving value of using social business instead of a traditional meeting. Click here to jump to the video section of my webpage, then choose the "Why use social business" video link in the green box on the right. Make a note of how many people Josh is trying to schedule a meeting with. (This clue does not include Josh, just the people he is trying to meet with )

# of people Josh is trying to schedule a meeting with = Clue #5

Clue #6 - is a nice casual networking and personal branding site. It's low key and less intense than LinkedIN and less overworked than Facebook. Click here to see my page. Look around as much as you would like but take note of how many linked social networks are indicated by icons on my page. They are all together and the should stand out. The first one is Twitter and the last one is FourSquare followed by a follow button.

# of social network icons on Josh's page = Clue #6


The magic

Take that number that you thought of earlier and subtract clue #1 from it.

Secret number - Clue #1

Multiply the result from above times clue #2

(Secret number - Clue #1) X Clue #2

Add clue #3 to the result from above.

((Secret number - Clue #1) X Clue #2) + Clue #3

Divide the result from above by clue #4

(((Secret number - Clue #1) X Clue #2) + Clue #3) ÷ Clue #4

Add clue #5 to the result from the equation above

((((Secret number - Clue #1) X Clue #2) + Clue #3) ÷ Clue #4) + Clue #5

Lastly divide the result from the previous equation by clue #6

(((((Secret number - Clue #1) X Clue #2) + Clue #3) ÷ Clue #4) + Clue #5) ÷ Clue #6

The number that you were thinking of is the result of this last step.

(((((Secret number - Clue #1) X Clue #2) + Clue #3) ÷ Clue #4) + Clue #5) ÷ Clue #6) = Your Number

(if you came up with a different number click here to check your work)


By magic I guessed the number that you were thinking of, and yet along the way you explored

  • my Vine account
  • my YouTube account
  • my personal webpage
  • my LinkedIN account plus my published articles
  • my personal web page videos section
  • my account

You were exposed to six parts of my personal brand in a fun and unobtrusive way. In the original version, the SuperPuzzle exposed explorers to 18 parts of a social business platform. By applying this same type of learning vehicle to your social business platform, you can make it easy and enjoyable for both new users and super users to dig into your solution. With the scariness of trying something new removed from the equation, transforming these visitors to active participants will be immeasurably easier.


Please let me know if you enjoyed this way of helping folks explore their social business and collaborative platforms below in the comments.


If you missed part one of this discussion, please click here to review the original article.


It's a new year and whether you have a new social business platform right out of the box or something established that is struggling with widespread engagement, using a little magic might help bring more of your audience on board.


Social business can be a tough sell to some audiences, and while I firmly believe that it is the future of work I can understand some skepticism.  Traditionally we try to present the features and benefits of social business to our teams which can sometimes backfire, turning people off to our platforms before they let it work for them.  Easing our teams into a new platform and a new business model at the same time can be tricky because it's different and unknown.


Everyone loves magic.  The best magic is enjoyable by skeptics and believers alike. Unbelievers spend their time trying to figure out the trick while others just take it all in, either way a magic show can be enticing. Integrating magic and illusion into your business related storytelling can be very effective.  Great examples include any presentation by Marco Tempest on or this presentation in Stockholm


A couple of years ago I used magic to encourage community members, both new visitors and experienced super users, to explore our social business platform inside and out.  Each visitor was invited to pick a number at random which we would run through an equation.  At the end I promised that I would be able to guess the answer.


It's a simple yet amazing model.  Community members were invited to participate in the SuperPuzzle via email. Visitors were linked to a worksheet, which they needed before proceeding. Another link in the email brought users to the first page in the process where they were asked to think of a number.  They wrote that number down on their worksheet and continued to follow the directions.  Visitors traveled via links throughout blogs, wikis, files, forums and profiles.  Some spots included mini puzzles that yielded clues while others included some informational text about that piece of the social business platform. On the last page of the puzzle, we did some math with the numbers on the worksheet then I asked them to click to the answer page.  On the answer page I would present users with the result of their previous equations which you will remember included a random number that they added to the equation.



The answer is formed by a seemingly unrelated set of equations and a little algebra.  You can see different version of this trick here, here and here.

The fun part was that all users got to explore our social platform without any expectations and they each left with experiences of the nooks and crannies of our collaborative environment.  Going forward, the obstacle of trying something new had been broken down and each player was at least a little comfortable with parts of their new social toolbox.



Because seeing is believing, I will present the #SuperPuzzle2 out here in the wild so each of you can play around with the playful way to invite folks to explore, different social tools and platforms, on Tuesday February 17th 2015.  A link to the start page will be presented here on my blog, via Twitter (@XstGardens), LinkedIN, Facebook and so forth.  I look forward to your participation, please be sure to share your thoughts about this idea and the actual #SuperPuzzle2 in the comments below.


The Super Puzzle II is now posted here ----> Magical social exploration via the Super Puzzle II

Every year around Valentines Day you want to find a way to reach out to your peers and make them smile but not in a creepy or HR inappropriate sort of way.

Problem solved.

Use the links below to bring send any of seven different Valentines Day ecards to your friends and peers.  Make them smile and realize that you appreciate your friendship and great work, at work. You can't add any messaging, only to and from info will appear to ensure content remains acceptable.

(I don't track anything with these web apps so there is no disclaimer.  We will delete any and all entered data by the end of February.  Just enjoy these tools and have some fun)

Click here for my Valentines Day web app.

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Save this web app to your mobile desktop and the icon above will appear and you can send some eValentines while on the train, not paying attention in a meeting or where ever.


You can also embed these cards in your favorite social business platform including IBM Connections, JIVE, and Salesforce.


Click here to send the Calvin & Hobbes style Valentine.

Embed code for Calvin & Hobbes eValentine



Click here to send the GR8 Job Valentine.

Embed code for GR8 Job eValentine


Click here to send the Heart Work Valentine.

Embed code for Heart Work eValentine

Heart Work.png

Click here to send the Roses Are Red Valentine.

Embed code for Roses are Red eValentine

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Click here to send the Star Wars Valentine.

Embed code for Star Wars eValentine


Click here to send the Star Trek Valentine.

Embed code for Star Trek eValentine


Click here to send the Boston Valentine.

Embed code for Boston Style eValentine


Contact Josh for more info, thoughts and ideas for future stuff.

Culture in the workplace is an extremely hot topic. Statistics show that creating your culture will affect your bottom line. When provided with a good environment employees will be happier, perform better, and make happy customers. This means more profit for the company.


So what really IS culture? There are a lot of misunderstandings about what it is. Let’s start with what it’s not.


Culture is not:

              core values, what employees wear, how employees feel, how you pay your people, or how you treat your employees. Most companies focus on these areas. These are things you do that may affect culture but they are not things that will create and maintain your culture.


Culture is:

              best defined as: “an invisible set of attitudes and behaviors that affect everything in an organization.” It’s not what you do. It’s about the meaning underneath what you do. Activities like having employees dress casual, giving them special perks so they like coming to work, paying your people well, and having an open environment so employees can share are all good things to implement. But they are not the culture.


Let’s take your core values. When you want to build your culture you have to change what you really mean behind the core values. By values you should mean behaviors. It’s not what you do but why you do it. You can value your employees by treating them well, but for culture value is why you do it.


See the difference? The first one, probably what you do now, is acting in such a way that it will appear to be that way. The second way is to know the underlying reason for why you do it.


  Instead of your core value being “operate with integrity” say what your behavior is –we will tell the truth.

Instead of having “commitment” say – we will do what we say, or we will follow through.

Change your value of “growth” to be – we will continually learn, or teach something new.


Now you are stating the behavior and the meaning of your core values. Everyone will know what you mean, it is easy to follow and it will breed inside your employees a behavior instead of just mindless action. You are changing the mindset of your employees to fit the behaviors that will connect your team and help your company grow. Now you have culture.


Once you have your culture display it everywhere. Teach it to your employees. They should be able to recite your culture at any time since they will actually behave that way. It will be en-grained in them. They may even carry these values outside the workplace. Think of what that could mean to your community.


Now that you have your culture, go get the right people. Your current employees will either love the culture or they will hate it. Those that hate it will give you a clue as to who doesn't fit.  Those are the people who aren't helping your company. Think about it. Why do you really have to let someone go? The reason is, you hired them because of their skills but fired them because they didn't fit your culture.


Rethink your culture. The impact culture has on your company is huge. It can make or break that next big sale. It can be the difference between keeping or losing a client or even attracting your next customer. It will help you attract and retain the best people.

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