@gcigale Tweets

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tutor.com Live on National Cable

I'm not on live national cable every day, so when I am (and it comes out looking pretty good), I need to share -- Fox Business Kid Money Segment ran this morning live at around 10:50am from their midtown Manhattan studios. Hard to get everything into 3 minutes, but I was able to get the key points across to this business and finance focused audience.

George Cigale, gcigale@tutor.com

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Good of Creative Good and W2.0

I got off the red-eye flight at JFK at 8:30am yesterday, more energized than I've ever felt getting off a plane and walking through an airport after 3 hours of sleep (in 10-15 minute increments) in a scrunched sold-out JetBlue flight. No sarcasm here (this time) -- really energized from two days in San Francisco, at one of the more productive conferences I've attended in years.

The group I'm very happy to be a part of after this first meeting is the Creative Good Councils, more info at http://creativegood.com/councils/. A snip from their site: "Creative Good's...Councils are a peer-learning network for executives and managers dealing with marketing, product development and management, and customer experience across a range of industries. The Councils are built on two simple but powerful concepts: the importance of customer-centric business design, and the value of asking for help from one's peers."

Always good to get the time to step above the trees and see the whole forest for a day or two, but much better when you can take a look at the forest from high above with with 200-300 other people working to understand the landscape and to make the best forward-looking decisions about their products and for their customers. Most of the time was spent with a subset of that larger group, my council of 20 executives, talking about challenges, listening to similar experiences of others, taking and giving advice, and thinking deeply about how to apply that advice to the unique dynamics of our business and the characteristics of our customers.

Maybe the most productive and energizing discussions for me were around the phenomenon of Web 2.0 and what it really means or could mean for Tutor.com. The councils are built on a foundation of strict confidence, so I won’t attribute a good analogy to a specific council member – imagine if you went to Woodstock, but you could not see or interact with the hundreds of thousands of people on the grass with you; you could experience the great music, the food, the other fun stuff, but although you kind of knew they were there, you had no sense for what the other people having the same experience as you were doing; that’s Web 1.0, when you go to a site, buy stuff, read stuff, get good stuff from a site, but have no sense what the other thousands of people that are at the site are thinking or doing, and no way to interact with them. Web 2.0 becomes the real Woodstock, where by using blogs, wikis, videos and other user generated content and community tools, the experience becomes richer, more meaningful, and more compelling for the customer. And if done right, more productive for the business behind the experience.

The key is doing it right, and that takes a lot of thought and is different depending on the nature of the offering and the expectations and needs of the customer coming to the site. The core of Tutor.com is all about connecting people to people for help, but there's so much more that we could do to build a vibrant community of students, parents, and educators. Lots to think about what this means for Tutor.com, and that's why I'm energized.

So, bleary eyed, I created my first Facebook profile yesterday and linked up with some of my new friends from the Councils. Another step in an ongoing adventure.

George Cigale, gcigale@tutor.com