Sunday, May 01, 2016

Marking May

I've always loved the month of May, for many different reasons. Growing up in the Northeastern United States, May was typically the month when it warmed up and Spring began to give a preview of Summer. May also meant school was winding down and fun movie openings. And May was the month of Mother's Day, the month with two birthdays in my family, and there was Memorial Day, one of my favorite holidays that to me always felt like the unofficial beginning of summer.

This year, on my social media accounts, I'm going to mark each day in May with a different word and image. There is an underlying theme, but I won't reveal it until the end of the month.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Spring 2016 Speaking Engagements

I am excited to have been selected to speak at the following, upcoming business technology events:

Amplify 2016 - Amplify is an IBM conference for marketing, merchandising, ecommerce, sales and customer service professionals. At Amplify I will be part of a panel discussing engagement in the workplace:

DBV-1778: Customer Panel Discussion: Facilitating a Highly Engaged Workplace
When: Wed May 18 ( 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. )

This panel discussion provides you with the opportunity to hear from successful IBM Digital Experience customers how they created effective solutions to the challenges associated with creating and maintaining an engaged and efficient workforce.Amplify 2016 will take place May 16 - 19, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.


Social Connections 10 - This business technology event focuses on social collaboration technology, aimed at both existing and prospective customers and partners, and at individuals with both business and technical perspectives. At Social Connections, I will be co-presenting with Victor Toal from ToalSystems. A full description of our session, "Business Drivers and Technical Details," is available at http://socialconnections.info/sessions/business-drivers-and-technical-details/.

Social Connections 10 will take place June 6-7, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.


NY Tech Summit - The NY Tech Summit is an event targeting senior IT professionals that combines educational sessions from experienced industry speakers, an extensive exhibit floor with top technology vendors, and valuable networking opportunities.

Below is the description of my session:

Enterprise Social Networks: Benefits and ChallengesEnterprise social networks (ESNs) are increasingly being deployed across large and small organizations and becoming embedded in other applications. Though not an IT system, ESNs nevertheless require significant IT involvement, resources, and support. Come to this session to learn how Superior Group has used and evolved its ESN since the social platform was implemented at the company over three years ago. We will showcase our deployment, discuss the involvement and impact on IT, and highlight the business value and use cases. We'll also share some of the technical challenges and successes, including single sign on, mail and calendar integration, instant messaging, and external access. The session will provide valuable lessons learned for you to consider when planning and orchestrating your own ESN deployment and what you need to make it successful.

The NY Tech Summit will take place June 8-10, 2016 in Verona, New York.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Connect 2016

I am excited to have been selected to present at Connect 2016, the premier social business and digital experience conference. This year, I will be co-presenting with Jeremy Kauffman from Waters Corporation.

Below is the description of my session:

1330: Superior Group and Waters Corp: Social Business Journey 3 years later!

Three years ago, Superior Group and Waters Corp embarked on the Social Business journey! Embarking on the journey each company wanted a globally connected internal communication platform that promoted company-wide knowledge sharing and collaboration. In this session, we will showcase each deployment and discuss how they were able to become successful in the journey from a business value, adoption and technical perspectives. This session will provide valuable lessons learned for you to consider when planning and orchestrating your IBM Connections deployment and what you need to make it successful in years to come!
  • Program: Core Curriculum
  • Topic: Best Practices
  • Sub-topic: Social Collaboration
Connect 2016 will take place January 31 - February 3, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.

Learn more about the event at http://www-01.ibm.com/software/collaboration/events/connect/.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Last One to Bid Turn Off the Lights

Two years ago, Date on Purpose was launched to combine online dating and meaningful giving. I imagined a scalable platform that would one day evolve where a visitor would pick a charity of his or her choice, and then bid on a date in a nearby city to support the cause.

So I launched a startup to bring the traditional bachelor/bachelorette auction online to allow people to bid on dates with eligible singles.

With a small core team and many volunteers but no funding, we spoke to many charities, built a website and social media presence, and recruited dozens of men and women to bring the concept to life. Our initial online charity concluded in a semi-formal live launch event on October 18, and I'm proud to say the event was a success and a really, really good time.

Date and Purpose is proud to have tried something different in the online dating space – but, above all, we’re grateful for the community of charities, partners, bachelors, bachelorettes, bidders, and visitors who supported us. It's been a joy to see an idea grow from dream to reality – and be able to help worthy charities raise money.

Although we succeeded in many ways, we also faced obstacles and were not able to overcome the challenges that would enable us to continue. We tried our best, but regretfully, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations. Date on Purpose will officially close its doors on December 19, 2015.

We say goodbye, and thank you. It was our privilege to create something new and give back.

Frank Gullo

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Work Rules by Laszlo Bock

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post comparing technology companies to countries. For Google, I choose Japan because both the company and country have distinctive cultures and have continuously demonstrated expert technical competency and precision. The post and the comparisons were simplistic and meant mostly to provoke thoughtful conversation, but after reading Laszlo Bock's Work Rules, it is evident that I was right about at least one thing: Google does have a truly distinctive culture.

In Work Rules, Bock summarizes the pillars of Google's culture and details how the company's People Operations function works and has evolved with the rapid growth of the company. It is fascinating as an insider's view of Google and also as a primer for other organizations. There's abundant material here that company leaders and HR specialists can use, tweak, test, and implement.

As a high level summary, Bock distills key "work rules" into ten steps that can transform a team or workplace:

1. Give your work meaning.
2. Trust your people.
3. Hire only people who are better than you.
4. Don't confuse development with managing performance.
5. Focus on the two tails.
6. Be frugal and generous.
7. Pay unfairly.
8. Nudge.
9. Manage the rising expectations.
10. Enjoy! And then go back to No. 1 and start again.

Google has become a very strong brand and I thought it was interesting as I mentioned Work Rules to others how many seemed predisposed to favor or dismiss the ideas based on preconceived notions of Google. Some thought any idea from Google must be worth trying, while others conveyed that Google has the luxury of resources to try things other companies simply can't. Whether you already have preexisting ideas about Google or not, I highly recommend Work Rules -- for the narrative of Google, Bock's wealth of experience as a business professional (including time spent at McKinsey before he joined Google), and also the many anecdotes, studies, and work rules you can draw from.

For an outsider's view of Google, I would also recommend Steven Levy's In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives.


Monday, April 13, 2015

The Career Mentor Experience - UB Career Services Live Webinar

On April 14, I will be participating in a University at Buffalo (UB) Career Services live webinar targeted to students about the importance of making career connections. The webinar will include an online panel discussion in which UB alumni will share their experiences of establishing career connections and networking, both online and in-person.

Below are the webinar details:

The Career Mentor Experience Part 2: Meeting a mentor
Tuesday, April 14, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Everyday I Fight by Stuart Scott (Book Review)

I was predisposed to want to read Stuart Scott's Every Day I Fight. I'd always liked what he brought to ESPN SportsCenter and how he helped evolve the brand to reach new audiences. I also respected and related to how much it meant to him to be a dad to his two girls.

Still, I was a little surprised by how heartfelt, honest, and reflective he was in what would be his posthumous memoir. I think I was expecting a book mostly about ESPN and the many athletes Scott had interviewed over the years. Figures like Lebron James, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods. While these subjects are in the book, they are overshadowed by the larger themes that Scott wanted to leave behind: his indomitable love for his daughters and his thoughts and feelings about cancer. I appreciate Scott's willingness to bare all and be completely vulnerable about getting sick and living with cancer. I am sure many will enjoy his anecdotes about ESPN, but I suspect many more will draw inspiration from his words about cancer.

It's interesting. I picked up the book for a flight home and ended up reading it the following week, including on the fifth anniversary of my mom's death. Like Scott, she also died from cancer. I'm sure it wasn't a coincidence that I chose this book at this time. Here's to Stuart Scott and my mom: Happy Easter and ... booyah!