It seems like just a few weeks ago I was in Phoenix for the first time. Then a few weeks before that was Chicago. It turns out that PHX was 1 year ago this month and the Windy City was one year before that. It is incredible how fast time has flown over the last few years. My daughter has become a Tween, my once newborn son has entered the ‘Terrible Two’s’ and we now have a 1 month old daughter on our hands. They say the older we get, the faster time goes. I’m not so sure I’m ready for that.
I am ready to go to Nashville this month, though. The reason being for the same event that I went to Arizona last year and Chicago the year before that: CONSTRUCT. The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Annual National Convention and Tradeshow attracts the ‘Who’s Who’ from the AEC community. Especially those that look to educate themselves and others all while meeting up with friends that get together all to sparingly. Camaraderie is strong and the willingness to share is even stronger in CSI. Dozens of the AEC industry’s thought leaders are set to speak with over 50 seminars slated over four days this coming September 24th through the 27th. That is coupled with a Tradeshow that is truly about learning, sharing and educating. Complete with a Learning Pavilion and hundreds of exhibitors eager to share the latest in building products, CONSTRUCT has quickly become my only can’t miss convention of the year.
My schedule is fairly full from the start on Tuesday morning, September 24th, straight through to Friday, September 27th. Seminars on specifications, marketing, relationships and more fill my time. Thursday could be a highlight of the stay with not only a TweetUp at 2pm in the CSI Booth 435 , but also a private event at the Country Music Hall of Fame hosted by the Nashville Chapter of CSI. Thousands will be converging on Nashville for this event. While most are strangers to each other, all have the mission of CSI in mind: “to advance building information management and education of project teams to improve facility performance”.
Those that I feel closest to are connected through the digital realm. We may not share a Chapter, but we do share the mission and the love of social media. Through Tweets, webinars, LinkedIn Groups, TweetChats, Facebook posts and more, a core group of CSI Tweeps keep in touch digitally, but utilize CONSTRUCT as our reunion and homecoming all tied into one. The big event has not even started and plans are underway for TweetUps, blogging panels and perhaps the Grand Finale – a post CSI Honors & Awards Gala on Friday night. Keep your ears peeled for details on that!
It’s not too late to attend this can’t miss event. It’s only three weeks out and we all know how fast time goes by. Visit http://constructshow.com for more information on attending. If you can’t attend, be sure to tune into the #CONSTRUCT hashtag.
If CONSTRUCT 2010 in Philadelphia was getting my feet wet (with an exhibit hall pass only) and 2011 in Chicago was jumping in head first (with a full education package) then I would view CONSTRUCT 2012, held in Phoenix from September 11th – 14th as a leisurely paddle down a stream, even if it did host my first Gala.
The week approached incredibly fast and passed just as quickly. Looking back now, 2 weeks after returning to PHL from PHX, I can summarize the week with one word: comfortable. This would certainly not be the case without the people that make up the Construction Specifications Institute – CSI. Without these people the conference could be clunky, lonely, perhaps even boring. However, it is none of the above because of what the members bring to the Institute and to the Conference.
From the greeters at the Phoenix Convention Center, to the team members of Hanley Wood, to the presenters and exhibitors at CONSTRUCT and most importantly to the attendees of the Conference, my week in Phoenix was like slipping into your favorite sweatshirt during the first chill of fall – comfortable. From seeing old friends (those that I know from way back in the day in Philly 2010) to meeting new friends that were just an avatar in my Twitter-based world until recently, CONSTRUCT has become the CSI water cooler for me – the place that I go to connect with everyone IRL – in real life.
Social Media, while seemingly having “taken off” in the last year, has been an important part of my life for the past 3+ years. However over the last year the relationships have certainly “taken off’ with roots being firmly planted on a laptop screen, or on my smartphone or tablet. PHX CONSTRUCT was all about meeting some of these people IRL. From Kaitlin Solomon (@KaitlinSolomon3), Paul Gerber (@PaulDGerber), J. Peter Jordan (@JPeterJordan), Paul Treanor (@CONSTRUCTshow) and Liz “Don’t Call me Sullivan” O’Sullivan (@LizOSullivanAIA) to new Fellow John Guill (@SpecMonkeyNorth), Carol Hagen (@CarolHagen), Brok Howard (@BrokHoward) and Cherise Schacter (@CheriseSchacter) and more, it was like an instant reunion, despite having never met any of these people before. Social Media may be the new cold call, but it’s also the new water cooler, bar stool, message board, and “blind date” all mixed into one.
As a relative introvert, I have found it becoming increasingly more difficult to meet people as the years progress. Having been a lone employee who works from a home office over the last four years in Pennsylvania, CSI has become my neighborhood bar, coffee shop, library and grocery store. It doesn’t seem to matter the persons occupation, economic status or firm seniority, by just being a CSI member, you have something immediate and important in common.
So I could continue and talk about the wonderful city that Phoenix was – how the food was great, the people were terrific and the amenities were fantastic or about how great the CONSTRUCT presentations and exhibit hall was and it would all be true. But to me, PHX was about the people. The incredible crew from CSI Allentown that were there with me – now Fellow Mitch Miller, our current President Tina Montone, Lee Ann Slattery, Rob Sarnowski, Tim Sisock, Sal Verrastro, Dave Fenstermacher to fellow PA CSI folk John Groff, Bill Brightbill, Jan Meyers, Charlie Beauduy and Mike Lechleitner there were plenty of now local friends that I got to see over 2000 miles from home. Factor these folk in with the previously mentioned Twitter folk that I got to meet for the very first time and top them off with being able to spend some time with Joy Davis (THE woman behind the CSI Social Media community) and I deem CONSTRUCT PHX 2012 an absolute success.
Nashville 2013 is on my calender (as it should be with yours – September 24th – 27th) and I’d hate to make time go by any faster then it already is, but I can’t wait for it to get here! Between now and then, I hope to see you at a meeting.
The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) is a national association of volunteers, including specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, facility managers, product representatives, manufacturers, owners and others who are dedicated to improving the communication of construction information through many methods including certification (have you looked into getting your CDT?), standards, education and more.
The mission of CSI is to advance building information management and education of project teams to improve facility performance. While this mission should be achieved by every party working towards a common goal, it cannot occur without clear, complete, correct and concise communication. Anyone that has gone through their CDT certification with CSI, knows that these are the Four C’s of construction specification writing. However, this is also how a successful project is attained. With the four C’s of communication, each party involved (see the above list of CSI volunteers for reference) does his or her part to satisfy their roll to the absolute best of their ability with the Project in mind.
While I was instructed early on in my membership (through a very intelligent individual who is about to become a Fellow) that CSI is “how it is supposed to be and not necessarily how it is”, I have learned that over 13,000 people who volunteer their time, energy and information truly believe how it is “supposed to be”.
Communication is key and one thing I have learned in my three years with CSI is you can count on clear, complete, correct and concise communication with another member. Whether you are discussing the latest standard , Code, Project or material or talking about the weather or your favorite sports team, what you hear from a fellow CSI member can be held in high regard.
CSI is nothing without these volunteers. In what sounds like the Boy Scout law, these thousands of people are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, and most of all from my experience KIND. While having the opportunity to attend meetings with all seven CSI Chapter in PA (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Central Penn, North Central Penn, Railroad and my home chapter of Allentown), I have never felt more welcome and at ease in a room, knowing that each person attending works with the mission in mind.
While I can go and on and on, I need to stop somewhere and present my call to action. CSI is once again offering a special membership discount that is based solely around Social Media channels. I implore you to take this opportunity and save 20% on the National Membership. Of course, I also recommend you join a local chapter, where you can attend local education sessions and networking opportunities. Additional chapter dues are not included in this promotional offer.
Please, take advantage and don’t miss this special offer! #joinCSI at www.csinet.org/join by Wednesday, June 20 and pay only $192 for national dues — a 20% savings.
My absolute love of Social Media does absolutely nothing to help my attention span, which at times reminds me of Reid, my 15 month old son.
Trying to keep on top of the latest and greatest in Social Media requires one to be on their toes and be willing to dapple in what fancies you. How do you know what to pay attention to if you don’t give it a try? The older I get, the less I can concentrate for longer than 5 minutes it seems. I haven’t investigated Adult ADHD, but I wouldn’t be overly surprised if I have at least some form of it. So, if I’m introduced to a new Social Media platform and see a value in it, I’m on it. The platforms that stick, at least with me, are the ones that are most user friendly. Facebook (although that is more personal than business, Twitter and Pinterest all come to mind. I do like the visual and text blend of all three.
I have started no less than 3 blogs now in 3 different locations. The first was on ericdlussier.com, the 2nd was here on WordPress and now I have just started a Tumblr page. Tumblr is (to quote Wiki), a service that allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. I think I can already see what appeals to me as the visual aspect is what is featured first and foremost (hence, my love of Pinterest).
One of these days I think I need to sit down and concentrate on one spot and one location, at least for my blog. Is there such thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to Social Media? I think so. But for the time being it is all about being found, if someone is looking. So, if you are looking, you have found me.
Take your pick. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, WordPress, Tumblr or on my own website
While the verdict may be out about the ultimate value of Social Media, there is no denying the power and influence.
How did you find out about Osama Bin Laden's death? I found out on Twitter perhaps the moment it hit (Thanks @DrFunkenberry). No longer do we wait until the newspaper drops on the stoop in the morning. No longer do we wait for news websites to be updated. We can now go to Twitter and either in your feed, or with a quick search, you have complete access to what 200 million people are saying.
It's not all "I had toast for breakfast today" or "I'm taking my dog for a walk". Twitter is now millions of news agencies delivering the news AS IT HAPPENS. I personally use and adore Twitter. Rather than hunting through numerous news sites, I can go to one location and get all of my updates. If you use an RSS feeder, think of it as an RSS feed on steroids.
Sign up. It's free. Sit back and follow actors, musicians, politicians, news agencies or whatever interests you. You don't have to join the conversation, but it's much more interesting if you do.
Oh, and if you sign up, find me @EricDLussier
This post comes much delayed. I have told myself for weeks, heck, even months, that I need to update this. Who knows if it is read by anyone other then myself, but, the question is, does that even really matter?
Your Googleability is no longer an option. Hence, the reason I created this website and blog, thanks to weebly. Google drives decisions and ultimately sales in this day and age, no ifs ands or buts about.
So really all this comes on the heels of one of our manufacturers, who for some reason, does not appear in the first handful of pages of Google results for their prime product. Nowadays, everything helps and just yesterday, Google and Bing both admitted that Twitter and Facebook hits play into their search results. It's easy to say that 95% of the public have access to an internet connection and as a result, our shopping and buying habits have changed immensely. At one point, if you saw a product and liked it, you bought it. Now, if you see a product and like a product, you Google the product. You then research to your hearts content what people have to say about your product. OR, if you don't know what you want to buy, you Google say, "LCD flat-screen TV" and let the results lead the way.
Some people get it, some people don't. It's really a shame, because in 2010, you have no excuse not to be one of the latter. What will 2011 bring?
At one time, and really not that long ago, Social Media was seen as a pleasure piece only. No longer, to say the least. The line has been completely blurred and now business and social media go hand in hand like my favorite: peanut butter and jelly.
Just today alone you have two great examples. A terrific blog post on mashable about 40+ Essential Social Business Resources here: http://mashable.com/2010/07/07/essential-business-resources/
Also, an HR post about employers who ban employees from using social media and how they will lose their best candidates as these employees as they head for companies to work for more technologically progressive employers.
It is just staggering to see how Facebook's model has changed just in the last few months. In early 2010, seeing a business on Facebook was rare and now it has gotten to a point where if you are NOT on Facebook you are in the minority. Now with Welcome Tabs, Facebook is becoming more customizable for businesses as they dump their www address and focus more on the now in Facebook.
Where is your Facebook page? What is your strategy? Check me out at www.facebook.com/ericdlussier and our page at www.facebook.com/advantagesportusa
The old adage is really true. So much to do, so little time. The longer I work in Pennsylvania, the more I realize a) how darn big this state is and b) how much I really have to do.
I speak with many product reps that have a territory that is a fraction of what I cover, or I speak to a firm that has dozens of people doing what I do over the same area. Sometimes the more I think of it, the heavier the burden seems. It tends to work best when I just go about my business and not overthink things. If it were only that easy.
Surround yourself with a good support team, use technology to your advantage and do your best. If that was only that easy as well.
I've discovered a few pieces of technology that have helped me in the social media struggle and that is TweetDeck from Seesmic and now Gist. If you haven't checked out either and you are an active Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn junkie like myself, give them a whirl.
That being said, I am still in love with my Droid, too. I miss my BlackBerry Pearl sometimes, but the Droid really is where it's at.
I must find more topics to write about and time to do so.
That's a mighty good question. What exactly do I need my own website for? I haven't even finished visiting all of the other ones on the wonderful World Wide Web, that's for sure. As a matter of fact, I find myself frequenting the same sites over and over and over. ESPN? Check. CNN? Check. SI? Check. Facebook? Check.
It actually gets a bit boring after a while. Even though the news and sports always changes, it does always seem to be just about the same thing.
I remember being told by my sister to get a Facebook page a few years ago. I will perhaps never live it down when I said "what do I need a Facebook page for? I barely have time to visit MySpace?" Well, flash forward a few years and I find myself spending entirely too much time on Facebook. So much so, that I have a page for Currently Nameless ( http://www.facebook.com/#!/currentlynameless) that I created and admin, as well as Advantage Sport USA (http://www.facebook.com/#!/advantagesportusa) and now I even find myself as an admin on CSI Allentown (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=297304292067&ref=ts
I just found myself caught up in the social media craze so much that I am now hooked on Twitter, tinker with LinkedIn and also dabble with YouTube. Now, if I was only famous and I had people beating down my door to friend, follow, connect or subscribe with me.
The miscellaneous ramblings of Eric D. Lussier, CSI, CDT