Well, today was the day! After several weeks of planning and a few days of preparation, it all came down to the big event at high noon. I invited all the members into a chat room and the Youthcove Brainstorm session was underway. First off I have to send a huge thanks out to my good friends Matt Geri, Mandy Fintel, Paulie Sabol, and James Coombs for helping me out with the planning, organization, and execution of the meeting. The Brainstorm session went almost nothing like I planned it and for it to have still succeeded really required my friends pitching in and doing their best.. I could NOT have done it without you guys, thank you so much : ).
The topic of the Brainstorm was Internet Marketing: Traffic Generation. We started off by sharing the Agenda, followed up with a quick introduction session, and then I went straight into the rather challenging task of explaining what Brainstorming is. For those of you who’ve attended the Youthcove Brainstorm sessions in the past, you might have gone into this one with an idea of what it would be like, based on your past experience. Many people showed up late which I feel was a function of remembering that the first 30 minutes of the old brainstorms were usually spent in welcoming, chatting, and catching up on how each other’s weeks had been, all very important, just not relevant to the actual brainstorm.
This time we got straight to it.. After a few short minutes of introductions, I gave an explaination of brainstorming. It was as follows:
What is Brainstorming? What do you need to have a successful brainstorm?
1. Define a challenge or a need – Traffic!
2. What is the desired outcome of the brainstorm? – Ways to generate traffic!
3. Identify things you can do to reach your desired outcome.
4. What must happen next to make #3 work?
And with that, there are some RULES to brainstorming! I first explained the objective, and then shared the rules. They are as follows:
Objective: Gather up and capture all ideas drawn from the “collective genius” (that’s us!) without ANY critical voices.
And then the 7 rules..
1. NO Ideacide – There are no bad ideas.
2. Let your mind play – Let it wander all over, consider everything! Don’t hold back ; ).Think of CRAZY things.
3. Have fun! –
4. Don’t worry or focus on specific how-to’s – You may decide that creating a game that spreads like wildfire is a great way to drive traffic.. Don’t get caught up or discouraged by HOW to do it.
5. Time Limits – We have an hour of Brainstorm time, we’re gonna keep things rolling as fast as possible and its important to stay focused.
6. Capture it all! – We’re going to be going over some activities and as I instruct you, we’re going to be adding things to the brainstorm sessions forum.
7. Support, encourage, and build up – You guys have already been a huge support through the forums so I know this won’t be a challenge, when someone shares an idea and you recognize its value, let them know it, build each other up : ).
And that was that.. The Brainstorm Session actually went very well :). A lot of the activities I had planned and wanted to do did NOT work out, and at the last minute I had to change things around, but that’s really what it’s all about, especially as this was very much a first time experience for me, NOTHING like the previous brainstorms.
So with that, I learned a lot of stuff..
- I learnt that no matter how much you prepare, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong – Right off the bat, my good friend and fellow brainstorm coordinator James Coombs, was kicked offline from the Brainstorm session and in order to keep things going and avoid that happening again, we sent everyone into a chat room on Paulie’s website, http://www.realestatelink.net. That worked out well but was definitely NOT my brainstormming format of choice. James and I are going to be setting a chat room on the Youthcove server for future sessions ;).
- I saw, again, how absolutely important it is to have a team – I really could NOT have done it without the help of my friends and fellow teammates. The support and encourgament was priceless and made all the difference for me. Your friends and fellow teammates are the ones who cover when you’re slipping, who provide the missing piece of the puzzle, who fill in the gaps when there’s a technical difficulty, who set the examples for you and help you lead. You absolutely MUST have a team.
- Don’t let anything sidetrack you – When you’ve got 15+ people all together for a reason, there will ALWAYS always ALWAYS be things coming up to try and sidetrack you. It could be a technical difficulty, it could be a logistics challenge, it could be a beginner question, it could be a lack of understanding, it could be an outside influence, such as a phone ringing or a purple elephant charging across your front lawn, ya just never know ;).
And with that, I’m off for now! Matt and Mandy are wrapping up there stay, Mandy will be going back home to Nebraska and Matt will be taking off to Ireland! Gonna miss you guys :|.
More stuff later :). Have an AWESOME evening!