Tag Archive for #SHRM

Sunday ShoutOut: Curtis Midkiff @SHRMSocmedGuy

Image by Heather Bussing #SHRM12

I’ve just got back from #SHRM12 in Atlanta, a fantastic event that attracted close to 20,0000 people. I managed to catch a few sessions but I spent most of my time for the first two days in the hive. The hive was a brilliant collaboration between Dice.Com and SHRM, providing support and advice to any of the attendees on social media topics on a one to one basis. taking the theme and inspiration from Apple, with three genius bars, staffed by 80 members of the blog squad who volunteered to give up time to get others started on their social media journey. I found it really rewarding spending time with HR professionals getting them started. It was a great reminder of starting out, and the pure joy that comes from connecting. Before thinking about R.O.I, tools, applications and strategy, it is about connecting with others and sharing. The hive reminded me of this.

It was through the hive and the blog squad that I first came in to contact with Curtis Midkiff. Curtis is the Director of Social Engagement for SHRM, the society for human resource management. The role seems to be a catch-all covering all things social, This means promoting SHRM through the social channels, providing opportunities for members to connect with the organisation and each other, as well as supporting the members use of social media. It is a challenging role with diverse demands, and one that Curtis does well. I’ve had some involvement with the trade organisations where the pace of change can be slow. It is a balancing act between progress in small steps whilst respecting the existing brand and set up. What struck me about #SHRM12 was that social media was referenced in virtually every session, and the # trended for 4 days with over 25,200 tweets coming from over 3,800 contributors, and just over 700 new twitter  accounts set up. I think the stats speak volumes about the excellent job Curtis is doing in moving the social conversation. This volume of brand exposure illustrates how SHRM, lead by Curtis, are putting SHRM at the center of HR conversations with not only the members, but more importantly the HR audience at large.

Curtis joined SHRM in 2010, and has been making steady progress since. Before joining SHRM, Curtis was Chief Marketing Officer for JCM Enterprises.  Among  Curtis’s responsibilities at JCM was helping not for profit  organisation develop fund raising strategies through the emerging social media channels, as well as supporting companies with product marketing and other initiatives. Curtis worked at JCM for over 4 years, and was at the forefrount of the switch from e-mail to social marketing. experience that would serve him well on moving to SHRM.

Prior to joining JCM, Curtis founded and ran the BAMPAC Bulletin, an on-line website, bulletin board and newsletter. BAMPAC is a non-partisan political action group who work towards change in communities, and supporting local students with education. This was the start of Midkiffs marketing career, after studying political management at The George Washington University and English at Morehouse College. His career to date has been one of exploration and innovation, propelling him towards his great work at SHRM.

I really enjoyed spending time with Curtis and getting to know him a little better. He is full of optimism and leads from the front, a quality that no doubt has served him well with the many obstacles he has no doubt faced in turning SHRM in to a social organisation. The success of SHRM12 in generating social buzz is testament to his work. Blogger Dwane Lay of LeanHR and Dovetail software sums up Curtis’s contribution on LinkedIn with the following recommendation:

“As a member of the blogging community, I’ve often found that we are at best tolerated and at worst scorned at conference time. Curtis took the lead in moving Social Media to the forefront at the SHRM12 conference. By building a structure that was not just welcoming but engaging, he captured the attention of a wider social network than ever before. 700 new Twitter accounts, 25K mentions from 4k contributors and 103 million impressions don’t lie. 

Curtis was also very generous with his time, constantly engaging with the community from the beginning of the planning to well after the execution phase. He is held in very high regard for the work done in marshaling resources from media and vendors to provide an outstanding experience for the people who really count, the conference attendee. There are few in the industry who have that kind of reach, and fewer who can turn it into results. 

Curtis is at the top of that game, without question.” June 28, 2012

I agree with the sentiment. Thankyou Curtis for all you do, looking forward to meeting up again soon. Keep rapping!



Curtis Midkiff



Sunday Shout Out:: @WilliamTincup – Community Freak #DTHR

I’m stuck at New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport on my way back from what has been an excellent #LASHRM. Thanks to Robin Schooling for including me in 2 great days. During the event I got to see a brilliant opening keynote on social capital by the twosome that make up Talent Anarchy. One of the phrases that really stood out in the talk was that to stand out in social you need to fly your freak flag. Thats a term i really relate to. For me it’s about being different and unique. thinking and communicating in ways that contravene conventional thinking and mediocrity. There are few people who fit this term better than the recipient of this weeks Sunday Shout Out, William Tincup. I use the term community freak as a compliment, he is both unique and original and anything but ordinary. I like Tincup because he breaks the rules and makes new ones. Spending time with William and the conversation flows from travel, music, cigars, social, HR, people, and it is non-stop and frantic. I’ve spent some extended time in the company of William 3 times in the past year. Each time I have left with a new viewpoint or thought. Each time he has followed up the meeting with an introduction to someone new. These introductions have always been mutually beneficial, and have not benefited William directly. It’s the way he rolls.
If you want to see why William is different, then you don’t need to look any further than his website, “William Tincup: That’s all you had to say.” When you visit the site, it kind of breaks the rules of what others might tell you a modern website must contain. There’s no picture, other than a logo, no video, and plenty of long written text. It is less of a website and more of a manifesto on the direction Tincup is going. When you look at what he does, there are three clear things that stand out. What he sells: Conversations. What he doesn’t do: Any delivery. Where he is going: This is Tincups vision in his own words: ” I’ve always been a “what’s next” guy. I tend to manage my life better when I have goals. So during this period of my life, I have set the next goal to be this simple: by the time I’m 50 (8 years from now), I want to be the default expert on User Adoption Marketing. That’s it.”. He goes on to explain that in the short-term he is on a mission to talk to 1000 HR practitioners and 250 vendors on the topic. There is a book planned, which he intends to become the bible on the subject, and he is racking up the miles getting to nearly every conference going, talking, listening and connecting. The mission is explicit, and he is clear that he wants to achieve this by the time he is 50, within the next 8 years. I wouldn’t bet against him.

Tincup has been running marketing agencies for the last 11 years. First with Ariesnet, before creating the iconic Starr-Tincup, in partnership with Brett Starr, in November 2000. It was through Starr-tincup that I first became aware of William, through his weekly e-mail newsletter. I remember first thinking who are these crazy guys? This content is just insane, but then it grew on me. Each week I started looking forward to hearing from them and the latest ramblings. A bit like reading an episode of the Simpsons. I never wanted to miss one.

In July 2010 I read an update that Tincup was taking a new direction. it was an amicable parting of the ways between Tincup and Starr, with Tincup being very open about his reasoning for wanting to take a whole new direction. The first post explaining the story still forms the first page of his website, titled “My Story.” He explained his reasoning as

“Accolades and applause aside, lately I haven’t been a pleasure to be around.  I knew something wasn’t quite right with me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it….

Have you ever fallen out of love with something you helped create?  Well, I did.  After owning and operating an agency – specifically, an outsourced marketing services firm – I came to realize that my heart just wasn’t in it any more.  Quite frankly, I’m not sure I believe in the outsourced marketing services model.”

That was incredibly open and transparent from someone who had after-all been selling this option for the past 12 years. He went to explain that really the marketing function should really be important enough to be run in-house, and that he wanted to devote his time, effort and energy in to enabling this through conversation. He is clear that he is not a consultant because he doesn’t deliver work, he sells conversations.Thats right, if you read his website you can see that clearly, and he is very transparent about what it is going to cost to have a conversation with Tincup, who explains just what a conversation with him is:

I strongly believe that a great conversation has several ingredients:



listening (to what is said and not said),

formation of insightful questions,

frank dialogue, and

a review of action steps.

These are the basics and without these, conversations are left to happenstance.”

It was around the time of this announcement that i got my first call from Tincup. It seems that #tru had come up on his radar as a place where conversations were happening, and he felt we should just talk. He also filled me in on his thoughts towards HR technology and user adoption. Whilst I agreed with his thinking, I couldn’t quite see at this point how this was going to evolve in to a recognisable business model, and quite what the business offering would. We agreed to stay in touch, and have done so more through messages and greetings than calls. I remember commenting to someone else at the time that although he was well established as a marketeer, I wanted to take a watching brief and really see what he was all about. I couldn’t see yet where he was going to fit in to the community. I was still thinking of him as a marketeer, and in my view there were more than enough of them about.

The first thing Tincup did that stood out was teaming up with Bryan Wempen for the daily blog talk radio show Drive ThruHR. Bryan is an experienced HR pro who I first came across when he sponsored #trulondon2. At the time, I was running my own blog talk radio show and I knew how hard it was to build audience and maintain content and callers over a sustained period of time, and bryan was planning on running a show every day at lunch time. I think I was Bryans second guest on the show, and he worked incredibly hard to build up the listener numbers and rankings. Steve Boese’s excellent HR Happy Hour was showing how you could build a community around an internet radio show in the HR space, but i was unsure that there was enough room for more shows on a similar theme, and #dthr had to create new content every day. It was a big ask.

I was curious about what would happen when I heard that Tincup would be joining the show as a co-host. What I’ve witnessed since has been a real pleasure to watch, and a real example of how to build brand and market content. Whilst it’s true to say that compelling content is critical to any social media activity, personally I don’t give it the “King” rating, I think that goes to found, read, heard or seen compelling content. I see some great blogs in the HR space that just don’t get the readership. Brilliant well crafted content that doesn’t have the impact it should because very few people are aware of what is being said.

Tincup brought another dimension to the solid foundations Wempen had built, and gave Tincup an avenue to do what he does best, have conversations, as well as another source for great guests, which is perhaps at the heart of the success of the show. The meteoric rise in the popularity of the show has been great to watch. In a relatively short space of time Tincup built a twitter following of over 112,000, combined with Wempens 30,000+.Tincup doesn’t just use his twitter feed to promote his work and #dthr, he has set up feeds from blogs in the HR and recruiting space (including this one), that helps to promote the work of others.

It’s unusual to see a #SHRM event that does not feature one or the other or both speaking, running a show and meeting people in the exhibition hall. Both work incredibly hard keeping the show front and centre. Tincup is also proud to promote his membership and participation in SHRM through his SPHR listing.

It was at Ohio SHRM in September last year that i first got to meet Tincup in person. Some people just stand out in a crowd and Tincup is one of those people. All of his clothing, including hats carry the distinctive TC logo, and he just looks different. He is softly spoken in person, with a great intensity about anything he is talking about that just draws you in to share your vision. He listens intently, and sends himself reminders to follow up on key things that he takes from the meeting of minds. His presentation to the Ohio SHRM audience was about what they should be expecting from their technology providers. It was engaging and incredibly valuable to the participants. Hearing about user adoption from the horses mouth made a lot of sense, but I was more impressed with the time Tincup took to seek people out, make them feel important and to learn from the conversation. I’ve met William twice since, at #TNLLive (where he is starting to work closely with my friend Craig Fisher). Tincup was part of the infamous house at #SXSW that I was delighted to be a part of, and again this week at Louisiana SHRM. Each time we’ve met the conversation has progressed, and I’ve learnt more than I think I have put in, and have gone away energised with new ideas. I suspect each SHRM conference, #dthr show and conference he attends is propelling him closer to his vision, and cranking up the volume of conversations.

Away from HR and taking over the world of user adoption thinking, Tincup is a proud father of 2 boys, whose faces show up from time to time in his content and presentation. He is also a great and easy guy to get to know. If you haven’t connected or met him yet, you should make the effort, and for me, I’m looking forward to carrying on the conversations.



Tincup On LinkedIn