Seeing Emotion: Google Glass and IEEE Advances Technology for Autism


“Google Glass” or “Glass” was introduced in 2013 and is a brand of wearable computer Seeing Emotion Google Glass IEEE and Autismsmart glasses that adds information next to what people see. It has an optical head-mounted display that fits onto glasses. Since its inception, it has many applications across industries. It even takes pictures.

Recently the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Spectrum posted a breakthrough article called: Upgraded Google Glass Helps Autistic Kids “See” Emotions

It’s exciting and continues the growing narrative that shows how engineers, scientists, and doctors continue to make significant advances to healthcare and technology. Social media and technology continue to thrive, innovate, and grow, which is a great thing for humanity.

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Feel free to comment below.

Guy Kawasaki – Challenges and Solutions for Starting a New Business


Recently I had the honor of hearing Guy Kawasaki speak at my Alma Mater, The University of St. Thomas. I was really happy I went. Among his many titles, Guy is a corporate evangelist, trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, Kakie Fitzsimmons Meets Guy Kawasaki USTexecutive fellow at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, author and speaker. He was there to discuss some of the challenges, (and solutions), faced when starting a new business. He also spoke about his newest book; “The Art of the Start 2.0” and his new business, Canva, a website that lets you design just about anything you want. We also learned was that he is an avid hockey fan, his wife is from Minnesota and in everything he does, it is important for him to inspire others. I took some notes during his talk below that summarize my key takeaway items from his talk.

Ask simple questions which include:

  • Therefore, What?
  • Isn’t that interesting?
  • Is there a better way?

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Educating Our Kids to be Responsible Digital Citizens


Generations kids parents social media technologySometimes it seems hard to remember a world without digital anything. It has changed business models, communication paradigms and how we need to think about what it means to be a digital and global citizen. Technology has shifted the way we shop, pay bills, save money, consume media, get cash, travel, advertise, manage workflows, store information and even how we want to be remembered.

According to the Ad Age Mobile Fact Pack 2013, the average adult in the United States spends an average of 141 minutes per day using mobile devices. Despite that, the good news is that the changes are teaching us how to stay connected to our families. According to Pew Internet, since 1965, fathers have tripled the amount of time spent with their kids. Even mothers spend more time now with their children than they did in 1960Despite loads of information at our fingertips, we still don’t have all of the answers, and perhaps there is some redemption in that.

In presentations when I speak to people about what it means to remain relevant in a digital world that continues to expand, there are still so many people who feel overwhelmed.  There are arguments on all sides about topics like transparency, being politically correct, when to take calls, check email and how to behave in public when talking on mobile devices, etc. Read more of this post

Growing #OWNers Social @ Oprah Winfrey Network on Twitter


Wall page Kakie OWN

#IAmAnOwner and this weekend, I have been invited by The Oprah Winfrey Network to be a social media moderator for their @OWNers Twitter account during programming. I had a few people ask me what that means and if I would explain it here. So here are the details and how you can participate.

During the shows listed below, viewers use a #Hashtag to have live conversations about what is heard or seen, that resonates, surprises or inspires as a result of the programmingPeople re-tweet comments made by others, or share insights, ask questions and respond to comments.

Who are #OWNers? Viewers who believe in the vision of The Oprah Winfrey Network and it’s movement, which is about inspiring people to celebrate, learn, grow and be empowered to live their best lives by sharing what they are learning with others.

I’ve watched the network’s social media efforts unfold since it first aired and was immediately drawn to how they were engaging viewers.  This effort, their “Twitter Takeover” initiative is a great way to organically grow a network while demonstrating the core of what social media is really about. Conversation. I hope you will join us. Below is the schedule and related hashtags and how to participate.

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Extraordinary Singular Sensation | The Daily Prompt


If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?Graduation Post Kakie Fitzsimmons

The connection that sparks meaningful conversation and reaches the masses. Dialogue that results in personal, professional and spiritual growth, paradigm shifts, reflection, healing, laughter, joy, and friendships.

Relevant discussions about alternative perspectives that are rich, thought-provoking and insightful.

I have served as a speaker and presenter about different topics. I have been writing for years in a number of formats. I believe at my core, that there is something in my experiences that are supposed to move and touch the lives of many people. It just hasn’t revealed itself yet. But I have faith that something greater is in store because we all have a story to tell. So what is yours? Please comment below!

This post was inspired by The Daily Prompt

Commentary: Best Buy Keynote Scott Durchslag at MN High Tech Association Spring Conference


MHTA Spring Conf 2013 KeyNote Scott Durchslag SVP Digital and Mktg, Pres .comI have always been an early adopter when it comes to media and technology and early in my career spent 4 years working at Best Buy. So it was exciting to attend the Minnesota High Tech Association Annual Spring Conference to hear Keynote speaker Scott Durchslag, SVP of Digital and Marketing and President of BestBuy.com and e-commerce. Despite the company’s challenges in the past year, they have had a lot of exciting things going on.

Last November we published an academic paper called Best Buy Strategic Management Analysis as part of the Executive MBA Program at The University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. (I’ll be Graduating in May). Being a person who loves the process of discovery and learning, it was fascinating to uncover companies and brands they own, observe how the Board of Directors and Dick Schulz, the founder and former CEO interacted as he was making attempts to buy back the company.

It was intriguing to learn what has evolved over the past few months and hear how everything is unfolding. Best Buy has a new initiative called Renew Blue which was presented at their shareholder meeting in November. Based on MBA learning, and the information Durchslag presented, it felt like they are facing a revolutionary change which is a rare, dramatic transformation that shifts mindsets and culture in the business.

I have a unique background that blends Marketing, Social Media, Digital and Project Management (IT and Business), so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see that early the same morning a press release was posted saying “Best Buy to Sell its Stake in European Business to Carphone Warehouse.” I understand why they did it and think leadership made a good call based on the research done in the assessment we published. Best Buy is using a mindset of “Test, innovate and learn” which is good because it encourages people to take a risk and become part of creating a new culture. And Innovation is more important now than ever, so it is definitely going to remain on my radar.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Please share below.

# The Hashtag, Innovation and Social Learning


Answer to What is a HashtagThe innovative #Hashtag started on Twitter and is now being used across multiple social media platforms. I have seen people asking about it on Facebook and thought this might be helpful.

#Hashtag defined: A word proceeded with the [ # ] symbol, which is used as a keyword or topic in a Tweet. It helps categorize words or phrases so users can follow a stream. It can also be used to search for others who use the same hashtags.

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Information about using #hashtags on Twitter:

  • The symbol [ # ] before a keyword or phrase, with no spaces. These hashtags are then categorized, which makes them easier to find in the search function.
  • Click on a #hashtag word in any message and you will see the most recent tweets using that hashtag.
  • Hashtags can be included within the 140 space limit (Best practice only 2-3 hashtags per tweet.)
  • Hashtag words become popular & can be Trending Topics.
  • Hashtags are also used at conferences, on live video streams or at a large presentation during Q&A.
  • Some groups facilitate moderated conversation at set times, using hashtags to discuss topics of interest or share best practices.
  • If another tweeter searches for a hashtag you have listed, they may follow you!

Live Stream example: Every Sunday the Oprah Winfrey Network ( @OWNTV ) channel has a program called #SuperSoulSunday and viewers can go to http://tweetchat.com then enter the hashtag to see what everyone is talking about in real-time. Below is a response I received from the OWN Network.

If you have any other tips, please share them below!!

Hashtag Response from OWN

Nielsen Publishes “The State of Social Media Report 2012”


Social media and its impact on marketing, key findings

  • Mobile is driving continued growth of social media and marketing
  • Based on findings, one in three users say they prefer to use social media for satisfaction or complaints.
  • There is power in word-of-mouth because consumers have access to more people daily through social media.
  • Social media has changed how consumers make purchasing decisions
  • There are opportunities for engagement because attitudes towards advertising via social media is still changing

[Update 04/15/2020] Dear readers, this original post had the report, which was eventually pulled from the location previously posted and is no longer available online However, Neilsen did publish the information on their with a subject called:

HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACTS BRAND MARKETING

Thanks for visiting the blog, feel free to leave thoughts  and comments below.

Transparency And the Journey to Truth


Transparency, it’s an interesting concept. How much about ourselves and our lives should we share online, in public, with another human being, and as leaders?Slice of Transparency by Kakie Fitzsimmons

The truth is there is no answer because it is a decision we must seek individually. The most important person in the world that we ought to be transparent with, is ourselves.

Recently I found myself re-watching the movie; “Eat, Pray, Love,”  based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert and there is a quote in the movie that rings true for all of us.

It discusses how the Physics of the Quest is a force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity and it goes something like this:

If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.

So what are your thoughts and feelings about transparency online? I really want to hear from you so please, share below what this means for you and let’s talk!

Day 13: Excercise Freedom of Expression Today: #Hoodiesup Movement


21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for:

Today the NAACP, Move-On.Org and Changeforcolor.Org have teamed up to declare social media #Millionhoodies #Hoodiesup day, an online demonstration to encourage people in to post a million pictures wearing a hoodie to honor  Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen killed by a neighborhood watch man George Zimmerman, after he was told by a 911 operator, to stop following Trayvon.

The dialogue in the media and online is controversial. Some have mistakenly categorized Trayvon’s death as an issue about black and white, but I assure you it has to do with far more. This tragic event, for many people in this country, is about perception, bias, race, judgement, assumptions, our history as a country, a flawed legal system, the media and more.

In 1983, one of my best friends was brutally murdered and her killer served just 5 years. It left us all asking; “Why?” So  many years later I think of her regularly and the death of Trayvon Martin last month has stirred emotions for me as a result of that loss. But also because I am a parent of a kid just like Trayvon. Yes, I will repeat. I am a parent of a child just like Trayvon.

Think about that for a minute and let it soak in and then put yourself in my shoes for just ten seconds. I must have productive and honest conversations about the ugly realities of race and judgement with my son because of the color of his skin and I want him to embrace all facets of his multiculturalism.  I also think it is important he is aware that there are some people who are not color-blind and there are logical arguments that the best approach is to have dialogue about it. The sad and ugly truth is that in our country social and racial injustice happen every day.

Think about the sound of anxiety in your child’s voice when an issue about race suddenly becomes real for them. And then at another time, how would you respond when your child shares fear of getting shot because of their skin color and what they have seen in the media?

I reach out to communities who understand my reality. They provide insight about having these conversations regarding perception and judgement in teachable, healthy and productive ways. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t get angry, sad or frustrated sometimes. What we live, we teach, so I focus on what I can control, which are my responses and faith that integrity wins out every time. I try to keep the following speech front of mind, because it’s how I want to interact with every person I meet.

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

                                                                      -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are people who don’t know how to have complicated conversations like the one I am discussing. As you can see from an interview I gave a while back with my friend Amy Bowllan, a blogger at The School Library Journal in a series called; “Writers Against Racism,” there is a dysfunctional old school of thought that implies “If we don’t name it, it can’t exist.”  It is unjust, but it happens and every day the social undertones that go unspoken and are often misunderstood. As a parent and a compassionate human being, I am sad and shaken to the core about what happened to Trayvon.

We have had ongoing, complicated conversations in our family about the ugly realities of prejudice and racism. Through those discussions and having a strong support network, I emphasize that there is power in choices. We work towards being living examples of what is right and what is possible. The only way to plant seeds of hope and peace is to open conversation.

I believe that silence condones approval, which is what drove me to write this post. As part of this movement, they are asking we change our profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook using description  hashtags #hoodiesup and #millionhoodies (instructions below) so it can be tracked via social media monitoring tools. Here is how you can make a difference. 

  • Talk to kids about it to give them assurance and guidance. Use the Huffington Post article How To Talk To Your Child About Trayvon Martin’s Death to have productive dialogue
  • Join the conversation and tell me your thoughts and comments below.
  • Tweet, blog, comment on various social media forums using hashtags #hoodiesup and #millionhoodies
  • “Like” the Facebook Group A Million Hoodies For Trayvon Martin
  • Change your profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook using description  hashtags #hoodiesup and #millionhoodies so it can be tracked via social media monitoring tools.

Four things I am grateful for:

  1. In this country we have freedom of expression. I recently spent time in South East Asia where this is often not an option.
  2. Adversity pulls us together as communities and individuals. It takes one person to make a difference. Will you make yours today?
  3. We have access to tools and resources to facilitate conversation about challenging situations like this
  4.  Being a parent of a terrific kid

Nielsen Publishes Q3 2011 Report: The State of Social Media


Just a Few Interesting Key Findings:

  • 4 in 5 internet users visit social networking sites
  • 40% of social media users access from mobile
  • 70% adult social networkers shop online (12% more likely than others)
  • 53% of active social networkers follow a brand online
  • 32% follow a celebrity

Social Media Readiness: How Advanced Companies Prepare


Today Altimeter Group released a study today on Social Media Readiness at Corporations and there is some good information here. Many companies have come a long way when it comes to social media, but there is still plenty of more work to be done.

They conducted interviews with 144 Social Media Managers, 63 Corporate practitioners, social business software and solutions providers. Furthermore, they analyzed 50 reputation management social media crisis occurrences since 2001. Their executive summary explains the problem the report goes on to explain the four main components these advanced companies had in common:

  1. Baseline Governance and Reinforcement: Established and reinforced corporate social media policies and guidelines that empower employees to participate externally on the social web and Social Business Readiness How Advanced Companies Preparealso protect the organization
  2. Enterprise-Wide Response Processes: Defined processes for rapid workflow and engagement with customers in social media i.e. crisis communication, customer feedback workflows, etc.
  3. Ongoing Education Program and Best Practice Sharing: Fostered a culture of learning through ongoing social media education
  4. Leadership from a Dedicated and Shared Central Hub: Organized in a scalable formation, with a cross-functional “Center of Excellence

Here is a link to the presentation 

Social Media and Return on Investment (ROI)


I recently attended an event at The Urban Bean coffee shop in Minneapolis about social media marketing and Return On Investment (ROI). Jen Kane from Kane Consulting opened by guessing that we were all waiting for her to give us the big ROI secret or that there is some magic software package that gives all of the answers. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. Our brains give us the tools we need. We have to figure it out through good old Beyond Social Media ROIfashioned trial andgic error.

Start with a measurement checklist. A while back I wrote an article called “Did You Know You Can Listen to the Internet?” which might be a good place to get started. In the laws of social media, listening is the first step and how we hear what is being said is different for every business. Listening will help you discover what you want social media to do for you and it will help you understand where customers are and how to build them as an audience. Sometimes we set our goals too big and as Jen so humorously put it, saying you want to be awesome by the end of 2011 isn’t going to cut it. It won’t cover the intangible assets or topics that are a call to action like buying your product, having a conversation where consumers talk back and it isn’t enough to cover a change in sentiment either.

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Recap: 2010 Minnesota Bloggers Conference


So you see a picture of two dolls on my social media blog and think, “Who are they and why is their picture posted on Kakie’s site?” I’d like to formally introduce you to Anna and Bur Bur, two of the multiracial kids featured in the award-winning children’s books, Bur Bur and Friends. I am one of the authors.

Many of you may not know that I am an award-winning blogger. My other blog for the children’s books I have written was the recipient of a Nickelodeon Parent Picks award. Anna and Bur Bur are based on real kids and for the past few months, I have been bringing them with me to all of the social media events. I have found they inspire me and are a reminder of why I started blogging in the first place. Kids and literacy, I am passionate about them both.

This past weekend I attended the Minnesota Bloggers Conference hosted by Missy Berggren, also known as The Marketing Mama, Arik Hansen from Communication Conversations, Katie Shoop from Katie in Minneapolis and Suzi Magill from Pink Vanilla Cupcakes all of whom who did an amazing job at organizing and promoting the event.

The sessions I attended included:

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Recap: Impossible vs. Perfect via Seth Godin’s Road Trip to Minneapolis


Seth Godin is the author of 12 books, (all best-sellers) about marketing, leadership and Seth Godin Definition of a revolutionbeing remarkable. His latest book, LINCHPIN, hit the Amazon top 10 on the first day it was published and became a New York Times bestseller. Thanks to my friend Mel Freer (@Melzpetpals) owner of Mel’s Pet Pals, I had the opportunity to see him speak last week at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis and took away some pretty interesting insight. Below is my recap.

The old commerce model of business as we know it is dead.

  • Make average stuff for average companies, reduce costs and repeat
  • Sell cheap stuff for the masses
  • Interrupt everyone and tell them what we do
  • Yell louder when sales are down

We aren’t using radio and TV how we used to which is good news because that means we get to do better work. We are in an at the dawn of reinventing the way we do business and at the end of the day, it will all come down to a choice. We have to rethink the way we do everything every day and within our world, figure out where we are in our race to the top, the bottom and the race to efficiency.

Impossible vs. Perfect

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