TrailheaDX Developer New York Viewing Party on Bryant Park

 
See my goofy grin, top left ;)
Last week I had the chance to visit Salesforce Tower again, and check out a live broadcast of "TrailheaDX" a San Francisco conference for Salesforce developers. The New York City viewing party was a blast, and I met a bunch of awesome developers and trailblazers.


The coolest feature release was Salesforce DX Open Beta, an integrated development environment build for Salesforce Application development.  
"Salesforce DX provides you with an integrated, end-to-end lifecycle designed for high-performance agile development. And best of all, we've built it to be open and flexible so you can build together with tools you love."
To opt into the beta and test out the software, visit: sforce.co/get-dx
 

     

Slack UX and Chatbot Development Best Practices

I had a chance to visit Slack's NYC headquarters last week, for an event about building better chatbots for users.  Whether it be Slack, Snapchat or Facebook Messenger, chat (as a medium) has largely surpassed social media in terms of engagement and time spent on platform.  Therefore as the chatbot space becomes more crowded, setting standards for chatbot development best practices (especially standards for user experience) is crucial for individual chatbots to succeed. 

I've long been a Slack chatbot fan (and was recently highlighted as a Statsbot super-user on their website). 


Bear Douglas, the Developer Advocacy Lead at Slack (formerly of Facebook and Twitter), led the talk, and had some interesting insight into successful chatbot development.  Firstly, when building a bot for the Slack App Directory, follow the basic guidelines like outlining your use cases, understanding your audience and creating guidelines for messaging.  Secondly, focus on the clarity of intent, and make sure you create an easy onboarding experience. Ensure your bot's diction is clear, using action words and inclusionary language. 

I had a chance to chat with Bear Douglas after the event, and mentioned I was impressed at how much the app directory had grown in the several years since I've adopted the platform.  I told her I had heard that Slack was kind of fulfilling the potential of what Twitter once had claimed; becoming a platform (for people to develop upon) rather than just a messaging app.  She quipped back, that "yeah, that's true, we do say that a lot... though that might be because most of people here-- we came directly from Twitter. 

The office was very cool as well. 


Before and after the fire at Beth Hamedrash Hagodol Synagogue on Norfolk Street on the Lower East Side

Last weekend, the rains were coming down on the Lower East Side, but the sun came out during the afternoon on Saturday.  Outside of my apartment, I saw some bizarre cloud cover filling the neighborhood, and the permeating smell of woodsmoke.


The Beth Hamedrash Hagodol Synagogue was on fire...


Curbed has some fantastic photography of the interior of the synagogue. 

I had take some interesting photos of my own over the winter. 

and after... 

Apparently, there is a teen already charged for starting the fire, but it's valuable real estate right in the middle of one of the biggest redevelopment projects in Manhattan, so I'm a bit skeptical that he acted on his own. 

Salesforce Tower in New York City gets Signage on Bryant Park

I was walking to my friend's Fintech conference (#empirefintech) on Tuesday, when I looked up to see Salesforce Tower had added their logo at the top of what used to be the MetLife building. Many people are suggesting this is a harbinger of the tech industry supplanting finance in NYC, though I think Silicon Alley has a ways to go yet... 

Either way, it was kind of neat to see Salesforce's logo peeking out above the New York Public Library, over Bryant Park, next to the Bank of America Building, the same week I was asked to sit on a Salesforce Customer Advisory Board for Pardot. 
Looks like Salesforce and Pardot are the future!


Sidewalk Labs: Let's Talk about Technology and Housing Affordability

Note: This article originally appeared on the Elegran Blog

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Alphabet’s (Google) own Sidewalk Labs hosted one of the first NYC Sidewalk Talks this past week, at their headquarters on the 26th floor of the newly-opened 10 Hudson Yards. Sidewalk Labs is Alphabet’s urban innovation organization, an amalgam of different initiatives and acquired companies focused on improving urban infrastructure. Sidewalk Talks was announced this spring, and aims to connect and inspire both entrepreneurs and city planners around technology designed to shape the modern city. I had joined Sidewalk Labs at Google’s NYC headquarters this spring, entitled Reimagining the City as a Digital Platform, one of the most provocative presentations I had ever seen, and was excited to be invited for an evening of presentations and discussion around the question of, “What role can technology play in easing the housing affordability crisis?”

Last winter, I was incredibly inspired to see Dan Doctoroff at Inman Connect. Doctoroff was previously deputy mayor under Michael Bloomberg and is now CEO of Sidewalk Labs, and he philosophized on technology as the fourth major revolution to shape the course of human social organization. Beginning with the “steam revolution,” the train and the industrial revolution moved agrarian societies into cities, creating economic benefits and social hazards for humanity. “Electricity” allowed population density to compound, offering (to avoid repetition) civilization unprecedented control over their own environment, creating artificial illumination, and giving birth to the modern skyscraper. The “automobile” allowed cities to expand, both with the benefit to human mobility, but wreaking havoc upon urban infrastructure that was not built to sustain automotive commuters. 


Sidewalk Labs aspires to be a platform of programs and initiatives that address the ways digital transformation will transform modern cities, from data aggregation and pattern analysis to home and system automation, as well as sustainable design and architecture. They look to address the challenges and opportunities facing urban life, with their most notable project to date being LinkNYC, a free WiFi, phone call and device charging initiative, as well as to replace payphones, whose kiosks started dotting Third Avenue in Midtown earlier last year.

Sidewalk Talks began this year as an open forum, where technologists and urbanists discuss the future of cities. I am a member of Google’s NYC Tech Talks, and was eager for Elegran to join to brainstorm. Attending were city planners, representatives from the Metro Transit Authority, HUD officials, as well as several notable developers and architects alongside a number of engineers and product managers from leading tech companies. The talk at Hudson Yards began with an open networking session, and then broke into structured groups led by leaders of some of the most creative leaders in the urban technology space, from Andrea Chegut from MIT’s Real Estate Innovation Lab to Nathaniel Decker of UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing and Innovation to Jerry Paffendorf from Loveland Technologies, as well as three other groups that I joined to hear pitch, loosely discuss, and then brainstorm ideas around the product: 

Ollie.co

Chris Bledsoe presented on Ollie, a company built around affordable luxury. “Ollie revolutionizes the living experience for urban renters with professionally designed, fully-furnished studios and shared suites, lifestyle-relevant services, extraordinary amenity spaces and unique community engagement opportunities: attainably priced luxury.” The idea behind Ollie is that unused living space and luxury amenities drive up the cost of housing, making high-end rentals in densely populated areas in New York City unaffordable to most consumers.

By building new constructions with micro-apartments, and communalizing luxury amenities, Ollie is able to offer community living and legitimate luxury rentals to residents that would otherwise be unable to afford them. One of Ollies revolutionary new projects is already under way in Kips Bay, at a 32 unit building called Carmel Place.

NoAppFee.com

Tyrone Poole is an incredibly inspiring figure. Once homeless as a result of an injury, Poole became incredibly frustrated by the lack of information and transparency around the rental application process in Portland, Oregon. Even when he was able to produce the funds to rent an apartment, he encountered an incredibly complicated network of application fees which make the process disproportionately difficult and expensive for those with bad credit or the homeless.

Poole responded by pitching the city of Portland on a solution, who rewarded him with a grant to build NoAppFee.com, a standardized database that does everything from run credit-checks, to basically prequalify users for different buildings. Not only does the service tell members what buildings they will most likely qualify (saving the renter numerous application fees), the website offers specific advice on which penalties to address to increase the likelihood of a successful rental. NoAppFee has been incredibly successful in Oregon, and has expanded to Georgia and with plans to grow even larger. 

Sidewalk Labs

Perhaps the most inspiring discussion was led by Sidewalk Labs’ own Designer-in-Residence Eric Baczuk, who talked about “the high price of low innovation.” After presenting on some of the economic, ecological and social challenges facing affordable new construction, Baczuk went on to discuss the building and testing of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). 

ADUs present the opportunity to bring down the cost of infrastructure in incredibly creative ways, producing modular housing at low cost and with minimal labor. ADUs can also be built with amazing home automation, with entry by facial recognition, biometric monitoring sensors, and cameras throughout the house, ultimately allowing artificial intelligent apps to adapt to a resident’s rhythm and lifestyle. Finally, Baczuk believes there is a huge growing demand for affordable housing, especially within the senior community.


Tigh Loughhead Speaking at Inman Connect 2017 ICNY

Last year, I sat in the crowd listening to Seth Godin evangelize upon permission marketing at Inman Connect, charging the crowd with enthusiasm.  I heard Brad Inman wax poetic about "predictive analytics," which I think this year is already being supplanted by "prescriptive analytics," rooted in artificial intelligence, decision engines that actually recommend a course of action based on a desired outcome through machine learning, a subject upon which I've written a couple articles for Inman News

This year, I'll be taking center stage at Inman Connect 2017 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, with a few other real estate rockstars to share what I've learned about Digital Marketing over the years in a presentation called The Best Digital Marketing Plan You've Ever Seen.  I'll be sharing my experiences about the buyer journey, client segmentation, and analyzing a marketing funnel throughout the customer lifecycle, so that marketers can build out data models around return on investment, and how stakeholders can make smarter choices with their money.  And, I'll be discussing how Elegran has built real estate as a scalable business model, closer to a tech company than a traditional brokerage, built on a foundation of technology and automation.

I'm honored to be joining real estate and tech leaders like Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz, the leading SEO platform (in my opinion), the CEO of Ellevest Sally Krawcheck, a digital investment platform for women, and Fredrik Eklund, a TV Personality / power broker.  Please join the who's who of real estate (and me) on January 17th at 9:45 am in Times Square for ICNY17!

The 10 Best Slack Chatbots for Marketing in 2017

I've been ruminating a lot about bots recently, and whether all of these new machine learning products are actually artificial intelligence, or if AI is little more than pattern recognition, as complex as it can be.  And while we're marketed plenty of products that clearly aren't actually intelligent (which of course begs the question what exactly we mean by "intelligence"), the one field that has a vested interest in mimicking human emotional response is the world of chatbots. 

I use chatbots every day for my job in marketing, and I wanted to share a list of some of the most valuable chatbots I've found, why they're useful, and how much they cost. During a fascinating Slack meetup last week, I was interested to learn that people are now spending more time on messaging services than on social media, which is a profound change in how we used the internet.  Even more intriguing is that a growing number of conversations that take place through Hipchat, Facebook Messenger, AIM and slack are now conducted with automated messaging robots called chatbots, which are built to make developers', salespeoples' and marketers' jobs easier by executing specific commands directly from within one messaging service, rather than navigating across multiple platforms. 

Here are some of the best chatbots I have found for marketing that will make my job easier in 2017.  

1. Statsbot

Statsbot is one of my first and favorite chatbots, allowing me to query both Google Analytics and Salesforce, as well as to set up recurring reports and alerts at a specified time of day, week or month, and finally to set certain alerts if benchmark metrics are not achieved, or thresholds crossed.  Statsbot understands fairly complex complex commands, and has become a vital tool for reporting and business insight. 

Cost: The free version is quite powerful, though the paid version is affordable and well worth the cost, with tiers at $5, 15 and $25 per month a pop. 

2. Workbot (via Workato)

Workbot is sort of an IFTTT for Slack, connecting over 150 platforms to the messaging service, from GitHub to Quickbooks to Docusign.  You can run simple commands in each app, as well as set up complex recipes from using everything from notifications to resolve issues assigned to you about your codebase, when invoices are created, or a contract is signed.

Cost: Workbot is cool, but the free version is close to useless, and the next tiers are $99 and then $499 per month, limiting its use to enterprise power users.  I can't justify the costs personally, though the tool is quite powerful. 

3. Senders 

Senders is actually an email plugin with a chatbot that offers the same functionality to query information about someone using their email.  Senders creates a professional Rapportive-like card for anyone who emails you, including links to their website, social media profiles, as well as any recent blog entries or social posts that person or person's company might have made.  Though they push users to volunteer information to complete on online profile, it's a great way to get a little information about the sender of any email and where they work.  

Cost: Absolutely Free! 

4.Trello

Trello is a great (and mostly free) project management software, that I've used across several companies for years. Trello uses a simple Kanban board of cards and categories, allowing you to assign tasks and project to different team members, track the progress, and attach documents and collateral all to cards that move across a board.  The Trello slack bot allows you to update information and progress on each card, reassign users or even move cards around according to the status of the project. 

Cost: Free; Trello has some paid features. 

5. Reveal

Revealbot is a really compelling bot that allows you to not only manage and report on Facebook advertising spend, but also supposedly optimize and automate some of the work that goes into running an effective social media campaign. Similar to bid optimization scripts in Adwords, Reveal claims to allow users to not only report and manage Facebook Ad Spend, but run slash commands and schedule rules to optimize campaigns, for example to cut a budget if the Cost Per Acquisition crosses a higher than desired threshold.

Cost: There are a number of different platforms starting at $10/mo

6. Taskbot

Taskbot is a very simple text input-based project management bot, where you can keep simple "To Do" lists. I mostly use the native @slackbot's slash commands of /remind me {date} project, but taskbot offers a few additional features like keeping a running list of tasks in a given channel as well as assigning responsibility to more than one team member.

Cost: Free

7. Growthbot

Growthbot was built by the founder and CTO of Hubspot.  Though I believe you need to actually need to be a Hubspot customer to access any of the real marketing and sales tool, Growthbot looks like it can integrated with Google Analytics, and do anything from disseminate content to a blog, to pulling up client records from your Hubspot CRM, without leaving the comfort of your very own Slack community. 

Cost: The bot is free; Hubspot is not. 

8. Arc

Arcbot is really used for the purposes of making quick Google Analytics queries on the fly, as well as scheduling simple GA reports.  You can set up daily reports for anything from sessions to bounce rate, and how that metric or dimension might have changed from a previous time period.  I used Arcbot quite a bit until I found most of it's functionality replaced by Statsbot. 

Cost: Basic Plan is free, while a paid plan offering conversion reporting and behavior costs around $9 / month. 

9. Domainr

Domain Research is an is an ICANN-accredited registrar, allowing potential entrepreneurs to request the availability of domain names. They do collect data on searches, though assure users that information is confidential, making money with partnerships between registrars and other vendors they refer. 

Cost: Free

10: Screenhero

Slack has a very nifty native (and very underutilized imo) /call slash command, which when I started using Slack a couple years ago, was the final nail in the coffin of Skype, allowing you to initiate a free voice call to any team member.  However, until very recently there was no native video chat to the messaging service, and though you could easily initiate a Google /hangout, the command launched a third party browser-based video call.  Slack recently purchased Screenhero, to integrate Join.me and TeamViewer functionality (i.e. not just video calling, but screensharing, presentation and remote desktop.

Cost: Unclear as of yet. 

BONUS: Troops

Troops is a chatbot that I just installed a week ago, and I'm quite impressed to far... Fundamentally, troops allows you to pull basic (up to 5 fields) from any Salesforce reports, and schedule a Slackbot to regularly run that report at a given interval.  You can get daily reports of leads created, to monthly opportunities closed by owner.  You can also search your Salesforce Org from directly within Slack, and one of the neatest features is called a "Gong," alerting users to any opportunities won, as soon as they happen. 

Cost: free... for now I think. 

If you have an awesome Slackbot that is useful for marketing, please let me know and I'd love to check it out! 

Tigh Loughhead Presents Elegran Marketing at Dreamforce 2016

A few weeks ago, Elegran was invited to be one of the first real estate brokerages to speak at Dreamforce in San Francisco, on a national stage at the largest tech conference in the world.  Salesforce invited Elegran’s Tigh Loughhead to speak about the company’s industry-wide leadership in lead generation and nurture, and innovation with marketing automation.  Elegran was recognized for its revolutionary use of marketing automation technology to segment its clientele—for in depth training of the firm’s sales and marketing teams, to educate their team about the product working for them, and finally for achieving success by building hyper-targeted, complex lead nurture and drip campaigns built around specific buying criteria and friction points throughout the purchasing process. Elegran has grown rapidly as a result, with the company’s relatively small team of salespeople generating 7-800% more revenue than the average NYC real estate agent.

[] caption “Tigh Loughhead speaking about marketing automation at Dreamforce 2016 in San Francisco”


Marketing automation is a burgeoning technology.  As more and more businesses move towards digital transformation, there is an inevitable thrust to automate inefficient tactics and scale processes that generate profit.  Traditionally, marketing has been an entirely separate endeavor from sales.  However, digital advertising creates the opportunity for granular data analysis at every stage in the supply and demand chain, from brand awareness to marketing conversion, to sales outreach and follow up, to closing a deal.   

Marketing automation closes the loop in the consumer lifecycle, allowing automated processes to supplement the inefficient administrative tasks of marketers and salespeople, and generates the insight to let ROI drive business decisions, and a number of tech companies are taking notice. MailChimp, a popular entry-level email marketing platform, now offers drip campaigns out of the box, and Zillow, the largest internet listing website, is starting to offer automated follow up and lead nurture as part of their Premier Agent product. What these tech companies have realized is that marketing automation, if done correctly, can allow a traditional business to scale their profit.  

Elegran has been optimizing lead generation tactics in New York City for years, building a complex, multi-channel marketing strategy encompassing SEO, SEM, Remarketing, Display, SMM, inbound and content marketing, email and much, much more… As a result, Elegran amassed a large database of leads to feed a powerful sales team, but lacked the insight at a high level to track each lead all the way to closing a deal, within its customer relationship management platform.

Elegran had invested in the premier enterprise CRM platform in Salesforce for the entire sales team, though before launching drip campaigns, Salesforce adoption among their actual sales team was extremely inconsistent, as there was no standardized operating procedure for client classification or workflows in Salesforce.  Although Elegran was profitable, the lack of a data structure restricted sales people’s individual ability to grow their business, and limited Elegran’s expansion and profit as a company.

Elegran realized that defining a data architecture would provide the foundation for growth and scalability, empowering both sales and marketing teams, and offering management the business intelligence to make smarter investments.  To define this structure, the team dove into the entire consumer journey of a client, from a prospect’s first exposure to the Elegran brand, to the needs of a long term client transacting their third deal with a trusted real estate advisor, and every potential progressive step in between.

The four stages Elegran derived from the customer journey were Awareness, Follow Up, Nurture and Re-Engagement, encompassing the entire consumer journey and the different needs at every stage.  Each stage was further segmented by lead or client type (Buyers, Sellers, Renters, etc.), as well as micro-segmented by purchasing criteria, such as budget, neighborhood or amenity.

In the interest of transparency and accountability, to educate the sales team, Elegran hosted in-depth focus groups and numerous training sessions on the what, why and how of each drip campaign.  In addition, a marketing automation campaign directory was provided to every Elegran employee, outlining what criteria or action would opt a prospect into that specific campaign, details about that drip, and the specific business goal the firm was trying to achieve.

Elegran is now running between 10-15 drip campaigns across the Awareness, Follow Up, Nurture and Re-Engagement stages, providing personalized content and contextual messaging dynamically generated to provide value to a consumer’s experience.  In April, Elegran participated in a closed beta-test of Pardot’s “Engagement Studio,” providing the inspiration for one of Elegran’s first complex, multi-path drip campaign, which was presented at Dreamforce.

As a result of the success of this complex, multi-path journey generating significant revenue for the firm, Elegran’s Marketing Director, Tigh Loughhead was asked to speak about the success of this campaign at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco on October 4th at Dreamforce. Tigh talked about how, as a result of one of many active campaigns, Elegran has to date, funneled a little more than 1200 prospects through the Awareness stage, that previously would not have even been touched by the sales team, which now have been properly nurtured all the way to the closing table.

This single innovative campaign resulted in numerous deals and tens of thousands of dollars in profit that would have been untouched otherwise. Prospects that would have been discarded or overlooked last year were turned from dormant or cold leads into luxury real estate clients. This single campaign eliminated the need to cold call (or email), allowing Elegran to scale email outreach to new leads, using a totally automated solution. Elegran continues to experiment with automated strategies across all segments of their data architecture, optimizing campaigns, diving into ROI, and being the first in real estate to create automated strategies to serve their clients and their entire team.  

I'm Speaking at Dreamforce 2016

I am incredibly excited to be invited by Salesforce to one of the first companies in real estate to be invited to speak about Marketing Automation at Dreamforce 2016 on behalf of Elegran, held October 4th-7th in San Francisco. Dreamforce is the largest software conference in the world, attracting over 175,000 technology entrepreneurs and business leaders, to connect with their peers and learn from industry pioneers. I will join speakers Melinda Gates, Mark Cuban, Marc Benioff, Tony Robbins and many more on the stage at Dreamforce this year. Elegran prides itself as a pioneer in technology and real estate marketing in NYC and is eager to present successful marketing strategies on a national stage to other leaders of the global business community.
Tigh Loughhead, Marketing Director at Elegran Real Estate and Development, was asked by Salesforce to speak at Dreamforce this year about Elegran’s innovation in lead nurturing and marketing automation, which it has used successfully to build an inbound marketing strategy, align marketing and sales teams, and leverage cold and dormant leads. Recently quoted on the Salesforce blog and Pardot product release announcement of Engagement Studio, Tigh has used lead nurturing technology strategies to close the loop between the traditional marketing and sales funnels at Elegran, about which he recently gave a presentation at Salesforce’s NYC headquarters in Manhattan. Details about Elegran’s Dreamforce session can be found below.https://success.salesforce.com/Sessions#/session/a2q3A000000LBY1QAO
Elegran attributes its rapid growth in becoming one of the leading firms in New York City to its high level of customer service, the excellence of its team, and its investment in technology and marketing. Elegran’s mastery of customer segmentation, nurture and conversion have propelled it to become one of the fastest-growing and most exciting firms in the industry; and the first to totally customize Salesforce for real estate, investing in the software for every member of its sales team, becoming one of the leading firms in the world of marketing automation.
Tigh Loughhead is an expert in digital marketing with a background in advertising and real estate technology, helping to grow several startups in New York City. As an expert in marketing automation, lead generation and real estate marketing tech, Tigh brings a wealth of digital marketing knowledge and management skills, such as CRM implementation, SEM, SEO, automation, content strategy, branding and conversion optimization to Elegran. In 2014, Tigh was one of only 10 people asked to sit on Trulia.com’s “NYC Rental Advisory Council." For the past two years, Tigh has run Elegran’s marketing team, focusing on lead generation, data analysis, and aligning sales and marketing to build Elegran as a scalable business. 

Reimagining Marketing Automation with Pardot Engagement Studio

Yesterday Salesforce launched the general availability of Pardot Engagement Studio, a powerful new UI for creating and reporting on lead nurture and drip campaigns.Elegran was lucky enough to participate in the private beta, and I must admit I'm quite impressed with the new interface and its functionality.

Read more about the product release here and here , or check out a short video of how Elegran implemented the reporting interface below: 

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/06/salesforce-pardot-engagement-studio.html

http://www.pardot.com/blog/salesforce-announces-general-availability-pardot-engagement-studio-b2b-marketing-automation-reimagined/

Elegran specializes in high-end luxury Manhattan real estate, but the firm is also dedicated to being a leader in real estate marketing technology.  We currently have several drip programs running using Engagement Studio, and we've already seen a some incredible results re-engaging lukewarm and forgotten leads, and handing them back over to our sales team to close, continuing to close the loop in our marketing to sales to deal funnel.  

Engagement studio actually empowers Pardot users to listen to numerous "triggers" based on user actions, then channel the customer journey along a personalized drip, visually representing the path to marketers along an intuitive flow diagram , that makes visualizing and reporting upon the success of content and design much more robust and user friendly. 

If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to share any experience or insight I might have gleaned using the program so far.