So, pretty soon now (early April, in fact) Mack is headed out to Bean Town (aka Boston) to pay homage to some truly great figures in recent history.
No, not Kurt Schilling. Not Tom Brady, either.
No, Mack’s headed out to LinkLove Boston to meet some of the giants of our industry and, y’know, learn some stuff.
“LinkLove Boston?” we hear you say. “What’s that?”
That’s best explained in a manner reminiscent of the SAT. Thus:
LinkLove: SEO enthusiasts :: Star Trek convention: people with their own Spock ears and homemade tricorders.
We’re pretty excited to send Mack off to this experiential bonanza because she’s going to get a chance to bask in the presence of people like Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz and Will Crichtlow of Distilled.
These guys are our professional idols and they set the standards for everything Mack Web believes and practices about web marketing (or “inbound marketing” or “search engine marketing” or whatever the kids are calling it these days). They provide much of the inspiration behind our philosophy of sustainable results.
Please note, this trip has nothing to do with the fact that we are starry-eyed fangirls.
‘Cuz it doesn’t. ‘Cuz we’re not.
No, really. We aren’t.
In all seriousness, we’re really excited for this opportunity not only because it’s going to be a chance to meet our heroes and learn directly from them, but because LinkLove is the embodiment of one of our core values.
Namely, that at Mack Web Solutions, we never stop learning. Here’s more on that…
The Never Ending Quest
An insatiable hunger for more knowledge is an entirely reasonable response to the web world.
And really, the world in general.
Everything changes. Nothing is static.
Philosophical, we know. But hey, we’re deep like that.
Jokes aside, the web is always in flux. Every single day there’s something new: the search engines change their algorithms, social media platforms are created, mobile technology emerges, programming capabilities evolve.
Every. Single. Day.
At Mack Web we don’t rest on our laurels. We’re canny enough to realize that it’s impossible to know everything.
That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to try.
Rootling (yes, it’s a word. sorta).
In fact, we have devoted quite a lot of time making sure that we are as knowledgeable as we can be. We, like badgers or moles or other things that rootle, have rootled out the best sources of information on our industry and made a point of familiarizing ourselves with them.
We, collectively, spend hours every week researching, reading, connecting, and engaging in our online community. (This should sound familiar to those of you who have worked with us in the past since this is pretty much what we recommend you guys do too. What’s good for the goose, etc).
Feel free to check up on our bona fides and let us know if you spot anything we miss or run across questions you hadn’t thought to ask yet. Here’s a few of our favorite sources of industry information:
Search Engine Land
Social Media Examiner
LinkedIn (personalized industry updates)
“Broaden your minds: Have a beer. Have two.” (bonus points: identify this quote)
We have also managed to figure out that often the best learning comes from unexpected places and experiences.
Which is why every Friday, the Mack Web team dedicates 5 hours to working on us. We call ‘em Innovation Fridays and we spend the latter half of the day focused on strategy, vision, and goals for the company. We visit other companies, read, laugh, vent our frustrations.
We take the time out to treat ourselves like people with lives and emotions and curiosities. We let loose our creativity and sense of play (not that it’s all that restrained during the rest of the week) and we find the joy in the job.
Also, we eat lunch.
One of the ideas that came out of our Innovation Fridays was to start a Mack Web library. (To be fair, credit for this idea goes to Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com).
Funnily enough, for a web-based company, all of our members are pretty enamored of actual, physical books. And Mack actively encourages us all to indulge. Every quarter, each employee selects a book that we want to read (we try to keep it at least somewhat industry related).
Then, shockingly enough, we read those books.
The only catch is that we have to leave some notes behind so that the next person to read that book can see what we thought and maybe build on those ideas.
The idea is to stay rooted in bigger ideas, as well as expand our knowledge base.
Here’s some of the books we’re reading now:
Good to Great: Jim Collins
Rework: Jason Fried & David Heine
Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics: Brian Clifton
Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen your Design Skills David Sherwin
Pretty cool, right? The overachiever ethic is alive and well in Mack Web Solutions.
Cause and effect (like cats and sneezing)
So, when you are always learning more stuff about your ever changing industry, there is a certain natural and logical outcome.
More change. Alas.
This is even true internally here at Mack Web. The more we get to know about what is going on, the more we have to evolve our own systems and processes to keep up and take full advantage of all the cool stuff that’s happening on the great information super highway.
Mack has built our company around the practice of working smarter and never settling for being anything less than our best. Mediocrity makes us uncomfortable, both professionally and personally. When Google changes its methods or we discover innovations in the world of local search, we act quickly to adapt.
This, of course, means that our services and packages are always adapting and and updating as well.
Occasionally frustrating as it may be, this is also the only way we know to provide stellar service to our clients.
And, like we said, we don’t settle for anything less.
Case in point: the recent expansion of our social media department.
As it became ever more obvious that social media is influencing our clients’ search engine rankings, we realized that part of our job was to properly integrate this piece into their web marketing strategy.
So we got ourselves a social media strategist to take over and revolutionize what had previously been more of an afterthought.
Which, of course, meant that we had to totally alter our internal dynamics and processes, our service packages, our perspective on the industry, and our sugar intake. (Long story. Don’t ask).
But it’s all been worth it, because we are now able to offer better value and service to our clients.
Plus, we like June. She brings cookies and dances at her desk.
Thus endeth the object lesson.
We aced kindergarten
Beyond just attaining and hoarding knowledge like Smaug’s gold, Mack Web believes in sharing. We want to apply our knowledge to the benefit of our clients, yes. But we also want to help others learn. (We’re nice like that).
To that end, every week we study up and try to put out at least one relevant and meaningful blog post.
There’s a couple reasons we do this. Sometimes the act of writing the post itself helps us work out our ideas. Sometimes we like to back up our claims of expertise with a small display of our actual knowledge. (C’mon, be honest now. Who doesn’t show off just a little bit when the opportunity presents itself?). And sometimes, we want to give our audience an awareness into why we do and recommend the stuff we do. That we’re not arbitrarily making suggestions to you because we were bored one day.
But mostly, we want you guys to know this stuff, too. We typically try to post on changes and developments that have some practical application to your lives and businesses. Things you should be aware of, things that may affect you, things that you can do for yourselves.
And because we want to hear what you have to say. Like we said pointed out earlier: knowledge and wisdom can come from the most unexpected places. We want to hear your perspective and benefit from your insight, too.
‘Cuz we like learning stuff. (See how that works out?)
And it all comes back to knowledge. Like a circle or a wheel. Or something else that goes around.
In the end, this is what we see as the biggest bonus to Mack’s upcoming fieldtrip: she’s going to get to learn so much. Participating in a conference like LinkLove gives us the opportunity to get a new perspective, new ideas, and new practices that can benefit our clients.
She gets to hang out with other people who are as excited about this stuff as we are. Absorb their energy like actual real people. We spend so much time working digitally (emailing, texting, tweeting, posting, pinning…other virtual things that end in “ing”) that sometimes we forget what human interaction is like. (Which is no good, since the fundamental belief that people are people is another core value of ours).
But, above all else, we’re excited because Mack (and through her us, and through us you) gets a chance to be on the leading edge of our ever-changing industry. Which is pretty darn awesome.
(Also, the rest of us are having a two-day party at the office. You can come if you bring cookies).