Moving on – D'Board

I worked on a painting last weekend called  D’Board – it’s about a situation, now leaving my life,  needing to change.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it was the right thing to do, all things considered, so I stepped down from the WAA Board.

I am not the only one to face such a decision, my friend, fellow former Board Member, Google Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, did the same thing last year when he decided to step down from the WAA Board and focus his time in other areas.

NOTE: There’s a QWIDGET Questionnaire at the end of this post – I encourage you to engage with it and pour out your ideas, share it with the community of those who read this post and also who use QWIDGET .   You’ll find QWIDGET will focus your thoughts and allow others to interact with the comments you leave.

And I would like to get feedback on  the work we did on Social Media for the WAA., so please interact with the QWIDGET questionnaire, if you feel so inclined.

Yep, it's D'Board

D’Board  – 28″ x 44″  Acrylic and Oil Pastel on paper

(Note: I created an application in Facebook to gift paintings like this – it’s called “Send Marshall Sponder’s paintings – you can find it on Facebook, install it to your profile on Facebook, if you have one, and gift these paintings as much as you want – I have about 50 paintings set up as virtual gifts)

While at the Board, here’s what was accomplished, what my hands touched.

I was elected to the Board of Directors of the Web Analytics Association in 2007 and built a committee around Social Media Measurement – we had over 70 members in the committee and three co-chairs – and I built that from scratch (about 8% of the total membership of the WAA).

Helped to bring in  many people who joined the WAA ,including a few Corporate Sponsors, in fact, I probably brought in more members than anyone else, ever, so I’m told – somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 people.

When the committee was formed it was focused on Social Media Measurement Standards – a direction I took up from my friend and committee member, Gary Angel.

Great people were drawn to the Social Media Committee, especialy the three co-chairs,  the first is my good friend,  Jared Freedman (a.k.a. “Ancient Shriner” in Second Life) – we focused on Virtual World Standards.

Elena Haliczer, a university professional  that moved to New York from Chicago to explore Social Networks and Community Organizers , also joined the Social Media Committee- she’s now working on a Startup based on Artificial Intelligence. Later, we were joined by Leticia Colon, a Web Analyst and Behaviorist – all became my best friends.

Also, a special thanks to Sebastian Wenzel, A.K.A. –; Sebastian and I have gone foward and created our own blog network,, and right now we have close to 30 blogs and want to have many more focusing in niche verticals.

We had many, on the Social Media Committee, from cutting edge companies, both in Analytics, Email Marketing, Social Networking, Advertising, just to name a few – I can’t even quantify the unique value of what we collected, many who I’m proud to call my friends, both on the Committee and on the Board.

We  built a Social Network called WAASOCIAL .

It was with WAASOCIAL that we ran into the first roadblock – Web Analysts don’t tend to be multimedia creators and it was difficult to get the idea of a Social Network for the Web Analytics Association to be a primary means of communications – thought it wasn’t for lack of trying.

We even were planning to sell advertising on the Social Network, though we had no means to administer and collect funds (at least, not easily) – being an organization of volunteers has it pros and cons – and after a while, the idea of selling ads and sponsored listings, went away because it was too complicated to run given the structure of the committee and the organization.

While building WAASOCIAL, we found competitors within the Analytics and Marketing sector building Social Networks that tried to out perform ous,  spending  far more money on it than we had and yet could not match the quality or authenticity of what we started to build.

We also built a Group in Facebook for the Web Analytics Association – it currently has 625 members.

Not to be outdone, we built a WAA blog – the official blog of the Web Analytics Association in November 2007 – it served as a way for the membership to contribute ideas valuable to the community and as a means for the Board to connect with the membership and the professional community in a more direct, informal manner; I am proud of that.

We started drafting standards, set up a Wiki to post the standard drafts, and opening it up to the broader analytics community.

Then,  we came up with the idea of making a For Profit version of the Social Media Committee in order to give members experience in Social Media Consulting and drive funds back into the WAA, while also doing research and setting standards.

We spoke at several conferences about Social Media Measurement –  including the Social Networking Conference in Miami last January (on Building a Social Network for the WAA), and at the Social Media Roundtables in Toronto and NYC last May and August.   We spoke at Virtual Worlds conferences and at Semphonic XChange 07 and XChange 08, in Northern California; we also spoke at Search Engine Strategies San Jose last year.

All of this took a lot of my time  and  the focus of Social Media began to shift – the group we gathered (70+)  wanted to continue, broaden and deepen the focus on Social Media.  Meanwhile, the WAA committee structure changed recently and with this change came a reason to focus my energies elsewhere and spend more time, by the way, painting.

Decided that my interests and goals could better be served apart from the WAA –  with Social Media, Virtual Worlds, Search Engine Marketing and creating Art and viewing other’s art, and some of those  communities are at least as important to me as the WAA.

In short, as the focus of the WAA shifted towards Digital Marketing Measurment, I needed to shift to find my own way towards an enpowered Social Media avocate and thought leader .

Besides, went as far as I could with the  Social Media projects I started at the WAA.  By leaving the Board  I could focus my energies on projects  in other areas.

That’s why I felt drawn to follow  a different path – I’ll still attend WAA events and conferences, to the extent I can afford to, or have the time to, this year, but maybe not as much as I had.

At the end of the day, we all have but a limited amount of time and energy to spend – and I want to spend mine where I can do the most good.

In closing, I want to thank the WAA Board of Directors, especially the Chairman of the Board, Jim Sterne,  and  some of the others, who are my personal or professional friends, for the kindess they’ve shown me over the last two years we worked together.

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2 thoughts on “Moving on – D'Board”

  1. Marshall –

    You have been an amazing asset to the Web Analytics Association Board of Directors – a force of nature when it came to shining the light on social media metrics. The accomplishments listed above are not just the result of passion but of long hours and dedication. You always passionately embrace the issues at hand and provide valuable insights and fresh ideas. Your intent to benefit the members of the WAA and the social media practitioner community is unmatched. You gathered the people and launched the social media metrics rocket into orbit and for that, we cannot thank you enough. Now that the Social Media Committee has evolved into the Emerging Technologies Special Interest Group, we hope you will stay engaged when you can. I personally hope to continue our friendship and to see more of your paintings.

  2. I would personally like to say how lucky I have been to serve on the board with you and have you become my friend. Your contributions on the board truly did help take us all to the next level as an organization.

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