All Posts By

Teodora Petkova

PYB Academy Featured Member: an interview with Wayne Brett

By | Featured Member, Google Plus | No Comments

The days of social shouting have long gone and Wayne Brett know that very well. With almost a decade of experience at Toyota Sales, Wayne is now looking at digital relationships with the expert’s eye of a salesman, enjoying learning more about web content creation, marketing, SEO and programming. In 2010 he decided to work for himself and since then is helping business professionals reach their goals online.

Wayne says Plus Your Business has transformed him into a Google+ Enthusiast. He likes Star Wars, Star Trek and #caturday and, looking at his Google + profile, dislikes the feeling that he might survive the zombie apocalypse, but may not survive his daughter starting to date.

Meet Wayne!

What brought you on G+ and what was your first post on Google?

A few years ago, I decided to move on from my long-term sales and management position in the automobile industry. I have since been part of several online ventures on my own and in collaboration with others.

I have also been on somewhat of a learning binge, taking on topics such as web design, programming, content creation and promotion, social media marketing and so on. If you need to know it to start your own business without spending a fortune, I’ve studied it.

I came to Google Plus because I wasn’t satisfied with what I was getting from other social media outlets. Without naming names, I will tell you that there is one social network in particular that won’t show me updates from my closest contacts. 

Others may be able to relate to some of my first experiences with G+. I really wasn’t sure where to start, so I didn’t do much aside from posting links to my content. Isn’t that what social media is for? My first post was basically just a link drop to an article on one of my websites. I learned pretty quickly how ineffective that is.

Wayne Brett quote

What on- or offline world experience has most influenced your time on G+?

I discovered my love for meeting new and exciting people while working in sales. I later discovered that I also enjoy networking and building strategic alliances. Those revelations as well as my desire to help others solve problems have influenced me the most.

What’s the thing that made your life on G+ easier?

I stumbled upon Martin’s profile through CircleCount while I was researching other G+ users to follow. It didn’t take me long to join the Plus Your Business community. In fact, I still remember my welcome post. I related myself to being a sponge ready to soak up all the information I could, without the old sponge smell. Stan welcomed me stating, “That’s definitely one of the most unusual introductions to date.”

What would your advice be to newbies here?

Stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about what you can do to help others. Don’t be the one opening your front door and screaming, “Read my blog!” or “Click my links!” Once you open yourself to helping others, they will do the screaming for you.

How many people do you have in the circles for which you’ve turned notifications on?

It’s a small group of about 25 people. I do tend to request being notified about new posts from posters I like via email, though. I have played with notifications and used the flow system with great success. If you don’t love your homestream you may want to try out the system it really works.

What’s your favourite G+ feature?

When I dove into Google+ Completely, I realized just how much I liked the platform. I also realized there were a great deal of knowledgeable, highly influential people that I suddenly had access to. I used this unique opportunity to learn from them, even those that are half a world away. So, I suppose that would make my favorite feature Google Hangouts. Auto Awesome is also a pretty great perk of using G+.

What has being part of the PYB Academy done for you?

The Plus Your Business Academy has given me tried and true knowledge on Google+ and social media marketing. I’ve not only learned how, I’ve learned why I should use certain strategies and why I should avoid others. The people and tools I’ve been connected with through the Academy provide me with practical solutions. Many of these solutions extend beyond Google+ and can be used anywhere.

How did G+ shaped/changed your professional life?

Using G+ has helped me clarify the direction I need to take to accomplish my goals. I have met some extremely talented people, some of which I am working with on a super-cool and useful tool that I think every G+ user could benefit from. (Sorry, no more details on that yet!) I am also working on launching my brand website,, which will be my new home base for projects and clients.

I will always be a salesman at heart, and Google+ has helped me make a career out of doing what I love on my own terms. I take great pride in providing solutions for people that need to connect with specific services, and Google+ has opened up the world to me in a whole new way.

What was the thing you always wanted to know about G+ but were afraid to ask?

Thankfully, I’m not afraid of asking questions. I suppose if there was one thing I always wanted to know about G+ it would be why they made the share input box so darn small.

How you see Google and specifically Plus changing the way a consumer interacts with products and services?

Google+ is consistently making it easier for consumers to connect with local businesses and large brands by providing tools that attract businesses to the platform. On G+, a consumer can connect directly with a business, receive the latest updates, join a product support community page and provide direct input on products and services.

I believe we will see more changes in how businesses communicate. They will need to develop better social listening skills so they can provide what the consumer really needs. The days of social shouting are long gone.

In his interview last Friday Daz Thornton asked:

What do you think the main advantages are of Google+ for a business over the other popular social platforms?

This is an easy one! Google+ is the glue, or as Martin says, the Social Layer that ties together all of Google’s products. Some of the key advantages are:

  • Google Search – Why not take advantage of any Social SEO potential?
  • Google Local – Through the use of Google Business Pages, businesses can surface more in personalized search results.
  • Google+ Communities – There is so much you can do here. In fact, John Dietrich just wrote an amazing blog post about it.

Hangouts and Hangouts on Air – Another revolutionary tool to connect you with your audience.

And now Wayne it’s your turn to ask the next PYB Academy member a question:

Which social media network do you think best compliments your Google Plus strategy?

Wayne on the Web:

Website (coming soon):

Thank you Wayne!

 See you all in the PYB Community!

PYB Academy Featured Member: an interview with Daz Thornton

By | Featured Member, Google Plus | No Comments

Daz Thornton is helping small business owners with advice and support on using social media, crafting for them strategies to connect with more customers. Specialising in Social Media Relationship Marketing, Daz is also a Sci-fi Geek, a pianist (FANTASTIC, they say) and, keeping the bots busy with creating an Interest graph for him, a time traveller (hint: Time And Relative Dimension In Space).

Meet Daz, aka Dr Daz

Daz Thornton Tardis

What brought you on G+ and what was your first post on Google?

I’ve been on Google+ since the beta days. I received an invite quite early on, and was interested to see what Google was up to with this new, clean and clutter free looking interface. I was just starting to get into social media marketing at that time, but hadn’t decided to turn it into a business at that point. I was simply curious to see if Google could produce something better than Facebook 😉 Of course, I wasn’t disappointed with what I found, or what it developed into!

Here was my first post:

“Enjoyed hanging in our circle this morning”

We (the ones who go their first) quite liked the concept of ‘circles’, and joked with our mates who hadn’t received an invite, that weren’t included in our exclusive new ‘friends circle’ 😉

What’s the thing that made your life on G+ easier?

Google+ just seemed (to me at least) simpler to use as a marketing / brand awareness tool. You didn’t have to worry about news feed algorithms, or posting a certain ‘type’ of post in a particular format to get some eyeballs on your stuff.  If you post something, you don’t feel like you are flogging a dead horse, wondering if anyone will see it. There is more potential for your content to be distributed and engaged with by the people who have chosen to follow you, and the fact that images look fantastic in the stream, along with any formatted text that you add (which always looks great and easier on the eye if you lay it out properly) is the icing on the cake for me.

What would your advice be to newbies here?

If you’re a newbie on Google+, and you’re here in some business capacity, the first thing to do is to set up your profile and / or page to be fully congruent with your business. Think of G+ ( and other social platforms ) as a satellite to your website and / or business premises. This is so you are instantly recognisable to anyone who already knows your brand. Also, make sure people understand what you do within a few seconds of checking out your profile or hovering over your name, and are able to find you elsewhere on the web.

When all that’s in place, go and have a snoop around Google+ and circle some of your ideal customers and potential influencers by searching hashtags, other businesses similar to you, and adding people that you already know.  Try to add people who are ACTIVE on the platform, by checking when they last posted, or even better, have +1’d commented or shared someone elses content.  You can add people like this from the comments section of other people’s posts. This way, they are more likely to be an engager, and may engage with you too. After that, and before you even start ‘pedaling your wares’, start building the relationships and sharing their stuff! Never thrust a business card into their hand before you have even bought them a drink! It will end up in the bin.

Once you have been through that process, you have earned the right to start doing business.

How many people do you have in the circles for which you’ve turned notifications on?

I currently Have 20 people in my notification circle. Is that a lot? 😉

What’s your favourite G+ feature?

The openness of how both profiles and pages can connect, interact, and grow a relationship. There are no barriers that prevent the ability to engage on Google+. This extends to the excellent functionality of the notifications, which continue to draw you back into the conversation after you have engaged with it. This is BRILLIANT for brand pages, and gives you the tools for keeping front of mind with your customers more easily, and seamlessly.

What has being part of the PYB Academy done for you?

PYB lays out the what, when, where, why and how of using Google+ and provides focussed, structured material to help you achieve your business goals. This really concentrates the process of connecting with others and how to do it best within the resources that Google+ provided us with.

How did G+ shaped/changed your professional life?

Professionally, Google+ has allowed me to connect with other like minded people, who are excited and enthusiastic about it has to offer. You could say that about other social platforms too, but Google+ (mostly) seems more seamless somehow….. and I like that aspect! It means you have time to do other things rather than worrying about how to make the platform work for you 🙂

What’s the story behind Dr Daz?


My friends have always referred to me as ‘Dr’, partly because I was going to work towards a PhD when I finished my Masters at University, and partly because I’m a bit of a Doctor Who fan!

‘Dr Daz’ seemed to follow me everywhere, so it seemed fitting to incorporate it into my online presence too. As far as is concerned, I’d say the ‘dr’ bit represents the ‘making you better at social media’ aspect of what I offer, as well as perhaps communicating an air of trust and knowledge of ones niche.

What’s your favourite part of the thing called Social Media Relationship Marketing?

Being from a retail background, I’ve never liked the way a lot of marketing is done. You know the type…. the method of thrusting leaflets into the hands of passers by in the hopes that they might visit your store or attend your event, or the piles of junk mail that falls through your letterbox on a daily basis – which in my case, just goes straight in the bin.

I like the way that social media marketing, if done correctly, has a much softer edge to it, which is based on a relationship between the customer and the brand. It doesn’t have to be a stand-alone method either. It can be integrated into all your business’ activity, both in-store (which has MASSIVE potential), and online. So being a bit of a tech geek, I was really enthusiastic to learn the art of online brand awareness through social media, and love helping businesses integrate it into their workings.

What was the thing you always wanted to know about G+ but were afraid to ask?

I really don’t think there is anything to be honest. Google+ is full of knowledgeable people who are very generous with their time, and welcome questions and conversation on many aspects of Google+, so I was never afraid to ask anything I was unsure of in the early days.

In his  interview Tim Sweeney, not knowing who the next interviewee was going to be, asked:

If you could change anything concerning how Google+ functions, what would it be?

I would firstly make the process more straight forward in understanding how hangouts work, as well as how to set them up for new users. I’ve experienced many people (including some of my very ‘tech savvy’ friends) being completely put off from using them, which is a real shame.

It’s perhaps quite difficult to understand where the difficulties are when you are a ‘seasoned hangouter’, but there is clearly a bit of an issue with the process, which I think could be made clearer.

Once in the hangout, there are also a few sound issues that could do with being tweaked. Personally, I would have the default setting as mute once you enter the hangout, and add button that says TALK, that could simply be pressed and held down (or used hands free) when you would like to speak, and then release once you have finished.

Probably the option to only have one person speaking at once would be pretty cool as well, as I’ve watched many hangouts where there have been issues with several people trying to speak at once (not helped by a lagging internet connection), or someone who has forgotten to mute and we can still hear all their background noise. This can make the flow of conversations quite difficult, and it avoids the awkwardness of manually muting someone yourself 🙂

I used a similar multi camera video chat platform for 8 years before using hangouts, and that included the basic features I’ve mentioned above. It would be FANTASTIC to see Google add these tweaks as the technology becomes more widely used.

And now, Daz, it’s your turn to ask the next PYB Academy member a question:

What do you think the main advantages are of Google+ for a business over the other popular social platforms?

Thank you Dr Daz!

Daz on the Web:






 See you all in the PYB Community!

PYB Academy Featured Member: an interview with Lori Bozievich

By | Featured Member, Google Plus | No Comments

Lori Bozievich calls the content on Google + “content with soul” and shares that Google’s social platform has opened her mind to see opportunities everywhere.

As a Freelance Designer, Lori helps people “show exactly what they mean”, crafting interactive 3D models at Explore 3D Design. Lori’s educational background is in Environmental Design and Art History. From 2013 on she is also a Younique Presenter.

You will see only one bragging right, listed on Lori’s Google + profile, and it is “being humble”. Always good to see how a person can take you deep down the spiral of meaning with only few words. And another thing worth mentioning is that Lori was the bravest and fastest interviewee we’ve ever had – she answered our questions in less than a day.

Meet Lori! 

What brought you on G+ and what was your first post on Google?

Not certain what brought me here, but I know what kept me which is quality content with soul.  My first post was probably a reshare of some incredible art I found on G+.  I can’t remember.  Is there a way to look it up?

What on- or offline world experience has most influenced your time on G+?

Connecting to others from the comfort of my own home.

What’s the thing that made your life on G+ easier?

Learning how to organize notes using a Community.  Evernote is great, but I often found myself impatient when using it.  Google Community method is simple and takes care of my needs.  I like it better then “Keep” too.

What would your advice be to newbies here?

I would develop circle flow immediately!  I have a lot of changes to make, but I constantly receive a message stating I reached daily limit as I  try organize it.  It’s been rough.

How many people do you have in the circles for which you’ve turned notifications on?

Good question… lol!  I confess, MY CIRCLES ARE A FREAKIN MESS.

The daily quota is teaching me small steps 🙂 But the limits on how many times I can change something… ABORT ABORT. My constant over-thinking in organizing is not a good thing.

What’s your favourite G+ feature?

I truly enjoy the streams.  The streams always bring great content that is in tune with my attention span providing many thoughts to grow on.

What has being part of the PYB Academy done for you?

PYB Academy has given me great insight and structure implementing best methods using social media marketing.

How did G+ shaped/changed your professional life?

Opened my mind to opportunity everywhere.

What was the thing you always wanted to know about G+ but were afraid to ask?

In the beginning, did Google+ pay many artist and other professionals to post and build audience?  Was there some kind of competition or prize for getting others to engage?

Lori, you are a Younique Presenter which, as you say in your profile description, partly involves “online Virtual Parties. Are you doing these, using HOAs?

Currently, a “Virtual Party” with Younique consists of asking a FB friend to play hostess by inviting friends to join a private (a public group my land you in FB Jail) FB group.  The Younique presenter provides links that earn hostess points for free products each time someone purchases. The links are good for up to 10 days.

The name is misleading, but some Google Hangout involvement would change that.  My goal is to take advantage of this time and place and introduce new methods of consumer awareness, incorporating Hangouts. My biggest obstacle is committing to a time, and getting others to do the same.

Also an interesting thing to know would be How is Google Plus doing in terms of direct sales?

Nothing is happening!  Nothing…. yet.  This is just the beginning of things to come (if I stay focused).  Right now I am planting my seeds, and aligning myself with the forerunners of future commerce. I feel a change is coming, but it is not here yet.

In her interview Nina Trankova, not knowing who the next interviewee was going to be, asked:

What is the short answer you give when asked about your obsession ( staying too long) in Google+ ?   

It is like an interactive Pinterest, so why not stay too long?

And now, it’s your turn to ask the next PYB Academy member a question:

What resources do you use to learn about All Google Apps and features?

Thank you Lori!

 See you all in the PYB Community!

Lori on the Web:


Google +

PYB Academy Featured Member: an interview with Nina Trankova

By | Featured Member, Google Plus | No Comments

Picture this: a serene, sunny place with lavish greenery, birds singing and a woman … posting on Google +. If you get closer, you will see that the woman is Nina Trankova, happily sharing her latest inspiration about entrepreneurship, business and life.

All this is not a beautiful dream, it’s the truth – Nina lives in a pretty house, in the outskirts of Sofia, from where she regularly shares on G +, adding tranquility and beauty into the stream.

For 20 years Nina has been working in the industrial sector as a managing shareholder in charge of exports. Since 2011 she started to get curious about SEO and this opened a new career opportunity for her. A proud Plus Your Business Academy Member, Nina Trankova is now helping small businesses with their efforts to get easily found in Google’s search and consulting them about their Google + presence and activities.

Meet Nina!

What brought you on G+ and what was your first post on Google?

Back in 2011 I attended SEO Conference where Ognian Mladenov was the organizer and lecturer first to mention about Google+.  I was responsible for the AdWords campaign of the newly launched online shop of our family retail business, so I thought it would be a good idea to follow Ognian’s advice and my curiosity. I posted on the 11th of August 2011 and the post reads: “I like Google+ because it will make me much more creative by sharing different content with my different circles” Since then, I have improved my communication skills in being more creative, sure G+ has influenced a lot.

What on- or offline world experience has most influenced your time on G+?

The fact that you can build a real (offline-like) relationship and experience it online by participating in conversations, by sharing and engaging to content of collaborative interest.  Being in contact with world famous authorities and awesome like-minded people without leaving my room is thrilling, makes a big difference and motivates new beginnings.

What’s the thing that made your life on G+ easier?

PYB Community and team, definately ! I admire the supportive approach of Martin Shervington, David Amerland and Stan Bush. The PYB Academy makes G+ feel at home with ease.

What would your advice be to newbies here?

Leave all your “current belongings” about SEO, marketing and whatsoever and start a new beginning with PYB Academy. It will bring you to a whole new perspective.

More advice from Nina to people who are starting their path in the PYB Academy:

Nina Trankova advice

How many people do you have in the circles for which you’ve turned notifications on?

My evangelists are less than 100 and the potential has no limits 🙂 I have not asked people for notifying them since a while, thank you for reminder.

What’s your favourite G+ feature?

Sharing. I love moving the content to a different flow and adding another point of view. Sometimes I tease. I often tease in real life conversations too ( after all my Family name has a similar origin 😉 [ed. the Bulgarian “tran” means prickle],  because humor makes us feel good and remember our human nature.

What has being part of the PYB Academy done for you?

Even it may sound exaggerated PYB Academy makes me feel proud of myself.  I do remember that my business trips took place “from behind the iron curtain” and we might have done the sole business trip by train, crossing five customs and borders for signing our first Sole Agency Contract for Goodyear. I find catalysing possibilities to bring to businesses and inspire them to find the meaning of what they do, get focused and  improve their administration, time schedule and move to more clear perspective.

How did G+ shaped/changed your professional life?  

I have practically discovered a new professional development for myself. My longest experience was in foreign commercial relations, so now my best abilities may transform in an online environment. I can support businesses to discover new connections, new opportunities and development.

What was the thing you always wanted to know about G+ but were afraid to ask?

I can’t think of a question I haven’t asked. Maybe it is still to come.

You once shared that HOAs are in a way your biggest challenge here on Google Plus, when are we going to see your own HOA series 🙂

Sooner or later I’ll take the challenge. I need to be confident on the logistic side (a new PC )  and my presentation skills need practice. I have a trial though, which I’ll share now and when you have time, pls tell me your comment. The words are my real fear.

In his interview Tim Sweeney, not knowing who the next interviewee was going to be, asked:

If you could change anything concerning how Google+ functions, what would it be?

Sharing content from Google to Facebook, like gif pictures, conversations in communities etc. I would do it easier, so all people be persuaded about the best content and move to Google+.
And now, Nina, it’s your turn to ask the next PYB Academy member a question:

What is the short answer you give when asked about your obsession ( staying too long) in Google+ ?

Thank you Nina!

Nina Trankova on the Web:

See you all in the PYB Community!

PYB Academy Featured Member: an interview with Tim Sweeney

By | Featured Member, Google Plus | No Comments

Tim Sweeney compares the profession of a digital marketer with running after a high speed train. Given the continuous education he is investing in, looks like he is not only doing well with chasing this same high speed train, but also finds time to add fresh knowledge to his existing MBA Marketing degree and his rich practical experience with running own businesses for almost two decades.

Back in 1992 Tim started his own business – a company exporting motorcycles to Japan and Europe. According to him, a great part of the success of this business was the result of harnessing the then available digital media assets, e.g. a website and email for connecting and engaging with the target audience. Since 2007 Tim also runs his company Peak Ecommerce, where he and his team assist businesses with their digital and social media efforts.

This week Tim kindly  kindly answered our questions and became the fifth Featured Member on Friday.

What brought you on G+ and what was your first post on Google?

Like many Gplusers, I looked at the platform when it first came out and incorrectly decided to wait before giving it a serious go. I dabbled in it from time to time, but didn’t really take a serious look again until November 2013. It was at that time I did an inventory of all digital assets and realized a Google+ page should be part of those assets. Of course, to really make use of a Google+ page you need a Google+ profile. And if you’re going to have a profile, why not make the most of it!

For me, Google+ has more of an appeal than Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc… For example, there is greater depth here concerning discussions. Just look at comment threads for posts in which you can provide in-depth questions and answers. And then there are posts themselves in which you can use images, video, and/or write as extensively as you deem fit.

In addition, topic wise, Google+ matches my interests quite well. Google+ flourishes with digital marketers, analytics practitioners, people knowledgeable with the Google ecosystem and more. This isn’t to say there aren’t other topics covered, rather these are topics in which I’m interested. If you search Google+ properly, you’ll likely find content and people you relate to.

My first post was in the Plus Your Business Community. You can see it here -> Check out the warm welcome I received by first listening and getting a feel for the platform and community before posting. I don’t recall how I ended up in the PYB community, it might have been through one of Martin’s Tweets.

What offline experience changed your presence on G+ or what online experience changed you offline life?

Looking at both of these questions, the one that is most fitting is “what online experience changed your offline life?” Let me explain, each of us are limited to 24 hours in a day. How we allocate our time is important. There are family, friends, work/business endeavors, things we do for enjoyment, etc… If we are going to allocate time to something online, then it has to add value. Google+ not only adds value, but frees up more time for offline life.

What’s the thing that made your life on G+ easier?

Martin’s advice concerning organizing and managing our circles in a way that works for each of us. By applying variations of his circle management techniques, I have an information, engagement, and entertainment delivery system that fits my style well. Here is an example, there is a circle I have called “Don’t Miss”. It contains about 20 sources of digital media information, mostly people, who serve up what I need to know to stay current with the topic.

Tools such as +Circloscope, +Circlecount and +NOD3x make the entire Google+ experience easier to manage. They help extend your Google+ powers beyond just using the built in features of the platform.

Most importantly, the people on Google+ make the experience easier to handle. I’m not aware of another “platform” which features people so willing to help you out. If a list were to be added here, it would be very long list of helpful people.

What would your advice be to newbies here?

Be willing to spend the time thinking about HOW you want to use Google+. Are you here to learn, engage, and/or build authority on a topic? Looking to use it to market yourself and/or your business? Then first find a support group, an example is the Plus Your Business community. It will accelerate your learning and at the same time build relationships that provide value. And perhaps most importantly, listen first and get a feel for the place. This isn’t Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc… Don’t start dumping links and/or broadcasting your message. You need to build a base and get organized so you can target your activities for maximum effectiveness. 

How many people do you have in the circles for which you’ve turned notifications on?

I actually experiment with which circle has notifications on and in fact turn off circle notifications from time to time. Why is this? My circles are highly segmented and focused. I can visit my “Don’t Miss” circle which contains about 20 sources and browse through all the posts from the day in just a few minutes. While browsing I’ll read as well as save posts to a private community for later reading.

What’s your favourite G+ feature?

My favorite feature? +Stan Bush! Well, in addition to Stan I’d have to say communities and/or hangouts. Communities are focused topic wise and if you spend enough time in any it’s almost a family atmosphere. Hangouts can be even more focused topic wise. You can ask relevant questions and receive relevant answers within them. For example, the Plus Your Business Show on Thursday September 18th featured +Greg Cooper talking about leveraging LinkedIn with Google+. Greg answered several questions concerning this, providing us with actionable takeaways to improve our LinkedIn usage.

What has being part of the PYB Academy done for you?

The PYB Academy accelerates the learning process, helps you build relationships and it opens the door to a wide range of authoritative knowledge sources concerning not only Google+, but the Google ecosystem and digital media in general. It demystifies Google+. Coming from a digital marketer’s perspective its one of the best expenditures I’ve made in a long time.

How did G+ shaped/changed your professional life?

Professionally I’m a digital marketer heavily focused on ecommerce. As such it’s often like running after a high speed train trying to keep up with the changes in digital media. This is one of the most powerful aspects of Google+. If you craft your circles correctly, curate the right communities, and attend pertinent hangouts, you’ll be able to avoid being left behind knowledge wise. I’d call Google+ an open University in this respect. The tuition is the time and effort you put into it.

What was the thing you always wanted to know about G+ but were afraid to ask?

 If I share a post that is a share post of a share post, who do I h/t?

What is your wildest digital adventure and, I couldn’t help asking (I know these are now 2 questions), what is the digital equivalent of garlic in your online life :-)?

Wildest adventure? I’d have to say dealing with the arcane system concerning domain names and trademarks. Going back in time to 2000 or even 1999, we registered domain names with only thinking about trademarks secondarily. We had to deal with false as well as legitimate trademark claims. Understanding the ICANN system felt like something out of a strange Sci-Fi novel. There are a few catch 22’s within the ICANN system.

The digital equivalent of garlic would be having one of your sites used as a guinea pig for a new web hosting platform without telling you the platform is still in beta. Your site crashing and then recovering every other hour leaves a very bad garlic taste in your mouth.

In her interview Mary Stovall, not knowing who the next interviewee was going to be, asked:

If you could learn one new thing what would it be?

 At the moment, I’m interested in harnessing the power of communities. Understanding how to create, manage, and then use the community for a defined purpose intrigues me.

And now, Tim, it’s your turn to ask the next PYB Academy member a question:

If you could change anything concerning how Google+ functions, what would it be?

A tip to take away from Tim Sweeney  for the PYB Academy members

Tim Sweeney about the Academy

Tim Sweeney on the Web:

See you all in the PYB Community!

PYB Academy Featured Member: an interview with Mary Stovall

By | Featured Member, Google Plus | No Comments

It is probably enough to say one thing about Mary Stovall – she lives in San Diego California. Apart from that which makes her groovy by default, Mary is also a Google + enthusiast and a member-to-be of the the early rising club.

If all that is not enough to explain her shiny Google + presence, we should also probably add that she has had an extensive experience working for a high tech start up focused on Google Applications

Mary has plussed her life and business literary. Mary + is not only an inventive tagline but also her  awesome, coming soon website: Offline Mary has worked for Deloitte and Ernst & Young, and currently she is spreading her Californian mood as a Cruise Director at Hera Hub.

No need for more words, as you have a brilliant interview to read and lots of insights to devour about communities, relationships, collaboration and encouragement.

What brought you on G+ and what was your first post on Google?

I was first introduced to G+ in August of 2012. Google+ representatives were hosting workshops and I helped facilitate a few of them at Hera Hub, the coworking space I’m a member of. My first post wasn’t until November of 2012 – I shared a link to an article on coworking trends. It’s fun to look back on that time and see how much I’ve grown on Google+.

What on or offline world experience has most influenced your time on G+?

Joining the Plus Your Business community in September of 2013 and thanking Martin Shervington for sharing a training document. I remember him telling me there would be much more coming at the first of the year. He wasn’t kidding!

What’s the thing that made your life on G+ easier?

There is so much to learn that ties into Google+: SEO, content, marketing, web development, design and more…. Jumping in like I did, I found myself drowning in information and not certain who to trust. I started following the moderators of the PYB community and found my footing. They are top notch professionals, full of integrity and good, solid, current, and relevant advice.

What would your advice be to newbies here?

Get involved in the PYB community. Take the Quickstarter course and continue on to Level One (and beyond). Don’t be afraid to ask Google+ questions in the PYB community. The moderators are super friendly and want to help.

How many people do you have in the circles for which you’ve turned notifications on?

Less than 75. I use the PYB “Flow” system and have a notify circle. I also have several circles setup for different reasons eg: “news”, “science”, ‘fun”. I view the stream in those circles when I am looking for content I’m interested in.

What’s your favourite G+ feature?

The ability to collaborate on such a deep level. There are so many tools within G+ that integrate well with Google Apps. For example, I’ve been in Hangouts creating and editing documents in Google Drive with people all over the world, in the comfort of my home. It’s amazing!

What has being part of the PYB Academy done for you?

Given me confidence and credibility as a Google+ consultant. I had no idea, how little I knew when I started. Now I know I am learning from the best of the best and that the path to success in the Academy is strong and well thought out.

How has G+ changed your professional life?

G+ enabled me to completely change professions. I spent many years as Tax and HR consultant for two global professional services firms and reached a point of wanting something different. In 2012 I jumped off the cliff, gracefully landed at Hera Hub and started looking for a new profession. Google+ was just getting going and I played with it a bit. Not long after, I was fortunate to meet Guy Kawasaki at San Diego MIT Enterprise forum where he presented his book, What The Plus. I’d studied Guy Kawasaki’s work enough to know that if he wrote a book on something, it was time to pay attention! So, I decided to teach Google+ to other consultants and small businesses.

What was the thing you always wanted to know about G+ but were afraid to ask?

I’m curious by nature so I’m not really afraid to ask questions about G+. The Plus Your Business Community has always been super supportive and has so much great learning material!

You are wearing many hats, including an awesome one coming soon – Mary +, your future website, but please think of this next question from the perspective of your experience as a Hera Hub Community Curator.

We know that communities on Google + are a powerful vehicle. What would you like to share that you find valuable and relevant to this form of engagement and in particular to its management. What is the gasoline for this vehicle?

Community = Collaboration – Curation – Communication – Change

In my experience, all four of these power a successful community, online or offline. More of an integrative approach than singular.

Collaboration is one of the most powerful tools in a community. Collaboration in a community can be anything from asking great questions, to working together on an opportunity, to sharing a fun evening together.

Curation means many things. Curating the members by making sure the community is the right fit for those wanting to join. Curating comments and questions to make sure they are relevant to the community and that members needs are being served. Curating content for the community to provide the best experiences and information.

Communication is critical in any relationship and even more so in communities. Great communication sets clear expectations, brings people together and provides a platform for members to be heard.  A few tools to facilitate good communication:

  • Curators that really care and want to help and encourage people
  • Clear communication about appropriate behavior in the community
  • Checking in with members on a frequent basis, connecting with them on anniversary dates, encouraging opportunities, supporting
  • Asking questions like “How are you”? “How are things going”?  “Anything we can do to support”?

Change is going to happen as  your community grows and as you grow. Be open to change and constantly listen and respond to what your members are saying.

In his interview Michel Reibel, not knowing who the next interviewee  was going to be, asked:

How do you define your value (or your clients) you want to offer and how do you share it on the web?

Knowing what values are important to me (or clients) and discovering my (or clients) personal strengths helped me build a strong foundation and understanding of offerings.

Build strong relationships and people will support you on the web (and in real life). Stay true to who you are when sharing on the web. Let your (or your clients) content reflect values and personality. Always take the high road.


And now it’s your turn, please ask the next PYB Featured member a question:

If you could learn one new thing what would it be?


Thanks Mary!

Mary Stovall across the Web:

YouTube: Mary Stovall



PYB Academy Featured Member: an interview with Michel Reibel

By | Featured Member, Google Plus | No Comments

Michel Reibel is a fan of smart and simple. He believes that the transformation of ideas into value-added projects requires skill and strategy. And these are not mere “looking-good-on-my-profile” words. This is what Michel actually achieves at WebKiss*, the company he founded back in 2012. What he does there, together with his team, is provide solutions for brands and individuals, or as Michel calls these solutions – Revolutionary Methods for Entrepreneurs.

Michel Reibel PYB Acacdemy Advice

If Michel was a word cloud, “creativity” would most probably be the dominating word in the image. And if we were to try to creatively draw a picture of Michel’s vision for life and entrepreneurship, we would gladly have used the help of a drawing he once shared on Google +:

Meet Michel!

What brought you on G+ and what was your first post on Google?

How to create relationships and businesses in a  “Me / We” spirit…

Since 1997, I have created several businesses in Microsoft & Web environment (Recruitment – Tech/Engineering & KM software development). I have started consulting, development and training services in 2007.

I also have started blogging the 21st of January 2012, with two blogs at that time – Cuisine et Cigares (very popular food blog) and mappingrama about Visual Thinking for (neuro)education and business. And one day, I saw this blog post from Jaana Nyström (Google+ Top Contributor): “A Nobody can become Somebody on Google+”

My first post on my personal page is about the famous “Me … We” couplet, introduced as the “shortest poem ever written on what it’s like to be as great as Muhammad Ali (American boxer)”, at a Harvard lecture in 1975 by himself. So inspiring for managers and leaders…

What on or offline world experience has most influenced your time on G+?

In 2013, I joined Foodies+, one of the biggest food communities on Google+ of wonderful people representing their culture worldwide. Being part of this community made me want to focus on controlling my emotions through reading, writing and the visual in real time for learning more about people, myself and knowledge management on G+. That has deeply changed my personal, professional and social “curves of lifes”. This has led to a collaboration with one of the leaders of this community, Azlin Bloor, with whom we organise entertainment Hangouts on Air that have success. This required a major time investment …

What’s the thing that made your life on G+ easier?

I have rationalized what I wanted to do with Google+ for my three “curves of lifes”, then my wife and kids gave me a new smartphone …

What would your advice be to newbies here?

Follow step by step the PYB Quickstarter, then define (or review) your main aims for an efficient online presence (profile and / or business page).

Keys: Take care of your identity by using pictures and a short description that you show to the world. Then summarize the key words (hashtags) you need for searching and reaching your audience(s) and for building your circles by interests. After that, go to level 2…

How many people do you have in the circles for which you’ve turned notifications on?

Less than 100 people. This is in the process of gradually changing and related to the activities of my three blogs with about a thousand people (indeed, I have also launched Birds in the Tree, a blog about the digital strategy for entrepreneurs and for creativity).

What’s your favourite G+ feature?

The best is always coming… 😉

What has being part of the PYB Academy done for you?

How to keep working (hard) on learning and teaching (well) Google+ with Google+!

I have made a mind map of the program from A to Z and I can see that this is a well-designed canvas that covers my needs for a Web strategy, both for myself and my clients.

The PYB Academy is also an innovative model for team building and project management.

I can understand Martin Shervington satisfaction when PYB trended on Google+ at the end of august…

How did G+ shaped/changed your professional life?

What characterizes me the most is the need to unleash creativity, both in the world of education than in the companies. The Google+ platform contributes very positively to design and create collaborative projects and communicate in real time. Its leverage acts as “a system in the system” of communication and valorisation on the Web. This allowed me to create a stronger foundation and business model for WebKiss – THE ONLINE INCUBATOR.

What was the thing you always wanted to know about G+ but were afraid to ask ? 

In my very humble opinion, I don’t think I am afraid to ask anything about Google+, but now that you ask me: How Google+ can help more or support ambitious projects, as WebKiss – THE ONLINE INCUBATOR, also helping and supporting brands, start-up and individuals to get on Google+…?

You are the founder of, a company that provides solutions for brands and individuals in the form of “Revolutionary Methods and Web for Entrepreneurs”. Please, tell us more about the Business Model Canvas you and your team have developed and the way both companies and individuals can use it for their Business Models.

The online universal business model canvas allows to capture visually a key concept, quickly, in a world evolving constantly.

Understanding how organizations work is not easy. Large organizations or complex organizations have so many components that it is difficult to get an overall picture without visually representation. The Business Model canvas provides a visual grid to a simplified representation of complex organizations. The images also help transform the unspoken into explicit information that helps us to think and communicate more effectively assumptions.

This is valuable for a brand, a start-up or even an individual who wants to reinvent his career, and our process allows to keep updated what value you want to provide and its viability, which gives sense to your Web design and content Marketing, that we create in three branches:

– WebKiss for Branding

– WebKiss for Start-Up and Fundraising

– WebKiss for New Careers

With WebKiss, you can challenge the design of your projects, the time and sustainability. We help to spread the value of your ideas worldwide through the Web and by using Google+.

Hoping that +Guy Kawasaki and are reading this post…

In his interview Henri Deschamps, not knowing who the next interviewee  was going to be, asked:

How important is social media to your life and/or your business and why?

Digital literacy is our challenge for education and business… Social media is a tool for helping to make some changements we are expecting. I am an actor of this changement which is constantly operating.

And now it’s your turn to ask the next PYB Academy member a question:

How do you define your value (or your clients) you want to offer and how do you share it on the web?

Thank you Michel Reibel! (My pleasure, and thank you).

Michel Reibel across the Web:






Webkiss – Méthodes et Web Révolutionnaires pour les entrepreneurs

Cuisine et Cigares

mappingrama – All about visual thinking for learning and business·


See you in the main PYB community

PYB Academy Featured Member: an interview with Henri Deschamps

By | Featured Member, Google Plus | No Comments

Porsche 918 is only one of the vivid analogies Henri Deschamps makes when talking about Google +. For those in the know (Henri is a Porsche collector), the so called 918 Spyder is a limited edition supercar.

In his own words, Henri “pitched his tent, escaping the debacle that is FaceBook for business” on Google +  as an early adopter. Inspiringly active on the platform, Mr Deschamps is the mastermind (as Scott Dickson nailed it) behind the business (and the digital presence of) The Mast Farm Inn – an award-winning historic country inn, bed and breakfast & restaurant in the Valle Crucis. Really, the website fascinates with original, educational and enticing content, featuring various topics, related to North Carolina.

Feeling his way through social media, Henri and his team have built about 15 pages, 10 communities, attracting around 10,000 followers to the 300k+ they have elsewhere (you can check out all these projects on Henri’s about page on G+).

Last but not least Henri Deschamps is among the Founding Members of the PYB Academy and the second Level 2 alumnus to become a Featured Member on Friday.

We are pleased to introduce Henri Deschamps.

What brought you on G+ and what was your first post on Google?

I went back and looked, and the very first post I made on my personal profile was to share our G+ business page at which I had just setup. What brought me to G+ is that I had updated a social media share plugin for our website that included the +1 for the first time in the sharebar. I figured if the developer thought G+ was worthy enough to be in a share plug-in I should have a decent look. Since G+ is not very self-evident it took me quite a while to actually even get the basics.

What G+ experience changed your offline world or vice versa?

I would say it was 3 things. 1) I ended up meeting in real life several of the folks I met here, like them a lot, and we have become pretty good buddies in the real world. 2) It renewed my optimism in social media and the web in general as a useful force for change and good. 3) I love to learn and there is much to learn about everything under the sun here.

What’s the thing that made your life on G+ easier?

One word “Shervington”

What would your advice be to newbies here?

Some of us read the manuals, some of us don’t. So first, read the manual… you will not figure it out completely on your own. Contrary to other social media where you just dive it and get on with it, head here first before you do anything and take the time to read every word and see every video. Half a day spent getting properly oriented will enhance your competence. Then explore every nook and cranny of the interface, click on every contextual help button you see, and look at what it says. G+ hides all the little help links, each page could logically have a more prominent contextual “learn more” link. I prefer the term “learn more” to “help” as one implies forward thinking and the other desperation. In that manner people would be encouraged to develop greater expertise incrementally by exploring, or when they have a problem.

How many people do you have in the circles you’ve turned the notifications on?

About 150, but I have a great number of very narrowly focused circles, and I use the feed and mail filters a lot. Proper feed and notifications setup and management was, and is, one of the more challenging aspects of all this for me as I manage a lot of servers, websites, pages and feeds here, on the Web, on Twitter, Pinterest, and FaceBook. As a result I also use a lot of mail filters and folders to distribute the fire hose of data flow into small focused spaces where I can actually follow things. It enables me to follow-up, even if sometimes in “Better Late Than Never” mode.

What’s your favourite G+ feature?

Circles, and the fact you can create your own feed. But I have to say there is a whole bunch of stuff I like here, and while you asked for one favorite what comes to mind is the term “Fahgettaboudit” because this is one nifty platform, so my favorite might be described as “The Whole Shebang”. I like how the interface is very “Porsche meets Google”… Clean, High-Performance, Elegant.

What has being part of the PYB Academy done for you?

“If life doesn’t make you humble, you’re not paying attention”. I used to think I was smart, had my IQ tested and rated very favorably, but when I see how many smart people are on here, and on G+ in general, I sometimes feels quite “mental midget” which is a very good thing. I find it quite exciting to see so many brilliant folks at work here.

How did G+ shaped/changed your professional life?

At 61 my professional life is pretty much settled. I would however say that of all the tech tools, ways and means I use for work, it is my favorite and most enjoyable and personally enriching platform, and I am grateful to be able to explore and use such a magnificent tool. I am a Porsche collector, and G+ reminds me of the Porsche 918. Who wouldn’t want to drive one of those?

What was the thing you always wanted to know about G+ but were afraid to ask [? :)]

I am not afraid to ask, but my biggest question about Google or Google+ is “Why is an organization of the size, with the client base, and the revenues of Google unwilling to provide world-class customer and tech support to its clients and users. American Express is the gold standard of support. You call and you speak with one real live human person whose language and accent you understand, who knows what they are doing, and who solves all your problems. If Google thinks they are doing well enough now thank you very much, a real service and support organization that works, attached to this beast, would be of epic and even biblical import. A person or business who cannot face its customers live is disturbing, and while tech self-help and self-reliance is important, so is real support that humanizes using humans.

Before you launched your business with buying the The Mast Farm Inn, you had a long career in publishing & media. What are the advantages of such a background and how do you use them on Google +?

The proper answer to that is a link which points to an interview I did recently entitled “How We Manage our Digital Assets” located at and where much of that is discussed. [ed. Lots of gold nuggets in this Scott Dickson’s interview, to cite one: “The conventional wisdom is usually way more about convention, than it is about wisdom”.]

Our previous Featured Member Melinda Samson (link toMelinda’s interview) asked: What was the biggest Google+ mistake you made before you knew better?

Not reading the manual. You do not just strap yourself into the cockpit of a space shuttle, and hit go! I read the manual now.

Your turn now, Henri, ask the next person something cool, not generic 🙂  [surprise, nobody knows who that person will be (Only till the next Featured Member Friday)]

How important is social media to your life and/or your business and why?

Henri Deschamps and his business on the Google +:

The Mast Farm Inn, + on Google+

Thank you Henri!

See you all at the PYB community.