Saturday, July 14, 2007

Stem Friends!

Facebook. College social hangout or worthy business tool?

One thing I do know about the Internet is that things often start social and experimental, and then end up with a business development spin. Email, websites, blogs -- over the past 14 years I've seen it happen repeatedly. And now Social Networking. The popularity of facebook is through the roof these days, and the grey area between social contacts and business contacts is already starting to emerge. The next logical question for me is, how soon do the business applications arrive? Well, I want to find out and definitely think it's worth an experiment to help build my new company's profile.

So come join my new facebook group Stem Friends! I want Stem to be the type of company that supports everyone's innovations on the legal web. And now we have a place to chat about it!

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Big Personal News

Dear Friends,

After almost a year of consideration, my wife's blessing, and discreet conversations with a number of colleagues, I am about to make a leap of faith. I will be leaving Clark Wilson LLP on July 31, 2007 to start a new company Stem Legal Web Enterprises (or 'Stem Legal', or simply 'Stem').

The vision behind Stem is this: to offer an outsourced service for law firms to increase online profile and web-driven business opportunities.

Stem's services will be based on my last 12 years in-house, with tactics ranging from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and link building campaigns, to audience profiling and content development strategies. Stem will also help firms leverage the new 'social web', including law blogs, content syndication strategies (ie. RSS), social networking, and business market conversations. The core offering will be a monthly retainer service, explained further here.

Building around a monthly retainer will allow a couple things. First, it will keep the company close to each firm's business interests and the audiences they want to converse with. And second, it should allow this niche service to fit with most firm administrative structures. Similar to my role at CW, online profile building can be guided by a firm's marketing department, and shouldn't have to compete. The concept is more about adding experience to a firm's collective mindshare, building competitive web-brands, and ensuring when the firm does something worthy online, it gets noticed.

I am also happy to share that my exit from CW is on very good terms, with all signs indicating they will be my first client. I continue to have great friends at the firm, and am thankful for their support.

Going forward, I hope to have the web presence (& new blog) for Stem launched by mid-July. While operations won't begin until August 1st., I am happy to converse with prospective firms via email [ ] prior to my departure.

I will be sharing more detail in the days to come, but for now want to convey a couple thoughts to readers. First, rest assured that the Vancouver Law Librarian Blog is not going anywhere. There will be a minor re-branding of the logo, and a bit of a subject split with the new blog, but otherwise, it's business as usual.

Second, I expect to continue my commitment as the incoming President of VALL. Professional associations are still very important to me. I am better connected to my peers, and to the legal industry because of them. I don't expect a new life direction is going to change that.

And lastly, a big thank-you goes out to my friends and mentors who have helped me through this process: one doesn't get to courage without encouragement.

Kind regards,