What I Do: Chris Heuer

The entrepreneur behind AdHocnium believes ownership of social media is up for grabs.

The Silicon
Valley is chock full of evangelists, generalists and gurus. Chris Heuer
says he is of a new kind ? “the contextualizer.”

“I’m somebody who synthesizes
a lot of complexity to create a high-value distinction that creates new value,”
says Heuer.

Currently, Heuer has two
full-time jobs, which he says is a good amount for him, usually with many
projects on the go.

The first of these is his recently
launched startup AdHocnium, a virtual consulting
bureau with a network of consultants, called catalysts, with expertise to transform
global enterprises into social businesses. This includes shifting from
marketing to engagement; from knowledge management to collaboration; and from
siloed organizations into connected companies.

At launch there are 17
consultants and five marketing agency partnerships which include Adler
Integrated and Cause Media.

Once AdHocnium is up and running, Heuer plans to focus his attention
on his other startup, which is currently in the business planning stages. He
did not give further details on this other than it is an enterprise software
company that will “transform social business.”

Helping businesses make the
often difficult transition into social is something Heuer has experience in
from his time at Deloitte, where he was a specialist leader in social business
for two years. He left in March this year to return to the startup world.

“At Deloitte I wasn’t a
partner, I was a specialist, meaning I was at will to the needs of others,
versus being in complete control of my own destiny every day,” says Heuer.

“Ultimately for someone like
me, I really need to have more control. I find with many of my industry
colleagues and friends, it’s a similar sort of thing,” he says.

Heuer is perhaps best known
for being the co-founder and chairman of Social Media Club, which hosts talks
and discussions about how technology has changed the way people communicate,
collaborate and relate to each other. The aim is to promote media literacy,
share lessons and ethical behaviors, and advance industry standards.

From its first session in the
San Francisco Bay Area seven years ago, Social Media Club has become a global phenomenon
with more than 300 chapters worldwide.

“People all around the world
found us and embraced us. It’s grown, it’s ebbed and flowed. We’ve found
success and failure,” says Heuer.

While sitting on the board of
Social Media Club, Heuer allowed it to grow in its own direction from an early
stage. But now he is looking to refocus on controlling the quality of the club,
to create greater consistency around the world.

For someone who was at the
birth of social media, Heuer has been privy to plenty of debate about who owns it.
“When we started Social Media Club, I felt PR owned it because they were the
storytellers and the people who knew how to create relationships.”

“But then ego problems got in
the way – the ‘me’ got put into social media, not the ‘we.’”

“As budgets got trimmed and
social media departments stopped getting funding, it became owned by whoever
grabbed it first and was able to prove success. Now there are so many companies
struggling to become truly social businesses,” he says.  

One of the key lessons Heuer
has learned over the years is that communications professionals need to be
truthful. People can tell when you are not telling the full truth or there is
something more to a story, he adds.

“In today’s era, people need
to know the full truth, as directly and honestly as possible, and even in
crisis, where the old policy is ‘Don’t give it any oxygen,’ today it needs to
see the light of day.”

Heuer says he rarely takes
time off, but he tries to reconnect with nature when possible, which includes
snowboarding and going for long walks. He is also a fan of the “walk-and-talk” meeting,
which he says also helps in his quest to be healthier.

But Heuer does not separate
his work life from outside-of-work interests. “I get the chance to speak to
people who share a vision for the future that we can fix what is broken in the
world. To me that is not work anymore, it is doing what I love to do and what
comes naturally to me.”

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