Categorized | Business Authors

The Dragonfly Effect – Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media To Drive Social Change By Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith

Andy Smith and Jennifer Aaker

Author Bios: Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith

A social psychologist and marketer, Jennifer Aaker is the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Her research spans time, money and happiness. She focuses on questions such as: What actually makes people happy, as opposed to what they think make them happy? How do small acts create significant change, and how can those effects be fueled by social media? She is widely published in the leading scholarly journals in psychology and marketing, and her work has been featured in a variety of media including The Economist, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BusinessWeek, Forbes, CBS MoneyWatch, NPR, Science, Inc, and Cosmopolitan.

An experienced tech marketer, Andy Smith is principal of Vonavona Ventures where he advises and bootstraps technical and social ventures with guidance in marketing, customer strategy and operations. Over the past 20 years, he has served as an executive in the high tech industry, leading teams at Dolby Labs, BIGWORDS, LiquidWit, Intel, Analysis Group, Polaroid, Integral Inc. and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. As a guest lecturer at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Andy speaks on social technology, engineering virality, and brand building, with a focus on applying technology to address real problems. He is a contributor to GOOD magazine, where he writes about businesses that embrace and integrate a social mission.

Book Synopsis

Named for the only insect able to move in any direction when its four wings are working in concert, The Dragonfly Effect reveals how everyday people achieve unprecedented results through harnessing the power of social media.

While there are many books teaching the mechanics of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, The Dragonfly Effect is the first to show how to tap social media and psychological insights to achieve a single, concrete goal – whether that is finding an almost impossible bone marrow match for a friend, raising millions for cancer research, or electing the current president of the United States.

Why readers should buy the book and what they will get out of it after reading it:

The Dragonfly Effect demonstrates how to achieve both social good and customer loyalty by leveraging the power of design thinking and the social web with practical strategies. The book provides compelling case histories and a clear framework (Focus, Grab Attention, Engage and Take Action) that people can use to achieve a single, concrete goal.

Why did you write this book?

There were three main reasons we wrote this book: first, Andy’s background in marketing and his experience harnessing social media to build brands suggested that these technologies could be used in a fundamentally new way; second, Jennifer’s research on happiness showing that what people think makes them happy isn’t really what makes them happy; and finally and most importantly, our personal experience working with inspiring, smart people to find a bone marrow match for a friend. This effort resulted in helping to build up a bone marrow registry from which thousands of others have benefited.

These three things led first to “The Power of Social Technology,” a class that Jennifer teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The class is designed to help entrepreneurial students harness the social web to cultivate good in the world. The course demonstrates that there is a framework defining repeatable processes that can help people achieve their goals quickly. We then wanted to share this model and the stories that illuminate it with as many people as possible, so we wrote The Dragonfly Effect.

Do you have a blog, what is the link, what do you talk about in your blog?

On our blog, The Dragonfly Effect (link:, we feature case histories, interviews, and expand on some of the topics found in the book. We also support the documentation of new stories as well as the evolution of the dragonfly tools. In December, we featured a “12 Days of Giving” series that highlighted new ways to use social media to drive meaning and social change. We shared 12 simple, easy, yet meaningful ways for readers to give back during the holiday season and the New Year.

Do you tweet, facebook fan page, myspace friend or use any other social media to get the word out? (Please provide links)

Jennifer can be found on Twitter at @aaker, Andy is at @kabbenbock, and we post relevant Dragonfly Effect tweets at @dflyeffect. The book’s Facebook page is: Our Ning community can be found at

Do you do speaking events? What do you talk about?

Yes, we both enjoy speaking at conferences and events. Jennifer is just back from a trip to India for the INK Conference, where she walked through the framework of The Dragonfly Effect. Both of us will be presenting at the March Web 2.0 Expo ( in San Francisco. Jennifer will be presenting a keynote titled “Creating Infectious Action,” while Andy will be leading a workshop called “Harnessing Social Media to Build Brands.” We keep our event calendar on Plancast: and we post many of our presentations on Slideshare: .

What free online or offline tools do you use?

We make use of many free and inexpensive tools. The top free ones include Google Apps, WordPress, Plancast, Slideshare, Ginzametrics, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Feedburner, Google Analytics and Disqus.

What books have you read that you would recommend to others?

It’s a long list; our book, The Dragonfly Effect, is so cross-disciplinary we read a wide and diverse set of authors for inspiration:

– We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion – Sep Kamvar and Jonathan Harris
– The Networked Nonprofit – Beth Kanter, Allison Fine and Randi Zuckerberg
– Drive – Daniel Pink
– Trust Agents – Chris Brogan
– Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard – Chip Heath and Dan Heath
– Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – Heath
– Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely
– The Upside of Irrationality – Dan Ariely
– Linchpin – Seth Godin
– Groundswell – Charlene Li
– Open Leadership – Charlene Li
– Slide:ology – Nancy Duarte
– Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences – Nancy Duarte
– Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Todd Gilbert
– The How of Happiness – Sonja Lyubomirsky
– Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits – Leslie Critch field and Heather McLeod Grant
– Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don’t – Jeffrey Pfeffer
– Getting to 50/50 – Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober
– The Facebook Era – Clara Shih
– Web Analytics 2.0 – Avinash Kaushik
– Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh
– The Social Media Marketing Book – Dan Zarella
– The Truth About Leadership – James Kouzes and Barry Posner
– The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management – Stephen Denning
– High Output Management – Andrew Grove
– Four Steps to the Epiphany – Steven Gary Blank
– The Twitter Book – Sarah Milstein and Tim O’Reilly
– Dealing With Darwin – Geoffrey Moore

What is the one big thing that you did right?

We listened very closely to the stories people told us and focused on making a book that not only inspired and noted what did and didn’t work for them, but put in the reader’s hands the tools to go do it themselves.

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