On Monday night, Rosetta Stone hosted an event at Barcode as part of Social Media Week in Washington, D.C. The title – “Interactive Culture: Food, Drinks, and Social Collaboration with Rosetta Stone” – caught my attention. In the description of the event they were boasting “a night of international culture and interactive collaboration,” and they completely lived up to their promise.
Shavanna Miller, Social Media Manager at Rosetta Stone, explained to me the premise behind this event:
“We really wanted to have an event that incorporated culture and language, since we at Rosetta Stone obviously are very interested in international culture. We used social media as a way to experience different cultures. Tonight, we have 4 different countries: Italy, Peru, Greece and Japan. And the way the event is working is that we are allowing people to determine the course of the evening depending on which country they tweet about the most. We have food, drinks and music from each country and every half an hour we switch to another country.”
When asked why Rosetta Stone got involved in Social Media Week, Shavanna put it simply:
“When you think about it, language brings people together and social media brings people together. It’s a great fit.”
This was the first time I was at an event that was driven by the crowd. You could see tweets and voting results live on the screens. It reminded me of TurnTables, only instead of voting for another DJ, we voted for another cultural experience. I love seeing companies incorporate social media in their makeup and explore unconventional avenues to promote their product. It was a great event with lots of delicious food, cocktails, and great music!
I was also really excited to see Tom Adams, CEO of Rosetta Stone, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to chat with him about the secret to the success of Rosetta Stone.
“The key is to be different from all the alternatives. There is no program in the world that teaches without translation. Translation is actually something that holds you back from succeeding in learning a language. We are the only company that, by using technology, is changing the way how people can learn. And as a result, hopefully we change lives, and when we do that it’s phenomenal.”
We also talked a little about gamification and how Rosetta Stone is using it to help its users to learn a new language. “The hardest thing in self-study learning is motivation,” explained Adams. “So, we have game elements in the design.” For those who never used Rosetta Stone before, there are different puzzles to solve in order to pass to the next level. “When they solve a puzzle they learn. And when they learn they feel proud.”
Adams also shared advice on how to manage stress to succeed, something all entrepreneurs face:
“The core to managing stress is to be grounded in a deeper purpose. Once you understand what your core purpose is, what your organization’s purpose is, then as you get hit with different challenges in your business or in your career, you can overcome them because you put them in perspective.”