Category Archives: Personal

How I Love Twitter, Let Me Count The Ways

When I first joined Twitter, I did not see the full value. I got on because a good friend of mine and early adopter, Jim Reynolds, told me about this new service. I started following some of my former coworkers and it was almost like a constant conversation between us five or six individuals.

Fast forward to last night, I went to the 2nd annual Twestival held in Rochester, NY. This made me look back over the past year or so since the first Twestival and evaluate what value Twitter has had on my life and I would like to share that with you.

  1. Crowd Sourcing and Knowledge Sharing- Once I started looking into increasing the value of my Twitter experience, I found out that other people were willing to connect and share information and experiences. I started following subject matter experts and thought leaders on topics that were interesting to me. I then started to post my own content, or link to interesting articles to share with others. The biggest benefit was able to directly ask questions, and get answers, from many people. Most of whom I have never met.
  2. Growing My Community- At the first Twestival that I attended, Chaz Broersma showed me this unique tool called TweetDeck. I have been using it ever since. The first group I created was a Rochester, NY group which allowed me to keep track of all of the people from my area. I started following many people from my city and looked for ways to engage and start conversations. I now call a majority of these individuals in the Rochester TweetDeck column friends.
  3. Create Online Relationships and Take Them Offline- Twitter has provided me with a powerful online networking tool. I have been able to meet many more people that I would have not met otherwise. I have made it a point to get out to Social Media Club of Rochester meetings and have coffee or lunch with many others whom I have met online. This kind of goes with the last point, but I think that this is important to find opportunities to make face-to-face connections.
  4. Establish a Personal Brand- One of the first people outside of Rochester that I started to follow was Dan Schawbel. Following him lead me to be conscious of my personal brand and helped me realize that using Twitter is a great way to establish my own brand. Twitter has helped with my search rankings for my own name, but also puts content next to my name as well.
  5. How To Develop a Pull Marketing Strategy- If you are marketing anything on Twitter, you can not use a push marketing technique. I am a business development professional, and I use Twitter at times to market things that I am working on. I mentioned in a few of my other posts how I use LinkedIn for biz dev (Part I, Part II). I also use Twitter to follow prospects of interest, and engage them in conversation. I quickly learned that if you are shouting on Twitter, you are not adding value and will get ignored quickly.

This is just a small list. Perhaps I will do a follow up post on other things that I have learned from Twitter in the past year. I’m interested in what others have learned; feel free to leave a comment to let me know.

Maximize Shareholder Wealth or Corporate Social Responsibility?

Today I went back to the Rochester Institute of Technology E. Philip Saunders College of Business for a panel discussion on the ethical implications on “Maximizing Shareholder Wealth” that was put on by the Graduate Management Association. I initially went back to see some old friends, professors, and staff, but I walked out with my mind running. I wanted to share this experience with all of you and get you thinking as well.

The first class that I took when I was getting my MBA was an accounting course. The professor told us time and time again that the goal of any company is to maximize shareholder wealth. This statement was drilled into our minds and was even a question on the midterm. This seems pretty simple to understand. A business would not be started unless there were profits to be gained by entering the market. The business’s goal, in turn, is to generate as much profit as it can, thereby maximizing the shareholders wealth.

One of the last classes that I took was on the topic of Business, Government and Society. In this class we looked at the macroeconomic and microeconomic approach to how a business is run and how the government and society also plays a role in the corporate decision making process. Fifty years ago, any corporate donation, whether in-kind or monetary, would have been deemed as having direct negative effect on the shareholders’ wealth. The rise of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Triple Bottom Line truly reflects a change in thinking that a corporation has a responsibility to more than just his shareholders.

This is where the discussion got interesting. One professor used an example from a national retailer that had a mission statement that was focused on providing a better life for its customers. On the other hand, this national retailer also just shut down 10 distribution centers because of under productivity. Now this has a direct impact on society with the loss of hundreds, if not thousands of jobs, and the resulting drop in spending due to the lay offs. On the other hand, this also provides a way for a business to right size and maximizes shareholder wealth in the long run. Interestingly enough, you never see a company’s mission statement that states: “Our goal is to make our owners rich by increasing the stock price.”

So what is the point that I am getting to here? I am not exactly sure. I think that the topic of discussion is very timely and could result in some very high level thinking.

What are your thoughts on this topic? I would love to hear from you!

Time Is Not Money in Your Job Search

“Time is money.” We have heard this saying many times over. However, when out of work, time is not money. While in the process of looking for a new position, time is not revenue, it is an investment. This investment is called sweat equity. Sweat equity is the time spent adding value to a project or business. Using this analogy, a job search can be (and should be) looked at as starting a business.

Photo Cred: monkeyc.net

If you are unemployed, your job is looking for one. You are the CEO, CMO, and CFO all wrapped into one. Just like any business, job seekers need to create a strategy, goals, and objectives. This part of the search takes time; this is your sweat equity. Talk to any business owner, and they will tell you that they put a lot of sweat equity into starting their business, but they will also tell you that they also had to invest capital.

Many people looking for a new position do not invest capital into their job search. Sweat equity is built spending hours on job boards, applying to positions via job sites, going to career fairs and networking events. These methods worked when unemployment was low, but in the current conditions, this is not enough. Job seekers need to invest in their job search.

I have gone to many personal branding presentations. I have also given many presentations on this topic myself. One common tip that presenters give is to buy your own domain name. Most, however, do not tell the individuals in the audience what to do once it is purchased. So here are some tips that I have used, and have given me some great results while looking for a new position.

  1. Build your own web page- Businesses have a web page, why shouldn’t you. A website is your online marketing brochure. It tells people who you are, what your interests are, what skills you have. It also provides you another way to market your personal value proposition (unique value proposition, elevator speech, whatever you want to call it). This is also a great way to use key words and your name to help you rank higher in search results. For a minimal cost, there are many hosting companies that can provide a tool that will help you get started. Cost: around $50.00
  2. Start a blog- If the position that you are going for would require you to write, why are you not writing? Blogging is a great way to get your name out and there are many cost effective ways to start a blog. Free tools like WordPress and Blogger would allow you to set up a blog at no cost. I would recommend using a hosted blog that would allow the blog to be under the domain name that you purchased, rather than using a “yourdomain.wordpress.com” URL. Hosted Blog Cost: around $50.00
  3. Create your own email- This is probably the most important part. Why would you go through the investment of getting your own domain name and then continue to use a Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail email account? Why help these companies extend their brand when your email can become a great marketing tool for you? Sending an email from “yourname@yourname.com” shows recruiters that you have invested time in your search. This may also lead them to look at the website or blog that you set up since they see the domain name in your email. Most companies will set up one email address with the purchase of the domain name. Cost: free

Personally, these tips have helped me in my job search. In fact, 75%-80% of the interviews I go on, the interviewer mentions my website. I hope that these tips can help you in your job search and personal branding.

How 2009 Changed My Life

So, my first blog post. I have to admit, I am pretty excited. I have had a few people tell me that I should start blogging on my own, so I have followed their advice and here we are!

As I start to prepare myself for 2010, I have realized many things in my life have changed. For instance, I realized the value of education and went back to school to get my MBA. I enrolled in a fast track MBA course which allowed me to complete my studies in 363 days. Yes, you read that correctly, 363 days. This decision has made a HUGE difference in my life. Let me explain how this one, single decision has changed my life all together.

First of all, I now look at the big picture for both my personal and professional life. I no longer live in the moment, focusing on what I want in the next three to six months. Instead, my focus is on the long-term. The same goes for my professional life. I no longer focus on my assigned task in a silo, but I now take a more strategic approach by looking at the corporate objectives as a whole.

Secondly, I found the real value of networking, both online and in real life. Online sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have allowed me to make stronger connections not only in Rochester, but nationwide. The value that I have sought has changed tremendously. I went from a young man that is always looking to find people that can help me. Within the past year, I have found that looking for ways to help others is not only more rewarding, but a great way to create new relationships with people I would not have otherwise interacted with.

The last thought I will leave you with is the importance of continual self-education. I must read between 25-30 different blogs on a daily basis; each one teaching me new and exciting things that I can use in my daily life. The environment is constantly changing, and if you stand still, it will pass you by without a flinch.

I wish you all the best in 2010 and thank you for being a great friend!