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Showing posts from December, 2013

5 LinkedIn Profile Updates For 2014

The concept for this year is holistic authenticity. You should portray yourself as the total person that you are, rather than chopping out a part of yourself and presenting it as your professional profile.

Yes, you should do this even if you aren't looking for a job.

1. Profile picture: Should be up-close, preferably outdoors and you are smiling. Arms folded in front is good. Black and white is interesting. No angles. No blurriness. No weird colors or Photoshopping.

2. Headline: Unusual, unique, personal, honest, high-level and in a sentence. It is not what you do! It is your evolving personal brand. So drill down to the essence - and think about how you contribute the most value at work. (Your opinion, not theirs.)

3. Achievements: List 5 things in bullets. These are outcomes, not activities and they should emphasize areas where you enhanced productivity of saved money. Don't offer fake-sounding figures like "saved $1m." Don't take credit for things you didn't d…

The Union Worker and The Sex Worker

Photo by me.
Yesterday, commenting on the omelet blog, Karen Louise Boothe wrote on LinkedIn, "Some of your most profound observations come when you're waiting on a food order." 
Today it happened again -- before, during and after.
We were headed to the breakfast area early, even in Las Vegas time, because we had to be up for an activity.
On the way there, on the left, we see a couple. She is dressed in last night's clothes, last night's hair, and rumpled. He is all over her. It is literally 6 a.m. 
Know that I haven't even had my morning coffee yet, which I buy from the Starbucks for $4.05 (!) because the hotel version is so bad. And these two are waking me up.
I turn to my older daughter and make a face. She makes a face back, as if to say, I guess we're in Vegas now.
My husband and younger daughter are walking up ahead. Ever the bearer of drama and good gossip I inform them of what we have seen.
They turn around briefly, and my husband shakes his head as if to…

Know Your Demographic: Why Kris Jenner Makes Money & You Don't

Kris Jenner. Photo via Wikipedia.
I do watch the Kardashian show on TV and inevitably get hassled for admitting it.
Most of us can understand the appeal of the kids pretty easily, right? Typical trashy Hollywood celebuzz reality stuff is entertaining.
But less often analyzed is the brand appeal of mom Kris Jenner. She is often reduced to the role of "mastermind" and not in a good way. This is the stereotype of the controlling mother who has no life of her own and thus somehow manipulates everybody else, living vicariously (and profiting financially) by pulling their figurative strings.
I think women like Kris as a brand in and of herself. Not all women. But women of a certain age, who have been there and done that and learned a few lessons along the way. Specifically, it's about confidence:
1. Kris puts her children first. She is always there with them and for them. She is not perfect but she cares and she tries. She focuses always on protecting their interests.
2. Kris lives …

The Focused Eye Behind Coca-Cola's Brand

Focus does not mean monotony. Today I had a chance to visit the Coca-Cola store on the Las Vegas strip. I was dazzled. I felt awe at this quintessential American heritage brand, and thought about what keeps it fresh and inspiring to so many even a century after it's founding.

Not only that I wondered how they kept their brand essence focused, with so many diverse products and looks and manifestations of the same thing. See these magnets, above.

If so had to boil it down to one thing I would say they Coca-Cola worships at the altar of the best of America. It is unapologetic refreshment, enjoyment of life, memories of a shared heritage. Look at this jewelry made out of bottle pieces, above.

They had fun scented tee-shirts. The shirts matched the various soda lines. It wasn't about drinking anything, just a smile.

Of course they had old-fashioned signs. They made me think of small towns in the Midwest in the mid-50s, when everything was simpler. I thought of my grandparents (may they…

5 Tips For The Vegas Tourist Industry

Me and Andy, my love. Photo by a helpful stranger.
1. Your target audience is 40+ or foreigners, not only college kids sowing wild oats. Many of us are married or coupled and a lot of folks are with longtime friends or dating. A lot of us bring the kids. We're here because we want to live a little before we are too old to enjoy anything. Your message of "what happens here stays here" is way too narrow and misleading.

2. Let me repeat, we may have our kids along.  How about a rating system for activities like at the movies? Mark the adult stuff with an X or NC-17 and there is plenty to do at the G and PG levels. (The R-rated stuff is somewhere in the middle and we know what it is.) You underestimate people.
3. How come you don't tell us that Vegas is like "Disneyland For Adults," with a huge variety of fun activities where everything is larger than life, incredibly imaginative and in glorious living color.

The "Eiffel Tower." Photo by me.
A copy of New …

5 Ways To Restart Your Life In 2014

If Elvis can do it, so can you. Photo by me.
1. Reframe: Use your mind to understand your situation differently and in a positive way, as an opportunity to learn and grow. For example a bad job appraisal or termination - take it as feedback to advance you to the next job opportunity.
2. Reinvent: Take a familiar situation or experience and turn it into a new one. For example a job that has become routine - learn a new skill and transform your responsibilities.
3. Repurpose: Take a familiar tool and use it for something completely different. Start a different kind of blog. Turn a magazine into wallpaper. Turn an apple into a self-contained pie shell (seen on Lifehacker.)
4. Reimagine: Be extraordinarily creative, forget the past and don't accept limits, dream and do what you never dreamt possible.
5. Regenerate: Take time out to do things just for you, for fun, with no "productive" end.

10 Ways Hotel Chains Can Make More Money From Their Visitors

Photo by me.
1. Loan iPads and other tablets so that visitors can contact friends and family, take photos, and so on without worrying about taking a personal device. 
2. At in-house Starbucks and other popular in-house coffee destinations, add more cashiers during breakfast rush hour when the line builds up or add more stations.
3. Target the female traveler with a range of services beyond the spa, such as free makeovers, jewelry and personal wardrobe consultations - then sell related products afterward. Tier the products to customers in every category from mass to haute. 
4. Buffet the food as much as possible. People dislike table service because it is uncomfortable to interact with wait staff - making conversation, knowing how much to tip, etc.
5. Add a spa lounge experience to every fitness area. It is not hard to have a few magazines, juice and coffee and a comfortable quiet place to sit. This should be free, as a gateway to sell spa services.
6. Hotel shuttles and tour buses should ha…

5 Sins That Bother Me About Vegas

Photo by me.
I laugh along with the ad campaign "What happens in Vegas Stays In Vegas,"  but this stuff is really not cool.
1. Caste System: Poor people serving rich people on an overwhelming scale where most are living on low-paying retail jobs and a few are obscenely rich. The sign at Panda Express offers "great benefits," there is not even a mention of wages.
2. Social Darwinism: People sleeping on the street with various cardboard cutout signs, some humorous some not, like "shitty advice for money" and "even ugly people need to eat."
3. Sex Trafficking: Men handing out cards to other men offering "girls" for sale, billboards offering "girls to your room in 20 minutes" like a Domino's pizza, newsstand racks with Lucite Tic Tac Toe designs offering women for sale.
4. Colonialism: Native Americans reduced to scanning lunch tickets on a Grand Canyon bus tour and singing/dancing on a mock reservation. Seeing the poverty they li…

The Secret of Judd Apatow's Brand Success

Not everybody likes or can relate to Judd Apatow’s TV shows and movies. But I find them honest, compelling and true. And so I think I can speak about that central brand quality that makes them so successful.
Apatow is able to take a very personal and painful experience and turn it into something we can share and celebrate together. He celebrates what I call “joyful awkwardness” – that is, living in the moment when you not only don’t know where you’re going, but also realize you’re making a total ass of yourself not getting there.
The emotional experience Apatow depicts on screen is not exclusive to men, although most of his primary characters are male for obvious reasons. Lena Dunham is a version of Apatow, a writer who can’t get her act together but who lets us see completely behind the curtain.
In Girls, the storyline and the writing is so engaging, it is almost as if we are there. We are Hannah, alone and afraid as an OCD episode leaves a Q-tip stuck in our ears and we have nobody to…

5 Ways Marketers Can Target Gen Xers Using Lessons From "Anchorman 2"

1. "Anchorman 2" features easily recognizable 70s and early 80s pop icons and fashion. It reflects how Gen Xers grew up watching a few powerful networks on TV. We know the casts of top shows almost like we know our own families, and it thus creates friends out of strangers easily. Marketers succeed when they channel this pop culture nostalgia. 
2. The movie depicts changing gender norms regarding gender and marriage. Gen Xers grew up with both mom and dad at work, maybe even at two jobs. Our parents divorced if they were not happy and they had boyfriends and girlfriends just as teenagers do. Marketers succeed when they depict characters struggling with gender norms. They also do well by channeling Xers nostalgia for an imagined earlier time that was better defined and less confusing.
3. The movie shows how society changed very quickly in a short period of time, and similarly how individuals reinvented their own identities in a quest for meaning. The shackles of the past were r…

My Predictions: 30 Marketing Trends for 2014 & Beyond

Image by Justin A. Glass via Flickr “High tech antiques” – high functionality embedded in vintage, familiar, heritage look and feel.Bitcoin and other alternative currencies embedded in mobile phones (rather than credit card or bank account).Increasingly sophisticated methods of barter for professional services.Parallel stock markets to gamble on virtually everything.The end of paper checks.Hiring for emotional intelligence scientists, and the rejection of "touchy feely."Cheaper and cheaper mass-market juicers.Augmented reality doctors, plus Skyping, texting, and email - anything but an actual visit.Co-branded childcare, medical care, and telecommuting centers for parents.Combination luxury tour and cheaper essential surgery - in developing nations.Bartering caregiving for rent – especially for the elderly.Alternative medicine legitimized and increasingly regulated, as the government responds to popular demands for lower-cost and more natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals an…

An Overlooked Factor In Employee Trust Scores: Sexual Abuse

Photo by Theen via Flickr
"Don't report sexual harassment (in most cases)" is, from where I sit, one of Penelope Trunk's most controversial posts about success at work. Her basic position is not, as it appears, to be a victim but rather to find the most expedient way to save oneself - because the odds are stacked in favor of the abuser. She writes:
"Sexual harassment in American work life is pervasive — as much as 80 percent in some sectors. But most women don’t stand a chance of winning a lawsuit. So having a plan to deal with the problem is a good idea for all women."
In fact, men and women alike can be victims of sexual harassment at work. Sadistic people populate organizations just as they do the schools, the clergy, the home, and every other environment with a power differential. According to the child abuse advocacy organization Darkness to Light, "About one in seven girls and one in 25 boys is sexually abused before they turn 18." (And we freq…

"Catching Fire" In Government: How We Will Get Our Creative Back

Image source: Wikimedia
If you oppress people they will rise up at some point and reclaim their freedom. Many popular shows today are centrally focused on that theme: "Catching Fire," "The Walking Dead," and even one show actually titled "Revolution."

Physical oppression is horrible to watch - I had nightmares from "12 Years A Slave." But the ultimate freedom is freedom of the mind, and that is invisible. You can only see the effects when it's not there.

Crayola crayons don't work as well as oil pastels. But as a kid I loved the 64-crayon boxes anyway. A colleague in government told me she did too. And then she relayed what happened to her in kindergarten.

"The teacher only wanted us to bring the 8 crayon box. She could tell that I was using other colors. I really got in trouble for that."

I would like to say that I can't even imagine what kind of human being would tell a 5 year old to restrict their creativity in such a petty w…

Animal Farm (5 Sources Of Resistance To Open Data)

Frequently in literature we see that animals are used to symbolize human personalities. And it occurred to me that in government, there are some types of people whose presence gets in the way of progress.

Of course these are one-dimensional extremes, meant to illustrate a point.

1. The snake

Wants to keep power, works better in the shadows, thus sets about quietly choking transparency advocates to organizational death.


Photo by SquishyRay via Flickr
2. The rooster

Seeks all the credit for themselves. Toot their own horn, and suppress others' ideas and accomplishments.


Photo by mewwhirl via Flickr

3. The goat

Just complains about everything, sapping the energy of everybody in the room.


Photo by kkirugi via Flickr

4. The chimpanzee

Continually head-scratching, confused, can't figure out what's going on even after nearly five years of movement toward the new. Where they could add momentum, they continually slow it because they just are without a clue.


Photo by David Lewis via Flickr

5. The…

Feds: Destroy Your Job & Save Your Career

It's "A Whole New World" (Aladdin.) Image source here.
"Creative destruction," a term coined by the economist Joseph Schumpeter, is a shorthand way of describing the innovation process in economic terms. 
Today we get movies via Apple and Amazon on our computers. We don't need Redbox, Blockbuster, or movie theaters at all. (Saturday Night Live did a really funny "eulogy" for Blockbuster featuring Lady Gaga.)
Innovation routinely costs people their jobs - that's the tough side. Yet as unfortunate as that is, progress will continue to happen. It just does - it's like a rule of nature.
So no matter where you work, it makes sense to destroy your job, yourself, first - so that you can move on to the next realm of opportunity before someone pulls the rug out from under you.
Yes, even if you are a Fed.
This advice may seem counterintuitive. Federal jobs are known for their relative stability and security, and many feds begin and end their lives in the …

A Big Vision for Big Data: Intelligent Agents

Photo by Lord Henry via Flickr
Google has patented an agent that will post on social media for you. If you can't think of a clever Tweet, you need worry no more - this little robot has got your back.

What if we had an agent that could navigate Big Data? It would:

* Know my data usage habits online.
* Anticipate what kind of data I would be interested in.
* Go out and find that information automatically, from multiple sources or (or engage in conversation, to elicit those needs from me).
* Deliver it to me in consumable form.

As far as I know we do not have a national strategy for big data. So I looked at Australia's for some insight.

Their focus is on analytics - it didn't say anything about "bots." And that's fine.

We need to start with analytics - driving "actionable intelligence."

But that is only a baby step.

Where the rubber hits the road: Empowering ordinary people with meaningful information - information that enables them to get things done.

Right now, …

5 Things You Should Know Before Joining The Federal Government

Photo by Hugo via Flickr
Culture, culture, culture - it's all about culture.
1. You never know who you're talking to. Quiet and unassuming people are routinely very powerful people. (It's bad form to be showy and self promotional.) So be extra careful to show everybody the same amount of respect.
2. You never know who is married to who, or in a relationship with who, or who has an archenemy where. Across four different agencies in ten years, I have learned to watch my step. Feds work in agencies for many years, find their partners there, get divorced there, and form bitter rivalries. Again, be careful what you say about who. 
3. Everybody is confused by the amount of red tape. On a snow day like yesterday, we're all reading fifteen different guidances to make sure we know what to do. Never feel dumb about this. If you thought you knew the answers, we would be laughing at you.
4. Problems are usually worked out quietly, not in town halls. It's important to have events an…

"Blurred Lines," Bad Judgment & Transparency

Photo by Seema Krishnakumar via Flickr
In a discussion at the Harvard Business Review's Working Knowledge newsletter, Professor Emeritus Dr. James Heskett asks, but cannot answer, "What are the limits of transparency?"

Some of the comments from his readers show how confused people get over this thorny topic. For example, take these two:

* "Share only data, not information."

* "Transparency protocols... a distinct process matrix to ensure that the appropriate amount of information is delivered."

It's not that people can't think clearly. They can. But when they must operate in a double-bind environment, they tend to respond with irrational, foggy or circular thinking. 
And business today is a paradox. For the function is essentially about survival - you seek to profit. Yet customers demand ethical behavior and social responsibility, not to mention allegiance to the law. And even further, they want to "know" who you are - your brand - they wa…