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Archive for February, 2010

Social Capital Correlates Round Up

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Yee haw, ya’ll!  Here’s what I rustled up when looking online for some other stuff on social capital and how it correlates to other stuff:

Social capital and income – it really IS who you know!  You know more businesses (or people), guess what? You make more bank!

Social capital and philanthropy – the more friends you have, the more likely you are to pony up to the cause…!

Social capital and happiness – well, this blog states the opposite: that Americans are increasingly unhappy because of the drop in social capital.  (So, I dare to assume that the opposite could be true: those who are happiest have the highest social capital…?)

Social capital and better government, decreased crime rates, etc. – this paper cites a lot of different studies on increased social capital of citizens and a better city.

Things you can do to increase social capital – this was put together by a foundation…in New Hampshire. Also lists a bunch of reasons why building social capital is a good thing.

Hope to see ya real soon again on the Social Capital Ranch!  Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?

The Evolution of the Calling Card v. Business Card

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

I was reading this post on the evolution of the “calling card”, which honestly came before the business card. Also, I had the pleasure of meeting an art curator this week who complemented me on my business calling card design (and I really don’t consider myself “arty”…at all…but I’ll take the complement)!  This interest all came about from a friend of mine’s post on Facebook, about using personal email addresses on a business card.   If you can get to the post, you’ll see that I disagree with him, and the more I think about it, the more I think we should go back to the calling card over the business card from now on.

Here’s why: the calling card, although originally plain, was a card about THE PERSON.  A business card, while it has one’s title and contact info at the company on it, is just about THE COMPANY.  When you learn about another person, you usually first get introduced to them through a business lens if you’re networking on a hard core basis…but when you get to know someone, the beautiful thing about getting to know others is their OTHER passions BEYOND their business or company.  That’s where real connections and common interests happen.  Because you are interacting with the PERSON, not just the BUSINESS, that’s why I think personal touches on a calling card way surpass a business card.  Besides, I as a business owner don’t work with BUSINESSES, I work with PEOPLE.

I’ve ranted about this before, but I have a lot of jobs and interests.  Rather than compartmentalize all of them into 4 different business cards and carry around 4 separate identities, why not just face the music, carry one card, and be 100% you?  You can put your preferred contact info on it, AND most IMPORTANT of all – you can talk about ALL your passions – not just WORK!

Furthermore, in this economy, people are now holding down more than one day job.  Maybe that friend of yours who sells Mary Kay also takes pictures?  What if your web designer also is a physical trainer?  What if your lawyer is also a PR guru?  What if you professor teaching X is also a student of Y?  What if one of your professional service peeps is also going to school part time to enhance their careers in a different direction? Do you think that added bonus feature might get them more work, clients, and students?  YES! There shall remain more and more questions if we just compartmentalize ourselves into one day job and leave it at that on the card, and what a travesty to have all that unrevealed identity, as we all seek to connect with others in meaningful ways.

We are multi-faceted, wonderfully complex creatures with more than one calling or passion.  Why not show all that off on a true calling card, and give the person you’re meeting with a little more about you than just a business?

Let’s consider going back to the individualized calling card with all our passions listed and our personal contact info, rather than just showing one dimension with a day job. We are far, far more interesting than that!  As Will Wright says, “…I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that complexity can come out of such simplicity.”

Right on, Will!

Messing with…Perfection

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Normally, I’m all about continuous quality improvement (CQI).  We can all strive to be better.  However, there is a point in time where this can be overkill, and I experienced that tipping point myself today.

A certain fast food chain has a certain seasonal shake which I gleefully raced to acquire for lunch today.  In the past, I found it perfect.  It came in a paper cup.  It didn’t have anything extra on it or in it, but tastiness. It was delightful, it was easy to enjoy with a straw to the very last drop, and just enough by itself that it made me get excited about spring and this chain for this time of year.

So, hearing they were back in season, I went out of my way today to get one…but lo and behold!  it came in a plastic cup, with a plastic domed lid, with a too-short straw, and was covered in some foamy stuff and topped with, yes, a cherry.

What was perfect has been detracted from in an effort to move to overkill.  This, frankly, saddens me.  I now have a cup that while it can be recycled, will take longer to decompose…a bunch of foamy stuff in the bottom of my cup, and a cherry that I can’t reach with my too short straw.

Why am I sharing this?  Simply because…friends don’t let friends mess with perfection.

Crushing it with a Ninja Team

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

As I recently posted, Crush It! is one of my favorite newer books by author and wine social media guru, Gary Vaynerchuk.  He’s got an interesting video post and point on his site this week, which is this.  Big corporate America is faced with the massive power of the internet, yet, they don’t really get it.  Or at least they don’t get it yet.

If you’ve ever worked for a big company, you probably already know what I’m talking about – it takes a meeting before a meeting to have another meeting about what the company is going to say to the media at yet another meeting.  Then there will be 15 iterations of that message along the way before it ever reaches the real world.  Friends, as Gary (correctly) states, this is going to be a major problem for big companies on how they operate.  Gary argues the big monster companies need Ninja Teams to literally go out and dare to talk to customers through social media about products and services real time and at the speed of the net.

What is a Ninja Team?  In concept, what I think Gary’s getting to is there needs to be flexible and nimble responses to social media channeling and messages from big corporate America.  Here are some companies that I think get it:  Tiffany & Company, H&M, Sarah Fisher, and a few colleges and universities (offering students to turn in a video rather than just a resume to apply to a college or university).  H&M has social media blurbs on new products at Facebook.  Tiffany also has messages in social media.  Sarah has a following on Twitter just to get her fans to get Ellen (the Ellen) to come out to the Indy 500 next May.

What I think larger companies needs to do is not shy away from social media, but embrace it.  An excellent example or case in this is Dell Hell, and Dell’s response to it (I’ll let you google that on your own).  This entire Chatroulette phenomenon is only going to shrink our social media world even more too.

This is a little company advantage, and a wake up call for the big companies.  Ninjas out there – we’ll look forward to watching YOU crush it!

Five Documentaries the Universe Could Use

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

With the superbowl of movies coming up (the Oscars), I thought I’d post 5 ideas for movies I’d like to see. And to me, the real world always has better drama than a movie script anyway, so bring on the documentary!  Here are 5 real world stories I’d dig on the big screen (or you can just go straight to DVD and iTunes, I’ll be watching):

1.  A real life merger and acquisition – and better yet a friendly one, and a hostile one!

2.  Watching the birth of a not for profit.  Plenty of stories have been told on for-profit startups, but what about not for profit startups?  And I’m not just talking about filing the paperwork at the Secretary of State’s office, I’m talking about everything from the idea hatching to actually getting the 501c3 status.  Even better would be to see the entire life cycle of a not for profit – from birth, to life, thriving, to death.

3.  Law school – the real deal – like following 10 different students through the quagmire.  There’s a lot of drama involved…

4.  Why smart women aren’t getting married.  (I know, this might be borderline controversial, but it’s a trend I’m witnessing…) Someone needs to study this – why not a filmmaker?

5.  A breaking into the business documentary – where the filmmaker follows a handful of young professionals embarking on their careers after college (or not going to college), then coming back to them 10 years after – did their careers take them where they wanted to go? Or, did their lives and careers take them in an entirely different direction?

Maybe these have already been done – but I don’t care – they haven’t been done recently.

Now THERE ARE 5 movies I’d LOVE to see!  Anyone from Hollywood listening…?

5 Books Every College Senior Should Be Reading…Pronto

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

As a professor, one of the things keeping me up at night is the following:  what are colleges doing to help students not only get a good education in order to obtain “a job”, but more importantly to “make and grow jobs” for others and be self-sustaining?

I’ve ranted several times and several of my blogs that the days of the 30-year-gold-watch-at-retirement- work-for-one-company-for-the-rest-of-your-life-career is so over, we need a new word for over!

So, being the avid reader that I am (OK, I read a lot of the non fiction books in lieu of reading my law school homework and cases, so I’m a bit of a slacker myself sometimes! ha!) , here are 5 books that I think every senior graduating from college (and for that matter, high school) should be reading right now in order to prepare themselves for the sometimes crushing blow of the real world:

1. Crush It! By Gary Vaynerchuk – I first was introduced to Mr. Vaynerchuk through his video blog on wine…I found them highly entertaining.  Now, we are all lucky enough to hear about his success in marketing himself and his personal brand equity strategy.  This book helps peeps unearth their passions and making money around them.  It won’t tell you what your passion might be, but Gary will tell you what he did around his passions to create his own multi million dollar empire.

2.  Strengthsfinder 2.0 – I’ve already discussed this book til I’m blue in the face, but I really don’t care.  It is incumbent upon each of us to know our own strengths.  That will make your life a whole lot easier!  AND, it helps you tell your own story if you know what your strengths are.  For example, my #1 strength is “Futuristic” – I love talking about the future.  So, guess what my articles and projects are about?  Yup! You guessed it!  THE FUTURE!

3.  Drive – By Daniel Pink – Intrinsic motivation – that’s what this book is all about.  Figuring out again what makes you tick by doing some exercises in this book will set you up as a new employee to excel on your own terms and in your own way.  Your boss isn’t going to hand you your very own dream job – you need to go out and make it.

4.  Linchpin – By Seth Godin – This book helps you discern how to make yourself indispensable at work. Very UN-Office Space, (i.e. doing just enough work not to get fired.)  This book instead is about how to be a rock star at work.

5.  The Whuffie Factor – By Tara Hunt – Dang, if only someone had told me when I was in high school or college the value of social networking and the rules associated around it like this book does, I would have been LIGHT YEARS ahead of where I am now.  I cannot emphasize enough to the students in my classes that they have to start building their networks YESTERDAY and fully understand the power and etiquette around them.

Resumes are DOA in employers’ databanks. Even job postings online are almost the way of the dodo–the best jobs are NEVER POSTED…because they are either hired by word of mouth, or are CREATED by rock star individuals rather than posted for the masses.  It’s time for students to understand that creating social networks N-O-W, figuring out their own individual STRENGTHS and what MOTIVATES them, creating their own authentic BRAND, and working smart and hard will get the rock star students on top.

And if you’re a mom or a dad of a college or high school student – do your child a favor – buy them these books to read or grab them from the library STAT!

Beware, the Fo(u)rth of March

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Et tu Brute?

Nope, this isn’t about the Ides of March.  Instead it is about the ide(a)s of March!

BrightHouse, an Atlanta based company featured in this article in Inc. Magazine, holds an event each year called March Fo(u)rth.  During that day, each employee is encouraged to do something new and extreme. Skydiving?  Rock climbing?  Snowboarding on the half pipe?  Whatever the employee wants to try and has never tried before, s/he is encouraged to try it that day.

I really love this idea about trying something new.  Why?  Because new experiences can lead us to new ways of thinking, new and better ideas, and potentially, a richer way of life.

So, March 4th isn’t that far away.  Will you take the March Fo(u)rth challenge?  If so, what are you going to do that you’ve never done before???

The Dual Parties Are Over: Time to Clean Up the Mess

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Feeling the need for a political rant..and I consider myself…apolitical, or neutrapolitical.

A lot of hubub these past few days about Senator Evan Bayh not going for a third term election, on top of slating of the candidates for 2010, etc.  But tonight I also saw a report on the national news about the brewhaha at the national level.  Guess what?  EVEN THE POLITICIANS are tired of the dual party bickering! Shocker!

I wasn’t raised in a political family.  No one ran for any offices in my family (at least that I’m aware of…) Nor do I always vote a straight ticket myself.  Instead, I try to look at the PERSON over the PARTY.  Besides, what is a ‘Democrat’ or a ‘Republican’ anyway?  I’ve met a lot of people with the exact same ideals, yet they felt they were in opposite parties!

Here’s the deal:  I think we should all just look at the people rather than the parties.  If we just look at the parties, in my opinion, our own party is over, and all we’re left with is a big mess.  AND, its only going to get messier until we all figure out how to work together as a cohesive country again, OR, we’re going to revisit the fall of _____(insert your favorite fall here)______: Rome, England, Babylon, Galactic, whatever fall of the empire du jour you want to put into the blank.

The party is definitely over, and has been over for years now.  It’s time to pick up after ourselves, quit bickering on who is blue and who is red, and get busy!  Let’s put this country back TOGETHER!!!

Your Personal Olympics

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Although I’ve never really been that much into sports, I dig the Olympics.  Here’s why: because people are trying to compete and do their absolute very best.  The best of the best from each country appear at this competition and to watch someone really nail and perfect what it is they are attempting to do is always fun to watch.

I’ve been thinking though…what is YOUR personal Olympics?  Maybe it is winning a Nobel Prize, or publishing a paper in Science, or winning a Pulitzer?  Not sure, and don’t really even know what my own Olympics would look like….but it is fun to contemplate.  Where are the very best of the best in whatever it is that you do, and where and how can you get there?

Not so much that you are competing against others, but instead attempting to do what the Olympians do – they try to be the very best they can be.

May you win your gold medal – whatever shape or form it may come in!

Random Philosophical Ponderings

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Don’t worry, the title sounds a lot more prolific than it actually is!  But here’s what I’m noodling on today.  If anyone else out there is too, please share your thoughts with me!

1.  I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin.  He says schools need to teach 2 things: 1. how to solve interesting problems and 2. leadership.  Can leadership be taught?

2.  This article on speed dating to find your doctor.  I’m starting to ponder this – I would LOVE this type of thing for my professional services – accountant, lawyer, doctor, and heck – even pharmacist!  (Not that I don’t love my current professionals, but it would have been a HECK of a lot easier to find them via speeddating than the way I actually found them, which in a lot of ways was random and inconsistent.  Note to all you networking groups out there (and you know who you are…) start doing speeddating night for accountants, for lawyers, for doctors, and every other professional out there.  If I was looking for a particular professional, I’d be there in a heartbeat.  Better yet – put your members online with video snippets by category and let me watch them when I want to!  Professionals on demand!

3.  How to safely dispose of expired and out of date medication.  I know, I’m showing my pharmacy side on this one, but really – some of the options I’ve seen and heard about just…are…well….awful.  Flushing and throwing them crushed up in the trash with coffee grounds really doesn’t cut it here with the environmentalist in me.  There HAS to be a better way!  But what is that, exactly?  Incineration?  Is there a way we can recycle these materials somehow?

That’s all I’ve got today – I think the smoke is already coming out of my ears….