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You'd be better off reading the original version of The Stand; I'll bet that's the one Gini's dad read.  Tighter, better written IMHO.  OK, I mean better than the bloated reissue.  You might be able to find it in a used bookstore.

1 year, 6 months ago on The Three Things, Edition 14

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 @ginidietrich  @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes  @jeanniecw Terrific book.  A bit outside of the stream of the other stuff he's done -- much of which is overwritten.  I have On Writing on my bedside table to re-read.  Probably should be in my office.

1 year, 6 months ago on The Three Things, Edition 14

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Gini...Totally agree with you on 11/22/63.  He had lost me in recent years (although the first version of The Stand is still one of my favorites -- but not the reissued 1,000 page+ version).  I'm now reading the book that Stephen said was his favorite for 2012 -- The Good Son by Michael Gruber.  So far it's terrific and might be worth making your To Do list.  Happy New Year!

 

Peter

1 year, 6 months ago on The Three Things, Edition 14

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I'm not so sure I totally buy the Corporate Executive Board's views on what customers want when they're making a purchase.  I'd argue that successful companies will find ways to help consumers pay (convenience, access, value, control), reward their relationship, help them save, and make them feel secure.

 

Perhaps it's a bit Maslow, but companies that do those things on their websites and at checkout (and within the walls of their bricks and mortar) will be more successful than their competitors.

2 years, 1 month ago on Four Things Customers Want When Making a Purchase Decision

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Good article but it seems a bit gratuitous to put Syracuse in your headline and then mention the school/principals in only two of 12 "lessons learned." The fact remains that the cases are very, very different and that two of the four accusers in the Fine case have already recanted. What you could argue is that Syracuse learned from the horrific way the Penn State trustees handled the Sandusky mess.

I also find it interesting that very few people have focused on the fact that what happened at Penn State only surfaced AFTER JoePa won a game to make him College Football's winningest coach. That's the piece that makes it feel most like a conspiracy to me.

2 years, 6 months ago on 12 Most Informed Things You Can Learn from the Penn State and Syracuse Fiascos

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It's really easy to blame the communications team when the problem is more likely a policy decision. This Kill the Messenger mentality is sort of sad. Who knows what the communications team advised him to do.

2 years, 9 months ago on How Much Transparency Is Too Much?

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Gini might be a better person than me to answer this one these days because of the number of people she interviews (and both rejects and hires), but did you ask the decision maker? The challenge is that some people either feel guilty about their reason (e.g., they decided for "soft" reasons like the winner connected on a more personal level or their reason might not hold up under HR scrutiny) or they're uncomfortable about answering (i.e., they don't want to hurt your feelings).

Assuming the decision maker isn't talking, work your way back through the process. You probably talked to a number of people during your interviews. Did you connect on a personal level with any of them? Reconnect and ask the question -- not as a whine but with a tone that says you want to fix what might have cost you this position. A lot of the people I haven't hired over the years eliminated themselves rather than the winner taking the job...and there's nothing you can do about the reason or would want to do.

One more thought...consider writing a second thank-you note (I assume you wrote one after your interview) and express appreciation. Tell them you hope they'll keep you in mind if another position opens up, that you enjoyed the process, are disappointed it didn't work out, and ask if they can offer you any advice to help you be more successful the next time. I've had that happen to me once in 30 years and I picked up the phone and called.

Best wishes.

Peter

3 years, 7 months ago on Job Hunting: What Makes You Remarkable?

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Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments. What a great way to end the day!

A few thoughts:

Howie: I certainly think recruiters are far superior to using Monster or Career Builder, but I do believe that in the current market, focused networking is even more important. That means not just re-engaging with people you've worked with before, but going outside your industry. It's so much more difficult to get into a new industry than it was 3-5 years ago because there are so many people with experience in those industries who are willing to start over. Those networking contacts can be just as valuable as a recruiter because they too can help you navigate the minefields.

I also think it's very important to make sure your LinkedIn profile and other branding materials are very, very good before you reach out to recruiters. And when you do, focus on what they're looking for, not what you're looking for. To get what you want, help them get what they want!

JMatt and Doug, thanks so much for taking the time to post a comment. It's so easy to read and move on. It means a lot when people go the extra step.

I hope all three of you have a great holiday season!

3 years, 7 months ago on Job Hunting: What Makes You Remarkable?

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Mark,
I love an actionable post. I rejoined a large bank as a communications executive in early November and came across your retweet of this post a few weeks ago. We were getting ready to have an offsite with about 15 other senior communications executives and I offered to facilitate a brainstorming session of that group (not the sort of diversity you advocate but a group of people who needed to get away from tactical pressures and think about strategic opportunties).

Using your template, we told them to bring an idea that would either help us improve our communications with each other (the bank combined a couple of communications areas about eight months ago and integration has been an issue) or help us drive more effective communications to the business areas we support.

After a lot of thought, we decided to make the random prompt, How would you generate revenue or cut expense from this idea (keep in mind the topics were communications-heavy and communicators don't often think about life in those terms--we help people better understand strategy or tactics)?

To make a long story short, this went great! It established me in a new job as a strategic leader -- far quicker than I ever could have done that without this opportunity. More important, I think we have some ideas that can be further developed or quickly implemented. You were right about another thing -- none of the 15 ideas that were circled were the original idea. And during the end-of-offsite discussion, this was listed as a highlight by more people than any other agenda item.

I'll use this again. This one post was worth the cost of my subscription to {grow}. Oh wait...

Best wishes and thanks.

Peter

3 years, 7 months ago on The best creativity technique known to mankind

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There are a couple I really like that aren't mentioned here --
Spin Sucks (www.spinsucks.com) by Gini Dietrich and www.mackcollier.com. At the risk of being somewhat self-serving, I have created what I call my Blogroll on Steroids, which is a list of about 100 really great blogs I've come across and like (Mark's on it!). I've got to take some time to add more in the next week -- including some of these -- but I hope you'll go take a look when you have a chance: http://consultantlaunchpad.com/free-stuff/useful-sites-and-blogs-for-consultants/ . Even though the URL says for consultants, I think you'll find there are a lot there that will appeal to everyone.

Peter

3 years, 8 months ago on Crowd-sourcing your blog reader

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The interesting thing about discussions like this is that you are, to a large degree, preaching to the choir. One would assume that most of the people who read and respond are active users of social media and are trying to decide the degree to which they want to participate (platforms, time, etc.). One wonders whether there's another way to engage the ones who aren't engaged. I think our passion intimidates this group; you can see it in their eyes at Chamber and SCORE meetings. They'd like to play -- maybe -- but they don't fully understand the cost of admission.

Blogging is great; so is Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and scores of other platforms, we hear speaker after speaker at PodCamps tell us. Lots of nodding and "hallelujahs." But what would you expect the reaction to be there? We run the risk of being accused of arrogance for calling static websites "so 1990s" (with no disrespect intended toward Anna). Some of the most successful people I know have static websites (or no websites at all) and to move in a more "current" direction might just be a distraction.

Perhaps our best approach would be to go to where the 1990's crowd is and show them how easy it is to dip their toes in the water and realize that like any long-term relationship, it may take a while for them to go cliff-diving.

Gini makes the point well. She wasn't comfortable with video but she's getting there over time. I think the real future growth is with the people we can take by the hand and grow our business with them -- with baby steps. Too many people are trying to build outposts before they make sure the home base is safe and secure.

3 years, 8 months ago on Future of Websites

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And that's great for you, Julie. But a lot of people don't want or need that. They don't spend the time on Twitter and blogging (and I presume other platforms) that you do -- and there's nothing wrong with that. It's all about your SM strategy and being true to that. You want -- and perhaps need -- the visibility for your type of business; others don't because they're less transactional. If you have the URL and just want to create your real estate presence, Google doesn't matter. If you work in a relative closed market (e.g., niche consulting, private-equity), Google may not matter. As HowieSPM notes below, I can set up a site using a WordPress theme that will get you found, add some cool bells and whistles as widgets that will give your site the feel that you want, and have a perfectly content client who'll return when he or she is ready to go to the next step, which might be some geotargeting (site profiles on either location-based platforms or professional sites), a blog, comments on targeted blogs, or downloadable content that further establishes your status as an industry expert.

3 years, 8 months ago on Future of Websites

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Gini..I think there is a niche for static websites -- consultants who don't feel they have the time, expertise, or money to maintain a more active content-driven strategy. These are the people who don't want (or don't think they are capable of sustaining) a blog and really just want a presence. They recognize that they need a presence of some kind b/c every prospect's first question tends to be "what's your website" and they understand that presence gives them "credibility."

I have a few clients like this and you can talk about refreshing content to boost search results until you're blue in the face, but the reality is that they're primarily interested in a reactive presence (prospects who type in their address). Shortsighted? Yes. Misguided? Probably. But this is a group that wants to select their customers and focus on one-on-one relationship building.

I think the best you hope for at this point is to give them a clean, simple presence that's easily updatable; encourage them to post some free, searchable (and downloadable) content and hope that at some point they'll be willing to try a blog. The additional reality is that some people can live quite nicely without Facebook and Twitter and confine their "marketing" to a static site and their LinkedIn presence.

Best wishes. Get some sleep.

Peter

3 years, 8 months ago on Future of Websites

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Gini...Great post but I'd argue that there's an even simpler definition for social commerce than "the use of social media in the context of e-commerce.” It's deploying your customers as online salespeople. Another way to see it is the end result of John Jantsch's view that marketing is getting people to know, like, and trust you (so that they) buy your products and refer others.
Just out of curiosity, is it working with your new e-book?

3 years, 8 months ago on Using Social Commerce

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OK, I'll bite at the challenge. Here are a couple of ideas:
-- Pros and cons of large companies turning over branding and PR to agencies.
-- How you'd handle being asked to do PR for the U.S. Congress (not the Republicans, Democrats or individual politicians)
-- How do you convince the CEO to stick with Social Media after his or her company has been torched?
-- Small businesses: If you only have the time and resources to use one platform for your PR (FB, LI, Twitter), how would you approach the decision?

3 years, 8 months ago on Inside PR Is Yours

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I'm a lot older than most of the people who will read this or respond to it...so I will avoid the "What do you do outside of work" question because you guys mostly have lives. I worry about people who look at you blankly b/c it never occurred to them that there was something beyond work.

I like Gini's question but cringed because I know my current answer would be business-book and business-blog focused (although I might get brownie points because this blog would be on the list).

I think every graduating senior needs to prepare to answer, "What makes you remarkable?" These days, recent graduates are up against seasoned executives who have far more experience and are far more desperate (i.e., they have families to feed and growing self-esteem issues depending on their time away from their last job). You need to be able to define what value you bring to that prospective employer. Your answer needs to be very extermally focused -- what is that employer's problem (the thing that keeps them awake at night) and how can you help him or her solve it. This requires preparation and thought.

What makes you unique? What have you done that will put your resume at the top of the pile. It's a tough world out there and just getting the chance to swing the bat and interview is huge. You can't spend so much time building a network that you forget to become someone that others turn to, someone with a unique skill that nobody else offers. It's not about having 1,000 connections; it's about what you do to engage with that group and how that group sees you. And that's all about being remarkable and having a unique voice.

Peter
@consultantlaunc

3 years, 9 months ago on Your Network and You: The Most Important Question

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