Why Reinvention is a Virtual Necessity.


I recently wrote a blog called Out of the Game which outlined the importance of staying current and connected on your career path and personal development.

There used to be an expression I would hear quite often.  “They are a dinosaur.”  It was really a description of a person or a company who was not current on emerging trends.  For instance, agencies that were slow to adopt digital solutions versus traditional advertising.

The iPhone is about five years old and more than 75 million have been sold.  Kodak is going into bankruptcy protection.  The Olympics are coming up soon and not too many people will be capturing magic moments using Kodachrome.  A decade ago, Kodak may have been sponsoring the Olympics.

I know a friend who was recently in transition.  They shared with me that the last job they found was in the newspaper ten years ago.  If you told somebody today that you were job hunting in the newspaper they would think that you were pretty much out of touch.

I started blogging two years ago after I heard Tony Heish from Zappos speak at a combined Harvard/USC event in May.  During his presentation he said “Follow Your Dream and the Money Will Come.” That May wasn’t a particularly robust time and I thought to myself that is easy for you to say because you made $100 million on your first deal.

After two years of blogging I have had thousands of people read my blog.  In fact more people read my blog some days than visit my site in a month.

Things change and we need to reinvent and change.  Today your Linkedin profile is more important than your resume.  Your first impression is not created by your Elevator Speech but by your Google presence.

There are two catalysts for reinvention based on my personal experience.  Networking and Youth.

Today’s youth surrounds technology.  You want to be immersed in technology.  Surround yourself with youth.  Ten years ago I started using college students or recent graduates as paid interns to help me with tasks.  They can’t write a blog but they can certainly find places to repurpose it in discussion groups.

I love it when some approach me and ask,” Have you ever thought of doing it this way?”  We generally start doing it that way.

Currently the look of my Word Press blog is being updated by Dalip Jaggi who is 22 year old. He recently developed a couple of mobile apps.  My YouTube videos are shot by SparkHouse in Costa Mesa.  Their CEO, Torrey Tayenaka is 25.  I make a call on my iPhone with a local 949 number.  One of my creative partners Dante Fiorini answers it.  He is in Argentina.

How did I meet Dalip and Torrey?  By networking.  Your network is your engine of reinvention.  The more diverse it is, the more opportunities for growth it can provide.  A constant pattern of networking regenerates you and puts you on new roads of discovery.

The dinosaurs that emerged from the Ice Age weren’t the ones that were the biggest or the strongest.  They were the ones that were the quickest to adapt.  Nothing’s changed.


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Watch: How to Rise Above the Crowd.



Out Of the Game.


I was recently in one of my favorite cities Montreal. Salut mon ami. I caught a free concert by Rufus Wainwright. I have been enjoying his current album and his song “Out of the Game”.

Now Rufus’s game is a lot different than mine but the melody stuck with me and came back to life when I ran into a number of people who were out of the game in their worlds.

I recently had a couple of networking meetings here in the OC with two different people working in Senior Marketing Positions with two different companies. They both had VP Marketing titles but only in title. Both had worked for those companies for 15 plus years but now found them out of the game. They still worked there but their souls weren’t engaged there. A few years ago somebody in the same position at a different company on the other side of the country described their role as “Counting paper clips.” Both were looking for their next opportunities.

Both said the same thing I have also heard in the past. “There have been changes at the top and it’s not the same.”

Both were hearing the Train of Transition coming down the track. Choo! Choo! The only Problem they have is that they aren’t riding The Little Engine That Could. Often trouble leaves too slowly.

I also recently had another networking Starbucks with another Marketing Person in the B to B space. A Fortune 500 company I think based back East with a division here in Southern CA. They were really fans of Social Media and were trying unsuccessfully to transfer their enthusiasm and knowledge to their company’s social media initiatives.

They ran into their legal department. People afraid of their own shadows and career playing it safe. You don’t win in business in the New Normal by playing it safe. Just ask Kodak. They are also out of the Game.

I have heard that companies like GE are actually training and incentivizing their employees to learn how to be proficient on LinkedIn. Imagine that.

I recently conducted a LinkedIn training session for a couple of companies that wanted to empower their employees and their company. They are in the game.

On a daily basis, I encounter people who keep themselves out of the game even though they think they are in it. Lousy business cards, poor LinkedIn presence, only practicing hot and cold networking. If the train of transition comes down their tracks they are in deep doo doo. They simply aren’t ready to get fired.

So are you in or out of the game? Can you hear your Choo Choo? What train are you riding?

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Watch this video: How to Rise Above the Crowd.

Lessons from the Great Recession.


I learned a lot from the Great Recession. A lot. It was a very difficult time for many people and continues to be for many that haven’t emerged.

I have spoken to many transition groups multiple times and have met with countless people during those years. It is not difficult to feel and see despair and frustration.  In those days nobody would even dare ask at the beginning or end of the meetings if there were any good news stories about people landing because there weren’t any. Everybody was running for cover when the world was melting and we were losing 500,000 jobs a month.  Today some people are able to raise their hands and say they have landed or secured a consulting gig.  There is more hope in the air.  Guarded hope.

You don’t find out about the economy in the paper; you learn the true economic reports on the streets and during the great recession many people including me felt at times that we were licking the sidewalks of life.

I learned many things being one of the founders of Laguna Niguel Connectors a group that grew from 4 people to over 3200 currently on Linkedin.  I learned about the power of people, the blessings of serendipity and the engine called Linkedin. When you had over 100 people meeting for endless months on the third Friday of the month in Laguna Niguel who were in transition it wasn’t too difficult to see that the recession had touched every community and every street. The miracle of Laguna Niguel connectors was the quality of the people that attend and the pay it forward helpful attitude of the vast majority of its attendees.

I learned that there are Angels of the recession. People like Cindy Pickens who founded Café Net and has helped thousands of people in transition without ever asking for a dime.  Many people who volunteered their time to speak on Linkedin at various venues to help those in transition master its power in the job search. People like Sven Johnston, Ted Robison and Tim Tyrell-Smith. And there are many more.

Although the recession was very painful for many I think it provided great lessons for today’s youth.  Prior to the great recession many were the enabled generation with high levels of expectations of entitlement.  Today I believe that the Millenials are a very responsible and industrious group who has learned through the pain of many of their parents that many institutions can’t be trusted any longer and that hype is just that.  Hype. They also understand that the employer-employee relationship is much different these days and for the future.

I have learned that business had changed forever.  That you need many more irons in the fire than before if you are hunting for a job or a project.  Decision making and approvals can take much longer. Budgets are tighter and every dollar must have a return.

I have also learned that the benefit of social currency that you get from networking can be even more powerful than that of financial currency because your network of people is what truly enriches you life.

So what have you learned?

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It’s Not About Who You Know. It’s About Who Knows You.


I was having dim sum the other day with Debbie Moysychyn a consummate networker.  Debbie shared one of her networking truism that resonated with me.  She said, “It is Not About Who You Know. It’s Who Knows You.”

I let that sink in while I was having a bite of Har Gau.  The first thought that popped into my mind was the expression reinforced the importance of networking with people in person or face to face.

Although I believe that today your first impression is largely created by your Google presence, for people to truly know you they have to have met you live. It’s the same thing with music.  You create the strongest relationship with the music by going to concerts.

You definitely need to own Google by using social media but you also need a strong personal networking plan so you are meeting lots of people.  Face time and not Facebook leads to relationships. Linkedin doesn’t talk and walk and have accents to react to like real people do.

The optimum payoff of my blogging efforts is when I meet somebody in person that shares that they have read my blog. That is a lock and load of social and personal networking,

Although I am not certain, most likely that occurs because I post my blogs on Linkedin and my Linkedin groups.  I also attend live real time networking meetings that are offshoots of many of those Linkedin groups.  We swim in the same social circles prior to meeting.

So how do you make sure that other people know who you are?

In many ways, as we glacially emerge from the great recession word of mouth spreads quickly especially if you have the right reputation. The definition of that I will leave up to the reader to define.  Word of mouth can surprisingly break through the clutter of our over communicated society.  If you are doing it right you will encounter people who say, “I’ve heard of you.”

The expression “It’s not who you know but who knows you” also implies that you want people of influence and power knowing who you are.  The description of who people of influence means in the New Normal I will also leave up to you.

I know many more CEO’s, CMO’s and influential people than I ever knew prior to the great recession.  Why?  I never had their power, their money or their influence.  I met many of them when they were in transition.  Others I met when they were working but could see the train of transition coming down their track.  I didn’t have their influence but I had a bigger network.  You see Debbie was right.  It is not about you who know.  It is all about who knows you.

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Watch: How to Rise Above the Crowd.


First Impressions.


So what creates your first impression? In the Old Normal it may have been your appearance. That is why we had expressions like “Dress for Success,” and we all spent lots of money on nice suits and ties or business suits for women.

Today in the New Normal your first impression is created by the results that surface when people search for you on Google.

Today we have ads for Reputation Management Firms offering to improve your online reputation.

A derogatory posting on Google is much more of a liability than poor word of mouth because it is accessible to everyone and no longer to only a few.

I have always believed that your online presence is much more important than your elevator speech as your chances of getting on an elevator with a decision maker are slim but the chances of people checking you out on Google are very high. Continue reading

The Opposite of Networking is Not Working.


I network and speak on networking often.  I included a truism that somebody sent me years ago in a recent blog I wrote on The Currencies of Networking.  It was that “The Opposite of Networking is Not Working.”  My thanks to the person who sent me that a few years ago.

I think it created a light bulb moment for a few people who seemed to enjoy its simplicity and its truth.

Yes the Opposite of Networking is Not Working.  If you don’t network your career as well as your life is not aligned. Continue reading

The Currencies of Networking.


I listened to a webinar today put on by Keith Ferrazi a master networker.  He wrote a book published in 2005 called Never Eat Alone. I think I bought it at Borders. That was before the world melted and we moved to the New Normal except for Borders.  That was a very long and short time ago.

On his Webinar he had Reid Hoffman the Founder of Linkedin.  I enjoy using Linkedin.  It is my primary social media channel.  When Social Media was getting launched my peers embraced Facebook but I loved Linkedin.  Anyway it became my preferred social media channel although I engage with many others. Continue reading