Category Archives: Personal Branding

Rejection letter reply

Hey guys,

Thank you for actually sending me a rejection letter. In a world where the default is just to do nothing, you have already risen up to the 1% of desirable companies to work for. I get why you may have rejected my application in that you are able to attract a large number of qualified people who are begging to work for you and you can have your pick. You deserve that privilege; it appears you are earning it daily.

If you have gone as far as sending me a rejection letter, I’m hoping I can convince you to take just one more step and let me know generally (or as specifically as your HR policy allows) what skills or attributes about me did not qualify for the open position. I understand from my friends and family that I may have some qualities that they endearingly call “quirky.” You may have seen these in my cover letter, résumé or online presence. I’m not for everyone, but as I only apply to open positions where I believe I am a match, the dissonance is a bit puzzling to me. Will you help me understand me better?

Thank you for the time you have given me already by reading and responding to my application and reading this response. I do hope I have convinced you that just a little more time in a reply is worth your time.



The next social media trend

I ran across this video by @dkny today where the Social Media Manager Aliza Licht, SVP of Global Communications for DKNY, plays the witty “DKNY PR Girl” persona. She posted it on her tumblr. I embedded it below.

With a lot of brands now getting comfortable with using personae to tweet and blog, I think the next step in this whole social media game is that they start pulling back the curtain and letting us see the real person behind the avatar.

The coming out video. The next social media trend.

Who does that?

“Who does that,” he asked? But that was not his real question. The answer to that question was simply Google for someone.

I was talking with an associate about an animated instructional video I had found that illustrated how to use a complicated product. The video boiled the product down into its basic functions and presented it clearly and concisely. He wanted an animated video for his product that was equally as complex.

His real question was:

“How do I find someone who knows what I need and want, won’t take me to the cleaners, won’t frustrate me by making me responsible for the tiny details of the project and will just handle it? How do I find someone I can trust?”

Be that person and you have a loyal client for life.

I named mine Gerard

I get a kick when pop culture recognizes the name “Gerard” because it happens so infrequently. Maybe it has something to do with the popularity of Gerard Butler.

From the few to choose from though, Raymond’s cousin Gerard remains my favorite character.

Last night on Big Bang Theory, Penny, Amy and Bernadette were talking about some “tension-relieving techniques for ladies that [Amy] has been perfecting over the years.” One of these techniques involved an electric toothbrush. Amy named hers Gerard.

Amy did not offer any details. We may have to do some additional character analysis and research, but I’m not terribly shocked that the name Gerard was chosen by a brainiac character as the ideal for the task at hand. Gerards have a long history of success with natural selection.

Why I will always return your call first

Accounting forwarded me this notecard that one of our soccer tournament customers sent with his invoice payment. It was in a notecard envelope with the address hand-written on the face.


Most people gripe about having to pay a bill, but we were being thanked as he was writing the check.

I immediately felt our product and service was appreciated and was seen as far more valuable than what we charge to use it.

That we were solving a problem that — without us — would be almost insurmountable.

That I was appreciated.

This is just one of the many reasons teams who attend his tournament have a great time, win or lose and they return year after year.

Thank you, Jeff.

This is just one reason I will always return your call first.

Who am I anyway? Am I my résumé?

I was speaking on a panel at a local Social Media Club meeting yesterday and a question about “how much should we disclose on line” came up. The person asking was interested in where the line is between being yourself and touting the company line.

The answer for me was rather simple; Who pays the bill?

That is not the popular answer among social media purists, enthusiasts or even people with some common sense. We’ve all become pretty good at seeing when we’re being shoveled a load of marketing crap. Nonetheless, if it is the company’s official line that the official line be communicated through the social media channels and you are the social media person, that is what you do. And try to change things internally. Or look for another job.

Companies, products and services have brands.
Individuals have reputations.
Online entities have characters.

As a person, you are not your online self. Online, you are a character of yourself. How much you choose to borrow from your real-life self to create your character is your choice. Some people choose to borrow everything, while other people choose to borrow only one facet of themselves. Still others choose to borrow many facets and create many different characters of themselves.

People do not have brands. People have reputations they lend to a company, product or service to help shape its brand.

Make sense?

Why are you here?

There is this trend going on in the social media world that almost every new industry goes through. The “fun” part of getting in there and connecting and talking and chatting is over and the Social Media Elites are finding out they don’t have time to do all this stuff any more. Some whine and complain, but some are doling out advice on how to slim down, get to the basics of what you do, make to do lists, get naked, stick to the knitting, don’t get sidetracked by the chatter.

I think that may be the wrong way to look at things.

I had a conversation a while back with the smartest PR person I know. She cut to the chase by asking, “What do you want to do?”

“I want to spend the entire day sitting in a beanbag chair, eating Cheetos and chatting with people about nothing in particular,” I said. I was speaking metaphorically, obviously, because that much sitting around and that many Cheetos does not make for a very long life. The point being is that I want to build a company, not a busier, more efficient job for myself.

I don’t view long telephone calls with friends and colleagues or twitter chatting or blogging a “time suck” on my day. When someone calls and wants to do lunch to “pick my brain,” I don’t see that as stealing from me because I don’t sell my time. Chatting, tweeting, blogging, lunching, talking on panels, attending conferences are all my really big bean bag chair and the conversations are my Cheetos.

I spend time building a great staff who can run this place without me. Really, they can. All they need me to do is bring in one or two great ideas a year and they tear at it like rabid dogs and in the end they build software, systems and marketing that allows me to stay in my beanbag chair.

And I am happy and I am having a lot of fun. I suppose to the outside world, I am somewhat rudderless and lazy. I don’t much care about them. Who really matter are the people who have a great client list because somewhere in a conversation, I said, “You know who you should work with?” I’m sure they are saying the same about me to the people they meet.

And I have no charts, no ROI studies, no metrics, no twitter lists. Just ten fingers with Cheetos dust all over them.

Am I getting this whole thing wrong?

How to win a comment war

A couple days ago, I posted a comment on a very popular blog. A few minutes after that, the blog owner commented briefly on my comment more of an acknowledgment to say, “Hey, I see you” rather than to support or refute my opinion. A few minutes later, a reader posted a comment that ran contrary to my opinion and more aligned with the blog owner’s post.

So, I commented on the reader’s comment and the blog owner then commented a bit more. The reader hopped right back in and commented on my comment. I then walked away.

I won.

My personal comment policy is two-deep and only if the reader asked a question or appears confused about my point of view. That is as much energy as I am willing to put out on a blog.

Most readers comment on popular blogs to be seen. And when the blog owner comments on a comment, that means s/he has seen the comment and think it worthy of their time to comment. Savvy blog readers know this and many jump at the opportunity to get seen more by commenting on a comment that has been commented on by the blog owner. It’s a game of “I know more than you” that many people get sucked into. It never ends as this reader will always try to one-up you.

The way to win a comment war is to be the first to shut up, walk away.

As long as you asked, the blog was Chris Brogan’s. You’ll have to dig further into the posts and comments if you care that much. And then, after you’ve done that, ask yourself why you cared enough to waste your time hunting down what I said.

5 things I resolve to NOT do in 2010

After thinking a bit about what sort of New Year’s Resolutions I needed to make a few days ago, I decided that I would put a list of five things together that I will NOT do for 2010.

Here goes, in reverse order of importance (IMHO):

5. I will not use free software or services
I have come to the conclusion that there are two things true about “free” software/services. 1) Business that uses them only have the advantage until they break, cease operations or go off-line unexpectedly and 2) “Experts” who advocate that you use them are only trying to force you into reason #1 to keep themselves at a competitive advantage.

4. I will not create any more Google Alerts
Google Alerts used to be useful, but now I get so many of them so fast and so many of them lead to a false positive that they are just clogging up the inbox, wasting my time reading them and causing undue anxiety.

3. I will not sign up to receive any more newsletters
Eventually, the really cool stuff that I needed to know that you were publishing turns into a spam email every day/week/month and a really lame Holiday greeting card at the end of the year. If I need to know something, I’ll Google it. If you are doing your job well, I will find you there.

2. I will not create any more user accounts
If you require that I create an account to read your stuff, use your “free” online tool or order from your online store, I’m just going to shrug and move on. I already have accounts with the major online retailers like Amazon, B&N and MacZone. The chances that I won’t be able to find what I need from them is not very high, even if the price is a little bit more.

1. I will not read any more blog posts about using Social Media.
Everything that needs to be said about social media has already been said. I already know how to use Twitter and how not to use Twitter.

That’s my list and I’m sticking to it. What about you?

John Nese is to soda pop what Gary Vaynerchuk is to wine

John Nese is the proprietor of Galcos Soda Pop Stop in LA. His father ran it as a grocery store, and when the time came for John to take charge, he decided to convert it into the ultimate soda-lovers destination. About 500 pops line the shelves, sourced lovingly by John from around the world.

John has made it his mission to keep small soda-makers afloat and help them find their consumers. Galcos also acts as a distributor for restaurants and bars along the West Coast, spreading the gospel of soda made with cane sugar (no high-fructose corn syrup if John can avoid it). His store is here on the Internet.

For comparison, Gary is at John is older and has a calmer presentation style, but his passion erupts as he speaks. He is what Gary will be with age.