Tag Archive: LinkedIn


“Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.” – Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

Weren’t we all repeatedly told by mumsy to never discuss religion and politics in polite company?

Wouldn’t you expect this admonition to particularly apply to your dear friends and family?

And what are the impacts of these unwise political discussions on the most important public relations of all? Your own PR and personal brand.fbpolitics

Then why do far too many of us insist on bloviating and pontificating our unrestrained and unvarnished political views on Facebook, and other digitally eternal social media sites including LinkedIn, Twitter and others?

Don’t we have enough to do?

Before delving any further into this issue, Almost DailyBrett must pose the following rhetorical question: What are we expecting when we bombard our family and friends (or LinkedIn connections) with unrestrained political diatribe, regardless of whether it comes from the progressive left or the patriotic right?

Don’t the vast majority of our friends and family already know our political views? Don’t they harbor their own political opinions? Are they really persuadable at this point in time?clintontrumpdebate

For most Americans, you have to be living under a rock if you don’t have a well-formed and mostly unchanging opinion about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. According to the Real Clear Politics average, almost 59 percent of national poll respondents have a negative view of Hillary and nearly 62 percent are thumbs down on The Donald.

The political pros tell us these two are the most unpopular respective nominees in the long histories of the Democratic and Republican Parties. As a result, most of us have formed an unalterable opinion about both of these pols, and they are hardening, not softening … if that’s still possible.

If all the above is true, Almost DailyBrett must ask why do we bother offering our political views to people who we regard as friends and family? Do we enjoy making them react as if someone took their finger nails to a chalkboard?

Do we secretly enjoy being passive, aggressive?

Unfriending A “Friend” Because of Politics

Who is ultimately responsible for an unfriending decision because of political digital intercourse?

  1. The “friend” who frequently offers political opinions to one and all via a few digital key strokes with no consideration of how these comments are going to be construed.
  2. Or the “friend” who takes personal affront to repeated political commentary, more often than not, negative about the opposition, and angrily unfriends the so-called friend.buckleyquote

The late conservative commentator William F. Buckley is probably smiling from heaven as a result of the Pew Research Journalism Project, which revealed that liberals are more likely than their conservative counterparts to unfriend someone with contrary political views (e.g., conservatives).

However, the same study opined that conservatives are more likely to gravitate to their own kind online and have less exposure to competing points of view.

Which is better? How about none of the above?

If the Nielsen ratings folks are correct, the Monday, September 26 debate between Hillary and The Donald will be the most watched and streamed presidential debate in the history of the country, if not from a purely infotainment standpoint.

If that is indeed the case — and there is zero reason to suggest it won’t be — then why will we insist upon offering our biased opinion before-during-after this encounter to our friends and family via Facebook and other social media?

Weren’t they also watching the same feed and avoiding the Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints?

Didn’t they already form an opinion about what they watched on their own and/or had their views reinforced by Charles Krauthammer on Fox News, Chris Matthews on MSNBC, George Stephanopoulos on ABC or David Axelrod on CNN?

Former football coach Lou Holtz once said: “If you can’t add value to silence, then shut up.”

Considering that minds have been made up and are unlikely to change … and we really respect and value our friends and family … wouldn’t it be best to refrain from offering our own version of political invective?

Silence can indeed be golden.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/10/21/liberals-are-more-likely-to-unfriend-you-over-politics-online-and-off/

http://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/political-polarization-media-habits/#social-media-conservatives-more-likely-to-have-like-minded-friends

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton_vs_johnson_vs_stein-5952.html

 

 

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“Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.” – CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramercramerpigs

Which decision requires more mental gymnastics?

When to buy?

When to sell?

The author of Almost DailyBrett humbly opines that when to sell is the tougher call.

Why?

There are two kinds of remorse: ‘Darn it the stock kept going up after I sold’; and the worse one, ‘I could have sold when the stock was up, but I was a pig … and oh fiddlesticks, now I am selling when the stock is down.’

Yep, there are a lot of potential could-of, would-of, should-of when it comes to selling.

So what should you do in the view of this humble retail investor (read: Charles Schwab account)?

Don’t Fall in Love

“…Sometimes the most obvious question really is the question. In Enron’s case: How do you make money? – Bethany McLean, Fortune Magazine

Preparing to teach Corporate Public Relations/Investor Relations to Central Washington University seniors and a few juniors starting this coming Wednesday, yours truly will pose the same simple question that Fortune’s McLean posed to Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling: “How do you (Enron) make money?”

Communicators need to have elevator pitches at their ready when asked this very same straightforward question about their own employer. The same is true for investors: How does a company make money? If the answer is clear; you like the company; you understand the business strategy; you have done your homework including consulting with your financial advisor, then it may be time to purchase shares of the company stock.bullandbear

This particular company’s stock is now part of your diversified portfolio, which in turn represents a portion of your retirement savings, a child’s college education, that dream vacation etc.

All is good, but when does it make sense to sell?

Buy and hold is a sure loser. Why? At some point, stocks will stop growing. Your invested company certainly will change, and not necessarily for the better. Circumstances may shift and a wave of caca may hit a company or an industry.

Remember the Internet bubble two decades ago? It burst.

Remember the housing bubble a decade ago. It burst.

Don’t fall in love with your securities. Follow your instinct and your plan. When it is time to pull the trigger and unload the stock, then sell the shares.

Have a Plan

“I love the company. I hate the stock.” – Jim Cramer on Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA)

Okay, it’s time to confess: I fell in love with the Elon Musk Ion-Lithium Battery/Electric Car story at Tesla. Yes, I bought the stock and road it up and down (pardon the pun) and eventually got tired of the downward roller coaster.muskcar

Before I weighed selling, I considered at what average price point did I buy the stock and how low would it have to go before I would sell the stock? It hit that point, and it was time to sell.

Maybe at some future time, it will be low enough to once again purchase the stock, but only when one is convinced the company has a realistic plan for long-term profitability.

The same is true when selling a stock that is going up. Social media stock LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) recorded a blow-out quarter and the stock exceeded my prearranged sell price point. As Joseph Kennedy reportedly said: “Never apologize when taking a profit.”

And we should never worry about paying taxes on our profits; profits are taxable.

The point here is to follow your game plan and sell when it’s time. That’s a good thing, really.

What are some other signs that it is time to sell a stock?

  • The Music Stopped: Once upon a time, Intel (e.g., microprocessors), Microsoft (e.g., software operating systems) and Cisco (e.g., Internet routers and switches) were literally rocking and rolling. We couldn’t get enough of these stocks until … the music stopped. The PC is yesterday’s news. The 1990s came and went. It became time to sell and move on.
  • Commoditization: Just like Intel’s microprocessors became a commodity to serve as the brains of social, mobile and cloud, the same is true for all other semiconductors and those that build semiconductor manufacturing equipment and electronic design automation (EDA) software. Intel’s rumored takeover of Altera, similar to Avago’s absorption of LSI Corporation, are more signs of industry consolidation. If you have not sold already, it’s past time.
  • High Volatility: Sometimes an investor can benefit from a highly volatile stock. A perfect example is Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM). Lost track of how many times, yours truly has bought, sold, bought, sold, bought … this stock. As long as the trend line is consistently up, it’s okay to let go of the shares now and then, only to become reacquainted at a later date.
  • New Management: Tim Cook is proving that there is life at Apple following the ultimate demise of Steve Jobs, but that is the exception not the rule. Companies change. Business plans shift. Circumstances change. Markets explode or implode. Almost DailyBrett has always followed the mantra that if the old boss or new boss is a bosshole, it’s time to pass on the stock or sell the stock. Translated: Stay away from Larry Ellison and Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL)
  • No Balance Between Fiduciary and Corporate Social Responsibility: The best run publicly traded companies do NOT see “doing well” and “doing good” as being mutually exclusive. Publicly traded companies with their brands under a digital 21st. Century microscope must appreciate their respective brands are trading in the cloud 24/7/365. Worshipping exclusively at the altar of fiduciary responsibility will no longer cut it. If so, it’s time to sell.
  • Caca Happens: Planes land at the wrong airports (e.g., Southwest). Companies name shoes (e.g., Umbro) after the cyanide gas used in Nazi concentration camps. The CEO falls dead in the backseat of a car (e.g., Texas Instruments). Oil wells explode and gush on global video for three months (e.g., BP). Guano hits the fan. This is precisely the reason not to fall in love with any stock.

Sometimes, it is time to say goodbye.

Breaking up is hard to do.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10292084/1/bulls-bears-make-money-pigs-get-slaughtered.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Sr.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/what-happens-when-the-music-stops/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/how-does-a-company-make-money-2/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/donate-to-united-way-or-invest-in-tesla/

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/cramers-stop-trading-tesla-motors-135400997.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/farewell-lsi-logic/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Couldn’t believe my ears.

Did my post-graduate classmate in “Teaching and Professional Life” just state ex-cathedra that (being) “mean is awesome” when it comes to teaching impressionable undergraduate college students?larrysumners

For some reason, the author of Almost DailyBrett can’t just simply vanquish these words, uttered by a Ph.D candidate in communications, from his personal DRAM.

Sure wouldn’t want to be in her classroom.

The question for today is whether this brand of arrogance, callousness and potential cruelty is reaching epidemic proportions on college and university campuses?

What blew me away is that some were actually nodding their heads in affirmation.

I couldn’t agree less.

Who Are Our Customers?

Almost DailyBrett is not universally loved by privileged graduate teaching fellow (GTF) types, so these next thoughts may not be especially well-received either.

When it comes to colleges and universities, who is paying the bills (e.g., salaries, benefits, stipends)? Besides donors and grants, the main answer lies with parents/guardians of students, the students themselves waiting tables, taking out loans or the combination of all the above.

The Economist reported this week that average annual fees at private universities are $31,000 and approximately $10,000 at public universities. The typical college student, who may spend up to six years on campus, will be saddled with $40,000 in debt whether or not she or he graduates.studentloans

And you want to be mean to these students and by natural extension, their families?

And wouldn’t one think that since these students are indeed a prime source of college/university largesse, the service providers (e.g., professors, instructors, GTFs) would actually be nice to their “customers?”

What’s that?

Some believe strongly that colleges and universities should not be run like businesses? They are mostly non-profit. Right? So they should be oriented toward searching for the truth rather than preparing students to find a job? Maybe that attitude und Weltanschauung is at least partially the source of the meanness.

Mentoring/Not Meanness

Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” – Former Secretary of State and Harvard Professor Henry Kissinger

Let’s face the truth.

College and university faculty meetings are generally not happy gatherings. Hours are spent in academic debate, but little if anything changes with the exception of tuition, fees and administrative hirings going up.

Some faculty members have a difficult time impacting their own worlds, so they are not usually in a good mood entering the classroom. This is where meanness and ruthlessness is carried out, just make sure every rule and regulation is included in the syllabus. Maybe, these particular faculty types are more suited to being bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

Don’t get me wrong, faculty members (e.g., professors, instructors, GTFs) cannot be friends with students, but that doesn’t mean we should be enemies. We should care about our students, and the best teachers do just that.

This is where another “M-word” comes into play: Mentoring. We should not be teaching exclusively out of a book, but instead we should be providing real-time knowledge about how the professional world really works.

Our students should venture out into the work-place with their eyes wide open. They should be trained to speak not the words of students, but the language of the workplace. They should know the difference between the top-line and the bottom-line, between revenues and net income or loss.

They should embrace buy low, sell high. They should prove their own return on investment (ROI), not just their degree, but a record of solid experience articulated in cover letters, resumes and LinkedIn profiles.people1

If a student demonstrates and proves her/his preparedness for competition for publicly traded/privately held/for profit/non-profit positions, then we as educators should be willing to provide a graduating student with a reference and all the help that we can.

Will the mean professor do that?

Almost DailyBrett has found that very few things in life are more uplifting than reading/hearing about one of your former students being hired and embarking on what very well could be, a rewarding career.

Instead of being mean, let’s mentor with a little tough love, if necessary. Let’s encourage our students to seek out and attain the best anti-poverty, wealth-creation program ever invented: a well-paying private sector position with full benefits and maybe a stock option or two.

All it requires is a little TLC and some mentoring too.

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21646219-college-america-ruinously-expensive-some-digital-cures-are-emerging-log

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/are-striking-uo-graduate-teaching-fellows-certifiable/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/dealing-with-online-hecklers/

http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/08/18/acad-politics/

 

 

 

 

 

“If well written, a handwritten letter can deliver extraordinary impact.” – Max Kalehoff, SocialCode senior vice president.

Or maybe a handwritten letter sends some unintended signals to the hiring manager, including a less-than-up-to-date mindset?

thankyounote

One of the first things that mumsy taught you was to always say “please” and “thank you.”

The advice from moms across the fruited plain is timeless and always correct.

Thank you, merci, dankeschön, domo arigato, muchas gracias, спасибо may be the most critical expression in any language

The issue that comes to mind is not whether one should thank a hiring manager after an interview — you should each-and-every-time quickly and professionally communicate your appreciation for the opportunity — but how should these words of thanks be transmitted?

“Transmitted” is a good word to frame this debate.

Using Primitive Tools in a Digital World?

Many times I have heard academics and visiting professionals lecturing soon-to-graduate millennial students about the need to promptly (preferably the same day) send handwritten thank you notes to hiring managers.

This wisdom is reinforced in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Seventh Edition by Professors Dennis L Wilcox and Bryan H. Reber.

Job applicants … make a much better impression with prospective employers by sending a handwritten thank you note instead of an email or text message thanking the employer for the interview.” – Professors Dennis L. Wilcox and Bryan H. Reber.

Really?

There is the possibility that a hand-written note on nice personal stationery may impress a hiring manager, but in our fast-moving digital age the question must be asked: Will this nice gesture actually backfire in the face of the job applicant?

Keep in mind that Almost DailyBrett exhibited the temerity to question the conventional wisdom of the one-page resume. This is the very same CV that is almost universally submitted online and encoded into binary code ones-and-zeroes before being decoded into readable text on a computer screen or screened by an algorithm for key search phrases. Yes, there are cases in which resumes are actually printed out, but that is just so yesterday.

Now Almost DailyBrett is taking on those who counsel hand-written thank you notes and doing so with great relish.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Let’s say you followed the advice of the Flat Earth Society and dipped your wick into the ink well, and used your elementary school cursive on your expensive Hallmark stationery.

You found the right words to express your sincere thanks and appreciation. You affixed a snail-mail stamp and entrusted the USPS (and a few prayers to a higher being) to send your message to its intended target in a few days or so. (Hopefully the hiring manager still remembers you).

letters

And then it arrives or not.

It sits in a pile of other snail mail or not.

A secretary may open it or not.

He or she may put it into the hiring manager’s in-box or not.

He or she may “round file” the letter without reading it or not.

The variables here are too numerous to count.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume the letter makes it to the hiring manager and she or he is able to decipher your hieroglyphics.

Is this really the way that you want to transmit your thanks and appreciation in this age of instantaneous communication and digital conversations?

What signal are you sending? Are you really comfortable with this pre-Johannes Gutenberg and his 1439 printing press approach? Maybe there is another way?

Using Digital Tools in a Digital World

Can one send a carefully crafted email or text message that very same day to express thanks and appreciation to the hiring manager for her/his time and consideration?

The answers are “yes” and “no.” A professionally written, relatively concise email to the hiring manager can properly express your sentiments and reinforce your interest in the job. Sending a terse text (redundant?), even though it is the cool di rigueur method of today’s communication, runs the risk of coming across as flippant and not doing the job.

Here’s another idea:

linkedinconnect

How about sending a thank you note in the form of a LinkedIn connection request to the hiring manager?

What are the benefits of this approach?

1.)   You are using digital tools to promptly convey your thanks and appreciation, and there is a strong likelihood the hiring manager will see your message.

2.)   Without saying so, you are demonstrating through your actions that you get it when it comes to social media.

3.)   Even if the hiring manager does not select you for the job, her or his decision to respond positively to your connection request provides you with another soldier in your networking army.

4.)   This approach provides the hiring manager with another opportunity to take a gander at your LinkedIn profile.

This is the same profile that confidently communicates your professional experience, your educational background, your professional mug shot, your glowing references, your PowerPoint presentations, your impressive list of connections and contacts, your awards, your publications and more.

Think of it this way, your LinkedIn profile is one-stop shopping for those who want to hire you.

So why aren’t you sending a thank you LinkedIn connection request to the person who just took the time and effort to interview you? There is no better time than right after your killer interview.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristian-schwartz/how-to-say-thank-you-afte_b_4722743.html

http://www.job-seekers-edge.com/post-interview-thank-you-note.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/answered-should-you-send-a-handwritten-or-email-thank-you-note-after-an-interview-2012-3

https://gettoworkblog.wordpress.com/tag/handwritten-letter/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/maxkalehoff

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/thank_you

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/preaching-heresy-to-the-one-page-resume-pharisees/

 

 

 

 

Life used to be so easy.

There was Paid Media = Advertising.

There was Earned Media = Public Relations.

And there were the legacy media gatekeepers: Newspapers, Radio and Television.

That’s how the world appeared to communications pros way back in the 1980s.

One employed earned media and/or paid media to deal with or get past the analog media deciders to reach target audiences.

There was B2B. And B2C. And even B2G.

Simple?  Oh, so simple.

As we all know, 20th Century Web 1.0 (websites) and 21st Century Web 2.0 (convergence of social, mobile and cloud) have thrown everything into a tizzy. And some are even talking about Web 3.0 or semantic web. We will leave that for another installment of Almost DailyBrett.

weberas

And now we can add Owned Media to the mix as well.

The neighborhood property values will never be the same.

What the heck is “Owned” Media?

One can spend money to place ads into legacy and/or digital native media: Paid Media.

Or one can choreograph public relations campaigns, hopefully garnering always in-demand third-party validation by means of effective interaction with analog and digital gatekeepers wherever they may be: Earned Media.

(Some used to call this category “Free” media. Practitioners know through painful experience there is absolutely nothing “free” when it comes to media relations).

As the influence of legacy media gatekeepers subsides and the flack-to-media ratio (presently 3.6-to-1) grows more lopsided, more-and-more public relations pros, marketeers and investor relations practitioners are embracing Owned media. These are media channels directly (for the most part) under the control of corporations, governmental agencies, non-profits, NGOs or anyone with a product to sell, a candidate to elect or an idea to spread.

threemedia

Before Almost DailyBrett goes any further, at least partial credit needs to be directed to Advertising & IMC: Principles & Practice, 10th edition by Moriarty, Mitchell and Wells for its role in defining this growing-in-importance owned media category. “Owned media: Media channels controlled by the organization and that are used to carry branded content.”

And just like advertising and public relations, owned media is experiencing the full impact of digital communications revolution, and maybe even more than its siblings, paid and earned media.

Natural Reaction to Growing Paid Media and Earned Media Issues?

Advertising pros are confronted with the dilemma associated with just too much clutter, legacy media declining in importance and influence, and digital native media still undergoing growing pains.

PR, marketing and investor relations practitioners are dealing with the remaining legacy media reporters, editors, correspondents and analysts, who are wondering just how much longer their jobs are going to last. In any event, they are overwhelmed with PR folks pitching them self-serving story ideas.

The digital news aggregators are starting to make a mark for themselves as the Huffington Post drew approximately 85 million worldwide unique monthly desktop visitors this past March, up from about 65 million the previous March. BuzzFeed virtually doubled its online readership from nearly 21 million in March 2013 to 45 million two months ago. Business Insider recorded a gain of 15 million to 17 million in the same time period.

Some of these news aggregators will succeed, famously capitalizing on their first-mover advantage. Others will not. For PR types, they present a new avenue to gain the vaunted third-party acceptance.

Has “disruptive” digital  communications technologies (e.g., Web 1.0 and Web 2.0) changed the rules of the game for paid and earned media pros? Absolutely, but maybe not as much as for owned media. When one contemplates owned media, there is a seemingly unending string of digital ones-and zeroes.

Examples of Owned Media Channels

So what are these owned media news channels — in many cases digital self-publishing – that are allowing us to bypass the legacy and digital native gatekeepers and giving pause to making more advertising expenditures? Here are some examples:

● The organizational website. Websites seem so yesterday and yet they are the digital point-of-entry to the company, non-profit, governmental, agency and political brands. They reflect the basic messages, mission statements, raison d’etre, the look-and-feel of the brand through the careful use of art, fonts, navigation and style. And now they increasingly feature audio and video, and they invite two-way symmetrical communications.

● The 100-million digital essayists (including this one) who compose blogs on a daily basis. Obviously some are more important than others. Companies over the years have become less reticent to the idea of their employees blogging, and with proper controls they are assisting in the promotion of the brand.

blog

● The corporate intranet is now providing for true two-way symmetrical communication between management and rank-and-file employees. For example, Southwest Airlines debuted in 2010 SWALife, a truly interactive portal allowing employees to directly engage in a companywide conversation.

● Social media sites including Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and hashtags, and LinkedIn accounts are at least being regularly monitored (or they should be) and being hosted to create a “buzz” as it applies to the organization.

● YouTube videos and Flickr photo pages are spreading the corporate brand, sometimes on a viral basis, which can be accessed with a few clicks on the mobile device or remaining laptops.

Yep, we have moved from B2B, B2G, B2C to B2C2C with brands rising and falling via word of mouth…the best advertising of all. And guiding these conversations or at least influencing them are organizational owned media.

Owned media is just another example of how our world has changed, digitally and permanently. And it may be the best response to digital communications angst.

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21602714-new-york-times-ponders-bold-changes-needed-digital-age-read-it-and-leap

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web

http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/product/Advertising-IMC-Principles-and-Practice/9780133506884.page

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/luving-two-way-employee-comms/

 

 

Launching a Second Career?

“From adversity comes opportunity.” – Hall of Fame Football Coach Lou Holtz

“Don’t give up; don’t ever give up.” – Jim Valvano Farewell Speech

“ … There are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.” – Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”

There was a real question for months-on-end about whether this particular Almost DailyBrett blog post would ever be written.

The reason is simple. It’s much more difficult than anyone would anticipate, launching a second act when one reaches the “difficult” age of 50 or above. This point is particularly magnified for the so-called “privileged” pale male of the species.

clint

No one seems to like these angry white males. Let’s marginalize this irksome demographic (e.g., put them out to pasture).

And yet there is hope for those – both women and men — approaching their Golden Years particularly those with plenty of gas in the tank with what can be called,  a sunny outlook on life.

Didn’t Ronald Reagan launch a second career at 69-years young after six years of uneventful long-term unemployment?

Aren’t the Rolling Stones touring the UAE, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand in their 70s?

Judi Dench at 69-years of age couldn’t make the Academy Awards Sunday night because she was shooting a movie in India. You go girl!

The same is true for the author of Almost DailyBrett. Starting this September, yours truly will serve as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Central Washington University, teaching public relations and advertising to college students.

Yes, this most likely is my incredibly satisfying encore after three decades in political-corporate-agency public relations.

For a wide variety of reasons the recession/economic downturn that stubbornly refuses to enter into full recovery mode, claimed literally hundreds of thousands of Baby Boomer victims during the course of last decade.

In many cases, their P&Ls simply collapsed. They were making five-figures or in some cases, six-figures and the first number was not necessarily a “1.” Despite their knowledge and experience …or maybe because of their knowledge and experience…they became too damn expensive.

babyboomers

It was time to cut expenses and to layoff those who were not going to be part of an organization’s dynamic future. These Baby Boomers reacted by thinking about simply landing another six-figure “position.” Surely someone would be grateful for their services…or surely, not.

After months of furtive searching, burning through inadequate unemployment checks and dipping into savings, joining the ranks of the long-time unemployed, some of these cashiered Baby Boomers came up in many cases with the wrong solution: Start their own businesses and burn down nest eggs. For a few it worked. For most it did not.

Putting out your shingle and being your own boss sounds appealing on the surface, but in most cases it’s a major pain. You have to find the business against strong competitors. If successful, you have to service the business. You have to retain the business. You have to bill…and hope that you will be paid in a timely manner, if it all.

Many took a hint and retired in their late 50s/early 60s, years before Medicare eligibility. As The Economist stated: “A growing number of the long-term unemployed find ways to qualify as disabled and never work again.” The number of DI beneficiaries in 1970; 1.5 million; 2013, 8.9 million. The disability trust fund is due to go broke in 2016.

Okay, acknowledging that an uphill climb still confronts the long-term unemployed Baby Boomer, what are some realistic strategies to launch a second career, get back into the game, and put more hop-and-skip into her or his jump?

Continuous Self-Improvement. Even though you may detest exercise, you need to dedicate at least 30 minutes daily, six days per week (one day off) for cross-training. That means reasonable resistance training with weights three days a week and aerobic exercise (e.g., running, elliptical, treadmill, spinning) another three days per week. This should be a religious experience, meaning you believe you are sinning if you miss a day. At a minimum, you will feel better about yourself and better project a more youthful demeanor.

crosstraining

Calories In; Calories Out. No one wants to hear this mantra, but that along with exercise is the solution to adipose tissue. Serve meals on salad-size plates instead of dinner plates. Think portions. Eat more veggies and fruits. Drink more water. Divide entrees with a significant other when you go out (you will still go home with a Bowser bag). Lose your convulations.

Lifelong Learning. Know what is going on in the world, even if Russia’s latest invasion or the massive U.S. deficit does not please you. Project yourself as engaged in your world, nation, state and community. Devour digital and conventional media.

Embrace Digital. That means as CNBC’s Jim Cramer would say: social, mobile and cloud. Those Baby Boomer colleagues of the editor-in-chief of Almost DailyBrett  that are agnostic to social media all have something in common: They are all unemployed. Write a blog. Participate in social media. Keep up with digital trends. Google yourself. Immediately clean up your act, if necessary.

Always Think SEO. WordPress, Wix and others give you free plug-and-play tools to build your own personal brand websites. LinkedIn provides you with the tools to incorporate your professional personal photos, presentations, glowing references and career accomplishments. Use them. And then employ social media to spread the word. Update your resume. If you don’t know what SEO stands for, look it up.

Build Your Network. Every LinkedIn connection is a friend. Every LinkedIn Group is a collection of like-minded friends. Don’t rely on the black hole of job boards. Develop relationships. Find the hiring managers. Ask for informational interviews. As you well know, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Consider Going Back to School. It may not be easy to be a Non-Trad Student as earlier reported in Almost DailyBrett, but attaining that elusive undergraduate or advanced degree at a minimum demonstrates tenacity, dedication and commitment. As Martha would say, these are all good things. My new position would not have been possible without my recently earned graduate degree, attained 34 years after my undergraduate degree.

Put Yourself in a Young Environment. The ultimate start-ups are college campuses. No one is thinking about retirement or long-term disability checks. For students, the future is now and it is damn exciting. Think of your future that way as well. If you are 60, you should be contemplating your next three decades of so on the planet…if you are so lucky.clint1

Avoid Starting Your Own Business … unless you really want to. Burning up your nest egg on a business that fails is a double whammy. Find something different that you want to do and can do with gusto. I am really looking forward to resuming my teaching, and in particular mentoring students as they transition from graduates to professionals.

Stay Away from Federal and State Assistance. Are you really disabled? Can you volunteer? Can you take a “job” rather than a “position” to get back on track? We need more taxpayers in this country, not more of those on the dole as evidenced by the record 46 million on Food Stamps.

Find Love. Having someone in your corner supporting you and willing to listen when the storm clouds are the darkest is indispensible. Being able to check the “married” box sends a very positive message, and may prompt someone important to look at your application twice.

That may be just the break that your second career needs.

http://livingstingy.blogspot.com/2010/07/your-second-career-plan-on-it.html

http://www.aarp.org/work/working-after-retirement/info-10-2013/reimagine-your-life.html

http://www.aarp.org/work/working-after-retirement/info-05-2011/ready-for-an-encore.html

http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/ronaldreagan

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21597898-if-barack-obama-wants-increase-economic-opportunity-he-should-embrace-ideas

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21597925-want-make-america-less-unequal-here-are-some-suggestions-memo-obama

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/the-courage-to-succeed-as-non-trad-students/

“Sometimes the most obvious question is the question. In Enron’s case: How do you make money?” — Fortune Magazine Reporter Bethany McLean.

bethany-mcleanx140

The simple answer was Enron wasn’t making money; the company was losing money hand-over-fist.

Enron was hiding these massive losses from regulators, investors, suppliers, partners and most of all, its own massively investing-in-Enron-stock employees.

Still investors poured billions into Enron simply because the stock was going up big time. The majority had no idea about how Enron made money in its energy, bandwidth and weather (go figure) trading schemes and didn’t seem to care because the stock was skyrocketing. As Martha would say: “It (was) a good thing.” Yep, a good thing until the house of cards came tumbling down in a 2001 bankruptcy filing, crashing and burning.

What was that about how does a company makes money?

As we head into the next round of hysteria as yet a third social media provider goes IPO (Initial Public Offering), this one, Twitter, under the ticker, TWTR, one needs to contemplate Bethany McLean’s most obvious of all questions.

twitterjackdorsey

How does Twitter make money?

How does LinkedIn make money?

How does Facebook make money?

How does J.C. Penne’ make money? Hint: It doesn’t.

This simple question needs to be posed to and answered by all publicly traded companies, whether they play in the new economy or the old economy.

The need to quickly, credibility and confidently answer this question, preferably in a brief elevator pitch, solidifies the need for well-trained and highly skilled corporate public relations, investor relations, crisis communications, brand and reputation management practitioners.

Teaching upper-division public relations courses, I would flash images of corporate logos up on the screen and ask students how Company A or Company B makes money.

In our quick media world — whether by conventional or digital means — the millennial digital native generation, more than any other that preceded it, has been bombarded incessantly on all sides by brands.

After initial hesitations, the students were quickly and enthusiastically recalling what the brand means in term of how a company makes money, and even “positioning” companies in their respective market spaces (e.g., BMW vs. VW: Nordstrom vs. Macy’s; Southwest vs. United). Starbucks and McDonald’s both sell upscale coffee. They now both offer drive-through windows. They are the same. Right? Wrong.

As mentioned before in Almost DailyBrett, LinkedIn and Facebook are both social media outlets. To Wall Street they couldn’t be more different.

LinkedIn debuted at $45 in 2011 and now trades at $245.13.linkedin_logo_11

Facebook went public at $38 in 2012 and now trades at $51.01.

zuckerberg

LinkedIn has been able to easily answer the how it makes money question (e.g., monetizes social media) by pointing to “connections,” premium services, advertising and the fact that LinkedIn is the choice for recruiters, job hunters, network builders and those seeking business leads.

Facebook is finally starting to gain traction in the market after its disastrous NASDAQ IPO. The company has been plagued by how do “friends” correlate with the legal tender?

Will 140-character per tweet Twitter be the next LinkedIn, the next Facebook or just maybe the first Twitter in the eyes of Wall Street investors?

A CNBC report this week pointed to Twitter’s relationship with the hard-to-get National Football League and CBS in which video supplied by both will be available for tweets. Wall Street may very well see a ka-ching correlation with this deal.

The deal and others, plus the recently announced Twitter S-1 (e.g., company prospectus) may have a direct bearing on what will be the pricing and Wall Street response to the much-anticipated IPO.

As more companies pursue the IPO route, minus the ones that opt to rebuild in privacy (e.g., Dell), that means even more opportunities for skilled-and-trained corporate public relations, investor relations, crisis communications, brand-and-management protection pros.

Conservatively, there are more than 5,100 publicly traded companies on the two major exchanges, the NYSE Euronext and NASDAQ. There are thousands more on overseas exchange, such as Japan’s Nikkei, Hong Kong’s Hang Sang, Britain’s “Footsie” or FTSE, France’s CAC-40 and Germany’s DAX.

Each of these companies, most definitely those in America, has reporting requirements on an annualized and quarterly basis. The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) mandates 10-Q quarterly earnings reports; 10-K annual reports to shareholders; 8-K unscheduled “material” information disclosure announcements; S-4 additional share purchases, an annual meeting with shareholders, and of course, an S-1 filing of a privately held company prospectus prior to an IPO.

All of these filings require on-target prose, delivered conventionally and digitally, employing text, audio and video. Who are these message builders? Who will train them? And where can they be found?

As long as a publicly traded company is in business, it must report. It must communicate. It has absolutely no choice.

Quite clearly, the demand for these highly skilled corporate PR and investor relations practitioners outstrips the supply. Maybe that’s why they are compensated at a PR segment high average of $117,233 annually.

Sounds like an upwards-to-the-right market for qualitative-and-quantitative PR/IR types.

Full-Disclosure Note: The editor of Almost DailyBrett at various times owned shares of both LinkedIn and Facebook, only to subsequently sell the stocks. He fully anticipates as a mere retail investor being a late arrival to the upcoming Twitter IPO, if only to follow TWTR on a daily basis…Thank God he never bought into Enron.

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131003191330-270738-with-twitter-s-ipo-5-key-things-you-need-to-understand-about-the-social-ad-revolution

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/10/03/twitter-reveals-long-awaited-ipo-plans-253m-revenue-in-first-half-of-2013/

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/twitter-discloses-its-i-p-o-plans/?_r=0

All social media sites are not created equal.

They are not monolithic. They are not one-size-fits-all.

Facebook gives you access to your “friends.”

LinkedIn provides you with “connections.”

In all due respect to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sandra “Lean In” Sandberg, which group of people – “friends” or “connections” — is going to be most beneficial in finding a job, building a network or running down business leads?

Wall Street, based on the performance of the two respective stocks, knows for certain the answer to this question. Are you still not convinced and/or “connected”?

“In my opinion…you would be serving the department best by working in public relations,” – San Francisco PD lieutenant.

“Opinions are like a..holes, everyone has one.” – Clint Eastwood as Inspector “Dirty Harry” Callahan in “The Dead Pool.”

resume

When it comes to writing a cover letter, preparing a curriculum vitae or using social media for a job-search campaign, everyone has opinions. Here are some of mine.

Some contend that hiring managers and recruiters don’t read cover letters. I couldn’t disagree more. Every job worth its salt deserves and requires a carefully crafted, targeted cover letter.

Some say that hiring letters should repeat everything in the resume. I respectfully disagree.

Think of it this way:

The cover letter is intended to entice the hiring manager/recruiter to read the resume.

The resume is intended to convince the powers that be to bring you in for an interview.

The interview leads to references being checked and a big fat HR packet being overnighted to your place of residence.

Some worship at the altar of the one-page resume. I opine that your resume should tell your story, tell it truthfully, tell it completely and most of all, tell it well. And in this digital age where everything is submitted online…who cares (besides the Flat Earth Society) whether a resume takes more than one page? I don’t.

Some are relatively agnostic about LinkedIn. I say it’s time to keep the digital faith.

Upscale six-figure employment search strategy website, The Ladders, surveyed 30 recruiters and found they spent only 6.25-second on the average resume. In particular, they check out a candidate’s name, current title and employer; previous title and company; previous position, start/end dates; current position start/end dates, and education.

There is no reason to question this empirical research. Everything else in our digital-information-overload society is being reduced to 20-second bites, six-second videos and 140-character tweets, so it just makes sense that recruiters are spending only 6.25-seconds on resumes. What that means is that resumes need to effectively tell your story and tell it quickly and concisely.

The same is true with cover letters. They need to fit within the borders of one computer screen because they need to be cut-and-pasted right into the email. Don’t ask for someone to click on a document unless you want to risk her or him tapping the delete key instead.

And let’s not forget that recruiters are pounding PC and tablet keys to access their social media outlet of choice, LinkedIn.

So what are strategies that one should adopt in preparing a LinkedIn profile page? Here are few of my humble suggestions:

linkedin_logo_11

● Sweat the details when it comes to your introductory JPEG mug shot. One immediate difference between a conventional resume and LinkedIn is the ability to incorporate a photo. A good photo is worth a thousand words. What kinds of words does your photo convey about you? What does your photo say about your professionalism, competency and ability to work well in a team?

● If a recruiter/hiring manager is only spending an average of 6.25 seconds with a resume, conceivably the same can be true with your LinkedIn profile…unless you make effective use LinkedIn’s plug-and-play tools. Begin with a profile statement that immediately outlines your raison d’etre, your strengths and immediate Return on Investment (ROI).

●Add your blog. Add your PowerPoints. Add your videos. Add your conference papers. Add your awards. Add your published work. Add your classroom work. Recruiters think of LinkedIn as one-stop shopping, so should you. http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbrett

● One of the key differentiators between LinkedIn and a conventional resume is your digital profile goes so much further than a standard curriculum vitae. Besides the ability to incorporate your digital content, you can also use the social media to market your personal brand through the use of references. As opposed to the standard, “References Available Upon Request” at the bottom of a resume, your LinkedIn page can include a dozen or more references sprinkled throughout the recap of your present and previous positions. Word-of-mouth advertising is without a doubt, the best advertising.

● The Boy Scout motto is simply, “Be Prepared.” Don’t wait for caca to happen to you when it comes to your career, even if you believe your job is secure. Your LinkedIn profile is a living, breathing digital tool. You can change it anytime, 24/7/365. Don’t wait until you are surprisingly laid off or cashiered to start building your connections into a network. This is a process that should never end. Trust me, people notice if you have 500+ connections, and they want to know who has accepted your LinkedIn connection requests..

Think of it this way: Every connection is a friend. And just like dollars in my wallet, I want to have as many “friends” as I can.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/03/26/what-your-resume-is-up-against/

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303812904577293664148110928.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheryl_Sandberg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVlYMctb7Y4

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/linkedin-resume/

One team is winning and the other is losing.

The respective IPO dates of two rival social media platforms are only separated by one year and one day, but the reception by Wall Street investors could not have been more different.

As a result I completely unfriended Facebook today, selling my remaining shares of “FB,” while maintaining and considering adding to my position in LinkedIn. The LinkedIn connection has been slightly lucrative, thank you very much.

According to the Wall Street analysts, the heavy sell off in Facebook is attributable to the company not presenting a convincing argument during Thursday’s conference call on how it well monetize mobile platforms. Closer to the heart of the matter: Facebook is not providing guidance to investors going forward, making it difficult for buy-and-sell side analysts to build their financial models.

From this humble perspective, it seems something more basic is coming into play: Schadenfreude.

There are a growing number of people, who resent Mark Zuckerberg, his hoodie, the “Social Network” and his billions. Can we simply chalk it all up to old-fashioned jealousy of those who achieve? As the leader of the free world recently said, “You didn’t build that.” Au contraire.

zuckerberghoodie

As many of us know, it all started in Harvard’s Suite H-33, Kirkland House (Isn’t Harvard private? Do the public roads leading up to the campus negate all student and faculty accomplishments?). Zuckerberg is an entrepreneur with a dream that succeeded beyond his fondest dreams as 900 million subscribe to Facebook. And with this success came private equity, in fact too much private equity. Zuckerberg was essentially forced by SEC rules to go public. It may have been the world’s first kicking-and-screaming IPO.

During the investor tour leading up to Facebook’s May 18 (NASDAQ: FB) public offering, there were complaints that Zuckerberg sported his trademark hoodie rather than standard-issue Brooks Brothers suit with the Thomas Pink shirt and cuff links. Has this man no decency?

And just yesterday Maria Bartiromo and the other talking heads on CNBC were conjecturing whether Zuckerberg would even show up for his company’s first-ever investor conference call. Maybe analyst calls are not cool enough for the 29-year-old founder and chief executive of the world’s largest social media platform. Zuckerberg showed up, but the stock still closed today at $23.70, miles below its $38 IPO price. One analyst has set an 18-month $40 price target. I will hold off in placing an order.

Contrast the disastrous performance of the Facebook IPO with a similar public offering a year earlier by LinkedIn. The latter came with virtually no investor frenzy, but the results are impressive.

LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) went public on May 19, 2011, debuting at $45, quickly jumping to $85 and closing today at $103.42. Not bad.

One key differentiator between LinkedIn and Facebook is the former is targeted almost exclusively toward business. Need to find a job? Open and populate a LinkedIn profile. Be sure to include the details of your resume (curriculum vitae), your academic background, your recommendations, your PowerPoints, your blog and even your mug shot. This URL is one-stop shopping for recruiters.

linkedin

Want to research a recruiter, a hiring manager, a business partner, a customer, just simply head to the LinkedIn search engine. In a few key strokes, you know where she or he went to college; how long she or he has held the present position and where she or he has been before. This site is a great way to do your homework and to be prepared.

Another key differentiator is your “connections,” their connections and the connections of their connections. Who do you know? How important are your connections? What do your connections say about your readiness for a job, particularly a rain-making position that benefits from a deep roll-a-dex?

Almost DailyBrett opines that “connections” are more important in the eyes of Wall Street than “friends” and “likes.” Sure, Zuckerberg has access to the living patterns of almost one-seventh of the planet and $50 billion in market capitalization. LinkedIn only has a mere 161 million subscribers and only $10 billion in market cap…and yet Wall Street better understands the LinkedIn business model. Facebook in contrast offers friends and FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt).

Most of all there is no uncertainty whether LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman will participate in his company’s conference calls. Thumbs up.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/does-wall-street-hate-facebook-192938528.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443931404577551344018773450.html

“If a man says something in a forest, and there isn’t a woman there to hear him, is it still stupid?” – Too Many Anonymous Authors Claiming Credit

treefalls

Three years ago today, I began Almost DailyBrett.

Should I brag or apologize?

At the end of July 2009, my blog attracted a grand total of…drum roll…seven page views.

As I was composing my first posts, I was imagining standing alone in a cyber forest making typing noises (tree falling?), and wondering if I was making any sound? Did anyone give a particle about Almost DailyBrett? Was blogging a huge waste of time and effort?

Three years later, I am happy to report that Almost DailyBrett now totals 155 blog posts and 141 comments and counting. The total number of page views is approaching 12,000. Almost DailyBrett and by extension Kevin Brett brands are being championed by means of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, LinkedIn professional groups), tag words, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, and good old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

This is not an undertaking for the humble and the modest.

It should also be noted that blogging is not for serial procrastinators or people who simply do not relish the joy of writing. For those who love words, sentences, concepts, heck even grammar, the one-and-zeroes access to cyberspace and the blogosphere is a Godsend.

In some respects, most bloggers remind me of the newbies that showed up at a health club around New Year’s Day. Their resolutions are fresh in mind. They are ready to develop a new, robust physique. Some are envisioning standing on the victory platform in their Speedos throwing muscular poses to the crowd…and then reality comes crashing down. From aerobics comes pain. From resistance training comes a form of torture. Muscles that are used to a sedentary state want to remain in a sedentary state.

As we said about these newbies: “They will be gone by the Super Bowl.”

Alas, that is the case for many new bloggers. They start with the wind in their proverbial sails and pound out their first blog; hardly anyone is clapping. And then there is the issue of the next blog…there is always the issue of the next blog. They think about their upcoming blog and no inspiration is forthcoming. Days go by. Weeks go by. Months go by. Chalk up another dead blog.

Let’s face it: Blogging requires a commitment. It demands that you can’t wait to write your next post. It means that you have to be constantly thinking about what you want to write and what your readers want to read about. So what are some hard-earned lessons about not only starting a blog, but maintaining your relationship with your readers?

● Afford yourself maximum flexibility in the title of your blog. Avoid painting yourself into a proverbial corner. If you only want to write about movies, travel, sports etc., then give your blog a name appropriate to that genre. If you want to explore a wide variety of topics, then look for an umbrella that gives you wide latitude, but also builds your brand (e.g., Almost DailyBrett).

● Steadfastly guard your credibility and reputation. A blog should be provocative and fun to read. Keep in mind that blogs are the ultimate in discretionary reading. Nobody reads your blog because they have to read your blog. However, there is a difference between being provocative and being outrageous. Maintain your professionalism at all time…and follow the “When in doubt, leave it out” rule.

● Follow the Potter Stewart philosophy of searching for a subject for your next blog. The former US Supreme Court Justice will go down in history for his famous line about obscenity, “I know it when I see it.” The public relations escapades of Tiger Woods, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, Spirit Airlines just to name a few became instant fodder for Almost DailyBrett. Keep a close eye on the news and trendy topics.

potterstewart

● See yourself as a thought leader. What unique perspectives can you offer to your audience? For me, I have written extensively on not only widow(er)hood, but also the challenges associated with dating post-positive marriage. My “Competing Against the Dead” and “The Trouble with Widowers” blogs still receive considerable traffic. Others are in the same boat. I have also devoted considerable time to communications choreography, fiduciary vs. corporate social responsibility and other subjects close to my heart.

● Develop thick skin. Just as they nailed Jesus Christ to the cross, you are not going to please everyone. Anticipate getting negative responses from time-to-time, and don’t be afraid of publishing them in your comments section. As long as they are fair (or close to being fair) and are not nasty, racist, sexist diatribes and spam, I will allow them to be posted to my site.

● Use push marketing techniques for your blogs. What are your tags? Wonder if the words, “Playboy,” “Jenny McCarthy,” “Lindsay Lohan,” and “Pam Anderson” will attract the search engines? Once a blog is posted (including this one), market your blog subject and a related link on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. If the subject is germane to a particular LinkedIn group(s), then post a question to the group about your blog premise. Sometimes you can really stir the pot.

All one has to do to start a blog is to establish a WordPress account. It’s absolutely free. Even the technologically challenged can figure out the software. From that point you are in business. Some contend that blogging is dead. The numbers point to the opposite: 54.1 million WordPress sites; 327 million subscribers viewing 2.5 billion pages each year; 500,000 new posts and 400,000 comments are uploaded every day. And that’s just WordPress. There are oodles of other services to host your blog.

That’s a lot of noisy trees falling down each day.

http://en.wordpress.com/stats/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potter_Stewart

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