Tag Archive: Michael Phelps


“Flip-flops are for fa..ots. Flip-flops are for fa..ots.” – Rutgers assistant Eric Murdock quoting fired Rutgers’ Coach Mike Rice screaming at 10-11 year-old basketball campers.

“I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends and supporters, and the media … to be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it” – former New York Representative Anthony Weiner finally acknowledging – after repeated public denials — that he tweeted his genitalia to target females across the fruited plain.

It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter (Frances Quinn Hunter), and, hopefully, one day, when she understands, she will forgive me,” – John Edwards admitting that he fathered a love child with staffer Rielle Hunter.

rice

Coach Rice’s career is over at 44. Put a fork in him; he’s done.

Congressman Weiner’s dreams of becoming New York City’s mayor were thrown into the junk heap at 46.

Future president Edwards’ Potomac Fever dreams of being the leader of the free world permanently ended at 56.

The most recent viral public relations train wreck is bully boy coach Rice. He has been duly convicted in the courtroom of public opinion under the glare of the nation’s largest media market and buried under a video avalanche for assaulting his players, throwing balls at their heads and uttering ugly slurs about their sexuality.

For Rice, who was coaching at a major university entering into the prestigious Big-10 Conference, he is now the butt of a Saturday Night Live skit and the unflattering subject of an ESPN Outside the Lines report. These are the least of his problems.

Contemplating the damaging videos of an out-of-control Rice, one must ponder whether he ever asked himself if he was going too far. Now he is facing the certainty that his career is over at 44-years young. Conceivably, he has another three or four decades to live…and yet he is done.

Who will ever hire Mike Rice? The video will always follow him. It is permanent. It is eternal. He is toast.

The thoughts that must be going through his head right now are hard to imagine. All he had to do is deport himself. His behavior made Bobby Knight seem like a choir boy…even after the legendary coach threw the chair and was terminated by Indiana University. Maybe, other coaches and mentors will learn from Rice’s boorish mistakes.

A question that comes to mind pertains to the always-present, always-on digital media. Some complain that it threatens our privacy, but at the same time it can be seen as a great equalizer. The bully was exposed though grainy video and sensitive long-distance microphones. Maybe technology may be an answer to bullying, oppression and those who through whatever means try to dominate the weak.

The ultimate answer to this kind of misconduct lies with the individual. All of these public relations debacles could have easily been avoided with the exercise of personal deportment, compassion and accountability. Video cameras, directional microphones, self-publishing outlets and marauding media are everywhere. The ever-present, instantaneous and global media are in the “on” position at all times.

john_edwards2_240

Deal with it or perish.

What are some solutions in terms of protecting individual reputations and personal brands?

Act and behave with integrity even when you think that no one is looking as someone with a digital device very well may be doing just that. There is a time and place for “tough love,” but understand there is a definitive line between constructive criticism and destructive activity.

Assume the camera is on, the microphone is poised, the drones are flying; life will never be the same again.

Some have the chance to recover from public relations disasters (e.g. Michael Phelps had his London; Tiger has his Augusta; AH-Nold has yet another tough guy movie) even though their reputations will never be the same.

Still others have no outlet for a comeback; Rice, Weiner, Edwards and Lance Armstrong are part of this exclusive club. They will literally have decades to contemplate what went wrong and know they will never have a total and complete opportunity to vindicate themselves.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9130237

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

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/edwards-scandal-timeline-john-edwards-rielle-hunter-affair/story?id=9621755#.UWB3vMriVJQ

http://msn.foxsports.com/collegebasketball/story/mike-rice-rutgers-player-abuse-scandal-spoofed-saturday-night-live-melissa-mccarthy-040613

Move over Gordon Moore, there is a new law in town: Digital is Eternal.

Intel Corporation co-founder Moore is famous for his 1965 “law,” stating that every 18-24 months the amount of capability/complexity that can be incorporated into a silicon piece of real estate doubles. The law is still applicable nearly two generations later and it explains how we can have ever-smaller devices (e.g. fourth generation cell phones with tons of apps) that are faster, quicker, more powerful and burn less power in doing so. It all adds up to the serendipity of the semiconductor business.

moore

A net effect of Moore’s law is the proliferation of the ones-and-zeroes that make digital possible. And with the global spread of digital technology comes the undeniable and inescapable fact that anything and everything that is rendered digital is there forever…and can come back to bite you. Digital is eternal.

Back in my analog days working in the California governor’s office in the 1980s, a frequent refrain heard in the corridors of the capitol was, “If you don’t want to read about it in the Sacramento Bee, don’t write it down.” The big fear at the time was copy machines, lots of copy machines. Members of the Capital Press Corps would soon be receiving white envelopes with no return addresses and inside of these envelopes were photocopied “good dirt.” This practice almost sounds quaint compared to today’s digital TMZ, Deadspin, National Enquirer world

Fast forward to the digital days of the Internet Bubble in which stocks rode the roller coaster up and the same thrill ride to the bottom, we heard another refrain, “Everything digital is discoverable.” Translated: A plaintiff attorney firm filing a strike suit against your company could, and most likely would, demand in the discovery process all corporation e-mails, notes, transcripts, documents, anything and everything even remotely relevant to the matter being litigated. And there was no excuse for digital data being routinely purged after an appropriate period of time; a judge would simply order a company to digitally comply regardless of the IT data recovery costs involved. No wonder so many cases were settled out of court to the delight of the strike suit firm.

Today, we live in the age of Google. The company’s name is no longer just a proper noun, but a verb as in “Google this” and “Google that.” What is being Googled in many cases is a person’s reputation and personal brand.

If you are Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian (you get the digital picture), money and attention is the draw; reputation is clearly secondary, if not tertiary. So a supposedly private sex tape or commando raid becomes public or pubic…or lack of pubic. Will they ever regret that their sexual escapades are permanently captured and literally viewed by millions all by means of digital ones and zeroes? Wonder if Brett Favre and/or Anthony Weiner have any regrets about digitally transmitting images of their respective junk?

Go ahead and “Google” Olympic Gold medal swimmer, “Michael Phelps bong” and 505,000 pages including the infamous stoned photos (first item) come rushing at you. Will the public remember his 16-gold medals or his famous bong pipe escapade? What is really sad is the bong pipe photo, which reportedly cost him millions in endorsements, will not only follow him to his grave, but actually will be a permanently black mark on his reputation beyond his grave.

phelps

“Some day that party picture is going to bite them when they seek a senior corporate job or public office,” said Don Tapscott, author of Grown Up Digital. “I think they should wake up now, and become aware of the extent to which they’re sharing parts of themselves that one day they may wish they had kept private.”

More than one person has labeled college as “Life’s last playground.” And as a teaching assistant, I run into students who are having plain old fun and enjoying their college years to the max. They should also keep in mind, whether they like it or not, that they are also in the midst of making a transition from being student to becoming a professional.

If a student is neck-and-neck with another student for an entry-level job and the employer Google’s both and finds a bong pipe, a drunken stupor or an inappropriate display for body parts that should be private on one student and none of the above on the other, who are they going to be inclined to hire?

And this cautionary note goes beyond the prospective work place and also includes a potential lover. In this era of Internet dating, it is routine for a partner-to-be to surf your reputation to determine if there any game-changing, unpleasant sides to your personal brand. What may be playful and fun to you, may be interpreted as showing a total lack of judgment.

In this era of smaller and smaller cameras and more powerful microphones, all for reasonable prices, it is better to think twice and to exert caution. My intent here is to not be an old-fashioned party pooper. Instead, I would like to ensure that student careers do not come crashing to earth, before they even have a chance to get launched into the professional stratosphere. 

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_Law

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

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=4&oq=Michael+Phelps+&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS373US374&q=michael+phelps+bong&gs_upl=0l0l0l13120lllllllllll0&aqi=g4s1

 “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” – Niccolo’ Machiavelli, “The Prince.”

The choice of topic for one of my classmate’s Qualitative Research paper startled me.

She was writing about the growing “unfriending” trend among the more than 500 million Facebook subscribers. For example, if someone unfriended me, I would  have 161 friends instead of  my modest list of 162 friends.

Do you really think someone would want to unfriend little ole me? Alas, it is true…and sorry to say, maybe for you too. unfriend

Guess that doesn’t sound like a big deal worth losing sleep over. Considering that it is human nature to burn up more brain cells on negative than positive vibrations, then you have to conclude that people actually put more time and thought into an unfriending action than a friending decision. The fact that what is normally a noun, “Friend,” or an adverb, “friendly” has become a verb, to “friend” or now to “unfriend,” is a subject for another blog post at another time.

In a way all of this makes sense as companies for the longest time spent more time firing someone than they actually did hiring the person in the first place. They are starting to get smarter in this regard because it costs upwards to $60,000 in recruiting and training costs to replace someone and even more when you take into account lost productivity and the impact on the morale other employees in terms of picking up the slack.

Is “unfriending” a direct outgrowth of our almost automatic decisions to respond positively to a “friend” request?

Do we really not want to insult someone by merely ignoring their friend request, even though that is perfectly appropriate for someone we don’t know or don’t want to know?

And if you accept, do you want them to know what you normally reserve for people who are generally your friends? Will this prompt you to be a little more careful about what you post or do you fire away anyway?

Keep in mind that digital is eternal. Yes there are privacy settings on Facebook, but corporate and governmental “firewalls” are hacked into almost every day. Your precious photos intended for friends only of you in a drunken or stoned stupor or exhibiting normally private parts of your anatomy may someday find its way into the wrong hands, much to your permanent embarrassment.

One has to contemplate how many millions of dollars in endorsements that Michael Phelps’ digital bong pipe photo cost the Olympic swimmer even though he has 16 medals in a personal display case?

In theory, if we are smarter about friending then we should not have to do as much unfriending. Right? But doesn’t it just make sense to periodically purge your friends list? Is someone who is an acquaintance today really going to be a friend tomorrow? And if you want to take this step, Facebook is making it so easy to do, even wirelessly from your cell phone or PDA. unfriend1

And if you are a tad paranoid, and just have to find out who had the audacity to actually “unfriend” you, well there is software that works on at least four browsers to tell you who is the culprit.

And if you are personally unfriended, is this a personal insult? Should you call them out for taking this step?

If a member of the opposite gender (or your own gender, if you are so inclined) in which you were having a romantic involvement, says, “Let’s just be friends (kiss of death),” does that mean you should continue to “friend” them on Facebook? Or is it time to “unfriend” them?

And what if he or she follow their suggestion of “just being friends” by “unfriending” you on Facebook? Is this consistent or inconsistent with their wishes?

Considering that I am not an expert on affairs of the heart or a psychologist, I guess I will have fall back on the famous Barack Obama quote:

(This question is) “Above my pay grade.”

http://facebook.com

http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-unfriending-made-easy-with-iphone-app-2011-4

http://www.unfriendfinder.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince

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

http://www.clipsandcomment.com/2008/08/17/full-transcript-saddleback-presidential-forum-sen-barack-obama-john-mccain-moderated-by-rick-warren/

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard the tagline for Head and Shoulders: “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” http://www.headandshoulders.com/en-US/index.jspx

headandshoulders

And in this age of gnat-like attention spans and information overload, the ability to make a positive first impression in 15 seconds or less has never been more vital whether it be attracting that delectable member of the opposite gender (or your own, if you are so inclined), pitching a story to an irritable editor/reporter/blogger or applying for a job to a stressed-out hiring manager. There is no time for beating around the bush; you have to get to the point, pronto.

Just this past week, I was given the flattering opportunity to deliver a PowerPoint presentation on cover letters and resumes to a group of University of Oregon undergraduates. Coming as no surprise, I had their full attention as they are all nervously looking past their upcoming graduation and what will inevitably follow, entering and (hopefully) successfully competing in an incredibly brutal job market.

Without rehashing the entire presentation, here are some of the key points that I humbly advocated to the soon-to-be-entering-the-job-market competition:

● Get to the Point. Find out who is the hiring manager and send an e-mail to this person, don’t just send your cover letter and resume into digital never-never land. Copy and paste your cover letter and attach your resume. Ask for the order immediately in your cover letter. Tell she or he what distinct value you bring to the job and exactly why you want to work for this particular company, non-profit, trade association, PR agency, governmental agency.

● Sweat the details. Check and then double-check your prose. Read your letter and resume out loud. Better yet, ask a colleague to proof it for you. Another pair of eyes is better, particularly a pair of eyes that are more critical than yours. Don’t rely on spell checkers as they will miss the wrong word spelled right (e.g. “their” instead of “there” of vice versa or worse, “pubic” instead of “public”). And at all costs, make sure you do not misspell the hiring manager’s name or the name of the company in your cover letter (worth a one-way ticket to Hell).

● Think Twitter when writing your cover letters and resume. Why Twitter? The answer is that Twitter forces you to communicate in 140 characters or less, and it is amazing in what you can achieve in so few characters (many Baby Boomers have trouble with this concept to their own peril). Your sentences in your cover letter and the phrases in your resume should be short, punchy and direct. The clock is ticking. It is time for your red-zone offense to covert as the time is expiring. www.twitter.com

● Digital is forever. In the corporate world, we used to say that “Digital is discoverable.” Translated: a plaintiff’s attorney in a securities litigation case can demand all the e-mails and electronic memos on a given subject despite the fact that they were deleted. There are no shredding machines for digital content. Virtually all digital is recoverable. The point here is that anything that you do on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr etc., regardless of the friendly intent can and will be found.

● That leads to the next point…Google yourself; they will. What may have been a goofy photo this year with a bong pipe (e.g. Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps) or a topless expression of sexual joy reminiscent of “Girls Gone Wild,” can become an embarrassing incident causing a hiring manager to question your sense of judgment. My point here is to have fun, but don’t make any career limiting decisions while you are still in college or just graduated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Phelps

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● Speak in their language, not yours. Whether an entity is for profit or not, they are expending a certain amount of capital on someone who is going to bring in unique skills to solve problems. They are looking for a return on investment (ROI). So what are some of the key phrases (hint: ROI is one of them) that they want to hear or their software is going to be searching for? How about: Message Development; Social Media; Search Engine Optimization (SEO); Employee Communications; Crisis Communications; Investor Relations; Media Relations; Analyst Relations; Media Training; Brand Management, Marketing Success, Multi-Media Skills, Presentation Skills and many more. Use these words to your full advantage.

● Don’t just talk-the-talk when it comes to social media; walk-the-walk. Ever wondered why you should start your own blog? Think personal branding and marketing. How about pushing toward 500 connections on LinkedIn? Think networking, networking and networking. How about hundreds of friends on Facebook or thousands of Tweets on Twitter? The reason for all of the above is that companies are inevitably going to figure out how to monetize social media. They need people who embrace this trend. Remember: Social media is not a fad. If you don’t believe me, then ask yourself why Goldman Sachs recently put $500 million into privately held Facebook, started a $1.5 billion hedge fund to invest in the company and why Facebook has an estimated $50 billion market cap. http://www.economist.com/node/17853336

● Seek out the advice of career counselors who know how to unlock the hidden job market, not just the jobs that everyone applies for online. One example is Dennis Thompson of Pleasanton, CA, who wrote “Four Degrees to Your Dream Job.” Think of it this way, you may be much closer via your contacts and friends to an influential decision maker than what you ever thought was possible. Now back to the main point: How are you going to make the best use of your critical 15 seconds to make a lasting first impression? http://fourdegreestoyourdreamjob.blogspot.com/2011/01/should-you-stay.html

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