Watch Your Assets: Keeping Relevant in the Work Place

 

The company you work for is nothing without your assets, and neither are you. It’s your assets—your skills—that got you the position in the first place. Whoever made the hiring decision saw how they could utilize your assets to achieve the company’s goals. But those skills that got you hired may not be enough to keep you employed.  If you don’t maintain your assets to be as sharp as possible; keeping abreast of changes in your industry, monitoring the competition, and polishing your marketability, they will become dull and of little use to your employer and you’ll find yourself either discarded or being replaced with a newer more up to date model.

These skills go beyond those you use on a day to day basis to achieve your employers goals, they also include the well-honed implements you used to land that job. These assets are just as important to keep sharp and polished as the rest of the items in your toolbox. Your contacts, networks, associations, and social profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter among others, are just as important to keep up to date. You should be sharing items in your social networks that demonstrate you are an authority in your field, and networking with other influencers and professionals in your industry. At no time should you ever put these tools on the shelf to devote all your efforts to your employer’s task before you.

Over the last year or so, that’s exactly what I did. I had withdrawn from my online social presence as work became more and more demanding. My Facebook page became a scrolling haven for regurgitated memes, my Twitter account a dwindling record of places I checked into less and less frequently as the shared check-ins from FourSquare fell by the wayside, and Google+ was just a catch basin for posts that could be shared across all three networks. But duty called, and I answered, ready willing and able to do whatever needed to be done, for the company that I was sure would take care of me as well as those as dedicated as I was, took care of it. My mistake.

Go ahead. Laugh. I’m laughing at myself.

Sure, I had been burned before, but I was naive enough to believe this company was different. They touted their own version of the Boy Scout Law, you know, “trustworthy, loyal, helpful…” But this company promised integrity as well. Upon hearing upper management talk about integrity in company meetings it was hard to believe they weren’t sincere, so like a runaway teen in a religious cult, I not only swallowed the Kool-Aid, but I helped mix it as well.

However, I am not here to bad mouth this or any other company. The fault here lies with me, not with them. Their loyalty is to their shareholders and the bottom line. It’s business, period. What I am here to tell you, is that like your employer, you need to watch your bottom line as well, if not better, than they watch theirs.

What you need to remember is that these tools, all of the assets you provide for your employer, are yours! Not the product they create of course, but the tools used to create the product. They are only on loan to your employer for as long as they feel the need to rent them, but like any rental item, the upkeep of those tools lies with the owner, not the renter. The benefit of performing this regular maintenance will serve you two-fold: Not only will you continually prove your value to your employer, but you will also be showing your peers outside the company what a valuable commodity you are, and perhaps improving your bottom line before your company improves theirs by securing a more lucrative job offer.

Don’t become irrelevant in your job, or in your networks. Keep your tools sharp and in good working order. Watch your assets. In doing so they will be ready when it is time to loan them to the next renter, and more valuable. Stay current and stay relevant. There will be other renters looking for the latest and the greatest, and there is nothing wrong with raising the rent when it’s time to sign the new lease.

Freeway Liberation Day

 

Happy Freeway Liberation Day!

Yesterday, as thousands of Southern California high school and college seniors walked the aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance,” and set off to celebrate their new found freedom (enjoy it while you can, the summers are only going to get shorter from here out!), they set into motion the machinations for an even more noteworthy occasion,  ”Freeway Liberation Day.”

Yes, today was the day that all those know-it-all “adultlescents” are too hungover or stayed up too late to wake up early and jam the roads of So. Cal. with their “I can text and drive, those accidents only happen to other people” attitudes and various other forms of mobile and audio distractions that populate their cars. Speeds of 70 mph were achieved on some of the most congested freeways across the southland including the infamously notorious CA-91. It was a great day to be late for work, because odds are you could make up the time. I did.

So hat’s off to the Class of 2011, and thanks for a wonderful Freeway Liberation Day! Join me in thanking a few of the class valedictorians:

You in the Nissan Sentra… the one who’s going 60 mph in the fast lane because you’re too busy talking on your handheld device while semis in the right lane pass you until the guy behind you tries to get around you and then you speed up. Yeah, that’s not gonna create tensions and the potential for an accident. Didn’t miss you. Happy graduation!

Blonde bimbo in the VW Beetle? So happy not to have to try and navigate around you as you put on your eyeliner this morning. Glad you weren’t here today! Happy graduation!

Oh, and Honda Nation boys? What a peaceful commute at even 70 mph to not hear your lame-ass fart can exhaust as you have to floor it to weave in and around each and every semi in an effort to get to class on time, yet never seem to gain enough ground to get out of earshot with your “please say excuse me” sounding exhaust. So nice not to hear you! Happy graduation!

Corolla S drivers, one and all: I know you know better than me because I admit it, I no longer know it all, but that S doesn’t mean shit… or maybe it does? Thanks for staying the Hell out of the fast lane for once, no you cannot keep up with the flow of traffic in that car despite the S. Wish you weren’t here! Ooh! Wish granted! Happy graduation!

Yes, there are many others, and I invite you to leave well wishes for your favorites in the comments section below. I hope your Freeway Liberation Day was just as happy as mine was. Unfortunately, like every holiday, I will have to pay the price tonight on the commute home as the class of 2011 once again take to the freeways to embark on another evening of partying and begin the process of mucking up the roads once more–only this time, with parchments that they believe confirm that they really do know it all.

God help us.

An Even More Inappropriate Display of Mr. Weiner

 

ef090-anthonyweiner-facts-glenn-beckI realize this is a bit late to the party, but with Anthony Weiner and his penis perpetually popping up in inappropriate places I have to share. Well…that and the fact that a broken plug-in kept me from posting this here earlier.

When Anthony Weiner’s penis exploded to the forefront of pop culture it spread faster than Britney Spears legs getting out of a car. The difference, of course, is unlike Mr. Weiner, Britney didn’t aim her junk at anyone in particular. So, while her exposure was certainly inappropriate, Mr. Weiner’s was much more inappropriate because it was obvious he only wanted one person… at a time, anyway… to admire his namesake, not the whole world. So rather than a random flashing, his intent was directed and malicious.

Also remember one of the first rules of childhood staring competitions: “Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”  Britney didn’t take a picture, but Mr. Weiner did, so he obviously wanted it to last longer. I wonder if anyone has asked his wife if that’s the only way it will?

Regardless, Mr. Weiner initially denied sending the picture saying his account was hacked, but later admitted that it was indeed his Mr. Weiner, as more women came out of the “wood” work complaining about his “junk” mail. And once again Mr. Weiner was popping up all over the place inappropriately now with the hashtag #weinergate. But this is still not as inappropriate as the place where Mr. Weiner most recently popped up, and this time it was through no fault of his own.

Where I am most appalled is while posting to a Facebook discussion about Mr. Weiner’s weiner, Facebook asked both myslef and the person who’s page I was posting to, if we wanted to “like” Mr. Weiner.

Really Facebook? A man who is on the verge of being labeled a sex offender and you offer him up as someone to like? Classy.

Of all the solicitations that Mr. Weiner is accused of engaging in, I find Facebook’s solicitation of Anthony Weiner the most inappropriate.  Facebook, like the representative from New York, we wish you’d keep your Mr. Weiner to yourself.

Bad Plug-in, BAD! Google Analytics 3 codes for WordPress

 

Sorry, been down trying to determine the cause of an error that was occurring on the site preventing me form uploading photos. The culprit was the “Google Analytics 3 codes for WordPress,” plug-in, don’t use it until they update it for the latest version of WordPress. When I updated to the newst version of WordPress last week, this bad boy wreaked havoc with my site, but we’re better now…uh… well, not having that issue anymore anyway. I’ll be back with snarky comments tomorrow about Anthony Weiner, Facebook and the Mitsubishi i-Miev.

Google +1: Let Your Friends Pick Your Search Results?

 
Google +1

Google launches +1 June 2, 2011

I hated high school… well… not so much the school as the whole social dynamic and the class hierarchy that accompanied it. Being ranked and classified when we should be defined by our individuality, is not a concept I’ve ever been comfortable with. I’m a person, not a jock, brain or druggie. But of all the clicks in high school, the ones who perpetuated them the most were the jocks, because they were the muscle, and they could.

You know who I’m talking about, the idiots with the hyperactive gland problems that earned them a spot on the football team and therefore a right to terrorize their fellow classmates. Yeah, I’m talking about you Jeff Moore–the big bully who’d cause smaller and usually more interesting people to disappear into the shadows to avoid your wrath.

Like King Kong who they so effectively emulate, these bullies were seldom, if ever,  brighter, or as articulate as the undersized and underclassmen they intimidated, yet they stood out from the crowd by simple virtue of being able to beat on their chest and bellow louder than anyone else around them. Yeah, that’s about what sums up a good chunk of what it took to be popular in high school.

Here we are 30 years later, and while the arena may have changed, the dynamics look like they are not about to. This time around, high school is the internet and it’s starting to look like the new school bully may be Google. Tomorrow, Google will launch +1, allowing users to “like” pages and in theory define your future searches based on what’s “popular.”

The problem with this is, just as your campus King Kong was popular for all the wrong reasons, judging by what passes for entertainment on television these days, the public will have a chance to once again get it all wrong when it comes to choosing what we should find in our search engines, just as they’ve mucked up our choice of television shows. Can’t say I’m looking forward to having my search experienced mucked up with reality TV shows and American Idol references.

We’ve all had to search to the the to fifth page and beyond because we couldn’t find what we’re looking for, what happens when the popular vote places even more of those misguided search results we don’t want ahead of the results we do?

Certainly, at times I may be interested to see what my friends like relative to the search, but I also like to mine a few of those web gems from the bowels of the internet myself and be the first to share them.

As long as Google allows us to search without a little help from our friends, +1 could be a fun new way to interact with our friends socially on the net. But if it becomes the standard for determining which results are best suited for our searches, then Google becomes no better than a bullying King Kong on the internet, forcing those not as powerful into the dark recesses of the web and casting it’s ill begotten light on crap we could care less about just because some of our less intelligent friends find it amusing.

And that’s the real difference–a lot of us grew up and don’t run in social packs and welcome friends from all walks of life, but that doesn’t mean I agree with everything they say–or search for. I’m an individual and I treat my friends as such and I expect the same from my search results, to be individualized, not the product of a popularity contest.

You’d think a bunch of computer nerds would remember just how fun popularity contests were in high school and would know better.

There’s Some Balls Under the Hood!

 

Ray_LaHoodWhen you set the mileage standards for the rest of the United States to live by proclaiming “we’re not just sitting around waiting for high gasoline prices to come down,” you have to have a pretty big set to say it with a straight face as you show up in your Suburban. that’s exactly what transportation secretary Ray La Hood did according to Jalopnik.

Nothing like shoving higher fuel economy standards down the automakers throats to force new car buyers into more fuel efficient vehicles and then ride around in the type of vehicle you say is the problem. Drive as I say, not as I do.

We could cut him a little slack if he was a member of the joint chiefs of staff and had to have a small platoon of Secret Service Agents in the vehicle with him, but for Christ sakes Ray! You’re the Transportation Secretary! You’re not in charge of nuclear missile codes or the whereabouts of key CIA agents! You should be showing up on a bus or some other form of mass transportation! At least a Chevrolet Volt. The government bailed out GM out so sell competitive fuel efficient vehicles like the Volt, not so the General could sell more Suburbans.

Yep, lotsa balls under La Hood. Unfortunately, no brains.

Parenting in a YouTube Sensation World

 


Remember those parents who were suing recording artists because their brainless kids did stupid things that either got time in jail, injured… or worse, because they were supposedly emulating actions described in the lyrics of the artist’s songs? You know the one’s I’m talking about, the one’s who were looking for someone else to blame for their own lack of parenting. I feel sad for their losses, but curse their cowardice and inability to take responsibility for their actions or lack their of.

This blog post, however similar, is not about them.

This is a different type of stupidity altogether. Sure, ultimately parents are to be held accountable over all, but society has to take part of the blame here on this one as we have allowed it to permeate every aspect of our entertainment, from magazines and tabloids, to internet, to TV, to even our news.

What is this new problem? The acceptance of dirty laundry and stupidity as well as asinine antics as acceptable forms of entertainment to achieve your five seconds of fame with.

It started with Jerry Springer, Ricky Lake, and the Maury where guests are invited to share stories such as how they had an affair with their grandmother’s, boyfriends’s conjoined twin while she was asleep in the same bed and I’ve had 2,496 men paternity tested and I still don’t know who my babies’ father’s are and assorted other ghastly and unbelievable tales that one just shouldn’t make public, let alone air on television.

One could argue that the show is to make people feel better, that they are not the only one’s to be going through this tragedy. But with the way society seems to be deteriorating I argue it has had the opposite effect and has only made it more acceptable for other people not to choose a responsible path. I’m sorry you don’t know who you’re babies’ fathers are, and you can have sex with as many conjoined octogenarians as you want, I could care less, but society was much better off when you were ashamed of that fact, not proud enough to broadcast it to millions of viewers.

The problem has only escalated with sites such as YouTube, MetaCafe and Break, as the stupidity is no longer limited to what producers could fit into a 30 or 60 minute time slot, but you could now air your stupidity for the world to see 24/7 with the hope of going viral which brings me to my case in point.

A lot of viral videos are viral for a reason, they are funny, and/or clever, usually include some sort of stunt we wish we had the balls to do ourselves, and/or are just plain mesmerizing. Take for example the video that set me off which features champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. hooning it up in a parking lot and eventually taking out Happy, the Carl’s Jr. star-shaped mascot. Funny stuff, right? Obviously it was staged, who goes around with a full camera crew, hits a walking restaurant icon and runs, right? I have no problem with this and if you’re child emulates this without staging it, yes, you’re to blame.

Here’s where I have a problem: This video hits just as summer break hits, and many kids will be getting their new driver’s license and/or a new car as graduation presents to kick off the summer. There’s something about being behind the wheel that makes us all forget a good deal of common sense when our friends are around and we want to impress. Throw in the additional temptation of instant stardom and now we have a recipe for spectacular disaster, but hey, it’ll go viral and you’ll become a star, right?

So you’ve got the staged of part of your own YouTube stunt down (look out Ronald McDonald), now let’s talk about your drifting performance. Guess what? Odds are, you’re not a pro. Reenacting this stunt, or some other you may feel more comfortable with shouldn’t be practiced by anyone not on a closed course, especially if you’re not a professional. You know that fine print on the new car ads telling you these actions should only be performed on a closed course by a professional driver? It doesn’t appear on this video. Granted, that’s probably why they are more boring, but there is a reason for it. Warning or not, how many kids do you think are going to resist the urge to become a YouTube sensation? Especially when the odds of failure have an equal chance of netting you stardom as a successful stunt. It’s not about success or failure, it’s about witnessing stupidity at it’s rawest form.

Carry on.

Oops. You took out a mailbox? Oh… and that parked car? Wow, look at your new car, is not so new looking anymore…and it only turns right while the rear wheels go left and billows blue smoke from under the hood? Bummer. But hey, it’ll look great on YouTube! Sorry about the fines, the property damage and anyone you may have accidentally run over in the process, that’s the price of fame, right?

I hope when the time comes, I’ve taught my son well enough to realize it’s not cool to be a YouTube star for the wrong reasons. But when there’s a whole new generation of kids who don’t know which notch in their mother’s bed post their father is, and are no longer afraid to do the nasty with their own grandma in the same bed, there’s a whole class of people that are going to make that job a lot tougher for me.

Thanks for providing an even lower common denominator America.

Rapture Wrap Up

 
Randy Savage vs. Jesus Christ in the Rumble in the Rapture

Randy Savage vs. Jesus Christ in the Rumble in the Rapture

Here it is Monday and my life feels so empty now. The days leading up to the falsely prophesied event made for some very entertaining tweets, memes and Facebook status updates.  ”People were telling rapture jokes like there’s no tomorrow!” ba-da-bump-ch-ching! Thank you, I’ll be here all week, try the veal and be sure to tip your waitress.

My personal favorite, other then the Randy Macho Man Savage preparing to take down JC to save mankind, was @RaptureHelpDesk. Denying rumors of Jesus being Raptimpotent, and “TRUE FACT: @Jesus did not fake the #RAPTURE to clear out ticket lines so he could get into #SNL tonight with @jtimberlake and @LadyGaga” kept me rolling on the go. I couldn’t wait for the next 130 characters to pop up in my feed.

Sadly, the only thing that was raptured at the end of the day was @rapturehelpdesk when it signed off. Here’s to hoping it comes back in December 2012 when the Mayans get their shot at being ridiculed. Just before the “END TRANSMISSION” tweet, they did tease with “For now, all we ask is that you be good, love one another, and achieve a few goals… we will see you again in December 2012!”

Until then, you can review all the hilarity in it’s glory at http://twitter.com/#!/RaptureHelpDesk. Follow it and forget about it and maybe you’ll get a nice surprise in 18 months as the tweets hopfully start to flow again to entertain you until the next real end of the world comes.

Karma Is Becoming the Victim of Your Own Spam

 
Instant Karma's going to get spammers

Instant Karma’s going to get spammers

This was too funny not to share, however the names have been changed to protect the guilty, and I have no recollection of ever having spam with that woman.

A friend in the SEO biz, let’s call him JoSE O., was recently contacted by a client who had some questions regarding an email he had received from another SEO service. Apparently Beelzebub@bestfrickenSEOever.com had sent an email with the following claims for better site ranking:

To: Kent Tellue

Subject: Can You Really Compete on Google?

Only if you know what your competitors are doing.   We know what your competitors are doing through our proprietary software and we use it to crush them.

Here is what you get from us:

  • 8 years automotive SEO experience
  • Proprietary software allowing us to “spy” on your competitors
  • Manual link building to high PR value sites
  • Unique content from the ground up
  • Competitive pricing

We are the best in the industry and we can prove it.

Don’t take our word for it, simply reply to this email and say Prove It!

Of course, Kent wants to optimize his site to the hilt and wants to know what JoSE O.’s company does that bests bestfrickenSEOever.com’s bag of tricks.

JoSE O.’s initial concern is that bestfrickenSEOever.com doesn’t even have a website, and no other contact other than beelzebub’s email address. The spam and scam alarms start going off in his net savvy head and worse, if the company is legit, it may be black hat optimization that could destroy everything that JoSE O. and his team had worked to achieve so far.

So JoSE O. calls Kent Tellue to explain his concerns about the email and the possible SEO backlash, and in addition, prior to the phone call dug up all kinds of examples of the work they had done so far to validate the legitimate SEO gains they had made. Kent’s out of the office so he left a message.

After the mad dash to reinforce his company’s position, and leaving the message with Kent, JoSE O. has a moment to calm down and then it occurs to him to check out who this upstart competitor is through the whois registry.

Imagine his surprise when he found out the URL was owned by his own company!

That my friends, is spam Karma!

Automotive News Marketing Seminar Barely Gets Out of Kansas

 
Automotive News Marketing Seminar

Automotive News Marketing Seminar

On May 17th, I attended to Automotive News Marketing Seminar in Los Angeles, CA. I found what the speakers had to say both informative and insightful, but probably not for the reasons you would think. Among the panelists were Jeff Conrad – VP Acura Sales Division American Honda Motor Co., Inc.; Bill Fay – Group VP Toyota Marketing Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.; Tony Disalle – U.S. VP of Buick Marketing General Motors; Donald Romano – President Mazda Canada, Chief Marketing Officer Mazda North American Operations; Fred Sattler – Executive VP, Managing Director Initiative+ and Steve Shannon, VP Marketing Hyundai Motor America. Presiding over the panel was AutoWeek editor-in-chief Keith Crain who made no bones about sticking a fork in the OEM marketing execs to see which ones had social media campaigns that were well done, and which ones were done well, and in some instances, even seemed a little rare.

One had to wonder as we sat through presentation after presentation, which a few of us even napped through, how well they understood the material they were covering when their presentations of new media, with the exception of Mazda, were as flat as the old media they claimed their audience was outgrowing. Mazda created a dazzling Power Point presentation that kept the audience engaged, entertained them, got the point across, and even glossed over the missing details–like a successful campaign example.

Meanwhile, the other OEMs relied on charts and graphs and historical anecdotes that seemed designed more to convince themselves they knew what new media was rather than their audience. The presentations were flat and dull and were as effective as a black and white photograph trying to illustrate the beauty of a Technicolor world. When it was time to click our ruby slippers and go, Mazda was the Wizard of Oz and everyone else was stuck back home in the dull black and whites of Kansas. At one point, Crain even asked the panel, “Are all of you too old to know what new media is?” We all laughed, and the panel did as well albeit uncomfortably, with the exception once again of Romano, who jokingly or not, answered, “Yes.”

The truth is, new media is still evolving… daily. So the confusion as to what it is or isn’t is understandable, and I don’t aim to criticize based on knowledge of the latest technology alone. But the heart of new media never changes, and that is to embrace the moment. You can’t stand back and analyze it, you need to react and interact. You can’t preach your story, you have to get your audience to participate in it. Once others begin to interact with you in the new media du jour, that’s where you will begin to win brand recognition and earn community respect. Make your audience part of the game, not just the spectators.

That’s why all the other OEMs failed at the Automotive News Marketing Seminar and Mazda did not. All the others treated us like a captive audience instead of engaging us. And we are no longer captive as the flash of mobile device screens from table to table proved throughout the seminar. Mazda not only made their point with their presentation, but in the manner it was presented. All that was missing was Mazda Marketing Seminar check-in on FourSquare and a hashtag to tweet with.

The irony of this missed opportunity to demonstrate what new media is really all about, is that marketing people are like the flu, spreading themselves through a room and making contact with as many people as possible, infecting as many people as possible with their presence. For them, it’s all about the networking, everyone is either a potential client or a future employment opportunity, so they are the easiest audience in the world to reach out too. Yet the head marketing gurus for each of the OEMs in attendance, with the exception of Mazda, didn’t even seem in touch with their own kind.