I sure as hell haven’t. I mean, the last couple posts on his blog weren’t even his. Where did this fool go?
Well, luckily this story has a happy ending.
The news, is all extremely, positively, awesomely, amazingly, outstandingly, (how long is he going with this joke) phenomenally, brilliantly, astonishingly, (f*cker is still going) fortunately, helpfully, happily, crazily, (seriously dude give it a rest) profoundly, exceedingly GREAT news!
I will share tomorrow.
That, ladies and gentlemen, was How To Generate Buzz And Leave A Cliffhanger 101.
And yes, I’m coming back to blog, and overtly throughout the week again. This blog is going to get some serious attention!
When my good friend Ryan Cox asked me to write him a guest post for a blog that he’s finally getting off the ground, I jumped at the chance to write a no-bullshit post for someone I truly think is super-intelligent and will go plenty of places in the business world. After my excitement was calmed, shame set in as I have had several attempts at getting a personal blog off the ground, none of which were really successful. After I finish writing this blog post, I declare war on Ryan and will commit to a personal blog, even if it kills me. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…
10 Things I Learned From the Business World
1. Having a personal blog was absolutely, positively necessary. Without one, you don’t have a place to practice writing, share your personal thoughts on your industry, and give a different perspective to topics you’re writing for your brand or corporate blog.
2. If someone can, they absolutely will, squeeze something out of you for free. Just like we love going to football games and getting free foam fingers before you go in, everyone in the world likes free stuff. And even if they aren’t interested in your product, they’ll take the freebies associated with it.
3. Social media is an unbelievably powerful thing. Like most other things, social media for brands started out as an experiment. Now, the potential for both positive and negative things to bloom through social media are as finicky as a kid who doesn’t want to eat their broccoli. I’ve witnessed both sides of the spectrum: videos go viral, or a brands reputation gets permanently damaged because of an ill-timed tweet. It’s like a mythical fire-breathing dragon, this social media stuff.
4. If you don’t have the latest iPhone iPad Android Netbook thingamabobber, you are a n00b. In addition, if you don’t have more than one of these devices on you at any given time, you will be dubbed a super-n00b.
5. Some seriously interesting people exist in the business world. Never have I met such a variety of intelligent and motivated people who truly believe in their brand or business. Every day I find a new “influencer” and think to myself “how can I be more like them?” It’s really admirable the things we create – whether it’s a product or a service or maybe just an idea.
6. Being in business means constantly evolving. And I mean constantly. It’s never enough to read a textbook from cover to cover and say “I’m done.” Once you’re done, you should be asking “How can I apply this?” “How can I make this better?” and “What does this imply for the future?”
7. If you ever want to turn it off, something might be wrong. Sure, sometimes I get burnt out and need a little vacation. But I’m writing this even as I’m on vacation right now, and later on in my vacation I’m positive I’ll be on Twitter and checking email. If you truly have a passion for something, it’s going to be hard to put it down, because you won’t want to miss out on something. And maybe that’s the way it should be.
8. Conferences are the most fun you will ever have in your business life – guaranteed. When I was younger I thought conferences and seminars were as boring as a Sunday with no NASCAR. But once I got the opportunity to attend a few, I was hooked. Amazing insights from credible speakers, and networking with other like-minded professionals opens up so many doors: professional friendships, help when you need it, and even a client or two along the way.
9. If you’re not a coffee lover, you will soon become one. Nothing like the busy business world to convert coffee into your best friend.
10. You gotta think like Steve Jobs: Keep innovating, and keep creating.
These are really only a few of the things I have learned in the business world. What have you learned?
Taking ownership of a project is a phrase often taken for granted. It’s one of those things you hear all the time and know you need to do, but don’t understand how to apply it until you’ve had a run in or two. This past year I’ve had enough run-ins to begin understanding what it really means to take ownership of a project, because there’s an implicit passion behind this sometimes cliche saying.
There’s no point in even attempting to take ownership of something unless there’s passion behind it, because you have to have to care about that project as if it were your own. And if it is your own project, all the better. You’ll have even more passion for what it is you’ve taken ownership of, and that’s what makes you successful. You passion shows through with every decision you make in executing a given project, and what’s success but a series of well-made decisions?
The most important thing to remember when taking ownership of a project is that you’re ultimately responsible for its outcome. When it’s all said and done, you can’t make excuses or always rely on others, like your coworkers, to do their part. There is always something you can do to work towards the outcome you desire. Once you make this the founding principle in taking ownership, you’ll better align your time and resources with the projects that are worth your energy and passion.
As with relationships, you should start with a project
Once you’ve established a way to bring your passion and project together, you’ve got to maintain that spirit throughout the entire life of that project. It’s easy to pass off responsibility to others—say you need a logo design complete by week two of a project, but the firm you hired is behind. Do you let the remainder of your project lag because of someone else’s incompetence? No. Here’s some ways to think around the problem:
- Hedge your bets for design work mishaps by having multiple firms submit logos
- Schedule your project to allow for probable delays in design work (what aspects of your project can move forward without completed logos?)
- Find another firm to do the job
If you want it done right, do it yourself.
The best way to ensure a project is done the way you want it, is to do it yourself. But you can’t always go it alone. If you have a team working alongside you, find ways to instill a sense of ownership in your team members as well. Assign their portion of the project to suit their strongest skills, and use collaboration platforms like shared calendars and documents to prompt regular check-ins and reinforce deadlines. If everyone understands their position, the play can be better executed.
In building out the News editorial at SiliconAngle, I’ve really worked towards striking a balance in my passion for publishing with the opportunity at hand. It’s a job that was given to me, but I’m appreciative enough to take ownership of my job in order to create my desired outcome. In chronicling the stories of entrepreneurs in the tech industry, I witness firsthand of the level of passion that goes into startups. What I’ve learned is that those that go the furthest are the ones that have put the most of themselves into a project, leaving no option to fail. And also similar to relationships, passion-filled entrepreneurs put themselves in a position of vulnerability. But if you’re willing to put your heart on the line, you’ll do what it takes to adapt to whatever obstacles come your way in order to see that project through.
About the author:The Tweetie Girl series is a collection of tips Kristen Nicole’s learned over the years, spanning various aspects of striving towards a balanced and effective work life.
Kristen Nicole is currently the News Desk Editor at SiliconANGLE, a digital publication discussing the intersection of computer science and social science. She is also a regular contributor at TIME Techland and Appolicious, a mobile-centric publication recently incorporated into Yahoo’s news and content network. Kristen Nicole got her start with 606tech, a Chicago blog dedicated to the local social media space. She went on to become the first employee and Field Editor at Mashable, a publication now syndicated through CNN. Kristen Nicole has also contributed to several other publications, including VentureBeat and the The Industry Standard. Her work has been syndicated across a number of media outlets, including Yahoo! News, The New York Times, and MSNBC. Kristen Nicole’s latest accomplishment has been co-authoring The Twitter Survival Guide, and she’s currently completing her second book, Tweetie Girl.
Since I’m a guest on this blog I feel it is only fair to warn you upfront about what lies ahead. Today you innocently came to this blog, unaware of what you were about to encounter. “Oh look at the cute, little blonde”, you say to yourself, “I wonder what nice things she has to say….”. Little did you know that you had stumbled upon (cue music) THE OPTIMISM MANIFESTO!!!!!!! (please be aware that any reference to THE OPTIMISM MANIFESTO!!!!!!! must be all in caps like that with the ‘lucky 7’ exclamation marks afterward).
I’ve written several times before about optimism and the benefits of an optimistic perspective in both your personal and professional life. Those who know me know I am an eternal optimist. I acknowledge that life can be tough, but I also truly deep down believethat the laws of physics weigh in favor of good things happening. Therefore, most of the time, in my own life, they do!
Sadly, I find that by living a life as an optimist, I’m often misunderstood, maligned and simply found ignorant and annoying. I find this a bit of a sad reflection on a world that is becoming increasingly mistrusting and negatively focused. After all, if you don’t LET a light shine, you can guarantee that it won’t, and for me, that is no way to live.
Thus, I have created this OPTIMISM MANIFESTO!!!!!!! Hopefully it will make you rethink where you stand on the ‘glass half full’ spectrum and re-examine how that position affects you in both your personal life and your business.
Lesson One: Optimism is about perspective
A really wise man named Winston Churchill (you might have heard of him? He was a pretty important world leader during a fairly difficult and chaotic time in our history) said, “You create your universe as you go along”. This idea is one of the key tenants of optimism.
Like everyone, I’ve gone through some fairly crappy things in my life. I’ve been disappointed by ‘unfortunate’ situations, let down by people I trusted (and I tend to be trusting to a fault, so this has happened more than I’d like to accept), and otherwise frustrated by seeming ‘misfortunes’ in my life. When these ‘negative’ situations occur (I’d like to point out the quotation marks around all the negatively focused adjectives) we are each faced with a few decisions:
a) The Pessimist’s Choice: Be upset, defeated, angry, distrustful. This negative situation has simply re-enforced the fact that the world is out to get you. Bummer :(
b) The Optimist’s Choice: Be upset, but accept the fact that, in the present it is impossible to determine what is unfortunate in life.
This is a very simplistic condensation, but I’ll try to further define the optimistic position .
I understand that negative, seemingly unfortunate things WILL happen in life, however, I also accept that everything that happens to me further leads me down the path that I’m suppose to take. Negative things don’t happen in a vacuum and when something bad happens I can either let it defeat me OR I can see it as an opportunity for something good. I trust that I will end up where I’m supposed to be, even if, sometimes I don’t understand the path I take to get there.
You can’t always control what happens to you in life, but you can control your perspective. Being optimistic and realistic (and yes, these two things do go together) about situations allows you up take back control of unfortunate situations.
Lesson Two: Optimism is about letting go.
Another pretty smart man (perhaps not quite Churchill-esque, but a force to be reckoned with in his niche) named Kenny Rogers was know to say, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run”. An important part of being optimistic is knowing when to hold on to (a situation, person, event, memory, business deal, mistake) and knowing when it is time to let go.
Often people accuse optimists of being foolish, of not taking reality into account in business or in life because they live in a lala land of unicorns and rainbows. Let me clear something up here folks, that isn’t optimism, that is one of three things:
Being an optimist is NOT about being careless or foolish. Quite the contrary in fact. Optimists might take more chances than pessimists, but that doesn’t mean that optimism equates to jumping into a pool of hungry piranas, blindfolded and hoping to swim across (I’m sorry for any piranas I might have just offended with that comment). It is about seeing the world as a place where good things are just waiting to happen…waiting for you to take advantage of them and MAKE them happen. It means having a solid plan and smart strategy and going for it with confidence and the intention of succeeding. It is also about knowing when to walk away from a failure, re-evaluate, learn from your mistake and jump back in more intelligent than before.
It is very invigorating and motivating to truly live in a world where there is no glass ceiling. Where no one is out to get me. Where people are cheering me on and it all depends on ME to create my own success.
I don’t live in a world with blinders on, instead I believe that good things will happen to me. I believe this so strongly, that I make them happen. I work hard, become aware of the opportunities AND roadblocks that are ahead of me, and venture in head first KNOWING that there will be success.
Lesson Three: Optimism is having faith
Please be aware that faith is not the same thing as religion. Faith is something in and of itself and in my mind probably the most powerful thing that humans have going for them. My favorite quote of faith comes from Martin Luther King, Jr. (Geez, do you know how excited Winston Churchill and MLK, Jr. are right now that they are being mentioned right along side Kenny Rogers! That’s something to write home about!) who said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Having a strong faith is one of the most important characteristics all optimists share. The sense of peace that comes from knowing that you are always headed in the right direction is an extremely important part of being able to ride through life’s misfortunes.
As an optimist, I live in a world that is tilted in my favor, not because I’m lucky, but because I’m able to SEE and BELIEVE there are endless amazing opportunities out there just waiting for me to find them.
The End. Congratulations, you have now completed THE OPTIMISM MANIFESTO!!!!!!!
Now it is your turn, where do you lie on the optimism/pessimism spectrum? How does it affect your life? your business? And are you happy with those consequence?
Do you ever stare at the screen and not know what to say? Fingers unable to move? The keyboard humming of a hastily typed F*CK OFF email response no longer the base of your favorite song - today? Oh — well I haven’t so you’ll have to tell me what that feels like. I’m an overing. An overing, by definition (mine of course) is someone who does everything more than expected, hence over. I overshare, overlove, overhate, overwork, overeat, overtalk, overlisten, overdecide, overthink, overworry, overexplain. (At which over in that list did I reach overexplain?)
So as the first post for my new blog, I decided to be the antiover. After all, this is a blog I’ve been telling anyone that would listen, and even those who wouldn’t, is “coming” since sometime in 2008.
Question from one of the reporters at this announcement: “But Ryan, for someone who’s tagline is ‘You can find me at the corner of Charisma and Execution’ what is either charismatic or executed about an almost 4 years later release?”
Great question fictitious reporter I’ve made up to both poke fun at myself and add context to the story I am currently telling — nothing. Absolutely nothing. (Insert me going on an overdefensive rant explaining, rather brilliantly, why this is different.)
The fact of the matter is that I’ve learned, and continue to learn, that rehashing past promises and expectations does 0.00% of good to anyone about anything. It is never about where you have been, but where are you going. Never about what you’ve done, but what are you going to do? Never about what you said, but what will you say? The world we have created for ourselves is a cleverly devised game — where the score is never final and the period never ends.
So in support of that theory, this release isn’t late at all.
(see what I did there? reread previous two paragraphs)
The point is that I’m here now and I enjoy writing. I never thought that’d be the case — I was always a numbers guy. However somewhere around the time of preteen zits and voice modification — I realized I had a particular way with words. Whether in my better moments or worse, I always seemed to have something to say. And more often than not, those words got me what I wanted. Now as you can imagine, this perceived ability is a dangerous one to possess as a teenager and young adult. However, speaking from experience, let me promise you that karma catches up with everyone. So even the best wordsmiths/talkers of your life will get what they’ve got coming to them.
(You’re rambling Ryan, get back on topic)
I guess my point is that I like to share. I tend to find I can get my keyboard humming along and when I’m done somehow, someway there is something that kinda sounds cool. To me at least. So I plan on sharing everything from personal stories, to business advice and everything on social media and marketing I can get myself to sit down and share. I hope to create a blog that balances perfectly a business and personal feel and makes readers want to keep coming back.
Will I succeed? I don’t know. I could overanalyze the possibilites, but I’d rather just get to writing and see what happens.
Is this thing on?
Wow. It’s a long time coming — but I finally have my blog up! Needless to say, I’m am currently more ecstatic than a 13 year old girl who just scored backstage passes to Justin Bieber concert! Check back for my first post tomorrow!