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Jobs are the new assets (according to Time Magazine)

Time has its annual special issue on the 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now.

Jobs are the new assets is #1. "Your portfolio is down 50%, your mortgage is worth more than your house and your savings account is barely visible. The job, meanwhile, is making a roaring comeback. We're rediscovering the job as the most valuable asset a person can have," writes Barbara Kiviat.

We'll start looking at our jobs differently now that it's our sole financial lifeline. "When you've got only one chip left, you're much less willing to put it on the table. A predictable salary is more appealing than the chance of scoring big with bonuses and stock options. And instead of spending thousands to build a new deck, you're more likely to use that money to take a class."

Another sign that jobs are the new assets. What Colour is Your Parachute is back on the bestseller list.

Book review: Starting a World Wide Rave

World Wide Rave

By David Meerman Scott

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

$27.95

Social media's the hot topic in business circles so I'm looking to put the hype to the test. I need you to poke me and start a World Wide Rave.

Here's the deal. Hamilton's hosting its first Timeraiser May 9 at the convention centre. A Timeraiser is part volunteer fair, part silent art auction and part night on the town for the civic-minded members of the creative class.

Since 2004, Timeraisers have run in five Canadian cities. Event organizers have bought more than $230,000 worth of art from emerging artists and helped more than 230 non-profit organizations by recruiting 3,100 Canadians to volunteer 41,000 hours.

With corporate and community sponsorship, a local planning group has bought original artwork from hometown artists and recruited 25 non-profits in need of highly skilled volunteers.

Now, the group just needs you and your friends to go online at timeraiser.ca, check out the art, buy $20 tickets and help build an even stronger community the second Saturday in May.

So here's the deal. Spread the word about the Hamilton Timeraiser through your social networks.

Tell your friends on Facebook and your colleagues on LinkedIn.

Send a tweet on Twitter.

Put up a post on your blog. Fire off an instant message.

Send out a link to this review on the Spectator's website.

And then contact me on Facebook and tell me how many people you've told.

Let's see just how fast we can sell out the event using the wonders of electronic social media.

If you want to know what's possible, read the 39 stories in David Meerman Scott's new book.

"The World Wide Rave is one of the most exciting and powerful ways to reach your audience," says Scott.

"Anyone with thoughtful ideas to share and clever ways to create interest in them can become famous and find success on the web," he says.

Scott lists six rules of the rave. Nobody cares about your product except you.

People only care about themselves and ways to solve their problems.

No coercion is required with a World Wide Rave.

When you've got something worth sharing, people will freely and enthusiastically share it on the web.

Be prepared to lose control of your messages and give your content away for free.

Put down roots and join the conversations that are already happening online.

Create triggers that encourage people to share your big ideas.

Scott's a big believer in free downloadable e-books that offer great insight and advice. And once you've got everyone's attention, point the world to your virtual doorstep.

So check out these three stories. Cindy Gordon is vice-president of New Media Marketing at Universal Orlando Resort.

The resort's launching a new Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

Instead of spending a fortune on advertising and PR, Gordon told just seven people.

This group of seven ran the most popular Harry Potter fan sites on the web.

So Gordon invited them to take part in a top-secret midnight webcast to announce and preview the park.

Word spread fast among fans.

Gordon also fired off an e-mail to resort guests and launched a web microsite to feed constant updates to website writers and the press.

By telling just seven people and launching a World Wide Rave, Gordon quickly got the word out to 350 million people on a shoestring budget.

So maybe Harry Potter's an easy sell.

How about 10-year-olds playing soccer?

A Swedish entrepreneur set a goal of having 400 people support a junior soccer team.

He put out an invitation on Facebook.

On game day, 1,000 fans showed up in team colours to cheer on the unsuspecting kids and parents. Someone filmed the event from the sidelines and posted it to YouTube.

"If something this seemingly unremarkable and mundane can become a World Wide Rave, certainly you've got something that can, too," says Scott.

And then there's Girls Fight Back!, a non-profit organization that teaches safety, self-defence and personal security to young women. Founder Erin Weed uses a website, a personal website she writes on, MySpace and Facebook groups and YouTube videos to reach her audience.

At the start of her seminars, Weed tells the women to put away and turn off their cellphones.

At the end of the seminars, she asks everyone to take out their phones and film their new self-defence moves.

The homemade videos then get posted on Facebook, YouTube and e-mailed everywhere.

Weed also asks the women to send her an e-mail so she can fire back a link to her website.

More than 90 per cent of the women take her up on her offer.

So if social media can spread the word about Harry Potter, Swedish kids playing soccer and a self- defence course for young women, let's see if we can start a World Wide Rave here in Hamilton and make the May 9 Timeraiser the city's hottest ticket.

Book review: Real leaders don’t do PowerPoint

Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint: How to Sell Yourself and Your Ideas

By Christopher Witt

Crown Publishing

$25

We're kicking off innovation show-and-tells at work next week. It's a new lunch-hour initiative that's a mix of showcase, support group and meet and greet.

Practising and aspiring innovators will get together to bounce around ideas and swap war stories. Just like show-and-tell from our preschool days, it'll be informal and interactive, candid and conversational, safe and supportive.

To that end, we've banned PowerPoint. Some folks nearly weep with joy at the news. Other folks get that deer-in-headlights look, having forgotten there was a time when our forefathers pitched and presented ideas without a PowerPoint safety net. And others try to cut deals, offering to limit themselves to no more than 10 slides. Or maybe 15. Twenty at the most.

Instead of inflicting death by PowerPoint, our game-changers will tell stories. They'll talk about how, when and why inspiration struck. How they turned that inspiration into something real. And what they learned along the way.

Author and speech consultant Christopher Witt says storytelling is the way to go when you stand and deliver. "Masterful speakers create images, because they know that long after the audience has forgotten their words, they'll remember the images," says Witt. We're hardwired for storytelling. Long before show-and-tells at school, we were read stories in bed. It's stories that tap into our imaginations and sidestep our calculating, analytical minds. Great stories stoke our emotions and move us to think differently or inspire us to do something new.

That doesn't happen with the standard six-bullet-to-a-slide PowerPoints jammed with facts and stats, charts and graphs. As a leader, you're peddling influence and inspiration and not information. "As a leader it's up to you to communicate a vision, a direction, a purpose and the impetus for acting. The more you focus on imparting facts and figures, the less you'll be perceived as a leader."

So how about those next generation PowerPoints tricked out with cool stock photos, two-word tag lines and pithy quotes? The ones getting thousands of hits and rave reviews on Slideshare.net? "It hogs people attention," says Witt about PowerPoint. "When you project something on the screen, people look at it. And all the time they're looking at it, they're not looking at you. But as a leader, you don't want to be upstaged. You want people to look at you."

You want their undivided attention as you deliver your one big idea. The idea that influences, inspires and shows your audience who they can become. The idea you absolutely have to tell and the one others simply have to hear. Early in his military career, Dwight Eisenhower wrote speeches for General Douglas MacArthur. Eisenhower told other speechwriters that if you can't put your bottom-line message on the inside of a matchbook, you're not doing your job.

Don't try disguising a small idea with meaningless big words or loading your speech with half-baked thoughts. Your audience will see through it and quickly tune you out. "Each speech should lay out one, and only one, idea. But it's got to be a big idea — big in scope or insight or implication, big enough to justify talking about, big enough to engage the audience's full attention," says Witt. Once you've nailed down your big idea, go and write a speech that delivers three compelling supporting points that seamlessly fit together.

"It takes moxie to state your idea baldly. But that's what being a real leader is all about — saying what you mean in a way that people can't misconstrue or second guess."

There's no shortage of big ideas that need to be shared right now. As our economy unspools, as good people get hurt and as the hits keep coming, now more than ever we need leaders who can stand and deliver and inspire us to regroup, rebuild, be resilient and reinvent ourselves through innovation.

Memo from the CEO: you gotta laugh

Brilliant satire from Patricia Marx in the latest New Yorker.

"A number of you have asked about the employee-suggested programs that were implemented last year. While we were all heartened by their popularity—yay, associate assistants!—most of them will be suspended. These include: Kitten Appreciation Moment, Say Hello Day, and the Mandatory Toilet Paper in the Rest Rooms Policy. We are particularly saddened that elevator privileges for housekeeping will once again be on a pay-to-play basis. In order to maintain company morale, however, the mojito fountain in the executive lounge will continue to operate as usual.

The “Don’t Leave Your Coffee Cups on Joan Fulenwider’s Desk: It’s Not a Trash Can (Well, It Kind of Is!)” rule will remain in place, although, as of next week, Ms. Fulenwider will not. We are all sad to see Ms. Fulenwider go, but can we agree that this is a blessing in disguise, since, clearly, it is now or never for her as far as starting a family goes? Good luck, Joan, and kindly return the stapler on your way out."