14 December, 2010

How To Really Change Organizations And Companies

When the companies you work for, the organizations you belong to and support with your financial gifts don't accomplish the things they say they want to accomplish, 2 things are true: (1) The system is working as designed and (2) Somebody wants it that way. Systems do what they are designed to do. They can do nothing else. If you wish to get a different outcome or a different product you have to actually make changes to the system. If you don't change the system, you can't change the product of that system.

All outcomes are the result of a system that produced them. A system that is designed to make widgets will not make cars or parkas unless the system is reconfigured to produce cars or parkas. A system that is designed to shut down puppy mills will not cause more puppy mills to open.

Some of my church-going readers belong to churches that say they exist to "make disciples" or "win souls to Christ" and yet these churches aren't making disciples or winning souls. To my church-going friends I say don't write a check to drop in the offering plate, write a letter explaining that you will not be providing further financial support until the system  that doesn't make disciples or win souls is redesigned so that it does make disciples or win souls.

If you have been donating money to an organization that is supposed to help so-called "older workers" find employment, I strongly advise you to ask that org for proof of the efficacy of their work on behalf of "older workers". If they cannot prove that your financial support hasn't been squandered, instead of sending more money send a letter explaining why you won't be sending more money. That organization already knows it's squandering your donations and it will continue to do so until donors withhold funds and demand change to the system.

Until recently I was involved with a "task force" made up of representatives of various orgs that have received taxpayer and private funds to encourage companies to hire so-called older workers yet none of these task force members could name a local company they had teamed with to employ these older workers. These "older worker" programs are jobs programs, alright, but not for older workers. These programs have systems that are designed to produce jobs for overpaid bureaucrats and they will never produce jobs for so-called older workers until the systems are redesigned to produce employment opportunities for older workers, not bureaucrats.

Most religious, membership and non-profit orgs really exist to provide jobs for the people at the top. If you are sending money to such an organization, withhold your funding immediately and tell them why.

More importantly, tell your friends not to send money to organizations that don't do what they claim they want to do. Systems produce what they are designed to produce and they will never produce anything but what they are designed to produce unless the system itself is changed.

Let's say you are a city government and you have outsourced job creation to some membership organization that can't prove it has produced even one job with the money you've paid them. Cut them  off. Tell them they can't have any more taxpayer dollars until they have a system that produces jobs instead of excuses.

Do you send money to an organization that doesn't accomplish what it says it wants to accomplish? If so, don't send a check, send a letter telling them you will resume your financial support when they make the systemic changes needed to produce a different outcome.

Do you own or are you managing a company that isn't getting the desired results? You will not get improvements in quality, sales, profits or innovation until you are willing to make changes to the systems that are failing to produce the desired results.

A system that produces jobs for overpaid executives will not suddenly or accidentally start producing jobs for laid-off plant workers. A system that produces widgets might produce widgets of varying quality and might occasionally produce defective widgets that cannot be sold, but a system that produces widgets will never produce iPads or blue jeans unless the system is reconfigured to produce iPads or blue jeans.

If you are a donor, don't just demand change, demand change to the system.

If you are a company owner, it does no good to fire your management and hire new managers unless your new managers are systems thinkers who will make changes to the system that is producing the disappointing results.

For more on how systems produce what they are designed to produce, see my
21 JULY, 2010 post in the blog archives.

Due to reader complaints and inability / unwillingness to understand my "no pseudonymous or anonymous comments" policy, Higginbotham At Large no longer publishes any reader comments at all. I was simply spending too much time moderating reader comments and I had to either allow comments to be published without moderation or I had to disallow comments altogether. I chose to disallow comments. Send your hate mail directly to JosephHigginbotham@gmail.com. Pseudonymous emails will be given the attention they deserve: they will not be read.

11 December, 2010

Why Higginbotham At Large Will No Longer Publish Reader Comments

I'm making way too many people mad with my requirement that they provide a real name - not a pseudonym or a CB handle - and some actual contact info so a few minutes ago I went into my Blogger settings and made a major change: only "members" of this blog may post comments to it. Since I am the only member, that means I am, in effect, no longer publishing comments. 

Not only am I making way too many people mad at me because I have been enforcing a "no anonymous or pseudonymous comments" policy but I'm spending way too much time explaining and defending this unpopular policy so the easiest thing for me to do is to simply stop publishing reader comments.

Most of the time my "no pseudonymous" comments wasn't much of an issue because most of my blog posts didn't seem to engender much reader comment. I think there were only three times in the history of Higginbotham At Large when my blog attracted much attention. The first time was about 18 months ago when I wrote a post in defense of gay marriage. The next time was during the run-up to the recent special election for Robert C Byrd's US Senate seat when the Mountain Partiers were sending my a lot of profanity-laced anonymous and pseudonymous comments because I said their candidate, Jesse Johnson, should drop out of the race and tell his supporters to hold their noses and vote for Dino Joe so Florida wouldn't have three US Senators with the election of John Raese. 

Right now I'm getting a lot of pseudonymous comments from members of a Yahoo atheist group who object to my 9 December post about what I called "hillbilly religion" and West Virginia PBS's gospel music programming. I had no idea that atheists like gospel music so much, but apparently they do. And for some reason they don't understand the meaning of the word "pseudonymous" and I'm just spending way too much time explaining the meaning of pseudonymity. 

Where did people get the idea that anybody cares about the opinions of people who won't sign their names to their hate mail? People who hide behind pseudonymity are attempting to escape accountability and consequences for their words and actions. If you've ever sent a letter to your local newspaper you know that newspapers don't print letters that are unaccompanied by a real name and some contact info.

Anyway, Higginbotham At Large apologizes to the Yahoo atheists. Send your hate mail to JosephHigginbotham@gmail.com - but sign your name or I won't read it. 

09 December, 2010

Open Letter To West Virginia Public Broadcasting

I’m shocked, puzzled, offended and even embarrassed at how much gospel music programming WVPBS has been airing lately.

Isn’t WVPB still under authority of EBA? And what, exactly, is the educational value of Bill Gaither and a bunch of his gospel music friends or the Statler Brothers ?

And even though some of WVPB receives private donations from viewers and listeners, doesn’t most of WVPB’s operating revenue still come from taxpayers?
Not only does gospel music programming appeal to and promote just one religion, gospel music programming of this sort promotes and appeals to a subset within that one Christian religion while it offends and alienates and disenfranchises everyone not of that subset of the Christian religion.

And finally, I am embarrassed at what visitors to our state must think when, after a long day of travel or work they turn on the hotel TV, tune to a PBS station hoping to find NOVA or Frontline or one of PBS’s fine shows only to find the most public of public airwaves being used to promote hillbilly religion while offending and disenfranchising taxpayers who are not practitioners of that hillbilly religion.

01 December, 2010

Don't Try To Eat Your Bellacino's Grinder Or Advertise Your 6th Avenue Grill During AMC's Walking Dead

When I lived near a Mancino’s franchise owned and operated by Theresa Hager in Lexington, KY, Sunday night TV meant spot-welding the TV tuner to AMC and settling in with a bottle of pop and a steak and cheese grinder from Mancino’s. I was a regular customer of Ms. Hager’s Leestown Rd Mancino’s and I hung with her even after she allowed her 15-year-old employee to attack me and call Barack Obama a “socialist” on election day 2008 when I entered Mancino’s wearing my “I voted” sticker and was asked for whom I voted. When I said “Obama” all hell broke loose in the restaurant where the TV which was usually tuned to Fox News regularly tormented me.

Incidentally, I recently found a pretty good but not great grinder at Bellacino’s in Barboursville where I was tormented by country music that was too loud and, well, too country. More on Bellacino’s later.

Anyway, Sunday night TV is no longer best enjoyed with a great sandwich – or food of any kind, for that matter. At least not this season. Not until Breaking Bad comes back this spring. You see, AMC’s current Sunday night show, Walking Dead, will ruin your appetite so even if I could find a good grinder in The Kanawha Valley I couldn’t eat it while watching AMC on Sunday night because I Walking Dead is just too gross.

And it’s been done. It’s derivative of Will Smith’s gross zombie movie, I Am Legend

Walking Dead is the second recent AMC programming mistake; the other one was the cancellation of Rubicon after just one season.

Now, back to my search for a great grinder. When I found out that members of the same family that started Mancino’s founded the Bellacino’s franchise, I went in search of a grinder worthy of being enjoyed on Sunday night while watching Breaking Bad. I almost found it. I say “almost” because the grinders I bought at Bellacino’s in Barboursville and Kanawha City were much better than the grinders I found at Larobi’s and Husson’s but not as good as the grinders I used to get at Mancino’s in Lexington.

I have a suggestion for Todd Forney, Suzanne Stevens and Shawn Stevens, owners of the Bellacino’s franchises in Kanawha City and Barboursville: take a drive down to Lexington, KY and get a steak and cheese grinder from Mancino’s on Leestown Rd. Forney used to work in Lexington so he should have no trouble finding the place.

By the way, I had lunch at 6th Avenue Grill in St. Albans yesterday and I offer owners Guy and Robin Turturice and John and Amy Sowards the same advice I offer Forney, Stevens and Stevens: take a drive down to Lexington, KY, and order a Mancino’s grinder. Figure out how they make it. Bring it to St. Albans. It’ll be a hit.

Oh, and if you own a food business, don’t even think about buying ad time during AMC’s Walking Dead. Believe me, unless you are in the janitorial business or some other business where your job is to clean up messes, you don’t want your brand anywhere near the Walking Dead brand. 

25 October, 2010

Win Or Lose, Joe Manchin Will Still Have A Political Career: Jesse Johnson May Not

Win or lose, when this US Senate race is over, Joe Manchin will still have a political career.

Jesse Johnson may not.

I know, I know, it's heady stuff for a relatively young third party candidate to be in a position to drain off perhaps 5% of what would otherwise be Democrat votes and assure a Republican victory in a US Senate race but, Jesse if you do it your political career may be as good as over. And that would be a shame because you could be a rising star but if you persist in your role as West Virginia's Ralph Nader, you'll make more enemies than friends and you will always be remembered as the selfish egoist who enabled Senator John Raese to desecrate the Robert Byrd Senate seat.

There is a better way for the nation, the state and for you, Jesse Johnson: drop out of the race. Endorse Joe Manchin, campaign for him. Campaign with him. If you help Joe Manchin keep John Raese out of the sacred Robert Byrd senate seat you be a hero to Centrists and Lefties all over West Virginia. Joe Manchin will owe you. You'll be able to run for and win the Democratic nomination for elected office.

Win or lose, when this Senate race is over, Joe Manchin still has a political career. Jesse Johnson may not. You've seen the polls. You know you can't win. You can serve only one purpose in this race: you can hand the sacred Robert Byrd Senate seat to John Raese thus incurring the wrath of Centrists and Lefties or you can hand the seat to Joe Manchin, placing him in your debt.

Jesse, live up to your followers' praise by proving that you love your country more than you love the spotlight. Take the high road, Jesse. If you do, both you and Joe Manchin will have a political future no matter who wins this Senate race.

Higginbotham At Large will publish no obscene or anonymous comments. Comments unaccompanied by  a verifiable , full name and contact info will be rejected.

24 October, 2010

The Religious Conversation Juan Williams Almost Started (And Journalists Have Obscured)

By devoting so much ink and airtime to the least interesting, least important part of the story about how NPR fired Juan Williams for remarks he made on Fox’s The OReilly Factor, journalists and pundits have robbed us of the exegesis and the important national discussion Williams might have started had NPR not fired him and had commentators not obsessed about how Williams feels when he sees Muslims. Below is the text of the paragraph all the nervous, overpaid journalists and could-I-be-next-commentators are wringing their hands about with the important words – the religious conversation Williams almost started - italicized and colored red:

“'Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.'”

Notice that what makes Williams “worried” and “nervous” is not that people are Muslims but that “they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims”.

In other words, Williams has noticed the unavoidable and inevitable tension that will always exist in a society where church and state are distinct and where people are free to pledge their allegiance first and foremost to their religion, not to their nation.

Though members of the majority religion may not realize it, Williams’ nervousness and worry would have been no less valid and the potential for conflict between religion and nation no less real had he said “When I see people who are identifying themselves first and foremost as conservative, Calvinistic, Presbyterians, I get worried. I get nervous.”

I know. In my callow youth I was bitten by the conservative, Calvinistic theological bug and, for a time, fell in with a small, conservative sect of Presbyterians who followed the theonomist, RJ Rushdoony, and who wanted to impose Old Testament law on modern day Americans. And by “Old Testament Law” I don’t just mean the parts we all like such as “Thou shalt not murder” but the parts most people don’t even know are in the Bible like this one: “If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from their people.” (Leviticus 20:18)

Don’t laugh. The Bible is full of laws you’ll never hear mentioned in a sermon down at the First Baptist Church or the Maranatha Fellowship and, for a time, I “sat under the ministry”, as we put it, of a man who, publicly, gingerly tested the extent of his flock’s tolerance for such verses but privately, behind the scenes, had an inner circle of Young Theonomists who swapped audiotapes and books by their favorite theonomists.

One of my denomination’s most infamous preachers carried his obedience to Old Testament law to its logical conclusion and made national news when he murdered an abortion doctor. If the more moderate members of my Presbyterian church waited for my pastor’s unequivocal denunciation of that act, they were disappointed as I knew they would be because, in theonomy world, what this minister did was perfectly logical and biblical.

Their reasoning – some would say casuistry – went like this: (1) The taking of an innocent human life is murder and it is always morally right to defend the defenseless innocents from being murdered. (2) An unborn fetus in its mother’s womb is an innocent and defenseless human life. (3) Therefore, protecting the unborn fetus - by lethal force if necessary – is biblical, moral and the duty of the obedient Christian.

Theonomists also preached that parents of stubborn and disobedient children should hand over such children to the elders who were to then stone them to death making an example of them so other stubborn and disobedient children would get the message that we won’t be reading any James Dobson books, we’ll be nipping the problem in the bud. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

And, no, churches that preach such things are not meeting secretly in store fronts in the warehouse district of town or in David Koresh-style compounds; many of their churches meet in steepled, churchy-looking buildings. Some of them are even borderline megachurches.

And if Juan Williams sat on an airplane next to a guy who was reading R J Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law he would have had just as much reason to feel “nervous” and “worried” as he would feel next to a guy in “Muslim garb” because within religion itself are always the seeds of conflict with earthly governments, societies and cultures.

Let me be clear: it is only because most people do not take their religions seriously enough to consistently live by them and to obey even the goofy and evil parts of their holy books that we are able to enjoy any peace in this free nation of ours.

Higginbotham At Large only publishes comments by identifiable, accountable people with verifiable IDs.

What Are Democrats Prepared To Do To Win Back Liberals Who Defected To The Tea Party?

I consider myself a liberal first and a Democrat second so when I recently said on Hoppy Kercheval's radio show and in my blog that  good fellow liberals should vote for Joe Manchin rather than hand the Robert Byrd seat to John Raese by voting for Jesse Johnson,  I was in uncomfortable territory.

Now I have something uncomfortable to say to my Democratic Party: now that it's become abundantly clear that you don't have the votes to elect Joe Manchin to the US Senate unless former Democrats who defected to the Mountain Party can be persuaded to vote strategically instead of sincerely*, what are you prepared to do to bring your own Tea Party back into the Democratic fold?

Democrats, you have alienated your liberal wing. You can't win big races without liberals. What are you prepared to do to bring liberals back to the Democratic fold?

* I'm borrowing game theory terms here

23 October, 2010

Rush Limbaugh Misrepresents Liberal Position On Separation of Church And State

On a recent broadcast, Rush Limbaugh said that this is how liberals interpret separation of church and state and the First Amendment: According to Rush, liberals think the First Amendment proscribes people like Pat Robertson or other religious people from running for office.

Rush may not have finished college but he knows full well that liberals don't think separation of church and state means religious people can't run for office.

What liberals believe vis a vis separation of church and state is that religious people shouldn't be able to use government to impose their religion on people who don't share their religion.

Some "issues" would vanish if religious people stopped trying to use government to impose their religion on the rest of us. Take same sex marriage, for instance.

The idea that marriage can only be "between one man and one women" is a religious idea. Without this religious definition of what a marriage is, there would be no basis for denying two men to marry each other or two women to marry each other. If same sex marriage were being opposed on grounds other than religious grounds, there would be no violation of the doctrine of separation of church and state and liberals would be open to hearing that argument but when opponents of same sex marriage oppose same sex marriage by using a religious definition of marriage, yes, of course liberals oppose that argument. We're OBLIGATED to oppose arguments that depend on a religious concept of marriage. The only way opponents of same sex marriage can deny tax-paying fellow citizens the right to marry the person of their choice is by using a religious definition of marriage and liberals, indeed all of us who understand separation of church and state, are obligated to oppose such religion-dependent, dare I say, "respecting an establishment of religion", arguments against fellow citizens.

Rush was probably throwing spit wads and daydreaming about football in Civics class, but even he knows that liberals don't believe separation of church and state means religious people can't run for office. What liberals think about separation of church and state is that religious people shouldn't use government to impose religion on others.

The recent flap over the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near ground zero and the flap over whether or not Barack Obama is a Muslim would not exist if our nation were serious about separation of church and state and if political candidates like Christine O'Donnell knew the 1st Amendment.

22 October, 2010

What Joe Manchin Must Do To Win

Yesterday I wrote that if Mountain Partiers love America more than they hate Joe Manchin, they need to ask their leader, Jesse Johnson, to drop out of the Senate race and endorse Manchin.

Today I want to tell Manchin 2 things he needs to do if he wants to win this Senate race.

First, Joe Manchin needs to take to the airwaves and run an ad that says "A vote for Jesse Johnson is a vote for John Raese."

Second, Joe Manchin needs to meet with Jesse Johnson and ask him for his endorsement.

Joe Manchin, you're campaigning like John Raese Lite and you've alienated liberals but you can't win this race without liberals and Mountain Party voters who don't want to turn  on MSNBC one day to see Senator John Raese casting the 60th vote against Obama legislation or casting a key vote against an Obama court appointment. Joe, do what you have to do to keep Raese out of the Senate. Make peace with the Mountain Party. Give Jesse Johnson a job if you have to but get him out of the race.

Whether Manchin wins or loses this Senate race, The West Virginia Democratic Party will have learned a hard lesson: Democrats can't win without liberals. Win or lose, Democrats need to mend fences with liberals - both the Mountain Partiers and the disenfranchised liberals who just stay home on election day because one party doesn't give them a candidate who can win while the other denies them a voice.

21 October, 2010

The Race For Robert Byrd's Senate Seat Has Become A Test Of Mountain Party's Love Of Country

Does The Mountain Party love their country more than they hate Joe Manchin? That's the question I asked on Hoppy Kercheval's radio show today and I want to publicly thank Mr. Kercheval, a Raese employee and a Raese supporter, for giving me plenty of time to make my case for why it's time for The Mountain Party to work hard to block John Raese's attempt to take Robert Byrd's Senate seat by supporting Joe Manchin.

This Senate race has become a test of Jesse Johnson and The Mountain Party's love of country because if one day we turn on our TVs to see Senator John Raese voting against President Obama's court appointees and legislation, it will be The Mountain Party's fault.

As I told Hoppy Kercheval, I cast my protest vote for a solid liberal, Ken Hechler, in the primary because everybody knew Manchin was going to be the Democratic nominee so I used my vote to make a point, but with Raese up by roughly the percentage of people who say they'll vote for Jesse Johnson, liberals don't have the luxury of voting for a pure liberal. It's time to cast a defensive, strategic, pragmatic  vote that blocks the worst of two evils from desecrating the Robert Byrd seat in the US Senate. It's time for liberals to hold their noses and vote for DINO Joe Manchin and it's time for Jesse Johnson and his Mountain Party to show some responsibility and grow up.

And then when Joe Manchin wins in a squeaker and he knows he couldn't have done it without The Mountain Party, he'll owe you.

Why It's Time For Jesse Johnson's Supporters To Ask Him To Endorse Joe Manchin

If Mountain Party Senate candidate, Jesse Johnson, loves America he will suspend his race and tell his followers to hold their noses and vote for DINO Joe Manchin.

And if Johnson's supporters love America they'll insist that Johnson quit the race and endorse Manchin immediately.

If Joe Manchin were running away with the Senate race as many thought he would, it would be OK for Mountain Partiers to cast their protest votes against DINO Joe Manchin and I'd tell them to have their fun. But this isn't funny anymore. We could all wake up one morning to see Senator John Raese casting the 60th vote against important Obama legislation or to see Senator John Raese voting against an Obama Supreme Court nominee so if Jesse Johnson loves his country he should quit the race and tell his followers to vote against Raese by holding their noses and voting for Joe Manchin and if Johnson doesn't do this willingly his followers should insist on it.

20 October, 2010

Linkedin Tips: How To Make Your Linkedin Profile Work Harder For You

Are you making people work way too hard to get in touch with you? Are you making your Linkedin profile work hard enough for you? If you don't have actual contact information in your Linkedin profile then you're using Linkedin to tease people, not to meet new people and, as my friend, Grover Mollineaux,  says, "Nothing good happens until you meet somebody." If you don't have actual contact information on your LInkedin profile, you're like a pretty girl who won't give out her phone number or email address and then wonders why she doesn't get dates.

Do you have actual contact information on your Linkedin profile or is your profile just a tease?

On her Linkedin profile, a recent graduate of West Virginia Junior College wrote a passionate pitch for a job in her field of study but her Linkedin profile provided no contact information whatsoever. Oh, and she didn’t belong to any Linkedin groups. I’ll say more about Linkedin groups in a moment.

One Kanawha Valley Linkedin use wrote on his Linkedin profile “the best way to get in touch with me is email” but he failed to put his email address on his Linkedin profile.

A friend of a friend of mine recently paid a lot of money to be on the radio. During her radio appearance she mentioned that she needed people to refer math tutors to her for business reasons. Well, I did what I always do: I looked her up in Linkedin and, wouldn’t you know it, there was no phone number and no email address on her Linkedin profile. Well, after I did some Googling I found her email address and her phone number and emailed that info to my friend, Charles Pique, who is a math tutor. Then I emailed the person on the radio to tell her she made me work way too hard to help her and asked why she doesn’t have actual contact info on her Linkedin profile. She wrote back and said she had “made it all public” and she didn’t know why I couldn’t find her contact info.

From that comment it was obvious to me that she hasn’t actually looked at her own profile or she would see what others see: that she is not making her Linkedin profile work hard enough for her and she is making other professionals work too hard to find contact info. I don’t know, maybe she already has all the business she needs but if you’re like most Linkedin users, you need clients so make it easy for clients to find you.

I have my email address in the “summary” field right beneath my name and then it appears again under “contact settings”. Most Linkedin users have no actual contact information under “contact settings”. I’ll never understand why not.

Now, let’s talk about Linkedin groups. Linkedin groups are a powerful way to instantly make yourself easy to reach by other Linkedin users. There are geographic groups, professional groups, hobby groups, all kinds of groups. Let’s say you want to do more business with the people who live in your town. Go to the “groups” field and type the name of your city or state and see if there’s a group by that name then join it. Or, let’s say you want to meet other people who share your interests or hobbies. In the “groups” field simply type “coin collecting” or “gardening” or whatever and look at the available groups and join some.

When you sign up for a group, you’ll be asked if you wish for other group members to be able to contact you via Linkedin. Check the box that enables that function. If your group has 10,000 members you’ve just become accessible to 10,000 people.

Make your Linkedin profile work harder for you. Make people who look at your profile work less. Put some actual contact info in your Linkedin profile and join some groups.

14 October, 2010

What The Mountain Party And The Tea Party Have In Common

The race for Robert Byrd’s senate seat is a statistical dead heat so, if John Raese wins, he may have West Virginia’s Mountain Party to thank for his victory.

The Mountain Party on The Left and the Tea Party movement on The Right have a lot in common: they want to send a message to a major party more than they want to defeat candidates who are their ideological opposites.

Third party candidates have always been spoilers. People forget that it was a strong third party bid by Ross Perot that made Bill Clinton’s 1992 upset of incumbent, George H W Bush possible. And though he denies it, Ralph Nader’s presence on a ballot hurts Democrats more than it hurts Republicans. Imagine America under a Gore administration. Take Nader off the 2000 Florida ballot and that’s the America we would have had.

If Mountain Partiers cost Joe Manchin the senate race, I hope West Virginia Democrats will realize they can’t beat Repubicans if they lose The Left. I hope if John Raese wins with the help of Mountain Partiers the Democratic Party in West Virginia will do some soul-searching and ask themselves what they can and should do to reach out to The Left and bring them back into the Democratic Party. As a Lefty myself, there's a part of me that almost hopes Jesse Johnson and his Mountain Party do cost West Virginia's Democratic Party a few big elections so West Virginia's DINOs will be forced to ask themselves why they deserve to win elections of they are indistinguishable from Republicans.

11 October, 2010

Why Do Businesses Hire So-Called "Salespeople" Who Don't Use Linkedin, Twitter And Blogs To Build Business And Relationships?

I’ll never understand why people who make their livings by “prospecting” and selling – like car salespeople and realtors and financial services people – aren’t using the awesome power of Linkedin to build their networks of prospects and referral sources.

I don’t know why their bosses don’t require it.

I don’t know why their bosses don’t provide them with training on how to use Linkedin.

I don’t know why their bosses aren’t modeling the behavior.

Take car dealers, for instance. If there’s a business that needs to use every tool at their disposal to sell their product in this weak economy, it’s car dealers. I just did a Linkedin search on what may be the largest automobile empire in my market and found only 5 people from that company with Linkedin accounts.

I performed a search on another auto empire in my market and found only one employee from that empire with a Linkedin account.

I know this: if I were the sales manager or GM at any car dealer I wouldn’t hire a so-called sales or marketing person who doesn’t have a Linkedin account or isn’t using it every day to start and strengthen relationships.

As my regular readers know, back in December of ’09 (see blog archive) I wrote a short series of three posts on “business development” that got me a nice plug on the SMPS.org site (Society for Marketing Professional Services). New readers – especially readers who don’t know how to use Linkedin - may want to look in my blog archives and read those December ’09 posts and any other posts that mention Linkedin.

As far as I can tell, most car salespeople, realtors and others who make their livings by knowing people, seem to think it’s the boss’s job to bring prospects to them through expensive advertising.

Picture this: it’s a cold January or February night. There’s snow and ice on the ground and the car lot is full of cars that nobody’s looking at. Car “salesmen” are in the showroom telling jokes and watching TV and flirting with the cute new website sales manager and nobody’s doing anything to bring customers into the showroom.

Does the dealership have Wi-Fi? Do the sales reps carry smart phones? If the answers are yes and yes, why aren’t the sales reps using their laptops and their smart phones to go to Linkedin and see what they can do to scare up a customer? Why does the dealer have to buy expensive ads to attract customers?

And why don’t these car “salespeople” have blogs about cars, trucks, financing, and other things of interest to car buyers?

Why are car dealers hiring people who aren’t using every tool at their disposal to sell cars?

Why do real estate brokers hire realtors who don’t have contact info on their Linkedin page, don’t have a real estate blog, don’t have a Facebook page and don’t know how to Tweet in a way that connects them to people without annoying them?

Why don't people whose business depends on knowing people - and that's most of us - join Linkedin groups? In my area there are several groups business people should join if they want to have instant access to other Linkedin users. For example, I own a group named LinkedSt.Albans. 

What's that? You don't know how to join a Linkedin group? Give me a call. I'll help you out. Free. 

What's that? You have a Linkedin account but you have no idea what to do with it. If you're in the Charleston-St.Albans area just call me and I'll come to your business and give you a tutorial that will show you how to unlock the awesome power of Linkedin.

A friend of mine wants to syndicate her internet radio show to radio stations.  I performed a simple Linkedin search on the words "radio syndication" and found over 2,000 people in my network who can help her syndicate her show. That's the power you're not using if you don't use Linkedin to build your business.

Come to think of it, my new readers may want to go to my archive and look at my instructional posts on Linkedin and Twitter.

10 October, 2010

Mad Men Starts Firing Chekhov's Guns But Rubicon May Be This Season's Best Show

In my 11 October 2009 post I wrote “At the very least, Mad Men writers have forgotten “Chekhov’s Gun”, the principle that "a pistol on the wall in the first act must be fired by the last act." Well, in tonight’s episode Mad Men’s writers fired the pistol on the wall marked “what happens if the agency loses their biggest account?” Layoffs. Internal squabbles among the partners. A partner (Cooper) leaves the firm in a huff because he doesn’t approve of a “Hail Mary” play Draper makes to save the company.

I’m glad Mad Men is also firing the pistol on the wall marked “Don Draper’s kids and ex-wife.” For seasons now the Mad Men writers have been showing us way too much of Draper’s immature, snobby wife (Betty) and his daughter (Sally) in ways that add nothing to the show. Well, now the writers have taken those family pistols off the wall, placed them in the hands of a child psychiatrist and started firing. Finally, the writers have noticed what viewers knew all along: that Betty is a bad mother and Sally is a normal, smart little girl who is crying out for love, guidance and attention from the selfish adults in her life.

Oh, and in tonight’s episode, Don Draper didn’t commit adultery. That doesn’t happen very often so it’s worth mentioning.

Now to what’s fast becoming my favorite TV show, Rubicon. In tonight’s episode we learned the meaning of the title Rubicon but we haven’t yet learned the significance of the four leaf clovers although we have some clues about why if you find one in your morning paper you’re likely to die.

In tonight’s episode, Rubicon’s writers took a lot of pistols off the wall and started shooting. The blue-eyed, New Jersey-born convert to radical jihad finally struck by sinking an oil tanker in Galveston Bay in an effort to choke off ¼ of the US oil supply. Will Travers and his team actually figured out what the blue-eyed terrorist was going to do but not in time to stop him.

And API chief, Truxton Spangler, who is up to his eyeballs in treason, corruption and dead bodies, finds out that several members of his team including Kale Ingram (Will’s boss) are working against him and have discovered at least some of his (Spangler’s) involvement in the blue-eyed terrorist’s strike.

I think what I appreciate about AMC’s 3 great dramas : Breaking Bad (new season starts soon) , Rubicon and Mad Men – is that they all assume the viewer is intelligent. The plots are complicated and if you step out of the room to get a coke and miss something they make no apology and don’t help you catch up by spelling anything out for you. You have to pay attention. You have to pay attention to every piece of dialogue and every peek into a character’s past or state of mind or you won’t understand that character.

If you haven’t yet seen Rubicon, you’re missing this season’s best new show.

08 October, 2010

Attention Employers And Staffing Companies: Sometimes The Talent You Seek Comes In A Package You Don't Expect

A Parkersburg, WV -based staffing company with an office in Charleston recently scored a public relations coup by getting one of those you-can't-buy-this-kind-of-publicity stories written by Eric Eyre (http://wvgazette.com/News/201009241072).

The thrust of the story was that staffing agencies actually have jobs they can't fill - even in this jobless recovery.

According to marketing executive, Christian Kager, companies are "having a hard time finding qualified individuals willing to work."

I wonder if Kager has considered another reason why open jobs may be going unfilled: so-called staffing coordinators who don't know how to staff and recruiters who don't know how to recruit and front-line HR people who don't realize - or don't care - that sometimes the talent they need is literally looking them in the eye but comes in a package they didn't expect or aren't willing to advance to the next level of the employment process.

As some of my close friends and clients know, I have earned some ridiculous fees finding and recruiting talent and here's what I have observed: qualified people apply for the job but can't get past the HR gatekeeper because he or she is too black, too fat, too old or too gay or too (insert your prejudice here). I have collected 5-figure headhunting fees for "finding" candidates that my clients actually had a chance to hire but had rejected. I know a prestigious law firm that instructed its HR Director not to hire anybody who is "fat, black or ugly."

Take older workers , for example. Workers in their 50s remind front-line staffing coordinators and entry-level HR people of their parents. These twenty-something gatekeepers - let's say it like it is - use their jobs to stock their company with the kind of people they want to socialize with so when the talent they need comes to them in a package that looks like their parents, well, the hiring manager never knows about these older applicants because the twenty-something gatekeeper finds some way to disqualify them.

What's the solution? Simple: get some older workers in the gatekeeping positions. And while you're at it, get some black people and some gay people and some physically challenged people into gatekeeping positions.

If all your staffing coordinators and first-level interviewers are young and white you're going to have a hard time "finding" talent that isn't young and white.

And while you're at it, hire some staffing coordinators and some first-screeners who know how to evaluate candidates who have executive backgrounds, scientific backgrounds and technical backgrounds.

For more on this subject see my "There's No Whining In Recruiting" which first appeared in Business Lexington and later in this blog. Click here to read "There's No Whining In Recruiting". :: http://higginbothamatlarge.blogspot.com/2009/10/theres-no-whining-in-recruiting.html

07 October, 2010

Rubicon, Breaking Bad and Mad Men

I love AMC's "Rubicon" so much that after it airs at 9PM on Sunday night I stay up and watch 2 hours of "Mad men" (the new episode and its encore) so I can see the "Rubicon" encore. I simply can't get enough "Rubicon". AMC's motto is "Story matters here" and Rubicon is proof that a TV show doesn't need any well-known actors to make raving fans out of viewers if the story is strong.

"Rubicon" started with a bang, figuratively and literally. While his family frolicks on the lawn a guy finds a four-leaf clover in his morning paper and takes out a pistol and blows out his brains. On "Rubicon", people who see four leaf clovers either commit suicide or get death threats and electronic bugs in their homes. 

"Rubicon's" main character, Will Travers, played by James Badge Dale, works for something called API - American Poiicy Institute. API is a contractor to every branch of the US military and all the US spy agencies and has access to every secret and top secret database. When they're not spying on their bosses and co-workers or being spied on by their bosses and co-workers, Will Travers' team of analysts are tracking terrorists and trying to figure out what they're up to before there's another 9/11. 

I can't stop watching. I'm hopelessly hooked.

I'm hooked on three AMC shows. The other two I've mentioned in this bog before: "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad". "Mad Men" is nearing season's end and "Breaking Bad" will soon return to the screen with a new season. I'll watch every new episode and I'll stay up late and watch the encore presentations. And when AMC has those marathons when they re-play every episode of "Breaking Bad" or "Rubicon", I'll watch them again. I simply have to find out why it's called "Rubicon" and why when those four-leaf clovers show up people either commit suicide or get caught up in a spynet.

And if you'd told me a few years ago that on Sunday nights I'd stay up late to watch a show about a high school science teacher who becomes the biggest meth cooker in Albuquerque and then The Southwest, I'd have said you were the one with the meth habit but, like AMC says, the story matters and as long as AMC keeps giving me strong stories, I'm going to take a pizza or a bag of potato chips and a dip to bed with me and spend as many hours with AMC's shows as AMC is willing to give me. I hope the other networks are paying attention to what's going on at AMC. If AMC's shows were part of the basic cable package across the nation, AMC would have more viewers on Sunday nights than all the other networks combined. 

24 September, 2010

Why Your Online Branding Strategy Backfires

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. re: his 1961 Mother Night character, Howard Campbell, who survived WWII by helping the Nazis and pretending to be a Nazi.

There are two kinds of people I don’t trust: I don’t trust people who, in this “reputation economy”, have no online footprint. As some of you know, I own a Linked group called “Linking Liberally”. About a week ago I received a membership request from someone whose values and beliefs were impossible to discern from her Linkedin profile so I did a Google search. Nothing. I used her email address to search for her Facebook account. There was no Facebook account associated with the email address associated with the applicant’s Linkedin account. So I started sending Linkedin messages to my considerable liberal network in her area – even at her place of employment. Nobody had heard of her. Before I rejected her membership request I gave her a chance to send me some evidence of her liberalism; the name of a person who could vouch for her liberalism, for instance. She couldn’t.  If people who work where she works do not know she’s a liberal, I’m not convinced she’s a liberal - or even that she gave her real name. And it's not just that people she supposedly works with had heard of her, it's that she left no online footprint at all. In this age of Google and Bing and social media, how do you not have some online identity unless you're using a fake name? 

I also don’t trust people who have a carefully-crafted “online brand” – especially the ones who want me to pay them to show me how to have a carefully-crafted online brand. Unlike many of the so-called marketing gurus who are trying to revive or extend their marketing careers by pretending to be “social media experts”, I have actually read dozens of books on branding and I understand what a brand is and that’s why I don’t trust people who want to use a “social” medium or a “relationship-based medium” as if it’s TV. The whole point of social media and relationship-based networking is that people should know who you are and what you stand for and what you believe in and who your associations are and either resonate with your or not based on those values, beliefs and associations.

And while I’m on the subject of trying to create an online persona or brand, let me say this to people who have drunk the Kool Aid that you can be one person on Facebook and another on Linkedin. Headhunters and recruiters and others who have a need to know who you are will look at everything – your blog, your Tweets, your Facebook, your LInkedin. Everything. I never cease to be amazed at the people I encounter online who keep their Linkedin profile “strictly professional”, scrubbed of all evidence of their interests and values but whose Facebook page is a disturbing look into their immaturities, prejudices and shady associations.

People who think they can get headhunters to look only at their Linkedin profiles remind me of the idiots who say “We have to fight ‘em over there or we’ll have to fight ‘em over here”. You have no control over where terrorists or headhunters go. They go everywhere. Just as you can’t keep terrorists from fighting us here by offering them the shiny object of a war in the Middle East, you can’t stop a headhunter from looking at your Facebook page and your Tweets by offering him the shiny object of a Linkedin profile. Headhunters and terrorists go everywhere, they look at everything.

For the record, I have no “online strategy” or “online brand”. This blog is not part of any “online strategy” to mislead you about who I am. I am the same in my blog as I am on Linkedin or Facebook. You don’t need one of those so-called “social media experts” to help you be yourself unless you don’t know who you are.

01 September, 2010

How Linkedin Must Change: Adapting To The Facebook Effect

Linkedin’s battle plan has not survived first contact with the enemy. It was a good plan and it would have worked except for one thing they didn’t anticipate: The Facebook Effect. No, not the book by David Kirkpatrick – though I recommend it.

Linkedin didn’t anticipate that Facebook, a social networking platform Linkedin didn’t see as a direct competitor, would so change the expectations of Linkedin account holders that Linkedin’s distinctions as a more relationship-based, professional networking site would actually become liabilities as Linkedin users discovered that they liked – even if they shouldn’t – using Facebook as an everything site – social and professional. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way, but it has. In a world with no Facebook, Linkedin’s attempt to legislate proper, professional networking through technology and functionality that keeps people apart unless they are properly introduced through a mutual connection or unless they “meet” in the same Linkedin group, might very well have worked, but that’s not the world we live in so Linkedin’s battle plan didn’t survive contact with Facebook and it’s time Linkedin acknowledges that the Facebook effect has so changed user expectations that Linkedin must make some changes. Linkedin’s plan to avoid direct competition with the site that started in a college dorm as a way to facilitate “hooking up” or taking classes with cute girls hasn’t worked. Linkedin’s plan to occupy a different, more purely business/professional space hasn’t survived in a world where Facebook users like Facebook so much that they use it for every kind of networking – social and professional.

With the exception of Reid Hoffman and other investors and shareholders who stand to make $million$ from a Linkedin IPO, few people have promoted and defended Linkedin more than I have. I’ve promoted Linkedin in my blog. I’ve privately tutored Linkedin novices and newbies. I wear the Linkedin lapel pin. I often point out to people who haven’t logged on to Linkedin for so long that they can’t remember their Linkedin password that some of Linkedin’s business-friendly features are far superior to Facebook’s features. For example, when I recruit a new Linkedin user who is willing to sit down with me at a wi-fi hot spot and let me show them how to use Linkedin, I point out that if, for example, I want to open an office in Poughkeepsie and I need a realtor, a sales rep and a ops manager in Poughkeepsie, Linkedin allows me to find all the realtors, sales reps and managers in Poughkeepsie who are part of my network. Pretty neat. You can’t do that in Facebook.

There’s just one problem: Linkedin’s business-friendly features aren’t enough to make most users spend less time with Facebook and more time with Linkedin and, since Linkedin’s value as an acquisition or IPO will largely be determined by its ability to get people to log on and stay on the site for hours instead of minutes, everyday instead of once a week, Linkedin’s plan to avoid direct competition with Facebook has simply not survived the reality on the ground.

Here are a few of the reasons people with Linkedin accounts spend most of their online networking time on Facebook:

In Facebook, you can pretty much message anybody you can see. In Linkedin, the only people you can message with the free account are people with whom you are directly connected and people with whom you share a group. What I’m about to say should embarrass the hell out of Reid Hoffman and others who stand to make a pile of cash when LInkedin is purchased by Rupert Murdoch or when it goes public: When I want to invite Linkedin users to my Linking Liberally group, I sometimes can’t find a way to message them in Likedin so I resort to finding and messaging them in Facebook. Yeah, that’s right: I am using Facebook to invite people to my Linkedin group because I can’t get to them through Linkedin.

Here’s another thing that makes people spend more time on Facebook than on Linkedin: In Facebook, there’s no punishment or penalty for trying to network with people you don’t know very well. In Linkedin, if I invite somebody to connect and they forget that they met me at a trade show last week and click “I don’t know this person”, Linkedin might punish me by making me provide an email address each time I invite someone to connect. Yes, I understand the theory behind Linkedin’s attempt to legislate proper networking but this Linkedin plan for proper networking simply hasn’t survived contact with a competitor they didn’t even see as a competitor.

It’s time for Linkedin to acknowledge that their battle plan hasn’t survived the Facebook effect. Here are two changes Linkedin should make immediately:

First, Linkedin needs to facilitate, not impede or regulate, communication between Linkedin account holders. Enable messaging between all Linkedin users. Let account holders opt out of such promiscuous messaging if they wish, but let the rest of us communicate.

Second, Linkedin needs to stop punishing people for trying to connect with people they don’t know.

Your plan to subdivide the online networking space into separate “professional” and “social” sectors simply hasn’t survived the Facebook effect. It was a good plan but it’s time to adapt to reality on the ground.

21 August, 2010

What I Wish President Obama Would Say About Religion

I don't think President Obama is a Muslim. In fact, despite his insistence that he's a Christian, I suspect he's an atheist and that he's not the first atheist to occupy the White House. And, because I paid attention in 9th grade Civics and in Doug Miller's Poli Sci class at "State", I believe in separation of church and state and that nowhere in the US constitution does it say that that US Presidents must be Christians or even theists.

What they must be, however, is Validator-In-Chief. No, not because the constitution says so but because the US electorate is narcissistic and wants to see its own reflection in its presidents.

I like President Obama but I'd like him a lot more if instead of pandering to the majority religion like previous presidents have done he would tell us all that a president's religion is none of our business and that if we don't like it we can all just kiss his half-black ass.

I'm saying all this, of course, in response to recent polls that reveal that large numbers of Americans - especially on the right - think President Obama is a Muslim. If you spend a large part of your day watching or listening to the various news/talk sources as I do, you know that everybody's buzzing about Pew and Time polls that suggest many Americans still don't believe that President Obama is an American citizen and that many believe he is a Muslim.

First of all, people lie to pollsters and use them to make political points. When, for example, a pollster asks a racist conservative about President Obama's religion, the answer given by the racist conservative is not a reflection of what the racist conservative really believes, it's what game theorists call a "strategic" answer rather than a "sincere answer". "Strategic" because racist conservatives know that convincing Americans that President Obama is not like them will hurt his re-election bid. Convincing the narcissistic electorate of a candidate's  "otherness" is key to defeating him or her. That's why US presidential candidates always exaggerate their Christian-ness. After a brutal campaign in which his Catholicism was an issue, John F. Kennedy, the president whose opponents tried to beat by suggesting that, if elected, Kennedy would be taking orders from The Pope, famously said that one of the inconveniences he would now have to suffer as a result of winning was that he'd have to start attending church regularly. Even if a majority of Americans aren't regular church attenders, Americans want to see their presidents attending church.

Another thing about polls: respondents use polls to answer questions the respondent wishes the pollster had asked but didn't so when a pollster asks an Obama hater if he thinks the President is a Muslim, he or she may answer "yes" simply to express his or her general dislike for the president because charging The President with being a Muslim in a country that thinks its presidents should be Christians is approximately the same thing as saying you hate the SOB.

I squirmed and felt almost as uncomfortable as President Obama apparently did as I watched a brief clip of Obama reading from his notes and affirming his faith in Jesus Christ as his redeemer and Substitute. I didn't catch where The President was when he read this carefully-worded statement that, I suspect, had some input from evangelical advisers, but instead of saying something that I don't think he believes I wish President Obama had torn up his notes, looked into the camera and told a narcissistic, misinformed, bigoted American electorate that a deity who cannot or will not forgive sinners unless someone dies is not a deity worthy of worship. I wish President Obama had said that he's real sorry that so many Americans apparently flunked 9th grade Civics and have been misled and deceived by their preachers and by Fox TV and by Rush Limbaugh but America was not founded by evangelical Christians in the 1600s but by Deists and freethinkers in the late 1700s - non-evangelicals who disobeyed the book of Romans by committing treason against an earthly government that, according to Paul, was a minister of God and a threat only to wrongdoers. This nation's founders, it seems, were either unaware or were in disagreement with the Bible on this point, it seems, and I wish President Obama had pointed this out.

I wish President Obama had said that what America needs is not a Validator-In-Chief or a religious test for presidential candidates but for the American people to take a refresher course in 9th grade Civics.

18 August, 2010

Thank God For Religious Hypocrites

I'm glad Christians and Muslims practice a sort of diluted version of their religions for it is only by practicing something less than a pure Christianity or Islam that members of those religions can peacefully co-exist with American Democracy and our separation of church and state. If Jesus actually said "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" then he clearly implied that, there are things that do not belong to Caesar and that if the two realms ever have a conflict of interest, the religious man serves God, not Caesar. Christians who take seriously the words "My kingdom is not of this world, if my kingdom were of this world then would my servants fight" refuse to fight in earthly military wars for earthly masters. Imagine if all Jesus' servants refused to fight for earthly masters? Who would go to war to fight the unnecessary and senseless wars of old men who send young men and women off to war without even a declaration of war by Congress?

Islam, practiced in its purity, demands death to non-Muslims and war on people who don't submit to Islamic rule. Thanks to Charleston Gazette editor, James Haught, I can refer readers to a web page that documents Islam's war on rivals of all kinds including countries that try to separate church and state. (see http://www.wvinter.net/~haught/Koran.html) 

In other times and places, integration of church and state was the norm. It still is in many nations. There's a reason for this: Running a country where citizens and voters and even elected office holders may practice any or no religion complicates things. Running a country is much easier when there is a state religion and when government law and religious law are one in the same. It's simpler. 

It is only by subordinating the kingdom of heaven to the kingdoms of this world that Christians and Muslims can ever live in peace with one another.  So every time you meet a so-called "moderate Muslim" who hasn't declared jihad on you, be thankful for compromisers and hypocrites. If not for hypocrites and compromisers who practice a diluted form of their religion so they can acquire material goods here on Earth rather than stockpile rewards in the next life, you couldn't get to work in the morning because of all the car bombs and exploding jihadists.

And since everybody else has weighed in on this, allow me: President Obama had to defend the Muslims' right to build a community center near ground zero because, as much as it may annoy members (and panderers) of the majority religion, this nation does not have a state religion and only those who disagree with its founding principles or flunked 9th grade Civics think it's OK to discriminate against people who practice unpopular religions - even religions that, if practiced in purity, are a threat to America.

Thank God for the smorgasbord believers who don't practice all that jihad or all that Old Testament smiting and slaughter of unbelievers and infidels. Imagine what a mess America would be in if religious people actually practiced what their holy books tell them to practice.

16 August, 2010

My Online Strategy: Deeper, Not Broader

When the self-described "marketing geniuses" and "social media gurus" say you need an "online strategy" what they usually mean is that you need to spam and annoy as many people as possible through as many social media platforms as possible. While they may have degrees in communications or marketing, they have managed to do so without gaining any empathy for other humans. There's nothing "social" about a strategy like that. It is, in fact, decidedly antisocial and even misanthropic.

My "online strategy" is to put the "social" in social media. I am using online media to identify and start a conversation with the people who share my beliefs, values and interests. These are the people with whom I am most likely to have actual friendships. People who share my beliefs, interests and values are the people most likely to read my blog, refer business to me, recommend me and introduce me to their friends.

As my friends and regular readers know, I belong to a lot of Linkedin groups and I use these groups to "take the pulse" of other users of social media. Many of my blog topics come from Linkedin groups discussions. I recently quit a lot of large Linkedin groups and went in search of groups whose members share my values, beliefs and interests. I even quit a Linkedin group called "Relationship Networking" - which I originally joined precisely because of its name - because the people I was meeting there didn't seem to have the foggiest idea what "relationship networking" means. I quit all groups whose members have little in common other than geography. Charleston Area Alliance. Generation Charleston. Create WV. Create Huntington. I quit some huge groups - groups with several hundred thousand members like "Linked:HR" and "Executive Suite" because, for the most part, members of those groups seemed to have scrubbed their profiles of all but the kind of information people put on their resumes. 

I joined smaller beliefs-based and values-based groups. I formed such a group (see my August 15 post on "How To Join Linking Liberally") and I am in negotiations to become the group owner of another beliefs-based group. 

The self-described marketing geniuses and social media gurus don't seem to know that their strategy of annoying as many people as possible as often as possible through as many social media platforms as possible would be a great way to sell the maximum number of cold beers on a hot day but isn't the best way to sell the kinds of services that most social media users are selling: professional services of one sort or another. Selling more Pepsi than Coke is largely a function of displaying Pepsi on the most end caps, getting Pepsi on the most shelf space, getting Pepsi in more vending machines and getting Pepsi syrup into more restaurants. When you're thirsty and you order a cold drink you aren't forming a relationship with the drink or the people who sell you the drink, you're simply quenching your thirst. You may never again see the waitress who brought you the drink, you may never meet the driver who delivered the syrup and you may never know the salesman who sold the account. At the "retail" level where thirsty customers order a drink, selling the drink isn't about relationships at all. But lawyers, architects, virtual assistants, website designers and even marketing gurus need to establish positive online relationships and positive online brands in order to use social media to build revenue and most of the social media marketers don't seem to understand that you don't sell a professional service or create an online brand the same way you sell cold drinks.

Make no mistake about it, when you need to hire a website designer, architect, lawyer, virtual assistant or marketing dude you are entering into a relationship and you have to like, respect and resonate with the person you hire. I don't resonate with, like or respect people whose social media strategy betrays an insensitivity and a lack of understanding of and empathy for other people. I don't want to be associated with them. I sure don't want them near my clients or friends.

And I'm not interested in having more shallow, superficial relationships. My online strategy is to use social media to identify and start a conversation with people with whom I am most likely to have a meaningful relationship, to get closer to the people who share my values and beliefs. 

15 August, 2010

How To Join Linking Liberally on Linkedin

Creating Linking Liberally on Linkedin is consistent with my belief that I should do what I can to get all liberals to “come out”, let their liberalism show and be easily found by other liberals who want to network with them. Creating Linking Liberally reflects my “online strategy”. See my August 14 post.

First, be recognizably liberal. As the only owner, moderator and manager of Linking Liberally, I personally approve each new member and if I don’t know you and cannot detect your liberalism on your Linkedin profile, I will either reject your membership request or ask you for some liberal bona fides.

Joining Linking Liberally is easy if (1) you and I are first-level direct Linkedin connections or if (2) You send me your email address. 

If I do not have your email address and we are not direct, first-level connections you can still join Linking Liberally on Linkedin by going to your “groups” field and typing “Linking Liberally” and clicking on  Linking Liberally.

07 August, 2010

Richard Florida's "The Great Reset" And Other Books Briefly Reviewed

My friends and blog readers expect me to tell them what I’m reading so here’s another in my occasional series of brief book reviews.

Books I Just Finished:

Let me start with a book I hope leaders everywhere are reading, The Great Reset by Richard Florida. Florida explains why this “recession” is not really a recession at all, but a “reset” – a fundamental change in the basic elements or components of our economy. Certain industries are vanishing. Certain jobs are going away and never coming back. Jobs with familiar-sounding titles aren’t what they used to be. According to Florida, this “reset” should be compared to “The Long Depression of 1873”, not the “Great Depression” of the 1930s. Elected officials, educators, executives and other leaders who are going to have to spearhead the appropriate responses to this economic and social reset would be wise to read and recommend The Great Reset. I said “spearhead the appropriate responses” to this great reset because Reset is not all doom and gloom and low-wage jobs, reduced home values and spent retirement accounts. According to Florida, such resets have occurred before and are followed by periods of great innovation. Florida has advice for mayors, city planners, educators, lenders, financiers, investors and others who will be part of the changes that are coming.

Game Change by John Heilemann & Mark Halperin and The Politician by Andrew Young. When I read these two books I violated my rule against reading books about political campaigns but I’m so glad I did. I couldn’t put them down. Game Change is an insightful account of the 2008 race for the presidency and the nomination races that preceded it. The Politician is top John Edwards aid, Andrew Young’s account of the rise and fall of his former boss who infamously carried on a reckless affair with Reille Hunter during his 2007-2008 quest for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

Those of you who are Elizabeth Edwards admirers may dislike her more than you dislike John Edwards after you read Politician and Game Change. Neither John nor Elizabeth Edwards were ever what they appeared to be, it seems.

I also recently read Peter Singer’s One World, Susan Jacoby’s Freethinkers, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and Sam Harris’ Letter To A Christian Nation and may comment on them in a future post if readers ask me to.

Books I’m Still Reading:

T. R Reid’s The Healing of America, David Kirkpatrick’s The Facebook Effect, Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail, Chip Heath and Dan Heath’s Switch and Rahm Emanuel’s The Plan.