Nailing company culture.

Trickle down effect at work right hurr.

Crush the recruiting process. Bring in personalities who have innate energy and spunk.

Unleash them on your customers (after you’ve trained the basics or the job) to create an amazing experience.

Reward and retain these employees and give them freedom to grow personally while professionally.

Then slowly take over the coffee game.

Sports Teams = Brands, Too

Running a sports team isn’t that different than a regular company.

You’ve got a fan base (aka customers). You rise or fall in the standings, as does your revenue (like being publicly traded). And fans have no shortage of opinions on the team (aka customers + shareholders).

But regardless of which you are, fostering the relationship with your customer helps maintain a great, sustainable relationship and reminds them you truly value their business.

So whether that’s a brand responding to you in social to help repair a bad customer experience (think Uber or Amazon) or Glen Sather (GM of the NY Rangers) writing an open letter to fans about the state of the team, it helps foster my fan hood (aka brand loyalty).

An awesome lesson in transparency that is both self-aware and relatable.

#LGR

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Elon is lightyears ahead (literally).

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Launching a car into space. WTF.

A) How the fuck do you even get that kinda thing ‘approved’. Like who signs off on that?

B) Musk is an insane marketer. He does epic stunts like this for the PR that help make his company well-known and favorably thought of.

So what if that doesn’t drive sales today?

Things like yesterday’s Falcon Heavy launch and the release of the Roadster into orbit (with that awesome dude strapped into the seat belts) make people care.

And when people know what you do and get excited about it, it makes it easier to raise money, generate future demand / sales and partner with forward-thinkers. All of which helps advance his mission.

So keep doing you, Musk. Your stunts even have non-space-geeks like me interested in what you’re doing.

Brands would benefit to think along the same lines.

Start a blog. Just do it.

When I first graduated from college, I worked in Internal Audit.

Yes, Internal Audit. I hated it. It was a total mismatch for my personality. Some great learnings in hindsight and amazing bosses, but not for me long-term.

I badly wanted to get into the VC world and work with startups. I dug the energy and teamwork and risk and pace.

So I reached out to college alumni for connections and advice. And a VP at Google Ventures responded. A f-in VP at Google Ventures – amazing.

I asked him for advice on how to make the transition. But I don’t remember any of those answers. Instead, I remember one thing he said when I asked him what career advice do you have:

Start a blog. And see where it takes you.

So tonight, when grabbing dinner with a friend who’s looking to make a jump between companies and maybe industries, I said the same thing.

Blogs show people HOW you think, which you just can’t get from a resume. It’s like a better interview into how you are and what your potential is, so a company knows if you’re a potential fit before wasting their time (and yours).

It also helps you build a personal brand. Who gives a shit if it doesn’t directly lead to a job. People may start reading it and follow you and recommend you to other people (or things to you when you need it).

And who gives a shit if no one reads it. Because as this VP said, it’ll show you what you’re interested in. It’ll change a million times, just like his blog did, but it helps flesh out your interests and thinking.

Want free career advice? Start a blog and see where it takes you. And put it in your email signature.

PAST BLOGS OF MINE:

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Influencers, So Hot Right Now

We are in the golden age of influencers.

That’s a loaded statement. I don’t actually know that. I’m not an expert. I’m also not saying anything that’s new.

But common sense, a few headlines and practical time spent on these platforms makes it obvious. 

Facebook is the latest example. You don’t even have to read the article, just the headlines:

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Layman’s terms: Facebook wants to go back to its roots. Less of an ad platform with publisher content / news, more of a place to connect with friends, family and local areas. AKA more personal.

So when publishers have a harder time getting their shit in front of their audience, they need individuals to do so. AKA influencers. 

And for good reason. Influencer content already does well, as evidenced by the below:

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So if you’re a publisher, company, brand, winery, whatever – what does this mean?

Lean more on your existing influencer network. Then grow it to find more influencers who make sense for your brand. These influencers should be creative, communicative with you as a client and powerhouses of content. Then deploy the content on channels like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. – whether the brand channel or influencer channels (with shout-outs). I’m not saying anything new or groundbreaking, but doing more of it today will be more effective than ever.

Want a sign of the times with this Influencer shift?

Check out Danielle and Ryan and @theguidinglens. They’ve got a relatively small social following (800 on IG at the beginning of the partnership). But they’re a good-looking, fun Millennial couple who wants to explore the world and buys into a mobile, minimalist lifestyle.

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Now think about Airstream. A brand who did well with our grandparents / parents, but now wants to connect with Millennials as they age up, have more disposable income, continue to be mobile / explorative, work remotely / freelance and become increasingly open to a minimalist lifestyle.

Regardless of who contacted who, Airstream likely thinks “Well we’ve got these young peeps who are cool and want to explore. Even though they don’t have a massive following, they can create content for / with us which won’t look like an ad and make us more relatable to Millennials. And then we can post that content on our channels or whitelist it and boost their following to help spread our message. And it’ll likely be more cost-effective (and authentic) than us trying to do it ourselves with hired talent.”

And boom. You’ve got a smart partnership (with their own section on Airstream.com).

Influencers that align with the brand, check. Young, active and creative, check. Cheaper alternative than shooting that content ourselves, check.

Moral of the story? Platforms favor individuals’ content more than ever. Because as consumers, we have enough ads in our lives. Meaning it’s the best time for influencers to grow their own brand while helping brands grow theirs. And the Airstream example is a great example of this.

Nice job peeps.

Uber // Eating the PR Elephant

When you’re GEICO, you help people save 15% or more on car insurance.

When you’re Uber, you have a PR problem. People think you’re sleazy, have sketchy drivers and simply don’t trust you.

So what do you do to earn back trust?

One of the things you do is to be transparent. So if riders suspect you’re invading their privacy or misusing their data, you pull back the curtain.

The ‘Uber Movement’ is Uber’s way of taking data and helping local markets to improve infrastructure. And emails like the below show:

  • Uber wants to have a relationship with me beyond the car – they email me directly
  • Uber admits they collect data, but show it’s done for good
  • And prove it’s in service of helping you and your local communities, so it’s purposeful

Whether or not this directly impacts me, hearing from them makes it feel like they have less to hide. And that slowly makes me think they’re less sketchy.

So as Uber, when you have a PR problem, you eat the elephant one bit at a time. And transparency is one of those bites.

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Needs to Be Seen

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I found this shirt in a Nordstrom over the weekend and it needs to be seen.

Someone actually designed, made and tried to sell this f-ing shirt. Am I missing something?

If you’re Cam from Modern Family, going on a safari and are trying to look incredibly cliche, then this is your guy.

If it was on sale at Nordstrom for like $20, I’d consider buying it for a fun theme party or something.

Welp, turns out it’s $295 for a SHIRT with jungle animals all over it.

I’m lost.

Simply figuring it out.

Something interesting happened to me last week. On an otherwise routine commute.

I left the gym and headed towards the subway to go to therapy. Outside the F train were about 60 people, all standing there.

Why is this massive herd of cattle hanging out here? There a walking tour or something

Worse. The train was down. And 60 people were outside, standing in the cold, all doing the same one thing: staring at their phones, desperately trying to book an Uber, Lyft or some other car-sharing transportation savior.

But what I didn’t see were people walking away from the station. Or looking at Google Maps to see where the closest train station was.

Instead, in an unpredictable moment of inconvenience, panic sets in and the gut reaction is to have someone else save us, rather than figure it out on our own.

I knew another way to get to therapy. It was out of the way, but 10min away by foot was another train that’d take me into Manhattan. My gut reaction wasn’t this route though – my gut was to open Uber / Lyft as well because I was in a bind.

Next time you’re in a jam or lost, do you have the ‘old school’ wherewithal to ‘figure it out’ on your own, or do you need someone (a driver, for example) to come rescue you.

There was something very confidence boosting about having ‘figured it out’ on my own. I hope others can do the same.