Do You Want Want to Be Employable in the Next 5 Years?
If Yes, Grab Some Coffee (Because This is a Long Post). Social Media ReInvention Community Members know of the tremendous respect I hold for Mitch Joel. His books and art have tremendous influence on my marketing strategy and creative perspective.
CTRL ALT Delete Is a Gift on 21st Century Career Leadership and Opportunity Management. Mitch frames and delivers his compelling arguments in two (2) sections:
1. Reboot: Business - The 5 Massive Movements
2. Reboot: You - The 7 Triggers
Yes, his book describes corporate and marketing strategy opportunities impacting organizations (big or small). Yes, his book contains important personal branding / personal reputation implications.
But, all twelve (12) principles focus on individually identifying and framing opportunity (and having the collective or individual courage to pursue it).
We All Have the Opportunity to Differentiate Ourselves and Lead. CTRL ALT Delete's resounding themes are to:
- Take the Initiative
- Take Intelligent Risks (i.e., Embrace the Squiggle)
- Differentiate Yourself (because the opportunities are highest in THIS era)
That's why our futures depend upon studying and practicing CTRL ALT Delete's teachings. Others with vaster audiences and authority than mine share that opinion.
Invest in Yourself and Buy CTRL ALT Delete. Here are four (4) important questions Mitch Joel asks about building competitive advantages to reboot our organizations and individual careers:
How Are We Building Direct Relationships with Our Customers, Fans, and Connections?
Creating a Unique Competitive Advantage. Direct relationships as a competitive advantage (versus price) is best described by these CTRL ALT Delete quotes (page 11) on how Apple executes its retail strategy:
The solution for Apple was to create a "cradle to the grave" business model where the customer is--at every touch point--directly speaking with Apple's brand. A true, direct relationship--in every sense of the word. Apple could not win on price (their computers and other devices are usually much more expensive than their competition's), so they had to win by being there for the consumer and by making these consumers a part of a more complete brand ecosystem.
At the time that Apple first launched retail stores in 2001, the common practices among retailers was to cram each nook and cranny of space with merchandise to maximize the sales per square foot. Sadly most retailers (and businesses) still hold on to the traditional thinking. For Apple, it was less about every square foot of retail space and much more about evey square inch of the direct relationship. Apple didn't start in the retail business to compete with other consumer electronics stores; they went into retail for the direct relationship with their customers. Apple's attitude was: "Why give that power to Best Buy or anyone else?"
Apple Hired Angela Ahrendts Because of Her Ability to Build and Nurture Direct Consumer Relationships. Angela Ahrendts hiring as Senior Vice President of Retail is Apple's signal to re-engage its devoted following. Her retail philosophy is grounded on the ability to feel, empathize, and become a brilliant brand ambassador. That's the foundation for direct and strong consumer relationships (from Austin Carr's October 15, 2013 Fast Company article):
"My dad used to always to say that he could teach anything but he couldn't teach how to feel. That's the hardest part when you have 11,000 people: How do you teach them how we feel?"
"The thing is, I don't want to be sold when I walk into a store to be welcomed. The job is to be a brilliant brand ambasador. Everyone is welcome. Don't be judgmental whatsoever."
"Don't sell! NO! Because that is a turnoff."
Converse Directly With Your Connections and Followers. Don't just tweet out links and "like" stuff. Mitch's observations about building direct relationships highly applies to our personal social network connections. For example, participating in Twitter by sharing links your followers find helpful is a starting point for establishing authority and reputation.
But, if you want to "own and nurture" a long-term direct relationship, you have to directly converse with your followers. Mitch talks in depth about this concept throughout the book. These types of direct conversations are powerful and solidify lifelong loyalty and relationships:
How are You Building Competitive Advantage in a One-Screen World?
- In 1999: 38 million people had broadband Internet. Today: 1.2 billion have on their mobile phones.
- Facebook has half of its nearly 150 million daily visits from mobile.
- More people have a mobile subsciption than access to safe drinking water and electricity in our world today.
- 200+ million tablets will be sold in 2013.
- 23.1% of U.S. internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
Real-World Case Example: Apple Acquires Topsy. The rationale for the Apple-Topsy acquisition comes straight from this section in CTRL ALT Delete: The One Screen World - The Shift From Four Screens Down to One (pages 90 -109).
The entire chapter describes how consumers operate in a mobile, one-screen world. The only screen consumers care about is "the one currently staring them in the face."
Mitch further makes a compelling argument: The most important consumer screen resides on our smartphones.
Twitter Is Mobile, Untethered, and One-Screen Savvy. It's a social media platform focused on telling Apple WHAT We're Thinking WHEN We're Thinking AND WHERE We're Thinking It. This November 2013 Bloomberg-Businessweek article describes how the Twitter API, its meta data, and tweets provide rich consumer data.
Here are Mitch's thoughts on Twitter and the one-screen world (from page 99 of CTRL ALT Delete):
"Twitter's metoric rise and continued success have less to do with how many followers Lady Gaga has and much more to do with the fact that it was the first-ever online social network that worked better on mobile than it does on the Web. The sheer simplicity of those 140 characters of tweets makes it that much more workable and easy for consumers. Twitter's focus (from day one) was on connecting people as they were on the go. To this day, everything that Twitter does --- from acquisitions to business strategy --- is driven by a one-screen-world philosophy."
Consumers, Followers, and Connections Expect and Demand Immediate, Real-Time Responsiveness. Communicating and responding with our respective audiences with real-time immediacy is now a competitive differentiator (in both our professional and private lives). According to the eMarketer article: Key Trends for 2014: Always On Means Always Social, mobile, social networking via our smartphones and tablets will continue driving our "real-time" communications:
How are We Differentiating Ourselves as Critical Thinkers?
A Personal Blog = Personal Competitive Advantage. The Internet affords anyone with a laptop and broadband access an opportunity to stand out. But, we often allow ourselves to be defined by our current job titles and bullet points on our resumes. That's a mistake.
Mitch thinks strategically and critically. In a social media age, when most tweets or Facebook status updates provide diminishing returns on our attention, the opportunity to differentiate ourselves as entrepreneurial, credible, forward-looking strategic, critical thinkers has never been higher.
Writing a personal blog allows you to maintain an identity separate from your employer (i.e., it's a portable asset). Dorie Clark, in her great book, Reinventing You, defines a personal blog as valuable, intellectual property showcasing individual expertise by:
1. Showing how you think
2. Demonstrating your individual creativity
3. Making it easy for a potential employer / great connection to find you (e.g., SEO benefits)
4. Giving you practice in an important and portable business skill set -- writing
5. Proving you're technology and Internet savvy
6. Informing people first-hand how you're driven to learn new skills
Isn't Blogging Supposed to be Dead? Hardly. As Mitch points out in the section, "Your Life in Startup Mode," a personal blog describes important aspects about ourselves that a resume fails to represent:
(page 227) "You're writing to exercise your critical thinking skills."
(page 225) "But for the purpose of this book, I'll define a blog as an online journal of your work. The spirit of the blog is to create a living and breathing resume and portfolio of how you think and work."
(page 224) "I still believe that a blog is a canvas that allows you to think, share, and connect with an audience."
(page 228) "Because if you care enough to blog, it means that you have something to say. If you have something to say and you're blogging it, it means that you want to share and connect. Ultimately, the world needs more people like that."
Seth Godin and Tom Peters on Why We Should Blog. This classic video from two great marketing teachers on why blogging matters deserves viewing:
What is the Legacy and the Value You are Ultimately Delivering and Leaving?
Pages 190 and 193 from The Marketing of You explain the ultimate goal for connecting (online or face-to-face):
(page 190) "There's nothing wrong with asking for help, but you will always see a more positive result if you start by delivering value first---by being valuable to others before asking them for favors. Give abundantly and be helpful."
(page 193) "True influence comes from connecting to individuals, nurturing those relationships, adding real value to other people's lives, and doing anything and everything to serve them, so that when the time comes for you to make a request, there is someone there to lend a hand. Worry less about how many people you are connected to, and worry a whole lot more about who you are connected to---who they are and what you are doing to value and honor them (in their spaces)."
That sounds like a great philosophy towards achieving professional and personal fulfillment.
Tony Faustino is a marketing and corporate strategist. He writes about how The Internet reinvents marketing strategy for organizations and individuals in his marketing strategy blog, Social Media ReInvention. Follow his tweets @tonyfaustino or circle him on Google+.