Monday, October 31, 2011
Most advice about job seeking is oriented around big companies. The notion of a standard resume, of mass mailings, of dealing with the HR department--even the idea of interviews--is all built around the Fortune 500.
Alas, the Fortune 500 has been responsible for a net loss in jobs over the last twenty years. All the growth (and your best chance to get hired) is from companies you’ve probably never heard of. And when the hirer is also the owner, the rules are very different.
1. Learn to sell. Everyone has sold something, some time, even if it’s just selling your mom on the need for a nap when you were three years old. A lot of people have decided that they don’t want to sell, can’t sell, won’t sell, but those same people need to understand that they’re probably not going to get a job doing anything but selling.
Small businesses always need people who can sell, because selling pays for itself. It’s not an expense, it’s a profit center.
2. Learn to write. Writing is a form of selling, one step removed. There’s more writing in business today than ever before, and if you can become a persuasive copywriter, you’re practically a salesperson, and even better, your work scales.
3. Learn to produce extraordinary video and multimedia. This is just like writing, but for people who don’t like to read. Even better, be sure to mix this skill with significant tech skills. Yes, you can learn to code. The fact that you don't feel like it is one reason it's a scarce skill.
Now that you’ve mastered these skills (all of which take time and guts but no money), understand the next thing about small businesses--they aren’t hiring to fill a slot. Unlike a big company with an org chart and pay levels, the very small business is an organism, not a grid. The owner is far more likely to bring in a freelancer or someone working on spec than she is to go run a classified help wanted ad.
And many small businesses are extremely bad at taking initiative that feels like risk. They’d rather fill orders than take a chance and go out prospecting for a person who represents a risk. And that’s your opportunity.
When you show up and offer to go prospecting on spec, offer to contribute a website or a sales letter or some sales calls--with no money on the table--many small business people will take you up on it, particularly if they are cash-strapped, profit-oriented and know you by reputation. (Please don't overlook that last one).
Hint: don't merely show up and expect a yes. It's something you earn over time...
The rest is easy. Once you demonstrate that you contribute far more than you cost, now it's merely a matter of figuring out a payment schedule.
This is probably far more uncertainty and personal branding than most job seekers are comfortable with. Which is precisely why it works.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
The latest Studio Ghibli animated feature to make it to America, The Secret World of Arrietty has the same beautiful and elegant craftsmanship expected of all their films, even though this one was written and supervised — but not actually directed — by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki.
It won’t be out in U.S. theaters until February 17, but I had the chance to see the version dubbed for American audiences a short time ago, and I loved it. The Secret World of Arrietty has all the polish of a classic Miyazaki film, but is closer in plot and characterization to classic American animated films, so may be more accessible to U.S. audiences than most Japanese animated films. Based — somewhat loosely — as it is on Mary Norton’s classic Borrowers children’s novels, the film may in fact seem somewhat familiar to American kids. See the trailer below.
I very much hope it will succeed, as it has the potential to become a classic of the genre. The dubbed American voices of Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, and Carol Burnett (among others) fade seamlessly into the film as though it had been made with them in mind.
The only thing I don’t love about the film is its title, which I’m afraid may not resonate with American audiences because of the unfamiliar name “Arrietty” (which is taken from the Borrowers, but still isn’t exactly a commonly-heard name). But it has the weight of Disney’s marketing behind it, so let’s hope it finds the audience it deserves.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
(stolen from FeverBee)
Information Needs and Why Content-Driven Community Strategies Are Flawed:
Two weeks ago, I met with an organization looking to build a community for entrepreneurs.
Their plan was to create great content to attract people to visit the site and then include forums and other community elements. Voila, a community!
Can you spot the problems here?
First, content is ridiculously competitive and people have a limited amount of time. There is far too much content on almost every topic on the internet. It's difficult to be the best (expensive and time-consuming too). Building up a larger audience to create a community rarely works.
Second, content attracts people looking to satisfy their information needs. Converting these information-seekers to community members isn't as simple as adding community elements. There is no direct connection between reading content and participating in a community. Just think how much content you read every day and how much you talk about.
What if you forgot about content for a moment and focused your efforts solely upon the community? What if you initiated interesting discussions and invited people to participate? What if you promoted events and activities that were taking place in the community? What if you created a strong and unique community culture?
It's far easier to create a unique community than unique content. In fact, many of the most successful communities I've seen are simple forums or mailing groups with no centrally-produced content at all.
Free information doesn't have to be the pull to your community. I suspect participating with some of the most passionate, knowledgeable, friendly, funny or active people in your sector is a pretty big draw too. It's better to attract people to a community that want to participate in a community.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
When is it okay to start worrying?:
A friend was waiting to hear about the results of a job interview. He hadn't heard in a while and he asked me, "how long before I should start worrying?"
Of course, the answer is, "you should never start worrying."
Worrying is not a useful output. Worrying doesn't change outcomes. Worrying ruins your day. Worrying distracts you from the work at hand. You may have fooled yourself into thinking that it's useful or unavoidable, but it's not. Now you've got one more thing to worry about.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Danish researchers who studied more than 350,000 people didn’t find a difference in cancer rates between those who had used a cell phone for about 10 years and those who had not, the report said.
Fears of a connection have continued even though cancer rates haven’t increased after cell phones debuted.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
ASUS -- next generation Transformer will be announced Nov 9, ICS on existing hardware this year:
Johnny Shih, chairman at ASUS, had a few things to say of interest to Android fans about the popular ASUS Transformer tablets at the AsiaD conference in Hong Kong this morning. When asked about the next generation Transformer (check out the teaser video here), Shih said to expect the formal announcement on November 9, and tonight was a sneak peek of what he dubbed the "Transformer Prime". He went on to mention the quad-core NVIDIA chipset, a 10-inch display, USB and mini-HDMI ports, SD card slot, and the Transformer Prime's 8.3mm thickness. He also let the cat out of the bag for the original Transformer and any Ice Cream Sandwich plans, when asked if ASUS would have it by the end of the year he replied "Maybe earlier than that". Finally, he talked about the Padfone -- a combination tablet and phone that should come around early next year after carrier testing. That's all great news, let's hope it works out that way. In the meantime, we're all waiting patiently for a couple weeks until the Transformer 2, err Prime, gets official.
Source: All Things D
Sprint announces the Motorola Admiral, coming Oct. 23 for 99:
Sprint has finally announced the Android-based Motorola Admiral, one of its new Direct Connect phones. It'll be available in stores Oct. 23 for $99 on contract and after $50 rebate, and in all Sprint channels on Nov. 13.The mil-spec phone (meaning you'll have to work hard to break the thing) features a 3.1-inch VGA touchscreen, 1.2GHz processor and Android 2.3, with a front-facing QWERTY keyboard. Other specs include:
- 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, flash and 4x zoom
- 3G Mobile Hotspot capability supporting up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously
- 802.11 b/g/n
- 4GB internal memory, plus microSD card
- Sprint Direct Connect
- Group Connect
Maybe you've heard about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan for America: 9% sales tax, 9% income tax, and 9% corporate tax, and wondered how it would play out in the real world. Here's a chart that illustrates the answer neatly (click for full, farcically long-ass version): the poor will pay a little more (or a lot more, relative to their income), and the rich will pay a lot less, and the very rich will pay so much less that it takes 9403 vertical pixels to express how much they'll save.