Tag Archives: Twitter

Captains and floozies

On Monday, I wrote in the weekly newsbrief about how we can find talent on our teams in the unlikeliest places.  How project leaders who discover and promote talent can trust them to take work to innovative places.

These project leaders generally have the foresight, strength and confidence that equip them to let those they lead to excel — to enter and capture the spotlight — to extend the project message in other interesting, often unplanned ways.  The story of Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi serves as the case study.  The man was selected without any acting experience by a director who taught him as well as hired him and knew a good line when he heard it.  The ad-lib heard around the world is showing all of us, not just Hollywood, how to be delighted by the unexpected.  Not threatened by it.

By Tuesday evening, I was enduring the remarks of a so-called expert in talent who fretted that “token floozies” in companies like Twitter are not truly women of the tech workforce.  Who then refused to explain what he meant.  For two days now.

You see, he expects only to pontificate.  To not answer questions unless they are posed in a way that flatters his ego and sustains his superiority, both in the asking and the answering.  Should this man be challenged, watch out.  He cites Duke University, Stanford University, Singularity University, WASHINGTON POST, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and startup Trove as the stars in his CV, and so far, they see no need to call for an explanation, either.  Rumor has it he has a book coming out about how women are leaving tech employers in droves.

If tech women are leaving anywhere in droves, it’s for two reasons.  First, for being expected to behave, code and program in the manner of the teen tech stars who have captivated Silicon Valley for the first decade of this century.  Second, women leave because guys like this appoint themselves gurus of all things female and feminine without working — hard — with the founders and teams who are actually building companies, products, services and customer lists.  There is not a conspiracy to prevent women from succeeding.  But there is money to be made selling books that tell us there is.

Guys like this think the only good women are the ones who have multiple degrees in engineering related disciplines.  Guys like this think that women who write stories or build customer communities are not really women of tech.  Guys like this believe Minimum Viable Products spring forth unaided from engineers who need marketing, accounting, sales and legal experts only to serve them, not advise them or stand beside them as founders.

At least this is what I assume.  Because in the absence of a real clarification from Mr-Women-in-the-Tech-Workforce, I can only conclude he’s like a few, not the majority, of the guys I’ve encountered in my decades of experience:  suspicious of anyone in heels, assumptive that mascara and brains do not go together, and convinced he knows better than anyone else, including women, what they need and want from a career.  He’s a misogynist.  And the only woman he can begin to trust is one with a pure engineering pedigree.

Well, even the women with those kinds of pedigrees don’t tend to believe that.  In fact, one of the great things about women in the workforce is that we understand the importance of being open to the possibilities, wherever they emerge and from whatever corner.  I’d rather see this guy write about that than feather his own nest with nasty diatribes against the producers — like Twitter, Facebook and Google — who are hiring women and creating open opportunities based on merit, not gender.

Whether the talent was once a limousine driver or is a woman with a BA, we have to celebrate the people who are inviting them to the talent pool.  And we have to celebrate the talent.  Because even the business-side floozies deserve their moment in the sun when they engage users and customers in technological marvels.

By the way.  First rule of PR:  acknowledge your own missteps.  Second:  assume the questioner is sincere and respond with clarification, even if you think it’s a “mindless rant” [his words, not mine].  That’s the only way you get in front of your own mistake.  Own it and explain it or you’ll never move beyond it.

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Beyond bookmarking: Sharing five articles I Stumbled, Google-read and stored

One of the best aspects of living life digitally is being able to share what I read in a millisecond.  I remember copying, faxing and mailing articles to clients.  Then I remember emailing them.  The tools we have now are an article clipper's dream.

Today, I use StumbleUpon and Google Reader both to catalog my favorites and to share them with followers on those sites.  I'm starting to do more on Facebook and LinkedIn as well, mainly through a standing link from my Twitter feed to those networks.  My goal is to wean myself off saving things to my computer.

As part of this process, I'm attempting to share five articles, saved and shared to my various networks, here on the blog every week, too.  So here they are.

  1. The obituary of Edward Stobart in The Economist.
  2. How to hold attention, by the brilliant John Hagel, with John Seely Brown, on Harvard Business Review.
  3. Figuring out where your buyers are, from the blog by Content Marketing Institute.
  4. The backlash against the academic Mafia [my phrase!], in The Atlantic.
  5. Mitch Wagner's take on Don Tapscott's view of capitalism, on The CMO Site.

How to be yourself in 2010

This morning brings massive coverage of the launch of Path, an iPhone app that gives you social networking capability with your fifty closest friends.  Some writers are calling it the anti-social network, but Path is branding itself as a personal network.

The most intriguing line to me, though, comes from the Path's own blog post.

Because your personal network is limited to your 50 closest friends and family, you can always trust that you can post any moment, no matter how personal. Path is a place where you can be yourself.

A place where you can be yourself.

Maybe this means being able to share photographs of yourself in a hot tub on Path so you can refrain from doing so on Facebook, where potential employers might see you.  From what I understand, this is a major concern today.  Being able to share photos of yourself in full bacchanalian vigor without fear of reprisal or unemployment.  So I guess it might be a good thing that we now have a more contained space for doing that.

But.

I want to be the same person on Twitter that I am on LinkedIn that I am in my neighborhood that I am when working.  I might express myself a bit differently in each venue, but essentially, I'm me.  I think that should be the goal.

How to do that — to be one self online, in person, on the job and on the town?

  1. Practice the fine art of holding back.  Do you really have to share that photo or that thought?  Consider whether you are adding to a conversation or merely grandstanding.
  2. Share the thoughts and the pictures that portray the better side of yourself.  If you must share something negative or questionable, make sure it winds up making a positive point.  And watch out for sharing too much information, anywhere.
  3. Understand that you will, in all likelihood, mess up.  Be ready to acknowledge that and move on to the next opportunity.  And do the same for others.
  4. Listen and engage.  Think about what you are reading or seeing and how it might expand your thinking or your understanding of a situation.  Ask questions and converse.  This is one of the best things about online networks — expanding our circles, expanding our perspectives.
  5. Be consistent.  There are people with whom you don't have to hold back — but you should always be the same person.  Otherwise, you'll drive yourself crazy.

 

Your tax dollars at work — or not: Michigan builds a social network

In a really bad move, the state of Michigan decided to build a standalone social network for high school students making the transition to college.

Governments — and corporations — should really think twice about creating mini-bureaucracies not just because of the cost and waste but the effort required to attract people inorganically from where they are.  Networks like Facebook [born in the university setting!] and Twitter grew by word-of-mouth, not fiat.  A word to the wise.

More on the how Facebook and Twitter are different — and how to use them together

In this interesting comparison using basketball as the analogy, we see how to use Twitter and Facebook for different branding purposes.  Also intriguing:  keeping your customer within your "walls" on Facebook instead of sending them home to your website. From VentureBeat's Digital Beat column.

The difference between Twitter and Facebook

Lately I've spent a lot of time describing the difference between the two social mammoths, Twitter and Facebook.  Erin Ryan offers a fresh take when she says Twitter is the drive-through and Facebook is the sit-down restaurant.  A great comparison.  Of course, I like to say that Twitter is for the speechwriter while Facebook is for the PowerPoint junkie. 

About That Twitter: February 24 2010

Lots of folks weighed in today on the subject of how Twitter can be profitable and how to assess its progress.  Here are three of them.