Lead like you got nothing to lose

LizJoshBack in the winter of 2009 I experienced one of the highest points of my life followed a week later by one of the lowest. The high point was when I married my favorite person in the world, my beautiful wife. We celebrated our honeymoon in sunny Mexico and then headed back to another cold winter in the Sierra’s. The honeymoon really ended when I walked into work the following Monday to find out that I had been laid off due to the recession.

The next six months were some of the most humbling of my life as I searched unsuccessfully for a job. All the while my new wife supported our small family. I can safely say she did not marry me for my money, because I didn’t have any for the first few years. Continue reading

How to use social media to communicate your brand


As you are working on taking your new product to market, you are looking around and quickly realizing that social media is the most effective way to get the word out. You understand that in order to build a rich network of potential brand ambassadors and customers, you have to start by helping them. So you have been scouring the internet high and low and finding relevant content to share with your network on social media. Your plan is to avoid old school marketing techniques and instead you are going to focus on building relationships with actual people.

So now what?

As you begin sharing great content with others on social media, be sure that it is related to the brand image you are trying to create for your product. By aligning yourself with the very best in your community, you are communicating what your brand is. Continue reading

How can social media help you sell your product?

As product champions begin to leverage social media to communicate their brands, they must first understand the entire community related to their product. Though this community does include the potential consumers of the product or service, the range of the community goes well beyond just the customer. It includes vendors, competitors, key stake holders, and a sea of people who live on the fringes of the discussion but still participate from time to time. Our goal as social media marketers should be to engage the entire community and not just potential customers. Because if we do, we can potentially create brand ambassadors who will represent our products for us.

So how exactly do we get these people to trust us once we find them?

helping-others-post-it-noteIt’s simple. You help them.

That’s the big secret of social media marketing. Once you find a relevant group of potential customers and brand ambassadors, you figure out ways to help them and make a positive impact on them. In this article we are going to look at two ways to use social media to help the people in your community. Continue reading

Why you need a social media marketing strategy for your product

At the start of this year I was a social media Grinch. My Facebook account had been shut down for over a year, I had never used Twitter, and my LinkedIn page was bare bones. What’s worse was that I was social media taker. I was actively consuming online content every day and not giving back.

How I become a social media advocate

social-media-marketingA lot can change in three months. What changed for me was taking a personal branding class as part of my MBA program. My wife’s friend recommended the class. She had taken it a few years earlier and said it not only landed her a job, but changed her life. So I took the class and I am here to say that my entire perspective has shifted on how business can be done in the age of social media. Continue reading

Should you get your MBA, or are degrees outdated?

Lately I have been spending time in twitter chats centered on the topic of millennials. Most of the participants are my generational peers (i.e. millennials). One of the subjects that comes up a lot is that college degrees are overrated in today’s day and age. Each time someone makes that point I have a small panic attack. Why? Because I have spent a good portion of my adult life in a classroom. Continue reading

Why failure is an option

It was another beautiful day in the Sierra’s. Not a cloud in the sky and the surrounding mountains were perfectly reflected in the glassy surface of the lake resting in the valley below. The sounds of tourists exploring the mountains echoed off the surrounding granite walls. They sounded happy and excited, completely unaware of the epic battle I was currently engaging in with one particular cliff on that mountainside.

34884_425727596120_4950067_nI was forty feet above the ground and desperately trying to control my breathing so my leg would stop shaking (a phenomenon rock climber’s call sewing machine). The tips of my fingers were delicately hanging onto two small edges protruding from the face of the cliff. Every second I refused to continue on increased the burning sensation in my forearms from the lactic acid. Continue reading

The need for start-ups to be agile

header-agile-business-guy-jumpingAsk anyone who has ever been involved in a start-up, there is no such thing as titles, roles, or departments. There is work to be done and everyone on the team gets that work done. It does not matter what your business card says you do, it matters what needs to be done to get that product to market.

This has been my story for the last four and a half years. Continue reading

Leaders: don’t aspire to be lazy

“It gets easier the closer to the top you get”

LazyI have heard many different variations of this perspective over the years. I have heard peers express their longing to be the CEO so they can make lots of money and not have to work hard. I have heard leaders joke about the hard day they just put in at the golf course. I have heard people of all socioeconomic levels make assumptions about a leader’s lack of work ethic, simply because they are a leader.

I find every one of these perspectives to be rather frustrating. Continue reading

Is it more important how you make the burger, or what you make it with?

Burger Me BurgersI have recently been thinking about the importance of having a high quality product. I understand that different products have different target markets. I also understand that in some instances, the market sector you are targeting dictates the price point. This in turn influences the quality of the product.  As a product manager I would rather sell a high priced (i.e. high quality) product than the opposite, but I’ll go ahead and save that topic for another blog.
Continue reading

All companies should be centered around innovation

innovationEvery company that has ever existed started with someone who had an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. Even if they did not come up with the original idea or were the first ones to market. Starting a competing venture is essentially saying you think you can do it better, which is an example of an innovative spirit.

The problem is that many companies lose their way. They innovate and revolutionize their way to success. The champagne starts flowing and the victory parties are thrown. Then the fear sets in. The fear of losing what has been created, obtained, and achieved. This puts the leadership team in a defensive position. So instead of following the formula that got them there (throwing caution to the wind and risking it all), they hedge their bets and play it safe. They lose that entrepreneurial / innovative spirit that brought them the original success. Continue reading