Influencers Move the Needle

There are tons of blog posts and articles about influencers today. Most are in regard to those on social media who have large audiences. I want to divide this group into two categories. There are those who have a large following, but do little to monetize that audience. Then, there are the other half who do monetize their audience. They may make their money via brand promotions or sales. An example of this type would be a person who posts on Snapchat and is paid by a major brand to incorporate their brand into their story. The former, does not have brand deals, and are generally not receiving any payment or making money with their own products, people like Gary Vaynerchuk fall in this category.
What both groups have in common is the ability to move the needle. An influencer, by definition, "the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others." There are many who argue that the number of followers doesn't matter. To a point they are correct. If you have a million followers and no one cares what you say, there is a problem.
The thing is that real influencers have influence. You may not like that, like the anti-vaxxer doctor that thousands believe is a god, though he is responsible for bringing back diseases which had been eradicated in the United States. On the flip side, people like Taylor Swift influences people to be kind and to buy music instead of stealing it.
Influencers get people to take an action, whether it is to watch a snapchat, read and comment on social media content, and for many that can mean influencing people to buy brand X instead of brand Y.
We have been used to celebrities and politicians have this type of "power," but with the rise of Internet "fame," the playing field has been leveled, so that any average Joe with a good idea can produce content which people want to see or read.

There are many claiming to have influence, but the ROI tells the truth. If people don't act on their suggestions, then odds are they are just noise makers.

The question you have to ask yourself is do you move the needle or just yap into the air?
American Psychological Association (APA):

influencer. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved March 03, 2015, from website:

Dear Boss, Fear is Not Respect

There is a conversation I overhear way too often. It goes like this:
Person: “You better do this or A will be angry.”
Other person: “Oh, I will just explain blah, blah.”
Person: “You know how she/he is. You know what will happen if you do/don’t do this.”
It took me hearing this conversation a few times to get that people were being trained to fear the person in authority. I couldn’t help but think, “Why does that person need to be feared instead of respected?”

We have all had our share of bosses, co-workers, and maybe even family members, who everyone jumped at just the mention of their name. People adjusted their behavior and even speaking level based on the mood of this person. People would scatter as they came into the room just to be out of the path of their anger.

It reminds me of the 1988 movie, ‘Big Business,’ where the boss, Sadie Shelton, has people so afraid of her that the people in the office call each other when she arrives at the building. As she makes her way through the office people dive into closets as she unleashes her venom on those in her view.

Bruno Bettelheim says, “Punishment may make us obey the orders we are given, but at best it will only teach an obedience to authority, not a self-control which enhances our self-respect.” It seems that some people do not understand that respect and obedience through fear are not the same thing.

Steve Jobs, by his own admission, was not the nicest guy in Silicon Valley to work for before he was fired by the company he founded. When he went back some 14 years later, there was a different man at the helm. He was still ambitious and driven, but the angry boss was gone.
We have to make sure as leaders that we are respecting people and treating them properly. When people are treated right, they will give back the respect they have been given.

The other way to put it is, if you think that employee is going to keep all that anger and resentment they receive to themselves, you are in for a rude awakening. Most likely, it is being pushed onto your customers.

Don't Be Like The Adobe PR Team

PR has a bad rep for the most part, and sadly most of it is justified. In my experience with the Adobe PR team, I waited an hour for them to send an email declining my press pass. If I had not been onsite at the time, and already been to the keynote, I would say no harm, no foul, but that is not the case.

In this case, the woman took my papers and told me it would take five minutes. She then worked with at least 40 other people as she waited for this magical answer to appear from on high.
Well, it turns out her only way to communicate with the PR person, Alex Moriconi was via text. She literally had to take a photo of my assignment letter to send it him or her. My thought was WTF???

So it ticks me off that after an hour, he or she finally sent a denial. I find that rather inefficient and unjustifiable on any level. Empower the people at the desk or have people attempt to register at the press room.

I don't mind they did it by text. I mind that they wasted an hour of my time when it could have been done in less than 10 minutes. I mind that there is no reason given for it, and I really mind that they then have the nerve to insult you and say you can pay $595 to see some displays and go to some parties. REALLY?

The job of the public relations department is to make the company they represent look good in the public eye. Fortunately, I like Adobe, so I will overlook this blot on their image. You don't make people wait an hour to tell them "no, but if you pay us, yes."

Be mindful of the people you want to write good things about your product or service. Don't be like the Adobe PR team.

6 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Business

Everyday someone hangs out their shingle declaring they are in business. It is a noble idea, a little exciting, and some admit they enter with a little too much optimism and not enough planning. Many have been sold on the idea that if they want to be wealthy they have to start their own business or invest in real estate. But, do some enter business without really thinking and planning it out? Yes.
Businesses require planning or a person will jump from idea or strategy to another with little results to show for it in the end. It is one thing to sell stuff on the side on eBay, but the real money makers have a plan to carry out their eBay business.
What are some things that a person starting a business needs to plan?
1. What is the item for sale? Is it a service or product?
2. Who wants that item? Is it for businesses or consumers? In other words, who is the target audience?
3. What is the price point? How much does it cost to buy?
4. How will it get to the buyer? Is it digital, a hard item, or in-person product?
5. How will buyers know the item exists? What kind of marketing and promotion will be done, or is it all word of mouth or referrals?
6. Is the business legal with all proper licensing, taxes, etc., done?
Why are people so confused or turned around when starting a business? One of the problems some businesses owners encounter on social media sites is the temptation to drop their strategies for those of self-appointed gurus; although some admit to feeling overwhelmed with all "choices" they seem to have.
This group tends to ditch easy small ticket items to become "coaches," or run high ticket programs, but have no real plan in place to deal with slow times or growth. Others fall for the trap of the 4 hour work week illusion. This is the idea that someone can become independently wealthy just working 4 hours per week on their business. The problem is this is pretty much a myth.
Finally, some new business owners listen to people who are wannabes instead of listening to the successful. It stands to reason that if a person wants to know what it is like in Hawaii, they should ask someone who has been there, not the person who just looked at a picture, yet many solo business owners fall for the big talkers instead of the people with proven results.
It may also be an ego thing at work in not listening to those who have done it, but it is at the costs of some solo business owners spending a lot of time chasing rabbits instead of collecting money from paying customers.

Five Errors to Avoid in Business According to the Apprentice

Business mistakes, The Apprentice
I am sort of aficionado when it comes to the show The Apprentice. I have watched the show from every English speaking Country, and have learned quite a bit from the show. Some of the errors of candidates, regardless of the Country, seem to be universal. Could it be that those same mistakes make it into real business, which is why so many fail? The mistakes are:

  •   Ignoring Market Research: Without a doubt this is the one that seems to be more about ego than the idea that the market is wrong. Let me give you two examples. One, there was a task to make a home exercise piece of equipment. The market research told the losing team that it had to be simple and easy to use. What did they make? A black box with exercise hands. It was ugly and complicated. One of the places they pitched said the best thing about the team’s pitch was that they took the box with them when they left. Ouch. The second was to build an item for the home. The losing team went against the research and built what they referred to as a splash wall to keep water from getting out of the tub when the child played. The better idea they had was for a pillow in the bathtub.

  • Not controlling the budget: Just because you have money does not mean you have to spend it all in one place. You have to know and justify what you are spending money on.  In the task the candidates were required to set up a cleaning service for the day. The caveat was that all the equipment they put in their van came out of their $300 budget. The losing team spent almost all of their money, and seemed to be happy by their decision. The other team spent only half, and actually undersold the losing the losing team, but because the losing team let their budget get away from them, they ended up in the boardroom for one of them to be fired.

  •    Being nasty is not a skill: Several candidates on season five of The Apprentice UK were nasty, mean spirited, and way too arrogant. They were nasty to each other, customers, places they were pitching, and one was even nasty to one of the people who follows the team. Let me tell you this was not the thing to be, they received a dressing down from Lord Sugar they won’t soon forget. The nastiness even caused some of them to purposely sabotage their team’s chances of winning just to try to get someone they didn’t like out of the competition. It didn’t work.

  •      Know your products: There are two tasks with two different skills needed. One, they send the candidates to buy products from a list at the cheapest price. The other was selling products they had for their proper value. In the first one, there are always items they have zero clue what they are, so they waste lots of time trying to find them, and tend to overspend. In the other task, they are supposed to find the value of the product and then sell it for that price or more. In both cases, teams waste lots of time on the things which don’t matter, ignore sound advice, and forget what they were told to do in the briefing. In the valuation tasks, both teams lost money just by not doing research.

  •       Practice your pitch: This show has lots of people with egos and they like to show off, so they will put the wrong person in to pitch. The main example I can think of involved a mobile app. The person who should have done the speech, does speeches to youth as her job. The one who did the pitch was a project manager who had zero clue of this market, and sounded like she was pitching to a corporate board. She even failed to tell them how to download the product.

Although these candidates just suffered being fired by one of The Apprentice hosts, business owners could suffer consequences which could lead to their business being unprofitable or closed, so take heed.

Google Plus is Not an Option

I have a friend who hates Google+. There's no real reason for this animosity, but she just hates it. My guess is because it takes time to develop relationships on it. It's not like Twitter where you can throw out some tweets on a popular Tweet and someone will possibly start a chat with you. Nope, Google+ takes work, but the spoils go to those who are willing to do the work. As you know, every platform has an audience and serves a particular purpose. Twitter used to be if you wanted to meet people, then you could send them a tweet, but with the rise of so called social media experts, the platform has changed to a one sided broadcast. The only way to have a conversation is to be on a hashtag chat or talk about a trending topic. Sorry, but that is the reality. Facebook is really for people you know, and it is moving towards a pay to have your post seen platform due to all the brands, marketers and moms. Again, just another reality. Google plus is sort of what you want it to be. If you want success, you will have to: *Have people in your circles that are active on the platform, and not just a bunch of people autoposting. *Find people around a hobby/idea (example, photography is a HUGE group) *Participate in some Hangouts *Comment on stuff that interest you. The comment system is sort of a chat the way many use it. *Jump In Using it for your business is a no brainer. You can use the Hangouts (video conference with up to 9 people) to share your expertise, interview people, cook, sing, whatever. If you want to have some ROI for your time on Google+ then consider becoming an instructor in the Helpout section. You set the price, the time limit, and the topic. Google gets 20 percent, but small price to pay since it is their audience that is coming to you. Get in there and really get involved. Don't listen to people (journalist) who don't even use the platform. That's like asking a life long vegan how a steak tastes. They have no idea.

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