Category: Crap I Think About

How To Measure Your Personal Branding Efforts On LinkedIn

If you know me personally, you know my crush on all things LinkedIn continues to grow. I wanted to take a moment to point out an area of their site I think is too often overlooked.

Go to your profile page on LinkedIn and scroll down a click or two. On the right, you’ll find a list of people and pictures that people also viewed. Like it or not, this is the group of people most like you in your personal / business / digital space.

What do you see? Are you impressed by who is there? Are they a bunch of strangers? Is this an accurate reflection of the image you want to convey?

With the help of an awesome AMA Iowa talk I heard from Sima Dahl, I’ve given my LinkedIn profile a major make-over during the last two weeks. The biggest take-away from that event was to be purposeful with your title as it truly is a reflection of not only who you are, but who you aspire to be. Here’s what I came up with:

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 11.44.52 AM

For the purposes of this post, (and since I can’t see your profile page through your own eyes) I’ll use what I saw the last time I logged in for the “People Also Viewed” section.

Josh_Fleming_LinkedIn_People_Also_Viewed

I’m personally very impressed with this list.  Here’s why…

I don’t know Korrine, but she is in the same digital marketing space I’m in and also works for an ad agency that manages a lot of agriculture business – which I do as well.

Nathan and I have known each other for a few years, and he’s a huge thought leader for social media. I’m into that.

I haven’t met Tony, but he took over for the last job I had.

ATC (That’s Angela Ten Clay) makes it rain for AMA Iowa and she’ll be my President-Elect in July. A true connecter and networker.

My friend says she has a brain crush on Ben Milne. The Dwolla story has had plenty of press, but to know Ben, is to know a guy with big ideas and the drive to pull them off. I’m down with that.

Claire and Tom are both at Lessing-Flynn (where I work), and this lets me know that if people are looking at me, they are also looking at Lessing-Flynn in general. And that PR efforts announcing Claire joining LF in December are still working. Both are good for new business opportunities and company growth.

Drew McLellan has a huge national following, speaks all over the country and straight up knows what he is doing. Nice to be associated here.

I just met Lawrence Cunningham and Tony Timm during the Business Record’s 40 Under 40 festivities. And I am of the belief that Des Moines is better for having them in our community. I love being associated with that.

I’ll abruptly end this post for fear of “Fleming is talking too much about all of the people he knows” and serve it up to you to examine your own “People Also Viewed” section. If you don’t like what you see, fix it. If you like what you see, keep on keeping on. And if you don’t know the people you’re associated with, get to know them with a simple LinkedIn request.

You can linking with me here: www.linkedin.com/in/joshfleming/

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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The Roll-on Butter Story

Josh_Fleming_Roll_On_ButterThe Business Record gives all Forty Under 40 honorees a list of about 10 questions, Miss America style, that honorees may be asked upon receiving their award.

And I felt like I was prepared for all of them.

So as we’re standing in line waiting to enter the ballroom, fellow honoree, Lindsay Alderman tells me “If I get the passion question, I’m going to tell people I am passionate about passion.

I smiled.

Then I cried a little bit inside.

Because that was my answer. Passionate people make everything better and that was the way I was going to go with my answer. I didn’t think much of it at the moment, given that there was really only a 10% chance I would be asked that.

So you can guess what happened next. I get asked, “Josh, what are you most passionate about?” I took four really slow steps to the microphone trying to plot out my answer. I’m passionate about a lot of things but what could possibly trump passion?

I had an answer.

I’m going with this.

Big Ideas.” I said. “For example, I have this crazy idea for a roll-on butter product. Imagine butter in a deodorant stick and you roll it on corn cobs.” I said, making hand gestures indicating how this would work. “But the problem is that if you use it on toast, the bread crumbs get stuck on the butter and everything gets messy.

Did I just say that out loud?

I got more laughs than I anticipated. But laughs were what I was aiming for.

I think.

So there I was in front of 450 of Des Moines brightest minds hyping roll-on butter. At least I had a captive audience.

I went on to make some sense of it all.

I think.

“My ideas make people uncomfortable. Sharing your ideas with others who can make them better allows a good idea to become a great idea. Big ideas can change the world.

Or something like that.

And I supposed I gave this answer because I have always been full of big ideas, many of them bad. But in having the bravery to share my ideas, even the ridiculous ideas, a lot of people more talented than I am have made those good ideas – great. And if only 10% of your ideas are good, you might as well give people ten of them and see what sticks.

In 2010, the startup I co-created, vineme.com. It started as Tony Muse’s IDEA of photos on a timeline. I took that IDEA and ran with strategy. Ben Milne gave us validation of the IDEA. Chris Taulborg took all those IDEAS and built arguably the most beautiful website I’ve ever been a part of. And I’ve created more than a few.

Big ideas can change the world.

Now pass the roll-on-butter.

40 Ways You Can Too

Josh_FlemingSeriously. I am honored, humbled and somewhat shocked to have been named to the Des Moines Business Record’s Forty Under 40 Class of 2013. It’s actually a little overwhelming and a much bigger deal than I anticipated initially. It seems like everyone knows about it and I feel like a meat head when I run out of creative ways to thank the folks kind of enough to take the time to congratulate me. Typically saying something silly like “The Marketing Coup of the Century!”

I guess that’s my way of humbly handling it.

Since the announcement, I’ve been wondering how to best parlay what I’ve learned into something tangible for others. Sure, it’s great for me and the organizations I’m a part of, but how can what I’ve learned through this insanity we call life benefit someone else? And make no mistake, I am still an active learner on the whole life thing.

But, I’m proof that if a middle-aged ginger with B+ marketing skills (at best) can be so honored, then I’m pretty sure you can too. Unless you’re over 40, then you’ll need to find another list!

So here’s my 40 ways you can too…(in no particular order)

  • Be passionate about what you are doing.
  • Don’t like what you are doing? Don’t do it.
  • Be engaged. With everyone. At all times. No exceptions.
  • Try something new. Central Iowa Bloggers seemed like a geek fest. It is. And I love it.
  • Find value in others. Everybody matters. You matter.
  • Volunteer. Thank you AMA Iowa!
  • Volunteer again. Thank you Prevent Blindness Iowa!
  • Ask a lot of questions. People like to talk about themselves. Listen to them.
  • Wherever you are, drink the Kool-Aid. And then shout about it!
  • Have an opinion. Just not on everything. Focus on what really matters.
  • Have fun on social media, but set limits on that fun.
  • Be self-deprecating. Saying “I collect BBQ” makes me instantly human and lets people know – that I know – I need to drop 30 pounds.
  • Take smart risks.
  • Dream big and create something. Even if it fails, you’ll learn.
  • Meet people that you met on Twitter offline. Do this regularly.
  • Take the sales call. Tell them now is a bad time. But schedule something in three weeks. Hold the appointment.
  • Don’t burn bridges – even if people have burned bridges with you.
  • Call your mom at least two times a week and tell her about your life.
  • Find a true peer. Not a mentor, but your business equal. Bounce career decisions (like this blog post) off of them. Word to you Claire Celsi!
  • Don’t settle for being average.
  • Don’t spend your time with Eeyores.
  • You are who you are. The sooner you embrace it, the sooner you’ll be embraced.
  • Surround yourself with talent greater than your own. Harness it for good.
  • Friends with photoshop skills are invaluable.
  • Your ideas are not in stone. Allow your ideas to be made better by others.
  • If you don’t know the answer, admit that you don’t know the answer. Then go find the answer and report back.
  • “Fake it till you make it” is a flawed strategy. Figure out how to make it.
  • Go out of your way for someone else. Do this more often than you can actually handle and expect nothing in return.
  • Everyone is busy, stop telling people you are as well.
  • Always say thank you.
  • Call service staff members by their first name.
  • Using smiley face emoticons in email let people know you aren’t pissed off.
  • Give praise when others do well.
  • Stand up for people you believe in and do not waver.
  • Become an expert at something.
  • Make friends with the media and return their calls. And give them story ideas that don’t benefit you directly.
  • Celebrate the success of others with vigor.
  • You can’t get what you don’t ask for. So you have to ask.
  • Close the _____. (Sale, Interview, Next Meeting). Move it forward.
  • Pick your battles carefully.
  • Karma is a very real thing and happens when you least expect it.

Ok, there are a few more than 40, but none that I wanted to leave out. A big thank you to all of you have been a part of my path, you know who you are. : )

-JF

Crap I Think About: Stuff Facebook Does Right

Let me stop you right there. I am no Facebook cult leader. Especially since I started a company based on a timeline and Facebook pretty much just took our idea and made it their own. But you can’t sue everyone! I digress.

What with all the abuse Facebook gets for offering a free service to you, me and your random ex you Facebook creep on occasionally because they left their profile privacy settings on, I digress again.

Facebook gets abused. Got me to thinking about what they do right. As Robert Earl Keen sings, sometimes, “It’s The Little Things” that keep me going back to Facebook time and time again.

1. Typo problem? No problem.

Every make a typo on The book? If you click “delete” moments after you realize your carelessness, you can edit what you just wrote. Facebook makes you look less careless than you are. And that’s nice of them.

2. Hiding people.

No one wants their feelings hurt. Least of all me. I know you hide me, but I still love you cause you care about my feelings.

3. Relevant and unobtrusive advertising. 

No one is going to die on a sword for a tasty banner ad, but, when I get ads for stuff I’m most likely into, that makes it a little better. We’ve gone from a world of viagra ads, to Josh you like BBQ eat BBQ here. I’m guessing in about ten -twenty years, the Viagra ads will make a personal comeback for me.

4. Headlines

So you connected with an old friend on Facebook. And you are glad you did but you probably don’t want to have an hour long conversation with them. The crap they post throughout their lives gives you a snap shot of their lives, just the fringe, or essentially, just enough information.

5. Awkwardness Removed. 

Because of #4, if and when you do have that conversation with that random person from your past, you actually have things to talk about. It seems to be the ice breaker that gets you talking about what’s important now, vs. going Uncle Rico and living in the past.

6. Unfollow this post

You like something. You comment on something. But you don’t really care what your random friend’s random friends have to say about it. Click “Unfollow Post.” Notifications become good again. 

What else am I missing? Let me know and the list will grow.

Crap I Think About – Deodorant

I’d like a deodorant client if for no other reason than to get a chance to pitch the Statue Liberty as a spokesperson. Think about it. Lady Liberty has had her arm raised since at least 1886. That’s over a century without any love to the world’s largest armpit. Based on the specs, that armpit has to be at least eight feet in length, and probably another four feet wide. Can you think of a bigger armpit besides East St. Louis.

And with the exception of the Yankees and Jets I love New York, but if you’ve ever spent any time in the city, you know it too could use some Axe Body Spray or at the very least, a once over with some Speed Stick. I mean, their waste management process is stacking bags of trash on the streets until a truck driven by the mafia controlled Waste Management companies come pick them up.