Father’s note: My son, Harrison, age four, has seen signs around the Waukee, Iowa area that read “Harrison for City Council.” These signs are for a gentleman named, Brian Harrison, who is ACTUALLY running for Waukee City Council. However, my son believes he is running and has come up with a platform of his own to improve life in Waukee.
The words below are Harrison’s – that’s… the four-year-old Harrison, who had no opening statement, merely the platforms he will be running on if elected.
- An indoor pool inside our house
- I want all the hobos to have houses
- I want an ice cream truck to deliver ice cream
- Bounce house in every house
- Get rid of Once Upon a Child and put a Happy Joe’s back there
- Outdoor movies in the park every night
- All the bees to die so they won’t sting anybody – no wasps either
- Do you know anywhere where a Disney World could move in somewhere close?
- The mean lady that mom was talking about – to be nice
- Get rid of the Veggie Monster and bring back Cookie Monster
I asked Harrison what would be the the first thing he would do if elected. He answered, “Follow my list!”
Father’s note: Anyone interested in learning more about the four-year old Harrison can like him on Facebook.
My apologies to Once Upon a Child, I’m sure you run a fabulous facility.
Here is a breakdown of all four ACTUAL candidates including Shane Blanchard, Mike Watts and Rick Peterson from the Des Moines Register.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
Seriously. 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. : )
That title seems a little off. This isn’t a guide book, as there is no single way to go about networking in Des Moines, or in any town for that matter. So I’ll just say that these are suggestions.
It seems like I’m often asked for recommendations on how to network in Des Moines. Mostly a combination of college students and job seekers looking for ways to be discovered and be a part of this awesome community.
And while my efforts tend to lean towards marketing related events and people, there is a ton of overlap that you may find valuable.
Organizations that consistently offer networking value:
American Marketing Association – http://www.amaiowa.com/
Social Media Club Des Moines – http://smcdsm.ning.com/
Young Professionals Connection – http://www.ypcdsm.com/
News / Personalities You Should Read / Know
I can’t possibly list them all, so I will list the ones I know and that I know are accessible with a little effort.
Silicon Prairie News – Geoff Wood runs the show out of Des Moines and if you are interest in ANYTHING startup in Des Moines, this is the first place to start. Check out Prairie Cast every Tuesday at 2 p.m. with Wood and his Staff Ninja side kick Andy Brudtkuhl. Not to mention, SPN is always hosting networking events of their own. Everything from Big Omaha, Thinc Iowa and Startup Drinks. If you pay attention, its hard to miss.
Adam Belz is a business reporter for the Des Moines Register and has a pretty good pulse on the Des Moines scene. His Opening Belz email is a must read every morning. Here’s the Register’s Central Iowa Networking page.
Kyle Oppenhuizen is a reporter for The Business Record. I make sure I read everything he writes in every weekly issue.
Des Moines Twitter Community
If you want to network in Des Moines you have to be on Twitter. There really isn’t a choice. And you can’t just be on Twitter, you must engage.
Here are a few solid Des Moines tweeps lists.
And while you’re at it, follow me @joshfleming or @admavericks.
Almost too many to list without leaving great ones off the list. So, do yourself a favor and plow into those Twitter lists and discover blogs for yourself. If you find one you like, let them know!
And if you are looking to reach more people than networking events and through Twitter start your own blog. It doesn’t matter if you think you don’t have anything to say. You do, you just don’t know it yet. Go out and experience something then write about it. Building your online brand starts and ends with you.
Hope this information was helpful, and if there are things you’d like me to to add to this list just let me know in the comments section, or at that next networking event.