A New Venture – Impactiviti Talent Network

This week marks the official launch of something I’ve been working on for months – an On-line Job Board tied to Social Networking.

Maybe you can help us get it off the ground? Please read on.

My main money-making business has been in the pharma field – specifically, “matchmaking” pharma/biotech/med device client needs with optimal vendor/suppliers. It’s a wonderful business, being built on trust and networking – yet one of the (welcome) side effects is a constant behind the scenes effort to help people find new jobs, and clients find new talent. I’ve wanted for quite some time to find a way to meet this “matchmaking” need in a way that will build the business and help the most people.

Impactiviti Talent Network

I launched a Job Board (giving credit here to Twitter pal Jeremiah Owyang, who blazed this trail before me – thanks, Jeremiah!), but it was clear that the need was too large for me to take on without diluting the rest of my business.

So – I have brought on a business partner to run the Talent Network. On-line job posting will appear in a large searchable database (and in LinkedIn), AND be promoted throughout my extensive Impactiviti pharma social network. My partner Jan is making calls into the vast pool of organizations who could benefit from this broad and targeted approach to getting industry job listings noticed.

It’s a win-win-win business model, my favorite kind. Here’s the link to the overview and the Job Board.

How can you help? Well, by tweeting the link to this post, for one thing – I want to gain maximum exposure for this initiative. And especially, if you have any contacts in pharma/biotech/med devices HR organizations – staffing professionals who are looking for a recruiting edge – would you please send them the link (http://impactiviti.wordpress.com/impactiviti-job-board/)? There’s a downloadable .pdf file there that gives the basic info needed.

If you know people we should talk to who would benefit, please feel free to send me an e-mail (stevew at impactiviti dot com)

Also, any companies that service the pharma industry (agencies, vendors, etc.), and want to list jobs, can do so as well. And, of course, job seekers can go right to the Impactiviti Job Board and search for new positions.

Thank you in advance for being part of this new venture. It’s social networking being put to work!

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It’s All Going Away

These social media tools we’re all using right now?

They’re all going to go away. Or, they will morph so much in the next 3-5 years as to be unrecognizable.

Why? Because they do bits and pieces of what we want. They’re Legos. Blocks. We’re rapidly growing up and finding we need better toys and tools.

We want to Find. Connect. Filter. Stratify. Create. Publish. Consume. Purchase. Consolidate. Aggregate. Edit. Comment. Link. Interact. Organize. Get face-to-face. Control our information.

Smart designers see this and are evolving their tools to keep doing more, and doing it better.

But we’re nowhere close to having what we need – these functions are scattered all over the place. We like the bits and the pieces, but now we need them assembled together in smarter ways. There are undoubtedly brilliant developers already working on this in stealth mode.

I, for one, can’t wait for a lot of what we have now go away. Not because it’s not great stuff. But because it’s not really built around us, and how we want to interact.

What do you want to see in the next generation of networking platforms??

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You’re in a Museum

Look around you – what do you see? The businesses, the tools, the structures, the systems, the products, the solutions….we see all this and we think, “this is what is.”

But, in fact, what is exists because of what was. All of these things were created to address past problems, prior issues, old needs.

You’re in a museum.

In fact, when you look turn and gaze at all that surrounds you, what you see is not some fixed series of boundaries set in stone – not unless you let it be so. What you see are the best attempts to deal with the past.

Of course, many structures are put in place to address enduring needs, and cannot be cast overboard entirely as so much ballast. But even those often need improvement or adjustment.

You don’t have to fit into other people’s corporate structures, expected roles, and hand-me-down expectations. You may choose to, for a season – but why decide to set down your roots within those walls when you can invest in present and future needs?

Yes, it’s comfortable to conform to a niche that was built by someone else, for some other reason, at some other time.

But museums are dusty places that seek to preserve the past. Here are several questions – think of them as new contact lenses – to get you thinking in different directions:

    1. What is actually not working?
    2. What is missing and should be created?
    3. How could this be better?
    5. What do I want to leave behind as a legacy?
    6. How can ideal become real?
    7. What would I REALLY want to make happen if there were no limits?
    8. Why? And, while we’re at it – why not?

In other words – question the status quo. You don’t exist to support it, and certainly your purpose isn’t merely to perpetuate it. Learn from the past, keep what is sound – but beyond the front door of the museum is where your creative juices will flow. Relics are inside. Opportunities are outside.

Things are the way they are for a reason, but some of those reasons are bad, some are in need of adjustment, and some are well past their expiration date. Just because you grew up with video rental stores on every other street corner, doesn’t mean you should be buying into a franchise peddling VCR tapes.

It’s much scarier fun plowing in new fields, and much more rewarding making the pie bigger!

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Why a Referral Business Works

My business model is referrals. I “matchmake” best in class vendors with clients looking for great partners.

Now, there are lots of ways to find suppliers. You can Google, make phone calls, field incoming sales calls, sit through capabilities presentations, go through an RFP process, vet vendors, pick one and hope it works….you know the drill. Inefficient, time-intensive, risky.

Or, you can get a referral from someone who understands both sides of the equation.

Here’s the non-secret: People are hungry to work with someone they trust. A referral from a trustworthy source can bypass all kinds of unnecessary effort and mitigate risk.

Can you build an entire win-win-win business on being trustworthy, knowledgeable, and helpfully connecting people? Yes – a very secure business. With very little competition. Either as a solo operator, or a trustworthy business.

Because trust is not a commodity.

You can settle for being a cog in someone else’s wheel, a commodity employee. But why? Can you create something for yourself, built on trust, on connections, on referrals? Something unique that puts to use what and who you know, and how you operate?

I’ll bet a lot of you can…

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Three Reasons to use “Timed” Tweets

For a long time, I’ve used Twitter in two modes – “live” mode, where I’m uploading an interacting in real time, and “delayed” mode, where I make use of time-delayed tweeting.

I use the Hootsuite client and the “Hootlet” toolbar for the latter – Hootsuite has an excellent capacity for scheduling tweets.

“Timed” tweets have sometimes gotten a bad rap because of the fear of spamming behavior. However, scheduling tweets can, in fact, be a very helpful way to communicate with your network. Here are three reasons why (and how) I use them.

1. The audience on Twitter at any given time is always changing. If you put out a tweet at 8:45 am, and someone logs in at 9:30 who really would have benefited from that information, guess what? It’s probably lost. Since the audience is changing throughout the day, it is wise to spread out your informational tweets (sharing of interesting links, etc.) throughout the day to reach a larger and more diverse audience. Most people that know me know I’m an early-morning guy, and I do most of my information curation/writing between 6-9 am. But many of those tweets are then timed to show up all throughout the day and into the evening. Because only a small percentage of us (a very predictable group, by the way – you know who you are!) are on the early morning Twitter train.

2. Not only do you touch a greater number of people by timing your tweets, you can also help your network pals by timing re-tweets of their stuff. Most RTs happen within 5-45 minutes of the original tweet. Which means that the tweet is spread to a broader audience, but still one limited by that time slot. Simply time-delaying a RT to reach a different group 2 or 5 hours later is doing a wonderful favor to the author of the tweet, and the recipients who see the information.

3. Timing tweets allows you to avoid avatar overload. Some folks have a whole bunch of informational tweets lined up, and they hit the tweetstream all at once. Hate to break it to you, but that’s not a good way to get people to read your stuff. It’s like someone coming up to you at a party and overwhelming you with train-of-thought babbling. Space them out and people will be less inclined to tune you out. It’s just…more polite that way.

Now, I have to emphasize that you can’t time-delay live interaction. When I’m actively discussing or bantering or pretending to be a Tweet-up Comic, that’s all “live.” But I also feel that an important part of social networking is sharing information and resources. That’s where timed tweeting is a wonderful tool. And, if I might put in a plug here (disclosure: no fiduciary relationship; I just like them!), the folks at Hootsuite have developed a great tool to enable it. The “Hootlet” allows you to be on a page, click the toolbar button, and it presents you with a compact URL and (usually) the page title – making it very easy to compose a tweet on the fly, AND schedule it for later (or publish immediately).

So, “timed” tweets are not evil. In fact, they’re a great way to help everyone. Take advantage of them!

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Friends Matter

Totally overwhelmed.

That’s how I was feeling as last week went on. Big plans and dreams got even bigger after brainstorming at SOBCon. Moving current business forward while exploring new avenues of creating value. Upcoming conferences. Writing. Trying to get a house sold so we can move. Family logistics. And on, and on.

Then my friend Jane Chin stepped in. Not only did she respond to a private post with a very perceptive note, but she offered to be a sounding board on a phone call, taking a half hour out of her very busy life to focus on me and my needs. Jane is part of my “Inner Circle,” a group committed to helping each other out on every level.

She asked the right questions. Gave wise and practical advice. Set me straight. Helped return “overwhelming” to “manageable.”

We can use all kinds of fancy terms like “network graph” and “ecosystem” and “six degrees of separation,” etc., etc. There’s a certain small satisfaction to page views and followers and rankings.

But when the rubber meets the networking road, it’s friends that matter! (& thanks, Jane!)

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Get Some Help

I’m a happy man. I wake up with peace in my heart, and hope for the future. Most days, anyway!

It was not always so.

For many years – decades – I lived under a dark cloud. Depression was a constant companion, so woven into my experience that I did not even know how bad off I was. I was so used to coping and managing around it, that most others had no clue either.

Seven or so years ago, I hit the wall. I was drowning in darkness. And, after getting some help, those clouds lifted, through the miracle of modern medicine.

My doctor let me know that if I couldn’t think my way out of, say, kidney disease, what business did I have believing I could think my way out of an organic brain chemistry disorder?

If you think you may be suffering from this affliction, know this – you’re not alone. Please take a few moments and read this, penned by Amber Naslund this week (don’t miss the comments!). And this personal plea, by Ellen Nordahl. Read this book review (Moving Beyond Blue) I posted a few days back, which tells Terese Borchard‘s story.

Then, get some help. Talk to a doctor and/or a therapist. Gain the support of trusted friends and family members. There is no stigma in being treated for a medical problem, no shame in taking a pill to help fix a biochemical imbalance, no “Go Directly to Jail!” card for opening up about your inner demons. But there’s a REAL problem with robbing yourself and others of your gifts, your energy, and your time, all of which are stolen away by the thief that is depression.

When the Apollo 13 astronauts radioed “Houston, we have a problem!” they took the needed step to recover from potential disaster. They didn’t append the phrase – “but I’m sure we can handle it ourselves!”

You’re not alone. And there’s a whole bunch of folks ready and willing to help you get back to earth safely. Get on the radio. Please.

[Update: Thanks, @cloudspark, for pointing out the example of former star quarterback Terry Bradshaw)

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Willing to Be a Builder

You have lots of enthusiasm about your career. Maybe you want to launch your own business. You’re enthused by the success stories you’ve heard, and you see fame and riches on the horizon.

Good – that’s a start. But here’s the reality check. If you want to be a success, you have to be willing to be a builder.

Action by action, person by person, role by role, year by year, your reputation is built. There is no short cut here – consistent excellence, concern for others, and proven character are the ingredients. No get-rich-quick scheme buys you a good name.

Skills? You have them. Now you need to hone them and build them up. Which means doing, practicing, exploring, evolving. If you’re a writer, it may take you years to find your “voice” – don’t be discouraged by this. Just realize that you may end up with little competition over time, because few others will be willing to pay the price!

Your future will depend, in large part, on your network. Anyone can accumulate “followers” – what you want is high-value people who value you. And that takes investment over time – acts and words of kindness, personal interest, meetings, making connections. All of which takes consistent effort. You’re building, not acquiring, a network.

Here’s a hint – look for others who are long-distance runners. Short-term people jump in and out of fads. Builders visualize the end goal and get busy making it happen. Brick by brick. Day by day. While surrounded by a trend-accelerated world, these folks know what it takes to build.

Excellence. Love. Labor. Time. If you’re willing to be a builder, and wish to be a leader, you’ll settle for nothing less.

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More than Enough

A great product is not enough. People need to know why.

A great message is not enough. People want to be cared for.

Love is not enough. People need to see enough value to exchange dollars.

A great quarterly spreadsheet is not enough. People want you there for the long haul.

Put together a great offering, with a compelling message, delivered and supported with love – make your product or service both valuable and profitable – and you’ll have more than enough to succeed. Anywhere, anytime, always.

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Adding Voices

This morning, I saw the following two messages, summing up the “meet people in real life after interacting on-line” experience:

Liz Strauss: “I love how, after I talk to people I know online, if I listen I can hear their voices behind their tweets.”

Nancy Swanson (to Jon Swanson): “Now I read his posts and can hear his voice.” Jon’s summary: That is the delight of starting online and then meeting face-to-face: it puts flesh on words.

Adding voices to messages. Putting flesh on words. No better summary than that for the true purpose of networking…!

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“I Went to SOBCon and All I Got Was…”

…a wonderful time with a lot of really fine people. Didn’t want nor need another t-shirt.

I’m going to depart from “Best Practices” and NOT follow the Official Post-Conference Re-Cap Blog Post Template ™. I’m a bit hypocritical that way. Instead, since my purpose for attending was primarily to deepen relationships, I’ll spend the bulk of this post talking about…people.

It’s my intent in 2010 to build deep, not wide; to get beyond 140 characters and really get to know fellow travelers on this network we’re building. SOBCon is a great venue for that – small (150 people), focused, and plenty of time for interaction. Having known Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker (the SOBCon king and queen) for quite some time, it was easy to conclude that the time would be well-spent at an event they were orchestrating.

So…the people.

Drew McLellan was one of the first bloggers I stumbled across years ago, when we both started blogging about the same time. Every interaction with him since has been high-quality and encouraging. There’s a relatively small handful of people I both like and deeply respect, and thoroughly trust as well. Drew is one of those.

It was through Drew that I first heard of Steve Farber, who spoke at SOBCon – first time I had the chance to meet him. And I cannot wait to spend more time with Steve. Not only is he a gifted speaker and author, he’s a nice guy. And funny. And transparent. You’ll want to consider buying his books on leadership – he talks about love and business in the same breath, and I deeply appreciate that perspective.

Lisa Petrilli. Only started interacting with her on-line a short time before the conference, and I’m profoundly thankful for the time we spent talking once we met in Chicago. Not only does she possess a tremendous business background, she has a very moving story to tell – this 100% Italian gal has a little imported Irish in her, due to a donated kidney. Lisa moved from relative stranger into my “inner circle” of confidants and collaborators in one weekend.

For a long time, I’ve interacted with Jon Swanson on-line, and simply could not wait to meet him. Turns out, not surprisingly, that he’s exactly what you see on-line. We have deep shared interest in how the spiritual intersects with real life, and what it means to communicate to a wide range of people. Jon may not suspect that he has been a “distant” mentor to me for many months, but he has. It was a joy to sit at the same table with him and exchange thoughts freely.

Speaking of the table, we managed to find ourselves at what became known as the “Trouble Table,” so dubbed mainly because of the presence of the delightful and free-spirited Becky McCray and Sheila Scarborough (with assists from Anthony Iannarino and Britt Raybould). We were – loud. Full of wisecracks. Loved every minute of it. Becky took this shot of Jon Swanson and me during a calmer moment…

Getting to Chicago the day before meant I could relax, take a walk, work out, and meet Joe Ruiz in the gym. We had a delightful 45-minute talk that could have gone on much longer. Looking forward to lots of future collaboration with that quality fellow from Richmond. Plus, he’s older than me. That feels good, being surrounded as we are by all these younger folks!

I fully expect to have a lot more interaction with Jonathan Fields, who led the panel I was on. Very smart guy. Ground-breaker and entrepreneur. And it was good to once again hang out the always-delightful Shannon Paul, whose 100-watt smile brightens any room, even a darkened speak-easy (that social event was very well-done, by the way).

There were several ladies that I hoped to finally meet face-to-face during the event (after a long on-line history of exchanging messages), and it was a true delight to have time with Jeannie Walters, Julie Roads, Lucretia Pruitt, and Wendy Piersall (aka eMom). All high-quality, real, thoughtful people – each of them creative and driven in their own ways.

The SOBCon event was preceded the evening beforehand by a Social Media Club Chicago tweetup, where, immediately upon walking in, I was introduced to the 300-volt Carol Roth. She had me in stitches every time we talked. Speaking of high-energy, finally meeting Phil Gerbyshak was enough to jolt anyone into full wakefulness. Ambulance companies ought to hire him to reverse cardiac arrest in patients! Fun guy.

The lovely Alli Worthington demonstrated that you can have 5 boys, and, like my wife, look absolutely fabulous in the process.

Time was WAY too short with Bill Rice, David Armano, Amber Naslund, Chris Garrett, Chris Brogan, Geoff Livingston, Scott Stratten, Shashi Bellamkonda, Shelly Kramer, and others – would have liked to spend a couple hours each with these folks and many others, but there simply weren’t enough hours in the day.

Memorable moments: A riotous meal spent scheming a self-esteem-building GPS device; daily photo-taking Riverwalks to the shore of Lake Michigan; ad-hoc branding brainstorming for  Justin McCullough with Drew M, Steve F, and Phil G; unexpectedly seeing Eileen and Frieda from Siren Interactive at the SMC event (and, expectedly and finally, Sonny Gill!); and hanging out late one rainy evening at Hotel 71 “lounge” with a whole gang of lively attendees.

Chicago is a lovely city for a springtime event. Even if you cannot find a cup of coffee at 6:30 am on a Saturday morning, you can wander along the beautiful Riverwalk and people-watch, take pictures, gawk at tall buildings, and watch the wind whip up Lake Michigan. I need moments of peace interspersed with “people-time”, and this venue was perfect – everything close by, including the ability to escape and think. I’ll be back…

P.S. I mentioned in the panel discussion my recovery from a nearly life-long struggle with depression. Here’s the backstory, written a few years back: Clearing Clouds.

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The Post-Conference Re-cap Template

Having just returned from SOBCon in Chicago, I have been contemplating my post-conference summary blog post. Along with dozens of other attendees.

I’ll get it done tomorrow (update: here it is). But it occurred to me that perhaps some have never yet been exposed to a “Best Practices” document for a post-conference re-cap. So, as a public service, I hereby provide this template.

Paragraph 1

(this is where you summarize what a wonderful time you had. The words fabulous and awesome are nearly mandatory – no blog posts are written re-capping mediocre or idiotic events, lest you look stupid for attending. Words like “life-changing” should only be used sparingly – maybe once a year – lest you lose credibility among fellow bloggers)

Paragraph 2

(here, you write glowing thanks to the hosts/sponsors/organizers of the event. For instance, for SOBCon, you call Terry Starbucker extraordinarily smart and you praise Liz Strauss‘ unparalleled community-building skills)

Paragraph 3

(to show that you were actually paying attention at least part of the time, you now turn to the content, picking out a few gems that really impacted you, while mentioning the speakers’ names as well (e.g., Steve Farber), hoping they’ll link back to you or at least leave a comment. It’s highly recommended that you mention one actionable point that you are going to immediately work on this week)

Paragraph 4

(the fashionable geek paragraph – all about the Macs, iPhones, Foursquare check-ins, iPads, and how Amber Naslund rocked out in a Radian6 tiara)

Paragraph 5

(optional – in order to make non-attendees jealous, tell folks about the wonderful venue, the scenic host city, the delicious food, the astonishing parties, etc. Be sure to mention that you had very little sleep at least one night because you were carousing with Jason Falls or a similar famous blogging maven.)

[insert gratuitous picture of cityscape, ripped off using Google Images. Optional - add picture later of some name-brand bloggers at your tables, all pretending to pay rapt attention to some 18-year old entrepreneur boasting about his page views]

Paragraph 6

(this is where you include the obligatory “Chris Brogan is a social media rockstar!” paragraph)

Paragraph 7

(mention here your regrets that you didn’t get to meet so-and-so, which gives you a chance to name-drop anyway and hope for better link love. It’s always popular to pat a few other special people on the back, such as the Lucretia Pruitt giving you a sidelong smile, or Julie Roads sharing her breakfast sushi with you. Express your, like, TOTAL determination to attend next year)

Paragraph 8

(sum up by repeating a whole bunch of stuff from the earlier paragraphs, employing words appropriate to your marketplace – for instance, for agency folks, talk about how you’re going to leverage actionable insight to enhance customer value)

Paragraph 9

(close by quoting some funny line that only “insiders” at the conference will understand, and include a random link to something or other)

See, now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

 


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