WhatsApp is Different

Great data in this blog about Whatsapp. Do you think it was worth 19 billion?

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You Know You’re Getting Old When…

As another year ends I’m reminded of how much older I’m getting. I certainly haven’t grown much, physically or mentally. I mean I did finish my master’s degree in 2013, but I’m still the person who makes fart noises behind peoples backs when they say something stupid in public, let’s be serious.

So how do I know I’m getting old? It started a few years back when I was in a movie theatre with my boyfriend, watching a preview of the new Footloose. A group of tweens in front of us started debating whether or not it was a remake. One insisted she saw something like it before.

Ultimately they concluded Footloose was not a remake. Are you kidding me? It took everything in my being not to throw popcorn at those little turds.


That’s when it hit me.

Over the years all my friends got married and now they are having babies (another major sign you’re getting old). This doesn’t bother me one bit though. I’m really happy for all you spouses and parents out there. I’m not missing my college partying days by any means (ok maybe a little). This is just another indication that I’m supposed to start acting like an adult now. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with sonograms and mushy love notes (ew people, just stop).

Today, in true adult fashion, my boyfriend and I were at a fast food restaurant. While we debated the dollar menu options we would soon regret, a young girl slipped and fell behind us while walking through the door. Not a bad fall, just a good old fashioned humorous flop. She got right up and her and her friends laughed their asses off. It was funny and she was obviously fine. While we were eating, however, the manager came by and made her sign off on a bunch of paperwork that promised she would go see a doctor and not press charges and bla bla bla.

Ten years ago, this never would have happened. Or maybe it would have, I don’t know, but the fact that I am having this reaction must mean I’m getting old (and also the fact that I’m blogging at 10:30pm on Friday night). Is this what the world has come to? Does everyone have to sign their life away whenever they take a harmless spill? I bit the dust last week in a Target parking lot and nobody seemed to care. Are we not supposed to laugh at that anymore?

Anyways…now that I’m obviously starting to get old, I decided on a couple of good New Years resolutions:

1. Never grow up (completely). That’s right folks, I’ll be making fart noises behind your back until the day I die.

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2. Make new friends. This one is important. As we get older we tend to lose touch with good friends. Maybe it’s a natural part of life, or maybe it’s because we just get lazier as we get older, I’m not sure. But while I’m still in my 20s I’m going to bulk up my friendzone while it’s still socially acceptable.

Happy New Year!

Thought Leaders Shmought Leaders

Admittedly, as a marketer, I often advise people to position themselves as a thought leader in their field.  What better way to attract new vacuum customers than giving off the appearance that you know EVERYTHING about cyclone technology and suction thingamajigs.  Obviously I’m going to buy my vacuum from the guy who knows the most about the biz, right?  He seems smart and trustworthy.james-dyson-with-vacuum

But what happens when all of a sudden everyone in the vacuum industry starts leading thoughts? Who’s the leader now? Who do I trust?

I recently read an article in Forbes, “6 Ways Thought Leadership Will Take Your Marketing to New Levels,” by John Hall.  Hall explains how PR and consistent content marketing will help put your offering in a more positive light and keep your company top of mind.  While reading the article, I totally agreed with Hall’s points.  What concerned me was when Hall said:

“As a Forbes contributor, I look for sources who are leading their industries. I don’t want to do a ton of homework to determine if you’re the real deal. If you release content consistently and it’s quality work, you will be rewarded by attracting your own PR relationships.”

Nobody wants to do homework and everyone defines “quality” differently. So who is really the expert? The company that has the most active Facebook page? The most white-papers? Hosts the most webinars?  How many garbage webinars are out there and yet we still see these contributors as thought leaders? How many useless white-papers have you read?

We are being conditioned to think more content = expert.

There is now an entire industry that churns out content that talks about creating content and gives you a bunch more content to educate you and prove to you that content marketing works (yeesh)!  The scariest part about content marketing?  It really works.

Marketers have already infiltrated traditional channels like newspapers, tv and radio. Now they are saturating digital channels like mobile ads and social media. Are our thoughts next?  Ahhhhh!!!

At some point, I fear that thought leadership will be less about trust and quality and more about quantity and speed.  For now, content marketing and the idea of thought leadership is still new and effective.  I guess we’ll see what comes next!

In the meantime, don’t be dull and stay human.

30 Under Thirty

UB School of Management

Most people groan when they hear the word “networking,” but the MBA program has completely reversed this for me in the past year. The reason I enjoy meeting professionals has a lot to do with feeling prepared. I try to view networking events as opportunities to practice my social skills, meet new people, and have a great time.

After spending my summer in Tennessee, there was nothing I wanted to do more than get reacquainted with my hometown. When one of my UB Pharmacy School friends mentioned the 30 Under Thirty celebration happening at Soho Burger Bar this week, I was excited to hear that anyone could buy a ticket and attend. 30 Under Thirty is awarded to thirty professionals from the Buffalo area who have been nominated for their leadership and participation in the community.

Although I attended the event with two friends from UB’s Pharmacy School and MBA…

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I love New York

Over the last few weeks I did a little traveling around New York State for work.  Can you believe how gorgeous New York is?  It’s easy to forget after months of snow and sub-zero temps, or super-heated sweaty summers, but if you have a chance to take a NY road trip in the Fall…DO IT!

Driving through the Adirondacks is especially awesome.  Not only are the giant trees turning beautiful colors, the air smells fantabulous. Yankee Candle has nothing on the fresh air of Adirondack Park!

Here’ s a few photos from my adventures…

I’ll be driving to NYC this weekend for New York Comic Con (yeah nerds)! I’ll be sure to share some more photos.  Cheers!

Are You Moving? Don’t Use UHaul

For those of you who don’t personally know me, you may have been wondering where I’ve been the past month!  I recently got a job as the Coordinator of Recruitment Communications and Admissions Services for the Graduate School at the University at Buffalo (sorry that title is a mouthful)!  So, over the last few weeks I’ve been apartment hunting, packing my life away, moving from Rochester to Buffalo and starting and new job.  Although I miss my friends and former colleagues back in Rochester (very much), I’m excited about this new opportunity and I’m ready to explore a new city!

ed-moving-boxes_480I cannot even begin to tell you how crazy the last few weeks have been.  My boyfriend and I are still in the process of unpacking, but thankfully I think most of the chaos is behind us now.  The worst of it was when, the day before we were scheduled to move, our moving truck changed the date and time on us!

U-SuckI had reserved a UHaul truck a couple of weeks prior for last Saturday afternoon.  The plan was to pick up the truck and pack my apartment and a few large pieces of furniture from my parents’ house on Saturday night. We coordinated this plan with three different families and friends that were helping us move (I was moving my stuff from two places in Rochester and my boyfriend was moving his stuff from two places in Lockport). The plan was to wake up and drive the already loaded truck Sunday morning and get unpacked in Buffalo early so that my boyfriend could use the truck to get his move done.

Turns out all of this was just wishful thinking…

UHaul called me Friday to inform me that no trucks were available on Saturday at all.  The only truck they had available in “the entire Western New York area” was on Sunday at 1pm and it was two sizes larger (and much less fuel-efficient) than the truck I requested.  I immediately started scrambling to call any and all other moving truck options but it was pointless. Nobody was available on such short notice!  After a lot of arguing with UHaul reps both on Twitter and over the phone, I surrendered and was forced to take the Sunday reservation.  We rearranged everyones schedule at the last-minute (which made for a lot of grumpy movers)!

By the time we were done unpacking and getting everything moved into our new place in Buffalo it was after 11pm!  My poor family had to make the hour and a half drive back to Rochester after that and work the next day!  It was a bit crazy and super stressful but with the help of our amazing families and friends we got it done.

Later that week, I contacted UHaul to get my “$50 Reservation Guarantee” refund since they totally screwed us over at the last minute and didn’t have my equipment on the day I had requested.  After all that craziness, a $50 dollar refund (which they promise on their website) is the LEAST they could do right?  UHaul “customer service” doesn’t seem to think so.  Apparently their guarantee only applies after you confirm your reservation 48 hours prior!

WhhhhhaaaaaattttttTF?UHaul

What this means is say you book a UHaul truck 2 months prior to your moving date.  UHaul can call you the day before to “confirm” your reservation for a completely different date, time, truck and/or pickup location…and once you agree to that, you don’t get a $50 refund.  This is UHaul’s way of trying to make you feel like it’s safe to book with them, when really there is no guarantee at all.

My advice? DON’T EVER USE UHAUL!no_uhaul-thumb

I’m really not sure what other companies are better out there, but I’m sure it’s worth spending the extra money for an organization that actually guarantees reservations or at least notifies you of any changes more than a day in advance.

Normally I’m not one to bitch and complain about these things…my bitterness towards UHaul probably wouldn’t have lasted long had I received my rightful $50. But as it turns out, I’m not the only one UHaul has upset.  Their customer service (or perhaps how they run their business in general) is so bad, there’s a website called dontuseuhaul.com and another called uhaul-Sucks.com.  The sites are dedicated to persuading people not to choose UHaul by sharing horror stories similar to mine.

If you don’t believe me, just check out the @UHaul_Cares Twitter handle to see how poorly things are going.  The vast majority of tweets @UHaul_Cares receives are complaints just like mine.  Via twitter they are kind enough to apologize, but still no problems are ever solved.

uhaul-1UHaul, for their own sake, needs to start paying attention to what their customers are saying.

4 Not-So-Great Resume Trends

hiringI recently had the opportunity to play HR Manager at my current job.  As an assistant to the HR Manager for many years, I was excited to step up and help out my organization while my manager was out on leave for a few months.  I couldn’t wait to sift through resumes and see what had changed and what trends had emerged since I was last in the job market. Although I see plenty of resumes in my role, it is usually further along in the hiring process.  In the past, I never had time or much reason to read them.  Now that I’ve had this rare opportunity to see the entire hiring process from beginning to end, I’ve never been more shocked.  Here’s a couple of “trends” I noticed…

1. No address listed.  I know we live in a digital world and all, but in my opinion there is still a need for addresses on resumes.  Why?  So I know where you live! Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I think it’s helpful for employers to know your physical location, even if all communication is through phone and email.  If an applicant needs to fly in from somewhere or drive a thousand miles to get to an interview, it may be easier for everyone to do a video or phone conference first.  If things progress, an address also helps with travel accommodations and scheduling.

2. Vague objectives.

“Objective: To obtain a position where I can utilize my work experience and education to improve the company’s operation.”

NOOOOOoooooo.  Ugh, c’mon people!  This is so boring.  I can tell by reading the very first line in your resume that you took no extra time applying.  In my head I’m thinking, “I bet they sent this exact same resume to 100 other places.”  It takes two seconds to write a real objective or goal that actually applies to the position you’re applying for, so get specific.  Or, leave the objective out altogether and just tell me about yourself and why I should like you if you have a lot of positions to apply to.  This is the first thing employers will read so whatever you write, make it good. HR experts, please chime in here and tell me your thoughts on this.ability-to-smell-fear-cartoon-sm

3. No cover letter. I know, cover letters are a pain.  They take time.  But let me tell you, the people who write one are going to get my attention.  I know how long I’ve spent writing them in the past, so I appreciate anyone who takes the time to write me one.  This is not to say you won’t get beat out by someone who has better experience and no cover letter, but it definitely ups your chances.  In my limited experience, the majority of applicants don’t submit cover letters. Writing one could make all the difference.

Get-Hired-Fast-Social-Media-Job-Search4. Stalking.  This HR experience was the first time I saw the full picture from the employer’s perspective.  It was also amidst an era of social media.  A little following up is always a good thing but don’t cross that line. The line will be different with every employer.  As an applicant, it is your job to figure it out and stay on your side.  Once you cross it, there is almost no going back.  One recommendation I will make is to contact only one person, two at the very most if you don’t hear anything at all.  Don’t email me, call two other people and connect with someone else on LinkedIn within 24 hours of an interview.  I hate to break it to ya, but employees talk to each other and sooner or later we’ll realize you’ve contacted all of us multiple times and that’s just crazy.  If you decide to engage via social media, don’t choose them all!  Just pick one medium and one person and be patient.

Ok HR experts, what are your thoughts?  What resume trends have you seen emerge over the last few years?

5 Networking Tips for Noobs

Networking is such an important part of life.  It helps you makes friends, learn new areas and land great jobs.  It also helps boost confidence and, if done properly, will make you actually appear interesting to others!  The problem so many people face is finding the courage to get out there and do it.

Networking-for-latino-mbas-LAM-Social-Club1I have been part of Rochester Young Professionals (RYP), a networking group in Rochester, NY for about a year now. “Rochester Young Professionals is a group that coordinates, collaborates, and promotes events around Rochester that are either, social, volunteer, or informational” (RYP, About Us).  Over the last year I kept tabs on RYP activities, but never managed to make it to any events until yesterday.  I’ve attended plenty of events in the past, but never one that was meant specifically for professional networking. I have to admit, part of why I wanted to go was just to check out a cool new bistro downtown.  I had no idea what to expect, but I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised!  I attended the event with my good friend/roommate and her co-worker.  The three of us were a little shy at first, but after we realized everyone else was in the same boat (and after a glass of wine), we dove right into the scene and met a handful of really great people.  After my first professional networking experience (in true non-expert fashion), I can confidently offer up the following tips for others who may be thinking about going to a networking event:

1. Look nice.  Personally, I would suggest going business casual.  I know every company has different dress codes and many people attend these events right after work, but don’t look like a slob!  Even if your employer thinks that’s peachy, other people will judge you first based on your looks (we all do it, don’t pretend you don’t). Put your best foot forward. One man who attended wore a flannel shirt, gym shorts and a lot of accessories.  I remember him quite well, but not for the right reasons.

2. Go with friends.  One reason it took me so long to attend one of RYP’s events, aside from being short on time, was that I didn’t feel like I had anyone to go with.  I was completely surprised to find out that my roomie has been wanting to attend an event for as long as I have.  All this time I was LIVING with a friend who wanted to go, and I didn’t even know it!  Don’t be afraid to ask your close friends or coworkers to go.  At least tell them about the drink specials and fancy places first before mentioning the networking bit ;).  I would recommend going with a group of three.  Four people is too many and you’ll end up just talking amongst yourselves instead of meeting new people. Two might feel a little awkward during the times you’re not talking to anyone else.  Three is just right! With three people, you don’t look like losers while still remaining approachable to outsiders.

3. Know why you’re there.  Try to go with a purpose in mind.  Are you there to advance your career or are you just looking for new friends?  Knowing why you’re there will help you ask better questions and make connections that are more valuable to you.  A salesperson trying to connect with potential customers will need different questions to ask than a person who is just looking to make friends.  We ran into one salesperson who clearly wasn’t prepared and came off very “sales-ey.”  Had he asked the right questions, he would have realized that I wasn’t interested sooner and moved on to better candidates.  Don’t worry though, these events aren’t littered with salespeople by any means!

awkward3-300x3004. Know when to leave the conversation. You know that awkward moment when you run out of things to say or can’t find anything in common?  That’s your queue to leave! You don’t have to talk to someone for 10-20 minutes to make a good connection.  Sometimes the best connections only require a 2-3 minute convo.  One gentleman we spoke with yesterday stuck around for a solid 10 minutes for NO REASON.  It was really obvious he didn’t know what else to talk about.  Maybe he came alone and didn’t want to walk away only to stand by himself, I don’t know (this is why you go with friends), but he just lingered.  It made things really awkward and it wasn’t until I bumped into someone else that he made his exit.  When you feel that awkwardness approaching, simply say it was nice to meet you and bow out. Don’t stand around in silence like a weirdo!  Honestly people.

5. Follow up! Take note of the people you connected with and follow up with them on LinkedIn or via email.  You don’t need to do this with everyone (you stalker), but I recommend following up with important connections a day or two after the event just saying how nice it was to meet he/she.  This lovely little act will do one very important thing, if nothing else: it will keep a written record of people’s names and how you met them! I guarantee a week after the event you’ll forget that person’s name unless you had some magical moment.  On LinkedIn it’s important to limit connections to people you actually know and have met face-to-face.  In the event that you need that connection down the road (to help land a new job, for example) you’ll be able to recall that person and say, “Oh, I met Dave through Rochester Young Professionals and bla bla bla…”

Oh social media, how I love thee.  Just don’t forget to stay human.  Networking events are for face-to-face interaction, so if you begin attending just to boost your virtual connections you’ll turn into a big annoying robot.

My friends and I plan on attending more of these events, now that we’ve gotten the first one over with.  I had a blast and it helped get me out of my comfort zone, which is always helpful when trying to ditch being dull!

What networking groups do you belong to?  Please feel free to share your networking tips!

What You Don’t Know About Gamers

So here’s something I find interesting: gamers.  Why do I find them so interesting?  Well, as a marketer, the gamer demographic is just fascinating to me.  Of the top 1000 YouTube channels, 20% are gaming channels.  Gaming channels are the most popular category on YouTube, second only to music.  What is interesting to me about gamers is their power, the way they communicate and disseminate information, and how they coordinate things.gamerEvolution

The gamers I know are always the first to know about everything and they are super quick to spread information.  Gamers are so powerful that they often start major trends and influence pop culture.  Where do you think “rofl, “ftw” and “noob” came from? Let it be said that I am not much of a gamer.  As much as I love to play games, I can never play the same one for long and often find myself slightly outside this social circle.  However, over the last year or so, I worked on a marketing plan for a local gaming store and was quite surprised by what I discovered in my research.

Cartman from Family Guy playing WOW Many people, when thinking of gamers, envision a lazy overweight slobbish kid, vedging out in his parent’s basement, playing Call of Duty into the wee hours of the night.  I’m not saying those people aren’t out there (they are), but this perception is not representative of the typical gamer.  Here’s a few things you may not know about gamers:

  • They are very social.  Whenever major tragedies happen, I swear there’s always someone who says, “he always kept to himself, didn’t have many friends…just played video games all day.  I never thought he’d murder 12,000 people…”  I know this is a hot button issue with many, but if violent video gaming always led to violence, then we’d all be dead.  Gamers can be extremely social!  Have you ever watched people play WOW?  MMO players will coordinate raids (and whatever else those nerds do) with dozens of people from all over the world at the same time.  It’s just insane.  There are tons of other genres of gaming that also involve heavy socialization. Take role-playing gamers.  RPG events happen weekly here in Rochester where hundreds of people meet up (in person) to play Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-OH!  All of a sudden those basement gamers aren’t looking so lonely and anti-social right?social-gamers
  • Their skills are valuable.  Oh, you didn’t think all those hours of hard “work” would pay off?  Gamers have a very unique set of skills (que Liam Neeson voice).  They get things done efficiently.  They work great as part of a team and independently.  They are often leaders and they are always strategists.  Gamification plays a huge part in marketing plan strategies.  With the influx of mobile technology, gamification is becoming a more popular way to attract and retain customers.  It’s usually based around rewards programs or promotions (I can’t tell you how hard I’ve worked to achieve gold status on my Starbucks app).  Wouldn’t it be great to have people who know how to achieve your company’s business objectives using a game that’s actually fun to play?  Click here for some excellent examples of how valuable gamification can be.

So…the next time you start to stereotype gamers, I hope you’ll keep these tidbits in mind.

May the 4th be with you.