Good or Bad, It Takes Two to Tango

I’m celebrating seven (mostly) wonderful years of marriage today with Jenni, but wanted to make a public confession:

Every argument we’ve ever had is my fault.

Yep, I’m making this public.  Come to think of it, I’ve been a big part of every single problem I’ve ever had with anyone, not just my wife.

I’m not sure why I’ve ever denied it, or why anyone ever denies involvement in a bad situation. Rarely is a conflict one-sided. Arguments take two.

So do solutions.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way I can focus on fixing issues with others and finding compromise, not judging who started it or was at fault.  I was.

Fault is a distraction.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

__________________________
Like this blog? Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email

We are all “Failures”

It’s not failure that defines a person, for we are all “failures” at some point.  Aching, saddened, weak, and discouraged, we’ve all been there.

What defines us is that next step.

Will we settle down into our failing situation and make excuses, blame others, or give up? Or will we find the strength to claw our way out of the pit?

Bad things do happen to good people and it’s important that we don’t let failure define us.

Let it refine us!

Let us find strength, gain character, and be ready for what lies ahead.  Luck favors the prepared, so be up on your feet and ready for when your time is here.

It’s coming!

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

__________________________
Like this blog? Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email

+1 Reason Why Leaders Need to Join Google+ Now

This is a different take on why Google+ matters.

To me, it’s not about the features, Facebook, or anything else out there.  It’s about you.

Since my initial Google+ introduction and invitation on Wednesday, I’ve been researching, discussing, and thinking about how it can be utilized by businesses and leaders.  My goal was to write a definitive post on why Google+ matters and why my fellow 8pm Warriors should get on it. Google Plus Logo

Unfortunately, the more I researched, the more I realized it wasn’t the features that mattered.  There was a bigger reason to join…

There are many “Top Reasons to Try Google+” lists out there already, but given that both Facebook and Google have plans to continue changing things (Facebook adds Skype next week), these lists will be obsolete in a couple months, if not weeks.

For me, there is only one simple reason that you as a leader need to join Google+ and it goes to the heart of leadership itself:

Leaders must lead, not follow.

When there is a new frontier and a new opportunity to be a pioneer, leaders must lead.  They cannot wait for the rest of the world to decide if something is successful or not, they must beat the gold rush.  Being a first mover matters.  Slow leaders aren’t leaders at all in a modern era…they are followers.

I’m going to explain myself below.  However, if you’re still trying to figure out if Facebook is a fad, I don’t recommend reading any further.  I will be wasting your time.

Instead, I recommend reading this first:  Time for Sleeping Leaders to Awake

If you haven’t clicked off yet, I’ll assume you agree that the world has changed and social media isn’t a fad, but rather a fundamental and permanent shift in the way much of the world relates to the people and brands in their life.

I’m confident that social media isn’t going away, and neither is Google+.

Here’s why Google+ is here to stay:

I know that Google has screwed up several new attempts at social networking in the past (i.e. Buzz, Wave, Health, etc.), but this time it will be different.  If there is one thing that I’ve learned during my time reviewing the site and testing the features, it’s that they’ve finally figured out a way to bring all of their pieces of the social puzzle together.  Even though they aren’t all fully functional (i.e. Youtube for video and Picasa for pictures), it’s all but certain they will be soon.

Also, it’s going to be an effective alternative to Facebook.  Too many people dislike Facebook for whatever reason, and too many of us already use most of the pieces of the Google+ package (YouTube, Gmail, Picasa, Android, Google News, Google Chat, etc.).

Since we’re using most of it anyway, especially if you have an Android phone, it’ll be smart and easy to bring it all together into one social package, even if it isn’t your primary network.  That’s why Google+ will survive and may thrive.

You’re already using it!

Looking for more reasons why it’s a safe bet?  Read more here

Leaders need to try Google+ sooner, not later:

Let me start with my Facebook story.

Remember when most people thought Facebook was just a college kid thing?

I joined Facebook right when it opened to non-college students and immediately began building a network of healthcare people as part of the Clear Medical Network initiative.  Our goal was to prepare for a world of severe medical personnel shortages.

With that first-mover advantage, our team was able to build communities that served over 43,000 segmented groups of people.  Not only is that an asset for the future, but it helped us weather the job market crisis better than most of our competitors who are no longer in business.

Leaders starting now are way behind.  It’s so hard to build Facebook page communities now without expensive giveaways and advertising.  It’s a mature platform.

At the beginning, all it cost us was time.  Now with valuation of $100 per person, the network may be worth over $4,000,000 and growing as the demand for nurses and doctors moves towards a critical point.  All with no giveaways or advertising.

Why?  Because we were pioneers.

Lessons from the Pioneers

There are some things we can all learn from early adopters of tools like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+

New platforms are like frontiers.  There are risks, hazards, a journey, and rewards.

Interactions with pioneers are closer, more intimate.  It’s easier to make meaningful connections as most early adopters help each other discover the new world.

Consequently, early adopters have the advantage of forming larger and tighter groups of people.  If you are in a people business, this is something you need to be thinking about.

Where’s the Return on Investment?

Assuming you’ve agreed with me up to this point, you are still probably wondering where does the return on investment come from if you’re not in the business of social media specifically.

Here is where I see the ROI:

Brand pages are coming soon (think Facebook pages)

We all know how valuable they are to a business now.  This will be similar.  The sooner you get on, the better.  I guarantee your competitors will be there.  I will.

It will help with Social Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Part of Google+ includes a social bookmarking module that tracks the use of the new Google +1 social search system.  I believe that it will encourage users to use the +1 system and that future upgrades of Google+ will tie this feature in with the business pages.  If you learn the system now, you’ll be in a much stronger position to benefit from these SEO benefits as they arrive.

Good old fashion networking

I think it’s safe to assume that there is a certain ROI in simply expanding one’s network and ability to reach new people.  This is a new tool for that.

Final Notes:

I’ve tried almost every social network out there, including Google’s other social platform called Orkut, and my gut is telling me this has real staying power.  Of course I could be wrong, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to follow my gut.

Nevertheless, this is a new frontier and I feel like a pioneer.

Join me.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert
__________________________
If you still need an invite to Google+, I’m inviting fellow 8pm Warriors from the email subscriber list as I am able. Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email by clicking here.

Fighting a hard battle? You’re not alone!

In this tough global recession, many talented 8pm Warriors around the world are struggling with very difficult battles.  Dreams shattered.  Relationships broken.  Visions fading.

I have my struggles and I’m not alone.

Be kind.  Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

– Plato

It’s interesting that thousands of years ago, Plato understood a fact of life that is forgotten by many today.  Even the most successful among us are fighting hard battles, yet sometimes social media and shallow modern communication methods make us feel alone on the battlefield.

We only share the good things.

After all, how many successful people do you know checking into a bankruptcy attorney’s office on foursquare, tweeting about their marriage counseling, or posting screen shots of their empty bank accounts on Facebook?  When people only share the bright side, it makes it easy to forget the battles we’re all facing simultaneously.

But let us not forget!  Let’s be kind, pick each other up, and make a difference in the lives of those around us.  Now’s the time to build character and relationships for the future.  Good times are ahead!

Let me know if I can help. 8pm Warriors have to stick together.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

__________________________
Like this blog? Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email

Love What Hurts

It’s common to hear mentors advise young people to do what they love. I’ve offered that advice myself many times.

However, I wonder if it’s become an excuse for some who confuse “doing what they love” with avoiding things they don’t love.

  • Rejection is painful
  • No one loves working long hours while others play
  • Failure hurts

The best way to successfully do what you love is to work while others play, get rejected numerous times, and fail forward and faster than others in your field.  In a world of unlimited competition, the winners will be separated by mere inches, their level of passion, and the bravery to do what hurts.

Doing what hurts is the key to doing what you love.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

__________________________
Like this blog? Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email

Transparency Favors the Strong

Ready or not, the world is getting more transparent.

For people with wrong motives, high prices, or a bad attitude, this could be a very bad thing.  The rest of us should embrace it, even those who love their privacy.

Hear me out.

There was a time when great artists, thinkers, and leaders were stuck in fields of war or the family farm.  How many Leonardo da Vincis have been wasted on the plow or army?

Aaron Biebert in Alaska

For most of history, talented people had no blog, twitter account, or global community to advance their ideas.  There was no internet, media, or bloggers to highlight their brilliance.

Where would the world be if there had been a way to see, share, and embrace the best?

A transparent world gives wings to the brilliant ones and helps them find the pieces needed to create the world’s next great masterpiece.   The rest of us now have a chance to discover and enjoy the best, not just the best connected.

We all benefit in some way.

This is why we need to embrace transparency, not run from it.

Right about now, I can hear the privacy advocates screaming.  I hear their concerns. Yes, we are all human and we make mistakes.  Who wants their dirty laundry out in public?

However, people are becoming more and more comfortable with humanity and all of it’s flaws.  Being “human” is now the hip way to be.  We like transparency when searching for our next great leader, inventor, company, or artist.  It’s the dawn of a new era and we need to embrace it for ourselves.

  • Effective leaders should discuss their reasoning.
  • Amazing artists should share their process.
  • Innovative companies should provide easy access to their prices, people, and profit motives.

The truly remarkable people out there have nothing to hide, and everything to gain. The better you are, the more transparent you should be.

Have a transparent night,

Aaron@Biebert

__________________________
Like this blog? Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email

5 Things to Do After a Business Breakup

“John Smith is no longer with the company. Please forward all phone calls to me.”

This is not one of them.

In one of my first jobs after college, the company I worked for would send out emails like this every time someone got fired or left. No discussion. No explanation. Simple and cold.

The problem is that even your best employee inserts their name into John Smith’s place.  No one wants all their time, relationships, and energy summed up with the simple phrase “John or Jane Smith is no longer with the company.”
 

Most jobs come to an end, but we all want to believe that we’d be missed, celebrated, and respected.

It’s an emotional situation.

If someone leaves, is fired, or laid off, it should be traumatic to you as the leader. After all, it probably means you failed.

You hired the wrong person, didn’t build the relationship, or made decisions (or didn’t make decisions) that led to a need for downsizing. Obviously, people sometimes do unexpected things that make everyone feel good about a firing, but most times a firing ought to be the toughest thing you do as a leader.

But not for everyone else.

Those who are left behind need to feel like they are safe, appreciated, and respected.

Here are 5 things to do after a business breakup:

1)  Be Honest

Don’t say much more than the basics, but what you do say should be honest.  When you answer questions tell the truth.  It always gets out and you don’t want to ruin your trust with the remaining team members.

2)  Be Respectful

Focus on the positive things the former team member did.  Be thankful for the good things and do not bash them.  How you speak of the former team member is how others will picture you treating them if they’re gone.

3)  Talk about the Future

Just like any relationship, people know that a relationship is intact when you talk about the future of it.  Understandably, some of your team may be nervous if you let someone go, so it’s important to reassure them that the future is fine and they are part of it.

4)  Pay Attention

If one of your team members is close to the former employee, make sure you pay special attention to them. Pull them aside to discuss the situation and ask them to share their feelings with you.  Listen.

5)  Be Human

Let your team know that you have feelings.  Don’t be a strong leader, be a human one.  You just used the big stick, now it’s time for the quiet voice.  It’s time to share some emotions and make people comfortable again with you.  The more they know of you, the safer they feel.

Whatever you do, do not treat it like a regular day.  It is not.  It is the day you lost a part of your team.

How you act will show the world what you think of your team.

Have a great night!

Aaron@Biebert

__________________________

Like this article?  Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email

The Life of a Creator

(This post is the 5th and final segment of a five part series about participation in the world of Social Media)

As someone who’s made it my life’s work to create things, I often wonder:

  • Will anyone care about what I am creating?
  • Does my creation matter?
  • Will anyone read my blog, watch my show, join my community, buy my service, appreciate my design, listen to my speech, share, comment, or care?
  • What happens if I invest an extraordinary amount of time into something and it fails?

Creators live in a difficult position.  If they invest their life into something that fails, they are considered a failure by many.  Creators and their creations are often grouped together.

Creators must be prepared to be a failure.

Think of the inventors, writers, designers, and artists who spent their life working on their creation, only to come up short.  Just think about all the developers that developed something that no one used, bought, or shared. For every Facebook, there are hundreds of social websites like Legacy 110.

There is great personal risk to any creator.

As I’ve said many times, there is a place for bravery in a modern world.  Just look at the creative process.  If no one was brave enough to risk total failure, we’d have no internet, no computers, no electricity.

Someone had to risk wasting their life.

It’s the only one of the 4 C’s of Social Media that regularly faces a do or die situation. If consumers don’t like what they consume (fail), they can easily find something else. If curators share something unpopular (fail), they can move on quickly to share something new.  There is an unlimited supply of things out there to consume or share.

Creating just isn’t that simple.

If you’ve ever blogged, recorded, designed, engineered, written a book, or given a speech, you know what I’m talking about.  It isn’t easy to create  something truly new.  The bigger and better the creation, the larger the risk.  That’s why so many people avoid beginning the journey.

So what makes people create?  Natural curiosity?  An accident?  Insanity?  The potential payoff?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that I’m truly thankful for those who invented the telecommunications that connect me to you, the computer I’m using right now, the software that makes it run, and the coffee that I’m enjoying right now.  All of these things had to be created and they truly enrich my life.  And so do the books, movies, and blogs that I consume each day.

I am thankful for the Creators in my life.

However, creators are not islands, they can not exist alone.  They need curators to share their work and curators need consumers to make their curation matter.   We are all creators, curators, and consumers in some way, and we all need each other to make this social web work.

Thanks for creating, sharing, and reading.  Because of you, we are all better off.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

__________________________

Like this article?  Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email