You (Yes, You) Will Change Today

Changing Times, Failure, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, Social Media 2 Comments »

Some people fight change.  They think it helps them avoid losing their way, falling, or failing.

8pm Warrior - Move or Get Buried

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Right?

Wrong.

I look at my competitors who are still using elevator music, editing on outdated software, or shooting with old cameras and these words come to mind:

“Today, you’re either going to get better or you’re going to get worse, but you’re not going to stay the same.  So which is it going to be?”

- Joe Paterno

In a world of constant innovation and progress, staying the same is getting worse. Your position is slipping, even if you’re holding still. Everybody is changing.

Getting better is the only way to not get worse.

Lately, I’ve wondered if I’m slipping a bit myself.  I’ve been seeing a lot of time-lapse imagery in TV shows and movies such as House of Cards, Gold Rush, and Art of Flight. We’ve used time-lapse before, but not at the level I’m seeing out there now.

Regardless of what industry we work in, we’re all going to change.  That’s a fact.

Today I’m choosing to get better.  I’m saying goodbye to the wife and kids, jumping on a plane to one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth, and we are going to master the art of time-lapse for our clients.

I want to be the best, and I need to keep moving forward.

(Here’s the link to the video if you can’t see it)

We’ll be using the #MKE2CA (Milwaukee to California) hashtag for Twitter and Instagram, as well as posting photos and videos from the trip on Facebook and the Attention Era Media blog.

If you have time, I’d love to have you along for the journey.  Maybe we can inspire each other.

Let’s all move forward tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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You can’t change where people look. All you can do is move.

Attention Era, Goals, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, Social Media 7 Comments »

Call me crazy, but it still irritates me when people don’t see me or respond when I’m trying to get their attention.

Time to look in the mirror.

 

I’m not proud of it, but I miss a lot of important people or things that are right in front of me too.

8pm Warrior - You Cant Change Where People Are Looking

It’s the same with your potential customers, employees, or others that really ought to know about you or your company.

Why are they ignoring you?

Why won’t people respond?

Why aren’t they seeing the updates, blog posts, tweets, videos, emails, etc you’ve worked so hard to create?

It’s because they’re not looking in your direction.

For better or worse, I sometimes miss what’s in front of me because I’m looking too far ahead. Other times, I’m intensely focused on something close.  Sound familiar?

In the same way, your customers might be focused on cute cat videos instead of your funny commercial. Your email might not be returned because they’re looking forward to vacation.

We all have blinders on.

The key is doing something about it:

  1. If they are focused on the future, write and share big picture content
  2. If they are intensely focused on solving a problem, help them out
  3. If they are addicted to cute cats, put cute cats in your videos
  4. If they are focused on vacation, talk about their vacation pictures

In the Attention Era, you can’t change where people are looking.  All you can do is move.

That’s why the best leaders are always moving.

Thanks for seeing me tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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USA Today: Hiring via Twitter is Back #ICYMI

Bravery, Changing Times, Creativity, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, News, Social Media 11 Comments »

On the front cover of this morning’s USA Today, you’ll see my contribution in a piece called “Tweets, not résumés, are trending #icymi“.  My fellow 8pm Warriors were the first sounding board for the idea back in 2011 when I wrote about my experience screening and hiring a social media manager based solely on tweets:

Since the experiment went so well, I honestly thought I would hear of someone else trying it.  Nope.  Not until years later, when Bruce from USA Today contacted me last week for an interview.

Why is that?

Twitter is very public and even though it makes sense for some positions, most hiring managers would be afraid to interview someone in public.

Not because they’re afraid for their applicants, but because they’re afraid for themselves. Afraid of everyone watching them.

Fear drives most business decisions.

Why else did it take so long for most businesses to get into social media?  Same reason why it’s taking so long for them to follow the online video wave now.

Twitter isn’t the right tool for hiring most positions.  However, we need to celebrate people that are boldly using Twitter.

We need to celebrate leaders like Vala Afshar, chief marketing officer at the tech firm Enterasys Networks, who is filling a six figure senior social media strategist job via tweets only (no resume accepted), or Kristy Webster at The Marketing Arm (part of Omnicom Group, a big advertising firm) who is filling five social media internships based on tweeted answers to five questions over the course of five days.

Cool times we live in.

What say you?  Is hiring via twitter here to stay? Or, will we be back here in 2 years talking about it again?

Have an innovative night,

Aaron @Biebert

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Idiots Hate Applebee’s (and They’ll Hate You Too)

Failure, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, News, Social Media 50 Comments »

I was super busy all week with two productions and just got to this.

Now that the dust has settled and the real facts are available, I wanted to quickly weigh in on the giant “Applebees Unjustly Fires Poor Waitress” fiasco.

I’d like to get your thoughts on it too.

Here are the facts before I get started:

 

1) An Applebee’s waitress received this stupid note from Pastor Alois Bell on the signed credit card receipt.

It says “I Give God 10% Why do you Get 18″

2) Chelsea Welch, a different waitress (not the one who served the customer), took a picture of that credit card signature receipt with her phone and posted it on Reddit.com along with the caption:

My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.

3) Customer found out about it and complained

4) Chelsea admitted to doing it and Applebee’s fired her

5) Hell broke loose on the internet.

The media ran to the server’s rescue.  Competitor’s ears perked up, fan pages popped up, and 20,000+ fans commented on Applebee’s first Facebook post about the situation:

“We wish this situation hadn’t happened. Our Guests’ personal information—including their meal check—is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy.”

6) Applebee’s social media team tried to engage upset people.

People called them names and accused Applebee’s of hypocrisy for breaching their own privacy policy by sharing a customer’s “receipt”  earlier in the year.

(looks like an informal positive comment card to me)

6) Applebee’s posts a larger update and temporarily hides the old post.

Enraged Facebook fans claim that Applebee’s deleted their comments.

7) Applebee’s unhides the original post and denies manually deleting any negative posts.

8) 20,000+ more comments go onto their Facebook page.

Thousands of people now “hate” Applebee’s

 

You know what this is?

 

We’re witnessing an old-fashioned online lynching.

What we’ve got here is a company protecting their customer’s privacy (I don’t want my signature online) and being dragged through the mud by idiots looking to lynch Applebee’s.

The idiotic pastor’s note was truly stupid.  Great servers deserve great tips.

However, it would take another true idiot to think it’s okay to post a customer’s signature (customer is the key word) online while mocking them, even if what they were mocking was indeed stupid.

No, I don’t think Applebee’s had the perfect response on Facebook.
No, I don’t think there is such a thing.
Yes, I’m calling a lot of names here.

Here’s why:

  • It’s not okay to hurt a business because you don’t understand how to run one.
  • It’s wrong to post nasty stuff about companies or people when you don’t have the facts.
  • It’s easy to play armchair quarterback when it’s not your business.
  • The local owners, people that work at Applebee’s, and their family members are real people who get affected by idiotic boycotts, 40,000+ nasty comments, and all the distractions this has caused.

But this isn’t just about Applebee’s.  It’s about you and me.

I had something like this happen on our Attention Era Media Facebook page last year when we posted this video and asked if people liked their idea:

A large feminist group began saying we supported misogyny and tying women up for commercial purposes.  It wasted a ton of time and hurt our new brand.

For what?

For entertainment.

People like to hear themselves talk on social media, especially if there’s an ignorant mob that agrees with them.

I know people that work for Applebee’s.  This is not amusing.

This is not entertainment.  Don’t kid yourself. Idiots hate Applebee’s and they’ll hate you too.

That’s why we need to stick together.

Have a great night,

Aaron @Biebert

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Look Up, Be Bold, Go Together – 3 Thoughts for 2013

Bravery, Changing Times, Failure, Goals, Leadership Thoughts, Loneliness, Motivation 9 Comments »

It’s the new year and I have three thoughts on my mind.  Thought I would share them with my fellow 8pm Warriors.

1) Focus on the positive stuff.

Yes, the economy has been bad.  Some places around the world, it’s still bad.

However, there are still opportunities everywhere if we take the time to look for them.  Focus on the bad things will only blind us from seeing the amazing people, places, and opportunities that surround us.

For every dark muddy mess on the ground, there is a beautiful sunrise if we just look up.

Keep your chin up.

2) Don’t be afraid to do great things. Don’t settle.

Just because nobody is doing it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either.  Don’t be afraid to be the first.

Stop writing, thinking, talking, and working like everyone else.  There’s a better way if we’re not afraid to be the first.

Yes, you may be wrong. But following behind others your whole life will always be wrong.

Nobody changed the world by copying others.

3) Don’t do it alone.

Amazing work is too hard to do alone.

You will fall…and when you do, you’ll need someone to help pick you up.

If you’re isolated and nobody “gets it”, don’t hesitate to use the power of social media and the internet.  You’re not alone, even if you want to be.

Let me know if you need help, feedback, ideas, encouragement.

8pm Warriors need to stick together.

 

A couple weeks ago, I got this shot of an old man walking on the ocean in Vancouver. He was alone.

In 2013, my goal is to do big, crazy, bold things. I’m going to walk across the ocean if I have to…but I’m not going to do it alone.

Thanks for a great 2012 and I look forward to getting to know you better in 2013.

Have a great year,

Aaron @Biebert

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We All Need to Move Forward

Leadership Thoughts, News 8 Comments »

Obama voters.  Romney voters.  Democrats.  Republicans.

When do we simply become just “Americans” again?

In a world where politics is always in perpetual campaign mode, I think it’s time to get back to business.

  • We have a major debt problem.
  • We have government gridlock.
  • We have sharp divides.

This is where leaders come in. Not just in the White House, but in your house.  My house.

Our government is a reflection of our society.  Yes, it’s divided. However, we have only ourselves to blame.

The acidic things I’ve seen written on social media channels about Obama and Romney are outrageous.  When did we lose our civility?

We’re not hurting the candidates. We’re hurting ourselves.

Let’s seek healing and unity tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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5 Symptoms of the Anorexic Organization

Leadership Thoughts 3 Comments »

Healthy organizations have some fat.

The “Lean Organization” has been a hot concept in recent years, but no one is talking about what happens when it becomes an unhealthy obsession for some leaders.

I’m calling it the Anorexic Organization.

Before you think I’m making light of a serious disorder, please note that  I’ve had a very close family member go through an eating disorder.  It’s no laughing matter.

People with eating disorders seek to control their world by overexercising and not giving their bodies the support and fuel it needs.  It is a very miserable situation and can lead to death.

Is your organization anorexic?

Here are the 5 symptoms to watch for:

1) The organization cuts people on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, etc.) .

2) They don’t hire more people when sales are growing.

3) The leaders continue to push their team to be faster, smarter, and more productive, even though they are past their breaking point.

4) People are consistently leaving for horizontal career moves.

5) When someone leaves a full-time position, the position may not be filled right away.

 

Never before have such unrealistic expectations been placed on team members. Increasing productivity comes at a cost.

You can’t focus on growing if you’re focused on cutting.  You can’t cut your way to marketing leadership.

  • Cutting leaders means following.
  • Cutting innovators means stagnation.
  • Cutting support people means your team and clients feel less important.

It’s time to hire again.

Have a healthy night,

Aaron @Biebert

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8 Thoughts for Graduating Warriors

Bravery, Leadership Thoughts, Motivation 15 Comments »

Every year I write up a commencement address for new graduates.  This year my alma mater (Wisconsin Lutheran College) asked me to share some thoughts with the warriors graduating this weekend.

Someday I’ll actually give one of these speeches live.

1) Be the Best

You are competing with one billion people in China, another billion in India, and half a billion people in North America.  If you’re average, then you’ll also be poor, miserable, or replaced.  Pure and simple.

To be in demand with this economy, you must be the best at what you do.

It doesn’t matter how you get there. Experience, training, luck, internships, whatever…just be the best.

 

2) Be Yourself When You Grow Up

Role models are great. Teachers are wonderful. However, when it’s time to pick a path in life, the person you need to be is looking at you in the mirror.

There are a couple reasons why you should be you and not someone else.

1)  You’re the best in the world at it.  (see #1)
2)  Being someone else is hard work and you’ll never be good at it.
3)  It wastes a lot of time otherwise.  Everyone with half a brain knows you’re trying to be someone else.
4)  It makes you unique.  You have talents/skills/knowledge that nobody else has. When you be yourself, those unique qualities shine through.

While parents, friends, and others may challenge you to follow someone else’s path, you must resist. Follow your heart. Do what you love.

Be you.

 

3) People First

The world revolves around people.  You won’t be hired by your iPhone.  You won’t be promoted by the laptop you use.  Your car won’t be giving you a raise.

I always hear “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  That is wrong.

In a hyper-connected world, it’s not who you know, but who you’ve helped. Everyone “knows” everybody, but everybody remembers when someone helps them.

Help as many people as you can.

 

4) Mean It

If you don’t really care about people, they will know.  You’d be better off working with machines or basket weaving.

If you choose to work with people, you need to mean it.  No faking.

If you want to help someone, roll up your sleeves and do it.

 

5) Run or Stay

When you find yourself connected to bad people, run.  They will ruin you.

If you find yourself surrounded by great people, stay.  They will help you grow.

If you want to fail miserably in anything, walk.

Losers walk.

 

6) Don’t Spend Much Time Watching

It’s fashionable to dedicate large amounts of time to watching celebs and popular “experts” to see what they’re doing.  It’s also stupid.

Learning is a good thing, but watching isn’t doing.  Groupies are losers.

Winners do.  Leaders lead.

Followers just watch.

 

7) Don’t Waste Anyone’s Time

In the Attention Era, wasting someone’s time is not only rude, but ineffective as well.

Don’t ask if you don’t care.  Don’t talk if you don’t have anything valuable to say.

Don’t be boring.

 

8) Push Until It Hurts

When it hurts, you’ll know you’re doing it right.

If you care about people, they will hurt you.  If you dedicated yourself to something, it will fail you.  Get ready to cry.

The key is not to fear the pain you might feel, but to fear a path that doesn’t cost anything.  All great things cost something.

You get what you pay for.

 

Graduation isn’t the end.  It’s the beginning.

Let’s get it started tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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