Use Whatever Friggin Words You Want!

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I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about this infuriating article from Mashable a few months ago basically condemning the use of certain “buzz words”. The article is chock full of “experts” I’m sure Mashable selected from a survey about what words they felt were overused. It’s practically impossible to read through the list of comments without hearing them in your head as a pompous “I’m better than you” tone.

Here’s the thing…who friggin cares?

You want to use the word visionary or innovate? Then use it. Just use it within the proper context. We’re seriously going to judge people on what words they use? I went through this list of theirs, and I use many of these words on occasion. Does that make me any less “visionary” or “innovative”? Please.

Judge people on the merits of their work, efforts, results and reputation. I think it comes off arrogant and judgemental to seriously shape opinions of people and businesses because you think a word is overused or cliche. Yes, it’s important to have an educated vocabulary, and variety/creativity in how you communicate, but not to the extent that you should fear using a word because it’s on some overused/buzzword list.

Hopefully you enjoyed my innovative, outside the box, visionary thoughts on this matter and you can now hit the ground running to create a game changing value add for your engaged customers and clients!

7 out of their 12 in one sentence. Not bad eh? Who can beat me in the comments?

Are You These 5 Things? Then You’re Hired.

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Over the past 10 years or so, my career has shifted to focus more on managing teams and operations, and a good chunk of my time has been spent on interviewing and hiring. I’ve probably interviewed thousands of people in that time, and I definitely have a good feel for folks fairly quickly in the process. While roles vary and the qualifications for them can be very different, for me it really comes down to a handful of things that I look for and after thinking about it for some time, these 5 things are definitely at the top of my list.

1. You can work with anybody. I learned this the hard way at my time at Microsoft. There were so many people of various ethnic, professional and personality backgrounds, that you had no choice but to learn how to adapt and find ways to work with a variety of different people. Regardless of where you are at in your career, you should take it upon yourself to really focus and study what makes different people tick, and use that to your advantage. Everyone operates and communicates in different ways, and the more you can observe and figure out how to maximize your professional relationships, you’re going to go a lot farther a lot faster. One trick I’ve always used in meetings, is that when the meeting starts, I make a map of the table and those seated there. I’ll write down all their names, and a few notes about each person on the fly. That allows me to better be prepared to participate in the meeting in a more personable way, and help me remember something about everyone in the room.

2. You’re a self starter. On my teams, not being this is a deal breaker. I want people who are drivers. People who need little direction and hand holding, and can take problems and solve them independently. Critical thinkers who can work through challenges on their own, yet know when to reach out for help or assistance to ensure the job gets done as best it can. People who aren’t afraid to take risks, and own the successes and failures that come with it. I love working with people that actually have other passion projects or entrepreneurial projects on the side. They are usually clear signs of folks that are true self starters.

3. Confidence. Not to be mistaken with arrogance. There’s a fine line between both. I want to be surrounded by people that are confident in their abilities, their knowledge, and are able to convey that in group settings. People that can own a room, but also be able to demonstrate humility when you may not know everything. You don’t have to be a know it all to be confident.

4. You write and speak well. No matter what you do or where you work, there’s always a need for people that can write really well. Whether it’s well crafted emails, blog posts, or any sort of copy, talented writers are always in high demand. And I’m not talking about perfect grammar and spelling. Folks that are great story tellers, can educate, entertain, inspire through their writing. These skills can translate in so many different ways, and it’s usually a good sign of a person being intelligent, well-spoken, and able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people.

5. Helping others is always a priority for you. If you’re the kind of person that naturally and authentically looks out for others, is helpful, and genuinely wants to assist others, you’re going to have a place on my team, and many others in your future. This way of thinking/living really can’t be taught. You either are, or you aren’t. I’m a huge advocate for making hiring decisions based on untrainable/unteachable traits. We can always train folks on tactical facets of the job, but having a helpful attitude is just something you don’t learn.

So if you or someone you know is looking and hits on these 5 marks, send them my way. We’re always looking for the very best.

5 Tips To Book A Baller Vegas Trip Affordably That You Haven’t Heard

Las Vegas boulevard in the night

Okay, maybe not celebrity baller, but there are ways to experience an upgraded Vegas experience. I love Vegas. I do. It’s not for everyone. But for me, 2 times a year is standard. There’s just something about a city that’s always on. It’s a place I can go and really do whatever the hell I want and not have to worry about it. The ultimate adult playground.

There was actually a time where you could practically get everything super cheap and free, Unfortunately those times have changed quite a bit. Vegas is much more touristy. In fact, over the years I’ve seen more and more kids in Vegas, and venues/attractions are building out accommodating such. With gambling becoming less of a centerpiece, naturally the perks that once were available are not so as much. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some creative ways to save a few bucks and still make out like a bandit. So to kick off my new approach and design to this blog, I’m writing what’s fresh in my mind and sharing some kick ass tips to rock Vegas affordably. These are just a few examples I’ve actually used. I’m sure there are plenty of others, but you can take these ones to the bank.

Nerd Out On MyVegas

Whether you play games on Facebook or your phone doesn’t matter. If Vegas is a frequent destination for you, this is a game worth checking out for one simple reason; you earn free shit in Vegas. MyVegas is simply slots. You can play on Facebook or on your mobile device and they both share the same synched up account. Simply by checking in once a day or so, you can earn free chips, and use those chips to play slot games. Those slot games earn you loyalty points which can then be redeemed for real Vegas stuff. Meals, booze, shows, etc. However it takes quite a bit of patience. They just don’t give everything away. You’ll have to devote some time to earn any real rewards, but the fact that the game is free and easy to access anywhere, make it a great time killer. The lady friend and I simply would play sitting in front of the TV, or waiting in line for whatever. Usually just by doing this, we can cut our dining bills in half for 2 trips to Vegas alone.

Book Accommodations Through Independent Owners

Figured this one out on our last trip. We saved almost 30% and no resort fees by finding our suite through an independent owner on VRBO. Sites like this and airbnb are great places to find some accommodations that otherwise would cost much more. Sure, many properties don’t offer this as an option, but plenty do, and if you’re flexible about where you stay, this is a great way to save some loot. Plus nothing feels better than not having to pay some ridiculous resort fee for things you never use.

Skip The Lines In Da Club

I learned the hard way that the club scene has passed me by, but that doesn’t mean that’s the case for everyone. And nothing sucks more than having to wait hours in line to get in. The fact is, with a little planning and a few extra bucks, you don’t have to. You’ll read all kinds of articles about how you can do anything from talking security into letting you in, to contacting someone at the club, but the fact is, these are all dead ends for most folks. I’m just a regular guy with no connections, and I found 2 sure fire ways to make it happen. First option is to simply hire a VIP service to help you skip the lines. There are a handful of services like this, but the one that I found that actually seemed legit was VIP Night. I only list them here because a person actually called me in Vegas and offered a few options where he’d meet us at the club to skip the lines. But we went with option 2 which involved booking dinner at a restaurant attached to a club (in this case Hakkasan). Not all clubs have this, but the ones that do will usually let you skip the line if you book dinner there. We had to eat anyway, so we did, and were able to get into the club through the back. Very cool.

Get A Frequent Players Card & Gamble A Little

I’ve never been much of a gambler. However slot machines are like video games these days, so they’re kind of fun just to play now. After a couple trips of dropping a few hundred dollars here and there and using my MGM card, I found some pretty sweet offers hitting my email inbox. Free shows, meals, even comped rooms, and I’m no high roller by any means. I’ve easily received more discounts in the offers I’ve received then any money I’ve plunked down on gambling. Just by playing a little, you’ll open yourself up to some pretty sweet deals. I dig MGM’s mLife for no other reason than they have a shit ton of properties so you can go just about anywhere and use the same card.

Get A Pool Cabana You Can Actually Afford

If you’re the kind of folk that likes to hit the pools for some fun in the sun, you know how much of a pain in the rear it can be to secure chairs. If you don’t need to rock out at the day club pools, check out some of the pools at the resorts that have the more laid back crowd. Properties like The Signature, Delano, etc. On a recent trip I was able to score a pool cabana for only $300 for a Saturday. Spend a few hundred bucks on food and drinks and they knock it down 25%. That’s not too bad for a guaranteed spot with a TV, refrigerator, etc.

You Need To Own Your Online Identity

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[stag_dropcap font_size=”100px” style=”squared”]I[/stag_dropcap] was inspired to write this blog post based on an article that surfaced in my Facebook feed about Appetas, a restaurant website service, that up until now, offered restaurants a turn-key solution to having a website with useful integrated features such as menus, online ordering etc.  It’s not the worst idea in the world by any means, an affordable, easy solution for an industry that typically has low margins, and little to no internal resources for such a thing. But today’s announcement is exactly why I’ve consulted not only restaurants, but all businesses to stay away from turn-key solutions like this for one simple reason; you don’t own it.

Appetas announced today they were acquired by Google. Great for them, not so much for their customers. In their blog post announcing the acquisition, they are shutting down the service and will work with customers to find alternative solutions. How would you like to be one of these businesses that put your website and trust into these folks now to only be left having to find something else?

Clearly they had a successful product to have been acquired by Google, and I’m sure there is a place for this sort of product in the market. But as long as I am in a position to consult with businesses, I’ll never recommend this path. While using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., is a must in your overall online strategies, the fact is, you don’t own these platforms and you are at the mercy of the changes they make, and ultimately the shut downs that can happen. You can’t allow your entire online identity to be owned by others, which makes it that much more important that your website is owned by you. For you to control, for you to avoid being shut down and looking elsewhere.

Is it more expensive? Up front, yes, in the long run…not at all. The evolution of platforms like WordPress have made it easier and more affordable to get your own website up and running. Diversify your online presence, and make sure where you are isn’t entirely owned by others. Or you may end up like some of the unfortunate customers of Appetas.

Why Sometimes You Have To Say No To New Business

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[stag_dropcap font_size=”100px” style=”squared”]N[/stag_dropcap]ot every lead is a good one. In my first year of starting my company, while few and far between, I’ve actually had new business prospects that I’ve turned down. For a startup, that seems a bit crazy, but sometimes, it’s unavoidable.

I was inspired to write this blog post by something that literally just happened in our office that is driving me nuts. What initially started out as a very promising lead for our company, turned into the most ridiculous showing of disorganization and disrespect I’ve faced since launching my business.

A week or so ago, I was delighted to hear that someone drove by our office and saw our sign and actually stopped in to learn about us. I didn’t think that we’d ever get a lead from our sign, but lo and behold, we did. She set up an appointment to discuss marketing needs for her new business. Here is a list recap of events that happened since:

  • Cancelled an hour before her meeting because she wasn’t feeling well. She rescheduled for a few days later
  • Does not show up to rescheduled meeting. We call her and she says she didn’t get a reminder call from us so she forgot. She reschedules for a few days later and asks us to call her the same day to remind her. Reluctantly, we agree to this even though I think it’s ridiculous that a grown professional adult requires a reminder service for a meeting SHE initiated.
  • We call her on the day of the rescheduled meeting and she tells us that we didn’t give her enough time with our reminder call to make it work

Now, does that sound like someone you’d ever want to go into business with? One of the choices I’ve made when starting my business was that no matter how desperate we may be for the income, I would never take on a client that I had red flags about because it usually ends up in disaster. In this particular case, it was a no brainer. Could you imagine the potential headaches we’d encounter with someone that is incapable of being organized enough to know when their meetings are or has no accountability for their actions? No thank you.