Posted on May 2, 2015
Fifty years is a very big deal. Happy golden anniversary, Boss Radio KHJ Los Angeles. Boss Radio Forever!
Whenever I talk with professionals from the radio industry or read their online commentaries, I feel disconnected from them. I feel like somehow I just ventured into a room with military combat veterans who spend a lot of time talking in detail about their memories of battles and tactics for killing the enemy. They belong to a very specialized (and some say bygone) era that I only visited for a very short while when I was young. But, yet I dared to research their world and retell their stories. Sort of disrespectful. Sometimes kind of rude. But, cunning and fun for others to read.
You only need a website today if you want to prove to others that you exist. If you are happy to remain in obscurity, you can get along just fine without having your own website.
Individuals, small and medium-size businesses, and nonprofits need a complete, yet affordable, selection of professional and customized services to enable them to win over their particular target audience with online marketing. Usually this means paying today’s high prices for professional services to get your own website. That is just a waste. And so unnecessary.
Nearly half of small and medium-sized businesses or nonprofits do not yet have their own website. One thing that I tell people today may sound shocking: You need to have a website if you want to have street credibility today in the business world. Your personal brand depends on having a website.
I firmly believe in this need to have a website after working since 1996 using the Internet for business. If you are someone who really does not want to have your own website, please read this one page and give me a chance to change your thinking.
I can help you if you start with an acceptance that yes, you need a website if you really want credibility today in marketing your business to your target audience.
Once you understand the need to have your own website, you need help with strategic marketing and personal branding online. The basic rule of business that I use can be explained using an ocean metaphor: You need to swim in the same waters as your potential customers.
You get the idea. The truth is: To do business today involving seeking and attracting potential customers, you need to bring what you are offering to your customers where they are.
The other simple reality is that having your own website is essential proof that you are savvy enough to use today’s contemporary tools of communication in the digital realm and online. You don’t want to be considered irrelevant or outmoded.
Today, the use of the Internet for business is roughly 20 years old. Websites today differ greatly from how websites worked back in the 1990s when the Internet was new.
The major difference is that today’s websites are intended to interactive for your visitors compared to the old-school style of websites from the past.
Let me quickly express what you need and should want: You want a website for today, not a website that is from the 1990s. The past belongs in the past. Learn to respect the past, but understand that we must focus on today and tomorrow.
Today, the best practice is to have a site that is attractive to look at and easy to use, plus, the website works the way it needs to work: People need to interact with you through your website if you want to be successful in using the website for your business.
The manner or way that you employ online and using digital outreach technology should be important to you. Resist the temptation to jump into an expensive contract with a provider of website services that promises you the sun and moon and a couple of galaxies, too.
Sure, having a website today is essential, but you can be smart and conservative in how you go about it. Why? You don’t want to dump a lot of money and time into something that is wrong.
Now a Warning: Merely getting your own website is not a secret doorway to either sudden riches or fame. Rushing out and using social media channels without thinking about why is not the answer to your most pressing business problems. Text messaging to thousands of smart phones may not necessarily rescue you from irrelevance.
Today’s digital technology together with the Internet represent marvelous human accomplishments and inventiveness. Websites and smart phones could surely not have been imagined a few decades ago except by the likes of science fiction writers. But, don’t get lost in the marvels that we now have at our fingertips in the 21st century.
The best way to success is to use digital technology together with the Internet as one of the tools of your trade.
Consider how computerized word processing has become an indispensable tool for writers today. Since word processing is so important to the craft of writing nowadays, how did anyone write and publish books before the invention of word processing software? Trick question.
Here is wisdom you can take with you today: Make effective use of the tools of today’s technology. Use the Internet. Have your own website. Yes, get into Twitter. And Facebook. Send text messages to reach the smart phones you know your audience uses.
Just be sure that you have carefully thought out why you are using these tools: Reaching, interacting with, and persuading your target audience should be your core reason and chief motivation.
[My original version of this commentary first appeared in 2011 on this and other blogs.]
What would it feel like to be a stand-up comic who was scheduled to perform in San Francisco the night after Robin Williams was gone? San Francisco’s KCBS radio covered this angle of the larger story concerning the suicide of the beloved actor and comedian. My partner, Sam Glass, and I happened to have August 11 tickets to see actor Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O’Brien on Fox broadcasting’s 24) perform at the Punch Line—San Francisco’s oldest running comedy club. The club’s announcer called for a moment of silence in memory of Robin Williams at the start of the evening’s performances. But, that night belonged to laughter, not sadness.
Posted on April 15, 2014
One hundred eight years ago, a terrible natural disaster descended upon San Francisco. The April 16, 1906 earthquake and resulting fire devastated the City and Bay Area. But, this is a resilient place that learned how to stand out from all other places in North America. I am working here now in San Francisco on the 17th floor of a building that stands on landfill and no, I am not afraid.
If you follow my posts here bearing the stand out tag, you already know that I relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada from the Washington, DC area during the dead of summer 2012. What was I thinking?
I asked myself that question as I melted under the unnatural feeling of daytime highs hitting one hundred eighteen degrees. Yeah, sure, the summers are damn hot in Las Vegas. But, everyone knows that.
I had to leave the Washington, DC area to move on with my life. There were many things I loved while living in Las Vegas for over a year. I just had to accept that my job meant relocating to San Francisco. And, what do you know? Although the weather is never hot in San Francisco compared to Las Vegas, in real life a person cannot pick a place to live and work based on the local weather.
Being someone who wants to stand out in life, I jumped at the career opportunity to work in San Francisco and left Las Vegas in the rearview mirror. Well, that’s a metaphor because actually I flew on United Airlines.
The most important lesson I have learned in my life is to seek change, explore new ventures, and don’t regret what you leave behind. Now I am in San Francisco, which is arguably the most beautiful city in North America. There is so much to love here.
This also is a very happening place where the economy is so good that people here choose to pay more than most other Americans for just about everything. Did you know that for $4 you can get toast in San Francisco? Bread and butter toast. Like for breakfast. Not some trendy alcoholic beverage!
Oh yeah, and then there’s that rather annoying legacy of earthquakes. Can’t do anything about that any more than I could change the terrible weather in Las Vegas in summertime.
So, to stand out, I urge you to go where you need to go when you need to move on in your life. No matter what. If you don’t want to stand out, stay where you are. That’s my advice based on my life’s lessons. I hope you will explore my other commentaries on this subject here that are tagged with stand out.
For everyone who wants to go out into the real world and harness buzz power: My eBook is available for 2014 in an updated edition. Revised and expanded with new content. This eBook covers the successful use of strategies and tactics in the digital realm that create public excitement about a person, place, or thing.
This personal story of my adventures in rock and roll radio is a cautionary tale for those who may be considering careers in broadcasting. The eBook for 2014 includes new content and photographs that were never before available.
Download Neon Fun Jungle today at Amazon.
The date November 22 became infamous 50 years ago when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. I remember the panic that spread like wildfire that Friday morning through the elementary school I was attending.
There was an awful lot of crying, and not just by us schoolchildren. Seeing so many adults weeping freely and openly without shame was very unsettling to me. I never forgot the feeling that something so overwhelming in real life had trapped me in shock and terror far deeper than any book or movie I had ever experienced.
And yes, for me and countless other young people, what we experienced in late November 1963 brought about a sudden end to our childhood innocence. I was just 13. There was no way I could remain sweetly innocent after I watched Lee Harvey Oswald shot dead on live television that weekend.
More importantly, there was no way I was going to continue believing what grownups had taught me. Many adults from my parents to my teachers had taught me that American society should be considered civilized and sane. After JFK died, I started thinking for myself and seeking my own answers in this life. I lost faith in grownups as far as providing answers that I could believe.
The process of my maturing into an adult suddenly accelerated just five years later. At age 18 I became a volunteer in the doomed 1968 presidential campaign of Senator Robert Kennedy. This second Kennedy assassination hurt me far more deeply than the first.
It is no exaggeration that the death of RFK ripped away my hope for humanity.
I was raised within the Roman Catholic faith and education system to believe grownups who insisted that human society should be considered civilized and sane. Now I know better, but I certainly cannot disregard those very soothing and comforting feelings of schoolboy innocence.
I am writing this blog post to share the news that I am leaving Las Vegas. My exit from Sin City has nothing in common with the 1994 song performed by Cheryl Crow that was based upon the novel of the same name by John O’Brien, nor the 1995 movie starring Nicolas Cage also based on the O’Brien novel.
To be more specific, you may be relieved to learn that leaving Las Vegas for my partner Sam and me has zero to do with alcoholism or prostitution or gambling. We are leaving because of my need to relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area for work.
Those who follow my column on Ned’s Job of the Week website already have seen my commentaries on making the transition to Las Vegas in the first place. On June 29, my birthday, I wrote about what has morphed into an ongoing transition in my life and career.
As my posts have shared already, I chose Las Vegas as a place to restart and my life and redefine myself. One big lesson learned that I will share with you here: Pick some place where you can restart your life and redefine yourself even if your family members and friends tell you how strange you are.
I chronicled my August 2012 relocation from Washington, DC to Las Vegas, Nevada. I never imagined that I would continue in transition after establishing residence in Nevada, but that is exactly what has happened. The lesson here is that transitions in life can be an ongoing journey for a person and not a one-time event.
During the summer of 2013, I was recruited to work as a communication consultant in San Francisco. As a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada that meant I had to fly back and forth every week. Three simple words capture the significance of this commute: frequent flier miles.
Yes, for several months I flew 400 miles one-way to get to and from work each week in San Francisco. I lived in hotels part of each week for several months now. In my experience, flying and staying in hotels had always been associated with vacation time. That all changed after I joined the ranks of steadfast business travelers who know the realities of regular travel by air and weekly accommodations in hotels.
Living in two cities presents major challenges, of course. I would not recommend this anyone except a genuinely highly adaptable person like I am. There will always be unexpected twists and turns that sneak up on you and complicate an already difficult way to live. In San Francisco, for instance, I had to deal with TWO strikes at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system that made local commuting one of the worst traffic experiences one could ever hope to find anywhere in the United States. Then there was the issue of going between daytime highs of only 65 degrees in San Francisco to daytime highs of over 100 degrees in Las Vegas. You get the idea here.
All of this will soon change. Some have asked me whether I would recommend living in Las Vegas.
Here’s the truth: I certainly hope that everyone who reads this will consider vacationing in Las Vegas. This is a wonderful venue for adults to relax and unwind. It’s perfect for attending a big convention, too. A stay of about 3 or 4 days is the absolute maximum anyone should allocate to staying in Las Vegas for a vacation or a convention.
I would not recommend living in the Las Vegas Valley unless you get relocated here by an established company for a full-time career job. On the plus side, the cost of living is very low. There is a wonderful entreprenuerial spirit here for business. Plus, living in the Mojave Desert affords easy access to enjoying nature and plentiful wide open spaces. The west side of the valley (miles away from The Las Vegas Strip) is especially appealing.
This may seem obvious: Anyone who has needs for alcohol or gambling or prostitution should steer clear of living in Las Vegas, however. I happen to have no dependencies upon any of these three vices. Yet, I found other prominent elements of living in Las Vegas that I disliked–most notably, the rampant unreliability of many local people.
You can make life in the Las Vegas Valley what we want it to be. It is a neon fun jungle. Once you understand that, you can start to learn how to sort through the distractions of neon lights, flashing video displays, shiny silvery surfaces, ample carbohydrates, liquor, and so on. You can do it if you try.
What was then known as Mission Central Catholic High School in San Luis Obispo holds a special significance for many of us today. We survived high school during the turbulent Sixties and lived to tell.
We were young and restless and believed that we would grow up to become the leaders of tomorrow. Look back at a time long ago in a place far, far away.
There is a tactic available to you today that is leading a trend in online communication. This can help you stand out from your competitors in a powerful way.
Let me tell you about it: I produced an electronic book (eBook) and associated online promotional campaign for a Southern California newspaper columnist. He is Don Barrett and he has covered the radio broadcasting business for nearly 20 years online at LARadio.com. Don turned to me to produce a series of eBooks for him to chronicle personal stories of USA radio people. I also produced the promotional website to support the marketing of Don’s eBook series.
Currently, I am working on another eBook from a Los Angeles radio personality with an amazing story to tell!
Having your own eBook available for sale online gives you a special klout that others do not have. Your eBook will be available online around the world for all time. This gives you a true permanence for your good reputation.
Anyone can write a compelling eBook to sell online. Whether you are sharing your family’s secret recipes, other family secrets, or, how-to tips that you have accumulated from your hobby or professional career, publishing an eBook is the way to get your ideas and your reputation out there to the entire world!
You can stand out from others if you have an eBook available for sale online on Amazon. Oh, and yes, you can make money from selling your eBook on Amazon, too. I approach this more from a reputation enhancement perspective, however, and not as a way for people to make money online. But, there are people who do make money from selling eBooks.
Get started today by checking out what I can do for you to help you stand out with your own eBook.
Once you make the decision to follow your internal guidance or your heart or your karma, there is no turning back. So, you think you can stand out? Yes, you can, but it may be more difficult than you can imagine.
Those who follow my column on Ned’s Job of the Week website already have seen my commentaries on making transitions in life and career. My most recent column on this subject was on June 29, my birthday. In that post, I wrote about what has morphed into an ongoing transition in my life and career. I chronicled my August 2012 relocation from Washington, DC to Las Vegas, Nevada. I never imagined that I would continue in transition in July 2013, but that is exactly what has happened. The lesson here is that transitions in life can be a regular journey for a person.
I was recruited to work as a communication consultant in San Francisco. What does one who is a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada do if they want to accept such a terrific position in San Francisco? The answer is found in these three simple words: frequent flier miles.
Yes, I fly 400 miles one-way to get to and from work each week in San Francisco. I also live in hotels part of each week. In my experience, flying and staying in hotels has always been associated with vacation. Now, however, I have joined the ranks of steadfast business travelers who know the realities of regular travel by air and weekly accommodations in hotels.
Living in two cities is a major challenge, of course. I would not recommend this to you unless you genuinely are a highly adaptable person. There will always be unexpected twists and turns that sneak up on you and complicate an already difficult way to live. In San Francisco, for instance, I am having to deal with a strike at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system that makes local commuting one of the worst traffic experiences one could ever hope to find in the United States. Then there is the issue of going between daytime highs of only 65 degrees in San Francisco to daytime highs of over 100 degrees in Las Vegas. You get the idea here.
I love working with my colleagues in San Francisco and I am very happy that I accepted this consulting offer. I would not trade my life with anyone else. Maybe in the near future, I will need to relocate for work to California from Nevada. You can be sure I will write about my experiences here to help you with your own efforts to stand out professionally.
Meanwhile, Here are some of my most helpful posts that I hope you will check out:
- One of the most significant parts of my online column here on Ned’s Job of the Week website is my series on how you can create and maintain your personal brand. This series of columns began in July 2012 and is worth checking out if you haven’t already done so. The entire series is available all in one place online for you to see.
- I am especially proud of my commentary regarding staying current with technology to help professionals of any age or experience level remain relevant in today’s rapidly changing world.
- My controversial comments about retirement will make you think carefully about your plans for what happens after you transition from the world of full-time employment.
A few months ago I updated my commentary entitled “Should I Stay or Should I Go” — a title from that song from the 1980s by the English punk rock group The Clash. Here is update on the occasion of my birthday, June 29, about how to stand out.
It is good to reflect upon your life at least once a year. Doing so on your birthday makes good sense in my humble opinion.
As I reflect on this day, I realize how far I have come in my life. Literally and figuratively. I relocated from Phoenix, Arizona in 1995 to take a Washington, DC executive speechwriting career job. I am one of those people who loves living in the Desert Southwest, but the career employment opportunity in DC had to become my main priority.
Relocating from the desert to DC was one of those famous Life Changing Experiences, to say the least. I believe that there is very little that DC shares in common with life in the western deserts of the United States. For me, living in the desert developed a deep and enduring bond between myself and the physical environment. The simplest way to explain this is to say that I created a spiritual connection with the earth while living in the desert.
After the Great Recession hit in 2007, although I could continue to make a living in the DC market, I started feeling as though my life path needed to take me back to the Desert Southwest. My answer to the “Should I Stay or Should I Go” question was to stay in DC. During August 2012, however, I answered “Should I Go” with a clear “yes!” and I chose to relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada.
At this point in time, I have lived in Las Vegas almost one full year. This week in Las Vegas, we are experiencing record high temperatures. When the hot winds hit your face, you learn to take it or you will keep wondering why anyone would choose to live here in the Mojave Desert.
Las Vegas is internationally famous for being a place where you can escape for fun and relaxation. That is as true today as it has been since 1906 when the railroad came to Las Vegas and enabled casinos and hotels to exist here as viable businesses.
But, living in Las Vegas permanently as a local is a whole different experience compared to visiting Las Vegas for just a few days of fun and relaxation as a visitor. From experience, I would suggest that if you choose to relocate to Las Vegas as I did, choose also like I did to relocate here during any month when the temperatures are at their highest. Why? If you relocate to Las Vegas when the weather is cool, doing so will create a very false sense of reality for you regarding how punishing the physical environment can be here in the Mojave Desert. When you experience a high temperature of 120, you will know rather quickly if you are going to be able to survive living here.
Life as a local in Las Vegas has many advantages that cannot be matched or exceeded anywhere else in the United States. Among these advantages are a highly favorable tax environment, a clear and consistent welcoming and encouragement by municipal and state governments towards entrepreneurs, low-cost entertainment of the highest quality, low-cost dining out opportunities of the highest quality, and, overall genuine friendliness of the locals. Vacationing here and attending conventions here is a terrific experience, too.
Infamously, many people move to Las Vegas and then leave within about 30 days. The reasons for their exodus are numerous and personal. You can find part of an answer why many never make it past 30 days here if you consider some of the disadvantages (excluding the famous daily 90+ temperatures during many months of every year) of life as a local in Las Vegas.
Other than the threat of heat-related physical injuries, there can be flash flooding caused by rare thunderstorms. I experienced two successive flash flooding incidents during 2012 and 2013. On the plus side, there are not likely going to be tornadoes or hurricanes here, however, like elsewhere in the United States. Nor are you going to suffer under several feet of snow.
Throughout the Las Vegas Valley there persists the old-fashioned 1960s emphasis upon single passenger vehicles. This unavoidable reality directly results in routine traffic congestion and extraordinarily inconvenient and frustrating parking. Alternatives to this outmoded single passenger vehicle way of transportation are beginning to establish a foothold here in Las Vegas. Pun intended.
Some locals you may encounter in the Las Vegas Valley choose to play by their own rules of public behavior that exist outside the typical bounds of polite society. I cannot go into detail about this without sharing anecdotes that easily would earn an “R” rating.
At the same time, this is a welcoming place. I quickly became involved on the board of directors of the Las Vegas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). I am a serious advocate for everyone who is in the communications fields to join your local IABC chapter and get as actively involved as you possibly can. IABC is a fantastic networking opportunity for communications people. Everyone I have met within IABC Las Vegas have been genuine and welcoming towards me.
In conclusion, only you can answer your own “Should I Stay or Should I Go” question. If you are like me, you may discover after weighing all the factors that choosing to stay where you are is not the best for your career. But, know that choosing to go is very difficult. You should expect emotional and financial challenges.
But, if you are like me, you may discover that augmenting your personal brand requires you to move your life and your career to some other place than where you are right now. I’m convinced that one’s personal brand may need such a reboot or restart from time to time. I urge you to face this kind of life change bravely and with determination all the while knowing that there will be experiences in this journey that are not fun. I’m confident that you, like me, will emerge at the new location a stronger person than you were before your move.
American film director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) created unforgettable and challenging ideas in his storytelling such as the recurring theme that technology is a curse for mankind rather than a blessing. Kurbrick warned us, be we did not believe him. Just 14 years after Kubrick passed, technology is taking away jobs that we humans will likely never regain. This is not science fiction. This is real.
A sobering article entitled “After Your Job Is Gone” is a must-read for everyone who is employed right now. The central point of the article is that computerized automation already has made many Americans unable to keep jobs that they have held for years. This is not a future prediction This is now.
What would you do if technology destroyed your relevance as a worker? For us avid science fiction fans, such a question is as old as I, Robot, the classic speculative science fiction story from 1950 written by Isaac Asimov. Of course, many Americans tend to ignore science fiction as mere entertainment. That is, of course, a big mistake.
The most practical response you and I can have to technology destroying more jobs than it creates is to work in technology businesses. You will not be able to beat technology. So, you will have to join technology if you want to adapt and survive. This crucial need to adapt and survive is already especially challenging for people who have the false belief that technology is only for young people.
I will repeat here today what I posted earlier this year at this website:
When you live in the 21st century, you need to embrace and use the tools of the 21st century or you will become as relevant as dinosaurs. If you scoff at this, you are choosing to be a scoffing dinosaur.
How many birthdays you have had doesn’t matter one bit. Whether you like using computers or smart phones doesn’t matter either.
If you are in a career search in the wake of the Great Recession, you want to stand out. You definitely do not want to be a scoffing dinosaur. The choice is very simple and it is your choice alone: Relevant. Irrelevant.
You must embrace and use the tools of the 21st century if you are in a career search in the wake of the Great Recession or you will likely not succeed in your career search.
Throughout Western culture in literature, song, movies and other artifacts there is a common meaning to be found: Each person has the capability of creating their own reality. Tapping into this ancient wisdom can save your life and reinvent who you are.
Immelt’s core message is powerful and merits requoting here: “We can’t wait for the economy to stabilize. We can’t wait for a time when there is more certainty. It used to be that you only had to manage momentum. Today, you have to create your own future.”
I’m not sure how I came to be someone who embraces that kind of viewpoint about life. I just do embrace it. Wholeheartedly.
I have been reinventing who I am for many years. Long before I ever heard of the word reinvention, I was doing it in my own life.
That is partly why I write commentaries here on this website. My goal is to share with you what I have discovered to be true. I hope your life can benefit from the lessons I have learned.
American society in 2013 seems to have difficulties separating what is fake from what is real. Just look at the number of those so-called reality shows on television and you will know exactly what I mean. How any one us can hope to stand out from others is deeply affected by this American cultural context.
Since my youth I’ve heard the phrase, “fake it ’til you make it.” To me, the phrase always seemed to be sarcastic and more than just a little shallow. I used to wonder why anyone would want to be fake given the choice to be real. Then I became an adult.
My favorite quote of all time springs from my own lifelong search to tell the difference between fake people and real people. Julius Henry Marx lived from 1890 to 1977 and is best remembered by his nickname, Groucho. He was an American writer and comic with a profound ability to turn deeply intellectual thoughts into everyday language and make people laugh in the process. My favorite quote of all time comes from him: The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.
The ability to find humor in the struggle to separate what is fake from what is real is crucial to your being successful in shaping your own personal brand so that you stand out in positive ways from others. I firmly believe this.
I recommend that this weekend you should rent a movie called O Lucky Man to explore the humor in how people work so hard to stand out. This film stars Malcom McDowell, a talented actor whose face and voice you will recognize instantly because he has appeared in so many films over the years. McDowell was just 30 when he starred in O Lucky Man as a struggling young man trying to stand out from others and become successful in a professional career. This film is a comedy whose main purpose is to make you laugh so that the filmmakers can sneak in persuasive messages in the story to compel you to think about the differences between fake people and real people.
At this point in my life, I have somehow managed to live and work in Hollywood, Washington, DC, and Las Vegas. Being in these three famous American cities severely confuses anyone who hopes to tell the difference between fake people and real people. If you spend any time in any of these places, you will come to understand this simple truth: Hollywood and Las Vegas encourage make-believe for purposes of show business. Washington, DC encourages make-believe for purposes of political power.
Each of us must arrive at our own answers as to whether we are being dishonest if we ever fake it to stand out from others. There probably are moral considerations here, but I dare not tell you what you should consider to be moral. You must find your own way. You would be wise, however, to keep in mind that what is fake versus real often is in the eye of the beholder like truth and beauty.