Saturday, September 13, 2008

Leadership 101 : Self-Realization to Self-Actualization

I was asked to speak on leadership at Cisco's Women's Action Network. I applied branding principles to career planning and came up with this ten-step program.


SELF-REALIZATION



STEP 1: DECIDE WHO YOU ARE


Life isn't about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself. ”
- George Bernard Shaw




STEP 2: BUILD ON YOUR STRENGTHS





“Be more dedicated to making solid achievements than in running after swift but synthetic happiness.” - Abdul Kalam





STEP 3: DIFFERENTIATE OR STAGNATE



The middle of the road is a good place to get run over”
- Mark Kassof


STEP 4: JUST ASK
“Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you.”
- Mahatma Gandhi





STEP 5: CONTROL THE VARIABLES



“The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.”
- St. Thomas Aquinas




SELF-ACTUALIZATION



STEP 6: GOAL YOURSELF



“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes. ”
- Andrew Carnegie


STEP 7: STRETCH YOURSELF

“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.”
- Lucille Ball

STEP 8: BRAND YOU






“And I'm not an actress. I don't think I am an actress. I think I've created a brand and a business.”- Pamela Anderson






STEP 9: HELP OTHERS




“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants. ”
- David Ogilvy




STEP 10: ENJOY MAADI




“True happiness is... to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.”- Lucius Annaeus Seneca



Let me know if you have any examples of situations where you have experienced the benefits of these guideposts.


I apologize if I have used your photos without acknowledgement. It isn't intentional, this isn't a commercial site, and I'd be happy to link to your site if you let me know.



















Friday, September 12, 2008

Bangalore in 2025

Navi Radjou is one of most articulate ambassadors for innovation, and the title links to his recent blog post on Bangalore. That was an outcome of a WEF led discussion on innovation covering geographical innovation clusters, innovation talent, and collaborative innovation. It's a good read, but I'd like to put out my personal vision for 2025 - (1) Thanks to cheap and easy teleconferencing technologies travel will be a luxury for business (2) mobile, secure computing infrastructure will mean that you can work from anywhere - much as you can today make a phone call from anywhere in the world (3) with a wide variety of software solutions on tap, and supported by almost invisble hardware pipes, IT will be ubiquitous (4) large parts of enterprise systems will be user defined. (5) with a world which is connected electronically, but where travel is a luxury, e-networking skills will be a differentiator for success in business
What do you think?
Or is it just my 1 hour commute causing me to hallucinate?!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Some websites have it, some don't

Bangalore already has local politicians putting up billboards wishing you "Happy Ganesh Chathurthi, St Mary's Feast, Ramzan". It's that time of the year when marketers start thinking about e-greetings and email signatures for the holiday season. What? Did I hear you say cards?! Ooh, that is so un-green. Well, maybe just a few. On recycled paper, of course.

Anyway, I researched the history of viral marketing. Hotmail, which pioneered this marketing medium, went from 500,000 users to 12 million in 18 months, just on the strength of its email signature which said "Get your free email at Hotmail". I didn't know that Hotmail wasn't the first free service, and that there was a competitor called Juno which went the traditional marketing way and achieved considerably less number of subscribers - 3 million if press articles of the time are to be believed. Hmm.

I found this cool post on the Top 10 Viral Marketing programs at http://www.blogstorm.co.uk/the-top-10-viral-marketing-campaigns-of-all-time/ There isn't a B2B service campaign there - can anyone point me to one? Is there more to viral for B2B than cutesy email signatures, widgets like calendars, competitions? Yeah, these work for awards and to drive event attendance, but certainly not on the scale of Hotmail. The google chrome cartoon was pretty cool, but it's still B2C.

I'm really grateful to y'all for visiting my website from the 176,748,506 vying for your attention. (Yup, those are the August figures). So why do people visit some sites and not others? I was looking at the alexa rankings of the top 10 sites in India vs the US, and apart from the obvious suspects of Orkut and Rediff being more popular in India, I spotted Blogger at #7. Isn't that cool? We've always been a nation that likes to talk, and now we're doing it electronically. So much so that today's newspaper had a whole piece on what assorted bloggers thought of the nuclear deal (they had the grace to name the bloggers though not their sites).

Oh, and the other interesting discovery I've made during my viral marketing research is that hardly anyone visits the homepage anymore. They key in their topic of interest into google, and then visit the relevant page directly. So all the fancy research we did on site navigation, homepage design is just a tad redundant now. We could just string up a bunch of useful pages and not worry about the flow and all that jazz. We could go back to those minimalist websites we had back in the mid-nineties. For a trip back in time visit http://www.archive.org/ and key in your favourite url.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

PR in the Flat World

Digitization and advances in communications have removed many of the barriers to communication.  This is causing changes in industries, like PR, which were built upon their skill at access.

In this new digitized paradigm, there are no gatekeepers – if you know the journalist’s phone number you can talk to them.  They may not listen to you, but then they couldn’t have read every press release that was faxed to them either.   Nor is it hard to socialize with the media – most news sites have places where you can comment on their articles and very often, if the response is valid, the journalist will respond to your comment and you can commence a dialogue.  Many journalists run blogs, and hang out on Facebook.  All this is making the old, treasured tools of PR redundant, as the table below shows:


Table 1: Transformation of PR tools in the new media


As this trend continues, PR mavens have to provide more than information.  They have to provide insight.  And that is going to be far more difficult, and from a client perspective, expensive.  I predict a lot of changes in the way this industry will transform itself.