How to Excel at Anything

September 6, 2010

Six steps to achieving excellence from the Harvard Business Review – not how to use the dastardly spreadsheet programme from Microsoft! More detail on each after the click.

  1. Pursue what you love.
  2. Do the hardest work first.
  3. Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break.
  4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses.
  5. Take regular renewal breaks.
  6. Ritualize practice.

via Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything – Tony Schwartz – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review.


Blogging is Free

July 29, 2009

An oldie but a goodie:

Blogging is free. It doesn’t matter if anyone even reads it. What matters is the meta-cognition of thinking about what you’re going to say. How to you explain yourself to … whoever’s going to look at it? How do you force yourself to describe in three paragraphs why you did something? How do you respond out loud?

Seth Godin

From a personal development basis, this is about as spot on as you get. When he was my editor of the Blog Herald, (Dr) Tony Hung often told me that a person’s insight and analytical tools are like muscles. In order to make them stronger, they have to constantly worked out. For me, blogging marketing and communications allows me to work out my insight and analysis. I want to do more of it.

The problem arises when organizations see the benefits a blog can have on one person’s reputation and want to scale it for the reputation of the organization. You can have multiple authors but they all have to committed to and accountable for the success of the blog.


Making mistakes the right way

August 20, 2007

Everyone makes mistakes. If you just shook your head and thought “not me”, then you just made another mistake – possibly your worst ever.

Sometimes your mistakes are bad and they hurt you, your client, your employer, your colleagues or society at large.

Sometimes your mistakes are good and they benefit everyone.

Other times your mistakes don’t really have any effect on anyone or anything and don’t really get noticed. Those are the worst ones.

If you don’t succeed spectacularly, you should want to fail. To make a huge mistake. To have to pay for it.

It’s the only way you’ll learn. It’s the only way we’ll learn.

By making mistakes.

A referee made a mistake in a high profile football match this weekend and cost my team three valuable points against one of our main rivals. (Or maybe we’re their main rival. It’s too early to tell.)

Some people are castigating him for screwing up.

Others are trying to work out how to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Guess which group is (going to be) more successful?

By all means, make your mistakes. Make a lot of them. Make them early. Make them quickly.

Just make sure you learn from them. Otherwise you’re just another screw up.


Online Marketing Courses in Toronto. Or Hawaii.

July 27, 2007

I need your help.

In order to become a better “Senior Consultant, Internet Communications”, I need to take a course on online marketing.

I’ve been looking at the Canadian Marketing Association’s e-Marketing Certificate, taught by the inimitable Michael Seaton but my boss and I are thinking it’s a little too broad. I need more depth dammit!

I’d like to focus on the following disciplines:

  • writing for the Web
  • writing optimized web copy
  • email marketing
  • analytics
  • search engine marketing
  • online advertising

Arrogantly enough, I don’t think I need too much coaching on social media, blogs, podcasts, RSS and those new, fun things – I’d rather focus on “Web 1.0″ and get a really good grounding for all things Web. Walk before you run and all that…

Oh, and at the end of it, I’d really love a nice certificate to show off in my office.

It’d be far easier for me to convince the boss to send me on a course in or around Toronto or Ottawa (where iStudio’s two offices are) but if you know of a great course in, say, Hawaii or the Maldives, I’d definitely propose it to her.

So, if you were (or are) a Toronto based Internet marketer looking for a focused piece professional development training, what course would you do?

If you were hiring for a position like mine, what qualifications would you be looking for?

If you were a client, what qualifications would you look for in your account staff? (If someone can say “MBA” here, I’ll pass it on and see if iStudio/Omnicom can pay for it)

For what it’s worth, I’m still open to the CMA course if you guys can convince me it’s a great course with good value for money…

Answers in the comments section please.


Is shaving…

July 25, 2007

analogous to internal politics?

While the generally accepted wisdom is to go with the grain, doesn’t it usually work out better when you go against it?

But if you go against the grain all the time, you end up with some long term problems, whether they’re in-growing hairs or worse, an in-growing career.


Have you heard the one about the cartoonist and the venture capitalist?

July 24, 2007

No? Well you should – they both give really good career advice for up and coming PRs.

Scott “Dilbert” Adams runs through why turning down a job as a top executive’s “gopher” was a bad career decision. His lesson is a basic political lesson – proximity is power and relationships are everything.

The lesson here for young public relations professionals is to expand your network as quickly as is reasonably possible. And try extra, extra hard when the boss gives you something to do/ a project to work on with them. Scott let his ego control his career when, as we all know, your ego has no place when making career decisions. Especially as a young, up and coming PR.

Paul “Dr. of making money” Kedrosky then reminds us to do “whatever gets you tenure” – to do what’s important to those who, ultimately, control your destiny.

Combining these two cautionary tales and you, as a talented, insightful, brilliant young PR (I’m assuming you are, since you’re *ahem*reading this) should check your ego at the door. Knuckle down to do what you’re asked to do. Add as much value as possible but keep focused on your core job description – no matter how beneath you you feel the work is. Then let the praise and promotions flow your way.

After all, every agency has an Account Director who you feel should be an Senior Account Executive – how do you think they got there?


Blogging Me Blogging You by the numbers

June 15, 2007

When I started writing BMBY, just over a year ago, it was intended to be a sandbox for me to practice what I was trying to preach to my clients.

Fast forward twelve months and BMBY is an integral part of my life, from both a personal and professional standpoint. I have a great new job, exciting new career path and some great friends.

BMBY by the numbers:

  • 12 months
  • 3 jobs – thanks Strategic Objectives, Fleishman-Hillard and iStudio
  • 269 posts
  • 727 comments
  • 400 (or so) subscribers
  • 847 Technorati links
  • 14,434th in the blogosphere (out of about 70m…nice)
  • 34,391 page views
  • 27,252 spam comments
  • 1 speaking appearance…but open to more :-)
  • Countless new friends

I’m away for two weeks and definitely won’t be writing anything next week, but there are some draft posts saved that should pop-up intermittently throughout the week.

Finally, a huge thanks to all and sundry who take the time to read, comment, subscribe, criticise and link to the posts on this blog.

It’s been a great year, and, I hope, many more to come.


I’ve been meshed

May 29, 2007

…and it didn’t hurt a bit.

I’m really feeling the web bug right now. After listening to mesh conference co-founders Mat, Rob, Mike, Stuart and Mark waxing lyrical at tonight’s Third Tuesday Toronto (kindly sponsored by CNW Group) I’m more energized than ever about technology and the Internet.

I want to drop everything and take an idea through development, turn it into a concrete product and make my billions on exit.

Thinking about it some more, I should probably have that idea first.

All this talk of start-ups, demo camp, bar camp, case camp, start-up camp, VCs, angel, series A, series B, term sheets, pre-/post-valuations, of exits and of spectacular failures has really jazzed me up. I want to find a programmer, chat, think and ruminate for days and come with a game changing, paraidgm shifting, world’s leading widget. Again, an idea would be nice as well at this point.

It’s an exciting time to be involved with these here interwebs and there’s plenty of energy to focus on my iStudio clients and the broader FH family.

However, if I won the $30m lotto 6/49 draw tomorrow night, I’d probably start playing as a VC tomorrow and plunge a huge whack into Canadian tech start-ups.

Who’s with me?

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Ultracrepidation

May 27, 2007

Just learnt a great new word on rather dull Sunday morning in Toronto.

Ultracrepidate. To criticise outside of the realm of one’s knowledge.

As in “Ed Lee ultracepidates on public relations, social media and marketing on a regular basis.”

Would you say that ultracrepidating and blogging are pretty much interchangable these days?

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Toronto Public Relations Industry

May 14, 2007

There are so many bloggers blogging about PR and marketing in the GTA that it’s sometimes easy to forget that most of the uber-talented PRs don’t put virtual pen to digital paper and put their thoughts out there for all to read.

Thankfully, many of these guys will be doling out pearls of wisdom at a high profile event this week – the CPRS 360: All things connected event.

Chris Clarke has wisely posted the invitation on Student PR (at work) which goes into all the important stuff.

I’ll just add a few thoughts.

It’s great that the up and coming PR stars, such as my former colleague Jodi Salem, are being given as much of the limelight as their bosses, such as Blair Peberdy.

It’s all too easy to look up to the people controlling our careers and forget that they had to work awfully hard to get where they got. With that in mind, student will do well do get the thoughts of people on the ground floor of their careers, as well as those who have established themsleves.

I’m looking forward to a great discussion from some very intelligent, forward thinking industry leaders.

Sign up below and be sure to “hi” on Thursday May 17.

Sign up to 360: All things connected.

And with the theme of hard work at the front of mind, here’s a cartoon by Hugh MacLeod from Seth Godin’s latest book, The Dip.


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