Monday, June 2, 2008

Lunch With Penelope

I got to the hotel a little before 1. She didn't answer her phone. Oh crap, I got stood up by Penelope Trunk.

Have no fear, a few minutes later we were sitting in the hotel restaurant talking everything from the Brazen Careerist Network to my current and future goals and aspirations to employers and why they don't get Social Media yet.

Here are some key takeaways from the chat.

1. Penelope in real life is nearly identical to Penelope the blogger. The way she brands herself online and the way she presents herself in reality compliment each other to where one is an extension of the other. When companies or individuals look to blog or participate in Social Media they need to keep it real. Write how you talk. Be honest. Talking online and engaging in conversation with others through your blog and social media should come from a real voice and not someone that you made up or hide behind.

2. Narrow your focus.
This was just the kind of straight up advice I would expect from PT and I got it. Paraphrased:

Greg, narrow your focus. Become an expert in one niche or industry and kill it.
While this advice sucks for all the madness that I find myself involved in, it makes more sense than I can argue against. It also makes sense for anyone or any business that is looking to get ahead fast. The advice is so obvious, almost everyone overlooks it and over works themselves. We take on as many projects as we can, spread ourselves super thin and hope that one takes off, instead of kicking ass and taking names in the one thing we are passionate about, building it up and becoming great.

Which leads into number 3.

3. Why can't we let our past go? Penelope has volleyball. I have the music thing. PT longed for a moment at the beach while in Florida to hit the ball around and be back in the mind frame of a pro volleyball player. As for myself, I keep playing shows, and hoping that one day I can use my connections and all that good stuff to have a career in the music business, even though I know I am past my prime and have developed into a better player behind the scenes.

It's tough giving up your past. Maybe sometimes its best to embrace it and build something around it.

4. There is a separation between companies that get Social Media and those that still can't check their own email. The Brazen Careerist Network is made up of over-achieving 20something bloggers who all long for something better than entry-level cubicle hugging opportunities. We all embrace Social Media in some shape or form. Some stop at blogging, others are early adopters using FriendFeed, Pownce, and the hordes of other sites sprouting up everyday.

Employers and companies have an even broader spectrum of knowledge of online tools. Some companies like McDonalds have integrated Facebook into their recruiting campaign. Others are jumping on the video wave to tell their story. There are others still that don't even have websites, and rely on job boards to tell the story of their company to job seekers.

Penelope's master plan:

Gen-Y will change the way companies recruit and communicate and Brazen Careerist will be on the forefront of that change.

If PT comes to your town, take her up for lunch or happy hour. It is one hour that you will never forget. Their was never an awkward moment and she was someone who actually listened, even if my ideas sucked or she thought what I was doing was stupid. Luckily, I do not think she thought either.

Plus she picked up the bill. What a date!

Greg Rollett


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