Looking Back At 41 When I’m 81 Will I Be Happy?

I am 20 years younger than my father and he is 20 years younger than his father. It’s one of those strange coincidences of life but one that makes it easy for me to visualize my future self and ask a very important question.

When I am my Dad’s age what will I wish I had done when I was the age I am now? When I’m my Grandfather’s age will I be proud of the life I am living or will I wish I had lived my time here on Earth a differently?

The other day my friend Gary Vaynerchuk posted the following photo of a quote he gave during an interview. He called it “A (by accident) Manifesto”

The fact that Gary mentioned “Why didn’t I go to Austin?” in his quote lit a fire under me to share my thoughts on the topic. Note: I moved to Austin in 2011.

Shortly after my son, ShortMan as he’s known on the interwebs, was born I remember saying to myself that someday I am going to tell this little boy that he can do anything in life. And then I made a decision that I would do my best to lead by example. It was at that very moment that I decided to pursue my dreams of becoming and entrepreneur. I hated working at a big corporation and wanted to create something of my own.

My wife, being as amazing as she is, when I talked to her about my ambition to do more than just work at a big company told me that I should do it. In her words she said “I’m more afraid of you looking back when you are 60 and regretting the life you lived.”

So, was it a Disney fairytale from that moment on? Hell no!

In typical entrepreneurial fashion it has been a roller coaster ride of epic highs and despondent lows followed by new highs and more lows and so on. I was lucky enough to be at the forefront of the social media revolution and count many phenomenal entrepreneurs and thought leaders as friends. However, I also ran completely out of cash at one point and was literally reduced to tears a couple of times over the past 7 years. Looking back on it now and looking ahead to when I am 61 or 81 I know I’ve chosen wisely to live life like it’s an adventure.

Very few people will have the courage to do what I have done and what my family has done. Most people as Thoreau said “lead a life of quiet desperation.” And for conquering those fears I am very proud of myself and my family.

I decided to write this post not to brag or urge you to follow in my footsteps and quit your job. I wrote it to remind you, and continue to remind myself, that the future, older you would give anything to be the younger you again. 

If you have trouble visualizing what is possible ask someone who is 10, 20, 30 or 40 years older than you what he or she would do if they were your age again.

The Most Important Things to Improve the Visibility of Your LinkedIn Profile

Amy McIlwain, of Financial Social Media, wrote a great post titled “You have one of the top 10% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012" that provided some great suggestions for improving the visibility of your LinkedIn profile.

She, like I did, received an email from LinkedIn informing her that her profile was one of the top 1% most viewed profiles for 2012. And that got her curiosity going. Like Amy, I have a few thoughts on how I ended up in the most view profile and how you can increase your visibility.

  1. Scale Your Network - LinkedIn is a network. The likelihood of your profile popping up as a suggested connection is directly proportional to the number (and quality) of connections you have. If you are connected to 30 people on LinkedIn, chances are (unless you are close friends with 30 very influential people) your profile isn’t going to rise to the top too often. If you are over 25 years old you have likely met hundreds of high quality professionals in your life, there’s no legitimate excuse for not having a robust network. Start connecting with people.
  2. Complete Your Profile - Many of the connection suggestion tools on LinkedIn look for commonality among users. Schools attended, employers, professional designations, groups joined, and so on all serve to indicate that YOU might be a good connection for ME.
  3. Add All Current and Formerly Used Email Addresses - Yes, even emails you no longer use. Why? LinkedIn allows users to discover people by uploading contacts from their address books and that stack of business cards via Cardmunch. Many people you have worked with over the years have your old contact info but not your new info. Make it easy for them to find you by listing your old emails. Note: You can set your email preferences in LinkedIn to have any connection requests go to your current email address.
  4. Look at Other People’s Profiles - Reciprocation and curiosity are a powerful combo. LinkedIn, by default, will alert other users that someone has viewed their profile. If you are within their network or if they are a Pro user they will be able to see that you specifically viewed their profile. If you knew someone was checking you out how many seconds do you think you could hold out before you checked them out too? 3, 2, 1…click!
  5. Be Active - Let’s be honest about LinkedIn usage. Most of the 200+ million registered users don’t actually use it that often. If I had to guess, I would bet that fewer than 30% of all users log in monthly. That does not mean that LinkedIn isn’t incredibly valuable for you and your business. It simply means that the nature of the tool for most people is that it serves as an online resume and catalogue of their professional network. The large majority of LinkedIn users only log in when they have a job change or need to connect with someone. This makes it easy for YOU to stand out. If you are actively adding new connections, sharing updates and keeping your profile up to date people are bound to see you more frequently and be compelled to visit your profile.

What do you think? Did I miss anything?

BTW: I know it has been a long time since I have updated this blog. That’s about to change in a big way. Stay tuned.

Why I share pictures of my food

"I don’t care what you are having for lunch! How is seeing pictures of your food going to help me grow my business?"

I have invested a lot of time evangelizing social media for business over the years. The “pictures of food” objection has been second only to “I don’t have time” as reason why a business person is unwilling to invest in social.

Here’s the thing though…yes you do care what I am having for lunch. And your network actually cares what you are having for lunch.

Everybody Eats

It’s not about the food. It’s about what food represents to the people with whom we are connected or wish to connect. 

  • How many times this week alone have you had a conversation about food?
  • How many important or meaningful conversations have you had while dining?
  • Why do you think cooking and dining shows and news segments are so prevalent on TV?

Everyone eats. Everyone can relate to food. Food is comfort. Food is life.

When I share a picture of food I see significantly more engagement from people I know and from new people who happen across the photo.

Take a look at my Instagram feed above clicking on the Instagram link at the top of this page. If you click on any of the pictures of food I have shared you will see a lot of likes and comments. Now few, in fact none, of these comments are about business but that’s okay.

It’s okay in the same way as attending a charity dinner or wine tasting to network are for your business. Social media is means to develop and maintain relationships. Every time someone engages with you via a like or a comment you it brings you closer together. When the time comes for you to do business you are already warmed up.

Is food porn a good marketing strategy? I think so. But then again, I love to eat. What do you think?