Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another Gold Rush

I've noticed a curious trend recently that reminded me about how history repeats itself. Back in the late 1990s the comparison was made between companies like Cisco and the the companies in the 1800s that made money selling equipment for people looking for gold. Not a lot of people became rich looking for gold, but look what it did for Levi Strauss.

Today it seems the big thing is using social media. There are a lot of people selling this. For example, take a look at this blog post by Shawn Kinkade where he's promoting other blogs that talk about running small businesses (and using social media). Shawn and I worked together at Sprint years ago and now he runs his own business coaching small businesses. He runs a workshop on social media.

Another example, the personal branding blog by Dan Schawbel. This is all about how to use social media to create the brand called you. Dan recently released a new book on branding called Me 2.0.

So what does this mean to the rest of us? It's hard to see how having a strong brand image outside of work will help us in the day to day running of a project inside a company. However, if you build a strong brand by blogging, building a following on Twitter, or actively participating in professional groups like PMI, you can create a reputation within your company as a thought leader. This increase in your expert power will increase your ability to influence, something that will help all project managers.

So if you've been sitting on the sidelines watching the show go by, it's time to jump in. If you say you don't have the time, I say you can't afford not to take the time. Just over a year ago I found myself looking for a new job and because I had already been working on my brand, my search was pretty short. Unlike the goldrush, it won't only be the people selling social media that are going to benefit from it.


SKinkade said...


Thanks for the shout out and the post. Like the Gold Rush, Social Media is causing a lot of people to rush in, but most of them don't know where to dig or even where the right tools are.

To be fair, the gold is also shifting a lot as the landscape changes every day - but you are absolutely right that now is the time to get into the game. It will take you a while to get up to speed, but it will take even longer if you wait!

Have a great week,


Josh said...

Thanks Bob. I've been able to tap into literally hundreds of experience project manager's brains by being active on the web and social media. There is always someone out there who has had an experience you never have.

Regardless of the impact on your personal branding, which is significant and valuable, the pure selfish benefit of learning how to do your job better is worth getting involved!

Josh Nankivel