CenturyTel to buy Qwest in $10.6B stock swap

I just found out on a conference call with Qwest – my current client – that CenturyTel is buying controlling interest in Qwest for $10.6 B in stock.

Here’s a link to an article in today’s Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/frontpage/ci_14935171?source=rss

I dropped AT&T for Verizon

I have been an AT&T customer for a lot of years. I have been a pretty happy customer too. However, since signing with Apple to carry the iPhone the quality of service has gone in the toilet. I experience so many dropped calls – even when I have four bars of signal – that I just can’t continue with them. I pay ~$150 a month and I’m not getting service commensurate with my expenditure.

So I switched to Verizon and got myself a Motorola Droid. I friggin love it!!!!

There are TONS of apps – most are free and the phone is faster than the iPhone has all the features that the iPhone has plus many the iPhone doesn’t. And i’ve yet to experience a dropped call or slow internet connection – I have even tethered it to one of my laptops and used the Droid to access the internet on my pc.

Oh and, the phone is just sexy!!

The VERY best pet sitting service around

If you have a dog or dogs you need to check out a service called 3 Happy Dogs. Tammy, the owner, is the best hairy child care provider I’ve ever done business with. I know that my hairy kids are being treated just like I treat them – well they’re actually getting spoiled just a bit – and they are safe, happy and getting much needed exercise. I’ve had many dog walkers over the years and no one holds a candle to Tammy and her crew. I’ve never worked with a sweeter, more professional group. They are so caring, so supportive and they genuinely LOVE our dogs – my only concern is coming home to find that they’ve taken our furry kids to their own homes.

Most recently Tammy took all 3 of my kids to the groomer for me because I haven’t had the time but needed to get them in because Cristina’s allergies have been through the roof. Tammy took care of all the details for me – she picked them up and took them to the groomer, made sure they were in an indoor/outdoor space since one of my kids is from a rescue and doesn’t do cages, picked them up when they were done and took them for a long walk, fed them dinner and tucked them in. You just cannot find service like this very often.

If you have dogs, talk to Tammy. She and her crew are life savers. I don’t know what we would do without them. And they’re rates are super affordable. Tammy is cheaper than doggie day care and better I think. I unreservedly recommend her services.

Simpsons 20 years and still going strong

Watch this documentary by Morgan Spurlock on the popularity of the Simpson’s. It’s really worth it. I am a definite fan of the Simpson’s – I’ve not missed a single episode and have watched them all more than once – but I learned some things about the show and it’s impact on popular culture – even that of other countries – by watching it.

Get more customer attention by being a resource

For years I’ve been telling clients that one of the best things they can do to build relationships, enhance their brand and drive sales is to establish themselves as the thought leader in their domain and provide to their users information they can’t get elsewhere or, at the very least, is easier to get from them. Now there is research to back up my assertion. A new report published by eMarketer suggests that one of the best ways brands can capture the attention of internet users is by “providing relevant news and analysis” as well as providing “new ideas and thinking”. In other words, being a thought leader.

One of the companies I coached about this and does it well is Envysion. Through their MVaaS blog Matt Steinfort, Rob Hagens and Darren Loher have established themselves as the experts in the Managed Video as a Service space – at least as it applies to the technologies. The only thing they haven’t done well is provide a place for their customers to get additional information that is important to them but that doesn’t necessarily revolve around the technology of managed video. For example, since a lot of Envysion’s customers use the application to facilitate loss prevention Envysion could provide more information about loss prevention on its blog – trends, tips, tricks, etc. This would be a way to get more of Envysion’s current customers to come to the blog further cementing Envysion’s place as an expert/information source.

Additionally, Envysion could take advantage of microblogging to get additional traffic from other sources. Since word-of-mouth was the No. 1 purchase driver according to the surveyed consumers the use of Twitter and Facebook could help Envysion build a base of word-of-mouth referral sources.

One of the results of the study that I found most interesting is the fact that US consumers found social network contacts and bloggers that they read regularly more trustworthy than major journalists, television news readers and radio presenters. This to me is proof positive that the tide has really turned and that business must begin to include social media marketing as part of their overall marketing strategies.

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The Power of Your Personal Brand

I’m reading Dan Scwabel’s book, Me 2.0. I’ve just started but it’s good with lots of info and good advice. The forward was written by William Arruda founder of Reach Communications and coauthor of Career Distinction. In it he says about the future of work in the US,

Your personal brand – and reputation – will be the true constant in this ultradynamic environment, where you must constantly demonstrate your value. It will enable you to attract opportunities that align with your skills, passions and strengths. And it will ensure that you have a career that is both rewarding and successful.

This is so true and not just in the positive as evidenced by a recent experience on mine. Recently I was approached by a colleague who asked for my assistance. He was developing a proposal for the creation of a professional services organization for a leader in the enterprise RSS space. This is a company that has the potential to achieve greatness if they can learn how to execute with current and future clients – some of whom are enormous. My colleague asked for my help to sanity check his proposal as well as to provide my insights into the company since I was employed there as a contract product manager for all individual end user products not long ago. I’m always happy to help so I dove in with him. While creating the plan my colleague asked me if I’d be interested in being the Practice Manager for the new professional services organization. I said that indeed I would be. He said he would propose it to the CEO of the company – a man I know and respect a great deal – and we’d see what we could do.

The next week I got the news that it was a non-starter. You see, when I was at this company before I made a significant mistake and let my pride and ego get in the way of good judgment and professionalism. In a moment of utter frustration I yelled at the CTO/Founder of the company and I did it in front of one of his staff. I apologized after but the damage was done and, as evidenced by my being rejected as a candidate for the Practice Manager role, the damage was irrevocable.

And that’s my message here. With the proliferation of social media it is incredibly simple to create and build a personal brand and reputation. But if one isn’t careful, the brand that’s built will hinder and not help one’s career. It doesn’t matter to the management team of the Enterprise RSS company that I was ashamed of my behavior and apologized and it doesn’t matter that I was telling the truth when I said what I said. Nor does it matter that I’ve grown personally and professionally and dealt with the personal demons that lead to my unprofessional behavior. The damage was done and the brand that I created in that moment is one that isn’t marketable to that company.

It really sucks because I have a great fondness for the company and the role would have been exciting and fun and I could have made a huge contribution. Don’t repeat my mistake – please get that every moment of every day you are building your brand and reputation. Be vigilant and make sure you’re building one that helps you.

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