Archive for September, 2011

Not since the clash of the titans have we seen a match up of such epic proportions. Since the June 28th rollout of Google+ several million people have rushed to the new shiney object in the room (guilty) to get one simple question answered: “Is this the real deal?”

At first glance, you might think Facebook already has all the features of Google+. Besides, why the heck would you want to go through the hassle of convincing your friends to hop on the Google+ Bandwagon (or GPB)?

What I’ve noticed so far is that this is exactly the type of social network that working professionals have been looking for. Check out Google+: The Complete Guide for everything to set you on the right course in this new world. So, why should you hop on the GPB?

  • Keep Your Friends Close & Your Colleagues Closer 

 Google+ Circles and Facebook Lists are very similar on the surface. Here’s the major difference: Google+ allows you to share what you want with whom you want, while Facebook only hides certain people from seeing your posts. For example, I have several lists that I have hidden from seeing posts, pictures and other links I share on Facebook. I have no way of directly sharing any nuggets of relevance with people in those hidden lists. Google+ allows me to include which circles I want to see on each post I share! This allows for a true separation between professional and social life for those who so desire. This, in my opinion, is reason enough to make the transition, and invite everyone you know to the GPB.

  • A Place Where the Beer Flows like Wine

A synergistic workflow between Google documents, calendars and Google+ makes this the place where I can share a google doc with co-workers in my ‘newsfeed’, and without flipping back and forth between screens, I can see what Mashable has shared most recently…. in the same newsfeed. The only thing similar within Facebook is Groups. But if you’ve ever wanted to share documents within a group, you know that your formatting is incredibly limited, and don’t even think about sharing a power point presentation or spreadsheet in group. Google’s synergy makes life better.

  • Let’s Get Together and Feel Alright

Currently I am paying a monthly subscription to Skype so I can group video chat with up to 10 people. July will be the last month of that subscription. Google+’s Hangouts feature allows users to group video chat with up to 10 people for free.

There are several other differences between the two networks, but to get a feel for them, you have to experience Google+ for yourself. I’ve had a great 7 years with Facebook (and we will never officially break up), but the more and more I get to know G+, the more it grows on me.

What are your experiences with Google+? What differenes do you notice?

In 2002 at the University of Arizona, I had the privilege of taking Econ 200 with Dr. Gerald Swanson. He was absolutely one of my favorite professors who had the gift of being able to relate what he was teaching into relevant current events. I remember him always saying something along the lines of “I wouldn’t be surprised if the WSJ runs an article about this in the coming weeks” and sure enough, within the next couple of days, he would display on an overhead projector an article the WSJ had run just after his lectures relating to what he had taught us in class the week prior. The economic truth that stuck with me most, however, was his insistence that we answer any question he asked us with, “It depends.” So in honor of Dr. Swanson, the answer the question, “Who are the rich?” is simply, “It depends.”

Herman Cain waves to the crowd during the September 12 Republican Primary Debate

On Thursday, September 21st during the Fox News/Google GOP debate, on of the questions posed to the audience was exactly that; “Who are the rich?” This poll was in response to President Obama’s $447Billion jobs bill in which he proposes a new tax on people making over $1Million a year to partially fund his bill. While many people agree that making over $1Million per year considers a family financially rich (44% of respondents), 12% of respondents feel that if a family makes over $100,000 per year, they should be considered rich too.

With a question as subjective as “Who are the rich?”, the answers will most likely reflect the cost of living where those who answer reside. An individual in San Diego who makes $100,000 would only need roughly $62,000 to live the same lifestyle in Louisville. Under the current progressive tax code, having tax brackets that are based on a dollar amount is the wrong approach.

When calculating the income brackets at which people are federally taxed, the following should be taken into account:

Cost of Living Index

State Income Tax Rates

By adding weight to the cost of living index and state income tax rate, we make sure that people who live in more expensive areas are not overtaxed since the marginal value of one dollar is less than those who live in less expensive areas. As it stands, the individuals who live in San Diego and makes $100,000 will pay a larger share of their income in taxes, when that income is needed to maintain a standard of living that is similar to the $62,000 earner in Louisville. The San Diego resident will pay more than twice as much in state income taxes than the Louisville resident ($7,000 versus $3,400 respectively), and because each marginal dollar goes further in Louisville the SoCal resident gets hosed! After state and federal taxes have been taken out, the San Diego resident has roughly $77,500 left and the Louisville resident has roughly $50,700. When plugged into the cost of living index, which takes into account housing, transportation, utilities, food, etc, to have a similar standard of living in San Diego, that Louisville resident who has $50,700 after taxes would need almost $83,000 should they move to San Diego!

This shows that the current progressive tax system puts a higher strain on individuals depending on where they live  and it does not take into account the cost of living and state income tax rates when deciding the income brackets. So who are the rich? That answer really depends on where you live. But as we’ve found out, all things being equal, the income of a family making $62,000 in Louisville will go further than that same family making $100,000 in San Diego.

Of course, a simpler and fairer system is within reach if our nation had the courage to enact the Fair Tax.

I originally wrote this post in June of 2010 and was housing it on a different blog. For anyone who is looking to elevate their game to the next level (and especially for those looking to be social micropreneurs) I HIGHLY recommend picking up a copy of Seth Godin’s book Linchpin.

Video Added Tuesday, October 26th, 2010:

Last weekend we had roughly 100 Cutco Sales Professionals meet in Miami for a few days of development, and they also volunteered a day with Angel Wings International; an organization bringing relief to  earthquake victims in Haiti. Here is a clip of them building benches, painting, sorting clothes and necessities for those in need:

Today I finished reading Seth Godin’s book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?. It does a great job articulating a feeling that has been developing within me over the past couple years as it challenges the reader to become great, or a ‘linchpin’, in their given industry through art creation. I’ll let the book delve into that concept if you choose to read it, but one chapter in particular stood out to me.

In the chapter called ‘The Powerful Culture of Gifts’, Godin clearly explains to the reader the right way to give and receive gifts and the true power of gift giving is available only when the giver acts out of a place of genuine love. Another way of putting it is ‘no strings attached.’ When we give gifts and expect something in return, by nature, we are no longer giving a gift, but are participating in a mere economic transaction.

He states:

“You go the extra mile to please a small customer, or build an online forum to teach your customers how to get more out of your products (for no extra cost)… It works even more profoundly on an internal basis. Someone who is not in your department steps in and helps out during a crunch…You brainstorm a new idea with another salesperson. In each case, there’s no reciprocity, no guarantee of repayment. Instead, there’s an ever-enlarging circle, a circle where gifts are valued and passed on.”

I am a witness to the profound impact a culture of giving in the workplace can have on the morale and loyalty of its people. Next week marks my ninth year working with Vector Marketing and one of the reasons that I have chosen to stay for this long is because of the selfless attitudes of my co-workers, managers, factory workers and even upper management. When people have each others’ backs when it comes to projects and freely share ideas without caring who gets credit for them, a mutual respect and bond develops that is practically impossible to break. It creates a mindset in the people to work harder than what they’re paid, act as if they’re owners of the company and to continually produce a better product.

For example, I often rely on our people in Olean, NY (yes, Cutco Cutlery is American made) to produce some sort of report or project that helps me in my position. When it could be very easy to complain about the amount of work they already have (and the requests keep coming), I’ve never been met with complaints. As one person in our data analyst department put it to me, “Our jobs wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the field.” This genuine gratitude and understanding is contagious. I am continuously challenged in my role to extend that same gratitude to others who ask things of me that might add to my to-do list.

When I was a brand new rep nine years ago, a more experienced rep in my office offered to take me field training. (I went with him to watch how he interacted with customers) There was no monetary compensation from the company for this person. Because he wanted to help me succeed, and he had no reason to want to see me succeed, he gained my respect, my trust and my friendship. Through experiences like this early in my career, I developed a sense of how important my selflessness is not only for the success of others, but also in my personal development.

As Godin concludes this chapter, he mentions that a quid pro quo doesn’t really work when it comes to art creation. It’s impossible to create real art (read: give a wholehearted gift) when conditions are attached. An unconditional gift is the unequivocal act of love.

Vector promotes an atmosphere where individuals give freely and the people have a real love in seeing others become successful inside and outside the business. I cannot imagine a working environment any other way.

This article was originally posted to on September 14th, 2011 @2:48PM by  Mark Sanborn. For original source, click here.

It does a great job articulating who is the social micropreneur, and how things are different in the new economy.


If you’re currently looking for a new job — or want to move ahead in the job you already have — there are seven jobs you need to learn.

Don’t panic. You won’t have to work seven times longer or harder. These jobs can easily be integrated into your current work with minimal effort. They are accomplished simultaneously with your primary work by changing your orientation and focus and, if done correctly, they will greatly increase your value to your employer, customers and colleagues. As I discuss in my new book, “Up, Down or Sideways: How to Succeed When Times Are Good, Bad or In Between,” the ideas that follow will greatly increase your odds of success, regardless of the job market or future circumstance.

1. Experience Manager

Every interaction with another person creates an experience that leaves a memory of you and your work. How are you consciously designing these experiences to be positive? Enriching? Rewarding? Lasting? Since most people don’t tell you about their experience unless it is awful, you have to work intentionally to design experiences that draw people back for more and that gets them to tell others about you, your products, and your services.


2. Value Creator

All great employees (including CEOs, owners, board members, etc.) add value to the organization’s offerings. Being a value creator is a form of job security. Value neutral employees are interchangeable or worse, replaceable.


3. Talent scout

Identify people within and outside your organization who would be a valuable addition to your team. Talent scouts have the ability to understand the talents and abilities that individuals possess and match them with organizational needs. This makes your team stronger, but it also makes you a go-to person for resources and talent advice. Others will want to know who you know who can help.


4. Ambassador

A person is known by the company he or she keeps, and an organization is known by the people it keeps. You represent your organization, as well as yourself, to customers and vendors. Learn the history of your organization well enough so that you can share it frankly and passionately with outsiders.


5. Amplifier

Increase the good that happens around you by noticing and noting it to others. Most people can spot what’s wrong and complain about it. An amplifier knows the work around him well enough to spot what’s right, praise the work, and praise the person or people responsible for it. Good news often is so subtle that it needs amplification to be heard. Noticing good work and telling others is a positive influence on any organizational culture.


6. Router

Internet data is broken into chunks called “packets,” and routers make sure those packets go where they are supposed to go. Similarly, a good communicator makes sure information gets to the right people in a timely manner. Peter Drucker famously said that good communication is about who needs what information and when. Developing the judgment and discernment for routing information correctly and efficiently is a valuable skill set.


7. Interpreter

As Erwin Raphael McManus put it, “People don’t need more information. They need more insights.” Understand information and how it applies to the people and circumstances around you. Offer context. Offer insights. Provide the links that turn chaos and confusion into order.

Look for opportunities to practice these jobs each day and you’ll be amazed at the benefits you create for others in your work.

In the age of mass layoffs and the outsourcing of blue and white collar job, it’s clear that we are at the dawn of a new, or different kind of economy. The old school of thought was that we need to get good grades in high school so we can get into a good college so we can get a degree so we can land a good job so we can diligently work our way to retirement. This is no longer the case. The new economic reality has created a plight for us that couldn’t be more different from conventional wisdom.  The new economy is different and to thrive in it requires the skill set of the social micropreneur.

What’s the definition of the social micropreneur?

Entrepreneurs who employ small numbers of people (usually 1-5) whose businesses thrive because of laser-like focus of bringing value to other people. OR people who work for an organization who have an unparalleled commitment to creating indispensable value for their company.

What’s different in the new economy?

THEN: Graduate college and you will get a good job.                                                                                  NOW: A college degree no longer guarantees a job, much less a job in your field of study.

THEN: Once I get a job, that job will be there for me until retirement, or until I want to leave.                             NOW: Due to outsourcing and uncertainty in the marketplace, conventional jobs are not as ample as they once were.

THEN: “I’m going to do the least amount of work possible to keep my job.”  This kind of thinking has been prevalent in the work place for years.                                                                                                                     NOW: “While I’m here, I’m going to be an indispensable linchpin to ensure I bring value to my organization.”

What skill sets are needed to thrive?

  • Find Your Niche – Whether you’re working for someone else as an employee or working for yourself, finding your niche articulates the value you add to others. If you’re working for someone, find something to do within the company that only you know how to do, and do it well. By doing this, you standout to your peers and superiors as someone who adds exceptional value. Adding value is why we have a job in the first place, right?
  • Create Multiple Income Streams – Finding ways to create multiple income streams creates wealth. This skill set has never been taught in formal education, but to master this skill frees the individual and allows them to stop trading their time for dollars. Thousands of books have been written about this, and a great place to start is the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series by Robert Kiyosaki
  • Network Like a Champion – We’ve all heard it’s not what you know but who you know, and it’s never been more important to understand than in today’s economic climate. The social micropreneur understands that in the pursuit of building multiple income streams, she must be open to making new connections at any and every opportunity.

Every person can be the social micropreneur. The social micropreneur has a different way of thinking that reflects the changes of the new economy. At the foun

Anyone can decide to be a social micropreneur. It doesn’t take a degree, special training or a change of your current industry. It requires a new way of thinking and a different skill set. One that’s rooted in always answering the question, “How can I bring value to the lives of others?”.

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