Advice for the Class of 2014: Accept That There is No Path. You Might As Well.

It’s graduation season and I keep seeing all kinds of “advice to the class of 2014”  blog posts. I have now been out in the real world for five whole years. Given my five years of real-world experience and that I am now an expert on everything ever, I present to you my thoughts for the class of 2014.

My thoughts can be compiled into one sentence, actually: [Read more…]

The Hardest Thing to Market: Me

No company’s marketing has moved me in the past few years quite the way that Chubbies has.

Chubbies makes short shorts for frat bros, and they are on a crusade to rid the world of cargo shorts one pair of gingham print “Danny Dukes” at a time.

The mission is concise and clear, and in a startup world full of “It’s this for that!” and 200-floor elevator pitches, I appreciate the focus. Maybe Chubbies wants to be this huge lifestyle brand one day. Maybe they have this big, broader vision in mind. It’s possible, in fact, probable, given what I know of founders so far. But that they were able to dodge the shiny objects and channel those dreams into a single focus is an accomplishment to be revered. [Read more…]

Straight Talk for Susan Patton: Your Words Are Hateful and Destructive

Hi Susan,

Great writers are often avid readers. Since you are a writer, I was wondering if I could send you my copy of Half the Sky, a book I was lucky enough to read last summer.

This book moved me. It told stories of the billions of women in the world facing horrible oppression. Nope, I’m not talking about “leaning in” and still not getting the promotion you want because you’re a woman. [Read more…]

Career and Life Update

By now, the 12 of you who read this blog have heard about my next career steps. But just in case there is a 13th or 14th person who hasn’t been texted, emailed or joined me for coffee or wine over the past few weeks – here is your update.

I’m no longer at Localytics. I’m doing some marketing consulting right now as I re-energize, explore and figure out my next career steps. In particular, I’m excited to be working with the awesome people at One Mighty Roar on all things marketing. If your company needs help with content strategy, messaging or anything else (I’m well-rounded) – reach out! If I’m not a fit for a project I’ll try to introduce you to someone who is. [Read more…]

Enjoy Your Luck

The all-too-obvious apprehension that most men probably have concerning dealing with women is probably something like, success with women is a game of chance. Is that really true, though?

Maybe it all comes down to having a clearer understanding of what luck is and how to have it intentionally — if, this game of chance metaphor is your programme, or, it's just hard to get out of your head.

ake Your Logic All the Way

Compare these two experiences: going on a date to a club, and, going to a casino. In both cases, a guy would want to hit the proverbial 'jackpot'; he wishes to 'get lucky', or to 'score' by finding the right woman and sharing company with her. But is it wise to have this comparison in the back of one's mind?

First of all, there is the issue of how we have luck, or we are lucky. For fatalists, life (including women and love) is just a crap shoot. We throw the dice as well as we can, and yet, we can't control winning. Others, more optimistic, might say something like, 'you make your own luck.' But, how do you do that?

Those upbeat types will tell you that luck is just this: doing everything possible to be in the position to be lucky, and, not doing the things that defeat your natural luckiness. The implication seems to be that the difference lies in simply how aware someone is of the conditions favourable and unfavourable to what one wants.

 

Now Take it Apart

The logic of games of chance in relation to dating or looking for a lifelong partner is compelling. After all, a guy actually never controls a woman's desire, although he can do everything possible to attract female interest toward himself.

But let's say that love is quite a bit like gambling — even though a guy does everything possible to foreground his graces, and not shoot his own foot, or put his foot into his mouth, or sabotage himself in any way. But, let's say that in the end there is no control over outcomes with women, period.

Now what? Best thing to do is to get pragmatic, practical, sensible and truly logical: to become invulnerable toward possible losses, and, to even feel lucky that luck is involved. Why, despite the dangers?

It's because life is boring without uncertainty — and, don't forget, the sweetness of success with a woman often is related to the efforts a guy puts forward. Deserving something is quite different than just winning something.

 

It All Comes Together

So, although one accepts uncertainty, and the ebb and flow of wins and losses — like a gambler — the truly successful player (with women or with cards) always enjoys himself. This is where everything joins: you are confident enough to know that no single upset or rejection will kill you — you may even start to enjoy the chance involved.

TIP: If you want to get better at enjoying the game of love, and the game of life, just practice! A ten'er invested to play some slots and online poker at a solid casino website is much cheaper than night after night taking dates clubbing or for nice meals (with your mind attached to just inning something in return).

It could be so simple: the hallmark of a man who is successful with women is that he knows how to lose like a man, and, he always enjoys playing the games using his true manhood. This kind of attitude is very lucky. 

Cancer Has a Marketing Problem

I’ve been meaning to write this post all month, but I’m just doing it now.

It’s September 27th (almost 28th.)

September is Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, which is the closest thing that commemorates or recognizes uterine cancer, which is something that came into my family’s life about a year ago.

As bad news would, it conveniently came to me a just a few days after I was told my startup was out of money/trying to get acquired/”prep your resume kiddo.” Typical, right?

So, cancer. Uterine fucking cancer.

Yoplait recognized it on their Facebook page, which made me feel really happy and included and represented.

Then I saw a whole bunch of people kind of hating on there – saying they should instead or also support this or that… etc etc. And I get it – we all want to feel validated and included, by the media and by our favorite brands. We hope they think of us when these months come around.

There are a lot of organizations that support many different kinds of cancers, but I also believe there are good reasons to have separate marketing and communities for individual diseases. That’s why I want other cancer months to get the attention they deserve, honestly because as a complete medical newb myself, I want to make sure the messaging is clear for people like me. Medical stuff is like science, which is kind of like math. And then I’m all…

So spell it out for us. What are the exams we need? Messaging needs to be specific so it is effective.

People need to know about particular exams that can lead to early detection of certain cancers.

Sometimes the cancer impacts a certain group of people, or new research will show the contrary – that the cancer also impacts a group outside the typical demographic.

That type of thing is an opportunity for targeted campaigns that again, will be clear enough to reach consumers.

Some cancers don’t have many symptoms, if any symptoms whatsoever.

So again, people need to know about what exams to ask for.

In some cases, we need more funding for research to develop exams that will help with early detection.

My mind knows that everyone else having their own cancer months is a good thing. But this is how my heart feels: I feel left out.

I feel alienated and lonely because of how much attention other cancer months get as opposed to the “month” that more directly includes my situation. And I feel pissed off.

It sounded crazy to me when I felt this way a year ago, but as I’ve mulled it over it doesn’t seem too far fetched after all.

Clearly, the funding, and therefore the attention and visibility is probably going to go to the diseases that are more well known and prevalent.

I suppose I wonder if everything actually needs a “month” of its own, anyway.

There’s only 12 of these, there’s gotta be an inflection point somewhere. Others may have a more general feeling of a cancer community and awareness from the individual months though, and don’t see the necessity for such specific messaging. I wish I had a solution.

Be Confident, But Not Certain

(I think Madeleine Albright said that.)

Recently, two blog posts from recent graduates have caught the attention of the internet at large:

In The Huffington Post, Taylor Cotter wrote about The Struggle of Not Struggling. She reflected on the consequences of having her life all figured out – career, 401k, location  etc, at the age of 22. She feels she is missing out on some formative years of freelance and ramen.

In Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25, Cathryn Sloane gave her thoughts on why younger people are the preferred candidates for social media manager roles, reasoning essentially that Gen Y’ers have always known first and foremost how to use social media socially – not professionally – and that is how consumers want to engage with brands on these platforms.

I get the sense that Taylor came across a little less grateful than she probably actually is. And Cathryn probably came off a little more critical of older generations than she probably planned on. Even though I definitely disagree with them, and shared both articles expressing my disagreement, I’ve seen the internet pretty much cyberbully the crap out of them and I feel like I need to make a point.

For a whole slew of us who work for the internet, the particularly ambitious will establish an online presence of some kind to display their expertise and gain some extra practice in their given skillset. (And as we know, in this economy, it’s probably only the particularly ambitious mice who get the cheese anyway.) For designers or engineers, maybe that’s Dribbble or GitHub profiles. For marketing and PR and social media types, this may mean a blog about marketing and PR and social media. I just want people to ask themselves: What would you have written when you were 22? What if it had been judged not by your college professor, but by the internet at large?

Sometimes I look back at blog posts and guest posts I wrote senior year of college or when I just graduated and I  just cringe.  My writing was terrible, and I had absolutely no idea what the hell I was talking about. And it’s all out there now, in it’s awful glory. But it wasn’t arrogance, I was just genuinely trying to get out of the restaurant and show that I loved PR and knew a little bit about it. And I did, and I did.

Entry level isn’t entry level any more. We expect new graduates to “hit the ground running” as soon as we hire them. We, the companies, literally cannot afford to expect anything less than that. We grow up sooner now. Even interns don’t get to figure it all out and see where this all goes. Yet when we see young people having confidence in the opinions they express through their online presences, we don’t really like what they have to say and denounce it as short sighted. So – what the hell you guys?

It is tough to put your work and yourself out there so much when you still have so much to learn. We’re all just doing the best we can for who we are at the time, and what people like Taylor and Cathryn are doing isn’t easy. They’re trying, and there are a whole lot of people their age trying a whole lot less and complaining a whole lot more. At the risk of sounding patronizing, I say, cut them freaking some slack.

How Your Relationships Impact Your Career

Tonight I was in Central Square at a startup event for my friend’s company.

I was with some of my favorite people, ones I love to spend time with the most.

I left and walked to the T stop.

I strolled along the side of Massachusetts Avenue in front of my old office where my ex-boyfriend used to drop me off on Monday mornings after a weekend together.

I was always grateful for the ride to work, really thankful for his time.

This will sound awful, but genuine appreciation aside, this other part of me felt relieved to get back to my weekday life, which felt more natural to me: sarcasm, work, startups, my friends, internet, the gym. Space. I wanted to want that weekend life, but I didn’t. It’s not my perfect life, and that’s ok.

It’s ok.

Before I crossed the street tonight to get the necessary ingredients for my comfort food protein shake at Clear Conscience Cafe, I looked up at my old office where I met my next ex-boyfriend at a company party.

I squinted at the window, noticing its fresh paint and new walls dividing the once open space into tiny separate offices.

It looked a lot different.

But I imagined what it used to look like, what it looked like the day I got a ZipCar on a Saturday morning to move out after we got acquired.

I walked loads of office supplies and startupy knicknacks (ie, the Seth Godin marketing action figure) up and down the stairs.

I soaked it all in. It was a lot to take in. I would never come there to work again. So much had just happened.

Before I left, I stood in the exact spot in the universe where I first met him and took this picture.

____________

I’ve reflected on this one thought ever since I first heard the recording of Sheryl Sandberg’s 2011 Barnard College graduation speech back in May.

The most important career decision you’re going to make is whether or not you have a life partner and who that partner is. If you pick someone who’s willing to share the burdens and the joys of your personal life, you’re going to go further.

I think this might be true.

Relationships can be motivating, and they can also be distracting and negative. Point blank, it’s home life, and that impacts your mindset and the level to which you can focus on work. (For a romantic take, I strongly recommend John Steinbeck’s impossibly beautiful and timeless letter about love here.)

As I’m clearly unmarried, I don’t have much of an opinion on the stay-at-home dad discussion that Sheryl’s point often sparks.

But what I do know is that who you date impacts your career in many ways, but in the simplest way because it impacts how you spend your time.

Not all significant others are cool with you going to a tech networking event and hanging out with a bunch of other dudes, and not everyone thinks a great Sunday afternoon involves getting ahead on work for the week.

But these are aspects of a certain lifestyle and career track. 50 coffees, right?

A lot of people are less likely to achieve 50 coffees if they’re always worried about that awkward jealously argument before or after Starbucks. Dark roast, dark times.

And even if there is no tension about jealously, those are 50 coffees you’re not having with the significant other. There’s only so much time to go around.

On a practical level, the relationships I admire set expectations and plan when to see each other. If you have work to do on a Saturday or have an event to go to on a Thursday, say so.

But this stuff is also about compromise, right? So say when you’ll be done if you’re still going to see that person that night. It’s amazing what setting expectations can do to build trust. From the outside looking in, that seems to allow people to still pursue the things they want to as individuals (like careers, or hobbies) but not neglect each other.

Looking back even to my internship days, I wish I’d put my intentions on the table more in relationships. I wish I didn’t ask if I could go to an event or spend some time working. I wish I just presented it as something I needed to take care of. If I could go back, I would have compromised my time less and made it clear that these things were simply a part of my life. It would have been more fair to both sides.

But had I not been a late bloomer and just done this stuff in the first place, I wouldn’t be so complicated, interesting and choke-full of excuses to play this song and whatever cliche songs I want this week. Right? Right?

Anyway, let’s face it: Splitting your time with someone else flat out sucks sometimes. Single is another relationship option too if you just want to focus on your career, or just because you want to be.

To finish these thoughts, I really wanted to make a joke about hiring fast and firing fast, recruiting A-players to your team, something witty about cofounders, probably something about dating/generating leads/sales funnels and maybe something dirty about conversion rates. Then finally I wanted to find a charming excuse to link to this post by Fred Wilson talking about the importance of family – because that guy blogs like six times a day and I heard he blogs like, on his Blackberry while on the treadmill while on the subway and if an overachieving badass yet also probably workaholic like him recognizes the importance of this stuff then. well. shit. We all should.

But I’ve got nothing. Just… fellow 20-something ladies, don’t be impressed so easily. Your attention and time is valuable – not to mention your heart. Texting you back isn’t a grand gesture. It’s just asking what time you’re coming over.

By the way, someone’s reading that freaking letter at my wedding one day. Whenever that day comes.