Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Miss Teen USA, Miss South Carolina, & The Power of the Web

If you have not yet already heard about the (to say the least) unfortunate response that young Miss South Carolina gave to the question “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?” on the Miss Teen USA telecast it is (to borrow the NBC tagline) "must see TV."

Unhappily for this drop dead beautiful kid, this is a clip that will likely be around for a long, long time. It was up on YouTube faster than you can say high speed connection, and according to a posting by very glib guy named Scott Goldberg on DigitalMediaWire the clip had already been viewed by more than 5 million people and as this is written it could well be double that number by now.

For the remaining .2% of the population who have no idea what she said and aren't into pointing and clicking, her response was:

“I personally believe that US Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and that I believe our education, such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should our education over here in the US should help the US, or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future.”
If you still can't believe that someone of any age could say something like this, and didn't see the film at 11:00, this will get you there.

Scott goes on to say in his post that while he could, he was not going to comment on what all this has to say about education in general or maybe even in South Carolina in particular since the site is really about digital media and not social commentary.

I would like to think that this blog is not about social commentary either, and for sure it is not about digital media. I can barely find the onoff switch on anything. It is, however, sometimes about leadership and as such about education from time to time as well.

You would have to listen to this young lady's response to the question plus her efforts to explain her way out of it on Today and decide for yourself if you are buying any or all of her explanation that she was just kind of overwhelmed by it all and sort of went blank and the words just seemed to tumble out without regard for anything logically connecting to anything else.

Although my bias is to think that the women who compete in things like Miss Teen USA are not exactly newbies when it comes to the various segments of these beauty pagents, including the "interview" stuff, but I am still willing to cut most 18 year olds some slack - not much, but some.

That said, what really scares me is that somewhere there is a survey whose data states “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map."

God help us all.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Chicken Little Doesn't Know Everything

As we are all acutely aware, the stock market has been behaving like something you could only find at Six Flags. Given the hype that we get on a minute by minute basis via CNN or MSNBC or whatever oracle you use to get your news fix, it is a wonder that we have anyone left who can look forward to anything.

Okay, maybe that's going a bit too far. I don't know about you, but no matter how you get your news information these days, it really is pretty tough to stay optimistic. Not that those of us here at ExecuNet have any deeper insights into the future than anyone else, nonetheless, in our own small way, some time ago in an effort to try and help our members and readers get a somewhat different perspective on how all this stuff was likely to impact their professional work lives, we set up a place on the site so that senior executives who were interested in getting a 10,000 foot view of the Executive marketplace could check it out from time to time. Over the years it has proven to track very well against what other indices say is going on.

So, to in some way try to counteract recent headlines, be advised that from where we sit, the sky is not yet falling. Based on our monthly polls of both executives (Executive Employment Outlook) and recruiters (Recruiter Confidence Index) we still appear to be in pretty decent shape.

On the executive side which tends to be more conservative than the recruiting world, nearly half of those who responded (46%) were confident or very confident that the market for executives would improve of the next 6 months. That was up 14% from a year ago, and 8% higher than July. When we asked the recruiters the same question, 69% were confident regarding the executive employment outlook for the next 6 months, and while they were not up quite as much month over month as the execs were, they were still up 2% from the July survey.

The two monthly surveys I am citing here are not the only way in which we attempt to take the economic temperature, but over the years they have turned out to be pretty good indicators and we have no reason to think they will not continue to be, so for now anyway, we are still, as they say, bullish.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Plus ça change? Not quite

When one thinks of "thought leadership" in the business world and what comes under the heading of "must reading" The Economist is one of the names that come immediately to mind. So, when my colleague Lauryn Franzoni sent me a copy of a recent piece entitled Plus ça change? Not quite I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but one thing I didn't expect was to end up laughing to the point of tears.

Maybe it's just my love of British humor or maybe my envy of wonderful writing or maybe it's just because it's Friday, summer and sunny, but whatever it is, this piece really struck a chord.

It's not all that long, so even if it doesn't make you laugh out loud it won't take that much time from your day. Here's a taste:

In a technological age ever more clichés are being untethered from their origins in this way. People write out plenty of metaphorical cheques, whether blank or bouncing. Many of them are to be found in the post, but fewer in real life (some shops no longer accept them). There is no need to keep your cards close to your chest, or indeed an ace up your sleeve, when so much gambling happens online. Thanks to reviews, awards and celebrity book-club stickers, you can in fact judge a book by its cover. If you carry a mobile phone, write e-mail or post entries on MySpace, being out of sight does not mean being out of mind. And in the age of the iPod, no one can be accused of being unable to carry a tune.
The rest can all be found here if your curiosity has been tweaked.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tsun Ami

"He's the most productive person I have ever met."
Thus starts the piece that John Sumser posted on August 9th. He was referring to Amitai Givertz, a name seen in this blog on a number of occasions, and which will likely resurface from time to time so long as he keeps being thought of as:

"...Furiously writing, experimenting and barnstorming the south, Amitai Givertz is a bundle of raw energy wrestling with the ambiguities of contemporary Recruiting. Recently, I started recommending his powerful presentation on the recursive nature of blogging to anyone who will listen. Posing by day as a Vice President of Recourse Communications, Inc. (RCI), Ami is fast becoming a central theorist and practitioner in 21st Century online recruiting."
which is how the rest of John's opening paragraph went in a piece he posted called Tsun Ami. Do you think John might have second career ahead of him as a headline writer for the Post or Daily News?

I commend the article to your attention if you didn't catch it when it ran a week or so ago. In addition to singing Ami's praises (clearly warrented) John also points out that Ami is going to be the ringmaster for a September 25th event in Atlanta called the Recruiting Roadshow which I think was John's brainchild and which sounds like an intriguing professional development and intelligence gathering opportunity for players in the recruiting world.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Judgement By Reputation

There have been a lot of bits and bytes flying around in the past couple of days over Facebook's kicking recruiter Harry Joiner off for what they interpreted as spamming of their members; a debate that is probably not going to die immediately either. In case you didn't catch it, Harry tried to fire up his entire gmail list (4600 names) and suggest to them to join Facebook. Facebook apparently was "not amused" (to borrow a phrase from our friends in the UK) nor did they appreciate the "marketing help" and not only blew Harry away, but in a message that is certainly not going to win any awards for tact. Check it out:
Hi Harry,

Your account has been disabled because you have violated Facebook's Terms of Use.

Abusing the features of the site to spam other people is not permitted. In addition, it is a violation of our Terms of Use to use one's account for advertising or promotional purposes.

I'm sorry, but you will no longer be able to use Facebook. This decision is final.

Thanks for your understanding,

Customer Support Representative
If you want to get a good understanding of Harry's perspective on all this, take the time to read his comment on Gavin Heaton's blog MarketingProfs Daily Fix on a posting called Who Owns You. He makes some pretty potent arguments.

So what causes stuff like this anyway? My take is that at one level it is simply part of the growing pains and "learnings" that we are going through as we continue the cyber experiment we currently label as "social networking. At another level, unhappily I think I would tend to agree with John Sumser's take when he wrote in his post on his Electronic Recruiting News:
"The Facebook's response to Harry Joiner was due, in part, to the dreadful reputation that Recruiters have around the planet. Spam, in the guise of "talent pool development" has become a tool of the trade. Bulk email, used because it works, has an unseen cost."
You can read the rest of what John had to say by going to the post About Recruiters.

We all have our reputations, and for good or for ill as they say, perceptions are real to those who hold them. What happened to Mr. Joiner is an example of once perceptions out there, and in a world where judgments are far too often made without really making an effort to look beyond the surface (as clearly Facebook didn't) when it rains, it rains on the just as well as the unjust. Harry Joiner may have made some sort of an error in judgment, but from what I can tell, he really didn't deserve the electronic version of being summarily executed.