Friday, May 30, 2008

Executive Tribune

How many blogs are there? Answer: Probably no one really knows, and if you start to pare them down to ones that are "active" versus those that are just taking up a few megs on a server somewhere, it might even seem like a number that we could relate to, but even then I am not sure. All of which suggests that most of us find the stuff we want to follow the same way most of us find our way to anything worthwhile - someone tells us about it. It's another one of the fringe benefits of networking.

There are, of course, exceptions, and in the case of the Executive Tribune Tribune, a blog that launched in early May, this one I knew was coming because it's author, Michael Simon, had called me about blogging before he launched.

After my failing yet once again to convince anyone of anything, he launched it anyway. If you are interested in things of importance to the career management at the executive level, you will be glad he went ahead. The tag line will give you a nice clue as to why: "Career musings and information for A-list, B-school & C-suite residents."

If you check out Michael's background it will become immediately apparent why he would be a valuable resource when in comes to career issues, especially at the executive level.

In the interest of "full disclosure" I should also reveal that when the company I was working for was sold and I lost my job at age 48, I selected Michael and his firm to help keep me focused as I tired to figure out what was next.

Just as I failed to persuade Michael that blogging is harder than it appears on the surface, he failed to convince me to give corporate another chance. The outcome was that I started ExecuNet and Michael and I have been friends ever since.

Even though all of this is true, anyone who knows me will tell you that if I didn't think that Executive Tribune was worth your can finish the sentence yourself.

Friday, May 23, 2008

America’s Business Elite Embracing On-line Media

Part of the really fun side of cyberspace is that one discovers just how little one knows and the degree to which the world is full of things that are "new to us" grows geometrically by the second.

One of my "finds" recently was a site called . As you can see for yourself, they describe themselves as "a company of inquiring minds and passionate people giving a voice and shape to the thoughts of millions of individuals around the world." Translation: Specialized market research that is focused on "media habits, attitudes, opinions, and business and personal purchasing habits of the highest echelon of America's business community—the "C-Suite."

While the elitist description rubs me the wrong way, the fact that our membership is made up of C-Suite folks, I read with interest the results of a recent survey they did just how tuned in or out of the gadget universe this group is. I was especially interested because of all the stuff one reads about how "un-savvy" they are with 21st century technology.

If you believe, as I do, that the stereotype of the CEO who can barely play the radio is not exactly an accurate portrait, then check out what the survey said and see how off-base perceptions can be:

• C-level Tech Toys: Almost three out of four (71%) own cell phones with cameras and multi messaging, and almost as many (68%) own laptops. More than half (60%) already have HDTV, and almost half (40%) own iPods. Likewise, more than one-third already have Blackberries (36%) or Satellite Radio (35%).

• CEOs TIVO: More than one-third (35%) have used a DVR/TIVO to record or playback a TV program in the past month, with almost one-third having watched video-on-demand.

• Downloading Content: In a month’s time, more than two-thirds of the C-levels surveyed (68%) have downloaded videos or clips from websites or received email newsletters/alerts on their computers. About half (49%) have streamed or watched broadband videos from websites on their computers.

• C-level Internet Commerce: More than three-fourths of C-level executives surveyed are already using the Internet to make their travel or flight reservations (78%), and well over half (57%) regularly buy products or services online.

• Being Tech Savvy is Key: Executives at the top also know that keeping up with the latest technology is vital to the success of their businesses—about three-fourths (72%) agree, with the same number agreeing that a business publication’s website is an important part of its offerings (72%).

• Blogging in the C-Suite: They are into blogs too—almost one-third (30%) read blogs and a small number (4%) contribute to blogs.

One thing is for sure, if you are an executive who is interested in making a move in this or any other environment and are not fluent in "techno speak" you are likely to be a very unhappy camper going forward.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Data Portability: It’s The New Walled Garden

I am so technically challenged that I can't, as they say, "play the radio", but that doesn't mean that I am not interested in such things or that I am not as fascinated as the next guy by the pace of change and innovation. I am also fascinated by the issues that arise as a result.

Case in point: Data Portability: It’s The New Walled Garden, a post on TechCrunch, an enormously popular blog (and deservedly so) headed up by Michael Arrington.

If you read the article, you will quickly see that there is an intellectual tug-of-war going on about the personal data that you and I provide to a site. Does that data remain only in that site (the walled garden) or can it be taken and moved to another site? It quickly becomes an interesting debate about "rights" and "privacy" and who "owns" what.

Arrington is an icon as an observer of all things silicon and so is Robert Scoble who has his own stump called Scobleizer - Tech Geek Blogger. Scoble works at FastCompany and among other things has a cool gig they call ScobleizerTV.

One of the fun things about blogs, as all blog junkies know, is following along when folks get into a healthy debate and start firing word salvos from their industrial strength keyboards. Such is the case between these two guys on this subject, and the last time I looked, there were over 120 comments from readers.

Most of us are probably too torn between the NBA playoffs, the NHL playoffs and watching the Yankees fall into last place to have the time to read all the comments, but it is worth the trip just to read the dueling geeks comments to each other.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Survey Said

While it hardly seems possible, the fact is that sixteen years ago we began an annual survey of the executive marketplace which has become known as ExecuNet's Executive Job Market Intelligence Report. The report has expanded each year, as has the effort that our staff expends in putting it together has also grown expodentially. I have to say, however, that the feedback we get from both executives and the recruiting community on the value of the information serves as continuing motivation to continue the investment of time and energy.

This year's survey with more than 6,000+ responses has produced a good deal of commentary in the media both electronic and print.

Among the more stimulating and flattering requests that we got for commentary on the survey came from Peter Clayton, the voice and engine behind Total Picture Radio, the well-respected website whose tag line: "The Voice of Career Leadership"describes the site very well

Peter came over to our offices last week and sat down with Mark Anderson (our President) and me and in his disarming and relaxed interviewing style, Peter really engaged us in dialouge that was more of a conversation than an interview.

While our members have access to the full report, we also have an executive summary of the report which is available to the public on our site as a free download and can be obtained by clicking here

If you are interested in the "conversation" we had we Peter, the link to the interview is here.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Retaining Gen X and Gen Y

Employees have long recognized the rewards of volunteering; the chance to share their skills and expertise with those who really need it is always a fulfilling experience, and certainly providing the ways and means for employees to participate in such activities is not new, but I do think these activities are getting more attention as it starts to feel like we might be getting to the tipping point on issues like global warming, energy conservation, etc.

According to a recent article reported by The Associated Press entitled Companies See Volunteering as a Benefit, organizations are more actively granting employees the time they need to volunteer. Some are even creating company organized volunteering opportunities.

Moreover, companies are finding that they can link these volunteer programs to their overall business objectives. The article, for example, notes how employees of dog food maker Pedigree can volunteer at animal shelters as part of that company’s program. Organizations are also using volunteering as an employee retention strategy, since it undoubtedly improves company morale. It’s also an initiative in which members of our current multi-generational workforce share an interest.

In the article, David Eisner, chief executive of the Corporation for National and Community Service, notes how the younger members of the workforce use volunteering to help achieve their desired work-life balance. At the same time, older workers just enjoy the opportunity to serve their communities.

Volunteering is a positive action for both companies and their employees. Yet, we also can’t forget that the true beneficiaries, of course, are the recipients of this good will.

Sounds like the proverbial win-win to me.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Difference Makers

I think all of us can remember that someone who put us on track for a successful career. Whether it was a college professor who taught the economics class that inspired you to become a financial analyst or the store manager whose words of wisdom sparked your interest in becoming a business owner; someone’s words and actions played a strong role in where we are today.

That’s why I read a recent Harvard Business Review article with such interest. In the piece, Kris Gopalakrishnan, the co-founder and CEO of Infosys Technologies, recalled the influence a physics professor had on his career. At the time, Gopalakrishnan wasn’t sure what direction he wanted to take. But some motivating words by the teacher gave him the confidence to excel and begin a successful career in the IT arena.

“Do what you love, work hard at it, and all will go well.” That’s the message Gopalakrishnan says he received from the professor. But it is a larger piece of that message that truly sticks with Gopalakrishnan today; one that he strives to share with others — and that is the importance of motivating people.

Gopalakrishnan says he uses the words and actions of his professor to inspire greatness in his own employees. In essence, he tries to translate his energy for the business to his employees, explain the importance of their roles and how they can mold the future. “My job remains the same as in 1981: to motivate one individual at a time,” says Gopalakrishnan.

Motivating individuals never goes out of style. Return the favor and help someone else find his way.