Tag Archives: recession

If you are laid off, here's how to socially network

I’m getting a LOT of chats from people who have been laid off. Most of the time I find that they just aren’t presenting a good face to me for me to help them find a new job.

If you are laid off, here’s what you need to do:

1. Your blog is your resume. You need one and it needs to have 100 posts on it about what you want to be known for.
2. Remove all LOLCats from your blog.
3. Remove all friends from your facebook and twitter accounts that will embarrass you. We do look. If we see photos of people getting drunk with you that is a bad sign. Get rid of them. They will NOT help you get a job.
4. Demonstrate you are “clued in.” This means removing ANYTHING that says you are a “social media expert” from your Twitter account. There is no such thing and even if there were there’s no job in it for you. Chris Brogan already has that job and he’s not giving it up.
5. Demonstrate you have kids and hobbies, but they should be 1% of your public persona, not 99%. Look at my blog here. You’ll see my son’s photo on Flickr once in a while. But mostly I talk about the tech industry, cause that’s the job I want to have: talking to geeks and innovators.
6. Put what job you want into your blog’s header. Visit Joel Spolsky’s blog. He’s “on software.” That’s a major hint that if he were looking for a job that he is totally, 100%, thinking about software. If you want a job as a chef, you better have a blog that looks like you love cooking, like this.
7. Get rid of the LOLCats. Do not argue me on Twitter about this. Google finds Twitters. Do you want your future potential boss noticing that you post LOLCats all day long? Believe me, you do not. It will NOT help you.
8. Post something that teaches me something about what you want to do every day. If you want to drive a cab, you better go out and take pictures of cabs. Think about cabs. Put suggestions for cabbies up. Interview cabbies. You better have a blog that is nothing but cabs. Cabs. Cabs. Cabs all the time.
9. Do not beg for links. If you did the above, you can Twitter me and say “check out my great software blog” though. Include @scobleizer in the tweet so I’ll see it. I’m an egotistical baaahhhsssttttaarrrrddd so I read all Twitter replies that include my @scobleizer name in them. Hint: I haven’t met a blogger yet who is not an egotistical baaahhhhsssttttaaarrrdddd. Take advantage of it. But no begging.
10. If you want to be a plumber, look for other plumbers to add to Twitter, friendfeed, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Remove all others. Be 100% focused on what you want to do.
11. On Twitter ou can tell me what you had for lunch, but only after you posted 20 great items about what you want to do. Look at Tim O’Reilly’s tweet stream. Very little noise. Just great stuff that will make you think (he wants a job as a thinker, so do you get it yet?)
12. Invite influentials out to lunch. Getting a job is now your profession. If you were a salesperson, how would you get sales? You would take people out to lunch who can either buy what you’re selling, or influence others who can buy. That means take other bloggers (but only if they cover what you want to do) out to lunch. That means taking lots of industry executives out to lunch.
13. Send out resumes. Make sure yours is up to date and top notch on LinkedIn and other sites where employers look for employees. Craig’s List. Monster. Etc.
14. Go to industry events. I have a list of tech industry events up on Upcoming.org. If you want to be a plumber, go to where contractors go. Etc. Etc. Make sure you have clear business cards. Include your photo. Include your Twitter and LinkedIn addresses. Your cell phone. Your blog address. And the same line that’s at the top of your blog. Joel’s should say “on software.” Yours should say what you love to do. Hand them out, ask for theirs. Make notes on theirs. Email them later with your LinkedIn and blog URLs and say “you’ll find lots of good stuff about xxxxxxxx industry on my blog.”
15. When you meet someone who can hire and who you want to work for. Follow them on Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. Their blog. Stalk them without being “creepy.” Learn everything you can about them. Build a friendfeed room with all their stuff. That way when they say on Twitter “I have a job opening” you can be the first one to Tweet back.
16. Tell others where the jobs are. One thing I learned in college is by helping other people get jobs you’ll get remembered. So, retweet jobs messages (if they are relevant to your professional friends and to you). Blog about job openings. Help people get jobs. Hold lunches for people who are jobless. Some of them will get jobs and they’ll remember you and invite you along.
17. Do what you want to do. Let’s assume you’ll be laid off for a year. Are you going to lay around on the couch waiting for a call? No. You will do exactly what you want to do. Want to be an engineer at a great startup? Go and volunteer to work there for free. Make sure you do a blog post about every day you do what you’re doing for free. Say “I could do this for you, call…”
18. Do some work on SEO. Make it possible for people to find you. THINK about how people would search for someone with your expertise and skills. Here’s how, Visit the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Do a search on a word that you think represents best what you want to do. I just did one for “Electrical Engineering” and it brought up a ton of great info about what people are searching for. Include those terms in your blog. And, even better, blog about those things!
19. UPDATE: Mark Trapp added to remove any hint that you hated your old job from all your online things.

Good luck. It sucks. I know that. I was laid off last time and, who knows, might be laid off again, but if you’re doing all this stuff and you aren’t finding a job, let me know. You know where to find me.

Got any other ideas? Post them here or on my friendfeed.

UPDATE: you can still get a job even after weird photos and other things are posted about you. I have naked pictures of me out there on the Internet (and that’s been true for the past three jobs I’ve gotten). They still wanted to hire me. So, all of these rules can be broken, but break them carefully! :-)

Live video from VentureBeat recession impact on startup event

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We’re broadcasting live video on Kyte.tv from the second session of VentureBeat’s roundtable on the economic impacts on startups of the recession right now. We’ll try to have the recording up, but during the first session we had a problem that deleted the stream that we’re trying to figure out right now.

On stage in second session:

Max Levchin, the Slide founder and PayPal co-founder who helped lead that company through the first IPO after the last bubble popped;

Jason Calacanis, the Sequoia-backed founder of Mahalo and writer of a controversial letter predicting doomsday for the vast majority of Web 2.0 start-ups. Shortly afterward, Sequoia stirred the valley by holding a mandatory meeting for the CEOs of its portfolio companies.

AllThingDigital’s Kara Swisher.

Toni Schneider, CEO of Automattic.

Nirov Tolia, ePinions founder.

Layoffs and, um, funding?

TechCrunch started a page to keep track of layoffs in the startup world.

Me? I’m seeing tons of depressing news hitting our economy. That’s what I get for watching CNBC and reading TechMeme.

But, there were a group of companies funded this week too and there are plenty of jobs open. It sure is an interesting time to watch the startup community right now.

How would you report this ongoing story? Several over on FriendFeed want bloggers to avoid overcovering the bad news and, instead, focus on the positive news. What do you think?

Who is doing the best at covering the economic times hitting startups? My top vote is for VentureBeat.

Recession Proof Your Startup

Today on Techmeme there are a bunch of stories encouraging entrepreneurs to startup companies right now. Here’s a couple that caught my eye.

Paul Graham talks about why to start a startup up in a bad economy.

Don Dodge urges entrepreneurs to go for it.

OK, rah, rah, rah, we all know some startups will take off in the recession. Microsoft and Google both either got started in, or accelerated through downturns early in their lives.

But I think some of the advice I’ve been seeing out there it a little too optimistic.

Last night on Donny Deutsch’s show an entrepreneur called up and was crying. He had started a business that was selling promotional cookies and swag to corporations and his business has dried up. Clearly not EVERY startup will do well. Why? People change their behavior in recessions, but that behavior does NOT change equally. In this case companies had stopped buying non-essential items, which means that promotional items get cut first.

So, the question to me is “how do you recession proof your startup?”

That’s the conversation I’m hoping to see happen. Already VentureBeat is putting together an event to discuss how to manage through a downturn. I’m attending that and will bring any good idea I hear.

Some ideas I’ve already heard though:

1. Make sure your startup is aimed at a real pain point of other companies. I was speaking at Cisco a week ago and saw that lots of people really are struggling with email, for instance.
2. Have a startup who’s customers and users are recession proof. For instance, education is probably not going to cut back a lot, so if your customers are teachers and educational IT people, you’re probably a lot safer than if you sell to small businesses like restaurants like my brother has.
3. Have a business that helps people or companies save money. Both Dodge and Graham pointed this out. I’m starting to use services like Mint, for instance, which look at my behavior and try to find me ways to save.
4. Look for upturns due to change in behaviors. For instance, if you can’t afford to go on long trips anymore, you’re more likely to stay home. That might mean more people will work on home projects or try things like crafts or games. Make Magazine might be well positioned here.
5. Diversify your customer base. Are you only reaching customers in USA? What about going international? Often times, one country’s economy will do better than another, or might be more open to new approaches.
6. Have enough cash on hand to last at least a year without any revenues. Who told us to do that? Microsoft’s Bill Gates.
7. Look for new opportunities that happen because of the downturn. Banks might start paying money to maintain houses that have been foreclosed on, for instance.
8. Look for new distribution channels. TurnHere, for instance, told me about landing YellowPages.com and that’s meant that their business is taking off. If yours can land similar distribution deals that might really help you accelerate through the downturn.
9. Be innovative with marketing and advertising your startup. For instance, if you do a Google Search for “Recession Proof Business” and you’ll find an ad that says “start your own economy.” That took me to CircleDog, which is a customer relationship management software package. Hey, if the economy is falling apart, I want to start my own! Not to mention it caught my eye among the ads because it was different. Now, let’s say you’re going to CES or SXSW or the Web 2.0 Summit next week. How can you find new customers without spending much money?

How about you? What are you doing to recession-proof your business? Would love to see some ideas.

TurnHere for interesting recession-resistant video business

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Well, I can see that on my last post I went too far in pushing a point that corporate bloggers don’t live under the same rules that unemployed bloggers do. In any case, this next video demonstrates why I’m not going to go to the PDC even better than worrying about my feelings.

Today I visited TurnHere.com. Some facts. Profitable. 60 core employees. 7,000 paid contractors. Hundreds of new videos per day.

But in talking with them I realized they are a recession-resistant business and thought what I learned from them is important to highlight. Why are they recession-resistant?

1. High value for low price. Their customers are small businesses who don’t know how to use Apple’s FinalCut Pro or how to tell a story with video. It’s not easy, as I joke around about in the video “I don’t have talent.” They charge less than a grand to do the videos, a videographer shows up, spends an hour or two interviewing and shooting, then goes home and edits together a pretty nice video. I sat in their meeting today where they showed off a couple and they were nice quality, the kinds of things that a small business would find invaluable for their website, etc.
2. Distribution. They are on Yellowpages.com, Citysearch, and other places. I can’t get my videos onto the Yellowpages.com, so they have defendable and high volume distribution that small businesses are willing to pay for.
3. Few salespeople but lots of revenues. They outsourced their sales team to Yellowpages and Citysearch and their other business partners. Those business partners bring them tons of revenues and distribution. That’s a neat business that I admire.
4. Low-cost production. They have hand trained 7,000 videographers around the world who make the videos. That might seem expensive, but not really. There are a lot of people who have decent video equipment out there (decent being a $500 camera, a $200 tripod, and a $300 microphone, along with a fairly beefy Mac and Final Cut Pro) who often have day jobs working at TV stations and making movies. They get hired for a few hundred bucks to make the videos.
5. Rapid iteration and quality control. The team meets every afternoon to watch a couple of videos from that day’s videos. That ensures that quality stays high (no one wants to put a crappy video in front of their teammates) and increases the ideas that come from the team.

Anyway, I asked off camera if they had seen any effect yet (I’m hearing small businesses are having a rough time right now, so wondered if they had seen any effect). They have not, the execs say, and their sales are up. Since it’s a private company I can’t verify those claims, but the product and team seem very good and it’s nice to see a business with real revenues and a real business plan (and a good reputation, I’ve been getting nice notes from people since Twittering that I was visiting this afternoon).

Oh, this video is the first I did with a new Nokia N96 cell phone that Nokia sent me to try out. It’s nice, but since it doesn’t work with AT&T’s 3G yet it will be hard for me to use for my live videos, but for things like this it works very well. My wife just bought a Flip cam too, so we’ll do some comparisons.

I’m using Viddler for this video and am very impressed. Last week I put a couple of videos up on Google Video and Viddler is a lot nicer to use for uploading and the player is much nicer too. Viddler videos are also embeddable in WordPress.com, while Google Videos are not. I’ll compare to Kyte soon (I like Kyte because it has a neat chat room and can be used with live, including recorded stuff like this).

Thanks TurnHere for showing me an interesting new business!