representation of millennials versus the reality

When you encounter a millennial job applicant who is right out of school looking for the “perfect job“, as an older person, you think thoughts like “Hey kid, I was just served a $3 coffee by a 50 year old working a split shift of 5AM to 9AM and then 3PM to 7PM at Starbucks! There is no perfect job, so get over it.“

There are two issues with this. The first is that the young person has been taught by our school systems that if they follow the rules, get a degree, they are entitled to a “perfect job.“ Nobody ever mentions that there is no such thing. That they will 99% quit their first job within two years (or so it seems to me) regardless of how “perfect“ it is because they assume the grass is greener. And in fact it IS greener when they talk to their friends because people only talk about the good stuff. Talk to someone working for big oil and it’s all about the salary and benefits. Talk to someone in entertainment and it’s all about hanging out with rock stars at the House of Blues.

The second issue with the example in the first paragraph is the subtle judgment by ME that the job at Starbucks is necessarily a sacrifice on the part of the 50 year old. That presumption that they aren’t enjoying their work, that it might be perfect for their lifestyle and benefit needs, is flat out wrong on my part. It hints at the subtle prejudice in our society against non-college-prep types of jobs. If you are managing a restaurant it must be because you couldn’t get a job in a cube at the local insurance branch. Baroo? I’d MUCH rather run a hoping restaurant than work in a cube. Yet I too fall into this trap of incorrectly judging other people’s jobs.

Further Reading:

this profound disconnect

millennials redefining

a penchant for boldness and initiative

The Marine Corps’ style of warfare requires intelligent leaders with a penchant for boldness and initiative down to the lowest levels. Boldness is an essential moral trait in a leader for it generates combat power beyond the physical means at hand. Initiative, the willingness to act on one’s own judgment, is a prerequisite for boldness. These traits carried to excess can lead to rashness, but we must realize that errors by junior leaders stemming from overboldness are a necessary part of learning. We should deal with such errors leniently; there must be no “zero defects“ mentality. Abolishing “zero defects“ means that we do not stifle boldness or initiative through the threat of punishment. It does not mean that commanders do not counsel subordinates on mistakes; constructive criticism is an important element in learning. Nor does it give subordinates free license to act stupidly or recklessly.

Not only must we not stifle boldness or initiative, but we must continue to encourage both traits in spite of mistakes. On the other hand, we should deal severely with errors of inaction or timidity. We will not accept lack of orders as justification for inaction; it is each Marine’s duty to take initiative as the situation demands. We must not tolerate the avoidance of responsibility or necessary risk.

Relations among all leaders””from corporal to general””should be based on honesty and frankness regardless of disparity between grades. Until a commander has reached and stated a decision, subordinates should consider it their duty to provide honest, professional opinions even though these may be in disagreement with the senior’s opinions. However, once the decision has been reached, juniors then must support it as if it were their own. Seniors must encourage candor among subordinates and must not hide behind their grade insignia. Ready compliance for the purpose of personal advancement””the behavior of “yes-men“””will not be tolerated.

Warfighting Pages 57-58

the lie, I should say, for which we kill

“They are the kings. They are the queens. Lady Gaga at CES 2010They write the history of the kingdom, and I am something of a devoted Jester. It is in the theory of perception that we have established our bond. Or, the lie, I should say, for which we kill. We are nothing without our image. Without our projection. Without the spiritual hologram of who we perceive ourselves to be, or to become rather, in the future.”

Lady Gaga (source)

Thanks to domainbarnyard on flickr for the cc licensed photo of lady gaga.

The real action is at the other end

“The real action is at the other end: the main chance is becoming a free agent in an economy of free agents, looking to have the best season you can imagine in your field, looking to do your best work and chalk up a remarkable track record, and looking to establish your own micro equivalent of the Nike swoosh. Because if you do, you’ll not only reach out toward every opportunity within arm’s (or laptop’s) length, you’ll not only make a noteworthy contribution to your team’s success — you’ll also put yourself in a great bargaining position for next season’s free-agency market.”
Tom Peters, The Brand Called You

audience notes on social media presentation

Notes taken by  Rachel at a recent  social media presentation I gave. She stated that she wrote down the things the audience responded to and expressed an interest in. I read that as “what they care about.” So here is the list:

  1. Linkedin“”get on it if you are in business
  2. Have a  homebase“”blog or SME on subject blog
  3. Use  wordpress for blogging
  4. Make a  FB page“”the owner has to do it. Ownership is permanent
  5. Dual monitors are important
  6. Read  The FB Marketing Bible $50 PDF
  7. Google Alerts
    1. Community + Competitors
  8. Technorati
  9. Search blogs, SME’s
  10. Feed Reader
    1. Google Reader
  11. $30/month unlimited video training
  12. Logo””


  1. Where do you get the time?
  2. How to manage PR for oil spill?
  3. Advertizing vs. Social networking to build a brand?

To tackle those questions with candor:

  1. Where do you get the time?
    1. Cut out TV. Done.
  2. How to manage PR for oil spill?
    1. Look to Dawn detergent as an example.
    2. Make Communications a more authoritative position in your company. Don’t lie is rule 1.
    3. And I’ll let the millions of people writing case studies on the oil spill take the rest.
  3. Advertising vs Social networking to build a brand?
    1. I’d rephrase that as “Advertising or PR to build a brand?” and my answer is what Ries said “You build a brand with PR, and defend it with advertising.” So a younger brand should focus on PR and use Social Media as part of the tactics within an overall PR strategy.

Notes on Social Objects

If you haven’t read the story of the Microsoft Blue Monster, and Hugh’s thoughts on social objects, I highly recommend it. The full blue monster story is here on Hugh’s blog. I was just rereading it for an upcoming talk that discusses Social Objects.

And of course I would be remiss if I did not embed the video of Jyri Engstrom talking about social objects from 2006.

From Jyri’s talk on strategy when you are building a web site around a social object:

  1. Define your object
  2. Define your verbs
  3. Make those objects shareable
  4. Turn invitations to gifts
  5. Charge the publishers not the spectators

Rephrased as a question checklist (from 22:21 in the video)

  1. What is your object?
  2. What are your verbs?
  3. How can people share the object?
  4. What is the gift in the invitation?
  5. Are you charging the publishers or the spectators?

Great notes from the video are posted here.

Along a similar line of research I was reminded of Activity Theory as it relates to Social Objects. From slide 12:

  1. Actors have Agency
    1. Power over objects
    2. Attraction to objects
  2. Objects have a lifecycle
    1. Construction
    2. Instantiation
    3. Linking

One of those posts that are mostly for me. But if you read this blog, you already know that. #peace

Adding eBook epub and mobi downloads to WordPress

A few technical notes if you want to add ebooks (.epub and .mobi file formats) downloads to your wordpress site. We encountered three obstacles, file size, upload restrictions and file association. Here are the solutions.

WordPress File Size Limits are Too Low

WordPress by default only allows 2 meg uploads and only of particular file types. Unfortunately .epub and .mobi are not among the default file types that are allowed by WordPress.

First the bad news – if you want to increase the allowed file sizes for uploads you have to modify the php.ini file. Depending on your hosting provider this may or may not be easy. See Bill Erickson’s post on increasing allowed file uploads in WordPress.

File Types That can be uploaded in WordPress

Hopefully this will change, but currently .mobi and .epub are obscure. So you have to configure WordPress to allow them on most hosting providers.

We are running the WordPress Thesis theme on this particular site so the solution to add file types for upload was found here and is abbreviated below.

In the Thesis custom_functions.php file add this php code using the WordPress editor. But don’t make a typo as after that you would have to FTP in to fix it. Hypothetically speaking. Here is the function modified from the link above.

function addUploadMimes($mimes) {
    $mimes = array_merge($mimes, array(
        'epub|mobi' => 'application/octet-stream'
    return $mimes;
add_filter('upload_mimes', 'addUploadMimes');

The above example only includes the .epub and .mobi examples, but if you want more just pipe-filetype further where the code says ‘epub|mobi’.

Change the Content-Type for epub Files Served by Apache and WordPress

All fixed, right? Not so fast. WordPress serves unknown files with the content-type of “Content-Type text/plain” in the HTTP header. You can see this using the  excellent long-lasting Rex Swain HTTP viewer.

The problem is that while Windows handles the misidentified .epub files fine, Macs freak out and show you the binary. You click it on a Mac and see garbage. Not cool. Must fix.

I found this post in the WebFaction support on adding epub to the .htaccess file to change content-type by file extension. A bit of modification and I found adding this to the application root .htaccess file did the trick

AddType application/epub+zip .epub
AddType application/x-mobipocket-ebook .mobi

A word of caution – BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR HTACCESS file! It probably already exists so be sure to download-backup-modify-upload-via-ssh for maximum security. Or really sFTP is plenty secure as well.

Other epub and mobi pit-falls to look out for

The ePub must be strictly validated. it is really a Zip compressed directory with it’s own MIME type specification. And XML that must be valid. Google “epub validation” if the above list did not solve your problem and go from there.