Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Political brand messaging – Obama on Change

In my last post, I covered the importance for each and every professional to develop and maintain an online brand, since it is the wave of the future. Today, I just got done watching Charlie Rose dissect the historical and remarkable victory speech Obama gave yesterday after he won at the Iowa Caucus, and it got me thinking about a post I wrote almost a year ago, when Obama announced his candidacy (Post: Obama is a candidate from Hope and Community).

In that post, I analyzed Obama’s leadership and political brand traits all of which stems from hope. I also quoted one of Harvard Business Review’s HBR’s list of breakthrough ideas which was leadership rooted in Hope.

If you are an executive trying to lead an organization through change, know that hope can be a potent force in your favor. And it’s yours to give.

And, I can see a reiteration of those themes in Obama’s victory speech yesterday. It’s a tad long (~ 10 minutes) but I’m sure you’ll stay till the end:

Brand perspective

From a brand perspective, it’s very important what you initially define and run your campaign on. The Clinton campaign ran on “experience” vs. the relative inexperience of Obama. While Obama is running on the campaign of hope and change. And it may be a tad late to redefine the two brands right now.

Again, this is very similar to your personal brand that you publish on the online world. If what one finds when they Google your name is your social network with pictures of you doing kegstands, that’s likely to solidify as your brand. On the other hand, if what one finds is a blog of yours where you talk passionately about your career or your thoughts on philosophy you’ll be considered differently. Craft the brand you truly are and continue augmenting it with appropriate social media or social networks.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Social Networking vs. Professional Networking


Yes, I’d have definitely picked a better picture if I found more time to blog

Was just reading this article from the New York Times titled “Putting your best Cyberface forward” by Stephanie Rosenbloom that talks about the need to represent ourselves differently in our social and professional spheres respectively. The article talks of a social science term called “impression management” which “likens human interactions to a theatrical performance” (Source: Sociologist Erving Goffman’s book, “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”; 1959).

Complicating this “theatrical performance” is the fact that we represent ourselves and therefore our brand differently to different groups of individuals: colleagues, bosses (past, present, future), classmates (high-school, college), fraternity brothers, mom, dad, siblings, etc… What obviously starts off as the need for self-expression on social networking sites, could soon become a handicap if not managed well.

Clare Richardson, 17, of Los Angeles, is applying to colleges and is therefore mindful of what she posts on Facebook, but she knows teenagers who “want to appear to be the partying type,” she said. They post pictures that seem to prove it even if it is not true. “It’s clear they’re trying to impress everyone out there,” Ms. Richardson said.

What many individuals forget is that “what happens on pure-play social networks, does not always stay on those networks”. Now, on the other hand, having a professional network or a career blog is something you want out there for the whole world to see, because guess what? When you’re looking for a job, the first thing companies are going to do is Google your name and whether you’re on a professional network at LinkedIn (Disclosure: I work at LinkedIn) or have a blog of your own (preferably a career blog like mine), that’s the first thing that’s going to show up. Keith N. Hampton, an assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, thinks

the notion of impressing “everyone out there” is the fundamental problem of networking sites. They are designed so that millions see the same image of a member.

Along the same vein, Hampton also thinks that for online impression management to be effective,

…you should be able to present one face to your boss, and another to your poker buddies. “We have very real reasons for wanting to segment our social network”

I think the notion of presenting your true side (social and professional) is a basic instinct. The key here is tailoring it to the right audience and managing privacy controls. In my case, everything that’s searchable publicly is essentially what I’d like my professional identity to be, whereas my social identity is something I’m particular about sharing only with my existing/expanding social circle.

For those of you new to this social networking phenomenon. Check out two earlier posts I wrote around personal brand management online, and another where I describe how to leverage that to find your dream job.

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Filed under: Miscellaneous

Start the New Year managing tasks better | Remember the Milk!

I know it’s been a slow news week, what with all the holidays and two LONG weekends. Most of us are probably in the throes of figuring out what our resolutions for the New Year is. I’ve got a bunch of them but the most important seems to be around the theme of enhanced productivity.

One of the productivity tools that I’ve recently immersed myself in is Remember the Milk. Yes, if you can get past the terrible brand name, the service offers you the best overall task management service you can ask for. Moreover, every week the team furiously comes up with these super cool enhancements that totally rock my productive world.

Anyways, last week they introduced a nifty plugin that ties into Gmail. Already Gmail rocks my world, with its labeling and tagging goodness. The only tool that it lacks was obviously a decent task management system and now Remember the Milk completes the picture. There are many features in the integrated , but before we look at the most prominent of those.

Here’s why you should try out Remember The Milk (RTM):

Tagging: RTM allows you to tag tasks and that’s a huge help. In my case, I’ve tagged items by place of action, so for shopping — I tag by different location like Safeway or Costco, so before I go shopping to Safeway, I just sort by that tag and there’s a list of things to do at Safeway. More on my tagging philosophy in an upcoming post of mine. And, you can also tag geographically by location and of course priority.

Plus, you can set repetitive tasks, Atom, RSS subscriptions to your tasks, a terrific iPhone app, Quicksilver app, search by priority/tags/location, etc… I could go on and on, but yourself a favor this New year and check them out.

C’mon give it a try. Start the New Year on a productive note! Check out Remember the Milk.

Here’s why you should integrate RTM into your Gmail experience:

Synchronization with Email/Calendar/Contacts: The big advantage of RTM is its ability to create tasks pulling data from emails, events or contacts from Gmail. This is huge for obvious reasons. For e.g. The problem with task management are the numerous sources from where tasks originate and the challenge of managing it all under one database. For e.g. You chat with your friend and you remember a task that needs to be documented, you receive an email from a friend about a vacation and you need to start managing both a “Project” around it as well as a slew of “Tasks” to help accomplish it.

For all of the above, the RTM extension for Gmail allows you to very easily create tasks directly from your email inbox. For e.g. Receive an email in Gmail. Just star it and it automatically gets converted to a task that’s added to Today’s task list. Simple. Effective.

Read more on how to use RTM’s Firefox extension.

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Filed under: Miscellaneous

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