Showing posts from May, 2015

5 Reasons Facebook Is The New LinkedIn

1. People prefer to do business with people they connect with emotionally. Your postings on Facebook reflect your feelings.
2. People prefer to do business with people they trust. An authentic presence on Facebook shows that you are a real, trustworthy person, rooted in relationships and community. 
3. Facebook is easy to use and friendly, while LinkedIn can be difficult to use and feels elitist. The future is about including all, not leaving people out.
4. Facebook provides a lower barrier to entry for honest comments. It is less uncomfortable to be yourself in this environment, where everyone seems to be chiming in and having their say.
5. People increasingly get their news from Facebook, but not from LinkedIn. It is the equivalent of the civic commons, and going forward the line between work and life will be virtually erased.
I am on Facebook at If you're not insane, feel free to reach out and friend me. ____ All opinions are my own and do not represent t…

A comment on the New York Times story about Jonathan Rosenblatt

My husband saw the New York Times story on the screen and immediately gasped. "Oh my G-d. Rosenblatt." 
I knew right away.
Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt was the rabbi of the shul we attended, the Riverdale Jewish Center in New York. He was the officiating rabbi at our wedding. And unfortunately, he also took Andy to the mikvah for a quote, "ritual bathing which he said was needed before marriage."
For a few years now, I have watched the stories come out in the media about rabbis and pedophilia. I had hoped that it was just one person here and there, and finally it dawned on me that something much more pervasive was going on. On top of that, it's also become very clear that the Jewish system of rabbinic ordination and supervision, as well as the educational system, have failed our children utterly, with offenders protected by the system while victims were punished and expelled. 
I count myself lucky that the negative experience I had with a perv-y rabbi (Mordechai Sevy)…

the invisible thing driving your brand

If I ask you -- as brand producer or a consumer -- why you make or buy the things you do, you will not answer me well. You may try to be truthful, but the level of real insight that I get from you will likely be fairly low. This matters for marketers a hell of a lot, since we want to make money and spend the least amount of money doing that. For a marketer to help a brand producer effectively, the producer has to know what they're doing and why - and they have to understand what motivates the customer extraordinarily well. Your value proposition is tied partly to the functional asset you give the customer, but it's more fundamentally about your passion. This is the space where your customer connects to you, when they could simply buy the cheapest product at the cheapest price from anybody else. It's your source of equity. Brand consultants can help you, and so can market researchers. But be careful -- bad data puts you in a worse place than having none.  A survey may be cheap,…

Die, Or Community

As a child I led a very lonely life because we moved every year and best friends became increasingly hard to come by. Plus we were a weird family, as far as families go. A little of this, a little of that, but we didn't really belong anywhere. I found refuge in dolls and later in reading, performing and art and eventually (as you can probably tell), writing took over my life. Also, eventually, family. "To love and to work," Freud said is the balance required for mental health. He wasn't a great fan of community. For him in fact it was just the opposite - a contributor to mental illness, a gigantic thicket of rules that functions like a restraining order against mature thinking. But Freud was incorrect. A person needs a community in order to function. At work, for example, innovation is increasingly driven not by the lone genius but by a creative team that plays off each others' strengths. And for the individual, community is a source of meaning, fulfillment and servic…

The Federal Workforce & The Federal Brand (A Comment)

Many argue that the presenting problem is a talent gap, i.e. the Boomers are going to retire, soon. There won't be Millennials waiting to replace them, because they've lost patience with the system. Presumably the civil service will fall apart absent a solid talent pipeline to back up the Gen Xers who will need to take over when the Boomers retire.
I disagree, even though parts of the problem are presented in a way that I agree with (e.g. the part about Millennials not having patience for the system.) 
--For one thing, Boomers frequently want or need to work beyond retirement age, sometimes well beyond. So I am not convinced they're leaving as quickly as people may think.
--For another, some aspects of the system work well for Millennials, who are highly team-oriented, and prefer clear-cut criteria and expectations - defining characteristics of the civil service. 
The real issue, I think, is that a variety of external forces are combining to change the nature of work rapidly a…

An Unlikely Brand Maestro

Strong brands are a polarizing thing. And so it is literally impossible for me to bring up the Kardashian Klan as a form of brand brilliance without somebody yelling "boo." As in: "They're trash!" "I can't stand them!" "You're kidding me!" But I have long said that the Kardashians, and in particular the "momager" Kris Jenner, are a stunning example of success in creating brand equity where there was none before. Most reality show stars earn a pittance. The "Krew," in contrast, earns $10 million a season for their famed show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which is really nothing more than the cameras following them around as they do...not much of anything.Kim Kardashian alone made $28 million in 2014, again for...not much of anything other than her body and her notoriety. And Kendall, aside from inking a monster deal with Estee Lauder to be the face of their makeup, reportedly earns $5,000 just for a single (140 cha…

Shavuot - Memorial Day 2015: Reflections of a Jewish Patriot

Today is the first day of Shavuot, the annual Jewish celebration of the giving of the Torah. It is also Memorial Day Weekend here in the United States. (Tomorrow, May 25 is the holiday itself.)  Shavuot and Memorial Day have something in common: nationhood. Each honors an essential fight that must be fought for shared identity to form. Shavuot - the intangible fight for identity: The Torah, and specifically the Ten Commandments, is the fundamental framework from which the Jewish nation derives its identity. "I am the L-rd Your G-d," "Thou shalt not kill," "Honor the Sabbath Day to keep it holy." It is said that G-d held a mountain over the Jews' heads to make us accept it. And yet we also learn that the Jews said these words: "We will do (first) and we will understand (later)." It is hard to understand - did the Jews want it or not?  Given the durability of Torah observance over time, the intensity with which we have clung to it, and the passio…

"On Message"

"I'm supposed to be the soldier who never blows his composure
Even though I hold the weight of the whole world on my shoulders
I ain't never supposed to show it, my crew ain't supposed to know it
...I'm supposed to set an example
I need to be the leader, my crew looks for me to guide 'em
....And even though the battle was won, I feel like we lost it
I spent too much energy on it, honestly I'm exhausted
And I'm so caught in it I almost feel I'm the one who caused it" - Eminem, "Like Toy Soldiers"False Logic There is a fallacy about branding that really hurts the credibility of the organization trying to enhance its image. That fallacy is the notion that people who speak for the company are in effect toy soldiers, with no brains of their own. That spokespeople, which is to say everyone, because nowadays everyone is presumed to be an emblem of the brand (a.k.a. "brand ambassador") must robotically repeat a simple message, set of message…

Federal Communicators Network Event: Building an Agency's Brand and Defining the Audience - At The Partnership For Public Service, Washington DC, May 20, 2015 (Video)

Is Internalized Sexism Holding You Back?

It may be popular to think that the feminist revolution ended when women got the right to vote. (Along with a host of other legal wins.)

I am not so sure.

It seems to me that women still hold themselves back, in ways both subtle and explicit. I want to talk about the subtle ones, because often it is what we do not say that holds the most power over our actions.
1. Believing that everybody else comes first.
Where did we get this idea that women don't count? That it is our job in life to throw ourselves onto the train tracks so that everybody else can survive? It's not an either-or; in fact it's just the opposite. Half-starved humans make terrible caregivers, because they're always thinking about what they personally lack: food.
2. Believing that femininity revolves around being weak.
Those Hollywood depictions of innocent, ignorant, and not by-the-way half-starved young girls as desirable has directly contributed to this belief. The truth is, femininity is whatever you want i…

The Absence Of Fact - The Logic Of Faith

If you're anything like me you have a hard time with the notion of prayer.  It's hard to say the same words again and again. It's hard to drag yourself to the house of worship. It's hard to still your mind and concentrate. And most of all it's hard to believe that saying a bunch of words makes any difference to things at all. You can't see the results of a prayer. You can't prove that it makes any difference. Invisible words, invisible wishes, invisible intentions directed toward an invisible, possibly made-up deity who has lots of other things to do, if He does exist at all. A couple of years ago, I saw a sermon on TV by Pastor Joel Osteen. Though I'd been taught the same thing in yeshiva, the way he put it changed my views on prayer completely. The sentiment went something like this: "You've got to ask G-d explicitly for what you want. You've got to put your heart's desire into words, to give it form, and when you concentrate your energie…

Why The Floss Is More Important Than The Toothbrush

"Mrs. Blumenthal, it's been awhile since we've seen you," the dentist said.  I shifted uncomfortably in the comfortable leather seat. "Uh, you've never seen me." Come again? "You've seen Mr. Blumenthal," I said. "You've seen my kids. You've never seen me." "Oh." The dentist consulted his chart. "You're right, Mrs. Blumenthal. We've never seen you." I cringed. Here it comes. "Why not? When was the last time you had a cleaning?" "Uh." Here comes the confession. Boom! "I - I think it was - maybe a year ago?" ("You haven't been to the dentist in a year and a half!" my husband said later that evening. "And now it's going to cost us two thousand dollars!") "Well why haven't you been?" asked the dentist. He sounded genuinely puzzled. "Ah - ah - more water, please." I rinsed and spat, embarrassed and buying time. "I was thinking that…

5 Reasons You Can't Find The Right Words

Very few people are actually bad at communication. I freely admit to being one of them.  It's not to knock myself, but to be honest: I live so deeply in my head, I am such an introvert, that it actually feels like a painful and difficult waste of time to stop exploring the world of ideas and converse in the real world with other human beings. For most other people, I've found, this is not an issue. Rather, it is that they are mentally constipated -- that is, they know what they have to say, and they feel the urgency to say it, but the words get stuck in their heads. When it's not a result of some disability, difficulty communicating is normally caused by some external factor. In my observation, if you find yourself "stuck," it's because you've been unnaturally silenced: Intimately - by an abusive parent, trusted authority figure or romantic partnerProfessionally - at school or at work, on the grounds that you're somehow incompetentStructurally - by your c…