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Three Geniuses Walk Into a Bar…

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Redhead Piano bar 

Folks, I have compiled the first in a series of helpful discussions between three leaders in our industry…and moi – the court jester. This first installment includes the following illustrious crew: Brandie Young, Ken Brand and Paula Henry. They were directed to answer my questions in ten words or less. These respected business persons can teach you a lot about real estate and marketing. The other one is an idiot, but she can show you where all the bodies in Hollywood are buried.  This may have been an online discussion, but I want you to imagine all four of us sitting in our favorite pub discussing sales, real estate, and the economy. Ken, of course, is outnumbered, but as a result, he is enjoying all the attention. I am head down in a bowl of beer nuts…but you probably already knew that: 

GBB: What is the best way to get new clients?  PH: Internet leads BY: From current or past clients. KB: … Find fun people, mix-mingle-interact-converse-listen-share-ask questions-discover-solve problems. GBB: You broke the ten word rule Ken. Kindly put a dollar in the jar. Okay, so we were talking new clients – well, I do pretty well down at Hollywood and Vine. Oh wait, we’re talking real estate… In that case, blackmail is an effective tool. That’s what makes L.A. work – just ask the National Enquirer. Oh, puh-leeze, don’t pretend you never do that! 

GBB: What characteristic do you most like in a client? BY: Engaged, enthusiastic… KB: A funny, friendly good looking, whip smart, recently homeless person with a million dollars cash and no where to live, until we find them a home. GBB: Gimme another buck, Ken.  PH: Sense of humor GBB: Duh! Lakers Tickets! 

GBB: What characteristic do you least like in a client? BY: Nit-pick, whiny. PH: Micro managing a process/project they know nothing about.  Oh, and when they can’t pay. GBB: Why are you looking at me when you say that, Paula? Lani is paying for this.  KB: If people are disrespectful, I dump them. GBB:  I hate ankle monitoring bracelets. I’m just saying… 

GBB: What can an agent do to assist with an appraisal now that we have the new HVCC guidlines? BY: Make certain the appraiser actually knows the area. PH: Not sure anyone has this figured out. GBB: I concur. Another chili in your Bloody Mary, Brandie?  KB: We provide our appraisers with an appraisal package.  Updated comps and a laundry list of any and all improvements… GBB: If the appraiser is a woman, I bring a Prada bag full of chocolates. If it’s a guy, I bring Pamela Anderson

GBB: What is your opinion of Real Estate reality shows? KB: They’re stupid.  Put me in one, I’d sell circles around those clowns.  Actually, I find some of the negotiating stuff interesting. GBB: Ken, for a genius, you sure can’t count. But that’s okay, I’m an idiot savant myself. Gimme another buck. PH:  [Reality Shows] are so not real. BY: [Reality Shows] crack me up!  That one in LA is so far out of reality, it’s hysterical.  GBB: Actually, all of L.A. is beyond reality, dahling. I was on “Flip That House,” and all I got out of it was a stalker. Matter of fact, he looked a lot like you, Ken. Uncanny resemblance… I’m packing pepper spray, Ken! 

GBB: What is your opinion of bus bench ads? BY: We don’t really have buses in my area.  I think this is community specific. PH: Only Teresa Boardman’s virtual bus bench is worth the price. I don’t want anyone sitting on me.  GBB: I’m confused. Who’s Teresa Boardman? Did I miss something when I was in the rest room? Bench ads to you, Ken.  KB:  Generally speaking, “Lame.” Unless it’s an enormous picture of me and someone else paid for it. GBB: Love ‘em! When someone carves gang signs in my paper forehead I consider it a sign of deep affection. Ken, you REALLY look familiar… Is that a restraining order in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? 

GBB: What do you like best about your job? BY: I don’t work for a__holes any longer.  I get to pick and choose with whom I work and I can fire clients when our agency isn’t a good fit. GBB: You said a bad word, Brandie. Put a dollar in the jar. No, I’ll hold the jar. Let go, dangit – the cash is mine! KB: Being the boss of my self.  Picking and choosing who I work with.  My raise is effective as soon as I am. GBB: That’s clever, Ken. You really should consider a bus bench ad.  PH: No two days are alike.  Getting to the closing table; not because I get paid, but the sense of accomplishment. GBB: I like happy hour. No, Ken, I don’t work here, and stop bogarting the peanuts! Who’s buying the next round? 

GBB: What is your most successful means of advertising? BY: I am very interested to see what people say here.  Would love to see a mix of very small town/community answers vs. others. GBB: You are a regular brain trust, Brandie. Will you take my brokers’ exam for me please?  PH: Internet GBB: Paula, I love how you are both brilliant AND succinct. You are the only one who followed the ten word rule. …Paula? Somebody wake her up so she can tip the waitress.  KB: Traditional advertising is like earning a fast nickel.  Personal relationship building, on-purpose and in-person contact is a slow dollar.  Go for the dollar. GBB: Nice. I have business card with a hologram of myself. I tell people I am virtually there whenever they need me. Also, bad publicity is a real pay-off in my town. Hence my desire to jump up on this table and start dancing. 

GBB: What subjects other than real estate would be advisable for prospective agents to study? KB:  How to write and speak persuasively.  Social Media marketing and relationship building strategies.  How to live in the now… GBB: Right! Where were we? PH: How to interpret data as it applies to the likelihood an area will thrive.  BY: Appraisal GBB: Man, I’m outta my league here – I was going to say “animal husbandry.” Why are you all taking away my car keys? 

GBB: What will your real estate tombstone say? KB: Cheers Friends.  It was FUN.  I’ll be back. GBB: Brandie? Brandie? (Brandie didn’t answer this one.) Did we offend her? Don’t look at me, Ken. It was your idea to put half a jar of chilies in her Bloody Mary. Maybe she’ll forgive us before our next get together. So, what will your real estate tombstone say, Paula? PH: She sold her last home. GBB: I like that. I guess mine will say, uh…’Good till the last drop?’ No, no…make that, ‘This escrow closed on time.’ No, No, I don’t like that one. How ‘bout “Death by Hollywood?” Now back to you, Ken…you look strangely familiar – even with that party umbrella tucked behind your ear.… 

Thanks to my colleagues for their valuable input and their willingness to participate in the fun. Ken Brand, a veteran in real estate, is the Real Estate Sales Manager of Prudential Gary Green Realtors  in Woodlands, Texas. Paul Henry is the dynamo leader of the top notch Henry Group at Red Door Real Estate in Indianapolis. Brandie Young is a San Francisco marketing guru, trail blazer and founder of consulting firm MarketingTBD. Host Gwen Banta is the L.A. based realtor who is only allowed out of Sunnyside Home for the Demented on weekends and holidays. (Lani, did you pay our bar bill yet?)

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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56 Comments

56 Comments

  1. Matt Stigliano

    March 12, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Gwen – Another instant classic. Despite all the humor, there’s actually some good stuff in there. You and Ken in a bar? I imagine that would get very funny. Maybe AgentGenius should sponsor some coast to coast flights for real meet ups of the writers like this. Can you imagine what might come out of a collaborative effort between two writers set loose on a city for a weekend? I volunteer to be the driver when you and Ken do your weekend.

  2. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    You’re on, Matt! Let’s get a pool going so we can all meet in Austin. You drive, Lani gets drinks, and I’ll cover snacks and bail money. Ken, Paula and Brandie will guard the door, because Loomer will probably show up wearing a cheese head or a Carmen Miranda hat.

    Seriously, I’m glad you liked our virtual get together – Ken Paula and Brandie have so much wisdom to offer, so I wanted to get it out there in a fun format. I have very little wisdom to impart except “more olives,” but I am a great moderator. I sent you and Joe and a few other the questions also (via your professional website contact info), but I’m not sure who got them and who didn’t. I get spamed a lot because most email programs know a dodgy broad when they see one.

  3. Paula Henry

    March 12, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Gwen – I knew if I wasn’t succinct, I would have to pay. Coast to coast bar hopping; now that’s a novel idea and Agent Genius is hosting. I could meet all my favorite people in one airplane ride, first class, all the booze is free and oh, the stories we could tell 🙂 Thanks for including me in your Virtual bar mashup. It really was a great night.
    BTW – did you tip the waitress for me.

  4. Brandie Young

    March 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Fun post! Next time I say we do have the drinks! Just two thoughts:

    1. Gwen, at $1 per bad word I could go broke quickly.
    2. I’m not the best choice to guard the door from Loomer …

    p.s. For the record, I’ve been to the Redhead Piano Bar (love!)

  5. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks for being there, Paula – The waitress got stiffed, but I had to tip the doorman who carried you to your car 🙂

  6. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    3 Things Brandie:
    1. You owe me some friggin money, potty mouth.
    2. Of course you’ve been to the Redhead – you go to all the fun spots because you know how to enjoy life.
    3. You are right – No one could guard the door against Loomer…but next time you’ll probably discover that he’s already there… somewhere under a bar stool…right next to a heap of flesh that looks like me…passed out in Joe’s Carmen Miranda hat.

  7. Greg Cooper

    March 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    You people must slow down! There are far too many great visualizations that I have not had time to ponder. Now…who’s got the Carmen Miranda hat on again?

  8. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Joe Loomer, one of our craziest contributors and a virtual tavern denizen, was wearing the hat until I had my third martini. However, when I passed out, some sly guy grabbed it off my head, donned it and started doing a tango. He looked suspiciously like you, Greg. Do you have the hat? If so, order another round!

  9. Joe Loomer

    March 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    By my count, Gwen owes more than Ken. Pay up !

    I’ve got a great idea for the next one you do! You can call it Paula’s MIBAR mashup!!! Or was that MIBOR, maybe I had too much to drink playing “one shot for every word Brandie uses, two for Paula, and one for every five Ken uses.” Damn you Ken Brand, your uppance will come!

    For Gwen’s neck of the woods, I also think she left out a gender in her Appraiser bag of “tricks.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  10. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    My dear, Joe – Several corrections need to be made here:
    1. Rules never apply to me. I make them up as I go along. It keeps people on their toes.
    2. I have no money left for the jar because I had to pay bail for Ken.
    3. Paula doesn’t qualify for a mashup – she’s still in County.
    4. A third gender, Joe? Are you not telling us something? That explains your taste in hats 🙂

  11. Ken Brand

    March 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Heh, heh, how lucky am I? Drinks and three, shall we say, uniquely- gifted-women. Joe, step inside. No need to guard the door. We don’t need to concern ourselves with anyone getting in, we need keep these three from getting out. Lock it from the inside, will ya.

    Rules are made to be fractured, especially 10 word rules. Brandie’s right, I’m sure the first draft read raw and Pulp Fictionesque.

    Gwen does your holograph do anything else besides sorta-shimmer, i mean, is it interactive in anyway, you know, is it touch sensitive to finger swipes like an iPad?

    Ear umbrella? I don’t even know what that is, but if you like the way it looks, I’ll wear a set.

    TY;-)

  12. Joe Loomer

    March 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Oh Sweet Mother in Heaven. It’s on like Donkey Kong….

    Brandie won’t bar me from coming in AND she has a potty mouth? DO YOU PEOPLE NOT READ HOW I SIGN MY COMMENTS? Hellooooo?!? Does the phrase “……..like a drunken SAILOR” not ring a bell or two?

    We’ll make up our own sea chanties about this, I promise you. Songs will be sung!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  13. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    My hologram sings, Ken – with Rock n Roll Realtor Matt Stigliano doing back up vocals and musical accompaniment. We’re called the Hologramaphones. Yes, my hologram is interactive, and it will slap you upside head the next time you tell some strange guy in a bar he can take me home if he pays you fifty cents. The paper umbrella was behind your ear as I recall, but that wasn’t nearly as distracting as those damn swizzle sticks that were up your nose. You did, however, look pretty cute. And somehow you managed to spew a lot of great bits of advice…like you always do.

  14. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    We’re counting on you a for limericks, too, Joe. What other AG friends want to join us? Please let me know, and I will add you to the list so the bouncers, Fred Glick and Patrick Flynn, won’t crush you with their bare hands at the door. So who wants to come? I promise, “what happens at the Redhead stays at the Redhead”…unless, of course, police transport is involved.

  15. teresa boardman

    March 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I invented the virtual bus bench. If you google virtual bus bench the first entry is my original and the second entry is my current bench. I have gotten business becasue of it too. Sometimes people like to work with people who are all that AND a bag of chips . . and that is what I am.

  16. Paula Henry

    March 12, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    T – And it was such a clever idea! Now you have a spot at #5 with this post 🙂

  17. Ken Brand

    March 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I’m going to amen my original comment on bus benches. I’m saying it would be lame if, for example, my photo was a total body shot, me standing up, with a coat over my right shoulder and me holding a phone to my left ear, and my photo ran the length of the bench seat. You know what I’m talking about, when someone sat down, they could sit on my head or my chest or my polished shoes. That’s my new position on bench marketing.

    Cheers.

    PS. Matt has key. Matt let yourself in and lock the door behind you.

  18. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Teresa, I want to be you. You are a bag ‘o chips and then some. My bus bench ads were real, and someone changed my moniker by crossing out the last ‘s’ in “Sherlock of Homes” and changing it to “Sherlock of Homeys.” Another ad was changed to “Sherlick of Hummus,” and they drew a tongue coming out of my mouth. L.A. – gotta love it! So now I want to have a virtual ad and avoid injury!

  19. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Paula, you’re out of lockup!!!

  20. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Ken, I think a shot of you with the swizzle sticks up your nose would get a lot of attention 🙂

    • Ken Brand

      March 12, 2010 at 10:59 pm

      hmmmmm. This swizzle-stick schick might have legs. But, I think it’s the kind-of attention getting play that I’d have to be talked and walked into, in person. When we meet, you can give it a whirl. If you want?

  21. Nashville Grant

    March 12, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    OMG – how in the h__L do I get invited to an agent genius bar discussion? I’ll hop a plane to LA so fast it will make the Southwest baggage handlers lose my luggage (like they need another excuse). My answers get so much better then longer we stay…

  22. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Were meet ing again next week, ken – wear a nosr guard!

  23. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:39 am

    OMG Ken – I looked drunk in that last message – flying fingers and no proof reading is what I am always griping about. Pot, meet kettle. Do we have spell check here? Helloooooo?

  24. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Okay, Grant – you’re on for next week. I am sending you the questions so check your website email contact site. Once you supply the answers, you wil be sucked into our virtual bar at the Redhead. (They should be giving us a kickback for advertising.)

  25. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Hey Gang, you’ll love this – a colleague just called because he thought I actually bought a bar called the Redhead (name chosen because of my auburn tresses). Can you just imagine me running a saloon? Hallelujah!

  26. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 2:11 am

    ATTENTION: THERE IS NOW A PASSWORD TO GET INTO THE REDHEAD LOUNGE VIRTUAL BAR. FIVE BUCKS TO THE FIRST PERSON TO GUESS IT!

    • Ken Brand

      March 13, 2010 at 10:45 am

      The password is, “I’m Super-Fly T.N.T.

      Pay Up.

  27. teresa boardman

    March 13, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Gwen that even happens with virtual bus benches, Bus benches just invite vandalism. It is like they were built to be vandalized. Mine was hit in April of 2007 by Kristal Kraft. It is unclear if she did it to showcase her artistic skills or if she was jealous because I have a virtual bus bench and she dies not. In any case you can find her work here https://www.stpaulrealestateblog.com/weenie/2007/04/kirstal_kraft_n.html

  28. Paula Henry

    March 13, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Oh Grant – did you really ask for this 🙂

    Thanks for the bail Gwen, now I can enjoy my weekend pass.

  29. Joe Loomer

    March 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I’m thinking the password has to be “Sherlick”

  30. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Paula, we need to encourage Grant – he’s buying! Ken and Joe, you are short of a full deck with your passwords, but nice try. Hint: 3 words that will guarantee that we open the door for you. Remember, this is the Redhead Bar!

  31. Dan Connolly

    March 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Carpet matches drapes?

    • Ken Brand

      March 13, 2010 at 11:40 pm

      Are we assuming wall-to-wall carpet? Throw rugs or no rugs?

      The password guessing came befuddles me.

  32. Joe Loomer

    March 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Dan beat me to it. That or “don’t feed animals”

  33. Tanya Nouwens

    March 13, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    “All that AND a bag o’ chips.” My new favourite saying of all time.

  34. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    BEEEEEP – Dan and Joe just blew it, but thanks for trying. The password is actually 3 words, total of 10 letters, and the phrase implies “generosity in a bar.” No, Joe, it’s not “Kiss Me Edna.”

  35. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Incidentally, Tanya Nouwens Gurberg and Joe Loomer will be part of next week’s revelry at the Redhead. They are both very smart…but a pack ‘o wacko, so hold onto your knickers everyone! Paula, Ken and Brandie will be back if they aren’t extradited before Friday.

  36. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Un, Ken – you’ll have to get the answer to your question in private from Dan because it’s R Rated. But I love your choice of the word “befuddled.” I expect you to slip it into the next virtual discussion. Oh who are we kidding – you know I’ll do that for you! What song will you be singing karaoke to next week? (Tanya, you’re on deck after Ken. )

  37. Gwen Banta

    March 14, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Hey “DeanSellsAZ.com” – Thanks for the Top Ten Post nod. But only THREE geniuses??? What about moi? I must respectfully inform you that it takes amazing talent and an IQ of at least 75 to pry cocktail onions out of one’s nose after a night at the Redhead Bar…especially after a celery lobotomy (hence my resolution to swear off Bloody Marys.) You’re welcome to join us anytime, but you must buy the first round! 🙂

  38. Gwen Banta

    March 14, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Teresa, your bench ads are fabulous. I must admit, however, that you are much more attractive without the moustache. Don’t you think you and I should waltz on over to Krystal Kraft’s site and sabotage her? You’re on my team…so I am ready to kick some a__ for you. What do you say, team – who’s with me???

  39. Gwen Banta

    March 14, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Incidentally, Teresa, I agree with Tanya Nouwens that your slogan is one of the best EVER. Maybe Kristal has a Mr. Potato Head fetish and can’t bear the thought of him being sliced up for a bag ‘o Teresa Boardman Kick-ass Chips. Deal with it Kristal – the potato head is going down!

  40. Fred Glick

    March 16, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Bouncer? I’m a hockey goalie on the ice. Not a bouncer off!

  41. Gwen Banta

    March 16, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    We need not only your brains, but your hockey goalie braun, Fred. I heard you take no prisoners – so welcome to the Redhead Lounge!

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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