Tag Archives: linkedin

A lesson from my dad: Giving back with knowledge

30 Mar

During my spring break, I was hanging out with my dad at work. He’s an author and entrepreneur who started a business event company called iBreakfast almost 20 years ago, so he’s very connected and trusted source when it comes to startups.

He was busily at work on his computer when he received a call from someone who wanted to hire him to run his company for a few months. Observing this phone call from my seat beside my father (I couldn’t even hear what the guy on the phone had to say), taught me a lot about networking and business etiquette.

First of all, it proved something my dad has always told me: When you work hard and are strong in your field, opportunities will come to you.

Secondly, kudos to the guy who called my dad! Cold-calling is pretty brave in a world where we can opt out of talking to a real person by sending an email. And, his courage paid off!

Within the first few minutes of the call, the guy had explained his business, and my dad said he couldn’t take the job because it didn’t really fit his skills. It could have ended there.

But my dad stayed on the phone for an hour with this man who he’d never met! He talked to the guy at length about his business, giving him advice from personal experience. He also told him he would give him names of people that could help him.

Later that day, I found an old article (because my dad saves every newspaper!) about Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn.

“Want to brainstorm about new technology? Build a business? Raise a cool million — or billion? Mr. Hoffman is a man to see. If he can’t help, he probably knows someone who can. He is, as you might expect, a seriously linked-in guy….Mr. Hoffman, 44, leans back in his chair. Then he lets fly: Airbnb will need a team in China, a robust Chinese-language platform, Web filters to keep Beijing happy, he says. It might also need a joint venture partner. He rattles off a few names.”

It’s a bit unclear exactly what the terms are in this consultation session, but he sounds just like my dad. Churning out advice and the key players to some hopeful entrepreneur. And Hoffman is a billionaire with two full-time jobs and who sits on the boards multiple companies. Yet he found time to help this newcomer.

I remember at school, a land developer named Dave Magrogan came to speak. He wasn’t paid. He said it was his way of doing charity. He said charity is part of gratitude for what he has.

It’s really impressive to me how these renowned businessmen who must be incredibly busy, are willing to help regular people they encounter.

Giving knowledge is charitable currency in every field. When I’m seen as a reputable source on anything, I plan to give back in the same way the businessmen I mentioned do. And until then, I plan to seek free advice from all who are nice enough to give it out. Lucky for me, I’m pretty close with a great entrepreneurs I know – my dad!


Social media and the job hunt – LinkedIn and more

1 Feb

Information from the panel at Social Media Weekend at Columbia Journalism School: David Gaspin head of talent acquisition at TheLadders.com; Emily Meithner, president of NY creative interns (moderator); Maggie Mistal, career coach; Ronald Thomas, principal consultant at strategy focused HR


  • Have a focus. When you meet someone and they ask you like or do, don’t tell them every interest and hobby you have.
  • Follow tweets, Facebook, website of those you want to work for
  • When connecting with someone from a company you want to work for, acknowledge you know they don’t do the hiring. Try to find that person and connect with them too.
  • When connecting, think what can I offer this person? Maybe someone else’s contact information, a link to an article they’d be interested in, information about an upcoming event
  • Ask for coffee, as Thomas says, people won’t agree to lunch because they don’t know what you have to say, but everyone likes coffee!
  • Ask for a recommendation while you are at the job

On LinkedIn

  • Be relevant not redundant (the profile format on LinkedIn can make it easy to repeat credentials when filling it out, so remember to revise)
  • Belong to 5-10 groups, any more looks unfocused
  • Change the standard message when connecting to someone. It’s in personal and thoughtless. Gaspin said if he sees that, he will automatically say no.
  • Read LinkedIn Today, it shows the top shared news, and organizes it by topic so you read what’s relevant to you
  • Be active on the site (update profile, connect) even if you like your job, you never know


  • Stalk people you want to work for (frequent emails, Twitters mentions and replies, etc.)
  • Start asking for recommendations right before you’re going to quit or see a layoff coming
  • Call yourself a “social media guru, ninja, or maven”

On LinkedIn

  • First start adding credentials when you want to quit/you know you’re getting fired
  • Belong to more than 10 groups
  • Have a very long or short profile, say what’s most important and make it clear what you have accomplished and what you’re skills are

Social Media Weekend: conference overview

30 Jan


This weekend I went to the social media conference at Columbia School of Journalism. I learned so much from top people in the industry. New sites, how Facebook is a tool for journalists, job hunting tips, blogging and how to use Twitter and LinkedIn the right way.

Top takeaways:

* Keep twitter professional, it’s business
* Show a specific focus in person and on Twitter & blogs
* Social media can be overwhelming, test new sites to see how they work for you before fully committing
* Spend time on blog posts and tweets, check grammar, use tags, links and pictures
* Keep your audience in mind when you’re active in social media, don’t bore them
* Showing your interests on social media gives you character, blogs don’t have to relate to career

I’m going through all my notes and digesting a very full 3 days of information. Look out for my posts this week about some of the topics covered.