March 2011

Not Being Able To Help

The situation in Japan is really horrible but perhaps an even worse situation is that rescue workers and aids are afraid to help those within a 12 mile radius of the nuclear power plant.

Aid agencies are reluctant to get too close to the plant. Shelters set up in the greater Fukushima area for “radiation refugees” have little food, in part because nobody wants to deliver to an area that might be contaminated. And with little or no gasoline available, not everyone who wants to leave can get out.

The catch 22 is that all rescue workers and first responders are trained to check for scene safety before engaging in any rescue operation. So what do you do when an entire region is contaminated with radiation? This is the issue many are struggling with and as a result, many more are most likely facing dire circumstances.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans I remember getting an email from someone on my ski patrol because they were looking for volunteers to head down and help with emergency rescue efforts. I was literally packing a bag before I got into a big argument with my parents. The short version is I lost that argument and I didn’t go to New Orleans. I did however get to chat with one of those patrollers about his experience in New Orleans. A few years later I also heard his stories from Haiti and its amazing to see what some people are willing to do to help others.

But now I see the situation in Japan. People want to help but they are afraid to. I guess even the bravest and most willing people have their limits but it also makes me think about the people who could and should be contributing to causes within their reach. The situation in Japan makes me think about all those that can be helped and should be helped.

So I guess my point of this post is, if you are able to help or improve someone else’s life you should absolutely do so. If people are willing to put their lives at risk, it shouldn’t be so hard for you to do a simple task of kindness.

“Not every day is going to offer us a chance to save someone’s life but every day offers us an opportunity to affect one” – Mark Bezos

Video below – this is one of the best short talks I’ve seen in a while. Take 4 minutes out of your day and watch.

What is LinkedIn – A Guide To The Digital Rolodex

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Most of my friends are either in the work world or are in the process of finishing up some form of school and the following question has come up numerous times – What is LinkedIn?

I’m not saying I know what LinkedIn is, what their vision is, what their roadmap looks like, or what they want to be when they grow up but I do know how I use it and that is what I’ve been sharing with those that ask me, “what is LinkedIn?”

I think it’s as simple as this.

1. LinkedIn is the new roladex.

When you meet someone in a business setting, you typically exchange business cards. But its very likely that in 2 years that business card is obsolete. With LinkedIn, you can see where people move on to. You can follow their career.

2. Sales Prospecting

Trying to find a new client you want to sell something to? All you have to do is search for the position and the company of the person you are trying to contact and you’ll get a hit list of folks that could be a good fit for your sale. You will almost certainly find the person you are looking for or you’ll find someone relatively close.

3. Recruiting

When you are looking to hire someone to your company you often base your search on a certain skill set you need (e.g. position, title or education) a certain perspective (e.g. industry or company), or a certain degree of loyalty (e.g. avg 3 yrs+ at each company). There could be more attributes you evaluate when hiring but the point here is that most of those attributes can be found in someone’s LinkedIn profile page.

4. Background Checks

When going into a meeting, it’s often helpful to know a thing or two about the person you are going to meet with. LinkedIn is a very good resource in this department considering most people have their schools, past work experience, organizations, awards, groups, and even blog posts all listed in their profile.

5. Introductions

There could be a million and one reasons why you would want to meet with someone in a business setting and LinkeIn prides itself an helping people access the social networks of others.

In summary, I think LinkedIn is nothing more than the new Rolodex but when you consider how dynamic this new rolodex really is, you quickly see how powerful this service can be. Furthermore, their recent acquisition of CardMunch further validates how serious they are about helping you organize your business cards and your business contacts.

In the future, I’d like to see LinkeIn develop strong partnerships and integrations with all of the CRM providers for sales pipelines and account management. For all of you that use Salesforce or equivalent CRMs, I’m sure you get very frustrated having to enter contact information of people you already have in your LinkedIn network. This could be a huge win for LinkedIn but for now, it’s still super helpful for the 4 points above…at least for me anyway.

How do you use LinkedIn?

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