Posted by: Mike Whitmore | December 5, 2010

I’ve Moved -> www.mikewhitmore.com

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for following me here on WordPress! I really appreciate your reading my posts and your great comments.

Well, as it says above, I finally bought my actual .com. I’ve even made it more official by telling my mom about it!

So – please go to www.mikewhitmore.com for my latest posts.

This notification will be my last post at this site. (I think)

Posted by: Mike Whitmore | November 1, 2010

So Much Cooler Online

Tonight Mrs. Whitmore and I started reminiscing about when we met online. I never planned to meet someone online, but hey, statistics show an increasing number of couples do.

Anyway, she had 5 questions for me to answer about the kids, what I did for work, my non-profit work, how I converted to Christ, and lastly – the kicker – what were the Top 5 Most Played Songs on my iPod. I was worried this one question would disqualify me FOR SURE. Here’s how I answered the iPod question:

“Oh my, and now the iPod. Let me go grab that thing. (This could get embarrassing.) LOL! Okay – this is going to be embarrassing.
#1 Red Skies by the Fixx
#2 Good Times Bad Times by Led Zeppelin
#3 Moby Dick by Led Zeppelin
#4 Listen to the Music by the Doobie Brothers
#5 is Living Loving Maid also by . . . Led Zeppelin

Now BEFORE you write me off as a metal-head you have to know that my music tastes are quite varied and that I’ve been playing these tunes on the drums, so they appear on the top of the list as an anomaly. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :-)

In the car’s 4-disk CD changer I’ve got 2 U2 disks from a live concert some friends gave me, specifically for the song “Kite” and the other 2 disks are . . . dang it! Led Zeppelin again! (Oh, I’m in trouble now.) Three of my dearest friends for years and years are into Led Zep and they turned me onto them a few years ago and I’m still discovering them as a group. Ug.

But I’ve got great references! Good family you can check with! Uh, no criminal record … and I’ve never been in the poky.”

The rest, they say, is history! Lucky for us it’s a romance that continues today.

Posted by: Mike Whitmore | October 10, 2010

How’s Your Sense of Self-Worth?

At a recent networking event I co-hosted I became keenly aware of how tough the economy is all around us. I spoke with well educated and high quality people who continue to struggle to find employment. As I spoke with many of the attendees I felt empathy towards them as I’m also a husband, father and a provider for my family.

One of the toughest things to wrestle with in all of this economic turmoil is remembering this key point – try not to get caught up in the mental struggle of evaluating our self-worth by what we do as our livelihood.

Stop for a second and think about that last sentence.

We all do this. There is a pride, a sense of accomplishment, or lack thereof based largely upon how we “think” society valuates us based on our careers. And this pride works both ways whether we’re in some position of authority or a highly visible public figure or a high-income career.

My purpose with this post is to encourage those who may be discouraged or who are endlessly looking for employment to keep their spirits up. Who you are as a person is tremendously valuable whether you’re gainfully employed at this moment or not.

A favorite scripture of mine on this subject is, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” (http://bit.ly/aLCvoE) This is true no matter what we might have as a career.

Work itself is purposeful and invigorating, exciting at times and in some cases we feel that we can shape the world around us. I feel many of these feelings with my current career, but still, what gives me the most sense of purpose, of peace and of meaning? Re-read the last sentence from the first paragraph.

Posted by: Mike Whitmore | September 22, 2010

Fresh .NET Consultant?

Hello all,

We have a Microsoft developer with a broad skill set including development, management and architecture.

Key skills include:

  • .NET
  • SharePoint
  • Silverlight

Available full, half-time or on a project / SoW basis.

Posted by: Mike Whitmore | September 16, 2010

6 Tips For Effective Networking

Networking. Just the utterance of the word can be akin to getting the flu. We don’t like it, feel we aren’t good at it or see it as a necessary evil to “get ahead” in our careers.

Others are fanatic about networking. They are networking 24×7 and never seem to shut off. Many of us speculate if these people have a life outside “The Network” and we watch and wonder while they “work” a room.

For a more in-depth approach to networking may I suggest my all-time favorite book about sincere networking, Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi. Not only does he articulate the foundational principles of networking, but he lives and practices them everyday. He’s one of my heros and I’ve had the chance to meet Keith and begin a wonderful friendship with him.

For this post I suggest 6 practices that if you do them now they will add value to your relationships and increase your depth of connections with colleagues.

  1. Build Your Network Before You Need It – The best time to build a network is long before you need it. Just like a savings account you will need to make regular “deposits” of time, service or helping others before you can “withdraw” when you need your network to find business opportunities or new employment. This is a key principle and vital to a person sincere about networking.
  2. Be a Participant – It’s great to observe a network for a time to get to know how it functions and how you might fit in, but do actively participate. You could help organize the meetings, offer to help coordinate or promote the event. Become known as someone who adds value via active participation rather than someone who is there only to serve their self-interests.
  3. Give In Order to Receive – Once you perform a service or give of yourself, your time, your assistance, you will gain the trust of those in your network. Never give with the expectation that you’ll receive. Keith makes this point strongly in Never Eat Alone. Giving without expectation of receiving becomes a tremendous strength and you will be surprised at the goodness that comes back to you. Call it Karma if you like, but there is power in this principle.
  4. Respect Connections & Confidences – As your connections deepen you may find yourself in the confidences of others. Please treat these confidences with the upmost respect and do not share anything without permission from the individual. You are building a trust network as well and this takes time and energy. Trust may take years to establish and only a moment to collapse.
  5. Become a Facilitator – Look for ways to connect others through your introduction. Perhaps you’ve met different people and while you may not have a need at this time perhaps you could facilitate a valuable connection for others. This is a great way to add value, build trust, give service and add to your credibility with your network.
  6. Good, Better, Best – This is a challenge for all of us, but there are many ways to spend our time doing Good things and even Better things – but what are the Best ways we can invest our time right now. Out of the 100 things you did today what were the three things that added the most value to you and/or your employer? What will those be tomorrow? Giving up the Good or the Better for the Best can be a tough decision to make, but I highly encourage you to give this process some thought and act on it.

Notice I did not promise you wealth or success in your business. That burden is still up to you, but you will make new connections yourself and enjoy experiences and successes that will surprise you.

I certainly have and I need to author some illustrative stories from my own experiences.

I wish you all the best and thanks for reading and connecting with me!

Kind Regards,

Mike

Posted by: Mike Whitmore | September 8, 2010

Fresh Consulting

One of the questions I’ve been asked too frequently lately is, “What does Fresh do?” This isn’t a good sign because it means we’re not articulating our story clearly and effectively on our website, when we’re speaking at events or even in 1:1 conversation.

Reasons?

First, being a young company and needing to (rightly or wrongly) follow the money breeds a lack of focus. Clients contact us for a variety of reasons and we’ve demonstrated solid delivery capability across a variety of areas with clients of every size and across industry verticals.

Second, our being a web-solutions firm casts a wide net. When clients share their business challenges with us quite often we turn to Web-based solutions.

Third, the web has evolved tremendously in the last few years and the pace of change is accelerating. At Fresh we find we invest much of our time researching and educating ourselves on these changes AND we find we invest even more time educating potential clients on the power of this new medium.

Fourth, part of the Fresh Consulting model is providing virtual, on-site, contractors or permanent talented resources for each of the key areas of Business, Technology (IT) and Design. Rather than providing just IT or creative or business resources we provide talent across all these areas.

Fresh Consulting Today

I’ve finally been able to conceptualize and capture Fresh’s delivery model into this Venn Diagram and we have demonstrable, referenceable solutions and clients in each of the areas.

Delivery Capabilities from Fresh Consulting

Delivery Capabilities from Fresh Consulting

Some Fresh Examples -

- Fresh didn’t have Flash development capabilities or studio voice talent in-house when contacted by a multinational enterprise prospect. Via our knowledge of the web we procured the right services at competitive prices to deliver the needed solution.  The result has been a satisfied client (one of Fortune’s 100 Fastest Growing for 2009 & 2010), and a long-term, expanding relationship. We provide this client with enterprise social media strategy, delivery across the enterprise for our recommendations, coaching and implementation and recently we’re working to provide staffing of resources via contractors & FTEs.

- A multinational client contacted Fresh to develop a marketing strategy for a retail product. Utilizing our delivery capabilities Fresh performed the market research, build the strategy with the client and we’re currently in the midst of the design and implementation components for the strategy. This engagement spans all our capabilities within the Venn Diagram.

- Fresh Consulting works with University-funded startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs to fast-track any business’ launch efforts. This is a great program, providing talented resources in taking ideas from concept to launch to market growth.

Thank you for checking out Fresh Consulting and let me know how we might help you!

Kind Regards,

Mike

Posted by: Mike Whitmore | September 8, 2010

This Blog Post Intentionally Left Blank

OK, well, not intentionally. I just can’t discipline myself enough to actually sit and write all the blog post ideas that come to mind. That takes time and effort. It means I have to turn off Tweetdeck for a while.

But I will get back to you my sweet blog, I promise.

Besides, I think my mom is visiting you daily and she needs new things to read.

Posted by: Mike Whitmore | August 7, 2010

Mike’s Twitterisms

When I first started with Twitter I followed anyone who followed me. I figured I would just be cordial and automatically return the favor and follow back – then I learned – huge mistake …!  I hit some limit upon following 2,000 people and I could not follow anyone until I reached 2,000 followers myself. I realized I had to get picky about who I followed back.

I then thought my tips might be useful for others as well as helping weed out the annoying tweeps. Trust me, they don’t “know who they are” because many aren’t real tweeple.

Anyway, here’s a list of my standard filters on whom I will NOT follow back:

  • There’s no profile pic. It’s like you’re giving me egg on my face. In the previous Twitter version it was like you were giving me the “bird.”
  • There IS a profile pic and you are, in fact, giving me the “bird.” (Really? And you want followers … ?)
  • There IS a profile pic and you’re flashing your armpit hair while, quite brazenly, thinking I’m checking out your abs. I assure you I am not.
  • Your profile pic is of someone who, quite obviously, isn’t you.  Twitter isn’t a costume party and you’re not that hot in real life.
  • You’ve not written a Bio about who you are or your interests.
  • You have a non-descriptive Twitter handle like @bootyspleen (WTH?)
  • You have a too-descriptive Twitter handle like @bootyspleen_xxx (just say no!)
  • You’re a Company Twitter account with zero personalty behind the corporate tweets. I want to engage, not be a recipient of your firm’s constant PR, ads, MLM, or sales blather.
  • You are from Nigeria and you need help to move millions of $$$. (Go bark up someone else’s Twitter stream please.)
  • You have an endless stream of tweets that obnoxiously twitter about:
  1. Having Whiter Teeth
  2. Join the greatest MLM money-making, get-rich-quick, work from home pyramid scheme.
  3. YOUR CAPS LOCK KEY IS STUCK
  4. Anything mentioning the Donald Trump network or his orchestra.
  5. Affiliate Marketing is making you x$’s per day on Twitter. If this is so then stop tweeting and go yachting.
  6. You’ve got hot pics or I should see you on your new web cam (zzzzzzzzzzzzz).
  • You blast your message but don’t interact with others.
  • You have a secret system for 100’s of followers a day and you have like . . . 6.
  • You have no tweets or haven’t tweeted in a month. Why are you here?

I’ll share some of my successes from using Twitter, both personally and professionally, in another blog post.

Here’s why I might follow you back:

  • My quick evaluation of your profile tells me you’re a real person.
  • You engage in conversation with me directly, such as mentioning me in a tweet (!!) @mikewhitmore
  • You RT my tweets.
  • You make me laugh.
  • You tell me that I made you laugh.
  • You give me a sign (a tweet, a pulse, a pic, a video) that you’re a real person.
  • Or, you’re a company and I tweet about your great product or customer service and you respond back!

I want to engage with real people! I’ve met hundreds of tweeps in person and on the phone and have opened new friendships, relationships, business opportunities, more learning and enriched conversations with many.

Twitter is powerful and I look forward to connecting with you real peeps out there!

Mike

Posted by: Mike Whitmore | August 5, 2010

My Follow Friday Filosophy

Hey all – so you already (likely) know I’m a big fan of Twitter. One of the challenges for many of us, myself included, is managing the tweeps we follow more closely than others. Let’s face it – we can’t read every tweet or we’d go insane, so we categorize tweeps into lists to make life much easier. I came up with an idea recently that’s been a big help!

For those who are new, there’s a Twitter tradition called Follow Friday. Often it’s tweeted as #followfriday or #ff. This is a way to share with others your recommendation to follow someone you find interesting. The challenge for me is that I would have to send out long list of tweeps every Friday that would fill up my follower’s streams which gets annoying.  Early in my experience I also found that sending out tweets such as that caused me to lose followers.

To assist with this for my sake AND to make it easier for you I’ve created a List for all the Tweeps I recommend others follow. It’s right here. Click into that list and follow these folks!

Why did I include these tweeps? There are many reasons, but here are a few highlights:

  1. We’ve mentioned each other in tweets, acknowledging a 2-way dialog between real, authentic people.
  2. We’ve met in real life, had a phone conversation or you said something about how handsome I look in my profile pic.
  3. We’ve shared a laugh or two or 200.
  4. I think you’re particularly interesting from my thoughts about your business, hobbies, interests or other reason.

If a tweep is in my #ff list you’ll know that they are interactive on Twitter and hence receive my #ff recommendation.

Want to be included in this list? Let me know by doing one of the points above.

If I should list you and haven’t let me know. Tweetdeck has messed up my lists many times and I’ve only discovered these omissions by accident and my apologies for any oversights.

All the best!

Posted by: Mike Whitmore | July 1, 2010

My Experiences With Social Media

For some time I’ve really wanted to write a post about some of my remarkable experiences from my participation in Social Media. Early on I was a skeptic and took small steps to begin my journey in the use of Microblogging (i.e. Twitter), Blogging, Facebook, Empire Avenue and others. But now, 18 months later, I’m a believer in the bottom-line value of participation in this new media and in the overall principles upon which it’s founded. At the risk of sounding very pretentious I want to encourage others to participate and experience this incredible power for themselves.

In my approach I separate the “social media tools” from the “foundational principles” as the foundational principles will endure longer than any specific tool set. The principles are what gives social computing its power whether applied inside or outside the enterprise.

So I’ve put off writing this for way too long, partially because when I would get the writing bug I’d have another amazing experience! Consequently, this catalog of experiences / anecdotes will be a living post and will grow over time as I add to it. I’ve shortened the items out of interest for space and to spare the reader, but I really enjoy telling the full story. Drop me a comment or a tweet or ask me when we meet in person (!!) and I’ll happily share more.

Why do I participate so fully in social media? Here’s a start:

  1. I created a private blog for communicating with a large group of family & friends when my 1st wife was suffering with cancer. I learned that there is tremendous depth and power in communicating through social channels. Even more importantly was the two way sharing of heart-to-heart that still affects me deeply today.
  2. I met my new wife online – again, applying social principles in a way I thought I would NEVER do. I thought people who dated online were foolish at best or reckless. Upon reading that first blog I had written my current wife knew I was the type of man she wanted to marry. I am forever grateful that I started that blog for many, many reasons.
  3. At Fresh Consulting we recruited our first outside hire as a college student via Twitter. The firm where she interned provided a reference for her via Twitter as well.
  4. We’ve hired another recent college graduate where our initial connection was a personal one also from Twitter.
  5. A Chief Marketing Officer from a local firm invited me to a Tweetup soiree at the Space Needle. We met there, found out we have a common work history and have maintained a friendship ever since. This month he extended an invitation for me to accompany him to a Seattle Mariners game – just he and I – and I had an incredible time with great baseball and a conversation I’m still processing as he is a natural mentor for me and many others.
  6. Our largest 3 clients to date all came through social channels and these three clients are a huge part of our revenue.
  7. I’ve connected online and in person with new friends, top business leaders  and even some famous people you would easily recognize.
  8. One of my all-time top authors, speakers, influencers is Keith Farrazzi – author of Never Eat Alone & Who’s Got Your Back. I’ve met, eaten and conversed with him and he’s very genuine. Our initial connection was online.
  9. One of my Twitter connections sent 2 chocolate bars to our family from Switzerland (oh my goodness!!).
  10. I’ve met other social types and we held a conference, hosted by Microsoft, at their Redmond Conference Center and attended by participants from 10 states and audiences joined in from around the globe. That’s right – we first met on Twitter then organized and delivered the Social Media 201 conference in April, 2010.
  11. I was getting my shoes shined at Nordstrom’s and decided to take a pic with my phone and tweet about it. Sitting next to me was a gentleman who asked me why I would tweet such a thing. Turns out he’s a CEO for a large firm and he just came from a conference discussing the value of social media.
  12. I’ve been interviewed for 3 podcasts, several videos, been asked to mediate panels at conferences and emcee Seattle Chamber events, turned down an opportunity to appear on TV in New York (this is an interesting tale…), held Employment Seminars, Biznik workshops, been filmed for a documentary and have been asked to be the inspirational keynote speaker for one of our enterprise clients at their all-hands company meeting in Arizona in July 2010.
  13. Connected with and have an ongoing dialog one of my all-time favorite musicians!! See this post for the story!
  14. I was interviewed on July 9th for an article in Smart Money Magazine, published by the Wall Street Journal that will be printed in November, 2010.
  15. Connected with a producer from one of the top morning radio shows in the country and she got us onto the show in August. (!!)
  16. This is so adolescent of me, but I recently posted a Tweet that made a very famous business woman (and formal Sports Illustrated cover girl) laugh. We traded laughs via tweets and she now follows me on Twiiter.  (I know, I know, but somehow this is very cool…and my brother is jealous as heck.)

This is just a sampling of what I could share and some of these are more detailed in other postings on this blog.

Here’s the main point – applying social principles for your business works. They work in producing real bottom-line results, brand-awareness, marketing and, most profoundly,  they work in interpersonal relationships. When used correctly they are a very natural extension of who we are as people.

Please let me know about your experiences, thoughts, questions, comments or best anecdotes in the comments below.

All the best,

Mike

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.