Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

stay hungry stay foolish

Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder, ended his famous commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005 with the words "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish."

This advice came from the back cover of the Whole Foods Catalogue final issue in 1974.

Accompanying a photograph of an early morning country road, it was the farewell message of the Whole Foods Catalogue team as they signed off their final issue, an encouragement to others to live out their adventures, even if they do eventually come to an end.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
 

It's the kind of phrase that sits well with a company that grew from a single vision to the world's most valuable brand that we all know and love (well, a lot of people love) today.

I've been playing with the phrase in my head over the past few weeks and, while the technology greats are inspired by it, the advice doesn't quite sit right with me.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

The phrase is alluding to (I think) that you should never be satisfied with your work and always push yourself for the next big thing. You should always do (or be willing to keep trying) the things people say cannot be done, and then prove them wrong.

The reason I think it doesn't feel right to me is that I can see in my own life where I have been hungry and foolish, and made great things happen.

But now that I'm "established" and comfortable in my life, work and relationships, I'm not pushing myself as I once did. I'm paid well, enjoy my work, have a healthy work-life balance, but can see that perhaps I don’t stick to the same high standards or push myself as I used to.

I enjoy my life and want to keep achieving, but is there a trade off to be had between being comfortable and pushing yourself to new, greater things? Should we always strive to stay hungry, stay foolish? do we only have the option to settle on our merits when the going is good?

Instead of “stay hungry, stay foolish”, I’ve come up with a phrase that while doesn’t have the same ring, it feels better to me and fits with where my life is right now.

"Don't get too comfortable".

Generally, the greatest developments in life happen when you push yourself a little further than is comfortable. You have to go out of your comfort zone to learn new things and achieve greatness. You can be satisfied (not hungry) and smart (not foolish) to achieve those things.

where-the-magic-happens

There doesn’t have to be a trade off.

So I can be satisfied with my life, but always push myself to achieve more. I can be willing to keep trying the things people say cannot be done, but do it in a smart way.

I just shouldn’t settle on my merits or let comfort creep in.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Or, don't get too comfortable.

This article originally appeared in The Carrier, a monthly newspaper founded in 2012 as a way to send news to the people in our lives. 

How to Get a Job in PR

How To Get A Job In PR

How to Get a Job in PR is Sarah Stimson's fantastic book on how to break into the PR industry.

The book is a comprehensive guide to finding and keeping the PR job you dream of, answering all sorts of questions you may have about the PR industry and helping with many more that might not have even crossed your mind.

The book covers everything you need to know to get a job in PR and beyond, including:

- A thorough overview of different PR sectors and disciplines
- An excellent step-by-step guide to creating an effective PR CV
- Helpful job application tips
- Indispensable advice on how best to represent yourself in an interview
- Top advice from leading industry figures
- A recommended reading list and directory of useful contacts

Sarah herself has over 10 years of PR and recruitment experience, placing people in jobs both in PR agencies and in-house communications teams from entry level all the way up to the most senior roles, so is one of the best in the industry at helping you land that dream PR job.

What I like even more is that 10% of royalties generated by the book will be donated to the Taylor Bennett Foundation, which addresses the need for greater diversity in the communications & PR industry. So not only will you be getting a great book, but you'll be helping others get a break into the industry too. Buy it now!

Each chapter with quotes from senior practitioners giving their advice on how to break into the industry, which offer invaluable insights beyond the advice that Sarah gives. Here's a selection of the choiciest quotes:

Agency vs in-house

It's common to hear people vigorously outline the benefits of either in-house or agency roles as THE answer to junior career development. Having experienced both sides of the fence, I would recommend both.

The balance of the experience may vary, with agency giving breadth, and in-house depth, but both experiences will ultimately rest on the attitude of the person going into the role.

How committed are you to seeking out the views of a wide range of direct and indirect colleagues? How much effort are you going to put into developing your skills beyond that your employer provides? How much, at the end of the day, do you want it?

Alex Pearmain, Director, Digital&Social, Brands2Life, @AlexPearmain

Do I need a PR degree?

I’ve been teaching public relations in universities for ten years, yet even I’ll admit that a degree is not enough (and a PR degree is still not essential).

A degree indicates something. It should indicate curiosity and an ability to learn, and this is easily assessed at interview by asking about current affairs (or sport or popular culture).

Good candidates should also have gained some work experience. They will also have the right attitude and have something to show for their time outside the classroom. Have they written for online magazines? Do they have their own blog? What about their presence on social networks?

Richard Bailey, PR Lecturer and Editor of Behind the Spin Magazine. @behindthespin

Skills PR employers value

The smart students that quickly find jobs are the ones that start thinking about their future employment long before they leave college or graduate. The Internet has given rise to a huge variety of publishing tools and sharing platforms that anyone can use to develop an online network and profile.

I'd urge you to find a media format and platform that you're comfort with and start creating and sharing content about your future profession. That might be a WordPress blog, images on Flickr, or video on YouTube. S

econd start building a network. LinkedIn and Twitter are a good place to start.Social networks are democratic and enable anyone to follow conversations taking place online. That's a short step to creating content and engaging with people throughout the industry. Start with me. I'm @wadds on Twitter.

We get people walking through the door at Ketchum all the time that claim to be socially and digitally savvy yet they've never blogged and they aren't on Twitter. Do yourself a favour and get a ahead of the game. It'll pay dividends personally as these skills are much in demand and it will help you understand the challenges that brands face in engaging with audiences in the modem media environment.

Stephen Waddington, European Digital & Social Media Director, Ketchum & President, CIPR 2014, @wadds

I was humbled to be asked by Sarah to give a quote or two as well, which are as follows:

Tips on how to stay motivated when working from home

Maintaining focus while working from home can be a hard task. Getting up to make yet another cup of tea disrupts this focus and stops you getting the important work done. To help keep that focus, make a to do list of the 3 most important tasks you need to finish that day - and make sure you finish them. Then even if you do nothing else, you'll have completed the most important work.

Other tips include turing off email and social networks for an hour, so you can concentrate on actually getting work done. Also, leave the TV switched off as it's too attention grabbing, but radio can be nice as background noise.

Make sure you finish work at an appointed time in the evening, no matter what. Not only will you be more focussed in order to get finished on time, but you’ll also be able to relax in the evening and get a better night’s sleep. You can always get up early the next day to finish off anything urgent, but your mind will be more refreshed and you’ll finish the task quicker than if you plow on into the night.

What are PR degrees?

PR Degrees equip you with both the theory and practical skills required to get a job and then build a successful career in the PR industry.

The best PR degrees have a strong practical element and good links with the PR industry, so you can start building your industry contacts while still studying. Your tutors should be experts with significant industry experience, supported by visiting lecturers who can give you an insight into the day-to-day workings of the industry.

Digital and social media is more important than ever, so if you choose a PR degree then make sure this part of the programme is strong.

Buy How to Get a Job in PR now!

The book is available in both Paperback and Amazon Kindle, so if you're looking to get a job in PR, buy the book now.

And congratulations to Sarah for making the time and effort for writing such a fantastic book that will no doubt help many people break into the PR industry.

Twitter Experiments

Twitter Experiments

Twitter has been speeding up the experiments they run on their platform recently. From a recent blogpost:

"A common thread across recent releases has been experimentation. We’ve tested various features with small groups of our 200 million users before determining what we’ll release. These tests are essential to delivering the best possible user experience. It’s rare for a day to go by when we’re not releasing at least one experiment."

Some of the most visible Twitter experiments are new accounts that they have created: @magicrecs@eventparrot and - the latest addition - @magicstats.

@magicrecs is a useful account to follow. If you follow the account, you receive "instant, personalized recommendations for users and content via direct message." So, if three or more people you follow all follow the same account in a short period of time, you'll get a DM from @MagicRecs with a message along these lines:

magicrecs

The account is really useful for discovering new and interesting people to follow, and "makes it even easier to follow what you care about, connect with people and discover something new on Twitter."

@eventparrot sends "direct messages that help you keep up with what's happening in the world":

events parrot

For me, this account is less useful. Unlike @magicrecs, which is tightly aligned with your interests, news is harder to make meaningful for everyone, all the time. Which means most of the DMs I've received from @eventparrot are largely irrelevant and ignored.

It would be great if the @eventparrot account would DM trending stories based on the news account I follow (e.g. @BBCNews) rather than a random, global news account that I don't follow (e.g. @NBCNews). This may be on the cards for Twitter already, and hopefully this small tweak would mean a more meaningful experiment.

The most recent Twitter experiment, @magicstats, is intriguing - especially as it's a private Twitter account (for now).

The Next Web explains how they think it might work:

"When a user tweets something that the service thinks will go viral, it favorites the tweet within a few minutes of it being sent. In both instances where @magicstats favorited our tweets, they received well over 100 retweets within a few hours."

It looks like @magicstats might be more of a trending tweets account,  picking out tweets that are being shared a lot in a short space of time (this is how the "thinks will go viral" element likely works), then tweeting them out again to help those tweets gain more traction.

I think it will be a useful way to discover new content that isn't being shared by my Twitter network, so I've followed @magicstats  and will see what happens once my follow request is approved (current status: "pending").

Of course, there's lots of Twitter experiments we don't see:

We also experiment with features that may never be released to everyone who uses Twitter. Those experiments are perhaps even more valuable because they help us decide what not to do –– which is important as we work to keep Twitter simple while improving the user experience.

But of the visible ones, @magicrecs@eventparrot and @magicstats are worth taking a look at.

Oh, and you should follow me on Twitter too.

Best Social Media Platforms for Social CEOs

Best Social Media Platforms for Social CEOs

Zoe Amar and Matt Collins invited me to write a chapter for their guide, "Social Media for Charity Leaders", as part of their project revealing the top 30 charity CEOs on social media. I wrote a chapter on The Best Social Platforms for CEOs", which you can find below. If you're interested in finding out more, you can read Zoe's article in the Guardian - "Five characteristics of the top 30 charity CEOs on social media" - or follow the #SocialCEOs hashtag on Twitter.

The number of social media platforms grows every year, but as a charity CEO there are only a few that need to be on your radar.

You don’t need to be on every available platform, from Google+ to Pinterest to Instagram – it’s better to do a couple of social media platforms really well than many of them mediocrely.

Where should you start?

Your proficiency on social media will develop naturally over time, so it can be useful to start with a channel where you can control your output more, compared to some of the more open or conversational platforms.

It’s not thought of as a traditional social media channel, yet starting a blog can be a great way to communicate your vision and share your charity’s
stories with your supporters.

Although one of the main uses of a CEO blog is to engage with employees as well as customers or supporters, a charity CEO blog will have greater impact with external audiences.

A recent study showed that CEOs who blog reach external stakeholder groups better than on other kinds of social media platforms (see Weber Shandwicks’ Social CEO Study).

"It’s better to do a couple of social media platforms really well than many of them mediocrely."

Twitter can be the most helpful platform for quickly and easily building relationships with your employees, donors, supporters and the media.

If you haven’t used Twitter before, it can be a daunting prospect to start tweeting.

But you don’t have to tweet as soon as you’ve set up your profile – listening is just as important.

First of all, just spend some time finding interesting people and organisations to follow and start listening. Get a feel for the conversations and community etiquette.

Seek out your Twitter expert

If you want to start tweeting more regularly, spend an hour with one of your charity’s Twitter champions and get them to set Twitter up on your phone and computer.

They can show you how to find and follow new people, what search terms you’d like to keep track of, and best practice for engaging with people.

Top tip: make sure you know where the ‘new tweet’ field is and where the search field is. You don’t want to ‘do an Ed Balls’ and tweet your own name instead of searching for it!

The Tenei Carrier: Japanese Elegance and London Living

The Tenei Carrier Japanese Geishas

This article originally appeared in The Carrier, a monthly newspaper founded in 2012 as a way to send news to the people in our lives. 

I love living London with all it’s hustle and bustle. It can feel like the centre of the world and that all the world’s important moments are happening, just minutes away, in the streets, pubs and parks of the city.

But it’s good to get out of the London bubble and see a different part of the world. To be reminded that to everyone else some other place is the centre of the world, and to reflect on how it differs from home.

I was lucky enough to visit Japan for two weeks earlier this year and felt it had lots of resemblances to the UK. The size of the countries are similar, are both island nations and lucky enough to have high standards of living and life expectancies.

Japan has a much higher population - around twice that of the UK at 127 million people - but they live on a smaller space of land. The country is about the size of UK, but only half of it is habitable due to the mountainous regions. So they’re squeezing twice as many people into half the space

You might then think that Japan would have similar problems to England, maybe even more concentrated due to their dense urban environments. But this is not the case: Japan has lower crime rates and higher community cohesion than the UK.

Having observed life in Japan for myself, and noted these similarities and differences, there was a way of Japanese life that struck a chord. The Japanese enjoy a sense of flow in all they do. They carry a certain elegance through their busy city lives that we would do well to learn from. An elegance I have tried to take back with me to my life in London.

Take for example Japanese aesthetics, a set of ancient ideals that include wabi (transient and stark beauty), sabi (the beauty of natural aging), and yūgen (profound grace and subtlety). These ideals, and others, underpin much of Japanese cultural and aesthetic norms on what is considered tasteful or beautiful. These aesthetics are seen as an integral part of daily life in Japan.

Wabi sabi is the Japanese ideal of beauty that values impermanence and imperfection. I felt this when seeing the Japanese cherry blossom-viewing celebrations. Cherry trees across the country burst into bloom in spring. The spectacle lasts only for a few short weeks, but the Japanese enjoy the beauty of this season even more so for its transience. It wouldn’t have the same effect if the blossom was there all year round.

There are of course two sides to Japan. The elegant way of life I’m talking about here and the modern, dazzling neon lights of Tokyo: the electric towns, harajuku girls, crazy anime and weird maid cafes. The blossom-viewings often do turn into long drunken afternoons for Japanese businessmen, but this is for only 2 to 3 weeks a year, not the year-round drink fuelled delights of an English pub.

Or on the underground for example. When Japanese people ride an escalator everyone knows that the right side should be clear so people in a hurry can pass by. This is the same in London, but all-too often it’s accompanied with impatience and irate anger for the person who doesn’t realise quickly enough that they are standing on the wrong side.

Even in the packed Japanese underground, there is a sense of calm as commuters wait in specially marked areas to the sides of doors. I never witnessed anyone getting angry for being squashed in, even in rush hour and one of the busiest undergrounds.

Catching a group of geishas rushing through the street in Kyoto, it was the tourists struggling to catch up to take photos that were causing the commotion. I don’t know how the geishas strode through with such elegance, but it must have been difficult in the heavy silk kimonos and tall shoes.

The Japanese are even more polite than the British. Take the word “teinei”. Teinei goes beyond the English word “polite” because it applies to more than just people and their actions. In Japanese, you can treat a fragile item “politely” meaning “with care”. A birthday present can be wrapped “politely”.

Teinei extends to putting other people first: giving them the biggest piece of cake, the best seat in the restaurant, or the center position in the photo, are all part of everyday politeness. The traditional Japanese house even has a dedicated seat for guests so they are framed in a background of beautiful Japanese art.

These are just small examples, but they add up to something special that I feel is missing from modern life in London. The small accumulation of tenei in Japanese life seems to have larger societal benefits.

Since coming back from Japan, I’ve tried to be more “tenei” in my life. It can be easy to forget on the swelteringly hot and jam packed tube in the Monday morning rush hour, but I’m trying.

This is my first article for The Carrier. I’m writing about trying to be a carrier of elegance. I hope that by reading this article a few more of you will try to be more tenei too.