Friday, May 16, 2008

The gift of trust from Avinash Kaushik

Going through my usual round of blog reading this morning, I noticed a new post from Avinash Kaushik. Must be good: Avinash is a well-respected and trusted source. In two years he has become one of the (I would dare to say THE) greatest influencer trough his very high quality blog posts, his book, speaking and now being the official web analytics evangelist for Google Analytics. The personality plays for a lot: cheerful, always willing to give, very attentive to his interlocutor regardless if its face to face or millions of pixels away.
Trust and influence is something people give you, not something you claim.

You could become an influencer, looks like I'm one now!

What happens when someone like Avinash says this:
A email Stephane wrote to me made me realize how fantastic blogs are at creating “influencers”. He described how at the eMetrics Insights Day he was invited to present industry insights on a panel along with Jupiter and Nielsen.
Pause and think about it for a second.
Two big established companies with budgets of millions and years in the “business”. And one, like me, “small” blogger. And he has the power and the authority as a result of his blog (and WASP ).
Now to be honest Stephane is brilliant and get’s invited to do this all the time. But even someone like me gets invited all the time to “analyst briefings” (sadly I decline most of them) and meeting with CEO’s and yes even gets sent nice gifts. :) Trimmings that in the past were reserved for the elite few.
For the longest time the loud voices belonged to the “experts” and “analysts”. Forrester and Jupiter and Gartner and others had a hold on the “influencing” market. They continue to have a voice, but it is no longer the voice.
Through your blog you have the power to be a “influence powerhouse”, provide an authentic voice of someone who actually knows, and provide a valuable service to the world.
The ability to influence others is now a lot more democratic. Next up on stage, Stephane, Nielsen, Forrester and You!
And that is a good thing.
I fell off my chair... When I woke up I felt good, honored, happy. Thank you Avinash!

"Where did I want to be today?"

A twist on the slogan "Where do you want to go today?" My career spans 20 years, most of which was in IT, the past 15 or so dedicated to the Web. Every now and then it was "review time," depending on the culture of the company and the quality of the boss it was not always fun, not always very constructive...

Some gems:
  • "Your grades are not good enough, don't even try going in IT" (a high school teacher trying to help us find our way in life...). I'm now twice on the MBA honour roll...
  • "You can't understand this, you are an IT guy." A marketing manager when I recommended changes to a site. This was the trigger that got me to do an MBA!
  • "You've got the defaults of your qualities." From a particularly clueless manager...
  • "I'll show you everything I know so you can take my job. Then I will do something even more fun!" A great manager.
  • "You failed the break-even math question. Sorry, we won't hire you." After spending a full day of interview with about 10 people...
  • "You don't have enough dedication to the company." After doing way too much unpaid overtime for a company that was shortly after being purchased and cut 10-15% staff.
But I got asked a few times "Where do you see yourself in 5 years" and my answer was always the same: I want to share my knowledge and be recognized as an expert in my field. Some viewed it as "inflated ego." Credit goes to a book called "Becoming a technical leader"...

I didn't want to be a boss, nor did I want to be rich. Simply that I wanted to be trusted and continue to grow my expertise through knowledge sharing. Thus my inclination for consulting, teaching, speaking and doing R&D.

Today I feel a lot closer to my goal.