I once rode a mile with a blindfold on

I do NOT recommend this. I was younger, and times were more simple – and I lived in a very small town.  And I was on a motorcycle.

I had two friends next to me. guiding me.  I was riding a Honda 440 Super Sport – a bike I loved.

So why was I riding with a blindfold on?

The easy answer is that I was young and stupid.  The more complex answer is that I did not know where I was going, so I did not care what direction I took. I just felt I needed to head somewhere – so I did.  With the added burden of a blindfold.

I made it the mile.

It made me smile.

In the 25 years since then I realize that was a very easy mile.  I had no fear then.  I had little responsibility then.  I had no voice or audience then. Nobody counted on me.  I was as free as a human could be.  I was free to risk it all – in any fashion I chose.

It was an easy mile back then because I had nothing to lose.  Nobody depended on me.  I did not have two kids in college.  The times, my friend, they have changed.

As I matured, people started to depend on me – so I grew up – a little. Now I have two kids in college, customers that I love, employees that depend on me.  Life is more complex.

I don’t walk 5 feet without having my eyes open the entire time now.  I have grown up. I owe people stuff (more valuable than money).  I need to live a while to pay it back.

I am not risk adverse now – I am just a lot smarter – I see more, listen to more – find ways to help more. Without risking everything. I am looking for ways to invest instead of ways to risk. And I don’t mean investing with money – I mean investing with, “Dude, I have been there an done that – don’t do that”.  Advice.  Mentoring.  Friendship.

Taking risks without risking everything is what people my age should be doing right now – investing where they can – in a business, in family – in crazy perhaps.

Dying with money in the bank seems like total fail to me.

My kids are in college – and will graduate without debt.  Why should I not gamble on other people’s kids at this point?

Why would I not gamble on people at this point?  I am where I am because of people.

So I will be investing in young people – a wide variety of young people. Any class, any space, any race, any IQ, any that even tell me “fuck you”.

Look out kids – I got an agenda.  And you are it.

 

Social Media as a Service

I get a lot of people telling me how I can make my employer more successful if we would just learn to market on Social Media – especially on Twitter.

They have stuff to sell, and they want me to buy.  We all need to make a living.

I’m not focused on making money from Social Media – I am focused on saving money WITH Social media.

Every customer we help in near real time is a customer that that is exposed to Fanatical Support® – often for the first time.

And that support is important.  It is timely.  It is genuine – it is driven by an engineer with a desire to help a customer win.

Near real time support adds a lot of value because it both maintains your brand reputation and reinforces your core commitment to customers – that you are a partner, not just a vendor.  That you win and lose together.  That they are not just a number.

So we focus a lot on how Social Media can help us help customers win. That is our strategy.  Please steal it – emulate it – make all my experiences with brands better by making them more engaged with me.

But put real people behind those accounts and hashtags – people that are empowered to make a difference, and people that really give a damn.

That isn’t Marketing.

That is Social Media as a Service.

 

Has the Internet changed your job? If not, why not?

If the Internet has not changed your job – please let me know.  I want to invest tn the startup that find a way to get you involved in the Internet.  No joke. If your industry does not know how to use the Internet for profit, I really want to know about it.

I think there is a huge untapped Market that we just are not thinking about.

Because they are not like us.

Things that took me 50 years to learn. Almost 50, anyway.

  • The cool car is not nearly as awesome as the paid-for car. Really.
  • A house payment should be the only non-utility payment you have.
  • Credit cards are evil and those that push them are the devil incarnate.  How much love do you feel from your credit card company?  Dump them. They exist to dick you.
  • A few amazing friends is all anyone needs.
  • A big screen TV that you bought with cash is a hell of a lot more fun to watch.
  • Being able to put two kids through college at the same time costs a LOT more than I expected it would.  But it is also much more rewarding than I thought it would be. Doing the above allows me to do this one.  This is paying it forward on a very personal level.
  • Having a job that you wake up every day, and look forward to the day – that is worth more than money.
  • Having a  job where you know you move the ball – you make a difference – there is very little that is as meaningful as that. We should all want to change the world, in our own ways. To the extent we can.
  • Employees that trust you to have their backs.  They never question it.  They just know that you will be there, and you will support them.  Earning that kind of trust is priceless.
  • Having bosses that are willing to bet on you – because you have established some track record. Being able to make larger wagers over time because you have proven ideas over time.
  • Having a set of absolute values you will not waver from – or let others waver from.

I know there are millions of posts like this on the Internet. But this is the only one of them that is my post. About the things I have learned that I think are really important.

And just to prove how much of a screw up I was when I was younger – I owned an Alfa Romeo before I owned a house.  I owned a MG MGA convertible before I had money in the bank.

I owned two houses once and could not afford either one of them.

I won custody of my kids when they were 10 and 12 and learned a lot about what is important.

Dying poor is not a bad plan.  Living poor is.

I will leave my kids with college educations, and a lot more advantages than I had when I was their age.  I doubt I leave them much money though.  Today I can afford the stuff I wasted money on 25 years ago. 🙂

Looking for another Alfo Romeo.  One I can buy without feeling guilty about it.

And that is the difference between where I should have been spending money 25 years ago, and where I *can* spend it today.

Today is my payoff for getting my shit together ten years ago.

If you are under 50, have credit card debt, don’t have money in the bank and only own toys – you need to reset everything.

But stuff.  Stuff you can pay for.

Seems easy.  Takes a huge comittment.

Rob

 

 

“I Will Never Hire a ‘Social Media Expert,’ and Neither Should You”

Below is an email I shared not only with my teams, but with my Senior Leadership.

I manage Social Media.  But I am just a customer care guy that knows Social Media tools.

That does not make me a “Social Media Maven/Expert/Guru, etc” – it makes me customer guy with more tools than I had a decade ago.  Simple.

 

  • It’s About Transparency. It’s about not lying to your customers, and thinking that a good Twitter apology will suffice when you’re caught. It won’t, and you’ll lose.
  • It’s About Relevance. It’s not about tweeting every single time your company offers 10% off on a thingamabob. It’s about finding out where your customers actually are, and going after them there.
  • Finally, it’s about knowing your customer, and making sure your customer thinks of you first.


The post I reference – and it is good reading.

I am very pleased to report that Rackspace has no “Social Media Experts”.  We have Rackers that care for customers and know how to use various tools. We are not, and will never become the tools.