Interview with Jeremiah Owyang

 Following up on a post in which Jeremiah Owyang, (@jowyang) Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, describes his job responsibilities, I asked him a few questions about valuable skills in the analyst industry. Clemson communication students learn excellent research skills, and Jeremiah’s job is an example of putting those skills to work.

Read his blog post first, then this Q&A:

Dr. V’s comment: Thank you for explaining the nature of your job. I’ll share this with my students, who often find it hard to believe that the research and writing skills we teach them in college will ever come in handy :)

JO’s response: The Research job is laborious, but important in making decisions. Every day analysts and researchers influence how millions of dollars are spent and managed. As a result, they’re well compensated, and are one of the top non executive earners in the industry.

Dr. V: What are the top 3 most useful/important skills for your job?

JO: Seeing the big picture. Numbers and facts are useless without insight, analysis, and perspective. Students need to first get real world experience before becoming a researcher or analyst, I’ve served my time working up the corporate ladder for 7 years (which is considered very fast), I’m 31, and haven’t even reached the mid-point in my career, so work hard and stay focused. When I first started to focus on social computing, people laughed at me, they thought blogs and social networks were silly and for kids, now it’s a major industry.

Dr. V: What are some things college students should focus on/try to learn well if they hope to work as a researcher/analyst someday?

JO: Think strategic, think about the large scope of things. Be very aware and absorb lots of information, including info outside of school, teachers, and class. I read materials online, and made a vow to learn one new skill everyday at my internship.

Dr. V: If/When you interview for a new position or an internship, what are the most important things you look for in a candidate? What are the deal breakers?

JO: Ambition, ability to communicate effectively, and I’ll be checking out their Facebook and MySpace page to understand what they’re really like. The good news is, we want to see the human side of a candidate, but the party pics should probably be in a private folder. Ironically, I was a poor student in High School and College (but I did graduate). I did well in the creative arts, and was never great at math or business classes like accounting or Finance. Fortunately, in the workplace, one can find their true comfort area.

Interview with Phil Gomes

Dear PR & Communication students,

I’ve been saving the interview I did with Phil Gomes for the beginning of the semester, when you’re either more motivated to listen or you’ll listen because you need some motivation.

Phil Gomes, (@philgomes) is vice president of the me2revolution group within Edelman Public Relations. I interviewed him in November 2007 and asked him how you can succeed. One of Phil’s most interesting ideas is that of future-proofing your education – learning things that will still be useful in 10, 15, or 20 years from now. I think both students and educators will find this interview informative and motivational. Enjoy and let me know: How are you future-proofing your or your students’ education?

[display_podcast]

Video: Changing the world with graphs

Here’s a video worth watching, even if a bit long (about 25 mins.).

Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet and Director of Gapminder Foundation, speaking at LeWeb3 conference, Paris, 2007 (video courtesy of Robert Scoble).

Several things to notice in this video:

  • statistical storytelling with amazing graphs (of interest to both students of narrative theory and visual communication or information design)
  • fresh perspective on globalization, economic development, history, and environmental issues
  • the power of software and animated statistical graphs to help tell stories that can change (how we see) the world
  • Rosling’s message to bloggers: use blogging to connect to the whole world instead of reinforcing the homogeneity of the Western world. How do we do this? How do you do this?

http://vpod.tv/leweb3/392157/flash/videoPlayer

Social media and marketing

Shel Israel explains it beautifully:

The essence of social media is that it is humans. Humans connect to humans and they form communities. They own their communities, brands don’t. The perspective of traditional marketing is to take a message and find delivery channels to inseminate into people’s foreheads. This is not social. Social is for a marketing executive to start a blog and ask people why they hate his marketing efforts–then listen–really listen to what people say the way Dell has done and a few others are trying to do.

I can’t wait to share this quote with my PR students. I love it because it explains something that I’ve been thinking about… what happens to cultures and communities when corporate interests intervene (or try to own communities/conversations). This quote explains that one of the things that happens is that the conversation loses its humanity and authenticity. It becomes hollow. It ends.

Silly, what comes to mind is Suze Orman’s line: “People first, then money, then things.” – what a good lesson to teach my PR students!

Related post: The only real social networks are personal ones 

…for PR students:

Here’s a conversation that was going on on twitter the other night among PR practitioners. Read from bottom to top. Paull Young asked about the importance of teaching the new generation of PR pros (that would be you, PR students!) citizen journalism skills. Read and see for yourself what skills are important, and do your best to learn them.

Don’t know who these people (kamichat, prblog, ikepigott, paullyoung) are and why their opinions matter? It’s worth your time to figure out, trust me! (hint: see my blogroll)

twitter screen shot

GOST Books

I promised my students I’ll make available a list of books about the “magic” public relations planning formula: GOST (Goals, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics).

So, here are my favorites:

  1. Strategic Public Relations Management by E. Weintraub Austin & B.E. Pinkleton (2006)
  2. Strategic Planning for Public Relations by R.D. Smith (2005)
  3. Writing Winning Proposals: PR Cases by T. Hagley (2005)