Goodbye 2011

First things first, I have to say I was very blessed with a big capital B in 2011! It was a year in which the good things that are opportunity, luck, and desire came together to make things happen for me.

At times it felt overwhelming to work three jobs, go to school full-time for five classes, and volunteer but everything I was doing I was really into and in the end luckily (there’s that word again) it worked better than I thought it would. So with that  said here is my goodbye to 2011, or review of 2011 if you rather, looking at what happened in work, school, and what I learned in 2011.

Disclaimer: The following views are my personal views and not the views of my employers.

Work

Work dominated my life in 2011. Things started fairly simple enough with my continued employment at my government job of three plus years, but by the end of 2011, I added two others, pushing my work commitments to three. Surprisingly, It  went very smoothly. The two positions, both at school, one with the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) and the other with Redwood Strategic working on campus, added to my creativity, leadership, teamwork abilities.

uOttawa – Student Online Community Manager

Being a Student Online Community Manager (SOCM) for the uOttawa was a position I really wanted. The position is one where me, along with a team of three others, engage students at the university through social media, primarily using Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. You can follow some of the conversation on our Twitter account here.

After attending various networking events that I have written about here, being a SOCM has really allowed me to jump deeper into social media, gain experience in public relations, and help grow the school’s brand online. With planned presentations and a better understanding of what the student population is like, I’m looking forward to connecting with more students at uOttawa this year.

Windows Leader for Redwood Strategic

Getting the SOCM position definitely helped in getting this job.  It was a quick turnaround from applying to the job then getting it but it was amazing how it all worked out.  The first perk of the job was an all expenses paid flight to Toronto. Having not been on a plane since 94’, this was great experience. As well with all of my fun trips to the city  earlier in the year, I welcomed going back again.

In addition to myself, I travelled with three other students from uOttawa. Our group would be joined by other students from provinces all across Canada, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, for  two days of training and getting to know more about Windows/Microsoft. It’s really cool being able to say you know someone in each province of the country, but there was way more too it than this.

There was more to learn about Microsoft as a company, and what the program, being a Windows leader on the uOttawa campus is all about. Basically our job is to hold personalized demos with students one on one, teaching them how to use Windows 7 effectively in all they do at school.  After having these short demos, for each student that listens to me blab, they get a token of appreciation that enters them into a draw for gift cards as well as a new PC. But it gets better. Microsoft will also donate $5 for every token redeemed, to a maximum of $500, to a campus organization  we choose ( I chose the Centre for Community and Global Engagement) which in short, helps students, faculty and staff at uOttawa find volunteer opportunities as well as supports grassroots initiatives.

In the end it’s a big win for everyone involved, as I get to do what I love doing, networking, the student learns something new, and the organization gets another source of money. As well for Microsoft, they get to re position themselves again as a leader in the tech space, by building a community of people who use their products. After an intense two days, one in which there was a lot of product training on Windows 7 and brand new laptops, the Samsung Series 9 notebooks, the experience was over. I learned so much from true leaders, the founders of the program and those from Campus Perks, who have made their dreams a reality, as well as my  fellow peers from across the country.

School

I’m going to miss school life (I think) when it’s all done. Being six years into postsecondary schooling, now with only one more year left, has me thinking about this. Going to campus, connecting with your peers, is a unique time and experience. Although I won’t miss the bad profs, horrible groups, and useless assignments. With that said last years fall semester went so smooth, as I only had two exams for my five classes, and not a lot of homework. So it wasn’t all that bad.

Three important things I learned in 2011

1. Leadership

I want to be a leader. It’s very satisfying having the responsibility of putting others around you in positions to be successful, being in charge, and also part of the reason for success in what your doing, whether that be on an assignment, project, or another initiative. In 2011, through these different jobs and in school, I got the chance to develop my leadership skills. The respect you get as someone who is counted on for anything, be it opinions, advice or what have you is great. But being able to encourage change and progress is so much better. I think I embraced not standing around, waiting for others to take charge and realized I could do it myself. However, it really is important who you surround yourself with, which leads me into my second point.

2. Teamwork

It’s really important who you surround yourself with. I always thought I knew this in my personal life, with my parents who kept hammering it home to me, in regards to my friends, but it’s clear that in the work and school world it is just as important. In 2011, being on good teams made coming together fun and enjoyable, as everyone was on the same page. This lead to some great results (90 percent on a research project, Windows demos on campus). I’m looking forward to doing more of this in 2012.

3. Preparation, Deadlines, Goals

I learned that paying close attention to each of these three areas was a key for  my success in 2011.  They are intertwined and rely on each other, basically from the point of view that your preparation leads to you making deadlines, which in turn help you reach your goals.

Before I used to set goals that were far in the future, without putting more emphasis on my short term goals. It was important to learn that I need to take more logical steps, to get from A to B first should be a priority, rather than A to C. .

Goodbye 2011

2011 was a amazing year for me to grow more and mature through all these experiences in work, school, and life. Hopefully, using a common sports reference, it was my “breakout season”, and I can continue the momentum into this new year, 2012. There is so much out there and so much possibilities in avenues to take, it’s going to be exciting how it all plays out in 2012.

Advertisements

What Online Brokerage Do You Use And Why?

I’m sort of in a bind. I’m undecided of what to do with my current online brokerage that I use for trading, RBC Direct Investing. I want something with lower trading fees. Paying 28.95/trade seems ridiculous, especially as a young investor/student trying to save for school in the fall. So I’ve continue to snoop around to one of my favourites: Questrade, a Canadian online brokerage company.

Recently, a close friend of mine in Toronto, jumped onboard with Questrade. At $4.95/trade to never more than a max of $9.95, that is some serious savings. As well, another friend on Twitter was posing the same question as to what is a good online brokerage to get. I’m pretty stumped. The one big reason for keeping RBC is because I do all of my banking there and my heart is there. But common sense is telling me otherwise and go with the savings and Questrade.

So a quick question to you. What online brokerage do you use and why?

Thoughts on LinkedIn IPO, future IPOs for Facebook, Twitter

I won a bet today with a friend. I said that we would get at least one social media company that went public this year.linkedin 2 It was an easy bet to win. Many of these social media companies, Facebook, Twitter, being the two big ones had been in the news for over a year with plans on going public. But today, LinkedIn, was the 1st to pull the trigger. I’m on all 3 sites (as a PR student it is quite necessary) and use them almost everyday, so I I’ll tell you what I think of all 3 of them as focus on Facebook and Twitter my views on them having an IPO (initial public offering or simply being listed on the stock market) in the future.

LinkedIn is an interesting case. Of the 3, it is the most professional and I appreciate that aspect. Apparently so do a lot of my peers. The past couple months it seemed every week,  I have been adding old colleagues at a feverish pace, to keep in touch with them all on LinkedIn. Besides this though, I haven’t used or rather dived into LinkedIn as much as I’ve liked to…yet. But it’s use is evident. It is a networking tool, with a global network, a key point in this new reality of economies being so closely tied together with each other more than ever.

I have heard that their groups, which I am a part of about 10 related to PR/communication, really makes LinkedIn a valuable source in organizing people for business development discussion. This is definitely something I want to explore more. When I put my investor hat on and seeing how LinkedIn quickly doubled from its IPO price of $45 to an intraday high of over $122/share, to a close of a healthy $94.25 with over 30 million volume, this is positive news for their company. Obviously it won’t do 30 million everyday but impressive nonetheless and good on them for this amount of initial support  for their target valuation.

Facebook is a different story. Their IPO will no doubt be a top news item, but  I’ve grown rather tired of Facebook, as a company, to be honest. Two big reasons are one being the growth of spam on that site, and  two the messaging system or Facebook chat.

Spam has gotten so bad I find myself filtering so many people, this filtered list is becoming the same size of my hundreds of friends. The messaging system, Facebook chat is a mess. It is that simple. Throw in the recent bad press of Facebook using world renowned PR firm Burston-Mueller to smear Google’s reputation, and you really see that maybe the movie “The Social Network” really wasn’t that far off in portraying the company. Not helping my career or other PR professionals when we have to deal with being labelled “spin doctors”, as the profession is so commonly wrongly described.  All of these types of "soft feelings” I’ll call them, because they pull on my emotional attachment  in regards to Facebook. Throw in their just insane valuation (roughly 70 billion market value) and I would have a hard time, going for this in an IPO situation.

Twitter I like a lot more. It has half as many people on its site (300 million) as of today that Facebook has. (Yes it was big day for social media if you’re following). It has become the most efficient way to break news, as evidenced by the story of a journalist Pakistan directly or indirectly breaking the news of the U.S. Navy Seals Team Six killing of Osama Bin Laden. It’s fun as well. Some of the people I follow strictly use it to ply their comedic antics and this is accepted and adds to Twitter’s fun factor.

Personal views are encouraged, which makes for great back in forth between celebrities, media personalities, and just regular people like you and I. Twitter has a broad appeal,  in both professional and personal use, making it a great blend, more so than LinkedIn which is more purely professional and Facebook which is more purely personal. This makes it a more attractive target for me if I were to pursue it in an IPO.

Being in the field of PR, it  is exciting to see how social media is growing and impacting everyone. In terms of these companies. whether they become sustained profitable entities, without the fear of  them imploding is anyone’s guess. I would rather invest, as I have done so, in hard assets (gold), dividend funds, and equities. Of course, those that made a quick double and then some on LinkedIn today would argue to the contrary. However, herein lies an obvious, although key point. Regardless of whether my predictions are right or wrong, for both my stocks I’m invested in or those that invested in LinkedIn today, you only make as much money in investing as the amount you of money you put on the line. As was proven today, with the 30 million shares traded, this has occurred in such an impressive manner, which LinkedIn hopes is just the start of great things to come for them as a company.

Birthing birthers

You’ve probably have heard of Donald Trump recently stirring up quite the controversy through the media by requesting U.S. President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate to prove he is an American citizen. Trump, who may be vying to be Obama’s opposition in the 2012 U.S. Presidential race, has been adamant that Obama was not born in America. He has also made remarks on how did Obama get into law school at Harvard, saying something along the lines of he has friends whose kids which have high marks and can’t even get into Harvard, so how could Obama, who according to Trump was “a poor student” get in.

This aside, the real issue Trump has is the first one, believing that Obama was not born in the U.S., thus making him illegible for the U.S. Presidency. This is the “birther” issue. You are a “birther” if you reside in Trump’s camp, which is that Obama

What is sad about Trump is I actually liked him before all this. I enjoyed the early seasons of his Apprentice TV series, that gave you an interesting glimpse of reality TV, of real people trying to make it in the business world. He seemed honest, open, and even with the silly scripted “You’re fired” thing, he seemed human. But that was all in the past. From a PR point of view it is clear what he is doing here. He is positioning himself as a champion of those  who want to question, undermine, bring him down and Obama’s character and stature as president. Obama, being a soft spoken non–Caucasian U.S. president, is quite an easy target, for Trump’s claims, which definitely have a racist tinge to them.

Another part of the problem is the role the media plays in providing Trump a stage. Traditional media, such as CNN, entertainment media like TMZ and social media like Twitter and Facebook, all come together to create what can be described as a highly sensational environment. This environment is one which I feel has hit a critical mass, especially in America, where the media helps elevate individuals agendas. Why? Because it makes money of course, and sensational headlines bring in viewers. With the rise of social media and the competition being as fierce as ever, traditional media has to pander to the tastes of the population. Take a look at  what Charlie Sheen is doing on Twitter as the perfect case and point. Over statured and overexposed in the media.

Back to Trump. This attempt is just something to dominate headlines, with him leading the fight against this supposed “injustice” as a way to accomplish this. Whether Trump, or Sheen are mentally inept, trapped in their ways of thinking or it is part of their PR strategy I have no clue. All I know is discovery is a good thing, however  ignorance is not.

Girls I Want To Party With This Summer

I’m a single guy and summer’s coming. The market is open and everyone is ready for fun. It’s party time. So with this in mind, I made a list of the top 3 girls (probably single as well) who would be fun to party with. No relationship routine here. Just fun times. So here it is. Babatunde’s top 3 girls he wants to party with for the summer:

3. Gaga

Not a big Lady Gaga fan. Girl has a voice and talent. Yes. But I mean she’s too out there, not very pretty and is playing the role of Madonna for our generation quite well. With that said it would be a good time partying with her though. Because there are so many girls that really love Gaga, I would probably have a better  selection of girls to choose from than just Gaga herself.  In the end though, I don’t see myself becoming one of Gaga’s “little monsters”, leaving her at #3. Let’s take a look at a better option of a girl I’d like to party with this summer at #2.

2. Kesha

Kesha, or Kesh as I like to call her, is much better. There is something about a girl like her that guy’s can appreciate, with her hair always in a mess, she has that “dirty” look perfected. She’s the type of girl you get drunk with and then stay up all night with. Kesh has an attitude which always seems to stand out. It’s something she plays with a lot in her music videos. As well, she’s my age, so there’s a nice fit there and we’d probably have a lot more in common than Gaga. Anyways check out this video of Kesh in “Dirty Picture” with Taio Cruz to see what I’m talking about with Kesh. An intriguing option at #2, Kesh doesn’t have quite what it takes to be #1 on the list of girls to party with this summer.

1. Dev

Number one on the list. She’s the most attractive of the 3 by far. If I had to compare her to another female artist, Dev’s sort of like this generations version of Nelly Furtado, with a different and unique style. Like I said she’s attractive, but it’s not all about her looks though. Dev has a sick voice, and lots of personality as evidenced by her twitter handle @Devishot (you know you’re the shit with a twitter handle like that).

Dev was in the song “Like a G6” which got a lot of radio airplay both in the U.S. and  Canada which made her a lot more well known. Dev is touring this summer all across the U.S. and some venues in Canada according to her Myspace page, to push herself as an artist. It seems she’ll be in Toronto on June 10th at the Sound Academy. Might check it out, since Toronto is almost becoming a second home for me.

Here she is in the video, “Backseat”. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

Book Review: Six Pixels of Separation

Let me start off by saying that reading and I have had a rocky relationship. I remember when I was younger getting hauled to the library with my three other siblings. They would be taking home piles of books while I would take home one or two which I wouldn’t end up finishing. Reading was exhausting for me back then. My already imaginative mind did not need books to come alive. I found it a tedious endeavour and didn’t see the point.

Fast forward to today and things have totally changed. I find reading useful for a variety of different reasons. It helps you become a better writer, allows you to pass gaps in downtime, and of course helps you learn about something new. I also think as a professional it is important to read books pertaining to your field, allowing you to gain new insight and perspective. One book which fits this description is Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation, the first book I read this year.

Six Pixels of Separation, with the title borrowed from but not to be confused with Six Degrees of Separation (I confused them a lot when describing this book my friends), is a book about the value of getting online and connecting yourself to the online community so that you can better position yourself as an individual or business. Joel shares that by leveraging the internet to your benefit, primarily through blogging and social networking, you can make new connections, find your niche, and ultimately build your own unique personal brand of who you are and share it with the world.

A quick read at only 270 odd pages due to the simple conversational language Joel uses, Six Pixels of Separation explains that making your presence online, for example by blogging,  is more than just writing entries (text). It is also about audio (podcasts) and video. Joel encourages you that when you are starting to develop your presence online, to not just limit yourself to text but to use these other ways of connect as well.

Since the relaunch of my blog, Six Pixels of Separation is exactly the book that I needed to read. It tells you how to get started, get connecting, and just plain get out there and get acquainted with the tools and people to help propel yourself forward as an individual or business. Six Pixels of Separation is about going beyond your geographical boundaries and exploring online where you can find resources to advance yourself as an individual or as a business.

This is perhaps the most compelling part of the book, using it as a resource. There are a variety of interesting case studies (I do enjoy case studies very much so) of men and women who were able to leverage the internet to create a niche for themselves. Using my memo pad, as I wrote about here, I was able to come jot down the names of these creative people in PR, marketing, and communications, to check out on Twitter (Mine is @FFasoyinu if you don’t have me already) as I went along in Six Pixels of Separation to do further research on later.

Overall, Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation, was an interesting read for me. It really got my mind going in the direction that I wanted to go deeper in in 2011 in regards to entrepreneurship, finding a niche, and developing my personal brand. Couldn’t have been a better match for me and my book to start the year. I think I’m going to enjoy this book review thing.