Date Archives

2015

Great Titles, Hollow Posts

“Great Titles, Hollow Posts” or “People don’t know how to give advice” or “Most people write to sell themselves shamelessly”. So many titles I could have chosen for this post.

Aren’t you tired of reading bullshit? Don’t you feel you have wasted your precious time by reading “inspirational posts” that teach you nothing? We all pick the posts we read based on the title, so it becomes a hook. Titles promise us to provide good advice, to tell us a story that will open our eyes because we were oh so wrong. But most of them, I would say a whopping 99% are just people bragging about their accomplishments, disguised as advise, because their experience *could* inspire us to follow their steps. Nope, it can’t, and it won’t. I mean, really, think about it.

Dude Mister X tells you how he dropped school, spent 10 years banging around desperately and eventually someone gave him the one opportunity he needed to really shine. Yawn. Well done buddy, but how that helps me or anyone else.

Recruiter Miss Y, full of herself, reproduces imaginary conversations where a candidate gets crazy and turns a genius mind reader, turning the interview around and putting another recruiter -not her, because she’s SO clever- to shame with his mind-blowing personality and gets the job. And thus all the other candidates are pure crap that don’t deserve the air they breathe.

Some couple tell their story, where they both quit their jobs because they were so stressed -poor people-, and they decided to travel the world and blog about it. They became rich and here there’s a a sample of our wonderful life in pictures, videos and embedded advertisement.

Thank you, really, how could I live without following your steps. I should quit my job and travel, I suck at interviews because I don’t read minds, I am a terrible recruiter because I actually dare to prepare my interviews… madness!

I get we all invest our time writing posts for a reason (i.e.: stand out, show off our Big Brains). Let’s be honest, our advise, our experience, hardly helps anyone out there, unless we let aside our ego and cut to the chase. Can we find a better job after being fired? Sure we can. Can we find success and happiness if we risk it all and switch careers? Of course. Could we cut down our work hours to try to have a better work/life balance? Yes, we can. And it’s very positive that these kind of messages are flooding the Internet right now, really. But if all we read about are really long posts about how cool and super brilliant Guy Mr. X or Recruiter Lady Y think they are, there’s no message there. It’s an empty post, aimed at pure self-promotion.

So, how do you identify these kind of useless long reads? These are not scientific facts, but here’s my experience, and I will share it in case it helps you!

  • The post has a title that promises to help you with the last trending First World Problem, i.e.: How To Get Your (client/boss/colleague) to (love/respect/fall in love with) your (product/outfit/accent).
    The first paragraph explains the real meaning of the title, because maybe it wasn’t ostentatious enough. Or maybe it changes the subject completely, because, after all, you have already clicked and the view count has already been incremented, so what the heck, why bothering being useful to you after that?
  • 90% of the following paragraphs will explain a personal experience that you can maybe relate to, but it will be that person’s experience and it will be unique and specific to that person’s circumstances and context. You can’t take any of that, probably, because all the details you could use yourself are nulled in favour of those that make the author shine. The 10% after that won’t try to make an advise out of the fairytale, it will just explain how happy that person is with the outcome, how much he/she has learned from it, etc.
    Probably the writer is talking about a experience that, not surprisingly, is related to his/her area of expertise. So you might be tempted to further inquiry the author about that particular topic. You can do that but I bet you will have to pay for the advise. So again, the post served successfully as pure advertising.
  • The post is a list of X things you have to do if you want to achieve something, be a better person or smile at the office without looking creepy. There are lists for everything you can imagine, because these “List Articles” are extremely common and annoying. At any given moment you can see at least 2 List Articles in your feed. Go read them, you’ll see that unless they are providing a list of resources (links, tutorials, videos), they are extremely useless lists. But those posts are popular, so they’ll write them.

The little time we have to read, we should pick wisely. Titles are hooks, remember! They will try to lure you into clicking them and read at least a couple of paragraphs. But if reading is for you something more than brainless time-killing, my honest advise is that you learn by yourself to identify what works for you, which posts really motivate you or make your day, then discard the others. My experience is surely useless for you because hey, we don’t have the same criteria, but I hope you got the message. And I am not selling it to you, it’s completely free.

Happy reading!

Be a Doer

Go to the end of this post to find the first episode of the “Doers” video series.

Some time ago, I went through a crisis. See, I am one of those Software Engineers, and right now it’s a sweet moment for my kind. Finding a job is not a problem, ever. If I am bored, I just have to say it out loud and a thousand recruiters will fight to have my attention and convince me to go with their offers. Yes, offers, in plural. Every day I am hit by recruiters and companies around Europe, telling me that my profile fits some awesome, well paid positions. There’s not much waiting from the moment I’d say I could consider them till I was sitting at a new desk.

Why was I going through a crisis? Because I wasn’t considering finding another job, so those offers weren’t telling me anything appealing. They all sounded the same. I would be switching offices and colleagues, but in the end I would feel like I was doing the same. So I started thinking about freelancing. I wanted to do something, my own project. Be my own boss, if you will. Decide who I wanted to work with, and who to work for. I liked my work, and I loved my company. But I felt stuck, and I am not a person who’s confortable just “feeling content”. And although I was doing fine professionally speaking, I needed to move forward. I did not want to take success for granted.

So I did some research, including finding people in my area doing their business in a way that would be appealing or inspiring to me. The first person I found was Andrew Funk. He was a crazy American businessman. We met on Twitter but soon I invited him to go for some drinks, and we had the conversation that triggered my crisis. Why? Because he asked me some very important questions, like:

What do you want to do?

It’s a simple question, right? Of course it is. But there was a problem: I was looking for inspiration, yes. I wanted to do something different, yes. I was hoping to make my own decisions, yes… I just had no specific plans. I wanted to use my skills, which honestly are many -I can say that after 17 years in the business, right?- I do coding, video, photography, a bit of marketing, analytics, social media, and I have many, many good connections across many countries. So having all of that, I wanted to do something. But Andrew caught me off-guard, really. What, exactly, did I want to become?

When I met him, I had this idea of creating a video to inspire people. In the beginning it was about using social media the right way. But as I started to hang out with Andrew, I started to question myself and my goals. My head went to many places, and I came up with different ideas almost every week. All of them awesome, or so I though at the moment, but I always had cold feet as my new friend confronted me and pushed me to act.

So, long story short, I am still an employee. And I won’t go freelance for now. I realised, I was just not happy with my position. I wasn’t motivated. Freelancing always sounds like the answer to that problem, because, they tell you, you will be free. But will you? That depends entirely on your disposition, your nature and, more importantly, if it’s the right moment for you to go solo.
Well, it wasn’t my moment, so I guess the lesson here is: if you don’t feel like it’s your thing, don’t do it. I am perfectly fine being an employee. I just need the freedom, trust and to be given responsibility to do more.

But this is the beauty of the story, I still think freelancing is super cool and maybe I will do it, but only if I am ready and I believe in a specific idea/plan/project that I can push on my own. Until then, I have found a new exciting job where I think I will be able to do some crazy stuff, which, in the end, is my main goal.

Of course, I will continue developing my side projects, like the series of interviews I started with Andrew. It’s called “Doers”, and the purpose is to inspire those who really want to start their own business, become entrepreneurs. Maybe even those who don’t, yet, like myself. Being an employee or an entrepreneur doesn’t make you a Doer. Actually, the best definition I have found is this one:

A Doer is a person characterised by action, as distinguished from one given to contemplation

So do stuff, either in your free time or as a full time job. But do things, follow your passion, fulfil your dreams, do whatever it is that motivates you and makes you happy. That’s my advice, and that’s the point of recording these interviews. In a way, I am a Doer by doing this, or at least I feel like it, and it works for me.

I want to thank Andrew Funk for opening my eyes with his wise questions. I told him many times and he thinks he did nothing, but he did a lot. He pushed me so I could get in touch with reality, and that reality wasn’t that I couldn’t be a freelancer. I just didn’t really want to. I am perfectly happy being an employee for now, and I have found peace. I am looking forward to starting my new job! I am truly excited, and that feeling is exactly what I was missing.

“Doers”, the video series

Here is the first interview in the Doers series. You can subscribe here to see the following releases: http://doers.luisnomad.com — Please, feel free to share it. And if you’d like to participate, read this.

I hope you like it!

About Andrew Funk

Andrew Funk is an American business owner, who has spent the last 11 years building his professional network both online and offline, while teaching his audience how to optimize their communication skills in English and Spanish in order to align their acquired knowledge to sales processes that ultimately add more value to corporate growth.

As a strong believer in social initiatives, he has created various non-profit initiatives to offer free training, networking and business opportunities i.e. International Networking Lunches/Dinners; #TwitterLunch; and #RedesSocialesYtu. He has also challenged public figures to improve their English e.g. Mariano Rajoy, and Sergio Ramos.

Website: http://www.funktwitter.com/
LinkedIn: https://es.linkedin.com/in/andrewfunkentrepreneurspain

Goodbye

You knew.

You knew the end was coming.
You were lucky to be told, to know beforehand.
You weren’t hit by a thunderbolt,
you did not crash while driving your car.
The pandemic of our age was in your guts.

They discovered it.

Then they told you. You knew.

Your walls were full of pictures,
photos of your many trips.
Smiles, sunsets, selfies and landscapes.
You have been happy, you have truly lived.
You did so much and yet you had still so much to do,
but they told you time was up, and then you knew.

Did you have any regrets?
A hundred real friends, a beautiful daughter, a loving wife.
That second chance life gave you, death summoned you in the past
but you did not listen, you weren’t ready.

You never bragged about your career success in the past,
never told me more than once “I believe you should do this and that”.
I wanted to say thank you for everything ,
when I was holding your still warm hand.
It’s shocking to see such a strong person laying pale white.

You knew the end was coming,
you had time to look back,
to see your life in perspective.
You had time to say goodbye.

In this age of competitiveness,
you achieved the greatest goal,
to cross the line not feeling empty,
to die not being alone.

You knew the end was coming,
At some point you just wanted it to come.
I never told you that I loved you,
and I wonder…
Did you know?

Goodbye my friend.