It Ain’t So Much The Heat…

If it’s also stupidly humid by you, use this version of a classic song as a temporary antidote:

A Story About Personal Branding

One of the things we’re told about in personal branding is to be careful about how we’re perceived. But what about the people doing the perceiving?

A friend told a story recently about a woman who had branded herself as a super-duper chemistry expert.

She had a great job in her industry, people came to her with chemistry questions, and there was every indication that she liked being known as “the” chemistry person.

Then my friend asked her what was, to him, a very basic chemistry question—and she couldn’t answer it.

My friend concluded that this woman was therefore a fraud and had created a personal brand that wasn’t tied to reality.


Surely not!

I know that the concept of personal brand is nowhere near a new one, and that it has had its share of disbelief (or disgruntlement) in these latter years. It may be as tired a phrase as “work-life balance.”

But that’s the phrase he used, so that’s what I’m going with now.

For I also thought, “Wait just a minute!”

That woman may have been so deep into her areas of chemistry expertise that the so-called simpler, universal aspects were beneath her radar. She could already get to point B without having to go through A anymore.

For example, I write. I employ all sorts of parts of speech when I write.

Can I always tell you what those parts of speech are? Nope!

If you’d ask me to diagram a sentence to show the parts of speech, I’d probably stare at you dumbly and wish I were elsewhere. I can probably still spot a gerund at 50 paces, but I wouldn’t want to be tested on it.

I remember thinking this in school: I never actually liked having to stop writing and learn all the names of what I was using naturally, the predicate nouns, the objects of the preposition, etc.

It slowed me down. It felt plodding. I only learned it to get the grade. I don’t think, “Now I am using a verb.” I just use it. I can get to my point B just the same.

Yet these are just as much building blocks as that simple, basic chemistry question.


I like these building blocks better.

So, perhaps when we come up against something that doesn’t fit in with our perception of somebody, maybe we should question our own perceptions and assumptions first.

We might find ourselves coming to better—and kinder—conclusions.

Just don’t ask me about subordinating conjunctions.

Motivation: Don’t Be Hard On Yourself

Of course, if you already think this way about other objects…maybe try not to.:)


The New Office 365 Network, Explained

It’s a new, public space, and most of us coming over from Yammer are still feeling our way.


An actual live screenshot!

Yammer isn’t gone, about to be gone, or destined for a terrible end*. The product remains a living, breathing, and utterly viable professional learning and development space for your coworkers, clients, and customers. I’m having a blast with the Yammer networks I run, with more people joining every day from all over the world.


Yep, that’s Yammy in space.

So what does the new Office 365 Network intend?

Visibility for all Microsoft products. Consolidating discussions on these products. Thought leadership.

And making “the wealth of valuable information in the Office 365 Network available to anyone who is looking for it.” (Quoted from Anna Chu on the aforementioned, soon-to-be-deleted Yammer Office 365 Network.)

Searchable stuff is good! What I’m not sure about is if this new space on Lithium will also include finding the help you need the way we’ve been used to on the Yammer Office 365 Network (boasting 88,600 members from around the world at the time that I write this).

For Mike Holste has stated clearly on the guidelines that this new network is not for support questions.

I’m wondering how that will work out. A lot of the questions we fielded over in the Yammer network, in a dedicated group named Yammer Bugs, were of the “Should I be worried?” nature, such as: “IS this a bug/glitch/system down thing? Or just me?” whereupon we’d help guide people toward whether they should indeed open a ticket or not.

And then others searching for the same thing would also see the results without having to bounce to yet another site. That was extremely helpful.

But while that was just one of many, many groups that spanned all sorts of topics, not just challenges-to-successes, that level of peer support might never have been the intention for that network in the first place.

This new playground may be more what Microsoft wants to see around its products.


I mostly just wanted to use the O RLY? owl

There will also need to be more thinking before posting. I know this is a best practice regardless. Yet with this network publicly accessible, Yammerites used to sharing a few more details for context around their questions and concerns will need to take extra care not to post confidential information.

As far as the decision to reserve Microsoft’s own use of Yammer down to one invitation-only network, well, these are early days yet for that too.

The bottom line: You have to use it to know how it’ll pan out. For me, it’s an extra step that’s not yet intuitive, because I am that much immersed in Yammer–four networks & counting!–but just as going to Yammer used to be an extra step, this too will become fluid.

More importantly, what will this do to the sense of community we shared within Yammer? Well, I’m not sure about that yet either. As with any new space, there’s a proving ground, and awkwardness, and establishing your personal identity. Some people will jump right in and learn as they go, others will hang back and lurk until they’re comfortable sharing (if ever).

But the friends I’ve made along the way in Yammer, I’m going to keep, one way or another!



*As far as I know. I’m not Microsoft. And social-anything isn’t immutable.

Yay, Member of the Week!

It was an honor to be nominated…and to be accepted!


This all has to do with Yammer.

I was nominated by fellow MVP Tom Kretzmer for “helping regular Community Managers get motivated with new ideas and patient explanations.”

(The original to this is way at the end of this Sway.)

I am glad to be able to give back!