Category Archives: Courage

How to Become a Networking Pro by Jennifer Rodstrom

Learning how to network is one of the most powerful skills a person can have. Becoming successful at networking can land you your dream job, get you promoted, help you to become close to industry leaders, or simply provide a way for you to learn from or help others.

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending Help a PR Pro Out (#HAPPO) event in NYC. It was a great opportunity to meet a bunch of communications professionals and establish new relationships. However, walking into a room full of new people can be intimidating if you don’t have a plan. Successful networking takes more than just showing up with a smile. These tips can help:

Do Your Research. Before attending an event, take time to look up what the event is about, who will be there, and develop a list of key people that you desire to speak with. Most of the time, there is so much going on at an event, that it’s easy to lose track of time, and sometimes the people you wanted to speak with might be sneaking out the door. Make it your first priority to find these people early on, that way you don’t miss the opportunity to make a connection.

Know Yourself, and Your Subject. It seems like a no-brainer, but knowing who you are and being able to get your point across quickly and effectively is an art. If you don’t know your purpose, it’s going to be hard to develop relationships. Take time to brainstorm reasons why you are attending, and what your goals are. Coming up with a 60-second elevator pitch on your subject will make it easy to hold conversation, and draw in the right people.

Be Prepared. Bring business cards! Looking for a job? Bring resumes! There is nothing worse than succeeding at getting someone’s attention, and then not being prepared when they ask you for a business card. “Running out” of business cards is unprofessional and gives the impression that you are unprepared and disorganized.

Speak With As Many People As Possible. After you reach out to your target list of people, use your time to work your way around the room, meeting as many new people as possible. You may find something you were looking for, or someone you never thought to connect with could be looking for you.

Follow-Up. After the event, be sure to review your new list of contacts and make notes about what you discussed or interesting information you shared. Be sure to e-mail them and thank them for their time and to let them know you enjoyed meeting them.

Stay In Touch. From time to time, e-mail or call your new contacts to touch base. Use industry news as a way to connect by passing along articles which may be relevant to them. Keep tabs via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If your contact changes companies or gets a promotion, use the opportunity to congratulate them on the news.


Success, in a nutshell

In order to achieve something you have never achieved before, you have to learn and practice something you have never learned and practiced before. The highest paid people are simply those who know more than others.”–Brian Tracy

The Most Famous DotCom Failure, authored 2001 by Deborah Collier Revised 9th April 2008

The most memorable Dotcom Failure was that of the original in the year 2000. Deborah Collier of Echo E-Business investigates the reasons why the original online retailer failed.


Karzai and the Scent of U.S. Irresolution by FOUAD AJAMI,

‘They do give us bags of money—yes, yes, it is done, we are grateful to the Iranians for this.” This is the East, and baksheesh is the way of the world, Hamid Karzai brazenly let it be known this week. The big aid that maintains his regime, and keeps his country together, comes from the democracies. It is much cheaper for the Iranians. They are of the neighborhood, they know the ways of the bazaar.

The remarkable thing about Mr. Karzai has been his perverse honesty. This is not a Third World client who has given us sweet talk about democracy coming to the Hindu Kush. He has been brazen to the point of vulgarity. We are there, but on his and his family’s terms. Bags of cash, the reports tell us, are hauled out of Kabul to Dubai; there are eight flights a day. We distrust the man. He reciprocates that distrust, and then some. Our deliberations leak, we threaten and bully him, only to give in to him. And this only increases his lack of regard for American tutelage. We are now there to cut a deal—the terms of our own departure from Afghanistan.

The idealism has drained out of this project. Say what you will about the Iraq war—and there was disappointment and heartbreak aplenty—there always ran through that war the promise of a decent outcome: deliverance for the Kurds, an Iraqi democratic example in the heart of a despotic Arab world, the promise of a decent Shiite alternative in the holy city of Najaf that would compete with the influence of Qom. No such nobility, no such illusions now attend our war in Afghanistan. By latest cruel count, more than 1,300 American service members have fallen in Afghanistan. For these sacrifices, Mr. Karzai shows little, if any, regard.

In his latest outburst, Mr. Karzai said the private security companies that guard the embassies and the development and aid organizations are killer squads, on a par with the Taliban. “The money dealing with the private security companies starts in the hallways of the U.S. government. Then they send the money for killing here,” Mr Karzai said. It is fully understood that Mr. Karzai and his clan want the business of the contractors for themselves.

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Associated Press
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The brutal facts about Afghanistan are these: It is a broken country, a land of banditry, of a war of all against all, and of the need to get what can be gotten from the strangers. There is no love for the infidels who have come into the land, and no patience for their sermons.

In its wanderings through the Third World, from Korea and Vietnam to Iran and Egypt, it was America’s fate to ride with all sorts of clients. We betrayed some of them, and they betrayed us in return. They passed off their phobias and privileges as lofty causes worthy of our blood and treasure. They snookered us at times, but there was always the pretense of a common purpose. The thing about Mr. Karzai is his sharp break with this history. It is the ways of the Afghan mountaineers that he wishes to teach us.

When they came to power, the Obama people insisted they would teach Mr. Karzai new rules. There was a new man at the helm in Washington, and there would be no favored treatment, no intimacy with the new steward of American power. Governance would have to improve, and skeptical policy makers would now hold him accountable (Vice President Joe Biden, Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, et al.). Mr. Karzai took their measure, and everywhere around him there were signs of American retreat, such as the spectacle of the Pax Americana eager to reach a grand bargain with the Iranian theocrats.

Mr. Karzai didn’t need to be a grand strategist. He had, as is necessary in his world of treachery and betrayal, his ear to the ground, his scent for the irresolution of the Obama administration. He saw the scorn of Iran’s cruel leaders for America’s diplomatic approaches. He could see Iranian power extend all the way to the Mediterranean, right up to Israel’s borders with Lebanon and to Gaza. The Iranians were next door and the Americans were giving away their fatigue. Why not accept the entreaties from Tehran?

A year ago, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, laid out the truth about Mr. Karzai and his regime in a secret cable that of course made its way into the public domain. “President Karzai is not an adequate strategic partner,” Mr. Eikenberry wrote. The Karzai regime could not bear the weight of a counterinsurgency doctrine that would win the loyalty of the populace. There were monumental problems of governance but “Karzai continues to shun responsibility for any sovereign burden, whether defense, governance, or development. He and much of his circle do not want the U.S. to leave and are only too happy to see us invest further. They assume we covet their territory for a never-ending war on terror and for military bases to use against surrounding powers.” In Mr. Eikenberry’s cable, Mr. Karzai is a man beyond redemption, who was unlikely to “change fundamentally this late in his life and in our relationship.”

In one of his great tales of the imperial age, “Lord Jim,” Joseph Conrad depicts the encounter between a criminal and a noble figure. “Gentleman” Brown and a band of robbers had come into Tuan Jim’s domain—a small world, Patusan, where Jim’s writ ran and the natives honored and deferred to him. Everything was on the side of Jim—possession, security, power. But Brown senses the hidden irresoluteness of Jim, a man who had come to this remote, small world in the Pacific in search of redemption. We are equal, says Brown: “What do you know more of me than I know of you? What did you ask for when you came here?” Jim pays with his life. He had let the ruffian set the terms of the encounter.

A big American project, our longest war, is now waged with doubt and hesitation, and our ally on the scene has gone rogue, taking the coin of our enemies and scoffing at our purposes. Unlike the Third World clients of old, this one does not even bother to pay us the tribute of double-speak and hypocrisy. He is a different kind of client, but then, too, our authority today is but a shadow of what it once was.

Mr. Ajami is a professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Rather Than Bash the Rich, We Should Emulate Them by John Tamny

During a recent business trip to Minneapolis, an article in Mpls.St. Paul Magazine caught this writer’s eye. Titled “Blake’s True Colors”, the article chronicled the allegedly positive evolution of The Blake School, which is generally viewed as the most academically rigorous center of learning in the Twin Cities, and also the one with the most well-to-do student body.

Though the author lauded with forked tongue Blake’s efforts to morph from a school not just for the rich, but also “for the worthy”, the greater theme within concerned the values that privileged white children bring to the classroom each day. Supposedly those values are aimless, wasteful and unworthy – rich and worthy mutually exclusive – so for Blake to be relevant going forward, the students lucky enough to attend will, if the author has her way, learn to not think like rich, white kids.

The very notion of not thinking like the rich is pregnant with false meaning, and unsurprisingly, is contradicted by an article meant to discredit the wealthy and their offspring as the lucky winners of the lottery on life. Nothing could be further from the truth.

To become rich is simple, at least on paper. In order to grow wealthy one must first work very hard, and then offer up one’s labor in a field that serves the needs of others so much that profits are relatively large. This same person must then save those profits with great gusto in order to turn earned income into wealth. If it were easy to become rich we all would be, but as the rich and poor alike know intimately, getting rich is surely glorious, but also very difficult.

The rich, by virtue of being rich, are society’s ultimate benefactors thanks to them doing things that remove unease from the lives of others, and then, rather than wasting those gains, their delayed consumption is transferred to other ambitious entrepreneurs who access the capital they don’t consume in order to make our lives better themselves. There is no wealth without thrift, and it’s the thrift of the rich and hard working in our midst that funds the innovations that increasingly enhance all of our living standards.

Looking at the children of the rich who attend Blake, if it’s even remotely true that parents pass on their value systems to their kids, then it’s also true that the children of the well-to-do are bringing to school each day an essential mindset that others should emulate. These values would once again be hard work, thrift, and as evidenced by Blake’s story, charity.

As the article’s author perhaps unwittingly noted, programs offered by Blake “range from highly successful summer programs for Minneapolis Public Schools students called LearningWorks, to a quickly expanding service learning program that is designed to build a sense of responsibility toward others”. What the author conveniently leaves out is that these programs have a cost, and it’s a safe bet that they’re funded by the very parents who presumably impress on their privileged children the good that comes from helping others.

It’s also the case that last year Blake offered 250 students $4 million in aid in order to attend the school. Not mentioned once again is the likelihood that in a school that is 81% white, probably a great deal of the funds meant to give others the opportunities that were once just the preserve of the rich came from the rich white parents whose children supposedly aren’t worth emulating.

Blake was of course founded in 1900 “by the richest families in Minneapolis for the purpose of securing access for their children to the elite private schools on the East Coast,” but with 1/5th of the student body unable to afford its nosebleed tuition, it seems the school’s supposedly valueless benefactors are sacrificing a great deal of their own money in order to give to others the advantages their children presently enjoy. If so, and if the rich and their offspring place a high value on accessing the best education well beyond Blake, shouldn’t the non-rich be eagerly copying their values, rather than dismissing them as unworthy? Probably.

Looking at community service within a school that is aggressively addressing what the upper school’s assistant director terms “white privilege”, Blake students “volunteer for organizations such as Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, UNICEF, and Vail Place, a support program for adults with mental illness.” Apparently it’s a good thing to “think like a rich kid” if a volunteerism is any kind of gauge.

The obvious reply to this line of thinking is that the children of the wealthy enjoy easier lives than their parents do, so while they may be taught the importance of thrift and hard work, they don’t aspire to those values. That’s an easy assumption for sure, but one belied by simple, anecdotal evidence.

Indeed, movie moguls Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg both grew up on New York’s Park Avenue, Winston Churchill at Blenheim Palace, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump was raised by a father who’d done extraordinarily well himself in property, while Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg attended Phillips Exeter Academy. Failed children of the successful are always notable, but not discussed enough is how often they inherit their parents’ belief in hard work on the way to great success.

Also not mentioned is how many children of the unsuccessful end up much like their parents. This number would be hard to quantify, but if values are some degree inherited, it’s a safe bet that a not insignificant number of children who grow up poor take the values of light work and an aversion to thrift well into adulthood. Simply put, the values that lead to failure are in no way the sole preserve of the upper middle classes, let alone white people.

Taking this a bit further, can the author suggest with a straight face that the values of hard work, study and charity permeate the more downtrodden schools in Minneapolis? If so, why is it that a Blake education is so desirable to the rich and poor alike?

Ultimately it’s the goal of The Blake School to erase the culture of “white privilege” from its hallowed walls. No doubt this plays well to a media possessing an almost reflexive hate of wealth, but for the rational minds in our midst, white privilege is a falsely pejorative term for the enterprise and parsimony that often lead to financial and charitable success. Blake may well rid itself of what its administrators deem a wanting, privileged culture, but if successful, they’ll rid the school of the values that make it so attractive to the ambitious, including those not rich or white.

10 Reasons To Buy a Home by Brett Arends, WSJ

The ‘New Normal’ Myth Calls For Ronald Reagan 2.0