Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Corey Roth, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Release Management , ColdFusion, Adobe Flex, Agile Computing

Release Management : Article

Personal Branding Checklist

Personal branding is a continual process just as knowing yourself is a continual process

13  Mentor
Every great warrior had a mentor. Daniel LaRusso had Mr. Miyagi. Plato had Socrates. Riker had Captain Picard. Albert Einstein once said he was not great, but stood on the shoulders of giants. Great teachers have great disciples. Great students have the aptitude to be great. Someone who can remove obstacles to your learning, who has valuable experiences which can be passed on, and can proficiently convey them to you are mentors. They guide you along your chosen career path, nurturing you, and warning you of common pitfalls.

Surrounding yourself with people who are better than you ensures you will be positively influenced. You want to be surrounded by people who raise you up, not drag you down. I quit smoking, not by my willpower alone, but rather the support group I had surrounded myself with. In the software industry, you have ample opportunity to be confronted with people who are insanely smart, have multiple degrees, and/or are brilliant in some fashion. This industry is extremely hard and changes often. By its very nature, it ensures that only reasonably smart people can stay successful for any length of time. From day one your skills are marginalized. Every day your knowledge becomes out of date. Our brains are a depreciating asset that we can't write off.

Collectively, however, we flourish amidst no or competing hardware / software standards, varying economic climates, and an overall young industry still finding its way.

The same can be said for you. Your personal brand should allow you to be surrounded by people of similar mindset. They should be better than you. Together you positively grow.

That's slow, though. The best way to become better, quickly, and with less hardship and wasted time is a mentor - someone who has "done this before" and "done it well." Mentors are naturally hard to find. Some do it out of philanthropy, or by circumstance. They just happen to be a lead on a project, and end up becoming someone who you learn a lot from. Depending on how the management structure is set up, they may even have an opportunity to do a form of MBOs, or management by objective where they allow you to do learning exercises dictated by them that help you grow, quickly. Having an expert accessible for questions and support while you're doing something new is invaluable when the early first steps can be intimidating, anxious, and downright frustrating.

Transformational leadership is the best kind. Making another a better person is one of the coolest gifts you can receive in your professional life. If you find someone who can be your mentor, you don't need to be formal about it, just find some way to work with him or her. It can be a risk on new jobs where you have no guarantee the person even has any desire to fulfill such a role, or that they won't quit and you'll be left wondering what's left for you at your current position now that your mentor is gone. I personally think it's worth it. The number one reason for turn over in companies is because of changes in management. If you don't click with your leader, you won't be able to perform at your optimal ability, nor will you grow.

Find a mentor, and become a groupie.

14  Networking Outlets
Most of my jobs nowadays come from referrals. Meaning, someone I know knows someone who needs my skills. They act as a liaison to connect us. That friendship, whether genuine unconditional or purely business rapport, is generated from networking events. These are basically anytime where you can meet people. They don't have to be applicable to your industry, but that's typically where I've had success. I go to local industry meetings because they are fun. A lot of times, however, I meet someone new. They could be another developer like me, a designer who does similar work, or a business owner looking for talent. All of these people have value in multiple ways, and you have value to them.

They can tell you about their work, and thus their real-world experiences. Since we're all in the same business, you can learn new things, challenge old beliefs, and merely reaffirm the current ideas. You can identify the person by name and skillset. If he or she has a skillset similar to yours, you can later leverage that when you cannot take anymore work and someone is looking for help. I'd love to say yes to all the work I get, but I can't. Still, clients are ultimately looking for someone to perform the job, even if you were their first choice. They will be happy to get someone to perform the tasks. If you refer a good candidate to them because you are currently unable to do the work, that makes you look valuable in their eyes... and you didn't even code anything, you just sent them an e-mail!

The same goes for someone of a different skill set. One of my weaknesses is that I know too many people like me. I don't know enough designers or server-side coders beyond a blog I read regularly. That doesn't allow me to make a personal recommendation, which makes the referral not as valuable, nor can I guarantee the quality of the referral's work. That could make me look bad.

Both allow you leverage on bigger projects. If you are involved in an initiative where you need a multiple amount of talent, you suddenly are looked at as an extremely valuable member if you pretty much hand pick the entire team...that also gives you more control over who you work with on projects. Both are great things.

This works both ways. People refer me, both contractors and clients, to those in need of talent.

I make this easy for them. My personal brand is clear: Jesse Warden is a Flex Developer.

That way, when whomever, wherever is talking about how they need a Flex developer, I want to make sure I'm the first person they think of. I don't want them thinking, "Oh yeah...that Jesse guy, I wonder if he's a Flex dude." That would be a failure on my part of clearly not articulating and selling my brand. You want to be the first person they think of for a particular job, whether it be as precise as a Mach-2 ColdFusion developer or a "dude who knows server-side technology."

It's really nice having people get you work so you don't have to stress about it!

15  Wardrobe Style
Business is a game - you either play it or get played by it. Part of that game is knowing when to dress for success. When it's 2:00 am and I'm deep in debugging some jacked code, there is no way in hell I'd be wearing a tie, nor shoes for that matter.

When I'm in an interview? Suit, tie, and a haircut. You cannot be overdressed to an interview, only a club or party. While I've heard of some successful sales meetings done by those not following the norm, they are an exception to the rule and definitely unique edge cases. Like good hygiene, you want people to perceive you as confident, have a rudimentary recognition of style, and overall like you have it together. You do that by looking good.

There are times when conforming to play the game is good. Suit to an interview, tux to a wedding, sensible hiking boots on the trails; you dress to the occasion where it is reasonable and generally appropriate to do so. You look hot at da club, comfy when chillin' at home for the weekend, and your normal attire while in public for nothing special.

The style you choose reflects you. Times, fashions, and the attitudes toward them change over time. There is a wide gamut of clean cut and unkempt. Do what feels right when it's appropriate. When you are at an industry event, interview, or other occasion where you may have an opportunity to make a professional encounter, dress to impress. If you can't do that, dress so you feel confident; preferably the first, but the second is a great plan B. Looking good is part attitude; the clothes can only do so much.

Wear the clothes, don't let them wear you.

16  Multiple IM Accounts
Communication is a flawed process. That said, being accessible makes business easier. Easy to reach helps contribute to "easy to work with." Your brand wants to be perceived that way. Yes, I hate being called on Saturdays too, but that doesn't mean you have to answer the phone, just that your message is cordial and you sound professional, and you actually do return phone calls.

Instant Messaging accounts have a few pros and cons. You can have multiple IM accounts easier than you can have multiple e-mails with multiple services, all for free. Spam is easier to controll than with e-mail and text messages. There is less security risk, more context to your online status for others to see in real-time, and you can carry on many conversations with many people simultaneously. There are a few minor cons like people not respecting the status, giving the impression you are there but not answering IMs, and not being online. There are a few others, but overall, instant messaging, whether by PC, phone, or some other device, is a great way to be connected, with more control.

Just about everyone is on IM. That is a good thing; you want your brand to be known and thus accessible by everyone when you deem it appropriate. Again, we're going for reach here. That can also be a bad thing. I sign on IM at random times because when I do, I get swarmed. I can spend an entire afternoon and evening just IM'ing. Therefore, at least one professional IM is good to have in addition to your personal one. This way, you can control access.

The more accounts you can get, the better! The most common are AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and Microsoft's MSN Messenger. Trillian is a decent, free client for the PC that allows you to use one program to sign into all three versus three programs at the same time. Adium is one of many equivalents for the Mac.

17  Alias
An alias is a nickname. One or more is useful. Some are bequeathed by co-workers, childhood friends, or other associates. Usually, they are meant to identify and thus label a personality quirk that uniquely identifies you. You can utilize that to develop a subculture for you. Those who know you identify you by that alias.

Lucky Number Slevin's "Happy Cat," Scarface, Borris the Bullet Dodger; all add a mystique, identify a strength, and/or clearly set a tone and style. You want something that is positive in some way. While negative ones do have sensationalism and sometimes garner attention, you want to be able to have it come up in a client meeting and not get too nervous trying to explain it. Like what you do, the reasons behind it should flow off the tongue.

"Why is he called Borris the Bullet Dodger?"

"Cause he can dodge bullets."

These are useful in a lot of areas, some non-professional, which can draw ties to your professional life. E-mail address prefixes, IM names, signatures... or you can just keep it on the down-low. There is nothing wrong with your given name. There is everything right with building a club that "knows" your alias.

You can develop a subculture for your brand via those knowing your alias.

18  Mantra
Mantras, sayings, and quotes are all good to associate yourself with. At the very least, you can gain inspiration from them in times of need. Many have come before us, and as Carl Sagan said when referring to the 0.12 blue pixel that was earth in the last picture Voyager 1 took 4 billion light years from our planet: "Earth is where we make our stand." Like a mentor, a lot of great authors and poets exist that you can garner good lines from that represent your attitude toward life, or just situations in general. They can give you purpose, put things into perspective, or just garner a light-hearted laugh. Whatever matches your style; it should enhance your brand (say, on your not-so-concise signature), and help some get a better context of who you are by who inspires you.

"Live long and prosper." - Spock

"Just do it." - Nike

"Nuts!" - 101st Airborne Division, Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe in response to the Nazis asking for their surrender at Bastogne, France

19  Speaking and a PowerPoint Template
If you are building a brand, it is best if you go out and speak about what you do. This builds the perception that you are an expert in your field. You typically do this via good ole' PowerPoint presentations. They get a lot of flak but it's how things are, like it or not. Therefore, to make the most of it, it is best to have one that has a design that is loyal to your brand. If you have the dough, hire a designer to create one for you or get a networking contact to do so for free, perhaps in return for a favor or future referrals, or as a portfolio piece for them. You could show their name on their design in your intro slide, for example. Exposure for artists is a good thing so play on that.

Speakers can speak at 120 words per minute on average. Audience members can listen to and comprehend 500. Therefore, there is no way you can retain all of their attention via words alone. It helps to have a consistent brand image that they associate with you to help keep their attention. If they've read the slide for the third time, at least they are viewing the composition and associating its positive design with you.

Get a branded PowerPoint Template, and go speak about what you do.

20  Passion
This makes or breaks a lot of people. Without passion, all of the above really doesn't work. People can see if you have passion on a subject. When you speak about something you love, that glow comes through. Even if your audience doesn't love it like you, there is no denying when someone is passionate about something. It is what drives you, and everything you do in building your brand should erupt from that passion. When you give your elevator pitch to someone, the words will be strong with confidence, emboldened by love. You dig this stuff, and people will hopefully be as excited about it as you are.

Some people don't know what they want. They have a will to find it out, though, and that is just fine. In that case, you fall back to what you are good at; what you bring to the table. Everyone has something to bring to the table, unless you are a C or D. In that case, find out how to become a B or A.

Some know what they want, but aren't there yet. This could be a position, a new job, or they are just learning. This is fine too. Personal brands change and grow just like people do. Just stay on top of it as you transition, and you're good to go. I marketed myself as a Flash Developer in the past, and now I'm a Flex Developer.

Life is short. Follow your dreams. Love what you do. If you don't know what it is you want, see #1.

More Stories By Jesse Randall Warden

Jesse R. Warden, a member of the Editorial Board of Web Developer's & Designer's Journal, is a Flex, Flash and Flash Lite consultant for Universal Mind. A professional multimedia developer, he maintains a Website at jessewarden.com where he writes about technical topics that relate to Flash and Flex.

Comments (3) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
rampersad 08/23/09 11:40:00 AM EDT

Have You Created an Authentic Personal Brand?
In life, as in business, branding is more effective, powerful and sustainable than marketing and sales, and an effective way to best the competition. It’s about influencing others, by creating a brand identity that associates certain perceptions and feelings with that identity....READ MORE

Wendy 06/30/09 01:36:00 PM EDT

Mostly good points.

I disagree with your last statement, "Even taste tests are meaningless; it's the brand that sells it."

Taste does matter and buying decisions are not always based on how the product is being marketed. Taste tests have a place in product development as well as marketing and advertising.

Branding and marketing can be important, but they are not the ultimate basis for all buying decisions.

Yakov Fain 12/25/06 10:56:05 AM EST

Nice article, Jesse!

After reading it online, I noticed a short bio under it, which reads:

"Jesse R. Warden, a member of the Editorial Board of Web Developer's & Designer's Journal, is Flex, Flash and Flash Lite consultant for Universal Mind. A professional multimedia developer, he maintains a website at jessewarden.com where he writes about technical topics that relate to Flash and Flex."

If some hiring manager will read one of your other articles followed by this BIO, s/he may be wondering, "Is Jesse a Flex dude, Flash consultant or a journalist writing for WebDDJ?"

What do you think? Should you brand yourself just as "Jesse Warden Flex developer"? Should you have just one blog that presents you as such? What if you also like biking and would love to blog about it? Are you allowed to have another, personal blog where you will use different (street) language or it may hurt your main brand?

@ThingsExpo Stories
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.