o1. Start by adding anyone and everyone that you already know; whether they’re acquaintances, past colleagues, or the Starbucks barista that aspires to be the next Meg Whitman. Whoever has the gold makes the rules. Apply this methodology to your number of your LinkedIn connections and you too may end up with the perfect client in your 2nd or 3rd level contacts.

o2. Determine how you want to use LinkedIn. If you are looking for a new job and want to land that prime McKinsey interview then work on building up your references. If you’re a prodigy you probably won’t have to beg for references. For the rest of us you can take a colleague out for coffee and offer to write them a reference in exchange. If your primary goal for LinkedIn is to generate leads then position your profile in a way that doesn’t scare off potential clients. Put yourself on the other side of the fence; would you want to do business with someone who has “Cut Throat Sales Tyrant” on their tagline? Neither would I.

o3. Tweak your LinkedIn profile settings. Click on the Accounts & Settings link. Activate the OpenLink Network and ensure that My Public Profile displays your full information. Take Step 2 into consideration and craft your settings around whatever you want to get out of LinkedIn.

o4. Build up your elite clientele. After adding people that you already know you can start adding perfect strangers. Many people advise you to add as many 500+ LinkedIn gurus as possible for the sheer viral effect but I would rather add key industry leaders in my niche and tap into their small network than take the shot gun approach. Quality over quantity folks (after you get past the 30 contact milestone of course).Sometimes it is difficult to get your contacts to forward a referral for you, especially if you want to add someone who is in your 3rd level of contacts. I ended up upgrading to professional and using the InMail feature. You might be able to land lunch with just the right person potentially resulting in a huge account. The $200/yr. price tag doesn’t look so bad after all. You can also search for the individuals e-mail address via Google and make a few guesses if you have to. Add the user to your network and when it asks how you know the individual click “Other” and paste their e-mail address. I have had people e-mail me back asking how I know them. This is the perfect opportunity to strike up the initial conversation which will typically lead to a beautiful business relationship.

o5. Sync your LinkedIn account with Outlook. What many people don’t realize is that once a contact accepts your invitation, you have access to their e-mail address. Go figure! The free LinkedIn toolbar automatically syncs you r Outlook contact information with your LinkedIn account. It will also notify you if one of your colleagues changes jobs on you and leaves you sad and alone.

o6. Maintain your profile and contact requests! We’re all busy people running around like little chickens with our heads chopped off but networking has to be on purpose. Many contacts in my network never update their information. It can be for a variety of reasons but for the most part it is sheer laziness. Keeping your information updated and responding to network requests is a good indication that you’re an organized business professional. If you don’t want to add somebody for whatever reason then decline their request. Some executives won’t add you unless they have physically met with you in person. To each their own I suppose.

o7. Market yourself. It is the information age and we all want to have our information accessible 24x7x365. Everything is digital and if you’re still networking through a Rolodex you need to update your life. Place your LinkedIn profile’s URL on your business cards, in your blog, on your e-mail signature, and for thrill factor you can even tattoo it on your forehead. Other LinkedIn Nazi’s suggest search engine optimization techniques but I find that word of mouth and good ‘ol grassroots marketing does just fine.

o8. Use some common sense. Some LinkedIn users add everybody they can get their grubby little paws on. I’m all for a good amount of contacts but where do you draw the line? Some profiles come across as either severely unprofessional or borderline spam. You don’t want to be one of those guys. Guy Kawasaki only has 223 connections and I’m guessing he could easily be one of those “500+ contact guys”, but he isn’t, and unless you’re ridiculously famous then you shouldn’t be either.

o9. Take advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer. Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. With the Answer’s section in LinkedIn you can easily ask anybody in your network a question and you’ll typically receive great answers. LinkedIn is a great place to post jobs as well. When employees use LinkedIn it gives an employer the option to check references as well as other people in the company that can chime in on the employee’s work ethic. I guess LinkedIn isn’t all smoke and mirrors after all.

1o. Enjoy yourself. So many people view networking as a chore or obligation. Yes, it is an obligation if you want to build a solid framework leading to great business relationships and accounts but it can be fun at the same time. After a few solid hours of productivity I’ll browse LinkedIn for a while and respond to requests and messages. Quit stressing about it, drink your Starbucks, and let LinkedIn seep into your veins.


I would say that SalesForce has always been good to me. As far as CRM tools I give the programmers their due. Why else would Google decide to create a strategic alliance with them? Anyhow I used to be a “lukewarm” SalesForce user. I knew how to do the typical functions such as import mass leads, breeze through AppExchange programs, and complete other mundane tasks but I was surprised when I was reading through some of the tutorials and they said that senior level executives typically run the SalesForce program in its entirety.

The first question I asked myself is why? Why is this an executive level feat? Our VP of Marketing at my last company ran all of the functions of SalesForce to include compiling data, back end programming, and custom Dashboards. I suppose not all companies can afford to hire a SalesForce seasoned kid-whiz to administer this beastly piece of proprietary madness but come on now!

After my 2nd week at my new company I found out that I had the task of heading up the entire SalesForce and SharePoint programs for our office. Ackkk! As I began scrummaging through the disastrous SalesForce console (that the administrators in India wrecked) I realized that I was going to have to become a SalesForce Genie over night. It was almost like the feeling you had when you popped that Game Genie into your NES as you watched Mario fly for the first time and give a Goomba a wet willie simultaneously.

Anyway back to my story…

The administration side of SalesForce is an entirely different beast. Start off by determining where you want to go with the software. How will I get the best bang for my buck? I wrote out all of the metrics that were pertinent to our Marketing and Sales teams and began to build up the Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Opportunities around this. Note: This is not a trivial task but after playing around with the Page Layout anybody with a 5/10 level of computer wizardry should be able to build up a somewhat decent console. The hardest part is over! After completion you will want to build some reports. Mess around with the reporting functions and if you have any trouble swallow your pride and navigate to the SalesForce Help link… it’s amazing what one paragraph of jibberish can teach you nowadays. After building reports navigate to and read up on building your Dashboards from the reports you just created which will include all of your metrics. Wipe off your sweaty forehead, write your SalesForce password on a sticky note (or your trusty Moleskine notebook), and polish off your 3rd double caffeinated Starbucks latte as you make your way to your boss’s desk.

I did it, so can you! Yes you too can become a SalesForce Genie over night. Schmooze your boss. Pretend like you majored in Computer Science, and eat Samoas Girl Scout Cookies to top it all off.

In my journey toward technological stardom I have narrowed my search down to the top 3 mammoth corporations that most closely align with my career goals:

Microsoft, Google, and undoubtedly Apple.

All 3 companies have great training opportunities and pro’s and con’s to each. In my quest to determine where I want to be I did some solid footwork and here are some of the results that I came up with.

Microsoft. Archenemy of all that is open source with the exception of Novell. Microsoft would be my most logical selection. My heart is in the Pacific Northwest already so the transition to Redmond, WA (the primary Microsoft campus) would be painless. Not to mention the regional power that the company possesses. I’m not completely sold on making this transition though? Microsoft is so big that you can get lost at their world-class cafeteria. They have so many resources that I question whether or not their innovative processes are really scalable anymore? I suppose only time will tell.

Google. Archenemy of all that is Microsoft. From a marketing perspective I think that Google is my number one pick. They actually pay attention to what their consumers want and need and create products around this. They embrace the world of open source and make billions upon billions in the process. If I could use one word to describe their company it would definitely be “innovation.” The only con is that their headquarters is in Mountain View, CA. They have a Kirkland, WA campus but marketing functions are currently limited to Program Managers to the best of my knowledge. Start a Product Marketing position in the Emerald City and I’m sold.

Apple. The archenemy of ehh… nobody? Everyone loves Apple. I almost want to get a job as a Mac Genius in their retail stores just for the rights to token the phrase, “Yeah I was just over at the Apple headquarters eating an organic Egg McMuffin with Steve Jobs.” As far as the marketing function of the company, they are centralized in California as well. Not a great place to raise my kids in comparison to Washington.

My primary objective is to build relationships, network with industry leaders, and learn how to be the best Technology Marketing Professional that I can be (I was in the Air Force, not the Army). Afterwards unleashing a start-up on the world would be the next logical step. I suppose there’s not a definite answer to the question posed. All 3 behemoths are special in their own way and you’re left to question which company offers the best opportunity for personal growth?