Top six things about being on the exec floor

Top 5 reasons it's good to be on the executive floorToday is my first day in my new office, which is on the “executive” floor. It’s different than the more marketing-heavy third floor with all its hustle and bustle. So what’s the good part of making the move? Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen I give you the top six (good) things about being on the executive floor.

    6. It’s really quiet. No one wants to be the clown who disturbs all those VPs.
    5. I can look out a window from my office.
    4. You get to sit near some super-smarties: like Chelsea, Ashley, and Julie.
    3. The snack machine is up here AND the soda machine with the Diet Dr. Pepper.
    2. Just by being here people think you’re strategic.

And the top reason to be glad you’re on the VP floor:

    1. The cleanest, least used ladies’ room in the entire campus (there are very few women on this floor).

Utter B.S.

This morning I saw one of the much-maligned tv ads for BP and how sorry they are and how committed they are to fixing the massive oil spill they’ve caused. bp oil spill bird rehabI don’t blame them for trying to control their image (although I don’t think it’s going to work given what they’ve done) but I take major offense at the image on the left. As a person who worked at SeaWorld for almost ten years and spent some time with rescued animals, I can tell you for 100% certain that this image of smiley, happy people surrounded by clean, sudsy birds is utter bullshit. And it infuriates me- and it should infuriate you too.

I’ve worked with a few rescued animals and you know what it’s like? Dirty. D-I-R-T-Y. And back breaking, exhausting, and potentially dangerous. And you know what happens at the end of all that? Most of the time, the rescued animal dies anyway, breaking your heart. The heroes who really do this work all the time operate on the same level as emergency room doctors: no time to get too upset about one loss, since they’ve got dozens more to try and save where that one came from.

I’ll share one personal story to illustrate: one year while I was at SeaWorld there were a number of common dolphins who beached themselves and needed to be rescued. (Right there, that’s heart breaking, right?) At any given time we had between 1-3 beached dolphins being rehabbed to be re-released after they healed. The demand to take care of these animals 24/7 was so great the animal care specialists asked for help from some folks in the education department, which is where I came in. My first shift began at 2 in the morning. I was to don those sexy Helly Hansen yellows and get in the water with this common dolphin (who was having too many problems to stay upright to breathe for himself) and physically walk him around the pool for two hours in the dead of night. As I walked up, I realized the dolphin was really, really sick. Just after I arrived he died – the single most beautiful animal I have ever seen die in front of me. I cried. At two thirty in the morning, the three of us carried this gorgeous dead dolphin out of the pool to the necropsy room to await analysis. (Do you know how heavy dolphins are?) The other two folks I was there with left, and I went back to counting respirations of the remaining rescued dolphins until dawn when the regular animal care team arrived to relieve me. At that time i learned one of the beached baby harbor seals they had rescued had died as well. When I got home I couldn’t eat until I had taken a hot shower, not knowing what sort of bacteria or viruses I had been exposed to in the prior hours.

Please tell me what part of that story sounds like that PR photo above. Add on top of that the death of COUNTLESS dolphins, sea turtles, fish, invertebrates, corals, and more – all the animals I spent ten years of my life teaching kids to value and conserve – it’s an absolute outrage. Maybe it’s time for bike baby, bike.

I got a new job!

As of July 5th I’ll be moving into a new role for me: Sr. Manager of Social Media and Corporate Communications. It’s similar to what I’ve been doing, but on the communications side of the house with more emphasis on direct customer engagement. (Incidentally, that’s the part I love) I’ll also get to work directly for my long-time mentor and with a great team of strong, smart women.

Making this move is bittersweet; I’m getting a great opportunity but I’m leaving behind a team I love and a boss I adore in Seth Greenberg. I’ll still be working in very close collaboration with the team (and my replacement) but it hurts a little to move forward from a group of folks that brings their “A” game to every challenge and yet still supports one another.

Here’s to new challenges and opportunities and rising to meet them!

Kids, there *are* bad ideas

I am tired, ever-so-tired of hearing people say “there is no such thing as a bad idea.” Believe me, there are plenty of bad ideas out there. Plenty. I have no idea how we got to this “I’m okay, you’re okay” place regarding the equal goodness of all ideas but I’m guessing the answer has something to do with New Math. (Thank you, 7o’s)

What’s more interesting to me is what principles can I adhere to ensure the ideas that come out of my mouth don’t suck. Here’s what I’ve got so far… I’d be interested to know what I’m missing here:

  1. Have a strategy. Your strategy should ladder up to the businesses’ strategy. If you do nothing else but refer back to this principle, it would be almost enough.
  2. Stay up on what’s current. If you have a grasp on what’s actually innovative in the here and now,  it’s hard to want to do things that are older just because three years later you finally figured out what you should have done three years ago.
  3. It’s not about you. If social is the “how” you’re using to get business results, it comes with its own set of rules. One of the most important rules is that you are not solving for the application you wish people would like if they all worked at your company, you’re solving for what they actually like. Based on actual behavior you can see and measure in the real world, not what you want it to be.
  4. Know how to build most things yourself. This is my personal opinion based on experience: if you can build even simple applications you will know more intimately how the internet works and what is most important. And you more than likely won’t make an ass of yourself when the time comes to work with real engineers.

What did I miss?