Keeping your ego in check is easier said than done. For a great example of what I mean, consider Jimmy Kimmel’s actions last week, after he delivered an emotional 10-minute-long plea to strengthen gun control laws. “No American citizen needs an M-16, or ten of them,” Kimmel said of the horrific shootings in Las Vegas by a gunman whose weapons purchases broke no laws.
“It’s a public safety issue,” he said of gun control, likening it to the way high-rise fires have recently been addressed.
Kimmel’s message was certainly heard: After all, he has a popular TV slot format as well as social media at his disposal.
And, certainly, having a social media presence — whether you’re a late-night comedian or entrepreneur — can be a huge advantage. If you’re trying to make a positive impact, your message can help people. Moreover, you can hear back from them, address their specific concerns and refine your message, in response.
But social media has its drawbacks, as well. If you’re expressing your opinions online, not a day goes by without someone challenging you, making fun of you or rudely calling you an idiot (check out celebrities reading “Mean Tweets,” also from Jimmy Kimmel).
It doesn’t matter which platform you use: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, even Amazon. There’s always going to be someone who disagrees with some of what you say, and someone who takes things to the next level by adding expletives or attempting to invalidate your core mission — even your very personhood.
Of course, we’re all human: The first thing we want is to do attack back and explain our position! Or . . . flip the other person off, as Jimmy Kimmel did.
Kimmel’s emotional pleas
Kimmel has a large platform, due to his successful late-night show, his massive online following and the goodwill he’s earned in Hollywood and with the public at large. The guy can attract A-list celebrities to participate in his comedic sketches, often making light of their real-life selves. But the comedy was put on pause recently when Kimmel’s own life and political philosophy became the topic of his opening monologue — twice.
In fact it was unexpected to see him choke up during those monologues twice within the span of a month while he tackled sensitive issues (the first revolving around universal health care, after his infant son was born with a heart defect — the second being the Las Vegas tragedy).
Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s perfectly okay to be candid. If anything, being transparent is a welcome sight in our culture, where people are often discouraged from revealing what they’re truly thinking or feeling.
Moreover, with gun control, Kimmel addressed an issue that definitely needs addressing. The event in Las Vegas — Kimmel’s hometown — was horrendous, and we’re all feeling the same pain, regardless of what side of the gun debate we’re on. But sadly, it was only a matter of time before someone with a point of view different from Kimmel’s came along to take advantage of his crying on national television.
What happened next was a poster campaign in which a street artist calling himself Sabo depicted “Cry Baby Kimmel” with rather biting images he scattered around West Hollywood. Biting images are something that Kimmel, as a public figure, is no stranger to, since he does the same thing to other people night after night. Comedians often take jabs at politicians and entertainers, so one would expect a thick skin.
But what happened next was that Kimmel responded — big-time. He had himself photographed sitting in front of one of the posters giving “the finger.” He then gave the photo to the Hollywood Reporter.
And here’s where a lesson for entrepreneurs angry at their own detractors lies.
In short, striking back at negative comments and posts can be a dangerous game. In Kimmel’s case, he was able to take this renegade artist’s work and use it to further promote his political position, in this case the gun-control website Every Town for Gun Safety.
He also did it in a way that was provocative and authentic to his voice and brand.
But, if you’re not Jimmy Kimmel with the resources he has at his command, such a response can backfire if you don’t do it thoughtfully and purposely. It can make you look overly defensive and unprofessional.
Let’s face it, you’re running businesses, not a late night talk show.
So, as an entrepreneur, how do you respond to detractors?
Whenever you address your own audience, remember that for the most part, you’re preaching to the choir. Your fans are a self-selecting group, so it’s probable that most of them share your political views. On the other hand, you cannot change the minds of your detractors as much as you think. If anything, you are likely to cause them to defend their position more fervently. This is especially true if you belittle an argument or misrepresent it to make your own point.
For entrepreneurs, I don’t see a huge benefit in making an official response the way Kimmel did, where the possibility exists for a huge downside. When you lead with emotion, you open yourself up to an unavoidable flurry of attacks. And, that’s not the end of the world. But when you respond in the same manner, you give credibility to your opponents, and in the process, the focus on your issue — in this case, gun control — may be lost.
So, how do you fight back against an uncouth attack on your person and your core values? Here are some thoughts.
My advice is to do what you have to do to make yourself walk away from those potentially damaging digital devices. Decide that you are going to “sleep on it,” or write a letter to yourself and then throw it away. Find a way to avoid being dragged into an unproductive squabble that is only going to generate more resentment.
This is incredibly hard to do. Nobody said it was easy. But if you manage it, you will soon find that the attacks have no power over you. You’ve already stated your point of view and your message is out there, so there is no need to sacrifice your credibility to the other side of the argument by engaging.
We all are sensitive to our feelings and we don’t like it when someone attacks us. No matter how popular or successful we are, it’s always going to hurt! But if we truly want to lend credence to our views, we have to learn to take the high road. I still remember the Amazon reviewer who said a cheeseburger was more filling than the first edition of my book One Simple Idea. At the time I was annoyed. Looking back, I now find the comments funny as hell.
Fighting back with silence is a much bigger statement, because it shows you are confident in your position. It also makes it clear that you care about the issue, but you are above the bickering. Your statement can stand on its own two feet, without your having to resort to insult in order to defend it. You will not change anyone’s position by arguing.
Besides, in most situations, your followers will come to your defense, so you don’t have to say a word, and you’ll look like the bigger man.
Thank you, Jimmy Kimmel, for this very important lesson! With any luck, President Trump is reading this article, as well.
Unilever Turns Up the Heat on Facebook & Google Over Tech’s ‘Unintended Consequences’
Unilever has issued a stern warning to digital platforms including Facebook, Google, and YouTube: do more to improve transparency and clean up the “swamp” of fake news, exploitative, and socially divisive content, or be cut off from its multi-billion dollar digital advertising budget.
CMO Keith Weed recently spoke at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting held in Palm Desert, Calif. CNBC quotes him as saying, “We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there’s some unintended consequences that now need addressing.”
Two of the most important consequences being referred to include the threatening of safety of users, especially young children, and loss of trust by consumers and companies at large.
While it’s unlikely that Unilever will turn its back on the two largest digital platforms, Weed’s words matter because of the sheer amount of ad budget Unilever holds across its portfolio brands. MediaPost reports that in 2017, the company spent approximately $9.8 billion on marketing and advertising, a quarter of which went to digital.
Beyond the public denouncements, Unilever is also working with IBM to develop a blockchain with which the company can more effectively reduce ad fraud via a record of what media is purchased and how it is delivered.
A separate MediaPost article shares YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s response to Weeds comments on Monday. In her own statement at Recode’s Code Media conference, she assured,
“We want to do the right set of things to build [Unilever’s] trust. They are building brands on YouTube, and we want to be sure that our brand is the right place to build their brand.”
Recent efforts we’ve seen in support of this include significant updates to its Creator Program policy. Further, in light of the recent Logan Paul controversy involving a video in which a suicide victim was filmed inside a Japanese forest, the company has suspended running ads on his channel, per Ad Age.
While brand safety is a concern on the minds of many marketers, Unilever’s public comments this week indicate that brands are viewing the issue with a much broader lens, and seriously questioning the role these platforms play in people’s everyday lives, beyond the world of advertising. In this important cultural moment, people are looking to brands and platforms to assume responsibility and be proactive to keep their spaces safe, trustworthy, and suitable for communities.
To further explore the overarching question of how technology, including digital platform giants, can be used to bring us closer together versus further apart, join us at SMWNYC April 24-27. Register today and save 20%.
Facebook’s Next Step in Building Community: $10M in Grants
Facebook has made several important announcements as of late the support its mission to create more “meaningful communities.” The latest? Investment in a newly announced Community Leadership program designed to support its community-building leaders through a variety of residency and fellowship opportunities that offer training, support, and funding.
Here’s how it will work: Facebook will name five “community leaders in residence” and provide up to $1 million each to fund their proposals, in addition to providing them with the opportunity to attend a customized leadership development training session.
Moreover, Facebook will select 100 individuals to join its fellowship program and receive up to $50,000 each for a “specific community initiative.” They’ll also participate in four in-person gatherings during which they will have the chance to meet and collaborate with other fellows.
Another key initiative in the works? Expanding Facebook’s “engineering team for community safety,” which is headquartered in London. In particular, the company hopes to double the number of employees focused on such efforts including detecting and stopping fake accounts, protecting people from harm (e.g harassment and scams), and making it easier to report content, by the end of 2018.
Further, Facebook outlined new tools for group admins, including page personalization options (e.g. color and the ability to pin announcements to the top of the page), the ability to create and share group rules; and more features to monitor Group Insights.
Outside of its Communities Summit, but along the theme of ensuring time on the platform is time well spent, the company also confirmed last week it was testing a downvote button that would allow users to provide feedback on comments in particular. The downvote button is being tested within a limited group of U.S. users for the time being.
This is not to be confused with a “dislike” button, but rather a more “lightweight way for people to provide a signal to Facebook that a comment is inappropriate, uncivil, or misleading”—this according to a Facebook spokesperson quoted in TechCrunch.
Here is what the button looks like in action:
As the screenshot depicts, the user will have the ability to select whether the post was found to be “offensive,” “misleading,” or “off topic,” the choices aimed to help guide Facebook’s course of action with respect to the particular piece of feedback.
Forbes adds that, the downvote option in its test mode only applies to public posts as opposed to Group posts or the Pages of public figures. It also doesn’t affect the ranking of the post and the number of downvotes a post gets won’t be publicly shared.
These initiatives by Facebook to reverse some of the negative perceptions of its role in society come at a critical time as brands and citizens alike are putting more and more pressure on the world’s leading tech platforms to course-correct their products for the safety of their users. Just this week, Unilever threatened to yank ad dollars from Facebook and Google due to the company’s growing dissatisfaction with their overall impact on society.
“We cannot have an environment where our consumers don’t trust what they see online,” stated Unilever CMO, Keith Weed, to the BBC.
Learn about Facebook’s increasingly complex role in society by joining SMWNYC April 24-27. The conference will offer multiple sessions designed to explore where brands and platforms fit into tech’s future in our world. Register today to secure your pass.
5 Ways Cryptocurrency Can Help Entrepreneurs in 2018
Cryptocurrency has revolutionized the way we transact value, invest our savings and raise capital with its decentralised digital cash system. Blockchain technology is a once-in-a-lifetime invention; never before in history have we been presented with such a breakthrough in financial technology. In 2018, entrepreneurs are well positioned to become early adopters of blockchain technology.
1. Raising capital
Cryptocurrency has disrupted the way early stage companies raise capital. With initial coin offerings, startups around the world can raise money quickly and cheaply from a wide pool of global investors. The valuation of a company is almost immediately reflected by the market, a process that has traditionally been challenging for early stage businesses. Shares are issued as tokens and tradable almost immediately, bringing large amounts of liquidity to the company.
This new approach to raising capital has changed the world and enabled the best technical talent to build their companies at high speed. In 2014, a teenager from Canada called Vitalik Buterin raised money for his startup, Ethereum, through an initial coin offering. He wanted to improve on Bitcoin’s blockchain and create a platform for people to build unstoppable applications. With just a whitepaper and a vision, he was able to successfully raise $18 million for his new blockchain, which was valued at over $100 billion as of January 2018.
2. Transacting value
Cryptocurrency enables us to transact value between peers without a centralized authority. It provides a cheaper, faster and more efficient alternative to traditional payment networks. As a company, accepting cryptocurrency payments is becoming increasingly efficient, saving on fees and bringing faster settlement. Soon, startups will no longer need to go through the long process of setting up a business bank account to receive and distribute funds. In 2014, Overstock.com became the first retailer to accept bitcoin, receiving over 800 orders worth $126,000 in bitcoin in the first 22 hours. It has since amassed a $403,000 portfolio of cryptocurrency.
3. Investing for the future
For entrepreneurs, cryptocurrency may be the investment opportunity of a lifetime. Never before in history have retail investors had investment access to high growth early stage companies. Traditionally, venture capital funds and private angel investors have held monopolies on access to investment in the world’s best technical talent. Cryptocurrency provides a gateway for anyone in the world to invest in the world’s most exciting technology, allowing retail investors to own a basket of high growth companies. For example, through the decentralized method of blockchain investment, teenager Erik Finnman was able to invest in Bitcoin in 2011, becoming a Bitcoin millionaire at age 18. These types of investment stories would not be possible with traditional private venture capital fundraising.
4. Developing on the blockchain
The blockchain offers powerful infrastructure for companies to run their technology and create entirely new business models in a trusted way without a centralized authority. Blockchain technology is already revolutionizing the way startups create value. The Ethereum platform allows companies to build unstoppable blockchain applications quickly and for free. One example of a company leveraging the Ethereum blockchain is OmiseGO, a payments company that is using blockchain to provide banking services for the world’s 2 billion unbanked population. Blockchain technology is a cost-efficient way of building decentralized applications that can scale to a global population.
5. Joining the blockchain community
The blockchain community offers access to some of the world’s best entrepreneurs, who are actively investing, advising and building upon the blockchain. Telegram, Facebook, WeChat, Slack and WhatsApp groups have proved popular in building communities of decentralized blockchain investors who can communicate with each other on a daily basis. Many large investments in early stage technology companies can be coordinated within minutes, a process that would traditionally take months in traditional venture capital. For example, in 2017, Brave’s Basic Attention Token sale sold out of its $35 million offering within 30 seconds. The blockchain community offers a strong sense of purpose with all members committed to a common goal of advancing blockchain technology to global adoption.
Cryptocurrency provides a platform for entrepreneurs to raise capital quickly, cheaply and efficiently. Entrepreneurs can transact value through the blockchain at high speed with limited setup costs and invest in high growth technology companies at an early stage. Platforms like Ethereum allow entrepreneurs to build decentralized applications to a global audience for free. The blockchain community offers access to some of the top entrepreneurs, engineers and investors in the world and in 2018, cryptocurrency will continue to provide a viable means for entrepreneurs to create value in the world.
7 Ways to Get Recruiters and Job Offers to Come to You
“You are your own brand, and you need to build that brand and promote it as much as possible. It is important that you start building your brand online, because this is where employers are going to be looking for potential employees,” suggests Dima Midon, an expert from TrafficBox. Use all of the online tools at your disposal, particularly LinkedIn, which is a professional network that allows you to really promote yourself as a professional, and someone who is an expert in your field. This is a great tool for job seekers. Make sure that you keep your profile up to date, especially when it comes to contact information, so when an employer searches you, they will be able to contact you if they are interested in learning more.
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