5 rules to live by at a new job

November 7, 2008

1. Never under estimate anyone (they can probably teach you a few things).

Throughout my career I’ve learned from everyone.  Of course you’ll learn from the CEO, the COO, and the CMO.  I mean keeping your eyes and ears open, and learning from everyone around you.  I learned a great lesson from our office manager Michele Burke during my years at Epic Advertising, back when it was still AzoogleAds. Michele has the uncanny ability to bring levity to any situation.  When we first started at AzoogleAds, Chris Mentzer, Brett Lofgren and Myself sat in close proximity. The beginning days at AzoogleAds were uncertain, and stress filled.  When things would heat up, Michele would invariably walk over from her station at the front desk to pick something up from the printer and make a comment in some new accent she’d just created, getting everyone to crack up.  

Life’s short – laugh a little.  Thanks for that lesson Michele.

2. Listen

Recently I read a book that offered a great note on interrupting people.  In the book the author stated that when you interrupt someone, you’re indicating you think what you have to say is more important than what the person speaking is saying.  Listening is how we learn.  Listening and truly hearing is how we can be a better friend, colleague, husband.  The more I listen to the team at Miva, I guarantee the more successful the entire team will be.  I’m certain that the harder I listen, the more nuances about the business will arise.  I’m dying to dig in and hear what everyone has to say.

3. Speak the truth

I’m obsessed with business audio books.  Because I spend a great deal of my time on metro north commuting to and from the city, it’s my preferred method of entertainment/self improvement. My eyes are usually too tired to read (after staring at a computer screen all day).  I also find that I can plow through a few books a week this way.  Recently I was listening to a book that discusses six sigma. The essence of six sigma is – be truthful in business.  Analyzing your company from a point of truth is invaluable. Understanding the reality of any situation is the only way you improve. Embracing your situation, addressing any issues head on, and moving forward is the only way you grow. We must be truthful to ourselves, our loved ones and our colleagues.

4. Write lucid succinct memos

I struggle with this one, but it helps a great deal. Resist the temptation to ramble. That’s what blogs, and friends are for.  When communicating with your colleagues/bosses write as succinctly as possible.  Don’t complain, don’t waif.  Get to the point, offer solutions. Your colleagues will love you for it.  Their time is just as valuable as yours.  Don’t assume that they need to hear about how you took a full week to aggregate the information your sending. Just tell them what the information is, how it can be leveraged to help make their life easier, and hit the send button.  

5. Compete fair and square

There’s no room for game playing in business.  Some people approach business with a war room mentality. I understand the parallels, but that this doesn’t make it acceptable to cut corners. Give people the opportunity to be fair, and truthful and they will be.  Articulate that you are open to hearing about truth and that you reward good work.  Fairness will become a part of your corporate culture.

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When Google said NO, discovering opportunity out of adversity.

March 14, 2007

About 5 months before Google went public, I had a very interesting experience. I had been working at AGA, a creative design agency that develops catalogs brochures etc. AGA is a great company, and I loved working there. I had just come back from a phenomenal year in London that had been hugely successful for me as well as the AGA. I came back thinking I could conquer the world (in my mind I had).

My first order of business when I got back to NY was to get my life back in order, and try to recapture the life I had before I went to London.

That wasn’t going to happen. Things got better! I met my (now) wife Laura!

Things were looking great for me. I was at a job I loved, met a great girl, and I had just started interviewing at GOOGLE! Wow! I thought I was a shoe-in. Three years earlier I had worked in the interactive space at a company called Mediaplex. I yearned for those glory days of the Internet. I missed the face paced environment, and the speed of light business that occur ed. I have a Masters of Science in Direct Marketing from New York University, international sales experience, and all the confidence in the world!

I spent a long time preparing for my interviews, and thought that each time I met with the team at Google, that I was certainly going to get the job offer. There was even a series of odd coincidences that I thought pointed directly to my getting an offer. I ran into an old college friend at my first interview (actually DURING the interview)!

I was sitting with the HR person, when her paper blew off her desk (they had a great deck at the former Google offices). When I got up to get the paper I saw my friend! She was just as shocked to see me, as I her! We exchanged pleasantries, and she wished me luck! WOW! If they highered Meghan McGarry, and she and I went to the same school, Loyola College in Maryland (even if only for a semester, because she transferred to the University of Connecticut)! Well… this was EASY!!

Not so fast. I had just started the arduous task of numerous interviews at Google. They don’t get the creme of the crop for nothing. They take their time, review, and review, and review. They taped my sales calls with them to analyze my pitch. This was not easy for me. I felt as if I had been “out of the game” for a bit. The sales process at AGA was much slower, and things were NOT closed over the phone. I was the king of face to face meetings.

After my first few interviews, I even found out that the woman that had been organizing all of my interviews at Google (Sandy Feigenbaum) was a college friend of my wife Laura! At the time Laura and I had just started dating, were in the midst of falling madly in love, and I had mentioned her to Sandy on more than one occasion (before I even knew that they knew each other)! Another odd cooincidence in my favor!!

Long story short, after 7 interviews, two taped over the phone (apparently the final taped call was a tie breaker between myself and another candidate), I was not offered the job.

This was the BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY CAREER!

If I had not been turned down by Google, I would have not been where I am today. Currently I am the Director of Sales, Northeast Region at Azoogleads, Inc.

I have had such a phenomenal time at Azoogleads. I was the 3rd person to be highered in the NY office, and we currently have close to 40 people in that same office! My thoughts are always on the positive, and my life is abundant. For a long time, I held onto negative feelings about my experience with Google. Now I can look back, and say that they had made the right decision. Before coming to Azoogleads, I made a brief stop at Responsys. I was selling software, and was working from home for a short period of time. I grew tremendously during that job, and I feel that I needed to mature as a business person. I have been lucky to have met the people I have since my Google experience, and I hope that this story can inspire others that may not see the “silver lining” of a seemingly bad situation.

Have a great day everyone!

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought”
-Buddha