Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The importance of establishing a personal brand

One thing that has become abundantly clear to me in conversations with colleagues and in my readings of books like The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman [Link] and The Rise of The Creative Class by Richard Florida [Link] is that the nature of work is changing. People are contracting their services more often. When people are hired as employees they are staying with employers for a shorter period of time. By its very nature work is becoming more transient. This greatly amplifies the need to market yourself and set yourself apart in a market where you want to have something unique to offer. If you do not do this you are in danger of becoming a commodity and believe this, you do not want to become a commodity. Both Friedman and Florida note this and my own non-scientific observations confirm this. In my conversation with the students in SJSU Professor Cynthia McCune's [Link to profs blog] class  [Link to podcast of class, 16.5 MB MP3 File] I am not convinced students see or understand this. One of the worst things to be in a global economy is a commodity. People buy commodities based on the concept of who is selling cheapest. To stand apart from commodities students need to be aware of the importance of establishing their own brand. This is something folks like Scoble [Link], Steve [Link] and Dan [Link] Gillmor and so many others understand intuitively. Students today need to establish a unique brand and identity before they enter the workforce. Computers, and the Internet, provides people with powerful tools to establish a personal brand with a global presense. If you do not do this, and plan to leave it to your future employers to brand you, they will. They will assign you a number and that number will be as unique as you get to be.

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