Stepping up to the mic. Well, the headset, actually.

May 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve taken the plunge and quietly launched a podcast. This is my first time as host of my own show on I’ve been fortunate to be a guest on several podcasts in the past, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely so I figured why not?

For this first time out I discuss two of my staples: the Awful-to-Awesome scale and The Everest Question. For future shows I hope to do less monologues and more interviews. I’ll be foraging for interesting entrepreneurs who have built personal brands based on …unusual blends of skills, unique visions, driving passions and more. I hope you’ll check out this and future shows.

Right Brain resurgent

April 15, 2010 § 6 Comments

So where are the posts, David? Yes friends, I’ve been a little delinquent in my writing, but inspired today by a post written by the awesome Fabeku, I decided to just show up.

Now I don’t want you to think I’ve been idle in my absence. I’ve actually been putting out a fair amount of content, but it has been of a more whimsical and decidedly visual bent. I’ve been a doodling fiend. If you’re interested you can check out the magic marker output (along with the occasional picture shot on the go from my phone) by visiting my posterous at

I’ve been enjoying this resurgence of my creativity, and frankly a little nervous about ramping up the degree to which I show the world my soft and silly side, but the fact is I preach authenticity in branding, and by gum I mean to practice it as well. (and how often do you get to say “by gum”?) I expect that the current flood of doodle inspiration will abate a bit over time, but it has been bottled up for a while and it feels good to let the drawings flow and not get too judgmental about them. I’ve picked some fairly humble materials to work with too: basically I’ve been drawing on 4″ x 6″ blank index cards and mostly using Sharpies, pens and highlighters. Sometimes I’ll use nicer art markers too – the highlighter palette is a bit limited. I keep it all on the desk so I can take my doodle breaks, scan them and tweet them to the world. So far, the world hasn’t complained, and I’m grateful for that.

I’m also cooking up a new website for Equation Arts. It’s not quite done yet, but I think it will be a better expression of who I am. Here’s a hint of things to come:
There will also be a lot of the color orange ( I love orange), and some crossover doodles will make their appearance there as well.

I hope that people who connect with me know that I’m a big believer that we all have something special to offer the world and each other, but sometimes we find ourselves framed in the wrong context – that “something special” ends up hidden, muffled, suppressed – unable to shine. So the new website is for me a shift in context toward something more authentic. I hope you’ll stick with me through the transition. Thanks! And remember…

Looking for work? Get fired!

March 17, 2010 § 4 Comments

These days I’m often asked to speak to career groups. There are a lot of folks in transition these days and many have never experienced a job climate quite like the one they find themselves in today. It’s a tough spot. One piece of advice that I often hear given to job seekers is to treat the job search like a job: set goals, have a plan, give yourself a quota of activity to accomplish daily, and don’t fall into a rut of inactivity. All good sound advice, but there is one vital piece missing: this is not a job you want, in fact this is a job from which you want to be fired!

Getting fired?! It’s appalling, embarrassing, humiliating… unless it is getting fired from the job of being an “A” Number One Unemployed Job Seeker. There’s nothing humiliating about losing that job title. So what do you do when you’re TRYING to get fired? Well naturally, you break some rules. But you don’t just break them quiet-like – you make some noise, you call attention to yourself. If you want to get fired you have to get noticed. Get noticed breaking the rules.

There is a dangerous rhythm that the job seeker can fall into: a cycle of online searching, sending resumes, filling out application forms, and visiting career groups. It can feel like a job, it can feel like progress, but if you’re not getting results it’s not progress. Break the rules, change the pattern. Get noisy. Start a blog, become a twitter networker, pick an issue in your industry that you care about and take a stand, do it vocally, don’t be benign. Instead of standing in line at the career fair, break the rules – organize your own event. Instead of waiting to get the sales job, break the rules – bring your target company a customer – you’ll get some attention, bring them 3 and you’ll get hired.

These days being good at what you do, being qualified and experienced are only enough to get you the opportunity to stand in line. It’s not differentiation, it’s another resume in the pile. Get out of line, break the rules, find another door, or a whole new line. These are risky times to play it safe. Get passionate, get creative, and by all means when it comes to the job of job seeking, get fired.

Another Diva Toolbox article and a few questions

February 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

I had a nice chat with Janet Powers yesterday – Janet is the Diva extraordinaire behind Diva Toolbox™, a site which has been gracious enough to post a few of my scribblings – the latest being The Title That Used To Be Your Brand. Janet shared with me some of the stats on my past articles and asked if I might be interested in joining their growing family of podcasters under the umbrella of Diva Toolbox Radio (a BlogTalkRadio partnership).

I love the Diva Toolbox™ motto: “Within you lies the ability to do anything. Find it.” I think it is a great thought for everyone. The mission of Diva Toolbox™ is to “empower, educate, and entertain women”, but that is a message for men and women alike. I’m delighted that according to Janet my posts have been well received in the almost entirely female Diva community so I’m strongly considering taking her up on the podcast concept, but I feel that what I do here isn’t exclusively for one gender, nor would my content necessarily change for the audience.

Since you know I’m an advocate for listening to your community and asking for feedback on your brand my questions to my readers of this blog are: Would you like to not just read, but listen to some of my ideas too? And if so, do you think the Diva Toolbox would be a good vehicle for that conversation? Please tweet me @davidscohen or post a comment with your thoughts. Thanks!

A visit with The Passionate Entrepreneur

February 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

I recently had a great time visiting with Kenneth Brown, The Passionate Entrepreneur. Ken is a multi-media machine so I was delighted when he invited me for an interview session on his BlogTalkRadio podcast. You can check it out here:

I’ve actually been considering giving the BlogTalkRadio format a try, perhaps even doing some live “Brand Therapy” sessions to give listeners some insights into what I call the Whole Brand ThinkingTM process. I’d love to hear from you if you like the idea, or if you think you might be interested in being the subject of such a session.

ACS Young Professionals – Personal Branding Talk

February 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Be a Beacon – speech for ACS Young Professionals (mp3)

Had a great time meeting with everybody at the American Cancer Society’s Young Professionals – Professional Advancement Series last Thursday. I made a ninja recording with my Livescribe Pulse pen so please forgive the audio quality. The whole thing is about an hour long. Big thanks to Rachael Kaplan for bringing me in and to all the good folks who made me feel so welcome.

Getting down to fundamentals – making Brand Therapy more accessible

January 30, 2010 § 4 Comments

In the last couple of years I’ve found myself steering more of my time, attention and business towards something I’m very passionate about: that is helping people to get a handle on the things that they have to offer that are truly different, special and valuable, and then helping them to connect with a community, a market, an audience that values the very difference they bring. Then we work on how to tell the story so that those who value what you have to offer don’t miss you or overlook you because you haven’t made that story prominent or clear enough. I want everybody to have the opportunity to do more of the work that they are excited about – the work that stirs up their energy, that taps their skills and brings out their best. That also means I’d like to liberate them from having too much of their time filled with the work that they are just adequate at – the stuff you say yes to because you need to pay your bills or because you’re too polite to say no, but it’s not the stuff that gets you jazzed, the stuff that taps into your particular flavor of awesome.

I think that words can help people steer their vehicle away from the merely adequate (or worse yet, the suppressed and oppressed) and get on a course toward the awesome. But the words don’t just drop out of the air. It takes introspection, it takes reflection, it takes a search for patterns, habits, values and often a process of giving yourself permission to change. In my personal branding practice I help people through all of that, and then I capture the words that become the identifier, the entry point to make brand connections. It’s an intensive process, in fact that’s where the term brand therapy came from – I didn’t make that one up, it was one of my clients who said it first, but I loved it – it stuck. And you know what? I LOVE MY JOB! But I can’t work with everybody. There isn’t enough time, and I realize that unlike a big corporation, individuals be they business people, freelancers, artists, entertainers, coaches, consultants, or folks in career transition, aren’t all going to be in a position to enlist the one-on-one attention of their own personal brand therapist.

I’ve decided that this year I want to develop some offerings that are more accessible – entry points, if you will, that will allow more people than I could reach one-on-one to explore the concepts behind branding and learn how they can apply them to their own goals, businesses, and talents. I’ve got a few things in production that I will be releasing over the course of the year, but the first offering is a teleseminar: Personal Branding Fundamentals: Be a Beacon. In this three session class I will explore the fundamentals of personal branding, go over why and how the Internet has changed your opportunities and some of the risks of sitting on the fence, and then we will dive into the Beacon Principles to give you a foundation for effectively restating your personal brand. If you’ve been struggling with how to tell your story, if you know you’ve got something great to offer the world, but aren’t getting recognized for the value you could bring, then I hope you will consider beginning the process of exploring your foundation and clarifying your message. You can’t just aspire to reach your dreams. You’re going to have to perspire too.

And remember, when you shine you make it easier for all those around you to shine too.


January 27, 2010 § 2 Comments

Well I suppose this is either apropos or ironic coming on the heels of my screed about divas, but I am just tickled and flattered that the fabulous Laurie Foley asked me to be her guest – her first guest, mind you – for her new podcast series called Conversations with Smart People. Perhaps that means I’m the mold that ought to be broken, but I’m going to take it as a huge compliment. One thing I know for sure is that conversations with Laurie are always fun, engaging and thought provoking. So who’s the smartie-pants now?

Keep shining!

We’re all divas now

January 23, 2010 § 2 Comments

No, not the cranky, whiney, spoiled, unreasonable cliché kind of diva, but more the self-empowered, in touch with your talents, no false modesty, make sure they don’t miss what you’re great at, lift everybody by sharing your talents kind of diva. Calling yourself a diva is a bold way of declaring your permission to be active in your personal branding. That kind of diva isn’t throwing tantrums, she’s too busy bringing her best to the audience that loves her for it. That diva knows her context and knows how to differentiate within it.

So why the talk of divas all of a sudden? Where did the bunnies go? Well I won’t kid you, Diva Toolbox picked up my article: Don’t build a personal brand on what you’re merely good at… and that put divas on the brain, and I take my metaphors where I find them. :)

Don’t be shy about your talents. If you can hit the C above high C then you owe it to the world to show us. That’s as true of your superpower as it is of anyone else’s.

I4U Newsletter Ends – Sign of Things to Come or a Last Gasp?

January 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Like many of you out there, I have a bit of technolust. I like gadgets. I own a modest collection of tech gear, and I have a drawer full of retired power cords and adapters, but more to the point, I like to be in the know about the new stuff. The gizmos and thingamajigs that push the envelope or hint at cool features that might just become mainstream. Of course most don’t, but that is part of what makes it interesting. So for these reasons one of the few newsletter that I used to look forward to appearing in my email inbox was the eye-jolting green missive put together by Luigi Lugmayr & company over at I4U. It was a newsletter that did a great job of sticking to their mission – they brought you the new stuff. It felt more informative than sales-y. Like I might actually have the jump on other nerdy friends when it came to discussion of cool new laptops or innovative portable electronics. Well imagine my surprise when instead of their usual array of thumbnails of interesting gadgets I received this note:

Hello I4U News Readers,

This is our last weekly I4U Newsletter. We feel that email newsletters have had there time and are not the preferred way anymore to receive our news.
Thank you for being a subscriber and I hope you will continue to read I4U News for you daily technology news and shopping tips.

Please consider to follow us on Twitter and subscribing to our RSS feed.

I mean what’s going on here? The company is continuing on, but the newsletter is going away? Is this a sign of new marketing truths from a progressive company that has always had it’s eye on the future? Or is this a last gasp of a failed campaign? Perhaps they got the reach, but couldn’t convert the readers, or maybe the readers simply stopped opening it because we’re all so flooded these days with a zillion more newsletters than ever before.

So why do I care, and why should you? It’s not because I thought that this newsletter was cool – that’s too subjective. It’s the mystery that gets me. It doesn’t cost much to put out an e-newsletter, especially if you’re already aggregating the content for other purposes, which is exactly what I4U does. So it’s cheap to produce, and VERY measurable. That’s something we like in the marketing department. That’s why there is such a glut of newsletters heading your way everyday. We get to measure what happens: we know what gets opened, we know if you click, and if we’ve planned our landing pages right we know if that click led to a conversion. These things make a marketer get up early in the morning with a big smile, because what you measure you can tune.

But I4U is throwing in the towel on its newsletter contender. How low does the threshold of response have to dip to make the superior measurement ability not worth the effort? Have they found equal or better measurement through Twitter and RSS? I want to know and unless you’ve got unlimited time and resources for your marketing department, you should want to know too.