Archive for August, 2008

In 1996, while working for Aspect Development in Silicon Valley, I met M.R. Rangaswami*. He had made a few bucks on IPO’s as a marketing executive and left his job in industry to become an “Angel” investor. He was also a strategic advisor to Aspect Development and since I was the Chief Marketing Officer, M.R. graced my presence with strategic advice on a regular basis.

    M.R. Rangaswami

In case you’re not familiar with the term, Angels are individual investors who often fund start-ups before professional venture capitalists arrive on the scene. Since they are putting up their own money, based on their “street knowledge,” they are considered a great source of insight to potentially lucrative investments.

M.R. also founded The Sandhill Group (named after the famous street in Palo Alto that is considered the home of venture capital), to provide advice and structure for other private investors.

I am happy to report that his website, sandhill.com, featured an excerpt from Career Secret Sauce this morning – The Starting Salary Game. This piece has some very important inside secrets to keep you from hurting your career through reckless salary negotiations.

Please check it out at http://www.sandhill.com/opinion/daily_blog.php?id=65, and while you’re there look around and maybe you can discover the next google!


* M.R. Rangaswami is co-founder of Sand Hill Group and publisher of SandHill.com. He has held global VP marketing positions at Baan Company, Avalon Software, and Oracle Corporation. M.R. was profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and has been named in Forbes’ “Midas 100 List” as one of the most influential investors in technology


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First, let me thank everyone who purchased Career Secret Sauce: 9 Winning Strategies for Building a Great Career over the past two weeks.  As a first time author, it’s really encouraging to see people respond to your message with their credit cards!

Based on bookstore reviews, personal emails, and conversations I’ve had with many of you, it is clear that people are buying multiple copies of the book to give to someone else.

Not just anyone else, they are giving the book to young people who are either still in college or starting their careers. It could be a child or relative. Interestingly, several people have told me that they bought multiple copies to give out as “Good Bye Gifts” to their summer interns (what a great idea).

I can also tell you that the young people I’ve talked to, who have read the book, tell me two things. First, they tell me how busy they are with school, summer, whatever, and that they plan to read the book soon.  The second thing they tell me, after they finally get around to reading the book, is that they really like it.

They tell me stories about things they’re going to change immediately as a result of reading the book.  And the funniest thing they say is that they wish they’d read the book when they were younger (imagine that, having regrets of your youth at the tender age of 21).

So, that motivated me to do a few things to make it easier for you to get young people to actually read the book and get more copies into more young hands.

The Career Secret Sauce Video (turn on the volume)

It turns out that young people these days, particularly those who are buried in schoolwork, have very little “bandwidth” for reading another book — even if it could change their future for the better.

Instead, they spend their limited free time on Facebook, other “social networks,” or simply texting each other talking about what they’re doing or something cool they just found on the Internet.

So this You Tube video is a way to reach out to them in the world they live in. More importantly, it’s a way to motivate them to crack open one more book that could shape their future.

Please forward this email, or simply the You Tube link, to everyone you know — both young and old. Folks my age probably have lots of young people in their lives that would benefit greatly from this message.

Finally, it looks like amazon.com has been offering great pricing on the book ($13.57 as of this morning). That said, I think people who want to buy bundles for family or work related gifts should get an even bigger break.

If you visit the publisher’s web site holtkampandleger.com, you’ll see that they’ve created a special bundled price of $119 for an order of ten books ($11.90/copy).

Hopefully this will make your generosity more affordable.







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It should be of little surprise that School of Rock is one of my favorite movies. There’s a part in the movie when one of the kids asks the Ned Schneebly imposter (Jack Black’s) if “they’re going to fool around all year?”

Jack’s reply is something like “We’re not fooling around, we’re making rock and roll; one great rock song can change the world.”

I’m not sure if a great rock performance can really change the world, but I can tell you that one great presentation can change your career!

It happened to me in 1992 while I was at Computervision. Parametric Technology was cleaning our clock and the sales force was demoralized. The CEO had an itchy trigger finger and sales managers were dropping like flies.

I was heading up marketing for North America and my boss, Dave Lemont, decided to throw a big sales meeting in Fort Lauderdale to teach the sales force “the new formula” for beating Parametric Technology.

Unfortunately, that was as far as he got, then he turned it over to me fill in the gaps! There’s a lot written about this meeting in Career Secret Sauce; 9 Winning Strategies for Building a Great Career and I recommend reading it, but suffice it to say, this presentation changed my career.

In a nutshell, I spent most of the time telling the demoralized sales force real stories about how their fellow sales warriors had beaten the evil empire. Don’t get me wrong, there weren’t a lot, but there were enough to create a good session.

I also took advantage of a very skilled subordinate named Linda Walters, who created great looking presentation materials that could be used by the sales people in customer meetings.

Although most everyone left the meeting pumped up, it was too late to save Computervision. Within a year, I had moved on to greener pastures and so had most of the people who sat through my presentation. From a personal perspective, this turned out to be the genesis of my career defining moment.

As salespeople people left Computervision and went to work for smaller companies, they were frequently asked to recommend a “good marketing guy.” Guess what, they dropped my name a lot. In fact from that point forward, I never again struggled to find a job. My phone rang on monthly basis with great leads for marketing jobs. Ultimately, I landed at Aspect Development due to a recommendation from Jim Meagher and a few other ex-Computervision guys who had seen my presentation that day in Fort Lauderdale.

It may not have been the rock song that changed the world, but it was the presentation that made me a marketing rock star!

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I am pleased to announce that my new book Career Secret Sauce; 9 Winning Strategies for Building a Great Career has been published and is now available.

As the title indicates, this is a book about how to achieve career success; specifically, the recipes for career success that I witnessed firsthand over my 30 years in business.

These strategies are for anyone who wants more out of their career. In particular, it’s the first book I’ve ever seen that gives young people the inside scoop on how to get their careers off to a great start.

If you’re a high school graduate or college student who wants to build a successful career, this is the book for you.

If you’re the parent, relative, or friend of a young person and wish you could tell them everything you know about having a great career, and more, you’ll want to order extra copies.

To buy a copy of the book at the lowest price (I know of) go to amazon and search for Career Secret Sauce.

Also, if you’d like an autographed edition, they will be available for a limited time at my publisher’s web site. You can find a link on this web site by clicking here.

Finally, I’d like to thank all of you who have shaped the content of this book. The strategies detailed are from real people building there own careers.

Without everyone’s help, there simply would be no book!











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There’s an old joke that goes: “How can you tell a salesman is lying?” The answer is “His lips are moving.” This is a pretty funny line, unless you happen to be a sales person.

Sales people suffer from plenty of negative stereotypes. In addition to assumed dishonesty, they are also frequently accused of being greedy, lone rangers, self-centered, and loud. Unfortunately, there are plenty of sales people who fit these characteristics and thus all sales people are deemed “guilty until proven innocent.”

That is unless you’re a CEO or other senior executive. If you’re responsible for your company’s success, you know that “nothing happens until somebody sells something” (another old adage). Thus there is no one more important in the company than a sales person who sells a lot of stuff.

And therein lies your 3rd opportunity for a Career Defining Moment!

Good sales people are always looking for help. No matter what your job is, at one point or another, you’ll run into a sales person looking for something. It may be help closing a sale, assistance cooling down a hot customer, or simply digging up information that is impossible to access from the field.

Forget the stereotypes and resist the urge to ignore these cretins. Instead, give them a hand and make an influential friend for life — your career will benefit from it.

Sales people have a lonely job, so they’re always looking for new friends. They are also well aware of their reputation as “lone rangers” and are likely to broadcast the news of your assistance to anyone who will listen. There is simply no way to become a “team player” without a team.

If you helped win a big order, your department manager and even the CEO may be hearing about you’re brilliant contribution to the most important thing that the company does – sell stuff.

One of my favorite career success strategies is to figure out who in the company depends on your job performance, and then blow them away with hard work.

When you find a sales person who needs your help, you’ve also found a potential Career Defining Moment!

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