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The Circus Is In Town

circus clown

The Mediabistro Circus is ongoing right now, celebrating women in media & tech, and scary scary clowns. Okay, so we made that last bit up.

But if you can’t attend or would rather attend from your jammies, we won’t judge. Follow #mbcircus to keep up with all the great stuff.

photo: Richard0

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Circus Recap: Best Of Gary Vaynerchuk

For those who missed out on Gary Vaynerchuk’s presentation, here’s the best of the best quotes and videos, culled from Twitter:

“I’m not happy I pay $6 a month for Lifetime Channel”

“If your co-workers don’t care [about social media], fire them.”

“I don’t do anything I do to make money. I do it to make my parents proud and because I like the game.”

“Passion beats the $&@! out of skill every time.”

“If you’re an Eskimo, don’t try to be an elephant….I don’t even know what that means.”

“Don’t get me started on television. Those Nielsen ratings are HORSESHIT.”

“Dude, talk about what you love and I will pay you cash.”

And some reactions:
@adrianmanzano: got to meet @garyvee vaynerchuk at the #mediabistro event. intense focus in his eyes. He’s with you 100%. Excellent speaker. good soul.

@webmetricsguru: MediaBistro Career Circus is pretty good, @garyvee is in great form, wish they’d let him go on even longer.

@kristentate: For the record, @garyvee does a terrible southern accent.

@MightyCasey: @garyvee dude, you are the KING of hustle. can’t wait to see what’s next.

Career Circus: Job Searching’s Laser Focus

(From the panel: Optimize Your Job Search with Manoush Zomorodi, Alan Cohen and Tonia Mattu.)
Q: For somebody who wants to make a radical change, how do they go about starting?
Alan: I don’t think anybody should jump without a parachute. Look at your finances. What do you absolutely have to make? Maybe you feel like you need to stay on that career path [to make money] but maybe you can begin to start developing other skills or interests.

Manoush: Chris Anderson, Wired editor, in his spare time developed a blog about Caterpillar. Now if he ever wanted to become a big machinery expert, he could.

Q: What about over-50 jobseekers?
Alan: Employers that share that age prejudice have specific beliefs over what people over the age of 50 can or can’t do. They’ll believe you have to take naps after lunch. [laughs] You may want to look at how you interview and see how you’re addressing those assumptions.

Q: I used to be able to search myself but there’s a drummer with the same name as me. Now all I see is her drumming stuff.
Tonia: You could add a middle initial. Just keep it consistent from your resume to your email address. Make sure you use it with everything and pretty soon you’ll be known as this new person.

Q: All my contacts are in CA and I want to work in NY. How can I get them to get me work?
Tonia: I didn’t know one soul in NYC when I moved here [from Canada]. It was just picking up the phone. I didn’t spend a minute on Careerbuilder or Monster. I made a list of who I wanted to work with and picked up the phone every day. I got in front of every person that I called.

Your Evolving Career: A Work In Progress

Heard at panel #2 at the Career Circus:

“There’s no place for cold calling. Ever.”

“‘We [1st-generation immigrants] did in 10 years what some people can’t do in a lifetime. We were hungry, we grabbed on to whatever we could get and we weren’t picky.’ Be vicious. It’s a matter of survival. This is a new economy and corporate America has made us very comfortable. Now you have an opportunity to create whatever you want. Just be really hungry about it, and you’ll get it.”

“Employers’ mentality is changing, so your mentality has to change too. You can make more money and work fewer hours on your own time as a consultant. We need to get out of the J-O-B mentality.”

“Entrepreneurship is how every major company was built. There is no security in corporate America so why not take control and do it yourself?”

“But corporate America is a great client to have. I’m in by 9:30 and out by 5:30 and they have a great cafeteria on the top floor.”

Career Circus: Laurie Ruettimann Goes Rogue

Laurie Ruettimann of Punk Rock HR was scheduled to talk about work-life balance at the Circus, but she decided to throw that presentation out the window and answer job search questions from the unemployed media folk in the room (about 90% of you). Coooool.

Pam Dawkins, an unemployed newspaper editor, asked: “I’m sending out resumes when I see jobs but I’m not hearing back. How long should I wait before contacting them?”

Laurie says: “Never contact HR. They don’t make the hiring decisions. That’s bullshit. They will never call you back and you will be known as a pest. They’re old biddies busy doing administrative work. Find out who the hiring manager is and talk to that person and get your resume on their desk at any way possible. Once it goes into an applicant tracking system the resume is lost, unless it’s hitting keywords.”

A corporate ad sales director, unemployed 1 month, asks: “Job boards are pretty much a waste of time. Should we not bother with them at all?”

Laurie answered: “I believe in job boards because I don’t believe in ending a pathway. The job board lets you know there’s a job that’s out there. Positions aren’t always just posted because they have to post it. Often times they really are replacing a vacancy.”

Danielle Smith, a former press secretary unemployed since November, asked: “I’m finding it hard to find a job that matches my qualifications. I’m either overqualified or underqualified. How can I tailor my resume to fit?”

Laurie answers: “Most people hire an 80% fit for the job because they don’t want to pay you a higher salary. They want you to grow into it. But if the marketplace is telling you that you can’t get a job, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. I’ve talked to people who are almost unemployed two years, sent out 600 resumes, always networking. [At that point] maybe you need to look at a different career, a different creative way into a company, or scale down your expectations to get a foot in the door. When I started Punk Rock HR, I had to give up a couple things, like going on vacation with my husband. I spend less money but I’m way happier than I was.”

Also, she added, consider relocation. “NY is low on the list of merit increases. Look in Atlanta, Tampa, DC, Minneapolis. There is a thriving hipster culture in Minneapolis.”

We’ve got more coming up—about the pitfalls of internships and other free work—just stay tuned.

Poynter’s Live Chat Today Is Eerily Appropriate

flickr: Aidan Jones. share alike

Are the folks at Poynter keeping an eye on our schedule? Today at 1pm EST, you might want to sneak out of the Circus conference hall to read Joe Grimm and Colleen Eddy, Poynter’s resident career experts, talk about how to prepare for a journalism conference—how to network with attendees and speakers, how to prep your resume, and more.

You can tweet your questions their way before 1 EST using #poynterchats.

Don’t Forget: Career Circus Tomorrow In NYC

circus girl on stilts
flickr: hbp_pix

We’ll be blogging and Tweeting from the Mediabistro Career Circus tomorrow. It’s a half-day event starting at 12:30 jam-packed with speakers, roundtables, Gary Vaynerchuk, and networking. You can also grab 5 minutes with one of our career counselors to talk about freelancing, resume building, or whatever. And we’re hoping our boss Laurel Touby shows up in gold lamé again—it is the circus after all.

You can still get in for tomorrow’s event for $145 or less, but if you can’t make it, just keep yer peepers glued to this blog. It’ll be exactly like ducking under the velvet rope and skipping to the VIP party room.

Final Thought From The Circus

flickr:def110 / share alike

Ok, so we were wandering the halls of the Mediabistro Circus on Wednesday, getting our mingle on, and we noticed a lot of name tags that said something like:
John Doe, CEO/Founder, John Doe Enterprises
When John Doe would be questioned about his company, the answer was invariably “Well, I’m just getting off the ground now—I was laid off last month and I thought I’d give this a try.”

Still trying to figure out whether this is depressing or promising; I’m leaning toward promising.

Obviously, the insane number of layoffs in media is not a happy thing to think about. But thank goodness for all these people who aren’t giving up and who are trying to do something new. Maybe they’re mostly going to try the same old things—there’s no guarantee that laid-off newspaper reporter Jane Doe will do anything but focus on writing for established print outlets—but maybe she’ll invent something new or create a new business model.

We need a new word for this: Laidoffpreneur? It’s so ridiculous it just might work.

Laidoffpreneurs of the Circus, we salute you.

Meet The NYTimes Interactive Newsroom

New York Times Living With Less
Three members of the NYTimes newsroom joined us at the Circus to show off some of the online, interactive multimedia they’ve worked on. This Washingtonian certainly didn’t know about some of these videos and applications…despite the fact that many of these get play on the front page of they seem to have a mysterious ability to slip under people’s radar, as we’re not the only ones who were mystified by some of this stuff.

Obviously, Word Train is a biggie. But did you know that Word Train got reused with the recession, now called Living With Less? The recession’s also spawned a share-your-frugal-tips-through-Twitter feature called Survival Strategies.

On the political side, they’ve done a pick-your-own cabinet feature called If You Were President, and a pick-your-own Supreme Court nominee. They used user-submitted photos for inauguration coverage. They had 3600 submissions and approved 900 photos.

More? Jump.

Read more

Building Reader Engagement With BW.Com

The problem, as John Byrne sees it: Google and cookies. Google, he says, is “one giant transaction engine. Transactions are the enemy of relationships.” And “we are so cookied to death” that advertisers can find the demographic they want on cheap sites. “Why would you come to BusinessWeek and pay $40 CPM when you can find the same readers on Facebook for ten cents?”


Byrne admits BW can’t compete with the whole Internet on content, so they try to differentiate through engagement. “The secret of digital technology isn’t that you can do video, but that you can collaborate. Journalism has to become not a product but a process.”

Ways they’ve done this:

  • They put a module on every page on the site called “In Your Face,” in which they harvest the best comments on the site and feature the reader on the homepage.
  •’s “bribed” journalists to respond to readers by promising better exposure on the site if journos engage.
  • They have a feature called “My Take” with essays from readers, but they don’t take any submissions. They find articulate readers who are leaving lots of comments and commission essays from them.
  • The 100 “best” commenters last year were given T-shirts, the top 10 got a dinner.

Final thought: “You may believe in micropayments, you may believe in subscriptions. I think that’s true, but so much of journalism is commoditized today. But if you can’t prove to an advertiser that users on your site are deeply engaged with the content on your site, you won’t be able to charge a high CPM in the future.”