This is Part Two of Don’s interview. Please click here for Part One. In this content rich interview, you learn how he stays motivated, what are the threats to his business, advances in the industry, how he defines success, generates ideas and much more.
How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
I love technology and being the director of Digital Communications, it’s my job to stay on top of the trends and keep our clients and staff up to date with the latest info in social media. I help our account teams weave social media into their traditional PR programs so I need to be right on the cutting edge. Due to my love of technology and social media, motivation is never an issue for me.
If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
I’d create Twitter and be a millionaire.
What’s the most important business (or other) discovery you’ve made in the past year?
The most important discovery I’ve made is pretty simple — social media is great, but it doesn’t replace the human aspect that’s needed to close business deals. Yes, clients like the fact that we are on the cutting edge of social media, but if we don’t vibe well with the client, we won’t win the business. Relationships and personal, face-to-face interaction is key to bringing in new business and keeping current clients happy.
What’s one of the biggest advances in your industry over the past five years?
That’s simple — social media. It has greatly impacted the way we think about our business and our client’s business. Every program we develop is run through a digital prism. The lines of advertising, marketing, journalism and PR are blurred because of social media.
What are the three threats to your business, your success, and how are you handling them?
There really isn’t three threats. It’s just one — social media. However, it’s also an opportunity. Social media has all but leveled the playing field for agencies. We are all “experts.” We are all going after the same budgets. It’s created a very intense and competitive environment, even more so than it was before. So the key is to stay on top of the trends and develop programs that are so forward thinking that the work you do speaks for itself. Clients hire on experience.
What’s unique about the service that you provide?
Our unique perspective on this business stems from the mashup of the PR world before the web and since eruption of the web 2.0. We have experience that runs the gamut and fusing that experience with the knowledge of the digital space, truly gives our clients a 360 view of their brand and how we can help them move the needle.
What do you observe most people in your field doing badly that you think you do well?
There’s too much “me-me,” i.e. self promoters. Let your work speak for your company and your services. Yes, you should market, but don’t go overboard with how “great” you are. Writing a book about social media doesn’t make you an expert. Implementing a program that generates an additional 500 sales leads makes you not only an expert, but valuable to your client.
How do you integrate your personal and professional life?
I just do it. There’s no formula. There’s no “balance.” You do what you have to do to the best of your ability and you make the time for family. It’s not brain surgery. You have to make ample time to do both well.
What’s a major regret that you’ve had in life?
Zero regrets. Regrets are just heavy pieces of baggage that add no value to your life.
What are five life lessons that you have learned so far?
Be yourself. Be honest. Help people. Take care of your family. Own up to mistakes.
When you have some down time, how do you spend it?
With my kids or learning new things as it relates to social media.
What process do you use to generate great ideas?
Talking to my kids. Playing catch. Walking or listening to music. My creativity is fostered when I’m not thinking about something specific.
What’s your favourite quotation and why?
“You don’t ask to take a photograph. You ask quietly, to borrow it.” I’m a photographer on the side and saw that anonymous quote once and thought how smart it was, because it’s true.
How do you define success?
Healthy and happy home life.
In your opinion what’s the formula for success?
Healthy and happy home life.
If trusted friends could introduce you to five people that you’ve always wanted to meet, who would you choose? And what would you say to them?
I’d meet my two great grandfathers (for family reasons), president Obama (for his vision), Steven King (for his creativity) and Nelson Mandella (for his life’s lessons).
Which one book had a profound impact on your life? What was it about this book that impacted you so deeply? Did you have an emotional or intellectual attachment to this book? Why?
Steven King’s The Stand, mostly because of the creative writing and the descriptions he used to set scenes, describe characters and make you, as the reader, feel like you were in their world.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are five books that you would like to have with you and why? Summarize the book in two sentences.
I’d honestly take any of Steven King’s novels because of their creativity and the fact that they would take me to a world that I’d never see. I don’t need any self-help books or any books about people’s lives, Shakespeare, etc. I’d want simple, yet descriptively satisfying books.
Have you read any books that inspired you to start a business, service or invent “something”? If yes, which book?
Nope, not yet. But I’ve read a lot of books that have inspired me to do better at my job, better as a person and better as a dad/father.
What one music CD and movie would you like to have with you (on the deserted island) and why?
Way too much to list. I couldn’t decide out of the slew of music I own.
What excites you about life?
How do you nurture your soul?
If you had a personal genie and she gave you one wish, what would you wish for? Or, if I gave you a magic wand, what would you use it for?
Honestly, I’d eliminate homelessness. It’s a sad thing to see and I see it too, too often.
Complete the following, I am happy when…
I get home and I see my kids after a long day at the office. It’s food for the soul.
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