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#9 – Don’t Panic Call Tim

Combining Acts of Kindness to
Win Friends and Motivate Strangers™

33 Ideas that will empower you with your coworkers, peers, family, friends and strangers

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote from Sir Isaac Newton, “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.” Or from President Jimmy Carter, “Good intentions, beget good intentions.” The analogy I’m pushing here is “what we give, we usually get back,” and hence the premise of my book.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with some remarkable entrepreneurs, innovators of technology and captains of industry. Some of my employers and some of my clients proved to be outstanding managers and business people. Others failed miserably at being managers and business owners, and even worse at possessing any people skills. “Combining Acts of Kindness to Win Friends and Motivate Strangers” will document some of the events that happened during my career, and how a simple act of kindness can trigger combining acts of kindness and change a person’s life. While my book is in development, I thought I’d share some of the highlights in my blog, and welcome your comments.

#9 – Don’t Panic Call Tim

It was a beautiful summer morning, and the beginning of a work week at our start-up electronics company in Silicon Valley. I was employee #30 of 55, in charge of marketing communications as the company’s product was still in beta stage. If any of you’ve worked in a start-up, you know that the job description given you is only a suggestion, and most likely you’ll be handling a myriad of other tasks to get the boat afloat. So I pretty much jumped in to support others in the company where I could, from stacking boxes to handling the phones, to helping in client product demonstrations.

The prior week we hired our first field technician/engineer, a young guy named Remi, who had three years of work experience at a larger, well established company. Remi was still a bit green in experience, but what he lacked in experience, he made up in enthusiasm.

Remi, reported directly to the VP of Engineering. She was a real no-nonsense straight shooter, who was brilliant at engineering, but lacking any social skills, was a true “ball-buster” type of manager. She would routinely degrade her employees if they failed to complete a task, and she would do it in front of the entire engineering team during her weekly staff meeting.

After sitting through his first staff meeting the previous week, I’m sure Remi was thinking “what did I get myself into?” His assignment to have been completed by Monday was not going to happen, and of course, he was panicked at the idea of what he would endure at staff.

That morning I met up with Remi in the company breakroom and asked how things were going and if he was getting settled in. He sheepishly answered he was settling in, but thought he might not make it through the week. I was shocked at his answer, and asked why?

He confided that the VP of Engineering handed him an assignment, but didn’t give any direction on how to get it done. I laughed and told him it was typical and her way of delivering her now infamous “trial by fire” method of training. I told him not to panic and I’d connect him with someone who could help. Walking him over to Tim, one of the co-founders and key engineering gurus for the company, I made the introductions and explained that Remi needed some help in getting a project done. Knowing Tim was the go-to guy for our company, and the fact he was a great coach and mentoring type person, I knew Remi would do just fine.

The Kindness of Others.

The next day I asked Remi how things went at staff. He smiled and said “thanks for the introduction to Tim, he helped me get my project on track and even though I didn’t complete it in time, he gave me great advice on presenting the facts to the VP.” “He probably saved my job!” he said. We both laughed, but down deep I’m thinking Remi was really thinking he was going to get fired, or worse, quit because he was so embarrassed in front of his new peers.

Remi stayed with the company another eight years, and was promoted several times to a final title of Director of Engineering. The company was successfully sold and he started up his own technology company soon after. We’ve stayed in touch over the years since and remain friends. He’s also helped me with introductions to new clients and has helped me in my business. As for the VP of Engineering, over the next two years I worked with her, she lost all respect from her team and the rest of the company. Ultimately, she lost her job because she was extremely ineffective as a manager.

Bright Idea!
When you meet a new employee, take time to get to know them. Take the lead and make introductions around your department or even around the company where you have connections. Don’t let them feel like strangers. Give advice sparingly, as not to be a “know it all,” and become a good listener, so you can learn about them as a person, not just a co-worker.

Get on the list!

The book will be out later this year, if you’d like one of the first copies, drop me a note and I’ll put you on a list for a personalized copy. Write me at

©2009 Allan Linden. Bright Idea is a service mark of Allan Linden Global Marketing Consultants. Combining Acts of Kindness to Win Friends and Motivate Strangers is a trademark of Allan Linden. All rights reserved.


Looking for money in all the wrong places…

Over the year’s I’ve been part of 6 start-ups, 3 successfully sold and 3 didn’t fare well at the end. Modestly, I must admit that I’ve helped over 100 companies launch during my career and if there was one commonality that they all shared it was money, and the lack there of.

“All we need is $500,000 to get to the next step, but no one is interested.” That is a very familiar comment with entrepreneurs, and whether it is $100.00 or $10 million, the challenge finding the money and investors can be like climbing Mt. Everest in mid-winter. Here are 3 ideas for you and have helped myself and clients in the past:

1. Investor, VC or Business Loan? The first reaction for many is to say “I’ll go after a VC or Investor for money.” It would seem natural and easy as this type of financing is more knowledgeable about working with entrepreneurial risk. But, get in line, as thousands are in front of you pitching the next “Sham-Wow” and giving up 50, 60 even 70 percent of their company and ideas in exchange for a shot at stardom.

Business loans are another idea for funding. Right now, our Government is offering an incentive to business banks to push the SBA loan program. This type of stimulas package is an entrepreneurs boom, and one you should seriously look at. Loans from $5,000 to $2 million are available now, and even with what is happening in the credit market, you can still get funding. Best of all, you aren’t giving up your company to get the ball rolling.

2. Business plans that make sense. I’ve seen them all and hey, even written some of the 168 page “War and Peace” type business plans myself. Bottom line here is to write only what is needed now, not what your dream will be next year or 10 years from now. Why? Simple, the person you are presenting to only cares about the what, who, when and why. Many times a 1 page or 2 page business plan is all that is needed. Keep it simple and win.

3. Asking for $100 or $10 million is just as hard, so ask for $10 million. If you asked me today how many of my clients have gone out of business because they didn’t ask for enough money up front, I’d rattle off a slew of names. Look, if you only need $500,000 to last for 2 years, perhaps you should ask for $20 million instead. If you really do have a $100 million dollar idea, get some real investors behind you. You’ll find it easier to get your running money up front the first time, because going back to the well for more, is twice as difficult and will cost you and your original investors with the ultimate delusion of stock and company value.

Start with clear messaging and strategy for your product or company. Keep description simple so that the average person without a PhD in Biochemistry can understand what it is, what it can do, why someone needs it. Finally, make it clear what’s in it for the investor with clear benchmarks of time, income and profit.

If you’d like to speak with me about writing a 2 page winning business plan, give a call. It’s free to budding entrepreneurs.



Anyone interested in making money, turning to consulting or take their business idea to the next level?

I’m putting together a 6 part Webinar conference aimed at those looking to make money, become a consultant or start a business. I’m hosting a 1 hour executive summary which will detail what it takes to develop a simple action plan for creating a business and/or consulting practice. Limited seating for this beta session. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll send details and date.


Looking for a job in all the wrong places?

I’m one for wanting to put a positive spin on what otherwise would look bleak for the rest of the year. We’ll hear of more layoffs, reduced pay and here in California our budget short fall will effect the lives of thousands of teachers and State workers with pink slips being handed out this month.

Here are some ideas for quick money:
1. Work for yourself. Start looking at some multi-level marketing companies to join. Amway is just one of the larger ones, but there are many out there. Find the company that offers products and services that you like and would feel comfortable selling. Health, beauty, soap, jewelry etc.
2. Put your skills and knowledge to use. “I’m too young. I’m too old. I’m too fat.” The excuses are many, but the truth is you have value in your experience, and obviously your last employer thought so. Think about competitors or other companies out their that can use your expertise…become a consultant. Do some research on what it takes, and make some phone calls.

Finally, now is the time to network with friends, and strangers. Don’t be shy, call them and let them know you are available.


Be Prepared for Year-end Inflation

Those in the know are taking advantage of today’s prices. That goes not only for consumer goods, housing, mortgage rates, but also from a marketing view point…media buys.

Silicon Valley is a great lead indicator for how the economy is doing, and let me tell you, I’m seeing things heating up. In recent weeks, I’m seeing more job openings coming and that includes some for key marketing positions. Yes, the economy is moving forward and the engine is warming.

Now is a time to plan on making some great one-time media buys at rock bottom pricing. Yes, it’s a leap of faith, but the alternative will be getting caught in what economists predict as a very high rate of inflation hitting at the end of this year. I’ll go with that prediction and I’m getting a new mortgage rate today.

Do you agree or disagree that inflation will hit this year?


Pinkslip Breakfast Club Meeting, Friday April 3rd, 8:30 am.

Hi, it is time for another networking meeting, Friday,April 3rd, at Hobees Resturant in Los Gatos, California. Bring with you a fellow marketer, copies of your resume and business cards to share. Also if you have any job leads to share, bring those as well. This networking event is for marketing types only. Unemployed, looking for a better opportunity or looking to fill some consulting time, this is a great venue to make some contacts.

Location: Hobees Restaurant at:

165 Los Gatos Saratoga Rd.
(Highway 9 @ University Ave.)
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Time: 8:30 am to 10 am

RSVP to: Allan at


Improving Your PR On The Internet

Lately, I’ve been picking up a number of public relations projects. Nothing big, but certainly global in reach. As I started to investigate new and more creative ways to promote my clients, I’ve quickly realized the Internet offers some very amazing communications tools that are both low-cost and extremely effective.

Here are some ideas I’d like to share:
1. What ever you post on the Internet is automatically global. So with that said, think about your brand and how better to serve it up. Perhaps a release that is in multiple languages?

2. PR is not advertising. When developing your release, think in terms of who, what and how it helped or solved a problem. Don’t talk in ad lingo and especially, don’t make it a marketing piece.

3. Different online services reach media in ways that may not be beneficial. By example, PRweb offers a low-cost way to reach general media, where Businesswire adds targeted trade publications at no additional costs.

4. Publicity on the internet will build traffic to your website. Preplanning on how to capture those views and turn them into leads is seldom done. Why not include a side bar story attached to the release with a simple capture form.

5. Internet analytics are great and for the most part free. Google, Yahoo and even your own hosting service offers them. Certainly, any of the wire services do too. The smart marketer uses this data to both plan strategy and validate effectiveness.

6. Remember to add keywords and meta tags to your release so it can be picked up by search engines.

7. Don’t forget about posting your releases on social networking sites and blogs. It’s free and may just hit your audience where they least expect it.

Do you have any ideas to share?


Special Olympics Comment and Being PC

Let’s make a deal that all of us for the rest of the year aren’t PC or Politically Correct! It’s just a joke, come on, Obama was just kidding when he made that comment on Jay Leno show last night. Please, can’t we all just get along. LOL.

Admit it, we’ve all from time to time said or done something stupid, put someone or some entity down… you know you did. I think we’ve all just taken PC as far as it can go, with watering down every word, jester and nuance of humanity.

I encourage you to join my team and make fun of someone, do it today! I guarantee you’ll put a smile on your face… and really, she looks so fat in that sun dress. Oppps, I just heard a beeping sound…look out, she’s back’n up.

The following views are not the views of this company. We don’t know this person, nor would we ever say anything like this. We believe in the American way, we are all equal, fatties, skinnies, shorties, tallies, and those little people too. You know… the little one’s on TV. We would never do anything to anyone, say anything to anyone, or write anyone.


Opening Digital Markets Globally

I’ve been having fun over the past two months helping my new client Transparent Video Systems (TVS) launch a new marketing and press relations campaign. They have just announced landing 4 new customers for their product The Challenger(tm) Platform, including a first for the country of Guyana…an all-digital cable system. Additionally, they’ve announced a very cool new toy for us TV fanatics called the TVS SmartStream(tm) Digital Bridge and CAS Card. Basically, the SmartStream allows you to directly connect to most TV’s, PC’s, Mac’s, or mobile devices that accept a USB connection. It virtually eliminates the cable company set-top box and allows you to connect to your own entrainment media storage device like the new Western Digital or i-Omega equipment making it a personal video recorder (PVR).

TVS is a great example of a small company run by a brilliant guy, who likes what he does and does it well. It’s fun to watch as they are starting to open up new markets worldwide, targeting the small to medium sized cable operators. With their Challenger all-digital CATV platform, they are helping their customers cross the digital divide with equipment to help them make the transition from an analog system to an all-digital world.

I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about these folks soon, as I help build their brand.


Are you the CMO of the future?

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Silicon Valley CMO Summit, with the topic covering surviving the economic downturn and what we as marketing types can do to improve our chances. Taking a broader view, I also looked at how the current market affects each of us, employed or not. Here are a few ideas to consider as you grow your career or improve on the one you are in as a CMO…

So who is the CMO of the future? He or she will be able to take their marketing box and learn to fly with it. Sometime within the next three years the first “CMO of the future” will be hired by a Fortune 1000 company, predicts Roger Wood, the former corporate vice-president of global marketing at footwear maker Reebok International. This CMO, Mr. Wood says, will be connected to friends of all ages and nationalities, as well as conversant with all media and will know how to oversee marketing strategies that integrate all of them. The relentless pace of globalization of business will compel future CMOs to be fluent in multiple cultures as well as multimedia.

But why wait for three years to become that type of CMO. If you embrace the new worlds of marketing…digital, social networking, business community forums etc., and look at out of the box strategies to reach your targets…you have arrived. As we look forward to 2009 and think about what will be, I’m positive none of us reading this blog today will be able to have the vision of what life and reality will deliver next year or in the years beyond.

Certainly though, all of us have the capacity to learn, educate and ask for advice that will make us into the CMO of the future. A leader with a global marketing perspective, balanced multi-culturally, and fluent in the many forms of marketing tools and analytics that will first make us a success and ultimately make our employer successful.

August 2020