Archive for October, 2011

Thoughts from my Chinese Notebook – 10/20/11

I thought Steele Headed could use a regularly featured short post. This Chinese notebook Steve Ripple brought from his two-year adventure in Guang Zhou is just the ticket. Hope you enjoy what I can fit in two pages or less.

I lost my job 36 hours ago. Corporate restructuring is the formal term, but my past employer made the tough decision to eliminate my position to support their strategic objectives. I understand the decision and am looking forward to my opportunities for the future. I’m thankful for all I’ve learned in the last three years and cannot thank my managers, mentors, colleagues and friends at the company enough. I wish them the best of luck and will be eager to see their success at the end of the tunnel.

As for me, I get the prospect of new opportunities. A chance to change my career, my location, my life.

Dream seeds. I’ve planted them for the last few years and it’s time to sow.

I’ve long known I wanted to work for an agency doing public relations. My dreams are more vivid, but the general vision is what counts: working alongside other business-minded people who use strategic communication to support their clients.

I’m ready. And able. And as I heard earlier tonight, “tenacious.” Though I prefer to think of myself as enthusiastically persistent.

Thoughts From My Chinese Notebook (TFMCNB) posts are hand written on two 4x6" pages then transcribed here. Keeping it short and simple.


October 24, 2011 at 8:49 PM 3 comments

Technology: use wisely

As I take a few rare vacation days “on the grid,” I felt it appropriate to share some of my thoughts. Think of it as getting to know me – or more accurately, my perspective on technology today and how information explosion is impacting society.

It starts with why and where I’m going.

I’m on a vacation spawned by Twitter to see bands I discovered through Pandora and fell in love with because of GrooveShark.(Not to mention booking on Kayak.)

I’m visiting San Francisco – a stone’s throw from the birthplace of company’s like Apple and the stomping grounds of folks like Zucherberg.

I’m a “digital native,” embracing technology as it emerges and simplifies our life (while at times thoroughly complicating it). Folks older than I are doing the same, and it’s hard to spot a First World citizen born post-AOL that isn’t doing the same.

Information sharing will continue to proliferate at inexhaustible rates.

I love the Web 2.0 world and am excited about what it brings. But certain aspects of it scare me. As with any frontier, the opportunities to succeed while doing right by humanity  are as prevalent as the opportunities to be distrustful and damaging to society.

Knowing that our and future generations will shape how emerging technology impacts society, I feel it’s my duty to be part of the upward march. To stick up for ethical practices the way a *real* PR counselor should. To influence audiences on the ways information-sharing technology can be used for better instead of worse.

I hope I can do that in my life. In my profession. It’s a desire of mine captured slightly by a few lines at the top of my resume, but really alludes to much more than a “professional objective.”

From the written word, to Guttenberg and the World Wide Web to a social Internet we now connect to via 3-inch screens, information consumption has an irreversible impact on society. It changes the way we live. And I revel in that.

Call me an optimist, but maybe that’s just ‘cause I’m on vacation.

Update: While in SF (or apparently unrelated to the trip), my Yahoo! Mail account was hacked and a link to “boner pills” was sent to everyone in my address book. A great, albeit awkward, reason to reconnect with some folks I haven’t talked to in a while, but more evidence that  good people are needed to fight “the dark side” of the tech industry!

October 14, 2011 at 1:44 PM Leave a comment

What I’ve been up to…Fighting the good fight

I realize I’ve been absent from this blog for some time now. It’s a time commitment I’ve chosen to avoid, making my current PR position and some semblance of a social life a higher priority. I appreciate if you missed me, and hope the few posts I have up my sleeves will keep you happy for now. I wish I could promise you regular updates, but I’m not naive enough to do that — besides, I’m a big believer of under-promising and over-delivering.

In order to justify my extended hiatus from Steele Headed, I’d like to share a bit about what I’ve been up to.

Fighting the good Gen-Y PR fight.

My current role has me in a position with less support than traditional communications professionals. Budgets are tight and “arms & legs” resources are expensive, so I’m left to fend for myself as a one-man communications department.  I was hired by someone with 30+ years experience and expected to learn from him. In early 2009, the recession brought on corporate restructuring that left me without a mentor and facing a monstrous communication challenge.

To be fair, my predecessor’s role was both divided and dissolved; it didn’t fall solely on me. But the general thought of a 23-year-old graduate student handling communications activities for a 7,000+ employee, $2 billion global company was an opportunity that charged me beyond belief. Part fear, part naivety, I rapidly expanded my role (a communication intern at the time ), gaining responsibilities and a full-time job in under a year.

It’s been 3 years since then. And I’m still fighting the good fight.

Technically I’m in charge of everything from internal communications to media relations with a sprinkling of much more.

I authored our social media policy and advise our marketing teams on how to leverage it.

I work with two notable PR & advertising firms supporting our globally known brand in a myriad of industries.

I’ve created videos, iPad apps, Web sites, magazine ads, trade show PR plans, employee communication campaigns and award winning proposals.

I’ve counseled senior level executives, orchestrated global employee events, established media relationships and followed every other PR-text-book-tip to succeed. Not to mention a few other books and blog posts I had to pick up on the side.


I did what I had to do to keep on fighting.

My network of PR pros has been a tremendous source of support, my father being principal among them. Another post will be dedicated to thanking these individuals for their advice and encouragement as I navigate my one-man communications vessel.

My internal network of VPs, managers and colleagues who have placed stock in a 23 (now 26) year old “kid” has also been incredible. Without these folks believing in me (albeit a little unwillingly at times), I wouldn’t have made it a week.

But here I stand. Still fighting the good fight. Pressing on.

I’m not sure what else to say from here. Except that I’m excited to keep on fighting. The progress I’ve made and opportunities still ahead are exciting. I’m happy to be in a field that I love and working for a company that appreciates what PR can do for the organization.

I call it a fight, but in the end, it’s not a fight when you love what you do.

Images courtesy: &

October 6, 2011 at 11:56 PM 3 comments


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