Jim kicks off the newly branded Hopkinson Report Blog and Podcast, highlighting three powerful workplace trends
I am SO excited to be back doing The Hopkinson Report podcast.
Where to begin?
I think a good way to do this would be to look at the past, present, and future.
For those that may not be familiar with the show, I am the former Associate Director of Marketing at Conde Nast Digital, and was also known as the Wired Marketing Guy. I started The Hopkinson Report podcast in April 2008, and did 175 episodes over the next 3 Â½ years.
The show covered ‘the marketing trends that matter,’ and when I look at what categories I tagged my posts in over the years, here were the most popular subjects:
- 107 tags under social media/new media
- 96 tags under marketing case studies
- 93 branding/advertising
- 87 for pop culture/entertainment
- 80 under interviews
- And on the line with New York City, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Career Development
This was a tremendous labor of love and fantastic side project, and I want to thank Wired again for giving me the opportunity. I was able to build my brand, keep on top of the latest trends, and most importantly, made a ton of fantastic connections.
During my five years at Wired I also developed a number of other side projects, including teaching social media at NYU, public speaking, writing a book on salary negotiation and getting that published in 2011, and writing or appearing on sites such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The New York Post, Payscale.com, and others.
Just as I was beginning to feel my career at Wired and Conde Nast was winding down, I was getting restless, and had been planning on my exit strategy to be able to work on these projects. Then a funny thing happened. My department went through yet another reorganization, and in the process my job was eliminated.
For anyone that has been through this, you know the range of emotions. Looking back, I was 5% stunned. I was 5% bummed.
But I can honestly say that the next 90% of emotion was excitement.
I realize this is not the first reaction for the vast majority of people when they find out they no longer have a job. In fact, it is often quite devastating.
However – and I think this is really important when I talk about the future of the show – I think that…
There are three reasons why I had this attitude.
1) Flexibility. I am single and thus don’t have a wife and 3 kids and 2 dogs and a big house in the suburbs and huge mortgage payment and 5 healthcare plans to maintain and thankfully listened to my financial planner when they told me to put aside some money in an emergency fund. I have friends and family members who are in that situation and I know it can be really, really hard. I feel for them.
2) Experience. I was laid off after 18 months at my first job. I was laid off at the end of my 8 years at my third job. I had been through this before and while it is unnerving for sure, I maintain that both times it was by far a more positive thing and massive growth experience. It’s not always easy to embrace change, but having been through it before made it easier.
3) Preparation. Because I had been through it in the past, I had planted seeds for side projects in the event it happened again. I had sketched out alternative forms of income, and built a very strong network around me. So when it happened, I was more than ready.
I am excited to tell you that Conde Nast graciously allowed me to maintain all my archive content, and that can all be accessed through the archive tab on my blog.
But enough about me and enough about the past. Let’s get to the present.
The podcast is moving in a new direction. It will be the same, but different.
First of all, why change what you were doing?
Great question, and one I debated long and hard. First of all, I didn’t want to lose any of my existing audience. It would have been very easy to keep moving forward with the same exact topics.
It was actually while I was working remotely in a foreign country that I made the decision. Three reasons:
1) Embrace change. I’ve done the same format for 3 Â½ years. Yes, it was working, but it was time to mix things up, try something new, and as Jonathan Fields would say ‘lean into uncertainty.’ So hence the new content direction, the new icon, the new color scheme, the redesigned website (by the amazingly awesome Meghan O’Neill of Monday Designs), and the new music – which by the way is from my first rock band, The Nasties.
2) Align goals. When I was obsessed with sports, I worked at ESPN. When I was obsessed with technology, I worked at Wired. The formula that has worked with me is to do things that are completely aligned with my lifestyle. It’s hard coming up with original content week after week, so it better be around something you are immersed in daily.
The fact is, I am no longer the marketing guy at a major corporation doing this stuff every day. So why should my blog still be about that?
3) Emerging trends. Here’s the analogy I’ve been telling people. You know when you decide to buy a new car, and you narrow it down to say, a Mini Cooper, and then EVERYWHERE you look is a Mini Cooper? Is that because there really ARE a lot of these cars, or is it now that your eyes are open and you see the trend more clearly? To be honest, I don’t know.
What I do know is this.
– I sensed a trend in the late 90s that the internet was a big deal. Yeah, so did a lot of people, but I did something about it and it paid off.
– In the late 2000s I saw that social media was a relentless force and I was able to embrace that and work it into my career and lifestyle. Again, I wasn’t the only one.
– Right now I see another trend that could be big and aligns with my goals, so I am going to jump into it headfirst.
That trend is the way that we approach our career and lifestyle.
Let’s go to some stats.
- Forbes recently had a cover story around Social Power and the Corporate Revolution. Employees and customers would be calling the shots, not corporations.
- They noted that 54% of Millennials want to start a business or had already started one. Although I am an old man firmly in the Generation X category, I work with Gen Y constantly and have seen how things are evolving.
- They cited a study where 96% of women said that being independent is their most important life goal. This doesn’t mean that they don’t want to marry and have kids some day. What it means is that they want to do so on their own terms.
- Bloomberg Businessweek had an article that noted that the number of startups surged 60% in 2011 after a six year decline. Startups aren’t anything new, but they’re making a comeback. Lots of entrepreneurs may have waited for the recession to pass just a bit, but they’re jumping in with a vengeance.
- They report that 400,000,000 people worldwide are now engaged in entrepreneurship
- The January issue of Fast Company interviews several pioneers – both young and old – proclaiming ‘The Secrets of Generation Flux.’ The group includes Baratunde Thurston from The Onion, Beth Comstock from GE, and Pete Cashmore of Mashable.
- The story focuses on this new generation that embraces instability and not only tolerates, but enjoys, recalibrating their career.
- One quote that caught my eye from Danah Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft, advisor to Google, and former non-profit worker: “People ask me, ‘Are you afraid you’re going to get fired?’ That’s the whole point: not to be afraid.”
Is this lifestyle for everyone? No. I realize by changing focus a bit, I may lose some people. But hold on.
The things that will empower this new way of thinking â€¦ truly enjoying what you do, having more flexibility in your life, and working on cool side projects, are the same as what I’ve covered before, including:
- Embracing the latest social media trends
- Keeping up with transformative industries like digital publishing
- Hearing about new and emerging companies through interviews
- Building a personal brand
- Harnessing new technology and gadgets
Best of all, the STYLE will be the same, especially since I will be dedicating more time to it and not just as a side project.
That means I am going bring it with high energy every single week.
It means you’ll get deep-dive case studies of what is really going on out there.
It means you’ll hear interviews with people driving the growth of the digital age.
And it means you’ll get more of someone walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Think it would be nice to work remotely from Buenos Aires? I’m going to show you exactly how to do it since I’VE DONE IT.
So what’s going to happen in the future? Here are some things I want to accomplish in 2012:
More video – Filming and editing video is time consuming and often difficult, but it is also fun and an enormous opportunity. I feel that it is a very important skill to have in the coming years, so I am going to dive right in and do it. Like the podcast, it might take me a few months or even all year to get really good at it, but I’m bringing you along for the ride.
Interviews – I already have some great plans for SXSW this year, so am looking forward to some great interviews.
You might be asking, but Jim, how will you make money?
Ah yes, the question nobody likes to address. And trust me, as excited as I am right now, all of this is an experiment right now. I feel I have the drive and confidence to make this happen, and am loving this lifestyle so far, but I completely reserve the right to sell out and go back to a full-time job in 6 months or a year if that’s how things play out.
Here’s how I am going to approach it.
1) Multiple revenue streams. I won’t be making all of my income from the podcast, so I won’t be totally reliant on this.
2) Affiliate marketing. For those unfamiliar with this, here’s how it works. Let’s say I’m talking about how to create a website for your business. This is a very relevant topic and one that I get asked about all the time. If I note that my hosting company is Dreamhost, and you end up using Dreamhost by clicking on the link in my post, they give me credit for that. Here’s the key. I will only do this with products and services that I am using and trust. I’ve been on Dreamhost for many years and have 3 websites running on it, so I can speak to both the pros and the cons from experience. The good part is that it doesn’t cost the user anything extra.
3) Products. I might look into writing an ebook or recording a webinar on an incredibly in-depth topic, and offering that for sale on the site. Again, the vast majority of content on the blog will always be free. For example, the new hosting company for my podcast files has the ability to offer a mobile app for the show. I hesitated at first since I would have to charge $1.99. But if this is something that users want, and it is a totally optional purchase and in no way affects users listening to the show on iTunes or from the website, it could be an option.
4) Sponsors. I am excited to have Freshbooks.com as the premier sponsor for the new Hopkinson Report podcast. Freshbooks is a fast and simple invoicing and time tracking service that help you manage your business. Again, all of the other factors apply.
– First, this is relevant service since I am going to be talking about people starting their own business or side project. It aligns with my goals.
– Second, it is a product that I am actively using right now to manage all of my expenses and invoicing. I am loving it, and so is my accountant.
– Lastly, it doesn’t cost the user anything. You can sign up for a free trial if it is a product you are interested in. I might do a quick read each show, and you’ll see a banner on the website, but the upside is, it enables me to do the show, and they’ll have resources to hook me up with cool guests, prizes, and so on.
I am looking for 2 more high-quality, relevant sponsors, so if you, your company, or someone you know wants to reach an awesome audience of people like you, please drop me a line at Jim [at] thehopkinsonreport.com.
So to sum up:
1) The Hopkinson Report is back, and it has a new website, a new look and feel, a new sponsor, and a new direction.
2) I will continue to bring you high quality conversations around new media, technology, and personal branding, including interviews with people driving the growth of the digital age.
3) I feel there is a significant shift in the workplace happening, resulting in new types of businesses being created, a new type of workforce at those companies, and a new attitude toward work and lifestyle.
If you can’t already tell, I am completely thrilled to be back behind the mic and writing again. I can’t wait to bring you amazing content every week, so please stay tuned and spread the word.