Past Success is Not a Measure for Future Success

February 27, 2009
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I’ve been on the phone a lot lately with potential clients and people who are interested in the social media space.  One of the questions that I get asked a lot is, what should people look for in a social media strategist?  A lot of people out there look for past experience and successful social […]


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I’ve been on the phone a lot lately with potential clients and people who are interested in the social media space.  One of the questions that I get asked a lot is, what should people look for in a social media strategist?  A lot of people out there look for past experience and successful social media campaigns, me…not as much.  I don’t always believe that past experience and results are indicative of future success.  If we were to use that as a metric for social media strategists, then none of us would have jobs to begin with.  You have to start somewhere.

It’s a bit of a catch 22.  Now, keep in mind I’m not saying that anyone can just say that they are a strategist, you really need to understand the space, the technologies, and the various strategies/trends out there.  However, not everyone has a social media background at a fortune 500 company and not everyone has run large successful social media campaigns.  My first job out of college was working for a startup, I had no background or work experience that had anything to do with working at a startup.  However, I was able to explain why I should get the job, what I would do if I got it, and why I would do it.

I’ve run a startup that failed, does that mean I don’t know anything about startups or marketing?  Maybe, but I proudly tell people that I have one failed startup under my belt and you know what, I learned a heck of a lot from it and people respect that and still ask me for tips and advice.  I’m hoping to launch a another startup soon and while I’m hoping this one won’t fail I’ll proudly add another battle scar to the first one.  There are a lot of things I have screwed up on and messed up, but I’ll tell you one thing, I will sit down with any other social media celeb/strategist or company exec and will hold my own in a conversation about social media and marketing.

There are a lot of folks out there who failed at running one company, only to be successful at another.  There are plenty of lawyers who bombed the LSAT that are now representing large clients.  There are plenty of people who never graduated college that are now running large companies.  I’m not using this as an excuse or a justification for hiring anyone, but I think that there are certain characteristics to look for when hiring someone (a social media strategist) that may outweigh the actual results or past experiences.  I’m going to address what I think some of the most important characteristics are for a social media strategist, in a later post (probably tomorrow).  Think about what you think some of the most important characteristics are.

In the meantime, noodle on this and give me your thoughts.


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