What I Learned This Year 2012 #6: Rob Schuham

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2012 has been a wild professional ride for me. In essence, some of what I thought I knew about the marketing, media and social entrepreneurship worlds held steadfast and true. And on the flipside…well, let’s say I learned some new things. So here are a couple of “a-ha’s” coming out of 2012 for me:

Industry learnings:

Media has changed forever. Again. Between smart phones, a continued rise in new social platforms, and the increasing level of sophistication around digital sharing by both young and old, we have seen a massive increase in interpersonal engagement. I have done some speaking recently on how the terrain has altered and the sheer velocity of this behavior has increased dramatically. The most fascinating byproduct outside of one K-pop phenomenon in particular is the speed and ferocity of online collective action that in turn leads to physical movements. It’s here. And it’s game on. Arab Spring and Occupy more than demonstrated the power of digital to drive physical movements in 2011 and on into 2012. And believe me, there’s more to come in 2013.

Related, consumers (that’s each one of us) want a sense of purpose. Whether it's better corporate behavior or a cause that a particular brand supports, more and more we want to feel like we give back to the world with the each dollar we spend. I learned some of this at Made Movement. The crew tapped into cultural zeitgeist with the notion that red, white and blue is the new green. And with Boom Points you can see how buying American products creates job growth. With apologies to my more enlightened friends, there is hope for materialism.

Management learnings:

Ego kills: Ok, a little harsh. It may just wound a bit. But most every time you get wrapped up in ego and let it lead out, it bites you in the ass. I’ve learned to back down and breathe which is really hard when you have a Triple-A-type personality. The very thing that drives you to succeed will vanquish you if you don’t manage it in a contemplative and healthy way. Confidence is great. But don’t let it come at the expense of compassionate listening. And guess what? Sometimes the client is right! And sometimes someone who reports to you is too!

To read the entire 2012 'What I Learned' series, click this.


great words on management rob. you are spot on. you can tell a lot about a person in our industry by working with them and seeing how much ego they have. confidence and ego are a tricky balance and unfortunately too many people massively tip towards the latter.

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