Tag Archives: Google

A bunch of Mike’s, including The Professor, but no Gilligan

Who am I?


It depends, according to Google.


Bob Denver as Gilligan on Gilligan's Island
Bob Denver as Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


For the most part, I own the Google rights to “Michael VanDervort”, including my oft delayed but still forth-coming new blog site Michael VanDervort.  There are even sites set up by strangers that use my Instagram pictures for reasons that escape me.


What’s most fun is to find the alter ego Michael’s mixed into my Google awesomeness.   Say hi to them with me:


  • The rock and roll guy
  • my great, great, great, great, great, great, really super terrific ancestor
  • some other dude named MIchael who sued a bunch of other dudes
  • all the Michael’s belong to Spokeo (157 to be exact)
  • another list of Michael’s found in public records (83 to be exact)
  • the Professor, but no Gilligan alas
  • “Michael VanDervort” wanted in Shenzhen
  • Michael the Coronoer
  • Michael’s Florida mugshot
  • Mike, Mike, Mike…LinkedIn


It was fun getting to know myself….well, not my selves a little better.




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Meditation as a business practice, something to contemplate

Meditation can be good for your soul and your business

“ The riddle does not exist. If a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered. ”
— Ludwig Wittgenstein

Do you meditate? I do, although not as much as I should.

It helps to center you, and slow your mind down. It can help you relax during stressful times, and will often help you to think more clearly and make better decisions.

Sometimes it just turns into a nap, and that can be a good thing too. Other times it can give you an energy boost. Here’s guided meditation that lasts nine minutes and will give you an early morning energy boost with or without a cup of coffee.

Energy Boosting Meditation

Here are some additional resources on the topic if you find it interesting, including articles from HBR, Forbes, Wired and Fast Company.

How Meditation can make you a better leader

In Silicon Valley, everyone is meditating

HBR: if you are too busy to meditate, read this

Three reasons everyone at Google is meditating

There’s even a conference you can attend if you are so inclined: Wisdom 2.0 – the intersection of wisdom and technology

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My Final Post

It is hereby resolved that the final post of 2013 is basically my New Years resolution post for 2014. Yup.  I’m insane.  I’m going to post every day for a year. I did this when I started the blog, and it’s time to do it again.  Look for content every day….of varying quality and resolution.  More video. More photos, and sometime later this year, a new design…maybe a new brand.

I’m regretting this already  😉

New year's resolutions
New year’s resolutions (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)


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Am I ready to make a change?

Planning the launch of a new career

Career Day
Career Day (Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations)

It’s 4:30 am on Wednesday November 20th, and I’m awake thinking about how one goes about launching a new career.  I’m not unemployed or anything, I’m just going through the steps of working up a business plan for launching a new career direction.

Naturally, I start this project the same way I start every really important project in my life.  I pray at the altar of Google.

Oh Google, please help me find my way! Google, send me a sign (some hyperlinks) to guide me on my path.

Input: “launching a new career”

My efforts are rewarded! Google comes through with some advice.

Here’s some of what the Goog links suggest:

  • To make a dramatic career change, it’s important to have a clear direction.
  • Knowing what you want to do is half the battle. Now you need to find out what it takes to get hired. Your goal is to make yourself as smart as possible on this industry.   Read: blogs, career sites, books on this industry, forums and Twitter feeds with people working in this field
  • If you’re not in a position to simply up and leave your job to start over, there are other options. Consider how you do could work that interests you, and build your resume, while maintaining your current position:
    • Volunteer
    • Get a part-time job in your field(s) of interest
    • Pick up a freelance job or two
    • Use your vacation time to explore other industries or career field
    • Take college courses or vocational courses to expand your knowledge and skills
  • True career-jumpers believe the only reliable way to “own” your skill sets involves meticulous preparation. “It is like a road map for a trip,” says Lisa Caldas Kappesser, president of EQ Coaching Solutions and author of The Smart New way to Get Hired: Use Emotional Intelligence to Land the Right Job. “Having a plan reduces the risks involved and decreases anxiety.”

You can read the complete advice for the top articles provided by my Google search by clicking through the links above.

Here’s what I’ve done so far (today) on a personal basis:

  1. Woke up at 4 AM in a cold sweat after having a nightmare about not having a steady paycheck.
  2. Went to my local RaceTrac gas station (A top employer award winner of 2013) and picked some coffee and two donuts.
  3. Fired up an on demand episode of  “Luther” circa season 2013.
  4. Started doing research on the topic of launching a new career with the intent of developing a solid business plan document before going to work this morning.
  5. Got bored and decided to write this blog post instead of doing something serious and meaningful.

Luther just let his top suspect get away via the London tube, but I digress from my procrastinating.

Would anyone like this second donut? I’m outta here.


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Search tools for the cool

Search Tool Functionality Changing

Bing Videos.
Bing Videos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am growing increasingly frustrated with the old school search tools we have to use every day.

Not because the tools we have available to us right now suck so bad, but rather because I have a feeling we are on the cusp of a pretty shift in the search experience of the average user.

There are some pretty cool tools coming out lately that offer the first hints of the new experience that is coming our way.   Check these out if you haven’t already done so.

Google Now

I’ve been playing with the Google Now app on my iPhone for about a week, and think it is really a kick ass product.   The app is Google’s play at creating a challenge to Siri, and other hands free search tools.  I still use an iPhone 4, and haven’t used Siri, so maybe my perspective is that of a tech luddite, but I dig Google Now.

It’s not the hands free part I like, as much as the way the app collects information that is useful to you and brings it together in one place in a way that makes it easy to use.  As someone who spends a lot of professional time doing Internet research, I’ve always been a big fan of tools that aggregate information.  Google Now provides a nice iPhone interface that does this in a way that I can use quickly, so I’m a fan.  It will be interesting to see where it goes in future iterations.  Here’s a good tech review of Google Now functionality.

Bing Video Preview

I have never utilized Bing as my primary search resource, but use it often as a secondary tool.  One of the things to like about Bing is that it typically offers better visual/graphical search views than Google.  Recently, they’ve started a nice piece of functionality for previewing videos that I find to be a nice time saver.  It’s a nice little time saver and works like this:

Finding the right video content can be extremely frustrating and that a single frame cannot tell the whole story. The new video experience in Bing includes a video preview feature that shows a short sample of the full video clip, including audio if available.

Bing’s video preview is activated whenever you hover over a thumbnail. Search for Sydney dust storm then hover over the thumbnails that look most interesting to see a preview.

Take a look!


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Twitter mutant offspring break out of lab. Here come Medium and Branch.

Mad science or natural evolution of social? 

Image representing Evan Williams as depicted i...
Image by The Economist via CrunchBase

Coming soon,  a couple of new offspring from the creators of Twitter that will either enhance your social media experience, or add a couple of more platforms that you won’t have time to use.  They are called Medium and Branch

Medium reinvents publishing, maybe. 

Branch reinvents communication, possibly.

What is Medium?

Here is an excerpt of what Medium is from their website, according to Ev Williams:

The Obvious Corporation decided to take on the project of building a new publishing platform from scratch, not just because it’s in our wheelhouse, but because we believe publishing—and media, more broadly—is important. It’s easy to forget this given how much pointless and destructive media is in the world. But there’s also more great stuff than ever before—and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what our smart devices and our networks that connect most of the planet might enable.

Media is still the “connective tissue of society,” as Clay Shirky eloquently put it. And we think it can be better. Better for creators. Better for consumers. Better for the world.

So, we’re re-imagining publishing in an attempt to make an evolutionary leap, based on everything we’ve learned in the last 13 years and the needs of today’s world.

Here is a Medium “Collection” you can check out called “Been There. Loved That.”   It looks Pinterest influenced to me.

What is Branch?

Much simpler mission statement here: “We’re building a new way to talk to each other.”    Here is an example of what a Branch looks like.  Looks like it is Google+ influenced to me.

I’d love to hear if you think you might use either of these platforms.





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Check out the new “Labor Insider” app from Projections

I bet you don’t have a labor relations app on your mobile phone

A few weeks ago, my friends at Projections asked me to beta test a new labor relations app.  (http://www.projectionsinc.com/app.html

I was a little skeptical about how valuable this might be, but it turns out that it is a useful product.  I think HR professionals who deal with unions and labor relations professionals will find it fairly useful.   It also has a feature that allows you to set up and follow Google alerts and read them on your mobile phone.  This feature alone makes the app supremely useful to me.

It’s definitely worth a look.

According to Projections, the Free “Labor Insider” app allows HR and Labor Relations professionals to stay informed with NLRB petition information, daily labor news updates, Google Alerts feed, and Projections ’resources and video previews on-the-go.

Labor Insider App from Projections

Interested in Pinterest? Why you may want to be there.

Pinterest is hot

“Is Pinterest the ‘next big thing’ in social media?” asks Don Reisinger on CNET.   It certainly looks like based on the hype going around, and numbers don’t usually lie either.   I have a few beta invites if anyone wants one, just send me your email.

From CNET:

Late last month, Experian Hitwise, a company that monitors consumer behavior on the Web, reported that Pinterest had 11 million visits during the week ended December 17, jumping 4,000 percent compared with six months earlier. The massive bump catapulted Pinterest to the 10th spot in Experian’s listing of the most popular social networks, just behind Yelp. Experian also discovered that Pinterest has found a loyal following in women. In the past three months, women have accounted for 58 percent of its userbase, and nearly 60 percent of those women are between the ages of 25 and 44. Opinions are mixed over why Pinterest has been able to attract such a large audience.

More links of interest about Pinterest







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Don’t be a dummy when it comes to social media job search!

Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies

I don’t many book reviews on this blog, but I got excited when I was asked to read an advance copy of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies by Joshua Waldman.   Josh is the founder of the Career Enlightenment blog, and has put together a great resource in this new book.

Here is how Josh describes his own writing effort:

Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies features in-depth coverage of topics such as: creating effective online profiles and resumes to sell your strengths; maintaining your online reputation (and ensuring that employers who Google you like what they find) and understanding electronic etiquette; using the power of personal branding and building your brand online; avoiding common pitfalls, such as jumping into filling out a social media profile without a strategy; getting to know Twitter, the only real-time job board with literally thousands of jobs posted daily; using social media sites to uncover opportunities in the “hidden job market” ahead of the competition; and much more.

The book is filled with great tips for job seekers, and great advice for anyone trying to get started on a job search utilizing social media.  Here is an example of some of the great tips in the book:

Ten common mistakes people make when using social media sites

  1. Forgetting that social media is just a tool.
  2. Failing to think of what hiring managers need to see.
  3. Taking before giving.
  4. Being inconsistent.
  5. Having an incomplete or outdated on-line presence.
  6. Revealing too little personal information.
  7. Not understanding the etiquette of the networks they use.
  8. Not knowing their audience.
  9. Failing to keep up with their networks when they are employed.
  10. Ignoring face-to-face networking.

If you are job searching and want some great advice on how to use social media effectively in your search, pick up this book!  You can connect with Josh on social media at:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/joshuawaldman

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/joshuawaldman

Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/careerenlightenment

YouTube Channel: http://youtube.com/careerenlightenment



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Is your company pre or post PC?

Drawing HP 9830 desktop computer
Image via Wikipedia

Technology and Agility

I saw a post from Steve Rubel on Google+ this morning.  He asked the following question:

Do you feel we are already in a post-PC era? Interested in your views, but we are skewed as early adopters. I am interested in what you see around you in your friends and family or “in the wild.”

My short answer was no for big business, not really, but his question made me think about this notion.

Want to test your organizational agility?  Here is a great test for you to use to gauge yours.

Pick any type of technology or technological device that has not yet been adopted by your organization, say a tablet computing device, and put in a formal request to purchase and use that device.   pay attention to the ensuing havoc that arises, or not depending upon your organization.

This will give you some pretty good insights into the barriers of resistance that may exist in your company.  It will also give you the opportunity to try and fix them!


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