26 Jan 2016

Hiring someone new? Be careful about age discrimination!

No Comments advice, Hiring

We’ve recently tried out some new analysts at BlitzMetrics. Great way to test our 9 level analyst system.


Most applicants are college-aged teen-to-early twenties, but people of all ages can join the program. However, it’s designed for students still in school, since we have college and classmate support.  Harder to go through the program without joining a team for mentorship.


We’ve considered eliminating the $10/hr starting position, which handles training and apprenticeship- which requires “hands-on” time from Senior analysts and above. This raises the starting pay to $15/hr, and means we have a higher expectation of skills. We’d have fewer “apprenticeship” type positions and young adults would have to qualify at a higher level to join the company.


But once they do get in as a Level 2 Analyst, they have a “better” position as a digital professional. And our self-guided training is getting better and better. We offer the training at no cost, regardless– subsidized by our awesome clients.

If we keep the Junior Analyst spot as paid and raise to $15/hour, then we have to increase our prices, though we already operate at just above break-even.

Know the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? Imagine that the person you’re wanting to hire is set in their ways, and is actively refusing to learn your system (be it out of pride, or that they think their experience stands on it’s own). It’s happened to us before, and has cost us thousands while we tried to coax them to cooperate. Forget being old dogs, these are horses we’ve lead to water, but refuse to drink.

So, in our situation, who would you consider hiring: The 20-something year old social media generation who grew up on the internet and is still apt to learn, or someone who still types with two fingers, does things “their way”, and are afraid of change?

I’m not attacking older people. If you have the necessary skills and the willingness to adapt and learn, regardless of your age, then you would excel in our system. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a certain category of worker doesn’t understand the new job economy– which is based on performance and upward mobility, as opposed to having to “negotiate” a corporate job right out of school.

But, despite the obvious choice, did you know it’s illegal to discriminate against hiring someone based solely on their age? Careful about making those old-timer / dinosaur jokes! It could land you in trouble.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits employment discrimination based on age with respect to employees 40 years of age or older. Here’s a few key points to remember:

Work Place Fairness

Here are some examples of potentially unlawful age discrimination:

  • You didn’t get hired because the employer wanted a younger-looking person to do the job.
  • You received a negative job evaluation because you weren’t “flexible” in taking on new projects.
  • You were fired because your boss wanted to keep younger workers who are paid less.
  • You were turned down for a promotion, which went to someone younger hired from outside the company because the boss says the company “needs new blood.”
  • When company layoffs are announced, most of the persons laid off were older, while younger workers with less seniority and less on-the-job experience were kept on.
  • Before you were fired, your supervisor made age-related remarks about you, such as that you were “over-the-hill,” or “ancient.”
  • Workers who are 40 years of age or older are protected by the ADEA from employment discrimination based on age if the employer regularly employs 20 or more employees.

Are all older workers protected under the law?

No. The ADEA contains several exceptions:

Executives or others “in high policy-making positions” can be required to retire at age 65 if they would receive annual retirement pension benefits worth $44,000 or more.

There are special exceptions for police and fire personnel, tenured university faculty and certain federal employees having to do with law enforcement and air traffic control. If these exceptions may apply to you, check with your personnel office or an attorney for details.

The ADEA makes an exception when age is an essential part of a particular job — also known by the legal term “bona fide occupational qualification” or BFOQ. For example, if a company hires an actor to play the role of a 10-year old, or a teen’s clothing store needs models, the ability to appear youthful is a necessary part of the job or a BFOQ.

Can an employer ask my age on a job application?

Nothing in the ADEA specifically prevents an employer from asking an applicant’s age or date of birth. However, because such inquiries may deter older workers from applying for employment or may otherwise indicate possible intent to discriminate based on age, requests for age information will be closely scrutinized to make sure that the inquiry was made for a lawful purpose, rather than for a purpose prohibited by the ADEA.

What do I have to prove to prevail on an ADEA claim?

Claims of unlawful discrimination on the basis of age can be difficult to prove. To be successful, the employee must show that some adverse action was taken on the basis of his or her age. Such an adverse action can be shown by direct evidence, but such evidence is not usually available.

It isn’t enough for an employee to show that he or she was replaced by a younger person, although this fact can serve to strengthen a claim under the ADEA. An employer can only be held liable for age discrimination if the employee can show that an intentional action was taken against the employee because of the employee’s age.

It’s considered age discrimination if you directly told applicants you were looking for young workers only or if you stated in job application / job posting that the job was only for young adults.

You can, however, tell a person that they do not meet the job requirements or are overqualified during an interview. A lot of companies hire at job fairs where they can meet potential candidates face to face before interviewing or they require applicants to bring in the resume and can meet the person before interviewing. You can not commit age discrimination if the applicant has not even been interviewed for the job because they were never a potential candidate.

Source: http://www.workplacefairness.org/age-discrimination

What about Failure to hire cases?

So-called “Failure to Hire” cases is notoriously hard to bring and even harder to prove. As long as the organization ends up hiring someone who is qualified for the job, how could you ever prove that they were rejected because of age? It’s not as though the organization is going to publish the new hire’s age for all the other candidates to see.

It’s unlawful to reject a job-seeker because s/he’s over forty, but it’s perfectly legal to decline to hire someone because he or she is a Capricorn, a knitter or a Golden State Warrior’s fan. It’s legal to refuse to hire someone because they’re Republican or because they’re vegan.

You can say to a job-seeker “You’re too ugly to work for me” without breaking any laws. In other words, older job-seekers aren’t the only ones being discriminated against.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2014/01/31/the-ugly-truth-about-age-discrimination/#2715e4857a0b50c15a211f1e

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age.

Harassment can include offensive remarks about a person’s age. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Source: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/age.cfm

Special thanks to Tymber H. from FancyHands, who compiled the list of articles and extracted the useful information.

16 Sep 2015

How borrowing a projector turned into a dream calling

No Comments Networking

6 years ago, JD Lasica, a high-power journalist who runs socialmedia.biz, reached out for an interview.
I was so busy running Facebook ads that I was pondering whether to do the interview or get an hour of much-needed sleep.

I’m so grateful I chose to forgo that hour of sleep.
And when you look back on your life journeys, you’ll find the small choices that made all the difference.

That interview to share expertise on how Facebook ads led to his invite to speak at the Social Media Club in Oakland.
We didn’t have a projector, so JD asked his buddy, Kenny Lauer, if we could borrow his projector.


In meeting Kenny, I had much respect for the guy who ran events such as DreamForce and Oracle OpenWorld.
And unforeseen to both of us, a few years after that, he ran digital and marketing for the Golden State Warriors.

And then he pulled me in to help him with social ads and analytics, even gave me the wonderful compliment of “Dennis has not only been amazing with us at the Warriors but someone I consider a great friend” – wow!
All based on that seemingly random encounter 6 years ago to ask someone if we could borrow a projector.

Kenny was then able to hire Daniel Brusilovsky, founder of Teens in Tech, and co-founder at Ribbon and Imoji.
That led to me being able to work more closely with Daniel, which brought me into his network.


And that’s how I met Christine Stoffel, founder of the SEAT consortium, the highest power network of sports executives and tech.

Then being able to share our experience with the Warriors— how we used social to drive provable ticket revenue.

A close friend of mine, Spencer Taggart, who I also met because of these experiences, has spoken of similar encounters. Spencer once told me…

“I randomly met a famous chef at a trade show and we quickly became dear friends. (Chef Art Smith) Because of this one relationship, we each have new friends, and business partners that have dramatically changed the course of our lives; more than once. I have no clue where my life would be if I hadn’t been willing to step out of my comfort zone and befriended this mountain of a man. Chef’s life has changed in phenomenal ways as well. Follow your gut, eliminate fear, and believe in the power of relationships.”


unnamed (1)

The chain of events, butterfly style, goes on.

Every decision you make creates your domino destiny, amplifying your future in ways unforeseen to you now.

So the moment you think you’re amazing, consider the folks who have made your journey possible.
I sit with awe and gratitude of the mentoring and friendship I’ve been so lucky to receive.


Yet had I not gone all in on Facebook ads— to literally spend thousands of hours making campaigns,  JD Lasica wouldn’t have reached out.
So it starts with you openly sharing something you’ve learned, investing time to get good at it, and building your personal brand.

Share what chain of events created something amazing for you.

31 Aug 2015

Good people and good profits- my secret revealed

No Comments advice

I’ve labored 20 years in business. Two decades.

PicMonkey Collage

And here is a simple lesson I learned the hard way…

The quick buck from shortcuts is a mirage.

I’ve dabbled in affiliate marketing, toolbar installs, online gambling, dating sites, and many perfectly legal, but questionably ethical endeavors.

Made millions on a couple, but usually lost my shirt and created heartache. Certain fields draw certain people. And soon you find what was supposed to be easy is now a complex mess with unsavory people out to cheat you.

We were doing over $80,000 a day in revenue selling questionable products on Facebook years ago. But eventually got shut down when Zuckerberg himself got mad.

It didn’t last. It never does.

I was at Disneyland with Neil Patel and Harrison Gevirtz one day. We were joking how we were making $10,000 in the hour that we stood in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean.


Even the 5 minutes that it took to go the bathroom and come back- well, that was about $500, you figure.

I bought our guys cars as bonuses.
Flew them first class to New York to celebrate.
Spent money on stupid things just to show off, like other teenagers with sunglasses and gold chains- I had neither of those, by the way.

The campaigns ran by themselves on Facebook pushing the IQ quiz and reared mobile offers. Totally legal, but still ethically wrong.

And I regret ever wasting the years playing in that space. I’ve made a number of enemies since then in the affiliate space. You can imagine what the various people said when I exited years ago.

How I cost some people a lot of money by writing articles about how spam works and consulting for the FTC. How I was holier than thou, but no better than them. That I was rich and deserved to be robbed or killed. I had death threats.

Not worth it.

Wrong industry and wrong people.
Learn from my mistakes.

So save yourself the pain. There are many ways to make a profit. Choose the right people and the right areas.

If you’re doing it for the money, that’s a sign something is wrong.

If you are trying to please someone else to be who you are not, reconsider what you are doing.

Ask yourself if your labors are creating wholesome value for people or if you’re tricking people somehow.

If you’re in the affiliate space, which is a mix of good and bad (like anything), it’s easy to just call it marketing and justify it.  Beer commercials promise the girl of your dreams while that free credit report isn’t really free.

But that’s not what I’m talking about.

The test is if you would feel okay if your grandmother or significant other clicked on your ad and bought.

Would you feel guilty?

It took me over a decade to realize that using my skills to teach young adults how to optimize digital traffic, then applied to sports teams, lead gen, and whatever, was far more rewarding.


Whether it’s more profitable in the long run doesn’t matter, since the pleasure is in being with good people.

In part 2, I’ll tell you about how I learned to do PPC, what tactics generated profits, and some crazy things that happened when I started my first business.

24 Aug 2015

7 things I learned at ESTO about social media

No Comments Thought Leadership, Travel
  • Attendees love micro-brews in Portland. Why have a travel conference in Little Rock, Arkansas?  Just kidding.
  • Social media has advanced to where influencers matter– and you can’t treat them like ad networks. You must cultivate content in their voice to appeal to their audience authentically.
  • Henry Hornecker is a 21 year old up and coming social media star that will work for one of the NBA teams by this time next year.
  • DMO (destination marketing organizations) know they need to be on social and to connect with influencers, but they don’t know what to do, how to do it, and how to measure it. There is fuzziness around how much to pay influencers or whether to just give out free travel, hotel stays, and the like. We released a guide at blitzmetrics.com/esto.
  • CPM is a good starting point to measure earned media value, since we’re looking at traffic to the properties. However, we need a qualitative measure for relevance and perhaps to sales where quantifiable.
  • Influencers, who are content marketers with distribution, too, need to create their own material to resonate with their fan base.  The management and organization of these influencers is loose, so agencies like Instabrand and others are creating networks to enable the buying and selling of influence.
  • There is fear of “selling out”, since influencers legally must disclose they are getting paid. But with strong branding, meaning influencers being picky about who they choose, fans won’t be disappointed.IMG_0194

Thank you, Bill Karz, VP of Digital at the LA Tourism and Convention Board, for the invite to the panel!

30 Jul 2015

On This Day – Facebook

1 Comment local advertising

Dennis Luggage Post
I awoke from a dream and didn’t know where I was. The hotel room looked like any ordinary Hilton, but when I peeled back the curtains, I saw the sprawling, dirty metropolis of Beijing.

And I remembered that I was 13 hours ahead– how far I had come, literally. Jetlagged, disoriented– not like the fantasy George Clooney in “Up In The Air”.

Another time, I’m in Minneapolis in my own bed, but it takes a few moments to wipe away the slumber and realize where I am. Being an entrepreneur is sometimes like a horror film that you don’t know the ending of, nor can publicly admit is scary.

My TravelPro carry-on remembers these cities and experiences, but is forever silent.

The “On This Day” feature of Facebook helps me relish the journey. It gives me balance– low moments when I need a dose of humility and reminders of past success when I need cheering up.

One year ago, you were doing something you probably don’t remember well today. But when reminded, the details come back in full HD.

It’s better than the times you move, pausing to rummage through stuff you hadn’t seen in a while. You cherish these memories and remind yourself to follow up on them.

Are you getting these flashbacks from Facebook more frequently in your newsfeed? Do you wish life was not a slideshow that would only accelerate faster and faster with no pause button.

Go to facebook.com/onthisday and remind yourself of how far you’ve come, my friend.

28 Jul 2015

I am still waiting for your reply

1 Comment email marketing

Thus said friend.seocompany@gmail.com, who wants me to post their blog in exchange for a token payment.
Apparently, I didn’t respond to them within 2 minutes, so they had to follow up.

So I was curious what sort of spam they engage in.
Googling that email address (you should use your domain, not a freemail address, by the way, if you want to be treated seriously), we find:


Looks like “Anna” is buying and selling links on her site:


And doing this with a lot of folks:


Notice the keyword stuffing in the blog sections and tags.

Anyone who has to cold-call to drive business doesn’t have enough to keep them busy.
It means they can’t keep clients or care more about growth than quality.

Be an inbound marketer, not a desperate pitchman.

10 Jul 2015

How Business Insider creates decent Facebook videos with ease

1 Comment local advertising

9 things you didn’t know about Air Force One: http://read.bi/1FW0pEJ

Posted by Business Insider on Sunday, July 5, 2015

Here is an organic video from Business Insider, a publisher of broad-ranging content that uses BuzzFeed-like techniques.
Better content and not as far as the linkbaiting spectrum, so a good player to watch to see what social sharing tactics are working.

This video is a listicle (an article that is a list of things), which is the easiest to create.
Take any existing article you have (a top ten list, for example), associate one picture per item, and turn it into a video.

Instead of posting the entire video to Facebook, have the first 20 seconds be native and make the call the action at the end like this:


If you’ve done a good job in making the video super interesting, you’ll get the follow-on click to your site.
Facebook recently changed a video view to be counted as at least 10 seconds, up from just 3 seconds.
So make the video just long enough to be super interesting, but not long enough that the drop-off hurts you.

If you do a good job, you’ll get 25% of viewers to click through.


In this case, Business Insider is using their own url shortener, but you could you link directly or use bit.ly, too.

Look in your video analytics in Facebook insights and compare it with your Google Analytics.

Then you can see this funnel:

impression > view > Facebook reported click > bitly click > Google Analytics visit > conversion

Pro tips:

  • You’ll need sitewide SSL on your site to measure referral traffic from Facebook.
  • Set up url parameters in your call to action link so you can track it as a campaign.
  • Amplify this post with ads at a dollar a day.
  • Make sure you have conversion tracking in Facebook and Google enabled so you can see if viewers took further action.
  • Have remarketing in place (Google and Facebook) so you can show follow-on videos and articles in sequence to these viewers.
  • Get a FancyHands, Fiverr, or student to do this at $20 a pop to help you assemble your listicles (then turned into a video) and execute this process.

If you have your plumbing in place, then you’ll methodically be able to drive engagement traffic (like this) sequentially to conversion.

Consider what Owen Hemsath, who’s an expert at video marketing on his YouTube channel VideoSpot, and runs thevideospot.net, has to say:

2ea23d0Short-form video content will win over Facebook users who are used to thumbing through their news feed. Ask for a few seconds of their time to earn the click and take advantage of remarketing strategies to engage your viewers long term. Businesses using Facebook video will excel with short-form content. All of our tests show that users want to preview your content before committing to the full post.  We’ve found that on Facebook shorter videos with a clear commercial message outperform “content-based” ads promoting the same offer. In other words, if you’re selling something- sell it and do it quickly. The talking head videos may perform well if you’re a clearly established personality but for most brands, that won’t be the case. Give the audience a visually impactful video that leads to your funnel. 

In other words, have multiple nurturing steps by delivering content via email, Facebook, and otherwise to an eventual conversion.

29 Jun 2015

I just don’t have enough

1 Comment advice, personal branding, promoting yourself

Not enough time. Not enough money. I don’t have enough in every aspect of my life.

And so I adopt a scarcity attitude, justifying my rude behavior towards others.

After all, if there isn’t enough to go around, it’s a dog eat dog world, right?

There are only so many client dollars, so I must outmuscle my competition.

I’ll growl when any other dog comes near my food dish when I’m eating.

Zero sum game, red ocean– I need to be tough and distrustful, as life is nasty, brutish, and short.

That’s what other people say as an excuse to not share their expertise, which guarantees failure in their attempts to do content marketing.

So content marketing becomes illogical– why would you give away your food in a famine?

For some, the hot sand evokes a barren desert, but to others, a tropical beach


If you want to be the “best” at something, you have to surround yourself with others at the best.

Crawl out from the “safety” of your Platonic Cave and into the illumination of the brightest stars.

Those who you once thought were enemies now become allies you seek for reciprocal value.

I’m not threatened by folks like Larry Kim, who can probably run circles around me in PPC.

Or Mat Morrison, who can mine social data deeper than I can imagine.


These folks I respect, but am not afraid of and definitely don’t see as competition.

Who are the Larry’s and Mat’s that you’ve avoided because of the fear of not enough?

Fear is the silent killer

I might think that I don’t have fear, but disguise via my busyness, call it irrelevant, or deflect it with excuses.

Like an alcoholic, I’ll be in denial– cover it up, be defensive, and then hide.

When there is love, fear cannot exist.

Love is focusing on the needs of others, while fear is self-centered concern.

When others are being mean to us, look beyond their immediate behavior to see a heart in pain.

They are in pain like a bear with her paw in a trap or a friend who has suffered a physical injury.

You can reframe anger, rude behavior, and criticism into a cry for love, like our friend Will Franco talks about.

And usually, their situation is caused by a mentality of not enough and zero sum, which is what’s causing them to barely get by.

What they view as the problem is actually the symptom and vice-versa.

If you believe strongly in your business’ mission, where is your love manifested?

How are you giving of your knowledge and time freely, knowing it will come back to you one hundred fold?

If not, how will you transform your mentality of being a sole provider fending off the world, unable to come out to receive love?

Who are the folks you view as enemies and competitors, whose strength they’d gladly apply in your favor?

I’d argue that you believe you have any direct competitors, you’ve not thought through your mission deeply enough.

The exception is if you operate in a regulated or commodity environment– but then consider how to not differentiate further.

17 Jun 2015

Don’t do this if you want to speak at a conference

No Comments Conferences



Putting on conferences is increasingly harder, so organizers are resorting to trading speaking slots for sponsorship dollars.
The result is that most conferences devolve into pitchfests, where vendors shamelessly sell, like above.

Here is one example of where they reached out and I replied asking for more information:


So my assistants reached out 7 times over the course of 3 months and never got a response:



In fact, each time I’ve replied to WBR folks, they have trouble responding, even though they initiated conversation or called me first.
Here is one of many:



In fact, over the last couple years, they’ve sent me 110 emails and phone calls:



Attendees smell the foul odor and don’t come back the next year, creating increasing pressure to rely on sponsors to make ends meet.
Do you see this happening at the conferences you attend?



“I agree that many are becoming a pitchfest. I think those conferences who limit the numbers of exhibitors do better from an attendee’s point of view. If I wanted to see what people have to sell, I’d go to an exhibition. I go to conferences to learn, network and share what valuable insights that I have myself”

says Facebook Marketing Professional, Jenny Brennan. She continues,

“On the other hand, I think most organizers would argue that they need the revenue – I don’t know what it’s like to be on that side of things so I am unqualified to give an opinion – I just know that for me, it feels sort of slimy to be sold to at events and I avoid the booths as much as I can.”

This problem is only getting worse, since the big networks like Google and Facebook actually have the upper in producing content on how to use their platforms.
Same is true for Adobe Analytics, Marketo, Infusionsoft, and other vendors that are now putting on their own shows.

HootSuite has their HootSuite University and Facebook has Facebook Blueprint– plus Google has their certifications.

There is only going to be more technology, not less of it.
And the inevitable result is that you’ll see increasingly more tool-focused presentations, but less independent speakers.

Back to the original issue, if you’re good (I mean really good) at what you do, you’ll not need to pay to speak at a conference.
They’ll pay your travel expenses and give you a modest speaker’s fee.

I hear Guy Kawasaki gets $50k to speak and Seth Godin is over $100k.
You don’t see these guys or even the smaller guys ever paying– we certainly don’t.

Paying for content is like paying for sex— it’s dishonest on multiple levels.
You can see this sales guy’s message offering up the audience like raw meat– encouraging pitching.

In the last year, I’ve been hit up every week for paid speaking gigs– I turn them all down.
Some conferences have aggressive sales guys that offer “free” passes if you buy a discounted booth.
The booth is supposedly $10,000, but if you get selected (everyone gets selected), then it’s only $2,000.

We have to be picky about what conferences have alignment with our mission so we create joint value– helping young adults get jobs.

Consider your opportunity cost in addition to any hard costs.
Pay to attend a conference to learn, but never pay to speak.

15 Jun 2015

He raises a good point

No Comments email marketing, Spam