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How To Solve A Personal Branding Paradox

I’m Derek, a project manager and technology geek who lives and breaths general project management, Agile, Scrum, Kanban, and technology.  You can follow me on Twitter @derekhuether or if you really liked this article, subscribe to the RSS Feed.

Over the course of the last 15 years, I’ve really expanded my personal brand.  I started out as a full on Tech Geek.  I launched my first startup in October of 1996.  Yes, when the Pentium 133 was the latest thing.  It was a good ride.  Sure, the company died off after 10 years of business but I got my exit and I learned a lot.  Two things I learned.  One, I like to interact with people.  Two, I don’t like to interact with people when they don’t want to interact with me.  Let’s not waste our time here, people.  Who would you rather have a conversation with?  [1] That guy or gal who walks around the room pushing his business card into everyone’s face.  Or [2], that guy or gal who you know has similar interests or passions as you.

After leaving the hardware-and-software-geek world for the application development world, I found a niche with project management.  I loved the idea I could help solve a problem (deliver on time, on budget, within scope) when given the opportunity to do so.  I could identify a need and provide a solution.  The need to talk project management when dealing with Businesses, Government Agencies and Educational Institutions led me to get my PMP® Certification.  The need to empower my development teams led me to get my Certified Scrum Master Certification.  The need to optimize my work throughput led me to champion the use of a Personal Kanban.

All of these are all mere tools in my toolbox.  But, when you put them all together, they start to describe my personal brand.  I’m a guy who believes in transparency, technology, and information dissemination.  I deliver products with passion, commitment, and skill.

So, what’s the paradox?  I’ve been writing The Critical Path for a while now.  Since it’s launch, I’ve grown more and more passionate about things other then just project management.  I really have two options.  [1] Launch another blog with my personal perspective and focus The Critical Path on my professional perspective. [2] Expand The Critical Path to include more about my other passions.

I love going on Twitter and finding a thousand personal brand experts or social media experts. (That’s kind of a joke)  But, what I believe in most is the wisdom of the crowd.  I would love to see what you have to say.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them below.

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of ALM Platforms at LeadingAgile. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon). Novice angel investor.

16 Responses to “How To Solve A Personal Branding Paradox”

  1. Francisco Sáez
    January 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Hi, Derek. I fully understand what you’re saying because I’ve raised the same problem. I want to start to blog about project management, but I’d like to write about more things. My opinion is that the best option is to have one blog that covers all your interests. After all, your personal brand is conformed by all of them.

    • Derek Huether
      January 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm

      Francisco, yes, that is exactly what I want to do. A few others from Twitter have proposed the same as you. I will attempt to expand my blog, which will probably require a redesign. Still, it will certainly making managing a lot easier. I’m not in the business of hosting websites. I just enjoy blogging about my different passions.

  2. Francisco Sáez
    January 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Hi, Derek. I fully understand what you’re saying because I’ve raised the same problem. I want to start to blog about project management, but I’d like to write about more things. My opinion is that the best option is to have one blog that covers all your interests. After all, your personal brand is conformed by all of them.

    • Derek Huether
      January 27, 2010 at 1:34 pm

      Francisco, yes, that is exactly what I want to do. A few others from Twitter have proposed the same as you. I will attempt to expand my blog, which will probably require a redesign. Still, it will certainly making managing a lot easier. I’m not in the business of hosting websites. I just enjoy blogging about my different passions.

  3. January 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Derek, I would agree with Francisco’s suggestion. I’m working on setting up a blog that will cover multiple subject matters, and I am including a “categories” navigation where I categorize my posts depending on the subject matter. Users will be able to click on the category link that they’re interested in and see a list of entries for that category. That may help keep your blog organized and target different audiences.

    • Derek Huether
      January 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm

      Andy, thank you for the feedback. You, Francisco, and several others on Twitter are all recommending categories. Though I’ve used categories in the past, they were all project management related. I think this will work out very well by rolling them up to a single category and roll out the new categories one at a time.
      Best Regards,
      Derek

  4. January 27, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Derek, I would agree with Francisco’s suggestion. I’m working on setting up a blog that will cover multiple subject matters, and I am including a “categories” navigation where I categorize my posts depending on the subject matter. Users will be able to click on the category link that they’re interested in and see a list of entries for that category. That may help keep your blog organized and target different audiences.

    • Derek Huether
      January 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm

      Andy, thank you for the feedback. You, Francisco, and several others on Twitter are all recommending categories. Though I’ve used categories in the past, they were all project management related. I think this will work out very well by rolling them up to a single category and roll out the new categories one at a time.
      Best Regards,
      Derek

  5. January 27, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I believe in different approach. If I come here I come here for project management related stuff. I don’t care what you’ve eaten for lunch or how many miles you run yesterday or how your coin collection is going (these are just examples I’ve made of).

    If other subjects you’d like to talk about are somehow related with what you do here fine. Otherwise they’d make just noise around signal which I come here for. And vice versa – project management topics will be just noise for people coming here to hear about your running.

    From your perspective it would be tempting to have one place to cover them all, but your readers probably don’t follow all of your interests.

    By the way: interlinking between different sites as long as it is somehow relevant is a great tool to leverage current readership and build readers base on other sites.
    .-= Pawel Brodzinski´s last blog ..How Would You React to Corruption? =-.

    • Derek Huether
      January 27, 2010 at 6:50 pm

      Pawel, you make a VERY valid point. Everything I want to communicate is rooted in Project Management. It is my passion! That said, I want to help people find what they are looking for or engage in a friendly debate once in a while. Be it development, management, employment, or products, it all must link back to project management. I will be formally interlinking with another site in the coming days. Yes, it’s definitely project management related.

  6. January 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I believe in different approach. If I come here I come here for project management related stuff. I don’t care what you’ve eaten for lunch or how many miles you run yesterday or how your coin collection is going (these are just examples I’ve made of).

    If other subjects you’d like to talk about are somehow related with what you do here fine. Otherwise they’d make just noise around signal which I come here for. And vice versa – project management topics will be just noise for people coming here to hear about your running.

    From your perspective it would be tempting to have one place to cover them all, but your readers probably don’t follow all of your interests.

    By the way: interlinking between different sites as long as it is somehow relevant is a great tool to leverage current readership and build readers base on other sites.
    .-= Pawel Brodzinski´s last blog ..How Would You React to Corruption? =-.

    • Derek Huether
      January 27, 2010 at 2:50 pm

      Pawel, you make a VERY valid point. Everything I want to communicate is rooted in Project Management. It is my passion! That said, I want to help people find what they are looking for or engage in a friendly debate once in a while. Be it development, management, employment, or products, it all must link back to project management. I will be formally interlinking with another site in the coming days. Yes, it’s definitely project management related.

  7. January 27, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I’m right there with you. At one point, I wanted to have two blogs hanging off my domain name. I even had a tag line to distinguish them: PM Guru by day; social activist by night. I installed the two blogs on a test site. But the technical maintenance for TWO wordpress sites became too much, before I even launched. So, I decided to hold off on my social activist leanings, and instead went back to developing my passion for empowered knowlege workers. The exercise kind of forced me to become more focused.

    • Derek Huether
      January 28, 2010 at 3:14 am

      Jesse, I can certainly see the attraction of having two blogs. That of course is why I wrote the post. Reading feedback and past experiences of others has made me think twice. I know I have a few legacy blogs out there, at least one professional and two personal. I think I’m just going to leave them be. If I feel the itch, I’ll just do a few guest posts on other blogs.

      Best Regards,
      Derek

  8. January 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    I’m right there with you. At one point, I wanted to have two blogs hanging off my domain name. I even had a tag line to distinguish them: PM Guru by day; social activist by night. I installed the two blogs on a test site. But the technical maintenance for TWO wordpress sites became too much, before I even launched. So, I decided to hold off on my social activist leanings, and instead went back to developing my passion for empowered knowlege workers. The exercise kind of forced me to become more focused.

    • Derek Huether
      January 27, 2010 at 11:14 pm

      Jesse, I can certainly see the attraction of having two blogs. That of course is why I wrote the post. Reading feedback and past experiences of others has made me think twice. I know I have a few legacy blogs out there, at least one professional and two personal. I think I’m just going to leave them be. If I feel the itch, I’ll just do a few guest posts on other blogs.

      Best Regards,
      Derek

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