If The Shoe Fits…

This probably would’ve been funnier about 5 years ago when there was a social network for just about everything, but I think the joke still carries, especially since it has sharing economy undertones.

For the uninitiated, the sharing economy model is the practice of <start Wikipedia definition> using information technology to provide individuals, corporations, non-profits and governments with information that enables the optimization of resources through the redistribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services. </end Wikipedia definition> Think Uber or Airbnb.

With the recent success of those two examples, the sharing economy model seems to be the newest trend that people will try to wedge a business concept into. Of course, the success of any of these businesses will rely solely on the sustained demand for such a service.

Uber works well because people will always need rides– Airbnb works too because people will always travel and need a place to stay. Not sure the same thing can be said for shoe shopping buddies.

Regardless, I actually kind of wish there was a business like Cobblr. As an individual with two different sized feet, it would help me save a little bit of money. Maybe if this whole comic thing doesn’t work out, I’ll work on launching that in my spare time.


What’s In a Name?

Today I’d like to explore a simple observation about tech startup naming conventions. Companies like Bzzr, Qzzr and Scvngr are all guilty of weighing a little too heavy on the consonants. Does a lack of vowels make a company seem more sophisticated? Sleek?

Nah, it just makes you look stupid.

It’s like when everyone started adding a lowercase vowel in front of everything to make it look Internet-y.

eMusic. uPlay. iFun.

My theory is that the vowels got sick of being front and center, so they peaced out and told the consonants to deal with it. Now the letters that aren’t a, e, i, o, u or sometimes y are all mashed together as company names that fail to convey purpose and instead sound like something straight out of Klingon vernacular.

Tech startups, please stop doing this. But do continue to give me fun things to make comics about!

Truthfully, Don’t Quit Your Day Job


While I never have (and never will) lie during an interview (my conscience would eat me up from the inside like a Ridley Scott alien), I’ve always pondered the ethics of truth-bending throughout the hiring process.

Take salary compensation, for example. It’s a negotiable factor between the prospective employee and employer that’s most likely triggered by the latter asking how much the former made in a previous role.

While this isn’t always the flow of the salary conversation, it definitely gives the candidate a bit of power in bending the truth to get a better benchmark compensation to work upwards from.

If the employer is willing to pay more for the prospective employee based on this adjustment, is it wrong? I would lean towards “no”, because I don’t think there are negative ramifications for either party. But I also didn’t do well at Philosophy in college, so there’s that, too.

And what about the flip-side? I’m sure employers fudge the job description plenty to make it more appealing to candidates, like a situation from my own experience: I was hired for a digital “marketing” internship my sophomore year of college. The first week I was there, all I did was make cold calls to try to sell office supplies. I was literally working for Michael Scott.

The second week I sheepishly approached the owner and gave him the “this wasn’t what I signed up for” speech.

Third week I was out of there. Ethical? Methinks not, in this case. But that could just be because I was burned and didn’t do very well in college Philosophy 101.

No Money, Mo’ Problems

Mink#7Blogging for yourself might be free, but if you’re going to do it right, you’ll need to shell out a little dough. A common oversight of people thinking they can “do it themselves” is mistakenly leveraging a free website like WordPress.com or (like back in the day) blogspot to host their blog or entire website.

The problem with these platforms? You don’t own the main domain, so all the effort you put into building up that website is all for naught– the SEO credit and authority you create in search results goes towards WordPress.com or whichever free site you’re using. Not ideal, especially if you’re looking to build up your digital presence. 99% of marketers know this, but only a small percentage of people building a website on their own actually consider this (especially if you’re short on money or don’t care to learn the whole domain / hosting setup).

So, if you’re going to do it right, buy a domain name and some basic hosting. Why, I paid a little money to host this very comic’s website. Neato!

Branding: This Time, It’s Personal

Mink Comic #6: While my “Hire Me” music video resume was the single best personal branding move I ever made (and probably ever will make), the real lasting value of the clip came from two simple things that appeared about halfway in: my Twitter handle and a link to my blog at the time.

Marketer Al circa 2009 almost left them out, not really considering or anticipating the following and readership he might get if said video took off (which it did). Present day marketer Al praises his amateur self for making this call because over the years, he’s steadily built up a modest social following as a result.

I’ve found personal branding a tough thing to nail, especially for people just starting their careers. The content feels forced. The writer has a weird sense of entitlement. There’s nothing special about what they’re creating.

In order for personal branding to work, you need to convey passion, integrate a degree of authenticity and most importantly, you need to write well.

To convey passion, experience whatever it is you’re writing about and see if it sticks. If you don’t like it, don’t force yourself to. Move on.

To integrate authenticity, write about your own ideas. Anyone can write about anyone else’s ideas. Coming up with your own is much more challenging (and interesting).

To write well, you need to practice. You also need to read a ton.

But don’t wait to have all those skills nailed down to start creating content. Find your passion in your career and experience it. Write about you own ideas. Eventually everything falls into place.

For Better or Worse

Mink#5I’m drawing (pun intended!) a lot of inspiration from my own life experiences and injecting it into Mink’s world. Unemployed out of college? Check. Short-cropped, slightly spiky hair? Check.  Delightfully quirky, insightful dad that’s self-employed? Check. Love you dad (you’re probably reading this).

That’s not to say that the strip will be a complete reflection of my life. Oh, no, not at all– you see, Mink is going to be much more exciting! He won’t be slaying any dragons, per se (unless you’d consider unemployment as a type of fire-breathing lizard) but he will be meeting new friends, making enemies and maybe even getting some sort of animal companion that’s secretly a master copywriter.

Stay tooned.

Foot in the Door Mouth

Mink#4Who’s heard of FOMO (fear of missing out)? For the uninitiated, it’s essentially the anxious feeling you get when you’d rather stay in and watch another episode of House of Cards instead of going out to do something social. FOMO has a more career-focused, successful cousin and he’s called FOMOONE (fear of missing out on networking events). The reason he’s more successful is because he’s well connected from all the networking events (FOMO is just a social party animal).

I used to get FOMOONE a lot when I was looking for a job (well duh, any opportunity you don’t jump on could be the one you lose out on) and today, it still creeps up behind me from time to time and whispers in my ear “Al, should you be out networking at some marketing or young business professionals event?”

If the feeling was actually a tangible creature, I’d probably whisper back “why don’t you finish my work little buddy? Hold down the fort and I’ll go out and mingle professionally!” He’d probably do a decent enough job.

But honestly, it’s always a breath of fresh air to get out and re-acquaint yourself with the professional community. It’s gotten me out of a thinking bubble several times and helps validate your hard work with others.


Rent I Pay


Today, about a fifth of children still live at home with their parents until the age of 29. Wow.

If you don’t land a job right out of college, chances are you’re back home, reliving that period of time you spent between high school graduation and freshman year. It’s like a crossover of Van Wilder and Groundhog Day, except you’re living with your parents.

My advice is try to move out when you get the chance. Saving money by living with mom and pop might seem like the best move for those swimming in student debt, but if you can land a full time job, weight your expenses and pack up.

Moving out forces you to learn some crucial life skills real fast. Like doing your own laundry (among other things).

The Graduate’s Dilemma

The Graduate's Dilemma

So begins the story of a recent college graduate named Mink and along with it, my own editorial on the world of marketing. This endeavor marries together two topics I’ve learned a fair bit about over the past few years: marketing and drawing (or more precisely, drawing cartoons).

What remains to be seen is if combining the two will provide anything remarkable. I encourage you to stick with it because who knows, you just might get a laugh or two at Mink’s expense.

If you haven’t seen it yet, a small window prompt at the top of the page will ask you to subscribe to future comics. In doing so, you’ll receive a brief email every time a comic is published (probably once a week). So go for it. You’ll want to know if Mink finds a job, right?