Tag Archives: customer relationships

Bob Salomon: Learning Disabilities, Computers, and Communicating



Joanie has a conversation with Bob Salomon, president of CIO Systems.  One of the coolest things about Bob is his willingness to talk about how he’s dealt with dyslexia and ADD and how that actually motivated him to get into tech. Bob also talks about how they “make IT boring” at CIO Systems.  They do IT security and support and help employees more be more productive.  In addition, Bob talks about how to network and ways to get involved in community service.

Highlights:

Q: Tell us your story of how having dyslexia and ADD drew you into IT work.

“It’s been a major stumbling block and also a path for me.  I grew up in the 60s and 70s.  At the time, it wasn’t quite understood.  I did terrible in school.  I was a C-D student for most of elementary and high school.  I only got into college because, at the time, it was very easy to get into state university.  All you had to do was score a certain level on the SAT.  My SAT scores were very high and, even though my grades were very low, I automatically got into State.

I went to Cal State Long Beach.  There it was the second time I’d ever had to touch a computer.  Back then, it was virtually impossible for the average person to get close to a computer.  There was an Apple II in the library, and I started programming on that.  One of my nerd friends, he was in the mathematics department, and he gave me an account on school mainframe, the PDP-11/70.

There wasn’t a good word processing program at that time.  There were text programs, but you had to keep switching between modes and there was no visible cursor.  You had to remember where you were and type commands to move forward or back to a document.  So it was very cumbersome.  I actually wrote my own word processing program with a dictionary.  That’s a major accomplishment to be able to create a dictionary when you’re dyslexic.  I was actually the first person to hand in computer-generated homework for a liberal arts class.  The teacher had to go to the academic senate to get approval to accept my homework.

They had a program for adults with learning disabilities at California State.  It was an excellent program and I was very happy to get into that.  With that support, I was able to graduate on the President’s Honor Roll.  I went from being a C student to the President’s Honor Roll.  Just by doing my work on the computer and handing it in that way made all the difference in the world.

For so long, it was impossible to communicate by writing.  I would think of words and I would think of them phonetically and there was no easy way of looking them up in a dictionary.  I would have to think of synonyms and it was very hard to edit and I would mess up the edits.  Basically, all of my life I had a very negative view of myself because everything I did was terrible.”

Bob’s story continues to be riveting.  To hear how he turned himself around, managed through his frustrations, and empowered himself to start his own company, as well as how he developed his people skills and how he delights customers, listen to the podcast.

Words of Wisdom:

It’s very common for people with ADD to run their own company.

As an IT expert, I’ve monetized my paranoia.

Computers are there to be tools and they need to be up and running.

If we do it right, nothing should happen and selling nothing is sometimes a little harder than it should be.

Shout Out:

Brian Jackson at Sandler Training for sales training.

Contact Bob Salomon:

Call: 619-293-8600

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bob-salomon-675872b/

Website: ciosys.com


David Oates: Managing Coronavirus and Other Crises



David Oates is a Crisis PR expert with 25 years of experience in the field. He helps organizations repair their brand’s reputation in the press and online. He can handle any Crisis PR situation and train others to do the same. As a U.S. Navy Public Affairs Officer and a corporate PR professional, he dealt with a broad range of Crisis PR issues. These include mass layoffs, large-scale accidents, product recall, inappropriate acts by executives, and more. He’s also been a key advisor for companies during the Coronavirus crisis. Do you know what to do—and what NOT to do—in these situations?  Listen to the episode.

Highlights:

Q: Tell us your story of how you’ve worked with nerds on PR crisis management and in what contexts.

“I was an officer in the Navy and, in the mid-nineties, I became a PR Officer.  Crisis was just a part of the day’s activities.  As you can imagine, in the military you’re in foreign ports of call, you’re in combat situations.  There are 24-hour very heavy industrial operations, so accidents, sailors and marines behaving badly, different hot war engagements and so on.”

“After that, I went into corporate America.  I worked largely, but not exclusively, with startups and small cap publicly traded companies.  The things that we would work on, in addition to promoting their software products, was if there were adverse news events that would occur that would get the ire of not just the press, but also of their highly trained employees that they were trying to keep.  Just as important to them were their customers and their investors.”

“Those types of scenarios were such that when there were things they didn’t want to talk about, I had to get them prepared to talk about them—in such a way as to allay the concerns of employees, who were going to go literally across the street to the next job opportunity, and investors who were going to be reticent about getting the next round of funding closed or secured, while keeping the executive team intact, and certainly customers who were taking the risk to go with this new product in beta mode.”

“I was also head of marketing in-house for a software company and, about 13 years ago, I went out on my own.  It’s been a great ride!”

Q: What constitutes a Crisis PR event and who is involved, especially in technical companies?

“When folks think about PR, and certainly Crisis PR, they naturally default to the news organizations and the general public.  That’s good to focus on, but often focusing on that is at the detriment of focusing on even more important audiences—employees, customers, partners, investors, and other stakeholders.  Notice I named employees first.”

“There are two things to think about with employees.  First off, they are the ones who are dealing with the customers and stakeholders on a daily basis.  They are the front lines of you being able to articulate a value proposition and deliver on that.  If the employees are not told what’s going on, and are not addressed on their concerns, and are not able to be empowered with messaging to say to the other stakeholders, you’re done.  You won’t repair yourself.”

“I don’t care what you say to a reporter or to a news organization.  If the employees don’t buy into it and are not brought in to help you through it, the story will linger.  It will then perpetuate on the blogosphere.  Google will index it.  You’ll then see negative reviews on things like Glassdoor and other tech review sites.  Blog reviews, like Mashable and TechCrunch will pick up on that and it will be a real mess.  This is most important for tech companies.”

Listen in to hear answers to these questions too.

What kinds of challenges do technical leaders tend to have in responding to a crisis PR event?  How do handle Coronavirus Crisis PR and other similar health situations.  What should you NEVER do in a Crisis PR situation?

Words of Wisdom:

Employees are going to be the backbone of whether you make it through an adverse event.

Nowadays, everyone is a broadcaster.

When employees are ticked off, do they wait until the end of the day to post something about work?

There are two things you do in every Crisis PR situation: show empathy and action.

People respond to an event with emotions first and logic after.

You can’t ignore the people shouting at you even though you disagree with their response.

Contact David Oates:

Website: Publicrelationssecurity.com

Email: david@publicrelationssecurity.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidoates/