What can sharks and other first-movers teach us about personal branding and engagement on LinkedIn?

I recently listened to an interview with Kevin Harrington and Mark Timm on the EntreLeadership podcast. Kevin is known as the modern infomercial inventor and one of the original sharks on Shark Tank.

In the early days of cable television, he saw an opportunity to fill 6 hours of empty time on the Discovery Channel. These low-cost shows pitched everything from Ginsu knives, Jack LaLanne Juicers, George Foreman Grills, and much, much more. He saw an opening and attacked. …


Is every company really just a technology company? Most companies require proficiency in technology in order to reach customers where they are, fulfill orders, and service the relationship during and after the sale.

Is every company a financial services firm? Are Ford or GM auto manufacturers or finance companies? Based on the new car ads and 7-year financing, I’d say they’re selling cars and debt. They probably earn more money on debt, but I could be wrong.

Is every brand a content company? Ask Amazon, Apple, and AT&T, and we haven’t even moved to “B” companies.

Is every professional a…


Stories are powerful. They teach lessons, provide distractions, and inspire audiences to expand the scope of their aspirations. The greatest stories relate to us on a personal level. We identify with the hopes, dreams, struggles, and triumphs of different characters, and that identification often begins with a character’s physical appearance. When we see ourselves as the hero in stories, we see ourselves differently in the world.

My son believes wholeheartedly that he is a Power Ranger. My bruises are a testament to his crude, yet burgeoning, martial arts skills. What can I say? He is four-years-old and deeply committed to…


There is a famous quote that I will paraphrase, “you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.” Here’s the catch. That quote, oft attributed to Abraham Lincoln, can’t be verified. Fooled you!

There’s something about life that we’re all learned. We all get fooled, but even The Who exclaimed, “won’t get fooled again.” In other words, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Failure, fooling, falling, floundering and flopping are all part of the Earthbound experience, and nobody is immune.

Without…


When Bill Cosby asked someone what it was about cocaine that was so appealing, they said “cocaine intensifies your personality.” Bill’s retort, captured in Himself, was “yes, but what if you’re an asshole?”

I know it’s probably tacky to quote Bill Cosby. The truth is his comedy is still etched in my memory along with the music of Michael Jackson and the art of other world-class assholes (rapists, pedophiles and other words come to mind). Hell, Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin and other artists, like Van Gogh, “dated” girls, quite literally, since they were under the age of 18. I…


I resolved earlier this year that I would publish more frequently under my byline. As a marketing, content, and communication strategist and writer, I spend most of my work hours doing that type of work for others. I am not complaining by any stretch, because my work with technology companies and executives is often fascinating. However, like the old cobbler it is far too easy not to do for ourselves.

One of the driving reasons behind this resolution was very straightforward. Creativity drives much of my work, so I wanted to prioritize playtime and creative time outside of the traditional…


One of my all-time, favorite bosses, Michael Carter, would rotate clever quotes underneath his email signature. The quote that stuck with me was, “When people talk to themselves, we call it insanity. When companies talk to themselves, we call it marketing.”

For whom do we create content? Is it our internal audience or is it a person who can approve or influence the purchase of your company’s product? If we look at a lot of business-to-business technology content, it can be difficult to discern the intended audience for the message. …


During the run up to the Super Bowl showdown between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, I saw a segment with Hall of Fame, 49er quarterback, Steve Young. His topic was the genius of Bill Walsh, architect of the West Coast offense, Hall of Famer and Steve’s head coach with the Niners.

His revolutionary concepts and offensive philosophy were the initial source of his genius. He diverged from the ground-and-pound, running game that had dominated the NFL from its inception in favor of a vertical passing game. Not only was the offense unique, but Walsh also had…


In my last blog, we found validation that they really like us. “They” are business decision-makers. The royal “we” and “us” are companies and individuals who develop thought leadership content. We also briefly touched on what I believe is a requirement to define and develop your personal brand for the purpose of career advancement and growth.

When LinkedIn and Edelman surveyed over 3,200 decision makers in global businesses, almost 70 percent said thought leadership was a great way to evaluate a company’s thinking and value. Just over sixty percent are willing to pay a premium to companies that can articulate…


Psst. Your Thought Leadership Content Sucks.

A lot of us who work in tech like to think of ourselves as cutting-edge, innovators or early adopters of technology at the very least. If you look at the adoption cycle, which is more of a bell curve, there just aren’t that many innovators and early adopters. As much as I hate to admit it, I probably fall into the early or late majority camps. My classification changes depending on the technology and the value I place on its applications.

I don’t see the need to spend a 1,000% premium to show you…

David Fontaine

Writer. Musician. Marketer. Grow brands for technologists, developers, engineers and companies with thought leadership content, digital engagement & tech.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store