Is Your Brand Ready for the Talent-Stack Wars?

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 brand? It’s always been the case, but it used to be all about the resume. Not anymore.

Three Reasons to Nurture a Personal Brand

  1. Everything is Project-Based

In recent years I met professionals who have been at a single company for more than 25 years. People talk about unicorns in the world of technology investments. I thought the days of pensions and gold watches at retirement were long gone, so these “lifers” are the real unicorns in our current employment environment.

What I have learned, and this may be a Captain Obvious statement, is that we’re all working on a project whether it’s as a full-time employee, a vendor, contractor, intern, or volunteer.

No matter your current situation, you’re working on yourself, your talent stack, and networking for the next opportunity

2. People will Compete Based on Talent Stacks

Recently I have paid more attention to the non-Dilbert work from Scott Adams, and he talks a lot about developing a talent stack. I’ve worked almost exclusively in technology, so the concept of a software stack is a useful frame for how people acquire skills, build their value in the market, and how they can sell themselves.

Google views technical certification as equal or better than a four-year, college degree. The company offers six-month, online training courses that arm people to compete for lucrative, in-demand work opportunities. Software developers and other technology savants have known that world-class skills beat a degree any day, but the rest of the world is catching up.

If the University of “X” on your resume doesn’t have the same cache as it once did, do you stand out because of the skills you demonstrate (and publicize) in the world or your educational affiliation? It’s the skills, and then it’s about your brand.

One of the lessons from the talent or skill stack concept is that you can acquire almost any skill through the intentional investment of time, effort, and sometimes money. Also important to note that those skills can be completely unrelated to your current work.

3. Your Job & Network will be Distributed and Remote Forever

  • Some companies will support a hybrid work model that offers remote and in-person work options, and some companies will go completely remote. Your current work environment will remain remote, and the watercooler, lunchroom, and hallway conversations are going away too.

Since remote work is here to stay in some form or fashion, it’s advisable to build your brand. Use platforms like LinkedIn to connect and engage if only through regular posts that showcase the full range of your talent stack (including soft skills). If TikTok or Twitch are the best platforms for your talent stack and target market, let your freak flag fly. Networks and platforms will evolve as their popularity ebbs and flows along with behavior patterns. The core of your work is your brand, message, and value.

Hustle & Brand like a Star

Here’s the thing. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of building a brand, think of it as a skill you can develop as part of your future, talent stack. If it’s not something you’ve done in the past, why not learn lessons from people outside of your industry? You know, like celebrities.

Yes, I know they talk too much about politics, but they are independent contractors and personal brands. They generate ideas, content, and controversy as a way to stay in the conversation.

After all, who doesn’t want to be The Rock?

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

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David Fontaine

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