Posts Tagged research

Build your success by claiming your name-space

Posted by on Thursday, 28 March, 2013

IMG_1741I don’t care in WHAT industry you’re currently working, your social presence is quickly becoming the defacto standard for success on multiple levels: B2B, B2C, as well as employment and advancement. Today, I’m going to talk about the latter; your career growth.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before and you’ll continue to hear the same pitch (and not just from me): being active in social media is important. In today’s digital world, there is a shift occurring across industries who are adopting the digital paradigms of expertise once relegated to academics and people with acronyms after their names. That paradigm being article publication in industry journals, magazines, and hard bound volumes. Today, all industries are using digital publication channels to research the digital eminence and expertise of prospective employees, as well as measuring current employees and identifying those who are candidates for advancement.

Take a moment and do this quick comparison in your head: how many times have you ego surfed yourself, versus how many times you’ve researched someone else on-line? What’s your normal process when you get a friend request on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, GooglePlus? Do you blindly accept/reject, or do you click-through and check the person out a bit, looking for reasons to make that connection or deny it? I know which side of that I fall on…

Now look at it from another perspective: if you put that effort into curiosity or determining a social connection, don’t you think any employer is going to go to even greater lengths to research a candidate to ensure they are the right person for the role they are working to fill? You better believe they are! Knowing that, we need to be prepared to have the best on-line presence we can muster, wouldn’t you say?

With that, here’s a few things you can do with relative ease to make sure that your presence is not only found, but controlled by you and helping your personal digital eminence stand out:

  • Register your own domain name- This is the first step to owning your name and your presence. Here’s a great article by Dan Gillmor explaining why this is essential. Simply said, it gives you more control rather than relying on third-party services to host your name-space. Having your own domain name/ URL provides that first bit of a stable web property upon which you can build.


  • Build your personal landing page- A quick and easy solution is to use a service like to build a landing page behind your domain name. Yes, I’ve gone against my own recommendation above and use a third-party to provide my landing page content for But I still own the domain and can point it to this blog easily if starts behaving badly. For now, their free service provides me with exactly what I want and need: a location to connect all my other presences. A slightly more advanced step may be to use or install your own WordPress based blog in your domain and take control of all your content.


  • Connect the appropriate social accounts so employers or clients can find you- Now that you have your Domain URL and have built a landing page, start connecting the appropriate social channels. This doesn’t mean you have to connect *everything*. At the least, this means using your landing page to link to other professional presences online where you may be engaging in social discussions, sharing slide decks or blog posts, or where your hosting other professional information. Having a one-stop page that connects your other entities to your name and persona continues to help build your eminence.


  • Claim your Google Authorship- This is really a big win for anyone who publishes blog posts or other articles a s a means of establishing credibility or expertise in their industry. I’ve blogged about how to claim your authorship before, and am finding that every day this is becoming more and more critical to ensure results for searches on you provide the right details. It is a simple task that will bring larger long-term rewards.



So, there you have it; four beginning steps to building your digital eminence and helping yourself become more marketable in your industry compared to those who haven’t begun to do so. Of course this doesn’t mean that’s all you have to do to suddenly become a leader in your space, but it gives you the structure upon which you can build your expertise for others to see, and more importantly allows your information to be found easily when they need someone like you on their team. Unless you don’t care about your career, you can’t afford to not be building your digital eminence. Soon, if you can’t be found online, you simply won’t exist to employers.

On finding a tattoo artist; the annotated edition.

Posted by on Monday, 9 August, 2010

One in a possible series; The following presumes you already have an idea of what you want, and can verbalize it with some decent level of clarity. An example drawing is even better, as artists love visual aids 😉  Rather, what I intend to impart upon you here is how to take that next step from deciding you want a tattoo, and have an idea for a design, into the space of actually seeking out someone to ink it for you…

First and foremost: talk to your friends who have tattoos you like. Ask where they got theirs, and who did them. More often than not they will have recommendations for you. And really, recommendations are worth their weight in gold. (My recommendation: Wendi Ramirez, who is now in Austin, Tx. as owner of Dovetail Tattoo… or Eli Falconette at Blacklist Tattoo, Portland, Or.)

Like anything you commit a large sum of money or any permanence to, you will want to do your research. is a great single resource for a lot of articles on (and photos of) tattoos, as well as key tips for sanitation and what to look for in a shop on their Tattoo FAQ wiki:
Doing your research now will pay off in the long run and help you understand what to look for in an artist and a shop.

Failing any local friends/artists, start on the internet and do some searches for prevalent and established shops within your comfortable travel distance. Check out the online portfolios of some of the local artists and make a list of a few whose art you like. In general, I’d recommend finding someone who has some portfolio pieces of the quality you want in the style you are also looking for.  (As an aside I don’t take my own advice here, typically I look for quality of work over the actual content. I chose one of my favourite artists based on a particular piece, a blackwork leafless tree, because the skill to do that work would translate well to the piece I wanted her to do for me. I didn’t want the same content, I wanted someone who could provide the same quality, and her portfolio proved to me she had the chops, even though nothing resembled the style I wanted.) If the artist does high quality American traditional work, well, bets are that they will provide you with the same high quality work if you want that same style; asking someone to go outside their normal artistic style may not prove to be as fruitful.

Before doing anything at this point, do not expect to get a tattoo the day you walk into the shop. Expect to schedule an appointment for a later date with the artist you choose. While most shops do handle walkins, you will likely get whichever artist is available, not necessarily the one you choose. And you want to choose! Be prepared to schedule as far as a month or two out, or as quickly as later that week, or next week.

Once you have found a few shops and artists you’d like to visit, do just that: go to the shops. Literally shop around. Take a look at as many shops as you can stand, and thumb through all the portfolios each shop has on their artists. If the artist is around and available to talk, speak with them. Tell them what you are looking for, where you want it, how big, and keep an open mind if they have ideas to change the piece a bit to make it work better. While you are talking with them, tune in to how they treat you, and what questions they are asking… and be sure to ask some good questions yourself to get a sense of their craft and the shop they work in. Following are some of my initial questions I find useful:

  • How long have they been tattooing
  • how long have they been at this particular shop
  • do they autoclave their tools
  • do they wear latex gloves
  • what style do they prefer (celtic, american traditional, japanese traditional, new school/oldschool, realism, portrait, custom, etc.)
  • do they primarily work from flash or do they do mainly custom pieces (flash is the pre-drawn stuff you find littering the walls at most shops)
  • If you don’t have a final drawn piece, are they willing to work with you to draw something up

There are really no wrong answers to the above (aside from the obvious medical safety items like autoclaving and glove usage, etc.), but rather these types of questions are intended to give you a starting point for a better idea about the artist’s skills and establish a comfort level with the artist; to stimulate the discussion, if you will, so you can feel your way around the artist and make sure you are comfortable with them. The more shops you visit and artists you talk to, the more likely you will find the artist who is right for you.

Now, while you CAN and should ask about pricing, I’d highly recommend not making that your first or main question, as when it comes to tattooing the primary focus should be in finding the right artist first, not necessarily the lowest price. After all, this will be something you carry with you the rest of your life, do you really want the task of inking it to go to the lowest bidder?
When it comes to pricing, from my experience, most artists worth anything charge around $85 to $150 / hour for their work on custom pieces. Of course some may be more, or some less costly; it is up to you to decide where the balance is in terms of quality/comfort/and cost for you. Some may quote you a set price per piece depending on the size and amount of work involved. So be prepared to deal in hourly rate or price per piece. Some pieces may take more than one sitting, so be prepared for that as well, and know how your artist will charge for multiple sittings etc. Being clear up front will help avoid misunderstandings later.

I’ll leave you with this: Taking the time to research before you commit to getting inked will help ensure your happiness after you get your first tattoo… and your second… and your third…  and so on.