Google’s Oddball Behavioral Interview Questions: Sharing Your Story


COLORADO – A close friend’s (who is like all of my Filipino “Aunties”) son Phillip, a program manager at Google recently gave me some pretty rad encouragement: Share your story.

As did Pastor Ben Garate during his sermon at iglesia este mañana: how the average Google employee is 31 years old.

As Demetri Martin put it in This is a Book, there is no formula, no algorithm for how individuals like you and me get from point A to point B:
Growing up between upstate New York and California was idyllic.
Vacationing in Cape Cod and Ontario, Canada. Trips back west to Mexico, Laguna Beach, Del Mar, the Redwoods, San Francisco or Grants Pass, Oregon.

Dad, a surfer from Hawaii turned worship minister and engineer, was at the mercy of the 80s-90s tech boom (remember AOL, Atari, Nintendo 64, IBM typewriters and printers?); and endured the rise and fall of companies like Eastman Kodak, Xerox and Danka.

Mom was an artist and floral designer from Venice Beach dedicated to educating (yes, my sister and I were homeschooled till middle school) and preparing five adopted children to thrive as citizens in the global arts, education and business community.

Nina, my sister was adopted in Southern California, too. She was a ballerina before she evolved into a Rotary Exchange student traveling Europe and living in Sweden for a year. She then settled in Washington, DC with Teach for America, and was named among the coveted Cherry Blossom Princess winners as ambassador for Sweden in 2006.

After obtaining her Master’s from George Mason University, Nina joined KIPP as an educator serving underprivileged communities in the greater metro area. She lives with her husband Doug, former staff to Senator John McCain and daughter, Elsa Grace on Capitol Hill, in the Eastern Market neighborhood.

And then there’s me. Perhaps because I came from what my AP Literature teacher called such a cultural “anomaly”: a family out of the United Colors of Benetton (summary below); I guess it was only natural I turned out a complete disparity from convention or status quo. Out of instability: Stability.

Russell Phillip Fernandez (Filipino, Hawaiian)

Jeannette Marie Fernandez (French, Canadian, Italian, Hispanic)

Nina Elizabeth Smith (née Fernandez) [Caucasian: Irish, Swedish, Nordic]

Byron Isaac Fernandez (Asian American: Vietnamese, French)

Mark Samuel, Anthony John and Matthew Joseph (African-American)
[Mom and Dad adopted 3 biological brothers when we moved to Rochester, NY from Southern California).

Our family’s Roma lifestyle suited me growing up. In New York I began with gymnastics, but evolved into scholarship: training 6-7 days a week for the Olympics in figure skating, and medalling at the Regional level. My favorite competitions were the biannual Empire State Games in Lake Placid and annual North Atlantic Regionals.

After that came a brief stint with lacrosse before realizing piano was my true passion, and I began practicing 4-6 hours a day to prepare for Conservatory at university.
I would hear something and just sit down and play it, and my math grades were remedial so my Mom thought music training would help (apparently the Mozart effect she raised me with crib side wasn’t enough ;)

Then scholarship for piano performance at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory turned into a transition to Public Relations (PR) and Marketing with psychology minor.
I realized business acumen in writing and communications, married with an intuitive understanding of the mind and human motivation, would be an essential aspect of my career, regardless of industry or function.

I failed in Cleveland, many times. I nearly evaporated in Vegas from 2009-2010, consumed in a haze, a pseudo-reality that nearly took my life.

But in 2012 I finally went home, to my family, and put them and the community before my stubborn, sick, beaten down shell of a self. Regaining personal wellness, power and belief in the Colorado community of Montrose has been humbling and inspiring.

Van Gogh was onto something: For my part, I know nothing with any certainty. But the sight of the stars makes me dream.

As I look toward the next chapter along the journey; I take with me the memories, people and places I have had the ears to hear, the eyes to see and the hands to hold.

And I’m ready once again to step into the unknown.






















HubSpot and Halligan: Content, Sponges and A Lifestyle of Learning


Among other things – eye glasses, sheet music, a good book or new bottle of wine to name a few:

I’m a geek about this whole inbound and content marketing movement, driven by HubSpot out of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Here’s a brief rundown, according to HubSpot’s Marta Kagan:

1. 78% of Internet users conduct product research online.
Which means your website’s often the first and only impression a prospect will have of your brand/company.

And that your new business card isn’t a business card—it’s Google. (I used to think I was the only 25-year-old without one — but perhaps it’s the reverse now…)

2. In the past year, Web-based email usage dropped a staggering 59% among 12-17 year olds, who prefer to communicate via text, instant messaging, and social networks.

May not have an immediate impact for your business, but implications for the future and your target audience? Pretty crazy. Essentially they won’t be reading your emails.

To add to that, Millenials and Gen XY spend 60% less time watching television than their adult counterparts — and 600% more time online, according to Joe Pulizzi (Get Content, Get Customers).

The days of email blasts absent direction and interruption marketing continue to spiral into obscurity — people simply aren’t tuning in anymore.

The question is how are you reaching your audience, and — when you have their attention –how are you providing value and content that establishes loyalty and trust?

What is it that makes your network spend time on your site, blog, read new posts, subscribe or watch your videos? Content is your key differentiator.

3. 78% of business people use their mobile device to check email.

4. 40% of US smartphone owners compare prices on their mobile device while in-store, shopping for an item.

5. 200 Million Americans have registered on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list.
That’s 2/3 of the country’s citizens. The other 1/3 likely don’t have a landline anymore.

6. 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted-in to.
We’re more tech-savvy and less patient with unwanted solicitations. And it’s just so easy to hit ‘delete’ (or unfriend, unfollow).

7. 84% of 25-34 year-olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising.

8. 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog.

Once again, blogging’s great. Intrusive ads, nay.

9. 41% of B2B companies and 67% of B2C companies have acquired a customer through Facebook.
If this stat doesn’t poke a hole in the “Facebook is not useful for B2B companies” myth, Kagan says she’s not sure what will.

10. The number of marketers who say Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their business has increased 83% in just 2 years.
That’s right—critical or important. When a channel generates not only leads, but real revenue, you can’t call it “experimental” any longer.

11. Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic.
The more you blog, the more pages Google has to index, and the more inbound links you’re likely to have. The more pages and inbound links you have, the higher you rank on search engines like Google—thus the greater amount of traffic to your website. Again: Blogging is good.

PR 20/20’s Tracy DiMarino recently mentioned more than 90 percent of purchasing decisions begin online (Forrester Research), and there are 34,000 searches conducted on Google every second

Of those searchers, 75 percent never scroll past the first page of results (The Case for Content Marketing: Sources and Stats)

12. Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional, outbound marketing.
That’s right—62% less. The average outbound lead costs $373. The average inbound lead costs $143.

A HubSpot mantra: “if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.” Outbound marketing just don’t make sense anymore.

The startup’s bread and butter is equally transparent: Get Found, Convert and Analyze. These three actions are the fundamental tenants of any good internet marketing campaign.

The challenge – and opportunity, is getting started. In life and online, you truly get out of it what you put into it.

As Joe Pulizzi challenged us in the recent workshop at Hyland Software: What does success look like to you? 

I am Still Learning (Michelangelo)

Pulizzi 2011 Content Marketing World Preview Part 2

Here’s a copy of Joe’s presentation (thanks for sharing, Bob Rhubart [@Brhubart Twitter] ) from Tuesday’s Social Media Club CLE meetup at Hyland Software:

View more presentations from Joe Pulizzi

Thanks again Joe, Joe Kalinowski and Dominic Litten for good times, great oldies #happyinCLE