Google’s Oddball Behavioral Interview Questions: Sharing Your Story

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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:
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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.

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Hiking in Buckhorn, Colorado: The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go

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LAKE BUCKHORN, CO ~ “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. The mountains are calling, and I must go”
-John Muir

Hey guys :) It’s good to be writing/blogging and practicing piano again.

Byron understood brand. Other cultural icons include DMB, George Eliot, Bach, Elton John, Gene Kelly, Mozart, Audrey Hepburn, Chopin, GaGa, James Byron Dean, Jackie-O, Paul Newman, Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, Sinatra, Baryshnikov, MLK, Ghandi and Oprah. And more recently, Darren Criss and Grant Gustin

Without exception, the “Big 5” tech startups also understand brand ownership in real estate, both face-to-face and online:

1. APPLE – Retail
2. GOOGLE: Search
3. FACEBOOK: Social
4. AMAZON: Retail
5. LINKED IN: Professional

As founder and owner of your personal brand (think Ralph Lauren or Clapton) and/or business (In ‘N Out, Wegmans, Trader Joe’s), are you actively defining, optimizing and owning your space in person and online?
What content do you create or own?

“Vision must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs”
-Antoine de Saint Exupery

Where will you go? What will you see?
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Burnout, Balance and Bad Grades: Why the Latter Don’t Matter

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Joe Fernandez, this Fernandez don’t care.

Heeding the advice of concerned family and friends, I finally took up Paul Roetzer’s aforementioned challenge, the Unplugged Experiment.

For a little over a week, I took a hiatus from the internet. Went home out West, traveled a bit. Reflected on the clear distinction between career obsession and motivation, and the recent burnout because I had lost perspective on maintaining work/life balance.

Admittedly, I cheated here and there. (Checked in once in a while via mobile…)

But I learned some valuable lessons, thanks to said vacation and continued webinars/courses with HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University:

  • Oversharing: No one expects nor wants to hear from you 20x a day. Even with the best of intentions, blowing up people’s feeds eventually grinds their gears enough to solicit a swift, quiet unfollow, unfriend (and now uncircle). Make it count.
  • Impatience: Sense of urgency is one thing, desperation another. As my 26th year approaches, I’m beginning to realize life in the fast lane starts to catch up with you (pun intended?). Sometimes a screeching halt to pause and really think about the who, what, when, why, where and how of things imparts new insights, but you have to be looking for it.   
  • Listening: PR folk are notorious for the gift of gab. We’re just that fun and cute, right?! But sometimes it’s not cute anymore, and as I’ve read time and time again: No one likes the guy at the cocktail party that simply can’t resist babbling on about how awesome he is

Similar to liking and +1ing your own posts (because apparently we weren’t aware you think highly of what you’re sharing), or begging for RTs (great thread David Meerman Scott recently began on G+).

From an inbound perspective, how do these practices compel people to act on your content, brand? I’ve actually noticed those that Like or +1 their own stuff garner little to no engagement. Sandbox not big (albeit, unassuming) enough…

As Joe Pulizzi puts it, creating and sharing awesome stuff should speak for itself. I might actually have an aneurysm if I start seeing incessant RTing of people’s own tweets next.

Moving on.

The greatest lesson I learned over the past few weeks? How fun it is to disappear for a while. The value and perspective gained from observing and listening, offline and online.

Of course, with every gain there’s a loss, which, though frustrating, I mostly found liberating (and now amusing):

My Klout score plummeted from 57 to 49, blog score from a 92 to 91 (reminders that I should probably post now have been noted and sent to HR somewhere between Vegas and San Fran reprieve).

Whoop-de-do. Freedom, getting out and actually living (feeling the salt and breeze of the Bay on my face for the first time in years) for once was worth every single, solitary punitive demerit.

Speaking of, all the fuss over Klout scores has gotten cumbersome and in extreme cases, pretty alarming. Dabney Porte recently told me women were coming to her, distraught over whether or not to link their Foursquare accounts to KLOUT — but were doing so anyway out of fear their scores would suffer. I was appalled…and kind of disgusted.

Seriously? I’m not active on nor a proponent of location-based apps, but at some point reason needs to take precedent over popularity and ego-mongering.

Final lesson from the last few weeks:

I didn’t pass my first attempt at the final exam for IMU, which requires a 75% passing grade. (Close, but no cigar). I also have never been one to just get by on the minimum. Learning you can earn certification with honors only invigorated the challenge for me.

After all, in this realm close is not enough.

 

RELATED LINKS

Nellie Akalp via Dan Holowack >> Work Life Balance: How to be an Entrepreneur and Stay Sane

HubSpot >> 5 Marketing Metrics Not to Obsess Over

Joe Pulizzi >> Content Marketing World: Why Cleveland?