Staying Relevant by Staying True to What You Do

Finding inspiration and motivation in the day to day. Posted on Tuesday, April 24 in Breaking Through the Clutter.

How do I stay relevant in an ever-changing world?

Just remember one thing:

You provide a needed product or service that makes your customers’ lives better.

Girl with GuitarEverything else flows from that.

It’s what motivates you.

It’s what motivates your staff.

It’s what keeps you relevant.

During an Idea Festival panel about Staying Relevant in 2015, three innovative business leaders spoke to the ways they seek to stay relevant to their customers, their staff, their stakeholders and their community.

The panel, moderated by James Ledbetter, Editor of Inc., included:

  • Naveen Jain, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of Immunity Project, a Y Combinator (W14) backed, non-profit dedicated to developing an HIV vaccine and distributing it worldwide for free.
  • Maci Peterson, the CEO and co-Founder of On Second Thought, and named 2015 Tech’s Newest Innovator by Essence Magazine.
  • Carey Smith, Founder and Chief Big Ass of Big Ass Fans, named Economy Hero in 2011 for refusing to layoff workers and even hiring more during the Great Recession.

Maci Peterson talked about the ways her community of customers not only provide feedback about the existing product features, but also suggestions and ideas on how they could apply the technology in new ways.

Carey Smith spoke about the importance of people. “You have to treat people right,” he remarked when talking about his staff. With retention rates of 85% and 15,000 resumes received annually, he would know.

Naveen Jain related that the mission of what they seek to provide inspires not just the staff, computer scientists and research scientists, but also other stakeholders, to the point that one famous stakeholder also donated blood when they reached a human blood research phase.

Maci also seeks to stay relevant by investing her time to bring attention to women in tech, and African Americans and other minorities in tech, thereby supporting a diverse, healthy tech community.

When asked by an audience member what makes a good candidate for the workforce, Naveen received vocal affirmations from nearly everyone in the room when he replied that there is real value in being a good storyteller. If not that? “Make sure you can build something.”

There’s value in both of those things.

So, whether you build physical products or provide needed services, rest assured that you are relevant, and you can remain so by knowing how to tell your story.

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Courier-Journal Media Brand Manager Cathy ColliverCathy Colliver is a Brand Manager at Courier-Journal Media. Find her on LinkedIn, Twitter and
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