No degrees of seperation Kenny Soto

There Are No Longer Six Degrees of Separation

What introduced me to this concept.

The idea of the Six Degrees of Separation was first introduced to me in a book by Malcolm Gladwell called, The Tipping Point. In it, Malcolm talks about three types of early adopters one must build relationships with to bring a product or service to the mass markets (the mainstream). Of the three types, one of them has the particular ability to leverage their networks to spread general news via word of mouth called connectors. I was then reintroduced to the idea of connectors in Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow when he mentions super-connectors in the film industry and how they leverage their networks not only for themselves but, for other people as well. Being altruistic with your network helps build it faster. The more you help others below you grow to be even better than you, the more attention you gain during longer periods of time (this is how I interpreted Shane’s chapter on the subject).

The six degrees of separation as I see it.

The six degrees of separation is a concept closely related to connectors and super connectors, the idea that you can know and potentially be introduced to anyone in the world by the maximum separation of 6 people within your network (everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world). For example, someone I know on my Dad’s side of my family possibly has 3-4 friends that they know from their friends, who just so happens to know President Barack Obama. At max, it would only take six introductions for me to have an encounter (however small) with President Obama. But, after careful thought and thinking about how this idea can be challenged, a couple of months ago (around early 2016), I had a conversation with my mentor in which I mentioned that I don’t believe these degrees of separation exist anymore, and here’s why.

The Internet is an environment with 0 degrees of separation.

I’m currently reading The The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge by Doc Searls, which is about how customer relationship management systems (search Hubspot or Salesforce for examples) don’t truly help businesses have relationships with customers/users. For this to occur, customers need their own Vendor Relationship Management systems. In a chapter titled, “Net Pains,” Doc Searls quotes Craig Burton, a Senior Analyst with Kuppinger Cole, who describes the Internet as:

“…[A] world we might see as a bubble. A sphere…The distance between any two points [within said sphere] is functionally zero, and not just because they can see each other, but because nothing interferes with [the] operation between any two points (page 102, Searls).”

Sphere diagram

Because of the Internet, if I want to contact Obama, I can now just go on Twitter and tweet at him directly. Now, the chances of me getting an actual response from him are dismal, but, if I wanted to contact any other person in the world—I still have the ability to do so if they have access to the Internet.

Why I think this change is important and must be discussed further.

The majority of us now rely to some degree, on the Internet and its protocols for our work. The ubiquity that the Internet provides for us to communicate conveniently with anyone, about anything, regardless of geography is astounding. It’s what allows us to do business across the globe and spread ideas and content like wildfire. But, I still believe that we have continued to hold onto old self-imposed limitations (that’s what they are at this point) regarding who we think we can and cannot contact. We can speak to anyone we want today; that’s the main point here.

Keeping this in mind, I believe we should begin thinking about all the new opportunities we are not currently exploring—regarding meeting new people and exposing ourselves to new ideas. Let this article serve as a short rant that should compel you to create a list of five people you’d love to talk to about anything—and then, contact them! You’ll be amazed at what might happen.

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The internet so far kenny soto

My Thoughts on The Internet So Far

A quick comparison between the Internet and the WWW.

There is a difference between the internet and the world wide web. The internet connects hardware with other hardware, and the WWW is a system that allows us to share content and information to be distributed in that connection.  I did not know the difference, nor did I care, before realizing how important understanding the difference was. I always used to interact with the world wide web without much thought about what I was doing or how it affected me.

The first social media I was on: Sconex.

Sconex

First, there was Sconex*, a way for my cousins and me to check out older high school girls and try to speak to them. We didn’t have a specific goal in mind; we just loved the idea that we could talk to these hot girls and not have to be honest about our ages (yes, I am guilty of being a catfish in my early days). We were just ten-year-old boys experiencing puberty and the internet all in one jumbled mess. Then MySpace came along and even more of my time was consumed by connecting with friends from school at home and talking to random strangers (and I’m sure at least three of them were thirty-year-old dudes in basement). It never occurred to me that my generation was the first to experience human interactions on a screen, daily. The first generation to have our attention become a commodity (no one was walking with televisions in their pockets).

From the age of three years old, I had a huge beige Dell desktop computer, not realizing how lucky I was to grow up with the technology that to this day, people who are in their seventies are still trying to adapt to.


*If you want to see old websites that are no longer online, check out Archive.org. It’s the Wayback Machine…


Becoming aware.

I first started to observe my ignorance about what a computer could do when I entered college. I studied computer literacy in high school but, it was mostly just learning how to type with two hands and how to use Microsoft Office programs. What I was really ignorant about was the culture of entrepreneurs and technologists who were (and still are) making millions and billions of dollars off of our use of the internet and the web. I always wanted to discover what their secret sauce was and how could someone like me could have a similar impact on society.

It wasn’t the money that intrigued me; it was the mere fact that someone from Boston could make an app that connects over one billion users in today’s age and no one even bats an eye. There are only two things besides that app that have over one billion users, water, and air (I’m talking about Facebook just in case you didn’t get the reference). I decided to take it upon myself to find a class or a mentor that could teach me—the basics of the digital world and how it affects our society. Cue the internship I took last year in digital marketing.

“We pay with our information and most importantly, our attention.”

I learned some of the most alarming and exciting things last year. Things such as our information is being collected—think Pokemon Go and how Google Maps now knows the inside of almost every building now or how Snapchat and Facebook now have the largest collections of facial data from all of us. We are being sold to on a consistent basis, and we are no longer just consumers of content, we are, “…hamsters on a wheel,” as Seth Godin would put it. We willingly input data and information into websites and apps and have the faintest clue as to how they are using our information. There is a reason we use most of these apps for free. We pay with our information and most importantly, our attention. Same goes for Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any email newsletter you’ve had to subscribe to and input information into a form. There’s also pixels and cookies that allow these companies to track you online… However, even if we are becoming more aware of this fact, that people sell our privacy and attention now, no one is bothered it. No one bats an eye.

How do “they” make their money from our mass consumption?

We have become the products. Mark Zuckerberg isn’t a billionaire just because you use his platform to check out cat videos. He makes his cash by selling your information to advertisers like Taco Bell, who want to sell things to you. The same goes for Jack Dorsey who owns Twitter or Evan Spiegel if Snapchat, who has every fourteen to twenty-eight-year-old in the palm of his hand. With the information I’ve obtained over the past year, it has occurred to me that we interact with these tools but, don’t know how they work, why they exist, and how they affect our daily lives.

I couldn’t imagine a day in my life where I could not search for something whenever I wanted to. It’s a scary thought but, I rely on Google and so many other platforms for my daily activities. What would happen to me if I didn’t have access to them anymore? Questions such as these have led me to believe that these tech giants control our lives. Not in a dystopian or morbid way, more like, “This is super cool, and I aspire to be like them.” Even though I make sure my phone is on airplane mode whenever I am asleep—I’m pretty sure data is collected if it isn’t.

What can we expect moving forward?

The impact these platforms have on us is tremendous. However, they have also have given many of us opportunities we (my generation) couldn’t even dream of in the early nineties. We now have micro-celebrities on Vine and Instagram, who make around ten grand a month by just posting ten to fifteen-second skits and having sponsors paying for ad space. We have Youtube stars such as PewDiePie, NigaHiga, and Smosh, who make millions each year by creating quality content for their fan bases. Just by connecting with their own communities they are able to obtain a ton of cash from advertising revenue alone (imagine the contracts they get for corporate sponsorships). Then there are the video game enthusiasts on Twitch that make roughly five to nine thousand dollars a month by having other people just watch them play. The entrepreneurs who have created these online platforms have not only made money for themselves but, have helped others to do the same and also to have an impact on the world. That is what makes me passionate about the web and makes me want to learn more about how we interact and use it. I can only imagine what will happen once we start to interact with virtual and augmented reality. I wonder how that will affect our lives on a daily basis.

The entrepreneurs who have created these online platforms have not only made money for themselves but, have helped others do the same and have their own impact on the world. That is what makes me passionate about the web and what makes me want to learn more about how we interact and use it. I can only imagine what will happen once we start to interact with virtual and augmented reality (Pokemon Go is just a preview). I really wonder how that will affect our lives on a daily basis.


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Recommended articles:

  1. The World Wide Web Is An Extension Of Our Minds.
  2. Why Computers Are Desperate for a Redesign
  3. WHY MILLIONS OF TWEENS ARE USING MUSICAL.LY… AND WHY IT MATTERS

Also, if you want to see the first website ever made check out this link. It really shows how much progress we’ve made over the past two decades.

Aaron Burden Kenny Soto

“People Get Paid To Think.”

“How do you learn on a daily basis?” “Do you think about what thoughts make up your mind?” “Are you expanding on what you already know?” “How do I make my learning habits more effective?”

I think about these questions on a daily basis, ever since one of my mentors shared this piece of wisdom with me in a recent session: “people get paid to think, Kenny.” I’ve been letting this saturate my thoughts for quite some time now. There’s a reason why not more than twelve months ago if I wanted to meet with a client, I would have had to jump through so many hoops just get an email reply. And now, clients are begging me to give them 30 minutes of my time so that they can buy me lunch.

What purpose does this quote have?

It wasn’t like this before — and now it is. Doing business seems to be easier: mentors want to teach me, and I’m much happier than I used to be. To give some context into why my mentor told me this, I’m currently taking lessons from her on public speaking and time management (two of my weaknesses as of now). She was talking about the importance of planning each week with objectives and goals in mind, and not by what tasks need to get done. And because of this, I’ve made it clearer to myself that my objectives and goals revolve around how much quality learning I could get done in any given time frame.

I live my life on a grid.

I used to think this was a good thing. I know what has to get done and when it has to be completed. It’s helped me survive college. It turns out that it isn’t enough anymore, and this is definitely news to me. It’s been a challenge to start thinking about what I need to do on a daily basis that maximizes my return on investment concerning what and how I learn.

I’ve always been curious about what people around me know; it’s why I’m considered to be a “sponge” to both my peers and my mentors. Now, I have to be more focused on how I learn and, specifically, how to position myself better in the business world. I agree with her. People do get paid to think. Expanding on her thoughts, I offer: “people get paid to think about helping others.” This is something I’ve adopted and I’m still experimenting with, and I realize it might not be the best mantra for everyone. I believe that the highest value I can bring to anyone else is by finding ways to solve their problems. Some might say, and I might agree, that it’s not only thinking but, taking action that people get paid for.

What are your thoughts? What do you believe people get paid for?

Leave a comment below and let’s talk about it.

selective slacking

Selective Slacking: Why Sacrificing The “A,” Get’s You More

A book highlighted it.

I just finished reading this book called Smartcuts by Shane Snow, CEO of Contently. The book’s mission is to teach its readers how to achieve their goals in less time than it takes the majority of people. In the second part of the book, Shane begins to cover a topic called selective slacking: the process of putting as little effort (and time) as possible to get the minimum requirement of a task done so that you can focus on your priorities. While reading this chapter, something struck a nerve. “All of this seems oddly familiar,” I thought to myself while reading. And that’s because I’ve been using this technique for the past two years, ever since I began taking executive roles in student government at the City College of New York.

I was always an A student. I say this to highlight the fact that as soon as I started realizing that I couldn’t do both student government and excel in my classes, I had to make a calculated choice. So I asked myself, “What was I going to sacrifice? What were my main priorities moving forward?” At first, I opted for sacrificing my sleep, which ended up making my performance suffer in both areas of my collegiate career. So I decided, that what I wanted to learn from the most was from my leadership experience and not from my courses. I’ll admit that there were times where I wanted to drop all of my coursework altogether, to focus on student government, but I wouldn’t be able to maintain or run for future positions without at least maintaining a 2.5 GPA. I already had a 3.2 and calculated that if I just had one A and one B, each semester, I could focus on what mattered to me. And that’s what I did.

Using selective slacking now.

Now that I’m a college graduate, I can see how selective slacking can be applied to almost every aspect of my life. My two top priorities right now are focusing on growing my non-profit, Futures For Students, as well as excelling in my current part-time consultancy job for a startup in New York City. There are only 168 hours in a week, and I can’t possibly manage to grow an organization, fundraise money, be excellent at my part time job, and juggle all my other responsibilities. So I’ve set up a system (I use my calendar as a Gantt chart) to let me manage my time to excel in the things I care about. And most importantly, I’ve learned to say no to almost everything that takes away from the time I need to invest in myself. Putting the bare minimum amount of effort into things that don’t matter to me (like doing household chores) but still need to get down is the focus of how I’ve used selective slacking.

It’s a technique I suggest you at least experiment with. What do you want to do more of? There is always one hobby that you can allocate more time to but, you can’t because of the other one thousand responsibilities that you have. Learn to cut those you activities that you don’t care about to save yourself time! Selective slacking is a technique that allows you design your lifestyle based on your core values and priorities. Trying this out for a month will certainly show you the benefits of prioritizing your time and energy this way.

If you want to learn more about other techniques top paying innovators use to focus on their vision and work, definitely check out Smartcuts. I finished this book in a week.

Why Every Marketing Major Should Toss Their Textbooks In The Trash Kenny Soto

Why Every Marketing Major Should Toss Their Textbooks In The Trash

I have a serious issue with textbooks. As college students, we have to pay for books made 2-3 years ago that decrease in value over time, yet it is still standard practice to teach us with textbooks. My frustration comes from textbooks being used in a particular field of study: marketing. Marketing majors should only get textbooks that cover the history of marketing up to the 1,990’s. After that, there is no point in making books.

They are slowly becoming obsolete

Take, for example, as a college student purchasing a textbook on Facebook marketing. As of right now, you will get information on EdgeRank (Facebook’s algorithm/add hyperlink for more research), best practices for Facebook’s Boost Posts and Ad targeting features, and useful tips on community management on the platform. However, that very same textbook can lose value over a period of just two months. The reason is that like all other social media platforms (let’s not even go into websites in general), Facebook has updates on a weekly basis. Some of these updates are announced beforehand. However, the real challenge the marketing professor who wrote the book faces is predicting the updates that Facebook will implement in response to its competition (i.e., it’s quick update of “Live Video” in response to Periscope). And this goes for Snapchat, Peach, Musical.ly, Twitter, Instagram, and every other platform that is currently used.

What are the next steps?

We need to begin thinking of new tactics in which the education of digital marketing can be deployed to college students that meet the needs of the constantly evolving market. As with business owners, educators need to understand that the market doesn’t give a damn about all the research you conducted while creating your textbooks. If the market shifts from Snapchat to an entirely new app, your textbook on Snapchat still has some value, but not as much as it used to. Our textbooks need to “evolve” at the same pace as the needs of the market, or we will continue to see a continuing trend of marketing students not being prepared to work in their field after graduation.

Kenny Soto End of 2015

2015 End of The Year Review: The Experiences and Lessons Learned

This blog post is an entry reviewing some of the many experiences I had over the past year and what knowledge I gained from them.


 

First Internship Experience: SCORE

SCORE NYC is a branch of the Small Business Administration (a government entity) that helps small business owners grow their businesses through one-on-one free consultations, workshops, and online webinars.

SCORE NYC was a very special place for me this year for all of the people I was able to meet. I was able to have the opportunity to surround myself with retired business executives who came from industries ranging from corporate law and hedge fund management to digital marketing and construction. I was also able to interact with aspiring entrepreneurs who came to SCORE with questions regarding their businesses and was able to see firsthand the challenges small business owners have to endure just to serve the market. In addition to all of the opportunities to grow and learn that I gained from the people I met, I also learned a lot about two subjects I never really put that much thought into before.

What the heck is the Internet?

The first thing that I learned from my experience at SCORE is that I knew only a small amount of information when it came to what exactly the internet is. Thanks to my mentor, Maurice Bretzfield, I was able to begin to understand the importance of not only knowing the difference between the internet, www, https, FTP, mobile, and wifi but, also identifying the importance of why I should know the differences. The first month studying under him showed me how little formal education had taught me on tools that I use every single day, and it helped me understand why learning about coding, digital design, and digital marketing is vital to how I interact through the internet.

Digital Marketing and what did it have to do with me?

My primary reason for applying for the internship was because under its description it stated that all interns would learn about digital marketing. As a music major, I have learned a lot about song composition, musical theory, and performance methodology, but I did not know how I would survive in the search for a job after receiving my Bachelor’s degree. Digital marketing showed me that it’s an essential skill to at least be aware of in today’s information economy. I learned over the eight months I was at SCORE how many people were having issues just getting their businesses to be known by potential customers. Eventually, I saw that the same concerns that these entrepreneurs were facing correlated with the issues myself and some of my friends at my college where dealing with: how do we stand out from the pack? Through my eight months of diligent work, I am now able to say with confidence that I have a good grasp of Digital Marketing overall and a niche part of it - personal branding.

Buying My Name Online

In regards to personal branding, I believe another pivotal point of this past year is when I purchased my URL and built this website. The benefits of using this website are tremendous. I am now able to google myself and what I want people to see is the only thing that is shown. Controlling my online presence was one of the first things that my mentor Maurice, advised me to do. In addition to this, blogging has helped me question my ideas and develop them even more. Without this platform, I would not have been able to gather my thoughts and had others comment and provide feedback on them. I strive to not only use my website to showcase what makes me unique and why I could be of value to teams but also to help a growing community learn with me. The World Wide Web is constantly growing with pools of both high quality and mediocre content, I want to become someone who contributes to the former. Let’s not forget to mention that blogging has also helped me with my writing and grammar. Finally, it’s helping me create connections with others that otherwise wouldn’t happen. I have had the opportunity to not only interview individuals online about their experience working companies such as Google but, also get good advice on what I should do to get a job after college (which in turn provides you, the reader, with valuable content).

Starting my school year as USG President

Many challenges were thrust upon me this semester. As my college experience rapidly comes to an end, I have the privilege to lead an exceptional team as the president of the undergraduate student government at the City College of New York, and it has certainly been a role that has helped me grow as a person. From improving my time management skills, delegating tasks, making sure the entire team is aligned, managing team stress, etc. I have been exposed to a lot of real life situations that I will have to deal with after college. I consider my experience in this role as an accelerated MBA, learning how to manage a team of people and not only serve them but, serve a whole community of people (the student body) as well. I’ll certainly use the skills I am learning as president in the future, and I will be forever grateful to undergo such an incredible growth period in my life.

Reading “Think On These Things” By Jidda Krishnamurti

Think On These Things Krishnamurti

This book changed my views on our current educational system and helped me understand why it’s important to question all information was given to me, and how to integrate that process into my daily life. It was the first time I ever experience a writer pierce through the veil of what should matter most in life, which is not necessarily the answer to questions we have but, instead finding the reasons to the questions themselves first. This book is a useful resource for anyone interested in getting a fresh perspective on what it means to be essentially a creative individual.

 

As the new year begins I will continue to provide as much valuable content to you, the reader, whenever I can. It helps me tremendously if you provide your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below. Let’s have an amazing 2016 everyone.

 

Cheers,

Kenny S.

Bareburger HQ NYC

Director of Marketing at BareBurger: Interview With Nabeel Alamgir

First Ever Podcast Episode!

"Youth is no promise of innovation and age is no promise of experience." - Nabeel Alamgir

Nabeel Alamgir Kenny Soto

This post is very special as it is the very first podcast episode that I have done. Nabeel Alamgir is a good friend of mine who is an excellent example of what it means to be an innovator and leader. As Director of Marketing at BareBurger, I wanted to interview him to see what his thoughts were on college and what he believes to be good advice that all college students should listen to. Given that this is my very first podcast episode, there wasn’t necessarily any particular format I was following (I just had a list of questions I wanted to ask him).

This conversation covers surviving college, what advice he would give to his children if they were starting college, tips for student entrepreneurs, and some of his childhood history when he arrived into the United States. You can follow Nabeel on Twitter here. Also, check out his startup, Linute, and start making your campus life more lively!



Show Notes:

  • Interview Starts. [0:36]
  • Nabeel’s background. [1:10]
  • It’s actually Martin Scorsese. [2:50]
  • If Nabeel could give advice to his 18-year-old self. [7:35]
  • If Nabeel had a child. [11:44]
  • Do grades matter? [14:07]
  • What do you look for in a team member? [18:03]
  • Does a resumé accurately show a candidate’s potential? [20:20]
  • What role does a person’s social media play in the interview process? [23:19]
  • The advice he would give a student entrepreneur. [28:55]
  • Nabeel’s one book suggestion… [31:33]

*The high school program he was talking about is: https://veinternational.org/

Book mentioned at the end: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Paulo Coelho
I highly recommend reading this if you’re a fan of good storytelling and learning valuable life lessons.
Recommended Articles:
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  2. 13 Insanely Cool Resumes That Landed Interviews at Google and Other Top Jobs
  3. 10 Must-Read Business Books for 2016
 If you have any feedback please leave a comment below so I can provide better podcast episodes in the future.
CCNY Class of 2019 Freshman Convocation Speech by Kenny Soto

CCNY Freshman Convocation Speech: Class of 2019


Introduction

Hello there everybody.

My name’s Kenny Soto and today I’m gonna give a little speech about what City College has to offer and what student government can do for you.

So I am gonna start off with a little story. I was born in the Castle Hill projects of the Bronx and at the age of six years old I was constantly told that I’d never succeed. I was even in special education for the first four years because I, “wasn’t fit for a classroom setting.” And now I’m here speaking to all of you.

Background at CCNY

You’re gonna constantly hear about the great resources, successful alumni, and all of the classes that you can take here at City College. But, I want to also remind you that you will be challenged and with challenges can come some doubts.

When I first started here I was a biology major, and I was studying biology to become a doctor; to make my parents happy. And then I realized that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to stay and learn from this experience here at City College. So now I’m a music major and I couldn’t be any more (nervous much??? haha) happier.

Some of you may even think that college is not for you and you might want to drop out…I too thought the same. My sophomore year I was deeply considering this until I realized that there’s so much more outside of your courses. You are not here simply to get an amazing GPA. I joined a fraternity, got involved in club life, and even joined student government and everything completely shifted.

What CCNY & student government can offer you

Your purpose here besides getting a degree is to learn. And this does not mean simply going to class and then going to work or hanging out with friends. This means as VP Reina said, look to your left and look to your right and realizing you can learn from your fellow student body as well.

Discover the amazing people that are here. Interact with faculty outside of classrooms, go to some events, and interact with student government. Because this is what we are here to do; we are here to represent you as the student body. If you ever need or feel the need to speak to student government about any issues you may have or any improvements you see that should happen, feel free to come to us in the North Academic Center and reach out to us (or just hang out).

Takeaway

Now there’s one thing that I want to say from a philosopher by the name of J. Krishnamurti who states, “The purpose of education is not to add accolades to your name or further your position in society. The purpose of true education is to enrich the experiences and relationships that you have with the universe and with yourself.”

Thank you.

Kenny Soto Photography

Daily Meditation September 6th, 2015

Often times I condemn this place: New York City. Why did I have to born here? What’s the point of struggling in this dump? I have the habit of always being surprised by how much I complain about living here after experiencing the beauty that is New York. Over the weekend, I took time out of my day to explore Coney Island after 4 years and I have to say there shouldn’t be much to complain about. Although our city does have its problems I find it that no place is perfect. We just need to accept our surroundings for what they are, appreciate them, and then consider how to change them for the better. Complaining about it doesn’t solve anything.

 

Kenny Soto Photography

Daily Meditation August 27th, 2015

“…The man who loves has no room for anything else.”

Krishnamurti
Think On These Things

It is only through love that we are able to attain insight. Insight into knowing what we want to do (ie. Self awareness) and knowing how to help others achieve what they want. A leader empowers others first before asking to be empowered.
‪#‎Listen‬‪#‎Appreciate‬‪#‎Motivate‬‪#‎Praise‬‪#‎LAMP‬

 

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