IT Purchasing Math: 8 Ways that Confusion = Profit

handing off confusionThere’s a simple equation to keep in mind if you’re not sure you’re getting a fair deal when making a major IT purchase:

Confusion = Profit

A related equation goes like this:

Rushed deals = Profit

This is directly related to FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). The more a vendor can confuse you and make you believe numbers that may not be in your best interest or try to convince you that you really have to buy NOW, the greater the odds are that you’ll make a bad deal.

My best advice is that for a major IT purchase (several hundreds of thousands of dollars),  don’t buy it  if you don’t understand the deal. Wait until you understand exactly what they’re offering and at what price before you make your move. Continue reading

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Editing LinkedIn Headlines to Showcase Your Personal Brand

linkedin official iconYou may not realize this but the professional headline on your LinkedIn profile is editable, which opens up all sorts of possibilities within LinkedIn.

Editing your headline allows you to make a statement about yourself, create a mini-ad for your services or products, or add SEO keywords right on your LinkedIn page. Changing your headline also allows you to make LinkedIn work harder for you, showcasing your personal brand in large type right at the top of your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s how to take advantage of this feature.

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Hiding LinkedIn Job Hunting Activity from Your Connections

job hunting binocularsHere’s a quick tip if you’re using LinkedIn for job hunting and you don’t want co-workers, bosses, executives, customers or anyone else to see you updating your LinkedIn profile or making recommendations (i.e., you want to hide your LinkedIn job hunting activity from your connections).

Before using this technique, check the bottom of the article. LinkedIn only shuts down some of your broadcast activity through these settings. There are some profile updates that will still be broadcast to your connections even after you make your changes. I’ve attempted to make a of list of broadcast changes that cannot be turned off at the end of this piece.

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Changing Your Profile Name in LinkedIn (Linkedin Name Changes)

Linkedin logo with magnifying glassThere are many common reasons people change their name, including marriage, divorce, adopting a stage name, or modifying your name to reference or remove a nickname.

And when you change your name in real life, you’ll also want to change it in your virtual life: specifically your LinkedIn profile.

To accomplish that goal, here are the ins and outs of changing your name on LinkedIn. Continue reading

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Creating a LinkedIn Profile URL That Fits on a Business Card

linkedin button

All LinkedIn users have both a default public LinkedIn profile URL and a full LinkedIn profile URL. The public profile is what people who aren’t connected to you see when they search for you on LinkedIn. The private profile is what people in your LinkedIn connections mostly see when they check you as a connection.

There are a number of problems with the default public profile URL, including the fact that the URL is long, clunky, and difficult for people to find in search engines…and those are its good traits!

The default public profile also doesn’t fit well inside an email, on a business card, or on a banner. What you want is a shorter snappier LinkedIn URL that you can use in correspondence, marketing materials, Web pages, signatures, and in other places where a long URL isn’t appropriate.

In less than 500 words, here’s how you create your own (relatively) short customized LinkedIn URL, such as

Note: This post was updated in July 2015 from its original version. Continue reading

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LinkedIn: Becoming Anonymous When Viewing Other People’s Profiles

linkedin logoFor any number of professional, legal, personal, or other reasons, you may not want other LinkedIn users to know you are viewing their user profiles. Sometimes you just need to be an anonymous viewer.

The problem with being an anonymous viewer on LinkedIn is that by default, LinkedIn doesn’t configure your profile to be anonymous. LI sets up all profiles to report their LinkedIn user name and headline to every other user profile they have viewed, unless the viewing user has specified otherwise. LI shows this information in the viewed user’s LinkedIn notifications screen and on the Who’s viewed your profile screen. Continue reading

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Three Ways to Find All Your Current LinkedIn Activity From a Browser Session

linked in pen pictureUse this technique if you only want to view your current LinkedIn activity from a Web browser (updated 6/25/15 as the old URL from LinkedIn no longer works).


I was unable to find a new URL to replace the old LinkedIn MYUPDATE URL, but either one of the following techniques will show you all your recent activity, published LinkedIn articles, drafts, and followers, as shown here. Continue reading

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Who Moved my Cheese? Lifestyle Book or Horror Story?

who moved my cheeseEvery few years, someone (usually a business associate or a boss of some sort) gives me another copy of Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson? I must have ten of them, by now.

Who Moved My Cheese was one of the first “business fables” or a “motivational parable” that provides many valuable lessons for dealing with change in one’s work and life. And it’s loved by business managers the world over and given as gifts to their employees. In some circles, it’s more popular at holiday time than Starbucks gift cards. Other companies mass-distribute it to “motivate the troops”, sometimes giving employees two, three, four, and even five copies in a single afternoon. Continue reading

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Using Google Search to Search Only One Web Site

two tip jarsIf you want to use Google to search for a term on only one specific Web site, enter your search term this way. Continue reading

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Rules & Pitfalls for Personalizing Your LinkedIn Invitations

linkedin official iconI recently received the following two LinkedIn invites. Which one do you think I accepted?

Invite #1: I’d like to add you to my professional network(note: this is LinkedIn’s default invitation text)

Invite #2: I am a subscriber to joehertvik dot com. I use LinkedIn to keep track of my professional network, and would like to add you. 

I obviously linked to the person who sent invite #2 because even in one sentence, he gave me a personal reason for why I should connect with him.

Personalizing your LinkedIn invites is a surefire way to increase the number of people who accept your LinkedIn invitations. Continue reading

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What Does IT Operations Management Do? (ITOps)

network operations center--wikipediaWhen I tell people I work in IT Operations, I sometimes get a blank stare. While IT Application programmers are well understood, people are  a little fuzzier on what an IT Operations department does. To clear up any confusion, here’s my take on what IT Operations is, how it differs from IT Applications, and how IT Operations can be managed in an overall IT department. Continue reading

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The Animal Farm Rule of Help Desks and Network Management

farm hogsRunning a Help Desk or a Data Center can be confusing in that while you try to treat all customers the same way, there are just some people who need extra-special assistance. You may go all out for your internal and external customers but there are always certain classes of people who you really have to go ALL OUT for.

We call these people executives and people of power, such as customers, business partners, presidents, vice presidents, owners, administrative assistants to people of power, etc.

It may not matter how small or piddly their call is. When the phone rings or the email comes, they immediately go to the top of queue and you solve their issue as fast as you possibly can. No matter how hard you work at resolving user issues, you must work harder and faster in resolving these people’s issues. And if you don’t believe that, there’s usually all kinds of people insisting that you go into hyper-drive to get the people of power’s interests resolved.

It’s part of the job.

I call this the Animal Farm rule of IT Support, since the core spirit comes from George Orwell’s Animal Farm where the animals start with this commandment after they’ve overthrown the farmer and took over the farm:

All animals are created equal

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Help Desk Management: What is Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Help Desk support?

Help Desk tech from commons wikipedia orgIn one of my roles, I run a Help Desk for two companies outside of Chicago. One of the confusing things about Help Desk management and talking to people about an IT Operations Help Desk, is that people don’t understand what Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Help Desk support is (as well as Level 0 support and Level 4 support, which not everyone talks about). Here’s my quick primer on what each of these functions do. Continue reading

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First You Get Good, Then You Get Fast: Thoughts to Live By for Blog Production

cerebus the aardvark--first issue

The cover of issue #1 of Cerebus the Aardvark, 1977. Dave Sim helped spark a movement in the 1990s for independent comics outside of the mainstream.

When writing this blog, I take a lot of inspiration from Dave Sim, creator of the independent comic book Cerebus the Aardvark.

Here’s the best advice he ever gave about producing a good quality product on a regular basis.

Just sit down and do it. First you get good, then you get fast, then you get good and fast.

–Dave Sim, 1993

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IT Jungle: Restoring IBM i Passwords & Private Authorities When Using RSTUSRPRF

0-IT Jungle LogoIT Jungle just posted my latest article on restoring IBM i passwords & private authorities when using the IBM i Restore User Profile command (RSTUSRPRF). Continue reading

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