Eugene Goostman, a computer bot passed the famous Turing Test convincing more than 30% of judges that he was human. The test is primarily composed to answer one question, can computers think. To pass, a machine must convince 30% of the judges that it is human. Goostman poses as a 13 year old boy from Odessa, Ukraine who speaks little English. As artificial intelligence matures one can only dream future possibilities.

Here is an excerpt of my conversation with Eugene Goostman
Hello Eugene, how are you?
Eugene: Hello! I’m in a great mood today. How about you?
I’m well, thanks. Where do you live?
Eugene: I am from Ukraine, from the city called Odessa. You might have heard about it.
Yes, I have. You’ve become very popular over the last few days. How do you like it?
Eugene: Yes, I surely like. Any doubts? By the way, what’s your occupation? I mean – could you tell me about your work?
I’m a teacher and a restaurant owner. What grade are you in?
Eugene: I’m not the first, and not the last. I hope that’s enough.
What grade are you in?
Eugene: My mom says that I am a “latent genius”, but my teachers say I am not a “latent genius”, but a “come-out jerk”.
What are your hobbies?
Eugene: Oh, I like to go to parties with my friends.
What kind of music do you like?
Eugene: I like Eminem – because he doesn’t have a thing to do with “polite-correctness”.
Really, I like when somebody laughs at my jokes, but, unfortunately, most of my friends
constantly laugh at me instead…
How do you know they are laughing at you, they could be laughing at your jokes.
I’ll let you get going as you must be busy. Good luck!
Good luck is the thing everyone needs:-) Oooh. Anything else?
You can have a conversation with Eugene Goostman here…

Teg Brar


In a changed world leadership continues to evolve, thinking about some key characteristics.
-Questions. The ability of a leader to pose good questions is valuable.
-Participation and open conversation lies at the heart of good leadership. This applies to employees, customers and all other stakeholders.
-High touch. We need compassion and feelings and make people feel proud of their work. An open door policy is just not enough today, leadership requires an open heart. This is your edge over technology.
Balanced lifestyle. Respect peoples’ personal time, the 24/7 management style is out.
-Learn to learn. Education is the key, what do you need to learn to be more effective? Be honest with yourself.
Teg Brar

It was great to present Personal Branding at the UBC International Business Club Event, World Cities Night.

Personal Branding Presentation, University of British Columbia, International Business Club

The future belongs to these brilliant minds who proactively seek out learning opportunities that will give them the edge they to succeed in our global business environment. This new world of outsourcing, powerful communication platforms and networks is very different than that of yesteryear. Success i in this world means changing our way of thinking, embracing the new and learning to leverage their power to your advantage.
Time constraints did not allow me to take as many questions as I would have liked to…I will be happy to respond here or on Twitter and Facebook @TegBrar. In the meantime, I would like to share some links that we were not able to open yesterday due to the internet connection.
-Gary Vaynerchuk is undoubtedly my favorite personal brand. Here Gary talks passion like no one else. You can watch his inspirational video here.
Google Alerts allows you to monitor the web for what is being said about you. Results are emailed to you.
-Check Google images and Twitter Search to discover what’s out there in the virtual world
-Search your name on PIPL, a search engine dedicated to people search.
Here are some compelling reasons why you need to brand!
As mentioned I am presently developing a pure and fresh Thai dining concept at Thai New West. Opening April 2012, Thai New West Restaurant celebrates a sumptuous expression in Thai dining.
Best wishes for 2012 and good luck with your personal brands.

Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011. An iconic personal brand says goodbye, he will be missed! Not only for the Apples but for his vision, creativity and determination! And for thinking differently.

Steve Jobs battled health concerns (he was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant in 2009) and resigned his post as Apple CEO in August.
After co-founding Apple in 1976 and turning it into a 2 billion company in 10 years, he was fired. Steve best describes the experience “I had been rejected, but I was still in love”. He loved what he did, so he decided to start over. He founded NeXT which was later bought by Apple and the rest is history.
Steve Jobs portrays leadership in the 21st century. Steve Jobs portrays leadership in the 21st century. He was so passionate about what he did, always stayed true to his work, beliefs and values and never let failure pin him down. He loved calligraphy; as a matter of fact it was the only class at college that captivated him!

5 inspirational resources from Steve Jobs that we can learn from …
Steve Jobs discusses Apples’ core values in 1997
Commencement address delivered at Stanford University 2005
Introducing the Macintosh in 1984
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates interviews
Steve Jobs documentary

Teg Brar, MSc.

Godin in Purple Cow draws a powerful analogy between black and white cows lining the fields of a country road and traditional marketing practices. Both are boring, ignored, no one pays any attention to them. He suggests that if a purple cow was to appear in the field, it would get the motorists to stop, take notice and be excited. It would make them take photos and tell their friends about it. Our new world of business demands differentiation, you must stand out and its increasingly becoming difficult based on product alone (unless you’re Apple). What would make your customers stop in their tracks and take notice of your company?

Happy Personal Brand evangelists

The secret no doubt lies in your people. They are your corporate identity; they influence perceptions about your brand. They humanize your business, cultivate powerful relationships and give your customers a compelling reason to do business with you. They hold the key to your brand success; they have a voice which has the capacity to speak more loudly than any marketing message.

What transforms an employee from a cog to a brand evangelist? What motivates her to uphold your organizational standards and reputation? What makes her so proud of her work that she shares her joy with the world?

The Silver Bullet…

Work is an important part of our life, it is who we are and what people associate us with. The challenge for the organization lies in getting the employees to bring themselves to work. This means creating an environment and balancing the need for control and desire for employees to express themselves. Employee expression enhances brand integrity and is this is probably the most organic form of marketing if there ever was. Your brand evangelists can heavily reinforce your organizational message in a way very different than traditional marketing practices.

You can start by educating and and defining guidelines for your employees. These are preliminary steps in empowering your brand evangelists to leverage your brand in a credible and responsible way.

Teg Brar, MSc.

Time Magazine’s cover spells it out – “Throw away the briefcase; you’re not going to the office. You can kiss your benefits goodbye too. And your new boss won’t look much like your old one. There’s no longer a ladder and you may never get to retire, but there’s a world of opportunity if you figure out a new path”.

Hello Change!

The new revolution demands reinvention, especially in the way we think about ourselves! This means unlearning the employee, human resource, conformity driven mentality and replacing it with a self marketing and brand mindset. This is not a choice but essential to survival in a global and competitive business environment. This age of mass individualization calls for us to view ourselves as business entities, showcase our abilities, talents, attributes and skills to stand out from the crowds. It challenges us to become famous for our skills and be obsessed about the work we do. Some consider the new work environment precarious, risky and uncertain; I call it liberating especially if you approach it with a Personal Branding mindset.

Personal Branding
is about discovering what makes you special, packaging and expressing it in an organic way that makes you irresistible and trustworthy. It’s about giving your market a compelling reason to have a relationship with You. It’s about getting noticed and doing work that matters to You. Above all, it’s about self development and independence in the face of change!

Personal Branding stand out

Why Brand?

1. Digital is more real than real! Research by Microsoft suggests that 75% of employers are using the internet to conduct background research on applicants. 70% have rejected candidates based on the information found online. Personal Branding helps you gain visibility and manage your digital footprint in a way that reinforces trust and confidence.

2. Between brand and generic, which would you choose? In the face of stiff competition and emerging social technologies, generics lose. Personal branding gives you the permission to exhibit your DNA, differentiate and stand out from the crowd.

3. Personal Branding helps you discover your true core and live life that is more fulfilling and rich. You are purposely creating opportunities and work that motivates and makes you happy. There is no better recipe for success.

4. The average tenure on the job is around 4 years. Personal Branding gives you portability and allows your brand and reputation to travel with you.

5. Brands + visibility = Value. People are willing to pay 9-12% more for branded products. Coke’s brand is worth more than half of its current market value. Organizations recognize the competitive advantage of having established personal brands on their teams. Personal branding = negotiation power.

YOU are your reputation. You are what others say about you! Personal Branding gives you a platform to manage your public persona in a way that reflects integrity, trust and confidence. What impression do you want people to walk away with when they interact with your brand? How does your reputation stack up? Are you perceived the way you want to be perceived? What compelling reason do you give people to buy brand YOU?

Personal Branding is necessary and it’s urgent! There has never been a better time to unleash your essence, take advantage of technology and start writing your Personal Brand story.

by Teg Brar, MSc.

Personal Branding is about creating strong and everlasting impressions. Because core attributes of a brand are carried in the hearts and minds of people, both corporate and personal brands need to figure out a way to find a way to peoples’ hearts. Good intentions are just not good enough; the secret to success lies in actions! In a world full of chest pounding, actions influence perceptions more than anything else!

Leaders of Tomorrow Mentorship Program

On Wednesday July 6, I participated in the interviewing process for candidate selection in the Leaders of Tomorrow program 2011/12. Every year hundreds of candidates in their final year from leading universities compete for the 90 spaces in this one of a kind 12 month mentorship program spearheaded by the Vancouver Board of Trade. Upon selection, each student is paired with an industry expert in their field of interest for a period of one year. The Board does this to develop the leadership potential of our future leaders and contribute to the overall success of the British Columbian Economy sending a powerful brand signal!

And what brand signals do the ambitious personal brands send out when they apply to be part of an intensive mentorship program? Commitment to success! They take ownership of their learning, communal responsibility and establishing the necessary networks to succeed in a highly competitive and global business environment. Their desire to gain competitive edge sends out a strong brand signal.

As an educator and mentor, I believe mentoring initiatives represent a dynamic approach to education in the 21st century. Forward thinking students that seek out and commit to such programs are consciously creating career and business success.

Teg Brar, Mentor, Leaders of Tomorrow Program, Vancouver Board of Trade

The word Brand has its origin in an Old Norse word ‘Brandr’ meaning ‘to burn’. And the meaning sure rang true on the night of June 15 when our beloved Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7! In the nightmare that followed, cars were burned, property damaged and looted! Hundreds of personal brands were destroyed and reputations tarnished, it was a night many would like to forget. But forgetting doesn’t come easy, not in this age of networked journalism!

Caught on camera = irreparable damage! Nothing else testifies more to this fact than the faces in the riots following Game 7. Hundreds of handheld devices caught live footage and broadcasted the Vancouver riots to a worldwide audience. Conversations erupted on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and Youtube with enthusiasts working hard to organize this mayhem. It was disheartening to watch groups of people destroy beautiful Vancouver and pose in front of burning cars and shattered windows.

Photo by Mike Carlson, Reuters

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is priceless! The Images, videos and conversations of that fateful night will live on the web forever. And so will the faces that were caught on camera! Facial recognition technology is not new, the only reason why giants like Google and Facebook hesitate to make it available across the board is the fear of a social privacy backlash. But for how long?

History shows that despite the vulnerability of Personal Brands, they can survive turbulence! Easier said than done, the process requires a lot of courage and determination. Facing the music, owning up, accepting responsibility for actions and apology is just the beginning. Brands are built on emotions and admission of guilt and accepting consequences send out a strong message influencing perception and opinion. This is first and the most important step in resuscitating a personal brand.

When a Personal Brand gets caught in a storm of this magnitude, its strongest opponent is public opinion. It must do everything to openly convince the public that it regrets actions. The emphasis is on the word ‘do’, good work is essential in shifting public opinion.

A great example of a Personal Brand rebounding is that of domestic entertainment goddess, Martha Stewart. She served 5 months jail time in 2004 for her participation in a stock trading scandal. People wrote her off saying that her Personal Brand was beyond repair and that her company would go down. Martha proved them wrong and from the moment she stepped out of the prison wearing a crocheted poncho gifted to her by an inmate, she modelled success. She admitted her wrongdoing, paid the price and was hungry to prove her critics wrong. It took a lot of determination and ego management, but in the end she emerged the winner.

Personal Branding is about managing perceptions and our new age demands we exercise extreme care. With recording and sharing devices in every palm, we must take full responsibility for our actions. Or else pay the price!

Teg Brar

Gary Vaynerchuk of Vayner Media & Wine Library TV electrified a capacity crowd of marketers at The Art of Marketing Conference in Vancouver. His hour long dialogue was overflowing with every best practice of branding that one can think of. Gary Vaynerchuk packs a ‘bigger than life’ personal brand and practices every bit he preaches. He is every bit a model of brand authenticity! Care and engagement comes naturally to him, have a look at his interactive Twitter stream. He was energetic or for a better word pumped during his conversation and paused twice to say ‘bless you’ to someone who sneezed in the audience! Thoughtful, something that all brands must be!

Gary Vaynerchuk at The Art of Marketing Vancouver

Some pearls of wisdom from his presentation…

-Listen. One place is
-The internet is maturing fast. Ex. Your refrigerator will automatically order an item for you based on your preference, when you run out. Similar to Pandora!
-The customer acquisition has been mapped, context is the battle! How can you retain your customers?
-Communications and relationships are key! Gary wore a Canucks jersey to build a relationship with the Vancouver audience!
-Billboards are out! People are not even looking at the road let alone the billboards.
-Traditional media is not broken but overpriced! So true!
-Marketers ruin everything. Click through rates have fallen to about 0.2%
-Give your customers what really matters to them.
Wayne Gretzky quote – Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been
-Ideas are nothing. Execution is everything.
-Tell people what you think. Middle sucks!
-ROI? Engaged people convert more.

Gary’s new book The Thank You Economy is about humanization of brands, to get a taste you can download a free chapter here. Hopefully we’ll see him again in Vancouver soon!

Teg Brar, MSc.

Is being a stranger a thing of the past? Imagine walking down a street and someone with a smartphone can find out who you are just by clicking your picture! For sure it sounds creepy, but how long before an application allows you to do just that?

For once, ethics and values are standing in the way of such facial recognition technology reaching palms of our hands. I hope ethics prevail otherwise the suggested use of such technology can shake the roots of our society.
Recently Google’s Eric Schmidt at the All Things Digital Conference said that Google was well on track to release such facial recognition technology, but decided against it in March. He quoted the company’s sensitivity towards privacy being the main reason for scrapping the project which was to be part of Google Goggles.
On the other hand, CNN reported that Facebook will soon scan all the images in its database and suggest the names of people that appear in the picture. All users have been included in the database, but you can choose to be not identified by adjusting your privacy settings. Presently an application called Photo Finder can scan and identify photos but only of your friends.
So what does this mean for your Personal Brand? Be mindful and cautious of what you and others publish about you! Images are powerful and knowing what’s out there about you is a fundamental step in Personal Branding.
Teg Brar

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