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Kelly 0:00
Every day we see companies market to us with a specific brand voice. And we could recognize the differences from one brand to the next. But what about personal brands? You as a person are a brand. It's how you portray yourself on the internet and how others perceive you. I'm a brand, Emma's a brand, Ali's a brand. We're all our own unique representations of ourselves. This week, we're discussing what it means to have your own personal brand and everything you need to know about building and managing your brand. Let's jump in.

Welcome to the Ladybug podcast. I'm Kelly.

Ali 0:32 I'm Ali.

Emma 0:33 And I'm Emma. And we're debugging the tech industry.

Kelly 0:36 AWS Amplify is a suite of tools and services that enables developers to build fullstack, serverless and cloud-based web and mobile apps using their framework or technology of choice on the frontend.

Emma 0:46 Using Amplify you can quickly get up and running with things like hosting, authentication, managed GraphQL, serverless functions, APIs, machine learning, chat bots and storage for files like images, videos and PDFs.

Kelly 0:58 Amplify is built especially in a way to enable traditionally frontend developers like myself to be successful because they can use their existing skill set to build real world fullstack apps that in the past would require deep knowledge around backend DevOps and scalable infrastructure.

Emma 1:12 The Amplify console then allows you to use a GitHub repository to deploy a globally available CDN with CI and CD built in.

Kelly 1:17 To learn more, visit AWS-amplify.github.io.

So before we get started, we want to ask a quick favor of you. If you can leave us a review on Apple podcasts. It helps other people find out about our show and each week we are selecting one reviewer to win a book from Smashing Magazine.

Emma 1:36 That is awesome. Smashing Magazine has amazing books.

Kelly 1:39 For real really excited about it. Cool.

Emma 1:41 Yeah.

Kelly 1:42 So let's go ahead and jump in. What exactly is a personal brand? Emma or Ali, do you want to define personal... like what is personal branding to you?

Emma 1:51 I think a personal brand is a representation of your core values as a professional. For me, I would say my professional brand basically embodies who I am as a person, it's just maybe a bit more professional than like, my day to day personality. I do tend to swear a lot more in my personal life. And I try to tone that down online. But basically, my brand is a representation of my core values. So I want to help people, I want to be seen... like I like clean, modern design. So that's also part of my brand, but it's still fun and playful and still represents like, being able to have, you know, fun with programming. It's not all just, you know, programming jargon and technical details all the time. Like I like to add a bit of like fun, girly flair into things sometimes. That's what I would define my personal brand as.

Kelly 2:42 What about you, Ali?

Ali 2:44
It's a tough question. And it's like tough to completely make it tangible what a personal brand is. But I think it's the identity that you put out into the world and that you want people to view you as. Like we all have tons about us that don't put out anywhere near the public. And so we kind of have this tailored image that we put out into the world. And it's authentic. And it's real. And it's our true selves, but it is very edited so that we're not showing all the nitty gritty details or having our privacy invaded or anything like that. My personal brand: I teach. And so my personal brand, kind of centers around that and teaching code, and then I talk about content creation. And as far as programming goes, I think people think of me as mostly Python and JavaScript, and I like to do a lot of algorithmic things and so that that tends to be something I talk about as well. And I like to use fun colors. I have actually personal brand docs, which is so nerdy, and I hate that I have that but like in Sketch, I have all of my different things set up for... like my portfolio site. And if I want to build more assets that correspond to that portfolio site that I have that out there. We have that for Ladybug as well. We have like brand assets for Ladybug. And then I also have it for my blog site, We Learn Code. And I tried to make that actually a little bit separate from my personal brand, which we can talk about more in a little bit too. But just in case I ever wanted to expand that down the road and make it so that it's more than just me, I have it as its own little brand with its own colors and all that.

Emma 4:32
I want to just quickly interject here that a lot of what you said relates back to design systems because design systems are about embodying a brand identity within a set of components and assets to be used. And if you don't know anything about design systems we'll link our design systems talk from season one in the show notes. But essentially what you've just described is a style guide, Ali. Like you keep a style guide and a set of like Sketch assets to be reused. And it embodies your brand identity and when we think of brand identity, typically they come with core values or design principles. So some design principles might be, you know, fun yet professional, things that kind of like juxtapose each other. So for me, it's I want to be technical, but still fun, or still whimsical. And these two ideas kind of juxtapose. So it's... you know, and as people like we do all have brands. And the question you want to ask yourself is when people see my name somewhere or my picture somewhere, what do I want them to think about? And for you Ali, you said, you know, teaching. For me, that would be I don't know, design systems, for example, although I think in 2019, my brand was really possums and dumpsters. But Kelly, what about you? What would you say your personal brand is. When people think of Kelly, what do they think of and I can tell you what I think of but I want... I'm curious to know, like what you think your personal brand is?

Kelly 5:45 So it's actually an interesting topic in the fact that your personal brand can change over time. So what my original personal brand was, what people, you know, knew me as on Twitter was the developer jokes. You know, that kind of stuff. Like I occasionally like mix in some more inspirational kind of things with my experience running a business and entrepreneurship and all that with like really terrible jokes. And then I print them on mugs. And you know, that's my life. But as I... as my career is... Like, I'm really hyper-focused on e-commerce. My personal brand is starting to shift more into e-commerce expertise, or just commerce expertise in general, not necessarily just online retail. I'm curious what you... what your take is, Emma.

Emma 6:31
First of all, I'm curious, because you said that you made jokes, but I didn't know that you were funny.

Kelly 6:39
Oh, I said they're bad jokes. Didn't I say they were bad jokes?

Emma 6:42 Okay. Cool. I just wanted to clear that up because I like I don't actually think you're that funny. But I can't even get through that sentence with a straight face. I think Kelly's hysterical.

Kelly 6:52 Emma's running low on caffeine now and it's starting to kick in and so she's getting really feisty.

Emma 6:58 Sarcasm is my brand identity. Which is ironic because I don't pick up on sarcasm ever. But no, when I think of you, I think of Shopify, I think of the Shopify e-commerce expert. And I think... it was funny because last season we all did an episode in our domain area. For me that was design systems. For you that was Shopify and e-commerce. And I feel like for Ali, it was teaching. And so I think it's funny to see how over time we're transitioning into different brand identities. I think this year, I want to transition a little bit more into teaching and animations. That's something I want to transition into. And, Kelly, you said you want to kind of transition to your brand as well. But yeah, I don't know. Like Ali, do you have plans to kind of like transform your brand at all?

Ali 7:39
I think I'm pretty happy with where my brand is at and what I am talking about. I think I'm actually laying off a little bit on the brand building to some extent right now just because it's overwhelming and I have a wild work life as well that I have to balance and then this. But, yeah, I'm pretty happy with my brand being surrounded about like teaching code. I think I try to put out more technical stuff. And I'm going to continue to try to do that so that people do see me as technical instead of somebody who just talks about teaching, but other than that, I'm pretty happy with where it's at.

Kelly 8:21
This leads to a good question, why would you want to build a brand?

Emma 8:25 I think that if you are trying to build up your name in the tech industry in a specific domain. Ha, domain. Building yourself an identity or a brand is something really great because what happens then is when you produce another piece of content, people can instantly recognize that as yours. So Tyler McGinnis is amazing at branding his content under tylermcginnis.com, although I will say he's going through a rebranding as well. Ultimate Courses is another platform. Egghead.io. Frontend Masters. All of these things have a brand that you as a content creator and a person can also embody. So when you post a blog or you post a video course people can look at that and be like, Oh, that's Ali's. I know that's Ali's content, because that embodies her brand.

Kelly 9:09 I think that makes sense. And to some extent, we all strive to be a subject matter expert in some area. And building a brand really pushes us towards that subject matter expertise.

Ali 9:21
Definitely, it leads to a lot of opportunities, both career wise, if you're trying to get started out there, but then also, for speaking opportunities, building courses, building an audience, like all of those things tend to come when you have a really established personal brand.

Emma 9:41
I also want to say too, like, a personal brand is not... It's a visual thing and a physical thing of like the assets that you produce and the visual design of your content, but it's also more of like a conceptual thing too. So, like, in terms of your values or like the brand identity that you want to exhibit, like what are those values? What do you want people to recognize you as from a conceptual level, not just a visual, you know, perspective.

And there are many benefits to branding yourself. I think one of them is being able to separate work and life. I think in 2019, I did a poor job at kind of drawing the line of what I was going to share online versus what I was going to keep private. And in 2020, this year, I really want to be more clear about that and really take a look at Oh, does this tweet or does this blog post embody my brand? If so, let's post it and if not, maybe, you know, reserve that for my private life. That's something I struggled with a lot. And Kelly, you did mention that, you know, this is something that we can kind of decide, like, do we want this to be public or not. So this is a benefit, is being able to separate work and life and reserving pieces of your life for your personal life. But again, a second thing is getting recognized from a content perspective, in terms of visuals. So if I post a blog, people know it's mine. And that's something I also need to do this year is migrate all of my content to my own website and brand is such that when people share it, it comes from my website and not from these other platforms.

Kelly 11:08 Sounds like you're gonna have a busy year.

Emma 11:09 You have no idea.

Kelly 11:10 What other benefits? Ali, you covered some of them just briefly when we were literally talking about why you want to build a brand, the audience and teaching. It provides multiple opportunities.

Ali 11:19
Definitely, I think that all of us have been really lucky to have a lot of opportunities come to us based off of our personal brands, even if we haven't taken all of them, just having them offered is really incredible.

Emma 11:32
I love building a brand too. So it can kind of lead into building a following. I think that's one of the symptoms of building a personal brand is by nature, you know, the bigger your brand or the more recognizable the more followers you may gain on social media or on a platform for blogging or whatnot. So another side effect of getting a following is being presented with opportunities that you wouldn't normally get. I get... You know, I have the privilege to be able to teach a Frontend Masters course this year, a Linda course this year, as a result of the fact that I produce content, which gained me a following, which then presented me these opportunities. So being able to speak at conferences is another privilege that we're able to have. So those are all kind of like side effects of... that are all... they all stem from this personal branding that we've built.

Kelly 12:22 You also, as you establish your personal brand, you tend to interact with people with similar personal brands. And you can basically create a community over time where, again, in this developer space, a lot of people won't know that this is a thing, but there are a lot of various communities on Twitter that we don't ever really recognize. Like one recent crossover was Team Trees was raising money to plant trees worldwide. They wanted to raise $20 million in 20... like by the end of 2019. And one of the communities... There's a community called Sneaker Twitter, which are people who like buy expensive sneakers and sell them for more money. I think. I don't know. I'm not a part of that community. But they were a huge part of raising money for that. But a lot of these communities all kind of came together to actually hit that $20 million goal, which is amazing. There's like direct to consumer Twitter. That is a thing of people who talk about direct to consumer brands online. Like they really get super, like super niche in their markets. But it allows you to kind of find people with similar interests and, you know, have really engaging conversations because of it.

Emma 13:30 Are there people in tech Twitter that you would say have done a really good job branding themselves?

Kelly 13:35 Good question.

Ali 13:36
There are a lot. Like so many people that you think of as the go to expert on that thing. Like Dan Abramov, you think of him for React and Redux. And Kent C. Dodds, you think of him for testing JavaScript. And Sarah Drasner for Vue and SVG work. And Angie Jones for testing as well. There's so many people who have done really, really great jobs as establishing themselves as the expert at something.

Emma 14:02
I don't think you need to be an expert in something to have a personal brand, though. I just want to make that... When I think of great personal branding, I think again I mentioned Tyler McGinnis. I think he does a great job. He built his platform without any like third party help. He has done this all himself. It's because he had a very clear brand vision. Who else? Oh my gosh... Dave Ceddia is another educator for React who's done an amazing job with his personal brand. I'm trying to think of other people. Obviously, Sarah Drasner is an amazing teacher. And Jason Lengstorf is another one. So when you think of all these people, what do they all have in common? They've produced incredible content that is thorough, that is well explained for beginners. They have their own personal website where they cross link all of these things. They, as a result, get to speak at a lot of conferences and make a lot of courses and that feeds back into their personal brand. So take a look at what the people in the industry are doing. And try to embody some of those things. Now, that's not to say you should go and copy exactly what they're doing because they've built up a personal brand as a result of who they are and the things that they like and their personalities. So find your unique traits that you think would attract people. I think the biggest piece of advice that I personally could give is to be yourself. Be yourself, but also notice the things that some of the people in the industry you admire are doing. Such as posting consistently, posting high quality content, posting content that they enjoy, things like that.

Kelly 15:30 So while we're on this topic of how we're building our brands, you know, it goes beyond also the areas of expertise, as we've discussed. Like, what are your passions? What are your interests? Like, those types of things also define your personal brand, like being really passionate about e-commerce not only from a subject matter standpoint, but just like watching the trends and discussing the trends that are happening in e-commerce and Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday sales and that kind of stuff. It's something I'm just like... I'm interested in outside of my career as well.

Ali 16:02
Definitely, and I think showing yourself as a person, and your passions and interests outside of work, can be really helpful to that as well. And people then think of you more as a human being and a full human being instead of just an employee or something.

Emma 16:16
Yeah, absolutely. And this kind of leads into the question of like, Are we still going to be interested in these same things in three or six months from now? And my answer is going to be No, I don't think necessarily. For me personally, I'm not speaking for you both. But for me personally, like the things that I was interested in 2019, some of them might trickle over. But I also picked up some new interests, such as animations and micro interactions, that delve into the psychology behind why we would add these things to our website, and not just the code aspect. Those are things that I want to pick up. Am I still going to be interested in design systems? Probably. But some things that maybe I was previously super interested in, maybe like Gatsby, am I gonna stay super invested in Gatsby? I don't know. Maybe we'll see. I don't know, what about you both? Do you think that you'll still be interested in these types of things that you are interested in now.

Kelly 17:02 I sure hope I'm still interested in e-commerce for a while otherwise my business is in trouble.

Ali 17:07
Yeah, same or else my career is in a lot of trouble. But, that being said, I think that my programming interest and what I talked about has definitely evolved over time. Like, I think for a while people thought of me as like a very heavy frontend person, which I'm not, but that's just what I would blog about. And because I think blogging about frontend stuff is very tangible. And so I like doing it. And so I focused more on tweeting about, like, algorithm stuff and Python so then people started seeing you meet more for Python, just to try to make it more that my brand represented what I wanted to be known for and what I am interested in. So I think it's easy for people to associate you with something because you're talking about it a lot, even if that's not actually what you do all the time?

Kelly 18:03
Awesome. So let's go ahead and talk about the platforms that you can brand yourself on. What are the first ones that come to you? Obviously Twitter comes to me first, just because I spend my life on Twitter.

Ali 18:15
Yeah, I think for all three of us, Twitter probably is the first one we think of. I didn't start on Twitter, though. I started mostly on Medium first. And that was really hard to build up an audience on there and then move to dev.to. And then Twitter really came just to market my dev.to posts at first and then it turned into its own thing.

Emma 18:39
I also started on Medium. I forget this all the time. I know we had a blogging episode, and we should definitely link that in the show notes, if you're interested in getting into blogging. I started on Medium and I remember all I did was I would submit my blogs to different publications. I forgot that I did this until my mentor actually reminded me that this is how I built my brand originally was I submitted every blog I wrote to publications with a lot of readership. And that's how I built up my personal brand. And from there, once again, a certain number of subscribers, I was able to like spin off my own and stop submitting to different publications. So that's a really good tip.

Ali 19:10
Yeah, definitely, is using an established brand that exists to start building your own personal brand as well. At least at first, because it's really hard to build an audience all by yourself in isolation.

Emma 19:21
Also, one area really quickly that I definitely want to get into is like tech Instagram. Like, there's a huge ecosystem for, like, developers on Instagram. Females devs too. There's a lot of really awesome female devs on Instagram. That's something I really want to get into. But I hate having my photo taken. I absolutely hate it. And I hate the thought of just posting selfies all the time. So I don't know. I'm kind of like struggling with that.

Ali 19:44
Yeah, I struggle with it, too. I keep wanting to do it, because I think it's a great way to tap an untapped audience for tech content. And there definitely are some content creators out there but it's definitely a kind of a niche world. And how to teach via is Instagram, I don't know, I find it fascinating. But I always have abandon it because I just... It's hard to take pictures. And it's hard to be more personal like that. Another social media site that we don't talk about as much is LinkedIn.

Kelly 20:14 I'm actually using LinkedIn a lot more this year.

Ali 20:17 Oh, wow. Okay. You can definitely talk about that then.

Kelly 20:20
Yeah, so it's important to remember that there are going to be people who are on Twitter who are not on LinkedIn or not on Instagram. There are people on Instagram who never visit Twitter. There are people who only read blogs at, you know, on various websites. So the more you differentiate, and you kind of spread out and talk on different platforms, the larger your audience can become. And you'll likely have to cater your message a little bit more towards that audience. You know, LinkedIn is very much more of a professional platform versus I'm going to post cat pictures on Twitter. I don't tend to do that on LinkedIn. But I'm actually making it more of a goal this year to post daily if... I'm aiming for daily basically on LinkedIn to talk about just like e-commerce related topics. Because it reaches a different audience of people who aren't necessarily on Twitter. And I can have some really... And I've had some really engaging conversations last year based on the things that I've posted.

Emma 21:15 Yeah, and just really quickly, I just want to note that because you have a following on one platform, it does not transfer, like Kelly mentioned, like, different platforms have different kind of, like, business needs, business needs, they have different desires. So just because like I have a following on Twitter does not mean I actually have a huge following on Instagram. I think it's like... I'm almost 80,000 on Twitter, but I have maybe 4000 ish on Instagram. It does not directly translate. It's going to take work on each individual platform, depending upon what that platform embodies.

Kelly 21:46 And people receive information in different ways based on the platform they use. Like maybe video is a really strong platform. That's one that we haven't actually talked about is YouTube.

Emma 21:54 I originally, like before Twitter blew up, I really wanted to make dev videos on YouTube and then kind of once my following exploded on Twitter, I stopped even thinking about YouTube. I do feel like each platform comes with its own, like personality. And for me, YouTube is not a space that I care to get into right now, given all of the kind of drama going on with the platform. I, personally, I'm going to stick to Twitter, but people can make a decent living off of YouTube, if you're good enough. It just takes time.

Ali 22:24
Yeah, I did YouTube for a bit. And it's easy enough to get an audience on there, I think, but the hard part was, people are nasty on there.

Emma 22:34 Yeah, they are.

Ali 22:37 And the insults are a lot more personal than I think Twitter... Like, Twitter you get insulted about what you're saying. Whereas YouTube, it's more like you. And you get that sometimes on Twitter. But anyways, I got a lot about my voice and how annoying it was and so I kind of deleted all my videos. It's fine.

Emma 22:55 Well, this kind of leads us into like the downsides of social media branding, because we don't discuss this publically very often. I think the three of us do a pretty good job at talking about the downsides of things. But, in general, the ecosystems don't discuss these things. So you just mentioned like, you know, the negative comments that you're going to receive, you know, as you grow a following, you're gonna get negative criticism. Now, it's up to you to delineate, like, what's constructive criticism and what's just plain nastiness, because sometimes you will get really great constructive criticism. It might be wrapped in a harsh statement. But I would encourage you to, like, look and see whether or not someone has a point, with the feedback that they're providing. If they're just being nasty, like, this happens, unfortunately, it's part of the gig. But oftentimes, there is a seed of truth. And for me personally, last year, in 2019, it was... Something that I had to get over was the way the message is delivered might be really harsh, but what they're saying might hold value.

Kelly 23:51 That's... Yeah, for sure. And what... It's kind of interesting as you kind of change your brand identity over time, you'll notice some of these, these messages kind of pop up. Like the whole, like stay in your lane idea where, you know, we... I think we've all three of us have received messages or replies from people on Twitter who are like I follow you for this content not this content with as if like they're they're going to be telling you... like policing your own Twitter account basically telling you what to post. So even... You almost feel like this this pressure to maintain what it is that your current audience wants to see versus what you actually want to post.

Emma 24:29 Kent C. Dodds just posted a tweet about this the other day saying how he's bringing in a lot of criticism for stepping outside of tech in terms of his tweets, and I think it's ridiculous. You know, we are dynamic human beings. We're not one dimensional, we have many dimensions. And, unfortunately, if you build a brand around a specific area, people are going to assume that you'll stick to that, those bounds. And you just have to be okay with the fact that the things that you post outside of those bounds might not get as much engagement. You might get negative feedback about them. And it is what it is. I did this a lot last year where I would post things about all different topics, like, you know, my personal life and all this kind of stuff. This year. I'm trying to be more curated about that. But yeah, it's unfortunately one of the downsides.

Ali 25:16
Definitely. I think another downside is the feeling that you need to maintain some sort of image or portray yourself in a certain way online. I think we hear about this a lot with like Instagram and people facetuning and stuff like that. And I think that it kind of does relate still, to what we do and how we need to... It's like this perfect balance of trying to be real enough and showing the downsides, but then also still being mostly positive and mostly showing the good things going on. Because it would be a total downer to follow somebody who's just like, tweeting about how awful they are all the time and all the things that they're bad at. So it's definitely a really, really good tough balance to make yourself a real person online and then still have something professional out there.

Emma 26:10
I think also, I don't know if I call it... I guess this part is a downside. The downside being you always have to feel like you're on all the time. So if you build a brand, you get to go to these conferences, it's a huge privilege, you're very excited. You feel like you have to be on all the time, meaning you're always excited to meet new people. You're always happy. You're always, you know, there's no anxiety. You're just on all the time. And this is really hard because we're people, we're humans with emotions.

For me personally, like, I get anxious before talks. And so like if people come up to me, obviously, I'm so excited to meet new people. But I might have some anxiety before speaking and people don't expect that. They just expect you to be constantly excited and happy to talk to them. But people forget that and a side effect. I wouldn't necessarily call this a negative, but as you gain a following people put you on a pedestal. This can be hard because it sets the expectation that you always know what you're talking about. You're always excited and happy. And for me personally being put on a pedestal is not a positive thing. It might be for some people but for me it's a negative because I am a human and I make mistakes and I am not the smartest person in the room at all times. And to live up to those expectations all the times is really hard and I also just want people to feel like they can approach me or talk to me or do things. And when people see you have so many followers, they think of you as like a minor celebrity sometimes. For, you know... I'm not saying this is like I think I'm a minor celebrity. It's I've had people specifically tell me these things. And that's hard because I'm just a person like anyone listening to this podcast, and that's just like a side effect. I don't personally love but others might enjoy that.

Ali 27:47
Yeah, I so agree with that. There's all this pressure to be... to live up to people's expectations of you. And it's really... It can be a difficult thing, like, and especially before speaking when you're so nervous and people come up to you like, Do you know who I am? Like, I follow you on Twitter. It's like, unfortunately, I don't know all my Twitter followers. Like, there are a lot of you. And so there are a lot of people that I have like really good real relationships with but don't necessarily know everybody and it's just hard to live up to expectations. I think as you said. You said it much more eloquently than I did.

Kelly 28:25
I think we've talked enough about the downsides because it got kind of... kind of sad in here. Do we want to finish off by just... by talking about building an audience, like, what, you know, things you can do to build your audience.

Emma 28:39 For sure. And I just I don't want that segment to come off as us getting sad or like... kind of like downplaying the upsides because we're all very grateful for the platforms that we've built. We're all very privileged to be in these places, but we do want to just call out the fact that there are also negatives to growth. Especially quick growth which I think all of us have have gone through. So we just wanted to touch on that. But how do you actually build an audience if this is something you're interested in, if you want to gain an audience, you want to travel to conferences and be a speaker?

First of all, those things are not necessarily intertwined. You can absolutely be a conference speaker without having a following. And I would encourage any conferences listening to this to please take on speakers who are not, you know, quote, unquote, "well known in the industry". Take on people who are new speakers or who might not have a huge following. That being said, it is easier to get these kinds of things if you do have an audience. So how do you do that?

My biggest piece of advice is focus on your content, not the numbers. Focus on the things that you like to produce, focus on the mediums that you like producing, whether that's blogging or video content, or podcasting. Pick your medium that you enjoy, and talk about the things that you enjoy. So, you know, I enjoy design systems. I'm not going to just write blogs about compilers. That for me would not be interesting. And as a result, my audience wouldn't want to read about it. So that's my biggest tip.

Ali 30:05
I think going along those same lines, I think consistency is a huge part of it. If you go dead on Twitter for a month and don't post anything, it's going to be really hard to build an audience during that time. Trust me, I have been there recently, barely posting. But putting out content on a consistent cadence and making sure that you're constantly putting out high quality stuff, I think is the most important thing when you're starting out. And you have more wiggle room when you are more established, but especially when you're starting out, you definitely have to put out a lot of content and make sure to be doing it regularly.

Emma 30:44
I would say go the extra mile if you're starting out. Go the extra mile when you're creating content to make sure it stands out. So when I was starting out, I would always create diagrams to illustrate the things that I was discussing. And I would build custom diagrams in Sketch. If you don't have those kinds of things, other things you can do to differentiate yourself is to link to associated resources. That's something I don't see enough in blog posts. If they've referenced the technology or something, they don't link to it. And this can be really detrimental to a beginner who's trying to understand what this acronym means or what this technology is. Do things like that. If you can include, I don't know, custom graphics to illustrate concepts that you're discussing, do that. Create analogies, things like that. So find something to go the extra mile to differentiate yourself. And you know, it'll definitely help you stand out.

Kelly 31:33 I think my last piece of advice is just to be authentic. You know, people... If you're not... If you're talking about something that you have no passion about, people can see right through that. You know, the more it's you're interested in what it is that you're actually wanting to, you know, focus on as far as your personal brand goes - and it does happen organically as well - the more you do that, the more you know, people see that authenticity. And they appreciate that authenticity. And they want to see more of it. So just something to keep in mind as you are creating content.

Emma 32:06 Absolutely. And with that, I think we should wrap up with one thing that we are excited about. We're excited for in 2020. Kelly, I'm going to send that over to you. What is one thing that you're excited about?

Kelly 32:19 So I, for the first time, have an office for my company. So my team is very remote. And I've had a co-working membership at the same place for the past four years. But I'm officially moving into one of their four physical offices that are actually at the co-working space. So I actually have, like, my space to go to every single morning and I get to decorate it. All my furniture arrives tomorrow. We just painted yesterday. So I'm just... I'm really excited to see how it all kind of turns out.

Emma 32:47 That's awesome. Ali, what about you?

Ali 32:49 I haven't talked about this publicly yet. But I am moving to New York City and I am taking a new job

Emma 32:55 Yay!

Ali 32:56
So that's a big life change. Yeah, so same company. I'm going to be still working for General Assembly, the coding bootcamp. But I'm going to be the... one of the faculty leads for the software engineering immersive program. So I'm going to be doing teaching, but I'm going to be balancing that out more with more like leadership stuff and creating content for them and stuff like that. So I... My life is going to look very different in 2020 than it did in 2019.

Emma 33:22 That's exciting. I'm looking forward to all the New York City Instagrams and seeing Blairin your feed.

Kelly 32:25 Oh, yes.

Ali 33:26
Yeah, so excited.

Kelly 33:28 Emma, what's yours?

Emma 33:30
I'm super excited to be working on two different courses this year. So the first course is with LinkedIn or lynda.com. I'm building a course on how to write a technical resume. Which is super exciting. And the second course I'm working on is a Frontend Masters course about building a design system with React and Storybook and like other really fun technologies. So I'm really thrilled for that.

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