Author Archives: JL

Talent Development Presentation

I recently gave a great webinar on Talent Development with

You can watch the first part here.

This was the short presentation I referenced. I’ve never been one for a lot of slides. I like to talk about what I know

I think the Storify application is cool so I chronicled the happenings on the Twitter. #humblebrag

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Sales Challenges in the Middle East IT Market

I was recently published in Reseller Middle East where I discussed valuing your sales staff. There are stark differences between the Middle East & the US regarding sales. I attempt to shine some light on how MENA managers can value their sales staff similar to how it works in the west.

You can find it on the ResellerME Online Magazine-Page 51. Or read the unedited article below.

Talent Retention starts with Recruitment

All recruiters and employers face common problems, yet here in the Middle East, and particularly in IT these problems all are noticeably amplified. Overall the perception is there are not enough qualified candidates – however common problems such under prepared, under educated or already gainfully employed are consistently mentioned. As a result many hours and much hard work go into the recruitment of the staff of your company. Despite this hypercompetitive marketplace rife with problems, and sincere intention of attracting the top talent the recruitment, development and retention for the position of sales is often overlooked.

Perhaps another article for another time, would be due if I have to tell you why skimping on the hiring of sales people is a bad idea. Instead addressing the larger prevailing attitude throughout the region that the sales profession is viewed a more of a stepping-stone to a ‘better’ position does more to help us understand the problem of attracting and developing top IT sales talent. While both job seekers and employers foster this misperception it causes pain on both sides of the equation. As a virtue of being treated as second-class employees sales professionals are always on the hunt for their next higher paying job, ready to jump ship with an increase of a few hundred dirhams at a moments notice. Employers are aware of this and thus treat sales people as a flight risk, under compensating, micromanaging, and fostering the atmosphere of irreplaceability. This results in a vicious cycle of disloyalty where by sales ‘professionals’ hop from company to company acting as hired guns for the next highest bidder.

Since this retention of top sales talent starts with recruitment, how do you attract the top talent? Simply put treating your employees well. A more complicated answer would be a larger organizational change, fostering an environment that is view upon as a great place to work. Since we as humans spend the better part of our days and particularly our lives at work we look for a great and dare I say fun place to work. But what makes a great place to work and how do I attract great people to work here? When advertising and recruiting for the position it is ok to use unique incentive structures to attract top talent, and just like offering value added services, this will distinguish your business in the market place. Besides straight monetary compensation here are some other incentive ideas to attract top talent, particularly sales talent.

A flex work environment – Offering the ability to work one day at home a week To keep employees productive on these days clear and measurable benefits and goals must be set

Emphasis on a diverse skill set – Talented people appreciate the opportunity to perform a wide array of tasks and responsibilities. Proclaiming this to be the case when recruiting and hiring will drive you top talent.
Offering training and continuing education – Along with a diverse skill set, top talent needs to be driven to excel. Mastery of concepts and technical aspects will contribute to employees personal and professional growth as well as creating more knowledgeable employees for your business.

Laying out a clear career path – Business is not expected to grow without a clear business plan, why should your employees be any different? Laying out clear career paths assist in showing employees how they must perform to get to where they want to be.

Unfortunately workers can become comfortable at their jobs figuring out how to do the least amount of work, but still impress their bosses. This is why unique and goal driven compensation can enable employees to perform not only for your business, but also for themselves.

There are many challenges in sales in the MENA region. Only when perceptions change and a few forward thinking companies start to change environments will then the market change and sales professionals will then soon follow.

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Fun with Economics

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Economics. While I don’t directly use economic theory in my daily work, I do appreciate a good discussion on Opportunity Cost. So when I came across these minimalist economic posters on NRP I had to share.

Direct Mail and Email Marketing – Working together in glorious harmony

This is a blog post I did while I worked at FireDrum Internet Marketing. The tone is fairly lighthearted but I think hits something interesting, using direct mail to increase effectiveness and digital marketing efforts.

This morning I was listening to the Diane Rehm show after leaving an appointment. Her guest was John (Jack) Potter, U.S. Postmaster General.

Mr. Potter had the unfortunate task of defending to Diane and her listeners why the U.S. Postal Service was still relevant and how to fix the acute financial crisis that was affecting it.

While there is a very real financial crisis effecting the health of the postal service, it was a very in depth and extremely informative interview.

There was one interesting perception of Postmaster General Potter’s that really stayed with me.

Stayed with me so much I actually had to tweet about it.

Click here to read more

Direct Mail and Email Marketing | FireDrum Internet Marketing Blog.

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Software sales channel presentation

I helped launch a mobile web marketing platform. I had some great partners and wore many hats. Part of this SaaS model was selling through partner channels. I created messaging to more effectively educate the potential partners and essentially close more deals. Below is an example of the simple presentation I would conduct over a conference call and screen share prior to showing the software platform.

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Thanks Facebook?

Pay no attention to the inbox or the open tabs… Instead focus on the Google Ad above my inbox.

Facebook wants to help me find sensitive girl.


Maybe because my IP is in the Middle East and the blue monster is trying to grow India.

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How do you measure ROI in Social Media?

How do you measure ROI in Social Media? While this video was taken a few years ago, I think this remains a viable question, particularly because businesses measure social media’s effectiveness differently. In the video below I share some of my insights. Don’t mind the hair…

How Do You Measure ROI? from Stephen Murphey on Vimeo.

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Social Media for Small Business – 2009

This was an article featured in the Scottsdale Airpark News, a local business publication in the Scottsdale Business Airpark. Published in 2009 it already feels dated.

Click here to see a scanned version of the article


Unless you have been living under a rock on Mars chances are you have heard about Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, Squidoo, LinkedIn, the list goes on, and on…and on. Frankly, it can be exhausting. But just what are these forums and online communities and why should business people care?
Social Media is a broad and daunting form of media. It can take many forms and have many different users. Social Media can take just some of these forms such as blogging, video blogging, microblogging, social sites, email, podcasts, forums, and music sharing. All of these forms of communication can be done very simply and cost effectively. Social media is highly accessible and is changing the day to day activites of how people read, write, share news and information. Wikipedia even goes so far as to call it the “fusion of sociology and technology…and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers to publishers.” No that’s is a very powerful statement. Sociology is an extension of social sciences and is the study of human social structure. In the Social Media-sphere we are applying classic sociology understanding with the evolution in technology, to drastically change the way humans are interacting.


Just how did social media start? Well many attribute the start of social media directly to free email clients. Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, these still are email sites that allow people to directly communicate, and publish thoughts, feelings, and keep in contact with others next door, in the next state, or in the next country. Email was and still is an instant communication tool and the most widely adopted form of social media.

Social media, as it has more traditionally been come to be known has generally been acknowledged with the beginning of the out of favor site Friendster. Friendster’s initial goal was to “create a safer, more effective environment for meeting new people. Friendster allowed you to connecting to friends, friends of friends and so on, allowing members to expand their network in face-to-face type scenarios.” Friendster was the first to actually take away the anonymity and encouraged users to use their real name. Now I would be “Jacob Lebo” instead of “kinglebo2027” thus allowing all users a more personalized and fulfilling online experience. Friendster is mentioned as falling out of favor and sure, you can still get a profile and actively participate on Friendster, but good luck finding your friends and family to engage with. Friendster suffered a fabulous and almost instant death, similar to what is happening with MySpace right now.

In fact Jon Gibs, vice president of online media and agency insights for Nielsen Online notes. “Remember Friendster? Remember when MySpace was an unbeatable force? Neither Facebook nor Twitter are immune. Consumers have shown that they are willing to pick up their networks and move them to another platform, seemingly at a moment’s notice.”


As a business owner it is in your best interest to have a strategic plan to understand just what networks are worth engaging in. So do you need to participate in social media? Does you business need social media?
A recent Anderson Analytics report found an estimated 110 million people in the U.S. — or 36% of the total population — are regular social networking users. A regular user is someone who logs in at least once a month Within those regular users Facebook dominates with 78 million regular users, followed by MySpace with 67 million, Twitter with 17 million, and LinkedIn with 11 million regular users.

With 110 million members in a captive audience, members that willingly share their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, wouldn’t your business be hurt by not participating in Social Media?

Getting started on social media, is best done personally first. Then you can decide if it right for your business. Obviously an informed decision is the best one so here are some points to get you started.

DO NOT Accept every social media invitation. I constantly turn down invitations to many different social media circles because quite frankly I don’t have enough time.

DO NOT use social media during the day. I know it can be addicting, however in addition to building relationships, it can be a time vacuum. Many social media activites should be done off business hours.

DO engage. In Facebook, wish happy birthdays, and make relevant comments to your friends. In LinkedIn pose and answer relevant questions that relate to your business. On blogs and forums leave thought provoking comments and compliments. “that was a great aritlce” doesn’t work! I said thought provoking.

DO NOT get overly personal. Remember these comments are generally read by your peers and business associates. Do not write anything you wouldn’t say in person, and be aware these will be listed forever.

Remember the key to any successful social media strategy is to actively listen participate and engage with you industry, customers, and other relevant players. If you do this correctly, the relationships you build will foster a greater ROI for your business and brand.

Nothing is ever deleted from the web; it just goes into Google’s cache… What’s a cache you ask? Google it!

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Wine Recommendations – before the blog

Before blogging became what it was, I was filing posts on my MySpace page. This style of blogging sounds so quaint now. I was heavily involved in the restaurant industry, first as a way to help pay for University. And soon after graduation, a way of life I was extremely passionate about.

I was diligently studying to become a Sommelier and would share my wine drenched thoughts with anyone who would listen. Here is my most favorite post about my most favorite wine I wrote back on August 18, 2006

American Sparkling

My lust of the bubbly runs so deep; if drinking wine was a monogamous affair, I am unequivocally willing to forsake all other wine styles, for Lady Champagne. Hell, I would give up ALL alcoholic imbibements, for her. This love of the bubbles is not easily satisfied. Some of my favorites, Moet & Chandon, Laurent & Perier, and the Veuve can retail between $40-$50. This is American Sparkling. Showing a young man how to stay fitted in bubbles, on a beer budget.

American Sparkling (a term first used by me, thank you) has achieved wondrous flavors and spectacular character in the past 10 years. And what a 10 years! America finally paid the Champagne region the respect it deserves by not allowing, (save for a few wineries, which were grandfathered in) the term Champagne to appear on its labels. See, true Champagne, must come from the Champagne region in France, and made only from three grapes. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay are the three Noble Varietals that create the luscious and toasty cuvees. And American Sparkling makers are following this model of perfection, to create some amazing flavor combinations, and stunning bubbles.

Mendocino Countys Scharffenberger has been the most recent tryst, in this tawdry affair. Vibrant complexity, and outstanding luscious chains of bubbles, that rise with thunderous force from the flute, attribute to the care that is taken when crafting this wine. With fruit, spice, and minerality on the front nose, this American Sparking stands out. For only $25 restaurant, and $12 retail, even Mr. Bubble couldnt keep you this flush with suds.

Gruet ($23 retail) from the desert climate of New Mexico has methode de champanois written all over it, literally, its on the bottle! Crafted in the most exacting Champagne style these New Mexican bubbles with their sultry ways, will make you see fireworks. This was my choice of beverage this last Forth of July, standing on the rooftop at LaFayette City Grill, so maybe that would attribute to the fireworks

Finally, from the house of Mumm, comes MummCuvee Napa Brut Prestige. This American Sparkling is unfortunately the most average of the three, but the House of Mumm has been making Champagne since 1827. This longevity in the wine world allows them to work the California earth to the best of their abilities and produce this fine offering. These toasty, dry sparkling bubbles, with a nice green apple tartness is an excellent way to start of a meal.

As with purchasing any wine, it can take work to find what you enjoy. While Champagne is always my first choice, exploration, for the sake of exploration, and even price, can produce surprising results. American Sparkling, a new love.

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