Joe HackmanToday’s guest post is written by Joe Hackman.

The fast-paced evolution of technology creates opportunities for any “average Joe” with some forethought and courage. It levels the playing field, and allows those who take advantage of it, to see accelerated success for their brand or cause.

Allow me to back this up with a few examples that I hope will encourage you to take your own leadership role in your journey.

In 1997, I left my job as a sales rep for a Fortune 500 company, to start my own IT services business because I saw the future need for this. Honestly, I am not sure what business a sales guy had starting an IT services company.

But I was passionate about it.

Two years later I had five employees and had contributed to several industry trade magazine articles and two books. My company was taking business from established but complacent service providers.

I credit that success to timing (Y2K anyone?) and my willingness to embrace and try new things.

Fast-forward a few years and this thing called social media is establishing its roots. In the beginning it was evident these socially tied web 2.0 technologies were going to continue to evolve but it was difficult to predict they would explode. Early adopters have risen amongst the ranks just like I did with the IT company. Many extremely successful social capital based brands have risen to the surface, and many others will continue to pop up along the way and you could just as easily be one of them.

With change there is always opportunity and that opportunity favors the nimble and adaptable among us; the early adopters. Early adopters are respected for their willingness to embrace what can be game changing technology early on and reap the benefits.

The day I joined Amplify was a pivotal moment for me in my social media presence. Within one hour of logging in to the site, I posted one of the first YouTube Screencast videos about Amplify. Suddenly, I was establishing connections with some incredible people and making the most out of my curiosity by creating a name for myself.

So you’d like to be an early adopter?  Here are a few ideas.

  1. Find new services to try. When you approach a new social network or web 2.0 website, dip your foot in the pool for a brief second and if the water feels good, dive in. If you follow more than 20 people on Twitter or read any blogs, odds are you will see a new icon or service mentioned every once in a while. Try it out yourself.
  2. Overcome your fears. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and most importantly, be fearless with your communication. I learned when I started hosting my podcast. There really is nothing to fear about reaching out to founders of social networks or other new media services. Wouldn’t you like to be one of the people who knew the founders of the next Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn before their network grew explosively?
  3. Be willing to take a gamble. Lots of people rode the Facebook upswing, especially the people who embraced it when the Twitter people thought it was dumb and not cool enough yet (I know; I’m generalizing here).
  • There were people who dashed to raise their stock price on Empire Avenue and benefited greatly in the form of new connections and influence.
  • Quora saw the emergence of new big names who had embraced the site as it launched; before it experienced an extraordinary uptick in users late last year.
  • Perhaps most relevant today is the splash that Google+ has made with it’s very rapid adoption and zealous advocacy that has seemingly normal people pasting animated gifs of Facebook logos over the faces of individuals getting smacked around by Google+ logo adorned individuals.

Be nimble, be aggressive, be willing to try new sites and services and be fearless. If you are those things, you can become the leader of your own journey!

Joe Hackman is an entrepreneur, blogger, podcaster, and technology advocate. He founded IT services firm Managed Solutions in 1997 and is also CMO/CTO at a startup.