Drunken Executive, pop culture and brand experience.

Posted on: January 15th, 2016 by admin No Comments

As I focus on what to write about these days, I start and stop, click away on the keyboard, delete and add words.  I’m topic surfing as my mind wanders so I decided to list out what I’m thinking about:

IBM Futurism – We were told that we are completely encouraged to write whatever we want, no restrictions. We’ll see about that.

I’m feeling a small bit of guilt because I’ve not written much about IBM and an Advanced Analytics focused event they invited me to participate. It’s pretty cool, solid group of thought leaders assembled.

IBM covered a trip to Vegas of which I attended a Maroon 5 concert, had a drunk exec. spilling wine on me, spent hours in the expo hall and had some nice dinners. The drunken executive was interesting and definitely not that big of a deal once we discussed that he shouldn’t spill wine on me again. He had a legitimate reason for spilling twice, it’s hard to make out with business development rep. and hold a glass of wine. Giving credit, he actually did a pretty damn good job of the business in hand. Seriously, he was just buzzed, having fun, not judging him. I’ve been there in my younger days-minus the making out with a sales-rep in front of Adam Levine and 5000 other spectators.

Maroon 5 – Amazing concert sponsored by Rocket Software, who I’d not heard of prior to this IBM event. They’re straight up success story plus CEO was very cool, very likeable, he played some guitar on stage before concert. Great job!

Expo Hall/Demos/Browsing – I got slightly less excited after the IBM Vegas event due to lack of follow up: 5 conversations with demos from IBM sales people that resulted in zero follow up from anyone with me. Meh, small sample size but feel my time was a little wasted. I’m still impressed with various IBM applications, Under Armour partnership and Watson (of course). *Note, the staffers for the event did a great job taking care of my group. **Note, I was really close to the band.  ***Note, Watson says: don’t spill wine, that is called alcohol abuse dude.


New Year’s Resolutions – snowboard, spend more time being intentional, run 13.x miles again, finish my first painting, cycle 50 miles, move stocks to cash-> DAMN IT- I shouldn’t of procrastinated on this one $.


New Books – research writing 2 or 3 new books, read 4 or 5 fiction books, finish the one book I’ve been trying to read for 3 years: Osho’s love, freedom, aloneness. From Amazon.com—> ” In today’s world, freedom is our basic condition, and until we learn to live with that freedom, and learn to live by ourselves and with ourselves, we are denying ourselves the possibility of finding love and happiness with someone else.”

Brand experience – craft confection places-put a map on the box so I know which truffles I’m eating, limit classic cocktail optimism-talented mixologist are hard to find and train server not to rationalize why drink isn’t that bad, ask me why (brands) then figure out a solution-easy process, thank you brands I love-you keep my faith in the consumer economy.



pic credit: Ohso, Amazon, IBM, Rocket Software, Market Watch, Adam Levine, Maroon 5



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5 Things – SHRM 2015: If It Ain’t Broke, Still Fix It

Posted on: September 21st, 2015 by admin No Comments

Status-quo: SHRM 2015

Written by Bryan Wempen / @bryanwempen:
Las Vegas this summer was the really hot and also the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) annual convention. I’ve been to a number of the annual SHRM conferences starting all the way back to late 90’s.  Below is what SHRM has the website for the 2016 event coming up in Washington D.C.:

null“The SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition is the largest and best HR event in the world, providing your organization with the tools and resources you need to create and implement the successful HR practices that will ensure that your company will thrive. Your company will get the targeted strategies and practical takeaways that you need to achieve your goals – from talent management to federal compliance to cutting-edge business strategies.

Internationally-renowned speakers that offer fresh points of view and inspiring stories that can help shift your perspectives and deepen your understanding of leadership, motivation, and success.  You’ll hear from business leaders, HR practitioners, consultants and academicians.

Over 200 concurrent sessions provide a complete education for HR professionals at every stage of their career, basedon the SHRM Competency Model. You’ll be able to choose from a broad range of topics so you can customize the learning you need.  Concentrate on solutions designed to help your organization become more compliant; delve into the cutting-edge trends that will impact your workplace in the next few years; build a strategic talent management plan to increase engagement and retention. Whatever you need, our program will have something for you.

Innovative learning opportunities, such as our Masters Series featuring high-level academicians, Smart Stage presentations covering innovative new HR practices and Practitioner Exchange sessions featuring HR professionals from well-respected organizations.”

I was there covering the event with the social media team sponsored by SHRM. Well, now that I’ve let a little time pass and attended a few other conferences it was time to share about my experience.

1. The single best part about most conferences are the coming together of people who you don’t get much time with throughout the rest of the year.  This conference is no different, lots and lots of great people from HR professionals to vendors who support the HR industry and profession.

2. Candidly, the conference overall was the same as it always was. There was no sign of innovation and as hard as collaboration tries to happen, this big organization has way to many hang ups about image and not pissing off the wrong people, both internally and externally. You see one or two cool things, parts of the event are ran top-notch such as the bookstore operations. Andi Cale and her team do an excellent job listening to their customer, “the attendees” – Bravo! Year over year they change and improve their experience. There was also “some” additional access to the higher level speakers to visit with them one-on-one.

3. I enjoyed the keynotes better this year, which was appreciated. I was into a 5 year inspiration drought.

4. Past these things I shared there was nothing really new or that exciting, same content, same sessions, same updates, same expo, same vendor setup, same flow to everything(mostly). Yes, I realize and understand this part that HR generalist need to get the session credits for education. The way this information is no different that the local SHRM chapters or state conferences deliver information. I expect way more from the Global leader in supporting the HR profession, come on SHRM!

5. When everyone wants to discuss why isn’t HR moving forward; my head spins directly to SHRM as not leading or supporting any disruptive innovation in HR much less any efforts to reimagine HR as we know it.

Maybe next year in Washington D.C., I can always hope that SHRM leads the way in taking a big risk to move HR forward into the future. Futurism should be an entire track, really allow HR to safely reimagine what HR could be…


Pic credit: canva.com

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Open minds not open source.

Posted on: September 16th, 2015 by admin No Comments

Written by Bryan Wempen

Open minds not open source.

My last post on HR/HCM I used the term “open source” but in thinking about it more, reading it again the term I should of used was “open mindedness”.


We just seem to be at a crossroads where technologies are usually one of the first answers to all problems. Second answer to a problem is usually collaboration with the occasional thought of strategy being the third option to be the magic pill to solve a problem. But at the end the day it really comes down to having an open mind on looking at the issues and people creating and brainstorming the problem/solution.

Effectiveness HCM as a whole can be that elusive but not a unicorn; truly it’s about finding a new way to work when it comes to people, products, business and customers.

The best thing about HCM is that things can change and evolve as long as you have the right intentions and are not blatantly doing things illegally. For me an example would be 10 years ago nobody ever would’ve thought we would have video interviewing but now it’s becoming the next multibillion dollar industry and could very well change and reimagine the hiring process around the world.

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Reimagining HR with open source

Posted on: September 10th, 2015 by admin No Comments

Written by Bryan Wempen

Deconstructing and Reimagining HR services in organizations today with open source:

HR is Customer service?
HR is Marketing?
HR is Finance?
HR is Sales?
HR is R&D?
HR is Administration?
HR is Technology?
HR is All.


McKinsey says that 62% of corporate executives report manipulating company structure to drive innovation efforts.”

As we close in on year 2020 the world is getting smaller quicker. The rabid pace of technology is only going to increase fueled by by the adoption of shared and open source data and technology.

“The beauty of open source is that it’s a huge ecosystem of innovators who are no longer competing for scarce resources but rather sharing knowledge with others to create new resources and opportunities for others to benefit from these resources.” ~Wired Mag

If I’m building a mobile HR application today for the enterprise of the future, I am required to embrace open source data. Our collaboration and coordination via intentional communication with data, technology and user groups will be the key to survival, sustainability and scalability for people platforms.

With an open-mind around collaboration, HR has an opportunity to rewire the role into an uber-innovator; taking license to understand the complex dimensions of the corporate ecosystem. No question, understanding the business will be a cornerstone as the new normal with HR professionals to reimagine the people enterprise.

Grab your Corporate Leadership at the core and collaborate; they will get on board to make innovation structures work because they’re already gaming the system to make the magic happen.





Graphic from canva.com 

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How 573 cities rank for recruiting jobs.

Posted on: May 27th, 2015 by admin No Comments

I’ve been doing research on Big Data, Recruiting, and the Candidate Experience for my next book, being released this summer. Of course most research starts over a happy hour conversation with a friend and this is no different.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 2.17.45 PM

I wanted to discover a quick and data-driven way to weight how someone would focus their job search efforts and time. The job search is one of the most stressful life events one goes through as an adult. Our colorful discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the recruiting and hiring processes was the genesis for a new research tool for (me) and others. My friend, a programmer went to work to help and built this application called: JobDensity.com.

Click on the link, this search is how 573 cities rank for talent acquisition job density. Play with the numbers if you’re thinking about expanding a recruiting function in a city or focusing your recruiter job search in a town with the most opportunities.  Keeping in mind of course the Rent Index to weigh out the total picture.

Click here to compare talent acquisition in 573 cities:  http://ht.ly/NvREG

Job Density Index – a number created to reflect the density of particular jobs in a city – higher is better. If you are open to moving to get a new job, it would be most beneficial to work where demand for your skills is high, and the cost of living is low. So, the JDI represents a relative measure for the demand portion of the solution. Average = 1.0


Pic by JobDensity.com

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The book writing experience: 5 things I learned while writing.

Posted on: May 6th, 2015 by admin No Comments

The book writing experience: 5 things I learned while writing.

I’ve discussed so many ideas over the years ad nauseam relative to writing a book with all that would listen. Here are a handful of these winning ideas:

-a children’s book about a helicopter and umbrella
-temporary labor industry book named (Labor Hall) that could be turned into a sitcom
-the big one was (sports+government+conspiracy) of course this one was going to be made into blockbuster global motion picture

My writing reality ended up being a book from the heart, very much focused on dealing with the past to help with the future. Being an entrepreneurial startup junkie, the lessons I’ve shared have definite relevance for both my business and personal life. Launching and living in the startup world takes courage and a little bit of crazy. Well, many of the lessons that I’ve shared in the book are about self-awareness and being honest when you look in the mirror. Those are good basic startup thoughts; I’d love to have had those several startups ago.

Balance, honesty and intention are cornerstones for my daily living, I don’t do them perfectly, quite awkwardly much of the time. What counts is I make progress; I hope the same for everyone.

5 things I discovered while writing this book:

1. Having several different editors helped me get multiple perspectives and dial-in my voice.
2. The cover image found me, I didn’t force a trendy design. My image has meaning and was part of the heart of the book.
3. Publishing dates are great drivers but shouldn’t push you to “hurry up” or shortcut which sacrifices what you’re trying to convey in the message.
4. Check out your own network for resources of people: design, editing, marketing, publishing. You might be surprised at what you find.
5. Over-write. I wrote 20% more than I needed until the final editing then I realized it would all be used in some form.
Laugh at yourself today and just keep writing!


Bryan Wempen

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Posted on: April 15th, 2015 by admin No Comments

I’m looking forward to hearing about other “Note to Self” moments…


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Book Releases

Posted on: March 26th, 2015 by admin No Comments

“Note to Self , a collection of 99 life lessons.” is scheduled to be released Spring 2015.  Check back with me or complete the contact form and I will notify you when it’s available.  Thank you!


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Keynote and Breakout Topics

Posted on: February 26th, 2015 by admin No Comments

US Fee: $5,000 / Canada, Mexico Fee: $7,500
UK, EU Fee: $10,000 / AU/NZ/Asia Fee: $12,500

“StartUp Life, Tales of a Real Entrepreneur
A collection of lessons of how to fail and succeed with a startup while discovering how to live your life. (Keynote only)

Over the last 15 years I have founded, acquired or co-founded 8 startups. I have gained and lost 1000 lbs, divorced, went gray at 29 years old, quite drinking, and successfully albeit barely at times paid my bills. My story is about searching out my truth, discovering myself and finding brilliant, kind, and honest people to talk through how I feel.

This startup life is not for everyone, it’s hard but I feel it’s also worth it in the end. It’s about the journey most of the time and with the hard work you get to arrive at your destination a few times in your life.

“Social Fireworks and How Much You Really Know” (Keynote or Workshop)

Everyone is a little scared of the noise and getting burned but we all start to understand social media from the same point. The big decision is to be involved. Likely it’s going to be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or many of the other digital tools that connect you to information and people in the future.  This session gets you comfortable with how to get started, for those who have never touched social media all the way to experience with tweeting, tagging, updating, liking and sharing.

“Note to Self – Five Lessons for finding your life” (Keynote or Workshop)

Five lessons from my book “Note to Self”.  My story is about working through life’s challenges to find yourself, personally and professionally. Learning to live your life helps you find happiness, serenity and success. My message to audiences is my story about hitting bottom and the path to self discovery from there. Discovering and practicing fitness for my mind, body and soul is how I live my life now.

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Classy Craft Cocktails to Survive Any Holiday

Posted on: November 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Thanksgiving Eve…….Research indicates that the average level of stress increases 41% during at least one of the big 5 holidays.

A lesson I have learned recently is that holidays are what I make them.  For years I didn’t have very good ones, which has nothing to do with anyone but me. I’ve heard of people who always said they love a certain holiday…they would list their favorite #1, #2, #3, etc.  I thought to myself, WOW who lives on that rainbow and gets picked up by a team of unicorns to their holidays. I then met a great friend and shared my lack of enthusiasm around holidays.

This year, Halloween was a GREAT holiday for me. It was low-key but it’s a quasi holiday so I only counted that as my trial run to LOVING holidays.  It was wildly successful, yep couldn’t get any better.  Then it was on to one of the big ones (queue Law & Order music):  Thanksgiving is one of the big 5:

BIG 5 Holidays

New Year’s Eve
Valentine’s Day
4th of July

Lesson #1:

Remember to cut yourself a break about how smooth and/or clumsy your approach to the holidays might go. Always be prepared with a Thanksgiving exit, it doesn’t hurt to think about how you can exit the dinner if things get to crazy to handle. Your family and friends like will get over it; they always do sooner or later. Great you are trying to enjoy time with family and friends, progress not perfection.

Lesson #2:

Get those boundaries up and running with all those closest to you. Of course “closest to you” means those you could care very deeply and probably tolerate a lot more than you usually would. So, I’m providing a list of drinks to help with that social lubricant or maybe a needed accelerant for interesting and enthusiastic conversation (potentially help).

The first annual “Classy Craft Cocktail Survival Kit” below will possibly come in handy.  Only use in case of high-stress or low-stress and while eating amazing or horrible food. I’m also suggesting a non-cocktail approach like meditation, several AA meetings, and therapist on speed-dial or doing whatever it takes for you to be happy. It can be and will be high stress for many, so be kind! It’s just another meal and shouldn’t be so terrible. That is what I’ve learned.

As I write this I’m thinking of my Uncle Buster. He gave me my first bartender lesson and sort of bartender job when I was about 8 years old. Was making whiskey sours and tequila sunrises long before I figured that girls where pretty awesome and what comes on TV after my 9PM bedtime. The list is dedicated to all those Uncle Busters who trusted the most important role in the family gatherings (bartender). I reached out our friend for a world-class Cocktail list to save many souls on this Thanksgiving Eve.

A big thanks to Aaron Post the owner of Valkyrie a Tulsa, Oklahoma based craft cocktail bar that provides an experience that is unique and drips with originality and quality. I’ve also added my favorite drink as number 11. They make their Ginger Beer in-house and I feel it’s the best in the country.



1. Old Fashioned
2. Mulled Wine
3. Sherry Cobbler
4. Boulevardier
5. Vieux Carré
6. Hanky Panky
7. Black Manhattan
8. Jack Rose
9. Monte Carlo
10. Green Point
11. Ginger Beer (no-alcohol)

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