As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

What’s in a name…don’t let a search engine decide about yours

Ziggs has been a pioneer in helping professional people create an accurate and authorized presence on the Web.  People increasingly understand that any recruiter or hiring manager worth his or her salt uses the major search engines to qualify and screen candidates.  As do VC’s, reporters, college admission officers, and blind dates.  (I’m still amazed, though, at the number of young grads who consider that kind of “snooping” a personal affront.  Hey if you leave your private journal out, your roommate is probably going to read it too. Grow up.) 

Last month,  Kevin Delaney wrote a fresh piece, “You’re a Nobody Unless your Name Googles Well”  for the Wall Street Journal.  He talks about the perils of a young female scientist inadvertently erasing a hard won professional reputation by taking her husband’s last name when she married.  Searchable no longer, a decade or more of hard work can overnight become buried on Google.   (For years it was kind of trendy to hang onto a maiden name and I noticed that trend diminishing in the last decade.  I predict its return, for more practical Yahoo and Google-esque reasons, rather than personal identity or feminist justifications.) 

Delaney covers the story of a couple who agonize over naming their children, hoping to give them the gift of “good Google.”  But in between the more sensational and kind of funny human interest stories, Delaney accurately explains the necessity of maintaining a solid professional presence on the web, and what any individual can do to help themselves out in that endeavor.  It’s the rare (and rather odd) person who would rename themselves to rise higher in search listings.  Fortunately, such drastic measures are not required.  A free Ziggs profile is an easy and less radical step.

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