Altitude Dashboard

Okay I admit it… it seems I have not been paying attention, because I just found a personalized dashboard on Air Canada’s Aeroplan page that seems really helpful.  I wish I would have known about it sooner, because it really does appear quite useful! In fact, I have used it today to prove that fact!

https://altitude.aircanada.com/mystatus/dashboard

imageI woke up in the middle of the night tonight because the drugs I am taking to fight my cold/chest infection are screwing with my wake/sleep schedule.  After doing everything else I had to do, I started chatting with my friend Jessica who is points-obsessed.  That is to say, she and her husband have found every way imaginable to get Aeroplan points from contests, challenges, and even flying.  I started wondering what status I would have for next year, seeing as I do travel quite a bit.

I went to the Aeroplan page (which I am quite familiar with) and saw where I was… and then started doing math in my head… I was trying to figure out how many more miles I would be flying this year… and although I know that I am a shoe-in for Altitude 75K, I started to wonder if I had a chance of hitting the elusive Altitude 100K…

…and then I saw a button that said ‘check your dashboard.’  I don’t remember having seen it before,so I clicked on it.  Behold, the page that opened has some really helpful information on it – not just on what you have, but on what you need in order to achieve the next level, including threshold gifts.

image I started doing the math… I am flying home from Tokyo next month – my dashboard clearly showed (I had to scroll down) that my flight from Toronto to Tokyo (via Vancouver) was 6,742 miles… but because I flew Executive First Class I got a 50% bonus of Status Miles… rounding it off to 10,115.  Logically my flight back in November will give me the same number of miles, seeing as I am taking the same flights in reverse.  That is another 10,115 miles.

Of course, the following week I am turning around and flying right back to Japan.  Assuming the same flight path, and a return flight at the end of December, that is another 20,230 miles.  Assuming my math is right, that brings me to 79,559 Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQM) for the year.  Right there, I am at Altitude 75K… the next level up.

But wait… I have one more trip in December… flying from Tokyo to Sydney, Australia for ten days.  Flying direct is 4,757 miles… which means 9,514 miles, plus another 4,757 bonus for flying First Class.  However if I fly either through Wellington, NZ or through Singapore then it bumps to 7,100 miles (plus or minus) each way, which means 10,650 miles each way, which would give me a little over 100,800 miles for the year, and the Altitude 100K (formerly Super Elite) status that I am hoping for.

(I have to admit it, one of the main reasons I would rather fly through Singapore is that I would get to fly on the Airbus A380, which I have not been on yet!)

(For those of you wondering what the benefits are, check out the site.)

Don’t get me wrong.  I have told many people before that they should not be jealous of the status of frequent fliers because it means that we have to be away from home as often as we are.  I stand by that.  However if you are going to be away from home that often, it is nice to get the benefits that go alone with it… and yes, among frequent fliers there are certain bragging rights that go with it.

One of my favorite benefits, by the way, is being able to bypass the long lines for checking in, security, and boarding.  A friend of mine on Facebook (whose name I will not mention, but if he is reading this is welcome to chime in) once told me that this is elitist, and I should not be so proud that I skip the lines.  It is not a question of elitist (although I think I replied at the time that his thinking was not a little socialist), but the truth is those lines may be an hour long.  For an occasional traveler that is an annoyance, even an inconvenience.  If I had to wait in each of those lines for an hour every time I flied this year it would not be an inconvenience, it would be well in excess of a work week.  So call me elitist if you will, I do appreciate bypassing the lines.

I did notice by the by that one of the benefits of Altitude 100K is that you can award Altitude 50K (the status I currently hold) for a friend.  That might be huge, and if you are interested I am absolutely willing to consider bribes 🙂

I know the slogan came from another brand, but membership has its privileges.  I have held Elite Status with Aeroplan (Air Canada) since 2007, and it has made my life as a road warrior an easier and more comfortable one.  The Dashboard is probably available to anyone, but it will come in much handier for people who fly a lot.

…and sorry Jessica, most of those benefits rely on AQM, not simply miles accumulated 🙂

About.Me

Hey Readers!  I was wondering how many of you use the About.Me site for profiles?  Do you have your own?  Do you look at others’? I have had a profile for a while, but decided yesterday (I don’t know why) to actually populate it.  I’d like your opinions, as well as suggestions of what I could add/change to make it better.  I also want to know if it matters, so please tell me!

Thanks in advance… you can view my profile HERE.

The 1%…

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Last year when people were occupying anything they could pitch a tent near we started hearing a lot about the 1%… the ones who control all of the wealth, the ones everyone else was supposed to be supported by.  I did some quick calculations after checking my banks account and credit card statements and realized I was safe: I may be comfortable, but by no means am I wealthy; in fact beyond this blog I would be hard pressed to name anything that I control when I am not behind the wheel of my car (including my wife, kids, and dogs).  I was doomed to live my life as part of the 99%, albeit the part of that fraction that supports himself and doesn’t want a hand-out from anyone.

So this morning – it was this morning as I type, which means it will likely be yesterday when this article is published and possibly even last week by the time you read it – I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from LinkedIn congratulating me that my profile was among the top 1% viewed in 2012.

For a few minutes I was thrilled!  How exciting to be among the top one percent! And then the math kicked in…

1. One percent of two hundred million is still two million.  Okay, so my profile is among the top two million.  If I was one of the two million best basketball players in the world I still wouldn’t make the NBA.  In fact, if I was in the top one percent best basketball players I still wouldn’t make the cut.

2. Before my e-mail came in I saw tweets and Facebook posts from at least thirty friends saying they had received the same e-mail.  Now I know I have some great friends, but that is a bit of a coincidence, isn’t it?

3. Three hundred or thirty thousand people can view my profile and then move on… that number is irrelevant to me.  As my old friend Sigmund Marcus used to say, Show me da money! (Sorry Tom and Cuba, Sigmund said it before I saw your movie)  My profile can get a single view by a headhunter who has a great opportunity for me, or  y a potential client who has a great consulting mandate, and that number means something.  The number of people who simply looked at it means… nothing.  Oh sure, the more people who see my profile the higher the chances that I will speak to a hiring manager or CIO with a consulting mandate, but I learned a long time ago that volume does not equal quality.

I saw another interesting statistic today, quoted by a spokesperson for LinkedIn who is also a career coach.  She was quoted saying that when building your profile you should aim for 50 contacts, and to remember that LinkedIn is not Facebook… your contacts on LinkedIn should be people that you can pick up the phone and call for a professional (career-related) favour… and not just people you know.  The last time I checked I had over eleven hundred contacts… and I admit that I do not remember who many of them are.  Many are likely people who attended a class or a seminar that I gave, others are contacts of my contacts.  Either way, I do not consider my contact list impressive… I feel I should spend some time trying to cull it when I have a moment free.

I suppose a thousand contacts is a good way to get into the top 1% but in the end it doesn’t mean anything.  Maintaining a LinkedIn profile that is professional and impressive means that when someone looking for someone with your talents does see it they will like what they see… but the sheer numbers are meaningless.  Like anything else you should focus on quality, not quantity.  If you do that, then you are in the top 1% in my books already! Congratulations.

SMB 150: Nominated again!

Mitch Garvis

Mitch Garvis (Photo credit: Jean-Luc David)

Mitch Garvis

The last 18 months have been incredible.  Last April I was awarded one of the SMB 150 (SMB 150- Thank you for your votes!).  I was thrilled, and just disappointed that I couldn’t attend the award dinner.

This year I found out early that I was nominated again, and hope that you will take the time to vote for me again.  Last year you were allowed to vote for a candidate once per day, and I have no reason to think it would be different this year.  So I ask that you click on this link and then VOTE once every day, now through the day voting closes.

Thanks for your help… I hope I am still considered as influential this year as I was last year!

Office 2013 Social Connectors

I was really excited when Microsoft released its Social Connectors for Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 (Outlook Social Connectors Make it Easier to Keep Track).  In Office 2013 they have, in my opinion, made them even better.

For reasons that defy logic my main contact list (the one I have been maintaining since 1996) has 2,882 contacts in it… many of whom, I am sure, could be deleted without causing any issue or notice.  Some of those contacts, however, are people that I will one day need to speak to again… even though by looking at their e-mail address (or even name) I have no idea who they are right now.

I get a lot of e-mail from a lot of people.  Not that infrequently I get an e-mail from someone who I should know… but don’t.  If an e-mail looks important, but I don’t know who it is from, I will do a bit of research.  Before I delete the e-mail (I never delete it, I just mark it as read which means it is gone forever unless I actively go searching) I go to LinkedIn and see if the person sending the e-mail is a contact of mine.  Next I go to Facebook and see if they are a ‘friend’.  You would be surprised how much you can tell about a person you are not sure you have ever met just from these two sources.

Of course, with 1,000 ‘friends’ on Facebook and 1,200 contact on LinkedIn, that may or may not help… but it is a start.

Now here’s the thing… there is a lot of crossover between my two networks.  I find it hard enough to believe that I know 1,200 people, but 2,200 people would be really hard to believe.  So let’s assume that the people that I deal with are more accurate with their LinkedIn profile than with their Facebook (Or might have a picture of a butterfly on Facebook and a professional headshot on LinkedIn.  So new in Outlook 2013 is the ability to prioritize your networks… ‘Show this network information when available, instead of information from other networks’.  If nothing else it limits the number of people whose pictures in my Outlook are of butterflies.

I still love the fact that when I have a meeting or conference call planned I can see in advance who I am meeting with.  In this case I know Damir, but I sat in on a call on Wednesday with 125 other people, and it was nice to be able to see the faces that went along with the names.  This goes equally well when someone sends me an e-mail… I have the option of seeing who I am communicating with, if I so choose.  Of course you can minimize this or even turn it off if you want – it is all up to you.

 

Outlook Social Connectors have been making my life a bit easier for three years, and they will continue to do so into the future.  I am glad that Microsoft is still innovating and finding new ways to stay fresh.  I would have liked to have seen a Twitter connector included in 2013, but that would have only been for updates, and so many people are cross-posting their tweets to Facebook so it doesn’t really matter.