May 23 2007

The First Few Steps

Brand building for the technology professional


Rajesh Setty
author, Beyond Code

You don’t ever have to worry about creating a personal brand — you have one already! Simply stated, your personal brand is who you are to the world. Everybody has a personal brand of his or her own. However, your current personal brand may not be as powerful as you might like it to be.


Technology professionals have to worry more about their personal branding than people in other professions. And they don’t have a choice. The marketplace is constantly commoditizing what technology professionals are offering, almost threatening to replace them by soliciting offers from other parts of the world for a fraction of the cost.

So, while you don’t have to create a personal brand, you almost definitely have to strengthen yours. Here are a few ideas to get you started on building a powerful personal brand:

1 Make a commitment to grow:
Personal branding is more about producing significant accomplishments than about marketing yourself. Making a commitment and acting consistently to grow — to be better at what you do — is hard work. Significant accomplishments act as the foundation on which you can build a strong personal brand. If you currently don’t have any accomplishments that people will care about, you have got your work cut out for you. Start accomplishing now!

2 Concentrate on your strengths:
Spend time fixing your weaknesses and shoring up your strengths. The more time you spend on strengthening your strong points, the greater the returns. The world around you may make you feel that you have to fix your weaknesses first and sometimes you do — if something is seriously broken. At all other times, you are better off working on your strengths.

3 Configure to succeed:
Rarely can you achieve something big by yourself. You need help just like everyone else. Think about your life five years from now. Considering where you might like to be in five years, does the current configuration support your ambition? Probably not. You also know that the ideal configuration will not automatically appear to support you when you need it. The key is to work toward a winning configuration for the future now.

4 Stay relevant:
Your strengths have no meaning to others unless they are relevant in some way to them. Because everybody needs help getting where they want to go, and you can use your strengths to accelerate their journey toward their goals, you will be in great demand. When you put others’ concerns above your own, you will get noticed.

5 Connect to increase capacity:
One way to increase others’ capacity to perform is by lending some of your time to their cause. However, there is a physical limitation as there are only 24 hours in a day. The other way is to connect them with someone who may benefit by lending his or her time to the cause. There is a caveat, though. Blindly connecting will cause more harm than good. The golden rule to keep in mind when connecting two people is to remember that it will only work if they both significantly benefit from the connection.

Finally, remember that personal branding is a journey and not a destination. You are on that journey whether you want to be or not. You can make that journey more meaningful by designing it rather than leaving it to chance.


Rajesh Setty is involved in multiple startups in some combination as investor, board member or operating executive. These startups include Suggestica and iPolipo. Setty is also an author and a sought-after speaker. His latest book, Beyond Code, was released in 2005.