About antiochantidote

With nearly 6000 distinguished alumni, AULA has been honored to serve the diverse communities of the greater Los Angeles area for nearly 40 years. As once described by the LA Times, we offer “an unconventional education” where our “tradition of innovation and activism endures.” AULA is a dynamic, small, HLC accredited, non-profit institution that is passionate about our core values (social justice, service to community, life long learning) and how we learn (wedding theory to practice, with a strong emphasis on adult learners, small classes, and encouraging the full potential of each student). www.antiochla.edu

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Unreasonable (And Why I Started U.R. Media.TV)

by Marc Blackbird, Antioch University Los Angeles Student + Founder of U.R. Media.TV

Whenever you encounter one you feel like you were hit by a force of nature. They’re mostly unusual outside-the-lines types, people who just have to do what they do because they couldn’t do things any other way…

They are an amalgam, part artist, part philosopher, part master of the universe, and always believing that there is a new way to solve anything. They live to see the possibilities beyond the constraints of ideology or discipline. They are the entrepreneurs, the people who take big risks to build businesses.

When we think about entrepreneurs we usually think about guys like Henry Ford or Bill Gates — people who saw a deficiency in the marketplace and the next step in technology, so they built companies to take their vision to market and made themselves extremely wealthy. The same attributes that led Ford and Gates to build cars and operating systems are also leading to ventures that combine financial and social returns. These social entrepreneurs are more than just business people or do-gooders; they seek a triple bottom line of profits and people and planet. Making money while helping people and the planet is not a new idea, but the time has come to highlight those who have broken the molds of business person and charity organization and recombined them as social business ventures.

Enter the book The Power of Unreasonable People, How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan. Not only does this book highlight social entrepreneurs and the businesses they have started, it is also serves as a guide, giving the reader an understanding of emerging markets and their potential for profitable business while lifting the standard of living for some of the world’s poorest people.

A great example of what the social entrepreneur can do is the story of KickStart in East Africa, where Nick Moon and Martin Fisher were looking to make small-scale profitable industries that could help the local population. What became a big seller and was identified as one of “ten inventions that will change the world” by Newsweek magazine was KickStart’s foot-operated micro-irrigation pump. Now the authors could have told us just the numbers: it cost x to make and made x plus in profit and helped x farmers in the region. All important facts, but by telling the story of Samuel Ndungu Mburu, they take us right into the “on the ground” truth of what a social entrepreneur can accomplish. Samuel was a farmer who made about one hundred dollars a year from his crops. But after getting the micro-irrigation pump he started growing more valuable crops and now has sent his oldest son to college as well as having the rest of his children in school.

The Unreasonable Becomes Personal

This story inspired me more so then just the impressive facts. That is what a good book is supposed to do: give you the story but also deliver a feeling, and stories like this one throughout the book definitely gave me the real picture of what the social entrepreneur can paint in the world.

Starting a business is not for the fainthearted, and a business that has a mission beyond just profit with all those obstacles to entry is even more daunting. In fact it might be easier to juggle knives blindfolded, on one leg, while dodging killer bees. But by showing how it was done, the cases in the book transform some of the mystery into solid facts of good businesses, no bee dodging manual needed.

My big epiphany was to be true to your vision. Be flexible and willing but with the vision as a guide, and mostly be unreasonable. That doesn’t mean be a horrible person or act out like a spoiled toddler. It means do whatever you have to make your business succeed, even if you have to change course do it, but make sure you arrive at your destination with integrity and intentions intact.

So I now feel like I have to do something even bigger then what I’m doing now. While I’m not helping third-world farmers yield more crops, I am trying to help stories get told. I started U.R. Media.TV to promote what I call “citizen media”: media for us by us, where anyone can learn how to make effective media or share their expertise with the community. It’s a new social network for ideas, journalism and art. It’s YouTube meets Facebook meets blogs, where you can create original media or share your findings from around the web and store it all on your U.R. Media.TV channel. I hope you come and make U TV.

I’m a totally unreasonable person in the best sense of the word, and now armed with real world insights on how to make real quantitative good happen, I’m hopefully much better equipped to be the change I want to see in the world.


Guest Blogger Marc Blackbird is a longtime entrepreneur whose company, The Blackbird Group, provides consulting in new media and experiential marketing. He recently launched U.R. Media.TV while studying at Antioch.

Words That Can Bring You To Your Knees — And 8 Ways To Retake Control Of Your Career

by Pat Palleschi, Ph.D

“Fired,” “right-sized,” “terminated,” “severed,” “we’ve gone in a different direction,” “we’ve changed strategies,” “you get two weeks severance,” “good luck in your next opportunity…”

These are all words that can bring any adult to their knees. And in Los Angeles there are millions of people who have heard them.

Here are the 8 things you need to do to retake control of your career:

  1. Take control of your finances. Put in a safe place (ha!) the equivalent of what you will need to live on for ONE YEAR. Can’t do that? Learn to be cheap. VERY cheap. Take on roommates; take your lunch to work; read a book you’ve borrowed from a friend.
  2. Use every means possible to learn and make yourself more valuable to your current company or the next one. Learn on the job by talking with friends who happen to be experts in a field, go to conferences (volunteer to help, so you don’t have to pay), take online programs, etc.
  3. Grab anything your company has to offer that can teach you new skills. Take on new projects, work on enterprise-wide systems, in-house Facebook pages, kick-ass presentations, etc. Have the people you work with document what you’ve done and write a recommendation for you on Linkedin.
  4. Learn how to use social media to position yourself as an “expert” (see above note on Linkedin).
  5. On your own time (weekends, nights, etc.), learn NEW skills. Then use them to get results in a volunteer activity.
  6. Become invaluable to your current job. Become the expert in sustainability, social media, artificial intelligence, analytics – any skill that your company needs to become a leader in the field.
  7. Lose your ego. If you get fired, take ANY job while you WORK to get another job. Drive a taxi (and write a blog about the weird stories you learn while driving!). Volunteer. Even if you were worth $1 million a year, you must find a way to re-value yourself.
  8. Remember that any job change affects your whole family. Get your whole family involved in this “new adventure” of finding work.

It may sound self-serving for me to say “get a good coach” – but I will say it anyway. Get a CAREER coach who has done job placements. DO NOT spend money on “life coaches” (unless you have extra money and need a life).

No one at your company has the ability or time to watch out for you, your desires and your long-term goals. A company cannot afford to become your family (with some very, very few notable exceptions).

TAKE Control of your career. NO ONE else can do it, except you.


Guest Blogger Pat Palleschi is the President of The Executive Agency. She has devoted the past 25 years to creating HR strategies that help organizations and individuals succeed. As VP of Human Resources Development at Disneyland, she helmed the Disney University, where she and her team made it their mission to attract, develop and retain Disney Cast members who were “pumped to perform.” Before Disney, Pat served as Senior VP of Training for Bank of America. She earned her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts and chaired the Speech Communication Department at Loyola Marymount University.

Finding Your Key Players and Other “Billionaire Pleasures”

by Reinel Campa, MAOM Student + Video Producer

In the video below, an amazing East Coast indie she-musician goddess, Joan Wasser, talks about her creative process. Joan as Police Woman (as she calls herself) is an inspiration, a muse, a mentor. Her cool style and relaxed demeanor are interesting and familiar. In the video she describes how she directs her musical project to a certain point and then lets the ‘experts’ she trusts be themselves with it. She doesn’t even let her musicians hear her work beforehand. She’s not controlling them, she is trusting them.

I see the way I work represented in her style. As a video producer, I always accepted that I wasn’t strong in all areas and tried to work with others to my advantage. I still want that — to be able to do just one thing strongly and work collaboratively with others. I like when no one feels controlled; we all trust one another.

This reminds me of one actual experience: the making of “Billionaire Pleasures.” We thought this 24-hour film contest at work was intended to help certain individuals get along, but it turned into a revelation. We actually worked well together when we wanted to! (AND MADE AWESOME VIDEOS!)

Our team won that day. Credit is due to the hilarious and daring script by Scott Chema, but ultimately, I think our team won because we trusted each other and collaborated.

  • With that team, I took risks: I did a ‘sexy’ scene with Scott, even though I was hesitant. Actually, everyone took a risk by sharing roles. For each scene, one person would act, one person would shoot, and one person direct, and then we would switch. It could’ve gone terribly wrong, but… it didn’t. Not at all.
  • I trusted my gut: After our first meeting, we had a lot to do, so I assigned tasks to everyone. An hour later, we had props, locations, cast assignments, and a typed-out script, scene by scene. From then on, anything anyone suggested was a good enough option for me!
  • And I was myself: I was suddenly empowered by my team to think about the stuff I was good at and cared about because they were there to pick up the slack. I was being creative.

I think finding these ‘key players’ in your life is an essential goal. We look for these people in our personal lives, our work lives… the better you are at it, I think the more success, happiness, and well being you will have.

In the last couple of years I have been working on creating that dynamic with my family because, well, family stays family. Now that it’s time to find a career, identifying my key players for work is a must. Because if I can recreate the feeling that “Billionaire Pleasures” gave me, I will feel that I have made it “there.”


Guest Blogger Reinel Campa is a student in the M.A. in Organizational Management program at Antioch University Los Angeles. For the last five years she has produced video content for live music performances, behind the scenes coverage, red carpet premieres, and original show concepts. You can read more of Reinel’s work on her blog, Night and Rei.

“You’re Welcome” (and Other Snarky Expressions)

by Freddy J. Nager, Associate Professor, MAOM

No, I’m not the old man on the porch yelling at kids to get off his lawn. Yet.

But my old-man sensitivities have been repeatedly rankled by the disappearance of two words from the English language: “thank you.” Apparently, they’ve been misplaced. I’d be happy with the one-word substitute, “thanks,” but apparently that’s gone AWOL, too.

So that’s brought out the curmudgeon in me…

“Face me, old man, I’m the Ghost of Manners Past!”

The precipitating event occurred, ironically, on “social” media — a subject I teach with increasing shakes of the head and rolls of the eyes. To be specific, it happened on the popular networking site LinkedIn, which I endorse as the only social medium that’s mandatory for today’s professionals. While Facebook could be renamed “Look at me!” and Twitter “Fritter,” LinkedIn actually has value. It serves as a professional’s career hub: a place to centralize one’s resume, connections, organizations, creative portfolio and more.

A key section of one’s LinkedIn profile comprises recommendations from one’s bosses, colleagues, teachers and other connections. As an instructor, I often receive recommendation requests from former students, and I’m usually happy to comply. I write each recommendation so that it’s distinctive and personal. Given the struggling memory cells in this old man’s brain, that isn’t always easy. But I do it.

And then I wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

And while I’m at it, I do some waiting.

What I’m waiting for is some acknowledgement that the recommendation was received, with a simple “thank you” as all the compensation I need. I don’t require a recommendation in return, as others might expect. Nope, just a little common courtesy will do.

But apparently, I’m a greedhead who’s just asking too dang much.

Easily half the people I’ve recommended on LinkedIn have never thanked me. Either I must write heinous recommendations, or I’ve grossly overestimated their value. The fact that LinkedIn enables its users to request recommendations at the click of a mouse has probably devalued them. But still, would it hurt to show this old fogey some merci?

The problem is, etiquette-absenteeism isn’t just limited to LinkedIn.

I recently wrote a lengthy letter of recommendation for a former MBA classmate’s grad-school application. This entailed actually going to the physical post office and mailing sheets of dead wood. (No, really, people still do such things in 2011.) Then some months passed. I finally contacted that former classmate to see if the school had ever received my recommendation, and he acknowledged that they had, and that he had been admitted to the program and was having a great time.

Nice to know. (And, hey, oh certain grad school who requires such recommendations: you’re not off the hook, either.)

In the past few years, I’ve also experienced “thank you” voids from people who have called me up for advice, emailed me for information about the schools where I teach, even met with me in person to talk about their business or career problems.

Apparently, I didn’t get the memo that said “thank you” had been omitted from the common vernacular.

Now, call me a decrepit, senescent creature of habit, but when such omissions happen, I still feel compelled to respond with the equally antiquated and apparently forgotten term “you’re welcome.” I know, how retro of me. Oh, I give it a week or so after I send the recommendation/write the letter/take the call/have the meeting, but the urge to say “you’re welcome” is so great that it bursts loose on its own, even without a “thanks” to provoke it.

Today, in fact, I sent a “you’re welcome” to someone on LinkedIn who never acknowledged the recommendation I wrote for him. He responded by asking if I was being “snarky.” I hadn’t thought of it that way: who, me, the rude one?

What a concept. Four letter words are so passé that our jaded ears no longer hear them, but “you’re welcome” actually raises hackles and elicits offended responses. I feel so… so… gangster.

So I’m now on a mission to issue a pre-emptive “you’re welcome” whenever possible, even if it means having the FCC bleep me out or courts issue restraining orders against me.

Then, the other day, something jarringly odd happened: I received a “thank you” card from a student I had recommended for business school. No, really. The young woman had actually perpetrated the post office deed and mailed a piece of folded cardboard that she had spent good money on. When I opened the envelope, I dropped the thing out of shock and stared at it for a good 30 seconds or so, wondering if I needed to report it to the Department of Homeland Security. A thank you card? The gall!

My aged knees quaked and symptoms of myocardial infarction sent me crashing into a comfy chair. I stared at the card again. Yes, indeed, there they were: the words “thank you” handwritten and even exclamation pointed. I felt like I had just chanced upon the Loch Ness Monster and the Tooth Fairy hanging out with Amelia Earhart in the lost city of Atlantis. What’s this world coming to?

So perhaps some traces of chivalry remain. I just thought I’d warn you so you can take the necessary precautions, like having a fluffy pillow nearby to cushion your fall. And by the way, should this piece of advice ever prove helpful to you, please allow me to say “you’re welcome” in advance — or would that be too snarky?


Guest Blogger Freddy J. Nager teaches courses in social media, entrepreneurship and marketing at AULA. The founder of agency Atomic Tango LLC, Freddy has over two decades of professional experience in marketing and media, including 17 online. He previously worked for music label MCA Records and major ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, and served such clients as Nissan & Infiniti, the NFL on Fox, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, National Lampoon and numerous startups. He holds a BA from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Southern California.


Q-the-A: And That Means What? Fun With Figures…

by Freddy J. Nager, Associate Professor + Managing Editor of The Antidote

So I’m reading an article in Inc., my favorite magazine for advice on entrepreneurial matters, when I found this statement about one company’s social media campaign:

“So far, about 7 percent of Step2’s customers have registered on the company’s website with their Facebook IDs, and of those who have, more than half of them have shared product reviews with their Facebook friends. In the past year, traffic from Facebook has increased 135 percent and revenue from Facebook visitors has nearly tripled.”

Impressive, right? Based on these figures, Inc. readers should just rush out to integrate Facebook into their websites.

So what’s the problem here? (As my students know, one of my favorite business questions is “so what?”)

The statement provides some tasty figures — but not all the figures that a manager needs to make a judgment about the campaign. All those percentages can be misleading if we don’t know the actual numbers they’re based on. For example, a traffic increase of 135% sounds amazing… but it could mean that traffic went from 20 people to 47 over the entire year. For a lot of retailers, that increase in traffic wouldn’t mean much. (My local Starbucks probably serves that many customers in about 20 minutes.)

Given that traffic, what else would we want to know? Here’s a short list for starters:

  • How many of those visitors from Facebook are NEW customers? If they’re just existing customers coming through a different entry way, the company doesn’t gain much.
  • What are the customers doing on the site once they visit? Are they reading articles, rating products, or best of all, buying something? Or, worse, are they filing complaints, posting spam, trying to sell something, or spying for the company’s competitors?
  • If they are buying stuff, how much are they spending? The article states that revenue has nearly tripled, but that could mean it went from, say, $2 to $5.
  • What was the cost of the Facebook program? Did the company pay someone to do it? If the company’s owners did the work themselves, how much time was spent on this instead of on product development, customer service, or other activities that could also make money?

The article doesn’t say. That’s unusual for Inc., which usually provides the critical underlying details, but that only proves that even trusted sources occasionally need to be questioned. Well, at least 135% of the time.


Freddy J. Nager teaches courses in social media, entrepreneurship and marketing at AULA. The founder of agency Atomic Tango LLC, Freddy has over two decades of professional experience in marketing and media, including 17 online. He previously worked for music label MCA Records and major ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, and served such clients as Nissan & Infiniti, the NFL on Fox, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, National Lampoon and numerous startups. He holds a BA from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Southern California.


Don’t Bore Hiring Managers: Make Your Resume Look Like YOU – Interesting!

by Pat Palleschi, PhD
In a recent NY Times article, Bing Gordon, the former Chief Creative Officer at Electronic Arts, said:

“In hiring, I like in-person meetings for chemistry and references for truth… I will always ask about your learning practices, who are your heroes, what do you read. I want to know your hobbies, career, where are you trying to get to… I also read resumes upside down, so I start with personal interests. If somebody doesn’t have believable, interesting interests, they are not going to work in a creative environment… Then, I’ll scan for personal achievements… STRIP OUT ALL THE HISTORY STUFF; JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE PROUD OF AND HOW YOU THINK ABOUT IT…”

I added the emphasis to reinforce the good advice. DO NOT follow any “regular resume format” when you are interviewing with a hiring manager. (Save the dull chronological resume stuff for HR folks and Enterprise-Wide Computing Systems!)

Your resume should look like you. And sometimes, you need a makeover... (photo by kafka4prez via Creative Commons)

Having trouble thinking out of the box? Take a look at the “guerrilla resume” format in Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0 (best $15 you can spend), and use a format that will enable a hiring manager to become interested in how you think and impressed with what you have done.

Use a one-page format (no matter how old or experienced you are). Why so short? The resume should be a teaser for the hiring manager — just enough to let her/him know where to ask you questions. It should feel like “YOU” — a resume should not be anything BUT a reflection of who you are.

Remember the other thing that Bing cited: in an in-person interview, CHEMISTRY is all-important. Any supporting documentation should add to the chemistry, enable the interviewer to see interesting (otherwise hidden) sides to you. And remember to highlight only the best hidden sides… some parts of you should stay hidden (as some politicians are learning the hard way).


Guest Blogger Pat Palleschi is the President of The Executive Agency. She has devoted the past 25 years to creating HR strategies that help organizations and individuals succeed. As VP of Human Resources Development at Disneyland, she helmed the Disney University, where she and her team made it their mission to attract, develop and retain Disney Cast members who were “pumped to perform.” Before Disney, Pat served as Senior VP of Training for Bank of America. She earned her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts and chaired the Speech Communication Department at Loyola Marymount University.

LinkedIn: Not Just For Job Hunters Anymore

by Freddy J. Nager
Many managers have ineffectual LinkedIn profiles — if they have one at all. That’s because they think they don’t need one at this stage of their career. “I’m not job hunting — why should I bother?” That’s because LinkedIn isn’t just for job hunting anymore.

The Search is On…
A LinkedIn profile can serve as the power base for your professional life. it’s one of the first links people see when they Google your name. (Of course, many background searches are conducted on LinkedIn itself.) Those researchers may include journalists, recruiters, potential clients and investors. With all the concern about personal reputations and misinformation online, we should absolutely create and control our LinkedIn profiles to deliver an authoritative first impression.

The Way to Grow…
We’re all tired of hearing it: yes, we live in a global economy. Yes, borders have evaporated. And, yes, international trade offers a wealth of opportunities — if we have the right connections in the right places. So who can we turn to for help setting up an office, hiring competent and trustworthy native managers, overcoming bureaucratic red tape, or simply making reservations at an appropriate restaurant? Your organization may not be thinking expansion now, but when the time comes, it helps to have relationships with far-flung connections found and developed on LinkedIn.

Marketing for Extracurricular Ambitions…
Even if a manager is at the top of her game, she might harbor other ambitions, such as writing a book, appearing on TV as an expert, running for political office or teaching at a university. While some managers are well known outside their companies, most need a marketing boost to support these other pursuits. That’s why you should network before you need a publisher, an entertainment attorney, or a campaign manager. You should also use LinkedIn to promote your expertise and what makes you different (and more interesting) than the millions of other managers around the world.

Because You Never Know…
There’s no such thing as a secure job. Even at companies “too big to fail,” upper management and their teams are often replaced. A manager may claim she has nothing to worry about, but at some point she may be tempted to sell her company — or the company’s success attracts a takeover. On a brighter, more poetic side, the manager may want a complete change of pace or career, or move to another city for the lifestyle or a relationship. To facilitate these changes, it’s again valuable to network before it’s needed. It’s too late to say, “Now who do I know here?” after the big move.

Those are just a few of the reasons a manager — or an aspiring one — needs to have a well-crafted LinkedIn profile. (And, no, I don’t work for LinkedIn, nor do I own its stock.)

How does one craft an effective profile? That’s the topic for another blog, but in the meantime, LinkedIn offers its own guide, and you can also view the profiles of various “experts” and the top networkers on LinkedIn.

The key takeaway: your LinkedIn profile should represent you online. It’s your agent, it’s your brochure, it’s your public introduction. So take the time to think about what you want it to say. (By the way, I also hear it’s a great tool for finding a job…)


Freddy J. Nager teaches courses in social media, entrepreneurship and marketing at AULA. The founder of agency Atomic Tango LLC, Freddy has over two decades of professional experience in marketing and media, including 17 online. He previously worked for music label MCA Records and major ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, and served such clients as Nissan & Infiniti, the NFL on Fox, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, National Lampoon and numerous startups. He holds a BA from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Southern California.