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Raj Kotecha and the Business of Marketing

June 26, 2016

raj-kotechaOn Sunday, November 29, 2015 Raj Kotecha delivered a guest lecture — “Content is the New Oil” — at American University in the Emirates (AUE). Notably, I met Raj  the same night I met Robert Scoble here in Dubai.

This was the first in a planned series of “Business of Marketing” guest lectures from the Department of Marketing, Logistics, and Supply Chain Management in the College of Business Administration (COBA).

Raj is the founder of Creative Content Agency (CCA) where he has designed and implemented marketing campaigns from events to social media for industry leading brands such as The Fragrance Shop, GolfOnline and Carrier Bag Shop.

CCA has also supplied creative strategy and production services for a range of professional institutions including Accenture, Endava, Westminster Business Council, Royal Bank of Scotland and London Business School.

Today is Raj’s 36th birthday and, to celebrate, his lectures are shared in this post. There are five videos of his lecture in total; in the video below I introduce Raj.

In this video, Raj outlines his objective, strategy, and tactics for his guest lecture.

In this video, Raj informs attendees of his guest lecture that they can essentially create their own qualifications for job opportunities by creating content relevant to their career goals.

In this video, Raj informs attendees of his gueate their own qualifications for job opportunities by creating content relevant to their career goals.

In this short clip, recorded just after his 2 hour lecture and discussion, Raj shares his thoughts on which metrics to use for your content marketing campaign and how to measure the impact of your efforts.

Raj’s lecture was engaging, insightful, and most importantly practical. A very interactive experience, Raj spent a significant amount of time answering career and content creation questions from the 40 students and faculty members who attended. Looking forward to having Raj back whenever he is inspired to join us again!

To learn more about Raj please visit:

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Learning Lessons from a Major Malfunction

June 24, 2016

“Roger, go at throttle up.” — Commander Dick ScobeeSTS-51-L.

Today I showed a The New York Times documentary from June 2014 titled “Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster: Major Malfunction” in my MGT 205, Organizational Behavior class at the American University in the Emirates.

The documentary is about the Space Shuttle Challenger and Space Shuttle Columbia disasters; it explores how poor decision-making resulted in the death of the astronauts in both ill-fated flights.

Notably, the documentary is complimented by an article about the same subject matter from January 28, 2016 titled, “The Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster, 30 Years Later.

I shared this article with my students to provide background information and to ensure their understanding of both tragedies.

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In addition to watching the documentary and discussing the article, I asked my students to get into small groups. I then gave them a worksheet with the following five questions to pair and share:

  1. What was the external image of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) before the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986 – and how did that influence the internal culture at NASA?
  2. How did the need for NASA’s Space Shuttle program to be self-funded influence it’s organizational culture, managerial operations, and decision-making process – especially as it relates to their willingness to take risks?
  3. How did pressure to launch the Shuttle and “amorally calculating managers” result in the death of the 7 astronauts?
  4. What changes were made to the Shuttle program as a result of the Challenger disaster? Did any of the recommendations address changes that needed to be made within the culture at NASA?
  5. What were the similarities between the Space Shuttle Challenger and Space Shuttle Columbia disasters? Why did NASA’s engineering culture, leadership philosophy, and safety policies still cloud its decision-making and lead to the second disaster?

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After 30 years the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster still brings tears to my eyes; I was 11 (almost 12) when it happened and it affected me profoundly. It shattered my innocence.

The Columbia disaster was equally as emotional, though by that point, I had experienced many other trials and tribulations of adult life, so it was a less shocking. Knowing that many of the same organizational issues caused the loss of a second Shuttle and her crew made me equally as frustrated and sad.

As a child of the 1980’s, the Space Shuttle program was a pivotal part of my early life experiences; it defined my generation to a large degree. When Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center on July 21, 2011, it signaled the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program.

Although a troubling topic — one of my students commented that it was “heavy” — challenging my students to think about something significant revealed many insightful observations. They were intrigued and engaged; I’ve never had a class as quiet as the one today.

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Podcast of Characters: Profiled in “The Satisfactionist Podcast”

June 20, 2016

Hear ye, hear ye!

satisfactionistI’ve been featured on The Satisfactionist Podcast with Ben Olmos; what a delightful experience! What is a Satisfactionist? According to the podcast’s Facebook page, a Satisfactionist is:

…a person who seeks to promote well-being through the act of teaching good people lessons that will enable them to create and do amazing things for themselves and the people they work with.

This is the first of two podcasts in which I will appear. My interview begins at 46:56; listen to it on SoundCloud below or you can also hear it on Stitcher.

During the roughly 1 hour and 20 minute interview Ben and I discuss my professional journey to becoming a teacher and trainer — along with personal experiences that have shaped who I am and who I aspire to be.

Topics we talked about include: living in California, my educational experience at UC Santa Barbara and Woodbury University, a review of early employment including my first job as a paper route “collector,” my odd summer job as a “Christmas Elf,” and my time as a mathematically challenged bank teller.

andydickWe then fast forward to my first “real” job as a technical writer for a medical device manufacturer. This position lead to my marketing career with companies including the publisher of Cat Fancy, City of Hope, and Princess Cruises. Ben and I also discussed my marketing consulting work with clients like Andy Dick and Mike Garson, longtime keyboardist for David Bowie.

Finally we talk about my non-traditional transformation into teaching and the many mentors who guided me to where I am today (including Andrew Posey, Satinder Dhiman, Barry Bailey, and Chuck Lubbers).

I also briefly explain my very brief tenure in the “Ethics Office” at Los Angeles Unified School District, which indirectly inspired me to embrace adjuncting. Ben and I go on to discuss my adventures in academia including best practices and my 7 years when I was exclusively adjuncting in the “gig economy.”

In the second podcast Ben and I discuss my experiences as a full-time faculty member in Dubai; first at Jumeira University and now at American University in the Emirates (AUE). We will also talk about my book, “edX e-Learning Course Development” and a few other timely topics!

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