What is it with the biography? I’m not talking about a book or movie, but my own. Specifically, for this very website.
So far, the per-hour ROW (Return On Writing) my Business Pundit biography has been dismally low. I’ve stared at this screen for hours, with no blips of inspiration. Just the mocking glow of the Microsoft Word user interface.
Why is it so hard to write about yourself?
I finally realized that if I looked up other peoples’ biographies, I might get some inspiration. At the very least, I’d get a format.
Here are four very different biographies that I found online:
1) Ben Williams
Professional Role: Head of Global Capital Markets and Investment Banking, Wachovia Bank
Corporate Title: Managing Director
Responsible for: Providing executive leadership to Wachovia Securities Global Markets and Investment Banking, overseeing Fixed Income, Equities, Corporate Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions and Financial Sponsors businesses as well as Global Research and Economics.
Joined the company: 1984
In current position since: 2006
Previous Positions at Wachovia:
• Head of Global Markets; Head of Fixed Income Division; Head of Real Estate-Financial Services Group
• Head of Wachovia’s Real Estate Capital Markets group
• Various positions in Human Resources, Corporate Banking, Investment Banking and Commercial Real Estate
Education: B.A. in Economics, Davidson College; Masters in Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professional and Community Affiliations:
• Charlotte Latin School Vice Chair of Board of Trustees
• The United Way of Central Carolinas Board
• The Greater Charlotte Dowd YMCA
• Charlotte Center City Partners
• Davidson College
Thoughts: I like the brevity and the subheadings, but the biography doesn’t give me a sense of who Williams is. I guess bankers don’t write much about their personal lives in their professional biographies.
2) Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook, which he founded in 2004. Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, families and coworkers. Mark is responsible for setting the overall direction and product strategy for the company. He leads the design of Facebook’s service and development of its core technology and infrastructure. Mark attended Harvard University and studied computer science before moving the company to Palo Alto, California.
Thoughts: Zuckerberg also hardly has to explain himself. He’s the college prodigy who started Facebook. This makes him a rare jewel of an entrepreneur, who, like Bill Gates, Larry Page/Sergey Brin, Michael Dell, and Evan Williams, is probably on the yellow brick road to the Kingdom of Very Vested Stock. I can’t relate, so I can’t use this format.
3) Fortune Magazine’s Stanley Bing, the best business humorist in the country.
Stanley Bing is a columnist for Fortune magazine and the bestselling author of What Would Machiavelli Do?, Throwing the Elephant, Sun Tzu Was a Sissy, 100 Bullshit Jobs . . . And How to Get Them, Crazy Bosses, and The Big Bing, as well the novels Lloyd: What Happened and You Look Nice Today. By day, he is an haute executive in a gigantic multinational corporation whose identity is probably known to you.
Thoughts: Bing explains himself every day, in his columns. We have that in common. The major difference is that Bing is famous and has written seven books. And he has a cool pseudonym. And several TV appearances under his belt. I’d emulate this biography if I was famous and had seven books. But I don’t, so I have to look legit some other way. Next.
4) Chris Anderson, author of the book The Long Tail and Wired editor-in-chief.
Read his biography here.
Aha! I love this format. I’m not going to paste the whole thing here—it’s long—but Chris Anderson, who, like the others on this list, has racked up innumerable prestige points, still boasts the coolest bio I’ve yet seen.
Along with a professional biography, he pretty much covers the main points of what make him, well, himself. I also like the first-person writing style. Makes it feel like you’re reading about a human being, rather than a functionary.
So, here it is, inspired in large part by Chris Anderson. My very own Business Pundit biography:
I’m Drea Knufken, senior writer at BusinessPundit.com. Before joining Business Pundit, I worked in a variety of business and content production positions. Most recently, I was a travel writer. My book, “The Backroads and Byways of Colorado,” covers the best road trips in the state, mile-by-mile. Before that, I helped create two major websites for the Los Angeles tourism bureau, worked for Google (specifically, AdWords and Blogger.com) for three years, and worked for several technology startups in Silicon Valley at the tail end of the .com boom.
I run my own Web- and print content production business, and have published work in several national magazines. I have degrees in Business Management Economics and Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. I’m originally from San Diego, CA. I currently live in Boulder, CO.
Five things you would not otherwise know about me:
1) My first real business experience was as an intern with Africa Online in Accra, Ghana.
2) I fly Katana DA-20s, which connoisseurs refer to as “paper airplanes.” The old ones run on snowmobile engines.
3) My great uncle hijacked a steam trawler as part of a pre-WWII resistance movement.
4) I’m learning to play the mandolin.
5) I make really good tuna melt sandwiches.
This profile will be up in Business Pundit’s “About” section soon.
I’m glad it’s finally finished.
(Image: Me, by http://sundrosights.com)