Recently, I made an update to my LinkedIn page. Under the employment section, the update reads as follows:
Dan D’Agostino, Principal at The Redland Companies
Because of these seven words, I received a nearly overwhelming outpouring of CONGRATULATIONS ON THE NEW JOB emails, text messages and phone calls. All of these communications were extremely nice to receive, and I assume they were all genuine signs of support. Many of these messages were from people I hadn’t talked to in years and it was great to see them say hello. I also received a good number of responses from people who I have never spoken to in my life. Admittedly, I’m not sure if that is badass networking or straight up, weird stalker level congratulating. Then again, if stalkers are using messages of congratulations rather than sneaking photos of me from the bushes, then I will gladly accept the congrats.
Here’s what’s behind those 7 words I posted to LinkedIn. The first two words are in fact my name and the only thing interesting about them is my name has an apostrophe and whoever invented the apostrophe wasn’t thinking about computers, because apostrophes and computers are a recipe for disaster anytime one has to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. This is usually the exchange…
Pharmacist: “I’m sorry Mr. DAgobah, uh, DAgastan, uh, DAgo E-no, we don’t have your refill for Viagra Valtrex Hemorrhoid Cream.”
Me: instantly sweaty and itching (not from any medical condition), “Hmmm, there’s an apostrophe after the D. A lot of computer systems have trouble with the apostrophe, maybe yours did too?”
Pharmacist: “Oh, that did it. We actually had two apostrophes, an extra space, and a semi colon for some reason, but I was able to pull up the prescription for your special order of Viagra Valtrex Hemorrhoid Cream.”
Me: now wishing I had my wife pick up the cream, “No problem, happens all the time.”
Now, onto the third word: Principal. You might be thinking that this signifies that I am a leader within the education field. You would be wrong. The business I am now a “Principal of” is a dominant player within the Real Estate industry, not education. Wanting to come up with a flashy name that screamed, “no longer fired CEO,” I asked my business partner what leaders within the real estate industry called themselves. Principal sounded both impressive (without being unnecessarily arrogant) and innocuous enough that I wouldn’t scare off potential clients with excessive finesse and gravitas.
For the final three words, this is where the branding juices really took off. Everyone knows that when you put a big “The” in front of anything, your organization instantly becomes “The Shit,” or “The Jam,” or “The Best”. The “The” is a word of power, distinction, and influence. Actually, the “The” is none of these things. Research has shown that when you put the “The” in front of a name, your company or institution is actually completely full of it and is probably being misled by an overpriced marketing firm. Just go talk to anyone who attended school at THE Ohio State University and you’ll know exactly what I mean. <For all you OSU stalkers out there who took offense, please be sure to send me a letter of congratulations for publishing my first blog post in a while, versus coming to my house and beating THE crap out of me>.
Putting the “The” to bed, let’s move on to “Redland.” While my new company is involved in real estate, Redland doesn’t mean we buy land with red soil or invest only in states that typically vote for Republican Presidential candidates (however, our only current holding is in PA, which went GOP in 2016). While this name sounds ready made for the Fortune 500 list with a “The” in front of it, Redland was the name of the institution I went to for middle school. The first company I ever created was called Candlewood, an ode to my days as an Eagle at Candlewood Elementary, so it seemed like a natural progression to go with Redland for company number two. If there happens to be a company number three, you better damn well get ready for The Magruder Ventures or The Magruder Corporations or The Magruder Holdings.
Ok, with one word left, you probably think this is the easiest to decipher. We have multiple companies, so the word “Companies” was factually chosen to bookend The Redland and provide the most badass business name in the history of business names. Alas, there is no 10th, 6th or even 2nd The Redland Company, just one, with the name The Redland Companies. What’s way more impressive than being a Principal at just one company? That’s right, multiple companies!
All of this said, here’s the truth. My new LinkedIn identity was created because I was submitting an offer to buy a commercial property outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. Thinking that the broker of the deal might “look me up”, I wanted to sound flashy and experienced, someone who could close the deal, rather than the dude that I am who is just trying to find another good investment that will continue to support my family.
Unfortunately, I’ll never know if the LinkedIn update made any difference, as someone else with a much more distinguished sounding name put in a higher offer and got the contract. I am slightly disappointed about losing the contract as the investment would have been pretty good in my “burgeoning portfolio.” Then it occurred to me, are good investments what I want? No, I am a Principal at THE REDLAND COMPANIES, holders of only THE best real estate nationwide. With my ego renewed with confidence, I pulled up LinkedIn and made the following profile addition:
Dan D’Agostino, Principal at The Redland Companies
THE nation’s premier commercial real estate firm specializing in only THE best properties
Note – I admit that I haven’t deleted my LinkedIn page after saying I would do so in the post, I’m Leaving Social Media. If this current post has taught you anything, it’s that you shouldn’t trust anyone with a LinkedIn page or a blog.
Author Bio: Dan started Fired and Free in 2017, to provide his “truth” after being fired as CEO of the company he started and led. After a diverse 17-year career in management consulting and entrepreneurship, Dan now leads 3Sixty Leadership, where he provides coaching and consulting to business owners with 5 to 500 employees, helping them to work “on” their business not “in” their business.