A note from our founder

Amazing about.me community,

The last few weeks have unlocked a wide range of emotions for people all around the U.S., the world and for many of us at about.me. I’m sure this issue is personal for many people in the about.me community. I know for our about.me team, this is no exception.

We wholeheartedly support the importance of a sensible, well-vetted and understood immigration policy. We also believe in the equality of every individual, and deeply value every member of our about.me community worldwide. Respect and inclusion have always been foundational to about.me. As everyone who is a team member or has previously worked at about.me knows, we are a company built on diversity. Our team is diverse, not just in professional backgrounds, but demonstrably in gender, nationalities, religions and socio-economic upbringings. Our diversity is our strength. It has fostered an environment that embraces and believes in diversity of ideas and respects different opinions. It is core for us at about.me.

Taking ownership of treating people with care and love can be a profound act. In addition to a personal contribution to the ACLU, we’ve updated our social media icons, replacing it with a colorful heart. This change symbolizes our commitment to use our platform to deliver a message of inclusiveness and respect that empowers our community to authentically present themselves to people interested in learning more about them.

I hope you’ll embrace this design and the symbolism it represents. We are so incredibly thankful for and inspired by the breadth of members of our community – a heartfelt thank you.

Tony Conrad
Co-Founder & CEO, about.me

From the corporate world to Hollywood: Melanie Kannokada

An actress, Melanie Kannokada typically starts her day by meditating, followed by tea and then breakfast. Then she takes some time to focus on her schedule which is usually a mix of meetings, auditions, filming, classes or rehearsals, and writing.

But her days weren’t always this way. Before becoming an actress, Melanie worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Co. in New York City and before that she graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford.

So how did the transition from mechanical engineer to consultant to actress, happen? We interviewed Melanie to find out.

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3 Ways My about.me Page Got Me a Job

As a student at Tulane University, nothing about me screamed traditional college student.

Though I had a range of experiences during my undergraduate years, they weren’t all linear. Anything that sparked an interest in me, I explored. This included blogging, organizing food trucks, working at music festivals, assisting event marketing teams and an array of other odd jobs.

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Hip Hop, Ballet, and Contemporary Dancers

“Dancing ballet taught me to be disciplined, patient to achieve good results, work well in groups and balanced with my time.”

Becoming a professional dancer, or even just a great one, is certainly not an easy path and as elaborated by Diana Figueroa‘s words above, takes quite a lot of work and patience. They’ve given up summers to attend dance camps, weekends to attend dance competitions, the list is endless. But it’s a certain drive for excellence and love for the art that sustains these dancers here whose specialties range from ballet to hip hop, to Thai and contemporary dance. 

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writing your visual story

How to Craft Your Visual Story

Last week our friend Patrick Ewers (@PatrickEwers) of Mindmavin told us why you should create a visual story. This week he explains how you can craft your visual story.

The Best Part About Stories is Sharing Them

Stories are powerful because people enjoy sharing them. Think about it. Social media has become so popular, that it has become a perilous addiction for some. It proves that as a culture, we are addicted to staying current with each other’s stories, sharing them and adding our input to those stories.

For that reason, one of your goals should be to empower the people around you to want to share your story. No wants to share a bland, abstract story. A person will be far more likely to share an interesting, visual story. If you can come up with a great visual story, it creates a domino effect: you’ll get mentioned more often simply because it’s fun to mention you; being mentioned often results in more opportunities coming to your doorstep. In sum, great visual stories will allow your network to help you become more successful

Sold? Now that we’ve covered the why, lets move onto the how.

The Art of Storytelling

A visual story is something that evokes an image or a series of images. It’s created using words that possess a certain honesty and vulnerability which describe feelings and pivotal moments in time.

An abstract story would sound something like this: “I have been very passionate about video game development from a young age.” While this gets the point across, you’re not getting the reader’s visual cortex firing. A much better way to tell the very same story would be:

I was 12 years old, sitting in my room playing Call of Duty, loving every second of it. I started to get hungry and wandered out to the kitchen for a snack. On the TV, I saw a commercial for a video game graphic design course. I stopped dead in my tracks. Before that moment, I had never even thought of this possibility. From that moment on, I knew what I had to do. I enrolled in a program to allow me to be that guy who makes those amazing games. Here I am today, ready to do just that.

Stop now and ask yourself what that second story did for you.

You could probably see his story: you can see the boy in his room playing video games, it isa dark room, you can see him walk past a TV, see him stop, eyes widening at the idea of apotential dream come true, forgetting all about his snack. The point is, you can see, understand and resonate with his “A-ha” moment. You probably have a few similar ones of your own.

The fatal error in the first story is that abstract concepts or descriptors like “I am passionate” will be quickly overlooked because it’s an empty claim and unproven. The images are what cause the reader’s brain to infer and understand those qualities you’re trying to get across.

The reason this inference is so important is because when somebody infers something, they own it, they believe it, because they constructed it in their own mind. There is absolutely nothing more powerful than if a person thinks that they were the one who came up with the idea that you are passionate and motivated. Most importantly, they will want to share it.

Work It Out

It may seem daunting, you may think your story is boring, you may not be the “creative type”.

Fear not, there are four simple steps that you can take to create your story.

  1. Come up with a bullet point list of the abstract type of strengths that you have that you want to show off to the world, such as: dedicated, motivated, intellectually stimulating, etc.
  1. Think about events or scenarios that were able to illustrate those attributes about you. Specifically, try to come up with some moments that were unique, pivotal or simply powerful. Write these examples as sub-bullets as they pertain to each attribute.
  1. Try to tell a very visual story for each one in a very brief paragraph, not more than 3-5 lines. If you need some help here, you can try out The Visual Thesaurus.
  1. Tell the story to someone who knows you well and afterwards, ask them, “What did that story make you think of me in terms of who I am?” If that story works, it should circle back to one of the original attributes from your list.

Today’s header photo is by our friend @DavidSherry36 from @deathtostock

Living the Dream: Diana Doroftei

The way to create a miracle is to believe that you can do it. The rest is easy.

~ Nicolae Iorga, Romanian writer and philosopher

A few weeks ago, in our post on Romania, we highlighted Diana Doroftei and her book on the country, which helped us learn about her homeland.  Today, however, we’re learning more about Diana, her story and her life as an entrepreneur and author.

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Empowering Women through Sports: Katie Beringer

“I love all sports and I am on a mission to empower women in any path they choose- but ESPECIALLY male-dominated sports,” says backpacker, Katie Beringer (if you recognize Katie, it’s probably because you saw her in our post on about.me backpackers!).

Katie grew up playing many traditional sports, including soccer. It wasn’t until college, however, that she got into adventure sports like climbing and backpacking. As she graduated from high school, her father died, changing her perspective on life.

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