Archive for April, 2010

An eye-popping integration of digital media

This short video was a total “wow” for me — and a digital best practice to share with you.

The case study shows an inventive way of integrating several digital technologies to engage people in a charitable cause  … people on the street actually interact with a digital projection of a homeless man through text messages.

The only thing missing here is results. How much did this cost? What were the goals and were they achieved?  This was an attention-grabber (and there is certainly value in that) but would the money have been better spent buying meals at a mission?

Regardless, this is an exciting demonstration I think you’ll enjoy. Please take a moment to let me know what you think in the comments below!

Thanks to our dear friend Sidney Eve Matrix for introducing this video to our community.

My own 11 little secrets

Two weeks ago, Chris Penn blogged his 11 Little Secrets to staying happy, healthy, productive and sane.  Quite a few other bloggers followed suit, so I thought I would give it a whirl.  What follows is my actual approach to life, not what I think you want to hear or what is politically correct. And it’s not the obvious stuff like eat well and exercise. Let’s assume you’re adults and you’ve read that somewhere before.   These are the 11 things that help me achieve peace in my heart and in my mind.  I’m digging deep. This is an experiment. Let’s see how it goes.

Make joy a priority. When I was in my mid-30s I was climbing the corporate ladder and felt stressed constantly.  I got into a discussion about it one day with an influential college teacher who always seemed unflappable. I asked him, “Well Bob, what is the emotion YOU feel most of the time?” And without hesitation, he said, “Joy.”  This was a profound revelation to me.  I had never even considered this possibility.  So I made it a life goal to make sure that I felt “joy” most of the time.  With that foundation, it really can effect your decision process.

Do good work. “Humble excellence.” Isn’t that a worthwhile goal?

Put your kids first. I know this seems obvious, but when you’re stuck in life, consider the answer that is best for your family. For me, it was always the right choice.

Take good care of your spouse. In the end, I can’t solve world hunger. I can’t even solve hunger in my own community. But I can have a profound impact on the happiness of that one person I’m married to.  I look at contributing to a strong marriage as a primary mission on earth. Have a good one and there will be countless ripples of joy spreading in all directions. When you give to your spouse, you’re really giving to yourself in the long run.

Take God seriously. You don’t have to check your brain at the door to have faith in God. At my core, I’m a scientist, a data guy.  And the more I learn and experience, the more I know God is real.  As scientists probe the very large and very small in the universe, the response is increasingly “this is statistically impossible.”  It is … unless you dismiss the obvious answer of a Creator.  For me, it is liberating and inspiring to believe in God. I recommend the short video “Everything is Spiritual” by Rob Bell.  A compelling thesis for God without a big-hair preacher yelling at you.  That is not God, I’m pretty sure.

Live without regret — That’s different from saying don’t make mistakes. Of course we all make mistakes!  But I am at peace that I have made the best decisions in the moment, even if they were mistakes, and that is not something to regret.  I try to live in way to be proud of.  My goal is to look back at my life and say “Yes, I did that well. I do not wish for a re-do.”

Stay centered. When the world wants you to be a bitch, don’t be.  Feel how you feel but choose how you react. I find this especially difficult on the social web. It’s such a mind muck of politics and self-appointed blog-gods.  It’s so easy to get pulled into that. Sometimes I just want to tell these folks how petty and narcissistic they are. But that would be bitchy, so I don’t.  Well … usually I don’t.  Stay centered.

Find a higher purpose. I’ve addressed  the importance of marriage, family, and work.  But my biggest adrenaline rush comes from teaching (I don’t do it for the money believe me), from working on a Habitat for Humanity house, or mentoring an inner-city kid. This stuff is easy to put off when life is so busy, but this is when I feel I am really leaving a legacy, even if it’s a nail in somebody’s roof.

Celebrate urgently. I often look up at the stars and think, wow, how much would I PAY to see this? Have you ever thought like that? What if the stars only came out once every 50 years?  You could make a fortune by charging admission fees.  Man, this world is FREE.  Don’t take it for granted. Celebrate even the small things that you love.

Don’t do things that will make you die. I used to live more recklessly, especially on a mountain bike. Then a few years ago I had a spinal cord injury. I had an operation and one of the possible outcomes was paralysis.  Gratefully, the long-term effects have been minor, but the biggest impact has been on my life approach. I have SO MANY things in my life that create happiness. I’m not willing to risk those any more over an activity with a probability of injury. I know some people will disagree with this, but hey, I told you this is about me, not you. I’m looking forward to a long life, not a crippled one. I still ride my bike … just in safer places!

Love one another. Here’s how I look at people. Every one of you started out as an innocent, beautiful baby. Then over the years, shit happened, it accumulated and forged something different. But at your core, you are still that beautiful little baby, right?  Of course you are. So even when a person is a bastard I try to imagine them as an infant and think, “damn, I’m sorry it had to turn out this way. It’s probably not your fault. I want to try my best to love you any way.” We could solve a lot of problems if we all carried around our baby pictures.

So there you go. If you disagree, it won’t matter any way because my concrete is set. : )

I would love to hear your thoughts though, and maybe you’ll even write your own post about your 11 little secrets.


Forget your website, create a social footprint

On a webinar last week, I briefly covered an idea I call the information eco-system (or social footprint) and received a lot of questions about it.  This is a critical concept for businesses today so I thought I should expand on the idea.

If you did a web search for you or your company three years ago, the result would have been a list of websites.  If you conducted the same search today, you may get LinkedIn profiles, YouTube videos, Slideshare presentations, maps, perhaps even tweets from Twitter.  In fact, as the social web has emerged, visits to traditional websites have declined dramatically for many companies.

The implication is that if you have a website and think that’s all you need any more, you’re not understanding the social web.

People have the opportunity to find you (and your competitors) in lots of places now and you should have a systematic, mindful strategy to populate this information eco-system with content that will support your business objectives … and hopefully drive people back to your website. Put your information out there where the people are. Then give them a reason to go back to learn more at your website.

Let me give you a dramatic example of this in action. Recently I posted a slide deck on SlideShare for the convenience of my college students.  I went back to the site an hour later to make sure the slides had uploaded properly and 251 people had already viewed the deck.  None of them were my students, since they didn’t know about it yet!   Those 251 visitors to my deck were vitally interested in a presentation called Social Media 101 and were high potential contacts for me, right?  I added a slide at the end directing people to visit my website, blog, follow me on Twitter, etc.

Another little example: I recently gave a talk to economic development leaders and asked them what they would get if they googled their cities.  If the answer is YouTube videos of drunken conventioneers, they better get out there and populate the social web with videos that tell their story THEIR way.  If you don’t systematically populate the web with your story, you’re abdicating the brand management for your organization.

So, create and own the social footprint of your brand everywhere you possibly can … or at least to the extent that your resources can support.

Does this make sense?  What ideas do you have about this concept?

The new realities of corporate blogging

I’ve had the most fun over the last few weeks working with Billy Mitchell, Martine Hunter and the incredible professionals at MLT Creative in Atlanta preparing their company’s first major webinar.

They gave me the license to think through the implications of new research and trends on corporate blogging and it resulted in some really fresh — even controversial — myth-busting ideas.  For example, have you considered:

  • Actively selling <gasp> through your blog in a way that your customers will love?
  • Dismissing customer comments as a measure of blog success?
  • Market-segmenting your blog?
  • The two possible conditions for an active corporate blog community?
  • Why “entertainment” should be a cornerstone of your blogging strategy?

If you missed this webinar, MLT has made the entire session available by clicking HERE.

But it gets better!  MLT has also provided a free eBook on Corporate Blogging (has some different information than the webinar) which is available HERE.

There were so many questions at the end of the webinar that it will take 15 consecutive blog posts to answer them all. To see answers from see really interesting blog-related questions, visit the MLT blog over the next two weeks or so.

Many of the ideas in the webinar are against the grain of social media convention, but I think represent a realistic assessment of the role of blogging in the corporate world today.  I’d love to hear your take on what I’ve presented!

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