Archive - October, 2011

Personal Communications Audit

Wow, that is a really dry title. I am going through one though. I try to go through one every other month. Personally I find that if I don’t I will begin to drift from some of my main goals. Mainly this happens because of busyness, but it can occur for many different reasons. One I see common is striving. We all fall back on some instinctual practices when it comes to business and relationships. Times are hard for everyone and I am seeing more people, as Gary Vaynerchuk would say “crushing it”. That does not mean that we have to sacrifice some of the main tenants of healthy relationship building and maintenance. Remember how you got to where you are today. Remember the friends that you made along the way. And don’t forget how much more solid your base is because you built it on solid connections. I will post later this week what I found dring my own personal communications audit. Stay tuned.

Spending Social Capital

We earn it through trust and relationships. Early on I probably spent social capital when I did not even have it, ending in a negative balance. Luckily it did not hurt me too much. We all have many causes that want our attention. We only have so much to spend though. Unlike financial wealth, it is much harder to deal with the loss of community and there is no place to go for bankruptcy. But having it also gives us influence for change. A couple of years ago Jon Dale and I were able to raise a small but significant amount of money almost over night by exercising some of our influence for change.

So how do we choose which causes to leverage our community? I think each of us have to answer a few questions before we can arrive at a decision. For me, at least right now I ask these.

1. Does my influence hold potential to really help?

2. Is this one cause relevant to my community or my core values?

Today I thought about theses two questions as well as many others when my friend Tom Davis asked me to spread the word regarding a horrible situation of human trafficking in Haiti. Tom is someone who knows these situations first hand. I trust Tom a lot. When he says the situation is dire, I believe him. I am connected to people like Tom and Jeff Power who are making critical changes in the world, a world that has a seemingly endless supply of need. People like Tom and Jeff make that change happen. That is why they can have my social capital, even if it breaks my bank.

Engage and connect over interrupt, please!

I wish that was the case when it came to big companies: Engage over interrupt. But unfortunately they still choose to interrupt us.  I am a State Farm client.  I chose them because my local agent Chris Nordyke is all about engagement.  His company though is still stuck in interrupt mode sending me snail mail that goes unopened right in the recycle bin.  Worse, they show up on sites where I am trying to

get something done.  Here is an example of an ad that wastes my time and forces me to think about becoming a customer even though I already am one.  I am trying to use the site to find a new home, so every time I visit the site the ad plays …just as if I had never been there before.  How much of their multi millions marketing budget is spent on commercial ads, mailers and gimicky campaigns like this one that could instead be driven down to agents like mine.  I can think of many ways he would readily engage his community and customer base even more with that money.  But no, they continue to interrupt us instead of treating us like people.  If it was not for the heart and people behind my local version of State Farm I would quickly move on.

You must have been thinner

Overweight man flying through the sky.


Last thursday I was washing up in a hotel lobby restroom in Seattle. At the sink was a young man probably in his early twenties shaving. Because I knew it was fashion week at the hotel I also knew he was one of the accessory male models used to accompany all the women models down the runway. As my friend Chris and I made small chat with him I joked that I used to do exactly what he was doing.  For a short time I was a runway model for similar shows while living in Austin.  He turned to me  and said “I can see that. You must have been thinner too”.  I stood there a bit taken back.  Yes I have about fifteen pounds I plan to lose.  I was never as skinny as the he and his friends. But that is not the point. He was simply being honest, not brutal or hurtful just observant and honest. On the drive back home I could not get his assessment out of my mind.  People are always avoiding things like our health choices, our bad habits and of course our weight.  We never point out that someone is making a bad business decision.  How much loss could we save those around us if we were as truthful as the young model that day? Just a thought.  I have to run now and go do stairs ;).

I might be clueless

On my trip back from Seattle on thursday night we were taking a quick break at a restaurant.  On the tv screen at the eatery was a silent image of a court room.  Someone was testifying and a defendant was sitting at the table with his legal team.  I had no idea who it was or why it was apparently important enough to be national news.  My friend Ryan informed me that it was Michael Jackson’s doctor on trail for his alleged role in Jackson’s death.  I was completely clueless on the matter and and furthermore thrilled to be.  Standing outside the popular media’s interpretation of newsworthy is refreshing.  I only have so much time to be caught up on the news that is relevant to my world.

I used to be a current events junkie.  I had to read  newspapers every morning or I felt incomplete.  At one time I had subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and the Oregonian.  I know that sounds excessive but  I was  headed toward a career in either foreign service or politics. Beyond that I wanted to keep my finger on the pulse of the world. Fortunately my plans changed.  Now I get my news mainly from you, my community (the complete discussion of how I get the news is one of my favorite posts (All the News that’s Tailored to Read).

So today I might be clueless in many subjects outside publishing, communications, connecting, video games, mobile technology and such. I think I have a lot more to offer because of it.  I still read up on some popular news but I only turn my attention to it if someone in my network makes a compelling mention about.  Are you making it a goal to be clueless?