Jab It! A Review of JJJRH

I actually did say that (Jab It) to a friend recently who is building his online presence and engaging his growing tribe. Those who have read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It will be very familiar with his iconic words used to remind his audience to throw their best effort in building a business, brand and influence. In other words, Crush It.

In Gary’s new book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook (JJJRH), he has the voice of someone who has been through the startup phase, the middle of tasted success and is now on the top with a hand down to those who follow in his incredible path. In Crush It, he came at the reader with a fervor and near maniacal energy of a man on a rant. (he actually dictated the whole book!)  In JJJRH Gary has slowed down to an even pace of someone who has made many right moves but also plenty of mistakes. There is a humbleness and seasoned approach here that stands out. That is truly new. And if you have ever watched his Wine TV, you know the man has plenty to say and the energy to sustain it. And please don’t read that wrong. I attribute Crush It to being one of the main forces that got this blog through 5 years and over 200 hundred posts. It was an incredible manifesto. I have referred back to it many times.

gvpromo2013JJRH is a brilliant look at not only the uniqueness of social media and its growth to becoming a standard for any brand, but also in Gary’s call for the reader to never get too settled on any method or assumption when it comes to an audience or a tribe.

The first section dives into how JJJRH is a compilation of all things good in his first two books, Crush It and The Thank You Economy as well as new insights, mainly on how to not just survive but thrive on the leading edge of an ever changing horizon of social engagement.  For me being able to immediately apply something I gained from a book is one of the best signs of value.

I lead a team of relationship ninjas at Saddleback Leather Company. In the past year we have branched out into new social platforms. We already knew that each one needed to be approached carefully with sensitivity to how the people on those platforms speak, share and operate. Gary’s guidance on how to do that well is first class. The meat of the book dives into the biggies with dedicated chapters for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. There are also forward looking treatments on emerging networks as well.

A good look at JJJRH means you will have everything to plan your next move. I highly recommend it to CEOs and those in the social trenches.

It Takes Tact

Have you had a conversation that went really well or an ask that was warmly received? I bet you used tact as part of your approach. You might not have even realized it.

In connecting so much of the outcome involves the very first actions. Even before those actions we can prepare ourselves with a proper mind set that leads to tact.

Webster defines tact as “the ability to do or say things without offending or upsetting other people. A keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense.” My favorite is the last one, “sensitive mental or aesthetic perception”.

I asked several friends what words came to mind when they thought of the word tact. Here are some of them:




-Just like we teach our kids, listen more than speak.




-Listen first


-Lack of tact

-Be considerate of other’s time


-Slow to speak

-Tact vs. authenticity

-Bring life

-Tact is moot if you’re really connected.

-Be silent

-Less words



From the responses I would say everyone both wants tact and appreciates it when others use it.

All of these words are reflections of mindfulness. They reflect the actions of a good listener. Someone who is not rushed. They are characteristics of people who are outward focused.

I think this will be a fun book chapter to write.

133 Email Drafts

How mindful are you with your communication? My friend Peter Biddle a couple days ago noticed a detail of my professional life in an Instagram picture I shared. He commented “133 emails in your drafts folder? Do you ever hit send?”

discardThe answer is yes. I hit send all day long. But more than that I pause before sending even the shortest email. It has become a habit of mine to re-read each sentence before launching a message out into someones inbox. Most I do send. Often, I ditch it and call the person, write a quick text or delete the draft.

My step dad once told me that he thought about everything he said to someone once before letting the words cross his lips. He had a filter that would judge the worthiness of his speech. His practice wasn’t hesitation, double mindedness or indecision, it was great wisdom.

One of the best ways I have found to connect with someone is to learn how they communicate naturally, how they preferrer to communicate and most of all being present and mindful.

Mindfulness is a casualty of our current age. Busyness defaults to hasty words, disengaged hearts and rudeness.

Some of those 133 drafts were extremely long emails. In many of those cases I realized that there is no way I would be able to take the time and read through it myself. Why should I expect the recipient to read it. A phone call or in-person meeting would be much more appropriate.

To end this I thought Tiffany Shlain’s short film on tech etiquette she published this week would sum it up well. Check it out. My favorite was the section on email.

Oh and Peter, I deleted those drafts to make room for more. ;)

1000 More

I have published over 200 posts (a few others on others sites as well) all about human connection since November 2008. I took Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice in his book Crush It and focused on something I could easily write 1,000 posts on (he actually said 500 but I like

photo (1)

the idea of 1,000). So really I am just getting started. But before I write more I want to know what you would like to read. What subjects on human connection do you want explore? These have everything to do with the technology we use to connect, how we do business, the impact our marriages have on the world, how we raise our children and the  art we create.

So please leave a comment telling me what I have missed or send me a note on my contact page. Let me know if you want to write something about connectedness. Thanks!

Willfully Ignoring Inputs

In Steve Jobs’ Biography Walter Isaacson writes “as usual, he was good at willfully ignoring inputs that he did not want to process”.  We all find ourselves here. For Jobs, it was a big one. He was diagnosed with cancer. It was early enough to possibly cure.

inputThese inputs show up most in our relationships. As we connect, work and create we expose the weakest parts of ourselves. Have you ever wanted to hang up on someone? Has a conversation left you red faced? If so you have experienced an input.

Like a chemical reaction, change takes place and we are never the same again. We have a choice each and every-time it happens. We can embrace the often painful experience that can make us flinch, letting it run its course. We choose to address the input and grow.

We can also choose to ignore.

“As usual, he was good at willfully ignoring inputs that he did not want to process”.

There is no softening this. It is one of the hardest things we can ever  choose to do. What lies on the other side of it is humility, intimacy and vulnerability.

Best of all we connect at  a deep part with those around us. We learn and we love. Most of all we change and grow.


He turns 13

Even though I have known it has been approaching, my son’s 13th birthday has really taken me by surprise. It has also made me think about how the most important connections we make are with those we are closest with.

On October 24th 2000 my life changed so much.  I will never forget the love I felt for him the second the doctor handed him to me. His birth was not at all how we had planned. Kristine’s pregnancy was healthy but we got those surprising words “surgery” when we were expecting a normal delivery. He had to be rushed into intensive care immediately. The doctor honestly briefed us that he would be fighting for his life every minute of first week. On a lone drive back to our house that week a rush of emotions hit me like I had never experienced before.  I knew that if my boy pulled through I would do everything in my power to be the best dad he could possibly have.

photoAll these years later he has grown into one of the most caring and smart people I know. He has taught me to slow down and enjoy nature when life gets too busy. He regularly stands up for anyone being left out or bullied. And now he is teaching me all about physics.

But as I think about all that is ahead of him in his teens, his 20s, 30 and beyond I can only reflect back on that moment alone in my car. No one really knew if he would live. I had spent hours next to him praying and hoping for the best.

But now I know the most valuable thing I have is my connection with him. I know that it is often just my presence at the right times that matter most. Knowing I am there or available when he needs me has proven to be the difference between success and failure so many times.

So today he is healthy, strong and no where near as delicate as he was that frightful first week. I still have that deep heartfelt commitment to be the best for him.

You can connect with August on many subjects from art, physics, space and time travel or lighter matters like Dr. Who on his blog at www.augustbergquist.com

Happy birthday son!

Are you gushing over?

I had just sat down to lunch after a morning of biking up the steep roads and narrow streets of Guanajuato, Mexico. I was very hungry. I was also thrilled to know we would be eating some great cafe food. In front of me was a plate of wonderful local tacos and quesadillas. That alone was enough. But then it all changed for the better. fullWhat was missing was my favorite mexican sauce. Before I could ask for it a big bucket, (yes bucket), of tomatillo verde sauce was placed on the table equipped with a cup sized serving ladle. I had more than enough to make my meal complete.

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”  – Socrates

In connecting we do our best work when we are doing it from a place of abundance. The opposite is true when we are busy and stressed. Socrates said “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” Just like the sauce on the table, where I had more than enough to make my meal perfect, when my cup is full I notice more about others, I feel energized to get to know people. We only get there from guarding our time, resources and above all else, our hearts. Second we get there by filling up on things that replenish and equip us.

Are you gushing over with abundance for others?


We see them as we are

We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are. -The Talmud.

I read that yesterday morning in Brian Solis’ latest book. The wisdom in this simple statement has been something I have been reflecting on a lot lately. We don’t see things, people, events the same way as we would have a year ago or even a week ago. We were different people then. Our perspectives, intuitions, interpretations are always changing as we change.

oldhandsThere is a scene I love in Robert Redford’s film and adaptation of Norman Maclean’s book A River Runs through it. Norman in his sage years is on his beloved Big Black Foot struggling to tie a fly on his line. The film begins with this scene and sets the stage for the whole story.

“Long ago, when I was a young man, my father said to me, “Norman, you like to write stories.” And I said “Yes, I do.”

Then he said, “Someday, when you’re ready you might tell our family story. Only then will you understand what happened and why.”

The people we meet and the experiences we have are going to be far from things we completely understand today. But that is ok. The pressure is off. Really we just need to be present in the moment. It doesn’t mean we can stop learning and growing. It just means that there is always more than we can ever imagine still to be discovered in those around us. And that is pretty exciting. Like Norman, some day we will understand. Until then we get to dig in and explore. Who will you look at differently knowing there is way more to them than you could ever imagine….today?

Orange Juice and Coffee

It is interesting what makes us think of friends. This morning I sat down in Mel’s Dinner in the South of Market area of San Francisco. I ordered an orange juice and coffee. When it arrived I just looked at it and instantly thought of my friend C.C. Chapman.

You see, he once in a while posts pics of his own breakfast (orange juice and coffee). And it has become something that makes me smile when I see his posts. We all have our habits, little things that make our actions our own or a trademarked look. Often it takes some noticing to see them in others. But seeing sets us apart from many people (I think a majority).

When we pay attention we can easily see the things that make a person unique, one of a kind. It makes our connections rich and abundant. Take some time today and watch your friends. Take a few mental notes on the things you see. Then watch for things that bring that person to mind. It will make you smile and look forward to the next time you see them.

First in line

This was a week of firsts for our family. Kristine became a high school teacher after a long career of k-8. Our kids started new grades. What really struck me was how well they all navigated the changes. Everyone came back with great stories. They also embraced the weeks events with an attitude of adventure. This has been a common theme lately for us. You can read more about that on our family blog. 

How often are you first in line during change? I naturally think of connecting with others. Are you the first to risk and help someone in need? Are you first to greet the new person at work? Do you go out of your way to shake someone’s hand or put your shyness aside and risk connecting with a stranger when thrown into a unfamiliar situation?

This summer I took this picture shown here. The little girl was first in line to play a scrappy game of baseball. She and her classmates had no idea how to play the game. That did not stop her from volunteering. I love the look on her face. Was she scared? Of course she was. But she was also very brave.


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