Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Surprise me, reinvent the brand

JCPenney announced new CEO. Photo: Vancouver, Washington store.
Mid-June, department store J.C. Penney’s announced they had captured Ron Johnson, a big-name retail strategist. Previously, Johnson had success securing both profits and positive brand-buzz for the world’s largest technology company, Apple. Johnson made it to Apple via a department store name Target.

Can an Apple guy who pinged off the bulls eye of Target combust old thinking and reinvent a department store founded in 1902?


An article by Knowledge Wharton, the business journal of the University of Pennsylvania, said JCP will need to shed an archaic image, develop a new niche and embrace mobile technology.

That sounds like a recipe for success for any business.

First, though, distinguishing the brand from other retailers that are almost mirror images of each other is demanded. How many times have you been to the mall and thought one store was as good as the next? How many department stores does a community need? Just the one with the best price? Not really. Consumers need quality balanced with price, consumers need choices, and consumers need surprises or humor to help them distinguish one brand from the next.

Distinguish your brand by being down-to-earth or out of the stratosphere. But either way surprise us.

Developing fashion channels outside the U.S. could be the next surprise from J.C. Penney’s. Delivering more advanced mobile technology than a coupon texted to a phone could be another.

There are plenty of companies like J.C. Penney’s that could use some brand exercise. To compete with online venues, many brick and  mortars need to reinvent and rejuvenate themselves. They need to think and think fast.

The question remains whether anyone of them can think fast enough and act on it within slim budgets.

Watching Ron Johnson work within the confines of a tight economy will be both educational and entertaining.

If you could shop anywhere for your next CEO  — where would you start?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The tension between friends, lunch and work

Sales staff discusses issues at lunch
There’s the people you work for, and there’s the people you work with.

Usually you spend more time with the people you work with, but those relationships usually don’t pay the bills. So, how do we balance both ends of the work-interaction spectrum?

The tension between the two reminds me of Hollie. She was hired as a category sales rep to zero in on a specific type of business, those outside of the local area. In order to create a territory for her, the manager peeled regional accounts off of everyone else’s territory, mine included, and gave them to Hollie.

No weight was given to customer-rep relationships, difficulty of customer to deal with, or how upset it made the reps losing customers, and thus taking a pay cut. In other words, fewer customers equaled lower commissions.

Needless to say, most were pissed.

After Hollie came on board, everyone realized she was a nice person and decided to make the best of it. Only Hollie put no energy into getting to know us.

People were more pissed.

“Being friends with us is not going to put food on her family’s table.” I said, as we chowed down at a Chinese restaurant, a favorite lunch spot for the gang of sales girls.

There was general disgruntlement, but it was clear, we were not Hollie’s top priority. Working hard, getting out of the office to jog, ride horses, live on a farm, enjoy her husband and her child was her focus.

Work isn’t about friends, having a good time, and creating fond memories. That is a by-product of proximity, camaraderie, friendly competition, and working towards a common goal.

Work is not about ignoring everyone else, either. But until the sales goals are met, there should probably be a lot less lunch.

Note: Hollie (not her real name) and I became friends and are still friends. We never meet for lunch (we probably should). We do cheer each other’s career changes via Facebook.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The truth about seniors, teens and the sexes online

A year ago, I wrote on the numbers of men vs. women using the Internet and the portion of men using the Internet who were not white [Are you man enough to be global].

It was an arrow aimed at a variety of assumptions that had been made in marketing circles and coffee conversations: people over sixty are not tech savvy, if you need a social media guru hire a teen, more men than women are online.

No longer an overlooked segment, seniors are now recognized as an online audience to market to. In an August 2011 report by the Journal of Information Systems Applied Research, it says that senior citizens are “rapidly growing into a major segment in the online social networking market place.” [JISAR PDF]. The report also asserts that this growing group of online users finds a wide-range of benefits including building relationships.

While technology may be enriching the lives of seniors, Sherry Turkle, Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT, says that overuse of technology stunts the emotional development of teens. Teenagers flooded with communication gadgets are, “unable to converse effectively, to develop empathy and – just as importantly – cope with being alone or with awkward social situations by ‘bailing out’ via their cell phones.” [Source]

While I subscribe to the philosophy that smart marketers will observe college students to forecast the future of entertainment industry, and thus the future of online, we should not, nor do we need to, rely on a teen to craft our company's next social media campaign.

Reality is that social media is no longer only My Space and Facebook. It is no longer considered a hobby for high-schoolers. A recent report defines it as a career with social media evangelists embedded in multitudes of companies.

As proof, take a look at the latest study by the Altimeter Group. Their report demonstrates how deep the commitment to social media runs in the corporate community. The corporations they talkied to are not mom and pops where the family’s online fanatic chains him or herself to a computer, but in corporations boasting up to 100,000 employees: 1 in 330 Employees Publishes on “Official” Social Media Accounts.

People witb skill in the social media venue can make a living at it.

No longer seeking a career, but rather relationships, senior citizens are harnessing social media as a hobby. According to the JISAR report, it is imperative for organizations to identify the emerging senior market, assess how it will affect business models and plan accordingly, “knowing who uses social networking sites and their motivations may facilitate marketing of products and services.”

Purchasing capability means power.

Or does it?

Aileen Lee, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, wrote an article for TechCrunch: Why Women  Rule the Internet. Feminist geeks took offense when she touted purchasing influence as a flag of female power. Fem-Geeks rebutted that women should be focused on creating not purchasing. “Yeah, I’m not really thrilled at being told I rule in the cutting-edge areas of shoe shopping, diapers and coupons. And I say this as someone who buys a lot of shoes and diapers,” wrote Terri in the article’s comment section.

So, women know who they are, but they don’t like it?

Lee’s article makes a case that women are better at advanced planning, care more about saving money, and are likely to listen to advice. Lee suggests businesses should take a look at their team. “Do you have women in key positions?” She goes on to say that a business can rock the world if they “figure out how to harness the power of female customers.”

Advanced planning, saving money, and the ability to take advicewouldn't that person make a good leader?

What happens if businesses harnessed the power of female employees?

Will women craft a rebuttal for that, too?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Analytics show the number one post won by one pageview

Here's a recap of our 360 Convos conversations. . .

Looking back a month, the post with the most pageviews was Addicted to technology or addicted to distraction?

This article was a mix of how women use smartphones, QR codes, and if retailers are using QR codes in a smart manner. I made the assertion that the option of using them on-site may do nothing more than discount a product a customer may have already intended to purchase.

But I failed to succinctly ask the question (I tried): why discount when the customer is ready to buy? The flubbed point proves the point that a good editor is usually not you, or in this case, me.

That post only won by a thin margin, though.

Smart is the new sexy, but is this smart?, a review of the new brand marketing for newspapers, came in second by a single page view.*

The branding for newspapers, for me, fell a little flat. In other words, you can't tell people what is sexy. They tell you. And really, I don't think the campaign will work, but I'm ready to jump on the band wagon and am trying out my new slogan:
“Read my blog--stay informed--you'll look smart--everyone will think you're sexy.”

Let me know if it works.

July 24
Addicted to technology or addicted to distraction
July 25
Smart is the new sexy, but is this smart?
July 26
Who rescues the graduates from failure?
July 27
Keyboard vs the pad, which one wins
July 28
When is it time to put the laptop to bed?
July 29
Fav quotes of the week
July 30
Tatoo artist accesses YouTube to 'game' job opportunity

*Google Analytics

In case anyone is asking, here's the blog’s QR Code:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

'Dale Chumbley' it. What I learned blogging everyday

A discussion at the office sent me on a personal trajectory to discover the answer.

I believe posting everyday, even if every post is not a home-run, builds website traffic and, as a by-product, an audience.

I didn't know the exact outcome at the beginning, but I'd seen enough analytics to believe I was right.

Yes, a level of quality needs to be established as a benchmark to evaluate success. And yes, you can summon all the research and all the yay-naysayers you can to support either side of the equation, nothing but quality, consistency is key. But if you stand on the principal that only quality should prevail, and  proceed by releasing nothing (until it's ready), that is like expecting a job offer without sending out any resumes.

Silence online means you don't exist.

Show me the perfect job
Trying to be great everyday is like trying to be the perfect parent, the perfect boss, the perfect child, or trying to create the perfect job. No one I know is perfect, and if they were, I doubt I'd like them all that much.

I like a stray hair that looks like it needs to be tucked behind an ear. A little lipstick gone awry means you're not spending all your time concerned first with self. And shoes that don't match communicate you couldn't wait to get to work and dressed in the dark. All those touches of personal human-ness breaks up our day and gives us a chance to connect on a real level. It gives us a chance to laugh at our imperfections. And we should be examining ourselves before criticizing others.

Like grandma said, “Clean your shoes before walking into someone elses house.”

Choose how you spend your time
Assemble the energy and resources to throw yourself into a project, but hold yourself accountable to the time you have at hand. Refresh yourself with a brisk 5-10 minute walk. Limit chats in the hall that take longer than a break. Invest some time to know yourself, subtract distractions and manage your pace.

At my previous management position, when I would wind up to whine about how much work I had, I would first try to ascertain how I actually spent my time. I devised an excel spreadsheet and input: email, customer interface, employee coaching, follow up with boss. While I was tracking, I became more aware of  mishandled time.

Today, resources such as RescueTime can reflect our activity more accurately than my primitive excel spreadsheet, which I could only maintain for three days. But either way, primitive or intense, track it before you weigh in on the 'I'm too busy' conversation. You may be surprised how you actually dole out your business day.

Don't hold someone else up
Is there something on your desk that someone else needs? If you are the bottleneck that creates an unnecessary emergency for the next person, get out of the way. Hack away at the stack on your desk. If a simple signature, review, 'check the box,' thumbs up or weigh in, could get the task onto someone else's desk do it. I heard that admonition in a seminar and remind myself of it constantly. I don't want to be the log jamb, and when I am, I feel bad. The lesson is to feel good by controlling your desk.

Feel good about blogging by getting those nagging items crossed off your list.

Great is the enemy of good
Does your creative output have to be perfect, or does it, right now, need to be good enough to meet a deadline or expected outcome? The answer may vary according to the project, to the assignment and to ongoing personal output. Open a dialogue with your boss on expectations and hopefully, clarity may prevail.

Give in a little bit. If your principals of perfection are getting the company no where, loosen up. Even Voltaire in the 17th Century understood that 'great is the enemy of good.'

Attempt. Proceed. Step back. Evaluate.
You'll learn something by doing, by seeking ways to become efficient. You'll hone your craft, learn shortcuts, become more efficient and increase your ability to become invaluable in the workplace. You'll learn where the sweet spot is for optimum results. Or, you'll complain about quality and artistic pursuits and how much they matter and lose your job to someone who'll figure out how to get it done.

'Dale Chumbley' it
Dale Chumbley, a Realtor® from Washington State, challenged himself to post something unique about his community EVERYDAY for a year: 365 Things to do in Vancouver Washington. Was every post high quality? Or was the man judged by the bulk of his work and the impact it made on his community and his influence thereof? The answer may lie after his adventure ended.

Chumbley received attention on Facebook, 15,000 fans, attention nationally -- invitations to speak at over a dozen seminars, conventions and workshops. Multiple news sites, Realtor resources, and  bloggers wrote about Dale Chumbley. I did a quick google check and found:



There's at least a hundred more. Someone should keep a list.

In the meantime, while you're trying to hone perfect quality, who's speeding past you?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fav quotes from my daughter
(who's embarrassing who?)

Me, a volunteer at school with duct tape to promote convos.
Since I started the Friday Fav Quotes series, I've enjoyed plucking the best from my Twitter, Facebook, and news streams to share with you. Today, I make a small departure from that format.

I'd like to celebrate the clever and delightful young woman who prances around my home masquerading as a teen, when in reality she is a wise and soulful friend.

She has three current missions:
1. Make sure I don't wear clothes to work that look like carpet
2. Feed granola bars to beggars stationed at busy intersections
    [Read Adventure Hour . . . ]
3. Say things I don't want to forget, so I write them down

She is practically impossible to embarrass and I try wholeheartedly.

Let me know if this works . . .

Aug 12
“You know, I'm a pack-rat, but I don't collect things, I collect people.” After combing through list of Facebook friends and downsizing from 600 to 300.
Aug 13
Friend: “Have you heard 60 is the new 40?”
My Daughter: “My mom is old, too.”
Aug 14
“Apparently, there is a limited number of times you can change your name on Facebook.”
Aug 15
Grandpa: “Ignoring the phone does not stop it from ringing.”
Daughter texts me: “I don't think he knows how to ignore calls.”
Aug 17
Me: “I was born to be chauffeured.”
Daughter: “You were born to walk.”
Aug 17
Me happily checking in on Foursquare
Daughter: “People know your location now. They could kill you.”
Me coming home late from the office
Daughter: “Maybe you'll divorce work!

Leave your best stuff it in the comments section. Let's share!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How blogging for 30 days in a row leads to international acclaim

360 Convos rocketed into the international scene with a featured
post on Renbor Sales Solutions' blog, a Toronto, Canada Corp.
When I embarked on my 30 Days of Consecutive Blog Posts I had no idea where I would end up. The disciplined effort to blog everyday led to local, national, and even international attention. One of the places I landed was Toronto, Canada as a featured contributor on The Pipeline, the blog of Renbor Sales Solutions, Inc.

Thank you Tibor Shanto.

People south of Canada tuned in, too. In the last two weeks alone, I received pageviews from 33 of the 50 United States: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, New York.

Do it. Figure out which ones are missing :-)

During that same time, 360 Convos also pulled in viewers from around the world including: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Lebanon, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

Some of the posts took on a life of their own and appeared in other places . . .
Dining for Women, a national giving circle empowering women in the developing world, featured the blog post: Can a good dinner change the world?

The City of Gresham picked up a post on customer service for their intranet site, which gave me the opportunity to create the post: City shares good ideas (mine).

The Customer Collective, an “editorially independent, moderated blogging community for elite sales and marketing executives,” featured four posts:

1. Interupted Internet Access Causes Depression
2. Confessions of a Social Media Strategist [A LinkedIn Nightmare?]
3. The Genius of Google +1 vs Retweeting: Casting Your Online Vote
4. Google Analytics Confirm Declines in Website Visits

Porter Anderson, a former CNN journalist, shared his laptop power with me at a Writers Conference, tweeted and emailed a link to 800 other attendees of  Words Motivate., which boasts a following of 23 million women, featured a post I wrote on a visit to the Clark County Fair, Families Disrupted by Technology.

Canadian Sales Trainer Tibor Shanto, a favorite Twitter friend @Renbor, featured one of my posts on his blog: When the customer can't be consoled...

TOP 25. The lovely Paula G, career editor for BlogHer, promoted 360 Convos as one of the 25 Career and Business Women Bloggers Worth Reading.

Today, marks the 38th consecutive post. Don't ask me if I'll keep going. I'm still deciding.

In the meantime, I'd like to quote another Twitter friend, Jeremiah Owyang. He summed up a mutual experience on his blog when he wrote, “Even the smallest thing will lead to something bigger.”

Blogging creates its own form of energy and sends you places you hadn't imagined.

Where has your blog taken you??

If you'd like to read the other posts in the blogging series, try these:

What I learned from Jeremiah Owyang
that allowed me to take down Google*

Tips for blogging everyday

Great is the enemy of good and other
things I learned from blogging

How blogging is like throwing stones

How blogging for 30 days in a row
leads to international acclaim

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How blogging is like throwing stones

Blogging is like throwing stones into a calm lake
The beginning of any journey holds the promise of surprises at each opportunity. I plunged into the lake of my journey to prove a point, that blogging everyday is like throwing a pebble in the big pond. The dropping stone creates not only a momentary splash, but like the ripple of sound waves, it rolls and swells and broadcasts its influence over what has previously been a calm surface.

The first stones I dropped were boulders. These were stories too big, too large, the pile of words rocking the boat of what I could easily manage. Then, after the big rocks, I tossed smaller ones, easy cute as a kitten fishing for goldfish sized posts that were short. Succinct. Something interesting or fun I found online that I would normally simply tweet, but instead of turning to Twitter, I married it with a couple of paragraphs of thought and published it. Nothing wrong with that. I was learning craft.

I was learning the ebb and flow of words and the time I had available.

During my consecutive blogging stint, I found the lake of concepts overstocked with ideas. They were swimming everywhere. You couldn't miss them. I cast my line of opinion into the lake, hooked a few ideas, and reeled them in. If you can fish online, you can blog. If you can stay awake for an hour before bed, you can blog.

The sweet spot for a blog post is about 500 words.The 500 word vessel is easily managed within the time allotted, it's easy to edit and easy to correct after you post it and discover, for some unknown reason, you have written a smattering of sentences that make absolutely no sense.

Sometimes to make sense of it, you need to tear it apart.

Taking one blog post and breaking it up is a great option to get the most mileage out of an idea.The post I'm writing now, was originally planned as one post. I couldn't balance all the boulders and pebbles and row across the lake, the ocean of concepts too wide, the pool of thought too deep. So I drained ideas from the first post. I bailed ideas out of the second post. I siphoned words from the third and managed a series of four. No five. Who's counting? Probably only me.

I felt ridiculously proud of my accomplishment.

I wanted to find other people paddling in the blog lake and revel in our accomplishments. I searched nearby.  Dale Chumbley, a Realtor® from Washington State, made a name for himself by posting EVERYDAY for a year. His topic was 365 Things to do in Vancouver, Washington

To uncover others, I posted a question on Quora and got this response. “You can follow the blog entries done by this man - who visited 1000 bars in 1 year (go to year 2005 and read all about it). http://thousandbars.blogs. He blogged continuously!” said Faisal Khan.

Really? Blogged about bars? Since 2005? What would you say after the first five years? “I need elbow grease and a beer. Woot. I discovered bag balm and can now raise a glass to any occasion. Bring on the new year.”

I discovered Since February 2001, Heather B. Armstrong has published more than 6,000 entries. Her claim to fame is...weird. Her blog tags include: Boobs, depression, and therapy. She also wrote the book, It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita

Hmm, I thought, maybe I should blog for 365 days. Maybe I should dooce it and go for the thousands.

I checked my temperature thinking I might be ill.

No, I realized I was insane.

Finish the thirty, revel in it, I encouraged myself. The beauty of the journey will be the journey.

I threw a few more stones in the lake and threw up a few more blog posts and experienced the ripple affect. It's incredible.

If you'd like to read the other posts in the blogging series, try these:

What I learned from Jeremiah Owyang
that allowed me to take down Google*

Tips for blogging everyday

Great is the enemy of good and other
things I learned from blogging

How blogging is like throwing stones
How blogging for 30 days in a row
leads to international acclaim

'Dale Chumbley' it. What I learned
blogging everyday

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great is the enemy of good and other things I learned from blogging

I fidgeted in the chair and reached for the cup of coffee. I took a quick sip and listened to the question. I let it hang in the space between us. I took another sip and I mulled it over. A smile snuck across my face, I settled the cup down, looked directly at the gentleman who could potentially promote me and said:

"If there are two roads
leading to my destination,

Both roads will get me to my
destination at the same time,

One is stalled in traffic,
and the other moving slowly,

I will always choose the road that is moving."

If you're moving there's hope.

I went into my 30 days in a row blogging project with the same thought. Get moving. Do it now. Maybe it won't be perfect, but the practice of contributing each day will get you closer to where you want to be.

If you're moving you may get inventive, prove you own American ingenuity and figure out a better, faster, more efficient way to get to your destination.

Luck might happen.

In my previous posts, I shared snippets of what I learned. It's not about making money, it's about moving along the path of contributing, building your brand, finding your voice. Readers will come if you add something new on a consistent basis.

I discovered I seldom sat down knowing what to write about, but the fact that I managed an editorial calendar--a semblance of a plan--gave me a place to start, a way to move into traffic, even if I was moving slowly. A certain amount of glee arose when I mangled my own calendar by moving things off and giving some a swift kick to infinity when they didn't come together as I'd hoped.


I didn't get any complaints.

I got viewers.

If you try and make a post perfect it will never happen. It's not like print, you're not sending out 50,000 copies with a blatant mistake that you'll regret and beat yourself up for. It's online. It's one page that you can edit over and over and over again. People will help you edit, they'll correct your grammar, they'll leave funny comments, you'll engage, you'll laugh and you'll be part of a virtual community.

Here's what the participating in the virtual community taught me...

Lessons Learned from Blogging:
1. Having a goal means you can measure your success
2. Having a plan, in this case a calendar, gives you direction
3. Mistakes are not forever, community will help you correct them
4. Everyday there is a new deadline
5. You have 24 hours to make the deadline

And there's plenty of do-overs. Not every post was a home run. But as a friend of mine said recently, “Great is the enemy of good.”

Sometimes when we're trying so hard to be great, to seek quality, we forget all that anyone wants from us is to be there, to be present, to be good in the moment, to be good enough. To create something today, so that we have a shot at tomorrow. And maybe, just maybe, while we're striving to be good something great will happen.

Did great things happen for me? Well, when the interview was over, I was not promoted. But the disciplined effort to blog everyday led to local, national, and even international attention.

More on that tomorrow.

If you'd like to read the other posts in the blogging series, try these:

What I learned from Jeremiah Owyang
that allowed me to take down Google*

Tips for blogging everyday

Great is the enemy of good and other
things I learned from blogging

How blogging is like throwing stones

How blogging for 30 days in a row
leads to international acclaim

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tips for blogging everyday

Keep it in motion.
Yesterday, I disclosed my genius idea to take down Google by offering free ads on my blog. The disclosure was made mid-stream on a post about choosing to be a consistent blogger.

Before I began my 'daily blogging' journey I was actually on a different path. I had planned to write a post to help other people blog. A few ideas had been percolating. The first one was to create a great check-off list from ideas I'd gleaned around the web.

Tips for Bloggers:
1. Start with clear objectives
2. Develop a strategy
3. Keep content focused on a topic
4. Have an editorial calendar
5. Measure based on objectives
6. Integrate social tools, allow logins from social networks
7. Encourage for word of mouth (WOM), integrate into all you do
8. Most effective blogs are conversational or controversial
9. Treat your site (and you) as it's own company or brand
10% for fun, stuff you ♥

I never posted my list.

I decided to live it.

My objective would be to test the theory that posting with consistency changes the world. I wasn't sure how it would change my world, but I knew that it would.

My strategy was to post for thirty days in a row. It was June 18 and that month I'd only posted sporadically. Exactly nine times. I began with earnest on July 19.

360 Convos had its incubation when I wanted to write about business topics, as opposed to blogging on fiction writing and life themes, the center point of my other website. When I was building the strategy for this daily blogging adventure for 360 Convos, I considered a wide array of topics. In staying with item three on the above list, I decided to keep the content focused on business.

I did not keep the content focused on business. (I'm practicing, not shooting for perfection). I did, however, learn a few lessons while blogging everyday:

Jot down blog ideas whenever they occur. Do not use paper for this.

The best place a blogger can jot down ideas is somewhere online. I chose a Google calendar. No, I haven't taken Google down, yet. I still find most of their products useful. In keeping with item four on the list noted above, I dubbed my Google amenity Editorial Calendar and made it public.

I wrote down measurements to evaluate my success (item 5). I integrated social media and made sure the icons were large and easy to find (item 6):

I talked about my blog (WOM). I left a screen up on my computer at work and reeled in a co-worker. I played around with style – conversational and tested controversial by using the word 'hell' in a headline. I sought a parental tone, I toyed with a touch of PR. I made a confession and made a personal disclosure that had left me dry-mouthed with guilt. I paraded a cute kitten. I preached to myself. I preached to no one else. I outed myself as a distracted parent (more than once).


I fell asleep, not just once but twice.

I treated my blogging journey as a job. I treated my blog as its own company. I integrated my online presence and it became part of my personal branding strategy.

I love to write. I had fun.

I learned that when I was clueless about what to write about, I could refer to my editorial calendar and pick up exactly where my brain had left off. I learned I was in charge of the calendar and could change it when another topic felt more important. I learned I could take on a writing assignment – I could write not just for me, but for someone else as well.

Library Director abruptly retires
after correcting 360 Convos post.
After I pulled the trigger on my starting post, Literacy is the key to the internet, I received an email. A community member chose to send me a kind note, instead of lambasting me in the comments section on my disarray of facts. (I didn't know the difference between a bond and a levy). He coached me through several re-postings, so I could be accurate, mostly.

(Thank you Bruce Ziegman).

The effort to exchange those eleven emails and set me straight, apparently taxed Ziegman beyond his literary capabilities. Two and a half weeks later, he announced his retirement. Today, August 22, is my 35th consecutive post. I have no idea who will give up and retire today because of it.

Today, is my 35th consecutive post. I have no idea who will give up and retire because of it.

What I do know is that the disciplined effort to blog everyday taught me life lessons.

More on that tomorrow.

If you'd like to read the other posts in the blogging series, try these:

What I learned from Jeremiah Owyang
that allowed me to take down Google*

Tips for blogging everyday

Great is the enemy of good and other
things I learned from blogging

How blogging is like throwing stones

How blogging for 30 days in a row
leads to international acclaim

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What I learned from Jeremiah Owyang that allowed me to take down Google*

A poignant moment spurred me to not blog about good blogging methods, but to actually practice them.

Jeremiah Owyang, web strategist.
Photo by Thomas Hawk
In 2007, Web Strategist Jeremiah Owyang posted, “Pay yourself first” and “One thing leads to another,” an encouragement for online enthusiasts to blog before they did anything else.

“When did blogging ever generate revenue?” I wondered.

I'd been blogging since January 2009, and at any one time I had two to three separate blogs bouncing along on separate topics. After almost three years of blogging, my Google Ad Sense account still only boasts a whopping $16.23 credit. That would almost buy me lunch and a coffee.

At one point, I got so mad at Google's practice of serving up my pageviews without sharing the wealth, I started a protest. I single-handily came up with the concept to take Google down.

If you're going to blog for free, I said to myself, GIVE THE ADS AWAY FREE.

On one of my blogs I added advertising for local businesses free of charge.

Google was so scared they started Google+, an ad free environment.

That money thing was intriguing though, and I kept thinking about what it meant to 'pay yourself first.' It took me awhile to figure it out. It wasn't about money, it was about mindshare and market influence.

If I were re-writing Owyang's post I would paraphrase it to read, “invest in yourself first.” I would encourage writers to do something that benefits the id, the ego and the super-ego before they attacked a single piece of email.

Jeremiah Owyang is interviewed by
Nate DiNiro on visit to Portland, OR.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Bunch, vimeo.
Let the inbox overflow, folks.

Build a blog. Add content. Add free ads. Readers will come.

As long as they find something new on a consistent basis.

Tomorrow I share tips for blogging everyday. And don't worry...Google survives.