Friday, September 30, 2011

Fav quotes and nosey, old men

Thumbs up from the guy spying on my work at the coffeeshop
Sunday last week, I enjoyed the company of many Starbucks' customers and one that enjoyed everything on my laptop.
Here's the rest of the week's favorite quotes. Enjoy!

Found Quote
Sep 23
“Jury duty today. So far... zzzzzz.” Anonymous (I don't rat on my friends)
Sep 24
“The thing is, you don't actually NEED to know how to crochet. You NEED to know how to drift, escape handcuffs, and swordfight.” Bill Cameron.
Sep 25
“The Gentleman next to me at coffee shop is snooping on my screen. I am especially interesting to nosey, old men.” Carol Doane
Sep 26
“HAPPY B-Day, kiddo.” Mom of a great kid :-)
Sep 27
“Don't copy your competition because they are probably doing it wrong.” Jimmy Mackin, on the worst mistakes you can make on Facebook.
Wed, Sep 28 “I know I'm a little late to the game but I've become a fan of The Big Bang Theory.” Karen Kuzmack.
Thur, Sep 29 “Arrrrr. 'Twas a successful catarrrract surgery. It'll be sad to lose the eyepatch, though.” Steve Woodward.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mid-year editorial calendar

Old fashioned way to keep a calendar, now we Google it.
In July, I went on record as posting my editorial calendar. No longer a hodge-podge, grab bag of blog posts, 360 Convos was officially a calendar referenced mish-mash.

It was an ad hoc affair, everytime I read something of interest, instead of posting it to Twitter, I threw the link in my Google Calendar as an event, forgot about it until it was time to write a post.

Thus began my adventure to post everyday.

On the pre-eve of October, I thought I'd draw attention to this successful strategy to keep the blog tumbling along. I've taken on assignments as eagerly as I've handed them out. I've detoured assignments when something better came along. I let my other blog on writing and life languish to really gear up 360 Convos. The results? I wrote about that, too, albeit a tad tongue in cheek in, How blogging for 30 days led to international acclaim.

So, now it's time for a few heartfelt thank-you's.

Cheers, to everyone who has successfully blogged more than 30 days consecutively.

Cheers, to everyone who has experimented with more than one blog.

Cheers, to everyone who reads blogs.

But especially, cheers to everyone who stops and takes the time to write a comment.

That's the real payoff for a blogger.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Newspapers' collaspse reported by insiders, the cut that keeps bleeding

There's a group of people in the neighborhood discussing what it means to be a newspaper. The print vehicle, which currently experiences downward pressure on doorstep distribution, and the electronic version that competes with every other website in the information arena, bobble along searching for identity.

During the identity crisis, the dueling concepts of newspaper—print or online—occasionally sound like children asking, "Are you my mother?"

Except it sounds a lot like, "Are you my audience?"

What does it mean to try and keep a toe-hold in the current disrupted, disloyal marketplace? How does it affect your business model, your view of life, and the life expectancy of your job?

At the first sign of business distress, watchful employees will administer an online search of available jobs. Instead of finding comfort, Google produces an intense list of newspapers that have executed layoffs.

Another looming list appears when the eager inquirer searches for newspapers that have recovered from the economic crisis. 'Newspaper reorganization' produces items such as:
Baltimore Sun offers employee buyouts
Chicago Tribune trims staff
Newsroom staff cut by 25% (or more)
Calista Corp liquidates six newspapers
Gannet lays off 700
. . . and on, and on.

To adjust the toe-hold on the changing landscape, some newspapers have drifted from full disclosure to less than robust reporting, Inquirers now must rely on competing media outlets to post the behind the scenes events:
The Oregonian admits to more layoffs
Dozens laid off
Photography and sports departments cease to exist
Star confirms 52 laid off.

The business model has morphed. A little scandal now flavors the mix. Read Guardian Broke the News of the World Hacking Scandal and Santa Barbara News-Press Found Guilty of Multiple Labor Violations and you've got a tangled mess of journalistic pursuits.

More disruptions by the minute.

The reports from the newspaper industry get pushed deeper into the void because non-disclosure agreements buy silence as a condition of severance pay. Sub-industries have formed to bring clarity to newspaper staffers, as well as others in the community who care about what is happening. An intriguing site called Paper Cuts is found at the URL

Site owner Erica Smith, a currently employed newspaper multimedia producer (and print designer), tabulates the job cuts. She started her list in 2007. She moved the stats to a blog in 2008, and at the end of 2010 determined the total exceeded anyone's expectations.

Mid-August, Ericia Smith gave 360 Convos a recap of the situation:

2007: 2,293+ (not the complete year; project started mid-year)

2008: 15,993+

2009: 14,797+

2010: 2,907+

2011: 2,988+ so far

Total: 38,978+ reported layoffs and buyouts.

"I'll be adding more tonight."
And the bleeding goes on.

If you were handed a newspaper company, with the current business model, current marketplace and current life expectancy of the job, would you buy billboards and pass out flyers like the guild trying to save the Chicago Star?

Or would you try something else in this disrupted, disloyal marketplace?

Relevant links:

Twitter: @newscuts

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Social media central drawn in a real life perspective

An engaging graphic, released recently by Column Five Media, illustrates what social media networks would look like if they were actually real life. Imagine online as an apartment complex and each apartment as a different social site,It may look something like, "What if social media sites were your neighbors?"

I'm wondering how they'd draw my blog, 360 Convos. A table of analytics with little crowns on the best days? A web of intertwining thoughts, an assembly line of sweet and sour topics. A thought bubble of what I'm thinking, but not saying . . .

What's your guess?
(to enlarge click image)
Social Media in Real Life

Embed the above image on your site

Infographic by: Column Five Media

Monday, September 26, 2011

Groupon loses best bargain to Google

I've mentioned Groupon in three different articles:

Jul 22, 2011
"Focus on what is truly important or else we'll lose sight of what matters." A quote from Augie Ray about Groupon earning a billion dollars and losing half of it. 360 Convos: "Forgot passWARD?" and other quotes.

Aug 02, 2011
"Shoppers will be encouraged to bundle their purchases, but fresh off the Groupon tide, they will shop for sport, hunting for low ticket items—or value packages—to fulfill pent up anxiety of not spending during bad economy." 360 Convos: 'Preductions' the art of predicting the known.

Aug 04, 2011
"56% of Americans check online news daily, and the remaining 44% check Groupon." 360 Convos: The Flipside of the news .

Giorgiadis, short stint at Groupon
Today, 360 Convos gives you the fourth reference to Groupon. After five months, the COO of Groupon, Margo Georgiadis, quit and went back to Google.

Those weighing in surmise "skepticism of the company's business model."

As the business community continues to second guess Georgiadis' decision and the reasons behind it, I'd like to cut to the chase. It only took Georgiadis five months to figure out what I knew all along.

Groupon is no place for smart people.

A retailer or service company cannot run a successful business model on the idea of anesthetizing the consumer to price. Consumers need to believe in the value of the product or service they are receiving. Employees need to see the value beyond the big paycheck they may have been wooed with. They need to see the value in the company,

Shed the focus on price. Sell the value.

Or, like Google does, give everything away free, and sell the consumer.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Analytics puts the week in dead heats

Sundays, we look back through the 360 Convos lens, approximately four weeks back, to see how the posts did for a two week period.* It's not an exact science, after all, the Sunday post could potentially have more play than the others, so take everything with a grain of the proverbial salt, my favorite mineral.

The week of August 21, was a great week for the blog. It was a dead heat for first place between Tips for blogging everyday and Jeremiah Owyang helps me take down Google.

Everyone survived: me, Jeremiah and Google.

The dead heat continued into second place between my daughter, who's famous for keeping me in line with her quips–which I dutifully write down in a little blue notebook so I can remember what the heck I was laughing about, pulled in one more page view than Great is the enemy of good. The enemy piece was a thought process of finding the balance between productivity and the quality we yearn for in our projects.

I'll take the one page my daughter's piece had that pulled it out in front as a sign I'm barely ahead of average on parenting skills. Like the wise people say, "You don't know how well you did as a parent until you meet your grandchildren."

I can wait.

Here's where it gets interesting, the first two posts pulled into 38% of the pageviews, the next two posts pulled in 30% of the pageviews, the next three the last 32%. An even week, where it was hard to truly determine what dominated.

I continue to search for the balance between good blogging, feeding the audience and balancing my time.

Try that for one day.

Sunday What I learned from Jeremiah Owyang that allowed me to take down Google*
Monday Tips for blogging everyday
Tuesday Great is the enemy of good and other things I learned from blogging
Wednesday How blogging is like throwing stones
Thursday How blogging for 30 days in a row leads to international acclaim
Friday Fav quotes from my daughter (who's embarrassing who?)
Saturday 'Dale Chumbley' it. What I learned blogging everyday

*Source: Google Analytics.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The new black: Blackity-Black-Black

Photo: Centers for Disease Control, public domain.
Sometimes, at work, I'm presented with dilemmas which require a great deal of perspicacity. In fact, it isn't unusual for a group of us to skip our break and gather around a desk and brainstorm. It is hard work, but someone has to do it.

Yesterday I placed an order for some black material. You'd think that would be simple.

It wasn't.

This morning, the supplier wanted to know if I wanted black, or black/black.

"What is the difference?" I asked.

"Well, there is black, but the black/black is darker than the black," she explained.

"What could be darker than black?" I asked.

"Black/black is darker than black."

"Black/black isn't even a color," I accused. "Black/black is someone just saying black twice."

I could hear a pen tapping on the other end.

"I mean," I said, "you don't say blue/blue is darker than blue. You say navy blue is darker than sky blue, or periwinkle blue, or robin's egg blue. You don't just say there is blue, and there is blue/blue."

I heard a sigh. "Black/black is very black, darker than regular black."

"So what is the name of this black? It has to have a name. Is it end-of-the-world black? Or black-hole black?"

"Hmmm." I could hear her shuffling papers, as if she were looking at the data sheet. "It doesn't have a name other than black/black."

"Well, I think we want the black. But I'll check with the project manager, just in case we want the black/black."

I checked with both project managers and the document control person. This required some brainstorming and research, but it turned out we wanted the black, mostly because it was less expensive than the black/black, and more readily available.

But, it still concerned me that the manufacturer had not given the black/black a name. I mean, really. Would anyone say, "I'd like of can of gray/gray" in the Home Depot paint section?

Naturally, when I sent our supplier our answer, I also passed along this list to give to the manufacturer, as possible names for the black/black.

1. Zombie Black
2. Deep Space Black
3. New Moon on a Cloudy Night Black
4. Black Widow Black
5. Void Black
6. Absence-of-Light Black
7. Witch Hat Black (offered by Tami)
8. Doomsday Black (offered by Angela)

And what if we wanted a color darker than black/black? I offered this possibility:

1. Blackity Black Black

By the way, the above picture was taken by James Gathany and downloaded from Wikimedia commons with this note attached: This image is a work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, taken or made during the course of an employee's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

Glad they are watching out for us. Looks like their job is as difficult as mine.


Editor's Note: The supplier has become used to dealing with Melanie Sherman, and no one was hurt during the course of the above conversation. And, of course, thank you Melanie Sherman for sharing your post.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fav quotes and a kitty on the math quiz

This week's discovery was a clever writer, Randal Houle, who gave us a couple of howls with the tweets about his son, including the one where Houle discloses that his kid drew Godzilla destroying some buildings on a test AND GOT FULL CREDIT!

Get full credit for your best quotes -- send 'em on in to 360 Convos. We're 'quoting' every Friday.

Here's our favorite quotes from the past seven days . . .

Sep 16
Twitter “It only takes having 12 crazy kids in my house to make me so thankful for my small family #happybirthdaykids,” Cheryl Bledsoe, celebrating the small things.

Sep 17
Twitter “My son wasn't sure about his answer on a math quiz, so he just drew a picture of a cat.” Randal Houle.
Sep 18
Twitter “Know artists by the pen marks on their hands and paint covered clothing. We're not dirty, just afraid to throw inspiration away.” @Schoolbound, from where apples get wet.
Sep 19
Blog“The beauty of community doesn't require any special skill,” Laura Baverman (@laurabaverman)
Sep 20
Twitter“Why is coffee addictive? Because the coffee bean has a distinctive aroma that makes you forget how painful it is to be awake.” @Schoolbound.
Wed, Sep 21 Twitter “I got up this morning, turned off my alarm clock, circled the bed once and crawled back under the warm covers. #thankGodformoms. Schoolbound, from where apples get wet.
Thur, Sep 22 Twitter “Oh, to write on the novel or the new script? I like to dabble in too many things.” PL Anne Anderson, covering the gamut of a writers dilemma.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is Kindle the life raft of newspapers?

The newspaper built its reputation by writing the equivalent of a novella every day, printing it while we slept and delivering it to our door by the time we turned on the morning coffee pot.

Now, paper--as in the paper product--feels either like a luxury we can't afford, due to the cost of the tree it takes to print it, or the whole idea of a printed newspaper feels old-fashioned.

Fewer of us want an information push. We want information customization.

Fewer of us want to read a report of what happened at a meeting (read the minutes of any board meeting). We don't want verbatim, we want to know what it means.

Newspapers are both the most objective voice in the community, and at the same time they harbor some of the most cynical (flip to the opinion section, or have a beer with a reporter).

Newspapers have the greatest reach in the community, bar none, and they are losing audience for the print product at a steady, tumbling pace that probably hasn't hit rock bottom.

That makes newspapers the biggest loser. On TV that makes you a winner. In real life, well, that remains to be seen.

For an industry that hasn't changed all that much in the last 400 years, with the exception of the entrance of the Internet, I wonder what would happen if tomorrow the paper wasn't delivered to my door. Would I be able to figure out where to buy groceries, where to eat for lunch, what's playing at the movie, what the next workshop at city hall is about, when the school board meets.

I wonder for about two seconds, because, of course, I can find all that information online.

What would happen if the newspaper was delivered, not to my doorstep, but to my Kindle? Would I feel differently about the newspaper, would I read it differently, would I connect with it differently, would I pass it along as easily as I forward an online link or place an open newspaper section on someone's desk?

In July, Geeky Gadget reported that "Amazon’s Kindle App now offers 100 newspaper and magazine subscriptions."

Is this the last throws of a drowning man splashing in the Internet pool, or a way for consumers to highlight, tag, and archive the content they want?

I wonder.

What are the top three newspaper publication dates that you would keep on your Kindle? 9/11, Obama Wins, the article of your kid?

Let me know -- I'm pondering at the crossroads.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mobile payments: the money is stuck in my phone

I worked with a fellow who balked at creating a gmail account because he didn't want too many passwords out there (here's the post).

"It puts my bank account in danger," he explained.

My guess is, he still uses his cell to make phone calls.

My other guess is that the rest of us use our cell phones to check our gmail, listen to music, google the earth, check on our blogs, our twitter, our foursquare, our LinkedIn, our fitness plan, our stock prices, jot notes to ourselves, and record a voice message.

I shudder to think what my former co-worker will do when he discovers he will be making payments via his mobile phone.

According to a post on the Reflections of a Newsosaur, phones will replace currency and credit cards.

"It’s not a matter of if, but when," says Alan D. Mutter.

"The check's on the phone," we'll promise creditors.

During their follow up contact we'll swear, "We got disconnected before I could complete the transaction!"

If you lose your phone, as I did recently, and thank you Stephen King for it's safe return, you'll be making payments with what? Cash? The importance of the receipt will rise and bury us in unneeded slips of paper. We'll have to prove we paid that bill in cash with another piece of paper. Or, a scan of a piece of paper.

We will no longer have credit reports, we'll have phone numbers that denote our status of good payers. It will morph to our 'phone-it-in' score. A good score will make our KLOUT rise along with our perks of unnecessary offers.

We'll be drowning in credit-connectness, personal QR codes based on our ability to pay, finance, float or dodge. Our phones will act as personal transponders that open doors, gates and bridges.

Waving our phone at someone will be an honor of respect and will probably leech a few dollars out if we shake it too hard.

Google will be our new bank.

And you thought gmail would always be free.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Three things to shake office dread

8 a.m. Frustration.
Commitment sieved through pursed lips.
5 p.m. Despair.

When the day begins with dread is it time to look for a new job?

When the boss is the one who doesn't 'get it' is it time to look for a new job?

When the career would be perfect except for the pay, the co-workers, the meager or missing benefits is time to look for a new job?

Yes. Yes. And Yes.

It is always a good idea to know what else is out there. It doesn't hurt to keep your interview skills sharp. It is a killer plan to continue to seek new connections.

Then again, it might be prudent to try and salvage present circumstances.

1. What is sitting on your desk right now that is unfinished, that someone else is waiting on, that is annoyingly urgent to the other department and absolutely not important in the big scheme of things to you?

Dust a little of the dread off and get that thing off your desk. Whatever it takes. Make a commitment to yourself that by the end of the week it will be gone.

2. What has been rumbling through the halls that you love to gossip about, that makes you feel better for the 60 seconds you take to gripe about it and then gives you that ever slight tinge of guilt because what you said wasn't really all that nice?

Next time it comes up. Walk away.

3. What have you sensed coming that you detest, it gives you stress thinking about it, you and your co-workers are certain it will tow the company straight to the poor house and you've been digging your heels in ever since it was first mentioned?

Get on board now.

Q: How do you know when it's time to move on?

A: When you can't do numbers one through three. When you believe the problem is everywhere else. When your mind is closed to new ideas, concepts, and you have names behind the scenes for all of them.

If your job is not revving you up. Pretend until it does.

It could be all about them.

It could be.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tall book critic prefers short novels

The Northwest is rife with readers, writers, and those of authority called published authors.

Besides the obvious college and adult education classes, there are more than a dozen organizations, clubs and bookstores with monthly events aimed at improving the craft of writing and getting that writer promoted to published status.

Being published is not the end of the journey, though. Before the book is hot off the press or fresh from the Internet, the job of marketing ensues. Blogging, social media forays, speaking engagements, workshops, and waiting with tying fingers crossed for the platinum review keeps the author on a virtual roller coaster.

A balding, unassuming, yet tall, man can make that roller coast ride worth it or almost worth it.

Jeff Baker, The Oregonian’s book editor, launched the fifth season of the Northwest Author Series hosted by the Wilsonville Public Library and The Friends of the Wilsonville Public Library. Baker told the audience, which consisted mostly of writers and subscribers to The Oregonian, that he weighs the merits of a bad review against the benefit of introducing Oregonian readers to a book they might actually buy. Baker believes there’s got to be a good reason for a bad review.

“Sometimes I pick up stuff I don’t like,” he said. When that happens, “Let ‘em have it, but don’t be mean.”

Baker writes the reviews, writes and features, assigns everything else, and edits while blogging and tweeting and juggling an ever constricting budget. If one reviews the comments left on the online site it would appear to be a thankless job.

The upside for Baker is that he gets to choose what he wants to read and farms out the rest to freelancers who write 500 word reviews for about 30 cents a word. When his budget is depleted (hello, December!) he pulls stuff off the wire.

Baker receives about 500 books a week. That equates to an hour a day of unpacking and organizing before one book spine gets cracked and perused for possible review. Those most likely to be chosen for one of the five weekly review slots include local authors, books that have a Northwest setting, or authors booked for a local appearance.

Baker offered his insight on how to write a review offering this short list:
1. What’s the book about
2. Do you like it
3. Why
4. Include a quote.
“You want to give people a feel of the writing style,” he said.

Currently, Baker is reading Hemmingway’s Boat, by Paul Hendrickson which he will review soon. Expect a very positive review. Other authors he mentioned included graphic novelist Craig Thompson, Karl Marlantes who wrote Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, and Justin Torres with his 144 page book “We the Animals.”

You can judge a book by its cover, says Jeff Baker, and you can also judge it by its page count.

“250 pages is better than 500 anytime.”

Upcoming events for the Northwest Author Series

The Northwest Author Series takes place at the Wilsonville Public Library once a month on these Sundays, 3:30 p.m. DIRECTIONS

October 23
Emily Chenoweth, Memoir or Fiction? Make The Most of Your Choice

December 4
Christina Katz, The Writer's Workout: Whip Your Literary Ambitions Into Shape

January 29
Karen Karbo, Passions Into Paychecks: Make A Living Without A Brand

February 26
Bill Johnson, A Story Is A Promise: The Essential Elements of Storytelling

March 18
Pamela Hill Smith, For The Love of Research: How To Write Biography

April 15
Kevin Sampsell, The Book World: From Reader To Published Author

May 6
Heather Vogel Frederick, Much Ado About Middle Grade: Mastering Setting, Character & Plot

The Northwest Author Series 
Wilsonville Public Library
8200 SW Wilsonville Road
Wilsonville, OR  97070

Sundays 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Analytics reveals stranglehold of email: it's hell

Sundays, 360 Convos reviews our conversations. It’s a 360 snapshot that looks back approximately four weeks and captures how the posts did for a two week period.*

The week of August 14, the post with the most pageviews was Email hell, struggling with the inbox. This piece talked about letting go of the stranglehold of email.

Giving up email for one day has its upside and downside. The post recommended not taking on everyone else's problems, but prioritizing your own tasks, and taking action before opening up the inbox.

The post did not disclose the hell that that one day created for me with the backlog of unanswered email.

I continue to search for the answer, the quick fix, the nirvana of email dominance.

I continue.

Second place post addressed negotiating without arguing.

Try that for one day.

Sunday The times that define us and the media we use to survive them
Monday New psychology of negotiating: never argue
Tuesday Take charge and take five
Wednesday Email hell, struggling with the inbox
Thursday Animals in the backyard, which one would you choose?
Friday Fav quotes of the week and maybe too much coffee
Saturday Would you like to clean up your desk, or would you like me to?

*Source: Google Analytics.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Success is a squirrel, a beaver and a goose away

The employees believe the boss doesn't understand. The boss believes the employees don’t understand.

Neither ‘side’ sees the point of wasting time on the other’s project.

Perfect setup for work conflict.

How do we get ourselves in a position to understand each other and be better aligned when it comes to core values, shared vision and goals?

Recently, someone shared a book with me by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles, Gung Ho! Turn On the People in Any Organization.

The story is about a young woman who basically tells the emperor he has no clothes – she writes a report disclosing that the boss’ plan is wasting a million dollars annually. As a reward for her fine report, she is sent to manage the worst production plant in the system, which appears to be the boss’ exit strategy for her.

She’s bright. In hours she figures out which department is leading the company in efficiency and maneuvers to discover their secret. The man heading up the department is a Native American who has taught his staff lessons from Nature. She falls in eager to be his student, adopts his practices and broadcasts them throughout the company.

This saves the plant, saves her job, and saves the town.

Can it be that simple? Sure. To back up that assessment Amazon has over 100 positive book reviews.

The book offers an easy 1-2-3 summary at the back that notes that the leader chooses the goal, defines the job and employees succeed when they share the goal and understand they are making a difference not only in the company, but in the world, and they receive heavy doses of praise.

The caution is that the goal may not be adopted by the employees. It’s a hurdle any business faces, not everybody thinks the same way.

In this day of bad economy, layoffs and bankruptcies, I would add, when the job appears, say "send me." Even if it’s something you don’t want to do. Learn quickly, be resourceful, don’t upset the canoe stepping in, and paddle the same direction as the boss.

Today, there are fewer and fewer resources for any of us to do our jobs. From employees inside our company to the customers we serve, everyone is asked to do more with less. Getting the end result that saves the company, saves the career and saves the town is a squirrel, a beaver and a goose away if you read Gung Ho.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fav quotes and Melanie Sherman's brain cells

A good blogger will make you think.

A great blogger will make you laugh.

Melanie Sherman delivers every time. Her post this week took us straight into the brain.

"It is said we only use 10% of our brain. I like to think of that 10% as a thriving metropolis, like New York City (and I'm the mayor). But as in NYC, there are brain cell murders going on, and drive-by shootings by the "Stress Gang." So if I started getting low on virtual memory, why wouldn't I get on and order some new cells from the suburbs of my brain (the 90%) that aren't being used, to be delivered into my memory center in the heart of my city? I mean, really, what are those brain cells in my suburbs doing, anyway?
So I did a little research and found out the brain cells I'm not currently using are all part of a National Park System in my brain, and they cannot be used for any other purpose. My brain is made up of 10% city, and 90% National Park." From Meanderings of Melanie.
Let's get out into the park service and collect our brains, and here's my favorite quotes of the week!

Sep 9
Twitter “I thought I was an only child, but it seems I have a sister.” Bill Cameron, objecting.

Sep 10
Facebook OH (overheard) by Ken Bilderback: “We didn’t make whiskey, and they didn’t milk cows.” 
Sep 11
(Drawn. Not spoken). Original artwork from David Speranza, deaf cartoonist living in Vancouver. His work debuted here.
Sep 12
Stories Matter“Write a book about idealism clashing with reality and the need for both to be present in our lives.” Chris Martin. [Amen]
Sep 13
Twitter“OH by @TheClassicCarol: Nixon was the original Palin.”
Wed, Sep 14 Bike Portland “Nobody cares more about price than a newbie.” Michael Andersen, a guy who goes almost everywhere by carrying his bicycle on TriMet.
Thur, Sep 15 Blog “...a hormone called cortisol, which kills brain cells in the hippocampus (I think that was the campus where I lived during my college years--).” Melanie Sherman, covering the brain on her blog.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

If it's your anniversary and nobody says anything, did it happen?

As I write this I realize, had I been at my old job I would have celebrated my 30th Anniversary.

It is rare in today's climate to work for a company for more than a decade, let alone two. I almost reached three.

It is rarer still, after 30 years, to leave and not retire.

To survive the old job as long as I did I had to morph, flex, mature, morph, flex and mature some more. I survived some incredibly bad bosses. I had the pleasure of working with some incredibly good ones. I was an average sales rep, grew into an above average revenue producer and built a stellar experience.

I was promoted to supervisor, and soon thereafter to Advertising Sales Manager.

I knew the business inside and out. I knew the community from the west to east. I wore a suit and served on the Board of Directors of the Portland Advertising Federation. I pulled on jeans and served on the Board of Directors of the Clark County Fair.

Near the end, I could have done my job with my eyes closed and slept my way into retirement.

Instead, I left.

I learned something about myself. I learned I was thoughtful yet decisive. For months I considered the move, but I decided the day of one interview

I was willing to give up the world I had known since my early twenties to launch myself into the complete unknown. I was a risk taker. Who leaves a secure job to go work for a start-up? Me, I guess.

Upon arrival at the new port, I had to morph, flex, reflect, and learn while running faster than I could have imagined. I've had the pleasure of meeting incredible people. I've had to say goodbye to other incredible people. I stepped in to fill a hole and received a promotion.

During the first months I would hear myself say, "I can't believe I left."

I don't say that anymore.

A lot of thoughts and baggage gets lost in the hectic pace of how I drive my life, my career and my writing. What doesn't get lost are the people. My calendar 'pop-ups' tell me who's celebrating a birthday and who's celebrating a company anniversary. That may create a phone call, an email, a tweet from me and occasionally a celebration lunch.

Then I sit back and reflect, that on the 29th anniversary, no one said a word.

The day slipped by only recognized by me in the middle of a decision process.

The wordless reception of something significant was not reason to leave. But it was a reason not to stay?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jonathan's Card: charity for the middle class or nice gesture?

I pegged my editorial calendar to write about Jonathan's Card when I first heard about it. Then, when the effervescent idea got shut down I didn't delete the 'assignment,' I merely pushed it out.

It popped up again. I drifted over to the URL I had saved to tug me into a pithy paragraph or two and re-read the post on spydergrrl on the web: Social Media Lessons From Jonathan's Card: The 6 Things He Did Right.

I was struck by the idea that a Pay it Forward card at Starbucks is like charity for the middle class.

In order to know about it you had to have Internet access. In order to take advantage of it you needed a smartphone. Truly, the people in that category can afford their own coffee.

The guy who scammed the program and led to the shut-down was gaming the system. He was likely the middle-class wannabe, right? The almost yuppie who wants to show us all that it can be done 'if you're smart enough' and many of us weren't smart enough to grab that charity java juice in time. Or, we did and reveled in the moment of sipping a free coffee, until the tug on our better judgment coerced us into adding more than our fair share to the card in order to feel middle-class magnanimous.

What does all this prove? For some, that people are basically bad. For others, that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. For me, that if you have an idea, do it before you decide it's not such a great idea afterall.

Do it before you talk yourself out of it.

Do it before you change your mind.

Do it just because you thought of it and thought it was a good idea at least once.

I've found if I get a thought and act, I feel better, I work better, I write better. If I have a great idea and am slow to take action I hear the nagging ping of guilt. "You should have done that" or "you should have done that sooner." It drips like rain off the gutter of guilt.

Before long it's too late, has no meaning, and feels like a missed opportunity.

It's like a car door you forgot to lock before your cell phone, radar detector and Kindle got stolen. Next thing you know, you're kicked out of middle class straight into middle-of-the-road memory loss.

It's like a thank you card you forgot to write. For a limited time frame it will make the other person feel good. Thereafter it becomes the after thought, or you become the thoughtless.

Seize your idea. Draft it. Do it.

Tell me what happens.

I'll buy the coffee.

Check out our other post:
Fav quotes of the week and maybe too much coffee

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How many times should you tweet a blog post?

Twitter is a revolving door of social experiments
One of the things that blogging daily has created is a heightened interest in analytics. I have a couple of different measures on the blog, so I can get a good feel for what is happening with the 360 Convos audience. I've also done a little experimenting to see what combination, for instance of tweets, seems to work best in announcing a new post and building an audience.

Mark Suster wrote about how many times the experts were tweeting after he sat on a panel with Guy Kawasaki. His post, Both Sides of the Table, reports that Kawasaki tweets a blog post four times.

Up until a few months ago, I'd been tweeting a link twice—as soon as I post, and then letting the automatic feed release it a second time.

More recently, I began to notice that I personally didn't pay attention to others who tweeted only once and disappeared. As I flipped through my stream it wasn't enough to make me pause. I did, however, notice when the same avatar showed up in my stream in a clump, meaning the person was tweeting several things in a row.

Currently, I follow about 1000 people on Twitter and have that and about a third more following me as @TheClassicCarol. My experience shows that tweeting a blog post just once has a low affect on drawing a reading audience.

Not everyone sees every tweet. Not everyone is on Twitter all the time, therefore you need to send info out at different times during the day.

That's more anecdotal than research, but it gave me a place to start, and I began tweeting in groups of three. Not always the same blogpost, but three things from the blog.

Was this smart? Let's look at what 9,000 other bloggers are doing.

Problogger has been running a poll since May 19, 2010. Their results from over 9,000 respondents show:
26% never tweet their blog post
33% tweet their blog post once
40% tweet their blog post two times or more times

Of the 40%, the highest portion of that comes from those who tweet a blog post five or more times. That puts them in the Kawasaki category.

The 360 Convos experience shows that three will generate a higher response to the blog than a one-time shot. It has created more conversation and retweets from followers which has had a positive effect on my KLOUT score. I noticed an increase of over 10 points.

Has the multiple tweets annoyed the audience? I've seen no visible difference in the unfollow rate. The outcome I do see follows a standard principal in marketing, you need to send the message out more than once, or as I like to say, "one ad does not a campaign make."

When has a tweet series produced a measurable outcome for you?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Riding the wave of change

Surviving in today's economy is as slippery as a surfboard.
Today, the biggest obstacle we face is change. Business models have to change. Companies have to change, which mean, in order to survive, people have to surf the crest and roll of changes.

Our ability to cope with this 'business tidal wave of change' may mean the difference between a relevant career and one that slips and gets buried in the next big wave of upsets.

In the book, A Sense of Urgency by John P. Kotter, the theme of change is abundant. From the preface on, Kotter pegs our ability to change with the ability to survive, except he calls it the ability to operate with a sense of true urgency.

In his research, he noted that in the cases where “substantial change was clearly needed” 70% of launches to change not only faltered, but absolutely failed, but 10% of the launches achieved more than anyone could have imagined.

What separated the 70% from the 10%?

Organizations that were able to “create a high enough sense of urgency among enough people.”

Kotter sketches the outline of relevant people in an organization and asks us to assess their sense of urgency. Then he asks us to support our answer with evidence. The evidence has to be more than working hard. Frantic activity can be false urgency. It's that flurry that happens right after the boss cracks the whip.

For over a decade I worked as a salesperson and saw the short-term and long-term results of cracking the whip. Inevitably, it launched unsustainable effort and a frightening atmosphere on the sales floor.

The next few years, I managed salespeople, some who survived the latest devastating economic downturn and some who did not. On both sides of the fence—sales and management—the demand for urgency rose to tsunami levels and threatened to drown those not getting on top of the curve of the wave.

Earlier this year I asked the question, “What opportunities exist and what risks?”

When a career is on the line, a sense of urgency can be extremely high. But if a salesperson operates with desperation, the end result is less than satisfactory for everyone involved in the transaction from inside the office all the way to the customer and back. And if the salesperson operates in a bubble, believing that the problem is everywhere else, the results can be just as devastating.

The opportunity at hand is learning quickly how to ride the wave of change, and recovering quickly when we fall off our flimsy surfboard and rebalancing.

It's recognizing opportunities at hand, embracing the risks and realizing we need to operate with a sense of urgency.

Who have you seen 'surfing' business changes and surviving? Drop me an email, I'd like to explore this topic more.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

School Zone: 35 mph 99% fatality risk

School zone speeding statistics from the Vancouver, Washington Police Department.

Analytics chalks one up for motivation

Sundays, 360 Convos is reviewing our conversations. This snapshot goes back approximately four weeks and looks at how the posts did for a two week period.*

Photo Andrea Booher, FEMA Public Domain.
But before we do. Let's take a brief moment to acknowledge that the reason why we are able to review seemingly trivial matters is because we have been given the gift of citizenship, either by birth or adoption that allows us to live each day as our own. To change the course of our life because of the choices offered to us. Seize the opportunity.

The week of August 7, the post with the most pageviews was Words motivate and keep us engaged, lessons from #wwcon11.

This piece was a recap of the Willamette Writer Conference. During the event I met former CNN journalist, Porter Anderson. He let me tie my audio recorder into his laptop for power. He simultaneously found me on Twitter, retweeted my #wwcon11 post, and we've been tweeting friends ever since. He also emailed a link of the post out to about conference attendees (800) which boosted the numbers.

The Chalk it up story about Umpqua Bank's partnership with Chalk the Walks, a full sprint at sidewalk graffiti, took second place. Most of the pageviews came from Umpqua Bank, and that is fine. I'm a fan. They support local businesses including sponsoring a bi-monthly networking event, The Breakfast Club.

They love animals. Outside the downtown Vancouver branch they keep a water dish full for pooches that frequent Esther Short Park.

Umpqua Bank loves people. On rainy days anyone (customer or not) can borrow an umbrella.

Yes, all the umbrellas are returned.


Sunday City shares good ideas (mine)
Monday Words motivate and keep us engaged, lessons from #wwcon11
Tuesday Top ten posts depending on where you start the count
Wednesday Educate a girl, change the world
Thursday Chalk the walk and chalk it up to more good Umpqua Bank id
Friday Fav quotes of the week and maybe too much coffee
Saturday Would you like to clean up your desk, or would you like me to?

*Source: Google Analytics.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Unhook the phone line, but they'll still find your face(book)

It doesn't matter how many bells and whistles the phone company offers me. I have cut my land line.

What propelled me was not inconsistent quality, bad service, shoddy knowledge of the customer service people, or steep price. It was the second week in a row where I realized that the only people calling me were computers. The auto-dialers that generate leads for inside sales people.

My family sends me text messages. My friends send me gmails. My office calls me on my work cell phone. What in the world would compel me to continue to pay for a conduit into my home for pesky sales calls?


I unhooked the tool that businesses used to market to me. I did not, however, unhook their need to get their product and services in front of my face.



Visited Facebook, lately?

It is where marketing funds have been diverted. Why? Because we hang out there a lot.

In April 2011 BlogHer reported that 93% of adult US Internet users are on Facebook. And where the people gather the marketers will follow.

Does it work as a marketing tool? According to Hubspot, yes.

67% of B2C and 41% of B2B companies that use Facebook for marketing have acquired a customer through this channel. (source: HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing Report 2011)

It makes me wonder, though. How much are we going to enjoy social media when it becomes the next used car lot of unsavvy marketers?

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Fav quotes beginning with chicken, ending with bacon

Go ahead. Speak your mind. Do it online. Don't chicken out.

Someone is listening.

Here's my favorite quotes of the week!

Sep 2
Twitter I walk out into my yard and make clucking noises. They quiet right down.” Bill Cameron, NW author and Chicken Whisperer.
Sep 3
Twitter “Confirmed, submitted, #vaguetweet.” Cheryl Bledsoe, Emergency Manager and vague tweeter.
Sep 4
Twitter “I have only worn flip-flops for the past two weeks. My feet aren't happy about putting shoes on for church this morning!” Chris Hyde, pastor and anti-shoe activist.
Sep 5
Twitter“Just took my 1115th mugshot!” Dale Chumbley, Realtor® and self-photographer.
Sep 6
Twitter“I'm still here. That is all.” M. Rae Anderson, Author and bliss follower.
Wed, Sep 7 Twitter “Sometimes I wonder if my office neighbors are only paid to throw things against our shared wall.” Michael Perozzo, before installing earplugs.
Thur, Sep 8 Twitter “A few brave poets are sampling our hot bacon latte special.” Cover to Cover Books, bookstore and purveyor of bacon.

Where's the most interesting place you've seen bacon?

Send us your bacon story!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is it time to cut the cord on the television?

Penetration of traditional pay TV services may have peaked.
A decade ago, I was a media sales rep and consulting with a spa store owner on an advertising buy. I was learning his business and digging down deep into his business acumen in order to create a sound marketing plan.

As our discussion progressed, I realized that Mr. Golden had read everything he could get his hands on to be successful in business. I was impressed and began to enjoy our discussion even more.

We entered the point in our conversation of sizing up the competition.

He had come to the conclusion that the other spa companies in town were not his competition. He could beat them hands down on quality, service, knowledge and price. The real competition, he believed, was everything else in life vying for his customer's leisure time.

I was young enough to be surprised by his conclusion.

I was old enough to consider it.

Mr. Golden was right.

The competition was not other businesses trying to be a mirror-image of his, or a even a close second cousin. It was all of life's distractions that diverted his customer's time, energy, money and motivation from visiting his store and buying a spa.

I thought about Mr. Golden today. Several years ago, he died unexpectedly, and at his funeral I clenched my emotions tight to be able to share what his friendship meant to me and how we had laughed when I'd leaned back in a patio chair in the store, lifting the two front legs off the floor, and almost fell over backwards when the plastic chair wobbled. His unexpected leap to save me from falling on my head is an embarrassing yet favorite memory.

Right now, it feels like the front legs of business are lifted off the floor and we're balancing precariously between who we think our competition is and what really stands in the way of reaching our intended destination.

I read with interest a forecast from research firm SNL Kagan estimating the number of US families who will cut the cords to their cable, satellite or telco TV service in deference to Internet video options. I've never understood pay-TV, and I've never paid for cable. Why would I pay someone to watch their commercials? I may not have the variety of choices on Hulu, but I when I push play, it's on my time, not theirs, and without any fancy equipment programming.

The competition is not a better cable company, a better television program, or even unlimited channel choices. It might be Hulu. It might also be Facebook, Foodspotting, Foursquare, Gmail, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Plancast, Posterous, Slideshare, Twitter, Upcoming, Yahoo or UStream.

It may be my blog.

As the online landscape morphs and rolls in earthquaking variations, I wonder where the legs of the business chair will land.

I just hope there will be someone like Mr. Golden who can see what will happen if someone doesn't jump in before it's too late, grab the chair firmly and get all four legs on the floor so we can focus on our business model, understand who or what the competition truly is and plan accordingly before we fall on our head.

Who is your unexpected competition?