How do you stay grounded?

I learned a long time ago that I am NEVER the target audience. As early adopters (if you’re a regular reader of this blog you’re probably an early adopter) it becomes easy to lose touch with reality. If you’re a fellow blogger then you live in a world filled with other bloggers and after a while it becomes a bit of an echo chamber.

Seriously who really cares if Twitter is down?

99.9% of the people on the internet don’t know what Twitter is. But to listen to some bloggers (myself included sometimes) you would think it was the end of the civilized world when “Something is technically wrong.”

I had an old classmate from high school find me on Facebook. After reading my profile she asked me, through Facebook, “What’s Web 2.0?” She really didn’t know. And really why should she care?

Some people like to “unplug” from the internet. While some people may need that I hate it. I like being connected. I do however have a strange little ritual I do a few times a week.

I go to Target or Costco.

Not to shop, but to look at stuff. I’m not people watching either. I do love people watching though. Target and Costco represent the middle of the adoption curve. This is main stream America, love it or hate it. Wal-Mart doesn’t work either because that’s the back slope of the adoption curve. Wal-Mart was the last place I saw VHS being sold.

I like to walk the technology section and think about what those devices were like 5 or 10 years ago, and what’s not there that was 5 to 10 years ago. I like to walk through their video and book sections to see what’s poplar right now. I walk through their clothing section to see how trends from the fringe 5 years ago have translated into main stream fashion.

This is my way of staying grounded. I know what’s happening on the fringe. I know what early adopters are thinking. I don’t know how all this cool stuff will be “watered down” and taken main stream. And it will.

What about you? Do you have any tips for staying grounded? I could really use some more.

I would especially appreciate thoughts from Jeremiah Owyang, Chris Garrett and Chris Brogan. These guys are even more plugged in than I am but still seem to have a good sense of what’s really important.

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Random Thoughts 05/30/2008

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An MBA, The Enterprise and Change

Anyone who knows me, knows that there is only one thing that’s constant in my life: Change.

Even if you look back a mere 3 months ago there has been a lot of change since then.

9 Months and 3 Managers

I’ve now been at HP 9 months and I’m being moved from the LaserJet Business (LJB) to the Imaging and Printing Group’s (IPG) Global Enterprise Business (GEB).

I’m moving from one outbound marketing group to another so I’ll still be focused on World Wide Marketing Initiatives. The biggest difference is instead of being product focused I’ll be customer segment focused.

The Global Enterprise Business is just what it sounds like, we are focused just on enterprise clients across the globe. GEB is a very sales focused organization so a lot of what we do is geared to helping our sales teams sell to their enterprise customers.

It’s pretty exciting since I’ll be responsible for social media initiatives, search, 1:1 efforts and CRM. GEB is a new group, about 2 years I think, so most of the initiatives are still in their infancy. Only being in the role one week means that most of those efforts still need to be more clearly defined.

Does the World Need Another MBA?

This month also marks the completion of a life long goal: to complete a Masters degree.

When I decided to go back and get my Masters I was really determined not to get an MBA. After looking around though Boise States EMBA program was just too cool of a program to pass up. We were the first class to go through the program (I like entrepreneurial initiatives).

That and I came to the honest realization that I really needed a better understanding of business. Marketing/Communications I understood pretty well, but being able to speak the same language as a CEO or CFO makes it easier to get buy off on your great idea.

I need to pay special thanks to my wife and kids for their understanding and help over these turbulent couple of years. The support of family is critical in these times.

Here’s to the next big adventure.

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Random Thoughts 05/28/2008

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Write 10 posts right now, GO! [Tuesday Homework]

In continuing with my Tuesday Homework assignments I want you to write 10 posts right now.

Actually I only want you to write 10 blog titles right now.

One of the hardest parts of keeping a blog going is having good posts when you hit a wall. A great way to overcome that is to always have a few posts that are done or almost done.

I do this by having several posts in various states of being done. To illustrate, here’s my current working list of titles for my multiple blogs. Some are no more than titles some are almost done.

MBA, the Enterprise and Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes
Entrepreneurs in the Enterprise
Top 10 Tips for Managing Corporate Web 2.0 Initiatives
CPM is the Root of all Evil
Design is a Commodity
Monitoring your brand via social media [how to]
The WaterCooler opens, now what
Don Dietrich: The door’s open
Technology Adoption and Advertising
The Bell Curve of Bloggers

Now some of these I’ve been working on for several months and some of these may never see the light of the Web. By constantly working on something it keeps the ideas flowing and helps me to have (semi) regular content on my blogs.

So your homework is to stop whatever you’re doing and quickly write down 10 blog titles that you can start working on. They don’t have to be great, they don’t have to be word smithed yet but shoot for 10. Go!

Done? God job. What tips do you have to keep fresh content on your blog?

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Sorry Video, Text Still Rules the Web

I recently sat in on a research forum where we asked small business owners several questions about how they find solutions to business problems on the Web. The following is pieces of relevant transcript. There are multiple people commenting all at once but I think you’ll get the idea.

when is video better? when is text only better? when is audio only better?

I prefer text for online research. I like to read about what I’m researching. Video and audio can be useful for illustrating concept, but I think text is still the best way for me to collect information on a topic

why text?

i like have a hard copy i can refer back to, print for others, etcFor text, do you generally review online or do you print it?

I prefer text, but it is nice to have video instructions for items that are very complicated.

I read the text online and if I feel it is something my boss needs to see or I need as a resource, then I will print it.

i print…so i can highlight or usually its just easier to read for some reason

I generally will download the text because you never know when the web is going to change and a page is going to disappear. Occasionally, I print it to read at home in the evening.

Video is such the craze right now. I’m surprised none of you have mentioned video to be the preferred method. Why not?

if your computer is not up to snuff…the video or audio jumps, it resyncs, whatever…its annoying

I like text for the most part because sometimes I can’t understand what is being said in the audio/video, but sometimes I like videos to be able to see an interactive explanation of how to do something

video instructions are annoying because you have to go at their pace and not your own.

excellent point about the pace…that gets to me too

A lot of times I can read faster than they talk.

I know for me I rarely watch online video…for business.

For entertainment I watch almost all of my video online. Its an interesting dichotomy.

What’s important for marketers to remember is that while there is a lot of talk about the rise in online video, it doesn’t necesarily mean that you should rush out and start producing a ton of video.

What about you? When do you prefer video to text?

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I’m in the book, Groundswell (sort of)

I just got an email from the VP of Marketing for LaserJet, Vince Ferraro:

Our blog is quoted as part of the popular book, Groundswell.

The funny thing is that I had just bought the book last week and I wasn’t even aware that Vince’s blog was featured in it. Many of you may know that, among other things, I help manage Vince’s blog.

Groundswell talks about our use of Vince’s blog to address the issues that customers have been having between our older print drivers and Vista.

For those of you who may have missed it I did a guest post over on MetzMash back in November ‘07 about how I manage the process of getting a very busy VP to blog.

I also did a post, with a slide deck, about how we leveraged Vince’s blog with search, AR/PR and competitive response.

Even though technically I’m not mentioned in the book it is really cool to have a project I’ve been working so closely on get some recognition. I’m still working my way through the book but so far it lives up to all the praise it’s been getting.

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Blog update: New Widgets, Badges and The Book


I’m a bit of a tinkerer. Not on cars or electronics or anything that requires tools. I was actually referring to the blog.

I regularly make changes and actually still have a list of changes I want to make but I thought I would point out some of the changes and warn you of some of the changes I have planned.

Sidebar Widgets

I’m always moving around the stuff in my sidebar. I’ve switched out My Twitter for My FriendFeed. This will include Twitter as well as all my other activity. To pull this off the way I wanted it, I actually ran FriendFeed through Tumblr and pulled that feed. You can check out my Tumblr site at

I added a MyBlogLog widget to the sidebar. If you’re not signed up for MyBlogLog I highly recommend it.

Thanks to the recommendation of Adam Metz my posts have been republished on Social Media Today (SMT) for at least 6-8 months. It’s a great place to keep a pulse on what’s going on in the social media space. I’ve just added their widget to my sidebar. The widget shows a rolling scroll of the latest posts on SMT.


AdAge 150. I’ve recently had my blog added to AdAge 150 list. Now don’t get too excited, the list has over 600 blogs listed there and I’m only somewhere n the upper 400’s. Since being added to the list though I’ve moved up from the low 400’s. I’m usually neck and neck with Bob Garfield’s AdAge blog and my friend/hero Mike Manuel. It’s just fun to watch the day to day fluctuations and a great place to find new blogs.

Michael Brito keeps promising a Conversations Matter badge but I haven’t seen one yet ;)

The Book

I have a whole list of changes to make to my current pages, esp my *about* pages. However I did add one page to the list; The Book: Social Media Trifecta.

This is something I started over a year ago. I even got Peggy Jordan to start offering classes on business book writing. Unfortunately I made the poor choice of trying to do this while I was in my MBA and, at the time, starting off on my own business.

Now that I’m done with my MBA I’m supposed to have a bunch of free time (yeah right). I plan on finishing the book. In true blogging fashion you’ll see occasional posts that are pieces of the book. You’ll see a new category in my tag cloud for the book.

Now I don’t know what I’ll do with *the book* if once it’s finished. I’ve been really intrigued with the rise of Print On Demand and even wonder why first time authors go through a publisher, they don’t seem to do anything for you unless you sell out your first run.

I may try and pitch a publisher but it seems like writing a query letter is just as hard as writing the book. I don’t know that I want to take the time. Ultimately I may just keep *the book* online, it may never graduate past a series of blog posts, who knows. Really I just want to do it to solidify my thinking and for the experience of doing it.


I have a whole list of plugins I want to try out. Most of them are related to FriendFeed and re-aggregating all that wonderful content back into the blog. I’ve even toyed with a slight blog redesign of the blog. Basically I’m debating weather I want to go to a 2 column blog or maybe just widen the two side columns a little (some of my widgets don’t fit well in there).

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Photo by givepeasachance.

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Random Thoughts 05/21/2008

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We have a Twitter Down!

The title of this blog should be read out loud in your best drunken Scottish accent.

Twitter seems to be failing at an ever increasing rate. Some people are calling for a global day of tough love to show Twitter that this isn’t acceptable.

Others are just moving on to FriendFeed. If you’re not on FriendFeed yet, sign up. If you’re one of my Twitter friends, please sign up. When Twitter’s down (and even when it’s not) it’s usually where I am.

Have I given up on Twitter? No. Have I supplemented my Twitter activity? Yes. If Twitter can’t handle the traffic I’ll defer most of my traffic elsewhere.

FriendFeed is really a much better way to keep track of your friends since it shows blog updates, Google Reader shared items (with Notes), bookmarking, flickr photo’s and the list goes on. Oh yeah and it shows Twitter when in works.

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