My Wife Is Not Google

I've had a lot of ponderous moments lately after listening to the audio version of "The Shallows" by Carr and starting into "Cognitive Surplus" by Shirky, I've been asking myself, "What has the Internet...and more specifically Google..done to MY brain?"

  1. The Internet has made me a great party favor among my less digerati friends, "Hey iphone boy...what year did Diver Down come out?" (seconds later...the answer via google)
  2. The Internet has enabled the thought stream pouring from my mind to outpace the ability of my fingers to to keep up when typing.
  3. The Internet has given me awareness of just how fast things are moving and how difficult it is for businesses to keep up.  If you aren't COULD you keep up?
  4. The Internet has taught me that more information is not what makes one more valuable.  What makes one valuable is the ability to filter the vast yet growing torrent of available attention grabbers (data/media/information) into meaningful trends, analyses, and decisions.
There are more items too numerous to list that I can attribute to the web.

But I think what's most important is that I've learned that my wife is not Google.  I have over the last few years increasingly applied the same "Google Modalities" to interactions with my wife. 

  1. Give me instant answers.
  2. Be efficient.
  3. Be always on.
  4. I Always find what I'm looking because I'm a good searcher.
  5. I rarely pay attention to page 2.
  6. The answers to any question about me, my schedule, and my thoughts are out there in the cloud for you to see.
What I'm learning is that the more I treat my wife like Google...the more like the Google Algorithm I become.  The cold mechanized assimilation of bits to create a self-aware consciousness is no way to cultivate wonder with your mate.

I'm making some changes to be less connected and more "available and engaged" vs. just "being there"...not because I've been asked to...but because I'm certain it's the right thing to do. 

Posted via email from Doug's posterous

Waukee Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner with Keynote Speaker Glenn McDole

Special thanks to Bank Iowa for inviting me to spend the evening with their crew and guests at the Waukee Chamber's annual dinner.   I connected with quite a few new people and look forward to cultivating some relationships.

I must say that the keynote left me humbled.  Glenn McDole told his tale as one of 11 survivors of the Palawan Massacre in World War II.  McDole suffered untold atrocities and pain during his captivity.  In fact Mr. Bob Wilbanks has written a book about the experience of Mr. McDole called, "Last Man Out". 

It seems so infrequent today that we pause and remember what life was like during WWII as a nation...and as a world.  Thank you so much Mr. McDole for preserving our freedoms and telling your story.  You're a great Iowan and a great American.

Age of Conversation 2 is live!

Get This Widget
237 authors from 15 countries came together to raise money for Variety, the Children's Charity by creating the second "Age of Conversation" book  AOC2.   

Each author contributed a single page chapter and wrestled with topics like:

  • Manifestos 
  • Keeping Secrets in the Age of Conversation
  • Moving from Conversation to Action?
  • The Accidental Marketer
  • A New Brand of Creative 
  • My Marketing Tragedy
  • Business Model Evolution
  • Life in the Conversation Lane

This book is a testament to the power of the web, blogs, and peoples spirit of giving.  Here are some possible buying suggestions:

  • Christmas gifts for loved ones
  • Buy one for every student you know (the knowledge in this book is scary good!)
  • Office gifts

Here is a list of EVERY author that participated!

Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G. Kofi Annan, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw and James G. Lindberg, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem, G. Kofi Annan, James G. Lindberg


Reviewing Books...a nice unexpected outcome from blogging

A great phenomenon has begun for me.  I've reviewed a book here and there.  I also tend to share my personal journey of introspection and change (physical and mental) that helps me make progress in life on this blog.  As a result, authors have begun to send me books at no charge and ask that I review their work. 

It's an honor really considering that my blog is not the most popular in the world and I'm not an acclaimed book reviewer or "recommender".   But this demonstrates the acceptance of the power of blogs and non-professional media in creating buzz and spreading the word on a new product/service/book/person/brand/etc.

I've NEVER been asked to "favorably" review a piece of work either...a testament to the integrity of the authors/publishers.

I've got one book in the hopper and I hope to receive more down the road.  More to come.

When you get busy, do you stop reading?

A couple of weeks back, I ran into Mike Wagner of the White Rabbit Group / Own Your Brand Blog and had a quick conversation.  Mike is one of those listeners who make you jealous. He can get deep into the core of your conversation quickly and relate just about anything your conversation contains to a book he's read. 

We started chatting about value based pricing for services and working with small businesses and Mike recommended "Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play:  The Demise of Dysfunctional Selling and the Advent of Helping Clients Succeed"  I went home and purchased the book on iTunes immediately.

The bigger point here is the Mike reminded me that I'd essentially stopped reading books.  Over the last 3 months, we've been extremely focused and busy at createWOWmedia thank the maker.  My fitness goals took a more prominent role in life recently too.  So my own personal and professional "enrichment" has suffered. 

Balancing all the elements of a successful life takes discipline and I'm convinced...early rising.  Every day I get up at 5AM or earlier I get exponentially more done.  Maybe it just feels that way because by 10AM your hyper-productivity even surprises you!  It's hard not to sacrifice something that's good for you when you get busy and immersed in life's work.

Take the time.  Find a way to carve out segments of the week for activities are essential to your overall well being and success.  Exercise.  Read.  Sleep. Relate.  Embrace.  Play. 

Review: The Home Office From Hell Cure by Jeffrey Landers

I just finished up the book The Home Office From Hell Cure:  Transform Your Underperforming, Time-Sucking Homebased Business into a Runaway Success by Jeff Landers.

It's probably more accurate to say that I'm "working through the book" since it's not really a "read, absorb, put away" business book.  Rather the book is a road map, guidebook, and step-by-step plan to help the home office worker breakthrough to the next level...whatever that may be.  And herein lies the real strength of the book.

Landers divides the book into distinct sections.  The first is geared toward those who'd like to be a "Growth Maven", i.e. the kid of entrepreneur that wants to conquer the world, grow big, and be profiled on CNBC.  The second is geared towards "Lifestyle Gurus", i.e. those preferring to create a business of a scale that provides good income and the flexibility to spend more time doing things that please the business owner. 

Many of Landers's suggestions are fantastic and I was pleased to see that I'm already deploying some of his sage advice.  Whether you are going for the fences or comfortable with singles and doubles...Landers encourages the entrepreneur to become a "Nexpert" or Niche Expert. 

Landers lays out a very clear strategic plan to develop the reputation of expert in a niche.  He encourages the business owner to write articles, get them published, participate in interviews, speak publicly, and be visible.  He acknowledges that in the short term, many of these strategies don't immediately pay off...rather they build a base of interest in your business along with interested, targeted, potential clients.

The book is chalk full of other tips and advice on setting up your business for success and pitfalls to avoid (namely the dreaded long term lease).  Landers is a big proponent of outsourcing tasks that are time sucks as well.  If you earn $150/hour doing your work...that's what your effectively paying to do your own accounting, etc.  Agreed.  Tim Ferriss at the 4 Hour Work Week would agree too.

Since I know many of your are home based solo-preneurs that read this blog, I'd highly recommend you pick up a copy and begin working through some of the strategies. 

Here's a podcast Jeff did with Wayne Hurlbert that really dives into the content of the book too.

There's also a Ning Community built around the book that I've joined.

Pithy Quote by Ray Bradbury

A recent Forbes "Asked & Answered" section interviewed Ray Bradbury.  When discussing the fact that his fear of flying kept him from doing so until the age of 62, Bradbury said,

"My train going home was canceled, so I thought God was telling me, 'Fly dummy'. They gave me three double martinis and poured me into my seat."  "Since then, I crossed the Atlantic something like 20 times on the Concorde, but the key to avoiding fear on that was to not look at the bill."

If Charles Ingalls Had Venture Funding (or How America's Heartland Is HOT)

Joel Kotkin, internationally recognized author on global economic, political, and social trends, has written yet another fantastic piece called Little Start-up on the Prairie.  Maybe it's that we in the Midwest are just jazzed when someone notices us or that our geometric shape stood out when flying over it, but the bottom line is that our humble agrarian rooted section of the country houses much of the greatest economic growth potential for the future.  Kotkin's tale begins in Aurora, Nebraska, a town of 4500.  Kotkin states quite simply that,

"Aurora and other places in the American Heartland will provide a critical outlet for the restless energies and entrepreneurial passions of its people. In some senses, such a trend represents a reprise of the region’s role in the evolution of the country and the shaping of its national identity."

In fact, since folks are realizing that on-shoring and in-sourcing are not only economically feasible, but highly desirable, the problems shift from lack of affordable a lack of any available housing at any price and a dearth of workers. 

Kotkin goes on to mention Iowa and specifically Des Moines many times in the piece highlighting that,

"In virtually every measurement, students in key rural states—particularly the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas—tend to perform better than those in more urbanized ones, as measured by graduation rates, college attendance and enrollment in high-level science and education programs."

The key take aways for me are:

  1. Be bullish on the Midwest (and specifically Des Moines) economies. 
  2. Iowa has a massive amount of talent and future skilled workers from a robust and respected University system so we must cultivate that talent.
  3. We must impart upon these young minds that the best for them does not lie 6 hours away to the north and east.  Rather, it lies here.   There are great reasons to visit other places but even more reasons to build a life here.
  4. The opportunity to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond can accelerate your path to success.  I've lived that coming from Riverside, CA where I was but a simple GPS coordinate on a suburb that extended 250 miles in any direction. 
  5. The talent pool here is immense.  It seems every day that I meet someone new that teaches me something. 
  6. The people here are different.  There's something deeply rooted in much of the Midwestern population, but it's subtle.  It's a pleasant, hard working, almost zen-like kindness that's exuded since years have not been spent strengthening a "coastal exoskeleton."
  7. Buy as many houses and high rise condos as you can.  We will be successful in our quest to convince the next generation (is it Z now?) that staying can be profitable and cool, and someone will need to rent to these people as they flow through the more natural progression of home ownership. The life path of a twenty-something is so very skewed in the large metros where someone graduates college and is faced with the prospect of a $600k starter home 1.5 hours from their job.  We can help break the cycle of thinking that this is acceptable by providing a wonderfully fulfilling alternative.
  8. The ethos does exist that, "If I can't make it on the coasts, I'm a loser compared to my peers that can".  This type of thinking is outdated.  In fact, if making it means spending 5x on housing and generating debt, then yes, you're a loser.  I'll take the label and remain more economically viable.
  9. Renewable energy is perhaps the most clear example of the power of the Midwest economy.  Daily, I read economists and social commentators (I almost used "Socialists") that bemoan the continuing process of discovery and innovation in this area.  "We're starving kids in Mexico" and "we'll never have enough land or corn" are the battle cries.  Thankfully, few have listened and the process of harnessing the true power of the earth goes on.  If we put the brakes on or take one step back in this area, we'll simply hand over the power to those who never stopped believing.  Recently, Iowa State lost a $500 million funding opportunity in renewable energy to UC Berkeley and U of I (Champaign-Urbana).  Maybe we need a journeyman-actor-Governor to lead our charge?  Who would you pick?  I'd pick Brandon Routh since Tom Arnold would have a tough time using complete sentences.

Of course when I executed my geographic arbitrage from CA to IA, I really didn't appreciate what I was doing.   I knew that I loved what I'd seen and I was drunk with joy over housing prices.  It turns out that I'm smack dab in the middle of Ethanol Alley and the heart...of the heartland Renaissance.  Michael Landon would be proud.

Get A LIFE Bloggers!

I hope the headline has captured you and left you wanting more.  When you read this post, please keep in mind that I'm not attempting to discredit the internationally known author and speaker involved...rather I'm trying to make some observations about the fit of blogging into marketing tactics for any business. 

I recently participated on a panel discussion and presentation on heavy equipment GPS monitoring and tracking at the American Rental Association show in Atlanta.  My session immediately followed one on Guerrilla Marketing for the Rental Industry presented by Orvel Ray Wilson.  Mr. Wilson has authored many books and his "hit hard and hit fast and be different" approach is awesome.  His company is called the Guerrilla Group and I recommend you explore what his company could do for your business.  His seminar was by far the best I saw, full of energy, humor, and valuable marketing advice.

The equipment rental industry is somewhat old school...but the perfect playing field to stand out and be different right?  Mr. Wilson's discussion had included only a mention of email marketing...but had zero mention of social media or blogging.  Anytime someone stands in front of me and ignores something that I believe to be incredibly powerful, I feel obligated to discover the big "why".   

I approached and asked the question below and I'm paraphrasing the best I can recall based on notes taken immediately afterward.

The Chat
Doug:  "I didn't hear you mention anything about blogging during your discussion, what role do you believe it plays in the guerrilla marketing equation?"
Mr. Wilson:  "Ahhhh blogging...well I don't blog...basically because I have a life...(chuckling)...I mean there's a million blogs out there and there's a lot of garbage.  You have to know how to write...write editorial copy...and write well....(he got busy and began doing some other tasks).
Doug:  "Interesting...I really wanted to see your take since blogging is a powerful tool for some."

Mr. Wilson was busy cleaning up his laptop, etc. from his speaking session and was interacting with many of the A/V staff so I stopped asking questions and tried to take in what I'd just heard.  Of course, the first thing that fired off in my brain was, "This is going to be a good post for discussion among my readers". 

So I'll leave you with a few observations and questions that are still resonating in my travel fogged head.

The Takeaways

  1. The belief that blogging is something for only good copy writers is a serious miscalculation.  Blogging exposes the writer's true voice and reveals their style, tone, and method doing business very often.  Anyone that reads my blog "already knows me".  They know my positions, my pauses, my emphasis and my passions.   Many of my top 10 marketing blogger friends around the U.S. often use "real language" to communicate their vision/passion/point.   Editorial blogging is typically as boring as "mainstream media" know the media that folks are paying less attention to.  Although many bloggers write well and with clarity, others destroy the English language and its grammar and do just dandy.  Should everyone blog?  I'm sure there are reasons why some shouldn't...but one of those reasons should not purely be the editorial quality of the writing.  Should everyone read blogs or have searches automated to see what folks are saying about them?  Yes.  In fact, Mike McLaughlin who wrote Guerrilla Marketing for Consultantsblogged on this same topic a while ago.  Interesting.  Mike says, "If the purpose of a business blog is to reach your targeted audience, it’s best to know someone out there would want to read your stuff. Any one of us could rattle off a number of industries where blogs are still an oddity, not a fixture."  No and Yes.  How would I have ever known that finding a certain part number for an internal air card on my Dell laptop could help so many people around the world? happened, because I blogged on it.  I had absolutely no idea that anyone would find that valuable...but they did, by the boat load.  In the heavy equipment rental space, I bet there are few blogs if any.  If yours was the first and you blogged with even a modicum of skill in tagging or linking, you'd be found.  Trust me.  Why must the only value in your blog come from your direct industry?  I've achieved higher search engine rankings and first page results on many key topics that I blog about often like customer service and relocation.  In many cases, my more popular blog entries show up well ahead of the company's intended marketing message.  Old school business models may benefit from a blog more than more high tech businesses.  There's more cutting edge technology and marketing taking place in some seemingly old school segments than one would imagine.  GPS technologies and telematics are taking this industry by storm and allowing equipment rental companies to provide an unparalleled level of service. I'd bet that within 90 days, I could place higher than most when searching for "equipment rental" if I put my blogging efforts toward it.
  2. The belief that blogging is relegated to those that don't "have a life", is putting it lightly...ignorant.  AUTHOR'S NOTE:  I received a phone call from someone that knows Mr. Wilson suggesting that his comment about "not having a life" was likely geared towards his own personal schedule...meaning that "He'd not have a life if he were to try and blog". I have updated my post to reflect that I can see this point of view.  I had been quite fair that the comment was probably just a passing commentary lacking much context, but the rest of my post stands on its own and I hope the larger point is still the overriding one)  I'm pretty sure that Mr. Wilson's comment wasn't meant as a direct derogatory commentary on me, Seth Godin, Brad Feld, Tom Peters, Mark Cuban, and Guy Kawasaki.  Likely it was a humorous off the cuff remark that we all make from time to time.  I could list a thousand other blogs written by not so known names but the point holds.  We have a life.  In fact, we've taken on blogging as a means to communicate in an unfiltered way with our customers, potential customers, and casual observers.  We're using our real mojo and experiences in the life-business ecosystem to provide value for others.  We've all simply put a priority on understanding a new technology and new media platform.  It's the platform that our future employees are very familiar with.  It's the platform that can bring thousands of visitors scrambling to see what you think about the business trends and emerging issues.  Undoubtedly, this post will reach Mr. Wilson because of linking and tagging, and will probably be forwarded to him by a blogger with a life. 
  3. At the very least, interpret "blogging" as maintaining automated blog searches and tag searches to find out what people are saying about you when you're sleeping.  Nothing is more powerful than receiving an unsolicited "Thanks" or "Ooops" from the CEO of a company because they were paying attention.  If you're paying attention you have a serious competitive advantage vs. those who aren't.  Leverage that and odds are, you'll do better than "the rest".  Period.

The essence of guerrilla marketing for me is doing what isn't normally done, doing it cheap(er), doing it different.  Blogging is the pinnacle of cheap, different, and REAL.  It's worth an hour long workshop to understand the basics.  Then, if the CEO can't seem to put a coherent thought together, then find someone in the organization who can or hire someone. 

I think next year, you'll see a seminar by Doug called, "Social Media and the Heavy Equipment Rental Industry:  How To Get A Life Through Blogging!".   I invite your commentary.

Digital Fortress: Dan Brown

In typical Dan Brown fashion, I was at first interested, then excited, then totally hooked and to get to the next chapter of Digital Fortress to discover what twists and turns the tale would take.  The jist of the story is that an "unbreakable code" has been developed that would literally halt the NSA's ability to cipher any code whatsoever.  The code is developed by a guy with a grudge that wishes to put it on the open market.  Then, many unlikely "scholarly" heroes are thrust into the plot to stop this from happening.  Brown's heroes seem to always be the perfect blend of book smarts with enough street smarts to survive their fast paced adventures.  It's a fantastic "airplane book" because chapters are short and the story is quite easy to follow.  If anyone wants to borrow this book in the DSM Metro, just ask me.      

There are much better written reviews on the Amazon site linked above...but you'll love this tale if you love Dan Brown's style and heros.