Connecting people and ideas through improvisation

Moving On – Digital Publishing and Social Media Consulting

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powered by ideas

The one constant in my life may be my inability to sit still. New problems, emerging ideas, Gordian knots, gooey messes, I love them all. It’s not an issue of boredom, but a desire to explore that goes right down through my bones.

This time it is taking me into the world of consulting and digital publishing.

Stranger in a Strange Land

For the past two years I was the Director of Social Media Strategy at Sitewire, a great digital marketing company in Tempe. Sitewire is a fun, frenetic place to work, and I’m proud of my contribution that helped establish social media as a strong part of their capability suite.  At Sitewire I learned a ton about marketing, digital agencies, and mid-sized business operation.

I also learned that I’m not a marketer. I have skills that lend themselves well to that arena, but that’s worlds apart from it being my career. I’m a problem solver. I’m a connector.

Ideas + People

All the flash mobs, groups, and events I belong to seem random to some people, but really does have a common thread: I like to connect people with ideas. I enjoy helping someone find a voice, a vehicle, a way to share a passion and see where it leads. I also love helping people find the right forum to listen, to discover and digest new ideas that will take their own goals further. Often the specific ideas are less important to me than making connections and seeing what unexpected bits of greatness emerges.

It’s why I think things like Ignite Phoenix and Gangplank are so important. They build an environment for people to connect. What people do with those platforms is up to them. Some people expect magical serendipity, and they’ll leave disappointed, but people who are willing to put effort and energy behind their ideas often see incredible things emerge.

Digital Publishing for Authors

With Improv Media I’m doing independent consulting in social media, event planning, guerrilla marketing, and an assortment of odd things that fit my ranging background. I’m far from done with social media, as the interactions and impact it has on us sociologically remains endlessly fascinating for me. If you’re looking for some creative help in this realm, let me know.

However, my main focus is the bizarre, evolving world of Digital Publishing. I’ve launched a new effort with Evo Terra designed to help authors self-publish their work. The site, called ePublish Unum*, pulls together news, tips, and recommendations for authors, and will soon include courses and our first digital authors workshop here in Phoenix.

It still about the connecting. Old-school publishers are losing their role as middle-men in a shift very reminiscent of what hit the music industry. The tools are all there for authors to directly take their ideas out to readers, and I want to help make that happen for as many people as possible.

I have absolutely no idea how this will work out, but that’s the way I love to roll.


* the name is from the Latin motto “E pluribis unum“, which means “out of many, one“. Don’t worry, nobody else gets it either.

Looking to change your world? Give Poke a chance

Poke the Box

Poke the Box

Self help books usually don’t.

The problem is they give you a plan that you didn’t create, to reach a goal you didn’t define, via methods you don’t normally use. If you’re struggling to lose weight or make a million dollars, it’s reassuring to have a safe, proven path laid out before you. But if this sort of easy solution worked, wouldn’t all the books we need on these topics have been written by now? The truth is there is no short-cut because there is no one path that someone can tell you how to walk.

What I find works much better is having a coach. An insistent one, yelling in your ear to get off your ass and keep moving. When I took Krav Maga, the trainers alternated between encouraging and berating us, yelling and screaming and using whatever tricks they could muster to get us to push ourselves harder. There were times I hated them, but in the end I did far more kicks, punches, and burpees than I would have on my own. They ranted and supported, but it was up to me to keep trying and keep getting better.

“This might not work” isn’t merely something to be tolerated; it’s something you should seek out.
~ Poke the Box

That’s Seth Godin’s Poke the Box – an 85-page mental trainer encouraging you to Go Go Go. It’s even the way Seth wrote it – as a series of anecdotes, reminders, inspirations, admonishments, ideas, and challenges. What connected with me may not connect with you, but something in these pages is guaranteed to make you want drop the book and go do something crazy.

That’s poking the box. Not throwing random stuff at the wall, but picking your direction and driving forward. Trying something new. If that doesn’t work, trying something else.

Risk is avoided because we’ve been trained to avoid failure.
~ Poke the Box

Sounds absolutely right to me. I have my own objectives and windmills, and am always trying new ways to reach them. I’ve mucked up more than once, sometimes quite spectacularly, but I come back and try it again from a new angle. It’s out of that improvisational effort that the things I consider my biggest personal successes were born. And as a bonus all those failures make for great stories over beer.

If you’re looking for some motivation to shake up your world and deliver something new, I quite heartily recommend Poke The Box. If you’re looking for a plan to get you out of your rut in 10 Easy Steps, Poke isn’t for you. But keep on looking, as surely some other book out there will solve your problems for you. Right?

Bland Romance – Losing a client but regaining some perspective

Lady GaGa live

Image via Wikipedia

Recently I’ve become a bit of a hypocrite in the advice I give about crafting your online brand. Fortunately it recently cost me a client, which helped sort me out.

In general, my advice on this topic goes something like: Show your personality online, and don’t try to play it safe. Stand out, and you will attract the customers who value what you have to offer.

Insightful, right?  If you try to appeal to everyone, you will end up appealing to no one and be lost in the sea of mediocrity.

In spite of this sage advice, over the past few weeks I’ve found myself editing my tweets and Facebook posts, concerned about fallout over who might see them. I basically stopped blogging for not wanting to throw out ideas until I had time to carefully cultivate them into the shining beacons of genius I have little doubt they would become. And in spite of all my caution I lost a speaking engagement this past week. Why? In part because I was more concerned with being what I thought the client wanted than just being me.

Stupid.  If you have your own take on the world, let it shine.  You may scare away some, but you’ll attract those who appreciate what you have to offer.

Take these gents. They take an already polarizing singer like Lady Gaga, put about the nerdiest spin on it I can possibly imagine, and they’ve got 210,000+ views and counting.

As the man said, “To thine own self be true.”

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This blog is an endowment exercise, where I act the part of a social media enthusiast, with a background in improv comedy, and attempt to merge those concepts into an ongoing scene of amusement, philosophy, and education.

Under intense mental shock-treatment (whether they knew it or not) from the likes of Havi Brooks, Naomi Dunford, Jonathan Fields, Chris Guillebeau, and the amazing Pamela Slim, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I’m really after in my online corner in the world. I came to the realization that while I talked a lot, I wasn’t always saying very much.  Sometimes it was for fear of alienating readers, or causing friction with my employer, or a host of other silly reasons that didn’t amount to much in the final analysis.

After a mental walkabout, personality inventory, and general navel gazing it started to coalesce. My long dormant passion for improv comedy and my interest in social media are connected, and that is what I am here to pursue. It may sound like an odd connection, but if you stick around a bit I think I can make a good case. Since this light bulb went off, I can barely keep up with all the content ideas that have been tumbling forward.

Can I turn them into something worthwhile?  Can I make a cohesive connection?  Will this be anything more than idle musings?

Time will tell. The show begins now, and tickets are free.