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Author: Andrew Nauenburg

Thoughts on the Incident at Spring Valley High

A disturbing video surfaced today that shows a School Safety Officer toss a black student from her desk and then drag  her out of camera view. Look, I don’t know what happened prior to when the video begins and frankly I don’t care. As a parent, if this was my child being treated like this, I would drag that officer far away and turn that violence around on him. I can’t fathom myself having any other reaction. Maybe I don’t need to try and fathom the incident happening to my white family. I’m struggling to come up with anything this particular student could have done or said to deserve this sort of treatment. I was quite vocal and disruptive as a student and only a few occasions was I reprimanded. I’m not going to debate anyone about police brutality or the fact that blue lives matter and so forth. I appreciate the service law enforcement provide for our communities. But, there is a discourse in all of White America that is missing when events like this happen.

Instead, what I will do as a point of departure, is leave this data here for you to opine:

  • Black girls are six times more likely to get suspended than their white counterparts.
    • Nationally, 12% of black girls receive at least one suspension. The rate for white girls is 2%.
  • Black boys are three times more likely to get suspended than their white counterparts
    • On a national level, 20% of black boys are suspended. 6% of white boys are suspended.

washpograph

Source: Washington Post

I’ve heard two responses throughout the day (yes, I’m sure there have been many more, but the following two are what I heard and interacted with immediately after the video surfaced). I will outline the responses and then address them.

  • “What if that was your daughter?”
    • There is no “what-if.” That is your daughter. She is my daughter. As a society, we are collectively responsible for the well-being of our children. End of story.
  • “Well, what that girl should have done is just obeyed his order and listened to whatever he was saying and none of this would have happened.”
    • Remember, we are talking about a girl. A child. Circling back to my original notion – it doesn’t matter what this girl did – nothing she could have said warrants the reaction of the officer and the subsequent treatment she endured. And be honest, most of you wouldn’t have “just listened.” As kids, white, black, or brown, by nature we don’t “just listen” and “keep quiet.”

On a larger scale, let’s do everyone in this great country a favor and acknowledge there are bad apples in our police forces. That doesn’t mean all cops are bad. They provide vital and much-needed services for our communities and nation. But, let’s move the needle of progress onward – it’s time we take serious and swift action to get habitual criminal offenders out from behind the badge. Specifically to this incident, keep in mind this is a school safety officer – typically, their main objective is to keep children safe. Caring for the well-being of an officer isn’t mutually exclusive from having concern for the treatment of a fellow citizen. You can, and should, have a great deal of respect for law enforcement while holding them to the highest standard of care.

How 27 words from the late Irish Poet and Philosopher Helped Me Through A Difficult Time

The words of John O’Donahue helped me navigate the consequences from the behavior of a terrible colleague

Three months into a new job, a colleague, who happened to be a the company co-founder, started behaving inappropriately. You know the type – selfish with a skewed view of reality, and just a real bummer to be around. His inappropriate actions became problematic for company moral and the progress of the organization. In conversation he was talking out of both sides of his mouth, his decision making became a perpetual game of flip-flop, and he zig-zagged on his contributions to the companies direction. We were a distributed team so the remote working structure lessened the burden of his actions but once we started gathering for in-person team building and attending industry events, things unraveled. The dishonesty and manipulation escalated. The ideas and opinions of others were mocked or ignored as the team was being treated as a means to an end to serve his agenda.

After the shock settled, my initial response was to run and resign. But after taking with other team members and against the will of my family, the appeal the team we’d built and the potential to see the success of our efforts won. As an organization, we had invested so much time and resources into executing a plan for growth I just couldn’t let myself walk away, no matter how terrible the situation had gotten. I didn’t realize that the behavior was having an effect on my life outside of a professional setting. It was impacting my mood and outlook as well as my personal relationships. The behavior continued and unfortunately, worsened. At the same time, I had become blind to its effect on me when out of the blue, one of my philosophy advisors from my undergraduate studies sent me a snippet from John O’Donahue’s book, “Beauty,” with a note attached, “Something told me you could use this.”

Against the world with all its turbulence, distraction, and worry, one should cultivate a style of mind that can reach through to an inner stillness and calm.

3EPA01FY99I’d heard about moments like this – those that catch your attention like a lightning strike at midnight in the desert. This was the first I’d ever experienced such an instance and it made me realize I had a major problem. I’d allowed myself to slip into an ugly and rough place. The turmoil at work was stressful and causing me to experience a whirlwind of emotions. Anger and rage had become my go-to response to almost every event and everyone in my life. Something had happened that I’d never experienced – I had found comfort in a predictable yet difficult place in my mind – a dark room without windows. I had closed off reality and no longer could the light from outside penetrate and illuminate my life. This way of seeing and operating perpetuates misery.

The world works wonders and brings others into your life when you most need them. I only talk to this professor a couple of times a year, but those random 27 words were a much-needed wake-up call. I needed to find my inner stillness and calm. I had to make a change and my only option was to put the wheels in motion immediately. In times of struggle we often forget our purpose. Our default coping mechanism and reaction, it seems to me, is to push through and stay the course. The outcome is rarely positive. In my case, the situation worsened. It was stressing me out to a point of potentially running my relationships. My energy was zapped to nearly zero and my creativity was crushed – my writing had ceased to a grinding halt. In the end, I was left questioning my sanity and self-worth.

People with a selfish attitude that constantly take and never give should have zero space in your life. I took this moment of realization and found my inner peace with a return to nature. I began scheduling multiple daily walks. My relationship with nature has always been the source for my creative flow. It wasn’t easy – it’s grueling work to shift the way you think and see things. I hunkered down and found my calm and no longer were his actions affecting my behavior and outlook. Re-engaging with nature ignited my creative writing. I was back on track and up at 4 am with pen in hand scratching the eyes out of my Moleskines. Something as important to me like writing had totally left my daily routine as a result of my energy being bled dry from the dysfunction and turmoil at work. O’Donahue says:

[Tweet “So much depends on how we see things.”]

By narrowing and restricting our vision, our expectations and actions become predictable. He describes this situation and the results when we find ourselves there: “The way we look at things has a huge influence on what becomes visible for us.” In times like this, remember Jim Rohn’s realization, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Since we spend so much time at work, this implication is crucial, and each of us should force ourselves to examine our surroundings often to ensure we are in an environment conducive to our flourishing.

Andrew’s 3 Chairs: 17 October Edition

There has been a lot of moving and shaking going on all around me. More details on that coming soon. In the meantime, I hope time is treating you well and allowing you to slow down a bit. This week’s edition brings you some more random and hopefully beneficial information. Without further ado:

  • 11BIGGJC68My buddy Peter Awad makes a mean cup of coffee. He gets asked all the time how in the heck he produces such a delicious treat. To please the people, he put together a step by step tutorial. Check it out: “How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee.” He’s got links to the products he uses, a 10 step process, as well as a voice narration of the tutorial.
  • SumoMe: This is brought to you by Noah Kagan over at AppSumo. If you don’t know who he is, I recommend checking
    him out – super interesting background and personality. If you do anything online, they have a suite of free, and some paid, tools that improve your website’s performance and engagement. Big and small, personal to business use it. Trusted by the likes of AirBnB, theChive, and The Four Hour Work Week. For me, their Google Analytics tool is their best product – you can view your data and never leave your site.
  • I published and gave away an Evernote Cheat Sheet this week. It was my first go ‘round doing something like this. I’ve gotten some great feedback, both good and bad. I had one person reply to a tweet and called me a “boring old man” for “still using Evernote, don’t I know anything?” (even though Maria Popova uses for her book notes and research compilation and Tim Ferriss wrote his damn book with it :] ). Check it out and share with your friends!

Andrew’s 3 Chairs: 10 October Edition

This week’s rendition will hopefully inspire and spur some action. If you would take a moment and share with your friends and network, I’ll high five you! Here it goes:
  • Give and Take by Adam Grant: This book I wish I had read in high school. Grant does a fantastic job addressing relationships and how difference types of people affect relationship’s success. Those that only give, those that only take, and those that fall in the middle. The winners and losers will surprise you. An insightful piece of data and a great quote:
    • A comparison of people providing a service to others:
      • 1980: service sector made up 50% GDP
      • 1995: service sector made up 66% GDP
      • 2015: service sectors is 80% GDP
    • “When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when were treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.” Johann Wolgan von Goethe
  • 20 Signs You Need a Break From Work: This article and infographic do a great job breaking down burnout and the need for a break. I won’t spoil it but a few that I have totally experienced:
    • Do you find yourself at parties not wanting to talk or explain your job? You need new territory
    • If you live for Friday and dread Monday, it’s time to take a few Monday’s and Friday’s out.
  • Do the Work by Steven Pressfield: I was gifted this book from my dear friend Desiree. It quickly shot to my list of top books/must reads. It is a quick read – Seth Godin recommends reading it through quickly first, then a second pass where you can make notes and collect your thoughts. I took a lot away from this book but most importantly it changed the way I approach my creative process and flesh out new ideas. Whether you are a creative person or in business, we are all innovating on some level or another. He outlined resistance that hinder our progress. Most importantly, he dives into the ways we can leverage assistance we can do to overcome that resistance and stay the course, following our passion.
Until next week! Onward, my friends.

Relationships Are Two-Way Streets

I’m a loyal consumer, some say to a fault. When I find a brand that has a solid product or service AND delivers exceptional support, I not only remain a faithful paying customer, but I go out of my way to refer and encourage others to look into using that particular vendor. A few examples of brands I love and refer people to like crazy: Asana, Evernote, Grammarly, Scrivener (can you tell I’m a writer?), and SalesLoft. I’m passionate about supporting startups and small business. I disclosed to one of my business advisors an ongoing business pain and she recommended I reach out and connect with a gentleman she knows that solves my exact issue. She referred me to him by way of a text intro.

We played phone and text tag for the next 48 hours. When we finally connected I happened to be on my daily run. I stopped my run and answered his call; the exchange went like this:

Me: “Hi, this is Andrew.”TwoWayStreetPic
Him: “Yeah, this is Josh, if you could do me a favor and cut right to the point, I’m a busy man and I need you to make the most of my time. I don’t remember calling you so whatever this is about cut to the chase.” (now remember, we had played phone tag, exchanged text messages)
Me: *silent, super long, shocked pause* “Well, I was referred to you by Jane and I’m a bit shocked at your opening and dialogue so if this is how you handle referrals and business, I will go ahead and pass on this conversation.”
Him: “Alright, this is how I weed out the men from the boys.” *hangs up*

I resumed my run and for the remaining 45 minutes, my mind was fixated on that exchange. I couldn’t believe how it went down or if I should even tell my mentor. I decided to wait a day and then reach out to her explaining what had happened so she didn’t think I blew off the referral and that the relationship ball dropped in his court, not mine. We ended up meeting for coffee the next afternoon. It just so happened that she ran into Josh on her walk to the coffee shop. He had already explained the situation and how the call went. He asked that she talk to me and ask me to call him back; turned out he needed my business.

After I reigned in my laughter, Jane explained to me the reason he gave her for his actions. He said he had been reading books and blogs about the need to intimidate clients to ensure he is positioned to have the upper hand in negotiations and control the relationship. In the same breath, he disclosed he was having customer issues and that his business had never had such a bleak outlook.

Peter Audet said:

You can’t just ignore someone because you don’t think they’re important enough.
This is a perfect example of that idea; the fact that Josh doesn’t see the connection between his shift in how he approaches relationships and treats others and his struggling business is concerning. I tell you this story not to throw “Josh” under the bus but to point out the risk in being a taker. According to others that have worked with him, he delivers and his results are amazing. The kind of results that give customers that “wow factor.” But not even that can offset the demeaning and condescending conversation. I can’t emphasize enough the need for us to find empathy and the focus necessary to understand others. Whether it’s in business or your personal life, you will not forge successful relationships by treating others as if they are less intelligent and forcing the notion that your time is more valuable than theirs. All relationships are a two-way street. You must embrace humility and think of others more than yourself. Once you start looking at others with the mindset of “what can they do for me” you’ve ventured down the wrong path. C.S. Lewis said it best:
True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

I needed the service Josh provided and had the referral and confidence that he would deliver the exact solution to my problem but I have zero drive to form a relationship with someone with an attitude and outlook towards others like this. Turns out that even worse for him and his business is I walk in a circle of others that need his service, too.

*Please note: I changed the names of the parties involved so settle your problem-solving skills – you won’t identify the guilty party 🙂

Andrew’s 3 Chairs: 03 October Edition

This time around you’ll be immersed in a diverse collection of finds and ideas. Without further ado…
  • Bold by Peter Diamandis: Diamandis knocks it out of the park with this book. He dives deep into the power of exponentials and how the playing field is now level; there is no time like today for entrepreneurs to create something meaningful to change the world. He dissects the downfall of Kodak while giving a roadmap to disruption by using innovative companies like Google as examples, with actual insight and innovate principles used by leaders turning the status quo on its head. My favorite quote from the book: “Have no time for impossible.” Also, a fantastic discussion and outline of Google’s Eight Innovation Principles, which you can find below:
    1. Focus on the user
    2. Share everything
    3. Look for ideas everywhere (think crowdsourcing)
    4. Think big, start small (he urges us all to aim to positively affect a BILLION people within a decade – let that sink in)
    5. Never fail to fail (think fail fast and fail forward)
    6. Speak with imagination, fuel with data
    7. Be a platform
    8. Have a mission that matters (should be #1 but they are in no particular order of importance)
  • Better late than never – I’m late to the party on this one, but you must check out 99% Invisible. I believe what Roman Mars has done with his podcast is near the top of all content being produced. It’s amazing. One of the recent episodes chronicles the “Milk Carton Kids” from the 80’s. The interviews and the data they dissect about are fascinating and surprising. Give it a listen. Most episodes are short and sweet and always edifying.
  • Periscope – I think Periscope is going to be the next big thing in social. My friend Alaia Williams has great guide “How to Use Periscope.” The app and platform can be a bit overwhelming at first so use her guide for both hosting and watching. I’m confident this platform will be as big as Twitter. I’ve committed to “scoping” three times per week – keep me accountable!

Andrew’s 3 Chairs: 26 September Edition

This is the first “Three Chair Saturday,” a weekly post to share videos, books, articles, links, and ideas that I discover throughout the week. Chatting with my buddy Peter Awad this week it dawned on me that I consume great amounts each day (books, blogs, podcasts, etc.) and I don’t take action on the takeaways like I should. One of the ways I believe I can take action is to share my favorite bits and pieces. I’ll keep these brief because I know your time is valuable. But by consuming these, I am confident you’ll find some great insight and ideas. Without further ado…

Margaret Atwood on Storytelling: This is a gem from Maria Popova and company. I love Margaret Atwood (my favorite poem) and her take on storytelling and technology in this short, four-minute video are fantastic. My favorite bit: “Just after the Gutenberg Press was invented, mountains of crap poured forth from it.”

This group from Sweden singing “Hallelujah”: This one speaks for itself (no religious orientation needed).

Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf: This is a really great book for both kids and adults. Our five-year-old found it on his own at the library and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to new backyard and endangered birds. Plus, it’s written and illustrated by an 11 (yes, ELEVEN) year old girl, post gulf oil spill, passionate about birds and saving the environment and bird habitats. She’s raised north of $200K.

Cheers my friends,
ADN
P.S.. If you’re wondering what in the hell is up with “Three Chairs,” it’s from Chapter 6 in Walden, my favorite book.

Why I joined a Mastermind Group (and you should, too)

I used to laugh when people talked of Mastermind Groups.

I’m not perfect. Shocker, right? I fail and make mistakes. Many mistakes, often several times a day. I lack the confidence to ship certain projects into which I’ve put tons of time and effort creating. I began following Pamela Slim many years ago and loved the content she was producing and the way she shared her passion for community. Her core values were obvious and she made sure they lined up with whomever she worked. Yet, I was skeptical and hesitant of the Mastermind Groups she promoted and led. I wasn’t certain of their function or if they’d be effective. Without further inquiry, I decided they were whacky.

Enter Desiree Adaway. Like many of my closest friends, Desiree came into my life via Pam or what is commonly referred to as “the Pamily.” I immediately connected with Desiree, shared her values, and loved her real talk and tough love (that tough love part took some time to appreciate). I soon learned that Desiree also led Masterminds. By nature, my closed mind brushed them off as some kumbaya session.

Then, in January 2015, Desiree launched a Mastermind for men. I was intrigued. It meddled around for about a day and I decided joining was the best thing to do.

The result? The experience has been nothing short of wonderful. Desiree instills grit in your gut. It boils over and forces you to evaluate yourself and your surroundings. It was uncomfortable at first but has become a part of my every day. I joined a diverse group of men in all different stages of life, both professionally and personally. I’ve learned to slow down. I’ve found gratitude and what it means to reflect on living a good life. Now as I reflect on my time with this Mastermind, I am brought face to face with a quote by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” These six months of Mastermind have reiterated the importance of a diverse community and that expanding my impact and touching others with different cultural backgrounds is not only important but it’s vital for growth as a person and an entrepreneur.Z031LT9XSHThis leads us back to why everyone should join a Mastermind. Here are five reasons they are such a good investment and so utterly productive:

  • Accountability: You are encouraged to set milestones and are reminded along the way to ensure you are completing tasks to achieve the bigger picture. There’s nothing more humbling and humiliating than setting a goal and not achieving it because you failed to take some sort of action. The Mastermind Group ensures you are accountable to both yourself and your peers.
  • Diversity: Damnit to hell this should be on the minds of everyone in America. It’s been a jolt to my soul being part of a group so diverse. I’ve learned so much. Has it been uncomfortable? Yes, at times it’s been uncomfortable as hell but that’s how we grow. Seeing the world through another’s lens is the only way to feel their pain and they struggles they endure. Thanks, Chimamanda.
  • Self Reflection: Self reflection is a byproduct of the Mastermind. At the end of an online or virtual retreat, you can’t help yourself but to stop and reflect on where you are, how far you come, and where you are going. Being surrounded by other people working just as hard as you are lets you know you aren’t alone and it’s okay to be proud of what you’ve accomplished but to remember to stay hungry.
  • New Ideas: You may think you are smarter than everyone in your room; and if you are, you are in the wrong damn room. Surrounding yourself with others with different experiences will give you new insight and change how you think, create, and do.
  • Feedback: As a writer, the Mastermind group resonates as something similar to a writer’s workshop. Each day can be uncomfortable as you share you work, ideas, and creativity but the process and result of the feedback puts you leaps ahead of where you’d been had you not exposed your ideas and drafts.

If one doesn’t expand their circle they won’t find others who share similar struggles and fears. As a result of inaction, we continue to endure and to be stifled by those hurdles.

I let myself be vulnerable. I embraced a new community that fostered growth and allowed me to find meaningful work and be more productive than ever. None of this would have happened on my own. I did it and you can, too.

 

Atlanta Tech Village Keynote

Slide 2: Content! Content! Content! All we hear anymore is that content is king! And that we all must join the content production race or risk being left behind. Without a doubt, content is important. BUT, if you leave here today remembering only one thing, remember this: Not all content is created equal.
Slide 3: 
Allow me to introduce you to Jane. Jane is recently retired and enthusiastic about the horse she spends her time with on her small farm.
Slide 4: 
One day, she’s casually surfing the internet just passing the time. She’s bombarded by advertisements for all things horse related: trailers, horse feed, grooming equipment, saddles, blankets, bridles, riding lessons, and the list goes on. Whether you own or have an interest in horses, you and I and Jane share one thing: we are not interested in any of this. At least not right now.
Slide 5: 
This is the type of marketing we call push marketing. Push your products on unwilling and unknowing consumers through advertising and just hope they are in the position to buy. We’ve all been there. Right!!! Raise your hand if this has NEVER happened to you.
Slide 6: 
Now, let’s look at Jane in a world of pull marketing. Jane is sitting on her porch, drinking coffee and browsing the web.
Slide 7: 
She stumbles upon an article about stirrups that her friend has shared on FB. Her interest is peaked. Stirrups have been on her mind a lot lately. She’s recently heard that this is an often overlooked part of proper fit and riding.
Slide 8: 
She clicks the link and reads the article. It’s a post by someone just like her. A gal that rides horses, has done her homework and actually experienced the benefits of best-fit stirrups. While there, Jane finds an active community with a shared passion.
Slide 9: 
They are an engaged, thoughtful, and enthusiastic group of horse lovers.
Slide 10: 
These preceding scenarios are a result of two differing types of content. The first, high effort, and the second, low effort. What is high effort content? You all know what it is.
Slide 11: 
First and foremost,  it’s damn expensive. And just as time-consuming as costly. And almost always an absolute nightmare. We define high effort by that content created via traditional blogs and contracted content producers.
Slide 12: 
I am here to tell you, with case studies as proof, high effort content is no longer king.
Slide 13: 
Eloqua published a study about content creation costs and the typical content department at a mid-sized and large-sized company. Here’s the setup: A chief content officer, a managing editor, a community manager, internal and external contributors all tied to a content calendar.
Slide 14: 
Monthly expenses for a mid-sized company totaled nearly $12,000. For a large-sized company, that number nearly tripled to $32,000/month.
Slide 15: 
Other companies, in an effort to simplify the system, try a different approach: We were at the Internet Marketing Summit in North Carolina this past fall and had dinner with a client. After dinner, they began discussing his pain points and his idea of success for his content strategy. He started off by telling him that he had implemented a program a few months prior that gave people a mandatory, extended lunch break. For 30 minutes before or after lunch, they were required to write. The goal was to have employees produce content. A process that could work right? He would pay $30 per article produced in addition to them being on the clock.
Slide 16: 
After 60 days he had exactly zero pieces of content. Fail.
Slide 17: 
What eventually happens is people and organizations simply abandon their content strategy and give up because it is so costly and difficult as we discussed earlier.
Slide 18: 
How many of you currently utilize a user-generated content approach? User generated content is low-effort. Here are a few examples we think you will find quite interesting.
Slide 19: 
Here is an e-commerce ribbon site that allows anyone in the world to submit crafting related content, some of it ribbon related. Building a crafting community on a site that sells ribbons to crafters? Not a bad idea.
Slide 20: 
Belkin creates a case with lego studs on the back and encourages their users to post their creations to Instagram and hashtag it LegoxBelkin. Who sells a case better? Belkin or your friend showing off the case?
Slide 21: 
You guys have probably seen this one. Tmobile launches an un-valentines day campaign and offers to pay the cancelation fees for anyone that breaks up with their current provider. They do this through a Facebook app that allows people to easily write and share this breakup letter with their friends. 80k breakup letters were posted. Damn.
Slide 22: 
Jane’s site. created by one of the largest livestock trailer manufacturers in the world. We’ll get into the stats for this amazing machine in a bit.
Slide 23: 
So, does this mean that you should abandon your current high effort content plan and replace it all with low effort content? Absolutely, not. The traditional, in-house model of content generation is a necessary strategy that aligns perfectly with UGC. It allows for more exposure to that high effort content you are producing.
Slide 24: 
Today, the key is to create a community passionate enough to engage with, where they become your worker bees and share, share, share your content.
Slide 25: 
Sharing content is king! The name of the game is share-ability.
Slide 26: 
But… the bad news is people don’t want to share your content. Unless, In a user generated content world, fans and writers are encouraged and incentivized to share content.
Slide 27: 
The act of sharing content actually helps consumers process your information better. The New York Times did a study on some of the reasons people share content: 73% of participants say they process information “more deeply, thoroughly, and thoughtfully” when they share it
Slide 28: 
85% say reading content that other people share helps them understand and process information and events
Slide 29: 
49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action
Slide 31: 
Now let’s compare the performance of high effort to low effort. Depending on the industry a recent study by Oracle found: High effort content converts 3.5%-3.8% whereas low effort content converts 9.1%-13.5%. That’s a huge difference!
Slide 32: 
But what does that look like in terms of actual, real world conversions? Let’s assume a piece of content receives 10,000 visitors. High effort content would convert  14 visitors and Low-effort content would convert: 123 visitors!
Slide 33: Wow! Talk about disparity! But why?!
Slide 34: 
Well, remember Jane from earlier? She’s visited the horse enthusiast blog for months now. Jane is now part of what we call the “A club:” awareness, affinity, and action – she has brand awareness, an affinity for that brand, and she’s ready to take action. And so she becomes one of the 123 conversions.
Slide 35: 
When we first saw these stats  at a conference in Dallas we almost fell out of our seats. Look, obviously this is a room full of smart and bright folks. We worked really hard to fill these seats with intelligent people. And so you already see what I’m getting at.
Slide 36: 
UGC is so damn important. Augment your current strategy with UGC and as the studies show, you can generate nearly ten TIMES the amount of leads.
Slide 37: 
One thing that has become apparent to our community of clients, users, and partners: Whatever the current strategy the status quo is just not good enough anymore.
Slide 38: 
Now look, let’s be honest. As awful as this sounds, it’s the truth:  Nobody cares about your products and services. Except you.
Slide 39: 
The good news is what people do care about are themselves and how you can solve their problems. Plant many seeds. The strategy is in numbers: the more seeds, the more flowers.
Slide 40: 
Embrace the “no-bodies.” Enter a solution that enables a community to grow and thrive, where you are providing a value like no other, so that when they are ready to take action, the consumer’s brand awareness about you is through the roof.
Slide 41: 
Innovation requires change. This new way of marketing is drastically different. We’ve done this for ourselves and many clients. Without a doubt, the transition is difficult. Defying the status quo is hard.
Slide 42: 
But, we must ask ourselves, what’s the reward? The reward is an engaged and trusting audience. That user generated content and it’s community is the source for lead generation (as the numbers show earlier). No matter your goals, you’ve nurtured an audience that has grown into a passionate community, one that will convert: could be email list signups, webinar registrations, point and click purchases.
Slide 43: 
For example: take our e-commerce client, Tea Party Ribbons. She’s a one woman shop and has a site that simply sells ribbons. Her goal is to facilitate and nurture a crafting community so that when the time comes for them to purchase ribbon, they choose her.
Slide 44: 
Or, how about the branding benefit. The State of Iowa has a blog to simply showcase the state and bring awareness to tourism. Biking, hiking, kayaking, historical sites, and so forth, are all showcased.
Slide 45: 
We’ve talked a lot about the horse blog and community. Of Horse uses their horse audience to generate leads for the sale of their main line of business, boring old horse trailers. Did we mention they are one of the world’s largest horse trailer manufacturers and their UGC blog generates over 500% more leads than their corporate site?
Slide: 46: 
Content success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long term but necessary strategy.
Slide 47: Webinar invite
Slide 48:  
We appreciate your time and hope at the very least you were able to gain some valuable insight. Regardless if we end up working together, I l hope you will use us as a resource to get in the UGC game. Thank you.

The Danger of a Single Story

With all that is going on in Charleston and other spots around the U.S., I find myself going back to this talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I first learned of her during my studies in African Literature at Creighton and have ever since been enthralled with all she has to say and do. I encourage each of you to dig deep into the racial issues plaguing us, aim to really understand and think deeply about them, and foster a dialogue with the people within your circles. Read more about Chimamanda, here.