Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Have No Time for That

Five O'Clocks Shadow 62

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

Today's five o'clock shadow is... A CULT CAST! Yep, it's been a long LONG time since I put one out. But now the office is ready, I had some free time and thought... why not?

If you're new to the CultCast experience, it's not what you are used to reading on the site. I'm a lot less nice. But hey, aren't all cult leaders? And no, I'm not looking for your money or asking you to follow. My cult is a cult of the willing. I need no sheep, thank you very much. Click the link on the right column of this page to get the prior episodes if you like.

Today's lesson deals with the choices we make and the impact those choices make to our availability. Chances are, you need to listen. If you have time.

Here's to the crazy ones

My new favorite quote, attributed to Johnny Appleseed:

Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things.

Right on. That's me.

And by the way: the Johnny Appleseed story you were told as a kid is a whitewashed version. Check out Michael Polan's book The Botany of Desire for the real deal. Fantastic book.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm on .TV!

Now before you ask, no... this is not the project I've decided to stick with that will get me back in your ears on a regular basis. As I said in yesterday's post, I'm intrigued by video and am seriously considering working with the medium for my next project.

This ain't it.

But I do hope to learn a few things from uStream. I can handle the microphone and know how to run a show and run it well. But I don't have much (read: any) skills for talking to you from behind a camera. Plus I'm flying solo, which isn't the best way to see me as spontaneous if the past is any judge.

So drop by from time to time and see what I've got cooking. You maybe entertained. You may be bored. That's OK. This is just my video playground. Well... one of them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

links for 2007-08-29

The magic of online video

Five O'Clock Shadow 61

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

Today I discovered the magic of online video. OK, truth be told, I discovered online video a long time ago, but it was over the weekend when CJ showed me how to get Stickam working. As for the magic, that was definitely today.

I work remotely from my home. About a third of the company I work for (more on that in the future) are like me -- slugging away at the job from the comfort of our own home. Yes, that can be as cool as it sounds, but it can also be very isolating. We've been bridging physical divide with Skype for some time now, but it's still not the same. Phone calls aren't the same. But with two of us both using uStream, it is a very close approximation to having a co-worker just around the corner or across the cube-wall.

Mandy and I used it all day today and worked out some protocols. Like shutting off your microphone when the phone rings. And keeping Skype open to bip each other when the feed drops or the audio goes wonky. Nothing hard to do.

Our next step is to bring in a third member of our team and to embed all of our streams into an HTML page. Very Brady Bunch of us, I know. But I have high hopes for it.

How are you taking social media tools and adapting them to how you work and live?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dust Storm in the Desert

My very first video uploaded. I feel like part of the cool club. I took this a week ago with my Treo 755P, so don't expect amazing quality. But it does showcase the really powerful dust storms we get here in Phoenix when the monsoons kick in.It wa

This video was originally shared on by tmanscipan with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

13 Bullets: A Vampire Tale

13 Bullets: A Vampire Tale

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

I recently completed the print version of David Wellington's 13 Bullets. Thanks to David for sending me a copy of the book, and for keeping it as a free online serialized text story. For today's Five O'Clock Shadow (up to #60), how about a quick review?

David has figured out the secret of writing damn good fiction: forget the boring-ass exposition that usually makes up the first part of the book, establishing characters, motivations and the world setting. Instead, start with an action scene that makes the reader wish he hadn't worn white undies -- then don't let up.

I'm serious. This book starts with action, throws on a little more action, gets all set for a nice and much needed breather, then throws that plan out the window and rips your nuts off with more action. And then for the finale... more action!

Well written, David. Very nice character growth. Exceptional pacing. You had so many chances to take this book down the easy-to-follow path, but each time you didn't and gave us something unexpected. I read this book in about four evenings, an hour or two at a time. Had I started it on a Sunday morning, it would have spelled the end of my productivity for the day. So watch it.

But get it. Very worth it. Think of your personal favorite X-Files episode. Make Scully a fresh recruit and a lesbian, and replace Fox with the CSM -- but with more attitude and fire power. Now make them fight the baddest and ugliest vampires you can think of -- none of this romantic blood-sucker bullshit. Mix well. And don't forget to breathe.

Well done, David. You serve as a fine example to others that giving content away for free can -- and does -- turn into good things.

Monday, August 20, 2007

No, you don't need to know everything

Five O'Clock Shadow 59

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

When someone comes over to my house and says something like "Here, boy" to my dog, I don't bother to correct them. Yes, the dog is female and yes, the person is wrong. But so what?

Trust me. The dog doesn't care. In fact, the dog has no idea that we humans have placed differentiating labels on male and female members of the same species. In fact, I have my doubts if the dog truly gets the meaning of male, female or even species. She's a dog, after all.

And it really doesn't matter to the person who made the error, either. Unless of course that person is involved in the field of veterinary medicine, in which case it matters very much and I'd likely seek a new health care provider for said dog.

As for me, I genuinely do not give a frog's fat ass that someone got the sex of my dog wrong. There are plenty of other things in the world to worry about that take precedent over the infraction. So you see, all three parties are none the richer nor poorer for having the error corrected. We all move along.

Now. Go find ways to implement this teaching in your greater lives. There will be a quiz.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Off the cuff Top 10 Marketing Mistakes to avoid

Five O'Clock Shadow 58

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

Recently I was asked (twice, because I'm a putz) to contribute to an article to be posted in Entrepreneur magazine. I'm hopeful that my ideas will make it in, but you never know. So, at the request of the fantastically talented Chris Miller, I'm posting what I sent here. I didn't pull these from any book or high-priced seminar. Instead, I wrote what I've seen and learned from In no particular order:

Top 10 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Don't assume your pea shooter can't reach the moon. Many folks underestimate the power of a well thought out and executed marketing campaign. I'm not talking about spending lots of hard cash, but I am talking about spending lots of time, energy and effort. If you've got a quality product, you can make it go big if you try. And know how.
  2. Don't be afraid to swim upstream. Many of the "tried and true" methods of success in marketing are simply there because someone hasn't come up with a better way. You can't do this blind, obviously. But if you see an opportunity to do it differently and better, do it!
  3. Don't assume your audience is stupid. All too many marketers cater to the lowest common denominator. Give your audience some credit, and make the assumption that they'll get what you are offering -- without you having to repeat it in HEAD ON fashion.
  4. Don't be afraid to go hyper-niche. Sure, there's lots of money to be made appealing to the masses. But we could be nearing the end (or at list a big shit away from) the "blockbuster" era. People have lots of avenues to find what they want. Go niche and find an audience who cares deeply, but in smaller numbers.
  5. Don't listen to "we tried that before" stories. This medium in which we live and work has changed. Facebook wouldn't have worked in 1997.
  6. Don't buy the "don't be a sellout" mantra. As my friend Dave Slusher says: "There is no such thing as selling out. There's only selling too cheaply".
  7. Don't be afraid to copy new success. Find out what worked really well for someone with something similar to what you are offering, and do that. There's probably enough room for both of you.
  8. Don't ignore people's inherent need for help. Today, people have access to information. For many, it's just too much information. People love choices, but the also love it when people help them make those choices. Narrow down lists, or act as a curator of information. That's helpful.
  9. Don't listen (too closely) to your fans. Fans have a vested interest in getting more of what they like from you. But that may not be what's best for your product or service. By all means listen, but don't jump to implement suggestions from fans -- unless they meet with your well thought out and executed plan.
  10. Don't forget to have fun. (Thanks, Steve!)You can do just about anything to make money. Market the things you love. Market the things that make you happy. You'll be happier -- and more successful -- in the end.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's OK to ask for help

Five O'Clock Shadow 57

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

Celebration time. I just turned in my last chapter of Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, due out from Wiley Press in November of this year. But unlike the first book Tee and I penned (Podcasting for Dummies), this one wasn't spit 50/50.

About two months ago, I did something I don't normally do: I asked for help.

I'm very much a self-sufficient kind of guy. Sure, I know my limitations (for instance -- no one would every call me "handy"), but when I take on a project, I see it through to the end. But all sorts of things were piling up in my life --some of which many of you are aware of and much which your are not -- and it quickly reached the point where something had to give.

So I called up my editor and explained the situation in brutally honest terms. To my shock and utter amazement, they were incredibly cool about the whole thing. I wound up with only around 35% of the book -- much of which was completed. They found another experienced author to step in and handle the rest. So no extra stress (well, not much) on Tee.

Which brings me to the point of today's post. It's OK to ask for help. When it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders -- raise your hand and call 'UNLCLE'. The world as you know it will not cease to be. Your reputation will probably not be irreparably damaged. There likely are legions of people (or at least one) who can step in and take some pressure off.

Take it from me, the type-A guy who hated to ask for help and kept it piling on. You know what? I like this way better. I think I'll stick with it. How can you help?

Good thinking

Good thinking

Originally uploaded by l0ckergn0me

Nabbed this from Chris Pirillo's Flickr photo feed.

I have nothing more to add, other than:

Can I get a Hell yeah!

I'm going to make my own version of this sign and plaster it to my door.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Phoenix Media Makers afterglow

Five O'Clock Shadow 56.jpg

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

Last night I had the chance to get together with the folks from the Phoenix Media Makers at a meetup at a little coffee shop near downtown. I met:

To say that I enjoyed meeting these people would be an understatement. I had no idea a talent pool like this existed in the Phoenix metro area. We all get so caught up in what we and our friends are doing, it's easy to forget that there are 6.4 billion people on the planet, and that other creative folks might be just around the corner.

My advice? Go to these meetups. Find groups in your area and go hang out and meet these people. I don't even do anything with video (though Cheryl has me thinking), and I had a blast! If you think that what you are doing is the most important thing in town -- you are wrong. Get out. Find others. Connect. Inspire. Collaborate. NOW!

No, that's not the hand of someone I picked up at the meeting. That's The Lovely Wife, squeezing herself into my photo. Gotta lover her...

Monday, August 6, 2007

A missed opportunity for ISPs

Five O'clock Shadow ??

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

One of the dumbest things and ISP can do is to put up a "This Page Suspended For Too Much Traffic" pages. Seriously. It's a public relations and marketing fiasco.

You want to know what that says to the general public, many of whom may be in the market for a decent webhost? It says "we can only handle so much traffic on our site, so you better not get popular or we'll shut you down". Thanks, but I'll move on.

And Brian Ibbott from Coverville spoke so highly of BlueHost. Now you've just gone and spoiled all of that goodwill just because someone got Dugg.

We no longer live in a limited-bandwidth world. Yes, I realize that you have bandwidth restrictions -- not saying you shouldn't. But surely there is a more creative and better way to handle sudden spikes of traffic than shutting down the content. How about putting up a redirect page or a frame (wow, a potential good use for frames?) that says something like "The amount of traffic to this page is huge. But we can handle it. Can your current ISP or hosting provider?" That my friends, would land you way more business than the cop-out approach. It just makes you look unfriendly...

And before you ask -- yes, you can get paid for the extra traffic. My cell phone doesn't shut off if my kid texts too much, I just get a massive bill. What if the person doesn't pay? Well isn't that the risk of doing business. And be honest -- the bandwidth really isn't that expensive (to you) and only a handful of folks would bail on the bill.

So stop it. Right now. It's getting tiresome and gives you a black eye.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My kind of humor

I'm not a huge fan of comics -- either online or off. But I have been following A Softer World for a while. They make it easy for me, putting the image right in their RSS feed. Love that!

I felt the need to share their most recent:

What kind of funny do I like? This kind.