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A line that we call decency

I drew a line,

Called decency,

To set the limits of what I’d accept to be said to me…

 

If truth be told,

If words be true,

I drew that line when I heard

What was said to you…

 

And I know that some friends might say

That I’ve become that awful thing we call

“Politically Correct”

You can be sure that’s not the truth

I’ve just discovered there are some things

I must reject..

I’m not afraid to curse or swear,

To tell a joke, or making fun

If it’s all done

With love or just respect…

But then again, I’m not the one

That put myself up as someone

You might elect…

 

I drew a line,

So you would know that

You weren’t alone

No matter what,  there was always

You and me…

 

I drew a line

 

I’m not the first

To draw that line, the line that we call

Decency..

 

So lets not build a wall, let’s draw a line

A line that we’ll call sanity..

It’s a  line that no one should cross,

Because when they do, they have lost…

Humanity.

 

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Sad to be here…

I can’t believe it’s been a year.   I started this blog years ago and it has evolved over that time.  I’ve kept it up over the years as a place where I’d “live out loud”.    I never restricted it.  I would mix the intensely professional with the intensely personal.  I would be fearlessly me.

Writing has given me that in my life.  It has given me the ability to be intensely, honestly me.  From the crass and often just “in poor taste” comedy of my early life to the wistful songs of my later years, I’ve channeled my experience into my writing.

But writing is not just a creative outlet.  Writing is how I understand things.  It’s how I make sense of everything.  It’s how I learn and absorb.

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They killed Neo – the Matrix resumes

Hackers for right, we are one down.(from a tweet by Tim Berners-Lee father of the World Wide Web)

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His eyes haunt me.  From those pictures that adorn the articles that pay tribute to this astonishing young man, he stares out at you.   Depending on the shot, he is alternately mysterious, thoughtful, intense and occasionally mischievous.

His accomplishments daunt me.  At 14 he was co-creator of RSS, the syndication process is at the core of internet publishing.   He co-founded Reddit the social news web-site which, love it or hate it, is one of the most active forums of real discussion on the internet.

His passion for freedom inspires me.  He was a co-founder of Demand Progress, a group which fights for Internet freedom.

His death diminishes us all.   Continue reading

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2010 in review

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Amplify

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In the midst of the buzz on Google’s Buzz, this little thing appeared on my horizon. It’s called Amplify and it seem a bit like a highbrow version twitter (so far). It’s a site where you can post slightly longer posts (500 characters) and it seems the right length for thoughtful but brief comments.

It has the follower/followed paradigm and I’m still trying to figure out what else is there.

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My gut tells me it’s worth a look — and I’ve read a couple of posts on it that are, for the first time in a long time – worth reading in the entirety. I haven’t seen anything with this much promise since Aardvark and Nutshell Mail (both of which went from neat toys to mainstays of my social media management strategy).

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Social Media for Consultants

On January 13th, 2010 Andrew Jenkins and I hosted a two person panel n Social Media for Consultants.   It was done for the Strategy Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC Canada).

I thought the best way to respond to everyone was to blog about the meeting, the questions and the links.

Above the fold (for those who appreciate the metaphor) – I’ll mention our invite to all of you.  We had such a good response to this that Andrew and I have agreed to host two online versions of the follow up sessions.  Here’s what I’m thinking:

Session 1 will be for “beginners” and be true primer on how to get started.

Session 2 will be for intermediate to senior practitioners and focus on how to get above the crowd.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS – or anything else here, by leaving a comment!    And please, would you go to this site and fill in a very quick survey?  I promise I’ll send you the results if you do. Click here to take survey

We also recommend to all of you that you may want to keep up with us on our online internet radio show (www.BlogTalkRadio.com/GameChanging) either live or in the podcast version.  That show is every Monday night at 8:00 pm ET.  Now for those who would like the notes from the session, here they are

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Crowdsourcing – Contests for Content

Blogs are interesting creatures.   When they start out, it’s often with great enthusiasm.  You have lots of ideas to share –  vision, direction, purpose!

The first articles come easily.  They flow.  You are inspired.

Then comes disappointment in one of two forms.  Sometimes, you have no audience.  Even with great promotion, that initial blip of interests fades.  You look at your visits and hope that the one visit today wasn’t you.

Or it can be successful in getting an initial audience — that audience might even grow.  But sooner or later, after a hard day at work or on what could be that lazy Saturday morning, you drag your sorry butt to the computer and you just don’t feel like it.  Excitement becomes unpaid work.  You now understand what columnists who do weekly columns do with the rest of their week.  And you gain a new respect for anyone who publishes daily.  Your content dwindles and the audience drops off.

To paraphrase the poet T. S. Eliot – this is the the way most blogging ends, “not with a bang, but a whimper.”   Sounds kind of sad, doesn’t it?

Maybe one of the reasons why this happens so frequently is that blogs are often lone wolf enterprises. It’s a single person with a single vision in a world and a medium that facilitates and rewards collaboration.   I produce an online radio show, Game Changing – which is actually a blog and podcast every week.  How do I manage that with my schedule?  I’m not sure.  We’re actually going to launch a second show.  I could not do this without the collaboration of my co-hosts.  It’s an interesting irony.   The internet gives the lone wolf an easy way to launch, but in all too many cases the lone wolf may get all the credit, but the collaborator gets success.  It’s an interesting variation on the “give it away and grow rich” philosophy which powers so much of the internet.  If you get it, you can prosper.  If you don’t – the odds of your success are lessened.

Sure there’s someone out there who bucks this trend, but if you really check that one person that you see probably has staff and resources.

And it is easy to find collaborators if you have money, time and resources.  What do you do if you have no budget?  Andrew Ballenthin has been seeking that answer for some time.  He built his Community Marketing Blog on the principle that he was going to find out if you could build a successful blog with no cash investment.  In doing this, he’s come up with some really interesting and creative solutions.  One of these is the Blog Off contest.

When Andrew Ballenthin did his initial Blog Off contest on his Community Marketing Blog he not only generated interest, he inherited a number of new writers who continue to add exciting content to his site. But he wasn’t the only one to benefit. The participants loved it and during and after the initial contest, the group stuck together and has started to form their own community around the blog. This year the contest is bigger, the prizes were valued into the tens of thousands of dollars and a much larger group of contestants participated.

In the spirit of crowdsourcing, our own radio show/podcast Game Changing is pleased to bring in the winners of Blog Off II – three astounding bloggers: Sean Nelson, Sam Diener and Tim Ruffner Want to make YOUR blog a winner? Come on and get some tips from these winners. We’ll also explore the contest and find out about the experience of crowdsourcing from the crowd’s eye viewpoint.

Change the game!

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Rejoice – I didn’t send you a Christmas Letter. Instead I give you a sign!

Last year I posted a note to my personal blog.  It was a bit of satire – a take off on the Christmas letters we had received.   It was silly and tongue in cheek, and it was probably the most popular blog I had written.

This year I thought I’d be a little more serious.  This has been a year where bad news has flourished – the economy, the environment — and at this time of year, once again fear seizes many and airports around the world go into security alert.  It would be tempting to succumb to the barrage.  It would be tempting to think that this was all happening to us, from forces greater that us — beyond our control.

I have to confess that I’ve skirted with that kind of thinking.  We’ve all had our share of tragedy in the past year.  Some of it is, quite rightly, out of our control.  But this year, I saw something that lifted my spirits and made me think.  It was a picture of a man, I’ve no idea who he is, who wore a simple sign that said, “I don’t believe in the recession.”

Futile?  Perhaps.   But I loved his defiance.  Continue reading

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They are never going to know…

I was at a local restaurant the other night.   It’s a Thai place near my house.  Very convenient.  Great atmosphere.  The people are very friendly.  I mean it.  The service is great.   The waiter/owner is jovial, entertaining and makes you feel very welcome.  The prices are really good.

It’s just too bad about the food.

It’s not that it’s terrible.  It’s okay.  Sort of good.  But not great.  Which is why I don’t go there often.  Who wants to go out for “okay” food when you can go another 10 minutes and get really great food.

Now, if they knew this, they might be able to do something about it.  But they don’t.  In fact, when I went in there the first time, the owner proudly told me that this was the best Thai food anywhere.  So I went in and had dinner.  One of us was wrong.  It wasn’t me.  I’ve taken other people there, and the reaction is the same.  Too bad about the food.

The crime is that not only don’t they know, but they never will.  How can you tell someone who is so out front about the food — someone who is so nice to you — how do you tell them that the food is so so.

Maybe some people can be that direct.  I really can’t.  And I suspect neither can anyone else.

I’m good if the service is lousy or the food is lousy.  I’ll complain, I’ll let it be known – I’ll leave a crappy tip.  Somehow, I’ll get the point across.  Strangely enough, when the company is a total bust, even if they hear that their service or product stinks, I wonder if they would really even care.  But if it’s just good enough? These guys have a shot at having a great place. They might be able to use the information.  With a little research, a little trial and error, they could really do well.

I started to think about this.  How could this restaurant have found out what I was really thinking?  Well, they could have invited the feedback.  They could have made it easier for me to comment.

How about if they’d served the food and instead of “is everything okay?” they’d asked different questions.  What if they’d asked, “what did you most like about it?”  “How could we improve it?”  Asking these two things would give me the opportunity to offer comments on what is good and what is bad.  In fact, it would solicit them both.  And you really do need them both.  You want to know what you should do more of and what you should do less of — or do better.

I think if things were asked in this manner, it would make me feel better about letting them know that the eggplant was nice, but a little tough.  The spices were okay, but I think that good Thai eggplant should be a little spicier.  Armed with that, they could have simply thanked me and accepted the feedback.  No falling on a dull knife, just letting me know I’d been heard.

Why? Because they shouldn’t take a data point of one.  They should gather feedback.  If they could do a mass customization, then they’d learn the range of things and be able to ask and decide.  Restaurants do this all the time for non-vegetarians.  “Would you like that steak rare, medium or well done?”  “Do you like a dry white or something a little sweeter?”  We know how to ask these questions.  Why can’t we do the follow on and ask — “What did you like?  What could we do better?  Help us get better.”

My friend Dave Howlett uses the phrase, “what’s one thing that I could improve?”  Again, he’s only asking for one thing, so it gives you permission to open the discussion.

The bottom line here is – make the customer comfortable about telling you.  Invite the comments.  When you do, you can move from good to excellent.  Which of us doesn’t want to do that?

So why don’t we do this?  Well, one reason may be the fear of feedback.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m honest, I really don’t want to hear negative feedback. I’ve taught myself to take it.  I’ve taught myself to not be defensive.  But it’s not fun.  I put my heart and soul into my work.  To find out that it is fallen short of the mark is not a pleasant feeling.

I had to let that go.  I don’t know any other way to say it.  It gets in the way of ever becoming excellent.

How did I do it?  I think of myself like a champion athlete.  If I was an Olympic sprinter, the difference between good and gold is a fraction of a second.  So no matter how good I am, I have to keep looking to shave off that hundredth of a second.  If I can find something that gives me half a second, that’s incredible!  Just that reframing makes feedback so much easier.

Am I fooling myself?  I don’t think so. I’m allowing myself to get feedback that I can process.  When I can process it, i can invite it.   Knowing that can make me a better coach.  And it might make me more coachable with both my peers and my customers.

We’ll see.  Love to have your comments and strategies.

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