An Enchanted Night at the Tennessee Democratic Headquarters

After a delicious dinner prepared by Executive Chef +Garrett Pittler, +Brittani Fox and I had the pleasure of attending the Election Results Party hosted by US Congressman Jim Cooper. The event, which was hosted at the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel, was filled with happy smiling faces, local politicians, business people and outstanding citizens. I was elated to have the opportunity to meet with re-elected US Congressman Jim Cooper of Tennessee’s 5th District to congratulate him on his victory as well as newly elected Davidson County Clerk Brenda Wynn. After Obama was projected to win the election, the room erupted with cheers. I even had a chance to share my excitement with Erika Lathon of FOX 17 towards the end of the party. Here are a few photos from the event. (Click Here for Full Post on Google+)

Walmart Neighborhood Market Review

Normally, I wouldn’t share reviews of grocery stores on a blog focused on digital marketing and customer engagement. However, I think customer service is evolving and I want to share a story about my trip to the local Walmart Neighborhood Market. It goes something like this… Continue reading Walmart Neighborhood Market Review

How to Create Consistency Across Your Brand

So, here you are. You’ve arrived. You’re on Google+ and probably at least a half dozen or so other social networks. So what’s next?

If you’re here for a particular reason, maybe you’re a content creator, a brand ambassador or a marketer looking to gain exposure to your content, or you’re just here building your personal brand, it’s important to keep things consistent.

Think about the air pressure in your tires, if you have one under-inflated, two over-inflated and one at the right pressure, your car probably isn’t going to get the best gas mileage or keep you going in the right direction without a little help from you. Marketing yourself online is actually very similar. Continue reading How to Create Consistency Across Your Brand

You're Doing It Wrong and That's Okay

Different Colored Trees - Image Credit Mike Pennington used under Creative Commons Licence.
Dare to be Different.

Being different is something that doesn’t come easy to many. Stepping outside of social norms and doing things unexpected creates a very uncomfortable feeling for most people. Ironically, when you step outside of what people consider “normal” you start to get noticed.

Last night I shared a post on a social network about why I thought people were leaving. I didn’t specify that people were leaving faster than they were arriving, because that’s simply not true. What I was suggesting, however, is that certain improvements need to be made in order to regain the attention of the people that have turned their backs.

Immediately, after posting my thoughts, I was criticized for suggesting things that I wasn’t suggesting at all. The post ballooned into a thread of over 150 comments within two hours. People were clearly upset with the message I was conveying and wanted me to know why.

On the contrary, had I written a post about why so many people are coming, and why the network is the bees knees, I don’t feel that the level of interaction would have been nearly as high. In fact, I don’t think posting something that everyone agreed with would garner much interaction at all.

Within the thread of comments, someone suggested something that has had me thinking all day, the Abilene Paradox.

The Abilene Paradox basically suggests that people will always agree with the feelings of a group, regardless if they agree or disagree with the feelings themselves. People want to be accepted, they want to be cool like everyone else. Well, the problem with the Abilene Paradox happens when you’re trying to get noticed.

The Abilene paradox is a paradox in which a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of any of the individuals in the group. It involves a common breakdown of group communication in which each member mistakenly believes that their own preferences are counter to the group’s and, therefore, does not raise objections. A common phrase relating to the Abilene paradox is a desire to not “rock the boat”.

If you want to stand out in a crowd, you simply can’t do what everyone else is doing. Sometimes you need to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. Try something different.

When you first do this, you are going to notice resistance. People are going to wonder why you are diverging from your normal course. You will likely get some negative feedback and an occasional splash of “Hatorade.” Don’t worry. This is normal.

The fact is, when you step outside of your norm and do something contrary to what people expect, it catches there attention. As long as you are doing this with good intentions, and occasionally, if warranted, an explanation, you’re doing alright.

Different Colored Trees - Image Credit Mike Pennington used under Creative Commons Licence.
Image Credit Mike Pennington used under Creative Commons Licence.

Don’t let any group of people tell you you’re doing it wrong, because what proof do they have that they’re doing it right? If you’re trying to blend in and stand out at the same time, you might need to address your priorities. Becoming relevant, authoritative or considered an expert in any field means that you need to explore all angles. Never leave a rock unturned.

In the end, when you challenge your own thoughts, your own ideas, your own course of action, you can learn a lot. If not from yourself, then definitely from the feedback you receive in doing so. Remember though, be receptive. You should listen to what people are saying and invest in a fresh perspective.

“If people aren’t making fun of you, you’re doing something wrong.” – My High School Band Director

Then again, you can always do what everyone else is doing in fear of hearing “You’re doing it wrong.” Let me know how that works out for you…

Image Credit Mike Pennington used under Creative Commons Licence.

What If Google+ Ended Tomorrow?

Google HIRL in New York City Photo by Daria Musk
Google HIRL in New York City Photo by Daria Musk

Have you gotten anything out of it?

Google has hosted the world’s greatest cocktail party. They have invited people from all of the world, of all sorts of different disciplines. From astronomy with +Fraser Cain, to technology startups with +Robert Scoble, and even journalists doing amazing things from Small Town, USA like +Sarah Hill. Through all of this, you have all been given the incredible opportunity to network, share your thoughts and ideas and create relationships. Continue reading What If Google+ Ended Tomorrow?

How to Make It Work: Getting Published

This week I interviewed +Evo Terra about books.

This morning I hosted a +G+ On Air hangout with publishing expert +Evo Terra and discussed tips on how to become successful at publishing your own book.

During the podcast we talked about different publishing services and Evo’s two start-ups. Watch the video below to learn more and make sure you subscribe to my channel on +YouTube! (

Never Judge a Man by His Vocation

Garbage Man Learns Irish Language

When you think of your garbage man, you probably wouldn’t think of someone that studies foreign languages in their spare time. That’s because we profile people and come up with our own stereotypes. It’s sad, but we all do it. Here’s a great story of NYC Sanitation Worker Ed Shevlin and his passion for speaking the native tongue of the Emerald Isle.

I was reminded of this when I saw the NY Sanitation Department marching through the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Ed Shevlin Polishes His Irish While Collecting the Trash

Ed Shevlin, a city garbage collector, studies the Irish language and culture — and polishes his conversation skills with Irish speakers along his route in Queens.

Embracing Failure: Why Learning How to Fail Will Help You Succeed

Old Flying Machine
Old Flying Machine

One of the biggest things I have learned over the past few months is how important it is to fail. You can read about it from so many prominent authors, and hear about it from so many successfully people, but it won’t start to make sense until you start to embrace your failures.

Continue reading Embracing Failure: Why Learning How to Fail Will Help You Succeed

Your Social Media Strategy

I’m not a Social Media Expert. 

But, I have learned a few things that could help you, your business and your brand in creating a successful online engagement experience for your customers.

One of the things I keep on my business card is “Experiencial Design” because I think something that customers of this age look for is not only a good product or service, but a great customer experience.

Take a look at what you’re doing with your current strategy and ask yourself if you are really engaging your customers or just pushing things out there without paying attention to what they’re saying. To find out more, watch my latest episode.

How to Make It Work is also available on Tivo, Roku and