Archive for January, 2011

How Clients Get The Most Out Of Us

succesful client agency relationshipOne benefit from 20+ years of operation is the amount of historical information allows you to see clear patterns.


Along this line, I went through the exercise of scrutinizing what causes a client relationship to end.


Obviously, some variables are out of our control.


In this era of consolidations, a merger or acquisition typically causes one of the agencies ends up without a chair.


The hiring of a new head of communications or CMO can also mean changes afoot for everyone, including the PR agency.


With that said, there are many variables within our control.


After evaluating such variables, a pattern emerged that I didn’t expect.


By far, the No. 1 reason that a client relationship derails comes down to a disconnect between our expectations and what the client delivers.


At this point, you’re probably thinking, “What the heck is he talking about?”


You’re the communications consultancy.


It’s your job to deliver a service that aligns with the client’s expectations.


Do your job and you’ll have a happy client.


That’s true.


But it turns out our ability to meet – or better yet, exceed – the client’s expectations has a direct correlation to the client’s beliefs, values and management style.


That’s the genesis for the SlideShare deck, “How Clients Get the Most out of Us.”


This isn’t about right or wrong.


There are many successful client/agency relationships that depend on a far different set of characteristics.


Instead, it’s about fit.


By being more transparent in how we work and what we expect from clients, we increase the likelihood of lasting and healthy relationships.


No doubt, some will view this deck as a bad idea because it reduces the size of our prospect pool.


I think just the opposite. 


If a prospect reviews the deck and decides not to contact us, that’s proof that the system works. 

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Tribute to Dud Daniel

A good friend passed away last week.

His name was Dud Daniel.

Steve Fowler, who I grew up with in Tucson, wrote the following tribute to Dud.

Steve and I both attended the University of Arizona and joined Phi Psi at the same time which deepened our friendship (truth to be told, I thought he was a little crazy in high school).

This is Steve’s story about Dud.

Thirty-five years ago this month I became aware of a young fraternity colony that had organized at the University of Arizona.  My best friend, Tom Oxnam, was being rushed by a small group of idealistic young men who were working to reestablish an official presence on campus for a men’s fraternal organization called Phi Kappa Psi.  Tom shared that “Phi Psi” was originally chartered at Arizona in 1947, but lost it’s charter and university recognition in 1962; after the Chapter’s members exercised poor judgment in their behavior. Phi Kappa Psi’s leadership team at the Fraternity’s National Headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, led by Executive Director Ralph D. Daniel, was working with the new colony in their quest to become the Arizona Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi.  My friend Tom became a member of the colony that spring and I visited the group frequently in a fraternity house they shared with another fraternity.  I yearned for the bonds I saw in that small body of 16 young men and pledged the colony in August 1976.

Over the months I’d heard about a fellow that was a legend at both Arizona Alpha, and throughout the fraternity world.  They called him, “Dud” and once I began my pledge education I found that “Dud” and Ralph D. Daniel were one in the same.  Chapter history taught that Dud was Arizona Alpha’s very first President.  Older than his peers, Dud entered the Army Air Corps in 1942 at 17 years old and was a very mature 22 year-old veteran when Arizona Alpha was chartered on September 20, 1947; while the rest of his Chapter brothers were much younger than Dud. Years later Bill Wallace AZA ‘47, Dud, and I enjoyed a number of lunch engagements where Bill shared how Dud worked hard to keep a measure of decorum in the Chapter house, with some resistance from his younger Chapter brothers.  Dud was a soft-spoken gentleman that earned the respect of his peers using his natural diplomatic skills, engaging in polite humor to dissipate tension, and standing firm on his principles.  It was clear from Bill’s recollections, and those of others I encountered over the years who knew Dud as a young man, that he has always been a gentle, proper, decent, and honorable man who consistently exemplified the ideals of Phi Kappa Psi.

On March 24, 1977 I was blessed with the opportunity to meet the man I would come to know as “Mr. Phi Psi” and soon embrace as one of my dearest friends.  Two days later Arizona Alpha was rechartered and no one was more pleased than our Chapter’s beloved Dud Daniel.  Two years later Dudley retired from his position as the Fraternity’s Executive Director and, that same week, I was hired as the Fraternity’s Chapter Consultant.  Mr. Phi Psi’s immediate return to Tucson offered me the opportunity to spend several days with him as I sought his guidance and insight, in assisting me as I transitioned to my job in Indianapolis, Indiana at Phi Psis new National Headquarters, Heritage Hall.

Our 30-year friendship appropriately began in one of Dud’s favorite places – a fine dining room in a 5 Star restaurant.  Dudley had a penchant for fine food.  He enjoyed a high degree of personal service at restaurants he frequented because servers enjoyed his kindness and pleasant conversation.  He took the time to learn the names of many servers he saw regularly, and made it a point to know something personal about each of them.

Dining with Dudley was always a fun and interesting experience.  Unlike so many, Dud didn’t charge into a restaurant, devour his meal, and depart in relative haste.  Dud would approach a restaurant and comment on things like the flowers and the architecture.  He’d greet patrons exiting and inquire about their meal.  As was his nature, he seemed to always have a pleasant comment and would genuflect with a deferential, albeit subtle, nod.  When entering, he wouldn’t rush to the hostess, but rather took his time and studied photos, art, and other decorations in the entry.  He would taste his food and offer an approving hum.  He’d savor that first taste, then follow up with “yummy” and similarly fun comments.  I almost always waited until he’d tasted his food and savored it in his characteristic dramatic way, allowing me the opportunity to savor the moment of Dud enjoying his first bite.

He knew I loved Grand Marnier Soufflés and we’d have them whenever they were on the menu.  One evening, after we’d finished our main course and the tasty desserts arrived, I watched with anticipation as Brother Daniel began his ritual, but was horrified to see Dud immediately disgorge a mouthful of soufflé back into the bowl on the table. He was so embarrassed, but it gave us the opportunity to laugh for many years.  You see, the chef erred and filled the batter with salt, instead of the sugar normally used in the recipe.

Dudley embraced medical reports which indicated having a glass or two of wine was good for the heart.  Dud made me a believer.  A man with a history of heart problems, I don’t believe Dud ever suffered another heart attack after he began drinking wine regularly.  As with that first taste of his food, he made a production out of tasting the fruit of the vine.  He’d swirl the glass with flair, lift it to his mouth, and savor the smell while his nose was buried deep into the glass.  He’d then take a sip, hum with satisfaction, and smack his lips together with approval.

He was a little embarrassed at a game I played with restaurant staff, but never asked me to stop.  In spite of his embarrassment, I really believe Dud enjoyed the game.  You see, Dud’s distinguished appearance and age, combined with his ever present tie and jacket, gave me the idea to ask the host or hostess for a quiet table as quickly as possible; because “Senator Daniel” had important business and a very busy schedule.  When the servers approached I’d always defer to Dud by saying, “After you Senator.”  When he’d order I’d say, “Nice choice Senator.”  We seldom waited long for a table.

Our dinners lasted hours, as we both enjoyed making the most of our time. We talked and talked and talked – about everything. We really enjoyed each other’s company. I recall, on at least two occasions at different restaurants, after the restaurant staff parked the “Senator” and me in a quiet corner of the restaurant for the evening, they forgot about us and turned out the lights to go home. Once when that happened, the staff exited the back door and we found ourselves locked inside a darkened restaurant with no way out. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I seem to recall banging loudly on the front door and having someone return from parking lot to let us out of our upscale prison. Dud joked that we didn’t have to worry about starving.

Knowing he was retired, I picked up the bill most of the time.  On occasion I’d submit to his playful demands and let him pay.  That, too, was a visual and auditory treat.  A flair for the dramatic, Dud would approach the waiter’s little black book like a panther cautiously approaching its prey.  He’d slowly open the book, then suddenly shriek in horror, albeit quietly, and toss the thing in the air a few inches.  Dud had a way of having fun doing ordinary things.  In fact, “fun” was one of his favorite words.

He reflected on many occasions how much “fun” we had together, especially in those years before I married Tracey.  While he was very happy for me in my relationship with Tracey, it saddened him to know our “fun” would diminish.  I really didn’t think it would.  Tracey loved Dudley and we had wonderful times together.  However, I clearly recall asking him why, when I announced to him that I was getting married, he was both happy and sad.  He shared that things would be different; that I would become busy with Tracey, married life, kids, etc… and we’d see less of each other.  He shared it was inevitable that my life’s path would skew away from his.  In my naivety I thought him wrong.  Dud, however, was correct.

In the early days of our marriage Tracey and I spent a lot of time with Dudley.  We’d travel to his home in Prescott, Arizona.  He’d share stories of his time in Prescott as a boy when his family fled the scorching summer heat in Phoenix.  In those days they did not have air conditioning and his father, a licensed Indian Agent, would take his family to the mile high city of Prescott to pass the summer months.  Trips to Prescott were always a pleasure.  He’d figuratively roll out the cardinal red carpet and welcome us to his home.  He had a couple of very nice upright display cases tastefully filled with mementos.  Among his keepsakes was a small bottle with three small gold nuggets.

In the 1980’s I managed a gold mining operation in the Yukon Territory of Canada for a season.  While there, I purchased the deed to a small mining claim and recovered three small gold nuggets.  That winter I flew to Arizona and presented Dud with the deed to the claim and the small bottle of gold.  Typical of Dudley, he found occasion in his own special way of honoring the Fraternity by naming the three nuggets: Phi, Kappa, and Psi.  I would watch as he showed them to visitors in his home and share the nugget’s names.  He got a real kick out of that.

His home was always immaculate.  I stayed in his Tucson residence on a few occasions and found it necessary to part with my slovenly ways.  The last thing I wanted was to make Dud uncomfortable.  Tracey and I were discussing his Prescott home recently and we recalled an invited peek to see his closet.  One section, starched pressed white monogrammed shirts.  One section pressed slacks.  One section suits and sport coats.  The hangers were all precisely positioned equidistant from one another.  Toiletries on the shelf were positioned with care, labels out, and nothing was out of place.  Such was Dud’s entire home.

He loved showing people things, giving tours, and treating guests to wonderful stories.  When I worked at Heritage Hall I had one of my first experiences seeing Dudley give a tour.  Heritage Hall was an office building, a residence for Chapter Consultant Lou Hoffman and myself, as well as the Fraternity’s museum.  We’d often joke with visitors and offer them “our 25 cent tour.”  We’d take visitors through the building in 10 or 15 minutes.  But not Dudley.  Tour Operator Daniel only offered a $100 tour and he did it for free.  He’d take his time and explain everything the visitors were seeing and hearing.  He’d offer historical perspective, contemporary information, and everything in between.

I mentioned he loved stories.  One of my greatest regrets is not capturing his stories of Phi Psi history when I was the Fraternity Historian.  He set the stage, garnered his listener’s interest, offered careful detail, and made the whole experience fun fun fun.

Dud also loved every opportunity to engage in a play on words.  Dud wouldn’t go shopping.  He would say, “I’m going shoplifting.”  Of course, Dud would never actually transgress in that manner.  He didn’t wash his hands, he washed his “patties”.  His favorite holiday dish was a Crowned Rack of Lamb.  I suspect he liked that dish as much for the opportunity to butcher the name as anything.  He’d say, “Brother Fowler, I’ve decided to enjoy a Crowned Lack of Ram this Thanksgiving.” Egg Benedict Arnold anyone?  

He referred his mother as “my little mother” and his affectionate nickname for her was “Honey Bunch.” I met “Honey Bunch at the Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City on the occasion of my first GAC in 1978.  About 8 or 10 members of the new Chapter journeyed to the GAC.  Dud rounded us up and proudly presented us to “Honey Bunch” in her hotel room.  While we were there, once famous actor and Phi Psi Brother Charles “Buddy” Rogers made an appearance.  I’m not sure who was more delighted – Dud or his mother.  Buddy’s wife was the famous silent screen star Mary Pickford.  Dud’s mother was a young woman when Mary and Buddy were enjoying immense success and popularity.  Dud had arranged to have Buddy pop in, knowing it would thrill his mother.

As I recall “Honey Bunch” passed away in the mid-1980’s.  Dud made certain she was well attended, as she was bedridden for the last several years.  Dudley made arrangements to have two natural sisters, who were also Catholic nuns, care for his mother.  Dud and I would stop in and visit with his “little mother” and the sisters on occasion.  Tracey also enjoyed visiting with the three ladies.  It was always fun, because Dud made it fun.

One day Dud announced that he needed my services in Mexico.  He wanted to purchase some copper chargers (plates) across the border and he was too much of a gentleman to ask for a discount.  They were far too expensive in Tucson’s retail stores and the street vendors in Mexico had very high starting prices.  I was enlisted to assist him as his negotiator and to engage in what he called “rum running” for the sisters.  The nuns enjoyed an after dinner “nip” and Dud wanted to present them with gifts of their favorite liqueurs available at very low prices in Nogales, Sonora.

Dud was kind and giving to so many people and, if you weren’t there to see it, you wouldn’t know of his deeds.  He was quiet that way.  He went out of his way to be kind to my “little grandmother.”  He showered my wife and me with gifts; and when our children were born he continued his gifting.

I also enjoyed doing for him.  Like a little boy who just found out that he’d be getting a pony for Christmas, Dud’s face lit up when I offered him my license plates.  License plates?  As an undergraduate I had personalized plates that read, “Phi Psi.”  When I began working for the Fraternity and parked my vehicle in my parent’s garage the plates didn’t see the light of day.  I thought he’d appreciate and enjoy them more than I ever would.  As far as I know, Dud kept those license plates for the last 32 years of his life.  Each time I’d see his car, he’d be certain to point out the plates.

Those license plates were affixed to his Mustang for many years.  Dudley would love to take road trips in the Mustang, but as you might guess, he didn’t drive on the highway.  True to form, Dudley drove the car on the back roads and old state highways whenever he drove between cities.  He was certainly a “stop and smell the roses” kind of guy.  He’d take his time, absorb the sights, and enjoy his long drives in a way few of us ever do.  On one such trip he brought his older brother Charles.  It was then, having a nice lunch at the famed Arizona Inn, that I realised many of Dud’s mannerisms were hardwired into his DNA.  Charles and Dud had much in common.

He was a funny guy and many hundreds, if not thousands, of us have imitated Dudley from time to time.  None better than Dud’s dear friend and Phi Psi Brother, John V. Ciccarelli.  In his younger days “Chic” was the best Dud impersonator I ever witnessed.  To this day, he loves to tell Dud stories and use what we call Dudisms in his affectionate impersonations.  I especially like how “Chic” imitates Dud getting off the phone with his, “so loooon…gah.”

Dud was a man of contrasts.  He was popular, personable, and very well known.  He was outgoing and enjoyed people.  Then there was the private side that few Phi Psi’s experienced.  In the late 70’s and early 80’s Dud had a lady friend with whom he shared a love for fine dining, the arts, and community involvement.  Few people knew of his relationship with Margaret.  I was privileged to join with them on a few occasions for dinner and once for an invitation-only event at the Tucson Museum of Art.  Margaret was from a pioneer Tucson family and knew everyone who was anyone in Tucson.  Dud truly enjoyed his time with Margaret.  One night I accidentally happened upon Dud and Margaret in a romantic embrace.  I felt terrible for my intrusion, as it fully embarrassed Dudley.  He valued his privacy and my accidental appearance at just the wrong time underscored, for me, his desire for privacy.  We never spoke with one another about what happened.  I’m certain he preferred it that way.

Dud loved ceremony, the old hotels, outmoded methods of travel, and other things that reminded him of his youth and earlier less complicated times.  He loved to dress properly and believed if he wore a tie he could fit in anywhere.  If he was overdressed he’d simply remove the tie and/or his jacket.  I’ll never forget his glee when I became a member of our fraternity within a fraternity, the Order of the SC.  Dud carried out certain duties in the ceremony that focused his attention on me.  He was so happy and proud.  Unfortunately, I only attended one more Grand Arch Council; San Francisco in 1992.  Shortly after that convention, I made a mistake that altered my Phi Psi path; and I needed Dud more than ever.

Dudley was more than a friend and brother; he was my mentor.  As such, he never lectured or chastised me.  His approach was always encouraging and positive.  He stood by me and forgave me, even when I was wrong.  Many years ago I crossed a line.  I responded to a brother, with whom I took issue, in a public and inappropriate manner.  I believed that brother conducted himself in a way that was damaging to the Fraternity.  In the end, I justified actions I deemed out-of-line by engaging in my own sophomoric response.  Once I realized what I’d done, I found myself very embarrassed and I withdrew from what was then very active involvement on the national level.  I told Dud I realized the error of my ways; and noted my actions were contrary to the ideals of Phi Kappa Psi.  He reminded me of his Amici speech and how important it is to conduct ourselves in a manner that will always lift others and reflect well on Phi Kappa Psi.  He understood why I felt a need to withdraw, but also encouraged me to return to active involvement.  He stood by me and tried to help assuage my angst.  He held my pain in confidence for the rest of his life.

During that time, my children began to become a larger part of my life and focus.  As with others, Tracey and I became very busy as we shared our time with our kids.  I had stopped attending GAC’s and, true to his predictions when I shared with him that I was engaged, my time with Dudley diminished.  In his last few years, to my regret, I only saw Dud about once a year.

I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a large part of Dud’s final Sunday on earth at his bedside.  Tracey and I drove to Prescott from Las Vegas Saturday evening.  When we arrived at the Veterans Administration Hospital’s Hospice Ward on Sunday morning we were greeted by Founder Letterman’s Great Grandson, Gordon Letterman and former Phi Psi President John Ciccarelli.  Dudley was not in any pain, but surprisingly alert and clearly happy to see us.  The five of us surrounded his bed and shared fond memories with our dear friend.

Then the time came to tell Dudley so long for the final time.  After sharing some pleasantries, he thanked me for being a friend to him, for coming to see him, and for helping to make his life “fun” and memorable. I slipped him the grip, then leaned down and uttered three familiar Greek words into his right ear. His face lit up and he responded in a very firm clear voice with the traditional words; words I expected. Never before has that response meant so much to me. I withdrew from his still powerful grip and turned quickly to leave, with a firm visual imprint of a beaming smiling Ralph D. Daniel in my mind’s eye.

I turned and left quickly because I didn’t want him to see that my eyes were rapidly filling with tears. As I walked into the hallway I saw that Tracey, too, was hurting after her own heartfelt goodbye, final hug, and parting kiss with a man who has been her friend for nearly 30 years. As I cast my eyes upon Tracey’s wet red eyes, a huge knot formed in my throat and remained there for hours.

Brother Robert “Bob” Marchesani, aware of my love for Dud, was kind enough to call me Friday morning and share the news that Dudley had gone on to Chapter Eternal earlier in the morning.  I failed to find an appropriate response to the news Bob shared.  My words failed me.  The sense of loss was both profound and immediate.  I don’t know what will happen to this tribute to my friend, but it was important and therapeutic for me to reflect on the man we fondly refer to as “Dud,” so I remained up all night thinking about Dud and drafting these words.

He is gone.  A man who left a huge mark on my life and upon the lives of many thousands.  Many, if not most, of my dearest friends came into my life as a result of the actions of Mr. Phi Psi.  Dud’s friends are scattered across the world.  Many have passed on.  Of them, many were Phi Psis, some were not.  Dud cherished his ties with Greeks everywhere.  He was well traveled, well respected, and very well liked.  He was a true gentleman who loved Phi Kappa Psi and gave his life to her.  I believe his dedication and loving devotion to Phi Kappa Psi provided him the health and opportunity to enjoy a long, full, and satisfying life.  Gordon Letterman said it so well when he recently described Dud’s life as “charmed.”

I began this tribute to dear Dudley by recalling how my path toward a relationship with Dud began 35 years ago.  Now it is over.  I only have fond memories of a man who touched my life in many wonderful positive ways.  I became a caring, thoughtful, gentleman because of the positive influences of a man who offered to share his journey with me.  In that I will be eternally grateful.  He was one of a kind.  A very special wonderful person.  Above all, he was My Brother, My Friend, My Mentor.

God Bless you Mr. Phi Psi.



Q&A With 12-year-old Blogger Behind “Good Morning Geek,” Max Swisher, Part II

max swisher interviewTechnorati lists over 24,000 tech blogs.

I think I’m on safe ground in saying that only a few were started by 10-year-olds.

Now at the seasoned age of 12, Max Swisher sat down with me at Great Bear Coffee in Los Gatos for an on-the-record discussion of his blog, “Good Morning Geek.”

I published the first half of an interview with Max on Tuesday.

Here’s the second half of the conversation:

Q: I got a kick out of your Windows jab when you attended the Dolby event.

The event was fun, as we crowded into the theatre and watched the video without the left and right channels (they had a server error, welcome to a PC dependent company.)                              
                              Dolby Ok, go event
                              “Good Morning Geek,” December 10, 2010

Do you feel an obligation to only say positive things if someone invites you to an event or gives you a product to review?

A: Not at all. You can’t hide stuff. That wouldn’t be honest.

Q: I know you spent time with HP’s CTO Phil McKinney. What did you take away from this meeting?

max swisher interviewsA: That it’s tough to get your ideas used in a huge company like HP.

Q: So you’re probably more suited for a startup?

A: Yes. Right now I have an internship with Cooliris. It’s a fun place to work.

Q: How’s your seventh-grade English class?

A: I get OK grades. Here’s the thing: I hate structured writing. In English class, everything has to fit into a box. That’s what I like about blogging. There is no box.

Q: Does your English teacher read your blog?

A: My teachers aren’t interested in the blog. But they do come to me for technical help with the school’s computers.

Side note: For a second I thought he was going to say “but they did stay at a Holiday Inn.”

Q: Does your middle school offer any classes in computing?

A: There is one class called “tech,” but it only teaches applications. They don’t teach anything about the actual computer. I talked to a kid who took the class and he didn’t even know what RAM is.

Q: Your YouTube video on the iPhone antennae fiasco generated over 40,000 views and counting. Tell me how this came about.

A: I put the video and post out the same day that Apple held a press conference on the iPhone antennae. It was cool … every time I hit refresh there were more views. I had a few hundred views over the next couple days and then it became 1,000 and just kept growing.

Q: So you made a conscious effort to leverage a high-profile event?

good morning geek A: Not exactly. I was just curious. If Apple was having this problem with the iPhone, does the same problem exist with other phones? So I took my Droid to see if it had the same problem and it did. It turns out the people making fun of Apple were wrong. Of course, the Droid now has a new baseline version so it doesn’t have this problem anymore.

Q: Keep seizing the mouse.

A: Thanks.


Q&A With 12-year-old Creator Of “Good Morning Geek,” Max Swisher

There are thousands of tech blogs out there.

Few are manned by a 12-year-old.

But “Good Morning Geek” from Max Swisher isn’t a gimmick that challenges child labor laws.

Max knows his stuff and has developed his own voice. 

If you watch the video and say “I could totally imagine this on dolby surround sound!,” then you’re wrong. You can’t imagine it. You have to hear it to believe it. It is scary how music can literally invade you if you have the right quality and the right system.
                               Dolby Ok, go event
                               ”Good Morning Geek,” December 10, 2010  

In the case of the latter, I wanted to learn more about how Max tells his stories. An e-mail exchange and the green light from his mom Val led to a late-morning meeting at Great Bear Coffee in Los Gatos.

After repeated coaxing – I said I don’t like to drink alone – Max joined me with my drink of choice, a hot coco, no whip.

max swisherHere’s the first half of the conversation that ensued: 

Q: Let’s start with the cliché kick-off question; what led to you to start your blog?

A: I came across Blogspot (now known as Blogger) from Google and thought this is cool. I started off blogging about random things. After a while, I decided the blog would be more interesting if I focused on technology. 

Q: Because you have a passion for technology?

A: Right. My dad is an IT manager and my mom’s company does technical documentation, so you could say technology runs in the family. I got a used Compaq computer running Windows 98 for my fourth birthday which got me started in tech. 

Q: At four years old?

A: Right. 

Q: How do you capture your own voice in your blog?

A: When I’m writing, I just let it go. It goes straight from my brain to the blog. 

Q: But once you write the first draft, you don’t just hit the publish button?

A: Yes, I do … after I use the spell checker. If I analyze things too much, it won’t be an original thought. 

Q: Who do you consider the audience for your blog?

A: Anyone interested in tech. I’ve noticed lately that I’m getting more teens coming to the blog, but I have all types of readers. I get e-mails from businesspeople who say that my blog has helped them figure something out. That’s a good feeling. 

Q: How do you decide what you’re going to write about?

A: Whenever I get a new product, I write about it. I like free stuff. There’s a lot of software out there that’s free. 

Q: I noticed your review of MindNode. I’ve been looking for a mind-mapping product, so should I check it out?

A: You should. It’s a good product and simple to use.

Sidenote: How does he know my technical acuity borders on sad? 

Q: Are you familiar with the reviews on CNET?

A: Of course. I love CNET. 

Q: How do your reviews differ from those on CNET?

A: My review style is more personal.

Q: I think all bloggers share a common plight to get more reader interaction. l saw your post when you “asked” readers to add comments.

I am begging of you to post your answer in the poll in the sidebar! Also, There are 2 comments on this whole blog. Please, comment! you can select anonymous, so you don’t have to give your name or anything! I will do my best to answer your comment/ question.
                              Email: Empty or full?
                              “Good Morning Geek,” March 5, 2009

Did it work?

A: No. 

Q: That’s going to make a lot of bloggers feel better. It’s not just them.

A: Later, I did a giveaway of a signed 4×6 print of Spewing Star to the fifth person who e-mailed me, and that got a decent response. 

Q: What blogs do you pay attention to?

robert scobleA: TechCrunch and Mashable and people like Robert Scoble. 

Q: Robert Scoble follows you on Twitter, which is a compliment.

A: I’d like to interview him. 

Q: You should DM him. I bet he’d be open to talking with you (even though he won’t return my e-mails). If Scoble was 12 years old, I suspect his blog would resemble yours.

A: Thanks.

We’ll publish the second half of the interview with Mr. Swisher on Thursday.


Mining SlideShare Zeitgeist For Storytelling Insights

I continue to be surprised that more companies don’t include SlideShare as part of their “owned media” strategy.

It’s an ideal storytelling medium, can cultivate the company’s personality, and establishes a digital touch point with viral potential.

SlideShare recently aggregated analytics from its platform to formulate what it calls the Zeitgeist deck.

While not exactly groundbreaking, there are a couple points worth exploring.

If your story is compelling, the length of the story doesn’t come into play. 

The SlideShare data even suggests that some “length” correlates to compelling (popularity).

I say that because the more popular SlideShare decks average 63 slides compared to an average of only 19 slides across the rank and file presentations.

Affirming this point, my own sleuthing shows that the five most popular presentations on SlideShare last year all exceeded the 63 number: 

  • Social Media for Business (82 slides)
  • Steal This Presentation (74 slides)
  • What the f**k is social media now (104 slides)
  • Rethinking the mobile Web by Yiibu (140 slides)
  • PSFK presents Future of Retail report (84 slides)

Here’s the key -

SlideShare is a visual storytelling medium.

The Zeitgeist research indicated the more popular SlideShare decks average only 24 words per slide, and even that sounds a smidgen high.

Of course, all of this is moot if you don’t cultivate the right components – anecdotes, conflict, drama, fun with language, etc. – to create a story that will interest others.

Keep in mind the storytelling bar in business is different than reading a novel or watching a movie. No one expects you to be J.D. Salinger or Steven Spielberg.

If you can simply amuse or bring a smile to the viewer’s face, you’ve succeeded.

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