Seven New Year’s Resolutions ...


I’ve been told that documenting New Year’s Resolutions increases the likelihood that they will happen.

Consider this a test for business storytelling that we’ll revisit in December.

Here’s what I’m hoping to change and improve upon in the coming year:

  1. Bulldoze the “Look and Feel” of the Blog: Friends, family members and complete strangers have asked why the design of my blog looks like a failed attempt at retro. As an evangelist for visual storytelling, 2014 is the year that I finally bring my blog into the 21st century (and put some shoes on this cobbler’s kid). I’m also keen to bring some of BusinessWeek’s treatments of typography into the blog.
  2. Experiment with Storytelling Platforms: I’m a binge reader. The past two days saw me staking out a corner of the family couch to find out what happened to “The English Girl” by Daniel Silva. Same behavior with “Tatiana,” the latest from Martin Cruz Smith. I love words. Still, there’s no denying that today’s digital onslaught has shortened attention spans. The GIF we created last year, “Storytelling in Seven Seconds” was the start of experimenting with ways to ease consumption of storytelling.
  3. Create for the Mobile Experience: I’m still not exactly sure what this means. Do people prefer shorter narratives when reading a blog on their smart phone or tablet? It seems logical. Here’s what I do know. The visits to my blog on mobile devices more than doubled last year. This deserves more share-of-mind moving forward.
  4. Continue Expressing a Point of View: This can be a tricky dynamic. As head of a communications consultancy, a strong viewpoint has the potential to hurt us in a new-business review or worse, offend a current client. On the other hand, I believe we need to embrace our counsel to clients, that it’s a better to take a stand even if that stand produces negative as well as positive reactions. The worse reaction is apathy, a byproduct of vanilla commentary.
  5. Amplify Select Posts: Periodically, I’ll craft a post that seems worthy of attention beyond my circle. Along this line, I thought “The Wall Street Journal Further Blends Native Advertising with Journalism” delivered a fresh take on native advertising, a topic all the rage in publishing. Yet, the post didn’t jump the chasm. Heck, it didn’t even jump the crack in my driveway. While I’m thankful for Brian Rice (B2Community) and friend Steven Farnsworth who both give an extra push to my posts, I still haven’t cracked this code.
  6. Dust Off Old Posts: If a post falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it really fall? I know it’s early in the year to go “Albert Camus” on you, but this question has been nagging me for some time. I wrote some decent posts going back to 2011 and later when my readership largely consisted of my mom and her mahjong gang. I’m thinking there’s logic in figuring out the appropriate way to resuscitate these posts.
  7. Get Horizontal: Blogging follows a vertical flow. While techniques exist to get around this limitation like slide-show frames, there are times when I need horizontal real estate for visual storytelling. For example, I’ve got amusing flow chart called “Will Anyone Care About this News Release” that hasn’t published. I need to figure this one out in 2014 (with the help of a programmer) and build the functionality into the new blog design.

If I missed one, please bring it to my attention.

Time to get cracking on 2014!


  • Brian Rice

    Hi Lou

    Happy New Year and I wish you all the best with your resolutions. Personally, I am looking forward to what you do from a design standpoint as I have been kicking around some ideas for a redesign myself. Thanks for being a part of Business 2 Community and if you crack the code on predicting what will be popular ahead of time let me know. I just started experimenting with TrueAnthem and the data they provide is interesting.

    All the best,

    • hoffman


      Thanks for stopping by. I’m a big fan of how the design of BusinessWeek has evolved since Richard Turley took the art direction reins. Plan to explore some of these techniques in WordPress even if takes custom programming. And I will check out TrueAnthem. Wishing you and Business 2 Community a terrific 2014!


      P.S. I know it’s out of your hands, but it’s a pity that the B2Community content syndicated on Yahoo loses hyperlinks in the process.

  • Brian Rice

    Agreed, they have done a nice job. I also like what USA Today has done. I have the wireframes ready, it is just a matter of finding the time to implement based on other priorities.

    P.S I hear you but that is a losing battle, they are just a “little bit” bigger than us 🙂

    • hoffman

      Now you’ve got me taking a closer look at USA Today.

      The challenge with BusinessWeek is translating some of their techniques in the print edition to the digital side. I’m guessing if it was easy, they would have already done it.


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