Riding a Bike

So the book is so close to being done.

I received the proof in the mail and there are a few small edits that I need to make.

But that isn’t what I wanted to talk about.

On New Year’s Eve I was outside with my daughter teaching her to ride her bike without training wheels.

There are two ways that I have found to do this. I can hold on to the handle bars and keep her from falling or I can hold on to the back of the bike seat.

She wants me to hold on to the handlebars because then I can’t let go without her knowing.

When I am holding on to the back of the seat, I can let go and she doesn’t realize it.

These are the times that she just keeps riding.

And she does it well….

Until she realizes that I am not holding on anymore.

Then she loses control and crashes.

I think that we are like that sometimes when it comes to our work.

We need someone to guide us in the beginning.

This could be a coach, mentor, teacher, trainer or whatever he or she may be.

They show us the ropes and then they let go, sometimes without us even realizing it.

But once we realize it, we have a choice to make.

It is a choice.

We can choose to keep going.

Or we can choose to fail.

Which will it be?

3 Free Brand Monitoring Tools (You Only Need Three) | ZAPSOCK

I know that this is a topic that has been talked about many times.

But things change.

I am going to tell you what has changed.

I found an article on Mashable that was great.

It talks a lot about utilizing different websites to monitor your brand.

Well, some of those websites have changed.

Backtweets/Backtype no longer offers a free service. You have to sign up with a paid service

Which is great, but the keyword here in this article is freeeeeeeeee. (You’re killing me Larry!)

The other sites are free as well and a lot of them are still there, but they aren’t needed.

So here is my guide:

Google Reader

If you don’t have a Google account, set one up. It’s easy.

Go to the Google Reader site to add Reader to your Google account.

Go to the Google Alerts site, set up your search terms and set the “Deliver to:” field to “Feed.”

If you so desire, you can choose to only search News, Blogs, Videos, Discussions or Everything. I recommend Everything. You can also choose to show all the results or only the best results.

Keep in mind that this is just like doing a Google search so you can use various operators to be more precise in your search.

You may want to set up various feeds for different keywords.

You should be monitoring your brand name, your product names, your industry and even your competitors. You may even set one up for your own name.

Twitter

Twitter has a search feature in case you didn’t know.

You can run a search and set up your parameters and then you can pull the RSS feed for that search.

Then you can subscribe to that search in Google Reader!

Where’s the Easy Button?

Social Mention

Unfortunately, I have not been able to add the results from Social Mention to my Google Reader account.

An error kept coming up.

But Social Mention picks up everything else that gets missed. (In theory).

Set up you search and you can send yourself up for email alerts.

And there it is.

The Marketing Industry is Finished | ZAPSOCK

Well, maybe not.

But are we really marketing?

It isn’t sales.

Sales is sales and marketing is marketing.

But I don’t want to define something by what it isn’t.

Marketing is communication.

A Story

I was recently speaking with a prospective client.

He has been in business for a very long time.

He has been successful.

He wanted to learn how to market with Facebook.

My first thought was,”Sure.”

My second thought was, “You can’t market with Facebook. Facebook is a means of engaging your consumers.”

And I thought about it more.

I realized that is what marketing is [supposed to be].

Real World Application

This post isn’t a plug for Facebook.

In fact I have been using Google+ quite a bit.

It is a plug for marketers to get back to being marketers.

Don’t be salesmen.

Don’t be billboards.

Be marketers.

Communicate and engage.

As Brian Solis says, “Engage or Die”

Don’t Push

Pushing works, but they will resent you.

Who has the worst rep amongst salesmen?

Used car salesmen?

Real estate agents?

You hate them.

But go to them.

But do you ever go back to the same one again?

Pushy marketers are worse than pushy salesmen.

Pull

What do people really want?

They want to know that you care.

Take the extra minute to ask someone how they are.

Take the extra five minutes to get to know someone.

It will make all the difference.

You will pull them to you and they will keep coming back to you.

P.S.

Social media is not marketing.

It is a tool we use to communicate.

 

***UPDATE***

Please don’t confuse what I am saying with Push vs. Pull Marketing.  I am talking about pushing people away and pulling them in to you via communication and relationship building. Push and Pull Marketing refers primarily to ad placement and how you get your message out.

Prediction: You Heard it Here First! | ZAPSOCK

Cell Phones

Cell phones used to be huge.

Then they got super tiny.

Then they got smart and they started growing again.

They now have a phone that doubles as a computer. (It docks into a notebook-type base.)

Computers

Computers used to be ginormous.

They gradually got smaller. (See Moore’s Law)

Computers became laptops.

Laptops caused sterility and became notebooks.

Notebooks were too big and became netbooks.

Netbooks became tablets.

Tablets got smaller.

My Prediction

Phones will get bigger.

Tablets will get smaller.

Soon there will only be large smart phones.

They will be big enough to be used as tablets and small enough to be used as phones.

They will also be more powerful than your current desktop PC (or Mac if you prefer.)

This device will be your entire life.

It will contain your entire life.

It will dock in a peripheral at work.

It will dock in a peripheral at home.

It will cost around $499 for the base model.

It will be Flash compatible.

****UPDATE****

Are we getting closer?

Killing Your High Score | ZAPSOCK

Have you ever played Pac-Man?

Donkey Kong?

Super Mario Bros?

I’m sure you have some sort of game on your smart phone where the objective is to achieve the highest possible score.

In some of these games it is the only objective.

Have you played the helicopter game?

All you do is fly for as long as you possibly can.

The game is programmed to continue indefinitely as long as you don’t crash.

When we play these games, we tend to beat our high score a little bit more each time.

Just a little bit.

Is it because we are getting better?

Sure!

Is it because we are learning from our past mistakes?

Absolutely!

But I think there’s more.

I have found that it is human nature to subconciously give up once we have reached a predetermined threshold, or “high score.”

We find it is okay to achieve this same score.

Even coming up short, as long as it is within an unspoken proximity, is acceptable.

Beating the high score by the smallest margin is, in our primitive ape brain, a fantastic achievement worthy of the highest honors.

Killing the High Score

When you are developing a new brand, are you trying to eek your way past the “high score?”

Are you satisfied creating something that falls short, but within the acceptable range?

Or do you seek to kill the high score?

Slaughter the status quo?

Google didn’t create a search engine that was on par with existing algorithms, they established an empire.

When you search for something on the interwebs, you don’t “Yahoo! it”, you don’t “Ask Jeeves” and you definitely don’t “Bing it.”

No matter which search engine we are using, we “Google it.”

We don’t “MySpace our buddies,” we “Facebook them.”

You want to be the next Sergei?

Or the next Zuck-meister?

Don’t do what they have already done.

Don’t crash the helicopter in the exact same spot each time.

Destroy the high score.

Drop a frickin’ nuke on it.

Identifying Your Muse, Pt. 2 | ZAPSOCK

What are you passionate about?

What makes you the happiest?

I have thought about this a lot and why this is important.

I know a man who was diagnosed with Stage IV kidney cancer that had metastasized into his bones and marrow to the point that if were to move out of bed, all of his bones would shatter.

What did he do?

He started writing songs.

He’s on the road to recovery.

He is able to walk again.

Why?

Because he followed his muse?

I think so.

But that’s not it.

A Higher Purpose

I have thought about how ten years ago I was unstoppable.

Sure I was a lot younger, but I think that it was something different.

I had a higher purpose.

I was striving to accomplish something greater than myself.

You can’t just follow your passion.

You must follow your passion and utilize it for the benefit of others.

Try me.

I dare you.