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March, 2009:

Dr. Seuss’ Age Old Wisdom

Cover of "Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Clas...

Cover via Amazon

There is no doubt we are in a tough time economically. And in our world of technology, start-ups, entrepreneurship and innovation, we are feeling the pressure more each day. Today Google announced that they will have layoffs of 200 employees, no different than the layoff news that has come from other companies like Microsoft and Yahoo!  However, when it is Google, poster child for success in our space, it makes one take pause yet again.

Everyone is taking a more conservative approach in their outlooks, some classify it as being more thoughtful and prudent, others hunkering for the long haul to the more dramatic “just survive”.  So there are a lot of people trying trying to figure out how to approach the world we are in today.  Entrepreneurs are trying to figure out how to manage their burn rate so their ideas that were so promising just six months ago will find revenue earlier than planned. Investors are looking more closely at the investments they make.  And there are a number of talented people looking for next career opportunities as well.

Here’s the thing though:  Innovation continues to take place.  Investors are still investing in solid business models.  There are many people trying to do great things in their businesses and will hire individuals that will help them be successful.  This is the outlook I am taking in my own personal approach to the current marketplace.  In fact, my view is that you HAVE to.  What is the alternative?  A positive attitude is what is necessary to move us forward.

I was reading Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, to my daughter today.  Oddly, I’d never read this one before but as I was reading it, the story really resonated with me.  Dr. Seuss had it all figured out, before the first internet bubble burst and certainly before the current situation we find ourselves in.  If you are trying to find you way, pay attention to these words and heed the advice:

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

If you need to, read it again. Read the whole book. Whatever your situation, the message is spot on. Rely on yourself.  You know what you know (and you can learn what you need to).  You fully control where you want to go and how to get there.

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It takes practice

I was watching Gary Vaynerchuk’s talk and Q&A session at SXSW.  Been following Gary’s growing online business for a while now and written about him several times.  At about 16:25 of the session, Gary talks briefly about his early days getting his video blog up and running.  He tells the audience to go back his first 50 episodes.  So, I hopped over and took a look at the very first episode of Wine Library TV.  It is a night and day experience from watching episodes of late and Gary as an online personality.  Here it is:




What struck me is something quite simple: It takes practice. If you are trying to build a serious social media oriented brand, personal or business, it doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve spoken to a number of people who have thought of starting their own blogs or even video blogging themselves. I’ve even thought about doing a few video posts myself. Often (I assume like people early in TV careers but who knows), there is apprehension of getting in front of and speaking into the camera. Writing for me was just easier to jump into, it feels more protected. But video blogging is very interesting and adds a whole different dynamic. It certainly makes it more personal.

Anyway, whether you are writing or using video as your medium, it takes practice. Just like everything else. Because the web makes everything easier, I think we fall into the trap that everything on the web is easy. Starting a blog, building a business, writing an iPhone application. If you want to be good (and gain a comfort) doing something, you have to practice and put in a good deal of effort. And for some, it comes naturally easy and they need less practice. For others, they need more. Just like everything else in life.

Been a while…

It’s been a while since my last post.  I’ve been doing some traveling (both business and pleasure) and its kept me from posting as much as I would like.  More importantly, at times I lacked total connectivity which I was beginning to think wasn’t possible and it stopped me from reading as much too.

These infrequent occassions of being sans connection without a mobile device pumping the zeros and ones out in the ether does give you pause to take stock of life (being on a ranch in the middle of Argentina can do it too).  Yes, the connections of Friendfeed, Twitter and Facebook are valuable, are changing the personal and business communication landscape and will continue to do so.   We are building life-long connections and friendships through the medium all the time.  That part I did miss when away.

But remember, there are so many other things just as important.  Like the Giants making a huge splash in free agency with fantastic defensive signings of LB Michael Boley, DT Rocky Bernard and DT/DE Chris Canty!  Okay, just kidding. (sort of)  Friends, family, enjoying a nice day outside, going to the gym and going on vacation when you can.  These are just as important.  If you don’t take the time to unplug, even for a bit, I highly recommend it.

So, anyway, now that I’m back and cycling up again, I feel I’m beginning to catch up on my feeds reading and wanted to drop a little note out here.  Flew threw countless number of feeds and postings today.  The one that struck a cord, the latest Kindle.  The Kindle device is vastly improved but that is not what is important.  The ecosystem shift is important, the Kindle iPhone app and deployment to other mobile phones is important.  To me, it has a similar footprint to the movement of apps on the iPhone itself and what that is doing in the mobile space.

Not going to go into it more here but it is clear that there is a movement taking place that could very well be another major shift in the digital media landscape and in “written” content consumption overall.  Media companies must pay attention.  Steve Rubel has a great post from a couple of days ago discussing this very topic.  If you read only one today, I would recommend that be it.  (Well, that would mean you read two today because you had to read this one just to get to that one. :)

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