Happy New Year!


Happy New Year 2014

It’s that time of year again.

Time when every media outlet known to man puts together their year-end lists:

“Best of…” and “Worst of…”

“Top 10…” and “Top 100..”

“Things we want to remember…” and “Things we’d rather forget…”

They all make the rounds, competing for your attention, your likes and shares, your retweets and plus-ones.

And while my favorite kind of list – “Words for the New Year” – is nothing new, I’ve never made one of my own.

So to get my desire to do new things in 2014 kicked off right, I’m going to start today. Here’s my first ever “Three Words for the New Year:”

Community & Kindness – OK, so my first word is actually two, but that’s only because I think they’re inseparable. 2013 was a divisive year, with sides taken on almost everything. Anger, hostility, and a general incivility seemed to be everywhere we looked. In 2014, we need to be better at working together to achieve common goals and not just give lip service to “getting along” when all that is doing is providing yet another way to point a finger at someone. If you can’t start a conversation with a compliment of some kind, then you probably shouldn’t talk.

Economy – With so many resources, so much technology and so many things to do in a day, we could each make a full time job out of just managing what’s coming over our transom. In 2014, we need to slim our intake in order to make our output more productive. That doesn’t mean do less – it means eliminate the noise. Stay on course. Keep checking items off your to-do lists and adding new ones. Get to the finish line as fast as you can, and then go find a new one.

Creativity – Perhaps a perennial word, but one that should be repeated anyway. New years mean new starts, new things to discover and new records to smash. It means bending your brain in ways you haven’t yet – or haven’t in a while – to achieve that thing that’s been on your to-do list for so long it’s starting to collect dust. Creativity is the leaf-blower of your life, so plug that sucker in and go all Carl Spangler on it.

There are other words that came close to making the cut, but for now I’ll stick to these. A year from now, we’ll look back and see how these words – and the ideas behind them – held up.

What are your words for 2014?

Happy New Year!

Evolve or Die


Evolution

Last week I was on vacation, so this is going to seem dated.

But I swear I wrote this on Tuesday, August 6 at 6:40 a.m. sitting in the kitchen of the house we rented in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Here’s what was on my mind:

“As we wake up to the news this morning that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has purchased the Washington Post, the storied and steadfast paper of record for our nation’s capital, I am struck by the number of comments online treating this as though something terrible has happened. “Sad” is a word that even the great journalistic icon Bob Woodward has used.

“While change may be a challenge, it strikes me as odd that anyone would mourn a shift in leadership that hasn’t even stated its future plans: as of this writing, Bezos hasn’t talked about a single layoff, a reduction in distribution or a shift in any aspect of the newsroom or editorial page. What we do know about the paper that brought down Nixon is that its circulation is hardly enviable, its staff has been repeatedly reduced and its margins are ridiculously low. On paper, the revered paper looks more like it should follow in the footsteps of too many other much needed dailies that have gone the way of the dodo.

“Seems to me that WaPo is ready for an evolutionary shift – something Bezos knows a thing or two about.

“Evolution is part of life on planet Earth: organisms large and small all evolve over time, or they die out. And while the evolution of an organism can take generations, each individual plays its own small part in the larger process.

“On a smaller scale, we need to evolve over the course of our lifetimes too. We must learn new things, explore new subject areas and develop new skills. All this will make us better professionals and better people, allowing us to offer more to the world in which we live and the people whom we know and love.

“Take a cue from the organisms that have walked the planet before us: evolve or die.”

Xbox One Isn’t the Only One


XboxOne

The unveiling of the Xbox One has got my inner geek pretty stoked.

Tear it apart any which way you want, but this new console it represents a terrific leap forward in the way we experience and share media in our homes: music, movies, games and TV. The new functions look very cool, especially the improvements in Kinect. I will be getting my hands one as soon as possible.

It’s probably not the elusive “all in one” box that Microsoft claims it is, but I frankly don’t think we will ever get there, because we really don’t want to. As consumers, (especially us geeks, who thrive on variety and shiny new things that replace and outdo the old ones) we don’t like limiting ourselves to just one platform or one way of doing things. We like to integrate our systems together and make them do unique things that serve our purposes.

The Xbox One is also a good example of how we – as communications professionals and PR people – need to constantly keep up with evolving technology that affects our business.

I was a semi-early adopter of social media, and saw its potential for one-to-one, human connectivity right away. And while I’m better at it than most, I’m far from an uber-user or an expert by my definition of the word.

Part of the reason we fall behind is because things evolve so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. And yet, that’s also part of our business: recognizing the changes afoot and evolving our tactics with them. We need to take time out – hard as it can be – to experiment with these technologies and make them work for us.

Take time to turn off all your inputs and just experiment, at least once a week. Part of keeping up is making sure you do it with the frequency to make it effective.

It All Looks So Peaceful from 23,000 Feet


ItAllLooksSoPeacefulFrom23000Feet

I’ve come to expect wifi on airplanes.

It’s really ridiculous. I take for granted that we – as a technologically advanced society – should be able to seamlessly layer one magical concept (wifi) on top of another (flight).

Stop to think about it. It’s (as my 4-year-old would tell me) RI-DONK-U-LOUS!!!

I mean, really. Full internet, almost-streaming capability bandwidth, from inside a metal can, strapped to a pair (or two) of jet engines traveling at 700 miles an hour, just miles beneath the edge of space. Really???

My son is right.

And so since I don’t have wifi connectivity as I type this, I have the liberty – the luxury – of being completely disconnected. I can look out the window, quiet my brain, and pause. Think. Imagine. And yes, sleep a little. (Remember, I have kids. I need sleep whenever and wherever I can get it.)

We need these times. They can help us find our center, our equilibrium. We can choose to stretch, or relax, our brains. We can let our imaginations dance off the cloud tops, and indulge our spirits in, well, spirits. (read: Bombay Sapphire. Now you know.)

Connectivity is great. It helps us be productive.

Dis-connectivity is equally great. Unplug.

Where’d I Put That Idea?


Great Idea

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Ever had one of those moments where you have a great idea, but didn’t write it down? And once you had a free moment to act on it, you forgot key details, or even forgot the whole idea in the first place?

Perhaps it’s a great idea with no one to apply it to. It’s just a “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” kind of moment that you hope and pray you will remember the next time you need it.

Or maybe you have a great idea that’s a perfect fit for a client, and you can see the end product and payoff, but your client is reluctant to take the plunge on it.

We’ve all been stuck at one point or another, trying to fit round pegs in square holes, or trying to find a path an an elusive goal.

I don’t have a magic answer as to how to get to that end point. Every path is different. You have to find yours for yourself.

The important lesson is this: don’t give up. No matter what obstacles are thrown before you, no matter how many times you may fall down or get derailed, no matter how long it takes: something worth doing is worth completing. Otherwise you’ve wasted your time and energy and that of the people you work with.

Maybe that’s the real secret: before starting a project, ask yourself if it’s worth finishing. If it is, there’s no reason not to thrown yourself into it completely. If it isn’t worth finishing, don’t start it in the first place.

First Chance, Last Chance


Same Old Thinking Same Old Results

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This pic at the left says it all. Can you feel it?

So in that spirit, here’s a fast post today to kickoff a new week, a new month, a new business quarter, and the last three months of the year. It’s your first chance to get the rest of the year going right – and your last chance to make something amazing happen before we say goodbye to 2012.

Before you know it, we’ll all be standing around singing this song.

For those of you who are interested in “making it through,” best of luck.

For those of you who are going to make this a time to remember, come on along with me. We got doin’ to do.

Leave a comment below and let everyone know what YOU will accomplish!

Cobras, Retweets and Friday ShareDay


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Another terrific week for yours truly, including having got some amazing news that I will be sharing with you in the coming month. I’m currently sworn to secrecy, but I am very happy with this new development. Stay tuned!

Meantime, we saw another runaway twitter account emerge this week, @BronxZoosCobra, named after the snake that apparently went missing for days at the iconic New York City institution. Just today, the critter was found – having not left the Zoo grounds – but the adventures of this guy captivated the tweetiverse for the week, racking up more than 200,000 followers in just hours. This terrific post from Computer World runsdown the online frenzy and the inspirational genius behind it.

And for Friday ShareDay, here’s a post on whether the retweet truly has any value by Joel Postman. Of particular interest is the great comments posted after the entry. Give the whole thing a read and chime in!

Happy Weekend!

Want Better Results? Make Yourself Busy!


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Today’s one of those “Too much to do, too little time” days, with a little “I wish I didn’t have to have this conversation” mixed in for good measure. It woke my brain from a sound sleep at 4am, and my (almost) two-year-old son heard daddy get up and quickly followed. I’ve ingested enough coffee to wake a corpse and my day is barely six hours old. And my “to-do” list is a mile long.

So today will be fun.

I mean that literally. Today will be challenging, difficult, perhaps annoying, but yes, fun. I thrive on adrenaline in a Charlie-Sheen-Tiger-Blood kind of way, so these days can be terrifically exciting.

And on days where the weight of the world isn’t accidentally placed on my shoulders (like today) I sometimes like to manufacture similar circumstances, in hopes of getting a similar result. I know that sounds crazy, but I think we can all benefit from it at times, in order to spur our productivity and get more done.

I’m not talking about busy work (organizing your facebook friends into groups can be saved for another day), I’m talking about making a list of those things that need to get done this week and then cranking them out in ONE DAY, like you’re on some crack-fueled version of hyperdrive.

It’s amazing how much we can get done when we just pin the pedal to the floor, you know?

So if you’re not running like crazy (like I am today), give a shot to pretending that you are and see what happens. You might just surprise yourself.

15 Ideas You Wish You Thought Of


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It’s Friday Share Day, and this week’s nugget o’wisdom comes to us via my friend Matt Browne (on twitter @MatthewLiberty).

It’s a terrific piece from Entrepreneur Magazine about innovation and the people and companies who had the guts to execute their crazy ideas (Note to self, do a blog post next week about Dreams and the Courage to Follow Them).

If you’re like me, by the end of the third article, you’ll be scratching your head and saying, “I should have thought of that!” So instead, I’ll just steal everything that these very wise people did and apply it to my own life.

Enjoy the read (thanks, Matt!) and Happy Weekend!

– Jody