Dad’s Tech Quest – Introduction

TechQuest LogoWhen my kids were born, I decided that they would have access to technology. Real tech, not just games.

So before they could speak, their hands were slapping and clacking on the keyboard. This isn’t so unusual these days, as many modern American families have access to similar technology.

But I wanted to go one step further.

I believe my career in technology is due primarily to my early exposure to computers. My high school exposed us early in the 1980s to simple programming using the Commodore 64, a machine that was a gateway for thousands of tech-curious minds.

Then, in a move that would prove formative, my father bought me a used Apple IIc computer. It was a basic machine, but it was mine. I could tinker and explore at home, rather than in a computer lab. I used it primarily as a word processor, but it gave me the confidence to use technology as a tool.

And, like many before me, I was completely and utterly blown away the first time I saw my first classic Macintosh computer. Unlike many of my fellow students who walked past, I couldn’t wait to put my hands on it. Continue reading

Speaking at Intelligent Content Conference 2013 in February

See Buddy Speak at Intelligent Content Conference 2013

See Buddy Speak at Intelligent Content Conference 2013

West Coast! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, maybe too long.

Let’s get together at the Intelligent Content Conference 2013 in San Francisco on February 7-8, 2013. I’m packing now to bring some East Coast fun to the City by the Bay.

If you’re a content marketer, this is one of the big conferences you should attend. I’ll be there to deliver my presentation on Feb 8th at 2:00. Here’s the description:

Channel-Agnostic Content Strategy for Happy Marketers
Learn why “intelligent content” is an inevitable future for multi-channel marketing. Developing channel-agnostic content is rapidly becoming the only way to address the proliferation of emerging channels and new devices. Brands are publishers and content is liquid. Marketing teams need to consider how to share messages across the platforms that their customers are using. Intelligent, channel-agnostic content development, governance, and maintenance will ensure that your marketing team is happy (i.e., employed) and prepared for the future.

You’ll see a lot of the stuff you’ve come to know and love including my sparking personality, these rock-hard abs, and some amazing comic book art. Continue reading

Storming Retail: How Home Depot, Lowe’s & Sears Miss Opportunities

A hurricane of missed opportunities in retail and content strategy.

If I had stock in Home Depot, Lowes, or Sears, I’d be pretty annoyed right now. I’d be looking at the impending storm that’s about to hit the East Coast, and think, “why aren’t these retailers ready for Hurricane Sandy?”

To that, I’d add, “again.”

Yup, this is the second year in a row that retailers are not ready for the consumer demand in times of emergency. Last year, we were hit with an epic, freak storm that knocked out electricity for four days. The folks with generators were just fine, but the rest of us were, well, very cold.

You’d think that people would learn from last year and already have generators, batteries, bottled water, canned goods, gasoline, and other things like that. But they don’t. People are people. They don’t usually do a good job of taking care of themselves and typically wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping. People are like that and will always be like that.
Continue reading

5 Great Reasons Your Marketing Strategy Works

Marketing strategy. Yours is working.

Look, I’m going to run through a few things with you, since you already know all of this. You’re a marketing pro, so this is just a quick review of your talking points with your boss.

A good marketer like you knows that you can’t just check boxes and expect to deliver remarkable results. You are already working hard to make sure your strategies and tactics are effective.

Let’s review five reasons your campaign will succeed, so you can discuss it during your next performance review:

1. You have a strong content strategy.
Last quarter you rocked it with a smart strategy, fantastic branding, and a super message. It took some time, but you managed to deliver an equally amazing content strategy. You know (because you read Content Strategy for the Web and The Elements of Content Strategy) that content strategy includes a plan for ongoing content creation, management, and governance. That’s why your website isn’t still in Phase 1/Launch. You’ve had a content strategist focused on all aspects of content, so that the message stays fresh for your target audience. It’s not just the copy on your website either. It’s mobile, social, video, graphics, and everything in between. This, above all, is why you are succeeding where others have failed. You know that content strategy is the foundation of content marketing. Continue reading

Content Strategy and eBooks

Marvel Comics on iPad

The easiest thing to do is wait. When a new technology seems to be bubbling up at the edges of conversation, most people just wait. Wait to see how it turns out. See if it takes off.

When it comes to ebooks, the wait is over. Done. The handwriting is no longer on the wall; it’s being downloaded to your iPad.

Old Models, Redefined
The book business is faring much better than the music industry did when digital changed their business model. As millions of songs were being downloaded in the 90s, music companies were busy protecting their old-media distribution channels. At one time, music stores dotted strip malls and city street. Now, most are gone. Apple redefined their distribution model.

The next to be hit was the video business. Torrents made pirating easy. And since people already had home-entertainment centers, the devices of consumption were already in place. The studios were also slow to move, sticking with DVDs for too long. NetFlix was already busy redefining their distribution model. Continue reading

How Apps Are Ruining the World

Tesla: Master of Lightning. That would look cool on a business card.

Between our iPad, iPhone, and three iPod Touches, my family has over 100 installed apps. Amazing utilities, clever social apps, and plain old silly stuff.

I love my apps, but they are ruining the world. Sad, really.

Here’s the thing. Programming something for iOS isn’t exactly easy. There are some tools that cut your time, but if you want to maximize your app, you’ll have to put in the time or pay someone to do it. Someone smart and patient.

I’m all for creative entrepreneurs generating a profit from their hard work. I’ve certainly done it myself, so I wouldn’t begrudge someone else the opportunity to earn money. Unfortunately….

Unfortunately, some of the smartest people in the room aren’t solving problems anymore. They’re not figuring out the kinds of things that need figuring. They’re not inventing or improving inventions. They’re not even experimenting.

Nope, they’re coding apps that they’ll sell for 99 cents. And if they’re lucky (because luck is part of success), they’ll make some money. If not, they’ll just make another app. That’s where the gold seems to be. Continue reading

Bad Advice Given Well (and How to Spot Phony Experts)

Danger Bad Advice Ahead

Danger Bad Advice Ahead

You may not want to hear this, but at some point, you’ve received — and then shared — bad information online. Information so erroneous that it defies logic. Ideas that just don’t make sense. And, like many netizens, you’ve shared this with your family and friends.

Don’t worry. Everyone has done it at some point or another. (Don’t you feel better?)

Here’s the thing. There’s good advice given by smart, informed, and qualified people (sometimes they are even professionals). The information they provide can educate and motivate you.

And then there’s that guy that wrote “that blog” on “that website.” He could have been right, especially if he took a moment to look for truth instead of just disguising his opinion as truth. But he was wrong. Didn’t know what he was talking about, and unfortunately, his advice got stuck in your head. (Sorry, Oreos don’t make you thin.)

You are, as many of us have been, a victim of bad advice given well. Guidance from a self-proclaimed expert who is more self-proclaimed than expert, but probably has a nice-looking website. Maybe someone who has a lot of Twitter followers.


How This Happened

Back in the early days, the media business was a one-way affair. Those of us who studied Journalism and then worked at media outlets learned that we were the “gatekeepers” of information. The publishers and editors were the gatekeepers, but we were part of the gate. I was a journalist and I worked the gate at newspapers, websites, and magazines.

We were sharers and reporters of truth. We opened the gate to gather and disseminate truth and facts. Slammed it shut on information we perceived as wrong or irrelevant. Continue reading

Measuring ROI of Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

Google Analytics to measure your social media campaign

Google Analytics to measure your social media campaign

Stop. Before you go any further in this blog about social media marketing, stop and ask yourself, “am I ready to do what’s required for my campaigns?”

Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, particularly in Marketing. That’s because modern Marketing isn’t easy anymore.

It’s hard and it requires math. (I know I just lost about half of you when I said the other M word…math.)

Today’s marketer must be part mathematician, part magician, and seemingly omniscient. Fortunately, there’s an app for that.

I’m not kidding. The app is “analytics.” (Okay, analytics is more than just an app, but I’m working on my segues.) But if you don’t use analytics and other appropriate measurements, you can’t measure your social media campaign. Continue reading

Guy’s Guide to Pinterest: Pinning Testosterone

Guy's Guide to Pinterest

Guy's Guide to Pinterest

The statistics are incredible. According to ComScore estimates, Pinterest is the fastest growing social network ever.

In this age of social networking sites, you’d think that we had enough places for people to like and share stuff. Apparently not.

But a curious thing happened on their way to becoming an Internet phenomenon. Pinterest became an overwhelmingly female destination. By some estimates Pinterest is to 50% to 70% female. Everyone has an opinion about why Pinterest attracted so many women and what it means for social media marketing.

If you’re a male, you’re probably wondering why you should bother with Pinterest. Well, for one, it’s really kind of fun. (I hated typing that sentence, but it’s true.) It’s also a platform that shows huge potential for marketing and branding, since people are sharing the products and services that they love. If your campaign includes content marketing, you know that great product images can help your brand message go viral.

For a change, though, I am not here to talk about your content strategy or anything marketing-y like that. I’m here to help the fellas out there get started with Pinterest. Continue reading

The “Idea Etherverse” (or How to Be More Creative at Work)

Idea lightbulb

Did that lightbulb in your head just go on? Maybe it’s coming from the Idea Etherverse.

In my line of work, people talk a lot about creativity. As a content strategist and copywriter at a marketing agency, people look to my creative services team for fresh ideas.

They appreciate unique angles, bursts of inspiration, and the proverbial lightbulb-over-the-head.

Yet, that creativity doesn’t just come from “the creatives.” Not at all.

Ideas can come from anyone in any role, if you encourage people to express their own ideas. Account managers, project managers, quality assurance testers, proofreaders, and traffic coordinators have come up with ideas that rival the best copywriters, art directors, and other people typically associated with “ideas.”

The problem? Most “non creative” people feel boxed in by the words printed on their business cards. They incorrectly assume they are less qualified to share new ideas or whatever. It’s really just “whatever.”

 

The Big Secret Revealed: Where Creativity Comes From

For a few years, I worked as a professional comic book writer (which was outstanding training for new media). At comic book conventions, fans and aspiring creators would sometimes ask where I got my ideas. Continue reading