A friend, mentor, and professor of mine was a leading voice in southern poetry. He wrote profoundly about many things, most notably about the martyrs of the civil rights movement and white privilege. So it made more than a little sense when the chair of his department asked him to teach a class about multiculturalism in American literature.
He refused. And his reason why will stick with me forever. He told me “I told them that the history of American literature is multicultural. The entire damn American narrative is about our multiple cultures. I can’t see how we can teach any American literature course without it dealing with multiculturalism at its core.”
At the risk of inflating my self importance (let’s be honest: what I do is to his work what r/funny is to the Mark Twain corpus), I hear my friend’s logic ringing loudly when I see the term “Digital Marketing.”
Spending time with a Hindu or two has helped me question a few things. Our society’s surface-notion of Karma is a big one. I don’t know what Karma is, probably never will. But I’m beginning to understand a bit about what Karma is not.
Karma is not a bank where you deposit good actions so you can make withdraws during times of selfishness. There’s also no parking Karma. And a tip jar is not a place to work on your Karma.
Most importantly, Karma does not operate independently: it’s connected with many other ways of approaching life that I’ll likely never understand either.
I connect to this the way brands – product, service, or personal – build relationships in networking spheres (traditional or virtual). Aplenty are the opinions about our new media landscape giving anyone the ability to build relationships, market, brand, sell. But brands need to think more broadly about what’s behind the promises.
Exactly opposite of athletes and musicians, working professionals spend 99% of their time executing and 1% of their time practicing. It’s hard to find places in business to practice. So when you do, you have to take advantage of them.
It’s not surprising to see Tiger Woods recognize the need to get out in front of stories during a crises. He’s a smart guy. He proves it in this article, where he comments aabout Michael Vick back in 2007:
So he knew, just like most of know, how to manage in a crises. But knowing isn’t the thing. Executing is. And he of all people should know that effective execution requires practice.
This video is a slide from social media and personal branding presentations I give.
It supports points I make about social media being new tools that require the same fundamental strategy and approach we all know how to do in traditional networking spheres. Namely (and simply):
Right around the time Dave Mathews Band broke through with their huge hit Satellite, a friend of mine attending a hippy jam-band show told me about a bumper sticker he saw in the Red Rocks parking lot. It read: “Remember when Dave didn’t suck?”
A recent article from a farmer makes no bones about Michael Pollan and his dilemmic omnivores acting as “Agri-Intellectuals” with no moral authority: one-book experts who think farmers are “too stupid to farm sustainably” and “too careless to worry about their communities, their health, and their families…Enough,” he writes. “Enough. Enough.”
Crocs, once “the quintessential American success story” with their staggering IPO giving a windfall for fashion laymen in Niwot, Colorado is facing a series of oddly brash predictions of their demise. Crocs is “toast,” and needs to “do the right thing” for shareholders and sell. The ugly shoe we love has somehow become the ugly company we hate.
Today, the jam-band festival of the internet, the gathering place for media-intellectuals, the promised land for laymen content creators is under attack. People are happily pointing out the cracks in social media.
I connect things. I’m wired to. Sometimes it’s powerful, and sometimes it unnecessarily complicates. It can make for good integrated plans, but it can also result in tangled communications.
The past few weeks have been powerful. I’ve reconnected with two long-lost friends. One’s a guitarist I met while attending Berklee College of Music, the other a magazine editor I worked with for a short stint in my career.
The guitarist moved back to Israel, the editor moved a few blocks away from me. The guitarist I found on Facebook, the editor I found at the neighborhood frozen custard shop.
International, hyperlocal. The reach of social media, the power of sugar and cream.
Two very different people with whom I shared important times during transitional periods in my life. I learned important lessons from both of them. And the lessons connect.
North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith said Michael Jordan wasn’t the greatest natural athlete he’d ever coached. He said he was among the hardest working. Miles Davis regularly skipped classes at Julliard to practice his horn, eventually dropping out to play every day in the New York bebop scene. Musicians and artists spend almost all of their time practicing to get ready for small windows of execution.
It’s a simple concept: repeat as many skills within as many contexts as often as possible so when it comes time to execute, you aren’t thinking. You’re fully in service to the prime function of the enterprise and its mission.
It’s precisely the opposite in business. We’re executing all the time with hardly any practice. The results are obvious. Time and again we see gaffs far more destructive than an MJ missed dunk. And we blog about it and pass it around the social media sphere, fingers pointed.
I had a blast sitting on a panel with four terrific folks at the annual North American South Asian Bar Association in Vancouver this past weekend. Doug Jasinki (@DougJasinski, www.skunkworks.ca), Sanjiv Kapur (http://jonesday.com/skapur), Shirish Gupta (@shirish_gupta, http://flashpointlaw.com), Samia Kirmani (http://www.jacksonlewis.com/attorneys/vattorney.cfm?aid=893) and I discussed who, how and why lawyers should use new and social media.
Doug and I had pulled together some links to present at the panel, but never got around to using them. As promised at the panel here they are. Hopefully they’ll prove useful for those in attendance and anyone else who happens across this post.
You won’t read this post. If I’m lucky, you might skim it. I’m good with that. But please: don’t read it well.
There’s a book called How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read. I haven’t read all of it. And I think it’s excellent. So excellent, in fact, that I can take its principles and apply it to a blog post. continue
If you follow Seth Godin’s blog (and it’s hard to imagine you don’t – more people read it every day than live in South Dakota) you’ve probably had a mix of reactions over the years. Delighted at ideas, awe-struck at the volume, head-slapping yourself saying “why the heck didn’t I blog about that?”
I think what make Seth’s posts so enduring and sticky is his experience in the world. And how he bridges those experiences for his readers to learn from. Stories make ideas come alive.