Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is my Kindle irrelevant?


I have an Amazon Kindle (consider all links affiliate).  I love my Kindle.  It took some time to get used to the whole e-reader but I made the transition.  I travel quite a bit and the portability of the Kindle suits my style.  But I am being tempted by the iPad.  Do I need an iPad?  Probably not.  Can I justify the iPad?  Sure I can!  

Besides books I have many pdf files downloaded to my Kindle.  I often convert documents I need for a conference and email them to my Kindle.  Can I do that with an iPad?  I guess I could.  Can I then use the iPad to project documents on a screen?  With the VGA adapter I could.

Am I talking myself into buying an iPad?  I might be!  What are your thoughts on either a dedicated e-reader or the iPad?
Photo credit: oskay

Monday, June 28, 2010

The social web and paper

old, vintage letter 1840 - texture

By now we all know the importance of building our network using the social web as a "touch point"- a way to connect with people and build/strenghen relationships.  But don't let social media be your end point.  Instead it should be your foundation, where your socialbility (I think I just invented that horrible word) begins.  Why am I mentioning this?

I just got back from being on the road almost an entire month.  What's the first thing on my agenda (besides submitting the dreaded travel vouchers)?  Sending several hand written thank you notes.  Yes, I said hand written thank you notes.  In a world of e-vites, Foursquare, Twitter, and "liking" things on Facebook I still send a select number of clients and friends thank you notes.  Why?  Because email is nearing the end of its life expectancy and hand written notes are just, well- better!  Worried you have forgotten how to write a good old fashioned letter?  Take a look at Writing Letters with Pen and Ink (affiliate link) to get you started.

I write my notes on heavy stock, embossed with my name, and in bright blue ink.  I keep the notes short and poignant.  I usually make a short personal comment and then say thanks.  I hope the recipients appreciate the sentiment and remember the time we shared favorably.  Read more about what paper and supplies I use here.

Why should you hand write your notes?  Because it's the right thing to do to demonstrate you care about the other person.  What do you think?

Photo credit: jude bird 86
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Should I do it... follow up

Running Shoes

A few months ago I wrote about possibly running the ING Hartford Marathon.  Well, I signed up to run it.

I guess I better start training if I am going to break 5 hours!

Photo credit: Josiah Mackenzie

Friday, June 25, 2010

Why I won't pitch Chris Brogan

pitcher perfect?

You know Chris Brogan don't you?  He's the social web guru that is all over the interwebs with lots of interesting projects.  He's a pretty nice guy, maybe too nice.  He provides lots of interesting free content, some great stuff through his paid projects, and even more stuff through some of his lesser known projects.  But he's a guy just like me.  That's why I won't pitch him.

Occasionally Chris writes about his day.  He's in overdrive mode almost all the time.  He engages EVERYONE and makes the whole social web look easy, but he's working.  He has helped me and chances are he has helped you too.  Did you get an invoice?  I didn't.  That's another reason I won't pitch him.  Shucks, if anything I owe Chris Brogan money!

So the next time you get all snarky and think Mr. Brogan is being all high and mighty when he writes about trying to get a handle on his day remember this.  He is giving you- us- the tools we need to succeed in this space for free.  You want more?  You gotta pay.

This isn't a Brogan love fest.  If you understand the nature of what he does you can see the value he provides.  If you use the tools he provides, you can't help but succeed.  That alone is priceless.

Why won't I pitch Chris Brogan? Because I get so much more from him for free than I could ever give in return.  I don't have the bankroll to hire him full time, for a week, or even a day.  But I don't have to.  He routinely sends me things.  Thank you for being a friend, Chris, and for giving away such great stuff.

Photo credit: Steffe

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In the CLEAR

Checkpoint Charlie

If you are a frequent traveler you know doubt were familiar with the CLEAR traveler program.  If you were a member of CLEAR you were heartbroken when the service unceremoniously shut down last June.

Well fellow travelers, CLEAR is back! Who swears by this convenient TSA security time saver?  Folks like Peter Shankman and Mitch Joel among others (including me).  I can't find any information on when CLEAR may be up and running, but I hope it's soon.

What do you think about the return of CLEAR? 

Photo credit: g_flow

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Monday, June 21, 2010

People who get it- Speaking for Results

suessian megaphone

Today I am starting a new feature I call "People who get it".  I want to highlight groups, people, or organizations that get it.  I want to praise good customer service, good marketing, good outreach- just goodness!  Julien Smith once wrote that bloggers often use their platform to complain.  Hopefully this will fill the void of complaints and highlight what good stuff people are doing.

Who get's it?  Rande and Robert Gedaliah at Speaking for Results.  I recently attended one of their workshops.  They were great.  They worked well together.  They really worked hard to ensure the students learned how to improve their public speaking (trust me, some of us really needed work).  They taped us and made us review our presentations.  They taught us the skills we needed to become comfortable sharing our story.  But more than just good speaking coaches, Rande and Robert became our mentors.

What do I mean by mentors?  Every few months I get a reminder postcard from their company, Speaking for Results.  They actually write on the card.  The last note said "Ben, continued success!"  Then on my birthday they sent me a quick email offering birthday wishes.  Some people might call this clever marketing, I think it's being human.  I will always need to refresh my public speaking and the first place I will turn is to Rande and Robert.  If you don't think you need help learning how to speak in public you haven't read this, this or this.

What's so special about what Rande and Robert do?  They engage, they listen, and they are human.  If I have a question about speaking, want a pep talk, or just want to bounce something off of them all I need to do is email.  They respond.  They are great.  If you are in New York consider checking them out.  They offer workshops on a routine basis.

Do you get it? Do you know someone who gets it?

Photo credit: theparadigmshifter