5K Fun Run

17 09 2010

It is with great pleasure and utter shock that I announce 5,000 views of this blog (and no, that does not count my own visits).  In the blog world that still makes me small potatoes (mmm, hashbrowns…), but that’s 5,000 more views than I had 4 months ago, and it’s an important-sounding number I can use to propel me forward.

I have learned a lot.  You might not be aware of this, but the “Internet” watches everything you do, and provides some fascinating statistics.  I know how many people read my blog every day.  I know which pictures you click on.  I know what links you follow.  I know what website you were looking at before you came to my page and what site you’re leaving me for.

Based on those stats and other observations, here’s what I have learned about You:

  • You love True Blood, Batman, Snoop, and College Football
  • You spend a lot of time looking at your computer on Sunday morning
  • A lot of you are “considering” starting your own blog
  • You love watching videos, especially if they are not too long

Just a short time ago I was a guy that knew very little about social media and the technology that makes it all work.  Here is what I’ve learned about Social Media:

  • Sites like WordPress, Google, Facebook, and YouTube are incredibly powerful tools for spreading your message
  • Technology is helpful, but people that are willing to show you how to use it are much more helpful
  • Without a Social Media platform, you are becoming less and less relevant
  • You don’t need to know everything to participate

This whole project has caused me to examine myself and give serious consideration to my thoughts and actions.  Here’s what I’ve learned about myself:

  • I can turn any situation into a positive by thinking about the lesson I’m learning
  • I would rather try and fail than not try at all
  • Teaching is one of the best ways to realize what you’ve learned
  • I love having an excuse to wear t-shirts on Friday

So after achieving this mini-milestone, here is what you can expect as we move forward:

  • Stories about some really interesting people I know
  • Opportunities for your involvement
  • A blog specifically about the Batman projects we have done
  • Drink recipes (it is Friday after all)

Thank you to everyone for reading.  Special thanks to those of you that have commented publicly or privately.  I will continue to try and make sure it doesn’t suck.


Speaking of milestones, Happy Birthday to my mom – Sandy White.  She turns 60 this week.  We might live thousands of miles apart and not talk as often as we would like, but I think about her all the time.  As a parent and as a professional, I always want to make my mom proud.  I love you Mom!


When I say “WOLF”

10 09 2010

Why is it so easy to love college football?

– Community pride
– Marching band plays throughout the game
– Fewer commercials than the NFL
– Tailgate parties
– Raw emotion

The emotional pull of college football is huge.  The players are not being paid, they are playing for scholarships and desire.  Most of them will never play professionally.  This is probably the pinnacle of their athletic career, their fame, and their shot at glory.  These are not mega-million-dollar celebrity athletes, these are your classmates and friends, your neighbors and co-workers, your sons and brothers – representatives of your town or alma-mater.  It is pretty easy to get fired up rooting for these guys.

The loyalty of a fan is strong and it is for life.  Fans get emotional.  “Fan” is short for “fanatic” and we constantly display why.  We paint our faces.  We go shirtless in cold weather.  We rush the field.  We talk like we’re on the team:  “We had a tough week, but our defense is sweet and no one can beat us!”

We even dress like we’re on the team.  A lot of people are jersey-wearers, but it doesn’t end there.  People literally wear equipment to the games.  I saw a fan at a San Diego State game last weekend wearing not only a jersey, but pants, helmet, shoulder pads, elbow pads, and eyeblack.  It seemed like he thought the team might give him a chance if they ran short on players.  I was almost hoping for an injury just to see if they would actually do it.

The rest of us probably prefer the team T-shirt as our method of showing school pride.  There are simple designs with the school letters, colorful shirts with slogans, or big prints of the mascot.  You’re happy to pay for those shirts, but it’s also nice to get them for free.  Many businesses will sponsor a t-shirt giveaway with the company logo printed somewhere on the shirt.  I’ve produced a ton of those, and you’ve gotten them for free at a game.  You wear it because that’s your team, you don’t mind doing a little advertising for the company that gave it to you.  On a small level it’s a business contract – and one that is agreeable to both parties.

I went to Nevada – the Wolf Pack.  Not one wolf, but the whole pack, a team.  “Wolves, running around the desert together” The Hangover.   “When I say WOLF, you say PACK!  ‘WOLF!’ (PACK!) ‘WOLF!’  (PACK!)….”  And so on.  If you want to know why the Pack is awesome, read about the Pistol Offense or email me and I will go on a ridiculous rant.

There is a college football team near you.  Be a fan, show your loyalty – go to the games, wear the t-shirt, watch on TV, throw a party, streak the quad!!

College Football season is here, and all is right in the world.


Great Idea

3 09 2010

I’m writing this thread from 30,000 feet on a flight to St. Louis.  I was inspired by SkyMall Magazine, which is my favorite part of flying.  They’ve got some crazy and awesome stuff in there.  So many cool, useful, and strange ideas.  And I wonder – why didn’t I think of the Digital Camera Swim Mask?  Couldn’t I have come up with the Bigfoot Tree Statue?  Actually, I’m sure that the Peaceful Progression Wake-Up Clock was my idea, but someone beat me to it.  And Lawn Aerating Sandals???  I could have built those in my garage!

You’ve had an idea.  You’ve thought of some invention.  We’ve all had them.  So why are we not all rich inventor types?  Because a great idea is not enough – not by a long shot.  You need product development, marketing, sales, customer service, artwork, meetings, clients, catalogs, employees, websites, strategies, people, associations, trade shows, flights – do I have to keep going?  The idea is only the beginning.

Browsing through the various SkyMall treasures, it made me think of the the great idea that is the reason I am on this plane – and on so many other planes before it.  Made me think of all the things I have seen and learned over the years – how many people I’ve met and how many places I’ve visited.  And this time I’m flying out to win an award, but none of it would have happened without one man and a great idea.

My boss Alan Davis invented something called the CompressT.  It’s a printed t-shirt shaped to look like something – a star, a guitar, a house, a pint of beer, or about 1,000 other things.  Companies, clubs, and groups, use t-shirts to promote their message at events, giveways, concerts, etc.  And shaping them as we do emphasizes the message.  But aside from the product, how did Alan get this idea off the ground?

As a smart entrepreneur, Alan knew that he couldn’t accomplish his goals on his own.  I’ve been in sales and marketing for a long time and that is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned.

  • Admit that you don’t know everything
  • Find people to help you
  • Let them use their talents to propel your vision

That’s not just how you develop a product, that’s how you build a culture.


Speaking of great ideas – how great is this?

Full Disclosure

27 08 2010

The blind date is a thing of the past – in personal relationships and in business.  You would not date someone without looking at their Facebook page first.  You would not buy online without investigating the company website.  People, products and services are available to anyone at anytime.  Websites and social media portholes give us complete access to all kinds of information about the people we want to date, work with, or buy from.

Consider this:  You need to choose a dentist.  You go online and search for dentists in your area.  You find two sites:

Dentist #1:  This site has a phone number, a catchy slogan about your smile, and offers some kind of special deal.

Dentist #2:  This site has a picture of the staff, a video tour of the facility, and comments from happy clients.  500 people “Like” them on Facebook.  The main dentist has posted a video.  He looks right into the camera and tells you why he loves his job and why healthy teeth are important.  He cracks a dry joke and has a pleasant demeanor.  He seems like a nice guy that you can trust.

Now, which dentist are you going to choose?

This is the age of transparency.  If you are not forthcoming about yourself, you seem to be hiding something, and are not to be trusted – or at least you will not be trusted nearly as much as someone that puts themselves out there for public view.

Trust is the complete confidence that something is as it appears.  In marketing, in sales, the common approach is to present a pretty picture and make something seem better than it actually is – that approach causes distrust.  How can you avoid it?

Portray yourself honestly, expose your true character – love you or hate you, people know who they are dealing with.  Those that align with you do so with full disclosure, full knowledge, and they participate by choice.  Why should people have to spend so much time trying to figure out the truth?  You are what you are.  Be that.  Show that.

I write this blog to be a resource for my network and to expose my true character.  Sometimes I am serious and sometimes I am silly – and good or bad, I put it all out there publicly.  This video is a little behind the scenes from last week’s photo shoot.  Judge me as you will – I only hope that I can encourage you to reveal yourself.

Risky Bizness

30 07 2010

Can we all agree that you must make changes in your life if you want to improve it?  So why do people fight change so much?  Change is hard – it forces you to question yourself, break habits, admit your flaws, expose your inefficiencies and avoid the safety of your routine.  Change requires you to disrupt the status quo and not do what is expected – change requires risk.  Risk-takers open themselves to scrutiny, judgment, and ridicule from peers.

My attempt to brand myself through this blog provides an example of an uncomfortable change in the right direction.  I know that by revealing my thoughts I risk inviting negative opinions.  I know that for every person who enjoys reading what I have to say, there is another that scoffs at me.  However, writing this blog has increased visibility in my industry, expanded my network, and has directly led to business.

Here’s what I have learned:  If you worry too much about what other people think then you will never do anything.  Let me say that again – if you worry too much about what other people think then you will NEVER do ANYTHING.

I was recently chosen as a “Rising Star” in the Promotional Products industry.  It is a real honor and I am very grateful.  And now my picture is on the cover of a magazine, and my mom is proud – and I want to share with my clients and colleagues.  But I have been hesitant to publicize it because I am afraid people would consider me arrogant.  To hell with that!  That rationale will keep me comfortable, but will never propel me in my career, in my life.

So today, on “T-shirt Friday” when I normally show a picture of myself or my friends and family in a t-shirt, I will buck the trend and display my more serious side, my collared shirt side.  Some people will hate me and some will think it’s great.

If I am going to improve myself then I must remember:

  • When I am filled with doubt, I should try to believe.
  • When I want to rebel, I should try to learn.
  • When I resent, I should try to embrace.
  • When I look for comfort, I must take risks.

What’s the phrase about anything worth doing is difficult?  Insert that here.

Enjoy the results!

My friend Ken sent me this video – thanks man.  And good job to Derek Sivers.

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