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 […]
Don’t you love the surveys like this one that pit congress approval ratings against things like lice and (worse) replacement refs? (Congress looses in a landslide in case you were wondering. You may now thank me for not using the phrase “Spoiler alert.”) They’re funny because they use the device of surprise. When you say something unexpected or place an element outside its usual context it makes us uncomfortable or jarred, and we laugh. The other response to an unexpected element is revulsion. Like the way a body works to expel a virus. It’s working against the system. It doesn’t fit. Kick up the heat to try to kill it, ‘cause it’s gotta go. This is what’s happening to marketing […]
A remarkable person has just landed a guest columnist gig with Entrepreneur Magazine. Erika Napolefuckintano. The Readhead. I say Entrepreneur is lucky to have her. For anyone who’s attended one of my presentations – Branding for the Rest of Us or Leading in a Social World – you’ve probably heard me talk about Erika. I often use her as an example of remarkability – a section where I mash-up Jim Collins and Seth Godin to talk about declaring and being that thing that sets you apart.
True story: A guy robs several Pittsburgh banks fully undisguised. His face is recognized clearly on video surveillance, and he is caught. When asked by investigators why he didn’t wear a mask, he said “I wore the juice.” The bank robber was convinced that lemon juice, when applied to the face, makes you invisible to cameras. This is a leading example in a paper called “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties of Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-assessments.” In essence, the paper suggests that this bank robber wasn’t just too stupid to be a bank robber. He was too stupid to know he is too stupid to be a bank robber. The paper actually generated a term […]
I’ll say it: Effective participation in the social web is hard. Damn hard. It requires strategic acumen more akin to leadership (valuing social capital and investing in the necessary competencies to build and leverage it) and execution skills more akin to in-person networking (add value to those you want to reach and do it all the time) than any kind of marketing and communications discipline. It isn’t free. It isn’t fast. And the worst time to build your social web presence is at the beginning of a campaign, a crisis, or any other time when you want to broadcast and promote. It’s exactly the same as this truism: The worst time to build a real-life network is when you want […]
I had an interesting week of facilitating workshops and guest lecturing. Standing in front of people and trying to add value – acting like (as my late uncle used to say) I knew what I was doing. Two key takeaways from the week of acting like I knew what I was doing:
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 […]
What short’ll getcha You’re supposed to keep these blog posts short. Cut ‘em down, keep ‘em succinct. I recognize there are those who’ve refuted it. But as someone who scans online content like a Labrador scarfs a snausage, I appreciate brevity. But I’m sitting on posts that seem incomplete – even disingenuous – because I’m trying to keep them brief and have left some of the context stuff out*. And I’m concerned that the context stuff that gets cut in service of brevity might hurt my brand. I’ve decided to create a post to act almost as a standing disclaimer about this blog. An ever-present justification about the stuff I leave out. The largest areas that I cut in service […]