Posts Tagged Personal

On a personal note…

Chris and Kristie and the Cabo ArchIt’s been a while since I blogged once again. Since pointing out how little I could trust American Airlines communications last month in talking about its broken promises I have been busy in mind if not on socnets (and they never did reply again to my follow-on communications, nor did the guy who worked on their Twitter account @aairwaves stay on top of it, or get back to me). But I digress and I give those airline people too many pixels as it is…

Since I haven’t been out and about a lot, I am getting the same questions over and over, so I thought I should at least take a few moments and lay out a quick personal update about life, health, work and the near future. The vacation with Kristie to Cabo (and the brief visit to Miami for my grandad’s 94th birthday and a few business meetings) was a great trip, but did not afford the time for reflection and plan development I hoped to find. No, instead I returned needing a vacation from my vacation. 12 days on the road is really way too easy for me now, but my body still feels the consequences. Regardless, I am here back in San Francisco for 2 weeks before heading to Montreal for Webcom where I will finally deliver my keynote on Serve the Market and run a session on community management with my wife and Social Media Club co-founder Kristie Wells.

My Health

So it looks like the health scare I had in Sweden was a result of a lot of bad things, but thankfully not an indicator of a bigger problem with my heart. While there is not specific diagnosis once again (UgggghhhhhH!) the trouble that seemed to be a minor heart attack was probably closer to a panic attack, caused by sleep deprivation, exhaustion, stress, not taking my blood pressure medication and perhaps an inflamation of my chest/rib cage known as costochondritis. Of course, I can always blame SxSW and the craziness that we had with the Social Media Clubhouse and particularly late night on that party bus 🙂

At this point, I haven’t had any chest pains in weeks, though it did last after my return for a bit. My blood pressure is now down to a more manageable 145/85 or thereabouts and getting better every day with the meds and workouts leading the way.  While traveling last month I lost almost 20 pounds which I managed to gain back after only a few weeks back in the states. Now I have to get all the way back down again, but I am working on it.  Chief strategy being curtailing drinking beyond wine with meals and one or two social drinks. That should go a long way to better health just in itself.


I have a brilliant business idea I hit upon while in Sweden that I really want to pursue. Everyone, including angel investors I have pitched thinks its a brilliant idea, and I have a college buddy waiting for the plan who would likely fund it fully and many other friends in the venture business I could get behind it, but its still risky and I need to start making real money soon after postponing income for too long this past year and not picking up as many clients as I would have liked. I also still have a lot of commitments which aren’t making me any money at all right now, which I need to 1) finish with and 2) stop taking on.

Social Media Club is at a crucial point right now and the pieces are falling into place for a major change to how it operates that for too long has been waiting in the wings. In order to fully accomplish our mission, we need to generate more income for the organization, become more structured with our network of chapters and empower more people to address the core activities on a full time basis.  Hiring Justin Herman has been an incredible good fortune for us and the community as a whole, but we need more paid staff and that means its time to shore up our ‘business model’ and get to work. Which is what we are doing with the new site, but even that is a risk as I am sure the new model, despite its necessity and obviousness won’t be well received by all. Which means we have a real challenge in front of us that we will begin to address more formally on our local chapter leaders call next MON and thereafter with the launch of a real membership drive. (it was supposed to all happen at SxSW but our development team really screwed us over so we have to get a new team up and running right now and fix all the crap they left half finished and broken).

The bottom line though is we can’t keep doing this on a volunteer basis any longer. We need a real professional organization that is looking out for the community, not these psuedo efforts by people with for-personal-profit and self-aggrandizing motives. As I said during the Business Wire panel last month in San Francisco, the problem with Social Media douchebags is not going away, and someone needs to address it properly. I intend Social Media Club to serve this important role of community standards bearer. A compass holder if you will. Its more complicated of course, and its deserving of a longer post which I am indeed writing this month…

Then yesterday, GigaOm wrote about this executive search for a ‘Head of Social’ at Google and all the current thinking/planning was thrown into a kerfuffle. I mean, where else could I get a chance to make a real impact using all the intellectual tools and talents at my disposal. With a background not only in virtual community, but general web strategy, software development, organizational change, user experience, marketing, evangelism and community leadership, it would seem a perfect fit. More so when you consider that my vision in 2002 for The Noble Pursuit included an element I called ‘The Global Anthropologist Project” as an effort to harness what is now called the wisdom of crowds and has been manifested not only by Wikipedia but also by many of the social search functions Google has already adopted but which widely has not been realized as I had envisioned it yet. It would really be fabulous to take on the challenge, working with Bradley Horowitz, Chris Messina, Joseph Smarr and the rest of the Google team do social right. Completely right for the full golden triangle of user-service-advertiser (or the real USA as its also known 😉 The opportunity is huge and very enticing – it could also potentially mean a huge lift for Social Media Club… but most importantly, it would be a chance for many of the ideas of Insytes to see the light of day. I almost wish I wrote about them more often.

Life, the near future.

At the moment, I have my hands full fixing all the problems with the Social Media Club site and getting it relaunched, getting the Social Media Club business model ramped up properly, organizing about 10-20 events between now and the end of the year, wrapping up a client engagement, looking after my health/losing weight, investing in my relationship with Kristie and finding a way to do a lot of writing.  This post is a step in the right direction for all of it actually. So the near future looks pretty good.

I just need to keep finding my way to the keyboard, the gym and the conversations that matter most, which means being more proactive then reactive and focusing on the important stuff more and the urgent stuff less.  Life is really pretty good right now, just putting one foot in front of the other and not getting overwhelmed by all the big ideas about how things should be in the world in the face of how things actually are… it feels good to make the world the place of our dreams, especially if I get to play the role of George Bernard Shaw’s unreasonable man.

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My Weekly Look Forward

Well, maybe its me looking back, but only because I want to learn from what I just left behind to inform where I am going…

I am for the first time in a long time sitting in a moment that is pretty near the present.  For most of my life, like many of you I am sure, I invested a lot of energy into worrying about the future over which I have little control, or regretting my mistakes made along the way.  I have learned from the books I have read on Buddhist and Zen principles a scant little, but this one thing was driven home in all the works:

be here now

So simple, yet so hard – especially for an ADD rattled mind that would be equally happy facilitating a large conversation between a few hundred people or having tea with one of our wise elders learning their life lessons.

I guess it really is just about getting older, gaining more perspective from experience.  As I turn 40 this summer, the number just weights heavy on me, eventhough it is still looming in the distance some 4+ months from now.  So I clearly see the only thing I can do is type the next word and the next.  While I could of course now delete those words, or edit them, I can’t have the first seconds back in which they were typed.  I can only be here now, as I was there then and as I will be when I am there.

OK.  Philosophical rants aside, I have a new accupuncturist at Kaiser Permanente and the guy is fantastic – not only has he helped relieve the rotator cuff pain, but he must have hit my ‘bliss’ spot on my forehead because each time I leave, I feel more grounded then ever before, more here, more here now.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still blurting and hitting the hot button still causes a reaction more times then not, but it is bettter.  Better still, I feel healthier.

But there is another element of that too, which is Grace Di’Laura, a great administrative manager, but more importantly a great person who has the crucial ability to think, to question tasks so that she can perform them more effectively and efficiently.  It’s so crucial and so few people have this talent – great questions mark the beginning of great conversations, and great conversations lead to innovation.  Ultimately, the implementation of those innovations will lead to transformation… of organizations, of people, of communities and even of entire societies.

To get back to the story, the reason for being so extraordinarily pleased with Grace is that she has helped me get near to the ever elusive inbox zero.  So if you dont hear from me on some email you sent in the next week or so, please do followup again – clearing through 10,000 or so emails from the last year or so took several weeks to do and I am sure it was not done without missing something important (in fact, we just deleted everything prior to January 1 actually ;).  But the feeling of being able to let go of all those old emails I knew I wanted to respond to, but couldn’t, due to the 24 hr daily time limit… Grace freed me from those and so much more already in the first couple of months.  We are really going to miss her when she goes to law school this summer.

Of course, this is also why I am able to be here now better then ever before.  Unfortunately, it has meant that I spent the majority of the last week clearing up old open issues, preparing to file taxes (ok, Kristie’s doing more of that then me, but it still takes energy), dealing with settling old debts, completing a project for a client, doing the weekly Social Media Club work, getting the social media workshop series redesigned and now finally thinking that each Friday should be my day to create content and nothing else. OK, maybe a lunch meeting, like I just did with Timo Heuer, family from the old country 🙂

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great time we had at WoolfCamp, where I got to debut my Tweet Story which we will be publishing next week.  WoolfCamp was a bit different this year, but still held its charm – coming together with a group of kindred spirits to honor Virginia Woolf and the writer inside us all.  Given the difficult times we have all seen it was just as much about being together, celebraring our humanity and our community, as it was about talking about topics of mutual interest.  Kristie and I were so glad we made it down there, though bummed we missed StartupWeekend SF.

If you care, which you probably dont, I allso made some progress on a few different businesses we are starting up to build some residual income sources, more to come on that shortly.

Now, next week will be all about catching up on the Social Media Buyers Guide Project and getting into final production mode for the workshops we are doing in Birmingham, Hamburg, Paris and London.  Still trying to see if we can do something small in London – maybe our friends at the Paul Young Foundation can let us borrow their main room for the afternoon?

As long as I am writing about it, I should mention that we are now embarking on producing a lot of events, so I am starting to look for sponsors from communications agencies and social media technology vendors.  If you want to get in front of the people who are implementing social media solutions in their organizations and I don’t call you next week, please do reach out to me.

Next week’s Social Media Club Question of the Week (#SMCQ5) is going to be a good one I think.  Something along the lines of our responsibility to check our facts, ensure we are clear when something is opinion and when we are stating facts and the general harm that can be caused by intentionally ignoring such important ethical tenets, as we saw yet another detractor of social media club do this past week. C’est la vie.  Some people will just never get it and we can’t do much to help them except continue to explain what it is we really stand for and continue to live the values that we find to be important.

Also next week is the beginning of regular 24 Hour Fitness visits – finally feeling healthy enough to get that back into the routine.

So that’s my first Weekly Look Forward, thanks for stopping by.  Hope your week ahead is a good one.

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