11 Tips to Write a Book from a First-Time, No-Name Author

  • I was never an aspiring author, but I found myself 10,000 words into a book. Here are 11 things I learned while getting it finished, published, and into readers’ hands.

Software Evangelist and Bus Driver: A Perfect First Job

  • Before mobile internet and Google Maps, I piloted a full-sized-school-bus-turned-mobile-computer-lab to more than 20 cities in a year. Meet the Microsoft Discovery Bus project …

Word is Bond: “Whatever You Do, Make the Brand Stronger”

  • Explore the guidance from the Oracle of Omaha after acquiring the Brooks running shoe brand and see how it plays out in a customer experience story.

Pay Attention to Yourself for More Creative Thought

  • As it becomes harder and harder to pay attention, it becomes more important to find the silence and space to pay attention to yourself.

Organizational Behavior: The Pragmatist and The Purist

  • Whole Foods Co-Founder John Mackey shares the benefits and drawbacks of two types of team members: those who hold the line and those who get things done.

5 Ways our VW Jetta Wagon Beats Our Subaru Forester

  • I’m not a car guy, but I know the experience and expense of driving these two cars. A 2003 Volkswagn vs a 2008 Subaru.

Update: Education Levels of the Richest People in America

  • In January 2012, I wrote about the education levels of the Forbes 400. Now, an update with 2017 data! Spoiler: more of the same.

Blender How To: Better Breakfasts and Lunches

  • Several years into the process of creating meals with my BlendTec: a roundup of lessons and tips learned through experience.

A Non-Competitive Look at Competing on Customer Experience

  • Competitors may knock off the visible, replicatable aspects of your business, but the purpose and motivation behind those aspects is the real differentiator.

Environmental Protection: Because Adulting is Difficult

  • Why do we need environmental regulations? Sad, but true: for the same reasons children need good parents.

Sustainability Progress Comes from Local Leadership

  • If you’re discouraged by the climate denial of our President-elect and his EPA nominee, hear two encouraging stories.

On Right Living: The 3 Most Important Things You Can Be

  • Lessons for a toddler are useful for us all. A consideration of virtue and character.

Our Contaminated Drinking Water: 3 Questions

  • Dozens of wells south of Colorado Springs are poisoned with carcinogenic and persistent chemicals. The follow up questions asked.

On Mosses, Modesty, and Sustainability

  • A quick dive into bryology to learn how mosses model good human behavior.

Considering Job Automation and Minimum Wage Hikes

  • Recent headlines position minimum wage hikes as cause for job automation. Don’t be fooled. Automation’s inevitable.

Show Notes: TED Talk on Face to Face Communication

  • A “show notes” style roundup of the info and images behind my TEDxUCCS presentation.

Artfully Articulated: Myopic and Unsustainable Human Living

  • What “Lampshades on Fire” by Modest Mouse tells us about the sad folly of western lifestyles.

24 Quotes on Brand Conservancy

  • Two dozen takeaways from “You Can’t Ride Two Horses with One Ass,” a book by branding expert Kurt Bartolich.

Two Tales: The Long Game and the Overnight Success

  • What Paulo Coelho and Salman Rushdie have to say about the myth of the overnight success.

Our HP Printer Stopped Printing Black Ink

  • An outrageous story of consumer disappointment (and fraud!?).

6 Themes: The Best Company to Work For

  • Recent research reveals 6 things people look for in an employer.

Hubris? College Football Playoff as a New Year’s Eve Tradition

  • A quick look at manufacturing a new sports tradition.

A Reason Beyond Revenue: Considering Company Purpose

  • For real engagement, we need a reason beyond revenue, a meaning beyond margin, and a purpose beyond profit.

Celebrating Constraint: “Creative within Our Fences”

  • A short celebration and warm embrace of creatively working through limits and boundaries.

Content Marketing Example: The Patagonia Catalog

  • The why and what behind Patagonia’s new 68-page catalog delivered to our home by mail.

Nature Dependent: Primary Goods & The Primary Economy

  • For all economic activity, we depend completely on natural capital. This idea in the words of 3 writers and thinkers.

GoalZero Recycling: Social Enterprise Inside a Nonprofit

  • How nonprofit Care and Share Foodbank for Southern Colorado plans to support itself, reduce waste, and help people through social enterprise.

1-3-9-12: My Authority Rainmaker Conference Review

  • Dan Pink opened an online marketing conference with a “1-3-5” keynote. A review of the conference based on this structure – 1 recommendation, 3 reasons, 9 themes, and 12 quotes.

Artfully Articulated: The Imbalance Between People & Nature

  • How Modest Mouse captures and conveys several important ideas in a lead track from their album “Strangers to Ourselves.”

What I Learned Making & Delivering an Ignite Talk

  • I was honored and challenged to deliver a talk at EPIIC’s Ignite Colorado Springs. Exactly 20 slides in exactly 5 minutes. What I learned in the process.

Sustainability: 10 Great Books on People, Nature, & Business

  • How I grew interested in sustainability and a list of 10 books I enjoyed along the way … with links to read reviews.

Craft Beer vs Macro Beer: On Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad

  • During the Patriots’ win over the Seahawks in the 2014 Super Bowl, Budweiser took a strong position. Take a look – and see some reactions.

3 Memorable Moments in Zillow Talk from Spencer Rascoff & Stan Humphries

  • The CEO and Chief Economist from Zillow wrote a consumer-facing book about real estate. Here are 3 of my favorite takeaways.

Culture Wins: Godin Meets Drucker

  • My encounter with a Peter Drucker quote was immediately followed by a Seth Godin take on the same topic.

So You’re Thinking about Quitting Your Job …

  • Coach DJ Waldow wants to help you find your passion and make a career transition.

Vote Yes for Parks in Colorado Springs

  • 1A: An easy way to improve property values and quality of life in El Paso County, Colorado.

Marketing Outrage: One Story, Four Headlines

  • News isn’t just news anymore; news is emotion.

Shinrin-yoku: Take a Forest Bath

  • Human well-being is intimately tied to nature. Here’s an example.

Facebook Ad Targeting by Hashtag: Context Matters

  • A fun, short story about #sweatpants … and advertising.

Start to Finish: A Colorado Landscape Painting by Artist Tracy Felix

  • See the progression from sketch to finished painting of a scene inspired by Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.

Leadership Quotes from Legendary Basketball Coach Legend John Wooden

  • Practical, straightforward, and plainspoken, John Wooden provides a wealth of wisdom on being a decent person and a great leader.

Neuroeconomist Paul Zak on Morality in Market Economies

  • Though market economies are often characterized by greed, domination, and other undesirable traits, they also possess a baked-in morality.

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak on Singularity, Moore’s Law, Education, Google, and More

  • Video and quotes from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s visit to Colorado Springs to talk business and technology.

Corporate Social Responsibility Is Neither Charity Nor Philanthropy

  • In mocking corporate social responsibility, Reason Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie misses its most significant aspects and outcomes.

If It’s Noticed, It’s Marketing: Seth Godin on On Being

  • Top takeaways from Seth Godin’s conversation with Krista Tippett on On Being, a podcast about religion, meaning, ethics, and ideas.

Let’s Get Real about the Amazon Prime Air Video

  • A clever marketing play by Amazon suggests 30 minute delivery by drone copter.  How?  Why!?

3 Ways to Deal with Unwanted Email

  • We all get email we didn’t expect and don’t want.  Here are 3 options for stopping it (or slowing it down).

Super Bowl Blackout Ad By Oreo: Why It’s (Not) New

  • While the nation was “dazzled” by a Tweet from Oreo, I was reminded of an earlier form of real-time advertising.

7 Marketing Tips from Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

  • Beyond the entertainment value, Season 1 (2007) of Channel 4’s Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares delivers several useful reminders.

Opinion On A Hashtag: The Folly Of #NoFilter

  • An opinion on a widely used Twitter hashtag on Instagram photos. Because tools are means to ends, images should speak for themselves.

Netflix Brings Us Back In With Emails Based on Personal Data

  • What happens when you don’t log in to your Netflix streaming account for a couple months? Smart email marketing based on personal customer data.

Decision Making: Don’t Settle for False Choices

  • Many choices or problems are oversimplified to “this or that” decisions. How not to fall into the trap and why “the answer is always gray.”

9 Thought on Local Television, Social Media, and the Waldo Canyon Fire

  • Two weeks after the start of the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, a collection of thoughts and observations about local TV news and social media coverage.

Content Lobbying: Facebook’s Fresh Take on Content Marketing

  • As Facebook prepares for  their IPO, a look at their smart and clever variation on content marketing in our nation’s capitol.

America, Not Quite Home of the Free: Great in Spite of Jail

  • A funny scene by a great performer in a well-produced American sitcom clashes with reality.

Invest in People – Because You Can’t Downsize Your Way to Success

  • A quick rundown on new research demonstrating the benefits of investing in human resources, especially in the retail sector.

Education Levels of the Forbes 400 Richest Americans

  • It’s romantic to think of the richest Americans as college dropouts chasing dreams, but the numbers belie the notion.

Facebook and Twitter Counts for the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and MLS

  • Two leagues are truly social, but three others are broadcasters.
  • An absolutely gorgeous production from Dow Chemical – and a stakeholder-produced remix of it.

“Live It Up” Follow Up: Colorado Springs as “The Natural Fit”

  •  With the Live It Up video taken down, a look at a Colorado Springs marketing video from earlier this year.

Breaking Down “Live It Up” – New Colorado Springs Branding Campaign

  • Community leaders organized, consultants hired, brand essence declared, creative released, public reacts – breaking down “Live It Up.”

Thoughts on Marketing from Inside Local Television Stations

  • As I wrap up a 14-year run in local television marketing and promotion, I share some thoughts and observations about the industry.

If You Can’t Keep People in the Seats, What Good is the Game?

  • A local media company seems to put their own interests ahead of those of potential website users.  The predicted result: DOA.

How Bad Positioning Obscures Good Data

  • Potentially valuable data from a “social media scientist” I respect gets obscured by link bait positioning.

What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Blogging

  • I didn’t post anything here for a month.  That doesn’t mean I’m lazy.

Naming Your Business: Mix + Match for a Perfectly Generic Name

  • The name of your next cemetery, golf course, apartment complex, condo development, housing subdivision, senior living center or any of a variety of other business ventures awaits with this simple mix and match word pairing game.

Phone Books: Legal Spam

  • We’ve got do-not-call and CAN-SPAM, but we still have hundreds of thousands of unsolicited phone books printed and dumped door-to-door.

Permanence: Online Testimony to Your Personal Brand and Legacy

  • Though my mind is often set to perishable, two instances this morning made clear the presence and importance of permanence.

Campaign Results from Free Facebook Ads

  • I took Facebook up on their $50 free offer to try their simple ad system and grew my community page +60% in two weeks.

Who Trumps How Many: This Week in Startups with Jason Calacanis

  • This Week in Startups with Jason Calacanis is a great example of when and why who’s in the audience is more important than how many are in the audience.

Disruptive Innovation: Clark Gilbert and Deseret Media

  • An innovation scholar from the Harvard Business School gets his hands dirty in local media … to great success.

Inbound Marketing: Put an Unemployed Journalist to Work

  • A content marketing strategy attracts inbound leads and prospects to convert to paying customers and loyal fans.  How an unemployed journalist can help produce the words, photos and video you’ll need to get going.

Personal Branding: Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger – Bad Boy or Dirt Bag?

  • As Big Ben heads to his third Super Bowl, I briefly consider his personal brand.

Groupon Investing in Traditional Media: Smart Play?

  • Groupon as Super Bowl sponsor?  Does the “fastest growing company ever” need traditional media to grow beyond its social roots?

Upside Down: Traditional Advertising Relationships

  • Two examples of traditional advertisers creating, publishing and selling advertising around their own content – and a little about what it means.

Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk: What It Looks Like Off the Page

  • How a friend of mine is unwittingly living out the principles of Gary Vaynerchuk’s bestseller “Crush It! Why Now Is The Time to Cash In on Your Passion”

BCS Football on ESPN: Another Blow to Broadcast TV

  • Why my inability to watch the best college football games for the next four years is great for ESPN, good for the BCS and bad for broadcast television networks.

Social Whoring – What to Make of It?

  • Observing questionable tactics to amass Twitter followings and Facebook fan bases, I’m exploring the concept of “social whoring.”  It’s confounding.  I want to know what you think.

Gary Vaynerchuk on Being a Good Human

  • Reading “Crush It!” set me to watching Vaynerchuk presentations and interviews.  This is an especially good one from RailsConf 2010 for which I’ve provided you 39 unique content in-points to invite your viewing topically.

Customers Just Want to Know What’s Going On

  • Customers don’t expect everything to be perfect, but they do want to know what’s going on.  Terrible communication during a service visit with my local Volkswagen dealer prompts this post.

Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk: Hard Work Trumps All

  • Personal branding, personal passion and social media smash head-on into good, old-fashioned hard work in this enthusiastic, inspiring and quick read.

Chair Socks: When You Absolutely Must Buy More Stuff

  • Socks for your chairs isn’t conspicuous consumption; it’s ridiculous consumption.  There are people who live within a 5 mile radius of your home who need socks more than your chairs do.

Personal Branding: What You Say Can Be Used Against You

  • The Garnett, Villanueva, “cancer patient” dust up reminds that you must always be prepared to own up to your words (if you care about respect and integrity)

The Mesh: Marketing, Environment, Culture

  • How a new book by Lisa Gansky called The Mesh: Why The Future Of Business Is Sharing connects the three themes of this blog.

Reading “We Are The Web” – Better Late than (N)ever

  • Sure, it was written more than 5 years ago, but We Are The Web, an essay by Kevin Kelly, is still a great read.

U.S. Postal Service: Are You Emotionally Attached?

  • A piece of annual research ranks brands by consumers’ emotional attachment.  How did the United States Postal Service beat Nike, Coca-Cola or Target?  How did they make the list at all?

Good News: You Get to Decide What’s “News!”

  • I’ll spare us all the rote litany of “if it bleeds it leads”-based criticisms that have been lobbed at mainstream media for decades.  I’ll take a short cut straight to: you get to decide what’s news

Rework by 37signals: Setting Conventional Wisdom Ablaze

  • Rework by 37signals sets ablaze conventional wisdom about how business “needs to” or “should” be done.  Instead, common sense is set on its appropriate pedestal.  Meetings waste time.  Interruptions slay productivity.  Resumes are ridiculous.  More features do not a better product make.  Press releases are spam.  And on …

Why Let Highly Qualified Leads Jump Out of Your Sales Funnel?

  • How do you expect to close highly qualified leads – to convert them into paying customers – if you can’t even follow-up with them?

ForbesLife: Bridal Magazine for the Super-Rich

  • With more than 50% of the printed piece dedicated to advertising, ForbesLife is a bridal or high fashion magazine for the super-rich.  Here’s why.

Toyota: Finding Its Compass

  • Two months ago here on this blog, I wondered aloud if Toyota was lost in the wilderness with its messaging.  Today, I read in Ad Age that they may have found their compass.

In Praise of a Relic

  • What you want, when you want it, as often as you want it – without cable or satellite … it’s easier than ever.  Just don’t tell me it’s about saving money.

PBR in China: The Power of Positioning

  • Like water into wine, Pabst Blue Ribbon went seriously upscale for its product launch in China, demonstrating the power of product positioning.

BP’s Photoshopped Command Center: Why It Matters

  • So, BP gets called out for Photoshopping an image of their Command Center for use on their website.  I’ve seen two primary, polar reactions: 1″It’s no surprise coming from those no-good, lying, reckless, corner-cutting, profit-hoarding goons!” and 2) “What’s the big deal?  They’ve obviously got bigger fish to fry!” (or fish to slick, as it were).  I’ll take a minute to stand more toward the middle, but clearly on one side.

Toyota: Lost in the Wilderness?

  • Toyota must have research that suggests their problems with perceived safety and reliability are over – or that they were never too deep.  If not, I’m considering them lost in the wilderness.

Six Upsides to NBA Free Agency

  • On the eve of one of what could be the most significant free agency periods in the history of the National Basketball Association, I’d like to share a few observable upsides.

Pikes Peak: Second Time’s Most Charming

  • With perfect weather and good, unexpected company, my second round trip hike of Pikes Peak by Barr Trail was the best summit experience yet.

Pikes Peak: Gleeful Ignorance vs Mental Challenge

  • Tomorrow, I’ll day-hike Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak  for the second time.  This hike, however, already feels different.

Too Little, Too Late for Kindle?

  • Amazon hit up Ithyle for these fun and insanely stylish ads for their Kindle reader.  Too bad they didn’t do it a year or two back.  Is it too little, too late?

From Anonymous Appreciation to Personal Invitation

  • Take my appreciation for a painting by a local artist at a wonderful museum.  Add a little initiative.  Enjoy the results.

Local History, Local Artist and Landscape Art

  • Three things I truly enjoy intersect just 2 miles from our home: local history, a local artist and landscape art.

People Don’t Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It

  • Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” philosophy, of course packaged and sold as a book, isn’t revolutionary.  But it’s always timely and he gives it a fresh spin.

Shallow Analysis: PETA’s Circus Protest

  • We experienced today in Colorado Springs the same thing many have experienced in cities across the country – a protest of the cruel “entertainment” that is Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which happens to be coming to town.  Here’s a shallow analysis.

Positive Outcome from Dubious Marketing Ploy

  • In hindsight, I’m glad my Facebook news feed was “hijacked” by a fallacious video tag.  We owe it to ourselves to consider every now and again how our fellow human beings are thinking and dreaming differently.

Giving Them Away for Free

  • Over the few years I’ve been building my Flickr photo stream, I’ve received eight or ten requests from proper publishers seeking permission to use one or more of these photos.  Several of them are web-based guides.  One was a publisher of lake, river and stream maps.  One was a publisher of books and videos about weird and interesting things across this great nation.

What I Want in a Purchase

  • The MSR Lightning Ascent:  Said what it was.  Did what it said.  Solved my problem.  Exceeded my expectations.  That’s what I got in the purchase.

iPad to Save Magazine Publishing?

  • A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired magazine and author of “The Long Tail” and “Free,” present an idea he’s been selling around: the tablet computer can save magazine publishing.  A slimmed-down version of his argument.

Facebook Project: Neighborhood Community Page

  • For fun and for the love I have for my neighborhood, I started a Facebook “Community Page.”  It’s called Ivywild Neighborhood – Colorado Springs.  Please check it out and consider clicking “Like.”

Experience is Not Expertise

  • A recommendation of Albert Marrugi’s “Marketing Edge” podcast and Dr Paul Schempp’s “5 Steps to Expert,” including one key takeaway.

A New Low at High Speed

  • A South Korean couple let their 3-month-old girl die of starvation, neglecting her in favor of raising a virtual child in a nearby internet cafe.  Isolated incident or microcosmic glance into the fallout of racing into all things high-speed, digital and virtual?  I think it’s more the former, but with overtones of the latter.  Regardless, this is a new low at high speed.

He Loves to Fly … and It Shows!

  • Michael Jeffries, long-time Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, took a $4M payment in exchange for limiting his personal use of the corporate jet.  New limit: just $200,000 in personal use per year.  That’s limiting?  OK, what did “unlimited” look like?

What CNN Can Learn from The Daily Show

  • Though partisan, The Daily Show does a fantastic job of calling out politicians and pundits for changing positions and for all-purpose disingenuousness.  I kindly recommend that CNN devote resources to drawing attention to politicians’ and pundits’ double speak, hypocrisies, flip flops and other sleights.

The Reconstruction Begins

  • Nike needs to turn back on as soon as possible the Tiger Woods cash machine they’ve built over the past decade or so.  The challenge: where and how does the reconstruction of the TW personal and brand images begin!?

Reminded Of It In People

  • The right recording at the right place at the right time can provide transcendence from the moment, from the ills, from the weights.

Yelp Needs Help!

  • Even if they successfully defend against the three class-action lawsuits, the appearance of impropriety threatens fundamentally everything upon which the Yelp brand is built.

Our Nation’s Common Medium: Why Just One?

  • Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt makes a “confession or admission” at Columbia University about favoring in policy broadband over broadcast as long ago as 1994.  The position’s premise, however, is false.

Classic, Aspirational and All-American

  • The partnership between Ralph Lauren and the US Olympic teams really seems to work.  Both brands are classic, aspirational and All-American.

Way Beyond – A Customer Service Success Story

  • So, you want customer loyalty.  You’d like to enjoy the benefits of positive word-of-mouth, the single most powerful form of advertising.  Here’s an idea: strategically organize yourself around customer needs and interests.  How Bed Bath & Beyond delivers.

Ceremony: A (De/Re) Construction

  • The relationship between and observations from four recordings of a fantastic song written by Joy Division, including a cover by Radiohead.

Like Son, Don’t Like Father: Berman

  • “My father is a despicable man.  My father is a sort of human molestor.  An exploiter.  A scoundrel.”  … the words of a son toward his father – and the story behind them.

A Radical Blackfoot on the Economics of Globalization

  • Jim Craven (Omahkohkiaayo i’poyi) of the Blackfoot Nation delivers a broad, deep, and entertaining lecture on the economics of globalization.

Playing with Our New Flip Ultra HD

  • Who knew!?  You can have a high-definition video camera with 2 hours of storage that runs off rechargeable AA batteries delivered to your home in two days –  complete with an additional carrying sleeve – for well under $200.  Really.

Like Father, Like Son: Hughes

  • With the passing of filmmaker John Hughes, a recognition and celebration of the creative output of two men, father and son, pursuing personal passions to the benefit of us all.

Be a Winner at the Game of Life

  • The Game of Life – a board game originally created by Milton Bradley in 1860.  Our 6-year-old loves the game, serves as banker, and frequently wins.  The question: is he learning the right Life lessons!?

Test My Emissions, Please!

  • When I arrived in Colorado Springs in September 2006, I had to have my vehicle’s emissions tested prior to earning a Colorado license plate.  I was among the last people to have his or her car’s emissions tested.  Why the dismantling of the system seems foolish.

Happy 5th Birthday, Here’s Your URL!

  • When a friend posted a link to my Facebook page featuring a 4-year-old with my name from my hometown, I knew I had to buy ethanbeute.com immediately.

Buster Keaton in “Rhythm And Soul”

  • Video mashup: Buster Keaton stunts edited to Spoon’s “Rhythm And Soul.”

Use Your Authority to Protect Your Brand

  • If you’re maintaining a network of authorized dealers, use your authority and protect your brand!

The Return of Late Fees

  • In 2005, Blockbuster famously declared “the end of late fees!”  Exciting news: with slight surreptitiousness, they’re back!