Look Up, Be Bold, Go Together – 3 Thoughts for 2013

Bravery, Changing Times, Failure, Goals, Leadership Thoughts, Loneliness, Motivation 9 Comments »

It’s the new year and I have three thoughts on my mind.  Thought I would share them with my fellow 8pm Warriors.

1) Focus on the positive stuff.

Yes, the economy has been bad.  Some places around the world, it’s still bad.

However, there are still opportunities everywhere if we take the time to look for them.  Focus on the bad things will only blind us from seeing the amazing people, places, and opportunities that surround us.

For every dark muddy mess on the ground, there is a beautiful sunrise if we just look up.

Keep your chin up.

2) Don’t be afraid to do great things. Don’t settle.

Just because nobody is doing it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either.  Don’t be afraid to be the first.

Stop writing, thinking, talking, and working like everyone else.  There’s a better way if we’re not afraid to be the first.

Yes, you may be wrong. But following behind others your whole life will always be wrong.

Nobody changed the world by copying others.

3) Don’t do it alone.

Amazing work is too hard to do alone.

You will fall…and when you do, you’ll need someone to help pick you up.

If you’re isolated and nobody “gets it”, don’t hesitate to use the power of social media and the internet.  You’re not alone, even if you want to be.

Let me know if you need help, feedback, ideas, encouragement.

8pm Warriors need to stick together.

 

A couple weeks ago, I got this shot of an old man walking on the ocean in Vancouver. He was alone.

In 2013, my goal is to do big, crazy, bold things. I’m going to walk across the ocean if I have to…but I’m not going to do it alone.

Thanks for a great 2012 and I look forward to getting to know you better in 2013.

Have a great year,

Aaron @Biebert

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Thoughts Are Not Actions!

Attention Era, Bravery, Changing Times, Failure, Goals, Motivation 18 Comments »

“I should have dinner with her.”

“I really ought to spend time on that.”

“I must stop doing this.”

It seems like our society has never had more thoughts and less action.  Instead of action, let’s tweet our thoughts or Facebook poke our loved ones.  Right?

Here’s one fellow 8pm Warrior’s brilliant thoughts:

“The reason I think life gets harder as we get older is that we get used to thinking that a thought is an action.  We lose spontaneity.

When we were little we had a thought and ran out and did it. But we learned to sit still and be careful.  

But when you learn to be careful about some things, you become careful about most things, even important things.”

- Betsy Cross on the “It Doesn’t Get Easier” post

 

Don’t wait until someone dies for a visitation.

Don’t wait for the perfect time to do what you love.

Don’t wait.

Do something crazy tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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It Doesn’t Get Easier

Bravery, Business Opportunities, Changing Times, Family, Motivation 13 Comments »

My 87 year-old grandfather wept openly today after my grandmother (his wife of 60 years) was admitted into hospice care.  This is her last week on earth.

“I guess we won’t be playing cards tonight,” he sadly remarked before heading home alone. I shed tears also.  What a sad situation.

It doesn’t seem like life gets easier with age.

As I get older, I seem to lose more people and see more clearly what I’m actually losing. Time goes faster.  My body regenerates slower.

This isn’t getting easier.

Many young people think life will get easier when they get older, make more money, have more experience, know more people, etc.

Not true.

Life only gets harder.

So what’s anyone waiting for? Experience is overrated.  We need more people doing what they love, helping those they love.  Now.

There’s no time like tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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The Problem with Yellow Pages

Changing Times, Failure, Marketing, Social Media 14 Comments »

If you’re paying money for Yellow Pages ads, but not investing in new media…you have a problem.

The same goes for newspapers, direct mail, and so many other forms of media that half of the country doesn’t even know exists.

Watch how these two young men treat the Yellow Pages. It’s an alien.

Makes me feel old.

I remember having classes in school on how to use the Yellow Pages. Now it’s a joke.

The average person pulls out their phone and searches for a business using the internet. Younger generations have never used the Yellow Pages, rarely read the newspaper, and hardly open their mail.

The world has changed. Those who haven’t, now have a major problem.

Spread the word. The Yellow Pages are dead. What’s next?

Learn something new each night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Warning: Social Media is Killing Real Communication (and Relationships)

Changing Times, Failure, Family, Leadership Thoughts, Loneliness, Social Media 24 Comments »

I remember the good old days when people called friends on their birthdays or hung out.

Now they post a message on their wall, shoot them an email, or leave a voicemail if they have time.  I’ve watched people text each other from across the room and once found out about my nephew’s baptism via Facebook pictures.  It was 20 minutes away. No society should have families randomly discovering important family events.

If this keeps up, our society is in real trouble.

Social media is cheap communication.


The problem with communicating primarily through social media channels is that it’s primarily deferred communication (more here).

No one actually knows if it’s being seen, and increasingly, it’s not. People are overwhelmed with the number of emails, updates, tweets, pins, messages, videos and other stuff flying their way.

Yet, so many times I hear from friends (especially the younger generations) asking me if I saw their latest update on Facebook.

Nope.  I didn’t.

Study after study I see shows that young people overwhelmingly prefer deferred communication to live conversation. It’s easier.

I believe there are three types of communication:

  1. Concurrent Communication  (Instant feedback)
  2. Deferred Communication (Focused, but delayed and distant)
  3. Broadcast Communication  (Maybe you’ll see or hear it)

How can you truly know someone or build a lasting bond without seeing their smile, hearing their tone changes, or getting instant feedback during your discussion?

The problem is that concurrent communication is so much harder than deferred or broadcast communication.  It requires scheduling. Social media channels make it easy to feel like your communicating with others.

We’re not.

We’re faking it and it’s tearing apart traditional relationships.  Especially among young people. As we get overwhelmed by deferred communication, stuff is missed.  Divisions are formed.

When “friends” aren’t seeing our updates, people feel lonely.  I’m seeing more suicides from very “social” people and the average number of close friends per person has fallen from four to two.

Something must change.

 

We need to develop real connections with our social media contacts.  We need to invest in human relationships.  It’s time we meet our fellow Warriors.

With that call to action in mind, I’m going to do something about my concerns.  I may disconnect from immediate family members on Facebook so we actually have to talk. Communication between families and friends should be deeper. The same goes for clients and partners.

Also, in the coming months I’m going to host several free live events so we can all meetup.

I just got back from the East Coast, but hopefully you can meet me at one of these remaining events.  It’s worth the investment of time.

For the good of our society and as an example to young people, let’s bring our online relationships offline and our family members and friends back where need to be:  in front of us, talking, laughing, crying, or smiling.

Social media is only a start.

Let’s find a way to build or rebuild personal relationships tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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3 Reasons the “ROI of Social Media” Debate Continues

Attention Era, Changing Times, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, Social Media 23 Comments »

After years of case studies showing social media’s power to connect people (customers, partners, and employees), you would think the debate would be settled.

It’s not.

In fact, it’s just beginning in some companies…now in a new way.

While nearly everyone is probably willing to admit there is some value to social media and that “it works”, a new question is arising.

Exactly how much is it worth?

This video parodies what’s going on in some companies as the new year begins.

How do situations like this happen?

Sometimes decision makers are not educated enough on what they were buying, had their expectations set too high, or don’t have patience to see it through.  It might even be a combination of all three.

Here are three big reasons why leaders are beginning a new round of debates about the value of social media in the marketing mix:

1) Poor Education


Leaders are not being educated on what they are buying, how long it will take, or what it actually does.

Sometimes, overzealous marketing leaders used the “Everyone’s Doing It” pitch and got approval without explaining that social media is a new kind of war, not a single battle.

2) Wrong Expectations

Have you heard or said things like:

  • “Social media is free advertising!”
  • “Social media will make sales explode!”
  • “Let’s make it go viral!”
  • “We won’t have to spend money on other expensive marketing routes.”

In reality, using social media is only one part of building a modern business.  Setting expectations too high, too fast, or too easy makes for trouble.

3) Lack of Patience

Some leaders have been properly educated with correct expectations, but just don’t have the patience.  Their ADHD leadership tendencies make them lose focus or patience and they withdraw support so they can focus on their next great strategy.

 

Social media is not a strategy.  It is a method of communicating.

Communication can be good.  Communication can be bad.  However, for most industries there is no way to calculate return on investment of communication.

It is everything.

If you choose to do social media poorly, you are choosing to do business poorly.

Don’t stop something you’ve started because you’re impatient or afraid.  This social media stuff isn’t going away and your competitors are only spending more time and money each quarter on finding ways to connect with your clients.  Ignore it for too long, and your clients may begin to ignore you too.

Finish the debate tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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When You Have Someone’s Attention: Don’t Waste It!

Attention Era, Changing Times, Family, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, Social Media, Time 6 Comments »

A couple quick thoughts at the end of the week.

Humans are no longer limited by a lack of information.  We’ve never had more Wikipedia articles, Google search results, emails, updates, and every other way we get information when we need it.

We even have Siri or other artificial intelligence like Big Blue to do the work for us.

Information is not the problem.

 

We are now limited by the amount of attention we have available.

When you earn someone’s attention, you shouldn’t waste it.  It’s precious!

 

Does your page respect people’s time?

  • Do you dominate Facebook with a ton of trivial posts?  We only have so much time and you’re wasting it.  We will unfollow or hide you.
  • Why are our comments awaiting moderation on your blog? You have a spam filter.
  • Are you deleting Facebook comments that are unfavorable to your brand?  You are asking for trouble.  Comments will go somewhere.
  • We won’t do business with you if you ignore questions or comments on your page.

 

Why are your customers waiting?

  • I spent 3 hours on the phone with AT&T yesterday.  Now I’m switching to Verizon.
  • My favorite grocery store has no parking.  I now have a new favorite.
  • Sam’s Club always has 10 people in every line.  I’m not renewing my membership.

 

How are you one on one?

  • Are you constantly checking your phone?
  • Are you dragging the conversation down by spend too much time on meaningless stuff?
  • Are you actually listening?
  • Do you spam your contacts with unnecessary emails or other deferred communication?
  • Do you say stuff just for the sake of saying it?

 

For the sake of humanity, we must stop.

 

The developed world is out of time.  Relationships are suffering.  People are overwhelmed.

If you want to keep people’s attention in the Attention Era, you must respect it.

It starts by not wasting it.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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3 Types of Human Communication

Attention Era, Changing Times, Failure, Family, Leadership Thoughts, Loneliness, Marketing, Social Media 16 Comments »

Are we truly communicating? Are you engaging people?

Humans are not at their best when sending and receiving messages that are either delayed or blindly broadcast into “the stream”, desperately hoping someone will see it.

It is inefficient, impersonal, and too easy to lose, ignore, or forget in an Attention Era where each day means more new signals.

It will kill our society.

How are you doing business?  How are you leading people?

Here are three ways we can choose to communicate.  As the list progresses, communication degrades and becomes less effective.

 

Concurrent Communication

  • Personal Meeting
  • Skype / FaceTime / Google Hangout
  • Phone
  • Instant Message Conversation

 

Deferred Communication

  • Personal YouTube message
  • Voicemail
  • Text Message
  • Email
  • Facebook Message
  • Social Mentions (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.)
  • Comment
  • Twitter DM
  • Mail
  • Telegraph

 

Broadcast Communication

  • Bullhorn yelling on corner
  • Sandwich boards
  • TV Commercial / Online Video Ad
  • YouTube Video
  • Radio
  • Pins on Pinterest
  • Billboards
  • Twitter Update
  • Facebook Update
  • Social Check-ins
  • Smoke Signals

 

If people are really your people, you need to talk.  Real friends don’t spend years trading delayed snippets of communication with each other.

Communication is more than words. True engagement is harder than you think.

Engage in real communication tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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