Tag Archives: blogging

Communicating Value

In order to be successful an entrepreneur has to communicate value. It doesn’t matter what you do (plumbing, delivering pizza). It matters what you solve (anxiety, the munchies). Think of it this way: Who is your perfect customer and what keeps them up at night?

It’s a tough question that probably isn’t even worth the time answering. Because ultimately who you are and what you do is it. The work speaks for itself. People just get it. The trick, then, is communicating who you are and what you do. Find a way to showcase your work and deliver every time. Then communicate that.

I’ve been keeping this daily blog for about two weeks. And every day I’m getting closer to understanding what I do and why people should care. The blog is the work and the work is the blog. The blog is how I communicate value.

I haven’t owned cable TV for 10 years. I don’t even understand TV commercials any more. It’s like they are written in another language. I’ve been totally un-conditioned to comprehend mass media. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last.

I don’t feel like keeping a blog is marketing. I’ll never, ever post a sales letter here. It just wouldn’t feel right. For me, it’s a matter of sitting down every morning and finding something to write about. I’m a writer and this is how I communicate value.

At the end of the day, communicating value is a very personal matter. I like blogs and Twitter. Other people like bright, shiny signs on the side of the road. Both work just fine and how you do it is up to you. The trick is doing it and doing it well. Because if you don’t tell people about your business, then who will?

If you found this post useful then kindly follow me on Twitter.

Re-Commitment and Digital Sabbatical

Life is a series of commitments. You flow from one commitment to the next. At the core of every new commitment is a series of unintended consequences. I understand these unintended consequences as opportunities, a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something, a chance.

Recent Commitments…

I recently moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta and committed to a daily blog. At the time, I didn’t know what I was going to write about, only that I was going to write. On April 28, 2011, I set the alarm for 6:20 a.m. and started writing, five days a week. It’s been a month and I’m still going strong.

Shortly after I committed to a daily blog I committed to volunteer at the Downtown YMCA. I’m going to share what I know about yoga with people who are (hopefully) as passionate about it as I am.

…and Unintended Consequences

When I committed to a daily blog I quickly discovered that I needed something to write about. Since I’m interested in marketing, lifestyle businesses and entrepreneurship, that’s what I started writing about. When I ran out of ideas I’d regurgitate something from an old textbook, or surf around for inspiration.

The act of writing every day has my brain firing on new cylinders. This week has been kind of weird and intense: social objects, community of practice, local problem solving, social crash and strategic transparency. Even I have to ask: What in the **** am I talking about?

The answer is: I don’t know. But all this week I could feel myself flowing in a new direction. Then I came across this line from Ev Bogue on why his blog succeeded:

I learned that every time I slipped into hypotheticals and hype, I was clouding the message. The work that people connected to most was when I was talking about my actual experience of the world.

And it hit me: I need to write from experience.

Re-Commitment

Believe it or not, this is a big change. Writing from experience is a lot harder than regurgitating from a textbook.

In order to take advantage of the unintended consequences that have come from my commitment to a daily blog, I have to re-commit. Since I’m not exactly sure what I’m re-committing to, I’m taking a week-long digital sabbatical to write up a plan.

See you soon.

P.S. — You can learn more about the term digital sabbatical from Gwen Bell.

P.P.S. — I’m still committed to teaching yoga at the Y. You can learn more here.

An Ecology of Leadership

There are a handful of impactful articles, blog posts and book chapters floating around in my brain right now. I’m going to spend the week sorting through them. The writing is going to be more zuihitsu than usual.

I recently came across the term “ecology of leadership” in Wenger, McDermott and Snyder’s book Cultivating Communities of Practice. Successful communities of practice depend on decentralized, informal, internalized leadership. “Members of a healthy community of practice have a sense that making the community more valuable is to the benefit of everyone. They know that their own contribution will come back to them.” An ecology of leadership promotes knowledge, learning and collaboration. It’s how business competes in the 21st century and it’s how the social web works.

At the same time, we are in the midst of a great unplugging. The vanguard is articulating the social crash. Quit Facebook is well-documented. The social web has cannibalized its audience by allowing dubious advertising schemes and games like Farmville to proliferate. 15,000 friends is short-term noise and hyper-inflated market babble. Where’s the value?

As information proliferates we are starved for wisdom. Those who are in a position to unplug, will. They are the leaders and people will find them. But for those of us who believe in an ecology of leaders and who refuse to be led the social web will continue to have relevance. But only in terms of value.

The makers and the doers create the value that fuels conversations. While the social web provides a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and artists to carve out a niche and make a name, the vast majority of conversation starts in the real world. The real world, then, is the next frontier. The social web augments and accelerates what happens in the real world. It doesn’t replace it.