09 7 / 2014

Not sure if this is really based in science….but, it still makes an avid reader feel pretty good. Inspiration to indulge in a long read rather than short snippets!

09 7 / 2014

Loving this article on the New York Times. Granted, some of the research is still shaky, but at least with the initial findings it’s interesting to think about how writers use their brain similarly to others engaging in a creative endeavor. More interesting is how it differs from “novices.” A case for practicing writing? Perhaps!

07 7 / 2014

Finally trying to grow a little garden. Grow, herbs, grow! So I can eat you.

Finally trying to grow a little garden. Grow, herbs, grow! So I can eat you.

07 7 / 2014

02 7 / 2014

sherlockology:

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Sherlock, the hit BBC One drama produced by Hartswood Films, will return to screens for a Special, followed by a series of three new episodes.

The last series saw Sherlock’s life change a lot – he returned from the dead, his best friend John Watson married Mary Morstan and he met his…

W00t!

(Source: BBC)

02 7 / 2014

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02 6 / 2014

Book Review: How To Be a Woman

Verdict: This book puts the “pop” in Pop Feminism (whatever that really means). Candid, crude, and definitely chalk full of many moments of comedic gold. If you’re looking for a light hearted read and open to some pretty “omg” moments but come away with some good points about society and feminism to chew on in your brain for later, you’re in for a treat.

Features: Crude humor and personal anecdotes wrapped around a few thoughtful observations on what it means to be a woman. All told in the voice of someone you’d probably want to get drunk with on a random Wednesday night. 

A few months ago, this book was selected by one of the members of my book club. Predictably, the book club consisted of all women, and during our somewhat book related gab fest (let’s be honest, these rendezvous are usually a reason to day drink), we talked about the challenges that we faced as women - and not just women, but minority women. So, we thought that this would be a great choice to continue to delve into the issues we were discussing.

Fast forward a few months into the future, and I was on a trip with some other friends in Greece (cue eye rolling here… yes, yes, I know, I sound so bourgeois). Without much to do on some of the day excursions, I decided to dig into this book. After reading it, I felt like my eyes were suddenly opened to some of the injustices we inherently accept mostly because that’s just the way things are — when really, it’s a status quo we should not accept.

Perhaps it was the somewhat mortifying cat calling that happened intermittently throughout my trip, or maybe it was because my trip occurred during the time the disturbed young man shot up Santa Barbara because he blamed women for not finding him attractive. Or, maybe it’s because the hashtag #YesAllWomen really resonated with me because yes, I am a woman.

Regardless, this book seemed to find me at the right place and the right time.

I had never considered myself a feminist. But after reading Caitlin Moran’s perspective, I’ll say it loudly and I’ll say it proudly.

Why? Because women should be as free as men. And there are so many small ways we aren’t. And there are so many wonderful ways that Caitlin Moran explains why that’s how it should be.

I normally don’t want to excerpt parts of the book, but felt that for this one in particular, it was necessary. Even if nobody picks up this book based on my recommendation, at least the salient points can be highlighted.

….”We need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist - and only 42% of British women - I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?” 

….“I have a rule of thumb that allows me to judge, when times is pressing and one needs to make a snap judgment, whether or not some sexist bullshit is afoot. Obviously, it’s not 100% infallible but by and large it definitely points you in the right direction and it’s asking this question; are the men doing it? Are the men worrying about this as well? Is this taking up the men’s time? Are the men told not to do this, as it’s letting the side down? Are the men having to write bloody books about this exasperating retarded, time-wasting, bullshit? Is this making Jeremy Clarkson feel insecure?

Almost always the answer is no. The boys are not being told they have to be a certain way, they are just getting on with stuff.” 

….“I’m neither ‘pro-women’ nor ‘anti-men’. I’m just ‘Thumbs up for the six billion” 

In a nutshell, for any female friend that’s looking for a good read, I’d readily hand this book to her. And, I’d also do the same for guys that love a good laugh as well.

08 5 / 2014

Three Ways Musicians Rock…Word of Mouth Marketing

Originally posted on The Social Sandbox

Musicians are more than aware of the importance of accumulating and retaining their fans – both on Facebook and in real life. After all, how else are you going to accumulate an audience to fill a stadium? But the methods to get attention have changed, and many musicians are doing word of mouth marketing in effective and engaging ways.

Here are three ways that music makers have successfully created and executed a brilliant word of mouth strategy, and how brands can hope to do the same (if they haven’t already tried it).

Share a random surprise and delight

The power of the “surprise and delight” method that many marketers may be familiar with is all about timing and what the audience wants.  When putting it all together, it makes a perfect storm of excitement and sharing. 

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It’s no surprise then (see what I did there?) that one musician that was a master of social marketing did just that.  On Christmas, Queen Bey decided to give the greatest gift of all and dropped her album without any prior warning or announcement. Immediately, her fans were buzzing about this gift, and the Internet was lighting up all over from Twitter to the blogosphere.

As she said in her press release, “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it. I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”

What can brands learn from this: The ultimate power of social is just that: social and two-way conversation. Think about what your customers care about, and, with the right timing, surprise them with what they want. They will appreciate it in spades (and word of mouth).

Create scarcity and exclusivity

It’s human nature – we want what we can’t have.  The grass is always greener. And, when there is only a certain number of items in the world, we covet those special, limited edition items with passion and tenacity.

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Most people probably wouldn’t have pegged the Wu-Tang Clan for their savvy marketing chops in addition to their slick rap rhymes, but they proved the former when they announced their new album…only there was a big twist.  There was only going to be one copy sold in the world.

Because there was only one in the world, the only way people would be able to listen to the songs would be to attend special gatherings. Or, should the person who purchases the album feels so inclined, they could take the songs and spread them around. Regardless, this decision caused a ton of chatter and conversation – not to mention desire – to be in on that special exclusive ‘club’ of people who would be able to enjoy the songs off the new album.

What can brands learn from this: The reason this worked is because the album itself is a white glove, luxurious case. And it’s the only one in the world. Yet, fans are still able to experience it – and it’s all within the Wu-Tang’s discretion (or the discretion of the owner of the singular album). Play up the products, experiences, or whatever else you have to offer to your audiences and create waves by limiting the access…but not restricting.

Find an opportunity to play a game

There’s a reason why “gamification” is such a hot word in marketing – people love to play games. With the right audiences (and most importantly in the right way), they love to be engaged.

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One of the ways that Coldplay decided to hype up the release of their new album was with a worldwide scavenger hunt. Nine lyric sheets hand-written by Chris Martin (bonus points for adding in the scarcity element) were hidden around the world in books within world famous libraries. To further emphasize their album Ghost Stories, they hid the lyrics in…you guessed it… ghost stories.

In order to seed out these locations, the band tweeted out the clues to the Twitter followers. Speculation, conversation, and all manners of discussion bubbled up from there, with each found lyric driving more chatter. Those that found the lyrics were also given the ultimate prize: to attend one of the Coldplay concerts in person.

What can brands learn from this: Widen your net, and engage with your audiences both offline and online by giving them an opportunity to come together for a mission or a common goal. A sure fire way to really spark conversation is to offer a unique prize, experience, or something just special to them.

-SF.

26 4 / 2014

It’s like we created a corgi from a corgi

It’s like we created a corgi from a corgi

11 3 / 2014

Book Review: How Will You Measure Your Life?

Verdict: A must read if you’re at a crossroads in your career… or, a must read if you’re just feeling a bit lost in general. In fact, even if you’re not in that career changing mindset or aren’t feeling particularly lost, this is still a very informative and helpful book.

Features: Anecdotal information about business strategies and how it relates to life; includes personal stories from the author, with a hint of spirituality. Very interesting to read the juxtaposition of a pragmatic way of looking at life (as equated to business) mixed in with the spirituality. 

I’ve always joked that when it comes to things like a quarter life crisis, I’ve been quite precocious because I started having one at the tender age of nineteen. 

There have been many articles about why people are unhappy, like this cartoony rendition, as well as a multitude of cheesy countdown lists of “how to be happy” (seriously, seach for that phrase and you’ll get back a ton of results … all too often vague and not helpful at all). 

My friend / career coach recommended that I pick up this book, and although I did have a little seed of doubt planted in my brain when I first started, as I read it and finished it I kept earmarking pages. I also kept thinking “that is just so true.” It’s quite interesting because the whole purpose of the book is not to tell the reader how to measure their lives, but the ways in which they can assess what really matters to them and pursue those things.

As the book states, it’s presenting theories. You know, teaching a person how to fish…instead of handing them an article counting down the 10 awesome reason why fish rock (if you can’t tell, yes, I’m quite embittered from the multitude of fluff pieces out there about “finding happiness” and attaching any countdown to the methodology).

Anyway, once you learn the theories, you can hopefully apply them yourself and think critically about the choices you make to a fulfilling career and life. On a side note, although I don’t have kids (yet) there are several chapters about raising a family that did resonate with me. And the author also shares a bit about his upbringing which is quite illuminating, and makes sense why he is wired to think about things the way he does.

I don’t want to write any “spoilers” or basically re-summarize the book, so I’ll spare the precious few who stumbled through this rather vague and long-winded review to say: there will be a lot of loved ones that will be getting a copy of this book from me. 

If you don’t get one from me, go grab a copy for yourself. Do it. Now.