Free Lunch

In 2017, “pay for popularity” on social media is way too easy. Whip out your credit card, fame is just one PayPal transaction away. $5 can buy 5000 followers, 1000 likes, 500 comments on your Instagram photos or a retweet to millions. I know we’ve all been tempted at times. It sounds like a small price to pay for instant popularity. We fool ourselves into thinking an increase to that little number will make our life better or our business flourish.

Spoiler alert: it just doesn’t work that way.

What you actually get for five bucks is an audience of bots and zombies. And what value do thousands of fake, lame or inactive accounts really bring? Sure, a temporary boost to the ego, but ultimately the same engagement rates you had before. No new sales or leads. Heck, Facebook and Twitter might even punish you! Even worse, those innocent few bucks could be funding a click farm in China, the modern-day sweatshop. Trust me, those people don’t want to be your friend and they definitely aren’t buying your product.

So rather than spend money on hundreds or thousands of bot followers, I choose to invest my money in building relationships with awesome, local people doing cool stuff. People just like you.

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. This is as close as it gets. Here’s how it works:

  1. You follow me.
  2. Send me a Tweet or DM about something cool you are working on.
  3. Once a month or so, I pick a new follower to take to lunch.
  4. I buy lunch for us both. I lean towards sushi, soup and tacos.

That’s it. You can help me grow my following and score a free lunch. Find me online and let’s make this happen.

If I had lawyers, they’d probably encourage me to set a few ground rules. So consider this the fine print:
1) Paid social has a time and place, I am not arguing against paid social advertising.
2a) You have to be local to Columbus.
2b) Exceptions made for Ohioans that travel thru Columbus.
2c) If you aren’t local, I still appreciate your follow. I’ll look you up when I come thru your town.
3) Almost always, lunch will be in or around Easton.
4) If we’ve had lunch together before, I probably won’t pick you for this freebie.
5) If we already know each other, we can go to lunch anytime. But we’ll be going Dutch.
6) No MLM pitches. No overt solicitations. Also, no murderers.

 Jun 20, 2017  |  

20 Years Ago, I Became an Eagle Scout

Twenty years ago this year, I earned my Eagle Scout. A loyal Scout from an early age, earning the Eagle Scout Award was the pinnacle of my twelve-year Scouting career. I had been luckier than most: a strong Troop with both adult and youth leaders that valued outdoor programs, parents that supported and participated alongside me, and the means to indulge in adventure.

Through the years, Scouting took me to different parks, states, and countries, allowing me to log over 500 nights in a tent — that’s better than frequent flier miles. Scouting caused me to meet people from every walk of life, and to embrace, appreciate, and celebrate our differences as humans. Scouting gave me a true reverence for nature and the outdoors. Heading out into the wilderness, carrying all of your supplies on your back gives new meaning to sustainable living. Because of Scouting, I am committed to the ideology of a greener planet, protecting the environment, and leaving every place better than I found it.

Over time, I gave more and more of myself to the program. Following the lead of those who helped me, I helped those who came after me. Eventually, I instructed more than 150 individual merit badge classes, helping nearly 2,000 Scouts to learn core Scouting Skills like swimming, pioneering, and orienteering. I served seven years on Summer Camp Staff, two as a Camp Director. Even today, I can tie all of the BSA’s Forty Knots behind my back or blindfolded. And of course, I had fun along the way.

Recently, a friend asked about my current involvement. I was embarrassed to admit that I had been inactive the past few years, allowing both my Resident Camp Director certification and BSA membership to lapse. My own words stopped me in my tracks and caused a moment of reflection. Eventually, I took solace knowing that while I had left Scouting as of late, Scouting will never leave me.

Of all the lessons learned, one has continued to resonate with me every single day. Twelve simple adjectives that make up the Scout Law have become my life’s mantra. Twelve qualities that I admire and encourage in others. Twelve character traits to influence my behavior and attitude. “A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.”


Always tell the truth. Keep your promises. Remain honest and ethical in the face of corruption. Be dependable.


Stay true to family and friends. Proudly pledge alliance to community and nation. Give firm and constant support.


Be concerned about other people. Willingly give assistance without pay or reward. Make your actions useful and supporting.


Seek to understand others. Respect ideas, customs, and beliefs other than your own. Stay good natured, hospitable, and affable.


Manners make the Man. Be polite to everyone, regardless of age, rank, or social status. Be appreciative of others.


Exhibit strength through gentleness. Be affectionate and show compassion. Treat others as you want to be treated.


Remain law abiding, dutiful, and disciplined. Obey the laws of community and country. If you disagree, put forth effort to reform rather than disobey.


Look for the bright side of things. Stay happy and optimistic when faced with adversity. Try to make others happy.


Use time, money, and property carefully. Pay your own way. Be prudent and avoid wastefulness. Conserve natural resources.


Show courage by doing things that scare you. Always stand up for what you think is right. Be ready to face danger. Protect those who cannot protect themselves.


Keep mind and body fit and healthy. Stay morally uncontaminated. Keep home, community, and environment free from pollutants.


Show deep and solemn respect for the things that matter. Respect the beliefs of others. Permit yourself to be grateful.

 Apr 9, 2017  |  

I Thought Facebook Was a Fad

To be honest, when Facebook launched in 2004, I didn’t even notice. Mostly because I was well out of college, already working at Apple for three years. When they threw open the doors to the general public in 2006, my interest was piqued. But I still didn’t sign up.

Their stated mission at the time, an “online directory that connects people“, just didn’t solve a problem for me. I had a carefully curated electronic address book, maybe even had a tidy stack of business cards in my desk. Plus, how long could this “social network” really stick around? I had already abandon my GeoCities page for MySpace, did we need another option?

That’s right, in 2006 I thought Facebook was a fad. And now in 2017, I still think it was.

Let me clarify. I did eventually sign up in 2007. Late to the game for an otherwise early adopter of technology. The first few months were full of pokes, Zynga games and low resolution photos. I was underwhelmed. Then word came of companies creating Groups as a vehicle to talk to brand fanatics and potential customers. Shortly after, Facebook Ads and the Business Page as we know it came along. Then it all made sense. Just like Radio, Newspapers and TV before it, Facebook transitioned into a medium for advertising.

Remember the old adage, “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”

So the Facebook of 2006 was indeed a fad. The idea of being a simple online directory was short lived. Facebook the company knew this, and pivoted quickly. Today, they masquerading as a social network. In reality, Facebook is an ad platform.

 Jan 24, 2017  |  

Take the Time to Make Time

Taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather, I went for a short hike today in the 650 acres of Blendon Woods Metro Park. Walking alone, I adopted a quick pace. It wasn’t a race, nor was I aiming for a workout. I just had more plans for the day and was thinking about what was next. Whatever the reason, I kept that hurried pace.

Until I came up behind an elderly couple walking in front of me. I was forced to slow down. At first a nuisance, upon closer look they were holding hands and stopping every few minutes. Not because they were unable to continue or slowed by age. But to look at the birds, the squirrels, the stream and the woods around us. In my mind, I imagined they were married for decades, retired and set out to enjoy the day just like me.

Then I realized… they had decided to spend their precious time to enjoing the outdoors today. Time to breathe in the fresh air and savor the outdoors scenery. I had time too, yet I chose to rush my outdoor experience. In a hurry to the next thing on my list.

Why wait for life to give you time to do the things that make you happy? We all can claim ownership of our time. Slow down. Take the time, to make time, for the things you really want.

 Jan 21, 2017  |  

5 Things Live Tweeting About Ironing Taught Me About Twitter

On Sunday evening, I tried my hand at Live Tweeting. I wasn’t attending a swanky movie premiere or black tie event. I was ironing my dress shirts for the week ahead. Domesticated, boring, and relatively uninspired. But what better way to explore the ins and outs of a platform than to jump right in. So 56 minutes of tweets, photos and videos followed.

If your brand is considering Live Tweeting from an upcoming event, I’ve got some advice for you. These are the five things I learned about Live Tweeting.

1) Audience Matters

While I spend an hour every Sunday night ironing, this topic isn’t exactly “on brand” for me. On a regular basis, my Twitter followers engage with tweets related to Real Estate, breakfast, Jeopardy and Internet Marketing. Not household chores. The segment of my audience that was interested in clothes ironing was low. More so, ironing fanatics haven’t exactly taken to Twitter in droves. Even major brands like Rowenta, Singer and Sunbeam are not generating vast amounts of ironing related content.

Ultimately, engagements will depend on a captive audience’s interest in the topic. Choose your events carefully and invest in Live Tweeting when it makes the most sense for your audience.

2) Media is Everywhere

Finding content assets for Live Tweeting can be intimidating. Heck, maintaining a regular non-live tweeting schedule can be daunting. But the reality is rich media is all around us. Don’t blame being in the moment as a reason to not create engaging content.


Ahead of time, identify potential mention, hashtag, photo, video and link opportunities. Capturing this content does not need to coincide with publishing. Consider a pre-production run where you gather B-Roll assets that can be used throughout your event. Avoid a stream of plain text tweets during your event (so boring!). Leverage true live media tools (Periscope, Snapchat, etc) to drive the point home. Remember, you are painting a picture of what it’s like to be there in person. Being live is hard, but it’s no excuse for shortcuts.

3) “Doing it Live” is Hard

Balancing the momentum of a live tweet stream and the actual event itself is difficult. One of the two will inevitably suffer. A few wrinkled sleeves might have slipped thru during my #LiveIron tweets, I am OK with that. But allowing social media to preclude a brand from servicing customers or from running an event just isn’t acceptable.


Be reasonable with the demands of these online and offline tasks. Clearly assign duties ahead of time. Take a few extra steps to alleviate juggling by automating some posts during the event. Only you will know a few of those live tweets weren’t really live.

4) Copy Editing Takes Time

It’s easy to overlook the need for proofreading while live. Especially if the Live Tweeting is taking place on-location. Traditionally, working from a mobile device isn’t collaboration friendly. So draft your tweets in email, a shared document or collaboration tool. Get at least one additional set of eyes before publishing. Those pesky iPhone auto corrects or misspelled hashtags might be OK on your personal account, they just aren’t as forgivable coming from a brand.

5) Use Moments to Summarize

Announcing the start and end of your Live Tweet stream is a general best practice. It helps define expectations and holds your brand accountable during the event. However, you should also try to benefit from your live event in the days following. Twitter’s new Moment feature are curated collections of similar tweets. Bringing your content together as a Moment allows your audience to relive the event; and serves as an easy way to re-share.

 Dec 5, 2016  |