Clicked to Distraction or Edutainment?

The Rabbit Hole. It happens to us all. I was recently working on a strategy project at GOODCORPS and I overheard one of the people say “I’m taking some learning time.” to her colleague. I thought that was a great way to describe the Rabbit Hole. Learning time.

I was on Linked In looking up an old colleague, saw a post from Shane Atchison, the CEO of POSSIBLE – an agency that does amaaaaaaazing work and then boom. It happened. Down the Rabbit Hole. For almost an hour. In the middle of the work day with deadlines looming and people to meet – there I went. Down, down, down. The video that took me there is below. I felt guilty for a moment. “Damn…I hate when I do that. It felt like 10 minutes not 40.”

But then I realized it was Learning Time. I learned so much from the video on Collectives and then clicking through to the various communities featured in the video. (I stopped myself as I clicked into the 4th story on and realized that it led to the 9th level of distraction.)

But what did I learn that was useful? What problems did I solve? I had no fewer than 5 solid ideas for the project that I WASN’T working on while in the Rabbit Hole, realized that there is a community online for almost everything it would seem and the one I’m working on can be broken down into smaller and smaller communities, and I learned as I watched the part on the birdwatching community that I really only have one topic that I am truly devoted to and that is learning. About anything. And that Edutainment as a movement is enormous right now thanks to the net. With all this information presented in such beautiful ways how can we possibly expect kids to learn sitting at a desk with a boring non moving book page. Blech.

So no more Rabbit Hole. No more wasted time. It is now officially called “Learning Time” – and I encourage anyone who feels guilty for surfing the net at the office to view it as such. Sometime you have to get out of your head to get back into it.

Intellectual Curiosity

“What you need more than expertise is curiosity, someone who’s interested in what’s happening, loves change, and wants to develop ideas and drive change. If you’re not one of those people, you’re going to hate what’s going on in marketing and you won’t be effective.”

great article from author and FORBES writer Dorie Clark.


The End of the Expert: Why No One in Marketing Knows What They’re Doing

English: Sir Richard Branson at the eTalk Fest...

Richard Branson’s Virgin is one company that’s succeeding in the new era of marketing.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a stark verdict from a prominent source. “There are hundreds of thousands of people who were trained and mentored, and studied classical marketing, and they got good at it,” says Clark Kokich, chairman of digital agency Razorfish. Unfortunately, the world has changed – and that education is no longer relevant. “If your self-worth and your confidence is based on you being an expert, you’re in deep trouble, because there aren’t any experts,” says Kokich, author of Do or Die: Surviving and Thriving in a World Where the Old Ways of Marketing Aren’t Getting It Done. “Sure, there are experts in some fields. Someone may be really good in SEO or in mobile. But there aren’t any experts in making this transition.”

In the late 1990s, digital marketing debuted to great fanfare, but it was still fundamentally about advertising to customers. But in the past several years, new social and mobile tools have upended that paradigm. “The focus has really changed,” Kokich told me in a recent interview at the Inbound Marketing Summit, where we were both keynote speakers. “It’s less about advertising and more about creating an experience that transforms what it means to be a customer of a brand. And that change has really caused a lot of consternation in marketing because none of us were trained to do that.”

As a model for the future, he cites the iconoclastic examples of Richard Branson’s Virgin; Nike’s “Write the Future” campaign, in which youth competed to be identified as a rising soccer star; and the “Epic Mix” campaign by the Vail ski resort, which leveraged digital technology to help friends connect, track each other, and compete on the slopes. To succeed in marketing moving forward, he says, “What you need more than expertise is curiosity, someone who’s interested in what’s happening, loves change, and wants to develop ideas and drive change. If you’re not one of those people, you’re going to hate what’s going on in marketing and you won’t be effective. I have friends who have told me they’re just trying to hang on before people realize they don’t know what they’re doing. But I don’t think you can fake it another five years. You’re just not relevant if you’re fighting the reality of what’s happening.”

So how do you begin to “create brand experiences” instead of relying on past methods of advertising? The first step, says Kokich, is to “ask a different question.” He advises companies to pull together a cross-section of company and agency staff – “everybody that’s responsible for building anything that touches the customer” – put them in a room and ask: “What do people hate about doing business with us, and can we use digital to fix it?”

The wrong frame, which too many companies use, is “This is what we are, and how do we shine it up?” Kokich believes more fundamental change is necessary. “We talk a lot in marketing about the importance of being good storytellers. Well, we need to be good story changers, because telling a story isn’t enough. Customers can see right through a great story about a lousy product.”

If you succeed in the new marketing, Kokich says, the benefits can be profound: “Companies like Virgin or Vail fundamentally altered their market position, because they fundamentally altered the way they did marketing.”

Boundaries and Busyness


There is a great article in the NY Times this week about “Busyness”. The Busy Trap examines the idea that we have forgotten how to relax here in America.  That being busy gives you bragging rights. I experience this often. As a busy person I actually MAKE time to “do nothing”. Sometimes it is “structured nothing” – like meditation. Other times it is laying on the patio with a pile of catalogs that seem to never stop coming no matter what I do.

I think it’s really very important to set boundaries for yourself in our connected world. A couple of times a year I take a Social Media Vacation. When I’m working on projects that cover multiple time zones I really try and figure out when I have to be “live” to folks in the UK or folks in Asia….without this boundary I would be working 24 hours and not sleeping.  At times I would actually realize that my “evening” was really from 2 – 6 when I was working with Germany AND Hong Kong.

I recently had a conversation with a man I know about his new role as President of a division.  He was commenting on how a few of the team members he inherited had asked him what his philosophy was on “live work balance”. He found this entertaining and telling. His answer was – “you’re all grown ups. if you think you need to be at your kid’s baseball game at 3pm then you go. how could i possibly deny you that when you were out to dinner with clients 3 nights this week or working on the presentation for Monday morning on your Sunday afternoon.” He said they looked at him in shock. I have to admit this is someone close to 60 and I was super impressed with his modern approach. It is that kind of approach that the workplace needs these days…at least the kind of workplaces my peers and I are a part of…

It’s a bit archaic to have the boundaries set by an HR person or even by the time zones that were set long long ago. It is up to you to make your own time valuable and meaningful. And that includes sleeping.

Thank You Ray Bradbury

ray bradbury the illustrated man

As a GIRL who ened up working in DIGITAL communications. I have to tell you – Ray Bradbury (along with Star Trek and Phillip K Dick) is a very large influence on who I have become as an adult.

How is this possible? Well – it all started with the Illustrated Man. In my school district in Hamden, Connecticut you progressed in your “reading” through a very set group of tests that were “levels” to show you had advanced. Level 40 was supposed to take you to the end of 6th grade. I passed level 40 in the middle of 5th grade. (I never brag so cut me some slack here….)

I then was tested for the “talented and gifted program”….TAG. As a member of the special elite forces group I got to hang with 10 kids from 3 other nearby schools 2x a week and develop my critical thinking skills. The first book we used as I recall? Yep – “The Illustrated Man”.  I had nightmares. For sure. He was standing at the end of my bed on a few occassions at 3am, much to the chagrin of my mother. But since every book on her nightstand had a foil cover and involved alien abduction, murder or international intrigue – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Ray Bradbury followed me into Junior High – Farenheit 451 – what many think of as not his BEST work – but it certainly opened my eyes up to censorship and freedome of speech and mind control. It was certainly the primer for films that all fall into my favorite dystopian category – THX 1138, Brazil, BladeRunner…

Every single day I think Ray Bradbury crosses my mind. He crosses it while I’m watching CNN on my 55″ flatscreen on the living room wall. He crosses it when I see a digital billboard with video at the busstop while I’m sitting at a stoplight. He crosses it when I drive downtown by the Bradbury Building made so famous by Blade Runner and sort of a “mecca” for those of us who like to see that sort of static influence in person.

I just downloaded Farenheit 451 (and the Martian Chronicles) to my kindle app on my i-pad. I haven’t reread either in a while. They will get read again before my Monday meeting with a new client.

I know that I will surely be inspired by something in there…and yes – there is something in a book from 1953 that I will subconciously (or purposefully!) introduce into a strategy session on communicating an idea, a product or a new technology to our uber connected world.

And dear Los Angeles Metro team – can we please christen that subway to the sea as the “Bradbury Express” when it launches? That would be such a wonderful tribute to this most futuristic and influential thinker of our era.  “LA’S Future is Up In The Air” by Ray Bradbury

Merci Beaucoup Msr. Bradbury…vos idees vivra a jamais.


open mindedness

i came across this article in one of the many ways i come across things. it struck me in a very deep way.

I loved this sentence. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
~ Evelyn Beatrice Hall

and  this one “You CAN be openminded and disagree with someone” 

hope this provokes some thought for you!



via Pick The Brain

The plea to “be more open-minded” often falls on deaf ears.

But why is that?

Is it because it’s too difficult to be open-minded? Or are people simply not interested in being open-minded?

To answer these questions it’s important to understand what open-mindedness means and to consider the factors that can impede open-mindedness.

So What IS Open-Mindedness?

Before we get to what open-mindedness is, let’s look at what it isn’t.

Being open-minded doesn’t mean you accept all opinions as being true or equally valid.

You can be open-minded and disagree with others.

That’s right, you can be open-minded and think that others are wrong.

Open-mindedness isn’t simply about being open to new ideas, but also about being mindful of the ideas that you do accept.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
~ Aristotle

Your mind is a powerful filter, which you don’t want to ignore or bypass.

It helps you develop a consistent understanding of reality that allows you to make sense of the world and take appropriate action to lead a fulfilling life.

Imagine agreeing with all opinions and values that come your way. What would your life be like?

To be open-minded doesn’t mean that you stop filtering ideas, but that you’re willing to adjust your filters and reconsider your own beliefs.

“Don’t be too open-minded, or your brain will fall out.”
~ Anonymous

Sounds simple in theory, but can feel impossible in practice.

To develop an open-minded attitude, you need to distinguish between three things:

  • You
  • Your beliefs
  • The truth

And the two biggest reasons for why open-mindedness is so difficult are:

1- We identify with our beliefs: We use our beliefs as an identity by saying “I’m a Christian” or “I’m a Muslim” or “I’m an Atheist.” And when our beliefs are questioned, we feel threatened. When our ideas are rejected, we feel insulted. If you consider your beliefs who you are, you won’t be willing to consider other points of view and you’ll get defensive in order to protect your beliefs. But your beliefs don’t define you. They express your understanding of the truth right now, and you have the choice to consider other beliefs and opinions.

2- We consider our beliefs to be the truth: If we equate our beliefs with the truth, then there’s not much room for open-mindedness, and we can get very frustrated with others who don’t share our convictions. When we get into a discussion, we’re not interested in listening, but speaking. That’s because we have the truth and others are obviously wrong, since they disagree with us. But by maintaining the distinction between our beliefs and the truth, we become more open to consider other points of view and to listen to what others have to say.

Open-mindedness requires us to maintain the distinctions between who we are, what we believe and what the truth is.

What Open-Mindedness Looks Like

An open-minded individual strives to develop a better understanding of the world and is willing to listen to other people’s beliefs and opinions, to learn from their insights.

He doesn’t feel obliged to agree with others, but respects their right to their own convictions, without trying to force his own views on them.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
~ Evelyn Beatrice Hall

He’s not embarrassed to admit his own ignorance, or when he has made an intellectual error.

He doesn’t need to resort to rationalizations to justify his beliefs and is prepared to listen to criticisms without being offended.

Not only does he consider other people’s opinions, but he’s willing to look at life – or any topic being discussed – from another person’s worldview (i.e. the framework used to understand the world).

Our opinions make perfect sense when we look at them through our own ideological lens, and other opinions seem wrong from that perspective. But what if there’s a flaw in our worldview? Are we prepared to revise our basic beliefs and assumptions?

Since we want to get a better understanding of the world, there’s no use in clinging to our beliefs because they’re more familiar and comfortable to us. That would turn our beliefs into an obstacle rather than a bridge towards the truth.

There’s nothing mindful about that.

Open-Mindedness And Holistic Growth

Being open-minded impacts all areas of our life and is an essential precursor to personal growth.

We cannot experience Spiritual enlightenment if we refuse to abandon limiting beliefs.

We cannot develop our Intellectual awareness if we fail to consider other opinions and perspectives.

We cannot create a healthy Psychological mindset if we feel threatened when our beliefs are questioned.

We cannot build strong Social relationships if we’re not prepared to listen to others, or when we seek to force our own views on them.

We cannot achieve Professional success if we choose to do business the way we’ve always done, without considering new approaches and embracing changing trends.

We cannot discover new Recreational activities and experiences if we only want to stick to what we already know and feel comfortable with.

We cannot enhance our Physical well-being if we’re not prepared to question conventional wisdom about diet and health.

Cultivating an open-mind is an investment that allows us to reap great rewards that can never be realized without it.



I had a friend refer to me as Georgette (curious George’s female alter ego) after we got to know each other a bit. I always wonder aloud. Made her crazy – “Who the hell thinks of these things except you?! How does your brain even come up with these questions?”

I had another colleague/friend once call me “nosy”, as I was trying to understand her plan for restructuring her team.  Most people just don’t love it when you ask questions. “Who wants to know?!”

I “posit” a lot. Sure I’m looking for an answer but I’m more likely looking for information. Tidbits. A dialogue. A debate. A brainstorming session. I may not know what the end question will be….all I know is that at that moment I have that question. My favorite people are the ones that play along. “So what do you think it would be like if….”

I actually started to ask the electrician how he was going to wire a light into my front yard where the was no plug – had to stop myself. “Do. Not. Need To. Know. Just let him get it done!” said the  other half of my brain to Georgette.

I do like to understand how things work. It helps me create analogies and eventually explain other things. Doesn’t matter what industry or role you have in an organization – seeing patterns and problem solving – those are the skills you want. The ones you need.

Thanks Mr. Einstein for yet another Mantra I often repeat to myself. Here’s hoping my 11 year old niece learns it soon and stops posting “Bored!” as her facebook Status.

The Quiet Revolution

susan cain the power of introverts

I found this speech to be incredibly moving. We live in a world where extroverts gain all the credit for having the loudest voices in the room, but not always the best solutions. We sometimes know of the Introvert in a “trusted advisor” role…but certainly not enough.

I hope you will spend the short 18 minutes of time to watch Susan Cain and give the Introvert you work with a little recognition. And, if you recognize yourself in here, that it gives you some comfort and empowers you to be you.

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts