Re-Imagine. The Power of the Personal Brand.

Let me begin by saying that I love the new WordPress blog interface that I accessed via the new home page. Sweet. Looks and feels alot like Tumblr and yet I am glad I do not have to post only in that totally crazy mad world of the Creatives – I can still remain respectable and hire-able by posting to Word Press. ūüôā Thanks WordPress for being cool and creative and for still seeing the creative writing on the wall!

It has been a busy summer. mostly doing websites and managing some social media properties. As of late I have been away on yet another one of those client journey’s. It was the classic scenario. To begin they love that I am so creative and want to know what I think—even went so far to claim that they are “obsessed” by me. Not a good sign as obsession leads no good… but hey for the first few weeks I felt like I had just won a shot at the Olympic good metal round in Fencing, my favorite sport, and that someone was actually listening to what I had to say! ¬†Then suddenly the honey moon was over and I am assigned to what feels like the position of “employee” as all my creative ideas are swiftly, with no¬†explanation, swept under the carpet and we return to BUSINESS AS USUAL — even though we have not signed anything to that effect and I have from the start been no other then what my Twitter Profile states.

In an effort to cheer myself up I set about to read some good inspirational stuff on my iPad about what I do best ¬†–which is communications. Early this am I came across a post that lead to an app for a guy who claims to be a MEDIA Futurist. Excited not so much by what he had to say, I am sure I have heard it all before after all I have been in this game for a hell of a long time now, both on the technology, creative and sales side and adore McLuhan but rather by the his method of engaging me I proceed to the Apple Store for a download. For me McLuhan, is still my main media man for 100 years after his birth he is one of the few intellectuals who gave credit to artists saying “I learnt everything I know from the Poets and the Painters”. ¬† AMEN.

Anyhow, I downloaded Gerd’s app onto my ipad so I could experience my first personal brand app, that was the coolest part and I made mental note to blog about it later as it had the same mind blowing effect as a good cranial adjustment — waking up some nerve endings which have fallen asleep in the race to please offer appeasement.

So the guy is named Gerd Leonard — not an American as one would expect but a European – as all white people are anyhow…..a German actually – who lives in Europe, who of course, lived for some time in the United States and advocates – god forbid, some green solutions– probably a fan of that guy who wrote the book called The Solar Economy back in the day. ¬†Thankfully, in the video I watch on my ipad app Gerd talks only about Media Ecology so I don’t have to worry about the thought police knocking at my door…

Alas I am trapped in Canada, a nation of bean counters, who simple don’t get what it is to be Creative when it comes to business —-even though they do try on occasion, which typically means paying lip service to some tired old ad agency in Toronto who still advocates a mix of media even as Gerd speaks to me via his personal app loaded onto my ipad in a You Tube Video posted at his channel about “The Future of Technology”. ¬†He is cool school and apparently advises large fortune 500’s in Europe about change and employs 25 “Change Agents”. While I do feel a connection with him thanks to social media my ipad craps out half way through his talk due to a bad Bell connection. ¬†While feeling uplifted I am quickly forced to go back to the reality of the day, one spent in a country where the dominant network does not know the works of Marshall McLuhan little lone some dude named Gerd who has his own ipad app and recommend that we all ¬†“RE-IMAGINE”. One can only re-imagine what that means for the Future of Canada,eh?

UPDATE: Just went to like Gerd on FB and see that three of my Facebook Friends also like him. Surprise, one is Canadian – Don Tapscott, whose own writings are greatly influenced by McLuhan.

Soical Media is Sustainability

After a couple of years of thinking, debating and discussing Search & Social Media and its relationship to small business one thing has become crystal clear – social media is sustainability. In fact, Social Media = Sustainability. This position, if adapted, of course changes the whole game plan for small business who continue to think that Social Media is some sort of…

A. Distraction
B. Add On
C. Time Waster
D. or “yet to be justified” expense…

Pick one, any one…I hear them all everyday….all day. For a moment visualize yourself manifesting your ideal lifestyle – and then, your ideal client. What does it look like? What does he or she look like? Is there a connection between the two??

Does the keyword “sustainability” enter into the picture at all? One in which you have finally realized that a system designed around the idea of PROFIT only at the expense of your health, the people who work for you and the resources that make up your product offering or service is no longer sustainable?

A realization that something is changing in the way that business is conducted in 2011 is growing in the mind of wise business owners. Those businesses who are taking into account the lifestyle choices of their clients have changed their business models and messaging accordingly. They focus on either being

1. User centric, connected – like Google and FB and Twitter i.e. Social media (aka- SOCIAL responsiblity, social entrepreneurial etc)
2. Environmentally conscious – like Whole Foods for real and any number of “greenwashed” corporations that let you decide where you draw the line on what is good for the planet and what is not…(aka – ENVIRONMENT, environmentally aware, from food to home to health care to energy to office recycling)

What is the market price of “sustainability” on Google these days? Pretty cheap according to the Google search below making one wonder why the whining about green being more expensive is really all about? Is there a hidden strategy here? Are you missing a big opportunity? Remember the old school corporate business model is all about competition, deception and misinformation. Make sure you really know your numbers and act accordingly….

What happens when you put the two together? Whether you adopt green or social media as your platform for sustainability – one cannot grow to its full potential without the other. You need to connect to your ideal client, the one that is informed, healthy, educated and empowered by technology, (which means they have BUYING power) in order to communicate your offering.
HINT: the greener, more local and creative it is the longer you will stay in the “most interesting times” game, for if cheap is your only offering you are either buying from or competing with China. Good luck on that front.

Value added is either customer service (SOCIAL MEDIA) or green (QUALITY). Ironically both can be adopted as positions of sustainability for the long-term.

News Flash! – Old media is not where the new consumer lives. At the end of the day this big Q – quantum shift – is all about the consumer, (which includes yourself) — who is “ALWAYS ON”.

Sustainability Search Feb 2011

What is the market cost of key word "sustainabilty?"

Creative mindset/billion dollar thinker Mashup

Map of the creative mind above

Now….about your mindset ….check out this website if you want to try to figure out how your mind set might appear. Then ask your collegue, client, boss, wife, partner or lover to map theirs and see if they are a “match” with yours. Simple eh? oh yeah, baby….just BOGGLES my mind!

How does Google Do it?

I Drove from Toronto to Ottawa and Montreal and back in pursuit of some new business yesterday and listened to the audio book by Jeff Jarvis called “What Would Google Do?”¬†¬† A fascinating listen, 8 beautiful CD’s of mind stimulating knowledge were lined up like delicious chocolate¬†bars beside me on my passenger seat. Each popped into my Yaris CD with ease and slowly played out its message as I drove thru time and space, leaving me craving, for just one more bite of the Google world.¬† They made the drive a breeze while allowing for some deep thoughts on two of my favourite subjects: creativity and business. The Author, Jeff Jarvis’ analyses the new rules that created the success of Google, first their rules and then his own. He then sets about “google-izing” all different kinds of industries by applying these rules to them. Lots of great ideas that can and should be applied to all businesses who want to survive the next decade. He continually speaks about the innovation, transparency and openness of Google.

At one point he mentions what Google looks for in employees…people who think differently and solve problems in different ways…Different at Google, however, means in a manner that is “scientifically rational”.¬† Remember, the Google guys are engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists – geniuses, no doubt, but not artists. I guess that explains why I never got hired by Google when they posted in Toronto. Even though I knew I could create cool versions of the Google word on its homepage and come up with ideas for cool apps the idea of me doing graphics based on passing seasons and different styles, like any good animator.. is just the icing on the cake for Google, the eye candy and way too intuitive … Jarvis says Google does not¬†make any decisions based on “hunches or intuition”,¬†only on what their data reveals. That blows away the energy which surrounds me as a woman and my business -Hidden Ground Inc…and my belief, shared by all great mystics, that the unseen is the most powerful force. Wonder what Larry and Sergey think about the Law of Attraction and Quantum Physics?

Jarvis speaks allot on how the internet is all about relationships and transparency and openness…and it made me think of the female vs. male way of dealing with the world. I remember how, when the internet started up some ten years ago, people spoke about this similarity. Now, we seldom hear about how the internet, if likened to a sex would be decidedly FEMALE.¬† It appears that it is perceived to be open but scientific, open but rational, thereby falling once again, solidly in the domain of the MALE way of thinking, leaving the six sense of the female locked out! And yet, if anything is open is a female:¬† that is in our sexual design.

I was reminded again of the lack of good art and design on the web, with the exception, as Jarvis writes of the simplicity of code and the Google interface, which by the way makes it such a wonderful interface, highly valued, but now typically created by an artist but a coder. Craigslist, it is cited, is ugly but efficient. Just like a good piece of conceptual art, eh?¬† Although it is a bit like comparing a Da Vinci to a Matisse when it comes to Google vs. most other sites, I can see how the modern stripped down sensibility suits the taste of the educated urban user.¬† It is, Jarvis writes, such a relief over the noise of the sites filled with all unsearchable pictures, video and ‘flashy” things….the clutter of text and image…What can I say?¬† I love collage and hence, mash ups. No wonder mash-ups were invented by an animator. There is nothing simple about animation.

McLuhan said that is was the invention of the western alphabet which enabled Armies to achieve organized warfare, issuing proclamations and the like. Sure there is beauty to be found in a single line of text, a single character or word, but it is the organization of text that lead to a new kind of war. A beauty with deadly power. I am reminded of the Egyptian goddess of War: Sekhemet.  Jarvis calls it Google Juice: a new currency of text.

Text and pictures are two different languages. Wish that it were that we still lived with the knowledge of hieroglyphics. That was another time, another culture. How quickly we forget that the visual language is a universal language and not one of the languages of the tower of babble. The visual language is not, alas, the language of the web which, should we visual creative types fail to forget, is in its essence Рalpha-numerical. On the net TEXT rules. I remember when I first encountered the internet the fabulous virtual worlds that I imagined in my mind Рnot a line of text in any of them. How obscure and utterly un-organisable I was. Perhaps this explains why I am so slow to tweet, to blog, to converse. I speak an entirely different language. McLuhan says we are post literate, we no longer read we only scan it.

Ironically, the only thing that defies the logic of Google is APPLE. I spy with my little eye an APPLE!¬† And the apple of my eye is ……

Apple is a closed system ruled by the mad creative genius of one man – Steve Jobs. Jarvis is set straight by someone who tells him that actually Google and Apple are more alike than different. How so he asks? Why because they both share the CREATIVE Factor. That and they would both protect their intellectual property (aka Creative/ IP ) to the death. In the book “The Google Story”¬† published in 2005 by David Vise he writes ” In the age of the specialization of labor, Google secretly assembles each and every PC in its massive network inside secure facilities that are strictly off limits to outsiders”. Never mind the Algorithms behind the actual Page Rank searches. I have beside me a book that I got in the fall of 1999; ten years ago…which is a collection of emails written by European artists entitled READ ME! one email is on search engines…before Google, remember them? he speaks about AltaVista, Lycos, Yahoo…it says

from: Hartmut Winkler Date: Tues 29 Sept, 1998

“Steinberg‚Äôs first finding is that providers keep secret the exact algorithm on which their functioning is based. Since the companies in question are private enterprises and the algorithms are part of their productive assets, the competition, has, above all to be kept at a distance: only very general information is disclosed to the public, the details remain in the dark of a black box.”

A Pandora‚Äôs box perhaps….and so it goes, just like Apple at its core, Google is a closed system. A secret Garden. Nothing much has changed…. there remains a hidden ground even at Google – even in the pure white light of the brilliant minds of scientific rationalism.

Thinking Outside Pandora's box

Thinking Outside Pandora's box