We have a great habit of speaking from the heart on this blog, and it’s actually quite freeing. There’s no pressure to create lists of new media tips to drive traffic or to mention the latest trends – Robbin wants us to digest the world around us and write honestly about what we see. And when we do look around, we tend to see things through a more elemental, people-first lens, not a cutting-edge-change lens.
This week, though, I ran across several news items that caught my attention and were fun to think about.
First, the last vehicle to include a traditional cassette deck was a Lexus produced in 2010, meaning (purportedly) that in 2011, there won’t be any new cars produced with tape players (1). I think my dad’s Steely Dan cassettes just started to feel their age, even though they’re not that old.
Second, the hopeful promise of a new platform for publishers, the iPad, didn’t keep steam after generating promising numbers out of the gate. As I’ve mentioned in recent posts, the changes happening are volatile, and adjustment isn’t easy. A few stats gathered by the smart folks over at North (2):
Other publishers are placing bets on a more promising spring as evidenced by the recent release of The Daily, the first “tablet-native national news brand built from the ground up to publish original content exclusively for the iPad.” (3)
Third, online fame is taking a test-run offline through The Digitour (4), a 6-week, nation wide tour featuring musicians made famous through YouTube.
(2) – North has several great articles about the iPad. Here is the piece that I mentioned above.
(3) – You can find the CrunchBase profile of The Daily here.
(4) – And here is The Digitour’s website.
So. You are all getting a book. It’s a galley, so it’s not a hard back. But that makes it even more special in my opinion. Yup. Every. Single. One of you.
Everyone who took time out of their day to respond with ideas to this blog post about our upcoming book release is getting at least one book.
Some of you will get two, five, or ten.
Just because. It was just too freaking hard to make a decision.
We all had to vote.
And so here are the 20 books winners.
2. Bill Handy
4. Jackie Adkins
5. Colby Gergen
Be on the outlook for an email from our rock star of an intern, Elizabeth. She’ll be contacting everyone and asking you for the address where you want your book(s) delivered. And as soon as we get them in our hands, we’ll sign them, kiss them, tell they goodbye and wish them a happy, happy, long and lovely life in your wonderful hands. Do let us know that they arrive safe and sound, will ya?
We’re pretty jazzed around here that this labor of love is going to be on BOOK SHELVES in book stores and online August 30th. And we are really hoping that others will get excited enough to BUY their very own. They can even be pre-ordered here.
Someone recently asked me my dream for this book. So here it is. It’s a big one, but hey it’s my dream.
My dream is that every single person who buys the book Brains on Fire will connect back with us somehow. Share a photo or ideas, or a doodle you’d include on the cover. Hey — even reach out to simply debate with us. Like David Meeram Scott has already done (smiling) when we sent him one to review. (Hey David, you’ll be happy to know we are using your book at a training session next week.)
So yeah, we really want this book to be a conversation tool. And the start of many, many new relationships in the world.
Here’s a peek at what someone we all think very highly of (and she happens to be a crazy cool writer) has to say about it:
“Enter Brains on Fire. It isn’t just a book or a company, itis a collection of real people, with souls and hearts and stories—oh, the stories!—able to offer real advice to anyone who wants to make a movement out of what they do all day. Put down your Powerpoints and ad campaigns, folks. This takes guts and faith and patience, but mostly it takes passion.
Not yours. Your customers. Brains on Fire can help you find it, trust it, and gently blow on the ember until it ignites. It’s not brand management, it’s brand as transformation. You in? There’s a truth that lies deep within the promise of this modern, digital world—that authentic leadership can be released from your customers, and their passion can be fanned into movements that change lives forever. Brains on Fire can help make it true for you. Buy the book.”’
— Ellen McGirt
Senior Writer, Fast Company magazine
Watch for your email from Elizabeth now.
That’s me in Auckland last summer, dreaming that boat behind me was mine.
Warning: This might seem a bit self serving but I love, love this world of ours and had to share this exchange. Stuff like this happens at Brains on Fire all the time. Amazes me. Every. Single. Time.
A friend of mine and I were having dinner the other night (he’s a hopeless romantic). And he was telling me tales of his search for his soul mate. (See, I told you he’s hopelessly romantic.) I laughed and smiled so much my face hurt. Anyway, he was making the point that technology has made it possible to find that one perfect mate in the world. Even if that perfect person with those perfect “must have” traits exists in only .001 of the population and maybe even lives in India. His point:
You can be picky and connect with anyone in the world these days because of technology.
So the other day I got this really cool email from a soul mate of Brains on Fire in New Zealand:
Just firing through a note of thanks…. I love the daily dose of inspiration I get from Brains on Fire.
I almost emailed you after your Searching For Soul and Inspiration posts, but after Lifting Others Up I thought ‘hey, I’ve got to get in touch and say hi from the other side of the world’ (I live in New Zealand).
I tap into Brains on Fire for daily inspiration with my day job (creative director / branding manager) but it’s my passion outside of this that I’m emailing about…. I’m trying to Lift Others Up as well, but those who a re a little closer to the ground (kids). I’ve written a book that springboards off the Virtues Project to try to engage and put relevence into concepts like creativity, integrity, courage, love, joyfulness etc. You do this on an adult level, and do it so well, so I just wanted to drop you a note to say I love what you’re doing.
And my response went like this:
You will never, ever know or understand what this note meant to me. Sometimes the universe sends you just what you need. And this day I need your words of encouragement. I promise to pay it forward. I love, love your beautiful country. I will come back soon. And we’ll meet. If you are ever on the eastern coast of the states, look us up.
Then this last night:
Don’t you just love this connected world of ours. From the far edge of our planet I can reach around to you with a virtual back-rub and a thank-you, then you reach back around to complete the hug. Small world. Magic stuff. I was so pleased to get your reply.
I’m in Christchurch in the South Island, so if you’re ever this way I would love to show you around. I don’t get to the States much and when I do its usually LA where our business partner Phil Keoghan (from The Amazing Race) is based. We’ve launched a range of nutrition bars with him over there. Having said that I was around your way a few years back… just up the road at Hendersonville NC where I was handing over the World’s Biggest Cookie title to Immaculate Baking Co. So I know your patch of the planet is particularly beautiful.
Great to be in touch. It’s made my day. (Oh, and I just LOVE your latest post with Jessica’s daily affirmation… what an awesome way to start the day!)
All the best,
You are not going to believe this! Logan Metcalfe, our CFO was formally with Immaculate Baking Co. Ive copied him on this email. And he’s from New Zealand. Also my friend Roger Dennis is from your town. Do you know him??? Jonathan, can I use this excange as part of a blog post? Would you mind?
And from our newest soul mate:
I’m pretty sure I met briefly Logan when I was there in 2003! It’s this crazy!
I haven’t met Roger (although I’m sure I will after this… I can see his skills being applied to our innovation process).
Yes, absolutely – I’d be more than happy for this exchange to be part of a blog.
I’m still reeling as to how small and connected everything is. Very cool.
It’s Friday. Reach out to a soul mate today. Because you can. We have the technology. Trite point maybe, but something we should never take for granted. Because connecting feels really wonderful… Have a the best weekend EVER.
If you’re a techy, social-media-interested, mobile-device-and-industry-loving type, the last several months have been an infofeast. And I’m sure you’ve been gorging yourself with tasty news-breaks and weekly statements from industry titans.
In the beginning, it restricted the visibility of a user’s personal information to just their friends and their “network” (college or school). Over the past couple of years, the default privacy settings for a Facebook user’s personal information have become more and more permissive. They’ve also changed how your personal information is classified several times, sometimes in a manner that has been confusing for their users. This has largely been part of Facebook’s effort to correlate, publish, and monetize their social graph: a massive database of entities and links that covers everything from where you live to the movies you like and the people you trust.
The issue has brought multiple stakeholders to the table: confused and upset users, marketing thinkers, social media strategists, internet theorists, business and management critics and even the Federal Trade Commission.
Many of these groups have different voices in debate as well. Jennifer Valentino-DeVries (of The Wall Street Journal’s tech arm, Digits) points out that search trends suggest that user consideration of deleting personal accounts has risen sharply in response to the updated privacy policies. One thinker from Wired Magazine’s Epicenter, (Fred Vogelstein,Â thinks that the updated policy could be a good thing – a stepping stone in Facebook’s quest to challenge conventional thinking about internet privacy. Other critics attribute complications to founder Zuckerberg’s youth (see this article from bnet.com). As expected and as before with privacy update problems, the social giant itself has responded to the backlash with apologies and updates (you can read about details from the CEO himself in a Washington Post article). And, asÂ Business Insider notes,Â Zuckerberg’s past (controversial) commentary raises cause for concern.Â Needless to say, it has been very interesting (and fun) to watch the conversation unfold.
Ok, there’s you’re token marketing coverage of Facebook news. Now on to the bigger issue.
Internet privacy opinions, young management critiques, user abandonment and social media theory aside, I think one of the big questions here relates to change and honesty. Let me explain:
As our good friend Dan Heath reminded us at the School of WOM, change is generally hard. Whether it’s good change or bad change (see the plethora of opinions on internet privacy), it’s likely uncomfortable change, especially in the period right after change has occurred. Also, change becomes more difficult when it seems, or actually is, complicated for those undergoing the change. Heath explained that in order to make successful transitions, “people need crystal clear direction that they are going to change.”
Most of the time, some level of change is necessary for any business that wants to remain viable – including Facebook – and that means that a business’s end users are likely going to experience some degree of change at some point in their relationship with that company. And there’s a good chance that it’s going to be uncomfortable to some people, whether it’s good change or not. So how do you navigate change?
The “crystal clear” direction that people need in order to process change. In short, it’s explaining the change, the reasoning behind the change and the consequences of the change to the people that it affects – and communicating those messages before, during and after the change occurs. Not everyone is going to like adjustment, but at least they’ll know exactly why they don’t like it and they’ll have the explanation directly from the source/cause of the transition.
Facebook effected a change that they knew would be controversial and difficult for users (this isn’t their first privacy rodeo), many of whom found out about the consequential modifications from sources other than Facebook. Users also had to seek third-party guides on how to properly handle their personal information after the change.Â Facebook did respond with admittance of mistakes as well as updates to their web service, but they came as a result of heated backlash from the community.
Pushing changes that cause people confusion and force them to seek other sources for clarity isn’t just a bad idea for Facebook and internet privacy, it’s a bad idea for any business making necessary transitions that have consequences for their customers.
We know that honesty is always the best policy, but nowhere is this more true for a business than in their ability to navigate the waters of change.
I’m super excited to introduce you to our newest member of the Brains on Fire tribe, Logan Metcalfe. So jazzed in fact that I am introducing him before we even have a chance to get his bio on our website. I’ve always found this position to be critical to a growing company. As many of you who run companies know, this is a position that requires enormous trust and mutual respect.
We found him on Twitter.
Yup. Remember that tweet looking for a super cool, social media savvy CFO type? Lots of you were skeptical. But we found him. Or the the universe helped us find each other.
He actually attended our FIRE session last year. Funny thing about that universe of ours, it always sends you just what you need — when you need it.
Anyway, Logan comes to us by way of New Zealand (one of my favorite places on the planet). He came to states to join Booz Allen, then went to work for a friend of ours at Immaculate Baking for the last 5 1/2 years. They are now based in Boston instead of Greenvegas, hence the career move. And get this, he and his wife raise chickens — in the city. Yup.
So here’s what Logan has to say about his decision to join Brains on Fire:
“There are too many organizations in the world with blah, blah identities that fail to connect with the people around them. Brains on Fire is changing this one organization at a time – working with clients to create inspired identities and igniting movements of passionate fans. I’m super excited to join this tribe of talented, creative individuals and, in my own little way, help them change the world.”
A man of few words. But he know his numbers.
So, drop in and say hello, will ya?