Art is a process of expression.

Here is a slideshow breakdown to help explain its importance in business and life.

Your input makes a difference

Have you ever wondered if your input makes a difference to the company you gave it to?

It does. 

Sometimes the face of an organization is hard to find, but it still surprises me when I tell people that the Squarespace team actually listens to what you have to say and takes real notes. Since 2008, I've sent a number of messages to the support team and have been consistently responded to with a "thanks for bringing this to our attention" or "we'll pass this on to our developers" or "we'll bring this up in our next meeting," and guess what?

They actually do. 

Everyone I've told this to has had a look of surprise and a high-pitched response of, "Really?" And, I understand that surprise.

Have we really gotten to a place where we're in disbelief that an organization can hear us? Are we so keen on the idea that companies are faceless, soulless organizations that we are numb to the truth that organizations are made up of people? And these people might even care about what we have to say? Even *gasp* listen to us at times? Are we really so shocked that they want to know about improvements or suggestions or errors or opportunities? 

If you're an organization that doesn't listen to people who care enough to say something, then you're failing miserably. And if you're a client or customer on the verge of giving feedback, give it. 

Don't nit pick like an asshole, and don't underestimate your words and waste everybody's time by saying something you wouldn't say in person–just be real with it. Say it like you're saying it to a friend. Give the company that benefit of the doubt, and let them give that benefit to you. 

This year, I've learned a lot about friendship–more than I ever have in my life. And, from an organizational standpoint, it's not just about being there in gratitude of service (an extremely important thing I strongly advocate), but also just existing in the world as a person who gives a damn. Just a little bit. Where it's not ever consuming, but is effective.

Like a real friend.

Find Your Muse

When they say, "Find Your Muse," they mean it. 

Coffee isn't one of those things that I just drink to drink. Coffee holds my muse. It flows through me and creates whatever it wants to create. If you'd like to chalk the caffeine up to a sheer chemical surge, then I suggest you do the same with Love.

 

Bloom Where You Are Planted (and Other Shit)

My childhood friend was feeling sad, so I made her this book of things she could do to feel better. It has helped a few of my awesome friends now, and at minimum put a smile on their face. Hopefully it helps you, too.

Please share this shit with your friends who might need it.

 

The Most Successful [Free] Business Marketing Secret of Our Time!

Care. Care more. Care more and you win.

That's it.

----

Thanks to Seth Godin for always reminding me.

Lessons & Other Things (So Far)

The following are Lessons & Other Things (So Far) that I found in an old document while looking for something else. However, I still found them completely relevant. Hopefully some of these serve as reminders to you. Here goes:

  • Too much information can be a bad thing.
  • Hiking is good for you.
  • The sand is beige and the grass is green, and you should have both.
  • Dogs are the best pets on earth.
  • People hide their feelings all the time.
  • Don’t try to save face.
  • Tell the truth and save the hassle.
  • Anything I set up to succeed without me is a good idea.
  • Singing in the car relieves stress.
  • Be kind to people and they’ll be kind to you.
  • Your mom has suffered more than you, because she’s older.
  • Your dad has suffered more than you, because . . . he won’t talk about it.
  • Care more about your unintentional impression than your intentional one.
  • Don’t be sad if they get the wrong impression.
  • Be understanding but pick a side.
  • Things only go gray when you cross a line.
  • Even Tim Ferriss can mess up.
  • Creating patterns out of randomness is overall a good human trait.
  • Eating your feelings can, in fact, be a form of therapy.
  • Kick your own ass.
  • Once you’re passed the point of being tired, keep going. Just kidding, you tried to rationalize something bad for yourself again.
  • OneRepublic is a pretty decent band.
  • If someone you love doesn’t pay attention to you and is by your side, just nudge their leg and fall asleep.
  • Kiss your puppy on the head. It's good for the both of you.
  • Watch movies and feel unproductive in a productive way.
  • Purposely make yourself more creative for your own benefit.
  • Go back on your judgements.
  • Be content or do something else–avoid the middle.
  • Forward useful emails.
  • Make valuable connections for people.
  • Get excited, get disappointed, and refuse to repeat the disappointing part.
  • “Thinkers never sleep, sleepers never think” is not true.
  • Soup still nourishes your soul.

Creating Best-in-Class Service

Great service begins with gratitude.

But what does gratitude begin with?

The ability to see connections.

How does that happen?

By having the proper scope of vision. 

But what gives you the proper scope of vision?

The willingness to See.

And what makes you willing to see?

 

Good question.

 

The Opportunity to Care

The Opportunity to Care

It’s normally a burden. We often wish, how can we do less of this. We sometimes even pray for us to stop doing it, to lessen its harshness, to ease its egging obligation stemming from empathy or need or desire. 

"I Love You" is a Process, and It's Not Just for People

"I Love You" is a Process, and It's Not Just for People

It’s for companies, organizations of all sizes. It’s not cyclical in the way we think about other processes. It works more like a drop of water in a still pond. It shakes things up, and at a time where business seems to be synonymous with cold, hard systems, it gives blood to an organization.

The Fear of Looking Lived

The Fear of Looking Lived

We want things to be pristine, which works great for a model home, but not so much for life.

Does Money Make You?

Does Money Make You?

Everybody knows, I love the personification of business. I love talking about an organizational emotion or feel, its value system, beliefs, culture--all those things that go beyond location but which location also influences. But a lot of businesses (not all) are measured in money. And that got me thinking about measurements. 

February Books of Choice

I'm in the middle of reading some and have yet to begin others. If you've read them, share with me your best take-aways (@tanyamoushi or via email works). If you haven't read them, you can do so now while I'm reading them. If you want notes, highlights, etc. let me know. Sometimes we learn things better by teaching others. That's a fact, actually. Disclaimer: the links below are autoconnected to Amazon Associates. If you live in Phoenix, I recommend a local book store called Changing Hands

The Rain

Someone told me that the greatest thing that ever happened to them was the rain. They said it was the only thing that made them notice the sun. 

The Beginning of Marketing Kindness

To be kind is simply to express the knowledge and conviction of a truth: that among the many varying places which exist, and generations that have come before us; that among the particular, notable time of earth and between the lives that lived before us and those arriving afterwards, it is a significant thing that we exist together, now. And by that virtue, the treatment towards one another, the interactions that naturally abound, will be bearing this fact as the foundation of action. I am compelled to recognize the sameness, and thus can’t help but hold the empathy that dwells mercilessly in me for you. 

Brian ;)

I met a stranger who is not really a stranger anymore. His name was Brian. Well actually, Brian ;) is what his name tag read, and young Brian, 23, helped change my life. Because young Brian was not afraid to be kind to people, to care about his work, to believe in his impact, to make very apparent the correct idea that little things like a winky-face smiley at the end of his name tag could make people smile, and that’s all most people needed on a tough day. 

They buried Brian on my birthday, May 17 [2013] after a hit and run by some white pick-up truck that has yet to be caught. His small interactions continue to make a big difference, even now.

And so do yours, by the way.

  

We have become masters

. . . of distraction.

We must disrupt ourselves. We must mess up the lies we’ve told, we must wreck our fears by throwing them into the abyss. We must run rampant on our comfort, leaving it bewildered behind us. We must detach the untruths--we must discover them first. We must hear the thing we wish not to hear, we must give chance to the thing we hate to watch, we must say the things we cannot say. We must drink the thing we cannot chew and swallow the thing we cannot stomach. We must break the things given to us and put them back together our own way, for it is a sin to do nothing with a gift that has been given to us and yet call it our own. 

We must disrupt everything.

 

The Most Subtle Marketing

Just check out this site. The four-slide pictures are intensely showcasing beautiful scenery with minimal subtle emphasis on the clothes. It's about the environment. the beauty of the place. Whereas most clothing sites want you to see the fabric up close and personal, the model front and center, the outfit perfectly put together, they

just want you to barely notice them.

And that's enough.

2013-05-20_2313.png

Suffering Makes Two Options Available

Option 1: Become bitter. Not a little bitter. Soul-turning, dream-resigning, disbelieving bitter. This can be, depending on the person, the much easier option. It's certainly more straightforward. It's like a switch, you turn off. But for the person whose nature it is to care, this will undoubtedly lead to (you guessed it) more suffering. It seems so easy doesn't it? You hurt?? Stop caring and you'll be fine. Well isn't that the greatest advice you've ever heard. Care, by all means. But don't care to become bitter. Care to become better.  

Option 2: Be creative. Turn it into a creative force. I know that sounds borderline ignorant to the suffering in the first place, but, the truth is that this is the moment you have no shame. This is the moment you have time. This is the moment you have you (whether you like you or not). So do something with you. 

At the end of the day, the people who suffered Hurricane Sandy or a broken heart or a painful mourning (quite sure we each have gone through--or are going through--at least 2/3 of these) who can do something, will do something. I'm pretty sure bitter people don't help re-plant trees in their town.

Just saying.

The Switch to Square: Why Bloggers Should Be Moving Up

Some may call it an elite service, but I've tried wordpress, tumblr, typepad, and blogger, and depending on what you're comfortable with, those may serve you well; however, after exporting my blog three times from those platforms, I'm sticking with SS.

Squarespace, a decidedly beautiful platform for blogging, vlogging, and photographs, has just released it's newest version: SquareSpace 6 which runs parallel to SquareSpace 5 (I use both). So with so many options for bloggers, i.e. wordpress, tumblr, typepad, etc. Why Squarespace? I've been using these guys since 2008 and they are only getting better. Here's a short l list of why I love them:

You're an integral part of a growing company. Some people like this, some people hate it. For me, I thrive on it. What it means to you is that they treat you like an important person, because you are. They take your feedback seriously, and grow and develop with you in mind.

Have a BEAUTIFUL website. Aesthetically speaking, you won't get better. Founder Anthony Casalena has an almost OCD-like quality about him when it comes to making sure their templates and all their customizable features are beautiful. For the designer, you get the perfect design without the code which for me was important.

Mobile-ready for IPhone/Android/Windows. People are reading your blog on their phone a lot of the time. They use services like Pulse (fantastic app) to push content to their device. You don't have to worry how it'll come through whether it's on their browser or through a third-party app; the formatting takes care of itself. 

Easy Import/Export. Trying out other blog services if you get curious is no problem. Your content is always backed up and you can export in XML. Keep in mind, you'll likely return but it's still useful for those who are not yet convinced or have found another platform they're more comfortable with. The import option is just as easy. 

Template Previews and fully customizable. The templates are extremely well designed on their own but the fact that you can fully customize them is better. My favorite feature is that you can switch between templates without the typical select, preview, go back, select another, preview . . . no no no. You can toggle templates with your content AND customize it simultaneously. This is super cool for an admitted nitpicker like me.

In addition,

  • 24/7 honest, helpful support (they are fantastic)
  • Advanced areas for developers
  • Try it free for two weeks and email them for an extension (for up to a month)

Keep in mind that SS5 and SS6 are very different. In my personal opinion, SS6 is great for photographers--stunning even, and for bloggers, either or will work well. Let me know your thoughts once you try it out, why you like another platform more or less, or what your must-have features are in a blogging service.

5 Ways to Kill Your Soul (Don't do it!)

1. Never look in the mirror. If you don't see you, you're not there. It also helps to be a bitch or an asshole to people you don't know because it'll shatter any positive reflection of yourself you might see in them.

2. Let other people make your decisions. This is easiest way you can not exist at all.

3. Do work you don't care about. Get the licenses, pass the tests, sell the stuff, and sit there.

4. Never appreciate anything. God forbid you give gratitude for everyday things like your legs, or music, or your Mom, or the sun.

5. Tell yourself that the things you like doing are not worth doing because you are not worth it even though you love doing them. This makes perfect sense.

Bonus: I hope you see how ridiculous this is. If you've already killed yourself, don't worry. You can be a zombie and come back from the dead. You may be a little screwy, but it's better than being a deadbeat. 

Ps: I love you, live!