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.


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!

You Are All Marketing


People think that marketing is just for a business. People are wrong. 

Your whole life is marketing. Everything you do from the food you choose to eat to the place you live to the people you're friends with to the beer you drink to the things you watch happen are all marketing. It's not uncommon for people not to watch you. Sure, everybody's got their own privacy, but people see the things you do (Moms especially). And more importantly, people see the things you don't do.

This last point scared me. If I stand back and do nothing, or do something comfortable, or settle in a way that I don't really want to but have chosen to, people will see that. And not everyone who sees that will say "Ope, that's me too! I'm gonna do the same thing!" but they might for a second think, maybe I should settle too.

Or, maybe I shouldn't say anything if my friend is cheating on his girlfriend. Not my place.

Or, maybe I should get an MBA to market myself better even though I have no idea what I want to do.

Or, maybe I should spend 4 hours watching this show instead of doing what I love because what I love to do is too hard, like paint or write or develop a small business or learn French.

It scares the hell out of me to know that I may be influencing something I don't want for others. "Listen, you're not that important," somebody might say, and they may be absolutely correct. Or absolutely incorrect. 

I won't take the chance.

Food Choices and an Alaskan Fisherman

I love fried mushrooms and wings (and I always, always will) but being recently inspired by "Forks Over Knifes," and my friend Alex's book recommendation, "The Omnivore's Dilemma," I'm finding that the food we eat needs to be dumbed down for our own sake. This is not a hippie rant or persuasive essay, but it is more of a freak-out realization encompassing what the hell are we eating and what is it doing to me? Because my diet has consisted maybe 30% (if I'm lucky) of foods that I can properly define, I'm starting simple: more whole veggies, less meat and dairy, less canned anything. Not cold turkey. Nothing radical. Just a serious effort to pay attention to food. 

Farmer's Markets are becoming a heavy trend (one movement was featured on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine this month), and it's been one that I'll admit, I didn't pay too much attention to in the beginning. After a couple years however, it's easy to see that this isn't going away soon. The wave of books and media documenting food choices are exploding, but before you believe anything that's written in a book or showed in a movie or printed in a white paper, skim through this TED talk: 


Now that you're up to speed, I want you to know that I'll be taking note of good ideas, interesting finds, recipes, and inspiring people in the food world. Not often, but you'll see a few posts in the future. Now I don't expect this to take effect immediately, you won't run out now to pick oranges off your neighbor's yard (Jess you know what I'm talking about), but like most things in life, when it makes sense for you, it'll happen.

Seth Godin says, "You're only poor if you don't have a choice." If you've got that choice, take advantage of it. Lots of people don't. 

FEATURED: Guys like Cedar Mulligan who I recently met at a Glendale, Arizona Farmer's Market is not just an adorablely nice human being, his whole family is made up of Alaskan fisherman. They flash-freeze and sell the heck out of their wild catches (king salmon, halibut, rockfish, etc.)--tell him you're on a budget and he'll recommend a good bang for your buck.

PS: It's kind of funny how we're circling around when it comes to food. Moved from handmade/hand-caught/hand-picked to machine-manufactured/genetically-altered/mass-produced and now we're trending back to the beginning. Life's interesting like that.

15 Best Places on the Web for Entrepreneurs (and Rules for the Wantrepreneur)

First, the Rules (if you're in a rush, read the bold):
Get out of the bathroom. i.e. stop hiding.
I’m a huge introvert, which in the business world has a funny, sort of negative connotation to it (you don’t want to meet people all day every day?!) Ehh. Meeting new and interesting people is great, but it isn’t my sole mission. What I’ve learned is that being subconsciously scared of meeting people will screw you. In my graduate Philosophy work, there’s a theory that talks about why we like to be alone or not really mix with people, and it’s because people have the ability to mirror ourselves—and we hate that—especially if we don’t like what we see in them. [Interesting right?! Let me know if you want more on that].

Don't underestimate what people want. The point is to see what floats. You can gauge interest by sharing your ideas with others (see The Body Language Handbook) or even playing with it online. This is the biggest mistake I think I’ve made thus far. If I don’t pay for something, it doesn’t mean that somebody else wouldn’t pay for it. If I’m a Squarespace pro, I’m not gonna buy a book on learning Squarespace—but some people will! Because they’re not pros! You’re a master at some things and not others; understand that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and see where you can help.
Experiment, Experiment, Experiment—don’t’ feel like you have to sell now or die.
If Seth Godin says ship, Ship! But not on blind faith. If there’s one thing I’ve learned (the hard way), it’s that you need to find a balance between research and ready-to-launch. There are so many ways to experiment nowadays to see if your product or service is even viable. If you’re not sure, experiment. Don’t throw your life savings at it and say “I command you to work!” Experiment, scientist.
Be Humorous and a Good Person. I know I’m asking a lot of you here (not) and you’re probably an amazing person anyway (reading this blog, right?) but it’s just a reminder. No matter how ridiculous the rest of the world feels around you at times, there’s no reason to give in to the fact that you can be an asshole. You’re well above that my friend.
Now the 15 Best Places on the Web for Entrepreneurs (categorized):

Manufacturing: Alibaba.com

Market Research: Google Trends or Google Insights, Facebook ads (create it for free and just delete it at the end),

Keywords and SEO: Google Adwords (Google "adwords promo" and get $75 bucks free)

Motivation: Seth Godin’s Blog, Hugh Macleod’s Cartoons, FourHourBlog.com

Interviews: Mixergy.com, Foundation.bz  (these are a bit long but check out ones you like)

Web Design: Squarespace.com (I use this to test out many, many sites), Unbounce.com (professional i.e. not-cheesy landing pages)

Fun Downtime: Diggnation.com (new episodes every Wednesday)

Learn something: Mahalo.com (AMAZING for fun guitar songs and learning all kinds of stuff), DailyGrape.com (Guy Vaynerchuck is a great guy and wine is the shiznit), TheNewBoston.com (best coding tutorials on the web—if you’re into that sort of thing)

That's it! Those are my top sites for new and established Entrepreneurs. Now go kick ass. 

Got something to add? Feel free to share it in the comments below. 

Love, Waiting, and Time Wasting

Waiting for the Wind (Livingworld.net)

I was thinking actually about my position. And I was thinking, actually, about love. Love knows no gender, no particular role, no status. It isn't fluff or fond of "stuff" or bullshit. It's honest--the real kind that is--and it's interesting. 

I'm not quite sure what spurred the topic of this post, but I think it has something to do with waiting for love and/or waiting for something to happen. "You can't start until . . ." is stupid. Life isn't a waiting game, unless you treat it that way. So all the things you want to do, all the places you want to see, all the potential possibilities that you want to realize, realize them. Don't wait for anything. 

Love, God, family, friends, business partners. 

The way the world works is that all those necessary components, well they come as you're moving along. You'll bring them then. Not before.

Deal with it.

Future of the Book

This is the coolest thing I've ever seen. It's IDEO's version of the Future of the Book.

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

Should I Hire a Web Designer or Not?

I'm going to make this super-easy for you. It all depends on your project, right? So break down your project. Answer these questions to figure out if you should hire a designer or not:

  1. How motivated am I to learn to design my own website? (be honest because it may take 2 hours to figure out how to position a banner ad) and is it intrinsically worth it for me to learn this (i.e. will I use it again/is it good for me to know)?
  2. Is this going to be a user-interactive site (i.e. game, social network) or it information/content-only (i.e. blog, business information site, FAQ, reviews)?
  3. Am I willing to spend more than $5000 on this? (obviously some designers will work for less, but let's be serious, if you're thinking about hiring a designer, it better be because you believe it's going to be worth this much)

If you answered not motivated at all, a user-interactive site, and yes I'm willing to spend 5K, then Elance or Sortfolio is a good answer to help you find an independent web designer. 

Otherwise, Squarespace is the best thing I'd found so far for beautiful web sites. There's a ton you can do with the basic platform (if pricing is an issue), and if you want to insert code, easy. Or have no clue what "code" is, you can still make an awesome site. You can get a free trial here

Good luck with your site, and feel free to leave a comment or send over an email if you have any questions. I've got a lot of tips on tools to use for things like newsletters, video help, software, code clips, more tools used by professional bloggers, vloggers.

Deciding What Matters on Making a Living

I'm pretty confident we're all overwhelmed. We're in a stage where tables are turning: people are doing things for themselves instead of depending on big institution to do things for them. There are fantastic companies out there who help their employees with personal career goals (+10 points for them), but we still have to choose what to do. You've gotta understand something. We live in a world now (this is specific to developed countries btw) in which there is literally nothing you can't learn to do--if you want. Guess what the key phrase was in there. If you want. We're having trouble deciding what to do and where to go, and sometimes we just take what's in front of us, what's given to us. Don't do that. At least don't do it blindly. The best way to know what direction to go is to stop and decide what matters to you. 

Get your personal guidelines and move in that direction. 

Keep in mind, you can stop, evaluate, and adjust what you want at anytime. That's the beauty of life.

Note: sometimes things will be tossed your way, throwing you off the path. Trust it for 5 seconds will you? You can't complain every time something doesn't go your way. Trust that you are a creative enough person to make it work. 

Thanks to Seth Godin for this amazing post:

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

The end of the industrial era is opening countless doors. So many doors, in fact, that it's easy to become paralyzed. Without a clear understanding of what you want, it's harder than ever to get it.

Most of the time, we treat our careers like a buffet. "Show me what's available and then I'll decide..."

With the revolution going on all around us, there's so much on the buffet you're likely to just grab something convenient. Better, I think, to decide what matters first, and go do that.

Favorite Excerpts of Chris Sacca on FOUNDATION

Chris Sacca took out student loans, day traded most of the money, went to law school, and when the market blew up, found himself in a 2-Million dollar hole.

He made up an advisory group and worked psychology in his favor.

Chris talk's about how important it was for him to be helpful.

These are just a couple great clips. You can see the whole episode on Foundation, a relatively new show by Kevin Rose on Revision3.com.

Serious Talent in the Creative World: Videography

I came across a company, Artwerk.ca, that seriously impressed me. Some people are gonna ask me, why are you putting a random video on your blog? It's because great talent needs to be recognized. Discovered them after watching diggnation (great, funny show) and saw their name in the credits. For those that know me, I obviously dug a bit deeper to learn more about the background scheming that goes on to make things happen. Since that is, of course, my favorite place to be: the background.

This is a Macro Video done exceptionally well. WARNING: causes trance.

Crop Dusting from Artwerk Media on Vimeo.

Seth Godin on Your Business' Advertising Ideas

Everyone knows how much I love small business. I'm fascinated by it and by the people involved in it. They've got guts, they put themselves out there, they try hard (most of them). This will help you realize how incorrectly you've been thinking about your business and your marketing. Thank you Seth and Yahoo for this seriously special interview.

Gary Vaynerchuk on Buying the NY Jets

This is the man behind DailyGrape.com (he will teach you about wine). I thought this was so adorable, and so humble, it had to be shared. Things like this are so meaningful to us in our lives--it's just, awesome. No other way to say it. 

Try out Google+ Free Invite

Ohhhhh the Circles feature is so awesome. Instead of Facebook Friends, Circles lets you separate people in specific categories (i.e. friends, coworkers, family, basketball friends, etc.). It's still in Beta so, give it a break if it's buggy, but if you need an invite let me know. 

Best 2011 Invite-Only Websites and Tools

The following are, as of July 23rd, 2011, awesome invite-only websites/tools:

1. Spotify. This site/tool came from awesome GB (Great Britain). I literally just downloaded the little application, but so far, it has had outstanding reviews. Very exciting. AND I found you a link so that you can skip the invite without paying for the premium or unlimited service. Here you go, thank these guys (Ars Technica) for being awesome and providing the link: Spotify Free Invite.


2. Google+ If you were lucky enough to get in before they outdid themselves, congratulations lucky duck. Even us with invites have to wait it out now. My favorite thing about Google+ so far? Circles. There are certain people you love professionally, people you're comfortable saying momma-jokes to, and yet other people who love talking food. Different people for different things! Finally a good way to segregate things (in a good way)!


3. Pinterest. If you're a visual person, holy crap is this for you. It's a visual collection of "pins" that you pin up on boards and share with followers. There is a "Pin-it" extension you can use on your browser to skim through the site your own and find pictures, then you pick what you wanna post. That simple. Some pinners are immensely creative; it's inspiration for the eyes. If you want a free invite just leave a comment below with your email address. 


The Artist's Suffering

Kim ScafuroThe Artist suffers from something: deciding what she will do before she does it. There's a very common problem in having to say what you will do before getting it done, and if you have trouble articulating what it is you want to do, well, then you're stuck in a stage of unproductiveness--stuck in queue that is--a bottleneck in the workflow process, a rock that refuses to budge.

You've got to be creative to lift this. You've got to trick yourself into doing work. You've gotta sit your ass down and write down words, boil the vegetables, sketch out the nose. You've got to actually do something--forget saying what it is you're doing, people will figure it out on their own. Give them some credit! 

Belief helps create fact