Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I recognize these Blog posts

have about as much appeal as a Facebook update. Work is full on and I was on the computer all day today.

More tomorrow!

Monday, May 24, 2010


Another eventful day...

Jury duty was deferred...
My Mercer prohect is in FULL swing...
And I haven't JOGGED today.

I will tomorrow. Jog, that is. I hear its supposed to be wild...

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I cooked again...surely, a record!

And I went food shopping...and not at Duane Reade!

I know these posts are lame and short...more this week when the dust settles a bit.


Saturday, May 22, 2010


Hmmm...today was a long day.

I can't go into details just yet, but some big plans were switched up so I found myself without any free time until right now. And all I want to do is go to sleep.

But I still need to get in something healthy...

So I thought of a Geneen Roth article I've been meaning to read and now I will make it my bedtime reading.

Sweet dreams!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day # 2

I know it's late,
I know you're weary,
I know your plans don't include me...

So feel free to skip this post! :-)

My healthy act today was COOKING! Actually, I was more like a sous chef thanks to Amanda. We had a recipe called Brown 'Not Exactly Fried Rice’ With Chicken and Broccoli .

I have long said I want to learn to cook...could I be making good on that plan? Hope so!



ps - Thank you Tony...one of my goals is to get fit enough to go on a Rockland adventure with you. Dusty, your messages always brighten my day! And Connie, your ideas are awesome...thanks for being you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Streak - Day # 1

I remember bragging to a friend about someone who lost a considerable amount of weight. Before this friend let me wax lyrical about this weight loss triumph, she asked me to take a moment and give equal pause for the effort it took to reach such a substantial starting weight. It was a joke of sorts, but the idea has stuck with me.

Gaining weight takes a lot of effort. I mean, it doesn’t happen overnight. I should know. I have been there. I have done that. Time and again.

Few people ask you for the secrets to gaining weight. There are many. And perhaps they are even as complex as the steps involved in losing weight.

My friend Dusty threw down the gauntlet in her Blog. She is a streaker. Dusty runs every day without fail. She challenged her friends to make their own daily commitment. I have tried this before and had some moderate success before puttering out.

So I am accepting Dusty’s challenge and preparing to become a streaker again. My daily commitment is to post to this Blog every day.

My topic will be weight…loss, gain, maintenance…whatever suits the given day.

My motivation is to turn my health around. My current weight is 207 pounds. I have gained 40 pounds since this time last year. The weight gain has wreaked havoc on my wardrobe (really, the plus-size clothing industry is in need of a serious overhaul), my dating life and it is starting to endanger my health.

I really appreciate the opportunity to share on this Blog. I hope it inspires me to maintain an integrity about honoring my health and finding a way to the fit and wonderful life that I know is waiting in the wings.

More tomorrow…

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Growing up, one of my favorite books was CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN. I delighted in this tale of a father who was an efficiency expert, and the silly and inventive things he had his twelve children do in the name of efficiency. They listened to records with dialogue in various languages so they could pick up a new tongue. As they fell asleep each night, they glimpsed at the stars of the universe (the glow-in-the dark stickers their Dad had placed on the ceilings of their bedrooms). And no matter what they were doing, they dropped everything and ran to attention when their dad blew a whistle, lining up in age order. A prize was often awarded to the child who showed up first. Time was not to be wasted and learning was everything.

My admiration for efficiency, invention and continuous learning hasn’t paled as I’ve grown older. I spent nearly a decade working at a consulting firm, reveling in the ways that colleagues would come up with to better serve the client. And I was ecstatic when those ways represented less work for us or better yet, someone found an automated solution.

But there was a dark side to my fascination. I was pulled in by the creation of the process, but my interested waned when the process needed to be repeated day in and day out. I won’t forget some feedback I received at a year-end review. It was along these lines:

Colleen is like a butterfly. She gains strength and grows as the project plan comes together, but once things come together and the maintenance phase begins, she tends to flutter away.

Hmmm, fair enough. An honest observation, I thought to myself, as the feedback was shared with me.

So fast forward to current day… Today, I received a message from friend Dusty. I rely on Dusty to help me think in a way that is different from my instinct. I am sure she would agree that she and I have a very different approach to life, but the interesting thing is that we share many of the same goals. And Dusty is efficient as the day is long. So it’s not hard to imagine that studying Dusty’s habits became something I was drawn to doing as our friendship grew.

Dusty is a Teton Valley athlete through and through. She was a downhill mountain biker (crazy sport…talk about gutsy) and she is now a very accomplished ultrarunner and triathlete. She is a trail runner, but in the name of diligence, she will run on her treadmill in her garage even when temperatures drop precipitously low (it is snow country, after all) and the roads have become impassable. And she hates doing that. But she does. Run indoors on a treadmill, that is.

Dusty trains with dedication and efficiency and there are no junk miles. She studies the sport…intently. Today, she had me thinking about an ultrarunner David Goggins, who maintains a blog at: http://www.davidgoggins.com/blog.html

The post I read today was published by David on Thursday, March 11, 2010 and is entitled GET BACK UP.

David is renowned for his athletic feats. As I read his blog post, I discovered some astonishing things. These revelations included a frank admission that he hates running. And biking and swimming, too, while you’re at it. What???

I was crestfallen. I have always maintained we should PLAY sports. We should find 90% of training to be joyful. We should expect challenge, but we have earned the right by our training dedication to expect some natural things to result from these efforts…including wonderful friendships, lots of laughs and a smile at the end of most work-outs.

But David states his case squarely:

Nine times out of ten, you are alone. Alone in your mind, alone at your desk, alone in your wants and needs. People are not going to understand your goals because they have separate goals. It's not easy to do things alone. You must deviate from the crowd. This is why it is easier to go for a run with people. It's much easier when you know that someone is out there suffering with you. You can't look over and see that when you are suffering alone. But let me tell you... you are alone. You are alone when you cross the finish line, you are alone when you do extra miles, you are alone when you don't get the promotion at work. You are alone. When you can learn to deal with being alone and not depend on the support of others, you become a stronger human being. I have always been alone in the things I've done. You have to expect failure, if you don't when it comes your way, you will not be able to get back up.

David goes on to share that it is choosing the hard way that has gotten him to where he is today.
So where am I going with this all? Dusty and David have unknowingly given me a challenge.

Today, I am choosing the hard way. It goes against my every morsel, my every fiber. I live on creating synergies, combining tasks, adding friends into the mix to get ‘ir done. Not today. Today, I am going it alone.

I am channeling David’s observations and Dusty’s focus and I am giving it a try.

And I hope this post might give you a little food for thought and challenge you to look at something a little differently today.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Organizing for Digital and Social Media: Metrics, Structure, Culture
Friday, March 26, 2010 from 8:30 AM - 1:00 PM (ET)
NYU Stern School of Business

The conference was hosted by L2 (LuxuryLab), a think tank for prestige brands.

Event Description
As prestige brands scramble to shift resources from traditional marketing to new media initiatives, they are forced to confront a number of questions:

• How to set digital goals?

• Where does social media sit in the org chart?

• When to use new forms of data to drive decision making?

• How to measure and incentivize success?

• How to leverage digital resources across multiple brands and business functions?

Through insight, best practices and discussions, the Organizing for Digital and Social Media Clinic will address these tough but important questions and provide actionable tactics to adapt within your company.

Agenda Recap
Presenters’ Biographies

Presenters addressed the group for 20-30 minutes each. I found their presentations very helpful and I am happy to share some of the highlights with you.

Condé Nast Digital, President
Topic: From Print to Digital

Sarah kicked off her presentation by showing us a screenshot of the homepage of the first website that Condé Nast launched, back in 1995 or 1996, called Epicurious Food. This marked a risky entrance into digital media, as all statistics at the time pointed to the fact that website visitors were primarily men and here was a site devoted to an audience seeking recipes and food prep tips. The gamble paid off, and Sarah commented that they still have many of the people who signed up to be part of their Forum discussions back then as frequent visitors today. These individuals, the ideal brand ambassadors, are often the people who educate new Forum members about the “rules” of contributing to the Forum.

Moving to current day, Sarah shared that Condé Nast now has 1.6 million users of the iPhone app of Epicurean recipes. These high numbers show reach and vitality. Sarah explained how the quality of images and technology of Mac products have helped share the “delicious” content of Condé Nast. Her team is gearing up for the iPad, which holds promise to be an excellent way to deliver Condé Nast’s digital content.

Sarah offered some interesting feedback about site visitor’s behavior and how that behavior has influenced Condé Nast’s digital media strategy. They have learned that visitors actually like the ads included in the online versions of their magazines. And online ads offer great opportunities for conversion, including the ability to click through to order products. The concept of shoppable advertising and shoppable content is one that is becoming increasingly meaningful in the luxury goods space.

Sarah explained that Condé Nast typically does not post an article in full, except when they anticipate very significant interest in a piece. GQ’s article about John Edwards’ mistress Rielle Hunter represents an example of an article published in full online, including a photo montage. I really appreciated Sarah’s candor in sharing that when they get significant site traffic, she is thrilled but also concerned that the site is able to withstand the volume…a dilemma I am sure many digital marketing departments face.

Coach, SVP Global Web & Digital Media
Topic: From Bricks to Clicks

David has been with Coach since 1998 and has been promoted to roles of increasing responsibility. His current title is Senior Vice President of Global Web and Digital Media.

David acknowledged that Coach’s website has become the company’s most effective marketing vehicle. He offered insight into how the marketing budget is divided between traditional and digital media campaigns. For the launch of Coach’s Poppy line, 10% of the marketing spend was earmarked for digital media, which bought the campaign a mini site with a unique URL. David noted that people who visited the mini site converted two times more than those who visited via coach.com

In David’s leadership role, he said the question he is pondering with his team is how they most effectively chart the next six months to a year. They are mining for the next big idea, the next big thing for Coach. His fear is that they are moving too fast, and his criticism is that they are moving too slow. David keeps on the pulse of digital media by subscribing to the Blogs of Seth Godin and Erik Qualman, as well as the daily emails from L2. Visit http://l2thinktank.com/ to receive L2 Daily Digest emails.

David also explained how they have reached out to the Blogging community. About a year ago, Coach hosted twelve Bloggers. This allowed David to form some impression of the bloggers which included that they were genuine, not to be influenced by swag, and to be treated as another editor.

Blog activity inspired David’s group to sponsor the Coach Holiday Blog-a-Day. Thirty bloggers were asked to write about their favorite Bag or a bag they would wear to an upcoming holiday party for the month leading up to Christmas. The event was kicked off by a girl named Blaire, who posted a vlog 40,000 people came the first day it was posted to view Blaire’s 8 minute Poppy video.

Topic: The Impact of Digital on Luxury Strategy & Operations

Professor Novak began her presentation with a generous offer. She said that if you’re using social media tools, this presentation would cover what you need to do to use them well. Game on, I thought to myself. She had great insight on the need to focus on what's available to sell AT THE MOMENT of consumer excitement.

Professor Novak explained how social media allows you to microfocus on the devotees of your brand. It also creates a need. You need to reward these loyalists with something special. The expectations challenge becomes, “Can we deliver on that expectation of reward?”

Now that social media is featuring things like recording of runway shows featuring clothing and products that will not hit the market for many months, the digital marketer needs to ask themselves, “What is available to sell at the moment of consumer excitement?” Ultimately, you want to turn excitement into sales. The trick becomes determining how you can satisfy your customers’ impulse to shop…immediately. And this means that marketing needs to be in lock step with operations. Social media outreach and operations need to communicate to manage expectations.

Professor Novak stressed the importance of synching inventory & availability with editorial. She cited an example of a company where marketers were doing a great job, but inventory counts were continually outdated. Customers were becoming infuriated by ordering items online only to receive an email a week or two later offering an apology and explanation that their order could not be fulfilled. The item or items were out-of-stock.

Professor Novak pointed out that there is a distinct social media advantage for larger scale companies. Those companies can afford to make an investment in advance of social media outreach (e.g. they can bolster their inventory to meet an anticipated demand). For companies without such means, some creative alternatives were recommended including offering a promotion as a limited edition and announcing the quantity in advance.

Professor Novak shared how she has seen companies use Twitter:
· For customer service
· Announce new product launch
· An operations opportunity (as Danielle of L2 explained in her Tweet, there is an opportunity to create real time demand at specific stores looking to clear inventory)

NYU Stern, Associate Professor of Management & Organizations
Case Study: DeBeers

I have to admit that I did not read the Harvard Business School Case Study in advance of this session, but now I definitely will. Presented by Professor Marciano, I was quickly captivated by her winning lecture style. So much so, she has me thinking about what it would be like to go back to school.

Professor Marciano explained (in a cool, Socratic style) that Tiffany’s makes their profit on trust. In effect, they monetize their reputation.

Beyond the direct application of the HBS case, Professor Marciano reminded us that you have to be able to do something that others can’t. She challenged us to answer the question, “What social problem are you addressing?” and “What valuable ability do you have to bring to bear on the solution?”

Great food for thought…

phd Network, EVP, U.S. Director of Digital
Topic: Measuring Digital ROI

Lance took us through some of the changes that are occurring and posed what I found to be a vexing question: “Are we producers or distributors?”

For example, he explained 3-D printing. He explained how there are possibilities I had never imagined before. Could a 3-D printer with silver ink really allow us to build electronic components from home? Cool. And could batteries be improving so much that soon we’ll only have to charge our phones only once every two weeks? Cool again.

I appreciated Lance’s knowledge of digital developments and the way he challenged us to consider, “How is your knowledge of your audience improving over time?” And he was sure to add the disclaimer that we need to consider privacy concerns as we forge ahead. Appreciate that warning, Lance. I think it warrants a lot of thought and consideration.

Halogen, CEO
Topic: Hire a Nerd

Greg’s presentation was short and to the point. He said, “Hire a nerd!” Why? Well, for starters, thenerd can help you find a way to get at your own cookies. The risk is that if you let say, Google, collect your audience data, they will own it.

L2 (LuxuryLab)
Topic: Who Is Doing This Well

Maureen recognized the MAC artists as a great public relations effort.

She also called our attention to IKEA’s use of Facebook for a store opening in Denmark. Brilliant! Here’s a recap from IKEA

L2 (LuxuryLab), Founder
Case Study: Professor Gone Wild: The inadvertent viral spread of a professor/student exchange

I loved that Professor Galloway addressed this circumstance directly.

An email he exchanged with a student that arrived late to his class has become an Internet sensation. For full details, visit: Don't be late for Scott's class! A Professor's Diatribe ... Set To Music : NPR

We discussed why certain items go viral. We joked that its typically safe to think that if legal approves it, it won’t go viral! So here was the recipe for Viral that was offered:

Viral Recipe:
Authenticity (perhaps with a sense of titillation, voyeurism, it was not originally meant for your eyes)
Social Debate (controversy)

Professor Galloway also shared that at the height of this controversy, he was receiving an average of one email every 11 seconds…if my math is correct, that’s over 7,000 emails a day.

And still, Professor Galloway saw fit to respond to my email to him last week in less than 24 hours. I inquired about the conference and he graciously responded. So, thanks for that Professor Galloway!

And thanks also for setting a tone of respect at yesterday's clinic. I have been attending many conferences and networking sessions of late, and I would say that the audience at yesterday’s clinic was by far the most captivated and respectful, aware of the contribution of each presenter and their fellow clinic participants.

Key Learnings
As someone who has begun working with individuals to build their unique personal brands, I found it so interesting to learn that 25% of search results for the largest brands are links to user-generated content. That is a significant shift in control of the message from the past. Scary? Yes. Powerful? Without a doubt.

And so I say, “Walk into the fear”. Because if you compare controlled messaging versus authentic messaging, it is easy to see that the latter is what really represents the potential to be transformational.

What a great day of learning! Great job L2 (Luxury Lab)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Adult Education

It has been awhile since I have written on this Blog, so I thought I’d check in.

Life has changed a lot for me over the past six months and I am excited to see what lies ahead and grateful for the experiences that form my wake. I am back in New York, and while I miss the Tetons and the amazing people I met in many different ways, I feel really energized by my surroundings right now.

I have primarily written about my athletic interests on this Blog and I will again…starting next Monday (Feb 22nd) when I start training for the Lake Placid Marathon. I am calling the program ‘Kickin’ It, Old School’, details to follow!

One of the things contributing to my energy these days is the availability of presentations and panel discussions on an incredible variety of topics. I always dreamed of getting a PhD in Adult Education…to take in-depth classes on Calligraphy, on Tennis as played on the old gymnasium wood floors, on constructing a gingerbread house just in time for the holidays, etc.

Since I am not aware of such an institution that offers this course of studies, I have been left to my own devices. To that end, I find courses and camps and races all over the world to further my education experience. My brother assures me that I embody the definition of a dilettante. Nice…but true…

My latest interest is in learning about digital media, advertising and marketing. And NYC is such a great place to pursue this interest right now. There are so many meet-ups, presentations, lectures, and panel discussions that it feels like I could attend a different one every night. In fact, in the New Year alone, I have already attended these meetings:

Friday, January 15: Seth Godin’s Book Launch for Linchpin
Seth Godin is a prolific writer who teaches us about “marketing, branding and the business of being engaged”. It was great to hear directly from Seth, and it was fun to hear him mention two people who have influenced my own thinking over the years.

He spoke of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. Back in 2006, that book was one of the main motivators for encouraging me to quit my corporate job and take a chance and move out to the Wild West. After I finish this Blog post, I am going to watch Elizabeth’s 2009 TED Talk on Nurturing Creativity

Seth also mentioned Benjamin Zander’s own story of how he had guaranteed all of his music students an A in the class if they wrote down on the first day of class what they would commit to do throughout this semester to earn the A. Seth embraced the story, but flipped it to encourage us to consider our grade, as a foregone conclusion, to be a D. Scandalous was my first reaction (I mean, who wants a D?), but his point was that in embracing failure, we are free to truly create art without fear of failure. I’ll have to think about that one a little more…

Tuesday, Feb 2: NY Tech Meet-Up
Described as a ‘Rally for the Future’, this evening was moderated by Meetup’s founder, Scott Heiferman. Scott kicked off the night with these questions:
* What is the future of NYC technology companies?
* Are we here to service the old gatekeepers?
* Or are we going to build new companies that empower people to do great things?

This led into presentations by a number of people with companies that are looking to make a difference in the quality of people’s lives. It was great to hear all the presentations…particularly Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of Acumen Fund.

Saturday, Feb 6: NYC Crisis Camp
This was an awesome day! A group of technologists looking to provide Haiti Relief meet in SoHo to see where we could pitch in. The group has been working at a feverish pace since the earthquake hit and it was a privilege to volunteer just a little bit.

I spent my time working with a group called the Waveplace Foundation. As I learned that day, the kids who survived the terrible earthquake remain frightened and looking for things to do.

The Waveplace Foundation is going to be heading to Haiti in 2 weeks, and distributing 500 laptops. More information at: http://www.waveplace.com/

Tuesday, Feb 16: Why Web Standards & Lessons from Advertising Metrics and Data Collection Matter
Standards can be a pain in the ass. And discussion of ‘standards’ typically leads to other fun topics…like ‘compliance’. Oh, fun…

And yet, I was really engaged by this topic when I attended a presentation given by Greg Stuart, former CEO of the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). Greg presented a case study and walked us through the challenges, the pain and the ultimate rewards that resulted from creating an Ad Impression standard.

He shared a quote I hadn’t heard before, but one that describes the motivation for a lot of changes in my own life…you, too?

We didn’t change because we saw the light…
We changed because we felt the heat.

Good Night & Good Luck! I’ll be in touch again soon.


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