Monday, November 29, 2010

Mirroring People

In a recent episode of the Manager Tools podcast, they mentioned adopting the communication style of the other person to be perceived as a better communicator yourself. This is great advice I've had personal experience with, so I'm passing it on to others for their benefit.

This requires a basic understanding of the DiSC personality profile. It is a 2x2 matrix; one axis is people vs. task, and the other is assertive vs. reserved. Those 4 quadrants represent the Dominant, Influence, Steady and Conscientious personalities. (I'm a photographer, love working with information and have my degree in psychology, so as a typical High C my tendency is to stay quiet and observe while collecting more data.)

After a few years of using and loving this tool, what I really liked was their recent quick identification trick. Instead of observing people over time, listening for who vs. what questions & comments, there was a way to figure out in under a minute which quadrant they likely fit in. Step 1) Watch for their smile. Individuals who smile tend to be people oriented. They understand the value and effect that smiles can have. It opens doors, breaks down walls and will get you farther than words alone. Now you know whether they're I/S if they smile, or D/C if their smiles are few & far between. Step 2) Listen to see whether they interrupt you or leave a pause when you're done speaking. Interruptors are assertive and will be D or I personalities. The C/S types will be carefully planning a response.

Once you learn the trick of identifying, the next step is to start copying them. Smile more or less, interrupt or count to 3 before responding. It may be difficult to "act rude" from your perspective, but a High D will appreciate that you're moving the conversation along more quickly and that you've wiped that silly smile off your face. Conversely, a High S will be glad that you allowed them time to finish their sentence while you smiled and listened patiently.

The ultimate goal is to become well rounded. Adopt any of the traits necessary to be seen as an excellent conversationalist. Hopefully this is helpful for you. Good luck and let me know if you found the information useful.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Future of Marketing micro conference notes

Following are my notes from the conference today. I appreciated the density of having 60 speakers who each had 60 seconds to share what they thought the future of marketing was. There will be an MP3 and a PDF from ThoughtLead later, but I felt like posting what I learned from this.

@ScottMonty - Scott Monty (Ford)

use paid & earned media

each channel has its own power - use them together for combined power

@MarketingStefan - Stefan Tornquist econsultancy

pass the obsession

think beyond the channel

universal solutions

experience as a whole

optimize for reality

as many channels as it takes

@Unica - Paul McNulty

engage with each prospect in a relevant manner

channels - outbound & inbound

data & execution silo

real time across all channels

@AnneHolland55 - Anne Holland

20-25% improvement running A/B tests - online library

@ChuckMartin1 - Chuck Martin

Mobile is a game changer

5 billion, 90%, nearly 1/2 smartphones

deals, unique services

at the moment desires

@LeeOdden - Lee Odden

Facebook tops Google in weekly traffic

search is beyond Google - internal Facebook, mobile

social commerce is next area of focus

make commerce part of the social experience

@Mike_Stelzner - Michael Stelzner

people don't trust you

walk along side of them

produce engaging content

showcase the success of others

provide extensive how-to articles

interview the experts

recognize those who helped you

@MarketingProfs - Ann Handley

produce great content as the cornerstone to marketing

remarkable content?

good content shares or solves, doesn't show/shill

vendor agnostic information

@CC_Chapman - CC Chapman

content rules - break through the clutter

long term strategy - lay it out, then figure out how to tell it

passion is contagious

get your customers passionate about you - then you'll win

@BoughB - Bonin Bough - PepsiCo


Gatorade mission control room

figure out how to participate in this transformative world

put digital at the core

@AmberMac - Amber Mac

Power Friending

pay attention to what is happening in the SM world

social search

recommendations from friends - what to buy, where to eat/stay

@SteveRubel - Steve Rubel

Time & Space - relationship to each

digital media relativity

attention spans are shrinking

hard to break through the noise

surface area - increase - relevant placement

4 areas: paid, owned, earned & social

Leveraging networks -

Laurel Touby

email marketing is spray & pray

Super Nodes - leverage them & their network

flowtimes??? to identify

@BenHuh - Ben Huh

connect people to the things they are interested in


technology & playgrounds

we're willing to advertise a product/person for free

marketers are giving some of their power to users

@ChrisAbraham - Chris Abraham

find everyone who is a viable candidate in their writing/leadership

engage them in what they're talking about

@ChipConley - Chip Conley

We're all human - Maslow's Hierarchy of needs

understand ourselves as humans

successful companies approach desires

Apple does this with unrecognized desires & transformative needs

@JeanneBliss - Jeanne Bliss

Chief Unifier of organization


Clarity of purpose

Employees are the brand

Be Human & Real

Become a talkable brand - deliver a reliable service

nurture your humility muscle

@SugarRae - Rae Hoffman

Keep it real - show the real face of your company

celebrate success

sorrow/empathize with failures

Honesty gains clients

be who you actually are

@BrianSolis - Brian Solis

complete socialization of business

lead the individuals you are trying to connect with

inspire them to become advocates

service > adaptation

era of leadership

worth sharing

@CharleneLi - Charlene Li

how to create a social strategy

technology is fantastic at creating relationships

can't control them

give & take

have conversations

define what you will & won't do

@LizzStrauss - Liz Strauss

pay attention to 8-12 of your key people

core of your community

they'll bring you friends and bring your community for you

@JayBaer - Jay Baer -

too much hype around social media

business because of social media

retain customers

increase your conversion rate

social FAQ - top 10 questions customers have - answer them across channels

@60SecondTweets - Jaimie Turner

can you afford...or can you afford not to be in SM

all roads should lead to ROI

not done to be social

5 purposes:



lead generation

cust retention


Attraction vs. Distraction

grow or don't grow?

@ChrisBrogan - Chris Brogan

Use your ears

understand customers in a 360 degree way

not just what they've purchased

what are they talking about when they're not talking about you?

@JohnBattelle - John Battelle

5 horsemen of the Internet, AOL, Google, msn,

independent web - people create their own

dependent web - the portal

message to the web

@SoniaSimone - Sonia Simone

reputations are fragile

supply chain, CEO over drinks, customer service

@Ekaterina- Ekaterina Walter

focus less on b2b marketing

focus more on b2b conversation

you sell to people, not businesses

new marketing - the new norm

not a standalone effort

start participating today

@RandFish - Rand Fishkin - SEOmoz

real time search, social search

3 quick fire tips

register with Google, bing, webmaster tools

use bitly - track twitter - click-through rate

create content that people want to share

@MayaREguru - Maya Pavesa

QR Codes - more real estate agents are using

get the detailed info without/before contacting the Realtor

@PRNewsWire - Victoria Harres

Future of marketing is not selfish, it's to serve people, not sell to them

analytical tools - Facebook, Google, - drill down and find that audience who didn't know they're waiting for your message

not to convince - facilitate that audience member's existing need

@DMScott - David Meerman Scott

Oakley donated sunglasses to Chilean miners

Wynn hotel banned Paris Hilton

companies are planning on a campaign mentality - too far into the future.

Focus on the present. What can you do right now?

Real time is a mindset. SM is tools

@MatthewMay - Matthew May

limiting information - create curiosity, intrigue

iPhone announcement - show, then silent for 6 months

Coke's happiness machine - 3MM views

limiting info seduces people

@Note_to_CMO - Steven Denny

future of marketing is not about tools (SM) it's about the discipline to use them right

remember to sell something!

positive ROI because you mentioned it

test on real consumers, not just fans on Facebook

don't get lazy no matter how sweet the tools are

Simon Salt

Do it Today!

Outshining your competitors

4square, goala, yelp - search for your brand - what are people already writing about you brand/service

engage with those people - say thank you/sorry and then do something about it

@SteveGarfield - Steve Garfield

tell your story with video

quickest easiest way to get info online - pocket HD video camera, webcam or cell camera

easy to assemble video

copy & paste clips together

do it live - push the button live to stream - ustream, etc.

@DannySullivan - Danny Sullivan

use twitter to reach out to people who don't know your brand already

monitor the mention of "Pizza" instead of "Dominoes"

search for "anyone know" +generic product

then reach out to help

@RohitBhargava - Rohit Bhargava

shifting paradigms

we're bad at selling- terms don't mean anything

we become faceless

have a personality - become more authentic

read your about us page out loud

talk in a human language

why you exist

what you are passionate about

personality matters because people matter

@FrankGruber - Frank Gruber - Tech Cocktail

take advantage of opportunities


watch things you normally wouldn't

try new things, gadget, apps

innovate by diverting from normal

@UnMarketing - Scott Stratten

listen to passive conversation

set up Google news alert on any subject - entire research of conversations online

once a day to keep up to date

stop listening and you'll stop learning

@PorterGale - Porter Gale

importance of innovation

@MitchJoel - Mitch Joel

some want anonymous searches

ability to do so without being outed

value of anonymous content

@GuyKawasaki - Guy Kawasaki - Enchantment book

new product - should you build a website with custom domain, site from scratch...or build Facebook fan page?

Facebook is what he decided - 350MM users - community shares & spreads

The Strategic View

@KevinCE - Kevin Clark

DIY idea, small team idea

set that idea in motion


@JBernof - Josh Bernoff

treat your customer as a marketing channel

once you turn someone into a customer, you're not done

proceed with that idea

identify ???

develop groundswell

empower ability

amplify fan activity

@AaronKahlow - Aaron Kahlow

Marketing automation

C-suite attention

from a social standpoint - what do they want

what you're doing that's not automated - can it be automated?

more value - marketing automation - not just marketing income

@MktgWithMeaning - Bob Gilbreath

marketing with meaning

not just buying impressions

create something they remember and lean toward

improve peoples lives

Charmin - find bathroom near them

@GetStoried - Michael Margolis

everybody is a story teller

this applies to business

people don't buy your product/solution/idea

they buy the idea attached to it

what the brand means to them

give them something to believe in

invite people to find the deeper meaning

tell a story people identify as their own

need to persuade/convince or sell them on anything - that disappears

@SandersSays - Tim Sanders

give them a sense of purpose - this will get them to purchase

make a difference in the world we live in

the new buy one get one free

feel more benefit from doing business with that company

@Bogusky - Alex Bogusky

the new consumer revolution

all consumers are now transformed to advocates

from sellers to buyers

becoming transparent is not a choice

do you do it, or do you have it done to you

don't be a "little" transparent

don't forget to ask your customers for help along the way

@Sandy_Carter - Sandy Carter

marketing in the future will be more automated, more science, less art

CMO - tactical, others more strategic

user generated content from virtual communities

entertainment culture will be the only way to break through the noise - gaming

@NickBilton - Nick Bilton

Rise of high personalization of everything

allow Google access to your social network, they'll modify your search results to include this


more curated & personalized content

@RobbinPhillips - Robbin Phillips

future is not about shiny new SM tool - it's about people

dreams, passion, desire to connect with others

SM will enable connection

future is bright & shiny because we get to write the next chapter with our customers

@Zappos - Tony Hsieh

culture - deliver great customer service

word of mouth from customers

keep customers happy by making employees happy

@TDefren - Todd Defren

Content specific approach

put relationships (instead of creative) in front of everything

that makes you a friend who talks to them daily

not the "promotion of the week"

@DWeinberger - David Weinberger

what holds together the network are shared interests

don't pursue you own interests

more impactful approach

@Jimmy_Wales - Jimmy Wales

power of word of mouth

trend towards more influence of WOM marketing

if only one major competitor, easy for a third to sneak up

@BarrySch - Barry Schwartz

more choices...better off?

too much is bad

paralysis, not liberation - choose none of the above

make bad decisions

dissatisfied - something else may have been better

sell more by determining sweet spot - something for everyone, but not too much

@TheCMOClub - Pete Krainik

focus specifically on the employees

get behind the brand

30 second spot

@JeffreyHayzlett - Jeff Hayzlett

convergence across channels

broadcast to narrowcast

how to be radically transparent

seen as genuine

engage, educate, excite, enthuse to make brand ambassadors

key to future success

@GaryVee - Gary Vaynerchuk

1:1 engagement is future of marketing

context & caring

feelings & intent of marketing

more content generated in 24 hours than beginning of time to 2003.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bee all you can bee

This morning, my son said he doesn't want to go outside to play because there's a bee there. I reminded him that all of the bees are outside. After explaining to him that the bees don't want to sting you because they will die, I realized the correlation to today's holiday (Veteran's Day in the USA).

Soldiers fight to protect their country and keep its residents safe. They don't want to die either, but will do what it takes to win the battle with the understanding of a collective benefit. Happy Veteran's day and thank you. I am grateful to those members of my family and friends who have served (and are still serving) to protect the freedom I enjoy daily.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Creative Pauses

Sometimes a pause is all you need to restore creativity. Doing the same thing over and over can seem redundant...but take a break and you'll miss it...eventually. Stephen R. Covey taught "Sharpen The Saw" as the 7th principle in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Take a break. Think about something else. Re-focus. Sleep on it. Re-load/fuel/start, etc. As you resume, you'll be more effective.

I'm working on a photo a day project this year, and have noticed that on days where I take hundreds (or thousands) of photos, the following day I'm less inclined to pick up my camera. In most cases, I'm still trying to make time to review the previous images and learn from them. I believe I've only missed 3 days after 7 months, but I don't feel bad. It's a personal project, and although I'm short 3 images, I still have over 200 images in the collection.

Similar with this blog, I'm like many people who start a blog. We say what we have to say, then stop posting for a while. When I have something else to say, and time permits, I'll be back.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Creative Expression

Creativity takes many different forms. My best creative talent is photography. It is expressed by seeing an image, knowing what to include and what to exclude from the frame, choosing the right shutter speed to show the action with, knowing which aperture will include the objects I want in focus, and which to blur. Often, there's a decisive moment in which the peak action will occur, and that's when I shoot. Sometimes the background is distracting and I need to change my physical location in order to positively affect the background. Occasionally, a tilt of the camera is required to add a dynamic element. Choice of focal length is also very important; that helps include/exclude visual elements from the scene and either compress the subject or expand the depth perceived by the viewer. I also have to consider the viewers of my images, and how they'll see what I captured. Though it sounds like a lot to process and remember, it's all second nature and an extension of me. Fifteen years and a quarter of a million exposures later, I know what I'm doing and can explain how I get the results I have, and am happy to share with others. By no means do I think I know it all, but I know enough to be aware of so much more. As I learn one genre of photography, another becomes interesting, and the supply of genres is endless.

I also admire other artists and creative talents. One of which is my wife. She has been creating art since before we met. Her talents have evolved and she also finds new ways of expressing them. Listing them would be very time consuming, and I'm sure I'd miss more than I'd remember. One of my recent images shows her art nicely. She has been making Easel-backed cards by stamping, drawing, painting, coloring, embossing, die-cutting, embellishing, and then layering them into this three-dimensional result:
There are plenty more examples, and will continue to be. I look forward to those we mentor, especially our children and what they do with inherited talents and new ones developed on their own. We can be inspired by creativity across genres, mediums, disciplines and cultures, as long as we remain open to all sources. What talents do you have, and how are you sharing them?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Color pigments of the past

I just heard the most incredible presentation about the history of colors in art (Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color), and it made me think about photography in a similar way. Understanding where colors get their pigment, whether organic, mineral or modern chemical, as well as how it's bound to the surface (albumen vs. oil) makes me look at old paintings with a greater respect. If I were a painter, I'd definitely have more respect for the old masters who had to mix their own pigments with those various limitations.

From my experience, I began photographing as a pragmatist. It was far easier to take a picture and jot a couple notes about who, what & where, than it was to write a full page in my journal about that experience. Recalling the scene was definitely easier to see it in that instant, instead of taking the time to read a thousand words of inadequate notes. Growing beyond that, I wanted to share my vision with others, and not just save images for myself. I learned to better compose the picture, create visual interest and capture those moments.

My engineering brain had to understand how it all worked, and that was followed by the aesthetic beauty. When I began, digital imaging was not yet available to the public. In elementary school, the camera I used was the same camera my father used on his mission, and it took 126 cartridge film. In high school I used a point and shoot 35mm film camera. About 9 months into my mission, I bought an SLR and two lenses. When I returned, I spent my spare time between classes studying photography, reading more about equipment, analyzing other photgraphs, and understanding photographers. It was great to understand how daguerrotypes required a mercury vapor on the metal plate to work. I was amazed at how silver suspended in albumen and applied to glass plates was the way Ansel Adams and other nature photographers worked in the field. They would only take a couple dozen 16x20 panes, and if they didn't like the image, the glass got scraped clean and then re-exposed and processed in the field. Math was required to calculate exposure, depth of field, push-processing and other development for images.

I was very frugal in my film days too...every image cost money, so understanding the exposure was important for getting the shot. I took great notes, and when the film was processed, I checked to see whether I was successful or how to improve. Now, it's much easier because I can instantly review my shots digitally. The adjustments can be made and new images taken. In my opinion, beginners should take the time to understand the mechanics of a camera and the process of making an image. The appreciation gained will add respect to those who had to do it manually in the past.

I've worked in wet darkrooms (developing film and processing enlargements), as well as digital. I've used enlargers with black and white as well as color print films. I've also printed images which were born digital. Lately, I've even captured images at events, and immediately displayed them on screen, giving them a full digital life from the input to output stages.

Those hundreds of rolls of film each year were not a wasted expense. I have that experience and tens of thousands of images which refined my craft and are the foundation of the hundred thousand digital images which followed. My images are still carefully composed and exposed in the same mindset, giving me better results than someone who shoots everything, hoping to find a few gems during their lengthy post-processing step.

I am grateful for those who paved the way and became the giants whose shoulders I stand on today. Thank you as well to the modern masters who can and do share their knowledge with others.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

One Photo A Day

Have you ever been challenged creatively? I'm trigger-happy when there's something to shoot, but sometimes life keeps me too busy to pick up a camera. This year, I'm working hard to make a new photo every day, regardless of how busy I am, how crazy everything is, or in spite of any other excuse. So far, on those busy days, I've had to take pictures while driving, of food, or other odd things I see around me. Most of the time, though, I'm doing what creatively needs to be done - creating opportunities for making images. This is helping me grow and continue observing more than would have otherwise been seen.

If you'd like to play along, be my guest! Share your images with me, and I'll keep updating mine here:

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Decade for Photography

Happy New Year! In reflecting back on the past, I've been able to see my progression as a photographer.

1970s - As a young child, I was the subject of photos and occasionally played with Grandpa's twin lens reflex camera.

1980s - The years went on and my siblings took the spotlight, so they were the more common subject of family photos. I often had a roll of film which spanned the events of more than one year. My dad was the example for always carrying a camera and documenting the people at each event.

- After graduating high school and spending some time on my mission, I discovered photography as a more convenient method of documenting my activities. Growing frustrated with my point-and-shoot camera not being able to focus through windows, or have proper nighttime exposures, I learned how to use an SLR. Returning home and gaining notoriety as a guy with a good camera and a great eye, the decade of weddings began. David Thomas Photography was now a business, and by the latter half of the decade, had an online presence ( I was actively involved in the YSA program and gained a reputation as a great and affordable wedding photographer. That grew into a business which provided the majority of my income for a time and gave me lots of experience to sharpen my skills. Taking a couple of years of classes through Covina's Tri-Community School of Photography helped me earn a certificate and gave me exposure to industry experts who still worked in the field of photography.

2000s - Starting a family gave me plenty of excuses to photograph kids and polish my portrait skills. The film to digital transition was another adventure which kept me focused on family more thant clients, but still provided plentiful learning experiences. I'm still soaking up knowledge from so many sources, especially websites and podcasts, where before I was limited to monthly magazines and occasional bookstore visits. Hundreds of thousands of exposures, more than half a dozen cameras and quite a few lenses have added to my experience and I'm enjoying photography as much as ever.

- Looking at photography now as more of an art form than a revenue stream has taken away pressure of drawing an income and will allow me to continue enjoying my talent.