May 212012

Launching this week, the new book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is hands down the best book I’ve ever seen about blogging and social media! I’ve been swimming in this world of blogging for over 12 years, before it was called that, and have seen a good number of books about the amazing potential of social media, the (few) exceptional examples of blogging/ social media that’d made big impact (mostly short-term), some books that warns cautiously about its dangers, and some that give basic tutorials for how to get started by giving the readers a printed guided tour of the internet.

What Hyatt does exceptionally in Platform is reveal all the things he did over the course of 5+ years to raise his profile and build a platform so that his voice has become a most popular and influential in the online world. This book pulls together all the ingredients for the what and why and how to’s for using online media, developing valuable content, his personal workflow, how he measures results, and more nuts & bolts. It’s practically a recipe book for you to add water and stir. In this case, it’s add valuable content and work it consistently from now to eternity, retirement, anyways.

One aside about this book’s trajectory. The book mostly assumes that you’d want to build a platform to establish something to extend your influence so you can sell your products and services, even though the subtitle does say it’s for anyone with something to say or to sell. And the assumption behind that is you’d have to provide content that is valuable to a large enough of a number of people. Not every topic has that, like many things I believe to be important and worth having a voice, even if big groups of people don’t value it. Nevertheless, Platform is still a very handy reference book that can be adapted for when size doesn’t matter — hint: skip the parts about measuring.

What I love about the author Michael Hyatt is that he’s a CEO type (most recently of Thomas Nelson publisher) and yet willing to put himself personally out there online. They make too few of them like that. I sure hope, as his platform continues to grow, he’ll be an example and prototype of leaders in the 21st century, someone who is accessible, personal, and generously shares with others the valuable skills and lessons he’s learning along the way.

By the way, buy the book this week, send Michael Hyatt the receipt, and he’ll give you a gob of valuable bonus material!

[disclaimer: I received an advance readers review copy of this book]

Feb 072011
wad of money

In a world where business models dominate, and an economic engine to required for an initiative’s sustainability, that is too often the dark cloud that blocks our vision of what’s possible. Financial pressures like that govern the running a media business, like a magazine, that’s usually advertiser-supported. This Editor’s Note in January 2011 issue of Koream Journal describes the situation::

It’s true that our magazine—due to the pressure to sell issues, remain afloat and cater to a broad readership—must often headline the VIPs prominent in their respective fields. And those familiar with our annual gala also know that we do tend to indulge the Asian American red carpet. The media—even ethnic, independent outlets such as ours—must be mindful of the business aspect of our enterprise. It’s not the perfect model, but it’s the reality.

But money doesn’t have to be the limiting factor for something that could be done, should be done, and needs to be done. 2 other viable options must be more of the conversation about how ideas can become reality. 1 is the whole non-profit sector. Granted, that has challenges of its own wrt to financial sustainability.

The other is the world of open source. Our internet-infused world enables humanity to build some incredible things collaboratively, and this is the sector that excites me the most. You’ve heard of them: Wikipedia, Firefox, Quora, Linux, Creative Commons. In the church world, the fuel that keeps the organized institutional church sustainable is volunteerism and charitable donations.

What keeps all of that going, the open-source kinds of efforts that don’t have paid staff & organizational infrastructure (e.g. overhead) to keep them going? Mission. Meaning. Community. Faith.

Sure, in the real world, most of us have to be responsible & concerned for putting food on the table, paying the rent (or mortgage), buying gas for the car (or tix for public transit), etc etc. There are other ways to get the bills paid. There’s much to be done that consumerism, business, and finances cannot address.

The profit motive and self-interest do not define who we are as human beings and the things we do with our time, energy and effort.

Think different. The world can be a different place. Call me idealistic. I’ll say it. I am idealistic. And I do dream of a world that’s better and free. And I’ll do my part towards that reality.

photo credit: Andrew Magill

Jan 222011

You’ve got a voice. You can publish. Anyone can publish.

Having said that, this doesn’t mean everyone should publish. What I am saying is that more of us should publish.

Posting something online no longer has to be only for business purposes. Set the plaguing questions aside and don’t worry about what to write or what to say. Don’t have to worry about how many readers or subscribers you have. It’s not a performance; not a competition. Just speak. Just write. Being knownable is better than being unknownable.

(This doesn’t mean you say anything and everying that crosses your mind. Posting online does mean writing or saying something that could be read or heard around the world. It is public. It is permanent.)

You’ve got a unique contribution to the world. Your story. Your voice. Your opinions. Just as your vote counts, your voice counts.

Making your voice and thoughts and feelings known, expressing it online, is a part of being human. It’s you being you.

What’s holding you back?

Aug 252009

Would you believe they made a movie based on a blogger? Yes indeedy!

Watched a movie on a date recently. I wanted to let the movie speak for itself. I did not go read up on all the reviews and view the trailer and read the Wikipedia entry and pre-release buzz. The neighbor was kind enough to let our son hang out. The movie? Julie & Julia.

And wouldn’t you know it… a movie about a blogger! A blogger who writes (types) for an anonymous audience. Over time, the audience grows. The bloggers’ confidence grows too. The blog entries get edited and supplemented into a book. And if that book gets lots of eyeballs too, then maybe it can become a movie. Here’s a link to Julie Powell’s original blog, Julie/Julia Project. And her current blog.

It took all of my restraint from elbowing my companion, since I’ve been a blogger since 1999 myself. Not that I’d want to have a movie made about me or anything.

Aside: The people that comprise the world’s market will reward (pay) for what they find valuable (be it entertainment or service or product). And for the rest of us who have value that doesn’t quite sync up with what the market price will bear, we still have value, lots of value. Just that it doesn’t translate into cash.

real Julie Powell   photos-of-movie-julie-powell

The real Julie Powell and the movie Julie Powell. Note that the real Julie Powell loves to use a lot more colorful language: “… I really ought to warn you about the language. I happen to believe that curse words are vital parts of the language, and I write accordingly. If you are not one of those people, you’re probably not going to be thrilled with J&J: The Book …” cf. Surreal is the new normal.

When will they make a movie based on Twitter?

Feb 082009

While the publishing process still has its mystique, and each publishing house has its own style and approach, the writing process is usually a closed and mysterious too, with its content closely guarded until it’s published (and sold), since people are paying for the content. Things are changing.

naked-conv-bookA book published in 2006 opened it up — Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers. The authors, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, posted their book’s content on a blog, and invited feedback on the draft version. Leaning into the power of the wisdom of the crowds, the book was polished in the open, and got published into a hardcover book. And the book still sold well. (How well I can’t say; I don’t have access to those numbers.)

The authors blogged milestones in their publishing process, Publisher’s Proposal 1.0 + Not Quite Fully Transparent + Publisher’s Update + We have our publisher! . And as they wrote, the book‘s (draft) content’s was posted online:
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Nov 072008

Print-on-demand technology has made it possible to have a real published book for much lower cost than traditional publishing houses or vanity presses. By “real”, I mean it’s bound like a book. Note that print-on-demand (POD) is high-quality laser printing, whereas traditional printing is offset printing. The difference is negligible for the average Joe reader. For the book connoisseur, only offset printing will do; and hard cover, not paperback.

There are 3 leading web-based print-on-demand publishers with $0 setup cost:,, and CafePress. (others probably exist, but I’ve found more buzz about these 3)

I haven’t used all 3 to compare them in detail. Here’s what I found that does some helpful comparisons and gives good tips:
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Jun 162001

went to a writer’s conference last weekend.. was my first introduction into the publishing world; many of the attendees (around 150 or so) were aspiring to the day when they’d be professional writers, to get paid enough for their writing they wouldn’t have to work another job.. so a lot of the conference was inspirational, and many workshops for technical details on writing and publishing, with free time for interaction and networking.. I got the sense that there were more fiction writers than non-fiction; of course, my interests are in the philosophical theological arena, and tho’ I met a lot of people, I didn’t meet anyone with my interests.. that’s okay, very few people in the world have my interests, and that makes me unique, and if the market likes my unique offerings, then I might be a commodity some day.. as for my writing a book, it’ll come one day, soon as I can clear off a few items off my plate..