Dr. Mac – Mac Productivity Miracles “Sandbox Session” – This Thursday, May 25th

I’m launching a new bi-monthly (every other Thursday) series of live video webinar conversations that I’m calling “Social Video Sandbox Sessions.” It will start this Thursday, May 25th at 11am PT / 2pm ET with a very special guest. This session is called:

Mac Productivity Miracles – A Jon Leland Social Video Sandbox Session with “Dr. Mac” Bob Levitus

A Mac computer is supposed to make things simple and easy, right? Not necessarily. For one thing, we are human beings. A computer can only do so much.

Whether you are a brand new user or a seasoned veteran, Dr. Mac has insights to help you use your Mac more effectively and to be more productive.

“It’s no coincidence that the day after I read this book I started working on my next book. I’ll finish my book because of Bob’s book!”
— Guy Kawasaki, Chief evangelist of Canva and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador
In this lively, interactive session, here’s what you will learn from Dr. Mac, the author of more than 80 Mac books including his latest “Working Smarter for Mac Users”:
  • How to use your Mac better, faster, and more elegantly.
  • How to banish procrastination forever.
  • How to more work in less time so you have more time for things you love.

So if you’re having trouble getting stuff done in a timely fashion, this Sandbox Session will offer dozens of tips and techniques guaranteed to help.

Your Mac is meant to be a tool to make your work easier. Isn’t it about time it did?

Click here to join Jon Leland and his good friend Bob Levitus and learn how to change your relationship with your Mac. You’ll be glad you did.

Register here, and this will allow you to become part of this video conversation if you wish and it will also ensure that you will receive the link to the recording.

 

My New Year’s Resolution: Live More Like Steve Jobs

“While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs, from the “Think Different” campaign (see video below with Steve’s own voice)

Sometimes I’m sleepily drifting, thinking I’m a passenger on the journey of life. Other times I’m more awake to the choices I am making and recognize the power to live life more fully. These more conscious moments are the times of courage when I am able to act beyond my limited concepts of myself, take risks, and trust the Creative Flow. At those times, I become the kind of inspiration that I long to be.

jobs_possible_000Steve Jobs, despite his various weaknesses, always seemed to be someone who was unafraid of his creative “craziness.” He seemed always willing to access and trust his vision and to step outside the proverbial “box.” The result was astounding creativity. And, there’s no doubt in my mind that everything he created (from Apple itself to the Mac to the first iPod, iPhone and iPad) was a result of this same kind of courage. To me at least, Jobs was one of the most important people in American history.

I was struck again by this power recently while in flight from SFO to Newark. I had previously skipped the movie “Jobs” because I had heard it wasn’t a very good movie. But while watching this movie on the plane, I found the power of Steve Jobs’ story to be uplifting, inspiring and motivating (despite the obvious cinematic weaknesses in this particular production). I was reminded that it is the story of Steve Jobs’ life that is an inspiration to me. I appreciated being reminded again of his example.

In fact, the story of Steve Jobs’ life is so sensational that if we didn’t know it was a “true story,” we would have a hard time believing it. In this case, I found that the true story supersedes the filmmaking as well as the Hollywood pretense. This is the story of a great life dedicated to bringing unprecedented innovation to the world, in other words a life well lived.

This is also a dramatic example of a business that is obviously on the leading edge. When I was launching my first company in New York in 1985, the PBS series, In Search of Excellence had a segment on Steve Jobs and the Mac Team. This short video which I recorded on VHS was the closest thing I ever had to an employee orientation film. But I used it just the same in order to communicate to my small team that I wanted us to make an impact on the world. We wanted to put a “dent in the Universe” as Jobs used to say. I wanted to make sure that we did not get trapped into doing the “same old same old,” but to think differently. Personally, I also wanted to push the limits of my own potential.

This requirement to go beyond the norm is as relevant to me today in 2014 as it was in 1985.

Today, as we enter another new year, I am embracing the inspiration of Steve Jobs as an invitation to question everything, and to go out on a creative limb whenever I feel authentically called to do so.

As we enter 2014, what a perfect time for me to re-look at my vision. By sharing this with you here on this blog, I am recommitting to the truth that ComBridges is not just another marketing communications company. My vision is to create meaningful communications that make a difference for our clients and for the world. Thank you for your support in whatever form, even if it’s just reading. I am not doing this alone.

If you are so inspired, I’d love to hear what moves you. How can we each make a bigger difference in the world? Are we each making the most of what we are best at? Where can we expand our horizons?

In this spirit, I enter the New Year and recommit to my own personal creative “craziness.”

I look forward to your comments and to sharing the fun of this journey with you all. Happy New Year!

This Week’s “3 Geegy Amigos” Tech Talk Show via Google Hangouts

3geekyamigos-logo

We had fun today and I think there’s lots of useful information for you, as we live recorded this week’s episode of our new tech talk show, “3 Geeky Amigos” (live almost every week, Tuesdays at 3pm PT). We learned a lot including how to do lower-third graphic titles inside of Google Hangouts On Air and talked about everything from iPhone apps to Gmail’s upcoming interface update, Moz.com to free WordPress training, Internet marketing (of course) to social analytics software and even a little bit of Twitter’s Vine video app. Note: All of the links that are mentioned in this edition are right there for you in the YouTube video’s description. So click on the video title in the embedded video below if you want the links. Audio-only version also offered below, just in case that’s more convenient. You can even download that one.

Enjoy and we’d love your feedback!

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/96188513″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

2013: The Year of Anything is Possible

As we enter the New Year, the inspiring message that “Anything is Possible” has come front and center for me. It feels so strong and positive that I want to start 2013 with a more personal than usual blog post.

It is the challenges of running a business (ComBridges) while simultaneously working to grow our “start up,” New Marketing University, that makes this message of “Anything is Possible” personally relevant for me. In fact, it’s the sometimes seemingly “impossible dream” of a large vibrant community of participants and members in New Marketing University that keeps this project alive. You could say that I’m writing this post in order to inspire myself. I also hope it helps to move some of you forward as well.

Media Windows Open Doors

My consumption of two recent pieces of media has helped to open these expansive “doors of perception” for me. One is a seemingly miraculous cancer healing and the other is from a young man named Steve Jobs whose life was changed when he discovered that he and his teenage buddy Woz could manipulate billions of dollars worth of global infrastructure. Given that these two stories are true, I ask that we wonder together, “why not me?” (No reason.)

There’s More to Life Than We Normally Know or Imagine

Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing (affiliate link) is mind blowing in every sense of the word. I highly recommend it. I have found it to be an extremely uplifting read. The video at the end of this post will tell you more; but, bottom line, through a NDE (near death experience), Moorjani healed from the worst possible cancer… in less than two weeks! She was literally on her death bed when it all turned around. When you read it, her story rings so authentically true that it has expanded possibilities for me beyond anything I could readily imagine. If that can happen for her, there really is nothing that is not possible.

Opening the Visionary Eyes of Steve Jobs

Over the New Years weekend, I watched a short little documentary movie called Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview via Netflix. In this truly historic interview, Steve Jobs explains that he also had a life changing experience without which he may never have become, well, Steve Jobs.

image via Wikipedia

As a teenager, he and his pal and soon to be partner, Steve Wozniak, heard that it was possible to build a box that would let anyone make free phone calls to anywhere in the world. Jobs literally said, “we didn’t believe it was possible.” But, they decided to see for themselves anyway.

Low and behold, in the bowels of a technical library, they discovered the appropriate AT&T manual and figured it out. Soon they were bouncing calls off of satellites and around the world for free. Jobs shares in this movie that it literally changed his perception of what was possible. Jobs and Woz, two kids really, were able to gain control of such technological power that they discovered that they were capable of having a far greater reach and were able to make a far bigger difference than they had previously imagined.

It wasn’t long before these two were pioneering the personal computer revolution. Like Moorjani, they discovered that anything really is possible.

What About You?

What is your “impossible dream”? And, more importantly, what are you going to do about it?

My commitment is to keep offering my authentic enthusiasm for the Internet marketing revolution (along with as much useful information as I can) in order to help as many people and businesses as possible to take advantage of all these changes. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help. We look forward to helping you to expand your possibilities while also enhancing our own in the process.

Roger McNamee Sees a Future that Empowers Content Creators

Thanks to a tweet by thought-leader, publisher, Tim O’Reilly, I was drawn to a video interview and then a TEDx talk from last summer, both by the very successful Silicon Valley venture capital investor and real life touring rock star, Roger McNamee. Both videos (and soon my concise video commentary via TheTVNews.tv) are embedded below for your viewing convenience.

Bottom line, McNamee illuminates, among other things, why HTML5 is so important and how Microsoft, social media, and I say traditional network TV, are all on the decline. In their place there will be a wave of “highly differentiated content,” and the thusly-empowered creators of this new breed of content will quite literally own their own stores—and, just to be clear, those are media “stores.”

In other words, as if we couldn’t already, HTML5, iPads and mobile distribution will enable those of us with our own “bands” (teams & other creative resources) will be able to seize the controls of our own destiny, in the web sense at least. (And, along these lines, I love McNamee’s concept of “full contact investing” where he uses his rock band’s marketing as an experiential testing ground.)

Obviously, content marketing has laid some of the ground work here, and so has blogging. But his vision is bigger than that.

Content creators with the hutzpah and the resources to develop real destination websites can include new, highly integrated forms monetization to produce extraordinary opportunities in the very near future. The time is now to act on these phenomenally potent changes. Please watch the videos below to understand more.

I’ll certainly be doing my best to do so as well as to educate you how to take advantage of these changes via NewMarU.com. So please STAY TUNED! 😉

If you prefer to read a text summary of some of McNamee’s key points, check out Facebook Investor Roger McNamee Explains Why Social Is Over

Here are the videos:

The first is via Sarah Lacy’s PandoDaily blog and this post:
Roger McNamee on the New Web: “Everything That Mattered Over the Last Eight Years Won’t Matter Anymore”

And the other video is Roger’s TEDx Santa Cruz talk (where he even paces like a rock star)
entitled, “Disruption and Engagement”

Please let me know what you think, via the comments below or any other channel. Are these insights useful to you?

The App Year in Review: My Favorite Apps from 2011

“Hello, my name is Jon, and…

I’m an App-aholic.”

Apps is me. I love ’em and I love to share ’em. And, just for the record, I consider my obsessive behavior with apps of all kinds, especially iPhone apps, iPad apps and small business productivity-oriented web apps to be a healthy addiction. Well mostly healthy. At least I’m learning about the future of mobile computing… and I’m definitely having fun.

Here are my mini-reviews of my favorite apps from 2011 (more to come in 2012). I look forward to your comments and to hearing your recommendations via the comments below.

Note Taker HD: Hand-Written Notes Come to the iPad
This is the app that changed my life. It’s a powerful tool for writing on the iPad in a totally hand-written natural way. I used to prefer using yellow-lined paper writing pads for meetings, and would journal in notebooks, but Note Taker HD has shown me that I can write almost as fast on my iPad tablet (using a stylus) and I’m eliminating the clutter of scraps of paper all over the place.  I use it now for meeting notes, journal entries and brainstorming sessions; and I just love the natural feel, especially the way that Note Taker HD’s window system lets me write nice and big while my writing is automatically resized into a page-sized virtual sheet. This app is so easy and just plain fun that I find myself swiftly moving into the promised land of an (almost) paperless and less cluttered office.

The Hit List: To-Do List Nirvana
In the incessant quest for the holy grail of an Organized Life, I’ve taken more than a few laps around the track with various to-do list programs. Now, I think I’ve finally found the one I’ll stick with forever because, for me at least, this to-do list offers the right balance between features and simplicity. It’s snappy name is The Hit List.  It’s Mac-only (via the Mac App Store), but I also use it on my iPhone and iPad. I can organize lists into categories by client, by project, or by any number of other categories. It’s very intuitive with due dates and priority settings as well as a space for notes on each item. I also like the way that it synchs between platforms and the few dollars I pay per year for that service is well worth it. I’m really pleased I’ve found something that works for me, and I highly recommend that you check it out.

Zite: The Future of News Reading
My new favorite news reader is an iPad app that trumps Flipboard. Zite is personalized news at its finest. It’s infinitely customizable in a very effortless and seamless way. Zite filters what I like according to my initial preferences, and then I continue to let it know what I like and why as I go along. As I interact with it, the app gets smarter and gives me an increasingly better fit for my interests and sensibilities in a clear, interactive, easy-to-read format. The results in terms of valuable articles is the ultimate value, but it’s also easy to share what I read, which is certainly a requirement for me in this social media world of ours.

Google Docs: My New Standard in Groupware
More and more of my clients and team members are now collaborating with me via Google Docs. I gotta believe that that’s because it works. One previous concern of mine was the lack of change-tracking features that are frequently required and available in MS Word. Now I’m enthralled with the newish “See revision history” feature in Google Docs which I like even better than the “Track Changes” equivalent in Word. I am also surprised by the ease of the collaboration process. If you haven’t seen this, you need to try it: When I’m working with someone and we’re both updating a document at the same time, it’s just seamless. You can even see what the other person is doing, in a distinct color, while you are also editing—all via the Web, of course. All the value of sharing and online collaboration is built in. Google Docs is now a standard part of my workflow.

Summify: Socially Aggregated News Delivered Daily
Facebook coined the term “social graph” to describe the mapping of social relationships online. There are clear advantages to extending these virtual relationships via other websites in order to create new kinds of information collections. Summify is just this kind of real time source of aggregated news and blog posts. What I read, pretty much every day at some point, is being sourced by Summify from my own social graph (my online relationships) via their neato web app (a web browser-based app). Summify leverages my network by sending me daily emails containing a linked list of news articles that have been referenced (linked to via Facebook or Twitter) by multiple people from within my social graph. When multiple people from my networks share the same information, that clearly increases the likelihood that I’ll find it interesting. And it works. The consistent quality of what Summify delivers has been impressive. And I like that it can be delivered by email too. I don’t have to go to the app or website to see what they’ve found for me. This is a useful and, to me at least, a valuable preview of the growing power of our social media matrix.

Nimble: Cross Social Network Messaging Power
This start-up company is a recent investment of Mark Cuban and a definite app to watch. Nimble is a new breed of virtual CRM software that connects your contacts from Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail and Twitter into a single interface. From within Nimble’s web-based interface, I can message people on different social networks from within one platform and that message, along with all the others that may have been sent from other sites, is available in one place. Note, these aren’t post or status updates, but the embedded messages from within the particular sites themselves. This is very convenient because you don’t have to go to LinkedIn, for example, to send a LinkedIn message to someone whose regular email address you may not have otherwise. Thus, Nimble is also a great way to keep track of the increasing number of online conversations, all in one place.

Scrivener: Larger Written Documents at Another Level
I want to give an “honorable mention” to Scrivener, a marvelous and powerful writing/document management program. I’ve used it to organize references and new resources by subject area for the social media workshops that I’ve been developing and delivering. But I’m only scratching the surface of this feature rich program. It’s powerfully sophisticated, so there’s a real learning curve involved. However, I’ve heard from multiple, reliable sources that this program has been enthusiastically received by authors and others who work with king-sized pieces of content and/or research. If you’re one of them, I think Scrivener is definitely worth checking out.

iPhone Photography
My app review of the year would not be complete without talking about iPhone photography apps. Taking photographs and playing with the images on the iPhone is a source of great pleasure and fun to me. My favorite app so far is Camera+ by Lisa Bettany. I can crop and I can process with a very creative set of presets. It’s got some great filters and I can also put all kinds of artsy frames on my images, plus it easily posts to the social networks (although I’ve recently started using Instagram for that because it also connects to Tumblr). I’m just starting to explore Camera+’s actual camera features…

ProHDR makes a big improvement over the built-in HDR on my  iPhone. If you haven’t checked out HDR (Higher Dynamic Range) photography via the apps, you must do.  It just makes a huge difference and I can’t imagine doing iPhoneography without it.

Finally, I’m a fan of Auto Painter, which I use on both my iPad and iPhone to create very cool painterly effects on my photos. It’s been a big source of creative delight. And recently I’ve had some fun with SketchMee which turned a picture of my newly-wed son and his bride into a lovely pencil sketch, if I do say so myself.

Bonus List
I had the pleasure of catching up with my favorite uber-geek, Brett Terpstra (@ttscoff) at MacWorld and noticed he posted an awesome 2011 Favorite Mac Apps list. Click to discover more cool stuff.

Thanks for app-ing with me – I’m really happy to share all of this with you. Like I said, more to come (subscribe to this blog above if you want to be notified). I wish you happy app-ing in the year ahead, and I hope you have as much fun checking out these recommendations as I have had exploring them. Please let me know what you think.

More iPhone Art Fun, Apps & Viral Video

The mobile media revolution is me. Some call it “user generated content,” but I think that’s way too impersonal and lacking in even a modicum of fun. For me, it’s a surprisingly exciting new medium that opens fresh opportunities for creative expression, anywhere, anytime.

This morning’s creative expression began with the photo below. Captured at the turn-around point on my walk using my iPhone, shooting with an app called Pro HDR and then processing it a bit (still in the iPhone) with another app called Camera+. Then, I enjoyed sharing it with my friends and followers on my personal Facebook page and Twitter account along with more personal comments. It really is a “wonderful Web.” (more below)

Another form of user generated new media expression totally cracked me up. The viral video below is something like a very funny Saturday Night Live sketch which is getting extra buzz because not everyone can see that this is an audition/demo by a young actress who is having fun playing on camera. It seems that while she was at it, she has created a viral video “hit.” At least that’s my interpretation. Have a great weekend!

Follow the Data | How Netflix, Amazon & Warner Bros Are Pointing the Way

As I was preparing this week’s New Media / New Marketing report for TheTVNews.tv, my good friend, Nick DeMartino sent me a very timely reference with his post, Can Data Save the (Hollywood) Studios in the Age of Social Media?

As I produced that segment (embedded below) and continued following the news, an immediate theme emerged: The power of data mining as perhaps THE major way big websites like Amazon and Netflix (and now Warner Brothers) gain leverage, and how it motivates major initiatives—including the casting of major TV series. Of course, this same power of customer data is also in the background of the major battle between Google and Facebook! Certainly at the top of the market, user data is the ultimate weapon and differentiator. Here are a few very current examples.

First, Nick’s post led me to recognize Warner Brothers as a new Hollywood studio leader in social media marketing. As you can see in the video which is embedded at the bottom of this post, I not only connect Warner—who is the producer of “Two and a Half Men”—with the casting of Ashton Kutcher, but with their recent Flixster acquisition (see Nick’s post) and with Warner’s innovative move renting movies via Facebook.(Flixster, btw, is my favorite iPhone/iPad movie app. I’ve even posted reviews there.)

Then, in today’s news came the announcement of a major new move by Amazon.com. The power of data mining, their extensive knowledge of customer data, and their knowledge of customer behavior is clearly a big part of the leverage that has motivated Amazon to join the “big leagues” of book publishing.

Finally, my favorite example of using the power of customer data is the Netflix recommendation engine, which certainly is part of what motivated them to license their first original TV production via their House of Cards deal. Along those lines, I think everyone can benefit from listening to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Charlie Rose to learn more about how they think.

Below is my new video analyzing Twitter’s impact on the casting of Ashton Kutcher a.k.a. @aplusk in his new role on “Two And A Half Men,” including those Warner Bros tie-ins mentioned above.

As always, I will be very grateful for any “likes” of this video and/or any comments on this blog or on YouTube. I look forward to your feedback. And, whatever you do, be sure to Follow the Data (and if you need help doing that via your own website analytics or Internet marketing campaign, please don’t hesitate to ask). 😉

 

Ebook Publishing | Searching for a Road Map at ASJA in NYC

I recently had the privilege of presenting on a panel about taking blogs to the next level at the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) conference in NYC. Once again, I spoke about why video is a ‘must have,‘ while also suggesting that bloggers be sure to activate “Email Engagement” via a Feedburner.com email subscription form, and activate “Twittitorial” via a Paper.li virtual daily e-newspaper.

ebook publishing

While these were some of the tips and tricks that I offered, I was most inspired by the panel on ebook publishing that I attended. As most of you know, I’ve got a number of ebooks in various forms of development. My research on self-publishing is fast leading me to the conclusion that: publishing these books as ebooks is not only much more cost effective, but given the trajectory—OK, the explosion—of the ebook market,  it could be far more lucrative than print publishing as well. (For one example of statistics on this boom, see the TechCrunch post: That Was Fast: Amazon’s Kindle Ebook Sales Surpass Print.)

Amongst some other excellent ASJA presenters (including the inspiring and polished, Sam Horn who will be appearing soon at NewMarU), I was particularly uplifted to learn more about the Smashwords platform (affiliate link.) Smashwords founder, Mark Coker positioned his service as the small business publisher’s best friend. It pretty much does everything you need, except format and submit your ebook for the Amazon Kindle. Its services include ebook conversions as well as sales for Apple’s iBooks store, the Nook and others.

I had been thinking that given the relative ease of using Amazon’s CreateSpace.com to publish my ebooks on the world’s largest ebook platform that that might be as much as I could “chew.”  Now, given that I’m a fan of the Kindle app on my iPad and use it often, I’m thinking that the most effective road map that offers the widest possible distribution for the least amount of effort is to use CreateSpace for Kindle and Smashwords for everything else. But I’m still researching and learning.

Anyone have any reasons why this is not the best approach? I’d love your input.

iPhone Art, iPad Ease & the Mobile Revolution

Tonight I’m doing my first “art show” as an iPhone artist. It’s a small, private showing amongst just a few other creative people. I’m sure it’s not a career “game changer.” But, it’s certainly fun to have some images that I created with just my iPhone (and a variety of apps) that at least someone is calling “art.”

On the other hand, I am quite certain that the iPhone and the iPad are game changers—for me and for the world. As a qualified media wizard and innovator, I think there are still a lot of people who don’t yet understand what a majorly disruptive force all of this mobile tech stuff is—creatively, socially and economically.

Created entirely in iPhone

Personally, I am consistently delighted by the ways that all of this innovation provides opportunities for connections and all kinds of communications between more and more of us, all the way around “spaceship earth.”

In the spirit of all this, I’d like to offer a couple of  audio-visual “windows” into what is really an emerging new media world. Just in the past week, the following appeared to underscore this trend:

1. A two and a half year old child, appearing in a crowd-sourced video, demonstrates how intuitive the iPad is to use:

2. Twitter celebrates its 5th Birthday with a fun celebrity-infused promotion that extoles us to “follow your interests” and “discover your world” (fun):

3. I find another way to play and have fun creating “art” via an app called Flowpaper (used to create signature below)

So, whether or not my iPhone art catches on and gains any traction (fat chance) beyond my more-than-recreational enjoyment, if you don’t yet “get it” then please trust me: smart phones and smart tablets like the iPhone and iPad are hear to stay. Not only are they profoundly ubiquitous but they are remarkably easy to use (well easier to use than a PC… way!). This new electronic environment… ok, “canvas” promises to change things even more dramatically than the advent of the Web has already done. Really.

It will be a fun ride. Come on along. And, if you are already “on board,” thanks for playing. 😉

Stay tuned. Much, much more to come.

(signature image created with Flowpaper app)