Bringing Business Inspiration & Marketing Motivation to Mill Valley

Every small business person that I know sings a similar song: “I’m overwhelmed!”

Furthermore, for most of us, whether you are an entrepreneur or founder of a small business, the “rules” seem to keep changing. These days, there’s more to having your own business than just figuring out how to make money. For example, motivation matters and the whole meaning of “marketing” has changed. And that’s just for openers…

That’s why I’m honored, delighted and (no exaggeration) super-excited to be bringing my beloved friend, the extraordinary business coach, author, and leader, Andrea J. Lee to the SF Bay Area for a one-day workshop called “The New Rules of Business and Social Media Success.” She and I will be co-presenting an uplifting, informative and highly interactive “Playshop” that will include everything from decision making and relationship building to creating online video and social media marketing. All of this will be live and in-person on Monday, January 25th from 10am – 5pm in Mill Valley. You can register here. And, I even created this special video invitation just for you 😉

 

Please let me know if you have any questions whatsoever.

I look forward to seeing you there!

[callout title=”The New Rules of Business and Social Media Success” button=”I Want to Learn More or Register” link=”http://www.combridges.com/event” buttoncolor=”blue” target=”_blank”]An Inspiring, Highly Interactive, Experiential Playshop: Monday, January 25th, 10am – 5pm, Mill Valley, CA, USA[/callout]

New Special Webinar This Thursday: How to Have a Happy New Marketing New Year!

Are You Ready for a New Marketing New Year?
I’m Cookin’ Up Something Better Than Egg Nog!

The Alchemy of The New Convergence

Venn diagram of the New Convergence of New Marketing and New Media

Sorry for the late notice, but I’m offering this brand new webinar this This Thursday, 12/18 at Noon PT.
Can’t make it? Register and you’ll get the recording.

New is New Again

I’m so much more than an “Internet marketing strategist.”

I’m a New Marketing Wizard!

I’m a wizard because—due to my decades of innovative media and marketing communications experience—I understand the alchemy and marketing value created by the New Convergence between New Marketing’s human values of ease, fun and authenticity and the revolutions ignited by the New Media of social networks, mobile and cloud computing. (Please see Venn Diagram to the right.)

Why is This Important?

Despite the enormous power of technology’s revolutionary innovations, without the humanity of authenticity, enthusiasm and play that I believe are integral to New Marketing, there’s no way to get to the “holy grail” of the Human Connections that lead to sustainable, long-term business relationships.

These are the kinds of business relationships that I want and I don’t know how anyone can have a meaningful business without these kinds of relationships. Why all those “get rich quick hucksters” don’t get this, I have no idea. 😉

Anyway, that’s why this information is important enough for both of us to invest our time and for you to invest just a little bit of your money. I want you to enjoy this webinar and be uplifted by it, but I also want you to take it seriously.

That’s why I’m charging only $9.97. I want people who seriously want: 

  • To learn and have fun while they learn

  • To be both more effective at social media marketing and to enjoy the journey too

  • To participate enthusiastically in a small powerful virtual tribe/community

I would LOVE to help you have a very Happy New Year in the New Marketing world and you can also apply this payment to any of our offers, including The New Media New Marketing Playground or a special webinar-only Website & Social Media Audit that I will offer exclusively to participants in this webinar. But no purchase is “necessary.” This webinar will change how you view online marketing forever and that’s worth WAY more than ten bucks.

YES. If you sign-up, you WILL get access to the Video Recording of this unique session.

>> Please click here to register <<

Wonderful Revelations on the Way of Play & the Path to Community & Collaboration

Finding Freedom

I think we’ve all felt the frustration of feeling overwhelmed by all of the Internet marketing and social media marketing options the online communications revolution has laid at our feet. Of course, what we would prefer to feel is the exhilerating thrill of our natural and authentic enthusiasm for what we are doing, the freedom of full self-expression without self-judgement, and a palpable connection to the value we are delivering.

Your Social Media Journey Can Be Easy & FunI know this feeling personally which is why it has been so exciting for me to have my new online mentoring community, The New Media New Marketing Playground come together so easily and to have such a wonderful group of heart-oriented people become part of this virtual Playground.

Learning from My New Tribe

What has been particularly encouraging is not only the quality of the people who have joined the Playground, but the opportunity to get actual feedback on WHY they joined.

Three key insights have quickly emerged:

  1. People like the idea of fun and play. It has a real appeal, especially in a marketing world where overwhelm is so much more common.
  2. People trust the space I’ve created with this offering. More than one of the members has shared with me that it feels like a “safe space to play” and that’s what they need.
  3. My recommendations of social media and new media tools and strategies are highly valued.

Wow! I’m gratified and honored. No kidding.

Listening & Leveraging Social Proof

These learnings have been like revelations for me. So valuable! For example, in the video clip below, author, speaker, entrepreneur, and Playground Member, Susan Falter explains (slightly edited):

You are the master of ease and a guy who is a lot of fun and highly creative. I love your approach to things. This really is “a playground.” …It’s a no pressure environment. That’s fun, and that’s what I want.

Suzanne also underscored to me the value to her of the kinds of practical information that I share (in the Playground, via our enewsletter and via social media). How could I not appreciate and value this acknowledgement of my knowledge and expertise? 🙂

You are like a Google of internet marketing. I feel like I can type on your forehead “why create videos” and up will come like fifteen different resources and I’ve never heard of any of them. …It’s very helpful to people like me who really want to know what the best, easiest way is. It’s like instead of trying fifteen different apps you’re going to tell me which one to use. That’s really, really valuable.

Please watch the video above for Suzanne’s complete comments, and please click below if you’d like to receive our occasional enews or become a Member of The Playground. As a special “thank you for reading” if you become a member between now and the end of tomorrow (Sept 17th), enter the Code “wonder” at check out and receive 20% off your Playground Membership.
Please click here to subscribe to our “It’s a Wonderful Web” enewsletter.
Click here to learn more or become a Member of The New Media New Marketing Playground.

How Authentic Value Is Bringing New Fire to My Marketing

Image via @gapingvoidJay Baer likes to remind us that:

Content is fire, social media is gasoline.

But I think there’s something that comes first: The spark that ignites that fire is authenticity, or more specifically, authentic value. After all, not all content burns or even glows. It’s only content that has some real value that matters, has meaning, and thus, has the “fire” or attractiveness to engage others (whether they are prospective clients or customers, friends or collaborators, political constituencies, or whatever.)

Connecting with My Own Authentic Value

Finding my own authentic voice (the fire that lights me up and thus ignites my best content) is much easier to say that to do. Thanks in part to some coaching from Andrea J. Lee and because I’m committed to walking my talk in this regard, I decided to try to find out more about what makes me different and to connect more directly with what it is that only I can do.

Because I am fortunate enough to have had my own business for many years, I decided to ask someone who has worked with me as a client across decades and during his employment at four different companies. I interviewed Randy Haldeman who is currently CEO / President of Code-N. Yes, as I expected, Randy respects and appreciates my expertise with leading edge marketing communications and gets value from the way I stay on top of all the tech stuff:

I know that I can count on you 100% to know the latest and greatest marketing communications technologies, especially in the online and video worlds. You know what’s over-hyped and what’s for real… Part of your value is figuring out what doesn’t work by putting things in perspective. Knowing what doesn’t work is just as important as figuring out what does work. Because you do that, we don’t have to. We trust you to lead us in that way.

Surprised by the Human Dimension

But what surprised me was the way Randy took the “connect the dots” metaphor in a more human direction:

You have the ability to connect the dots, and that goes beyond the technological components. You can hear disparate points of view and distill them down to their essence so that they can be connected. This enables you to lead, but not via your ego or thinking that you always have the right answer. Rather, you have the skills to incorporate input and feedback from disparate members of our team. You listen well and make people feel they are included. That’s been invaluable for our work together.

Now, that was a real eye-opener for me. Yes, I know that I do that; but, to be honest, that aspect of my value has been under appreciated… by me!

In this way, I think that there is a need for all of us—whether we are individuals or organizations—to take time to contemplate (and wherever possible do research) in order to connect more deeply with the authentic value of what we are offering. Self-appreciation is important and obviously also contributes to our ability to communicate our value effectively to others.

Are you clear about the value that you bring to others? If not, I’m sure you would be well served to spend some time getting feedback from some of those to whom you intend to bring this value.

Beyond “Just More Stuff”

As the image above so brilliantly illustrates, information is empty without the context that knowledge provides. Otherwise, we are stuck with isolated bits of information. For this reason, it’s no wonder that the beauty and wonderfulness of our social media driven Web is also frequently under appreciated. (Thanks to Hugh McLeod a.k.a. @gapingvoid for the graphic.)

For me, a new chapter is opening and I am going beyond the solid foundation of my primer, “Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts Every Business MUST Know.” Yes, all marketers do need to understand how social media, SEO, online video and PPC work and fit together (and I think the book does a good job of illuminating all that), but without the human “fire” of authenticity and authentic value, it’s all just more stuff.

Bottom Line: A Meaningful Future is Calling

Bottom line, there’s more to business than money and profit (although those are good things within reason), and there’s also more to marketing than “lead generation” (although we all want that too.) Fundamentally, I believe that business (and life) is about the quality of our relationships. My goal is to build a tribe of clients with whom I have long term, sustainable relationships.

In order to do that, my marketing needs to create authentic connections and meaningful collaborations that are based on leading with value, rather than giving something in order to get something. I’m pleased to be learning and continuing to explore what this means for me and continuing to learn from those who appreciate what I have to offer.

And the best part is that I know I’m going to have fun along the way, especially with the new online virtual community that I will be leading starting in early September. I look forward to sharing more about my own learning process and to supporting the discovery process of others in my new group mentoring program, The New Media New Marketing Playground. If you would like to join in this fun and explore the human dimensions of the new media, new marketing landscape and be supported to market more from a place of ease, fun and authenticity, please click here to learn more about The Playground. I hope to see you there.

3 Videos That Inspired My Business & My Life Last Week

Jim Carrey QuoteReady for take off? It feels that way to me. Astrologers tell me that when Mercury goes direct on Tuesday, it’s “all systems go!” For me, the latest signs of expansion have come in the form of three videos that showed up in my social streams last week. This clips (all embedded for your viewing pleasure below) inspired and uplifted me by reminding me of what life and business is all about. I feel more hopeful and excited about what I am creating that maybe ever before. No kidding.

As some of you are aware, I am focusing the foundation of my business marketing communications more and more around my values of ease, fun and authenticity. These videos hit home and struck harmonious chords for me along these lines and then, went deeper. All three speakers—comedian, movie star Jim Carrey; successful entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg a.k.a. SwissMiss; and best selling author of “Red, Hot & Holy,” Sera Peak—are willing to “think different.” Each of these shining examples doesn’t even consider “the box” when they think and, more importantly, they consistently act outside of it.

Jim Carrey: Freedom From Concern

This commencement address at the Maharishi University of Management is a joy. And, it speaks to me about the heart of social media marketing as well. For example, he says:

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.”

That’s right. It’s not about the money. “The Experience Economy” is based on how people feel, the effect you have on them, when they grant you a bit of their preciously scarce attention. Carrey really walks his talk about “Freedom from Concern” and he implores you to listen to “your joyful heart.” I think what he says is important.

Tina Roth Eisenberg: Don’t Forget to Play

For some people, it’s a stretch to talk about having fun while working. Not for blogger/designer/entrepreneur, SwissMiss (whose real name is above). She tells the story of her amazing journey from graphic designer to owner of five thriving businesses and mother of two far better than I can summarize. Bottom line for me, she seems to be enjoying herself and the learning process every step of the way. Beyond the fun quotient, is the way she has so clearly found her own unique business path and built her businesses on her own terms by making her people a real priority. Thus, Tina exemplifies, for me at least, how enjoyable and rewarding the business journey can really be. I like that. I really like that. 🙂

Sera Peak: Listening to a Power Greater Than Yourself

Rarely do we see an individual willing to expose her own “Truth Bombs on the Soul Path.” We’ve all had major insights and realizations, and rarely do they make us look good. One of the core values of authenticity is telling the truth no matter what. This video exposes this best-selling author’s learning process on her way to ever-deepening spiritual growth, and she does so with a kind of transparency that I believe uplifts us all. That’s what I call inspiration.

 

An Online Video Project That Makes a Difference by Addressing the Crisis in Our Family Courts

There are online video projects… and then there are online video projects that pull at your heart strings because they are so important that they take your work to a more meaningful level. As our new client, Kathleen Russell and I have been saying, “We are not just selling widgets.” 😉

Becca screen grab

Rebecca, a survivor of Family Court abuse and corruption.

ComBridges’ recent last minute video shoot, quick turn around video edit, and posting to YouTube project, reflected in the three video clips embedded below, (for Kathleen Russell Consulting, KRC, a social advocate and political PR firm and her non-profit Center for Judicial Excellence, CJE) was just that kind of project. 

The video shoot followed Friday night, January 10th’s premiere of a revealing new documentary called “Divorce Corp.” The title kind of tells you what it’s about. I’ll add that as bad as our healthcare system is, the mercenary way that lawyers and courts have turned divorce into a $50 Billion business makes the healthcare system look, well, almost healthy (but not quite.) 😉 (HuffPo review here)

KRC’s tag line is “Telling Stories, Moving Mountains.” In this case, the story is the shocking corruption and dysfunctionality in the US Family Courts, an almost entirely “untold story” that really NEEDS to be told. The tragic fact is that the lives of children and their families are being absolutely ruined by a Family Court system that (sad but true) has absolutely no independent oversight. I find this to be shocking and hard to believe, but it is clearly true.

I won’t try to tell that whole story here. Hopefully, the three video clips below will inspire you to want to learn and do more. And there’s more information here on the CJE website.

However, I must say as a video professional, this is the kind of project that I LOVE. Video is not just a technology. It’s a communication platform. “Eye candy” is like sugar. No nutritional value. But when we use online video to tell important stories that really do need to be told, then we get an opportunity to make a real difference. I am very grateful for that.

For me at least, this kind of work is what having my own business is all about. Many thanks to Kathleen Russell and the Center for Judicial Excellence for the opportunity to be of service! And BRAVO to the three courageous people shown below. I know that it takes remarkable courage and commitment to speak up and speak out.

Please share and spread the word if you are so moved. Thanks.

UPDATE: A directly-related international news story is breaking here via Australian TV. Savannah Todd is yet another survivor of the US Family Court abuse, although her mother may end up in one of our prisons for protecting her daughter from another example of family court legal-style evil. 🙁

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!

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.

Free Internet Marketing Webinar for Businesses, May 27 at 11AM PT

If you are new to Internet marketing, we want to help you get up to speed, for free.

Jon has given his one-hour workshop, “What Every Business Should Know About Internet Marketing” in locations from Kona, Hawaii to Silicon Valley (as you can see in the video clip on our web page). Now, for the first time, it’s being offered free via the Internet, Thursday, May 27th at 11:00AM PT / 2:00PM ET. Click here to register now >>

This useful and informative webinar includes a complete overview of the three main areas of Internet marketing, including:

  • The “Super Market-Trends” that have radically leveled the marketing playing field
  • The two essential strategies upon which all successful internet marketing campaigns are based
  • The three main types of internet marketing: search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click search engine advertising (PPC) and social media marketing (SMM)
  • A comparative analysis of the time requirements for implementation, the kinds and quality of results, and the cost-per-lead that is derived from each main category
  • Valuable tips, tricks and resources that are based on real world experience

Why are we producing this event for free?

  • Jon LOVES to share information and people love learning this material. It’s important!
  • It helps to expose the expertise that makes ComBridges such a valuable marketing partner.
  • This is a “free sample” of things to come. We are working on a new educational website to be called “New Marketing University” that will have many more programs. We hope you’ll like this program enough to become interested in more. To learn more, please register now.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 27th at 11:00AM PT / 2:00PM ET. We hope to see you there.

>> Please Click Here to Register Now <<
It takes just 30 seconds, really! And, even if you can’t make it live, by registering you will make sure that you get the link to the free recorded version.

Or view our 1-page PDF with the generic course description below . . .
What Every Business-Onesheet 03.25.10

Literacy = Learning (& unlearning)

This quote came today in my email, and I think it makes a nice thought for starting our New Year:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
~ Alvin Toffler

May we all continually reinvent ourselves (regardless of how uncomfortable that may be at times.)