Category Archives: Other Interests

Harry told me, Work is Personal

In the bookstore

Have you ever been in a bookstore and just felt drawn to a book like a magnet? Yesterday, I had just finished a meeting in a bookstore coffee shop, so before heading back to the car I thought I would do a little title scanning – one of my favorite hobbies. As I patrolled the aisles I came upon the clearance shelf and there, staring back at me, with an inviting, “come hither”, $4.98 markdown price tag on the cover was Harry Beckwith’s “The Invisible Touch – The Four Keys to Modern Marketing.” I figured that’s a buck for each key and 98 cents for the experience: How could I resist?

Like I said, this was yesterday, so I’ve really only just cracked the cover, but I’ve already stumbled on this little gem: “Work is personal.” That’s it, three words, but when I read that I just thought “wow!” which I think mirrored the author’s reaction when he first encountered those words as a slogan on the back of a Fast Company baseball cap.

“Work is personal” – it’s kind of juicy, but I’m not going to try to outdo Harry breaking this idea down, because he just nailed it, I just felt compelled to share his words though:

“Work is not about business; it’s about us. The human dimension of business — the messy, emotional, utterly human dimension — is not merely important; it is all encompassing. As a result we must plunge into the world of feelings — truly frightening territory.”

I just love that! I think it nails a lot about why I do what I do, and I think it is so important that as a business author he acknowledges that this is not an easy nor comfortable place for the business-minded to dwell. Every day it seems the amount of evidence and literature mounts up supporting the idea that success in business is not so separate from our human qualities – just read a few Dans like Dan Pink, Dan Roam, Dan Ariely or Dan Goleman and you’ll get a taste of a rising tide of interest in the inescapably human aspects of business. We may wrap ourselves in corporate veils, but beneath that cloak we are people: frail, humble, shy, bold, altruistic, greedy, brilliant, bullheaded, savvy and irrational people. We want meaning, we want fulfillment, we want marvelous experiences – I believe that a business can provide all of those and I think you can build one of those businesses if you keep the human experience in mind for your customers, employees, vendors, and yes, for you too.

Thank you Harry for reminding us that Work is Personal – and if that’s the kind of insight that’s in the intro, I can’t wait to read the rest of your book. I’ve already gotten great returns on my $4.98 investment.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately? Got a “Wow!” to share?

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So say what you're trying to say.

Do you ever get word-stuck? Tongue-tied at the keyboard as it were? You know, those moments when you want to get the words out, but you’re tangled, you can’t start it right, it just won’t flow? Here’s an idea: say what you’re trying to say.

But you protest – “I am trying to say it.” No, I mean actually say it – out loud. I learned this from one of my best resources, my dad. Besides being the Cohen family business sage, Scrabble champion, pun-meister and Thanksgiving turkey carver, he also has often worn the hat of writing coach and editor for all his progeny. Many was the time that me and my sisters would be stuck on a school paper or later, a business brief or some such, and invariably he would invoke that simple little nugget “So… say what you’re trying to say” and it always worked.

Saying (out loud) what you’re struggling to say (in written form) somehow seems to take the pressure off. It engages another part of the brain, obstacles slide away and you’re able to just let the words flow – maybe not smoothly, maybe not in a grammatically sound way, but the raw meat of meaning will be there. From there the rest of the writing job is cleanup and polish. Saying it gets the idea out in the open – no longer hidden behind a tangle of pressure stemming from deadlines, or uncertainty, perceived importance or even vocabulary.

So next time you’re writing, or rather, not writing because you just can’t get the thought out through the pen or the computer, try another path. Get a friend and tell her to ask you what you’re trying to say. Call your own phone, ask “What am I trying to say?” and leave yourself a message so you can transcribe it later. Turn on the mic on that laptop of yours and just blurt away. The point is set aside the style and the structure, get them temporarily out of the path of the idea so you can get that idea out into the world. Birth it, or maybe burp it, just get it out rough and raw. You can then shape it. Make it better, clearer, more focused now that it is out – which by the way is something else my dad is great at, but don’t call him, I keep him busy enough as is 😉

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Finding empathy in the dark

Finding Empathy In The Dark
Marsha, Thank you for inviting me to tour Dialog in the Dark – it was an extraordinary exhibition and an extraordinary experience. As a visual artist the thought of living without sight is frankly terrifying and it was with no small amount of apprehension that I embarked on the tour, but I am so glad that I have experienced this. To be adrift in the dark was not how I imagined it, the presence of the other members of my group were reassuring and our steadfast guide, Erik, was a true comfort. A beacon in the dark, his voice was our guide and no light was necessary for him to steer us away from danger and into a new appreciation of the palette of our senses and a new gratitude for the one sense that we temporarily set aside for that short time. We were tourists in his world, safe in knowing that ours was just a door and a curtain away, but enriched to have stumbled together in the dark. I hope anyone who might read this will go take part in this moving experience and learn that we don’t need our eyes to see each others’ humanity.

-David

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Stepping up to the mic. Well, the headset, actually.

I’ve taken the plunge and quietly launched a podcast. This is my first time as host of my own show on BlogTalkRadio.com. I’ve been fortunate to be a guest on several podcasts in the past, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely so I figured why not?

For this first time out I discuss two of my staples: the Awful-to-Awesome scale and The Everest Question. For future shows I hope to do less monologues and more interviews. I’ll be foraging for interesting entrepreneurs who have built personal brands based on …unusual blends of skills, unique visions, driving passions and more. I hope you’ll check out this and future shows.

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Another Diva Toolbox article and a few questions

I had a nice chat with Janet Powers yesterday – Janet is the Diva extraordinaire behind Diva Toolbox™, a site which has been gracious enough to post a few of my scribblings – the latest being The Title That Used To Be Your Brand. Janet shared with me some of the stats on my past articles and asked if I might be interested in joining their growing family of podcasters under the umbrella of Diva Toolbox Radio (a BlogTalkRadio partnership).

I love the Diva Toolbox™ motto: “Within you lies the ability to do anything. Find it.” I think it is a great thought for everyone. The mission of Diva Toolbox™ is to “empower, educate, and entertain women”, but that is a message for men and women alike. I’m delighted that according to Janet my posts have been well received in the almost entirely female Diva community so I’m strongly considering taking her up on the podcast concept, but I feel that what I do here isn’t exclusively for one gender, nor would my content necessarily change for the audience.

Since you know I’m an advocate for listening to your community and asking for feedback on your brand my questions to my readers of this blog are: Would you like to not just read, but listen to some of my ideas too? And if so, do you think the Diva Toolbox would be a good vehicle for that conversation? Please tweet me @davidscohen or post a comment with your thoughts. Thanks!

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Plugins for the brain – WordCamp Atlanta 2010

I'm going to WordCamp Atlanta!

Well I had a fun time last night at the kick-off of Atlanta WordCamp held over at SCAD’s Atlanta campus. Saw a lot of great folks from the Atlanta web/social media scene and a bunch of Twitter friends. It was great to see Amani Channel of Visual Eye Media running a session. However, my favorite session from last night was Topher Kohan‘s talk on SEO tips for WordPress. He’s a big advocate for many of the plugins offered by Yoast so I’ll have to check some of those out. He also stirred up a smidgen of controversy over the merits of the Thesis theme/framework.

Today there are a lot of appetizing sessions on the menu. I’m torn between attending Rusty Tanton‘s analytics integration discussion or Ryan Imel‘s talk on parent/child theming. In the afternoon I think I’ll stick mostly to the developer track until the last slot where it is going to be another coin toss between Dave Coustan‘s content strategy discussion and Tessa Horehled‘s "Making your blog your business: Scale & Monetization"

There’s a lot of other great stuff so it was tough to choose. If you’re there today, I hope you’ll please find me and say hello. 🙂

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    Caitlín Mowbray"I adore your doodles... I swear looking at those bunnies lowers my blood pressure, calms my mind and makes me smarter. Who needs meditation when there are bunnies?"
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