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I try to write about three times per week. Most of it is pretty good and will probably help you grow your business. If it doesn't, then I probably can't help you.

You can use a traditional RSS Feedreader with this fancy-dancy link. I think this approach is harder but if you want to do it the hard way, who am I to say otherwise?

You can use a traditional RSS Feedreader with this fancy-dancy link. I think this approach is harder but if you want to do it the hard way, who am I to say otherwise?

Being Human in a Digital World

posted this on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at about 8am.
Being Human in a Digital World

Understanding and embracing technology is an important part of today's marketplace. Learning to interact in today's digital world is a must for individuals to embrace.

Certainly, it's easiest for the younger generation (does that make me sound old?). It's critical for the more mature.

But, with all this online collaboration, have we forgotten something about what it means to be human?

When I started my company nearly six years ago, I had the thought that we'd be very successful by letting people work wherever they were without a central office. I realized very quickly that my style of management (both project and people) is a very collaborate process. Being collaborative online is a tricky and, usually, ineffective process.

Sure, there are tools available like GoToMeeting, Skype, Dropbox, Google Hangouts, etc. But, there is something special about being in the same room with someone. Being able to hear their voice and connect with them on a more personal level.

Now, I think it's a bit funny coming from someone like me. I tend to prefer to be an introvert. I like my solitude. Even with my preference of seclusion, I value the ability to collaborate on a more intimate level. There is nothing that can fuel the creative process more than the ability to develop an intellectual bond with another or to truly be able to share ideas in real-time.

While there is technology today that makes the remote life a lot more in the realm of possibility the reality is that we are missing a piece. It's the human element. It's the ability for humans to communicate on the same level with humans.

When we don't communicate directly with one another on a human level, we'll find that the process changes quite a bit. When we just send an email, it's easier for others to discount what we think is important. When can't do something as simple as shaking someone's hand or even talking to them on the phone, we don't have the ability to remind people that we are real and deserve to be on the same level.

Consider your interactions with others. If you are only connecting digitally, you are forgetting 1000s of years of how people connect. You are missing out an important part of being human. Therefore, you are missing out on important part of truly connecting in a way that will create greatness.

Corey Smith and his wife are the proud parents of five wonderful children and live in Meridian, Idaho. He is the president of Tribute Media, a Meridian based Web Design & Marketing Agency.

He is the author of two books, "Do It Right: A CEO's Guide to Web Strategy" and "Tweet It Right: A CEO's Guide to Twitter." You can learn more about his books here.

Interested in having Corey speak for your organization? Need help building or marketing your organization? Want to tell Corey how cool you think he is?

Are you communicating or talking?

posted this on Monday, August 20, 2012 at about 11am.

Ian is three and a half years old. He, like most three year olds, loves to talk and ask questions.

His mother and I have found ourselves, as most parents do, only listening to a small fraction of what he says. A bad habit that carries to our other children as well. This was made especially understood one day, not too long ago, when he was saying something to his mother and she replied with her normal response of, “Mmm hmm.”

His response was a frustrated, “Mom, don’t say mmmm hmmm!”

To test him a few days later I responded to him with, “Mmmm hmm.”

He told me the same thing, “Don’t say mmmm hmmm!”

He wanted to be heard. He wanted to be understood. He’s not yet four years old but he understands when he’s being ignored.

Yesterday I had a unique opportunity to sit and talk with my 11-year-old for over an hour. We do talk on a regular basis but we usually don’t have that much time to just focus on each other with nothing stealing our attention. No TV. No Internet. No games. Just the two of us.

It was nice to be able to sit with him and just talk. You’d be amazed at what you can learn from someone (even someone less than 1/3 your age) when you just sit and truly communicate.

One of the key things I learned was how often he is not heard. How often he talks about things that are important to him and no one listens.

Of course, I used this as a teaching opportunity to point out that one thing he should really try to focus on is learning how to talk in a way and at a time that others will want to take interest. However, this was a great learning opportunity for me as well.

How often do you truly listen to what others have to say? How often do you really take the time to understand their point of view?

Too often, with my family, friends, employees and customers, I realize that I listen to only part of what they are saying and then fill in the gaps with my assumptions. I find that most often I fill in the gaps properly. Perhaps that’s to my disadvantage because it enforces the actions I take to communicate improperly.

Mary Englebrite said, “The problem with communication is the assumption that it has taken place.”

Take a step back. Try to see how your responses to others demonstrate you care about what they say or demonstrate that you are simply ignoring them.

Technology Doesn't Matter

posted this on Monday, September 19, 2011 at about 9pm.
Flux Capacitor

Running your business in 2011 requires a bit of understanding of technology. Even the least technical jobs, such as lawn care professionals, are sporting smart phones to check email, talk to his staff and connect to his clients.

The challenge is that technology can be a bit unnerving for some business owners. It’s not unnerving because it’s technology, per se. It’s unnerving because of the need to understand, yet again, something new.

Social media, blogs, iPhones and Android, search engine optimization, flux capacitors… how do we keep it all straight?

Let me suggest that technology is only a tool. It’s no different than a hammer or drill except it’s a tool that solves a different problem. Until we understand that the technology we use is meant to solve a specific problem, we’ll continue to focus on how hard it is to integrate technology into our business and marketing efforts.

People NOT Social Media

Social media isn’t a new concept. Connecting online in a social setting has been around since the first public bulletin board system was born on February 16, 1978. It’s only been the last few years that social media has really exploded.

The problem is forgetting that social media is really about the people. All online bulletin board systems, discussion forums, blog comments, status updates and tweets are about connecting people with people.

Social media is the tool. How do you connect people together is the problem it solves.

Story Telling NOT Websites

Websites are more common now than ever. It’s been a little over 20 years since the first website was published. On August 6, 1991 Tim Berners-Lee, a CERN physists created the first website. It didn’t take too long before Yahoo, Netscape, AOL and Amazon were part of the daily lexicon.

In the beginning, story telling wasn’t as important because only the innovators and early adopters could even access the Web anyway. However, now with billions of websites, competition is fierce to get your message out.

Websites are simple a tool for telling stories. Your story will come in many ways. The best stories are very creative told with picture, graphics and interactivity. But, stories can also be very technical, dry and boring. The better your stories, the more people will come to learn about you.

Communication NOT Email

Since the first email was sent in 1971, it has changed the way business is conducted. It’s been nearly 20 years since it really became a mainstay of corporate communication. Unfortunately, email has been an escape from reality for too many business people. It’s becomes a place to hide from the challenges that face us. If we don’t want to talk with someone, we send an email. It allows us to measure our words to the point that we end up being too vague or too rude. To make matters worse, most email writing is poor, at best.

Communication is a two-way street. It takes a listening and a speaking side for communication to happen. Most business people make the mistake of thinking that communication has taken place when the other person is not really paying attention.

Email is simply a tool that helps to facilitate communication. However, it still can not replace a simple conversation via the phone or face-to-face. Even other technological tools, such as video conferencing, can help to facilitate communication more effectively.

Creativity NOT Computers

In 1984, Apple Computers released the Macintosh and the face of computing hasn’t been the same since. Software has enabled the average computer user accessibility to professional quality tools. Even simple tools such as a word processor or a photo-editing package allow the least adept feel like a pro.

Computers, in fact, have a tendency to stifle creativity. Leaning on clip-art, copy-and-paste and photographic filters prevent us from coming up with our own, new ideas. We tend to favor the tools that offer the least resistance to getting our job done.

The result? We generate the same drivel as we’ve done in the past.

Computers are tools. Computers provide us more availability to things that will help us be creative but we have to be careful to not limit our own minds. Sometimes a pen and paper or whiteboard can allow us to be unencumbered in our imagination and then we can take it to the computer when we are ready to put our ideas to work.

Accessibility NOT Smart Phones

By 1930, land-locked telephone customers could place a call to an ocean liner in the Atlantic Ocean. In the 1990s, texting began to become another effective way of communicating short messages quickly.

In 1996, Nokia released the first phone that could be classified a smart phone. In 1997, the term smart phone was made official. With the release of the iPhone in 2007, the smart phone officially became a household term. Now, walking down the street, sitting in a coffee shop or even at church, you see people glued to their phones.

The argument for a smart phone is the ability to be accessible to anyone at anytime. However, it often results in more people playing Angry Birds and checking email in the middle of a movie instead.

Smarts phones are tools that provide greater accessibility. If you aren’t careful, the very thing that promises greater accessibility could actually prevent it.


These tools are not new. These tools have been around for many years. We seem to think of them as new because they are shinier now than there were in the beginning. They have become mainstream. They have come to the point where they now mean something to a greater percentage of the population.

Don’t get hung up on the technology but, instead, take the time to understand what the tools are meant to do. If you focus on people, story telling, communication, creativity and accessibility, you’ll find greater success in everything you do.

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