Is Your Business Life Organized Boredom?

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You know I’m a notebook freak.

The other day I grabbed a bundled stack of old Field Notes. Ones I had used in the past.

A phrase was written on a page all by itself. When I read it I remembered writing it. Let me briefly share it with you.

I hope you have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!

Vulgarity: The Newest Popularity Building Tool Has A High Price

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Profane. Vulgar.

It once meant offensive, but now it seems to be a primary tool for driving up popularity. Actually, there’s nothing new about it. The Internet just makes it seem like it.

Speech has characterized the true nature of people since the beginning of time. The Bible account of creation shows Satan taking the form of a serpent in the Garden of Eden. He utters the first lie, a specific type of vulgarity. Deception. The high price of vulgarity resulted in Adam and Eve disobeying God. They were expelled from the Garden.

Another Bible example is recorded on the evening of the crucifixion of Christ. The apostle Peter is warming himself at a fire among those who are clamoring for Christ to be executed. Repeatedly he’s being pointed out as one of the disciples, but each time he denies even knowing Christ. Finally, as though it would serve to prove his innocence he begins to curse. (Matthew 26:74) Vulgarity served its purpose. I’m sure the folks around that fire figured, “He’s one of us.”

In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s foul mouthed comic Lenny Bruce made headlines by being profane and vulgar. From 1961 to 1964 he was repeatedly arrested for violating obscenity laws. Some have argued that he was a man before his time. I’d argue that he was just a profane man before vulgarity became chic. Today, his act would likely get lost in a sea of stand-up comic acts more vulgar than anything he created. Can you be a standup comic today without vulgarity? (Bill Cosby and Sinbad notwithstanding).

The Parental Advisory warning started in 1990. 2LiveCrew’s record, Banned in the USA, was the first recording to earn the non-removable sticker. In that same year, 1990, the Motion Picture Association Of America instituted the current rating system which escalates from G to PG to PG-13 to R to NC17. We’re so protective of our youth that we won’t allow a 16 year old to view an R rated movie without an adult or parent. They can’t drink alcohol until they’re 21, but we can begin corrupting their mind much sooner.

Video recorders began to hit mainstream America in the mid-70’s. The first big content provider? The porn industry.

The Internet began its march into our lives in the mid-90’s, a full twenty years after most of us had seen our first VCR (video cassette recorder for you young folks). The first big content providers? The porn industry.

Blogging was picking up steam by the late 1990’s. You were as likely to run across some profanity laced filled content as anything, with accompanying photos.

Sure, the vulgarity has become more sophisticated. Well, that’s the term some use. A better term might be the phrase “socially acceptable.”

Browse through a random Flickr account and you’ll likely see countless photos of people flipping off the photographer. Visit just about any YouTube channel and scan the comments. Odds are the first comment will have a bomb front and center.

Remember when you were young? When you heard somebody at school cuss for the first time? Okay, I’m showing my age. I’m guessing today’s kindergartners have heard most every cuss word known to man before they enter the classroom. Many of them have grown up hearing mom and dad talk that way. Innocence doesn’t remain very long. We’re speeding toward vulgarity so our kids can become fluent by the time they hit 3rd grade.

The middle finger is now the title of a “project” that extols the value of F-bombing. No, I won’t link to it, but you can figure it out and see for yourself how debased we’ve become.

And now it has come to this.

Decency is scoffed at, ridiculed and mocked.

Shocking vulgarity does garner attention. No doubt about it. If you’re tempted to join the insanity of vulgarity, resist. Find encouragement knowing that profanity-filled content won’t bring you more honor, respect or trust.

And if there are no children in your life, then take a look at just two of the ones who are part of my life. That’s Jake and his big brother, Max, pictured above. They’re my grandsons. Max is in pre-school. He just turned 5. You don’t know him, but if you were around him would you watch what you said? I’m hoping you’ve got enough decency to answer, “Of course, I would.” (Note: Almost 5 years ago I wrote this post on Max’s site about men who influence boys.)

Vulgarity, indecency, profanity…they all contribute to greater immorality. In our lives. And in our children’s lives.

Moral bankruptcy creeps up on us. Adults, just like the kids who bullied the bus monitor with round after round of vulgarity, find themselves saying and doing things they may have once never imagined. The high price of vulgarity must be paid.

No one’s life is improved by vulgarity or profanity. Everyone’s life is improved by decency. You decide which one you’ll embrace and serve. Little pictures have big ears, but big pictures do, too.



Marketing Ruins Everything, Eventually!

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Money (That’s What I Want)” is a 1959 hit single by Barrett Strong.

“The best thing in life is free
But you can give it to the birds an’ bees
I need some money, Need some money.
Oh yeah, what I want”

Are the best things in life free? Free in the sense that they don’t cost money?

Faith. Family. Friends.

We’re often conned into  thinking money increases those things. Not true. On the contrary, money can devalue those things that truly do matter. Then, why do we chase it so hard? Why do we concentrate so much effort in marketing our stuff, selling our stuff and thinking about marketing and selling our stuff?

Because it’s money that we want! And we’ll do whatever we must to get more of it. We don’t care what we ruin or who we ruin…as long as we get to push more of our stuff.

Marketing ruins everything. Eventually.

Pinterest launched an invitation only beta in March 2010. By the end of 2010 it was open to the public. Within 30 days ebooks and videos were released extolling the virtues of Pinterest for marketing. Today, I suspect there are millions of Pinterest boards focused solely on peddling products, services and information. That dazzling picture you click on may have nothing to do with the hyperlink.

Oh, that recipe looks delightful. Click on the picture.Bam! You’re now staring at a sales page for a fitness-based info product.

Marketers ruin everything. Eventually.

Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest. The big 4 of social media (at least at the time of this writing) are dominated by regular people, not marketers. That’s why marketers pounce on them like a Serengeti leopard on injured prey.

Famed bank robber Willie Sutton said, “Go where the money is…and go there often.”

Marketers go where the people are, go there often and they stay there, taking it over, like cousin Eddie in National Lampoon’s Vacation movies. Marketers intrude every space where people congregate. Sooner than later, they ruin it…filling it with endless disgusting sales pitches.

Marketing ruins anything with any value. It’s happened to postal mail, telephones, fax, cell phone text, email and social networks. Whatever comes next will surely experience a similar fate. All the cool ways invented to help us communicate with each other get soiled by marketing messages.

Go check your email inbox right now. Count how many messages out of 10 are from real people you really know. Let’s include the emails you get from business people you really know! Don’t count the messages in your junk or spam folder. Just check your “real” inbox. I’m betting 80-90% of it is from people you don’t really know or care about.

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Podcast: Download | Non-Flash Playback

Make it good enough is the call to action of the Lean Startup Movement.

It’s a wise call to action for content creation, software development and other acts of production. It can even be wise for creative folks.

Business owners can often fall prey to the curse of “good enough.” They may find that they’ve been able to sustain their business year after year. They’ve developed some processes and systems that enable them to keep their doors open. Day after day their businesses perform good enough to keep the doors open. But maybe not much else.

Good enough is killing many small businesses, preventing them from finding enough momentum to carry them to levels of success they’ve never experienced. The habit of good enough doesn’t need to be your albatross.

It’s time to kick the past to the curb and stop being just good enough. It’s time to find new heights because most business owners are fully capable of doing better. Some just need to know how.