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Quit Yer Yarping & Talk Solutions Already – Raise My Bar by Raising Yours

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455244.jpgGreg Swann had a really great point in this week’s Odysseus post regarding being able to answer questions in relation to your value. Hardcore criticism in a blog can do that- “practice you” per se, but does it really? Sure, if the goal post isn’t a transient target. So I wanted to write this to take Greg’s point one step further and I hope, beyond.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading post after post regarding many issues around the blog-o-whatever, and honestly, there isn’t much original thought out there. Most of them are attacks on folks (indirectly of course) that set a comment section on fire. It is a lot of fun to do, and yeah, we’re all guilty of it in some fashion, but not nearly on the level some are doing this.

Writing a post attacking something that people are passionate about is very likely going to get you attention- no names are mentioned, the statements are broad and generalized, and explode much like a verbal pipe bomb. They cut people in so many directions that defending yourself is futile. You’re going to be hit if you’re in the line of fire. How is this a sincere challenge? It isn’t. It no more teaches or instructs, than a swift kick to the face. What is wrong with this method of writing is that there is nothing constructive to gain from it, especially for consumers.

I, for one, am getting really bored of the nameless attacks. I see no real value in educating the ignorant unless the ignorant are willing to hear and understand, and engage realistic solutions. That is what is missing in the blog world and why technology blogs garner so many comments to posts related to How Tos; they’re constructive. They answer a need, a question, and the opportunity to grow in your own interest. I see the overwhelming success of Zillow’s Forums & Wiki and can gather that information is in high demand. Does your blog post answer the demand? Some do. Others do not.

Are you inventing new and innovative technologies for consumers? Are you redesigning a business model from the ground up and offering it up as a solution? Are you spending your day gathering facts that would help another in your profession grow their own business? Are you offering an idea for a product that enhances an industry? Are you evaluating the above for your reader? If your answer is no, then you may want to evaluate whether blogging is for you because flaming the choir is a waste of everyone’s time and energy.

My last thought is this- many flamers hide behind the veil ofblogging for the consumer.” But the consumer doesn’t want chaos, confusion, a verbal fist fight, or anything like that (they have television for that). They want ideas and solutions- they want to be inspired. The Realtors that read you want very much the same. I want to read far out ideas with crazy today solutions- I know I am not alone in my feelings as I’ve had many conversations with peers on this subject.

So, if you’re looking for ideas to write about, here are a few:

  • How do we organize and speak to NAR and be heard in a constructive way?
  • How do you envision your real estate practice in year 2010?
  • Comparing business models and what positives they all have
  • Your idea of your value to the consumer
  • What are the dangers of RE Forums to consumers (ie. fair housing, facts versus opinions)

How to blog and engage rather than incite:

  • Narrow your scope in what you target
  • Use facts to base your point, not rhetoric
  • Accept arguments and use them to build solution
  • Find the middle
  • Offer suggestions in regards to a reader’s personal growth
  • Never make a comparison that is not based in fact
  • Never insult those you claim to be teaching
  • Offer a realistic solution in place of destructive observations
  • Never speak from both ends

Inspirational things consumers are drawn too:

  • Redfin
  • HGTV
  • TLC
  • The Discovery Channel
  • Social Networks & People Talk
  • Technology
  • Innovative ideas

There will be a few readers who may be offended by what I’ve said here and that is unfortunate. My intention is to simply raise the bar, even in my own writing. Anyone can criticize anything, that’s easy, the question really is- do you have what it takes to put up solutions even if they may be torn apart? That’s the post readers will engage every single time and just as hot as a flame job.

What inspires you?

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Drew Meyers

    August 20, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    I totally 100% agree with your point that people want to be inspired — sadly, some people (IMO) don’t ever find true inspiration.

    What inspires me? Helping others educate themselves and improve their business/life in the process. Along the same lines — micro finance, which you’ll see me blogging more about in the future on my own blog.

  2. B. R.

    August 20, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    That’s awesome, you may lose me at micro finance, but I swear I’m a fan of everything else you ever write!

    Thanks for coming by!

  3. Drew Meyers

    August 20, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Microfinance is just empowering entrepreneurs around the world to bring themselves out of poverty through entrepreneurship. Sustainable change — rather than just granting money which will not change anything in the long term.

    Check out Kiva.org. I think you’ll love the concept.

  4. B. R.

    August 21, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Drew, yes, I’ve seen this and I think it’s awesome. It is a really cool alternitive to charity, very interactive, I love it.

    There was something going here in the states much the same, only the loans were larger and there was a profit opportunity. I wasn’t that impressed, but the concept was really neat.

    Way to promote a solution…

  5. Jay Thompson

    August 21, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    This is the best post I’ve seen in a long time.

    What inspires me? I like to learn, and help others learn. Granted, some (maybe much) of what I post doesn’t do that. But I also on occasion just lay myself out there. I want my readers (particularly prospective client readers) to get to know me. Sometimes that entails writing something completely off-topic or frivolous….

  6. April Groves

    August 22, 2007 at 3:50 am

    Big Dittos and thanks for the mention.

    I am not an internet firestarter and it is not on my to do list. I much prefer your approach of engaging, helping, and raising.

    I am inspired by “Yes I can and you can too!” people. Those who go big. Those who do it scared. Those who do it just because it’s right. Those who do it for somebody else.

    I am inspired by my husband and my kids. They embody the fullness of life – that is inspiring!

  7. Lisa Dunn

    August 23, 2007 at 7:16 am

    I think I have a problem. I’m an inspriration junkie. There are *lots* of things I feel passionate about, and when I’m passionate I’m inspired to act. Makes for a busy day!

    I’m inspired by Realtor’s stories about how they try to right the wrongs that are done to our customers. We do this by educating through our blogs, right?

    I’m inspried by my 84 year old clients who look at every day as a new possibility, have a sense of personal responsibility, have a sense of earning what you receive, use their manners, and take the time to share their wisdom with me.

  8. B. R.

    August 23, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Lisa, you’re so right. You seem to have great perspective in your business and why you’re so successful. There is sometimss a shortage of real human interest stories around the re.net. To me, that is where a Realtors real value is displayed is when they demonstrate just how far they go for their clients. Getting hung up on the politics of real estate just erodes our overall value to the consumer.

  9. Michael Price

    August 27, 2007 at 1:00 am

    I am inspired by humility and patience in blogging. It’s not hard to tell if a post or comment has been thoughtfully crafted. It’s even easier to tell if a post was written in haste without checking the facts. Knee jerk reactions are everywhere. Too many people seem to be willing to vilify people and companies without the courtesy of placing themselves in that person’s position for even a millisecond.

    Forming an opinion is easy. Framing an opinion only takes a little more effort.

    I am inspired by passionate thinkers, even those I do not agree with, as long as their passion is genuine. A little grace and humility can go a long way. As you stated we are all “guilty of it in some fashion” and I will certainly admit to my share. It’s the repeat offenders I have to take issue with. Forming an opinion without a complete frame of reference and then launching an attack gets old after a while. When the offender doesn’t take the time to interject a little humility and grace, credibility weakens.

  10. B. R.

    August 27, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Well said Michael, I totally agree.

  11. Erik Hersman

    August 27, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Excellent post!

    Consistently adding value to the conversation through blogging is a long-term strategy that is more difficult to master than just opening a flame war. The payoffs are in being book marked and returned to for a long time to come.

  12. Rebecca Levinson

    August 27, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    This was a refreshing post, as I was getting a bit discouraged over the past week, reading over some of the banter between bloggers bent on getting readership through dagger directed insults disguised as bravado and insight. I prefer the bloggers who look to gain readership through insightful inquiry and educated observation.

  13. Rory Siems

    September 14, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Downside: I have kept my blog mostly vanilla in nature. My ratio for controversy must hover around 1:150. The penalty/result for that is

    No comments or reactions are made.
    Straight facts can sometimes play as boring and lacking value.

    Look at some of the most successful blogs that are outside the real estate space, how many of those straddle “the middle”? None.

    I agree with Jay, part of the purpose of my blog is to let potential clients know who I am. I think that if I continue to keep it too conservative that it may come off as robotic which defeats the purpose even moreso.

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Business Marketing

10 must-listen-to podcasts for business owners

(MARKETING) If you’re a business owner and want to learn something…anything…give one (or all) these podcasts a listen.

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As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

From interviews with business leaders to industry-specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly popular show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace, Change.org, Kiva, Teach For America, and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further than Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real-world applications and cover everything from marketing to technology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo, or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help, and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

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Business Marketing

Why your coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…

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family coworkers

The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

Market your side hustle with these 6 tips

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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side hustle paperwork and technology

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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