I Read it in a Fortune Cookie

I ate Chinese food yesterday and at the end, I had a fortune cookie.  Inside the fortune cookie, I found this.

Failure is the Mother of Success

Failure is the mother of success.  What is this cookie trying to tell me?  Is it telling me to never stop trying?  Is it telling me to get up after getting knocked down?  Is it telling me that persistence yields reward?

Seth Godin says:   Persistence isn’t using the same tactics over and over. That’s just annoying.  Persistence is having the same goal over and over.

It seems everyone has an idea as to what determination, persistence, stick-to-it-ness,  insistence or perseverance is:

Dale Carnegie: Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Frank Lloyd Wright: know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

Harriet Beecher Stowe: When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (from The Ladder of Saint Augustine): The heights by great men reached and kept / Were not attained by sudden flight, / But they, while their companions slept, / Were toiling upward in the night.

John Quincy Adams: Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

Louis Pasteur: Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.

Mary Kay Ash: erodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.

Robert Frost: The best way out is always through.

Stephen Covey: Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.

Thomas Alva Edison: Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Winston Churchill: If you’re going through hell, keep going.

It seems allot of successful and famous people have it figured out.  The way to success is to never give up. Maybe as we head towards a New Year, a good resolution we all should have is to “do our best, and when our best is not enough, keep doing our best.”  In the end, we will probably get farther than most, do more than most, have more fun than most and learn more than most.  All from our attempts.

I guess my fortune cookie was right.  Failure is the mother of success.

Congratulations Amber!

Ok.  For the regular readers, this is a departure from the serious stuff to send some congratulatory fun to my daughter Amber for her college graduation this past weekend. :)  <seems to work best with Windows Explorer, Chrome and other browsers but not as well in Firefox>

I could not resist this, had to post it…

Great video on Inbound Marketing from the gang at HubSpot.  Gets right to the heart on the use of technology and social media to build your business.  Kudo’s to  Rebecca Corliss of HubSpot for the great work they do.

Remembering Trust and Ethics

Today one of our Governors was arrested.  One of the allegations was trying to sell the Senate seat of president-elect Obama for personal gain.  When I first heard the news this morning I was at first amazed and then a bit saddened for all the people that put their trust in this man, supported him, voted for him and got him elected Governor.

In their e-book Trust Economies: Investigation into the New ROI of the Web, the authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith talk about how valuable the relationships we build are and how we need to vigorously protect these relationships (If you have not read this e-book, I would suggest you do.)  This is especially true about our web relationships.  But how easy are they to break?  In a virtual world where people seldom meet in real life, is that even possible.  Yes, it is.

At a recent conference I spoke about how important it is as a New Media Producer (which in today’s world can mean blogger, podcaster, videocaster, micro-blogger and more) to build relationships on-line and to be a part of a like minded community.  David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” warns that it is easy to fall in love with you and your work on-line and even easier to fall out of love with you on-line.  The key thing that Brogan & Smith and Scott are trying to point out is the importance of trust.

It seems trust is hard to come by these days.  We are all a bit suspicious, cynical and wary.  We are often slow to “buy in” to new idea, plans and ways of doing things.  And on days like today, we tend to be a little less trustful than before.  But having said that, if we trust you, we almost rush to buy in.  So what are the building blocks of building trust and being someone that can be trusted?

Remember, mutual trust is a shared belief that you can depend on each other to achieve a common purpose. So how do you create mutual trust?  A trust that is sustainable?

  • Tell the truth.  Be someone who’s word can be trusted.
  • You cannot build mutual trust is you cannot listen.  A conversation is a relationship.
  • Share the credit and when in doubt, share the credit.
  • You cannot build mutual trust if you do not participate in the community.  Provide real value with your participation.
  • Ask for feedback, be willing to be wrong.
  • You cannot build mutual trust overnight.  Being trusted takes time to build, seconds to break.
  • When you say you will do something, do it.
  • You cannot build mutual trust without empathy.  Understanding others builds the bonds of trust.
  • Be transparent, let people get to know you.
  • Building trust takes personal time.  Nothing replaces the time you spend one on one with someone.
  • Building trust takes ethics.  Doing the right thing even when it is not popular.

Building trust and being trusted takes time, effort and commitment.  It is easy to say one thing yet do another.  It is easy to take shortcuts.  It is easy to use others for your personal gain.  But in the end, it is really a short sighted approach or as an old boss of mine used to say, “you are dead but just have not fallen over yet.”

On a day when one of our own Governors is arrested and a lengthy criminal complaint filed against him, isn’t this a perfect time to reflect on trust and ethics?

The Start of the Social Media Purge?

My plane landed in Dallas last night and just as I have done a hundred times, I reached for my phone to see what I missed during my flight. I opened my email to find the following;

Yes, Pownce…one of the original “micro-blog, what I am doing, file sharing” sites was shutting down.  Now, in all fairness to Pownce, the company was acquired by Six Apart (annoucement on Six Apart blog here) and I am sure this is an acquisition of talent and ideas as much as anything.  The rock stars at Pownce; Leah CulverMike Malone and Ariel Waldman have all moved over to Six Apart and along with them, their extraordinary talent and ideas.  I am sure Six Apart is a much better company because of it.

I was an early user of Pownce (back when you had to get an invite to join) and I did so enthusiastically.  I found many friends and colleagues already there and loved how you could attach media to your post to enable easy views or downloads.  Pownce did not have some of the limitations of Twitter and was a useful way to get your message out, let people know what you were up to and to follow those you knew.  Now, it is gone.

It makes me wonder if this is the first of many “fallouts” by companies providing great social networking tools.  Right now the big kids on the block (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and more) seem to continue to grow not only in size, but services (sometimes third party mind you).  But it seems, allot of companies are doing basically “the same thing.”  Is Jaiku really that much different than Twitter?  The examples are endless.  Are we beginning to see the large squeeze out the small, the “first to the space” to squeeze out the later in not only terms of usage but funding dollars.

It seems the economic times have reached right into the world of social media and the first ones to take the hit are the start-ups that bring us the coolest new widgets and gadgets.  Many will go the way of Pownce and find someone with the dollars to help the dream continue or just…go away.  With venture capital money going out extremely selectively many of these start-ups will be gobbled up by those with the new currency of acquisition, stocks.  Having said that, almost all the past ‘high tech high flyers’ are trading no where near where they were this time last year,  so stock deals will also be selective.  Maybe again, if these start-ups are lucky, they can find a company with some dollars willing to trade talent and ideas for debt.

Tough times reach everywhere.  Everything is linked to everything else somehow, someway.  Social media is no exception.  As much as I loved and will miss Pownce, I believe the acquisition of Pownce is the start of a trend where many social media companies do the same.  Hopefully they will have the talent of a Pownce and be an acquisition candidate and not just fade away.

So Goodbye Pownce you will be missed.  And with that, I make my final post to a great idea and a great website.