Everyday I’m Shufflin’

For some reason my sister told me that I need to learn the LMFAO Party Rock Shuffle dance before I come home for Christmas, so I took an hour or so and learned it today. It still needs some polish, but it’s only going to get better. You can watch the video below or over here on YouTube.

I learned the dance from this video if you’re interested in giving it a shot, too. It’s easy to learn and if nothing else it’s a great party trick.

Now, what dance move should I learn next?

Mac Lethal Covers Look At Me Now…I’m Making Pancakes

I was sent an awesome video this morning from my friend Bobby and it’s of a rapper Mac Lethal (a self-proclaimed “Nerdy White Kid”) covering Chris Brown’s Look At Me Now, which includes a ridiculously infamous verse that’s rapped by the one and only Busta Rhymes.

The cover by Mac Lethal takes an interesting approach by focusing the entire rap around making pancakes (don’t worry, it’ll make total sense once you see it).

This email was sent out by Bobby because he knows how much Stephanie loves to rap this same song, which I also happen to have on video. Have I mentioned how much Stephanie loves to rap?

Here’s the original if you want to check it out, too. It’s always worth a watch.

You’re Not Always Going To Feel Great: How To Deal With Having A Bad Day

You’re at work and you’re not feeling it. Or on a long run and your legs just don’t have the bounce they usually do. Somehow you managed to get two parking tickets in the same day. You’re feeling slow and there’s just not enough caffeine in the world to give you the energy you need. Sometimes things just don’t go your way or you’re not feeling the way you want. You’re having a bad day, you’re in a funk and there’s nothing you can do about it.

What happens to you when things don’t feel great? Do you start making excuses? Do you become someone who’s a little less appealing to be around? What happens to you when you’re not quite feeling up to par or at the top of your game? I know that I’m not always who I want to be when things aren’t going my way and it has to stop. I’ve been recognizing and working on this part of myself, but I have so far to go it’s not even funny.

How do I make myself step it up when I’m not feeling so hot? That’s the million dollar question and I think it starts with getting to know yourself more than you do now. I know it sounds easy, but the first step in not having a day when you feel worn out, tired, irritable or unproductive is making sure that you take care of yourself in the ways your mind and body requires. Here are some things you should think about:

Sleep: are you getting enough sleep at night? How much sleep do you need to feel rested? lack of sleep is a major cause of bad days, so get to know how much you need and make sure you get in the amount you need. I’m really bad at getting enough sleep and I have a feeling that a lot of other people are, too.

Emotional Stability: How are you feeling emotionally? Do you have something on your mind that’s been bothering you and that you need to get off your chest? If you do and you’re not doing anything about it (talking through it with someone, writing about it, dealing with it, etc.) then it could get you into a bad mood that’s hard to shake. Bite the bullet, get it off your chest and move on to bigger and better things. This is something I’m trying to get better at, but it’s a slow (and sometimes painful) process.

Physical Fitness: If you’re in terrible shape and not taking care of yourself physically you’re going to feel the consequences sooner or later. There’s no better way to keep your stress levels in check than by getting a good workout in. I don’t care if it’s a run, walk, swim, bike or yoga — getting out and getting moving is a great way to keep you in a better mood.

Being Honest With Yourself: You’re the only one who knows what you need in order to perform at the level you need to be, so it’s up to you to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. Don’t become obsessed with what other people are doing — they’re not you and they don’t work like you do. Do what you need to do, be honest with yourself and put yourself in the best position you possibly can. This doesn’t mean that you’re always going to feel great, but you’ll have the best chance for being at the top of your game on a consistent basis.

Are you always going to feel great? Of course not. There are going to be days that you’re going to struggle through and that’s OK. It’s during those days that you need to recognize what’s going on, why and how you can make it though in a productive and positive way. Everyone can perform on the days that feel great, but it’s the bad days that show us what we’re really made of. With the right preparation and expectations we can make it though them without sacrificing too much productivity, sanity or positivity.

 

The 610 Stompers Make Their Way Into The Big Time

Another Thanksgiving and another Macy’s Day Parade. This time around however, there was something different. Something that stood out from the traditional cheesy performances that I’m used to seeing (like Nickelodeon stars or groups like this).

This year’s parade, however, showed the world what real entertainment is all about. This year’s parade was the year of the 610 Stompers. With the tagline of “Ordinary men with extraordinary moves” they made their way into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day spotlight and made their presence known.

The 610 Stompers are a group of guys from New Orleans who want to show the world that it doesn’t take a Broadway show to entertain the masses — just a group of ordinary men with some sweet moves. Here’s how the 610 Stompers describe what they’re all about:

[quote]The 610 Stompers is a diverse group of ordinary men, from their 20s to their 60s. We are doctors, lawyers, professionals, laborers, students, teachers, and parents. We are different but we’re the same, and we’re brought together by our ongoing desire to entertain the world with our “Extraordinary Moves”, and in doing so, give back to the community that we love.[/quote]

I’m not sure how they made their way onto the big stage in the middle of New York City, but I have a feeling that the Macy’s Day Parade was their big break. We’re going to be hearing more about these dancing from here on out and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Need some more 610 Stompers in your life? I can’t say I blame you. Here are a few more appearances they’ve made over the past couple years.

At the Hornets/Lakers game (they inspired the Hornets to a win)

Their debut performance in New Orleans

Here’s a great article about the 610 Stompers and their rise to Macy’s Day Parade fame. Awesome.

Big props to Brett Patron who’s the leader of the group and who also happens to have an amazing mustache.

Gettin’ It On At The San Francisco Writing Salon

I’ve thought about it for a long time, but I finally put my money (and time) where my mouth is and signed up for a writing class. The class is offered through The Writing Salon, which is a local Bay Area based group of writers and teachers who want to help others with their creative writing skills. They offer all types of classes that cover pretty much anything that an aspiring writer would need to add to their arsenal and the classes are given in a comfortable and intimate setting.

The goal of the class I’m taking is to write a personal essay about an important moment in my life, how it’s affected me and how it’s changed the way that I think about things now that it’s happened. The class is filled with all kinds of interesting people and I love when we go around the room to share the things that we’ve put down on paper.

The more I think about it the more I think the people in the class might be one of the main reasons why I like the class so much. There’s an opera singer, a world traveler and a county accountant and they all bring their own flair and interesting personalities to the table. I’m happy to be one of the more vocal members of the group, but I’m far from the most interesting.

I’m not quite sure what I’m going to write about yet, but I need to decide before our next class because our first rough draft is due when we get back. I’ve been toying around with the idea of writing about how Stephanie and I first met (which is a story we tell a lot), but there are other personal things that I’m thinking about getting out of my head as well.

If I have the balls to read what I end up writing to the class, then I might just do it. I honestly shouldn’t be that worried about it, telling your dirt to stangers is easy anyway.

No matter what I come up with I’m loving this class and it reminds me of college. It’s a good way to get my mind up and moving on Saturday morning and it’s helping me sharpen up my writing skills, which is never a bad thing. What will I end up writing about? Who knows, but I promise to post it here once I get something figured out.

 

Needing Someone In New York City

Last week I was in New York City (NYC) for an ad conference and it was the first time that I’d been there in a long time. If you’ve never been to NYC it’s pretty much just like you hear about — crazy, fast-paced and awesome. It also happens to be the epicenter for all things advertising since many of the largest advertising agencies call it home. Just like tech in Silicon Valley and entertainment in LA, advertising in NYC is where it’s at.

Over the past couple of years that I’ve been working at isocket we’ve talked a lot about how we need to have a team in NYC, but I never really knew why. I mean is it really that important?

After spending a few days in the Big Apple I can definitely say yes, we need someone in NYC, and we need it big time. With all of the ways that people can connect these days, we tend to forget the power of just being there and showing up. Simply being part of the NYC advertising community is so important for isocket that it’s worth it to have someone there literally 24/7. Things are happening, deals are being made and money is exchanging hands — and a lot of it is being driven by personal relationships that are built face-to-face.

Before I saw it firsthand I knew that having a full-time person representing us in NYC was important, but I never really knew just how important it really was. Things are moving faster than ever and we need to make sure to have someone there as much as possible, as soon as possible. If you think that you might be a fit for being the first person to represent isocket in NYC (or you know someone else who could be), then you should check our job posting over here and let us know.

Prepare, Relax and Rock Out: 3 Simple Rules For Conference Success

Even in the digital age of social networking, Tweeting and webinars there’s still an important place in the world for conferences and other events that allow people to meet face-to-face. It doesn’t matter if you’re in pre-cast concrete or a heart surgeon somewhere there’s a conference that’s made just for you. There are lots of benefits to going to a conference where you can meet and hang out with other people in your industry (or with similar interests), but they’re also a big commitment.

They can a lot of fun, but the time it takes to go to a multi-day conference and the money it costs you or your business means that you need to maximize your experience as much as you can — all without over-thinking it and trying too hard. I’m far from an expert, but after getting a handful of conferences under my belt and talking to other people who go to them a lot, I’ve come up with 3 rules to make sure that you get what you want from your next conference. The 3 rules are simple — Prepare, Relax and Rock Out and here’s what they mean.

Prepare

Of the 3 rules, this is the most important and ironically enough the least followed. This is because it’s the one thing that’s time sensitive and requires some thought long before arriving at your conference of choice.

Preparing for the conference can mean different things depending on who you are and what conference you’re going to, but more times than not it includes setting up meetings and making sure that no matter what you have the chance to connect up with who you need to.

The first thing you need to figure out before you set up any meetings is what conferences you’re going to so that you can start reaching out to the right people. The earlier you can lock yourself into the conference, the better, so don’t wait around to buy your pass if you already know you need to be there. Another benefit of buying your pass earlier is that it’s usually cheaper and saving some cash never hurts.

A rule of thumb that I use is that you should have all of your meetings set up for your conference at least two weeks in advance. It won’t always happen this way, but if you can start reaching out to who you want to connect with 3-4 weeks beforehand it will greatly increase the chances of you getting the meetings you need. It’s going to take some time, but you need to make the time for it. Respect the process and make sure that you stay on top of everything so that you maximize your time while you’re there.

Once you start booking the meetings make sure to send a meeting request to all of the people involved so that you’re all on the same page. If someone doesn’t accept then it’s your job to send them a reminder so that they have it on their calendar.

The amount of meetings you need to set depends on how much time you have and how much of the conference you actually plan on going to. If you’re there more to learn than to network then leave yourself some time for going to panels, keynotes and workshops. If you’re there just to network then make that the priority and pack in the meetings as much as you can. Just be careful with the early mornings – odds are you’re going to be out late (see rule #3).

Relax

This rule is easy in theory, but hard in practice. It’s easy to think of conferences as an unending source of leads that you need to maximize as much as possible. Trying to meet/pitch as many people as you can sounds like an awesome idea, but it’s not something that you want to do from a personal networking perspective. If your goal is to maximize your exposure at the conference you either need to come up with an amazing PR stunt (be careful with these) or buy your way into it by becoming a sponsor (which can work out well).

Instead of spreading yourself too thin and risking becoming annoying in the process you should relax and focus on having deeper conversations with the people you meet. Not everyone is going to be exactly who you’re trying to connect with, but that’s why you set the meetings ahead of time. With the meetings you’ve already set up you already made it worth the trip to the conference, so relax and meet some other people who seem interesting to you.

This rule of relaxing is important because you can’t always expect an instant ROI form the people you meet — that’s just not how conferences work. Some of the people who have helped my business the most are the ones who I ran into randomly, so relax and have fun talking with the people you meet.

Rock Out

Yep, I saved the best for last. The last rule is the most fun, but it can also pay off for you big time. Every conference that I’ve ever gone to has had one thing in common — people are always ready to party. Whether it’s a cocktail hour, official conference get together or after party one thing that you need to be ready for is rocking out.

When it comes to conference parties there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. First, just show up. You’re going to be tired and your comfy bed might sound like a fabulous idea, but you need to take advantage of the party scene even if you don’t feel like it. I’m not saying that you need to stay out until 5am, but you do need to make an appearance and mingle for at least a little while. Don’t worry, once you have a couple drinks and start chatting you’ll be fine.

Here’s a video of me and my main man Jason Shen at a conference in Las Vegas. It never hurts to stand out a little bit, too.

Speaking of drinks — secondly you should feel free to drink, but don’t get too drunk. You know the difference and so does everyone else at the party. There’s nothing wrong with loosening up a bit with a couple drinks, but you still need to be on your game when it comes to talking about your business. Have fun, but don’t be that guy.

Last, but not least, you need to pace your partying according to whatever you can handle. If you’re not normally the party guy and you need 7-8 hours of sleep to function, then you should probably stay away from the party-till-the-sun-comes-up after party that you’re thinking about going to. Partying, like anything, is an acquired skill and rocking out too hard early on can make the rest of your conference miserable. If you have fun and pace yourself you should make it to the end with no problems.

If you follow these rules then you’re going to put yourself in the best position to get the most out of your conference. Just keep in mind that conferences are different than your normal day-to-day work, so they require a different kind of focus before and during the event. Preparing before you go, relaxing while you’re there and rocking out when you can will make sure that the conference is a success for you so just have some fun and the rest will fall into place.

If you have any other conference suggestions I’d love to hear them — let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Just Keep Writing

I’m starting to write more stuff. Why? That’s a great question. I’m not really sure why I’ve been writing more, but for some reason I have this urge to get better at it and to do it more and more. I’ve always enjoyed writing and have been doing it one way or another since I’ve been in elementary school. I can remember writing stories that I would read to the class and the teachers who encouraged it. Writing was fun back then and it was a great way to entertain the people around me.

As I grew older writing became less of something that I wanted to do and more of something that I was required to do. Other things like sports tended to take up all of my free time, so the only times that I would write was when it was mandatory for school. I still had fun with even the most boring writing assignments and even up through college I preferred a written test to one that was multiple choice.

Once I was out of school and got a job in the real world I found myself writing all the time, but most of it was communication based. One of my first jobs was an IT guy at a construction company in Indianapolis, IN and I lived in Microsoft Outlook sending out emails all day. I don’t mind emailing and I’m actually really good at it, but even though technically I was still writing I wasn’t creating any type of content that required me to get my thoughts together in a creative and thoughtful way. Don’t get me wrong, emailing requires thought, but it’s very reactive, technical and to the point (which is not that creative).

Here over the past few years I haven’t been writing much. Stephanie and I used to blog quite a bit before we moved out to California, but that has since stopped and with it my writing. Do I still write at isocket? Of course, but it’s not the same.

To most people this wouldn’t be that big of deal, but to me when I’m not creating content (both writing and video, which I’ve stopped creating, too) I feel like I’m off my game. It’s hard to explain, but without the creation of content in my life my mind just feels out of shape. In fact, that’s probably the best way to explain it — it’s like my mind is flabby and needs to be conditioned back into shape. Just like with running there’s really only one way to get to where I need to be and that’s with dedication, consistency and constantly pushing my performance. The more writing I do, the more conditioned my mind will be and the better (and easier) my writing will become.

Writing a lot of content isn’t easy and it takes dedication and time, but when I’m able to get my thoughts together and write them up into a blog post like this one things just start to become clearer. The ability to collect your thoughts and write them up in a way that makes sense to other people will spill over to your conversations with your friends, co-workers and even husband/wife.

I know that when I’m writing I’m a better communicator all around and all I need to do is keep going. Just keep writing and the rest will happen — you’ll see.

 

My One Hour Obsession With Zombie Boy

I don’t stay obsessed with things for very long. I don’t have a band that I am a huge fan of, there’s not actor/actress that I can’t get enough of and I don’t even get that excited about certain types of foods (well, beside hummus). I’m not sure why I don’t have any long-term obsessions, but that’s just the way that my mind works I guess.

But, I do have what I like to call “one hour obsessions” with all kinds of things — usually when something catches my attention on the internet. It usually starts off innocently enough, but then once I start digging into it I quickly become more obsessed than a teenage girl watching the new Justin Bieber video.

I start off with one thing and then BAM, I end up searching, reading and opening up an infinite amount of tabs full of related websites that I have to check out. It’s like I get a thirst for something and I have to go and go and go until I feel like it’s quenched — and sometimes that can take a while.

My latest one hour obsession was with Zombie Boy, or as his parents call him, Rick Genest. I ended up running into one of his videos on YouTube and it really sparked my curiosity. The funny thing is that the video is actually an ad for Dermablend Concealer.

After I saw that video I saw some other related videos in the sidebar of YouTube that gave me some more information on what this tattooed guy was all about. I quickly learned that Zombie Boy was also the guy who was in Lady Gaga’s Born This Way video a while back. I remember seeing him in that video, but I honestly had no idea that the tattoos he was rocking were real.

I couldn’t stop there though and as I continued to find more out about Zombie Boy. He’s one of the most tattooed men in the world and he has become quite the big deal on the fashion runway, which I think is pretty awesome. You have a guy who looks like the walking dead taking over an industry that is full of guys who are doing all they can do to look their best. It’s irony at it’s best, I guess.

Here’s a good look at what’s tattooed on his chest…

…and here are the tattoos on his back.

That’s about all that I found out about the man known as Zombie Boy and that’s about as close as I come to being obsessed. It comes, it goes and it’s always fun to see what all I can find when digging up the full story about something like this. Do you ever have any one hour obsessions or am I the only one who does this? Let me know in the comments.

Ok, one more video — here’s his promotional reel.

Annnnd I’m done. For real this time.

What Is Discipleship And How Do We Become Disciples Of Christ?

We’re going through a book called Radical at my church right now and it’s not your average look into American Christianity. It’s full of tough truths and things that are hard to swallow when it comes to how we tend to treat our faith in the Western world. The book is fantastic and was required reading for me and the rest of the crew that went to Congo last December (wow, that was almost a year ago?).

The book really made an impact on my pastor, so much so that he decided that he wanted to build an entire series around it. We’re a few chapters into it right now and it’s already impacting the church I’m a way that most of his other series haven’t. By using Radical as a way to connect the truth of the Bible to our lives as Christians living in the Bay Area it’s allowed us to wrestle with our faith, which one of the hard parts of being a follower of Jesus Christ.

Today the main theme that came from Radical was discipleship and how every Christian is called to become disciples of Christ through spreading the word of God to everyone, everywhere. The foundational verse that kicked off the sermon today was Matthew 28:19-20.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

As Christians we’re all called to be pushing ourselves to be disciples, which isn’t always an easy thing to do. We’re all called to be disciples in different ways and there’s really no telling what yours will be. One person might be called to disciple as a full-time missionary in China while another might be called to his neighborhood or office. No calling is any greater than another and praying/fellowship will help it become clear over time.

Even though as Christians we’re all called to be different types of disciples, the qualities of what a disciple should be is the same across the board.

A Disciple Loves – A disciple shows unconditional love for all people at all times. This is practically impossible to do, but it’s what all Christians should be aiming for.

By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another. -John 13:35

A Disciple Liberates – There are people who are being held captive by the forces of sin and it’s a disciple’s job to free them from it through the love of Jesus Christ.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit… Matthew 28:19

A Disciple Leads – Not only do we need to talk, blog, read and listen to what a disciple should be doing, but more importantly we need to lead in discipleship by example. All talk and no action isn’t going to lead anyone else to become a follower of Jesus Christ.

If you hold onto my teaching, you are truly my disciples. -John 8:31

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. -2 Timothy 2:2

A Disciple Launches – Taking the time to disciple others will result in more disciples being created. It’s not a numbers game, it takes time and it takes building real relationships, but it will start an exponential spreading of the word of God, which is pretty awesome.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations… -Matthew 28:19

Being a disciple is hard and it takes time. It requires effort to go and get out of your comfort zone and it means creating real relationships in meaningful ways. How are you being a disciple and where are you being called to act on God’s behalf?