What Egypt Can Teach Us About Every Movement

The recent protests in Egypt can teach us several lessons about successful movements:

1) Great movements are often catalyzed by youth. It’s hard to start a revolution without, at some point, involving young people.

2) Movements often begin as a reaction to an injustice or a perceived wrong, but can only be sustained by a proactive passion for the cause itself. Read the rest of this entry »


Tell the Truth

Telling the truth has never been more important.

My mom just told me today on the phone a story about a coworker (and friend) who wanted her to lie to her boss. She refused. She just couldn’t lie like that. The friend lost her job, and my mom lost her friend.

The other day at the Catalyst Conference, I heard Seth Godin give this advice to an auditorium of leaders: “Tell the truth.” Read the rest of this entry »


Shipping (A Seth Godin-ism)

Certain words invade your vocabulary — sometimes whether you like it or not.

The one that has really invaded mine this year is “ship”. I don’t think that I can go a week without it coming up at least a handful of times in a variety of contexts. I first heard it on Seth Godin’s blog, I believe, and it was a pretty major theme of his recent book Linchpin.

The concept is simple and is derived, I think, from the following Steve Jobs quote: “Real artists ship.” Ever since I heard Godin use the term in a video on creativity and productivity, I loved it. Read the rest of this entry »


How to Spread Your Ideas: Write a Manifesto

Three years ago, I started Wrecked for the Ordinary, an online magazine for spiritual misfits, with some friends and colleagues.

The basic idea was this: when people have a paradigm-shifting experience, they feel “wrecked” or “ruined.” And that’s alienating. These experiences leave people feeling isolated and even a little weird.

So, we (some colleagues, friends, and I) wanted to do something about it. We wanted to use stories to change lives.

We knew that we had something to say. The question was how to do it. We figured starting a community was the way to go.

We were wrong. Read the rest of this entry »


Tim Tebow, Superbowl Ads, and Dumb Focus Groups

Tim Tebow and His MomI’m going to put my “marketing” hat on for a second.

I watched a news segment on a popular morning show today. Some marketer came on the show and shared how they used a focus group to determine what ads shown during the Superbowl this year were the most successful.

There’s just one problem with that: The focus group voted on the commercials that they liked.

They asked members of the group to use a nifty piece of equipment to indicate which ones were the funniest and most amusing.

And that’s the problem with advertising today: People don’t buy what they laugh at. Read the rest of this entry »


It Takes Time to Build an Audience

Yesterday on my other blog, I gave props to Jon Acuff for building a dedicated blog following in a short amount of time on Stuff Christians Like.

When asked how he built such a robust online community, his answer was simple: “The same way you build an offline one. Slowly and honestly.”

If you’re a writer, you may be looking for the “silver bullet” that will get you a larger audience full of inspired individuals who will read what you have to say, believe what you believe, and share your ideas with the world.

But the reality is that the “silver bullet” is just plain ol’ hard work. Read the rest of this entry »


How to Write Copy for a Nonprofit

Writing marketing collateral for a nonprofit is unique from any other type of business copy-writing, because often what you’re selling doesn’t have a dollar sign in front of it.

In order to successfully represent a cause with the written word, you have to be a good storyteller and create something buzz-worthy for it to be worth anything to your reader.

The nonprofit business sector has demanded a higher level of messaging for awhile now. In a nonprofit business-customer relationship, often what’s being exchanged is not just a product or service. Rather, what’s being exchanged is a life, a story, a cause. Read the rest of this entry »