Blogology-The Science of Blogging

Well, finally got time to get a underground project into the light! We launched http://bl.ogology.com this weekend, and are actively looking for writers (Blogologists) who are willing to work for next to nothing in the short term, in exchange for future limelight and percentage of profits.  We have WordPress covered, so if you know of anyone who would like to write about Blogger and or Typepad, and anything else blog related please send them our way.

All in the name of science right! http://bl.ogology.com

Does Marketing Matter In This Economy

Well here is a thought to wet your noodle. Would you even know about the economy sucking if marketing didn’t matter? Probably not, you see the media’s job is to not only pass on information in an unbiased manner (take that with a grain of salt), but to do so with POWERFULL WORDS  that will catch your eyeballs attention faster than the competition. The overt headlines we read in print or hear on TV are expertly marketing the news. 

Marketing matters. With out sales and marketing almost all businesses would fail over time.

“The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.”
Thomas Jefferson

Get Up and Give More

Life Gets You Down… 

When you look back on the last year, our Global Economy has had a huge impact on a ton of people. Too many quality folks have lost their jobs, experienced foreclosure, survived on maxed out credit, and or all of the above.  

So if you’re not in the ‘down’ camp, count you lucky stars and reach out to help people who are. Maybe it’s helping a struggling small business with marketing for free, investing a few dollars in a great start up, or sharing your expert advice pro bono.  If you are in the ‘down’ camp reach out and add value to everyone you can using your most valuable asset.  Whether you are in the up or currently down camp, your time is your most valuable asset to give. 

It’s an old cliche but it rings true, when you are at the bottom you have no where to go but up. When life gets us all down we can stay under the covers and dread getting up in the morning or get up and give more.

5 Most Stressful Life Events

Stress permeates all of our lives and has an affect on everything we do; from our daily jobs and personal relationships to our ability to concentrate.

A long time ago I came across a list of the Top 5 Most Stressful Life Events and committed them to memory. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Death
  2. Job Change
  3. Marriage
  4. Divorce
  5. Personal Injury

Why am I writing about life events, being a marketing and idea guy?

Well, quite simply the more we can personally reduce or understand the stresses in our life, in theory, the better we can perform and enjoy life. More importantly, by understanding that anyone who we may be talking to, emailing, communicating or writing for may possibly be experiencing one of life’s most stressful events, it just might change how we approach people or communicate. I’m not saying we go around assuming that everyone we speak with just had a family member pass away, but odds are if you communicate with a large amount of people on a regular basis, then you will be touching a few stressed out folks that are currently going though one of life’s most stressful events.

I know awareness is sometimes not the only answer.

A few years back I went through a program from Tony Robbins & I think many of the TOOLS he teaches you might find very useful. No matter how tough the times are… I know most people can help themselves get though almost anything. You can find Tony’s Website here: http://www.tonyrobbins.com/

If you are in the midst of serious stress right now… my thoughts go out to you and If there is anything I can do to digitally assist you please post your comment below & I will do my best!

Get Contagious with Gregory Ng

Gregory over at http://getcontagio.us reminded me of something very important. 

He posted on his blog a video posing a simple question. What are you doing to cut though the noise with your messaging? I semi-brilliantly answered the question, and it immediately reminded me that I have gotten off track with my MARKETING & IDEA blog.  Sure, I want to write about odd topics and go off on tangents, but is that cutting through the noise of the 1000’s of other marketing blogs you can read online? How many idea guys are blogging these days? (Just checked and there are 9.6 Million Results in Google…ouch!) 

Nike says __________! 

Face book lets you ________! 

Google is the king of _________! 

Now I understand these are global brands and I am not…yet! But, we all need to be crystal clear these days on our value proposition and specifically how we differ from the crowd. My point here being, our messaging starts with how we are perceived by our customers, as any future messages will never be heard or seen if we don’t have our customers attention in the fist place. 

I have some FUN work to do this weekend in retooling my messaging, and if you find yourself in the same situation maybe this is a good kick in the butt for you to the same. Either way, go check out Greg’s video at http://getcontagio.us/wordpress/2008/10/03/how-are-you-producing-messages-for-your-customers-that-breakthrough-the-clutter/

The Power of No

I recently sent this email responding to a potential customer who turned me down for an appointment.   

Hi *First Name*, 

As always, thank you for your time.    After your response to my meeting request, I realized something very important. When I asked to meet with you this time, I clearly didn’t offer anything of immediate and compelling value to you and your business. As time equals money, why would any smart business person give up their valuable time for a meeting of unknown proportions?  

You can be sure that the next time I contact you * First Name*, I will bring an offer of compelling value to the table. Cheers,
Lee 

The power of hearing the word NO can cause an epiphany, of which hearing a YES usually can not!  When we get too many positives or yes’s in our lives, we can become complacent and start making assumptions about the perceived value we bring to the table. We need to be turned down once an awhile to keep sharp, to keep ensuring we communicate clearly to our customers and potential clients the immediate value we bring to the table.  Come to think of it, the power of NO is true for any relationship. Embrace the NO, and learn from it!

Yahoo Widgets Can Change Your Bad Internet Habits

If you are like many other people on the planet, you have great intentions of sitting down at your computer and hammering out your extensive to do list, maybe set up a marketing campaign, respond to all your emails, and usually the list goes on and on. 

Do you ever find you get side tracked and time just magically disappears on you? 

Maybe it’s Facebook that sucked you in to a 23 minute tangent, or maybe it was that funny video link your buddy sent you that forced you at gun point to go surf on YouTube for 30 minutes.  

Either way, I have found a new tool from Yahoo Widgets called Ten Plus Two that is so dead simple it works. It displays a ten minute timer on your screen and then gives you a little alarm when it runs out, then it gives you two minutes before it starts over again. They say it was designed to get up and take break every ten minutes, which is a great idea too, but I think it better suited as a consistent reminder to get back on task when you have been side tracked by mother internet. 

If you don’t have Yahoo Widgets already, you’ll need to first get the Yahoo Widget Software, and then just do a quick search for Ten Plus Two. Not only will you be cured of your bad internet habits, at least until you forget to start using it, but they have about 5000 other cool widgets you just might find pretty cool as well. 

http://widgets.yahoo.com/  

Get Around To It

I’ll Do It When I Get Around To It! 

When I was growing up as a teenager I remember we had ‘A Round To It’ posted on the wall in our basement. It was a constant reminder to avoid procrastination, and never, ever say I will do something when I get around to it. In the event someone slipped you were reminded of the round piece of paper of shame. It was simply a forbidden statement as it should be. 

I hope the round ‘To It” below will benefit you or someone you know as much as it has me. At the very least have some fun with your favorite procrastinator in your life.

A Round To It

Just right click and print…

10 Cures for Writers Block

Almost everyone has to write for some purpose or another. Whether you are in marketing, journalism, or simply have a deadline to write a business proposal or birthday card, writers block can hit at the most inconvenient times. Here are few interesting ways to cure the nastiest cases of writers block. 

Top 10 Cures for Writers Block 

  1. Call A Friend- Call anybody your truly enjoy talking to and chit chat. There is no need to mention writers block just truly enjoy a conversation with a friend. Then as soon as your done write the first thing that comes to your mind.
  2. Shut Google Down- Instead head over to www.Wikepedia.org  and search for your first pets name or full name of your first crush. If this doesn’t cure you writers block, then at least you’ll have a new found respect for your first pet, or be crushed that you first love is now a multi-millionaire internet mogul. Start writing!
  3. Power of Now – If you have read Eckhart Tole’s book you will realize we constantly have a ‘self speak’ conversation going on in our own heads. Take the next 5 minutes to try and seriously not think about anything or let a single thought come into your head. Writing should be easy after this one!
  4. Write Facts- The simple exercise of writing anything can truly break your writers block. Pick up the Yellow Pages, go to the first page your fingers select half way through the book and start typing out what you read. (If you’re curious, page 532 in my City is the Handyman Section…yahoo!!!)
  5. Alarm Clock- Set your alarm for 5 minutes from now. The purpose behind this one is that if you are sitting at a computer you will have to stop and hit the snooze button every time it goes off, thus forcing you to stop what you are doing momentarily. If whatever you are doing is not helping your writers block or you find your self zoning out…stop, drop and get writing!
  6. Drink Coffee- Caffeine tends to spur brain activity. If you can’t drink coffee (who the heck doesn’t), then have a Pepsi or a chocolate bar. If you just can’t have caffeine period… skip this one all together!
  7. Pen & Paper- I know it sounds really strange, but pull out a pen and pad of paper and try writing on that. No laptop, no spell check and no clickity clack…
  8. Listen To Music You Would Normally Hate- If you listen to music while you are trying to write and aren’t producing results, then listening to the same old tunes is not going to change your mindset. Shake things up and listen to _________ and start writing.
  9. Still Blank– Accept the fact you have writers block and walk away to write another day. Go do something totally off the wall and fun!
  10. Unplug Your Internet- If the Instant Messenger, Email, Facebook & iTunes aren’t curing your writers block, then they may be causing it. Disable your internet connection and start writing with out distraction.

Three cheers to the end of writers block and may all your words flow as easily as the air you breathe. If you have found other ways to beat writers block please post your comments below. I may need a # 11 soon :>)

Portage and Main Pedestrian Overpass Proposal

Update: Friday, October 10th 

It has been widely quoted, that an agreement signed in 1976 between the City of Winnipeg and the Portage & Main Building Owners has been the primary reason why a pedestrian crossing at Portage & Main has not be implemented. Our mayor has been quoted in the media as saying with out all the property owners consent, he would not proceed in good faith because of this agreement.

Here it is folks:

Dec.20, 1976 Agreement Portage & Main

You can download the entire agreement here: http://leeraito.com/download/Dec20-1976.pdf

Here is the Trizec Building  Agreement: http://leeraito.com/download/Trizec_Building_Agreement.pdf

Suffice to say, I stand behind the idea of the Portage & Main Pedestrian Overpass Proposal now more than ever. If all the city needs to do is provide access from the new structure to Winnipeg Square, then in good faith of the 1976 agreement that is what we should do!

————— 

As a proud resident of Winnipeg and believer in the revitalization of our downtown, I have come up with a solution to the long standing debate on whether to open up pedestrian traffic at our infamous  intersection of Portage & Main. It has been 4 years since the City last held a design contest and nothing has happened, maybe it’s time for another one!

Portage & Main Pedestrian Overpass 

To read the hard to see text on the image:  http://www.LeeRaito.com/download/portageandmain.pdf  

Yes, Winnipeg should open up Portage & Main to pedestrian traffic and can do so WITHOUT affecting automobile traffic whatsoever. The establishment of a world class Pedestrian Overpass & Tourist Destination is the only solution that makes sense to both parties; pedestrians & automobiles. In addition to the blatantly obvious benefits to pedestrians being able to easily get to their desired downtown destination directly, there are many side benefits to building a pedestrian overpass directly above Portage & Main.

Potential Benefits:

Obvious Benefit: Automobile traffic unaffected and pedestrians can easily navigate to any corner of Portage & Main with out having to go below ground.

Revenue: There are many potential revenue streams.

  1. Advertising revenue from state of the art TV Billboards.
  2. Business & Property taxes if shops are developed.
  3. Revenue and exposure from the movie industry.
  4. Ancillary revenue to downtown businesses from increased tourist traffic.

Environmental: This can and should be a green initiative attempting to leave no lasting environmental footprint.

  1. We could include in the design some form of automobile exhaust capture and filtering to improve air quality downtown, and lessen the impact of Winnipeg’s overall environmental footprint on our planet.
  2. Harness Portage & Main’s famous wind and convert to electricity to power part of the facility.
  3. Solar power could as well be considered, any excess electricity produced could be pushed back to the grid.

Downtown Revitalization: If we successfully design and build a world class structure that tourists & Winnipeg residents want to visit, this will bring us one step closer to fully revitalizing our downtown. 

Of course, the idea in itself raises questions. 

Questions Raised:

  • Should the overpass remain open to the elements or should it become a closed in heated over pass with stores and other facilities?
  • Can designers successfully work into the plans wheel chair accessibility?
  • How can we ensure this remains a green project, and minimize its environmental footprint?
  • During construction how would businesses and current pedestrian traffic be affected?

Download the 1 Page PDF Visual Concept Here: http://www.LeeRaito.com/download/portageandmain.pdf  

Statement: I am not an artist and the structure depicted should and will drastically change for the better as this proposal moves forward. As recommended in the PDF, the City Of Winnipeg should establish an International Design contest to find the best workable concept. This idea has been forwarded to Winnipeg City Council for consideration.

Please contribute your thoughts, questions, agreement &  or concerns below… just hit the comment button!