Social Media Marketing Interview w/ @SepBaz

I was recently asked by a friend to do an interview on social media marketing as a career and for personal use, as required for a project. I ended up putting a lot of time into it and I wrote a lot, so I thought I’d share with you all! Enjoy!

How beneficial is social media to businesses and why?

There are countless reasons to why social media is beneficial to businesses, but I’ll focus on the two primary reasons. By now, nearly everyone on earth has at least heard of a social network, and the majority understand what it is, have seen one, and/or belongs to at least one. Social Media has created enormous online communities, billions deep across the net. When a business decides to market themselves via social media, they are accessing the world’s largest group of users, that can be targeted via demo/geo/psychographics… for FREE! Free usually has an associated caveat, but not when it comes to social media. Twitter and Facebook are completely free services, and as a part of their culture, they will remain that way.

The next, and arguably most important reason as to why social media has (so rapidly) become the leading force in marketing goods and services in this day and age is the ability to LISTEN! We live in an age where social networks have bred total transparency. People want to share everything about themselves with their social graph, and in turn, they expect the same level of openness and honesty. This was, up until four or five years ago, an unprecedented level of honesty between brands and their consumers. Nowadays, people will consciously decide to purchase from your competitor if they find that you are not maintaining an open line of communication via a variety of social networks; or worse even, not participating in social media discussion at all. You used to be able to purchase ad-space on TV and Radio Stations, basically announcing from your “soap box” that your product trumps the others and we should all consume it. Nowadays, that is considered support media. If you are not communicating directly with your current/potential customers, you’re in trouble. It’s not just beneficial anymore; if you want your business to be around five years from now, social media engagement is a must.

Can you use Social Media as a tool for selling your brand/company? Why?

Social Media is a tool that I believe you can do almost anything with. Including selling products and services, also including selling your actual brand or company. I have never sold a business using social media, so I have no personal experience on the subject. Having said that, I will break it down in the simplest way I can think of. Imagine selling a business through person to person communication. You want to draw the consumer to your product, keep in touch with them afterwards for follow-up, convert them from inquiry to purchase and then measure how well it’s all working. Well, social media gives you the creative ability to do this outside of the confines of an office. If I had to use social media to sell a business, I would use Twitter to draw attention to the business up for sale (Attraction); I would then keep relevant and non-relevant conversation lines open with that user on twitter to maintain their interest and attention (Retention); I would then try to arrange a Google Places hangout, so that a handful of potential buyers could show up for a live video presentation by you, ideally earning a buyer (Conversion); and then pour myself a drink and go “Well that worked well” (Measurement)! That’s just an idea off the top of my head… imagine you had a team of four and two months to plan a campaign. Social Media is fuelled by the people, and it can move mountains!

What are the top 3 best Social media sites for businesses to use? Why?

Generally speaking, you want a mix of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Facebook, well, because its Facebook. With twitter, you have the ability to form asymmetrical relationships with your followers (no friendship; following is one sided), which seems like far less of a commitment and will allow for your following to grow, organically faster than on some other social networks. Also, twitter gives you the ability to access your individual followers to ask questions, follow up, receive feedback etc. With other networks such as Facebook Pages, when you make an update, you’re speaking to the entire group, whereas on twitter you can segment groups into lists or contact individuals directly, and vice versa. YouTube Channels are a brilliant marketing tool for a variety of reasons. Primary because of the sheer volume of content that is watched on a regular basis (over 2 billion video views per DAY), but also because since YouTube was purchased by Google, they have implemented their SEO algorithms and as a result, your YouTube channel will drive serious traffic to your website. Most of all, engaging with your customers via video media is documented to be the most effective way to engage your audience.

Having said all of that, I strongly believe that every business needs to do a needs analysis before choosing which social networks will most effectively allow them to engage their customers. Some businesses may strongly benefit from a Foursquare account so that friends can check-in to their physical location. Others may prefer Pinterest to create a culture around their brand. Social media is not Childs-play, it is a marketing force in the world, and adequate planning and research must go into its implementation, just the same as any other form of marketing/advertising.

What are a few negative aspects of social media for businesses?

I don’t know about a few things, as I’m a strong advocate for social media. One major issue comes to mind immediately that can be viewed as a negative, or as an opportunity. A lot of businesses has experienced some real struggles as a result of opening themselves up to scrutiny on social networks. Big brands like Blackberry, Dominoes, Air Canada and many more have been torn to shreds by the public (customers, and non-customers) because of the ability for opinions to flare up and spread like wildfire. Some companies are perhaps not ready to manage negative situations, as they are used to hiding from them in the past. Big businesses used to have ways of brushing important information under the rug, in the name of sparing themselves the questioning. Now, they don’t have such luxuries. When notable news occurs, the word will spread whether you want it or not. And whether its negative or positive, whether you are aware of it or not, people are talking about your business online in various capacities, with many different sentiments. The reason why this can be viewed also as an opportunity is simple. People just want to be heard! Social media is still new and exciting to people; we have yet to take it for advantage. When you tweet a business, and they respond to you, you feel special! It’s nice knowing that this big, ‘scary’ brand actually cares enough to listen to little old me, and respond accordingly. 99% of the time, people will be happy to know that you have heard them out. Whether or not you give them a gift card or some other compensation is up to you, but you have a golden opportunity to hear your customers’ cries, and make things better with a response.

How do you effectively use Social media for Earls? 

At Earls we use a variety of social media channels to achieve our goals. We engage with fans via our Blog, Corporate and Individual Earls Location Facebook Pages, Corporate and Individual Earls Location Twitters, Corporate YouTube Channel, Corporate and Individual Foursquare Pages, Facebook application, mobile website, and very soon, on Pinterest. We use social media as a way to open up lines of communication with those who dine with us, and those who aspire to try us out. The end goal is to create a strong affinity for the brand, ideally breeding a set of brand evangelists who will protect the Earls name like it’s their own. We have seen great successes in handling customer feedback on twitter, which is probably the number 1 use of social media marketing for the restaurant industry. Positive or negative, people are speaking about us, we need to respond! The role of a social media marketer within an organization the size of Earls is a lot more serious and detailed than many think. I don’t just “Facebook and Tweet” all day long… contrary to popular belief! At Earls, when our in-store collateral changes from month to month or seasonally (i.e. bathroom posters, billfold inserts, table talkers, menu pages, etc.) we send a Marketing Rollout to the locations to ensure they know when and where to insert their new collateral. We have taken the same approach on social media; I create a Social Media Marketing Rollout, which includes all of the necessary graphics for our locations to update their individual Facebook Pages and Twitters. The rollout also outlines a variety of topics to cover over the month/period, holidays, goals, new menu items, photos, videos, tips and lots more. After sending out the rollout, I also post it to our MyEarls.ca Internal Social Community, where our locations can access. This is just one example of how we have systemized social media into our day to day marketing calendar. The best piece of advice I can give companies is to hire the right person for the job, and to take social media seriously and incorporate it into existing systems. No social media buy-in means no social media success.

Do you find that it is beneficial and how is it beneficial to those two companies? 

Social media is a tough thing to measure, but more and more tools for measurement are becoming available to us every day. Put it this way, I wouldn’t have a full time job managing social media marketing initiatives for a reputable company if it wasn’t beneficial! The amount of engagement and growth we’ve seen through our various social networks has been absolutely amazing, and in only three years. To give you an idea of the traction we’ve received in social media in the past year: over 60,000 foursquare check-ins, over 20,000 facebook fans, over 10,000 twitter followers, 44,400 YouTube Video Views and 53,723 blog visits. If you consider the amount of man-hours spent watching earls videos, photos, reading updates, checking into locations, reading blog posts, leaving comments, and liking things that has occurred over the past three years, it equated to a lot of time spent reinforcing the Earls brand in our customers’. Particularly when they aren’t actually AT the restaurant! Imagine if you could be on your customer’s mind while they’re at home watching TV and browsing the web… the benefits of exposing your brand to a community as engaged as on social media networks are infinite. It’s a matter of how you harvest the community; the possibilities for creative growth within your industry have reached new levels.

Social media is used as a self-branding tool, how do you use it and what are some things to stay away from using?

I have created a rather strong personal brand for myself online. I’m considered an influencer and a pundit, according to various social presence trackers, such as Klout.com. I think it’s important to have direction and purpose to your online engagement. Perhaps not as much as a brand might have, but at least a bit. Why? A few reasons… primarily because social engagement is becoming as important as face to face communication these days. But also because your social media channels are an extension of yourself. If you wouldn’t run around town preaching your religion to others on the street, why would you do it on twitter? The best advice I can give is to just be yourself. If people don’t like it, too bad. I totally disagree with companies digging up information about potential employees on their social networks, but the fact remains that it’s going to happen. I wouldn’t change who I am for a job, and similarly I don’t intend on changing my social networks for a job. Having said that, proceed with caution. I would generally stay away from getting too heated and argumentative online, refrain from mocking police and other public figures, have an opinion but don’t be rude or condescending, don’t talk negatively about your workplace or school, try to un-tag yourself from a few keg-stand photos, and maybe don’t swear every third word. Also, if you’re trying to get your personal social networks ready in case a particular employer looks you up, try to spend some time sharing relevant media, discussing topics that surround that industry, share some excitement about your interview with them and expand on other subjects that tie in. This will help your odds greatly!

Have you personally dealt with a negative situation through using a Social networking site?

I have dealt with a couple of situations that have sort of ticked me off… but I’ll focus on one incident, as I believe there is a lesson to be learned within it. I had left a question on the Facebook Page for a local bar in North Van, inquiring about their Halloween party, which was coming up within three or four days. I heard no response for two days, leaving only one or two days left until the event… then, I noticed a status update from the page, and they had yet to respond to me. Well… needless to say, I was frustrated. My friends were going to this event, and I wanted to get my hands on a ticket. Now I’m being ignored by a brand that I frequent, and generally have nothing but good things to say about. I commented again, expressing my frustration. Moments later, my entire post was deleted from the wall. Not only had I been ignored, I had been kicked out essentially! This didn’t bode well with me. Generally, I’m the guy who writes in positive comments to businesses after receiving great service. Having worked in the service industry for a decade, I know how frustrating complaints are. Having said that, I couldn’t hold back. I wrote to the restaurant’s customer service site, and escalated the matter to the powers that be. This led to me being offered comp tickets, receiving a few apologies from a few different people, including the actual community manager, and at the end of it all, a rectification. I was very happy with the way it turned out, but in all honesty, it should not have gone to that point. They should have just replied my message! Lesson learned, never ignore your fans!

Do you think everyone should effectively and properly use the numerous sites out there for social networking?

We live in an exciting time. I call it the social media revolution, and it applies to more than just businesses and marketing. It applies to life. Everything is in iCloud, everybody is purchasing online, everyone leaves peer reviews about products that they own/use… the planet is coming together online, to share ideas, concepts, stories, news, inspiration, products, classifieds, media and so, so, so much more. I think that there are some best practices for social media use… ways to use it better… but I think it’s still so fresh and young, that nobody can really say that you’re ‘doing it wrong’. I think everybody is individual, and so is their social media use. Everyone’s frequency of updates is different, their shared content is different, their music taste is different, the amount of comments/likes they give out varies… everyone is different. Use it how you get the most enjoyment out of it. After all, this is a tool to connect. As long as you’re connecting, you’re ‘doing it right’!

What impact, negative/positive, do you think being a part of the numerous Social networking sites out there has on future employment for individuals?

I know I touched on this briefly earlier, but I think it’s important to pose it as a question on its own. The beauty of social networks is that due to tremendous pressure from governments, policy makers and the people, most of the notable ones have great privacy features. Because of these privacy settings, the fate of your future employment is truly in your own hands. I think if you’re going to be a responsible web user, you need to ensure that your social networks are protected as safely as your online banking. For some of us (myself included), we don’t mind the public seeing our posts. So I’ve opened up certain information to the public, but hidden certain other things. When you hear about somebody getting fired because their latest (public) Facebook post is of them cursing their employer out… well… you kind of brought it upon yourself. To answer your questions directly, I think that being part of numerous social networking sites should have no negative bearing on your future employment. You could use social media strategically to position yourself as the perfect candidate for the job, or you could be careless and have an accident. Generally speaking, you’re safer than you think.

The Social Media Marketer - What the world thinks

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KONY 2012 – CHALLENGE – How would YOU change the world?

Before you read on, please watch this video by Rosebell Kagumire (@RosebellK), a Ugandan blogger, in Uganda. It is her response to the KONY 2012 Campaign.

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The country I was born in (Iran) is on the verge of nuclear war with the US, but because its the middle east, nobody wants to talk about it. Why not? Because we’ve already been branded as evil? Because the Middle East is bad, and Africa is better, or more valuable? I hope you didn’t say yes.

The KONY 2012 Craze has effectively hijacked all of our social feeds.

What I want to know, is that if you gave the same resources that we have (the force of hundreds of thousands, and $13 million dollar budgets…) to other nations, what kind of video would they produce about the USA?

What horrors have other nations seen of our people entering their countries by force; disabling nations and its people; enslaving millions; nuclear attacks; civilizations and their cultures, crumbled… all in the name of greed. We’re good guys? What right do we have to step in and act all wonderful, after we’ve effectively fucked a whole lot up, ourselves?

Unfortunately, Uganda and other poor nations don’t have the means to produce 8 million dollar movies, and so they get left in the dust, leaving us to appear like the good guys.

If you really want to help the world, start by looking at the world as a whole and not only from where you stand within it.

I never once claimed what he’s doing isn’t wrong, or that he shouldn’t be stopped. I’m very much in support of the cause, I just don’t agree with THIS message, the strategy put forth, or the lack of critical thinking by the people.

I compare this filmmaker to Hitler in some ways. Not in the sense that he is an evil person or that he has killed millions… but he (and the rest of the Invisible Children Organization) are effectively brainwashing young people with beautiful media and their abilities to inspire masses with a quick tongue and passion, to join their cause… and fight for something that THEY believe in.

Think back to when you were in high school… with the exception of a few, most people didn’t have much to be too passionate about, other than hooking up with girls, hating homework and Saturday nights. These are impressionable kids who have not been educated enough to make their own decisions and/or decode their own views of the world, and especially its many problems. They haven’t had a chance to choose what to support on their own… if anything. Its unfair to show them pictures that are tied to a message and effectively use juxtapositioning to gain leverage over large groups of young people. Invisible People is harnessing the power of people and community, and putting it to work for their fight. Doesn’t matter if its a noble or selfish cause, its not right to exploit children for anybody’s benefit… *ahem*

But I guess its better than nothing right? If hundreds of thousands want to share a video to spread the message on Facebook, its a good thing right?

That’s all I keep hearing from everyone…

To that, I say: They’re using propaganda in the form of bracelets, beautifully designed posters, stickers and other (child-friendly) collateral, to hype young people up, and sway the media. That video didn’t drive attention to the people of Uganda. It was a 30 minute commercial for the Invisible Children. It was a proposal to every individual to begin buying the Action Packs and spreading his message in your communities. When Hitler was in power, Swastikas were posted everywhere… This film maker is now asking your children, your friends, your siblings, your family, your co-workers, your spouse and everyone else you know to do the same, only with his own version of a poster.

Is this to raise awareness amongst us all, so that we make a change? Or is it the epic, sticker-laden conclusion of a 12 year campaign by Invisible Children?

Are you fucking serious? You want me to deface my local community of Vancouver with stickers and posters ALL in one night, so that city officials become aware of Joseph Kony and hopefully somebody makes a change? Wait… let me repeat that… you want me to paste the face of a war criminal from Uganda all over my city in hopes that someone thousands of miles away is arrested? You are trying to tell me that people won’t get carried away? You think a midnight walk around the city won’t bring out those Vancouver Playoff rioters again? You think people won’t just use this as an opportunity to spray paint the town and destroy shit? You don’t think your car that is parked on the street overnight is going to be smothered in stickers? Are you using your brain, at all, critically?

I’m in shock of this entire campaign. It all happened SO fast… 2 days… nobody seems to have had enough time to think this through… I haven’t even covered all of my points here… but that doesn’t matter. I want to use this blog post as a means to communicate a challenge to YOU!

I want you to pretend that you are this film maker, and you are starting to plan your campaign. You have $8 million, and want to make a difference. What would you make a video of? How would you use creativity (and a fat budget) to encourage positive change? It doesn’t have to be about Uganda or Kony… Here it is:

HERE’S MY CHALLENGE TO YOU: IF SOMEBODY COMMISSIONED YOU TO CREATE A 30 MINUTE FILM, USING An $8 MILLION BUDGET, HOW WOULD YOU USE YOUR CREATIVITY TO INSPIRE POSITIVE CHANGE IN THE WORLD? POSITIVE CHANGE CAN START IN YOUR OWN COMMUNITY OR ON A GLOBAL SCALE. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ABOUT UGANDA OR KONY… JUST ABOUT INCITING CHANGE FOR THE GOOD! WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH ALL THIS POWER?
Please leave a comment below with your response, but more importantly, ask your friends this question. Start a discussion around it, tweet it, make it your status, share this blog post… Start thinking about how you would make a change if you could, and see where it takes you. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope my words and my challenge has resonated with some of you. I look forward to hearing your responses.

Sep Baz 

Uganda be kidding me - KONY 2012

Twitter for Dummies

 

I’ve found that people totally dismiss the concept of signing up for twitter, because they just “don’t get it”. To that I say two things

  1. Firstly, you sign up for all kinds of spammy, garbage websites and mailing lists for shit you don’t need and will never find use for. However, you won’t give a famous micromedia website, with hundreds of millions of users, including millions of brands and notable people, engaging with the service and with the community? Shame on you.
  2. Secondly, its a lot more simple than Facebook… and you “get” facebook, so why don’t you give twitter a shot? Well, with my beginners guide to twitter, you will have no more excuses!

So I’m going to break this up into a glossary (so to speak…); for each twitter term, I will explain what it is, then I will draw a mental image for you. Try your best to picture what’s happening here… once you can picture what’s happening, you will ‘understand’ the basics of twitter. If you don’t, then you should just stay away from most types of communication in general. So, without further ado…

  • A Tweet
    • Technically, it means: A 140 character public message about ANYTHING, sent out to a select group within the twitter community.
    • But, look at it this way: Imagine yourself standing on a stage with a microphone. There is a group of people standing on the ground in front of the stage… some of them are looking up at you intently, others are looking around, wandering, talking to others… sometimes taking a look at you. Now imagine, into the microphone you say “I just heard Paradise by Coldplay for the first time. I really enjoyed it.”. That statement about the song, was a Tweet.
  • A Retweet
    • Technically, it means: A tweet, that somebody found interesting, and forwarded on to a different select group within the twitter community.
    • But, look at it this way: So, you spoke into the microphone about Coldplay, and the people who were looking up at you intently heard you. Out of the, let’s say, 20 people who were listening to you, three of them found what you said into the mic really interesting. So those three people walk off from the crowd, step up onto their own stage, and say the same thing you did into their mic! They have a totally different group of people standing in front of them on the ground… some tuned in, others not so much!
  • Followers
    • Technically, it means: Twitter users who are following the tweets you send. Your tweets will appear in their home feed.
    • But look at it this way: When you’re standing on your stage, in front of your mic, you look down and see a whole bunch of people standing in front of you on the ground. These are your followers. Some people have more, because they speak more often, say more interesting things, give things away and are overall more fun to listen to… others have less… they don’t really talk often, they’re more interested in listening than talking, or they are speaking on a private stage, and only certain people are allowed to listen (**NOTE** yes, you can lock your profile up for privacy on  twitter too). Some of these people will be paying attention to you, some will just be standing at your stage, but checking out other stages at that exact time. Either way, that group of people in front of you, who is listening to what you say, those are your followers.
  • Following
    • Technically, it means: The opposite of followers; this represents the twitter user’s who’s tweets you receive in your home feed.
    • But look at it this way: When you’re done talking, you step off of the stage, walk around the presentation room (Which would represent your twitter account), and visit all of the different stages! All of the stages you find in the presentation room, are the people which you are following! Everybody’s presentation room is full of different groups, people, businesses, artists, musicians, comedians, athletes and more. People from all walks of life are standing on a stage, sharing interesting updates… the ones in your presentation room, are the ones you’re following.
  • Mentions
    • Technically, it means: Tweets from twitter users that are directed at one or a few users in particular. It is a public tweet, visible to all, but it only notifies one or a few of its existence.
    • But look at it this way: You’re standing on the stage, mic to your mouth, and you talk about the Paradise song by Coldplay… nothing different so far… now let’s say one of the people standing in front of your stage, wants to ask you a question about what you just said. For example, they would say something like, “Hey Sep, did you hear the rest of the album?”. This person just Mentioned me. He used my name… he was speaking directly to me. A lot of people in the crowd also heard him, but I was the only one who was directly notified of this mention. Now I will respond to him with something like, “Hey Josh, I have and I love it all, altho the last album was still better”. I have now mentioned Josh as well. Everyone in my crowd heard me… but I wasn’t actually talking to them. They can all chime into the convo if they want, and I would be very happy about that!

There ya have it! The basics of twitter, explained via the ‘presentation room concept’… which, I would like to coin as a method, you know… in case this makes me famous. Anyways… let me know if you have any questions about this, I’d be happy to explain it in more detail, or chat about it further. Please let me know your feedback. A lot of thought goes into these types of posts.

Twitter Users

don’t take it personally, take it professionally : 5 tips to separating business and emotion

Sometimes its good to stand up for yourself and share your opinions on a subject. Sometimes its better to shut the hell up and go with the flow.

I was recently involved in an interesting business discussion which led to a more interesting situation. I won’t share any of the details, as they are irrelevant. I will, however, mention that I’ve dealt with many people who have a tendency to mix personal emotion with business dealings… a tragic mistake. What I would like to share with everyone, is FIVE tips I’ve picked up along the way that will help some people filter their emotions out of business dealings.

1. PLAN AHEAD – Whether you have a garage sale coming up, or a multi-million dollar business pitch, you need to spend time preparing yourself. Of course, you need to prepare your meeting notes, strategies, plan of attack, set milestones and goals and all that other relevant stuff. On top of all of that, you need to prepare yourself for concerns and comments raised by your potential client, much like a lawyer would prepare for a cross examination. Your client may mock the product/service, they may question your credibility, in some cases, they might even take personal strikes to you, and the way you operate. Generally speaking, these are their negotiating tactics, for the most part (sometimes the clients are just jerks)… they are throwing this stuff at you to break you down and frustrate you, with hopes that you can surmount their concerns and hurdles, not with hopes that you will break down and throw a kicking, screaming tantrum. Sit down, and write out all the potentially negative statements they could throw your way that would annoy you, and then prepare a list of responses for all of them. This way, you will be expecting their worst, and delivering your best. You can’t be disappointed.

2. TAKE A TIME OUT – Sometimes, you are faced with a situation where planning was never an option. Sometimes you are faced with a random phone call from a potential client, and you have to pitch them over the phone. Being caught off guard sucks, but its not the end of the world. If you know or speculate that you’re the type of person who gets emotionally charged and can’t hold it back, then take a break instead. When the client starts to poke difficult questions and comments at you, and you find your blood boiling, just interrupt them with a statement to the effect of, “Hey I just have to run into a meeting, can I call you back in one hour?”. You’ve just bought yourself an hour to calm down, think critically and logically, plan for the phone call, and call back with a clear mind. Never get caught off guard, you need to be in charge and you can never lose your cool in an initial discussion with a customer. This can be applied to many situations; picture a group project at school… things are getting heated among the 5 people in your group… take a quick bathroom break and regroup your thoughts and emotions!

3. CREATE REMINDERS – When you wake up in the morning, what’s your routine? Let’s say you get up, go to the washroom, do your things and stuff, go to the kitchen, make some coffee, go to your room, get dressed, and then head out to work/school/random adventure. Well, right there, you’ve got THREE places that you can place reminders (character/mood boosters). First, on the bathroom mirror, second above the coffee maker, third on your dresser door. Leave yourself some notes around the house that say “Take it professionally, not personally”, “I am going to separate business/work from emotion”, “My emotions are staying home, I’m going to work” etc etc. If you discover that this is something you need work on, then stop avoiding it. Bring it to the forefront of your mind. Make it something that you think about all the time, and you will inadvertently hold yourself accountable to it! If its the first thing you look at in the morning, and the last thing you look at at night, you won’t be able to help but think about it all day, and therefore won’t be able to ignore it! This is a tough tip to follow though, because our ego doesn’t want to let us believe that we’re not perfect as is… try to remember that regardless of who you are or what you know, there’s always room for growth… and that’s undeniable fact.

4. LISTEN TWICE, TALK ONCE – The mistake a lot of people make, is over-talking and under-listening. They say, “Loose lips sink ships”… well that stands doubly true in business. Sometimes the best thing to do in a business situation, is to just shut up and let the other party talk, talk, talk and talk more. Like Chili Palmer (John Travolta) said in Get Shorty, “I’m not gunna’ say anymore than I have to, if that.”.  Get involved in the discussion only as much as you need to… contribute what’s necessary, and don’t go beyond that. If done effectively, you’ll find yourself in a position of power, regardless of what you’re doing. Also, its important to consider the effects of what you’re saying… think about the ideal outcome of what you’re about to say to someone… will it make a difference to yours or their position on a subject? Do they give half a shit about your personal quarrel with a topic? Will your emotional rant make a difference in this business dealing for the positive? Likely not… so then keep that statement out of it; most of the time, when you say emotionally charged things without thinking them through, you end up going home that day in a bad mood. Let’s use a personal example… you’re in a huge fight with your girl/boyfriend… they’re yelling and calling you names… you have two options… Option A: do exactly what they’re doing, back to them, and throw in a comment about how ugly/fat/stupid they are in there… Option B: listen carefully to everything they’re saying, without saying anything back. Then think of a response that will address their points and may even have an apology in there… I’d go with option B, personally. If you call your girl/boyfriend fat or stupid just out of the blue when you’re arguing about something else, you’re just fueling the fire. Now they can be mad at you for whatever reason they currently are, AND cuz you called them fat. Well, what was the purpose of that statement? What was the purpose of yelling back and screaming and calling names? Did it solve anything? Or did it end with a bitter aftertaste, that you decide to carry on into the entire remainder of your relationship (or whats left of one). Instead, if you just listen to the whole thing, you have time to think about what crucially requires a response, what doesn’t need to be addressed AND you can understand where this arguement stems from… its not about you personally, its about your relationship… Make sense?

5. GROW UP OR MOVE ON – I believe that if you’re not moving forward in life, you’re actually moving backwards, not standing still. If we don’t constantly find things to work on, then we’re just sitting steady while the rest of the world passes us by! If you have a problem with diluting business and emotional dealings together, and you’ve read this blog post and said to yourself, “Screw this guy. He doesn’t know shit.” then you’re just not growing, and you should probably try to stay away from people in general haaahaha. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m some expert on any of this, just reporting on what I’ve noticed. But if you can’t even read through all of this, and take away one shred of information, then you’re just being stubborn and need to GROW UP as this point implies. If you can’t grow up and have an open mind regarding a topic, a job, a person etc… then you can’t have a discussion about it, and you should just MOVE ON from that topic, and find something you can co-exist with.

Everybody has certain buttons that they hate being pushed, and there’s nothing wrong with that. People need to learn boundaries, and need to not step on those boundaries. There are comments and statements that exist out there, that should you use them against me, I could potentially lose my temper verbally and/or physically. I’m not saying bend over and take it from everyone… I am, however, saying that in certain instances, its better to shut the heck up and go with the flow… nobody needs to know how freakishly sensitive you are about your Anime poster collection.

Let me know your thoughts about these pointers. Its all original content, would love feedback.

Don't take it personally

A class all my own

January 1st, 2011 – Move into a gorgeous, newly renovated home, with a roommate, Dave,  that I had just met for the first time. Pay $500 Damage/Pet Deposit to Wayne Campin, landlord/child in man’s body.

Later that day – Find out roommate is a 50 year old degenerate alcoholic and daily pot smoker, with absolutely (and I’m not joking) NO possessions, other than a collection of empty Keith’s IPA cans and a truck.

June 1st, 2011 – Move out of gorgeous, newly renovated home, away from psycho roommate who I’ve had to call the cops on a couple times because he got blackout drunk and tossed my girlfriend on the floor while he was fighting my friend, during a dinner party I’d thrown. Oh yea, and I got evicted. But the $#@^*&#@&’s downstairs are a story for another time.

Next 8 months – Try with all of my ability and persistence to get my damage deposit back from my landlord, Wayne Camplin. Now let me explain:

In the beginning, Wayne said that there were some things that needed to be repaired. Like Duke had chewed a couple of blinds, and apparently there was a “pet odor” in the house, so they needed professional cleaners to come in. So, like any reasonable person would, I said to him, “okay no problem, get me the receipts for everything and we’ll subtract it from the $500 and settle up.”. Next, he tells me that the THREE BLINDS and the PROFESSIONAL CLEANING were going to be pretty much the entire $500. So, like any logically skeptical person would, I said to him, “okay, if you can get me the estimates, I’ll see if I can get better deals on the cleaning. If not, then get me the receipts for everything and we’ll subtract it from the $500 and settle up.”.

Now, for some reason, this grown man (I’m talkin in his 50’s) had a really hard time getting me an estimate, receipts, and never even got cleaners or new blinds to the house. So he gives me excuses like “Yup, its coming.” or, “I’ll get that to you soon!”. The entire summer goes by, and its now September, and I still haven’t received a receipt, an estimate or anything but excuses. In my head I’m thinking “If the pet odors were so bad that they NEEDED to be professionally cleaned, how has my drunkard, transient ex-roomie been living there for the past three months!?” And then it hit me… these guys are trying to scam me out of my damage deposit, much like any conniving, greedy piece of shit would do.

So things started to get heated between Wayne and I. I insisted on keeping every communication to text or email, for the sole reason that I want a paper trail of all things said, just in case. I also took the whole thing to the next level and looked into my tenant rights. Apparently, if by 30 days after I gave my notice of new address (where he’s supposed to send my new damage deposit), I haven’t received my Damage Deposit back, then he has to pay it back in DOUBLE! If he doesn’t, shit gets real. So I came at him with this angle… imagine if you can for a second, a 50+ year old successful entrepreneur, father of two, grandfather to one… being asked by someone half their age to pay them $1,000, and being justified!? Needless to say, he didn’t take it well, but what choice did he have?

Over the next 5 months, the excuses came flowing… from “I’ll have it next week”, to “Times are tough, I don’t have any money to pay my bills, let alone pay you back”, and even “I’ve been told I’m getting paid next Tuesday, so if you can just hold off until then”. Many emails and texts were sent back and forth, expressing disappointment and frustration from my end, and expressing childishness and irresponsibility from Wayne’s end. I won’t bore you with the gory details… FINALLY, yesterday he sent me an Electronic Money Transfer for $1,000 which I accepted, thanked him for, and then went to bed. We’re talking about 231 days of waiting for $1,000… That’s $4.33 per day… roughly $125 per month… doesn’t add up… anyways. I woke up this morning, looked at my phone, and saw a text from Wayne… here’s what this manchild sent me:

No need to reply back. I won’t be. I have no friends that would ever damage something, make me pay for it and then ask for double the money back. With or without a “law” that they decided to twist to attack someone who was very generous to them. You’re in a class all by yourself! Unfortunate that I went through such a tough time and had to draf out our communication this long. Anyway, it’s over. Have a good life I guess. Karma does seem to be a bitch so keep your eyes open. It’ll catch up to you. Just to clarify, “karma” or anything else, won’t come from me. Not a threat. I don’t work that way. Cheers.

I haven’t replied yet, and I’m not sure if I will yet or not. If I do, it will just say something like “Check out my blog, you grumpy old man.”.

I have no idea how some people get by every day in society. Sometimes I think I should have been born on a different planet, where people make sense and it doesn’t take 8 months to get back what is rightfully mine, according to provincial law.

Don't live on this planet anymore

Paper Bags in the Back Seat

When you’re waking up to go to work, while you’re constantly mashing the snooze button, somehow time seems to fly by extremely rapidly. But then, when you’re waiting 2 bloody minutes for your Orville Redenbacher’s to finish popping, time slows down to a miserable crawl. What does this have to do with the title of this blog post? Absolutely nothing. That’s the whole point. Sometimes its fun to get random for no particular reason.

I will be using this blog to share my ‘random’ ideas, opinions, thoughts, analyses, images, videos, quotes, issues, rants, reviews, photos, secrets, exposées, autobiographies, drawings, assumptions, conclusions, visions, dreams, concepts, presumptions, intuitions, speculations, theories, and stuff. I love to write, and I’ve been told I have a fun writing style to read; so I conclude: Its gunna be awesome.

Stay tuned.

Vintage Television Set