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The MultiThread Marketer Final Draft Is Being Edited

I started writing my new book The MultiThread Marketer on the 17th of June and just tidied up the last bits this morning between 2AM and 6AM.  It’s being edited as I type and I will have it in hand shortly.  I will probably feel a sense of great satisfaction when I’m holding the book in my hands…but right now I have two VERY black eyes, am 50lbs overweight, and have transparent skin.  Yes, I’ve become some kind of geeky recluse with mild acne and no clothes that fit.

Here’s to getting back out of the writing cave, to warmer weather, and to accomplishing a MAJOR task on my lifetime list.  I am going to impose a hiatus of at least 2 weeks before the next writing project ensues :)  Yes, I’m already plotting.

It’s a curse.

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Category : Blog &Business

The Value of a Graduate Degree in Teaching and the Profit Dilemma

Academic dress for Masters in Singapore with d...
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s the dilemma.  Ultimately I’d like to teach at the college level.  However one of the great filters for teaching Undergraduate level students whether adjunct at DMACC or otherwise is the Masters Degree.  I don’t have one of those yet.

Now.  Here’s the deal.  I can apply and go through a Masters Degree program, come out with a degree, be 5 figures poorer, and at least have the chance to be granted an interview.  If I got an adjunct job, I’d feel the rewards of teaching to the extent that I’d enjoy spending nights away from home and family.

Truly, I think the only way I’d feel fully fulfilled in this quest for teaching is the PhD route.  Then, I’d at least have the ticket to the big game and when the time comes to wear tweed with leather patches, it would be an option.

Back to reality.  Knowing myself and my DNA, I can’t stop thinking,

You know Doug, why not spend a fraction of the money you’d otherwise spend on those degrees on books, and projects, and technology so you skip the far slower world of academia and hyper-accelerate your success?

The only things you’d miss by not going the Degree route are a built in audience (where you hope that your passion and approach will drive a high percentage of student engagement)…and no chance to make a profit.

Maybe I’m viewing this too simplistically and I’ve challenged myself to dig deep on this one because it’s a long term deal.  I could spend my energy teaching whatever subject I choose, internationally, in the next 30 days if I built my own audience.  I could even get paid for it on my own terms and keep all the money less the governmental tentacles.  I know each student would be engagement because they will have paid good money for this course.

What’s missing from the self-made equation?  Watching students eyes light up when they too believe they can accomplish anything.  The ego boost of rising through the ranks of professorhood and seeing your name on books?  Writing a ton?  Gaining the recognition and respect that comes from being a peer in the academic community?

Maybe writing my first book The MultiThread Marketer is me chiseling away at all the strata of what being an academic would mean to me?  Maybe all of my streaming online projects including the Internet Business Podcast Managing the Edge were the first forays into “teaching on a global scale through technology?”

I’m so fascinated by certain subjects like neuroeconomics and neuromarketing that I want to do a deep dive.  I crave knowledge…and since few graduate programs exist on these subjects anywhere, maybe I’ve just answered my question by blogging about it.

Thanks me.  Oh and thanks to WordPress.

Category : Blog &Business &Marketing

My Review of Roku XDS Player

Originally submitted at Roku

 

With dual-band wireless, the XDS delivers the best quality video virtually anywhere in your home.

 

Roku slowly replacing my DirecTV boxes

By Doug “Hollywood” Mitchell from Clive, IA on 1/15/2011

 

 

4out of 5

Pros: Easy to use, Built in Wi-Fi, Great value

Cons: Want more video choices

Best Uses: Kid room, Primary TV, Secondary TV

Describe Yourself: Technophile, Netflix fan, Early adopter

I have 2 Roku’s in the house now and have dumped two DirecTV boxes in my home. The ultimate goal is to drop my $100/mo satellite habit so if Roku can bridge the gap, especially for Gen X (me) and older, who probably have at least 1 in the house who “just want to sit down and watch stuff” without hassle or technology, we’ll get there. There’s still a “content gap” that’s not your fault, but your leadership CAN solve this. Keep rollin’

(legalese)

Category : Blog &Business

Pinewood Derby Car Build Out with my Boy

Official Pinewood Derby car kit.
Image via Wikipedia

I spent the day with my boy constructing his first Pinewood Derby racer.  (My neighbor calls it the “Dad Derby”.)  I’m not one of those competitive dads who’ll do wind tunnel testing on his boy’s laser cut racer.  But I learned some valuable lessons along the way.  I hope you’ll spend a day with your boy on his first Cub Scout Derby Racer. Here are some key lessons and takeaways.

  • Yes 7 yr old boy attention spans are short so dad must adapt. (Give short burst lessons and interaction and fill in the grunt time with school or Lego talk.)
  • No they cannot man a coping saw through a 7 inch block of wood.
  • No they can’t use a 50k rpm Dremel w/a bit that will take your finger off.
  • No they can’t typically pick up a can of spray paint w/a small hand and press the button at the same time and keep any paint on the car.
  • BUT, they can pick their design (100%), sand, make some cuts, pick their colors, paint, interact, get saw dust all over themselves, tell me what’s next, go to Menards and help me buy tools, share a soda, share bodily functions, theorize about how they’ll do in the actual race, tell stories about their friends, and most importantly….laugh together.

    Will update this post with a picture of the final product in a bit.

    I love you boy.  Your dad has already won this race.

    ***Update with final product and a 6th place overall finish today! – January 15, 2011***

    2011-pinewood-derby-car-gavin

    Category : Blog &Family &Moments of Clarity

    Building a Mobile App in 6 Minutes Flat

    BirdDog mobile app

    Ok.  It might have been 5 minutes.  No it’s not available in the App Store.  But if you take a look at the BirdDog mobile App I created with WidgetBox.com you’ll have to be impressed.  At the very least, this gives one an idea of how they’d like to see their “actual downloadable app built” right? You could point your developer team to a URL and say “build this”.  That’s efficiency and it has given our team a way to explore what a mobile app would mean, what it would look and feel like, and whether we feel it’s necessary to take it to the next level. Oh, and you can either just put the URL into your phone to reach the app OR scan the auto-generated QR code.  Nice.

    FYI – They say clearly on their own site that SAFARI and CHROME are the only browsers where this emulator/mockup works. The app works fine on the phone itself but to play around w/this in real-time online and click the tabs, etc…use one of those 2 recommended browsers. FireFox just doesn’t work w/it online for now.

    14 day trial is all yours at WidgetBox.com too.   Enjoy

    Category : Blog &Business &Marketing

    Temporary Freelance Work Is Here To Stay

    The NY Times today echoed something I’ve known in my gut for the last few years.  In the piece “Weighing Costs, Companies Favor Temporary Help,” the author highlights the ongoing hesitation of companies to bring on full-time staff…and the group of workers embracing this new model.  In fact,

    companies have hired temporary workers in significant numbers. In November, they accounted for 80 percent of the 50,000 jobs added by private sector employers, according to the Labor Department.

    Powerful stuff.  Even more powerful is this quote about the realignment of thinking in Corporations.

    Several factors could be contributing to the trend. Many businesses now tend to organize around short- to medium-term projects that can be doled out to temporary or contract workers.

    Finally, here’s a quote by an outlpaced accounting staffer.

    “I just think I’ve gotten very accustomed to working very fast and working with many different people,” Ms. Musto, 38, said. She said she had fully replaced the income she was making at the newspaper and buys private health insurance.

    Let me summarize:  Businesses and workers are realigning.  They are both realizing that bloating up with staff in many departments and functions is what got them in trouble in the first place.  Workers are accepting that jobs and employers aren’t a lifetime ticket to anything.  Companies are realizing that working in agile shorter term chunks and projects with highly skilled (and often cloud based) resources brings new blood, new expertise, and results with far less risk.

    This approach taken one step further means “Tapping the Cloud” for limitless temporary/project based resources around the globe to execute.  This concept and how it drove my company from day one was the inspiration to write my book due out in January, “Tapping the Cloud:  How to Identify, Hire, or Become a Multi-Thread Marketer” (testing new title). 

    With proper leadership in an agile firm, that firm can accomplish 3X more over the same period of time as a company using multiple external resource threads at 1/3 the cost.  (I now formally claim this as Mitchell’s Maxim.)

    I invite your commentary.


    Category : Blog &Business &Marketing &Moments of Clarity

    For Sale – High End Mahagony Desk(s) with Return and Hutch in Des Moines

    When we moved to Iowa in October of 2005, I was so incredibly excited to be working at home in my amazing home office. To this day, the space is incredibly conducive to execution and results. However, I’m ready for a change of scenery. I filled the office with awesome workplace quality Red Mahogany furniture including:

    1. Large Desk with pull out keyboard drawer with credenza (return) with additional file storage and drawers in an L shape. Has an area (far lower left cabinet) for a PC/Tower and “opening back door” for either ventilation or just easy access to manage cables.
    2. Large Hutch with file storage drawer, adjustable shelves (glass/wood), and an accent light.
    3. Another large desk with drawers on each side.

    I’ve included photos of the actual invoice for the pieces that we bought from HomeMakers here in Des Moines. They are 5 years old and the only one to receive use daily is the large one with credenza. The other desk and the hutch were quickly relegated to “having stuff stacked on them” but frankly, you’d have trouble pinning a purchase date on this stuff as its heavy, tough, strong, well made, and still gorgeous.

    So, I’m seeking a buyer for this awesomeness as we plan to re-org the whole office – study room – stay deep and read room(s) for kiddos. Since I spend my days in Studio B in Urbandale, we’re getting smaller desks, including kid space and “family sized bean bag” space, etc. This is my first go ’round of posting before Craig’s List inevitably eats this up. SO:

    1. Check out the pics and if interested make me an offer.
    2. You will be required to remove and transport the stuff. I have no means and the upstairs desk WILL require some serious muscle and a good dolly wrapped to avoid scratching. I’m not joking here. This is big stuff and you WILL need big dudes or whatever big women you know who can muscle hundreds of pounds down stairs.

    This set will outfit someone’s office or home office with some serious niceness. Good luck!

    Category : Blog &Moments of Clarity

    Raising A Reader vs. A Gamer

    I came across a great piece on the WSJ a couple days ago titled, “How to Raise Boys Who Read” and it captivated me. EVERY parent should read this piece twice.  I related completely with this as my nearly 8 year old has found his early reading passion.  However, he will also go catatonic on video games if allowed.

    Here are some observations and analysis that have been percolating up in my gray matter as I observe his passion for reading evolve.  I’d like to raise a reader and not a gamer.

    1. The pervasive gross out and bodily function books that seem to make up the bulk of printings targeted at boys are an entertaining and fun way for dads and boys to read together some percentage of the time.  Let’s get a reality check here.  Anytime there’s more than 1 guy in a room bodily functions still generally entertain us.  I’m certain that cave men pulled each others fingers.  This is great bonding time because let’s face it, farts are funny, especially when shared with loved ones.
    2. There’s this little thing called “Parenting” that we’re all still required to do.  Regardless of how many books on farts boys read, they must still be taught to control the base instincts that enable males to devolve to crude heathens in no time flat.  Parenting means cultivating a respectful child who has boundaries.  It also means guiding children on when those boundaries can be let down a bit.
    3. I believe that society is using electronics as a child rearing crutch to its detriment.  Our boy has a Nintendo DS and we have a Wii.  After a few months of DS play, we noticed that our boy (who’s not a smooth “transitioner” from task to task anyway) has no sense of time, responsibility, nor awareness when he’s engulfed.  “Just finish that level” means absolutely nothing and typically sparks a plunge into parenting hell.  Avoiding the gaming altogether forces more exploration and creativity.  We use electronics strategically at times don’t get me wrong.  Handing over the iPhone for 10 minutes to stem the pain of waiting in a line or waiting room can be a savior.  But, generally I’d say having a conversation about school, a topic that interests him, or distracting him with interaction is AT LEAST as successful as using electronics…but doesn’t carry the transitional pain.  Limit the game usage and try to limit it to games you can play together.  I didn’t follow my own advice on this at first but do now.
    4. If mom and dad don’t read with their boy, he won’t understand that reading is important.  Duh? Yeah…but I know it’s hard.  You’re tired.  You don’t make the time to read books or blogs or news so that’s what school is for right?  Wrong.  Be an example.  Reignite your passion for reading and share it. Or fake it.  I don’t care.  Just do it.  You make time for the things you believe are necessary and important.  Make time for reading with Junior.
    5. Environment is everything.  We’re turning our upstairs “junk room” into a kids homework/learning room.  This room won’t have TV but will have 2 desks for the munchkins along with a huge bean bag sofa and plenty of books.  There will be 2 macs in there for future homework and exploration but they’ll be locked down well.
    6. We’re starting the classics early.  I love vocabulary and reading “above your pay grade” is a surefire way to expand ones knowledge and perspective.  Sounding out words together, making lists of “words to look up” and noticing himself that he can already read 95% of the words on the page is what it’s all about.

    I think the net of my observations is that spending more time in his own brain, more time in the presence of his parents without the distraction of electronics, and more time thinking about anything else but passing that next level is probably “better” than gaming.  There’s those darn value judgments again.  I played PacMan on my Atari 2600 for hours on end as a kid (age 10).  I kind of wish I’d read a little more but I’m making up for it now.

    I’m not passing value judgments on gaming.  I am suggesting however that it’s more productive to raise a reader who occasionally games.

    Category : Blog &Family &Moments of Clarity

    RV Nomad Ranks Increase

    RV Camp GroundI awoke early to find a USA Today piece titled, “Workers Hopscotch Across Country For Temporary Paycheck” and as usual, I began asking questions as I read the piece.  The story describes how many 50+ somethings, retirees,  and families who’ve lost everything are taking what they have, buying RV’s, and going where Amazon.com provides temporary holiday related work and free hookups and space rental for their mobile domiciles. I’m sure my question will elicit thistles but I’m looking at this as a reality check, gut vs. emotions.

    This quote sparked a “hummm” moment:

    We are among the economic refugees. We are lucky to earn enough to get our laundry done and eat macaroni and cheese,” said April McFail, 52. “I think it says America needs something different. This is supposed to be freedom and a good life. Now it is a sad note.”

    I appreciate April’s sentiment and feel for her situation.

    Now, I’d like some clarity around the idea that she’s supposed to have freedom and a good life at 52? What does that mean?  Is this subtle commentary on the decisions she and her husband have made? Are we to believe that by 52 we have freedom and goodness living the RV lifestyle?

    If she’s lamenting the troubles that a bad economy has wrought on her family I sincerely empathize but what freedom is she lacking currently?  I too lack the freedom to do what I want but I have all the freedoms that the United States affords us all…perhaps most importantly in this case..the pursuit of happiness.

    Keep pursuing April because our country doesn’t give happiness vouchers (yet).

    Category : Blog &Moments of Clarity

    Managing the Edge and Continuity of Content

    Many of you know that I did an Internet Business Podcast called Managing the Edge with Andy Brudtkuhl for over a year and for 30+ episodes.  Life and business got very busy for Andy and I so we went on a hiatus.  Last night I was poking around iTunes and found our show.  There was a comment that is still ringing in my ears.

    I like this podcast but there are no new episodes being delivered???

    Andy and I have been plotting our come back including a format change in length, etc. to really drive a larger scale adoption.  It’s so difficult to maintain a weekly podcast for 4 weeks let alone 48 or more.  But the continuity of content, the continuous presence, the consistency is what will earn you traffic and results over the long term.

    Life moves fast and anyone who knows Andy and I know that we haven’t been relaxing over this hiatus…quite the contrary in fact.  I’ve sold a company and begun a new adventure.  Andy is married now and deep into a few big projects.

    But we’re firing back up very soon.  We hope to begin before 2011 but please, if you don’t mind, please subscribe to Managing the Edge on iTunes and if you like our show, give it a review.  We’ll ramp ourselves back up shortly and begin delivering the kind of material that got us named a Top 100 Small Business Technology Podcast.

    Category : Blog &Business &Marketing

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