Remember those Chose Your Own Adventure books? The ones where at the end of a ‘chapter’ you would have to make a decision as to what happened next. At a pivotal point in the story you would decide whether the character would hike down a dark cave or hide behind a tree. You would then turn to the page for that plot line and the story would continue. You were part of shaping the version of the story that you experienced. Brilliant! What ever happened to those?

I loved them because you felt like you were part of making the story. As a hyper young lad, soon to be a grown ENTP, this suited me just fine. Not that I didn’t like to just sit back and be entertained on occasion; being active in shaping things just feels better to me.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and the premiere of yet another show wherein young hopefuls sing cover songs to be judged by washed up musicians only this time with a new media twist. I’m talking about Rising Star. The show has a companion app that you download and as the show airs live, you use the app to give the current singer a thumbs up or a thumbs down. The singer needs to get a certain percentage of yes votes to advance to the next round. In the interest of research, my daughter and I tuned into the premiere episode with our phones in hand to get our vote on.

ABC knows what they are doing, allowing you to be a part of shaping the story, albeit in a very controlled ecosystem. They know that 86 percent of Gen-Xers and Millenials watch TV while engaging with a second screen, usually a mobile device.

The fear that the Internet has turned us into a less creative consumer zombies is just not holding true. It turns out that we like to share content, create content, tweak content and talk about content too.

A good example of this; The Most Interesting Man In The World. Started as an ad campaign for beer, its now become a meme and a part of the vocabulary of the internet. The story that Dos XX beer has been telling is living on (and changing) in a way that they could never have planned for.


The mantra from marketers in recent years has been; tell story. Its true, if you tell a compelling story you can get action from users. Which brings an important aside in the conversation, audience vs users. Simply telling a story is definitely good enough when you have an audience but we’re finding more and more that a good story, in and of itself, is not enough in the age of users. Users are much more complex and once you understand this new reality, they are much more of an asset to you and your message.

Users jump from platform to platform, channel to channel and device to device. Different users use different spaces for different reasons. Your mom uses Facebook to look at pictures of her grandkids while you may use it to keep up with friends and brag about your life. You may simply see Clash of Clans as a video game where your 10 year old son uses it much like you might use email or sms…to communicate with friends.

So if we combine story telling with the multi-switching realities of new media we come to this idea of Hypertelling. Its a phrase coined by Eric Solomon from Google’s creative department; Zoo. Remember the word ‘hyperlink’? That’s where it comes from. Its story telling in a new reality, so we get hypertelling.

Its the idea that the story you tell needs to be dynamic, not just in the story itself, but the execution of the story across various platforms, channels and substrates. There are multiple ways this plays out and I want to focus in on two of them in the next two posts (I may ad more later) so here’s a summary of these two ideas:

Hypertelling needs to be orchestrated from moment one
You can’t simply do what you normally do in your creative meetings and in you regular executions of your message, you need to consider how to tell the story and engage with users across all channels that you use and that make sense for your brand. Hypertelling fails when you repackage content and try to serve it across different channels.

You can’t control Hypertelling
The Internet never forgets right? We’ve seen McDonalds and other big brands completely blow it on this one when they expected the behavior of an audience and got the behavior of users instead. Hypertelling comes with risk and when done right requires you to venture into some very unknown places with your brand.

This is the early stage of putting words to this idea, that isn’t completely new. A few years ago I was working with the idea; appearance of spontaneity. Grasping the idea of hypertelling, I think, will help you and your team make more sense of the various channels that you’ve probably been treating as either separate silos (like I have) or you’ve just been repackaging the same content across those channels.

What are your thoughts on this idea of hypertelling?

The Non-Readers Guide to Rocking at New Media

I consult companies on communicating, structuring and marketing in light of where culture is and I often give homework to them to learn from people way smarter than me. Clay Shirky and Gary Vaynerchuk are almost always in the recommended reading list. To save time in the future I thought I would just link up the greatest hits of these two brilliant minds. Clay is an academic guy and he uses lots of big words and Gary is a street smart guy who uses a lot of curse words. Be warned.

Institutions vs. Collaboration

Clay Shirky will introduce you to an idea that is super important to understand if you work in a space that is trying to get large groups of people to take meaningful action.

How to Story Tell in a Fast Paced World

Gary Vaynerchuk breaks down what it means to understand the context of media channels which should inform how, what and why you put content into those channels.

Why Use New Media

The talk and concepts that Gary has been talking about for years. This is the video to watch if you don’t currently use social media.

Cognitive Surplus

Clay Shirky takes his early ideas and fine tunes them into the idea of Cognitive Surplus. Understanding his ideas will give you a look at the future of how your organization will look.

Bonus Video – Zero Marginal Cost Society

Jeremy Rifkin is a genius and a modern day philosopher. This is a heavy video that larger business/organization people absolutely need to understand.

Viral Facebook Page Posts 101

Since early 2013 Facebook has made changes to the ‘algorithm’ that determines what content actually makes it into a user’s feed. I’m assuming you knew that. This had a drastic, if not overnight, effect in January 2013 when the average views a non-promoted post from a page halved from around 30 percent of page likes to around 13 percent on average! Ouch.

I believe this is probably a good thing for the future of Facebook although it may have left a sting to page owners who depend on the platform as a major revenue building channel.  Without going into the details too much, Facebook ‘curates’ what posts make it into a user’s timeline in an effort to; (a) keep them on the site so that they can (b) serve them ads and make money. It’s a good thing because I think it will increase the quality of posts because pages will have to be more creative and push higher quality content. The downside is that it may eventually lead to more paid posts in user’s feeds. We’ll see.

The one type post that will go viral on Facebook

Pictures of me. No, not pictures of me as in me…Vince. I mean pictures that users see and think; “That’s so me“. Or in some cases, pictures that they are actually in (or think they are in). Images, by far, give you the best chance to hit a larger segment of your page likes and beyond; there isn’t much debate there. Links are getting hammered on by Facebook because they send people away from Facebook so they’re not going to give you much exposure there. Videos (uploaded into FB vs. linking up YouTube etc) do okay but as more and more Facebook traffic is on mobile devices users are watching (and sharing) less videos.

That’s so me

Here’s an example of an image that went ‘viral’ that we played on a pretty new page I manage for my cycling team here in Austin. Viral meaning that it garnered (as of today) views that were 25 times the number of page likes. It is the quintessential ‘that is so me’ image. The shares go nuts for this type of picture, especially when its targeted well; in this case to cyclists.


A photo of ‘me’

This image is of an event where we gave everyone in the auditorium glow sticks to hold up all at the same time. The event took place three times and this photo is of just one of them. Because users were there and ‘in’ the picture they shared it en masse. That’s the key to getting more views; leveraging the influence of users sharing the content on their timelines. People like to share pictures of themselves, its kind of the whole point of Facebook in the first place.


You can start right now with the ‘that’s so me’ image targeted at your page’s niche and moving forward, build in a workflow to actually get images of your fans.

A Conversation With Gary Vaynerchuk


A little while back Gary Vaynerchuk, who I greatly respect in terms of understanding culture, threw out an opportunity for pretty much anyone to schedule a phone call with him. I threw my name in the hat and forgot about it after a few weeks had passed. Then I got an email from Gary’s assistant asking me if I was ‘available tomorrow’ for a 15 minute chat with Gary. I wasn’t technically available, but Gary V was calling so I made it happen. Our team was off site for a two day retreat on a ranch somewhere deep in the heart of Texas. To my surprise the T-Mobile came through and I had connectivity.

I had pitched to Gary that I wanted to pick his brain about the relationship between creatives and ‘type A’ business minded people.

I told him my story of how throughout my career, projects and business dealings I had leveraged my ideas and creativity to make money and grow organizations for ‘type A’ people but time and time again was not content with the imbalance of reward coming my way for my efforts. I knew intrinsically that these two personality types need each other to accomplish great things but more often than not, the creative got the short end of the stick; think Tesla and Edison.

Here are some of the highlights from our brief chat:


As an idea person, artist and creative you often live inside your own mind a lot. We have to balance that with actually executing on those ideas. How you execute is different for everyone, but a big part of that is having a more ‘type a’ or driven person to pull the ideas out of you.

For the type A; you have to learn to trust the creative and learn how to build boundaries around them so they have a sandbox to play in. Make that space too constrained and you will run them off or paralyze them.

At the end of the day, you need someone to balance your strengths and fill in for your weaknesses.


This is a hard one for me having been burned by more than one cult of personality. Neither the artist or the type A can operate in their strength when trust isn’t there. If the artist doesn’t trust the type A then the best ideas never come to light. If the type A doesn’t trust the artist then micromanagement will destroy any progress.

Slow Down

When an artist is fully in their sweet spot they live in a reality that is literally a polar opposite from the type A and the same goes the other way. There are times when you both need to throttle back and sync up in a space and time that has a common language and substrate for you to make progress an execute. When you’re trying to lead in your strengths you are often much farther in the future than those you’re trying to lead. The artist is so in love with their ideas they can push them too hard and the type A can be so passionate about hustle that they get tunnel vision.

Gary said to me;

“The world has changed. It hasn’t changed as much as you think it has but it has changed more than they think it has.”

This came at a good time for me as I was heavily in a phase of future planning and working on strategy for our team…and I tend to live too far in the future for most people.

Horse Meat, Ikea and Transparency


So there’s Ikea, minding their own business one day and someone discovers that a trace amount of horse meat is found in meatballs served at their cafe. I never knew Ikea even served food; do you have to assemble it yourself there at the cafe?

Ikea probably isn’t known for their food nor do they depend on it to have a thriving business model, after all they sell furniture. Yet a lack of transparency from one of their venders, who probably accounts for an immeasurably small line on the Ikea balance sheet, was found to have used horse meat in meatballs supplied to Ikea.

And in a flash Ikea has a PR fire to deal with.

Transparency is everything in our new, real time, communication world. Your organization simply does not have the resources or the power to control the message the way you once did in years past.

The only thing you can control about the message is how transparent you are and in that transparency you better have a good message because we can see right through you.

The old adage; sell for what the market will bear just doesn’t ring true anymore. No longer can you and your team scheme and strategize for how to game your ‘target’ into acting on your pitch. You have to have a real story that provides people with real value, because if word gets out you’re trying to slip one by, game over.

4 Tips on Conquering Busyness

I’m speaking on freedom this week and I’ve gone down a couple of rabbit trails in my studies and I’ve come back full circle to an issue that I’ve always been passionate about; balancing your time.

Time management has become a joke in the United States. It has become a virtue to be completely red lined all the time. We fear taking a break and someone think we are slacking and not ‘carrying our weight’ at the office. We rush from one appointment to the next and we are sure to fill the time it takes to walk down the hall with a phone call to tell someone we’ll be late for that thing later on.

Sure busyness can come in seasons, I do my share of 90 hour workweeks every once in a while, but as a lifestyle? This needs to change.

Tim Kreider says it well:

“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”

I truly believe most people are overly busy because they are uncertain about what their value is in their job, their social circles or even their own family. Or maybe they are certain and they want something different so they are scrambling to find what ever that is.

Do you have a problem with busyness?

When was the last time someone asked you to hang out tonight and you said yes… on the spot? If you are operating at capacity at all times then there is no way you can adapt to change in a meaningful way and without stress.

I don’t have all the answers but I can tell you this; I feel like I have plenty of time to react to the lives of those close to me and respond with presence instead of empty panic

Value Shift

Is your value at work your time or is it your talent? I’m not saying one is better than the other, it’s just how your pay scale is measured. If you work in manufacturing or some sort of production environment where you crank out widgets, then your value is time and it should be easy for you to switch off at the end of the day and be present. If, like me, you’re paid because of your talents, gifts and mind then it can be a little more difficult to turn off at the end of each day (or week). After all, I’m paid to be me and I can’t turn me off; my mind fires 24/7.

I’ve battled the sleepless nights and the half present dinners with my family and over the years I’ve learned how to separate my job from my life. I’ve not perfected anything, to be sure, but I have learned a few things along the way.

Tip #1 – Schedule around you

I would never call myself a morning person but I have found when it comes to the task oriented stuff that I need to do, like writing and replying to email, I find that I get it done best between the hours of 6AM and 10AM. I think my mind is at it’s freshest during this part of the day even though my body isn’t super excited about it. I prefer to go to a coffee shop for an espresso and breakfast rather than the office. I can get more medial tasks done in these 4 un-interrupted hours than I can in 8 hours in a busy office.

On a perfect day I’ll take ‘lunch’ after this block of work and get my workout in. I’ll go into the office at 12:00 where I’ll do all the office type stuff; meetings, phone calls, another block of email and random tasks.

Tip #2 – Leave the office

When I’m not working, I stay out of the office so I can be present in the part of life that matters most; my family and friends. About a year and a half ago I stopped pushing email to my phone and I can say that it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for my life and marriage in terms of time management. When I share this with people I often hear a response like; “I could never do that” or “That sounds like a great idea but I’d get fired”. Would you get fired if you didn’t stand next to your physical mailbox at the office? EMAIL IS NOT A REAL TIME COMMUNICATION PLATFORM!!!! We have let it become so and it is single handedly tearing people’s lives apart. If someone needs to get a hold of me no, they can call. I also refrain from checking email when I’m off work and I certainly never send or reply to work email in off work hours even at times when I’m pulling a late nighter working on a project; which can come in seasons and even I can’t avoid it from time to time.

Tip #3 – Assassinate the medial

Assuming there is a bulk of your job that you like to do (if there isn’t, get a new job); there is likely things in your job that you don’t like or you’re not good at and don’t want to be. I like to assassinate these ‘medial’ tasks early in my week so I can finish strong doing what I’m good at and what I love to do. This is what Monday is for me. When I’m asked to get something done that is medial, I push it to Monday so I’m sure to stay in my wheelhouse the rest of the week. Monday is often one of my longer days in the 11-12 hour range, but it makes it so I can breath easy and get on with what I feel I’m good at and what is likely to give me life.

Tip #4 – Don’t engage the busy people

Busy begets Busy. Stay away from hyper-busy people. I’m referring to the social part of life; in work you have to do what you have to do to get things done. Not in your real life. I remember the first time I became aware of the concept of ‘play date’ earlier in our parenthood. My first thought was; “If I have to schedule time for play then you and I are likely not friends, our lives clearly do not intersect enough to be friends“. This doesn’t mean I don’t like you or don’t want to be your friend, we just don’t have enough in common either geographically, affinity or schedule wise. Don’t take it personal.

If you can’t develop life giving relationships naturally right outside your front door or in your every day life, you need to reconsider both what you do and where you live. Overly busy people are chasing after an existence that is different than the one they’re in so don’t get too attached to them, they’re on their way to the ‘bigger better deal'; or they just like being overly busy. More power to them.

Now go find rest and joy

What’s really important? You know the answer.

Church Leaders Do Not Understand The Times

Where are the men of Issachar these days?

1 Chronicles 12:32 said that these were the people who were responsible for both understanding the times and knowing what to do.

Today, like most days, I came across an interesting story several times in my social stream. A Church is suing a woman who has posted negative reviews on several review sites about the church as well as start a blog sharing her story of discontent with how that church has handled some issues. Now, I don’t know the whole story here and I leave it up to the courts to figure that out but I can comment on the perception that the public now has of this church and the woman.

Clearly the church in question, and the leaders of it, just don’t get it. We live in a completely different culture now that new media has become pervasive. The problem is that most church leaders think culture is the same PLUS we have new media and that is where we are failing right now not just at Beaverton Grace Bible Church; whose biggest offense might be the over use of papyrus.

We cannot go about communicating and connecting with people, both inside and outside our churches, the same way we did EVEN 5 years ago. We have turned the corner and new media has gone from being a thing that was simply a new tool to something that has forever changed our culture right down to our very core of how we empathize with our fellow man.

What this means on the ground for you as a leader in a church:

Think new media first
Don’t do your normal vision and strategy thing and then look to new media as a secondary tool or channel. New media must be a part of your thinking from moment one just like it is part of culture continually. Better yet, use new media in real time to work through your strategy it will make your church that much more transparent.

Be Transparent…now
Transparency is everything in new media space, and that just may be the scariest thing to baby boomer leaders who are used to having tightly controlled channels of communication and an audience at the ready. Millenials need you to be transparent because they don’t trust leaders, and for good reason. This means the conversation must continually be two way.

Make noise
If you truly have a vibrant community at your church and they are connected in new media sharing stories, then the positive should out weigh the negative. In a new media world there is always going to be a negative review, especially for a church, but you have to rise above that and celebrate the beautiful stories in a public way. If your organization is truly toxic there will be know hiding it, I can’t help you there.

Stop Talking About Social Media

Being in the field that I’m in and having the friends, colleagues and network that I have, there are a lot of people around me who are flat out experts in social media. It’s created a really cool journey and an inside look at a lot of really amazing ideas over the last 5 years; but I think it’s time to move on.

Clay Shirky, in his book Here Comes Everybody, says:

“Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring….It’s when a technology becomes normal, then ubiquitous, and finally so pervasive as to be invisible, that the really profound changes happen…”

I would like to think that, at the early adopter level, we have gotten to this point but there are still enough ‘early adopters’ out there still making so much noise about ‘Social Media’ itself that we are stunting the growth of the top part of the bell curve. If we are going to pull culture along and lead them to the place that we have all discovered, which is the position of ubiquity that new media has in our live’s as early adopters, we need to act like it is pervasive and ubiquitous so that it truly becomes so.

Every time we do another blog post on 101 level social media ideas and strategy we stunt the growth of people who might otherwise be much farther down the road. Every time we try to convince our teams to adopt more social channels we turn them off and keep them out of the game. Every time we do another seminar on social media we slow down progress.

So stop talking about social media and just let it become the norm.

The Week Long Sermon

The sermon…it’s come quite far since Jesus stood on the ‘mount’ and delivered a timeless message. I believe the current format in which we execute a ‘sermon’ is fairly well broken. The job a pastor hires a sermon to perform in 2012 is the same as in 1912 or 1812 yet the sermon format is having less and less effect on culture. Jesus could more or less start a riot with an eight minute illustration yet the average pastor can’t get 100 people to change their behavior after 40 minutes of multi-media supported exposition.

Maybe 40 minutes isn’t long enough? Earlier this month my ‘sermon’ at Gateway Church was a week long! Let me break it down for you. Continue reading The Week Long Sermon

Top Gear Is the Future of Church


As I’ve said in past posts here and on other blogs; the time and place experience that is Sunday morning church is losing value in the face of new realities that we face in part because of new media…and I think there is more opportunity here than there are things to be scared of.

Last year I discovered Top Gear on the BBC while perusing Netflix for something to watch. I’m not that into cars; after all I drive a Kia. But I was quickly drawn into the show. The format was refreshing. The personalities were magnetic and so was their chemistry. The dialogue was witty and the overall quality of the content was phenomenal. It also captivated me because in 2009 we piloted a similar format for 4 weeks at Gateway Church as we explored what it would take to do church on the internet. So my immediate reaction to seeing an episode of Top Gear was: this is the future of church! A short time later I realized that Top Gear was garnering 350 million viewers weekly with 300 million more watching later via the web making it essentially the most watched english speaking television program in the world at more than half a billion viewers.

What Top Gear does right

Top Gear Has Multiple Personalities

Continue reading Top Gear Is the Future of Church