Charles Blake and Lady Mary Courtship Still the Most Compelling Storyline in Downton Abbey


SPOILER WARNING: Contains current/relevant news in Downton Abbey Season 5

Charles Blake (loftily):

“I was never the type to die of a broken heart, you know. I’m sorry if that offends you”.









Julian Morris and Zooey Deschanel: TV’s Best New Couple


For those of us who’ve been following New Girl since the beginning, Season 4’s gotten even more irresistible with the addition of Crouch End’s Julian Morris, who in simplest terms is equally debonair, witty and downright stinkin’ adorkable as Deschanel herself.

Tune in Tuesday’s 9/8c on FOX for continued shenanigans at “the loft”.

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Why the Chemistry between Charles Blake and Lady Mary will Electrify Season 5 of Downton Abbey



I’m afraid I don’t share your enthusiasm for her” (Blake to Napier).

Ah, the “aloof” Lady Mary Crawley (née Grantham)’s implacable heart is beginning to warm up, thanks to an entourage of suitors but in particular, Charles Blake.

Blake, played by Julian Ovenden enters Season 4 as the boss of Evelyn Napier, whose purpose is to aid the estate in diversifying their income streams with agriculture and…pigs.

As early adopters of Masterpiece Theater in our household, favorite PBS shows of mine growing up were Daniel Deronda, played by Hugh Dancy and Tess of the D’Ubervilles with Eddie Redmayne.

The highly anticipated fifth season of critically acclaimed Downton Abbey will no doubt include its share of drama, but the palpable chemistry between Charles Blake and Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery is by far one of the most captivating storylines yet.

Aside from the fact that Lady Mary is beginning to move past the loss of Matthew; the progression of her relationship with Blake as opposed to the other men who merely pine for her (take Tony Gilliam, for example, who descended upon her like a hawk, asking for her hand while she was still grieving for heaven’s sake) is mesmerizing.

Blake challenges Mary and the notions of aristocratic entitlement, the cultural mores of the time and perspective toward hard work. The verbal jousting, subtle exchanges and icy sparring is superb. The scenes in the drawing room and farm. The flirting and mud fight in the barn. The intimate dinner afterwards.

And in the finale, discovering more about Blake’s character, integrity and unassuming, unpretentious attitude toward his inheritance and status.

Cora: I’m afraid it’s just us…
Blake: Don’t be afraid
Mary: “But we are afraid! How could two brainless dullards like us ever hope to entertain Mr. Blake…”
Cora, chastising: Mary! That sounded rude…
Blake: I can take it.

Has Mary met her match?!? (Edge of seat creaking)…






























Grant Gustin Ascending: Barry Allen and the FLASH


Stoked for this fall’s lineup of Downton Abbey, ARROW and debut of Grant Gustin as The FLASH!

Barry- er, Grant was born for this role

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Google’s Oddball Behavioral Interview Questions: Sharing Your Story


COLORADO – A close friend’s (who is like all of my Filipino “Aunties”) son Phillip, a program manager at Google recently gave me some pretty rad encouragement: Share your story.

As did Pastor Ben Garate during his sermon at iglesia este mañana: how the average Google employee is 31 years old.

As Demetri Martin put it in This is a Book, there is no formula, no algorithm for how individuals like you and me get from point A to point B:
Growing up between upstate New York and California was idyllic.
Vacationing in Cape Cod and Ontario, Canada. Trips back west to Mexico, Laguna Beach, Del Mar, the Redwoods, San Francisco or Grants Pass, Oregon.

Dad, a surfer from Hawaii turned worship minister and engineer, was at the mercy of the 80s-90s tech boom (remember AOL, Atari, Nintendo 64, IBM typewriters and printers?); and endured the rise and fall of companies like Eastman Kodak, Xerox and Danka.

Mom was an artist and floral designer from Venice Beach dedicated to educating (yes, my sister and I were homeschooled till middle school) and preparing five adopted children to thrive as citizens in the global arts, education and business community.

Nina, my sister was adopted in Southern California, too. She was a ballerina before she evolved into a Rotary Exchange student traveling Europe and living in Sweden for a year. She then settled in Washington, DC with Teach for America, and was named among the coveted Cherry Blossom Princess winners as ambassador for Sweden in 2006.

After obtaining her Master’s from George Mason University, Nina joined KIPP as an educator serving underprivileged communities in the greater metro area. She lives with her husband Doug, former staff to Senator John McCain and daughter, Elsa Grace on Capitol Hill, in the Eastern Market neighborhood.

And then there’s me. Perhaps because I came from what my AP Literature teacher called such a cultural “anomaly”: a family out of the United Colors of Benetton (summary below); I guess it was only natural I turned out a complete disparity from convention or status quo. Out of instability: Stability.

Russell Phillip Fernandez (Filipino, Hawaiian)

Jeannette Marie Fernandez (French, Canadian, Italian, Hispanic)

Nina Elizabeth Smith (née Fernandez) [Caucasian: Irish, Swedish, Nordic]

Byron Isaac Fernandez (Asian American: Vietnamese, French)

Mark Samuel, Anthony John and Matthew Joseph (African-American)
[Mom and Dad adopted 3 biological brothers when we moved to Rochester, NY from Southern California).

Our family’s Roma lifestyle suited me growing up. In New York I began with gymnastics, but evolved into scholarship: training 6-7 days a week for the Olympics in figure skating, and medalling at the Regional level. My favorite competitions were the biannual Empire State Games in Lake Placid and annual North Atlantic Regionals.

After that came a brief stint with lacrosse before realizing piano was my true passion, and I began practicing 4-6 hours a day to prepare for Conservatory at university.
I would hear something and just sit down and play it, and my math grades were remedial so my Mom thought music training would help (apparently the Mozart effect she raised me with crib side wasn’t enough ;)

Then scholarship for piano performance at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory turned into a transition to Public Relations (PR) and Marketing with psychology minor.
I realized business acumen in writing and communications, married with an intuitive understanding of the mind and human motivation, would be an essential aspect of my career, regardless of industry or function.

I failed in Cleveland, many times. I nearly evaporated in Vegas from 2009-2010, consumed in a haze, a pseudo-reality that nearly took my life.

But in 2012 I finally went home, to my family, and put them and the community before my stubborn, sick, beaten down shell of a self. Regaining personal wellness, power and belief in the Colorado community of Montrose has been humbling and inspiring.

Van Gogh was onto something: For my part, I know nothing with any certainty. But the sight of the stars makes me dream.

As I look toward the next chapter along the journey; I take with me the memories, people and places I have had the ears to hear, the eyes to see and the hands to hold.

And I’m ready once again to step into the unknown.






















Dave Matthews Band ‘Pig’ Alpine Valley 2002


“Love, love — love. What more is there?
There’s bad times, but that’s okay
We just look for Love in it.”

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Robbie Amell joins DC’s The Flash as Superhero ‘Firestorm’


Hasta la vista, Tomorrow People: Robbie Amell (cousin of ARROW’s leading man, Stephen Amell) will be joining Grant Gustin and the ensemble of DC’s The FLASH this fall on the CW.

Producer Greg Berlanti continues to dominate prime time slots with his progression from The Tomorrow People to focus on ARROW and the pilot of the FLASH.

Ah, brotherly love: Of course, his cuz was the first to initiate Robbie
Giggity, geekity goo!





World Food Program; Darren Criss Typhoon Haiyan Campaign


Humbled and grateful to be a part of this initiative. We have family in the Phillipines on my Dad’s side, as do Darren and his mother (who is Filipino, Chinese and Cebuan)

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Necessary GaGa Mentor, Masterclass comes to American Idol


CLEVELAND – How do you feel about getting a little psycho? 

Summary of this nasty, insatiable spectacle that continues to define and transcend into the timeless:

  • Give them a little Edith Piaf. Fabulous. If you have not watched Inception’s Marion Cotillard joie de vivre; visceral interpretation of La Vie en Rose, you’re probably not reading this to begin with…
  • There’s nothing wrong with Ginger Rogers.
  • Elvis was moving his hips.
  • Little known fact: GaGa’s mentor used to tie her wrists together during scales, arpeggios, runs, warmups etc .

I remember my tutor, Howard Spindler at the Eastman School of Music and alumni of Oberlin College (another school I originally auditioned with), used to make me cut my nails if I came to sessions unprepared. It was like nails (pun intended) on a chalkboard for him:

Click. Click. Slide. C-LICK.

Not conducive to flying fingers. Other tactics Spindler would use with me was putting a ruler or piece of paper in front of the sheet music when I began to rely too heavily on the notes and not the story, the pathos/ethos/logos of Bartók, Chopin, Rachmaninoff (damn his gargantuan hands!), Mozart, Beethoven, Shostakovich or Schumann’s Stories for Children.

But perhaps my favorite of his methods: literally slapping my wrists from underneath if I began to push them downward (which leads to carpal tunnel), as if I’d touched boiling, lava-hot magma: Reflex. Get your wrists (or in little monster’s case: Paws) up!!!!



Hiking in Buckhorn, Colorado: The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go


LAKE BUCKHORN, CO ~ “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. The mountains are calling, and I must go”
-John Muir

Hey guys :) It’s good to be writing/blogging and practicing piano again.

Byron understood brand. Other cultural icons include DMB, George Eliot, Bach, Elton John, Gene Kelly, Mozart, Audrey Hepburn, Chopin, GaGa, James Byron Dean, Jackie-O, Paul Newman, Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, Sinatra, Baryshnikov, MLK, Ghandi and Oprah. And more recently, Darren Criss and Grant Gustin

Without exception, the “Big 5” tech startups also understand brand ownership in real estate, both face-to-face and online:

1. APPLE – Retail
2. GOOGLE: Search
3. FACEBOOK: Social
4. AMAZON: Retail
5. LINKED IN: Professional

As founder and owner of your personal brand (think Ralph Lauren or Clapton) and/or business (In ‘N Out, Wegmans, Trader Joe’s), are you actively defining, optimizing and owning your space in person and online?
What content do you create or own?

“Vision must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs”
-Antoine de Saint Exupery

Where will you go? What will you see?














Blogging and the Blue Ridge Mountains


Leaving for a 5-day Vaca in the Blue Ridge Mountains tonight (cursmudgeoned wedding season again).
I’ll be documenting scenery from the trip on here and Instagram
(hooray for Wi-Fi at the Kirkley), but not so much people, b/c that’s weird and I don’t pretend to be a photographer.

And yeah — WordPress for iOS5 is pretty slick. Still a bit to play with, but I can see how cats are getting into mobile.

Till later, somewhere between now and Virginia…

“In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks. The Mountains are Calling, and I must Go”
~John Muir















































Go West Young Man: Mike Cottone among 7 to Join the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz


Bit consumed with pride and emotion, so I’ll leave the News to Mike. 

This month’s a big month, by the way. Venus-ruled Taurus’ are kind of a big deal – mi hermana del Puerto Rico Marisa’s birthday’s today, y hermano de Mexico y hermana de DC are the 9th. Salud, dinero, amore in advance, Scott and Nina.

And of course, the 11th is Big Bad Mike’s. 

To steal from Tac Anderson esta mañana >>

star wars, may the fourth be with you

May the Fourth be with You

And Happy Cinco de Mayo tomorrow!

Darren Criss Q and A


Darren Criss on startup success, open sharing, vision for future collaborations

via twitter and Facebook

Tyler Orchard: When Brand Preservation Does More Damage than Good



Okay, I’m a bit stoked about this guys. From Australia to Toronto, the guest blog wayfaring with newly christened continues with my dude Tyler Orchard. You may have heard of him from Gini Dietrich, who recently advised him not to feed the animals in the insatiable playground that is Chicago-based Arment Dietrich and SpinSucks guest blogging community. But besides Gini’s ability to make us laugh and bedazzler jackets (cough, Konopinski, Bell) — Tyler’s meteoric rise through the PR, political and digital space has been nothing short of remarkable. He’s polite, reverent and a good listener. A self-proclaimed chef stuck in a businessmen’s body; Tyler has impeccable taste in red wine, good food — and people, too. And he knows a thing or two about business. “People know him,” to quote Ron Burgundy (though I can’t attest to how extensive the Orchard library of leather-bound books and smells of rich mahogany may be). But enough of the shenanigans, on to the good stuff: It’s a privilege to introduce you to Tyler

tyler orchard

Courtesy of Tyler Orchard, Parliament of Canada. All rights reserved.


We have a human nature to defend our character in an attempt to manage external perceptions. We all have characteristics that shape our personal identity.

Some of these elements may warrant suppression or concealment during certain interactions. Whether we like it or not, we have a tendency to seek approval, fit in to the environment we operate, and invoke a positive reaction when mentioned by others.

Not surprisingly, these predispositions subsequently play a major role in business development, branding, and PR initiatives.  

In the corporate world, a brand identity is a remarkably powerful and influential element of success (New York Times, The Importance of Branding Your Business).

Companies spend a considerable amount of time, financial resources, and effort in creating a brand that resonates with a mass consumer base or audience. Consequently, brand management and preservation has become a major preoccupation for organizations in the public, private and non-profit sections.

Perception, identity, and brand awareness is increasingly important within the business environment. This is because branding success is a key element in meeting certain business objectives, internally and externally.

These attitudes and experiences around a brand, often driven and dictated by the consumer, affect all channels of the corporate structure. With this importance comes the desire to preserve your brand identity at all costs.

This is a dynamic many entrepreneurs and business people can empathize with. When faced with a negative situation or potentially damaging encounter, it is an instinctive reaction for most individuals or brands to do anything and everything that will protect what has been built via investment, infrastructure and influence. This brings to mind the classic “fight or flight” dichotomy, and how we are biologically wired to react to real or perceived threat/s.

To quote the wonderful mind of Warren Buffett:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation — and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Many would perceive this loyal and strategic reaction as a sign of a promising corporate leader. I would tend to agree.

But here’s the kick: Does there come a time when our intrinsic nature to preserve something we care about deeply actually exacerbates the damage we are trying to mitigate?

This post is by no means a blanket description of the corporate landscape. Many companies understand the limits that they operate in. However, there are still those who maintain the “defend at all costs” mentality that has significant (and often ignored) repercussions.

There is something to be said about the perils of blind pride. It often leads us to make rash decisions that, while at the time may seem appropriate, only cause more headaches down the road and across relationships.

When an individual is emotionally invested in their company, brand or organization; that poignant connection can cause judgement to be clouded. This becomes paramount when people confront a direct challenge or crisis situation, be it communications or task-related.

But knee-jerk reactions to a dilemma are grounded in emotion, not strategic business acumen. It seems in these situations we revert back to our younger selves; when we would stop at nothing to quash an unflattering rumour on the playground.

Ignoring claims or evidence, denial, shifting blame, pointing fingers, and tunnel vision are all common elements of what I call “emotional management reversal”. Seasoned decision-makers, when faced with a troubling situation, seem to revert back to self-indulgent reactions that cause more harm than good. This is common when an initial decision or strategy goes south unexpectedly.

The decision to stand firm, ignore the inevitable, and resort to blame aversion tactics seems reasonable in a mind destabilized by the fear of failure.

But once a company ventures down this path, it is an all-or-nothing effort that can often result in significant brand repercussions.

Here are Five Ramifications that often ensue when a leader, manager or brand resorts to a bull-headed stance on trouble, crisis or possible failure:

1. Delaying an actionable response to a situation will only make brand and identity damage widen and deepen

2. There is a chance of alienating your customer base, audience or community

3. Tunnel vision and blind support damages perception, as perception involves trust, reliability and loyalty

4. Employees may lose respect in the corporate institution


5. Subsequent decisions are negatively affected in regards to marketing, communications and customer service/outreach —

 Especially when these initiatives are accomplished in the same channels (i.e. social networks or the public forum).
Strategic corporate loyalty and brand preservation are two characteristics that any business person should use in their personal description. Further, these elements in part define a company’s success. They are also founded on the same traits of entrepreneurship.
What needs to be respected is the clear difference between bold business risk and foolishness. When faced with adversity or potential failure, more business leaders need to respond pragmatically — and vehemently resist a reaction that is emotionally driven.
As business people and entrepreneurs, we need to understand that placing a bet on a particular development strategy involves risk. Brand development isn’t clear cut, nor does it happen overnight. Failure is a part of any company seeking to venture into a market and make a name for itself.
What differentiates successful business people from others is not failure in and of itself, it’s how they react when faced with crisis or defeat. Defending a decision that is not meeting expectations or objectives is not indicative of a person with pride, it’s evidence of blind irrationality.
Remember, failure is a part of the business world we inhabitcrisis is a part of the process, and defeat is part of the branding experience.
When all is said and done, sensibility and realism are characteristics that are far more important than pride and loyalty.
Tyler Orchard is a Toronto-based Director of Communications and PR in the political world, as well as a social media consultant. He holds a masters degree from the University of Guelph in public relations and public policy. His views are strictly his own. Follow him on Twitter @tylerorchard or find him on LinkedIn. He blogs at Talking Points.

Zian Silverwolf Debut: Trinity of Art, the Artist and the Human



Okay, I’ll admit it: I’ve always had a soft spot for Australians and Canadians. I am truly honored and excited to share with you the first official guest blogger on my site. Hard to believe that yesterday marked the 1-year anniversary of my debut in the blogging community (blogosphere) — which stands over 156 million strong as of 2011, according to WikipediaZian Silverwolf is a kindred spirit/soul online, and I look forward to meeting her out in Australia in the future. She, too is a child of the world — and is imbued with a passion for the arts, music and pure creative flow. As Yoko Ono so infamously said: Artists are going to be the metrenome of this society. ***editor’s note: Some of these pieces were crafted specifically for this work. That in mind, all images and proprietary rights fully reserved by

Zian Silverwolf artist graphic design visual paint canvas print mosaic Australia Queensland


The artistic journey differs somewhat from the creative journey – where creativity includes invention on so many levels (e.g. craft, carpentry, hairdressing, cooking).

Art has an element of the mythic that is neither translated nor experienced in the same fashion. As an artist, a connection with an internal cosmology that separates you from the practicalities of mundane life is forged, and draws the self into an altered state of consciousness.

There is no sensation of watching yourself recreate one form into another, or manipulating objects into a new state – only the revelation of creating entirely from within.

I have had many other kinds of creative experiences, and Art is wholly different in its reality and in its manifestation. While the material transformation of paper, canvas, pen and paint is obviously a part of the process, it’s ephemeral in sensation, unlike working in something that requires cutting and pasting, or positioning of physical subjects, like a table leg, or a leather strap with a buckle.

As a musician, a dancer, a martial artist — the creativity and emotional discipline I experienced through those avenues is not comparable to facing a blank page and bringing a character or a world to life. The movement and physical flow of the body and all its muscles is inherently an art without doubt —

Yet all is self-contained without an audience.

Interacting with pure creation is another relationship entirely, connecting the mind’s eye to the hand, back to the eye, and returning to the mind, again and again.

Heart is not the same thing as habit.

With each composition, the worlds I am building throughout my life take on another aspect, a greater complexity, until no single work is significant to me except as a part of the whole.

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The total and ever-expanding body of work is more than a collection. It is an ever-expanding universe, built of feeling, thought, experience and observation.

When I was performing, each dance was a whole unto itself, each song was a stand-alone achievement and expression. In art, I become, transform and continue as each work comes into being.

While expression is first and foremost the drive in any creative pursuit, I have found real passion in the consistent development of what I can only describe as a never-ending chronicle.

eye of horus eye of providence occult esoteric fantasy art zian silverwolf

Eye of Horus, Providence as seen by Zian Silverwolf

No matter any work or personal activity I have done in my life, behind it was always a pencil, a pen and a brush.  It has long been my meaning of life to “transform and continue”  (although 42 will forever be the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything) —

And art has given me that path, not only in the creation of artwork, but in the observation, emotional experience and interpretation of Life itself.

Within it there is a drive and even a need to be disciplined, skilled and ever-evolving, always challenging what is and what came before with a new vision.

A slight change in observation and perspective. A shift here, an angle there….

These are changes that develop and show only over time, a gradual but continual progression into the next reality.

Fantasy art still finds itself on the commercial fringes of the art world, often deemed “the pop beyond pop culture,” but people forget the visions of the classical world were in the ethereal cosmos of the gods

Venus, Aphrodite, Mars, Ares, Apollo, Athena, water gods, sprites, Bacchus and his nymphs; after the advent of Christendom, even visions of heavenly and hellish dimensions were depicted, explored and expressed all from the imagination and captivation of the artists. 

fantasy dragon zian silverwolf

Master of the Hoard by Zian Silverwolf

The modern world has a greater allowance for such imagery, which transcends  the boundaries of we mere earthlings, embracing images and metaphors of science, aliens, quantum realities and interdimensional beings.
Granted, it may be about “technology” on the surface, but “Truth” remains the human exploration of ourselves, in worlds that we create to discover who we are.
Surrealism invites us to explore dreamscapes that, while unfamiliar, provoke something relative and relevant. Existentialism steps outside the bounds of physics, while seeking to describe the transcendent and the ancient in us all, simultaneously.
While the mythological and mythic realities of the past remain in strength (unicorns, fairies, goblins, Atlantis, phoenixes and hypogriffs), fantasy prevails as the arena for the exploration of our consciousness, our dreams, our souls…. and our futures. 

Follow Zian on Twitter @ziansarts

Subscribe on YouTube @zedess

Zian on Google+

Technorati – State of the Blogosphere 2011

PRNewsWire Announces 2012 EARNIES award Nominees


Okay, it’s hardly worthy of the SuperBowl or GRAMMYS hype. 

But in the humble, quiet and kick-ass world of social media online communities, PRNewswire recently announced finalists in multiple categories for its inaugural EARNIES awards via Agility@work on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

It’s an honor to share with you I was selected as one of 3 Finalists for the We Can’t Believe that Worked! category. The other two entries are also showcased in the voting polls, and you can Choose Me over them by clicking on the link below:

Byron Fernandez, PR/marketing campaign during job search

Voting will be open to the public until Valentines Day this year, so spread the Love — and Thanks Again for your continued loyalty, encouragement and support through the years. As I’ve said before, I’ve been truly blessed to have incredible support from the Best in the Business: friends, family, colleagues — and fans.

Let’s show St. Jude Hospital, Michigan m3 and them big brands who “the Man” REALLY is on and offline, and what we can do with the power of our collective individual networks and communities!

PR public relations Earned media PRNewswire Fame Agilityatwork

"There is nothing like Earned Media" - Tyler Orchard

Results for the EARNIES will be published Thursday, February 16th. For live updates and activity, you can also follow @AgilityAtWork on Twitter to join the conversation – and put agile engagement to work for you, too.

Special thanks to the following individuals for moderating this community:

Sarah Skerik, VP of social media at PRNewswire

Amanda Hicken, Senior editor at PRNewswire

David Armano, Executive VP at EdelmanDigital


PR Newswire: Vote for Your Favorite EARNIES Finalists

The Evolution of PR Webinar with PRNewswire (and other Halloween Oo de Lally) 

Flight of the Inbound Marketing Agency: Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff and Paul Roetzer Lend New Meaning to the Word Buzz

Inbound Marketing Lessons from SuperBowl Advertisers

Holiday Cheers with HubSpot Enterprise: BluePrint is the New Black



2012 is here, and we’re ready. 

Cleveland cleHUG HubSpot enterprise Paul Roetzer Byron Fernandez Holiday social

Cleveland Holiday HUG

From mulled wine (Nordic Glögg – my Swedish/Irish sister would be proud), shrimp cocktail and local pizza to my mom’s famous Austrian jam cookies; the

Cleveland HubSpot User Group (HUG) kicked off the holidays with HubSpot Enterprise and members from local inbound marketing, digital, and creative firms.

Hosted by PR 20/20, HubSpot’s first VAR firm, HUG members had the opportunity to hear from Chris O’Donnell, HubSpot Product Manager for the contacts (MOFU/leads) team, and former Head of Product Development at Performable.

For the first time in Northeast Ohio, three certified HubSpot VARs were present, and it was good to see new and old faces.

Though chatter ranged from weddings, books and techgeek toys, to expecting parents and launching new ventures, key business takeaways from the event included:

  1. 2012 will be a year of results: Firms will continue to be driven by data and disruptive technologies, that will shift the focus from outputs to outcomes. Efficiency and productivity rule: Performance indicators demand that specialists remain well-versed in a host of converging media industries.
  2. Sales and Digital will continue to converge as lower overhead costs, higher performance metrics and limitless economies of scale for startups will transform the landscape. Silos are so 2000 and late. PR, marketing and traditional advertising, branding and communications firms will collaborate with creative, technology and digital in profound ways. Mergers and acquisitions will fuel the rise of complementary, full-service agencies that benefit from diverse and dynamic revenue streams.
  3. Immersion and integration will no longer be an option — across partners, clients/customers and channels. Technology software, platforms and tools drive the market, and those that provide integrated solutions across PR, social, seo, content, web and brand will be best positioned to thrive. A/B testing and mobile (especially games and apps) will lead emerging, “intuitive” services.

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Particularly fascinating to me, of course, was our discussion regarding HubSpot Enterprise and its implications for social and seo intelligence.

One of the highlights of the night was when O’Donnell mentioned testing messages. He elaborated on the effect of trying different offers that meet people at a precise touchpoint along the buying cycle : fear-based, description-based and promise based. 

So many of us get mired in strategy and tactics: We focus on products, pretty websites or image placement – get lost in a rabbit hole of bells and whistles, rather than simply implementing and continually testing what our readers, subscribers and qualified leads are looking for.  

Which is why guys like Chris, Google and HubSpot are around to jar our memory: it’s in the data. Enterprise seems to be taking notes from Facebook, especially in the context of a “frictionless” user-experience: Intelligence driven by consumer behavior.

Bernays would be pleased: psychology and philosophy’s here to stay. Beyond what we say, to how we say it. Understanding not just what we do, but what we don’t do.

Reflecting consciousness.  

Pretty cool. Emotional and practical intelligence are vital differentiators because they are genuine and human, and impart identity to personal and organizational brands.

Accurately predicting consumer behavior in 2012 will depend on professionals willing and able to adapt, take calculated risks and truly reflect the minds of their audiences, across channels.

If performing is the new doing, then being is the new thinking.

*Special thanks to Dia Dalsky for hosting, Chris O’Donnell and Chris Knipper, Founder & President at Kuno Creative for sharing success stories thus far with HubSpot Enterprise. And to end where much of this began, congratulations to Paul Roetzer on his new book, The Marketing Agency BluePrint. We’re proud of you.


Chris O’Donnell – Resonant Emotional Messaging

Jessica Donlon – Quick Response: How Strategic Execution Makes QR Effective

NYT read via Rand Fishkin – Online Retailers Home in on a New Demographic: The Drunken Consumer 

Interested in learning more about inbound marketing and HubSpot VARs? Contact me directly at 1-800-348-9654 x 205


Cottone’s Just Remember Tearing up the Jazz Charts


ASTORIA, NY – Summer might be over, but Mike’s debut album’s still blowin’ up the Big Apple and beyond.

My personal favorite’s the title track, Just Remember. If you haven’t tuned in or picked his album up, you kind of should. Save the Miley and Ke$ha slop for the tabloids and spread some real je ne sais quoi this holiday season.

And if you’re in the area, stop by Bar Basque Restaurant or Black Duck and marinate over martinis, Manhattans and the finest company on the jazz scene — Mike’s a regular on the weekends.

Mike Cottone trumpet jazz New York City BlueNote Bar Basque


Tune in, pass it on and hit me up if you have any questions — or better yet, tell me what you think of the album in the comment section…always great to connect with other artists and musicians.

As the King said, with the Love…


Mike Cottone –

Jacob Oheme – Grace Note: Jazz Trumpet Player Mike Cottone

Ottawa Review – Roaring Jazz 20-Somethings: Mike Cottone

From Juilliard to BlueNote: Mike Cottone to Debut Album August 3rd

The Evolution of Media webinar with PR Newswire (and other Halloween Oo de Lally)


Man, I really love fall. The hullabaloo and goodwill (and beautiful weather) starts every year with my birthday (the day after Fall equinox) and steamrolls right through the New Year.

Though Halloween’s as much fun for me as any other, my favorite time of year’s always Thanksgiving and the holiday season. A time of reflection, peace and reunion with family and friends. What’s not to love about that?, says this observer.

But anywho, I made a new friend over the weekend, and to borrow her sentiments it seems we fell out of the same tree. 

Her name is Sarah Skerik, a fellow PR nut and the current VP of Social Media at PR Newswire. She blogs about PR, social and search, so naturally we’re snug as a clown fish and sea anemone.

Great word, by the way, anemone. 

finding nemo Google eric cheng google plus scrapbook visual graphic

Nemo! ...with teeth

Moving on.

In summary, this was my first webinar outside HubSpot, so that was kind of cool. Some of the highlights we covered were:

  • Engaging in critical, compelling ways with audience/s is not episodic, but continual. Business and communications has moved from a “sometime” world to a real-time world 
  • Value rules. People (consumers) are no longer dependent on the proxy of trust afforded by a media brand
  • When compelling content is combined with intelligent distribution, earned credibility results
  • This accelerates the evolution from owned to earned influence 
  • Push and pull are not mutually exclusive. Savvy professionals and business owners acknowledge and activate a hybrid, holistic approach across the sales funnel

 In essence, we’re driving home the point I recently made about how social media is not the end-all, be-all of top performers in the business space. Social media is not for everyone.

Done right, social can be optimized with other elements of the marketing mix for dynamic options, goals and results (because some of us are really geeky about the spirit and power of human potential).

And again, it is only one piece of the overall pie for converting qualified leads/customers, generating revenue, building awareness, driving action and change…the list goes on.

Forget Justin’s FutureSex Lovesounds, Future Productivity’s the rage now.

As media continues to evolve, quite a bit of soul searching also becomes a crucial element of business strategy. What are you trying to accomplish?

As Joe Pulizzi’s said time and again, what does success look like to you?

Ghouls, trolls and ghosts aside, I hope you all enjoyed the Halloween weekend…and still have all your teeth after bobbing for those apples (hayrides, Halloweekends at Cedar Point and whatever else all you crazy kids do) …   


Sarah Skerik, PR Newswire – Beyond PR: Engage Opportunity Everywhere

Gini Dietrich – Six Reasons Social Media Doesn’t Work

Paul Roetzer – What Are You Trying to Build?

Mark Schaefer – Snobberati: Bringing Down the Twitter Snobs 

Social Media Is Not the Answer to Everything


I am so tired of hearing about social media.

Chanting social media over and over again does not generate qualified leads, nor convert prospects into customers any more than the incantation jobs, jobs of the current Administration puts people back to work.

Those that don’t quite see the bigger picture remind me of the valiant but somehow vapid Occupy Wallers out there: yes, we know you’re sitting around waiting for change


I’m back in high school, in AP Language or Lit and the million-dollar question hasn’t changed: So what? What does said passage, story mean? What’s the takeaway? What now?

school for the gifted Gary Larson comic cartoon the Far Side

Without vision, purpose and a clear understanding of what you want and the sacrifices you will have to make to get there, how can you come up with viable solutions that motivate others to take action? 

Social media, for the umpteenth time, is only a tool. A means to achieving an end. Those with a hybrid, integrated approach view SM as a single piece of the marketing mix.

Social media and great content are only the beginning. How will you share? Who will you share it with? Why? When? Yada yada.

Though I have quite a few, this is one of my favorite passages from Paul Roetzer’s release of chapter 2 from his upcoming Wiley book, The Marketing Agency Blueprint:

Content should be crafted for visitors, but optimized for search engines. 

Rand Fishkin, main man of SEO, recently shared this. And as always, it is nasty. And timely.

Burnout, Balance and Bad Grades: Why the Latter Don’t Matter


Joe Fernandez, this Fernandez don’t care.

Heeding the advice of concerned family and friends, I finally took up Paul Roetzer’s aforementioned challenge, the Unplugged Experiment.

For a little over a week, I took a hiatus from the internet. Went home out West, traveled a bit. Reflected on the clear distinction between career obsession and motivation, and the recent burnout because I had lost perspective on maintaining work/life balance.

Admittedly, I cheated here and there. (Checked in once in a while via mobile…)

But I learned some valuable lessons, thanks to said vacation and continued webinars/courses with HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University:

  • Oversharing: No one expects nor wants to hear from you 20x a day. Even with the best of intentions, blowing up people’s feeds eventually grinds their gears enough to solicit a swift, quiet unfollow, unfriend (and now uncircle). Make it count.
  • Impatience: Sense of urgency is one thing, desperation another. As my 26th year approaches, I’m beginning to realize life in the fast lane starts to catch up with you (pun intended?). Sometimes a screeching halt to pause and really think about the who, what, when, why, where and how of things imparts new insights, but you have to be looking for it.   
  • Listening: PR folk are notorious for the gift of gab. We’re just that fun and cute, right?! But sometimes it’s not cute anymore, and as I’ve read time and time again: No one likes the guy at the cocktail party that simply can’t resist babbling on about how awesome he is

Similar to liking and +1ing your own posts (because apparently we weren’t aware you think highly of what you’re sharing), or begging for RTs (great thread David Meerman Scott recently began on G+).

From an inbound perspective, how do these practices compel people to act on your content, brand? I’ve actually noticed those that Like or +1 their own stuff garner little to no engagement. Sandbox not big (albeit, unassuming) enough…

As Joe Pulizzi puts it, creating and sharing awesome stuff should speak for itself. I might actually have an aneurysm if I start seeing incessant RTing of people’s own tweets next.

Moving on.

The greatest lesson I learned over the past few weeks? How fun it is to disappear for a while. The value and perspective gained from observing and listening, offline and online.

Of course, with every gain there’s a loss, which, though frustrating, I mostly found liberating (and now amusing):

My Klout score plummeted from 57 to 49, blog score from a 92 to 91 (reminders that I should probably post now have been noted and sent to HR somewhere between Vegas and San Fran reprieve).

Whoop-de-do. Freedom, getting out and actually living (feeling the salt and breeze of the Bay on my face for the first time in years) for once was worth every single, solitary punitive demerit.

Speaking of, all the fuss over Klout scores has gotten cumbersome and in extreme cases, pretty alarming. Dabney Porte recently told me women were coming to her, distraught over whether or not to link their Foursquare accounts to KLOUT — but were doing so anyway out of fear their scores would suffer. I was appalled…and kind of disgusted.

Seriously? I’m not active on nor a proponent of location-based apps, but at some point reason needs to take precedent over popularity and ego-mongering.

Final lesson from the last few weeks:

I didn’t pass my first attempt at the final exam for IMU, which requires a 75% passing grade. (Close, but no cigar). I also have never been one to just get by on the minimum. Learning you can earn certification with honors only invigorated the challenge for me.

After all, in this realm close is not enough.



Nellie Akalp via Dan Holowack >> Work Life Balance: How to be an Entrepreneur and Stay Sane

HubSpot >> 5 Marketing Metrics Not to Obsess Over

Joe Pulizzi >> Content Marketing World: Why Cleveland?

Inaugural HubSpot User Group (HUG) comes to Cleveland


CLEVELAND – A highlight of the summer and excellent segue for Junta 42’s upcoming inaugural Content Marketing World in September, good food, fun and company was shared by all at the first HubSpot User Group (HUG) meetup hosted by PR 20/20 in Cleveland’s historic Caxton Building.

Making the rounds through the 7th-floor loft inspired by Paul Roetzer’s vision and his wife Cheryl, a gifted local artist, the usual inbound buzz could be heard over the lounge music, sights and smells of veggie/fruit trays, shrimp cocktail, buffalo chicken dip, guacamole and other refreshments: value, content, agencies, outsourcing, in-house, lead generation, blogging, PR, marketing, ecosystems … hacking and hackers?!? (Never a dull moment when Susie Sharp’s in town!).

Aside from customary shenanigans with Lake Erie Moose and Ohio Blogging Association friends, HubSpot inbound partners from Lorain Websites and some fresh faces also shared their success stories with inbound marketing campaigns, as well as brief histories of their PR and business backgrounds.

In addition to celebrating Content Marketing World with friends from Junta42 Joe Pulizzi, Pam Kozelka and Joe Kalinowski, Paul also shared with us further details about his debut book through WILEY, The Marketing Agency BluePrint due in early December. Techies get ready: expect some Matt Cutts and Steve Jobs influence.

Roetzer will also be the opening speaker for HUG Boston in September, as an early adopter of the Value-Added Reseller (VAR) program and testimonial for how a PR firm can transform into an inbound phenomenon: In the last four years, PR 20/20 has grown from 4 employees to 10 with 467% revenue. 

Special thanks to all who attended, and congratulations once again to everyone on their PR, content and inbound achievements. As Paul said in Rise of the Inbound Marketing Agency, it truly is an amazing time to be a marketer. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*Photos courtesy of Susie Sharp, Lake Erie Moose Society and Morand Architects, Inc.


HubSpot: Internet Marketing Vision

Paul Roetzer: An Idea, A Book and An Opportunity for Change

Joe Pulizzi: Content Marketing World 2011

Lorain Websites: Inbound Marketing, HubSpot partners

From Juilliard to Blue Note: Mike Cottone to Debut Album August 3rd


MANHATTAN – Okay, I’m just gonna say it: My best friend’s a rockstar.

And yes, his meteoric rise through the jazz echelon of New York’s enough to Dizzy even Gillespie.

Long before our high-school years in Rochester, New York and the Eastman School of Music preparatory department (now the Community Music School), Mike was shredding, jamming and rollin’ to the likes of Clifford Brown, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan and Roy Hargrove.

A major source of inspiration for Mike has been Daniel McMurray, a former band director at Rush-Henrietta. Mike continues to honor McMurray’s legacy, and returns to the Rochester International Jazz Festival  annually as a resident featured artist and clinician.

Under the tutelage of Clay Jenkins of the Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra and Douglas Prosser, Principal Trumpeter of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Mike was a member of the Eastman New Jazz and Downbeat ensembles.

Mike has shared the stage with household names such as  Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, John Hollenbeck, Peter Erskine, Rufus Reid and Marian McPartland.

In addition to a double major in jazz performance and music education, Mike also performed with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the Commission Project and Grand Hotel Orchestra on Mackinac Island, Michigan during his time at Eastman.

While pursuing his master’s at the Juilliard School, Mike worked with jazz greats Chris Jaudes and Dr. Eddie Henderson.

Other masterclasses included Benny Golson, Terence Blanchard, Ron Blake, Ted Nash, Carl Allen, Ben Wolfe, Ray Drummond and Joe Wilder.

Mike’s pedigree continued through his role in leading the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble on trips to Columbia, South America, Salt Lake City, Utah and performing on the Queen Mary 2 as a guest artist.

Currently residing in New York City, Mike performs weekly at the Bar Basque and Black Duck Restaurants in Chelsea. He has also performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at Rose Hall and in other venues and shows,

including:  Smalls Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Four Seasons Restaurant, the Living Room, Rockwood Music Hall, the TONYS and the Broadway production of “HAIR.”

In early August, Mike will return to the Blue Note Jazz Club as a bandleader, where he will feature music from his debut album, Just Remember as the opening quintet for the legendary McCoy Tyner. 

The official release date is set for August 9th.

Michael Cottone debut album Blue Note Kris Bowers New York City Juilliard Eastman School of Music Rochester


Mike Cottone official website

Blue Note New York Turns 15, TweetUp Celebrates Shandy, Indians and Harry Potter



Google+ wasn’t “invited” last night.

Instead, the back patio of Lincoln Park Pub in Tremont was abuzz with topics of Denny’s, er — Hafner’s walk off grand slam, favorite local spots and the premiere (or early/advanced screenings for the geeks of the group) of JK Rowling’s purported final installment of the iconoclastic Harry Potter series.

Notice my intentional curtail of the word epic, which author of I am Better than Your Kids Maddox refers to as one of the most abused filler words in the English language (Not Everything is Epic, Sh*theads).

Okay, Google+ was briefly discussed — but some of us clearly just haven’t had the time to jump into yet another platform and begin the peculiar task of clumping our personal and professional lives into circles (Larry Page, take note: perhaps it would be more fun to have an X option, for those that fit that category?…).

Cleveland Tremont Lincoln Park Pub Byron Fernandez Ray ban Wayfarer Rare Print Special Series #2 NYC Metro subway

Photo courtesy of Alana Munro,

Upon perching near the fire pit with a few Leinenkugel’s summer shandys, appetizers and tweets, friends from Junta42 Pam, Joe and I discussed vacation spots and the value/need for “unplugging” from work and tech.

Pam dished about her love for Cancun (having friends/family throughout Mexico helps, but that’s one spot I have yet to visit), while Joe and I waxed poetic over the outdoors, Canada and just getting lost in nature.

No cell phones. No computers. For a week or more. Ah, the Bill Bryson set.

Good stuff.

Tremont Lincoln Park Pub Cleveland tweetup

Photo Courtesy of Alana Munro,

Reminiscing about unplugging brought to mind Paul Roetzer’s challenge to us a few months ago: The UnPlugged Experiment (and recent Matrix convos I’ve had with tweeps in Jordan) all over again.

Needless to say, it was good to reflect (and jibe) with Pam and Joe about the importance of finding balance in our personal and professional lives.

Locals in attendance other than, WEWS5 and Tribetalk included folks from Junta42, PR 20/20, CLE Social Media Club and the Ohio Blogging Association:

Alana Munro @dawgpndgirl

Byron Fernandez @byron_fernandez (You are here…)

Frank Zupan @FrankZupan

Jen Gardner @whyCLE

Jessica Donlon @jessicadonlon

Joe Kalinowski @ringo66

Keith Moehring @keithmoehring

Laurel Miltner @laurelmackenzie

Pam Kozelka @pamkozelka

Paul Roetzer @paulroetzer

Tammy Colson @TLColson

Lincoln Park Pub Tremont Cleveland Indians tweetup

Photo courtesy of Alana Munro,


Twitter Users Gather for Cleveland TweetUp Event photos

5 Reasons Why to Avoid being NonPlussed by Google+


First, I’d like to thank PR dame Gini Dietrich for ending a slew of misfortune (misfires?). I’m wondering if it was because I never used Gmail…my primary email account since 2004 has been Hotmail, which I love.

But invites to play on what is being lauded the new and next social network (most of us unconvinced but still having fun) were in vain, mainly because the project is still in test-drive.

So I updated my Gmail account information, and presto! Was ready to roll.

One of the first viral vids that streamed in could not have been more appropriate, and I couldn’t help but head-bang to the beat of Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night (TGIF) — think Rebecca Black’s been replaced — with the help of familiar cats Keenan Cahill and Darren Criss:

I’ve noticed there’s a bit of perplexity mired in all the buzz surrounding the project, so I’ve compiled a few ideas and pointers as we continue along the field trial (love how John Falchetto put it >> “We’re just the crash-test dummies…” (What the Heck is Google+?).

1. Have fun – As early adopters of Facebook, remember how cool it was just jumping in and discovering long-lost relatives, friends and colleagues? Nothing different here. Format, visual, etc. changes, but creativity and inspiration does not. Bring back that impish, puckish play and you’ll start to see how much of a hoot it is.

As Mark Twain put it: “The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.”

2. Check out Circles  – Similar to compiling lists on Twitter, Klout and Facebook, you can start to organize your social circles accordingly. Being the narcissistic, career-obsessed maven that I am, I only added one circle for the colleagues/contacts I engage with most frequently across social media channels.

3. Take the virtual tour. I strongly recommend this whether you’ve climbed aboard or not. The demo’s simple, really graphic/visual and gives you an idea of how to start clicking-away and organizing thoughts on how you will interface with the program. Tutorial here >> Google+ Project

4. Be vigilant – The notion of spammers, bots and viruses is all pretty familiar to us by now. One of the reasons we’re here is because quality, transparency and trust is increasingly difficult to replicate, automate or buy. If you don’t know the person, contact or business personally (in real-time), it’s unnecessary, uncouth and unsafe to reflect otherwise online. Use tact and be more persnickety about who you connect with than you might have been in the past.

Seth Godin nails it on the head: Influence ≠ Popularity (What’s the Point of Popular?)

5. Be genuine – Organic, earned credibility and expertise seems to be pretty valuable to Google, and they’re rewarding those who respect and honor the rules of its social and search algorithms. If this doesn’t appeal to you then get out of the game — the great Oz of Google and Facebook wields far greater intelligence and consciousness than any of us could ever dream of, so don’t be a tool.

Plain and simple?


The Convergence of Art and Technology: Google Goes GaGa


You knew this was coming … ;-) This woman, a year my junior has been a source of validation, inspiration and regeneration since I hit rock bottom in Vegas and moved back to Ohio two years ago.

Nevertheless, my allegorical sister from another mister continues her meteoric rise through the piano, performance art, fashion, social, search, tech, innovation and online zeitgeist:


  • If you don’t have any shadows, you’re not standing in the light…
  • And I really encourage people to look into the darkness and places you wouldn’t normally look to find uniqueness and specialness…because that’s where the diamonds are hiding

  • You have to look into what’s haunting you, and you need to learn to forgive yourself in order to move on (referring to the next single off her upcoming album, whose Biblical proportion doesn’t seem likely to conclude at ‘Judas’)
  • My girlfriends wanted to work for you (Google). I wanted to be the one they were searching for…
  • Piano’s funny…I mean it’s kind of this thing that always stays with you. You kind of get your chops back pretty quickly…
  • I was never the winner. I was always the loser.
  • ‎Because if the artist is constantly molding ourselves and changing and bridging –abridging — what we do for the machine, then the artist becomes part of the machine. I don’t want to be part of the machine. I want the machine to be part of me.
  • Addressing bullying: Do I want to stick it to anybody? No. I just wanna make music.

From a PR perspective, few artists today understand viral marketing and the highbrow aspect of our language as well as GaGa. In an interview with Fuse in 2009, she acknowledged: You’re only as good as your best references. I couldn’t help but smile when she mentioned Francis Bacon as a source for her ‘immaculate conceptions’ –and wonder what the spike in his Google search queries will be like in the next few weeks.

Crazy little monsters (a term of endearment she and her followers use).

Perhaps the most exciting part for me, and either those who appreciate or are artists who transcend time (Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Hendrix, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Bowie, Clapton, The Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews to name a few…) is simply the music.

I love how she uses pianospeak to describe her message and music: Sonic (root/variation: sonorous, sonoric). Classical pianists (and I believe, all true artists) are religious about Soul: warmth, color — vibrancy.

GaGa reveals some pretty sick details about her progression as a singer and pianist, discussing how the forthcoming album (due May 23rd) will further highlight her abilities as a producer and songwriter. From a melodic perspective, she shared that

“Sonically, it just smells like me, if that makes sense…” adding

“I guess what I’m trying to say is, um –in my opinion — All good music can be played at a piano and still sound like a hit.”

A — f(expletive)ing Men. Is it May, yet? Lol.

But in all seriousness:

‘Where words fail, music speaks’ -Hans Christian Andersen

Enjoy the weekend!


Pulizzi Offers Glimpse into Inaugural Content Marketing World coming to Cleveland


WESTLAKE, OHIO – Last night I had the chance to brush up on some long-neglected ping pong and pool skills. Arriving about fifteen unfashionable minutes early, a friend/former colleague and I showed our age and decided to play a bit in the lobby, after thoroughly exploring the first floor of Hyland Software (a tech company riddled with adult slides, open space and creative feng shui that’d make Deepak Chopra proud).

Once underway, Joe Pulizzi, one of the preeminent content marketing and social media evangelists in the industry passionate about the color orange, continued on the right note: asking who’d brought Goose Island‘s 312 urban wheat ale. Coyly, sheepishly raising our hands, we scored one of his latest books: Get Content. Get Customers. Sweetness.

SMCCLE social media club Cleveland Hyland Software Junta42 content

Photo courtesy of Jessica Donlon, PR 20/20

Among other things, telepathy must be among social media-ers arsenal: only seconds before I’d turned to my friend and mentioned it was pretty neat that Joe chose the brew we brought.

But good beer, orange t-shirts, veggie/fruit platters and Tweeps aside, Pulizzi had some great case studies and statistics to share with us, a group of about 40 from the Cleveland Social Media Club. Among them:

>> John Deere and a celebrated history of connecting with its customers through valuable, compelling and useful content  tailored to the audiences’ specific needs and desires

>> OpenView Venture partners: In the course of a year, OpenView has progressed to 24 posts a week (with a single journalist on staff), 34,000 hits a month (growth curve up 850%) and over 1000 published blogs, articles, videos and podcasts.

5 Companies that “Get It” 

Pulizzi regaled us with testimonials of small studios and chief editors, emphasizing that we are all storytellers and publishers in our own right, regardless of niche. The beauty of “sharing awesome stuff” is ubiquitous: transcending individual, B2B, B2C and beyond. Pulizzi emphasized how 73% of consumers prefer information from valuable, relevant content over advertisements. 

Another thought-provoking section was Thinking Like a Publisher through a centered content strategy:

  • It’s almost never about you
  • What is/are your buyer personas?
  • What does your audience really need or want to know?
  • What are their pain points? And what measures are you taking to meet or exceed them?
  • How are you providing the best content in the industry?
  • Websites are never complete

The concept of owning, not renting your space and channels online really got me thinking. Pulizzi challenged us to dig deep and ask some tough questions:

>>What would you do if Facebook, Twitter or other channels were obsolete tomorrow?

>>How would you reach loyal fans, followers, subscribers and readers, those who actively consume the value you have to offer?

It’s the notion of moving beyond a focus on the tools, platforms, which are only a means to an end, to storytelling.

As Paul Roetzer puts it in Content Marketing for PR Pros, “we all have a story to tell” [ Roetzer, Naslund Among Feat. Panelists at YouToo! SM Conference, Kent State ]

Again — not tools, but storytelling.

What’s your story?


How to Lose Credibility in Less Than A Minute: Netiquette 101


Social media thrives on our voyeuristic tendencies. Granted. However, the intriguing part of it all is how readily entertaining, amusing, perplexing –and sometimes just plain creepy peoples’ behavior can be when granted apparent Sanctuary behind the smokescreen of their computer.

Here are a few peculiar practices I’ve observed that truly grind peoples’ gears:

1. Flooding Someone’s News Feed: If I do not know you or we are not actually friends in reality (or any other public realm for that matter), why the incessant requests, comments, Likes or follows (stalk much?). And why/how are we connected? Expecting engagement from a stranger is rather strange. Pun intended.

2. Goodbye: Ahh, the proverbial Unfriend; Unfollow. It is infantile to blithely assume your actions are separate and inconsequential to the motive/s behind someone click-deleting you. I’m curious to see if this year’s AP Stylebook will include Unfollow in the Social Media section.

3. Delusion: Some people truly are enamored with the sound of their own voice. Case in point: spectacularly tone-deaf American idol auditioners. The question is, what are you saying, how are you saying it, and who is your intended audience? Can and are they listening?

4. Spamming: Blowing up someone’s Facebook with Farmville requests or poking them like it’s your job is an excellent way to make their blood boil. Users will assume you are either a robot or spammer and run for the hills. (After reporting and/or blocking you).

5. Uncharismatic, Uninspiring, Ungrateful: Automatic DMs (direct messages) or follows on Twitter are impersonal and slovenly. Are you even reading others’ handles or profiles?  Clearly you are either too important or complacent to trifle with the arduous task of sending a thank you or one-liner personal note.

6. Me, Myself and I: Shameless self-promotion, reposting last year’s article 200 times in 2 minutes and irrelevant oversharing will either make people laugh or unequivocally infuriated.  They’ll just move to another, less self-absorbed sandbox.

7. Follows: It’s okay not to follow someone when they follow you, and usually it’s not personal. But loftily ignoring frequent attempts from students or others reaching out to create or simply learn from/with you is just rude and unnecessary.

What do you think? Feel free to vote in the first poll on here below:

Related articles:

Mashable >> 10 Dos and Dont’s for Brands on Twitter

Spin Sucks >>  Social Media Dos and Don’ts

Mitch Joel >> How To Be a Social Media Jerk

Why Jennifer Aniston and I Are Two Peas in a Pod (And Other Ramblings of a Nostalgic)


1. We both have Pieces of Flair, myself at Marc Glassman Inc. (I have 3 at my store, so I win); she in Office Space (arguably one of the top 10 movies of all time)

2. The Good Girl brilliantly captured the nefarious quirks of retail/grocery life existentialism

supermarket grocery retail jennifer aniston

3.  She also endured estrangement from her mother, but ultimately reconciled after 9 years. She’s got me beat by 7, but verdict still pending in the Curious Case of Byron Fernandez

jennifer aniston office space good girl movies film pop culture

Which leads to my next topic: Where is the Love?

Truly, I do my best to avoid rants. But I can no longer contain the implacable itch — it’s just too enticing. After a decade of working in myriad customer service, retail and restaurant settings throughout the country, you get to the point where it seems like there’s few colors, shapes and temperaments of the human condition you haven’t had the pleasure (or misfortune) of encountering. It’s certainly cathartic to vent — given the right time, place and outlet of course.

It’s appalling to see the effect of what seemingly insurmountable pressures and frenetic pace of life can have on a human being. I frequently find myself wondering how we can be so insensitive, so disembodied as to reach the point where cavalier disregard for others’ plights becomes standard. There is real pain out there, a brokenness and disillusionment that is often so thick and heavy it’s heartbreaking, demoralizing and unnerving.

Our experience with family, friends and in dating is no exception — and for those who can relate, this is often one of the greatest sources of pain in life. But we’re Alive, and we’re human. And we are all connected.

Personal experience aside, this is where I take issue: ineffectual, uninspired, incompetent and disingenuous leadership, which pervades our homes and follows us into the workplace, ministries and ultimately local and nuclear communities which we inhabit. It is evident in the attitudes and rhetoric of our social and cultural circles, evident in mainstream media and the political discourse of our leaders — and what’s worse, many of us clearly lack the Will to delve deep enough to find and create alternative, compelling and sustainable solutions.

Solutions grounded in passion, decency and commitment toward something bigger than ourselves. As Stephen Covey so aptly says it, private victory precedes public. Pop culture is like high school all over again — people care more about others’ approval and acceptance than their own accountability to themselves, and what can proactively be done to become better individuals and subsequently communities. We can be selfish survivalists and inconsiderate tools, or we could slow down and simply Be/listen with someone every now and then.

It is human nature to pine for validation. But there’s a difference between mere desire and drive; fear and fire. In order to become what we long for, awareness must precede action. It’s a question of motive. Once awareness is acted upon, acknowledgment may or may not come. If and when external validation does occur, it’s natural to celebrate — but even more so a reminder to keep moving forward and find something better to do. It’s counterproductive to linger and dwell for too long.

Motive is pure when energy, discipline and resolve continue — even and especially when no one is watching. When talent abates, as Nietzsche liked to say. When we stop showing one another what we can do…

One of my favorite academic and motivational clichés goes like this: The only place where SUCCESS comes before WORK is in the dictionary. Often it’s the simplest notions that leave a lasting impression with us. Having the right motive keeps you from manipulating others, and builds rapport because people will find it easier to like and trust you.

Shameless self-promotion, beanbag inertia and brown-nosing or begging might produce short-term results, but where will you go from there? And why is it necessary? Good is never good enough, and better isn’t as powerful as best. What if we changed the stories we told ourselves, and challenged ourselves and others everyday to be unreasonably fair, unreasonably decent and true and kind?

Chivalry and altruism isn’t dead, we’ve just lost a sense of how to go about it. There’s a fine line between reverence and desperation; integrity (or character) and reputation. It’s simply a matter of asking yourself what you want, and the means you are willing to accept to get there. It’s a journey, not a race; a marathon, not a sprint. And while we’re barreling down the paths of most resistance, it’s OK to stop every once and a while and help someone who may never be able to repay you.

Because we’ve all been there (and could be there again). And we are all connected.

Bach to the Basics: A Beastly Proposal


CLEVELAND  – You guys are as bizarro as I am, and I love it. Yes, the blog just reached 666 hits. And no, I will not embark on an insidious, esoteric ramble-fest. I will, however, share some oddball moments from 2006 — a year much like those of 2005 and 2009 for me.

A year mired in challenges, personal victories, defeats, loss et cetera — but also defining moments that brought about opportunities to stretch, rejuvenate and let go. A year where, as Paul Roetzer puts it, you begin to truly understand “Fate is what we’re given, but destiny is what we choose…” (12 Life Lessons of an Entrepreneur).

I turned 21 that year, and was mainly in Vegas for risky — er, strictly business (of course) when not attending classes at Baldwin-Wallace College. I got my first tat (Johann Sebastian Bach‘s crest on the face of my left deltoid — mindful of my business/career aspirations) down the street from the Stratosphere on Las Vegas Blvd, after painstaking research and referrals from a trusted network of artists and friends.

G Henle Verlag, sheet music, Johann Sebastian Bach, JSB, crest, tattoo

Slicker than G.Henle Verlag

The artist’s name was Lunchbox, and I knew immediately after seeing the sketch he brought back to me that he was the one for the gig. He acknowledged the antique, Baroque integrity of the design while sharpening some of the ends (getting rid of the dingle-berries and such) to give it a more masculine edge. Using a dark, wine-like mauve, burgundy, maroon (something like that) with black accents and white, he created a sort of 3-D, shadow effect. Wanting the design to look as if it was rising out of my arm, his vision was immaculate — impeccable. I know Bach would be proud.

tattoo tat Las Vegas boulevard Stratosphere 666 beast baroque

Bach's Original Crest

Today the design is as fresh, neat, clean and graphic as it was when he did it, and I look forward to visiting him at his new studio in Park City for free touch-ups in the near future. He also wanted to get shots for his portfolio and gallery archives, as it was an original design and he never repeats them. My kind of swag lol.

JSB, Johann Sebastian Bach, G Henle Verlag, the Well-Tempered Clavier

All those hours with Das Wohltemperierte Klavier a bit more permanent now...

Other than that, 2006 was pretty uneventful.

Did I mention my W2 refund was 666.66?

JS Bach Johann Sebastian Bach tattoo tat crest rock and roll Germany baroque period classical pianist

How to Make It in PR and Marketing: Getting Lost to Find Answers


CLEVELAND – “Go where others are not.” These words resonated with me as I got off the phone with Paul Roetzer, founder and president of PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing and public relations firm. The propensity to venture where others are either unwilling or unable to go is tantamount to Roetzer and other thought leaders in the industry, who are redefining the ways we do business online and in the workplace.

It is often easy for passion to obscure perspective, especially in your twenties. Since finishing my degree in public relations at Baldwin-Wallace College three years ago, I’ve gotten a lot better at failing and letting go.

Time and space take on new meaning as you get older: relationships change, jobs change (I’ve had three in the past year), income and geography change. These crossroads challenged me to stretch in new ways, and accept that part of growing – in life and especially this landscape, is embracing the unknown. Adversity and failure led to a deeper sense of gratitude, humility and resolve.

There is no substitute for hard work, a willing attitude and internal fire in what you do. After college, I learned three-paid internships, work through school, a padded resume and portfolio to boot is essentially standard, particularly in the field of PR and current economic climate. As the ways in which companies define and select talent evolve, candidates seeking to advance in their career must actively cultivate new ways to develop communication, technical and networking competencies – regardless of industry.

It’s about passion and aplomb – entitlement has no place here (Tamsen McMahon, Calling Bullsh*t on Social Media). If you reach the point where you feel you have done enough, you haven’t – be wary of complacency. There is always more to see, do and become.

Christina Capadona-Schmitz, Assistant VP and Consultant at PR 20/20, contends ”“If you’re not being chased, trying to catch up, or highly focused on getting ahead, motivation needs to be managed as its own pursuit (Why to Keep Running When No One is Chasing You).

Anthony Iannarino, president and CSO of a B2B firm in Westerville, adds “You are only limited by your own vision of yourself, and your willingness to take action to realize that vision. Period.”

The secret is not to dwell on the things that don’t work, but to get back up and do something differently with as much (or greater) enthusiasm and conviction as before. Toss the snooze button (The Case for Personal Development: You Are Your Only Asset).

A visit last week with PR 20/20 and 19 classmates from the Baldwin-Wallace PR Center was enlightening for Jamie Ryan, a junior PR major at BW. Ryan mentioned she was struck by Roetzer’s notion that if you are in a job “where you are no longer counting the hours, you’re in the right place.”

Firms like PR 20/20 thrive because there is no longer a distinction between work and play – they simply love what they do. Building and retaining meaningful relationships is one of the most rewarding aspects of PR, and why networking face-to-face and online is so vital. Industry leaders want to know whom you are listening to and what you are learning, where you are finding value online and the story your personal brand has to tell.

As Deepak Chopra puts it, your social network (human and virtual) reflects your level of awareness. Rather than demanding a job or reference at the onset of an informational interview or networking opportunity, ask questions – and wait for a response. Remembering to listen and contribute to the industry will reap long-term rewards, as you’ll begin to grow and become more viable on a personal and professional level.

Inbound marketing is alluring because it is frontier, integrating a content-driven market within the crosshairs of web development, brand marketing, search marketing, public relations and social media.

How many leaders today have an insatiable appetite for uncertainty and challenging convention? Moreover, how many like Roetzer have the freedom (and nerve) to revamp an entire service model on a plane to Dallas, adjusting to real-time changes in the market?

Save it for the Google or Silicon Valley VCs and kooks on Wall Street, cynics might mutter. But that resilience and initiative is exactly the sensibility it takes to own oneself and inspire others toward greater awareness and action: To see before others see. To see more than others see. To see farther than others see.

And go where others are not.


Paul Roetzer and his team at PR 20/20 recently celebrated their 5-year anniversary. In September 2010, Roetzer was also recognized by Smart Business as a Rising Star for Innovation in Business. You can reach them at