DogPound Debonairing with and the Browns

CLEVELAND – Last night it really hit me: this city’s going places. 

Never mind that guys like Joe Pulizzi, the Godfather of the phrase “content marketing” and Paul Roetzer, founder of the original hybrid/inbound marketing agency — continue to redefine and champion the spirit of the community.

Joe Pulizzi content marketing world cleveland

Courtesy of Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute

Putting Believeland on the map as hometown underdogs, testament to a community that deeply values its roots and shows heart, hunger and humility.

Damn. That was a lot of alliteration.

As opposed to a sniveling, inflated superego who says Akron is his real home. Coming from someone who wasn’t born and bred here (CalifNYorker), even outliers like me know how tactless that is.

For shame, doc.

But back to Cleveland and 2011. Tonight’s tweetup at Cadillac Ranch with and the Browns marked the beginning of fall, birthdays, and culmination of summer weddings, blogging/media conferences (our very own Content Marketing World) and Boston Inbound Marketing Summit, vacations — and refreshingly little buzz over the F-word.

Over today’s #F8 conference hailing the “new age” of social networking via timelines, open graph and a new class of applications. The constant squawking for power in the social realm’s starting to riff even the savviest of users.

PR 20/20 Todd Sheppard social media Cleveland tweetup chomps mascot

Courtesy of Alana Munro,

Promising myself I’d resist the urge to be that guy, myself and another member from last month’s Twitter20 devised a social experiment prior to the event: where the words Facebook and timeline were officially taboo.

It was actually easier than I thought it’d be. Maybe because the novelty of newest, biggest, fastest and better’s older than the Ed Sullivan Show.

But still not as annoying as all the whining and complacency surrounding what people should be used to by now: life goes on.

Tech will always be moving forward. So in the time that it takes to jump on the haterade bandwagon, maybe do us a favor, can it and do something. Take control of your social experience.

Facebook social network users social media

Mildy apparently the new “Mildly”

Who knows, Google+ could announce it bought everyone out tomorrow and that’ll be the end of it. 

At the heart of it, though, dogpound debonairs are not unusual: We just genuinely like people. Get a rush out of making new connections, meeting and commiserating over some pretty badass people, like Gini Dietrich and Chris Brogan.

Still stand on the shoulders of giants.

Because at the end of the day, all the tools, apps and open-graph sharing cannot replace the power of genuine, human experience. In-person. In real-time. Always looking upward and outward.

About working on your business, not in it as Gini says.

Other than scoring a free pair of tickets to the Browns/Titans October 2nd (props to all the winners, you get a star next to your name below) —

That’s something to really get pumped about.

Browns Tweetup Cleveland social media Byron Fernandez

Courtesy of

Chomps Cleveland Browns mascot tweetup Cadillac Ranch

Chomps riding the Bull

Dawgs in Attendance:

Alana Munro @dawgpndgirl

*Me @byron_fernandez

Jennifer Spiker @SportStoleMyMan

Jessica Donlon @jessicadonlon

Julie Provins @julieprovins

*Kasey Crabtree @kaseycrabtree

*Laurel Miltner @laurelmackenzie

Lukas Treu @ltreu

*Paul Roetzer @paulroetzer

Stephen Garvin @CleveNole

Todd Sheppard @taawd

Tracy DiMarino @tracydimarino


Julien Smith >> Information is Not the Problem

Gini Dietrich >> Four Ways to Unplug and Focus

How to Lose Credibility in Less than 10 Seconds: Netiquette 101 

Contact Byron

Ask Lincoln, Guster or Chevy: Happiness is a Choice, Not a Circumstance

Somewhere, somehow I got complacent in the last few weeks. Maybe because it’s July in four days and I’m still wondering where May went.

Maybe because the buzz over Klout scores and SM peeps trippin over influence on salamanders to stamp collecting is so last week.

Or perhaps once again because I haven’t read as much as I should , seen a new movie, made time for friends or a significant, invoked balance from work and traveling. Again, no one’s fault but mine.

Experience and education is incongruous, too — what you Don’t do often speaks louder than what you do.

So instead of regurgitating/copy-pasting industry information for those of you who still don’t understand what exactly it is that I do and love for a living (which is why we reserve such banter for telephone or family reunions) —

I’m just gonna do what I know best: write, perform, rock-out to The Princess and the Frog like no one’s business or play some Scriabin.

As Abe Lincoln so deftly put it: To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men.

Time to break the ice about the president’s plan to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden’s recent death, developments which until now I’ve observed but remained impartial.

Frankly, I have and always will be disgusted by violence and cowardice. Courage, conviction and passion in everything you are, feel, think and do is not contingent upon the approval, acceptance or admiration of others, least of all the masses.

That being said, I was not among those throughout the country celebrating the death of another human being, whether he “deserved” it or not.

As with any extreme mindset or agenda, it’s profoundly easy to resort to vindictive, spiteful behavior that extols power and deceit over the value of human life. That value set and behavior’s the true “terror.”

In the absence of love or compassion, fear covers all manners of wrong. A mentor and friend from high-school would often remind me of a base but powerful saying: What is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular. 

The reality? A jerk is a Jerk, an asshole an Asshole — no matter what religion, sexual orientation, shape, size or color the person comes in (Read Olivier Blanchard’s A Better Business Doctrine Part I: Assholes are bad for business).

Everyone defines happiness differently. Integrity comes when you’re no longer gabbing on and on about it: when a blog post, eight children, a ’72 Nova Turbo LS1 or book pales in comparison to a life led by love — no matter how you envision it.

muscle car Chevrolet

For me it’s passion, creativity, ingenuity, insatiable curiosity. The will/vision, hunger and heart to go where others are not. Not just personally or professionally – in every facet and aspect of life. No fear.

Who are you? What do you see? And lastly…where will you go?

Related Links:

Dan Gilbert >> Stumbling on Happiness website

Chris Brogan >> The Happiness Project

Passion Precedes Prosperity: Practice, Practice, Practice

CLEVELAND – Lately I’ve tired of ostensibly well-meaning people asking about money and “monetizing the blog.” Some people are motivated by money, power, influence or fame. Others assume and project that onto others simply because they fail to grasp that personal satisfaction and material wealth are mutually exclusive.

So allow me to dispel any confusion over the matter via sentiments of John Maxwell: A leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. As mentioned in previous posts, when you love what you do time is inconsequential. It’s just the nature of our work…entrepreneurs are notoriously hyperactive thrill-seekers.

The challenge is finding (often imposing) balance in work and life pursuits. Lately I’ve pushed too hard, and the personal and physical effects eventually catch up with you. I had to conjure balance, reprieve, harmony.

The best part of what I do, at the present moment? I do it for free. The fundamental law inquiry ‘Cui bono‘ (to whose benefit?) is one of arguably multiple instances in which practitioners lack a singular answer. Leave singularity to politics and theology. We’re concerned with exponential results and solutions.

That’s what game changers like Paul Roetzer, Dharmesh Shah at HubSpot, Chris Brogan, Robert Scoble and Jeff Bullas are referring to when they discuss social transformation — and how our work is never truly done.

It’s about something bigger and better, something profoundly beyond the individual and collective whole. I can’t help but smile when I see the word “evangelist” in social entrepreneurs, bloggers, VCs twitter handles or websites.

As GaGa belts, whether we’re broke or evergreen, it really isn’t about the money (which takes care of itself). We are compelled to write, compelled to lead and create. At the end of the day, the sheets balance and scale tips accordingly.

One of my favorite books of Malcolm Gladwell’s is Outliers. Examining the science of human achievement, Gladwell touches on the 10,000-hour rule. In business and life in general, perseverance and discipline trump intuitive talent, mainly because extraordinary talent is grounded in a web of hidden advantages and opportunities.

But there’s nothing mysterious about pluck and initiative. Thomas Edison had it right: ‘Talent is 1% genius…and 99% perspiration.’ You have to want it more than anyone else. It’s that simple. Attitude is tantamount to altitude.

The gist of the 10,000-hour rule is equally transparent: Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good, it’s the thing you do that makes you good. Gladwell contends world-class athletes, concert pianists, ballerinas, outdoors enthusiasts, artists, writers, figure skaters, entrepreneurs etc. are extraordinary because of the sacrifice, heart and insatiable curiosity they bring to their field. 10,000 hours of anything makes you an expert regardless of niche or industry. Fame, riches and glory –at least in this realm — do not preclude sweat, guts and tears.

Status and titles are irrelevant. Something a significant other once said resonated with me: Whatever you are, be the Best. To add a LOST twist to it, I also like what Matthew Fox (besides the fact his son’s name is Byron) said during a post-series interview last year: One river, many wells.

Whether your work is high-profile, in the air or on a farm, expertise is self-evident, not self-appointed. Where some find value in managing and controlling externally, others simply lead from within. Serendipity, success and significance begin internally. And happily, do not depend on others’ opinions or value judgments. Creativity, passion and student mentality are intangible, not institutions. Some things you cannot teach…

In life, everyone and their mother will have an opinion about what you could or should be doing, who you are and what’s best for you. But as Christina Capadona-Schmitz, Vice-President of PR 20/20 puts it, only you know where you’re headed next. Celebrate milestones and turning points, but remember to be present and savor the creative cycle inherent in our work –and relish visions for the future.

A post in my media stream’s really spoken to me lately: Competitors may find success copying ideas and innovations. But purpose and vision cannot be replicated. And that’s what makes you remarkable.

Whatever you are, be the Best.