Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Are Individual Blogs/Bloggers Dead?

Yes (No!) ..Maybe?

Should I do video? Pod casts?

There are so many outlets of expression thanks to technology; blogging use to be one of them.

Does the written word carry weigh? Are we cultivating readers?

** So...I want to acknowledge the topic change. You can quit reading **

I'm confident in progress, but I worry about the integrity of the lesson. There is something about pen (pencil, crayon) and paper. Sounding out words.

The art of linguists is dying.

The respect of the written word is only with those who read

The responsibility is on us to spread the love....

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wow.....Go AT&T....please call me "Freaky"

***This is a conversation from 2009**

*Hey, are individual blogs dead? Do I keep this and blend some awesome ridiculous things, or do I forgo a personal blog and conform to sterile business contributions on various platforms?....regardless...this AT&T interaction created this blog....*

This is a copy of my conversation tonight with AT&T...OMG. Good thing I have a great sense of humor (or humour, for my Canadian friends....)

System Welcome Heather Burton.
System Connecting to server. Please wait...
System Connection with server established.
You Technical Support Topic: DSL High Speed Internet
System Bethany has joined this session!
System Connected with Bethany
Bethany Thank you for contacting AT&T. How may I help you ?
Bethany Hi Heather Burton . How are you ?
You Repeatedly I attempt to log into online banking with bank of america, but continue to get an att page that says it can't be found. I can log in from my iPhone and at work. Apparently I can connect with this. What's the deal? It's irritating

Bethany I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you and will be happy to assist you.
You The error resultpage is
You What other information do you need to help detect the issue?
Bethany I understand that you are unable to open your bank web site , but able to visit all other web sites . right?
You well, "all" is a strong word :) I've experienced issues with other sites in normal browsing, but Bank of America is the most consistant issue. When I run into this trouble, I log in at work or through my iPhone to test if it is the bank or if it is my internet. I've confirmd that ever time (at least 10), it is my internet

Bethany Heather Burton, Please do not worry, It may be a problem with your browser you are using.
Bethany May I know , which browser are you using?
You Internet explorer 7
You I doubt it's my explorer
You I didn't have this problem before switching to At&t
Bethany Okay. It may be a problem with browser cookies, and temporary files of Internet Explorer
Bethany Have you tried deleting cookies, and temporary files from browser ?
Bethany You can delete them , by clicking on Tools--> Internet Options --> Delete cookies, temporary files button
You Ok Let me try
Bethany Okay
You I'm in, but I still don
You don't understand why it worked sometimes and not others
You without deleting cookies, etc
Bethany You mean, you are able to open bank website after deleting cookies etc. ?
You Yes, I've been able to get into my account after deleting cookies.
You However, I've been able to get in after having errors, too
You so what makes this attempt different than the other times I was "lucky" to get in?
Bethany Heather Burton , Actually access of cookies, and temporary files slows down browser speed. and bank etc. web sites use to run on a high speed browser.

You unacceptable answer. is this a real person?
Bethany yes , i am real. Please do not worry, Heather Burton.
Bethany It would needed to less the browser security and delete cookies etc. from browser to open highly secure web sites such as bank web sites

You Cool. Just the automated use of my full name is freaky, and some responses seem very scripted. I totally get support is a tough (but can be rewarding) gig

You it would be great feedback to AT&T regarding customer experience if they didn't append the full name or a name at all
You :)

Bethany Freaky, It would be good to use the first name
You Yes, I don't know your last name, Bethany Smith.... :)
You Anyway, off my soap bos
You soap box
Bethany :)
You Have a great night. Thanks for your help!

Bethany You too have a Great Night. May I ask you something?
You Sure! Ask away
Bethany Thank you , Freaky. Are you Very Satisfied with the services I provided to you? and Is your issue resolved ?
Bethany It was a nice chatting with you . You were very nice . It was a great experience chatting with you
You It's all great. thank you and have a great night

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Naming the [Business, Product, Service]: What's in a Name?

Six months ago I decided to start my own business. I had the vision, a draft of services and a checklist of the steps to create the LLC.

But what to call this company? 

In most of my experience, naming has ranged from ultra descriptive (blah fundraising blah) to search ranking based (Network blah blah), geographic (Portland blah) to a number schema (blah blah 100). 

And there is case study after case study of Monster, Yelp, Uber, Lady Gaga....strange names with great brands.

Article after article offered advice, but nothing resonated like the experience of establishing BookSpring in 2008 - a merger of Reading is Fundamental Austin and Capitol Area Reach Out and Read.

To name my new company, I focused on:

  • Defining the core values 
  • Meaning behind the company
  • How to convey intellectual marketing 
  • Nuances that makes this company...well...transformative....

The Result?

Danaini Group.

I would love to know your thoughts on naming, and bringing brands to life!


Interesting Reads:

  • How to Name a Business via @EntMagazine: 
  • 5 Characteristics of Great Company Names via @Inc: 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

25 Tips and Tricks for an AWESOME ACL Festival

With #ACLfest less than a week away, I wanted to pass along my tips learned over the past 9 years. Enjoy!

1. Pick your must-see bands and map each day before arriving at the festival. This gives you the full experience of ACL as "musical breaks" naturally occur. For us, we  pick no more than 5 each day. Any other band we hear or decide to watch is bonus.

2. Pick at least 1 act unknown to you. It keeps it fun!

3. Chairs or no chairs? Depends on how your bands map out. I'm a no-chair person because we find them annoying to lug around (although many set them up and leave them there). We are blanket people. Either way - plan this as part of your festival luggage.

4. If you have camelbacks, bring them (empty, of course). There are free filling stations and you'll need to stay hydrated.

5. Flashlights, glow-in-the-dark necklaces, or something to help you find your way from the toilets back to your spot. Once it gets dark and the crowd forms its very easy to lose your way.

6. Although ACL is going cashless this year, I'd still bring cash.

7. Plan on dressing for the weather, and wear good shoes. One year I lost a flip flop in dillo dirt (ewww) because rain turned the field to a stenchy muck. I would go with Tevas or sneakers. Bring a light coat at night as it can turn chilly. It can double as a way to expand your blanket or use as a pillow. 

8. If you have a good sun-blocking hat, bring/wear that. If not - don't worry - the ARTS area sells tons of great hats.

9. Sunblock is a must, 2 1-liter bottles of water (still sealed) allowed per person, extra batteries for your phone (if you have them), hand sanitizer, and TOILET PAPER. Bring a roll. Trust me on this one!! 

10. Backpacks are allowed, and I found them the easiest for mobility.

1. The city of Austin and C3Events have this nailed. If you live downtown/are parking downtown, go to Republic Park and hop a bus. You are always moving and I've never seen logistics so smooth. You can get back to the park this way, too. And its FREE (well, included in the price of everything else).

2. Pedicabs can be fun. We've only done this once, but it was totally worth it.

3. I hear Uber is offering 1 free ride. Not sure of the conditions, but also an option. So are regular taxi cabs.

4. Since we live in Round Rock, we always get a hotel downtown and stay the whole weekend. I've never driven and parked, but it always looks like hell. :-)

5. If you want to avoid crowds and your band picks allow it, arrive and leave at odd times. For example, we typically head over mid-afternoon and always leave before the end of the final act of the night. Some say we miss out, but we avoid 100K+ people leaving the festival and find a good place to have a sit down dinner before the drunken crowds take over the city.

1. The food is AMAZING! Expect long lines at some of the favorites, and expect an upscale twist. Healthy is an option, too!

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more. For every alcoholic beverage you drink, have at least 2 glasses of water. Trust me - people go down from heat exhaustion.

3. Watch your consumption during the day because when the sun goes down and you start to cool'll realize that you may be more tipsy than you intended. Refer to #2.

4. Make time to check out the ARTS section. It's a great collection of artists and cool garb. Worth the time. And it has a make-shift pharmacy for band-aids, pepto, ibuprofen, sunscreen, etc.

5. Make quick friends with those sitting around you at every show, and join chairs/blankets. People find paths and if you isolate, you'll be walked around, over, and through. Nobody is with bad intentions - heck, I'm good at blazing a trail myself. But people will avoid large groups of impenetrable people...

6. ...until it's night. Then there can be some pushing, bumping, and overall bitchiness from everywhere. we tend to stay at the back since we don't care to be in the middle of crowds. We want a good place where we can see the screens, hear the music, and be comfortable.

7. The beer garden was new last year, and served as a great place to get some shade. Include it on your festival travels.

8. Paying $1 for ice for your water/camel back is totally worth it. So is Maine Root. We buy a festival camelback water bottle to carry around (with ice) as well.

9. Put on your sunscreen and reapply during the festival. No more needs to be said.

10. HAVE FUN! It's a great experience!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

The New "C" Word?


In May, I attended an event hosted by Reachforce where Lori Wizdo, Principle Analyst at Forrester, talked about the A plan for Buyer Obsession in the Age of the Customer.

According to B2B marketers, the content marketing engine has run afoul of the very reason it gained popularity. We are creating, collecting, curating...but is there context? 

At the Business Marketing Association 2014 conference, storytelling was a hot topic. Jonah Sachs (@jonahsachs) took the stage. His new book, Winning the Story Wars, he discussed 4 themes B2B marketers must embrace. The two that struck me are:
  1. The company (brand) is no longer the hero
  2. Share something that truly matters
How do companies become, and more importantly, stay relevant to their constituents*? 

*In a few years, customers/consumers shall be referred to as constituents of the brand. yet another "C" word. Bets, anyone?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Best Quotes from Dad...

Dads are an interesting parent. As a child, teen and young adult, I looked for acceptance. As an adult, I look for advice where and when it makes sense. 

One particular evening I called home to lament about a situation. As we were hanging up, he said,

Heath, it's hard not to take it personal when someone pokes you in the eye.

BOOM. Just like that he put my 45 minutes of frustration into such a simple concept that was spot on.

What is your Dad's best quote?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Best "Compelling Call to Action" I've seen to date

Last week I attended a presentation by Lori Wizdo, Principle Analyst at Forrester on A plan for Buyer Obsession in the Age of the Customer.

I honestly planned (and still do) on writing several blogs on the key take-a-ways from the event. But tonight I became really distracted, then totally amused, by the host company's website - Reachforce.

I clicked around, I scanned and for some reason I always look at website footers (always). I have no idea why, but I do. On the Reachforce site, I saw this:

I couldn't help but click. And what I found was totally amusing.

Well done, Reachforce, well done.