After turning to God, a homeless man with an amazing voice is being offered voice and radio work all over American. You can hear him tell his story in the video below, but I especially love about Tedd Williams story is that it is the story of all of us. We are all a couple of poor decisions away from destroying our lives. It is by God’s Grace and provision that we have anything at all. Check it out:
During this career transition over the last six months, we’ve had to be super careful and even scale back in some areas. It has always been my opinion though that we Westerners don’t know how great we have it. I live in a 1,500 Sq Ft apartment with four girls, and some people would pity me for that. When I was in Mexico and later in India, I really got a sense for how spoiled we are, so my perspective is that I live in a mansion. Ran across this video a couple of weeks back and I can’t stop thinking about it. It reminds me that creativity and a healthy mindset go along way toward helping us be content in any living situation.
I can’t believe I am stooping this low, but I NEED to say something about Paris Hilton. Everyone else is. So, here is YAPHP (Yet Another Paris Hilton Post).
I don’t know her personally (who would have guessed) or as intimately as others (I hear there are a lot who do) and in fact can say I have no idea what this trial is about. I don’t know a single fact about the trial and why people are supposing she will be convicted (if she hasn’t been already) of whatever she has done. I have less interest in this than I did in the tragic death of that other porn star a few months ago. None the less, Paris Hilton is causing people to write some really creative things. I had to share this encouragement for white people to riot with included allusion to the Rodney King incident. I hope it doesn’t come to pass, but this funny article is worth a read if you like cynical humor:
In a few hours little Paris Hilton will go back to court wherein it will be decided whether she must return to prison for the remainder of her sentence. If she gets to go home because it’s just too scary for her then we should all calmly stop what we are doing and make our way to Beverly Hills and in fine Los Angeles tradition riot openly in the streets.
Once there please do your best to gather tools that can make fire. Considering the location and terrain this likely means bashing in car windows so as to retrieve lighters. If none can be found then use the lighter installed in the automobile itself, they can be found in all make of cars from Ferrari to Aston Martin. Once fire has been discovered start looking for things that are compatible with fire.
This includes: car interiors, piles of clothes, driftwood, toy poodle fur (attached or not is up to you), designer clothes … [Read More of the Original Entry]
I am a big fan of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Mainly because I get to hear quippy commentary from George Will during the round table portion of the show. But they also have a section of the show called “In Memoriam” which reviews the “important” people who died that week, and displays the total number and list of soldiers names who have passed away in Iraq and Afghanistan during the week.
This month they listed a little-known person named Robert Adler, who literally changed my life. Co-inventor of the TV remote control, Robert Adler was quoted at a later point in life as saying “This thing has so many buttons. I don’t know what most of them are for and frankly I could not care less.” Proof that the people who invent the technology are not always the first to value its use. Zenith has a great write-up on Rober Adler’s work for them.
Last night I adjusted my Select Comfort bed’s Sleep Number with a remote control. This morning I awakened my Mac Mini computer using the remote control which came with it. I used the TV remote to turn on the TV which the Mac uses for the display, before using my Apple wireless mouse and keyboard. As I walked to my car in the apartment parking lot, I opened and closed our garage with a remote control to get some things I needed. I unlocked my car security system using a remote control. Tonight when I go home, I will use a remote to open the security gate of the apartment complex in which I live. When I am at my buddies later in the night, we no doubt will use his TiVo remote a hundred times during Lost and last week’s The Office episodes.
The remote is an integral part of my life that I take for granted. I grew up with it, so I use it without much thought in the same way kids use cell phones today as an extension of their person. Sure, Robert Adler was just one of the ones who perfected the idea, and now it takes on many different forms using many different wireless technologies (Adler’s used ultrasonic waves). Still, the convenience the remote control brings to my life makes the original nickname Zenith used way back in 1950 of “Lazy Bones” a really great tag for its presence in my life. Thanks Robert Adler. You made things easier on all of us!
For a few weeks I have been pondering a post about the various options for ministries wanting to distribute video via the web. Looks like Bill Seaver and Greg Atkinson may beat me to it with a comprehensive look… which is great because I never felt good about the post anyway. Not really an expert on the topic. Even so, let me point to a few things I have been keeping tabs on after my time at NRB.
Having been an avid YouTube lurker since it’s start, I am fascinated by the concept that churches could use video they are already creating, or that well-trained servants produce, to engage new and interesting people in a discussion that may eventually open the person to Jesus. NRB, though attended by a strange mix of blue-haired comb-overs and over-confident Millennials, connected me with a number of interesting projects and people I had not been aware of before (including the microexplosion blog referenced above).
iquestions.com, which I mentioned before, is an interesting video project. I think they need more of a user-contributed video focus and less “subject matter expert” advice to gain critical mass. They seem to be well-funded though, so it may be a question of which audience segment are they trying to reach. They use some cool technology for the backend of the site, and the design is pretty sweet too.
I met up with GodTube.com at NRB as well. Great hearts behind this one and I really want them to be successful. Built from scratch, their technology seems to have missed some key components, like a profanity filter and possibly comment spam prevention to name a few. These are hurdles they can climb though, and being a clone of YouTube (focused on ministries) isn’t a horrible idea since many churches may want to experiment on GodTube before branching out into more secular venues where their messages will be attacked more viciously.
Erwin McManus was the keynote speaker of the REACH track at NRB. His church site is interesting on a number of fronts, but this description of his video production tools turned me on to Viddyup and the iTunes Lame Encoder. Watch one of their videos to see what kind of quality these tools put out. Amazing!
Another seemingly smart guy I stumbled on through some clicking through NRB links is Maurilio Amorim. He doesn’t have many posts yet, but hopefully he will get going and teach us all some things.
The last NRB nugget I will mention is WiredParish.com. Looks like they have a podcasting revenue model tied to their site, but there are some nice freebies like this blog post series about the top 10 podcasting mistakes. Brad Abare is the one who gave me the heads up on WiredParish, so credit is due there.
So I attempted to cancel my Blockbuster.com subscription a few moments ago because of a bad experience, and had to fill out a survey to get it done. There was a comment field where they asked “How Can We Improve? Would you mind taking a minute to explain why you’ve decided to cancel your account?” So, I was willing to help out and wrote the following in my very sick state (the flu or a cold maybe). Upon submission of the survey, a form error was returned on the comment field which reads: “Please type in 255 characters or less for your comments.”
Apparently, Blockbuster doesn’t want all of my comments or a true discussion with their would-be customers. So, I am posting this to my blog for the world to see and adding the link to the comment field in the Blockbuster.com subscription cancellation field (I doubt they will read it). The first amendment has never been so sweet, has it?
Basically, you guys don’t understand the value of a life-time customer. I went into the store as a Netflix customer who was having a lonely weekend, with not enough movies to entertain me. The wife and I had decided to rent three movies. I saw your TV ad earlier in the day, which communicated to me that I could sign-up for your service and pick up/drop off movies either in the store or online. So, I went to the store to sign up and get three movies.
The high-school aged kid that was there communicated that I would even get a third-movie free tonight with a special coupon they had there. So, I signed up while in the store with him by my side. Filled out the preferences, all my account info (which you already had because I have been a customer for over 10 years), and entered my credit card detals.
I then took my three movies to the counter, where the kid gave me a total of $9.94. I said, “What are you talking about…. I just put in my credit card information in for the monthly service, now I am ready for my movies”. He informed me that the service was only for movies that come through the mail… and that when I return movies at the store that I receive through the mail, then I can get coupons for movies through the store while I wait for more movies to arrive through the mail. I was shocked and confused. I simply said, “But *I am* waiting for my movies to come through the mail”. All he was empowered to do was blink I think, cause he didn’t even call over the manager.
Not being one to quit easily, I communicated that part of the reason I had signed up in store and was willing to move away from Netflix was because it seemed like I could get get the benefit today of Netflix plus in-store pickup. He could not clearly communicate to me the reason why picking up a movie in-store is different than getting it through the mail. From my perspective, I signed up for a Blockbuster service that allowed me to have X number of movies out at any given time, and return in store or via the mail. All I wanted was three movies so I could snuggle up with my wife.
So, Blockbuster, If you really want me as a life-time customer, give me the benefit of what I have paid for NOW. Keep the details of your inventory system, your cost centers, your work-flow, your finances, etc. out of my way and out of sight. Customers don’t care about your pain and are apt to forget you if your pain in getting products to market gets in our way… which is why I am sitting home with the flu today, unwilling to drive down the street and rent from blockbuster.
Thankfully my single Netflix movie came last night… and guess what, they sent it to me when my list was empty, anticipating the type of movie I would enjoy. And it looks like they got it right. They understand that to keep a customer you have to lower the barriers that get in the way of the customer relationship. Blockbuster, you could learn a lesson there.
Now, to all you other companies out there, if you care for me as the customer and want me to evangelize your products, you will empower me to do so as early as you can… with no hassle or waiting, or uninformed high-school kids.
Having returned late last night from the National Religious Broadcasters conference (NRB), I am still processing this quick trip to Orlando. I was there speaking on a panel in one of the REACH sessions about the use of internet content in ministries. Regarding the conference, I can’t say I learned a lot of unknown information, new technology, or that my attitudes about broadcast ministries changed, but here are some initial take-aways:
A) With regard to the web and ministry, I am smarter than I think I am. I mean this humbly as a recognition of how God has gifted me. As I spoke with ministry leaders and visited the various vendor booths, it hit me that I am one of the forward-thinkers in web ministry. Not to say others don’t get it, but it is to say many still struggle with the basic questions of technology and its opportunity for ministry that I have long since worked through. So in a sense, this trip reassured me that I do know what I am doing and I have a responsibility to share with other ministries what works. I think this is more a recognition of the sad state of affairs within Web Ministry than it is that I am really all that.
B) There are exceptional people who “get it” who are sharing their knowledge freely about ministry. Perhaps the most impressive was Erwin McManus. He gave the REACH Keynote speech at NRB and focused in the need for ministry to communicate stories. One of the biggest impacts of his talk on me were his thoughts on doing ministry with excellence. His comments poked fun at the irony of our unwillingness to accept imperfect people into our ministry, even though we are all still very depraved.
It was also great to finally meet Brad Abare in person. We had faint memories of sharing some email and blog comment conversations about Church Marketing Sucks, but this was the first time to get to know each other. Mr. Brad Hill over at SiteOrganic was the one who brought us all together for dinner at Maggianos (Thanks SiteOrganic). Brad Abare’s NRB session had miserable low attendance because of when it was scheduled, but people clearly didn’t know who or what they were missing. Part of his talk focused in on the story of David and Goliath. The three questions Brad asked about our ministry: 1. What is your giant? 2. Who is ready to fight [alongside you]? 3. What are your five stones [you can use to overcome the huge obstacle]? Then Mr. Abare offers that like David we must be responsible (as David was by still taking care of his flock), we must be ready (David went to the fight with what he needed), and we must be willing (David ran toward Goliath to fight) to do interesting things in ministry with the internet. While digging up the links for this post, I just noticed Brad made mention of me over on his blog. Thanks Brad for reaffirming a) above… it is great to hear someone else say what God seemed to be confirming all weekend.
Another nice surprise was Rex Miller, the author of Millenium Matrix. His talk’s focus was on helping us to understand the thinking of Millennials, who tend to be less trusting of authority, more prone to pass on stories through any number of mediums, and tend to deconstruct everything from videos to devices and remake/mashup the components into something new and interesting. Rex asked me to lunch and I am very excited about connecting with him soon.
Besides the Mohawk adorned internet marketing wiz I met on the shuttle to the airport (not an NRB attendee), there was Dr. Mike Miller. This is a church Executive Pastor who understands technology and is not scared to incorporate it into the vision of the church. He is helping to take the vision of a church member and birth GodTube.com, which is an up and coming YouTube clone that is focused specifically on ministries. I hope to cover this and other ministry video options in a later post. I met Mike at the GodTube booth along with his wife, and they were both so inviting and gracious. Mike offered to have me down to First Dallas to connect with them and what they are doing with the internet.
C) Ministries are still clueless about how to dream about, plan, fund, and deploy web technologies to the significant benefit of their mission and vision. I will write a later post on dealing with ministry leaders who aren’t willing to let go of the reins and let the horses run. I understand their fears, but I disagree about who is really in control any way. Also, people in ministry still seem to be clueless about what people really want. They need to jump on the Cluetrain and realize they don’t control the conversation.
D) I need to blog more. I have more to say that is of value than I realize.
So these are initial thoughts on my trip to Orlando for NRB 2007. Will post more as other things strike me.
[UDPATE: I sent Mark a message on this and he was kind enough to respond via email. Apparently I was not the only one to notice!]
Dirk doesn’t have to try an alley-oop pass last night for the Mavericks if someone watches the clock. I could be wrong, but at the time I felt something was amiss. Four seconds went off the clock in error last night beginning around 46.8 seconds left in the game. Surely I am not the only one who noticed. It appeared to me that the whistle blew but the scorekeeper either did not hear the whistle or choses to let a few seconds tick off. You tell me? Four seconds is a L-O-N-G time in an NBA game people.
Brother Cuban, don’t you have someone on staff who can watch the clock for you and call you on a SATELLITE phone or RIM you when these things happen? If one of your staffers can’t seem to find the time, let me volunteer! Seriously, get me and the wife to the games and I will be your clock watcher! I mean it… let me volunteer. I am a customer evangelist for the Mavericks and fantastic at listening to whistles (I was all district in HS afterall! LOL.) and watching the clock. I would think anyone is qualified, but alas noone seems to have mentioned it that I can tell!
Mark Cuban, I am very sorry for your loss, but father time waits for no man… unless they try to avoid simple mistakes that get them killed. Sure, you don’t want to be in the position at the end of the game that four extra seconds may have made a difference, but we were… and it did make a difference.