New Things (And I’m Sorry)

I’d say I haven’t written anything in the last year, and apologize, but that would be a misnomer given all the digital drafting I do for Raidious now. But nonetheless, I feel some sort of guilt for not having written anything here lately.

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Beyond feeling sorry, I’ve been investing time, money, and not living in a house to finally move into a house. Long story short, I bought a fixer-upper in Fletcher Place (read: cool, hip neighborhood in Indy) and have been subsequently mooching my father’s handyman skills to turn it into a liveable urban abode.

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(my father and brother taking a coffee break between episodes of laying hardwood floor)

It would be easy to say that nothing else has happened since I last updated anything here. Both of my siblings have married, and I survived Hurricane Matthew to witness one of them. Did another Christmas in England, because who doesn’t like Christmas in England?

And this year sees me get to put on my Director shoes and, you know….direct things. I’ll let you know how that goes.

And in the meantime, if you’d like to keep track of me on a more frequent basis – head over here…

Hello 30. Where the %@*& did you come from?

There’s a special kind of baggage that goes with an age milestone. Am I acting my age? Have I accomplished enough? Am I making enough money? Is my love life where it should be?
I’ve settled on the idea that the answer changes with my mood everyday. I find I’m more or less satisfied, and that’s meaningful, because it means that I get to decide what comes next.
If I’m unsatisfied, I get to take action, orrrr I can bitch about my situation.
If I’m satisfied, I get to keep doing what I’m doing, or I can blow things up to keep myself interested.
More so than ever in my life, I find myself in a position of control. I get to impact my family’s future. I get to choose my career path. I get to hang out with this fine lady when she lets me.
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I say this all because I find it healthy to be thankful for the position that I’m in. When we read the news and see the situations where others find themselves, I think we need to take stock of just how good we have it, even when the world seems to be throwing us curveballs.
To quote a phrase I’ve become lately fond of. #firstworldproblems

Where a Discussion on Marriage Morality Belongs (It’s not the Indiana Statehouse)

People close to me know that I have a love/hate relationship with Indiana. The past few years I’ve made a point of traveling to and living in other places. The handful of reasons includes a change of pace, seeing the sun, better craft beer. You know – uptown problems.

I wasn’t born in Indiana, and used to have a very convoluted answer to the question “Where are you from?” I had a hard time admitting I was from Indiana. That flat, sunless cornfield-of-a flyover state.

Before the locals crucify me, know that I’m now over that piece of personal head-trash. Indiana is my adopted state. I’m a Hoosier now, and when you look around, it’s easy to find things to be proud of.

Until the state legislature does something hateful and ignorant.

I’m referring of course to Indiana House Joint Resolution 3 (HJR3, formerly HJR6).  In lieu of the sound bites and tweets that limit most public conversation about the issue, I thought it time to dust off my blog and flesh out a response.

My position is simple and direct. Marriage, being an institution whose morality has been traditionally governed by religious organization (Church, Mosque, Synagogue), has no place being morally regulated by state or federal government.

I’m a confirmed Lutheran. I say to my Christian counterparts: leave your Bible at home, it have no place legislating the lifestyles of other Hoosiers. Just as you wouldn’t expect state representatives to be quoting the Quran in the statehouse, neither should you expect them to defend their measures with verse from Leviticus.

No matter who you think should be allowed to marry, the Indiana Statehouse is not the appropriate forum. I say to my fellow Hoosiers: take Marriage back into the Church, the Synagogue, the Mosque. These are the places for defining our morality.

** Update 1/31/14**

Had a follow-up Facebook comment stream on this post that merits being added here. (And, who can say they’ve had a debate on Facebook that didn’t devolve into a screaming match?)

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History of Search Factor Effectiveness

Realizing I’ve been dormant for most of the summer where content goes, I recently combined forces with the Raidious team and put together a graphical history of major SEO factors. I had little to do with the graphics part. Props to Ashleigh Lay

I’d be glad for feedback on the data points. The data points are a mashup of Moz and SearchEngineland, with my own experiences mixed in. I like how it turned out.

Long story short, old-school SEO is dead to me. I’m officially a content marketer first (even if I fail on the frequency spectrum).

 

American Idiot Absconding Abroad (what a douchebag)

For the last few years I’ve slowly been growing and solidifying a consulting business centered around internet marketing, specifically in Search Marketing, as the demons of jargon would tempt me. It’s had its high points and low points, but in the last year, things have been going very well (so well in fact, that I haven’t made time to post anything new on this site since November…shame on me).

One of the original goals of my consulting gig was to give me a modicum of freedom – both in time and place. Timothy Ferris fans rejoice, because I’m about to attempt the latter, hopefully not resulting in astounding failure.

I’m moving for Europe for the summer. Continue reading “American Idiot Absconding Abroad (what a douchebag)”

Why SEOs can’t easily describe what they do

Last weekend I slipped up.Not in any meaningful, life-changing way, but after a conversation takes hold of a sticky subject that you don’t like, it can be hard to reel things back in. The subject this past Saturday was the nebulous nature of my career. It doesn’t help that I just performed my now-seemingly-habitual winter relocation to Colorado, which begs the question:

“What will you do while you’re out there?”

Probably the same thing I’ve been doing for the last 12 calendar months. Killing it as a digital marketing consultant. Granted, that sounds cocky as hell (and it is). Sometimes when sharing a cocktail with friends and the subject of my occupation comes up, I feel that should be my knee jerk reaction: “Killing it.”

Saturday, my answer was more non-specific. “SEO.” – or some similar acronymbus (that’s acronym and nimbus) answer that left me with a cross-eyed stare from my partner in conversation. This then lead into a running joke of conversation – with Gangnam-style stickiness.

“So, you work in the cloud?”

“You work for Google?”

“I don’t understand.”

“Where’s the vodka?”

At points I wished I had made up a Timothy Ferris-like “Drug Dealer” job description, halting conversation before the swirling cloud of “SEO” came crashing down around my ears. My conclusion is that I’m out of practice, and haven’t been networking enough and answering the question as often.

The epiphany.

At the time (two cocktails in) it occurred to me to share my revelation with another self-proclaimed SEO (and a good one, at that), that the nebulous nature of search marketing is a new economy, where we have no previous economy to compare it to.

If Search (Google/Bing) is a faith-based fiat system of supply and demand, search and content – then what came before? What’s the gold standard? Print? Broadcast? The knee jerk reaction is “No, you idiot – these are nothing alike.” And that reaction has merit. Functionally, the way in which one markets to a search engine algorithm versus placing a newspaper ad is like comparing orange juice to an eel. Sure – you can eat them both, but the preparation is…well…you get the picture.

Put another way, SEOs and Content Marketers are the accountants and financiers of this new economy. We have in our short tenure helped others navigate the pathways of a more complex marketing system than is easy for even an intelligent non-practitioner to manage.

So I console myself about difficult explanations of what I do by equating my profession to that of the man who first had to explain the concept of paper money to an isolated South American tribesman.

It seemed valid two cocktails in.

Testing pedal power and public transit in Indianapolis

After moving back to Indy (Broad Ripple, specifically) last month I made myself a commitment that I would try to drive less. Broad Ripple being a more walkable community than most, combined with $4/gallon gas, a $20 thrift store bike (below), and IndyGo finally getting their act in gear (re: Google Maps integration), and Indianapolis might just be a summer city able to sustain a less-consumerist-Andrew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My goal is to drive once a week or less. Thus far, weather, distant meetings and laziness have me in my truck 2-3 times a week, however my gas bill for the month of April was less than $50 – impressive considering that my truck tops out at 21 mpg on a good day.

In essence, I’m writing this post to further the purpose and public knowledge about green transit options, and I want ideas about how to make my summer better, Schwinn LeTour in tow.

Comments please!

My own personal march madness via SXSW, 5 tips for newbies.

The month of march has been interesting. In a nutshell, I put over 3400 miles on my truck traveled through 8 states, resulting in stopping points in Little Rock, AR, Texarkana, TX, Austin, TX, Denver, CO and Kansas City, MO.

Even by my own travel standards, nutty. The travels were largely put in play by my having purchased a ticket to South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) and needing to visit Denver and Boulder, CO for business reasons.

SXSW was, for its first few days – a clusterf*$%. Between weather, a first time SXSW attendee, coordinating between several groups of friends on colleagues, it’s a miracle that my mind survived. Out of the madness, I do have 5 tips for would be SXSW future attendees:

Don’t plan on getting any work done.

I have described SXSW to outsiders as ‘Spring Break for geeks’ in its amenities and interested parties. Not knowing anything about the music and film portions of the festivals, and how my cell phone scrambled and died (even with multiple charge packs), I can tell you that geeks flocked to Austin.

Network Serendipitously.

This can be done. Hang out in lounges, hotel lobbies, and charge stations – and the common denominator of your networking weight class emerges. Everyone has to sleep, eat, drink, and charge their devices. Serendipitous networking at SXSW can be planned.

If marketing at SXSW, don’t buy a badge.

The post hours SXSW crowd is an indcredibly active one, so don’t limit yourself to the panels and ‘thought leadership’ (I was unimpressed) which the event has prided itself on for so many years. Especially if you are marketing a launch, app, product or service – skip the badge and put the budget toward a better hotel and materials (event related would be best) by which to
attract the specific audience you desire. Take this advice with the grain of salt that is the gnat-like attention span which SXSW attendees will be able to afford you. Call to action. Call to action. Call to action.

For Heaven’s sake, stay downtown.

This I didn’t do. If you can’t swing an early hotel or late Air B&B within a mile of the convention center, I wouldn’t bother with the
event at all. Trust someone who has made the mistake of not fully investing in accommodations only to suffer the consequences of several hundred thousand converging on Austin’s public transit and taxi system (which crashed utterly Friday night of SXSWi and didn’t revive until several days later – conspiracy? Hrmmm)

Lone Star Tall Boys and Crawfish Boils for the win.

This advice comes from Jeb Banner of Small Box, who advised me on the management of my drinking experience at SXSW under the ‘less is more’ category of sage advice in managing my metabolism.

And on the subject of consumption and pure indulgence, make sure you check out the Crawfish Boil put on by Kristian Andersen and the folks at KA+A. Delicious and good times for the Indianapolis startup crowd.

Some additional shout outs from the weekend – thanks to the guys at SproutBox for throwing an early-conference Hoosier basketball viewing party – much fun.

Have you checked out the Miss Pivot Interactive Blind Date at Stop Awkward Dating.com? You should.

Awesome hang out during the SXSW rainy season at Conduit Corner (complete with mac+cheese, ice cream, beer, hammocks, and a kick-ass DJ). For all of its confusion and bewilderness, SXSW offered up jewels like this one for better connections with fellow SXSW’ers. All in all, I’m looking forward to applying all this wisdom to a better execution next year.