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.
andrew-lisa
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)

3 Rules for a Post-Election U.S.A

This evening I’m in Denver, and following a good jog around Washington Park, I’m leaving to go watch the election results come in. This felt like a good a time as any to relay my political opinions, before someone can say I’m a fair weather fan.

This is my message to you:

Regardless of the election results, I expect something from you as an American citizen. It has to do with you role and the bigger picture of what we, as Americans want our nation to become. This has nothing to do with partisan politics, and after the latest 2 year go round the horn with pundits and wizard predictors, I’ve had it with the incivil discourse.

So.

If, for some reason your chosen candidate does not get elected to their desired office, I have a charge for you. It is one that I will follow.

1) Get behind your President.

I don’t care if it’s Romney. I don’t care if it’s Obama. If the American public elected him, he’s your leader, so quit whining and show some respect for the leader of the free world.

“I didn’t vote for him” is a bullshit copout.  I have no room for you if that is your view post November, 2012.

2) Criticize him on poor decisions. Support him on good ones.

George Bush did good things in office. George Bush did shitty things in office. Did the good outweigh the bad? That’s subjective – so call it as such. Did Barack Obama do shitty things in office? Yes. Did he do good things in office? Yes. The MSNBC and Fox approaches to Presidential criticism do not apply here. I find both to be skewed views of actual fact, where both sides have an agenda to make the other look bad. Both networks have behaved in recent years like argumentative, red-headed stepchildren.

If you want to influence what they do after they’re in office, then do that. Get involved at the issue level if you want to see change.

3) Take responsibility for your own situation.

I’m worried about the economy, but less than most people. My average pay went up in the last 4 years. I graduated from college, worked, and got better at my job. Did presidential politics play a role in that? Maybe. But a damned minimal one if at all. I hustled, I worked, and I got paid.

You have the tools at your disposal to do better. Make your own job security.

I do not apologize for the tone of this post. It’s how I feel. We, as Americans, have some of the greatest opportunities this world has known. To squander that time and opportunity pointing fingers within Presidential politics is petty and short sighted.

I applaud you if you voted. I welcome either candidate into the Oval Office to move our nation toward a brighter future. But more importantly, we all have to pick up the pieces of our own lives and go to work tomorrow, knowing that what we do every day either makes us stronger, or it doesn’t.

If you feel the same way, please share this message. Thank you.

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.

Attention startup haters – find a short pier.

 

ClassRealm

A few weeks ago a Kickstarter project called ClassRealm showed up on my radar. I was instantly interested in it because I’ve previously worked with the startup’s UX guy, and simply put, he’s got skills.

If you know my personal objections to the current education bubble in formal college education, it’s obvious why I’d be interested in a process enhancement to primary education, and especially one that came at it from a new-ish angle. Continue reading Attention startup haters – find a short pier.

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!