The Secret To A Happy Family: Try

As a geek dad this caught my eye: Agile programming for your family?! Make your family a self-managing team.

Feiler’s 3-plank Agile family manifesto

  • Adapt all the time
    • stay flexible
    • don’t listen only to ‘experts’
    • hook up with new ideas
    • be open minded
    • let the best ideas win
    • weekly family meeting, 20 mins. ask
      • What worked well?
      • What didn’t work well?
      • What can we all agree on to work on this week?
  • Empower children
    • stop ordering your children around
    • enlist them in their own upbringing
    • they come up with punishments and rewards
    • plan their own goals
    • set weekly schedules
    • evaluate themselves
    • succeed and fail on their own terms
    • less what they do wrong, more on what they do right
    • give them the tools to make themselves happy
  • Tell your story
    • as bedrock context for adaptability
    • preserve the core
    • define mission, core values, family mission statement
    • tell story of family, where we came from
    • difficult situations overcome
    • family strengths and successes
    • retell the positive and overcoming negative stories
    • make a family manifesto

Happiness is not something we find, it’s something we make. Greatness is not a circumstance, it’s a choice. What’s the secret to a happy family? Try.

Black Studies Social Media Intro

Today I’ll be talking with a dozen or so faculty in the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. We’ve got lots of questions, so I’ll give a brief introduction and dive right into all the questions that the people who RSVP’d asked ahead of time.



  • Your Brand
    • What are the most effective strategies to manage your brand? Know yourself, what makes you unique. Know your people, your tribe, and stay up on what they’re doing and interested, listen to them, develop a listening strategy. Share your unique expertise with your tribe. Lead them by serving them.
    • How does a researcher, consultant, academic develop a brand? I like to use discovery exercises. Answer questions like these about yourself: What’s the vin diagram that describes your unique overlap of interests, talents, expertise? Who are your biggest influences? Who are your heroes? What thought leaders do you want to be associated with? What conferences does your tribe attend? Where do they meet? What media do they consume? Where do they get and share their news?
    • How can a researcher, consultant, academic ensure consistency in the brand? Define it from the beginning, write it down, document it and keep it updated for yourself (and anyone who looks you up). Have goals and a strategy. Act, don’t react.
    • What are the best first steps to follow in setting up a social media campaign about a project or institute? I’ve included a slide below of Paul Walker’s 7 steps to a social media strategy. Paul says spend a week on each for a 7 week process.
    • Would you recommend a faculty webpage or are they obsolete? You definitely want your own site (blog, portfolio) and you want it to be the first thing that comes up in Google for your chosen name or keywords.
    • What are the various/multiple forms of social media that academics should consider? What are the relative benefits of one compared to others in terms of gains? How does a person determine which to choose? What are the potential losses? What makes these pertinent to academics? It’s all about where your people are. Use whatever channels you need to meet your audience where they already are.
    • How can you maintain a “scholarly” identity and still develop/fully participate in/be embraced by social media communities? How to effectively use social media in academia, but not have it consume too much time? What is overkill? What are typical pitfalls? Be systematic. Have goals, a strategy, scheduled times to document and share your progress, thoughts, news, etc. Don’t be a reactive addict. Incorporate it into what you already do instead of making it something else you have to do. Don’t use it to procrastinate or by default. Be intentional and consistent.
    • How can you measure impact of social media engagement, including measurements that help chairs see the impact & value? Define what matters to you and how you can measure it (key performance indicators or KPIs). This could be quality/quantity of output and input. Posts, comments, likes, followers, views, subscribers, inquiries, references, referrals, gigs, media mentions, interviews, dollars, etc. Google analytics is a great free tool for your site. Social media channels have all sorts of built-in ways of measuring. Don’t just watch the numbers; know what you want to achieve.
  • Classroom
    • Using wikis and blogs to expand classroom discussion and letting the students take the lead on this? Using a blog for class is a great idea. Keep it fresh with weekly materials and give students a way of interacting, posting. Have students post and comment on others’s posts. Make it somewhere students go for what’s happening, resources, schedule, syllabus, etc. is an easy way. We also have
    • How can it be incorporated into teaching, in & out of the classroom? Integrating social media into in-class lecture and discussion? Conferences are great places to look for good interaction habits.  Use Facebook (groups) or Twitter (hashtags) to take ask questions, solicit questions or comments. 
  • Channels
    • Timeliness
      • How often should different social media be updated to maintain the attention of an audience?
      • What forms of social media are on the front lines versus those that are being outdated?
      • What is the lifespan of the respective media formats – should one remain in constant change mode to insure remaining current?
    • Facebook and Twitter
      • Setting up effective Facebook and Twitter pages for classes?
      • What are the benefits of using twitter instead of Facebook for professional exposure?
      • What privacy settings do you recommend for various social media outlets?
    • Twitter
      • How does Twitter work?
      • What are the pros and cons to using Twitter specifically?
      • How to utilize Twitter in an academic setting?
    • Others
      • What is Pinterest?
      • How can academia use Reddit?
      • What is Instagram and can it be a tool for academia?
Paul Walker's seven steps to creating a social media strategy

Immersive Storytelling for Interactive Participants

A few things I’ve gathered from my SXSWi notes:

  • Create a compelling immersive story for fans to experience and shape
  • Shine a light on similar bands, brands
  • Partner brands make things possible that weren’t
  • It’s all about a narrative driven experience
  • Partner with what you need
  • People want to TELL stories
  • Engage where people are, not build new channels
  • Tech shouldn’t upstage experience
  • Get people together in physical space

Seth Priebatsch’s Game Layer on Top of the World

Seth Priebatsch

I could not have been more impressed by Seth Preibatsch’s keynote at SXSWi (w/audio recording). A 21 year old who dropped out of Princeton after his first year, Seth started SVNGR, a location based service that makes checking in into a scavenger hunt and other games. His energy, presentation, insight, humor, and content were all right on. He wasn’t a smug, cynical hipster opportunist geek like so many presenters. He was humble enough for someone I expected to be brash.   He won me over from the beginning.

He said that in the last ten years we added the social layer to the web and in the next ten we’ll add the game layer. Then he went on to talk about all the stuff the game layer can fix, like education, by re-engineering motivations and rewards. Rewarding your participants is key for game makers, and your business is a game. It is by creating Epic Meaning for people that they become blissfully productive.

The first thing you’ll find when you flip through his slides are his ideas about how bad grades and failing are as motivations for school along with some suggestions for how we could have students level-up like a video game and remove some demotivation.

He had us play two games during the session. In the first he asked the audience to start clapping. They did, like applause. Then he asked them to synch up and clap a beat. They did in about 20 secs, it was a big crowd. He pointed out how quickly and easily a totally decentralized task can be accomplished

The second game was brought up in the context of how to solve global warming. Everyone had a colored card. The object was to trade cards while staying seated, and arrive at every row being a solid color. He gave them 2:30 to do it, and if they did, he would contribute $10K to a wildlife charity.

The audience accomplished the goal in 1:30 and he pointed out that the task was accomplished in a way that would have been impossible for a centralized government, that the hope of what the game layer can accomplish is taking an impossible problem and making it simply very difficult. All this from a 21 year old!

Be Audacious, Make Connections

Matt Van Horn

I saw Matt Van Horn speak at SXSWi on how to be audacious enough to build business relationships from nothing. Here are my notes:

  • make a list of your top ten companies and stalk them
  • send quick 2-3 line emails (w/in 48hrs of meeting)
  • mention one unique thing about yourself to help them remember you
  • add them on your social network
  • add value! do some research and thinking about how you can help them
  • get a 1 on 1
  • read Never Eat Alone
  • fit as much info in the subject line as possible, very helpful
  • LinkedIn is great for search (b/c of degrees of separation, FB could kill them if their search did this) and nothing else, don’t use to contact people
  • Twitter is great for @replies for getting on people’s radar, pre-introduction
  • Dunbar’s number says we can only maintain 150 connections, know yours, choose them wisely
  • Major relationship decay occurs after 9 months of not seeing someone so make sure you at least contact important connections every 3-6 months
  • get interesting people together, example: when you visit somewhere, tell all your friends to come to a happy hour and introduce them
  • build a personal board of directors, mentors with whom you keep monthly contact
  • when you go to a conference make a list of 10 must-meet people and find connections, introductions