Memes of New York

someecards meme creation for facebook

I have always been a big fan of the late, great Dave Barry. I say late because, as of the writing of this post, he is fifteen years late responding to my fan mail. Seriously though, his writing style has been truly inspirational to me. Every word so carefully crafted, it’s as if his filter was not a six pack of Budweiser, but a chain mail of brilliance. A lot of what made his writing so ingenious was his ability to pull together the most random of objects or discussion points, find a hidden link and tie them together to a wonderfully resounding denouement.

In the hopes of following in his steps, I want to talk about the memes that have recently been littering my Facebook news feed (I am referring to the images with a clever quote overlaid ..or something like that). Where did this phenomenon originate? Who came up with this crazy thing? To find out, I decided to use some investigative journalism. [Note to the IRS: Yes, it has been a long time since I’ve done any investigative journalism, but if you take a look at my previous articles, you will see I definitely do it for business reasons.] This time, my professional journalistic nature took me to the grand city of New York.

For those of you who have not yet been to New York City, let me tell you a bit about this wonderfully stuffed berg. It houses two of the most hated baseball teams in the Major Leagues and is the only logical city for Spiderman to sling around in. Let’s be honest – imagine if Spiderman lived in Omaha, NE. All he could do would be to spin a huge net between the Woodmen Tower and the First National Bank Building. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think he’d be very effective that way unless criminals were sling shooting themselves through the air.

Back to New York. While there, I ran into the tremendously helpful Jolene Smithers. When asked about her knowledge of the funny card corporation, Someecards, she excitedly responded, “Who?” To help jog her memory, I told her I was talking about those funny cards that get passed around a lot on Facebook. Now clear on what I was asking about, she said, “Oh, I don’t do that Facebook thing. Sorry.” That confirms only 1 of the 18 million people living in New York are not familiar with these memes, proving these are obviously significant no matter where you live.

Why does this matter? It matters because these memes are so completely helpful to our daily life. Thousands of barely surviving business struggle on Facebook trying to provide relevant and informative information to their constituent base, but they’re not doing anything for the gazillion Facebookers out there; nobody cares about helpful information anymore – mindless entertainment is the way to go! I could not agree more, as I am certainly a huge fan of mindless entertainment. I must say though that I am not a fan of the letter games going around; I’ve spent all day trying to figure out how many states do not have any vowels and I’m now way behind on work.

That is why I am so fond of Dave Barry’s work; his mind is as disconnected as mine and he doesn’t use words more complicated than “potato”. I’m pretty sure if they had memes back in the 80s, he would have become a millionaire (but only if he had been the one to invent them). [Note to the IRS: I admit this does not seem like a lot of research for an entire trip to New York, but I can assure you that I have more crackpot investigations to come; such as, what would happen if the Incredible Hulk got trapped in the subway? Or, what exactly does crab juice taste like? Trust me, there is a ton more where that came from.]

someecards meme creation for facebook

The Beauty of a Storm…Passed

It was, at the time, an eerie calm outside. It felt as if the wind had hit the pause button, though somehow you could still feel something moving through the air. My family lived in a single story home, which is rare for the Omaha area, and had very few options when rushing for the safe spot in the house during a tornado. Crushed and clamored in the hallway was certainly not our first choice for family interaction, but on Pease Drive, it was the safest. Reports were coming in with a tornado touching down about two miles west of our home, moving southeast.

This was all more of an annoyance, really. Growing up in tornado alley, this was just part of the summer experience. By the time I was in high school, I slept through and completely missed the tornado sirens for a touchdown that occurred on my school route. At the time, though, this was intense. I was maybe seven or eight then and the electricity in the air was palpable. My father decided he wanted to take a look and see things for himself; I immediately decided I had to as well and opened my eyes to my first live look at nature’s wild beast. I, of course, felt like Indiana Jones jumping over a chasm; my inner manliness wanted out to stare danger in the face. My dad, on the other hand, was frustrated this storm forced him to stop working on his yard project out back.

As a child, our eyes are usually closed even when we think we are staring danger in the face. That tornado did not pose a significant threat against me, even if it had turned more our way. With my parents making the decisions and advanced warning tools gaining momentum, there was only slight worry as to our fate. If things had gotten bad we could have taken the 30 second run over to our friends’ home with a basement; and even if we couldn’t get over there, our home was at the bottom of a hill and we were all tucked inside a hallway. Everything we could have done to protect ourselves was checked. At that point, all there was left to do was wait for the finger of God to move.

Recent posts of mine have referred to a story of a particular storm in my life; one that included years of car trouble, job searching and city jumping. It has certainly presented itself like a storm of storms. I felt much like the Israelites must have while trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army. As I was seemingly nearing the end of the storm, my church pastor gave a copy of The Red Sea Rules by Robert Morgan. It was not a big or complicated publication, but it highlighted ten basic rules of faith that was portrayed through the Israelites’ flight from Egypt.

I hope beyond explanation that this storm has passed. I am coming to realize, only now, the real purposes of this storm. Looking back over the last three or so years, there was not one moment where I was not under the protection of God. We never missed one bill payment, lost out on one meal, nor did we even have to significantly sacrifice much in the way of entertainment. We may have been dangling over the ledge, but there is no question there has been a rope tied around our waist. Of course, we could only be in the eye of the storm at this point and the cord could be cut – we could still go broke, lose our home, and go hungry; but God has made this abundantly clear: no matter what happens, He is still in control.

That said, I choose to praise and thank Him for His presence in my life. Things may improve from here leading to a wonderfully prosperous time for Nita and I; they may push us off the cliff. Either way, I have learned that though I may bend, I won’t break. I trust in Him who provides. Here are some words from MercyMe’s song Move, that I feel mirrors our experience up to this point. Enjoy.

“When life won’t play along

And right keeps going wrong

And I can’t seem to find my way

I know where I am found

So I won’t let it drag me down

Oh, I’ll keep dancing anyway

This hurt is getting heavy

But I’m not about to cave

Everything’s about to change

There’s gonna be brighter days”

redsearules

I’m Done Wasting My Life; Time to Lose It

Yesterday I finished reading John Piper’s Risk is Right. It’s not a huge book, but I took my time with it, as due to the circumstances in which I received it, I felt it worth savoring slowly. I received it about a week prior, the afternoon after I quit my job. It was sent in the mail to me as a gift from two very close friends back in Omaha. For the three weeks leading up to leaving my job I battled constantly the idea of risk vs. wisdom. I have been feeling the call of God to start inching my way towards ministry again (He may or may not want me to be inching along, but currently that is my pace).

I left full time ministry 10 years ago and until last January never looked back. Based on prodding from my mentor in Seattle, the thought and opportunity to come back into church service has begun to bud. Even though I came very close to a job offer at our church in Seattle, it was not to be, and God led Nita and I down to south Florida. It was there he brought me to Cape Alliance. On our first day of visiting, they announced that was the last day of their Associate Pastor whom would not be replaced by paid staff. One of his main duties was the youth group. God spoke and here we are leading an entire youth group.

Upon our arrival to Fort Myers, both Nita and I graciously landed jobs quickly so that we could get our feet set. It is now seven months later and I am back in the job hunting mode again. At least this time we have no intention of moving. This is not a story about what happened at the job, and though it had a lot to do with circumstances surrounding working there, my battles over the last month have been about taking the next step in my faith. Maybe that meant moving a few inches at once, maybe just one, but it has certainly been a battle.

Conventional wisdom taught me to never quit a job without another one lined up. That has only been magnified under the current economic stress. But I felt a continuing nod to end my career in sales and open myself back to the world of giving, whether in church or at least non-profit service. With building pressure on every side, I became forced to make a decision: either stay where I am and close my heart to God’s pull or step out in faith. I have always desired control, even more so over myself. God kept tugging on me to let Him supply our needs and live on faith. One easy way to try that would be to give up an income…

Thus, last week I either did the stupidest thing ever or made one of my biggest leaps of faith. That said, I am being responsible and job hunting with fervor, but I have noticed that my faith and desire to trust in God’s leading for the next step is growing. There is where the book comes in. Arriving at the perfect time from friends that I trust with my life and who know on infinite levels more than me what it means to live on faith, I opened the pages and was impacted with the nature and power of risk immediately. The story of Joab and Abishai in 2 Samuel 10 was particularly convicting.

“Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites. Joab said, ‘If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you. Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.'” (2 Samuel 10:9-12)

We are called to do our absolute best with the talents, knowledge and strength given to us, but the lesson here is that God controls the outcome. The LORD will do what is good in His sight. I do not know what will happen, but I know that Nita and I have placed our lives in the center of His hands and am confident He has a good plan for us…granted, that plan may not be on this side of heaven. We’ll just have to travel on this journey and see where it goes.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

In case anyone is curious, though I am fully confident in God, do not be misled. The only times my knees are not shaking is when I am on them praying. Which, at this point, is often. Lastly, let me send a shout out to my friends Lee and Chelsea, the ones who sent me this book. They live on risk daily as they are paid by faith support through their college ministry, Cru. Follow the link to learn more about them and consider supporting them. Their first child is only a few months old and they are adopting 3 more children this summer. I’m afraid Nita and I still have a lot to learn…

riskisright

Pro/Vision Coaching VP Phil Stalnaker Relocating to Seattle for Academy Launch

Originally posted at Pro/Vision Coaching.

OMAHA, NE, 6/1/2011 – Pro/Vision Coaching is making a major push forward in its company growth by expanding its services in the Seattle Metro area. Starting June 1, Phil Stalnaker will not only lead the marketing efforts, but utilize his coaching certification to facilitate the launch of the Pro/Vision Academy.

In addition to our regular one-on-one business coaching programs, Pro/Vision Coaching is launching a business academy in the Seattle Metro, based on the needs of the business owners in that area. The Academy offers programs ranging from support groups and book clubs, business courses, workshops, and even mastermind groups for like-minded owners and their key employees.  “The Pro/Vision Academy is an unprecedented change to the business coaching industry, and with its launch in Seattle, we need to make sure it is properly staffed and equipped.” commented Doug Christy, Pro/Vision Coaching’s co-owner. Working with Phil on the Academy is Paul Hajek, a successful life-long entrepreneur and business coach since 2005.

“This is the adventurous part of my corporate responsibility, helping institute the Pro/Vision Coaching model to the geographic locations within the Christy’s vision.” said Phil Stalnaker. Honing in on a way to develop business owners into successful entrepreneurs even before they start their first business is a key stabilizer to a shaky market economy. With the Academy, Pro/Vision will now be able to work with people in all stages of business ownership, leading to better returns and ultimately better business for all.

Why Knowing Your Target Audience Truly is the Bull’s-Eye

Originally posted at Pro/Vision Coaching.

I got into the sport of archery in high school. Led by a friend of mine, I found the sport fascinating, and I followed with stars in my eyes all the way to the store. The place I purchased it at had a full size shooting range in the back and tools to help their customers pick the right bow and accessories while trying them out. In the process of setting myself up with the perfect bow, I got into the challenge of archery, and learned that I actually had a bit of talent.

It has been a while since I regularly made it to the target range, but my love for the sport has never waned. The photo below was taken after a few recent practice rounds, and shows my grouping, and though overall it is nothing to be excited about, it was nice to see a few arrows right on top of each other.

The reason I tell you my background with archery is because of how much it has to do with successful marketing. Here are a few key lessons I have learned about marketing from my time in archery.

1. Practice is Mandatory | During my senior year of high school, all of those arrows would have been touching. The more I practice at hitting the center of the target, the more often I would succeed, and that success would come in groupings (consistently hitting the bulls-eye with each arrow). If you don’t keep at it, the ability you once had will fade away over time.

2. You Must Aim at the Center | If you only try to hit the target, your arrows will be scattered all over the target, with many missing it completely. The only way to consistently hit the bulls-eye is to “aim small, miss small” (The Patriot movie). In other words, the tighter your focus, the better your hit.

3. Know the Target and its Environment | In order for complete success, you need to know everything about your target. How big is it? Are you outside? What’s the wind going to do? How far away are you standing? Is there a vertical change between you and the target? The more you know about your target and its environment, the easier it will be to hit the center. Knowing your target also means that you know how to speak to that target, or in other words, craft that perfect message.

In the language of the business world, I am referring to your target audience. So that you can succeed with your marketing plan, you will have your best success when you treat your target audience like the bulls-eye. Who is your perfect target? What is that person’s environment? And so on…

You will find that if you follow these three rules in marketing, you will see significant growth in the number of prospects knocking down your door. You will find an engaged audience and have the right tools with which to get them interested in your product or service. Happy hunting!

Pro/Vision Coaching, Inc. Partners with IMPACT Professional Management Training | Will Teach Social Media Workshops in Omaha

Originally posted at Pro/Vision Coaching.

Grant Mathey, President of Professional Management Training, Inc. (PMT) has hired Philip Stalnaker at Pro/Vision Coaching to run workshops for his clients. PMT focuses on helping middle to large businesses invest in their employees through continuing education. Wanting to create a partnership with PVC, he saw an opportunity to expand his reach and add expertise on crucial subjects.

Impact

I will be teaching two 3-hour workshops around social media. Developing expertise in social media since 2004, I’ve designed and ran many social media campaigns for numerous industries. I’ve also given lectures and seminars on the Web 2.0 world, as well as basic websites and search engine navigation.

One day, I’ll tell you all my favorite social media story, which centers around a Facebook ad campaign I ran for a small university that was able to reach 1.6 million qualified leads for a grand total of $175.00. You’ll have to come to the workshop for that, though. Listed below are the courses and dates for the social media workshops. Courses will be held at the University of Phoenix building at 132nd and Dodge, Omaha.

Social Media for the Business Professional Running May 4, from 8:30-11:30am, Social Media for the Business Professional is a general overview of the Web 2.0 world. During this 3-hour course, your eyes will be opened to a world of social media few know and understand. You will learn how to navigate this world, find what is most useful to you, and how you can benefit those with whom you connect. You will learn ways to both heighten your own understanding and growth as well as bring profit to your company, helping you to increase your value at your current company. You will hear about the pitfalls, mistakes, and fatal flaws of individuals that have given social media a controversial name, at best. Once finishing the course, you will be able to properly navigate your way through social media, with the confidence to participate in any way you choose along with the wisdom to make smart online decisions. At the end of this course, you will understand:

  • The Web 2.0 world and its breadth of offerings
  • What makes Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn different
  • The world of smaller social networking sites
  • How they can help your job/career, as well as profit your company
  • How, if not careful, they can destroy your personal and career paths
  • Proper workplace usage

LinkedIn for the Business Professional Running May 25, from 8:30-11:30am, LinkedIn for the Business Professional takes the ideas of Social Media for the Business Professional and focuses solely on LinkedIn and how it can impact your personal and professional branding. We will discuss how a proper LinkedIn image can help your company as well as yourself, along with how to use it as a valuable business tool – why it should be as accessible to you as your stapler and phone. We will cover what to do and what not to do, helping to ensure that you make wise online decisions with your communication. You will learn the ins and outs of the website itself, giving you a solid understanding for navigating the site yourself and how to get the most out of all its offerings. At the end of this course, you will understand:

  • What makes LinkedIn uniquely different from all other social media sites
  • Whether or not  you should participate
  • How it can help not only your job/career, but also profit your company
  • The difference between the free and paid versions and how to choose what’s right for you
  • Appropriate levels of public communication
  • How to use the site in its fullest extent

Phil Stalnaker, VP of Business Development for Pro/Vision Coaching, Inc. Earns Certification as a Guerrilla Marketing Coach

Posted on Pro/Vision Coaching by Doug Christy.

I am proud to announce that our VP | Business Development, Phil Stalnaker, has received his certification as a Guerrilla Marketing Coach.  Certification is a lengthy 4 month process which culminates in successfully completing a written marketing campaign for our firm.  Phil chose Pro/Vision Coaching’s entry into the Greater Seattle Area market for his campaign, for which we are currently experiencing the fruits of his labor. Phil’s 4 month journey in certification tracked closely from market due diligence to grand opening of our Bellevue, Washington office.

Pro/Vision Coaching realizes the importance that a focused, low-cost marketing campaign means to our small business clients.  Most of our clients, very shortly after engagement, start their coaching journey with marketing.  The majority of our clients have relied on “word of mouth marketing” for their growth.  In today’s economic and competitive environment, they realize “word of mouth” simply isn’t enough.  Phil is now able to coach a small business owner from start to finish through a guerrilla marketing campaign.  He also lends assistance to our head business coaches with his special expertise in social media marketing, systematization and branding.

Congrats Phil on a job well done.