Open. That. Letter.

Last year my wife received a FedEx letter when she wasn’t home. 

It was a fat one too, it probably weighed a couple of pounds.  She doesn’t do much business from home so it’s odd for her to receive letters like this.  I was curious.  

I looked at the sender and saw it was from a law office.  We don’t normally open each other’s mail but that was about to change TODAY!  You hear stories about couples in seemingly good relationships and one day the partner seeks a divorce as quick and easy as Taco Tuesday.  

Was I going to be one of those statistics?  Nope.

The paperwork in my hands was for a corporation she started.  I had no idea.  When my wife got home I told her I was freaking out and opened her letter and we laughed.  My wife has always been into rescuing pets and she decided to incorporate her own animal rescue.  I thought this was totally cool and I was happy for her.  I did tell her to give me the heads up the next time she requests paperwork from a lawyer’s office though…

What’s the point of me telling you this?  No point really, but I’ll leave you with Kody Bateman’s words.  “The stories in your mind become the stories of your life.”  If you don’t like your thoughts, clean em up.  No thought lives in your mind rent free.


How to get Die-Hard fans

One of the legs of my Blockbuster Marketing framework is to put more of YOU in your marketing.  

A lot of people deny this.  They treat talking about themselves like niching down.  They fear showing more of who they are will narrow their audience too much.

If I talk about ME and my story, isn’t that narcissistic? 

Won’t people get tired of me?

Am I even that interesting?  

Yes.  You.  Are.

Keep in mind you can explain yourself in a very BORING way, but that’s not my point today.  My point is you’re taking the most unique thing about your marketing message and… 

You’re throwing it away. 

Megan Macedo said, “a lot of how things are talked about in the world of business ignores the fact that we’re human beings. There’s this switch that people flip where it’s like, “This is my personal life and this is my professional life.” It doesn’t work like that. Your brain is not divided in two.”

Everyone has different degrees of transparency and there’s things that you do and do not want to share with your audience.  And that’s fine. 

You’ll never see Seth Godin talk his family for example. Yet Wayne Dyer talked about his kids in his work all the time.  It’s totally up to you.

Just know the more transparent you become you will lose some people.  But on the other hand, you’re separating the wheat from the chaff.  

The more you peel away your “brand” like an onion the more die-hard fans you’ll have.

Cheryl Strayed said, “ One of the most important lessons I learned though the success of Wild is that if you take that risk, if you take chance, if you tell the truest, hardest, deepest story that you have within you, you’re not going to step into the light and find that you’re there alone.  You’re going to be surrounded by people who are there with you.”

If you want more die-hard fans…


The meat and potatoes of writing emails

Writing emails can be tough.

And if you take my advice and email every day, sometimes it can feel like pushing a baby elephant…


I admit, I have different approaches in creating emails but one method I use is to start with a theme or premise.

And by ‘theme’ I just mean, what your email is about or the meat of your message.  

Here’s the theme of the movie i, Robot:

“A technophobic cop investigates a crime that may have been perpetrated by a robot, which leads to a larger threat to humanity.”

So how does this work for emails?

Let’s say my theme is based on something I heard Darren Hardy say last week.  I don’t remember it verbatim but he said, environment is stronger than willpower.  

I had to think on that one for a second. 

That was powerful!  

It reminded me about a book I read called Influencer and all sorts of memories and ideas that backed up what Hardy said. 

So if Darren Hardy’s quote was the “meat” of email, the next thing to do is add a vegetable, a grain, and maybe even a roll or two to support your theme.

That’s why the concept of writer’s block is more fictitious than Spongebob and Patrick barbecuing underwater.

If you need help cooking up content all you need to do is open a book or an Internet browser.

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Putting a Face on the Problem

I was watching an episode of Star Wars Clone Wars last night.  The Galactic Senate was arguing back and fourth about taking on new loans to create new troops for the war.  About half the senators were for new troops and about half were against it.

If you aren’t familiar with the “Clones”, the clone troopers are humans created in a lab by the Kaminoans.  The clones age faster than regular folks and they’re genetically built for battle.  That means the Republic has no need for recruitment offices or Uncle Sam posters.

Ok, back to the senate…

Senator Padmé Amidala (Princess Leia’s mom) thinks they should scrap new loans and focus on ending the war.  It seems peace is a helluva lot easier on the pockets.  But between fear and corruption, not enough senators agree with her.

She debates the others about interest rates and the loss of human life…but nothing sticks.  

Many of the senators don’t consider the clones human.  And since none of the clones can vote them into office, why should they care?  

Padmé gives one final speech to influence her position and win more votes against the war. 

In her preparation she asks one of her helpers, how has the war affected you?  After getting the low down from a real person about her authentic experience, Padmé gives a different type of speech.  

Instead of budgets and facts and figures she talks about how fueling the war keeps money out social programs and how the war makes everyday people struggle.

She put a “face on the problem” and tells a different type of story.  

When it’s all said and down, we know years later the war continues, the Emperor takes over, and Darth Vader is born but that’s not the point…

It’s about empathy.

It’s about integrity.  

Doing what’s right, even when no one is looking.  

And never losing focus on who you serve.

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Speed your way to better storytelling

When I started going to San Diego comic con I wanted to find “work” but I also wanted to meet some of my favorite artists.

Sometimes I just wanted to geek out my inner fan-boy and sometimes I wanted a portfolio review.  Pro tips are the best! One or two tips from a working artist can take months (sometimes years) off a learning curve.

One thing about comic-con used to get under my skin though…

This isn’t exactly rational but…  When I looked at the lines of fans waiting to meet the creative teams, the writers usually had the longest lines.  

This was, well, odd to me.

I always read comics for the art.  I followed my favorite artists from project to project.  I figured if I only wanted to read the stories I’d just buy regular fiction books.  


Well…  Come to find out, most fans approached comic book buying differently than I did.  Like, almost all of them.

The art may be why I bought comics but it’s the stories that keep most fans coming back again and again.

This is true with movies too.  People may have loved the movie Speed, but if the plot keeps getting dumbed-down (like, Speed 2) people stop watching.  

And you get wonderful reviews like…

“They truly ruined a whole franchise in just two movies…  [from Rotten Tomatoes]

On the surface it’s easy to think the movie was horrible because Keanu Reeves wasn’t in it. Which is partly true.  But the real reason is because the story sucked.

This is why it is so important that you tell YOUR story in your marketing.  And to get better and better at telling it.

Stanford Marketing Professor Jennifer Aaker said, ”Stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone.”

People won’t always remember your USP or proprietary mechanism as much as they’ll remember you story and what inspired you to do what you do.

One book I recommend to help you do this is Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling by Matthew Dicks.  

It’s an awesome book.  Study it.  Apply it.