The Art of Digital Leverage

If the sound of the word "Digital" causes you pain, you're doing it wrong. With all the hype surrounding the latest app, or really cool software, it's no wonder business owners are overwhelmed by technology. If the thought of posting a social update, or writing a blog post makes you dizzy, this post is for you.

Leveraging simple, inexpensive technology you may already have for more sales requires only three simple steps. Creating loyal customers starts with discovering your firm, building a relationship of trust, then engaging in a one-to-one conversation with them. Established companies already have a head start. Their existing customers. If you are one of those lucky souls, the process starts with rediscovery. How long has it been since you connected with them? If it's been more than 30 days, it's time to reconnect.


Take a look at your customer database. Do you have email addresses? If so, great! If not, create an event or special offer (something you would normally offer is fine). Create a direct mail postcard with a link to visit your site to request this special offer. Now you have the email addresses and returning customers. Now you can use email announcements and social posts to stay in touch with current customers and reach out to prospects. 

Build a Relationship

The folks at Tide build a strong relationship with their loyal customers with a landing page. It creates value for customers without making a pitch for the product. What could you publish on a landing page to create value that would build a better relationship with your prospects and customers? Yes, it's that simple.


Once prospects and former customers have discovered you, and you've built or reestablished a relationship with them, the next step is easy. All it takes is a written invitation. The customer journey is nothing but inviting those you serve best to take a single step. Stop long enough to see your post on social. The invitation is a link to the landing page. After you've created value and built a relationship, you create a link at the bottom of the landing page to Learn More. These small, easy steps allow future customers to get comfortable with you. They help your existing customers keep your business in mind.

Quick tips to creating the Perfect Customer Journey

  • Create a link from your social posts that lead to your website. Pick a page that creates value for those you serve best.
  • Review each page on your site. Make sure each page ends with an invitation to visit another page. We call it a Call To Action (CTA).
  • Make it easy to connect with you. When you include the phrase, "Call us" don't forget to add your phone number immediately after. 

I used to love Radio Shack. They had a repair facility that would fix broken technology. It died when replacing became cheaper that repairing. My affection switched to Sears Craftsman tools. Now that has also been replaced. So much is changing so fast.

It's the first thought that comes to mind when I'm asked to explain Digital Disruption. I say it's not about technology, but of course right at the beginning is the "D" word. It's no wonder we are all confused. Today I ran across what I hope is the perfect phrase to define the essence of the concept.

Digital DNA

It came to me by way of a Harvard Business Review IdeaCast with author Ray Wang, Making Sense of Digital Disruption. I've been told I should stop using the word disruption. I don't do it to scare people, but because it scares me. Transformation is much nicer.

However, the concept is still fuzzy. Wang goes further by defining the impact as a business model transformation in terms of how we operate and how we engage."

For established companies, the solution requires more than mobile devices or a new website or a social media strategy. To succeed in the future your organization must embrace a culture shift that goes all the way to your core digital DNA.

United Airlines had all the technology they needed, yet they failed to adapt their technology to meet the human need. Tools can help increase your speed, but transforming your business culture increases your revenue. 

Before you spend another dime on technology, buy Wang's book, Disrupting Digital Business

Additional Reading

This will be the last edition of the Digital Daily. 

Blogging fits under content marketing. Its purpose is to engage readers by building or maintaining a relationship. It's measured by the open rate. For Digital Daily it is more than triple the industry rate. I hold my publishing to a higher standard. I measure engagement. I ask, does it create value, does it create leverage? Digital Daily does not meet my standards. 


I'm often asked two questions about blogging: "How often should I publish a blog post?" and "How long should it be?" The answers have been the same since I started blogging a decade ago. Publish as frequently as people want to hear from you. Write only as much as they can comfortably read at that frequency. The other side of the equation is how frequently can you comfortably write articles of quality? And there's the rub. 

I can write daily, but I have to stretch to grasp ideas that create value. It's like watching CNN. During my 2 hour a day stint in a Hyperbaric Oxygen chamber as I recovered from a health issue, I was startled to learn CNN only had 15 minutes of news. Digital Daily started to feel like that. You deserve better. It's not honest. It's not me.

What's Next?

What is next always starts with what would be better. I believe it starts with more focus, more engagement, more awareness. After all these years, my goal for you remains the same. Whenever you finish reading something I've written or reflect on a take away from a coaching session or experience, or an "Aha" moment as you leave a presentation, I want you to have become the "Master of Your Digital Domain." Here are the three ways I intend to deliver on that goal.

The Art of Digital Leverage

I will continue my weekly newsletter on what's happening in the area of digital transformation published on Tuesdays at 10 AM Eastern. If it's not being delivered directly to your inbox, consider subscribing.

Digital Direct

Everyone says they are overwhelmed by technology. What if you are not? I've been informally sharing targeted, valuable content to individuals for years. It's time to make this legit. You can assist right now by replying with no more than three tech topics you'd like to learn more about. I promise I'll keep my eyes open for you. When I find something I think you need to know, I'll shoot you the link and include my two-cent's worth about why I think this is important to your success. Either hit reply or send me an email and share the three topics that interest you the most.  

Office Hours

The best method to leverage engagement is in person. Second best is live video. I invite you to join me at 3 pm Eastern each Thursday for an open discussion via live video. No appointment necessary. Just show up to ask a question, share what you know, or just to hang out and listen. If you are reading this as an email hit Reply to request a personal invitation or send me a message. I can't think of a better way to engage with you.


That's it. I hope this gives you one or more ideas on how I can help bring you success. Thanks for your support and may your day be, Just Another Day In Paradise!




Your new title will be, Entrepreneur. Oh, not me, you say? In a classic article from titled, Why Everyone Will Have To Become An Entrepreneur they recall a scenario from 20 years ago. It's full of CD's, record stores, maps and pay phones. It would be full of warm nostalgia if not for all the people who were put out of a job when these products were no longer in demand. Author  Paul B. Brown, puts it in perspective with, "As you think about this scenario, and countless others you could imagine, you realize that it’s easier to list the tiny handful of professions and industries that will remain unchanged in the next 20 years than it is to write down the ones that will be altered—radically."

I don't have "5 Tips" or the perfect strategy to share with you today. Just a question. If your job went away today, what would you do tomorrow? I know what I'm going to do. If you'd like, I can share it with you. Just make a note to return here tomorrow at 10 am Eastern. 





I don't mean alcohol, I'm talking about the Hooch App. The title above is a quote from Lin Dai, CEO of NY-based Hooch. The premise is that everyone want's a free drink. The magic behind the concept is bar owners want measurable ROI. 

An article published on, Free Drink App Hooch Is Growing A Market By Giving Its Products Away makes the case for metrics. Hooch has been steadily growing their audience to 100K subscribers, many of whom are paying $9.99 per month. Dia touts tcustomer data as the most important factor behind the success of Hooch. 

The Gold in Data-Mining

 Using technology to extend your reach drives value. The wealth of data generated by growth sustains profitability. The platform gathers info on product, location, and even time-of-day to provide valuable metrics the company provides to bar owners in real-time. Current research methodologies produce PR metrics in 6-8 weeks. The question for established organizations is this. What if you knew, right now, what your customers are doing? Not what they are thinking about doing, actually doing? 

Adopting a Digital Mindset

The benefit of real-time data collection is often missing from the ROI calculation when making a case for digital transformation. Adopting a digital mindset is the first step toward growing sales and profits in the digital age. Better data leads to better decisions.


I've been told not to use this word.

I'm told, "People don't like it, it makes them uncomfortable, even angry." I get it, but like it or not, change is coming to your business, (Like when the Apple store moved just a few blocks). Then I read an article and a lightbulb went on. After reading the article, Tommy Hilfiger on a Game of Hangman, I realized what was different. 

The word? Disruption. I wouldn't be surprised if you winced just now. When I use the phrase "Digital Disruption" it evokes the fear of an uncertain future. However, in the article chronicling Tommy Hilfiger's big breakthrough, it's a celebration of his success. Back in 1985, Hilfiger was introduced to George Lois, as an "advertising genius". Tommy wanted an ad campaign that was the same old, same old. George offered a different idea.

Lois displayed campaigns from a lot of the big brands. It was hard to tell the difference between them. “This”, he said, “is the problem. Unless you do something different – something disruptive – nobody will notice.”

It worked. the so-called "hangman" ad positioned Hilfiger as on of the top four fashion designers. It caused an uproar in the community and yes, made some designers angry. Calvin Klein, confronted George in a restaurant, ‘Do you know it took me 20 years to get where Hilfiger is today!’ I politely grabbed his finger, bent it, and answered: ‘Schmuck! Why take 20 years when you can do it in 20 days?!’”

Established businesses here in Jacksonville don't have 20 years. Digital disruption is changing the way business is done. Besides, why wait for disruption when you can profit from a digital transformation, right now?

When you're ready to hear more about tapping into the transformation to enhance your bottom line, call me

 I'm sure this is no surprise to you, but in a recent article from titled, Your Buyers Are Experiencing Marketing Fatigue; Here's What to Do About It, the author, a marketer admitted he was tired. No kidding. The post lists 5 items to work on. There is even a fancy metric to go with it, "Outreach Cadence". The thought appears to be that we are sending way too many messages. No kidding.

Each of the 5 items makes sense, but only from the marketers' point of view. I believe the central issue to why buyers have stopped opening your emails is you are bugging them way too much. If you are a sales professional using more technology but getting much less return, here are some ideas to disrupt your rut.

  • Tighten your reach, expand your pool. If you find yourself returning to check in with the same prospects, stop. Return to your target prospect. Are you engaging with your perfect prospect? Tighten your definition, then expand your reach to a larger audience. When those folks you've spoken with are ready, they will contact you.   
  • Go legit. Authenticity and transparency create value. Drop all the lame excuses for reconnecting. Use social listening to create legitimate reasons to connect. Focusing on what's going on in their world opens your eyes to opportunities to be genuine.
  •  Sharing is caring. Stop sharing everything with everyone. Add "favorite topics" to your contact records. Which topics do prospects follow or need to know more about? Instead of one size fits most, tailor your info sharing to earn your place in your prospect's inbox.  

It's time to stop kidding yourself, prospects are not waiting for your generic email followup. Rediscover your creative side, stop being hard of listening, demonstrate you have respect for their time, effort and attention.


My client was walking on cloud 9, "I'm going to be on TV!" After I congratulated their good fortune, I asked, "How will you leverage this opportunity?" I didn't mean it as a buzz kill, simply as a call back down to earth. A TV appearance is a perfect opportunity for exposure and so much more.

The Art of Digital PR 

Both our current and former presidents have mastered digital PR. President Trump understands that by using Twitter, there no longer is a need to wait for the media for him to speak directly to the American people. Former President Obama continues to leverage social media to extend his reach. In traditional PR, communications professionals would call on all their media contacts to leverage a TV opportunity. With access to social media via mobile, the PR machine is always available at a moments notice. Taking a page from the presidential PR playbook, here's some tips you can use to leverage your time in the spotlight.

Get Ready for Your Close-up 

The producer will give you a specific time to arrive for the taping. What you really need to know is the specific airtime and more importantly, where and when your appearance will appear online. Where refers to the URL. Telling your followers to "tune-in" is pointless. No one watches live TV during the day. The invite you share online must include a web address. A live feed is perfect. A generic link to the station of fine. An archive link after the event is great for your mom. She's the only one who watch it once it's old news.

We are Live in 3-2-1

Local Jacksonville PR legend (and client) Rebecca Hart taught me to stick to three, short easy to remember points during an interview. It is your #1 priority to include the organization name in your response to an interviewer's question. NASCAR drivers are famous for including the names of every sponsor in response to the question, "So how did you win the race?" It can be as simple as, "At XYZ Corp, we believe..." Don't assume the media will include your contact info. If you get luck, and they ask how to reach you, provide the easiest method. I recommend your web address as long as it is easy to say, spell and type.

And We Are Out!

You'll hear someone on the production team use this phrase to let you know when to start breathing again. It may be the end of the taping, but it is not the end of your PR promotion. If you've done your homework, you will be ready for all those new prospects who just discovered you or your organization through your interview segment. If you chose to send folks to your website, acknowledge them on your home page and extend an invitation to take a single action. Give them too many options and they will disappear. Post the web link to the segment and include a text invitation with a link to an appropriate landing page.

Being on TV is exciting. Leveraging the opportunity for PR for your cause or organization is very exciting. Technology provides you with the tools to extend your reach to new members, sponsors, and patrons. Keep Calm and PR on! 

[Editors Note] This TV PR strategy is part of Jerry's upcoming course, Social Engagement for Public Relations at UNF.  



It's a scrap of a lyric from a classic from Bob Dylan, "Like a Rolling Stone". It starts playing in my head each time I see a social post without a link to drive traffic to the organization's website. I've heard the justification for not linking to your site or linking to valuable content from other publishers. The irony is it's often shared by the same folks who wish they could increase the traffic to their website. If you are seeking a position online as an influencer or expert, it's time to deliver your own intellectual property (IP). Here's why.

You owe it to your followers. Photos are nice, but after a while it begins to feel like vacation syndrome. I'm glad you had fun, but I didn't get to go. If you create a link that leads to something I can learn, I'm engaged. If all I see is a photo, I'm gone. 

I won't remember you. If you share a link that leads away from you or your web presence, I will forget the source. I can't even remember what I ate for lunch yesterday.

A photo leads to a limited engagement. If I click the image you shared and all I get is a bigger image, I've already seen it twice. I may add a comment, but that's about the extent of it. Seems like a lot of work for so little engagement.

Delivering Value to Those You Serve Best

Developing unique content you deliver directly to your community creates value, builds trust, and top of mind awareness. Here are some quick content ideas for a successful landing page.

  • A blog post a new development in your customer's world. Create value by including your two-cents worth.
  • A news page covering the local angle on a national story.
  • A customer success story.
  • An update on your hours of operation.
  • Your new menu items.
  • Today's special
  • A short page with tips on how to receive more value from a purchased product

Landing pages bring prospects as well as loyal customers closer to you when you can't be there in person. What will you publish on your landing page? 


 The idea that your business success depends on buying more technology is a myth. You have suspected it for a long time. The truth is your business can profit from a digital transformation. If you are a business leader who wants to gain an ROI from your technology investment, you'll be surprised to learn it's easier than you think. All you need are 5 essential technologies

Technology, What is it good for?

Each of the five essentials creates value for your organization by extending your reach, bringing prospects closer, increasing your speed of execution, or reducing expenses. As you consider each of the following technologies, make sure your decisions are grounded in where they create value.

Social Media

It's not about pictures of what you had for dinner, it's all about discovery. The first step to transforming prospects into loyal customers is helping them discover your organization. There is only one tool that deserves your attention and investment. It's the social platform your customers use.  Not sure? Ask them. All you have to do is show up and execute two essential techniques; engage in conversations that replace shouting with listening, master the art of the written invitation. All your social media invitation requires is colorful visuals, details about who, what and why, and clear directions in the form of a link to learn more about your organization.

Content Marketing

If you use social media to invite prospects to your party, make sure it's memorable. Their first impression is critical to the decision to stay or leave. The best technique to build the relationship is to create a landing page. Think of it as a VIP entrance to your world. The best tool for this assignment is a blog. The content changes frequently and provides prospects with a sense of urgency. The key here is to provide information that answers a prospect's needs. Jot down a list of the questions customers ask, like, "What are your hours?" Where are you located?" or "Do you have this in stock?" are examples of content you can use to build trust.

Sales Automation

At no time in history have so many, had such vast access to so much information about everyone on the planet. Yet we squander this fortune when we craft emails addressed to, "Dear valued customer." The traditional sales funnel has been replaced by the virtual sales pipeline. The customer journey starts long before prospects become customers. A Contact Relationship Management system is the perfect tool to document where your prospects are in your sales process. More importantly, it transforms data into actionable information.  

Customer Service

User experience (UX) attracts customers. Support experience, (SX) converts them into raving fans. Take a good look at any of the major Internet platforms and you will see a robust, valuable customer service and support strategy. When the student community for a client's learning management system designed for 1,000 students exploded to 22,000 students, we build a support platform. Once you have customers, what will you do to keep them?

Brand Reputation

In the age of Twitter, your good name is a fragile commodity. A social monitoring tool is the first step. Training your team to respond when things go wrong is a talent development imperitive. Having a disaster recovery plan is the best technique to guarantee your organization will not only survive but thrive.

Connecting your digital dots is the ultimate goal. The first step is to pick one of the 5 essentials. Focus in one area then move to the next. Before you know it, you will have become the master of your digital domain!

The question, "Does Social Media Make You a Better Leader?" is more than a trivial pursuit. As customers and staff become increasingly connected, social media skills have become an essential skill for budding CEOs. The article cites a recent report by Development Dimensions International, a leadership development consultancy. As part of its High-Resolution Leadership study, DDI examined different aspects of leadership among potential CEOs and,  "Not every CEO is savvy on social media, but the ones who are often have a lot of other traits considered desirable in leaders".

 More than just some nice to have traits or behaviors, the study found that those executives who were active on social media were stronger than their counterparts in key metrics; 89 percent stronger at empowering other people, 52 percent stronger at compelling communication, and 46 percent stronger at influencing others. 

I find the last metric to be significant. Traditionally, CEOs were measured on their ability to direct others. The rise of the Internet has elevated the extended network over the organization. In the digital age, leaders must learn an indirect application of power. Social media is about infulence, not control.



At first, I thought I had stumbled across an article authored by my trusted advisor Frances Pound Fisher. Chances you've heard of those courageous folks who work without a net? Frances works without a To-do list. It was the article, Could Time-Blocking Replace Your To-Do List?  from Fast Company that brought Frances' lesson to mind. 

The logic is simple. Since completing tasks on your to-do list takes time, why not schedule them in advance? Frances' top tip is to create 20-minute blocks on your calendar. When the time arrives, start immediately. Make the call, start writing that blog post, commence working on the next task to move your project forward.

Two key finding from the Fast Company article by Gwen Moran. The first is paying attention to cycles. I plan my week in advance Sunday evenings. I schedule early meetings at a nearby undisclosed location to avoid rush hour. The second key is known as the Zegarnick effect. We remember what we haven't done better than what we have done.

I recommend reading the full article. If not now, consider blocking out some time on your calendar.



With giants like Target, Yahoo and the DNC victimized by hackers, it would be easy to throw up your arms and give up on cyber security within your organization. A recent report from TechCrunch on a leak of exploits by Shadow Brokers reveals the single most important, simple to execute solution to protecting your computing environment. 

First Step to Cyber Security

What is the first line of cyber defense? Keeping all your software up to date. A spokesperson from Microsoft confirmed that the majority of the exploits leaked had already been patched. In the blink of an eye, an urgent call to action switched to yesterday's news. 

The continuing shift to cloud computing means that the day will come when your software and systems will be up-to-date the moment you log into the cloud. Until then, take action when you receive a software update announcement. Immediate inoculation is the best defense against the nastiest of Internet viruses. 

Don't blame technology. For more than three decades business leaders have fought a business arms-race by investing in new technology. You buy the latest cutting-edge software. Your competitor follows your lead. You try harder to keep up by updating to the latest version or investing in the premium version. All you get is parity and a closet full of abandoned technology.

Mindset Over Matter

When you hear the term, "Wall Clock" what image comes to mind? How about "alarm clock"? If the clock on your wall is round, it indicates an analog mindset. If your alarm clock displays the time horizontally, you're working with a digital mindset. Each day our culture moves forward from living in an analog past toward a digital future. The #1 reason established companies are losing market share, much of their profits and most of their customers is the fear of changing to a digital mindset. Analog is too heavy, too slow, too hard to execute.  

Digital Transformation, 1-2-3

Digital is the future of business. Not only your future but the future for your company. All you have to do is change your mindset. All it takes is three easy steps.

  1. Ask your customers. Here in Jacksonville, Downtown workers are flocking to Food Trucks for Lunch. Where are you customers headed? Meet them there.
  2. Review your business processes and procedures. Where can you reach farther, move faster, increase the value of the service?
  3. Adapt technology to meet the human need. Don't spend another dime on technology unless it creates value for those you serve best.

On a Personal Note

I invite you to join me Tuesday evening April 18th at UNF to celebrate the launch of our first Digital Transformation course here in Jacksonville. It's the first course that goes beyond which button to push or where to click. The focus is a digital transformation for Communications and Public Relations professionals.

Learn More or RSVP

Effective Social Engagement for Public Relations


I delivered your signature "TuneUp" report to a client yesterday. The verdict? Overwhelmed. What I learned is that quantity doesn't equal value. The report is meant to be inclusive. More that an inventory of the tools, it assesses skills and talents and wraps up with a list of specific actions to streamline business processes. However, the result should be excitement, not terror.

But wait, there's more. The I accepted an assignment to beta test a new expert system App. It was more Alpha then Beta. I deleted it. Next I received a special invitation to a restaurant opening. All I had to do was download an App, signup for an account, login and register for a wait time. I didn't.

I replied, thanking the owners for their invitation but declining because it was, "Just too hard to figure out." Then something extraordinary happened. I received a very nice reply from Sarah, the owner. I was stunned that she stopped all of the urgent tasks on her plate to respond to me. Not a loyal customer, not even a customer. Just some guy who's email address was in her database. I will become their loyal customer, as soon as they launch.

Today I intend to slow down, be present, reset to zero as appropriate. What is on your plate today? How are you planinng to create value today?  

Ps My love Deborah dedicated this song to me. Thank you sweetie! This is Why I Need You.

Jailtime comes from the cover-up, rarely the crime. Customer service failures stem from the response, not the incident. Employing even a smidge of Emotional Intelligence (EI) would have saved United Airlines, not to mention their customer a whole lot of pain and suffering. The importance of customer service was driven home by Darren Bounds, Founder, and CEO of at a recent StartUpJax Meetup. As I understood it, a customer's UX [User eXperience] gets them to try your product or platform. their SX [Support eXperience] convinces them to become paying customers. 

I'm researching a brand new expert system platform. I had trouble completing a specific process. I submitted a support request. Here is their endearing reply:

"Hi Jerry, Thank you so much for your feedback. Oh dear, we didn't expect this to happen. This has not happened before. We're checking the app to see what's happening now. Meanwhile, if this issue is still happening, could you take a screenshot of where it's stuck? Thanks."

 Yes, that's what they said. Really. Here's what I heard: Gratitude, empathy, acceptance, responsibility, action, engagement. Priceless. Not only for brand building, but also for building the bottom line. United Airlines lost 1B in value in less than 24 hours.  

Digital Transformation - More Than Technology

The gap between established businesses and their digital replacements is more about mindset than technology. Digitally aware organizations leverage technology to deliver better experiences based on human metrics.

What quality of experience do your customers expect? It's worth a lot. In fact, it's priceless.  

Air carriers use a unique vocabulary and terminology to describe their actions. Although the word "involuntary" is in the dictionary, "reacommodating" trips up my spell checker every time. I had to manually add it to my Grammarly App.  The recent incident on a United Airlines aircraft (they never use the word plane) was more than unfortunate, it was a crime. Yes, it was legal, but it was also immoral and very short-sighted. It was an act of terror.   

From this moment on, I will never be able to look upon air travel with a positive attitude. I will be flying to Utah later this month and I dread the experience. I planned to write about the one thing employers can offer young employees as an incentive to stay with their companies. Spoiler Alert! It's Guidance. In the article, "Want to Keep Your Millennial Employees? You Have To Be Willing to Offer Them This 1 Thing" author Nicolas Cole makes the case for leading your younger colleagues by example. Treating them as mentees. 

I'm meeting with Christian Binganisi this week, an entrepreneur I met at StartUpJax last week. I've found that associating with younger business professionals is the quickest way to make you feel younger. I learn so much when I share what I've learned. I hope I'm worthy of the opportunity to share how to treat others.

This was the first question I received after signing up for It's all about "Questions and Answers by Experts". Early in my digital career, I discovered the best opportunity of learning comes when I'm asked a question. It makes me think, and I get immediate feedback on what clients are thinking. It often leads to new services and products that allow me to deliver value to those I serve best. Here's my first PopDQ question, and my answer.

What are the best business and finance magazines to subscribe to?

Great questions DanBolVi!. An even better question is, "What do you want to know?" Think of the process as research to provide decision support. Since we have scant time to read, I recommend creating a list of periodicals that cover topics you need to know. Start with general knowledge, then create a narrow focus on specifics that support your needs. With your list in hand, seek magazines that deliver information that help you make better decisions.

Subscribe or Simply Read?

I have only one print subscription. The Economist provides me with broad information on the world, from a higher altitude. It allows me to step back from my narrow US point-of-view and receive the 40,000-foot perspective. Visit the site index to see the comprehensive list of information and special reports available.

Continue down your list to choose specific publications that create value. Which ones? I would try, not buy, your top choices. Subscribe to their blogs to receive notifications. I try different ones each week. I also evaluate the ones I've been reading to decide if they should remain on my short list of those I actually read. Check your local library for print editions. Here in Jacksonville, our library provides digital editions of a vast array of magazines. All you need is a library card. Once you find a keeper, invest in a paid subscription, either print or digital as you prefer.

Your Personal Library

I'm not embarrassed to say my print editions reside in the bath. As for those that arrive via email, I have a News folder. As they arrive I open, scan for value, then choose, move to Trash or to the News folder. If Trash becomes a frequent choice, unsubscribe is a better option. Finally, add the task "Read News" to your daily schedule.

 Okay, I made that term up. What if, instead of pitting startups against traditional businesses, we combined the best of both? Not just competition or collaboration, but a combination of both? Here in Jacksonville, we are having a public debate about the challenge of Food Trucks. Established downtown restaurants say it's unfair competition. In the age of technology disruption, digital leverage creates a disadvantage to incumbents.  

Is it fair to keep new businesses out? Is it fair to use technology to put established restaurants out of business? In Why Millennials Prefer Collaboration Over Competition author Joel Goldstein explains not how technology has changed, but how the population has changed the way they use technology. Customers are using technology to change our culture, how we shop, and how we buy. There are big problems in the world. It's going to take all of us to create solutions. I'm just saying. 


Membership Hack: Young Members Pitching In

Remember the really loud, obnoxious TV commercials from the '60s? They are back. It started with the video slide show. All text, delivered using the typewriter effect, one letter at a time. All of it set to music. You endured it simply to see where it would end up. Now it's evolved into a monster. In the last two weeks, I've endured the mutation. A single slide, no animation, cheesy music. It appears, then just sits there while you wait for something to happen. Nothing! The image doesn't change. The music just plays on. I know 40 seconds doesn't seem like much, but in Internet time, it's an eternity. 

Marketing By Interruption 

It reminds me of the really loud, obnoxious TV commercials from the '60s. You know, the ones that inspired the invention of the TV remote, then later, the DVR. It's the latest in marketing by interruption. It's not going to work. I'm going to stop following those who use them. We have evolved. Most of us now have favorite programs we watch. What's not changed is that marketers and advertisers continue you to cling to the notion that permission-based marketing means that they have permission to forces us to stop and watch what they consider to be the most important message we will be forced to watch today. 

More Than Change The Channel

No, I'm not going to do it, you can't make me do it. They don't work. In fact, they create a negative impression. Be advised, if you create or share these monsters I will stop following you. I love all of you, but not enough to endure this attack on my time. Please make it stop. 


Everything about live video has changed. How it's shot, how it's used, where it fits in the customer journey. The concept of live video has changed in less than 2 years. John Chappelear is a perfect example of this evolution. Each week I receive John's Positive Thought for the Week (PTFTW). I discovered it in the back of John's bestseller, The Daily Six.

John and I just started working together. He and his team member Teri Coutu of Teric Enterprise Solutions met last week to discuss some new ideas to extend John's reach. Teri and John have created synergy by combining intuition with intention. John comes up with the crazy ideas, Teri turned them into action. John has agreed to share his latest video to help illustrate how you can leverage live video.

 The Art of Effective Video Promo

The current edition of PTFTW is on the topic of Self-siloing. I don't want to spoil it for you so I save the newsletter link until it is published. For now, let's focus on the promotional video. Watch it first, then return here to learn why it's perfect:

  • Background - if a picture is worth a 1,000 words, a video background is worth 10,000. John's outdoors, not at his desk. He's moving which keeps viewers glued to their screens. The right background tells the story, so he doesn't have to. 
  • Sound - Combining the right background with perfect audio increases the value to 100,000 words. How did John train those birds to chirp on cue?  
  • Purpose - This clip is all about promoting his post. It's PR, not Content Marketing. I doubt it will be archived on YouTube or added to a blog post.
  • Speed Bump - In this case, the purpose of the clip is to slow down the reader to give them a moment to attract the clickthrough.
  • Movie Mode - Video is the perfect format for a professional speaker. John is at his best when he's speaking. 
  • Focus on Why - A promo clip is not about how to do something. It's all about why. The Call To Action (CTA) is read John's newsletter.

The only suggestion we had for John was to shoot in landscape. Not sure what I mean? Grab you phone and go stand in front of your TV or screen. Hold up your phone. If they are both wider than tall, you've got it right. The only exception is when your video is for Snapchat.

I'm most excited to be working with John and Teri to extend his reach beyond his subscriber-base.  


If the headline about made you feel a bit queasy, it's a sign that at the very least, you are aware of what's about to happen. Almost 70% of 1,300 business leaders worldwide agreed with a key finding of KPMG International's CEO Outlook report. The next 3 years will be the most challenging, all because of digital disruption. Will you be ready? Three of my Digital Daily posts last week outlined the problem for restaurants here in Jacksonville. In less than a month, the Hogan Street Food Truck Court has literally taken the lunch of established downtown restaurants.  The Jacksonville Business Journal quoted one owner, "We just want to be on even playing field". With the digital disruption technology brings to the table, "Even playing field" has left the building.

Dealing with Digital Disruption

It's not going to go way. Established companies who hold out the hope that it's just a fad are the ones who will go way. Here are three ways your company can get ready for the disruption to come and an opportunity.

Connect Your Digital Dots

Draw a single vertical line down a blank sheet of paper. In the left-hand column, write down all your business processes that are slow, tedious, repetitive. In the right-hand column, jot down the technology you already own or are looking to acquire. Now, draw a line to connect the processes with the tools. Congratulations, you've just identified where disruption will occur in the near future. 

Focus on Techniques Instead of Tools 

Far too often businesses focus on acquiring technology tools instead of focusing on business processes that will increase sales and profit. Technology should never be an expense, it should be an investment in growth, efficiency, effectiveness. Pick one process and go all in. Combine the tools you already have to with a process to improve your business performance. 

Develop Your Talent 

Not your personal talents, your people. Like you, they are more than a bit puzzled and overwhelmed by technology. Creating a learning plan that leverages free and low-cost learning resources available from technology vendors often doubles, not the cost, but the value of your technology investment.  

Opportunity to Disrupt

All industries will be impacted. What I am most excited about today is the opportunity to transform an industry right here in Jacksonville. I've been hired by the University of North Florida to teach Jacksonville's very first, "Dealing With Digital Disruption" course. It for public relations professionals and those who practice PR on a daily basis. I will be speaking about the topic and wil introduce the course on April 18, 2017, at UNF. Please Save The Date now, and get ready to hear more about this exciting opportunity.   

This week we have focused on spring cleaning. First your inbox, then your Apps. Yesterday I shared an inside look that using Evernote to capture ideas and information as it streams by on social. Today let's get real about the Cloud. J. Kevin Parker's post, Why You Need a Unified Information Strategy lays out a strategy you and your organization can use to deal with all that data.

 It's 8:15 am. Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

It's time you moved your data files to the Cloud. It's where all your programs and Apps live. It's time to move your data off your hard drive. I know what you're thinking. What if you get hacked? The only folks who need to worry are political parties and celebrities with sex tapes. For everyone else, the benefits of Cloud storage vastly outweigh the unreasonable fear of breach of privacy or data loss. The benefits include:

  • All your data, available all the time, from anywhere, on all your devices. I have a Kindle library. I can read any book, on any device. It's part of Amazon architecture.
  • Never lose another file, ever. I use Dropbox for Cloud storage. It's integrated into my folder structure. It performs a backup (syncing) in the background, continuously. Eliminates the need for a separate file backup system.
  • Collaboration is much simpler with the Cloud. You can share a file or an entire folder with members of your team. 
  • Storing your data in the cloud eliminates the need to track duplicate copies of your file. 

Two years ago I moved all my files to the Cloud. In my experience, not only does the Cloud have a silver lining; if you are ready for a unified information strategy, it's golden.


Have you ever discovered something important on Facebook, forgot to make a note of it, then suffered the frustration of losing it to the feed?  If you have, you'll love Evernote. It's a cloud-based platform for capturing, storing and retrieving important information. It's a place to keep your stuff. 

Social media is great when used for discovery. However, it's a terrible place to try to store and make sense of what's happening. Evernote helps make sense of what's happening in your world, It's a virtual notebook. Although it's a simple concept of notes and notebooks, it's a challenge to implement. It would be great if you could see it in action, learn by example, watch an expert use Evernote to create value. You can. 

The folks at Evernote have once again captured all the notes from the annual SXSW Conference. The week-long event is too big, too broad, with too many moving parts to allow you to both experience and capture at the same time. Not to worry, Evernote has captured all the sessions for you.

If you use Evernote, visit the resource link below to access and download professional notes from the conference. If you want to check out this thing called Evernote, or have been thinking about acquiring the platform, this is a great way to see what it can do in the hands of experts.

This notebook is an amazing resource.There are separate notes for each presentation. Each note includes photos, charts,  a session summary, and links to related resources.  


Access the Evernote SXSW Notebook - Insights on the future of work.

Why not just kick the Apps we don't use to the curb? We promise ourselves, "Just one more." Soon we have so many it is impossible to let go. It's not easy to figure out which Apps are used the most or the least. In an article from USAToday, This is how to decide which Apps to delete from your phoneauthor Rob Pegoraro suggests three ways and two Apps you can use to figure out how to lighten up your App load. I know, yes there really is an App to help you choose which Apps to delete.

Moment for iPhone and QualityTime for Android track your usage or battery drain to give you a picture of how, when and why you use your phone. Read Rob's report to see if you're ready to invest the effort.  

 Focus - The Power of Personal Productivity

If you are starting to experience App bloat, take immediate action. Scroll to the last screen on your phone. This is where new Apps live. Delete any App you haven't used this year. Free or paid, you can always reinstall if you develop symptoms of withdrawal. Next, scroll to the first screen. Identify any App you haven't used since New Years. Drag it to the last screen. Repeat as necessary. Now you have room on screen one for the App you use daily but can't find because it's hiding somewhere in the middle.   

 Combine Rob's tips with my App shuffle and your phone will soon be slim and trim by Summer!


The truth lies somewhere in between. It's like the weather. Everyone complains about it, but no one does anything about it. At least with email, the IT community is constantly searching for a solution. In a recent post from CMSWire, Email Isn't the Enemy, The Fight For Our Limited Attention Is author David Lavenda offers 7 tactics to deal with the challenge.

Let me round out David's list with 3 of my own.

Admit you have a problem

Not by complaining, but by acknowledging the challenge and committing to taking action toward a solution. My work requires me to gather information and intelligence on people, trends and tactics, both what's happening as well as what's next. Reading industry newsletters is important, but not urgent. My manual process includes opening each, then choosing to delete or delay reading by moving to a Newsletter folder. 

Unsubscribe With Prejudice 

I do not suffer time-wasting authors. I extend the 3 editions rule to anyone I invite to my inbox. If your newsletter is not a must open, you will be shown the door. Unsubscribe is not a trick to capture your email address. They already have it. Unsubscribe with abandon.

Make Reading a Ritual

Never open an email without having an exit strategy. Commit to taking action. Any action is better than closing the message and leaving it in your inbox. 

Let's start here. If you're reading this post as an email, consider this, does it create value for you? If not, please unsubscribe right now. I don't want to be that unwelcome guest you choose to hide from when I arrive at your door.

If this daily edition creates value for you, consider forwarding to an associate, as a gift. Don't forget to mention the subscribe now link below. See you tomorrow!

Subscribe now.

The Food Truck War came to Jacksonville last summer. It was an event similar to a battle of the bands. Competition between trucks gathered together at the landing and extending to Hogan street. Less than a month after downtown advocates Mike Field and Jack Shad launched The Court Urban Food Park on Hogan St Jacksonville, the bold city now has an actual food truck war. Not much more than grumbling, for now.

The central question comes down to competition. How do you define fair? The answer depends on which stakeholder you ask. Established restaurant owners let their concerns be known in a recent Jacksonville Business Journal article, Hogan food truck court final straw for restaurant owners struggling to Downtown. Downtown office workers cast their vote in person, by packing Hogan Street for lunch on weekdays.  

Innovation Meets Legislation

The court, or "Pod" as the food truck community refers to a scheduled location for a caravan, is a new addition to downtown Jacksonville other that during special events. This conflict is not specific to Jacksonville. Throughout the country, calls for more or tougher rules for food trucks has often been the first response. The tactic doesn't work. Other cities have discovered that walls built of rules rarely drive food trucks away.

For a quarter century, I've worked with successful established businesses here in Jacksonville who wanted to leverage the power of technology. Our work started not with software or systems, but with a change of mindset. Unless and until all the stakeholders gather together, downtown Jacksonville will have to wait for innovation. Perhaps if we invited everyone to lunch?



I had lunch yesterday with SOB. Not a person, but with a Food Truck. Son of a Butcher. And I wasn't alone. I chatted with a number of first-time patrons who remarked reading the Jacksonville Business Journal article, Hogan food truck court final straw for restaurant owners struggling to Downtown gave them the idea. To focus on the clash of two business models would be a disservice to both. It would obscure the most important lesson Jacksonville desperately needs to learn right now. Digital disrupts. Not just owners, or companies, but whole industries.

It's easy to focus on the human cost. Lost jobs, the end of an era, fading memories of good times past. The true cost is borne by our local economy. For every breathless announcement of coming attractions, there is a business obituary of another downtown business giving up the ghost. 

It doesn't need to happen. Jacksonville has everything it needs to turn this situation around. All we need is a different approach, it started when we adopt a digital mindset.

First Steps

Key findings from the annual CEO Summit Report published by KPMG International articulate the challenge. Between now and the year 2020, all industries will experience disruption. Business leaders must choose, disrupt their organization or be disrupted by close competitors. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Secret Shopper - I started my career with McDonald's. The best lesson I learned was served up while attending Hamberger High in Los Angeles. We piled into cars and ate at 20 fast food outlets. Texas Tommy's had a line around the block at 2 am. I visited the Hogan Food Truck Court. I found the longest line, chatted with the customers and the operators. There's a reason why food trucks draw a crowd.

Research - Consider going online and identifying what's working. Can't use a computer? Learn how, find someone who can, or close up shop. 

Customer Experience - Food Trucks are all about the experience. I saw groups of co-workers sitting at a picnic table. They were laughing, having a good time.

Start a Movement - I'm encouraged to hear the news of a downtown restaurant association. Food trucks compete but start with collaboration. Customers love the variety and festival atmosphere.

Jacksonville has plenty of successful, established traditional businesses. If you lead one, disrupt it before someone else does. Please.