Archive for Platform

Are You Sacrificing Your Core for the Elusive Cutting Edge?

As I boarded a flight at the Akron-Canton Airport for Boston to attend the Association of Health Care Journalists annual conference, I brought with me my trusty Kindle Fire HD.

Old school notebook

‘I sat there for a long time unable to read anything. Then I pulled out a small notebook and a pen and started to write this blog post!’

I have so many books on it, ranging from The Story Template, Simply Jesus, Click Millionaires, Necessary Endings, EntreLeadership, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Princess Grace, How to Deliver a TED Talk, APE: Author, Publisher, Editor and others, it was tough deciding which would I would read on the two-hour flight.

I finally settled on Simply Jesus by N.T. Wright.

I sat down and started reading the book. I highlighted a passage I found to be particularly profound about how the teachings and sayings of Jesus made sense to some people who considered him the messiah, while those same words led others to want to assassinate him.

As I was typing in my note, the flight attendant repeated herself several times informing me and everyone else on the airplane to turn off all electronic devices and stow them away.

It seemed like it took me forever to write a very short note (I was in such a hurry I didn’t even capitalize Jesus and feel bad about it now), but I managed to get it recorded. I shut off the Kindle and settled in for the flight.

Before we could take off, the plane needed to be de-iced. It turned out to be about a 15-minute process. I sat there with my amazing and incredible Kindle (I really do love the device, you can see what I mean here, here, here and here, and if you are really ambitious, here) tucked under my left arm, and I waited and waited and waited for the plane to be de-iced so we could taxi down the runway, take off from the airport and reach a high-enough altitude so I could turn on my amazing and incredible Kindle.

I happened to notice a guy sitting across the aisle one row up who was reading The Wall Street Journal. I immediately thought he never has to fold up his newspaper and lay it down. Altitude means nothing to a newspaper reader on an airplane.

The lady next to me was involved in completing word searches printed in one of those magazines you would find in a dollar store.

The man to immediate right across the aisle was utilizing some old-school technology: He was reading a traditional paperback book.

Their encounters with the written word proceeded uninterrupted during the de-icing process. I, however, was not so fortunate.

I sat there, Kindle still clutched under my arm, and thought about how sometimes we are too quick to discard yesterday’s technologies, yesterday’s devices and yesterday’s ideas for new things that might relatively unknown, unproven and untested.

However, those old things served our parents and grandparents well. They were able to accomplish great things without computers, GPS units, smartphones, smart TVs, the Internet, Wi-Fi, Mi-Fi, Eye-Fi or Re-Fi (OK, maybe they needed Re-Fi).

As I sat on the airplane thinking about all of this, I pondered this question: Are we sacrificing our core for the elusive cutting edge?

I sat there for a long time unable to read anything. Then I pulled out a small notebook and a pen and started to write this blog post!


Spend a Day in My Shoes, Sort Of

Lately, when people have asked how I have been doing, instead of falling into a familiar rut and answering mindlessly, “OK” or “fine,” I have been finding myself pausing, reflecting for a moment and telling them, “I am doing great. I have a blessed life.”

Bobby Warren Wendi Warren Mary Taylor Josh Krajcik

Some of the components that make up Bobby Warren’s life, from the top, left: Being a member of Parkview Christian Church; getting to interview people like Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor as a reporter at The Daily Record; shooting video for newspaper website; being the husband of Wendi Warren; enjoying wonderful pets like Madison; playing in Parkview’s praise band with people like Steve Hanna; and hanging out with Josh Krajcik before a concert with The Daily Record’s Lydia Gehring.

And, I do have a wonderful life. If you look at the collage above, you will see just a small sample of the things that make up my life, like church, getting to interview people like Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor or shoot video for a Josh Krajcik interview; spend my life with my wonderful wife, Wendi Warren; enjoy our pets like Madison; and play in Parkview’s praise band with the likes of Steve Hanna.

Here is a typical day for me:

  1. Wake up and ease into my day. I might check to see who’s beating me on Words with Friends; log into Google+, Facebook, Twitter; check out my previous day’s stats on this blog; look to see if me or my wife, Wendi, sold any more books (see here and here); and see if there have been any sales through my Amazon affiliate links.
  2. Once awake, talk with Wendi before she leaves for work. This, of course, happens if I actually get out of bed before she heads to work.
  3. Read the Bible and pray. I have been reading Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai and Zechariah because I teach a Sunday School class, and we have been focusing on this period in Israel’s history.
  4. Get ready and head to work. My full-time job is working as a reporter for The Daily Record in Wooster, Ohio. I get to meet a lot of interesting people, and I really enjoy what I do.
  5. Come home and eat. Self-explanatory.
  6. Engage in various activities. Depending upon the day of the week or month, I might be covering a night event or meeting for the newspaper; I might be in a men’s ministry meeting; I might be watching TV, performing magic somewhere or practicing with the praise team (I play bass); I might be writing, editing or laying out a book; checking and rechecking my social networks and Words with Friends; hanging out with Wendi; reading a book; working on a Sunday School lesson; or writing a blog.

My life is hectic, but not really stressful. I hope you have enjoyed a day in my shoes, sort of. I have a great wife who makes me better and supports my endeavors. I am truly blessed. What about you?

Purveyor of Words Loses Sale Due to, Well, Words

When I started this blog, I had a lot to learn about blogging, which is much more than writing thoughts down and uploading them to a website.

Words on Page

I started learning more about search engine optimization, content marketing systems, WordPress themes and marketing, in general. I was intrigued by a content marketing system offered for sale. The opening words of the promotion informed me the special price, which was a very attractive one, was only available “this week.”

I made a mental note of “this week,” and because it was early in the week, I knew I had time. I went about my business and waited until the end of the week to make my purchase.

I don’t what “this week” means to you, but it means to at least 11:59 p.m. Saturday. In the United States, Saturday is the recognized end of the week, and Sunday begins a new one.

When I jumped onto the website to transact business, the price was the original, higher one. It was not the sale price. I went back to the email to make sure I clicked the right link, and then I reread the email. Turns out, “this week” actually meant “by 4 p.m. Friday.” Our definitions did not match. The pitch used words I knew, but infused a different meaning into them.

Let me just say, I recognize I did not fully read the ad, so ultimately I am responsible for missing out on the sale. Still, the marketing material could have been written better. Namely, it could have clearly articulated the true deadline.

The company offers a content marketing system. Content is made up of several elements, including words. In this instance, those words failed — if for no one else, then at least for this sale.

When you find yourself in a position to ask others to purchase your product or service, incentives are a good way to go. Deadlines provide a good way to spur action. However, when you do, be clear with your potential customers, list the information up front and do not bury the relevant information. Also, if you are like me, read all of the information. Don’t skim.

This is important to remember, even in our everyday lives: Let people understand what is expected. There will be fewer misconceptions and more rewards.

What Do You Say, When You Don’t Know What to Say?

Traffic to The Z Section was higher than normal early Wednesday. I had no clue as to why. Could it be I wrote such a stellar blog post? Maybe.

But it turned out that was not the case. I noticed that I was getting some referrals from Michael Hyatt’s blog about Intentional Leadership (check out his wonderful blog here … and subscribe to it!).

I figuratively scratched my head and wondered why I was getting traffic from Hyatt’s blog, but I was busy with other stuff, so I kept moving. Every time I checked on my site stats (and I can get OCD about them as I try to build a platform), the number kept increasing at a higher than normal pace at a higher than normal clip. (At 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, I was just three page views away from previous best. Update: I was just one page view away from my best at the end of the day.)

Finally, late in the afternoon, I checked out the referral link from Hyatt’s blog, and lo, and behold, but what do my wondering eyes discover: He posted his latest “This is Your Life” podcast about changing your story and changing your life. He had solicited questions from his blog readers, and my question about how faith played into that was selected along with six others.

Read more

Great Deal on Kindle Version of @MichaelHyatt’s Platform, Only $3.99

If you desire to be an author or sell more books, then you better get over to right now to purchase Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Michael Hyatt’s incredible book.

Michael Hyatt: Platform

I keep meaning to write a proper review of the book because I am so impressed with it. If you read the reviews on Amazon, Hyatt gets a lot of 5-star reviews, but there are also some 1-star reviews. The main complaint from these people seems to be that the content of his book appears to come largely from his blog and that the book is choppy.

I do not understand this train of thinking. Anyone who has read Hyatt’s blog knows how practical he is and how teaching flows through his posts. Platform is an incredible book, and for $3.99 it is like stealing it from him.

I cannot endorse this book enough for an aspiring writer or one looking to go down the trail of self-publishing. You need a platform from which to speak and an audience to hear you. Follow Hyatt’s advice, and you will not go wrong.

I have no clue how long the book will be sold for $3.99, but I would jump on it now. You can do so here.

Disclosure time: The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. You know what that means, and if you don’t, just ask.


Read These 5 Books and You Will Start that Business You Always Wanted To

Want to turn your passion into a profession? Your desires into dollars? Your yearnings into earnings? You get the picture.

I have always wanted to have my own business, which led me to starting a desktop publishing business and a creating a newsletter geared toward families more than a decade ago. I tried and failed, but I never stopped yearning to have a business. I wish I knew then what I knew now.

I am reading five books that have absolutely reshaped my vision for what a business is. For me, a business is not a storefront. It is an ability to earn money doing what I love, and it is going to be online.

In some upcoming posts, I will give you some insights into what is happening in my world regarding a business (spoiler alert: It ends with me writing Sunday School materials in the evenings while working as a full-time journalist during my days). But, let me share with you how these five books are transforming me.

  1. Timothy Ferriss: The 4-Hour Workweek: This book provides a wealth of information. It will have you reexamining your life and your work, and it will inspire you to think of a product or find something to sell online, but only after you test out your marketing. It will teach you how to automate parts of your business and deal only with those things that really need a decision from you. One of the most helpful things is how Ferriss links his readers with where to find things, where to buy things, where to get a designer, a celebrity endorsement and a manufacturer, if needed.
  2. Chris Guillebeau: The $100 Startup: Talk about an inspirational book. Guillebeau will teach you how to create a microbusiness, something small that will help you earn a decent living so you can have the lifestyle you always wanted. There is a lot of good practical advice about how to come up with a product (even if it is an informational product, ebook, DVD lessons, online courses, etc.), market it, test it, launch it and then start looking for the next big thing. This book and “The 4-Hour Workweek” will get you excited about going into business for yourself.
  3. Michael Hyatt: Platform: Get Noticed in a Busy World: I am a big fan of Michael Hyatt. He offers nothing but imminently practical tips and advice on his blog. I started this blog based on advice he posted. Hyatt will take you by the hand and demonstrate how to establish a platform, build an audience and engage your fans, followers and tribe. The man meticulously documents just about everything he does, which is good for us. He will show you how you can do it, but it will take time and effort. This is a must-have book.
  4. Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book: If you want to write books, then this is the book for you. Kawasaki and Welch will walk you through everything you need to know about writing the book, editing the book, designing the cover, marketing the book, promoting the book and selling the book as a self-publisher. I have already incorporated some of the tips the authors share. If you read this, then the likelihood of you ever seeking to have a book published in the traditional manner will go out the window.
  5. Mike Michalowicz: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur: I must admit, I have not spent as much time with this book as with the others (bear in mind I am reading all of them at the same time, not one by one), and I purchased it solely on the strength of the reviews. The language can be coarse, but I am working my way through this. Part of the reason I bought it was this blurb in the description: “Which three sheets of paper you need to successfully launch, manage and grow your business.” While I wholeheartedly recommend books 1-4, I am not at the point of saying you need to get this one, but it is one that I have been reading.

There is a lot of overlap with these books in regard to content, but that is OK with me. I see it as reinforcing what I have learned and helping me understand it better.

But the true value of all of these books is that they have shown me how to determine whether a passion of mine is a viable business opportunity. It might not be.

If you have an inkling to start a business, then check these books out. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Disclosure: You should know, all of the above links are Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase, then I will earn a small percentage. Depending upon the cost of the book, it could be anywhere between 40-60 cents.

@MichaelHyatt Will Inspire You to Blog (and Stay at It) in This Video


I don’t know Michael Hyatt, but he has been kind to reply to some of my comments on his blog ( and respond to some of my tweets. I am a big fan of his. His blogs, podcasts and videos have inspired and influenced me more than he will ever know. So, when he announced his latest secret project here, I had to see what it was all about.

I hope you will follow the links and check out what he is up to. I started watching the first video, which you can view below, and I was absolutely inspired to stick with blogging.

One of the things he said was very encouraging, and it reminds me of a story I once heard about a rabbi being asked when the best day to repent was. In the video, Hyatt says the best time to start building a platform was eight years ago, and the second best time is today. (As for the rabbi, he was asked when the best day to repent was. He told the man, “The day before you die.” The man told the rabbi he did not know when he was going to die. “Then, the second best day to repent is today.”)

What I found so encouraging about the video is how Hyatt explains that his platform was not built in a day. In some respects, it languished for years, even though it was steadily expanding. His book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Busy World, provides the tools to start building your platform today and helps you to avoid some of the challenges he faced.

To hear about his blog’s modest growth and how he essentially drew a line in the sand and committed to blogging is refreshing to hear. If you are not blogging today, you probably will by then end of the day. You can watch his video below, and I also encourage you to check out his new project using the link above.

Additionally, as way of disclosure, I am an Amazon affiliate and will make a small commission if you buy Hyatt’s book via the link above.

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