Thursday, April 1, 2010


So it's official, I've combined Tidbits from The Marketing Nerd and Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd into one spot at

I figured there was no reason to keep 2 blogs going when I can just categorize my topics and now have added some additional categories that will highlight things we're doing at the J.C. Hart Company with our marketing as well as my little project with Duncan Alney called The Resident Connection.

Thanks for following me here, but all the good stuff is over at now. Hope you like it. Cheers to innovation!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

For those of you that follow me as "The Apartment Nerd" you're most likely familiar with my video posts and with my activity on I recently made a comment on a post over at MFI entitled "Resident Retention: Dare I Say It - Don't Believe the Hype". In summary, the post was using survey data results that asked renters what way they prefer to be contacted. I thought interpretation of the results was out of context as people don't use social media in the fashion that the question was suggesting, and people continue to miss the point in regards to social media in general. So I wanted to share my comment here as I'm trying to make a point about "buzz". Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.
So here's the deal. I think the majority is measuring the success of social media wrong. It's not about leads, and it's not like traditional communication. Let's stop and think about this for just a moment. When the majority of the world signs up for facebook they don't think, "Cool, I'll be able to fan my apartment community, or Apple, or Walgreens." Nor do they go on Twitter with the goal to follow a bunch of major brands. They go on these sites to connect with people. An apartment community is not a person, and that is what many are missing. Yet, many are afraid to take the humans that are representing their brands in person and have them represent their brands (as a human) online.

The mistake being made is that the approach to social media from a brand perspective is not being human enough. People don't engage with a brand, people engage with people. Think about that and look at your current approach online. Social media is not like your website or your brochure. It is a place to be a real person, and a person that represents a brand. Instead of measuring your social media success with statistics from counting calls or asking people about a preferred method of contact start measuring on "buzz". Is there a buzz about what you are doing, and are people talking about it. It's the buzz that matters. Just like having a pool party, giving a cool move-in gift, or just offering great service, that creates buzz. We don't measure that, but we know it's critical to our resident's experience. That's how social media works. It's another opportunity to create buzz.

There are definitely plenty of ways to waste time trying to create buzz, and everyone needs a great strategy. I'm tired of hearing about content, content, content. If that content doesn't create buzz and doesn't come across as "human" then you have wasted your time. I'm not saying that content in general won't get you some Google juice, but it's not likely to get you any buzz. And that's what I'm measuring.

On a side note, I do believe that social media sites, blogs, etc. can be built to look like web pages or brochures and they can be used for those purposes. Why not, they are essentially free resources. However, those efforts should be kept separate from ones that your are trying to create "buzz" with. I actually encourage people to have a little bit of both as it can be great in expanding your online brand as a whole.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Student of the Game

I am amazed. We watch sports, especially professional sports like golf, football, basketball, and baseball, and I'm amazed at how many people focus on the physical talent or the statistics. The press is the worst at glorifying talent and basing it off of statistics mainly. We see year after year a guy that leads the tour in driving distance, someone that has the most rushing yards, or someone with the most homeruns get so much credit for these measurable statistics. Statistics that without many other factors don't necessarily result in winning.

So I have a problem with this because I don't think enough credit is given to the "true student of the game." The person that is not focused on their talent to perform, but on their drive to be better. Now, I'm not trying to be short sighted and say that true students of the game don't have great talent to be professional athletes (of course they do). What I am saying is that students of the game continue to find a way to one up their competition. Not because they just try harder, but because they strive to understand what it takes to be better. It's a mental exercise and not a physical exercise.

In thinking about this I compare the idea to business. In business, the person that relies on their product to be successful can win. We've seen this happen with numerous fads and "As Seen On TV" products. We've even seen this with numerous commodities that generate revenue. The challenge comes in sustaining success based off of 1 idea or off a price driven model. This is even more challenging when economic conditions like we have today put a strain on pricing, and when new technology or copycats can easily trump the uniqueness of your 1 product. This is why, in my mind, the true students of the game are better poised to win.

The true student of the game is ready to seize the opportunity when it presents itself. The true student of the game does not rest on their laurels. The true student of the game continues to raise the bar for expectations. The true student of the game does not accept mediocrity. The true student of the game exhausts all their resources available and seeks more. The true student of the game does not make excuses. The true student of the game knows when to be patient and make adjustments. The true student of the game makes the game what it is.

What else? What makes you a true student of the game? Being a student of the game applies to anyone. How can you refocus to be a better student regardless of your position?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You Can't "Crush It" to a Degree

Many of you that follow me know that I am a fan of what Gary Vaynerchuk has done. I'll admit, I don't religiously watch Wine Library TV, and at first I honestly thought the guy was obnoxious. I didn't really appreciate what he was doing until I decided to watch this keynote speech he gave.

Since then, Gary has shared a number of other keynotes, thoughts, best practices, and released his book Crush It! It's been interesting to follow him and share what he has done with others. It seems like no one, and I mean NO ONE, knows (for the most part) who this guy is outside of the online nerd world. I'll talk to wine stewards at restaurants and local liquor store wine experts that have no idea who he is. Even with that, he is wildly successful and his book was on the NY Times bestseller list for quite awhile.

Gary blogs on a regular basis and chooses a video format to share his thoughts. While his messages are similar, they are most always relevant and touch on the concept to "Crush It". They may have a different angle or tidbit beyond what he wrote for the book, but that's why the Internet is so awesome. We don't have to wait for him to write another book. Very much so why I enjoy Seth Godin as well.

So with this success and transparency comes criticism. In a recent post Gary suggests to "just grab it". He shares a good point and as usual most everyone that comments is in agreement with him. However, further down in the comments you can read thoughts from "Rick". Rick seems to be a bit stuck in his quest to "Crush It" and is reaching out/challenging Gary to bring more to the table. Here's what Rick had to say:
Hey Gary,

I don't know if and when you'll read this but I hope it gets to you someway and somehow. I've read your book and I believe that I understand it what you say it takes to "Crush It". I've looked at every single video on this blog. I watched many of your video wine shows. I've seen you on at least a dozen shows being interviewed by the media. I've been following you for about 3.5 years and I've
seen your growth. I get it or at least I think I do after hearing you say many of the same things a half dozen different ways.

However, and I think I speak for the masses here why don't you put your money where your mouth is. I don't mean this in a derogatory way and I will explain exactly what I mean. I'm looking for your response here and not your followers even though many will come to your aid as they will deem my post inflammatory. I want you to know up front that I am not trying to garner any name for myself so I'm going to purposely leave off my website and I will only use my first name.

If nothing else I hope you respond for the general masses. I know your book is doing well and so it should be. I know you give away tons of free content and I thank you for that. I realize that we live in a "thank you" economy and for no other reason that may be why so many people bought the book. I bought it in pre-release because I knew if you had your hands in it that it would be content filled. After reading I'm still 100% certain that I know how to Crush It. I'm being totally honest and transparent because I know that is what you would want.

But I think it's time to take this game to another level. Are you up for the challenge? Are you ready to Cr
ush It? Are you ready to help your community Crush It and Grab It? If so, here's what I'm proposing. This list is by no means exhaustive.

I have to admit what I'm about to share with you is not my idea. I heard about it and I feel that since I've been around the Internet it is one of the most brilliant ideas that I've seen suggested. So here goes.

People remember
10% of what they hear about
30% of what they see in action
50% of what they hear, see and are able to explain to others
70% of what they hear, see and do
90% of what they analyze, do and are able to explain to others

You could argue the above numbers but there is no denying that the percentages increase significantly fr
om the first scenario to the last. Have you actually taught people how to Crush It when they haven't learned? I know how much you care about people so please be honest with yourself as you answer this question. Unfortunately, when those that follow you fail in a sense you've failed. When those that hang on your every word fail to Crush It, you've actually have failed to Crush It regardless of how many books you sell.

The new models says: (you may already do some of this but how much more could you do?)

Rather than Preach ----Prove in the now..this year...2010
Rather than Lecture ---Listen
Rather than Coach--Communicate
Rather than Direct-- Demonstrate
Rather than Persuade -- Participate with your community
Rather than Explain -- Experience with your community
Rather than Sell -- S
erve (you do this to a very high degree now)

The benefits to your community and you....
Your training is fresh and in the now not something back in 2005. The Internet is changing fast as we both know.
You create great case studies in the now
Market saturation is non existent because there are an infinite number of ideas
True credibility based on current knowledge
Many new income streams created
Frees you up to build on many more ideas and requires much less of your time

You mentioned in your book some business ideas that you think are going to be big in 2010 but you will not have time to get to. Why don't you take some people who are willing to learn through the process of what you say it takes to Crush It.

Show don't tell. I haven't worked out all of the bugs or the methodology in what I'm proposing but I have a sneaking suspicion that if the business model doesn't change on how you impart information you will be saying much of what you said in 2009 in 2010.

does the preacher keep preaching the same sermon every Sunday? Because the people haven't started implementing none of what he said from the last sermon. I have a strange feeling that the preacher might not be doing much of what he's preaching about in the pulpits. If he is he's doing a very poor job of imparting that information to his congregation.

Frankly I'm tired of the "gurus" talking about this is what I did and if you follow exactly what I did you can achieve the results you desire. How many times does the guru have to say those words before the realize they are quite ineffective? I don't think the masses of people are lazy or soft. I think that many of them just don't know what to do and how to do it.

Gary put your money where you mouth is and help more people Crush It by showing them rather than talking about it. Not just showing them what you do but showing them how to do it for themselves. Teach them how to fish....please. If not you then who?

I love you Gary.
After reading this I not only felt compelled to respond, but also wanted to share this with those of you that follow this blog. I know I don't write too much here and mostly focus on my apartment marketing, but I found this to be an interesting story to tell. Here's my comment to Rick:
Rick, I'm not sure how much more Gary can show you "How to Crush It"? It sounds to me you are suggesting he help people start their businesses. I don't believe Gary has suggested that if one follows exactly what he does they will get the results desired. What he suggests is that you (or anyone) has an opportunity to build something. All the tools are at our finger tips, but we have to go out and apply them the best way that fits us individually and/or our businesses.

There is no cookie cutter approach to being successful or to social media. Gary has shared and continues to share best practices or ideas to point people in the right direction, but it's going to take someone's unique passion and vision for what they want to do to make them successful. I think asking Gary for vision for each and every person he touches is an unfair request.

While I understand you are not attacking him here, I believe what you are asking of him is unrealistic. My point is that Gary himself could not take any and every product or business or industry an
d recreate what he has done with Wine Library by doing all the exact same things. The reason is not because selling wine is unique, it's just not his passion to schlep comic books, batteries, office supplies, insurance, or real estate. Could he do a fairly good job at it? I'm sure he could, but people would recognize he's missing the same passion he puts into wine or the Jets.

It's one's individual passion and vision that will create success. What many may gloss over and misunderstand is that this passion and vision are what's most important, it’s not the tools. It's the passion and vision that drive the content you create online. That's not something he can provide to each and every person. And even if he tried to help everyone with the vision, it’s still going to take the passion to “Crush It!”.

Now, I’m not trying to attack you or what you’ve done. I think it’s admirable for you to post this as many are probably feeling the same way. My question would be for you and others that are maybe
struggling with the concept of crushing it, “Do you love what you do?” Take a step back and really think about it. Most people will say yes, and they are probably right to a degree. It’s the degree that matters. To what degree do you love what you do. Gary is boiling over, where are you on the thermometer? Better yet, where do your customers perceive you to be on the thermometer?
I apologize for the length of the post. I'd love to hear thoughts from others on this. Do you love what you do? Where do you perceive yourself to be on the thermometer? Where do your customers perceive you to be?

Thanks for reading and enjoy your New Years!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Motorola Droid is great and I anticipate it getting better.

Chris Brogan picked up a Motorola Droid phone this past Friday, as did I. He wrote a nice review over on his blog, and I added some thoughts as well. Here's my comment below, and I encourage you to visit his blog to see his thoughts.

Chris, I got a Droid on Friday and have been impressed. I was not previously an At&t iPhone guy (due to the poor service), and ran with a Samsung Windows Mobile phone prior that connected extremely well with our Exchange Server at work. I really enjoyed that phone and have been waiting 2 years for a decent Verizon upgrade offering. Yea, Droid.

So far I'm happy with the Droid for all the reasons you described, and have had a few challenges as well.
- Turning off applications does seem to be a chore. While some have a menu option to do so, others just keep running. I'll have to find that app you were referring to that helps shut apps down.
- The touch screen is sensitive, and I'm getting used to it. One example of an issue I had with the screen is when using the keyboard to write an email. I guess this is both an issue with the email layout design and the sensitivity of the screen. I kept bumping the "Discard" button on the screen while trying to type the message.
- With synchronizing to the Exchange Server is was very easy to do and updates to server immediately with changes, but the email app that is on the phone does not organize my email folders the way I have them on my PC (they come in alphabetical instead). Need an Outlook or Microsoft app to take care of this. Calendar worked fine when synchronizing, but would like to sync notes and tasks possibly. Might need to just find an app for those.
- It seems I'm only able to attach photos to email messages, and I'm having trouble accessing other attachments on messages like pdfs, etc. I may be missing something, but it's not working for me.
- The battery can quickly drain while using, but seemed to last the entire day. I know my wife's iPhone can go a couple days without a charge, but I'll guess that my frequent use has led to a faster battery drain.
- I haven't messed around with importing music just yet, but hope I'll be able to bring in my iTunes library. The MP3 feature seems like it should work fine if I want to set up an account there. I do like to keep all my music in one place on iTunes and would prefer an iTunes app that syncs with the phone. Pandora does work extremely well and Verizon's network really helps support this app.

All together, I really look forward to using this phone more and to see how the app selection grows. I plan to use the camera for mobile video and image uploads using PixelPipe as well. Already tested some of that and works great. One thing you didn't mention is the Voice Recognition Google search. I think that tool works very well and is a great feature. TwitDroid seems to be a nice Twitter client as well. Look forward to hearing more of your thoughts as you use it. Enjoy your day!