About Conversation Kindling

The purpose of this blog is to share stories, metaphors, quotes, songs, humor, etc. in hopes they'll be used to spark authentic and rewarding conversations about working and living fruitfully. There are at least three things you can gain by getting involved in these conversations. First, you'll discover new and important things about yourself through the process of thinking out loud. Second, you'll deepen your relationships with others who participate by swapping thoughts, feelings, and stories with them. Finally, you'll learn that robust dialogue centered on stories and experiences is the best way to build new knowledge and generate innovative answers to the questions that both life and work ask.

I write another blog called My Spare Brain. This is where I am "storing" ideas for use in future books, articles, blog posts, speeches, and workshops. There is little rhyme or reason for what I post there. I do this to encourage visitors to come as treasure hunters looking for new ways of seeing and thinking vs. researchers looking for new or better answers to questions they already know how to ask.

29 October 2009


My friend Josh Klein, young hacker of everything, told me I'm not too old to twitter. I decided to give it a shot. That was three and a half weeks ago. I've managed six tweets. I'm struggling. But, I'm optimistic. I've already got 40 followers. Is that good? No, but it's a start.

In addition to telling me my age should not stop me from jumping on the twitter bandwagon, Josh suggested that I start off by using twitter as a scanning tool for new ideas. Huh? "Simple enough," he said. "Just find some really smart tweeters and start to follow them." That made sense to me, so I asked him how to separate the smart tweeters from the not-so-smart ones. "There's no one way to do it," he said, "but if I were you I'd pay special attention to the ones who have the most followers." And so I did. Here are some of the folks I'm following:
Whoa! What is that all about? Almost 620,000 people following something called shitmydadsays? Can't be true! And yet, it is.

Some background. shitmydadsays debuted on August 3rd. For those of you who are counting, that's not quite three months ago. As of today 64 tweets are posted. The tweeter is Justin (no last name mentioned). Here's how he describes himself and what he is doing:
"I'm 29. I live with my 73-year-old dad. He is awesome. I just write down shit that he says."
That's it? Yep. "Well then," you say, "his dad must say some pretty smart things to attract so many followers." I don't know about that. Here are a few examples. Judge for yourself.
"You're being fucking dramatic. You own a TV and an air mattress. That's not exactly what I'd call a lot to lose."
"You need to flush the toilet more than once...No, YOU, YOU specifically need to. You know what, use a different toilet. This is my toilet."
"It's just a fucking june bug, calm down. Jesus Christ, what happens when something bigger than a testicle attacks you?"
"I like the dog. If he can't eat it, or fuck it, he pisses on it. I can get behind that."
Rather bawdy, wouldn't you say? How about brilliant? Maybe. Maybe not. Funny? Yes and no.

How about 620,000 followers in less than 90 days? That's the important question here, and in the answer you're likely to unearth some secrets to building a highly recognizable and attractive brand.

  • Justin used just four words - shit ... my ... dad ... says - to both name and position his offering. Can you do the same for yours?
  • Justin used earthy language to communicate with his audience. Do you think he would've attracted as many followers if he'd cleaned up his act ... if he had said pearls of wisdom from my father - or something akin to that - for example?
  • Can you use the same approach and language to build your brand via social media that you did using traditional media? If so, how so? If not, why not?
"If we left brand differentiation to most CEOs, most companies would stand for "quality, service, and innovation," and there would be even less differentiation than there already is." - Blaise James, Gallup global brand strategist, as quoted by Gallup Management Journal
"'Can't please everyone' isn't just an aphorism, it's the secret of being remarkable." - Seth Godin, writing in his blog
"In every generation there has to be some fool who will speak the truth as he sees it." - Boris Pasternak
"The course of every intellectual, if he pursues his journey long and unflinchingly enough, ends in the obvious, from which the non-intellectuals have never stirred." - Aldous Huxley
"I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue." - Martin Buber

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