Obama’s Lucky Charm


“This is actually my favorite,” is what Barack Obama said while revealing a handful of his current lucky charms to reporters. “It is like a little piece of luck.”

My friend Kaycee designed it and you can buy it (you wont believe how inexpensive it is!) at
Metal Morphosis
and btw, Kaycee told me “we did the Braille because we want people to feel the words, not just see them. Basically, talk the talk and walk the walk…”


Way to go, great work!

NonProfits Benefit from Social Media

Sometimes as global audiences we get inundated with “causes” that we ignore those “Donate” buttons because we see them over and over again.  Unfortunately for Non-Profits, the offline blindness they have to overcome has now really become the same issues online.  What’s worse is that some of these non-profits are getting bad advice about just starting up websites and “they willcome”.  I’m sorry to break this to the non-profits, just building astatic website anymore – won’t cut it.

Lilongwe Wildlife Center

Lilongwe Wildlife Center

Series of posters for Lilongwe Wildlife Center, Malawi. View all

Today I stumbled across the story of the Mara Triangle thanks to Twitter’s blog (see even when they are down, they are still good for something!). Mara Triangle is a wildlife park in Kenya which under the management of the Mara Conservancy helps to protect the wildlife from poachers.  Poachers are one of the biggest threats to the wildlife in this area, and with the conservancy in place, they are able to employ rangers to help protect the animals from these poachers.Up until last year, none of these rangers had likely even touched a computer.  Up until last year, the park solely ran off of the entrance fees to the park.  Up until last year, Kenya as a country was pretty stable. That all changed until this year’s election when political unrest erupted and put the entire tourism industry in Kenya into complete and utter chaos.  With no one coming to visit Kenya or the Mara Triangle, funds started to run out, fast.

Enter William Deed, prior to helping the Mara Conservancy, he lead what he pretty much terms as a “bored with his lot” life and started his own blog about Waiting in Line. That caught the eye of famed Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey andhis son-in-law, Emmanuel De Merode who run Wildlife Direct.  They tasked William with building blogs and getting the word out about the different wildlife projects under Wildlife Direct. In February Mara Triangle’s blog launched.  It was a slow build, but through word of mouth, news of this blog and what the rangers were doing started to spread.  The blog’s chief contributer is Josep hKimojino, a ranger in the park. He blogs just about every day, which is an amazing feat when you learn that he just click a mouse for the first time back in November. What makes this story even more compelling?  Joseph isn’t just blogging!  Joseph tweets on Twitter, he uploads photos just about everyday to Flickr, he loads videos to Vimeo and even helps to maintain the Facebook cause. Likely though what caught the eye of Wired magazineis the use of Twitter.  It’s also what caught my eye, and got me to click around and just be really amazed and excited.  There use of many different parts of social media just impressed me and made my jaw drop- photos like their’s usually tend to do that.  I felt compelled enough by the story they conveyed to give a monthly donation. Social media when used in the right way can convey compelling stories.

Whether its a blog, photos or even videos, social media allows emotions to be conveyed in ways no piece of paper or static website can.  Combining these powerful tools together can result intruly wonderful stories people just feel compelled to take up a causefor (or even buy a product or service). Are you telling your non-profit’s story in a compelling way?  Does your story touch your audience in a way like the Mara Triangle did me?


Big Bend

Working at 4500 ft with amazing views, wireless and drinking tea.
Basin at Chisos Mts., Big Bend National Park, TX.

Looking at

more photos soon…

Website Ownership Realities

According to a joint study conducted by Nielsen and WebVisible, 44% of small businesses do not have websites. So what is stopping these business owners from getting on the web?

There are a variety of possible reasons that vary from cost, technical ability, perceived usefulness, and preference for other methods of advertising. The biggest obstacle overall seems to be misinformation. All around the web, there are many myths that scare business owners away from launching their own websites…

Websites Are Inexpensive

Probably the most common deterrent is cost. Many businesses think that they cannot afford professional web development, along with all of the other upfront and ongoing fees that come with having a website. There are many options out there in all price ranges.

You Dont Need To Be Technologically Savvy

Many business owners also think that a person needs to be technologically savvy in order maintain the website after it is launched. However, this is also not true.

A good portion of websites today are built around content management systems (CMS), which enable you to easily edit content, all without any advanced skills. In fact, if you are familiar with using word-processing software, such as Microsoft Word, you will be easily able to use many content management systems.

Your Customers Are Online

For businesses that target a wide array of customers in various geographical regions, the need to have a website is fairly obvious. However, if your customers come primarily from your local community, you might not think it necessary to create a website.

But according to the study, your customers ARE using search engines to find you and are often frustrated at not being able to locate information about their local businesses. Also, because of not being able to find the businesses that they are looking for, they might choose to go to a competing business.

An overwhelming majority of searchers (92%) say they are happy with the results they get when using search engines, despite the fact that 39% report frequently not being able to locate a particular known business. Webvisible said this means that while searchers don’t always find the specific business, they may choose to contact a similar business with a stronger online presence.

So, why might local customers look for your business’ website online? Some reasons include:

  • additional information about your products or services
  • exact store location and directions
  • contact information such as a phone number, fax, or email
  • store hours

Traditional Advertising Methods

According to the study, many small businesses still rely heavily on traditional methods of advertising such as placing ads in the local newsletter or yellow pages. But the study also showed that people who are looking for companies are moving away from these methods in favor of the internet. So if potential customers are moving online, you should consider moving your business online as well.

Additionally, internet advertising has proven very useful and cost-effective. Some reasons why you need to consider the internet in your marketing strategies include:

  1. You can reach more people. Your website can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. So you can definitely reach more people than via other offline advertising methods.
  2. Your website works 24/7. A website is also available all the time. What this means is that when you close up shop for the day, or late at night when newsletters are no longer being distributed, your website is online, easily accessible by all of your potential customers.
  3. A website is cost-effective and sustainable. Advertising in the newsletter or yellow pages can be very expensive. But worst of all, it only lasts a short period of time. The yellow pages is typically only used 1-2 years, and newspapers are typically discarded within 1-7 days. With a website, you have a longer period of time to recoup your investment. And, based on the nature of the web and search engines, you will be able to take advantage of free advertising.

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