HOW TO: Make Work Not Feel Like Work

No matter how much you may love your job, there are always parts of it that are no fun. As my Dad used to say "They call it work for a reason."

But what if you could take those unpleasant parts of the job and make them fun? 

When I pledged my fraternity (Pi Kappa Phi) I had certain jobs I was required to do around the house as an associate member before I was initiated. The week before initiation my class gathered at the house nightly to perform tasks. These are tasks I have never enjoyed like cleaning the bathrooms, painting and removing a large tree from the front yard. 

But guess what - I had fun.

There is something about doing work with your friends that makes the duty seem light. We were laughing, telling jokes and removing a 50 foot tree and it's debris at the same time.

In the fraternity this is what we call Brotherhood. In the military it's called camraderie. In the Church it's called fellowship.

Leaders, you are responsible to build a team that gets along and respects each other and works toward a common purpose. Sprinkle in a good sense of humor and make the work fun.

Should Managers be Friends with their Employees?

Quick answer: Yes.

Recently I had a manager leave my company. As she was leaving she said she would like to come have lunch sometime and be friends with the people on our team. She explained she could not be friends while she was the manager.

I know this is popular thinking, but it is not accurate.

Good managers are also good leaders. To lead you have to be able to influence your followers to achieve the desired objectives.

I consider Jesus to be the best leader who ever lived. He developed and trained 12 core followers that eventually transformed the world. How did he treat his followers? He called them friends. And how did he define a friend? Someone who he would be willing to die for.*

So why are managers afraid to be friends with their employees? Most of the time the reason is learned behavior. This is what they have been told or shown by their leaders.

But those who truly understand what friendship is may shy away because of the commitment involved in truly sacrificing for the benefit of your followers.

An objection is that if you act like a friend then you would not be able to discipline or fire your subordinates. This is not true. I have been fired and needed to fire others. If the situation warrants it this is appropriate behavior. If someone is in the wrong role it is not "friendly" to have them continue.

A parent gives and loves sacrificially for their children, but the best ones still provide discipline when necessary.

So who influences you more: People who are committed to your success or people who are looking out for their own interests?

The best managers, and leaders, are your friends.

*John 15:13

HOW TO: Pass the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test (GAIQ)

Yes, I passed, w00t!

I did not even know there was a Google Analytics certification a week ago. When I stumbled across the designation I said "I should get me one of those." I've been using GA for years and figured a certification was within my grasp. It took me about 8 hours of study and $50, but I got it done.

OK, this is more the story of how I passed the test than an authoritative guide, but I hope it helps. I did the most logical thing first, I Googled "Study Guide for GAIQ." I found some great advice, but I think this post did the best job:

Passing the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Test

Everyone who has taken the test says to watch all the videos provided by Google in Conversion University and I concur. I usually hate watching videos for training because they tend to suit the slowest learners. I like to read, skim and hone in on things I don't already know. These videos are well done though. They are really more like slide shows with a few videos dispersed throughout. They go quickly so I paused and re-watched a few slides that I needed to study more.

I had a second laptop setup as suggested, but I found it was easier to open a second browser than to change computers. Note: You need a second browser not a second window in your browser. I used Chrome for the test and Firefox to look up answers I was unsure about.

One thing I did not like about the test were all of the questions that were not in the study materials. A few I could not find even after Googling for answers and scouring the GA help section. I took my best guess on those.

I did learn some new things by going through all of the training materials. Definitely worth the effort. If you are a regular user of GA, I recommend getting this certification. Good luck!

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Slides from My Word Camp STL Blogging for Brands Presentation

I gave this presentation at Word Camp Saint Louis this weekend. I'm posting the slides here as promised. If you have questions, or would be interested in seeing this presentation for your organization, let me know.

 

OVERVIEW: Getting Started with Google Analytics

Google-Analytics-Logo1.jpg

I put together this quick overview of Google Analytics for my clients. Google Analytics is a fantastic tool that every website owner should be using. It has so many powerful tools it can be overwhelming, but don't be intimidated.

Every site owner should have some key performance indicators (KPI's) that they track. Things like visitors, sales and traffic sources are easy to set up and follow.

And like a lot of Google products, Google Analytics is free. So get started by visiting Google.com/Analytics.

My Kid is the Speling Bee Champion

I have to brag. My 8 year old, third grade daughter, Isabella, won the school speling bee. She beat all of the third fourth and fifth graders at her school.

Tonight she will be competing against the other shools and junior highs in the district. She will even be competing against eigth graders.

How long has she been studying? She hasn't. We did not know about the speling bee until she came home and said she won.

If she should win tonight, which I think is a tall order against eighth graders, she will not move on because she is too young.

I'll post an update tomorrow to let you know what happens.

 

Here's Why My Website Never Goes Down: Squarespace

Midnight Bucket Brigade

I'm in my 5th year of using Squarespace for my website hosting. I was attracted to the ease of use and the unique look I can create with their site building software, but something else has gained my attention as of late. Their hosting. My site never goes down.

I listen to a lot of the podcasts on Leo Laporte's TWIT Network. It's great fun for tech geeks like me. They have quite a following. So large that every time they mention a website that website is inundated with traffic. And it goes down. Unless it's a Squarespace site.

Squarespace has their act together. When a site gets more traffic than usual, they are able to relieve the stress by balancing the load on their servers. Cool stuff.

But wait, there's more...

I got an email from team Squarespace last week explaining that their servers are located in lower Manhattan and that fuel to their last generator was running out. Hurricane Sandy had taken it's toll. I had a few hours until my site, and all the Squarespace sites lost power.

I kept checking my site, but it never went down. So what happened? Did they hand carry fuel up 17 flights of stairs in total darkness to keep MichaelDaehn.com from going down?

Yep!

I got the email below telling the story.

Way to go team Squarespace. You have increased my respect and admiration for your fine company. Keep up the good work.

------------------

Hurricane Sandy Update

A little over a week ago, I sent out one of the most difficult emails that Squarespace has ever delivered to our customers.

Peer1, our data center in downtown Manhattan, was so severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy that it suffered a total loss of power despite multiple levels of redundant systems. At the time, there was no resolution in sight. Our backup fuel reserves and building infrastructure had been destroyed by Sandy's storm surge, which flooded many buildings downtown. As you may be aware, this was a historic and unprecedented storm for the entire tri-state region, bringing about the largest storm-related power outage ever in Con Edison's history.

I am proud to announce that throughout this event, Squarespace customers experienced absolutely no downtime related to the power outage. This is an amazing outcome considering the extraordinary circumstances we faced last week. What remains is an incredible story.

For those of you that haven't been following our updates, employees from Squarespace, Fog Creek, and Peer1 manually carried fuel up 17 flights of stairs for three days to save our generator while an interim fuel supply and pump could be installed. These efforts to provide uninterrupted service for our customers were chronicled by numerous publications including All Things DBetaBeatComputerworldFast Company,TechCrunchThe New York TimesPando Daily, and The Verge.

We now have a working pump system delivering fuel to the roof generator, more than enough fuel on site, and a redundant street-level generator connected and tested as of last night. These systems will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Our building has still not been able to connect to Manhattan's power grid, as the building's two sub-basements were submerged in 30 feet of water that took four days to pump out. We will continue to post updates on status.squarespace.comas we resume normal operations.

Of course, such heroics should not be necessary to keep operations running smoothly. We initiated a plan to build a geographically redundant operation this past summer and expect to have it online in early 2013. This gives us the ability to route around areas affected by natural disasters much more effectively.

We take the responsibility of running the hundreds of thousands of sites on Squarespace very seriously . Our homepage states that our scalable, reliable cloud infrastructure eliminates downtime, and our customers all over the world count on us to keep their websites online no matter what. Wanting to keep that promise is what propelled us forward and helped us persevere during this most challenging of times. Thank you all for being Squarespace customers - it is with your continued support that we can continue to fight for great design, amazing products, and exceptional service.

We know that there are many in our area that were impacted far beyond what we experienced - if you can, please take a moment and contributeto hurricane relief efforts. A little goes a long way.

Thank you.

Anthony 

New Compose Page in Gmail - Revolutionary?

I've been trying the new compose page in Gmail. It's one of those "what took you so long?" ideas. Many times I have opened Gmail again in a second tab when composing to get information while composing.

It is missing a few things like CC and BCC that made me go back to the previous version to finish my message, but overall I think it is a step in the right direction.

What do you think? Have you tried the new compose page in Gmail?

 

 

Red Robin's QR Codes on POP and Collateral Provides Smart Feedback

This is a great idea. If only I had thought of it 3 years ago.

A lot of places will reward you for taking a survey. Allowing customers to give feedback right away provides:

  • Greater incentive - Get rewarded right away
  • Easier to use - Don't have to login at home
  • Better quality results - customers can remember their experience better in 5 minutes than in 5 hours or 5 days 

QR Codes are everywhere these days. Some people use them well, like Red Robin. Others are out of their minds - QR Codes on TV Commercials. Good marketers use the right tools, the right way for their product.

 

Provide Hope and Change Today, Quickly, and for Free

Vote for Change Agent Network on Facebook to get a grant from Chase Bank. If you want to know why, keep reading.
 
I tune out when I see commercials about starving kids in Africa. Sure I feel bad, but what can I do about it? I want to send money, but I'm on a pretty tight budget. Besides, if I gave money to everyone who needed it I would be in the poor house myself.
 
So I change the channel. And feel guilty.
 
My long time friend Heath Vogel has a strong connection with the African nation of Liberia. His parents have been missionaries there since the 70's and Heath spent several years there as a child. Following in his parents' footsteps, Heath has taken a few missionary trips there himself.
 
I don't know a lot about Liberia aside from what Heath has told me and what I have read on his entertaining blog: Blogging Without Maps. I do know that Liberia is a struggling country ravaged by war. If you have seen the movies Blood Diamond or Hotel Rwanda you get an idea of the kind of chaos and carnage that prevailed.
 
Watching those movies gives me that "it's terrible, but what the heck can I do about it?" feeling.
 
I heard Bono talking about Africa. He expressed the same type of emotion, but said the situation is not hopeless. It's malleable. We can do more than we think.
 
Here's something you can do to make a difference today, quickly, and for free. Vote for Change Agent Network on Facebook to get a grant from Chase Bank. Chase Bank is giving away millions to organizations that get votes on Facebook. So please take a few seconds to vote for this worthy organization.
 
Heath has told me about being discouraged by a lack of progess in Liberia, particularly by missionaries. His demeanor changes, however when he talks about Change Agent Network and it's Director, Eric Wowoh. 
 
This organization has created shools and educational opportunites for thousands of children. They have also worked with groups in the US to transport unused computers and technology products for use by the next generation of Liberians.
 
Three things I love about this non-profit:
 
1. Teaches People to Fish- Change Agent Network is giving educational opportunities, not handouts. This means that the next generation will be able to make changes and pull themselves out of poverty.
 
2. Liberian Leadership- Director Eric Wowoh is a Liberian citizen helping his own community. Missionary school 101 teaches that native people are far more effective at reaching their peers than missionaries.
 
3. Proven Results- Want to see what they've done so far? Check out the Change Agent Network website.
 
OK, that's my pitch. Here's the link again so you don't have to look for it:

 

If you could also share this link or story we would all appreciate it. Do it for the kids. 

TEDxOrangeCoast Event Recap

I had a wonderful time at the TEDxOrangeCoast event this week at Soka University. I must say I was surprised by how beautiful this campus is. I have been to larger universities, but Soka is most impressive.

The event consisted of 4 hours of footage from the TEDGlobal2012 event in Edinburgh, Scottland. TEDxOrangeCoast aired the best of the presentations. I learned about everything from human genomes to the hacker collective Anonymous. And there was even a magician/mind reader.

This was just a taste of the awesomeness that is TED.

If your appetite is whetted, I recommend you check out the LIVE TEDxOrangeCoast event coming up this October. It should be a blast. See you there.

Join us in Orange County for TEDxOrangeCoast Next Week

TEDxOrangeCoast is hosting an event next week - June 28th at the Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo. They will be broadcasting live from the TEDGLOBAL2012 event in Edinburgh, Scotland.
 
I discoverd the about 5 years ago and since then I've spent many a lunch break learning from some of the greatest minds on the planet. TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) has been around since the mid 80's. They have fantasic speakers sharing ideas that can help everyone- they are ideas worth spreading.
 
Part of why I got hooked on the site is that the talks are typically 18 minutes or less. One of the first videos I watched was by my favorite marketing author Seth Godin. Having read nearly all of his books, I loved how he was able to encapsulate some of his best thoughts into a single speech.
 
  
Since then I have continued to visit the TED website to watch videos and I dream of one day attending or better yet presenting at the conference.
 
A few years ago TEDx was created in order to make the event accessible to a larger audience. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.
 
So if you live in the Orange County, CA area don't miss out. Whether this is your first time hearing or you have wanted to go for years this is your chance. 
 

HOW TO: Use Facebook Apps Privately

If you are like me, you like to check out Facebook apps, but get a little nervous about letting them post on your behalf. I have inadvertently spammed my own wall with posts from apps.

If you don't want others to see these posts, but still want to use the app you simply need to adjust your settings. 

When you first use the app, a screen will appear that lets you customize what the app posts. Simply click on the dropdown and set to "Only Me" and only you will see posts from this app. 

Don't let posting permissions keep you from trying out some cool apps on Facebook.

Beer Hobby Website Launches to Build Community and the US Economy

I launched a new website with my buddy Damian Raffele. I enjoy craft beers and decided to mix business with pleasure. Here's the story as told on the Beer Hobby site:

Beer Hobby was started by Damian Raffele and Michael Daehn. Raffele and Daehn met in college and hit it off right away talking about hard core Christian bands like Mortal, Deitiphobia and The Prayer Chain. When they weren’t moshing they worked on some interesting projects together.

Today Beer Hobby is a website devoted to sharing stories about beer and getting people together to learn how to make their own. Stay tuned as we continue to ferment this idea and create some killer batches of fun stuff to do with brewing.

One day they decided to start something new. While talking over beers they developed the idea of Beer Hobby. Beer Hobby is a place to share their love of beer and get together with friends. Maybe even make a business out of it. At worst, they would have fun a few good beers in the process.

I have written several posts over there, including:

I Drank a Pilsner and I liked it
Since I’m a big IPA guy you probably think I wouldn’t be caught dead drinking a measly Pilsner. Well that’s what I thought anyway. Last Spring I was talking to the very cool beer guy at Whole Foods in Town & Country, MO. We chatted often and I would always ask him what to try. [...]

American Craft Beer Week 2012 – Get the Memo?
I admit I am knew to the craft beer universe, at least beyond drinking. I found out yesterday that this is American Craft Beer Week, there’s even a website. Sounds like something I would be interested in, right? I was oblivious. Either they need to do a better job of marketing or I am lame. [...]

Bottles or Cans? Just Clap Your Hands
The more I learn about beer the more I think canned beer is a good idea: It protects the beer from light and air It’s easier to transport You need to pour your beer into a glass, even if it comes in a bottle, to open up carbonation and flavors Cans are cheaper Cans are [...]

San Diego Brewery Trip April 2012: Stone, Lost Abbey, Port Brewing and Pizza Port
  I got to take a nice trip down to San Diego to visit some of my favorite breweries. Speaking of San Diego, my friend Diego was a saint and did the driving – what a guy! View Larger Map First stop was Stone Brewery. Stone is the nicest brewery I’ve ever seen. The environment [...]

Calling All Beer Lovers: Write for the Beer Hobby Blog
  I would like to invite you to add something to the Beer Hobby blog. It could be: Pictures Reviews How to shop for beer How to make beer A brewery tour How you became a beer snob Anything fun and beer related You can send your ideas to michael(at)beerhobby.com or damian(at)beerhobby.com. Here’s to brew!
 
Bottling Our First Beer
Damian and I were able to bottle our first batch of beer this week. Much to my surprise, it didn’t taste terrible. I know it takes some time to get good at brewing, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong and spoil your brew, but it tasted good. It’s the Mr. [...]

Beer Hobby Logo Ideas
OK, these are rough and I made them myself. I’m not a full fledged designer. What do you think of what we have so far? Any recommendations?

How I Went From Beer Slob to Beer Snob
Growing Up In An AB Town I grew up in the beer capital of the world, Saint Louis, MO. Home of the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch. I started drinking beer when I was in High School (don’t do it kids). When we had money, we bought the good stuff like Budweiser, Michelob and Bud Dry. [...]

 

Take a look and let me know what you think - especially if you like beer.

Michael Daehn Selected to Speak at eMarketing Conference

I was selected to speak at the eMarketing Conference in San Francisco this April. I will be on two panels:
  • Integrating your social and email programs Day 1 - 11 AM
  • Accelerating results with Facebook Pages Day 1 - 4:30 PM
I've handled the email marketing and Facebook strategies for several high profile companies. Some with email subscriber lists over 500K and others with over 1.7 Million Facebook Likes. I've helped large and small companies launch many successful email and Facebook campaigns. I've learned many lessons, some the hard way, and I hope to share those with attendees.
 
If you are attending the conference, please be sure to stop by to say hi. If you can't make it, I'll try to get a video to post here on the site afterwards.

It Never Rains in Southern California

It Never Rains in Southern California was a hit song by Albert Hammond in the early 70's.
 
Yesterday was the first real rainfall we've had since I moved back to SoCal. It was as crazy as I remembered.
 
When I moved out here for school in the mid 90's I remember the news interviewing people on the street about the "weather". It was drizzling and some people had their umbrellas up. I had just come from a frozen tundra with 2 weeks of below zero temperatures in Saint Louis. Culture shock.
 
So yesterday morning it was drizzling. Yes the roads get slick because it rarely rains and you should use caution. But the people here really freak out. They drive like it's a snow storm.
 
When I dropped my daughter off at school, I heard one of the kids say "look it's raining!" All of the kids ran to the window to look outside. We used to do that when it was snowing. I'm sure some Canadians would think that was funny.
 
The traffic on the way to work was pretty bad, as expected. After all, it was misting. I was only 5 minutes late, but some of my co-workers were 1 1/2 hours late due to freeway accidents.
 
I thought the fun was over, but we had several power outages in my office building. Apparently a power line pole was down in the area. Probably from a careening vehicle.
 
So if you have read this far, you'll realize this post is more of a journal entry than a profound statement. If you think I am complaining, I'm not. I like living in a place where 1/16th of an inch of rain is considered major weather news.
 
Now please enjoy the soulful singing of the great Albert Hammond:

I'm Moving to California to Work for Anymeeting.com

I'm excited to announce that I have accepted the position of Online Marketing Manager with Anymeeting.com.
 
I will be working with a good friend from college, Damian Raffele. Believe me, I am not working with him because he is a friend. I have plenty of friends and I know better than to work with them. Have a beer, yes. Work, No.
 
But Damian is different. Besides having the same business training (an MBA from the same school), I think we see online marketing the same way. We also have a similiar approach to management, so I'm happy for him to be my "boss".
 
Anymeeting.com is a completely free webinar service. They have the same features as Webex and GoToMeeting (well, actually, slightly better). The difference is, it's free. Whoa, I know, that's crazy. The truth is, Anymeeting runs ads on the side of the webinar to create revenue. It's kind of like Gmail. The best product on the market, supported by Ads.
 
 
So on the personal side, here's the 411.
 
The job is in beautiful Huntington Beach, CA. I will be moving in a a couple of weeks.
We will be staying with my wife's, Silvana, parents home until we find a place of our own.
Silvana is keeping her great job at Maritz in Fenton. They will let her work remotely.
I will be heading out in the next couple of weeks to get started at the new job.
 
I'm grateful for all of the great friends and connections I have made in Saint Louis. I will miss you and my dear family. I would like to stay in touch and remain friends on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.

Slides for Quick Guide to Internet Marketing: 9 Tips for Success on the Net

I will be doing a webinar using Anymeeting tomorrow called Quick Guide to Internet Marketing: 9 Tips for Success on the Net. Here are the slides for the presentation. If you are interested in joining the webinar, make sure you sign in early as there are only 200 spots and we've had several hundred people respond.