Author

Adam Lamagna

My primary focus in my career is to help companies, organizations, and individuals find the balance between design, technology, and business.

My primary focus in my personal life...is to just find a balance!

The woeful art of data collection is tedious, time-consuming, and not necessarily fruitful. For every strategist out there, data really is the name of the game. It comes in all shapes and sizes, different formats and forms, analytics, reports, whitepapers, press releases, and on it goes till there’s too many to name. Compiling data is a hard pursuit for information analysts and data specialists, so what’s the average agency team member to do when they find themselves drowning in a sea of data? Paddle back to shore…as quickly as possible.

I’ve always felt like strategists are a rare breed. They have to think about their clients, their client’s’ users, the competition, the market trends, social trends, industry influencers, disruptors, shifts and more. Then, hopefully, get in front of it all and find that one tidbit of information that will lead to a successful client interaction. Hard, yes? YES!!

To find the insight that leads to an opportunity to capitalize on objectives before the next wave or trend hits is really hard to do. Then the cycle starts all over again.

Capturing the data landscape

From a strategy standpoint, there are 3 questions you’ll need to answer:

  1. What data will be useful to both the short and long-term objective?
  2. What data can actually be collected?
  3. What categorization will make the data more manageable?

Or you can look at it like this:

  1. Identify and establish
  2. Collect and aggregate
  3. Sift and categorize

The collection process has become a huge problem, hence the recent shift into machine learning, artificial intelligence, and algorithms to help categorize or cluster lumps of information. Businesses, organizations, and (specifically) strategists are suffocating beneath it all. And if you have the money to invest in AI – by all means – do! But many of us do not, and don’t even really know how it could help (don’t worry – I’ll write a post on that too!).

If you go even deeper into the data collection world, there are a multitude of techniques and tactics including exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, lambda architecture, data cleansing, data transforming, data modeling, and mining. WOAH!!! Hold up – here’s the reality: there’s a simpler way to identify, collect, and sift the data that won’t leave you submerged in a pool of data delirium.

Identify…

The first step in the data collection process is to identify what’s important. Obviously, this is going to be dependent on the problem you’re trying to solve, but there are usually some universal things that we need to know and I’ll list them out here.

 The usual stuff…

  • Users – Who are they? What do they need? Where are they? How do they normally interact with your client? Why are they continuing to interact with your client? What’s the value your client provides them with?
  • Competition – What are they doing that’s different than your client? Who are their users? How have they positioned themselves? What can we learn from them?
  • Market – I always find this to be a tricky one. This is mostly about industry trends and what’s happening in the market. Is there something going on in the political landscape that may disrupt what we’re trying to do? Economically, how sound is the product/tool/resource your client is trying to offer? Are others offering it at a lower price? Is demand being driven up by an exclusive offer? You get the point.

These are the big three! Other information you may want to know about could be emerging technology or the best in business for that particular industry. Think about the problem before you go looking for the data. If you don’t, then you will, literally, be drowning in it.

Collect…

The next step is actually getting your hands on the data. But what is the easiest way to collect the data that we need? Great question….and I’ll just be honest – I don’t have any great answers for you! If you aren’t a developer and don’t know how to write algorithms or scripts that will easily aggregate or pull in data for you…then you’re at the mercy of the tools that are out there.

  • Google Analytics: This is a phenomenal tool. It really can get you a lot of the data you require, especially when it comes to the users of a particular website. It’ll give you insight into who your users are (or who your client’s users are), where they hangout online, etc. However, it won’t give you answers to questions like “what’s the value they get from your client?” You can take guesses at this, but you’ll never actually know unless you ask the user.
  • RSS Feed Readers: There are a number of Feed Readers out there that will aggregate blogs and other feeds for you all in one place. Just google “Best RSS feed readers” and you’ll find something. I pull in a lot of competitor and best in biz blogs so I can keep a pulse on what others in the same industry are doing.
  • Social Media: This one’s pretty obvious, no? I have several Twitter accounts because I’m following different verticals in each one and staying up-to-date on what’s going on in the social (and real) world. You’d be surprised at how many things hit social first before anything else.
  • Client Databases: This could be their CRM, Marketing Automation Platform, or Membership Portal, where they have information on their users already. Which could be helpful in understanding their audiences demographically as well as their behavior.
  • Watson Analytics: Now, I’ve just started to play around with this interface (see below) and it’s pretty intense. What I’ve sussed out so far is that this platform allows you to import pretty much any type of data (weather patterns, Twitter hashtags, CRM contacts, OneDrive, etc.) or information that’s readily available. It mixes in what Watson already knows (which, apparently is a lot) and lets you ask it questions. For example: Which content should we use to target a specific customer segment for the month of May? It spits you out an answer. I haven’t fully understood it yet, and make no mistake when I do, a blog post is coming!

Watson Analytics Dashboard

Collecting data is kind of the easy part, there are systems in place for aggregating the data. The hard part is making sense of it all and we do that by categorizing it appropriately.

Sift…and sift….and sift some more…

Ok, you have all the information, but there’s just sooooo much of it! What’s the easiest way to sift through the information and categorize it to make it more manageable? Well…there are a few ways to do this. Before I get into it, I want to quickly talk about tools for categorization. I tend to gravitate towards using Trello Boards to separate certain information and link off to different platforms. You can use Google Docs, an Excel spreadsheet, whatever works for you!

  1. Categorize around your problem or initiative:
    • If you’re trying to get information and use it for a certain workshop, then look at your agenda for that workshop. What are talking points? If you want to talk about users, make sure you’ve categorized all the information you have on the users appropriately. I would start a Google doc and put in all relevant links to users in one place. That way you can link off in your workshop to check the data quickly. Maybe it’s to a certain Twitter account where you can review all recent tweets in an industry.
    • If you have information on the market, put all relevant links (or content/data/info) in the same doc so you can pull it up in your workshop. I find this way to be efficient, especially working with clients who have no idea what information they need or where to find it. You can also share Google docs to collaborate with them, or at least give them insight into what you’ve been compiling.
  2. Categorize around your client or account:
    • You can also categorize your information around a specific client. Let’s say you work with the GizmoSoftware company and they build software for design/development teams. What data would be useful to them (and you) so that they’re kept up-to-date with what’s going on in their industry, with their users, and their competitors?

I built a website called TheWebward (wrote a post about it here) where I pull in over 150 RSS feeds, 100 different social channels including Twitter feeds, FB feeds, and FB groups. And I also have an Article Library where I’ve categorized important posts, articles, and whitepapers so I can gain access to them at any point I need. The website is housed with information that’s important to me and helps me do my everyday job. I also push information to certain content types (“buyers”) that help me accommodate my clients in a much easier way. If you can do something like this, great! Read my post, it’s kind of like a how-to in using WordPress to help you manage the information you need.

Remember a few years ago when everyone was saying “content is king” – well, now data is king. And data is content, analytics, information on anything and everything. And there’s so much of it out there. So, identify what’s important to you (or the problem), collect the data that can be collected, and categorize it according to your initiative or client.

In the meantime, collect the data that’s important to you as a human being. Pull in things you find interesting and learn about them. You can never have enough data, but you can most certainly have too much of the wrong data.

The guys over at Google Ventures are pretty smart! They unveiled their process of design sprints in a book aptly named Sprint. The full title succinctly describes its benefits —  How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just 5 Days. I read this book over last summer, it’s an easy read and remarkably insightful. Design sprints actually do help you solve big problems and test new ideas.

It’s not enough to just have a process anymore. Everyone, every agency, every firm has a process that’s guaranteed to be better than all the others because it’s “integrated.” In order to rise above the competition and have your clients really connect with their users, you need to get insight from…who else…the users. But in order to do that in a really efficient way, you can’t build out the website or mobile app first. So… you prototype.

The Theory…

Here’s the theory: when working with any company or business, you can solve really big problems in one week by getting together in a room with the right people, the right tools, and the right challenge and performing exercises like design-thinking, rationality, empathy, creativity, prototyping, and testing.

Now, in the words of John Maeda, design-thinking is just another phrase for business execs to feel good about doing design stuff. LOL! But I think there is something to getting in a room with your clients and doing these different exercises to uncover the answers to some really hard questions when it comes to your digital properties.

I’m going to walk you through an abbreviated checklist (or cheat sheet). It’s changed a little to mimic a process that I’ve used in the past and I’ll go over pre-sprint activities, the sprint itself, and post-sprint wrap-up.

Remember: you need the right team, the right tools, and the right challenge

  1. The Team:
    • Agency Side – it’s usually two designers, a strategist, and a project or account manager.
    • Client Side – at least one decision-maker. Someone who has the authority to call the shots relating to your challenge.
  2. The Tools
    • Conference room, post-its (lots of them), colored circle stickers, whiteboards and/or canvas paper, markers.
  3. The Challenge
    • Usually something that’s super expensive, like your client wants to spend $500k on a mobile app that has no users yet (challenge: to see if it’s even viable in the market). Or maybe your internal team is stuck on a big project and needs to get some creativity flowing.

Let’s begin…

Pre-Sprint Activities

You’ll need to do some research and collection before you go in and do the sprint with your client. The first thing you’ll want to do is an intake sheet. An intake sheet is simply a “worksheet” that gathers information on your client.

Some things you’ll want to know are obvious, like, client overview. Company name, number of employees, etc. But then you’ll want to know major markets, regional hubs, who are their competitors, what are the long-term business objectives and/or vision. Something like this:

Client Intake Sheet

You’ll also need to do some research on your client’s competitors so you know what they’re doing. Look at their websites or mobile apps and make note of what’s cool, what’s not cool, certain functionality or features, etc.

And also look into your client’s users. Who are they, what do they do, where do they hang out online, etc. This pre-sprint phase is pretty intensive. There’s a decent amount of upfront work that needs to be done. But then we get into the fun part…sprint week!

Sprint Week

Every day working hours will be from 10am to 5pm with a one hour lunch at 1pm. So, 6 hours a day – that’s how much you’ll work with the client. But you’ll find that the internal team is working much longer especially on the day you prototype.

Day 1: Understand


day one

  • Team Intros & Agenda
  • Client Talks (Vision, Functionality, Future State)
  • Innovation Talks / Expert Talks
  • “How Might We”

Day 2: Explore


day two

  • Morning Review
  • Personas: Day in the Life
  • Raw Ideas / Big Ideas
  • Crazy Eights / Solution Sketches

Day 3: Focus


day three

  • Museum Art / Dot Voting
  • Disucssion / Decision
  • Wireframes / Storyboards

Day 4: Prototype


day four

  • “Just Enough” Mentality
  • Prototype Tools
  • Divide and Conquer
  • Prototype

Day 5: Present


day five

  • Finish the prototypes
  • Present to the client
  • Wrap up / Next steps

Once the sprint is finished, it’s time to test and survey your users, which brings us to Post Sprint Week

Post-Sprint Week

You’ll need to fill out a survey (I use Google forms, super easy) and set the stage for the users. The prototypes won’t be totally functional, so let the users know that! You will usually do some baseline questions to get a gauge of your users, and asking them about who they are demographically never hurts. Then you’ll want to ask the same questions about each prototype, but it’s really helpful to send half of your participants Prototype 1 then Prototype 2, in that order. Then the other half of the participants send Prototype 2 first, then Prototype 1. Many times users will latch on to the first prototype they see, so this technique helps mitigate that risk.

Once the surveys are finished, you can start grouping themes (which is a whole other blog post – I’ll write soon!). And you’ve got real feedback from users and this helps your clients decide whehter or not to move forward with a project or mobile build before it drains all their resources for it.

 

It’s that slow and steady haul right before the first of the year where Father Time swoops in and swallows yet another year. His beard a lick longer, his scythe a bit sharper, his hourglass tipping with that final and futile droplet of sand. The old relinquishes its title to the new. And that finishing sun sets its last declining ray…as we all fade against the backdrop of a year less forgotten.

F*@K!! That’s depressing!!

Cheer up, yo! It’s a new dawn and time for my year-end review—Reflection of Two Thousand Sixteen—where I try to capture lessons learned about life, business, tech, and all that goodie good stuff! For the 3rd year running, here is my reflection of this particular year—2016.

Quick Reflection of Twenty-Sixteen

Being somewhat introspective and also extrospective (pretty sure that’s a word), I realize this year didn’t go well for a lot of people. There were definitely some ups-and-downs, rights-and-lefts, holy-shits and WTF’s, goddams and oh-no’s, haha’s, hehe’s and Aha’s. Just a mangled mesh of mashable moments…ya know?

We lost some cool people like Prince, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman. But I think it’s safe to say we probably gained some cool people too. America has a new president, and for all of you who don’t know my political views, I can’t say I’m jumping up and down with excitement about this one. But, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel…then again, there might not. Brexit happened. Yup…that happened. Not much to say there except I feel like this has been year of exclusion and inclusion.

Exclusion. The word by itself is not negative, nor is it positive. But when you couple it with algorithms and social feeds, it can be downright scary. Inclusion. The word by itself doesn’t reflect good or bad. It’s only when you attach another filter or variable to it that these words start to take shape.

Context is Everything

If there’s only one lesson I want you to learn that spans life, business, and tech, it’s this… context shapes everything. Whatever that thing may be.

There’s been a big push in the tech space for context aware design. Mobile phones have had context-aware computing for a few years now. Smartphones can sort of adapt to their environments and act accordingly. Humans have built context-aware computing because we know it’s important.

Context doesn’t only shape everything, it is everything. Without it, we couldn’t communicate with each other, we couldn’t sense things. So be aware of it. It’s not that hard to do. Just listen to yourself, your environment, and those around you…and act accordingly. Please.

Lessons Learned

Breaking from tradition with my prior years’ reflections, I’m lumping both business and life lessons together. Usually I break them out into two separate categories, but I feel this year has been a roller coaster of lessons that can be equally applied to both life and business.

  1. TALK TO STRANGERS:
    • I listened to an awesome TED Talk about talking to strangers. Disrupt peoples’ lives (in a positive way) and your life might be disrupted too…again, in a positive way! That cute girl that works at the local pet store – say hi! That old man that you sit next to at the bus stop – give him a high-five. That guy at the gym that smiles as you walk by, ask him what he does for a living. The older we get, the less people we interact with – and that just sucks! So go talk to people you don’t know, and maybe you’ll find your next best friend! Or your next big sale because you just ran into John Doe-see-dough on the train and he’s looking for a solid web guy.
  2. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT:
    • I’m not sure how to articulate this, but you know that funny feeling you get sometimes and thentiny buddha you go and do the thing you felt funny about anyway. Yeah, that. Stop doing that. Listen to your gut. I know it’s hard to do because our minds are saying “well, it can’t be that bad” or “no, no this is on the up and up.” Your gut is a wise tiny buddha, and it sits with all the crappy shit you do anyway (e.g. eating gluten, drinking Bulleit Rye) and it still looks out for you. So, respect it and start giving it a little recognition.
  3. DO THAT ONE THING:
    • I’m not going to sit here and give you a big speech about how you should do all the things you want to do because…let’s face it…I don’t do the stuff I want to do. Not all the time, at least. But go do that ONE thing you want to do. Maybe it’s take a trip to the Motherland, or parachute out of a single-engine Cessna, or learn how to speak Japanese fluently. I’ve always wanted to start a podcast. Guess what, I’m doing that one thing! And it feels phenomenal. When you don’t do at least something for yourself, then what have you really got? A life lived for others…and that’s not cool!
  4. DON’T PANIC:
    • It’s taken me a while to learn this lesson, but seriously, don’t panic. Maybe a better way to put this is to just stay calm. Things are hard enough already without you pushing the panic button, so when you do it’s like an overloading explosion of franticness. No one wants to be around that. When faced with a tough situation in your personal life or professional one, respond to it, don’t react. When you let things sit, even for just a couple of seconds, you let your mind process things properly. You can see different angles. You also might be able to see the “other-side” that we are always so blind to.
  5. IT’S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS, MAN!:
    • What do you think you’ll be thinking about when you’re on your deathbed? Morbid question, right? I know, but I still give this one thought from time to time and this is the reality: all that really matters are the relationships you have, that’s it. No big secret there. If you have people you care about and who care about you, you’re doing pretty well! Sure…work can matter, projects can matter, but not as much as your relationships. Be in them, explore them, be kind to them, hell…scrutinize them, make sure they right for you. Life is so much better with awesome relationships. Be there for your people and don’t forget to say I love you.
  6. CHOOSE INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION:
    • Going back to what I was talking about earlier, this year has been a year of inclusion and exclusion. I choose to include myself in cool communities like YLC, NIM, and WordPress because they’re filled with good people and we discuss topics I care about. I also choose to exclude myself from being around naysayers, elitists, or pessimistic people. I choose to not live in my social media bubble all the time because I know it feeds me more of “the same” than diversifying content. Choose exclusion or inclusion, just make sure it’s good for you.

In the right context, anyone can shine. And in the wrong context, anyone of us could falter. Choose your groups, your friends, and your relationships wisely. Ask yourself if you want to thrive, be challenged, and feel good about yourself. Or not?

I guess I kinda knew all these things anyway, but for some reason these lessons were amplified this year. Just remember, context is everything. You can help it or you can hurt it. You can neglect it or you can learn from it. You can choose to make a difference in your life and in the lives of others. You can choose to run your life, you can choose to feed your relationships. The operative phrase is “you can choose.”

Wrapping up 2016

If this wasn’t your year, then forget about it. Or take the things you want to take and realize that tomorrow is a new day, a new month, and yes…a whole new year.

I’ll leave you as I do every year…with an inspirational quote. I sincerely hope 2017 is your year!

“Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you have always wanted to do but could not find the time. Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Vow not to make a promise you do not think you can keep. Walk tall, and smile more. You will look 10 years younger. Do not be afraid to say, I love you. Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world.” – Ann Landers

2017 new year

If you’re interested in seeing the progression, feel free to check out my Reflection of 2015 or my Reflection of 2014 posts.

There has been an emerging class of people over the last 5 years. They come from different generations including Millennials, iGen, Baby Boomers, Yuppies, and maybe even a few Silents. This new generation breaks free from the stereotypical age-constrained limit and fuels a market so connected to it, it’s a hard thing not to write about. Are you a part of Generation C? If so, then you may not need to read this post.

The Land of Connected Things

Whether or not you leverage technology to buy products, connect with your friends, or consume media, it’s here! And it connects us. It connects us to each other as well as entities we wouldn’t normally be connected to. Think superstore execs, or the pizza shop around the corner. There’s a way to interact with these entities that allow us to become intimate with them.

connected things

You can create direct links with a number of different businesses (and people). The Generation C environment is a content-centric computerized connected community. Simply put, we live in the age of connected things.

Generation C behavior

Ubiquity is at the center of Generation C behavior. With the advent of smartphones, we take the world with us wherever we go. We are connected all the time. The considered norm is to always be available. This behavior is known as Always On the Grid.

Digital Information Assimilation is here. Generation C loyalists consume a boat-ton of information. And some of it (okay, okay, a lot of it) is not necessarily accurate. With social media feeds being the “go-to news” outlets, we are seeing an increase in unsubstantiated information.

Which leads into the next behavior of Social Animals 2.0. We hang out online, we are more concerned with our Twitter feeds and hashtags then we are with our real friends. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, and new ones like Ello and Imzy (Imzy is super cool, btw!!) are keeping us more and more connected. We can find communities that we belong to and feel appreciated in.

social animals
Boldomatic Image

iEverywhere is the interconnected world. Now, Apple obviously has a claim to the “iWhatevs” but Generation C is living in a fully interconnected world. A world where personal data including identity, shopping preferences, interests and more all reside in the cloud. Services too! Big data, services, social networks—the “i” is here forever.

Millennials and Generation C

As stated before, Generation C can be any age group. It can mean your father or mother, your child at at 12, your friends from the Womens’ Council. But Millennials are setting the tone. They shape the consumer experience. According to BazaarVoice, it’s estimated that the group will have more spending power than any other generation this upcoming year. They’ll use that power to change the way retailers are thinking about shopping experiences.

Millennials paved the way for OmniChannels. Having a seamless experience across devices and platforms is critical for brands to compete in the Generation C landscape. We want personalized experiences. Being able to take a picture of a pair of pants in a store and then buying it online when we get home is an option we want. We also want to start the buying process on our laptops, but end up paying for it with our smartphones.

Most Millennials are Generation C, but not all Generation C are Millennials.

Mobile: The Medium of Generation C

Smartphones are the devices of Generation C. We use them to do just about everything in our lives. From social networking to sending emails to saving documents to buying products, can you imagine your life without one? Probably not, which is kinda sad, but I get it!

Commerce on smartphones has increased dramatically in the last 5 years. It’s expected to continue rising. I hear all the time “think mobile first” and “mobile-ready” — these terms just emphasize the true nature of Generation C’s connection to mobile. There’s an opportunity for brands to increase their standing by making their mobile experiences shine. Gen C people will bounce from a site that has a bad mobile experience. They’ll even bounce from a site that has a mediocre mobile experience. Brands should be putting time, money, and thought into the mobile side of their business.

The Gen C Direction

Generation C are just as prevalent as Millennials and other living generations, maybe even more so. More and more we are living our lives out through technology. Our circles are our social networks. Our experiences are mobile. We will just continue to see technology consume more of our lives and our interactions. Wait for it, if you’re not fully connected yet….you will be!

Special thanks to…

I’d like to thank Strategy& and PwC for their incredibly insightful PDF on The Rise of Generation C, which I referred to for Gen C behaviors. And BazaarVoice for their insight into retailer trends.

Watching the tides turn in the digital age is as quick as the ocean currents. These microscopic movements that all feed into a bigger pool are advancing technology at an unprecedented rate. In fact, 58% of corporate execs say it will develop at an increasingly rapid rate over the next 5 years. Check out Accenture’s 2016 trend report. With all that in mind, what’s your agency’s plan to keep up-to-date with all this new technology. What’s your agency’s plan to take advantage of the opportunities they can bring? Let me show you how I got started.

Living in the Age of Information

We live in the age of information. It’s almost too much because it’s coming at us from every single direction. Accenture, Hewlett Packard, Deloitte, and more are all putting out new reports, trends, and surveys. You can find these reports just by searching “2016 tech trend reports” 0r some variation of that. To give you a little tip that I use, I will always append “pdf” to my search queries in order to find reports that you otherwise might not be able to. It amazes me how many PDFs are out there right now. After searching, you’ll need to categorize. Now I have a folder in my Google Drive that breaks down into more folders comprised of only PDFs. I categorize them as such:

  • Industries: health, travel, nonprofit, media, B2B, Agency, Consulting. These could be different for you
    • Market Intelligence: you can find these reports by searching “market intelligence ‘your industry here’ pdf” I separate these by year
    • Trend Reports: pretty self-explanatory; usually having to do with some sort of survey
    • Misc. Whitepapers: Because these are always fun to read and have, you can use them as sales collateral when talking to a prospective buyer, and even client.

Once you’ve compiled a number of relevant reports, now it’s time to start reading them. Now, with all the PDFs I have it would take, literally, close to 6 months to read (I’m a slow reader), don’t read them. Skim them, graze them, pluck them, don’t peruse them.

Mining for Information

There is obviously a reason why we have headers and titles and large print. When you are skimming over these PDFs, just look for the headlines, quotes, sidebars with numbers in them. Pick off the statistical data and write it down some place else. You’ll eventually use this information to mine for opportunities. If there’s a headline that interests you and it’s followed by 5 paragraphs, read those paragraphs. I’ll always use a speed reading technique by Tim Ferris that has increased my words-per-minute by 25%. Or check out tips on how to read faster. But remember, you still need to comprehend what you’re reading for it to be valuable in mining for opportunities.

As you continue to gather information, you need to start categorizing it so it’s digestible for your client. I separate my information into a few areas:

  1. Market Intelligence:
    • Usually in the form of surveys, I’ll state what has significantly changed in a sector or industry. For instance, the Agency of Record (AOR) lasts less than 3 years according to Agency Spotter’s 2016 Report. And the average project-based fees for agencies have increased. Now, put the cost of living aside, this tells me that brands and companies are seeking out agencies that fit their specific projects, not necessarily their ongoing needs.
  2. Disruptors & Influencers:
    • Who is making a big splash right now in tech or what technology is outpacing all the rest.
  3. Competitors & Users:
    • What is the competition doing, what are your client’s users doing
  4. New Trends, Technology, and Terms:
    • Things that are trending. New technology that your client might be able to leverage. New terms that people in the industry are using.

All this info will eventually lead into Insights & Opportunities.

Finding…and mining insights

An insight is the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing. Wow!! Intense, right? Yup, it sure is. So, here’s essentially what I mean when I say strategy in context. Out of all the information you’ve gathered, it won’t make a bit of difference unless you understand who you’re gathering it for. I’ll give you an example. I work with health and wellness clients, nonprofit, media, agencies, and more. The info that I gather have something to do with these sectors and markets. But insights are relevant only when you understand who you’re gathering that information for. Which brings me to intake sheets.

Intake sheets are information about your client. You’ll want to gather info on them. Keep a record of the following:

  • Client: contact info; organizational structure.
  • Company overview: what do they do, what are their values, etc.?
  • Products/Services: what do they provide?
  • Major Markets: where are they doing business, what countries?
  • Value: what’s their value proposition?
  • Strengths/Weaknesses: what do they do better than anyone else; where could they improve?
  • Account/Project Objectives: what are the things they want to accomplish, major goals?
  • Competitors: keep a list of at least their top 3 competitors, I would even list the best in business in their industry.
  • Users: user personas are a huge part of this insight gathering, I’ll post more on personas in another one of my Strategy in Context posts.
  • Partners: who is your client partnering with in the market? Are they complimentary?

As time goes on you’ll pick up the idiosyncrasies that make your client who they are. You’ll learn things about their culture that will provide more insight into them as an organization. Hence, providing more insight into how you can mine for opportunities.

Mining for the non-opportunity

I want to clarify that mining for opportunities is not trying to find just any project you think your client wouldn’t mind doing. It’s adding real value to their organization. In order to do that, you have to look at all the possibilities. And as a sidenote, it sometimes means you may not be providing the solution.

Let’s say you are working with a nonprofit and they are in the process of building out a donation platform for their donors. This platform is something that you helped design on the front-end, but the back-end was built by another firm. Essentially, this platform almost works like a banking platform. Donors can store their money and make donations to the organization or cause of their choosing. And let’s say the other firm is having a difficult time securing the platform. Well, if you kept up-to-date on the latest trends, you could give them an insight into what people are talking about right now in the security space. Which is Blockchain.

Today’s financial institutes operate on a central ledger where money is passed from one entity to another. The ledger is monitored and kept by one authority, leaving it susceptible to attack and corruption. Blockchain is a transactional database that decentralizes the ledger and allows for complete transactional security, it’s also lower in cost. You’d probably have to refer the nonprofit to a blockchain expert, but the value you’ve given them is high.

Mining for the real opportunity

To mine for the real opportunity depends on your client’s goal, their users’ needs, and where they sit on the spectrum of innovation. If they are at the lower end of the innovation spectrum, there’s probably a lot of opportunities to mine for. If they’re more toward the middle, it starts to get a little harder. Brands and organizations that don’t keep up with the latest trends and technology are they ones who have the most options. The ones who are at the top, are the ones who are paving the way for everyone else, and the options narrow.

Let’s say you’re working with that same nonprofit and their goal is to get as many donors as they can using this platform. If you knew that the retention rate of first-year donors was only 29% or that roughly 50% of donors do not renew their gifts the following year, what would you do with that information? You’d dig in….why are donors not renewing their gifts? Then you’d probably find out that donors like to feel connected. They like to see the impact that their donations have on communities and the lives they’re helping. Well…what opportunity can we find there?

My suggestion would be to offer to build a website that connects donors with donees. But also shares the stories donees have because of getting donations. It could be anonymous, but having a platform that could show where a donor’s donation is going and in what way it’s helping the donee could be really cool. People are attached to stories, we love them. Build a website that tells the story of donee’s or add a section to an existing site. There are a lot of possibilities in that one particular insight. Get creative!

Mining is a continual thing

In closing I’ll say this. Mining for opportunities is a continual thing. You’ll be getting new information as time goes on, you’ll be learning more and more about the needs of your client as the months/years pass. Always be adding value. That’s the best way to mine for opportunities. If you can show your client that you offer these insights and valuable opportunities, you’ll be seen as a strategic partner and an invaluable one at that.

Today is an auspicious occasion! It marks the first of my Strategy in Context series. As well as my first try at micro-blogging. I have a lot of information on topics like strategy, research, account management, user experience, and more. I’d like to get that information to the public as quick as possible while still posting good, quality content.  Now, I’ll most likely expand on this series in an eventual strategy whitepaper.

I was recently at a tech conference asking people for strategy resources. One person firmly told me that “no one’s going to give me their strategy resources (or process for that matter) because that’s how agencies make the big bucks.” So, okay… that makes sense to me, but it doesn’t mean I can’t give away my strategy resources.

I’d like to address any nay-sayers about publishing digital strategy process, tactics, and/or resources. I come from the open source world where information is shared and the community benefits from that. This is my attempt to give back.  I am more worried about people saturating the internet by building shitty things people don’t need, than I am about someone stealing my strategy process, theories, and thoughts. Plus, I want to spark discussion, so let’s begin.

Strategy in Context

I’m sure everyone is familiar with context-aware design, yeah? It’s when a device (like a smartphone) changes based on the environment in which it’s placed. Our smartphones can make recommendations based on location or auto-adjust the contrast on a bright day. Strategy in context is similar in the sense that we (as strategists) need to take into consideration our environments. And hopefully act accordingly.

Implementing a strategy process can be a daunting practice.

  • A) it’s not a linear process
  • B) it changes at every turn based on new information.

So, how do you conquer a client, project, or product when you aren’t sure how to proceed? You take a step back…and look at things from a holistic standpoint; from a bird’s eye view.

A Bird’s Eye View of Strategy

In order to understand strategy, there is one truth you have to realize: true strategy is continual, it’s not an end-game and never will be. The digital strategy that works for you today, might not be the one that works for you tomorrow, let alone a year from now. And this is why strategists are commodities, because it’s a job that never ends in the web and mobile space.

Holistically speaking, digital strategy is dependent on all its players. It is so entangled with other strategies that looking at it any other way would be a disservice to both you and your client.

The elements of strategy:

  1. The People: your client, their users, the competition, influencers, disruptors
  2. The Assets: things like their culture, their brand, their website, their digital assets are blanketed under this term
  3. The Operations: your client’s business model, their product or service
  4. The Frameworks: from your client’s organizational structure to the technical systems being leveraged.
  5. The Intelligence: the market, the trends, the innovation happening, the economic and political landscapes
  6. The Tactics: different from ‘operations’ – tactics are used to carry out strategies
  7. The Outcomes: the goals, the objectives, the accomplishments, the results

Contingent on each of these elements, strategy will have different meanings depending on its context. It’s too much to take in in a micro-blog post, so as the Strategy in Context series continues, I’ll drill into each one of these areas to give insight into breaking down your strategy process.

The Information Spectrum

At any given moment, there are hundreds of tiny shifts going on in the digital world. Developments that are slowly (or quickly) moving in from the fringes toward the mainstream. A fantastic trend report by Future Today Institute highlights innovation that is making it’s way toward being the established norm. Innovation is often talked about, but overlooked when it comes to strategy positioning.

In order to understand the information spectrum, you first have to understand all the new technologies, trends, and innovation taking place right now. But there are flaws in that thinking as one new technology supplants another. So, first thing you need to do — start building an information database. For all you strategists out there, you need some type of system where you can gather information and access it easily. I’ve built myself TheWebward.com – I call it my morning business review, but it’s really an information database.

You can try RSS aggregators like Digg Reader or create your own. But keeping up-to-date with the technology landscape is your first lesson in strategy. Did you know Baidu is leading the way in conversational interfaces? Or that Blockchain can help fight cyberattacks? Do you know what Blockchain is?

Lost in the Strategy Sky

As you begin your journey into strategy, you may feel lost at times. It happens to everyone and that’s okay. But if you’re lost and can’t find answers, look to other industries. One thing that’s helped me tremendously in developing my strategy process is turning to other sectors that have had strategists for decades. The military, politics, and the intelligence community all have resources on strategy out there that you can research. Then take their core principles and apply them to the digital space. Again, I’ll go into this more in upcoming posts, but I feel like this isn’t really a micro-blog post anymore!

Ok, more to come on Strategy in Context.

Being busy is almost like a double-edged sword. Now, for the sake of transparency, I don’t think I’ve ever owned, used, or tried to chop someone in half with a double-edged sword, but the premise behind the analogy is that the sword cuts both ways. Being busy or having the busy life can be a blessing…and a curse, right? I tell myself I like being busy, which…honestly, I do. My mind tends to wander or I end up binge-watching Netflix when it’s not occupied with work. But on the flipside, when you work all the time, there’s no downtime to recuperate, revitalized, or reinvigorate oneself. Or you end up turning down your friends and family when they ask you to hang out or come over for Sunday dinner. So what do you do if you say this all the time:

“I would love to, it’s just that I’m so busy, I don’t have the time.”

Does anyone else say this? Like, a lot? Like me? Well…then you’re in luck because I’ve been wanting to write a post on this for a while now, but guess what…I’ve been so busy… Now that I have two hours until my next meeting I think I’ll pause to articulate this nagging, suspicious feeling I’ve had for quite some time about the Busy Life. But before I go into my critical observation, let me explain a few things attributed to the Busy Life.

The Busy Life…explained

The way I usually explain the busy life is by saying this: Life is busy when you have obligations that occupy your time and it’s not the actual activity or thing you’d like to be doing. Now, don’t get me wrong, you can be busy and be doing the things you’d like to be doing, but why would that be a bad thing?

People always tend to connect the act of being busy with negativity, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I’m busy my entire work week, with work, with side projects, with volunteer stuff, meeting up with friends, and so on. But that’s not a bad thing if it’s something I want to be doing, right?

Busy the life, busy the body, busy the mind

I work remotely, so if I never wanted to leave the house, I wouldn’t really have to. But I like being social, so I volunteer with YLC and other groups to hang out and get out of my daily remote-working routine. Then I’ll most certainly read up on new technologies or new trends, or terms, or whatever because that’s the kind of stuff that really interests me.

Busy bodies and minds mean they’re active, and being active is a really good thing. Physical activity stops the process of your muscles being atrophied. Mental activity helps your mind retain information better. Being active can be considered a result of healthy living. So, why aren’t we telling people “we’re active” when they ask how our lives are going? Why do we say “we’re soooo busy?” Well, I have a theory.

A theory on being busy and it’s context within society

I think we’re all lead to believe that people want to hear that other people are busy. Simultaneously, we equate being busy with something negative, but we also equate it to success. Successful people are busy. They don’t binge-watch Netflix, they don’t sit around all day, they conquer they’re dreams by being active. They seek out what they want and actively pursue it. But time and again, we hear those words — “I’m so busy,” “work is so busy,” “life is so busy.”

People talk about balance all the time. “You need time to decompress,” “you need time for yourself” I hear people say. Heck, I’ve said it myself. But that’s easy enough to do and it doesn’t mean going on vacation for 3 weeks and totally de-connecting (not a word) from technology. It means balancing your time in your own way.

Busy-ness and the balance equation

I also have this other theory surrounding the balancing of time. It goes a little something like this:

BT = DeCR% / 100 x Mob

You probably have no idea what this equation means. Simply put your Balanced Time is equal to your Decompression Rate percentage divided by 100, times the Minutes of busy-ness. I’ll explain. My Decompression Rate is rather low, it’s 4%. For every hour of hard work I do, I need approximately 2.4 minutes (4% of 60 minutes) of decompression. So after about 5 hours of doing something, I’ll need 12 minutes of meditation or another decompression activity.

You need to find your Decompression Rate and that comes with time. How long can you stare at a computer before your eyes go blurry and you can’t think anymore? Figure it out. Then take that number, which may change as time goes on, and use it when “being busy.” You’ll thank yourself for finding your balanced time.

Redefinition of being busy

To close this post out I’ll say that writing this didn’t cause me to be more busy, it caused me to be more active. And from here on out when people ask me how my life is going, I’ll say “it’s active.” Which will probably get them to inquire more, which in turn might spark an interesting conversation, where as I may send them to this link to check out.

Most of the people I know have active lives, and mostly they all enjoy (to a certain degree) what they do. So seek out the active life for the things you really want to be doing, make time for that, I know you can. But whatever you do, don’t let “being busy” define you anymore. If you are super busy and you enjoy what you’re doing, tell people you’re active. It’ll reshape the way people reply to the things going on in your life.

I want to talk about strategy, but first, some science. Quantum Entanglement is one of the most perplexing phenomena in quantum mechanics.  It occurs when groups of particles interact in such a way that the state of each particle cannot be described independently of the others. Now, if you remember your physics lesson, a particle is the smallest quantity of matter.  There are macroscopic particles, microscopic particles, and subatomic particles. And simply put, entanglement means that understanding one single particle improves our knowledge of the second one. This is a dead ringer for strategy. The concept that I’m calling strategy entanglement is based on the notion that single strategies should not be described independently of themselves, but rather holistically.  Content strategy and web strategy are both a part of your business strategy.  Independent strategies improve our knowledge of the strategy as a whole.

The Volatile Strategy Particle

What does it takes to be a strategist? I hear people say a “strategist” is just another word for salesperson or that it largely has to do with the planning phase of a project, or it’s just a title that mostly describe people who like to speak their minds!  I don’t necessarily refute those comments because I do think sales (and planning) should both be strategic, and I love to speak my mind, but strategy is this elusive creature that I would like to shed some light on in this post. Strategy is a discipline, and unfortunately, it is not linear. It deviates, it interrupts, it changes with new information, fluctuating data, and further research.

You could say strategy comes in waves and is almost particle-like. There are macro-strategies and micro-strategies, and subatomic strategies (OK, that last one’s a stretch). But to articulate your business strategy you need to look at every part of your business. It can include digital, brand, web, mobile, social media, content, products, and more. Not to mention the marketplace, your competitors, your customers, and your partners. Strategy entanglement image

This image illustrates strategy entanglement and it’s not complete. There are more pieces to this puzzle depending on your business and the industry in which you compete.

Types of Strategy in the Digital Space

There are a few different disciplines, but they all feed into the big strategy which is your business.

  1. Brand Strategy: A plan for the development of a successful brand to improve its reputation and connect with its customers. This is tied to your business, social media, content, and more.
  2. Digital Strategy: A plan for maximizing benefits through digital and technology-driven initiatives. Tied to your business and can incorporate digital products, mobile, web, and other strategies.
  3. UX/Design Strategy: An approach to determine what to build/design, what the user experience should be and why. Oftentimes using data and research to inform decision-making. Heavily incorporated into business strategy and web/mobile strategy.
  4. Content Strategy: Refers to the creation, planning, delivery, and management of appropriate, useful, usable, and user-centered content. Connected to your business, social media, web/mobile strategy.
  5. Social Media Strategy: An approach to garner more engagement on a brand’s social channels. Usually through good content. Entangled with content strategy and web/mobile strategy.
  6. Web/Mobile Strategy: Long-term iterative process of defining the direction of a web/mobile site/app to reach business goals and users’ goals. Entangled with business strategy and more.

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about! Your business strategy are all of these strategies put together and then some.

Strategically Strategizing over Strategy

So, which one do you choose? Where do you start? How do you know when you’re doing strategy? All good questions. To me, strategy should be this omnipresent itch that never goes away, and everyone should be scratching at it. Let me clarify — strategy is not a free-for-all, but it is a team effort. Your designer and developer should be strategically thinking about which color palette to use, or which tools will make this CMS more usable for the client. As a strategist you’re responsible for the bigger picture.

When you sit down to map out your strategy plan, there’s a process I use in getting the information I need. I’ll outline it in the next section. But you need to remember this: As the process continues each piece of information will impact the next and so on. So, this process is really just an outline or map for putting all the pieces together.

A Strategic Overview

  1. Client:
    • Intake – putting together a client intake sheet is a critical first step. Document the company overview and details, requirements, goals, objectives, and other pertinent information on paper.
    • Assessment – this can include SWOT analysis, analytics review, social listening, PEST analysis, brand assessment, etc. The more you get, the longer it’ll take to sort, but the decision making will be based on better information.
  2. Research:
    • You can perform organizational research on your client’s company (e.g. – interview stakeholders). You can do user research (e.g. – send a survey to customers, field observations). Or quantitative (measurable and objective) and qualitative (observational and subjective).
    • Look at your client’s marketplace and competitors.
  3. Users:
    • We’ve done some research on them, checked your client’s analytics, it’s time to create personas. Get an idea (and make sure everyone’s on the same page) of who you are trying to target.
    • You can create an empathy map, or do experience mapping.

The pulse of the digital landscape

In addition to putting all the information together on your clients and their environments, I’ll also have digital intelligence reports. Now, I want to expand on this further in my next post, but that might take a couple of weeks, so here’s an overview.

My digital intelligence reports focus on the heartbeat or the pulse of the technological landscape. Meaning that in order to stay at the fore-front, you have to know what’s going on at the fore-front. I’ll target 3 key areas in my DIR’s, they are:

  • Intelligence: what’s hot right now in the tech space
  • Disruptors: what and/or who is disrupting the landscape that’s outpacing all the rest
  • Influencers: what companies are influencing or shaping the tech environment

This keeps me up-to-date with the digital pulse, but it also sparks innovation and creativity when engaging with new clients.

Correlating the information

The end result of the above outlines will be lots and lots of documentation. You’re going to have documents on your client, their market, their competitors and their users as well as the digital landscape. Which, is what we want. This information will inform not only the direction of the initiative, but it can help with your client’s business, content, social media strategies and more.

Let’s say your client who is in the health & wellness space talks about being a thought-leader in that sector. You would have to know that the fore-front of the health space right now is CogTech, IoT and connected devices/platforms. They’re experimenting with “ownables” not “wearables” anymore. Implantable tracking technologies could very well be the next evolution in healthcare. Being able to relay that info back to your client to help with innovation as well as ideas for the future puts you beyond just a tactical partner.

The reality is is that research about the tech landscape will give you a baseline for engaging with your client. You can see where they fit on the innovation scale and help them get further. Understanding who they are and what they want to do will give direction for digital initiatives. Understanding their users will help you connect their goals and objectives with users’ needs. It’s one big web of entanglement.

Summing up strategy entanglement

It’s never going to be easy. Strategy entanglement is the only way to truly see the bigger picture. When working with clients it’s almost always about making the business better. Whether that’s through a new website, more engaging content, selling more products, or social initiatives, it all feeds into the business. But that is dependent on all the smaller strategies. And some of the micro strategies can be dependent on each other. Your social media strategy depends on your content strategy, which depends on your business strategy.

To make this easier for people, I am in the process of creating a PDF document called Strategy in Context. It will outline the delayering of strategy. If you think about the complexity of strategy entanglement, it’s almost too much to fathom. So, I’m creating a document that will break down each piece of what I wrote about in this post. But remember, it won’t be linear. Strategy is not a linear process, even though many people think it can be. It’s about consuming the information and making the appropriate decision at each milestone and everywhere in between.

Strategy is an omnipresent itch, and everyone should be scratching at it.

Hey all! If you’re here, then you probably read my Listserve email, or you’re one of the regular 7 readers I have on a daily basis. If you’re the former, then welcome! If you’re the latter, thank you for your continued support, but most of you are all related to me in one way or another and know my life story. So, this is really for the people coming in for the first time.

If you’ve ever won the Listserve, than you know what it’s like to get that celebratory gleam in your eye when you open your inbox to find the “undefined – you’ve won’ from Zena Koo (who, just seems really cool, btw!), then it’s followed by the panicky “holy shit, what should I write?” – “why didn’t I do this a long time ago?” – “I’m gonna come across like an idiot!!”

The 48 hour crunch

Well, I spent the last 48 hours thinking….literally almost every moment. Now, that’s not necessarily different from any other day. I genuinely like to think, but during working hours it’s for clients, and during off hours it’s for myself, not about myself. That usually happens in spurts when I meditate for four minutes, or when I’m driving and nostalgically thinking about my past or ex-girlfriends or something along those lines. But for (almost) 48 hours, I thought about how I could summarize my life in less than 600 words. Or how I could take a really cool moment from my life and turn it into a parable that got across a life lesson that I wanted everyone to magically realize. And I failed…horribly.

I ended up writing about something that I think is interesting – context awareness – I’m not going to regurgitate what I said, but you will see a lot more of context aware design in the websites that we visit, the apps that we love, and the web as a whole to give us (the users) a better experience. Look out for it. But what I’d like to do in this post is just give you a little more background on me, my life, and why it was hard to summarize in 600 words (as I’m sure needs no explanation because everyones’ lives are hard to summarize in 600 words!). But I also want to let everyone know that I meant what I said, reach out, let’s talk. It might take me a while to get back to people, but I like personalized experiences and I like people.

My Life in Under 600 Words…

People have told me that I’ve had an interesting life, an exciting one. But I’m not sure I feel that way. I was born and raised in New England, in a small somewhat coastal but a little more inland mill town with the population of about 30,000. Childhood was cool, high school was….well, high school. But when I graduated, I moved to Hollywood to become a rockstar.  I imagined that to be a little easier than it actually was. Going to auditions, finding musicians who lined up with our style (I went out there with my best friend/lead guitarist) was a grind! And then I got caught up in that whole ‘survival’ thing where you actually had to make money to pay for rent and eat, ha!

Throughout the first 8 years after high school, Hollywood was kind of like a homebase for me, but I ended up driving all over the place. I’ve driven across the country probably close to 20 times. Taken the 70, 80, 90, 40, 15 heading to Vegas, the 10 heading to LA, the 5 heading away from it. I’ve driven through blizzards in Colorado and hailstorms in Kansas. Seen the tumbleweeds of Texas and the colorful canyons of Utah. Stopped at the Grand Canyon one time; Manhattan is gorgeous at 3 in the morning. Pennsylvania took 6 hours, parts of Maryland 6 minutes. And all that time on the road in my early to mid 20’s, I felt as long as I was physically moving, I was progressing in life when I was really just running away from it.

Habitations and the towns we know…

I’ve lived in L.A., Montreal, Dorchester (Boston), smalltown Connecticut, have had extended stays in Colorado, Mexico, and San Francisco (that city has character!). I’m currently roaming in and around Providence, RI. I love this city, it’s small, but has a big feel to it, hip and historic, and inhabits some of the coolest people I’ve met on earth.

I’ve primarily worked in 3 main industries: sales, construction, and technology. But I did a 3 month stint as a garbage man (hated that gig!), drove limos in L.A. for about two months (traffic sucked!), and waited tables for a summer (where I saw the best and worst of people). I used to race motorcycles (not professionally), I had an interesting conversation with Matt Damon one time (which I’m sure he doesn’t remember), and I had an up close and personal encounter with the biggest elk I’ve ever seen (you thought I was going to say aliens, right?). I guess I haven’t lived an uninteresting life, but I’m not sure I would call it all that interesting, it’s just been my life.

The quiet period…

Nowadays, I sit behind a computer, I’m a strategist in the technology space. It’s kind of a catch-all title for people who like to talk and speak their minds. But my clients seem to like me and I do help them solve problems from time to time. I also do a lot of volunteer work with The United Way of Rhode Island’s Young Leaders Circle. Awesome group of professionals, join us if you’re in the area!

My days are much quieter now. But when I look back at my twenties, the only memories I seem to latch onto are the ones where I almost died and berms were involved:

  • Stranded in Colorado miles from the nearest town, almost got trampled by a stampede of angry cattle at 4 in the morning in the pitch dark crouched somewhere against a berm.
  • Somersaulted a motorcycle on a canyon road going about 70 mph because I was young, a risk-taker, and didn’t understand the physics of centrifugal force. Got stopped by a berm.
  • Flipped my truck on the 5 freeway heading up the grapevine in a rainstorm. I hydroplaned, which is an interesting thing to experience, hit a berm in a such a way that it actually catapulted the truck and flipped in mid air. Walked away without a scratch.
  • Got caught in a construction fire in a warehouse that made race-car bolts, everything seemed to be coated in oil and the sheetrocked offices lit up like a Christmas tree. No one got hurt and no berm involved.

They say you’ll remember the moments you have between the ages of 12 and 30 when you get older. Whoops, I’m 35 and these are the things I remember. I’d like to think that I have cooler experiences yet to come. And that’s on me, there’s something that I need to start doing again, which is living. It seems like lately I’ve traded that for a really good career and I’m not entirely sure that’s what I want. I want to meet cool people and grow and contribute and laugh and learn. But who has the time for that now?

My words of wisdom…

I’m not sure if I’m ever headed in the right direction. My life wasn’t the standard life of graduating high school, going to college, getting a degree, finding a good job, getting married, having kids, and saving for retirement. I just went for something, a dream, it didn’t happen but that’s ok. And as time has gone on, I feel like my dreams changed a little. I also feel like we live in a society that puts too much emphasis on doing the traditional, so here’s what I’ll say. Just go do something. I don’t care what it is as long as you’re not hurting yourself or someone else, just do something. I’ll leave you with a quote that I always use around the New Year by Neil Gaiman:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”

Again, don’t be afraid to reach out, I feel like some of the best friends I have I only connect with electronically.

  • Twitter: ajmatic
  • Snapchat: ajmatic
  • Instagram: adamlamagna
  • Linkedin: Adam Lamagna
  • Facebook: is usually reserved for my closest 500 friends, but if we connect on other channels first, then that’s cool!

Anyways, thanks for taking the time! Have an awesome day and go have fun doing something!!