Brian Shaler

Occasionally Interesting

Gravity is for chumps

Archive for March, 2009

Ford Fiesta Movement

Ford is doing a little campaign involving their 2011 Fiesta. They’re giving away 100 cars to 100 bloggers / social medians for six months. During that time, the “agents” are supposed to create content around the car with monthly “missions.”

I decided to participate, and this is my video application:

My submission went through right at the buzzer, so I’m far behind many of the other applicants with video views. I figured posting it around a little bit would help me catch up!

If I could afford to be homeless…


Growing up poor, I found solace in my material possessions. Still to this day, I struggle with the pack rat mentality of parting with stuff I own. This is something I have been working on recently.

Over the holidays, I spent some time in SF and NYC, working and couch surfing. When I was in NYC, I worked from friends’ places and from coffee shops. For four weeks, I toted my life around on my back from couch to couch. It may surprise some that I found it to be a rather enjoyable experience.

What I found was that I could be perfectly happy living life out of “one carry-on and one personal item” (a shoulder tote bag for clothes and a laptop bag for gadgets and work stuff). A carry-on bag is enough to fit a week’s worth of clothing, if you’re okay with wearing jeans 2-3 times before washing them. If you can find a place to do laundry every weekend, you’re set.

Why do I need all that stuff at home? It’s nice having a comfortable bed, a computer desk, privacy. It’s comforting to know my mortgage payments are baby steps toward owning my own place outright and having drastically lower living expenses in the future.

But if I got rid of it all, that mortgage payment could go into an interest-earning account and would be quite a sum after 20 years.

If I sold now, I probably wouldn’t walk away with any cash, since I don’t have much equity. On principle, I’m not going to sell my condo to break even or take a loss. For 3 years, I’ve been paying more than I would have if I was renting on the basis that the money isn’t being “thrown away.”

When I was walking the streets of New York City, I was thinking about becoming homeless. Then I realized my situation at home and came to the conclusion that I cannot afford to be homeless.

Don’t Self-Promote. Intrigue.

I talk and think about marketing a lot. I think about marketing on a business level and on a personal level. My own success has likely been a result of effectively marketing myself.

When you are marketing someone or something, you are trying to convey a message to as many people as possible. There are many ways of getting that message across. My method of choice is intrigue.

Instead of pushing my message onto other people, I try to get people to come to me. Instead of talking about myself, I say less and let others around me fill in the gaps. This is risky, because you can’t control what others say about you. However, when someone hears something about you from someone else, they’re much more receptive than they would be if it was you saying it.

If you can get people to come to you instead of pushing a message to them, you can potentially convey much more information. Essentially, you can lead someone down a “rabbit hole” and let them discover things about you, piece by piece.

I have a very scattered presence online, but I’m very easy to find. I don’t count on people finding every single page or site I’ve created. Over time, I’ve created so much content online that someone can spend hours online and still have more to discover.

A few people have told me I have the “world’s best business card” (My name ranks well on Google for that, too!). I can’t say I completely agree about the “world’s best” part, but there is something to it. While some people write it off as pretentious, the card has an overwhelmingly positive response. It intrigues people. When sorting through 100+ business cards after a conference, seeing that one will often lead people to search online. Once I have lured them to the rabbit hole, I must do my best to captivate them with as many interesting things as possible. For the purpose it was intended, my business card very well may be the best. Other people have other needs for business cards, so it isn’t the “world’s best” for everyone.

Don’t talk about yourself. Don’t self-promote. Try to leave an impression on those around you. Get people talking about you, especially those you know you well. Intrigue those you meet and let them discover you on their own.

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