Well, 2011 is almost in the bag and with it our first full year of video production. Everything we shot in 2011 was edited in post, and then posted/archived for our viewers.
This year we are preparing for live streaming. Live streaming involves in the moment decisions as to what will look best for our live audience. At our company, we are finding it harder and harder to pull people away from their organizations for a 3 hours lunch and learn, asking them to travel to a location and sit through demonstrations. Travel budgets continue to be tight and many of our customers are asking if we could possibly do this virtually.
Some of the things that we discuss and show in a lunch and learn environment do not translate well at all if we can only present by webinar. There are some things that need to be seen live and moving to pique interest. So live streaming seems to be the next logical step. In our studio, we can control, product placement, camera and lighting placement, and nice tight camera shots that are not as possible in an offsite environment without getting in someone's way.
After some research into different switcher/streaming options, I've narrowed down to one of the NewTek Tricaster models for a nice all in one package. These units really allow limited staff to put on a nice program. We'll be seeing an onsite demonstration next week, can't wait!
For streaming, Livestream seems to have the most flexible options in their Professional package.
I am starting to move our video content from our current video hosting platform to YouTube. This combined with using Livestream for streaming will save us around $2500/year.
So, Google released a long awaited app for iPhone. I'm using it right now on the iPad, although it's not a universal app. Still, it's a little better than trying to post on the web with an iPad. Google Blogger. I wonder, if there are better apps for iPad that allows you to post to a Blogger account. Anyone?
I've read a couple of bloggers out there lately that are doing some drastic maintenance to their Twitter accounts. Deleting ALL their followers and starting over! Michael Hyatt (Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers) is one of them. The man has had over 110,000 people he was following on Twitter! I barely have 500, and I'm ok with that. I also admire Michael and the following that he has been able to build through a lot of work! I LOVE what he shares on a daily basis on his many varied subjects. I've never met him, and even if I had (at a conference etc...), I know enough about these kinds of leaders to respect the fact that they are human beings just like us and can only do and respond to so much; as such, I can not expect him to really know me just because I follow him on Twitter! In fact, many of Michael's posts relate to learning to prioritize your life and learning to say no to the wrong activities to remain open for the things we need to stay open to. So... It should come as no surprise that he and others like him are cleaning up followings that quite frankly SPAM the heck out of these guys.
Here's the big 3.
1. Quality Content. Period! I'm not sure what it is, but Michael, flat out, has some of the best Stuff in Blogdom! His is the only blog that I literally read every day.
2. Consistently Useful Information. I've learned and applied more from his blog than any book I've read. I feel like Michael is my personal mentor without ever having met the man. That's a powerful writer who seems to know my next quest for knowledge!
3. Character. You don't lead a company successfully or find areas in your life needing change without character. Michael surprises me how even with his successes, he has the humility to continue to find and implement what he needs to go to the next level! Best of all, he shares that with his audience.
As I write this, his automated unfollow feature for Twitter has him down to 95K, and I'm still in that number. That will change in a day or two, and that's ok :-), I plan on still leaning all I can from him and others like him!
Today marked the maiden voyage of my son, Steve's new (to him) sailboat, Ubiquitous. What a great day. Up to now, for the last 5 weeks we've made weekly trips down to make sure it was still floating, run the engine to charge the batteries, so that it continued to run the bilge, to keep the boat afloat. I even spent the night aboard on one trip. But, owning a boat, and sleeping on it are not why you buy one. (Even though Steve bought it as his dorm room : ), that's another story.
Here's what we experienced today!
1. The power of combining or opposing forces!
While motoring with the inboard diesel, we discovered that when you run with the current, it adds 4 or 5 knots/hr to you speed! We gain so much momentum when we join forces with others. Look for ways to join with others where you can. While under sail today, we discovered that while we seemed to be doing 5 knots, our gps showed our speed was zero! The current was enough against us that it made our progress null! Ever have those days (months or years) when you worked hard, thought things were going great, only to discover that your progress was unraveling?! Check your gps! Another perspective is often needed to get an accurate read on your progress.
2. Communication is key!
Friends of ours helped us sail today, Rogor and Debbie are veteran sailors and when they spoke, we listened. Years of hands-on experience communicated practically made today SO enjoyable. Communcation done right can make even a menial task fun! On a boat, there are rules and things that need to be done a certain way, to keep that enjoyment from turning into disaster. How we communicate makes all the difference! Clear, concise instructions, follow up to check for understanding are elements of good comminication.
3. Someone has to be in charge!
Rogor was our skipper today. Debbie was the first mate. Steve and I were crew. We didn't draw straws, we didn't vote. We did what Rogor felt comfortable doing today and traveling as far as he thought we should. Rogor called the shots, taught us navigation, right of way, channel marker identification. Debbie taught us ropes, lines, knots, sheets, mainsails, gibs, reefing, and more! We and our organizations do well when there is strong leadership. Rogor and Debbie, like good leaders, realize that if they keep all that knowledge to themselves, we wouldn't progress as well and they would have a bored crew, which often leads to mutiny : - ) Taking the time to teach and lead brought vast enjoyment to the day! Good leadership is good for everyone!
It's been a while since I've posted, but wanted to give you an update on things video...
At my job at CSI Technology Outfitters, we are in our busy season as most public organizations (i.e. School Districts, etc) come up on their year end. In the midst of this busyness with lots of year end marketing campaign that I assist with, we are also about half way finished with the construction of the CSI TV Studio! I am so excited that this dream is becoming a reality. When our team met last November to plan our 2011 campaigns, one of the things we saw was the need to add a "21st Century" flair to what we do. So many of our clients have given us feedback that says they want video. Whether it's a Lunch and Learn, or simple announcements, they (with their busy schedules and travel restrictions) would love to sit at their desk and click a url to attend.
With that in mind, we went to work to secure funding through our vendor partners' marketing funds to put CSI TV in place. We bought cameras, lighting, audio, etc. and recently also began construction of a 20' x 20' fully sound-proofed (we have a noisy old building) studio with post production room.
We began shooting (in our training room) numerous video episodes surrounding our Classroom Products as they were our major sponsor to get us going. They loved the idea and quickly approved the use of our funds for video.
Now that structure is in place, we've better defined our channels, and are getting ready to shoot more episodes across our different offerings.
It's taken a lot of work to get here, but it is going to be such a great way to communicate with our customers and prospective customers in a way that they can appreciate! It's more than just doing something cool (and it is!), it's doing it with a purpose, and that's makes all the difference!
HOPE IS JESUS
(To hear this song, click it on the player over on the right)
On a hill over there
In the midst of the storm
Lives a Dream of Hope
For children everywhere
Can you see it...?
And that hope is born of love
Love that conquers every fear
In the lives of people willing to say
Hope is Jesus, Hope is Jesus
And our hope is in You
All our cares cast away
Let us share Your love
And in all we do, we say
Hope is Jesus, Hope is Jesus
Dave had a famous phrase, "Hope's name is Jesus"
I had the privilege to meet Dave 1 year ago at the ARC All Access conference. He had the kindest eyes I've ever encountered, and they shone with that Hope. God, let me share that same Hope with others!
I've broken every rule on blogging. Just take a look at the date of my last post! Honestly, I've been so wrapped up in video production that I haven't had much time to breathe, let alone, blog. I rely on Twitter to keep up with what's happening with you all.
So, just want to say thanks to everyone for the kind words and comments through Twitter regarding this new direction for me and I needed a few more than 140 characters to say it.
The video production is primarily work focused and geared toward our technology customers. Here is a link to the site if you're interested : ) We've had so much fun already, and the viewership has far exceeded expectations this early on!
So, now as we head into the construction of our new video studio, I promise I will blog about the studio setup as it proceeds, as well as get back to blogging in general... or specific... : )
Here's a little fun video Nicole and I did, Enjoy!
So the latter half of this week was spent sorting and assembling camera gear. People at work chuckled as they walked by my cube, and I overheard comments like, "They said I'd find you here buried in cameras" and "Merry Christmas!".
About half way through un-boxing items, I had this momentary thought of, "O my gosh! What have I done?! Can I really do this?" A lot of people are counting on me to make this video marketing work.
4 things are required for success (as Jonathan Bowen and I discussed last night) after the plans are laid out:
1. Get started
2. Keep moving
4. Keep moving
So what are you wanting to do? What are you doing to get there? These are things I'm learning...by doing.
People wonder what I do. That can be hard to figure out sometimes! I tweet and blog about a lot of things that I do.
After college (Bob Jones University - Youth Ministry major/Music minor) (shocked?), was a youth pastor in Vancouver, BC for 5 years. Then, a worship leader in Greenville, SC for close to 10 years. Singer/songwriter (some of my songs are over there on the right) I was bi-vocational in that I worked as a carpenter and then as a licensed contractor during these ministry years.
Transitioned from building to messing with computers. Bought and sold old pc's from school districts, then went to work full time for the company I worked these deals with. CSI Technology Outfitters in Easley, SC where we focus on K12 and public sector. We also left the church we worked with and did a home church for 5 years.
Started there at CSI as the Georgia sales rep. My poor sales manager, he and I both found that I was not cut out for sales! I have this knack for creating my own niches and when we started carrying the Promethean Activboard solutions, I grabbed onto it and tried to learn the solution better than anyone. Out of that grew a product specialist position and team that I led for 3 years. Home church somewhat dispersed, we attended a church here in Greenville for 2 years, but never felt settled there (will do another post on the church journey).
This past year found me in the marketing department coordinating some 40+ conferences that we do (local and national). Getting things and people to the right places and at the right times, been lots of fun and I still do it although we are scaling back the number of local shows! We've been at NewSpring Church for 3 years now, and I have been involved with the video production there and LOVE it! That experience has re-kindled my love for video production from childhood!
This year, as you know (if you've been reading this blog), my marketing endeavors are expanding to include video production. And yes, I'm excited! We just ordered our gear and should have it by the end of this week! We have a great lineup of informative shows to produce across our different product lines and I will post links to some recent work on these Tech Tuesday segments.
All along this journey, God, my wife, kids, and friends have been there to encourage. There is power in having companions on the journey. I am grateful for them and excited about the future! The best is yet to come!
Well, it sure feels nice to begin 2011 on a Saturday!
Just hearing "Saturday morning" evokes great memories from childhood. Saturday morning had the magic to wake me up early when every other day of the week wants to keep me under the covers. Cartoons that only came on Saturday were fun to anticipate! It called to a day-long adventure that was made up as you go or planned days in advance.
I don't know what it is about Saturdays that bring a sense of freedom and relaxation other than perhaps wired deeply into us from the time of creation was God's Sabbath. Have you ever noticed when people use that word, we often actually feel a negative connotation? Sabbath, day of rest; even the 10 commandments tell us to keep it Holy. O how we've twisted THAT word! Images of sackcloth and ashes and droopy, somber faces.
Consider that Holy means "Set Apart", Different, Special. A Sabbath should be special and very different from the work week. Even if we have jobs that we absolutely love, it's very helpful to spend one day a week doing something very different from it. Our bodies and minds need a break in order to recharge and reboot. I believe it's also a day that we can reflect back on the week and consider our work to see where we were effective. God himself modeled this at the end of His creation in Gen 2. Jesus, when He walked on this earth, also said that, "Man was not created for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man". He constantly fought against the notion that the Sabbath was a day for the "Religious" to have a way to control the behavior of the masses! And so, he often brought healing and restoration to people on the Sabbath (showing that He actually embodied what the Sabbath was made to do for us!)
I LOVE to watch the This Old House Hour on PBS on a Saturday morning, sip coffee, read from the Bible. Kim and I work our weekly budget update among other things that get planned as the day moves along.
What do you like to do on a Saturday? You can comment here or on Twitter/Facebook.