I fully admit I am an avid, Kool-aid drinking fanboy of Apple products. I have used 2 different iPads in my past couple of jobs, going from an iPad2 to the 3 with the retina display. I am on my 3rd iPhone. I’m still using my 2008 Macbook Pro and it continues to run like a champ in 2013 and I just recorded a new album on my 2006 Mac Pro Quad and it never even hiccuped. Apple just has great quality products that deliver consistently excellent results.
Since I’ve begun working for myself at Moyers Design, I had to give up my iPad3 and have been without a tablet for over a year. I got to the point that I needed a tablet in order to fully function as a mobile professional. The trouble was, I didn’t have $350 to drop on an iPad mini. After some exposure to the Android operating system (you can read my account of that in this post), I decided to give it a try for about a third less in total cost.
We have some friends who are missionaries in northern Africa, I cannot say where. It amazes me what they go through on a daily basis (with their two small children… one, a baby) in their efforts to serve the Lord and the Muslim population. They have a new post on their blog that came in today and I felt like I needed to share it with my readers. It certainly puts things into perspective. The following is a slightly edited version of a normal daily entry from North Africa.
On Facebook I have seen lots of people refer to “#firstworld problems”; these issues are usually about various technological devices or modern conveniences. I also have some friends who have made jokes of “#thirdworld problems” which usually involve latrines or various animals in unexpected places. But this week I have decided we need a third category, something along the lines of “First-world-people-in-the-third-world problems.” Those problems that only those few first-world people have, but we only have them when we are in the third-world. I have had several lately. They include:
When you read at night, big moths keep turning the pages of your kindle touch.
Or, you can’t fit all the stuff you brought on the chartered airplane in your mud hut.
Or, you don’t have any clean clothes because the ladies who hand wash your clothes all ran off on “Tribal Warfare Day.” (A long story for another time…)
Or, you can only send emails on your laptop because the internet access in the aforementioned mud hut is really crappy.
Because of that last particular problem I have been blogging by sending my mom emails (when we can get them to go out) that she then posts on blogger for me.
It’s been a good week! It still isn’t raining yet but several blustery storms have rumbled through bringing with them the sweet tang of rain that smells dark and leafy green, like the salad I have been craving. Whether our bodies are just adjusting to the heat or it has actually cooled off some, I’m not sure but I have been enjoying those moments that I am not sweating profusely.
Many of you have wondered where I’ve been and why I’ve posted so little over the past month. The following will explain. On March 2, 2013, my cousin Swade Moyers entered the following status update on Facebook. “I’m taking a break form Facebook! See y’all in a month!” Yes, he said “form.” I felt obliged to keep him up to date during his absence. The following is a mostly day-by-day account of my replies to him on Facebook. I think the day count got a little messed up toward the end, but that’s not the important part. Enjoy…
Swade has left Facebook. I think it’s a Facebook fast. I hereby commit to chronicle his absence on a mostly daily basis. On this, the first day of Swade’s Facebook fast, hereafter referred to as the big FF, Obama’s sequester has gone into effect. Facebook is buzzing with stupid graphics talking about how this is or isn’t a fiscal apocalypse. When Swade returns in a month, we will know one way or the other.
I must admit that I forgot days 2 and 3. I guess I need to take a break from Facebook as well because I seem to be way too busy to do any comments. You haven’t missed much, except for the crazy graphics going around saying name a city that doesn’t have an E in it, or name a color without a Q in it. Everyone makes a comment about how stupid it is. Before you know it, it has several thousand comments. Then they sell the page to some company who will use your name in their advertisements because you commented on their page, even though it wasn’t their page when you did it. Its the new golf rush on Facebook. Sell your comments and capitalize on everyone’s stupidity. Enough for today. Enjoy your big FF.
Enough for today except that my autocorrect changed the word gold to the word golf. FOUR!
A major snowstorm is hitting DC. The news is going nuts reporting the storm. But when it hits here with I-27 closed and I-40 closed from Albuquerque to OKC, we only get a passing comment on the national news. In other news, the stock market is pushing an all time high. Probably has something to do with the death of Hugo Chavez yesterday. All in all, the day five post is way too serious. Day six will be better.
Since yesterday was so heavy, today’s bigFF post is a touch lighter. 6 knock knock jokes for day 6.
If you have followed me on Facebook or any other social media outlets, you’ve probably seen that the Kickstarter campaign I mentioned a few posts ago has finished. And finished very well. We set our goal at $26,500 and we received $31,660… 120% of our goal. To say we are excited about it is somewhat of an understatement. I’ll have a lot more to say about Chasing David and where we go from here in future posts. For now, I thought I’d address a question I’ve already been asked… “What did you guys do to make sure your Kickstarter campaign was a success?”
I’ve seen several books and e-books on this very subject. Here’s my take on it and I’m not charging a thing.
We relied heavily on the social aspect of Kickstarter. We did several big pushes on Facebook and used the promoted post feature 3 or 4 times. Also, every time we did an update on our campaign we would post a link to the update page on our facebook profile.
We were counseled early on to not be afraid to use the “a” word - Ask. Whenever we would post something on Facebook, we would always ask everyone to please share it on their own personal profile along with a message for support. That got a lot of traction.
Also , the use of videos helped tremendously. We took our time and did a humorous, upbeat and yet serious video for our campaign. You need to make sure that it is embedded into your Kickstarter page. They walk you through that and they make it part of the box at the top of the page. That’s important. You don’t want people to have to leave your Kickstarter page to go watch your video because most of them won’t come back. That’s not a statement on quality, that’s just the way the Internet is.
Also, about halfway through our campaign, my daughter suggested that we do some kind of music video. Up to that point we did not have anything showing our musical style. We got together and shot a video with just a few simple cameras and did a quick mix on it. We posted this on Facebook, YouTube, the Kickstarter page, and just about everywhere we could post it. We noticed a considerable up-tick in pledges after the video went live.
And last but not least, since there are 3 of us, we were able to tell people about it at church and get support there. Thats 3 different churches.
Other than that and copious amounts of prayer, that was pretty much the formula. Kickstarter allows you to tap into social media pretty easily. You have to take advantage of that and get people to share your Kickstarter page. It’s the same concept as the “street team” in concert publicity… just all online.
If you have a Kickstarter campaign coming up or are considering it, let me know. Sound off! For now, I leave you with the music video we recorded with cheap cameras and iPhones. Enjoy…
Today’s guest post is from Ray Edwards. This is the kind of thing I really need to hear, since my focus and productivity levels seem to be roughly equivalent to the level of H20 in my town of Shallowater. The original post can be found here, but I have included it in it’s entirety for you.
I took the last few days to contemplate what worked for me, in terms of productivity, over the past year – and what did not work. The result: a new plan for improved productivity in 2013. While you may not wish to duplicate my plan point-for-point, I thought you might find it useful to see my “working blueprint”. Maybe it will serve as a springboard for your own fresh new productivity tweaks.
I looked at a number of productivity programs and approaches, many of which I have used in the past. After careful consideration, I still can’t find another system that works as well as Getting Things Done. While I find great ideas in the Franklin Covey approach, among others, GTD makes the most sense for me. If you are not familiar with the GTD philosophy, I encourage you to read David Allen’s seminal work on stress-free productivity. A great augmentation to the GTD material is one of my favorite new podcasts and websites, Erik Fisher’s “Beyond the To-Do List”.
In keeping with my adherence to GTD, my planning is fairly simple. I have a weekly review session on Fridays, during which I collect all the inputs that have accumulated over the past week, and one by one clear them from my inbox. For each item I decide whether to do it, delegate it, or delete it. Simple, but not always easy. In 2012, I reached the mythical “inbox zero” only about 50% of the time. My goal for the new year is to reach inbox zero 80% of the weeks in the year.
I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have never been great at tracking my activities. I am resolved to change that in 2013. In the realm of fitness, I have hired a personal trainer, and invested in a FitBit (this little device tracks my physical activity throughout the day). For business activities, I am developing a dashboard for my company in Excel to keep track of key metrics. For productivity purposes, I have reinstalled RescueTime, to help me evaluate how I’m spending my time on the computer. I am resolved to reduce my computer time in the new year significantly.
Today’s entry is a guest post from my uncle-in-law, Gary Sorrells. He has a wonderful blog running at godreflection.com. Stop by and take a look sometime.
I worship an illegal alien.
Back when I was learning how to live in a foreign country, I learned a word and a concept to help with my adaptation. “Ethnocentrism” is looking at me as being the center of the universe.
As Americans, we have this down to an art form. If you want to know how to do anything in the correct manner, you only need to ask me. Our sports are better than your sports. My government is better than your government. My food is better than your food.
This can’t be coffee. It is strong and sweet and tastes like hot syrup. And—it’s served in a shot glass.
Back at home—in the USA—we do it the right way.
You can imagine how wonderful this goes over with the pagans we went to save. (They are the pagans—not us.)
By the way, we don’t have a corner on the market, though we are perhaps the worst. I learned while living in Brazil that God is a Brazilian.
As white, Anglo citizens of the USA, we are not good at accepting outsiders. It is still hard to accept the fact that God creates in different colors. Likewise, it is still hard for us to accept that God is not Anglo and does in fact love us all equally.
I find it interesting that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus lived for a time as illegal aliens in Egypt. I wonder how Egyptians accepted them. Did others poke fun at their accent as they tried to speak a foreign language? What did the Egyptians think about the God and the worship of Joseph’s family?
For those of you who have not seen it, we launched our Kickstarter campaign this morning around 8:00 AM. By “we,” I mean Duane Adams, Kevin Schaffer and me. Maybe I should back up and explain.
About a year ago, the three of us started talking about a strong feeling we’ve all had to return to music ministry. Granted, we are all music ministers at our respective churches and thoroughly enjoy serving in that role. At the same time, we felt like God might not be finished with us quite yet regarding professional Christian music. I almost hate using that term, because that’s not what we want to be known for.
Like it or not, God placed us in a position with Acappella that allowed us to have a pretty strong impact on the church and people as individuals. It was all out of our hands and God did the work. We were just young guys who loved the Lord and enjoyed singing about him to anyone who would listen. Through that fun and singing (along with a lot of hard work), God did some amazing stuff.
It left a legacy that we are still trying to understand. It’s been 13 years since the last of us left Acappella, and we still get emails and comments on an almost daily basis. This is what has led us to consider trying it again. Apparently, the opportunity for God to work through us in that same manner is still open. Consequently, we’ve been writing songs for the past year in anticipation of starting a group. Chasing David was born out of this year of consideration, praying and song writing.
And so, our fund raising campaign was launched today at Kickstarter.com. It’s been a flurry of activity all day long with Facebook feeding most of the frenzy. In the first 12 hours, we’ve had 26 people back us with a total commitment of just over $2,000. Our Facebook Page has skyrocketed in attention. We’ve even had inquiries about doing concerts in Houston, Japan and Korea.
Indeed, it seems that God might not be done yet. We shall see. 27 more days to go.
If you’d like to know more, you can read about it at these links:
Even to this day, I still get comments about the song He Leadeth Me. This song was the title track to an early hymns album by Acappella and friends. The album was out of print for quite a while, although I think it has been reprinted and is available once again. What strikes most people when they hear the album is the diversity of styles present and the joy that permeates throughout. What very few know is that this album grew from a funeral.
The year was 1989 and I had been in Acappella almost a year. We were on tour through Oklahoma, on the way to another extended run through Texas. That particular night we had stopped for an event in a town somewhere in southwest Oklahoma, I can’t remember the name now. Late in the afternoon at our host home, I received a phone call from my dear friend Craig Martin. Craig and I had grown up together in Lubbock and he was the CFO for Acappella Ministries at the time. I was surprised to hear his voice, but it changed quickly when his first words were, “Gary, are you sitting down? You need to sit down.” Those are never good words to begin a phone conversation.
He went on to tell me that my father, Orlando Moyers, had suffered a massive stroke and was in the hospital in Lubbock. I was still single at the time, although my reconnection with my future wife grew out of this event (another blog post coming up). Before I really knew what was happening, the youth minister at the church (I can’t remember his name, bless his heart) had given me the keys to his car and Keith had told me to get to Lubbock quickly. They would cover for me at the concert.
Six hours later I pulled into the hospital parking lot and walked into the ICU waiting room. It was filled with people from church and my mother was sitting in the middle of them. The next 24 hours were a blur of hospital, home and family. My father was in a coma, but I had time to speak to him and pray over him. He passed away the next night.
I am constantly amazed at the number of small business people I run across who do not know about one of the greatest online tools available for marketing. When I mention the words “Google Places,” I usually get a blank stare in return. For all of you reading who just mentally shrugged, let me share a bit.
Google Place is a free service of the search giant. It is, in essence, your business listing for Google. As of mid-2011, Google owned over 65% of all searches, more than double of Bing (14%) and Yahoo (16%) combined. When someone does a Google Maps search for a business, the results that come up are populated by Google Places. Click on one of those little pins on the map and the page that comes up, hopefully chocked full of info, is a micro-version of their Google Places page.
What makes Google Places so important?
Here’s a few good reasons:
Search engine results pages (SERP’s) give priority to Places results. Google Places will come in at the top of any given search, thus raising the possibility of being found by targeted customers.
If someone is searching for a product along with a location name, the chances of conversion are much greater. You’ve probably got a buyer on your hands.
Even if your website is well optimized, it will always appear lower in the results. Organic search results appear further down than Google Places results.
It’s likely you will see an increase in customers, as Google Places brings in targeted business.
And last but certainly not least, it’s free!
According to a recent study, 95% of smart phone users are searching for information about local businesses from their phone. This demographic of users tends to act quickly with over 80% taking action on their search results within one day. 77% of these people call or visit the local business they discovered in their search.
Google Places is designed to automatically format for mobile phones. If you have a Google Places page, this gives you the greatest mobile impact with the easiest interface and greatly increases the chances of customer conversion.
It’s Already There, so Claim it!
Here’s the thing. Google Places automatically generates Place pages. There are over 5 million out there now. Only 2.3 million have been claimed by actual businesses. That’s leaves over 2.7 million Place pages that are unclaimed and basically devoid of information. If you have not claimed your business Place page, you are leaving potential customers out in the cold. Not only will they have a harder time finding you, there will be no helpful information when they do.
If you claim your page, you have the ability to add location information, pictures, contact info, special deals… just about any kind of marketing you care to do.
Google has even integrated Google Places into Google+. Anything you add to your Place page will be reflected within their social media site. That’s nothing to sneeze at, either.
How Do I Claim It?
Simple. Go to www.google.com/placesforbusiness and they will walk you through the process. It involves Google sending you a verification postcard, so it doesn’t happen overnight. Overall, it’s a painless and fairly quick procedure and VERY much worth the effort. If you still don’t think you have time, I can do it for you. In the words of Stargate, “Hey, it’s what I do.”
Does your business have a Google Places page yet? Have you seen any results?
Since Storm Front released my arrangement of this song on their album, I've had a growing number of people ask me about acquiring the arrangement. Yes, I have it. Yes, you can get it. Jump over to my Contact page and give me a shout.