Monday, July 28, 2014

FUBAR - Our Language Languishes

In 2012, the American Oxford Dictionary, Word of The Year (WOTY), was GIF; verb, "to GIF a picture". That's right - "GIF".


You see, GIF, is always written in all capital letters. Why? Because it's not really a word - it's an acronym, for Graphic Interchange Format - like JPEG, or FUBAR. That's right. The WOTY for 2012, according to the keepers of our language, is not a word.

Let that sink in - as we observe a moment of silence.

The systematic butchering of our language it nothing new - it has become so apparent that Weird Al Yankovic, God help us, has become the de facto spokesman for the proper use of language and grammar. As evidenced by this 3-minute video, in defence of language, that has over 11 million views as I write this post.

I've written on a lot of topics since starting this blog, in 2012 - the year of the 'GIF', but more than anything, this blog is a reflection of my love for writing. It is a forum for expression of ideas - for sharing experience, strength, and hope as a writer, father and husband.

In spite of pictures, videos and podcasts - written content is the heartbeat of the World Wide Web. From the mid 90's, to the beginning of the new Millennium, we saw virtual arteries clogged with SEO trickery, conversational writing, jargon, lazy short-hand and plagiarism. However, in the last decade, we've seen a remarkable reversal, from keyword-stuffing-algorithm-gaming content, flung onto webpages by overnight successes, and universal failures, to a revolution of ideas, driven by well written, thoughtful, authentic, content.
Content is King - welcome to the Content Revolution!
It would be nice to claim that this Content Revolution is the product of the Humans and their inherent quest for value, integrity and protection of all things sacred. Sadly, the truth is much less romantic. The Royal Resurgence of language, rising on the back of remarkable content is, by far, much more a product of circumstance, rather than virtue. 

It is the monetization of content that is driving this Revolution.

In 2014, content marketing is the hottest trend for corporate sales - and this trend is growing. It's not only the eBusinesses that are leading the charge. My favourite content marketing evangelist is Marcus Sheridan, the Sales Lion - and his core business is selling swimming pools. Over five years, he brought his business from the edge of ruin to prosperity, on a platform of content marketing. Marcus promotes a refreshing return to traditional values - like being helpful and communicating. 

So, we've gone full circle, in this Age of Information - the same forces responsible for launching guerilla warfare on our language - such as; GIF, L8er and OMFG - is now providing the foundation for a Digital Renaissance with Content Marketing.

What does the future look like for language? 

Well, the WOTY for 2013 is "selfie". At least it's in the general form of a word - which is progress. But maybe it's not the lexicographers, and academics, who hold the keys to language - but rather, the C-suite executives, and shareholders of the corporate world. Content marketing is driven by economic - not artistic, or cultural - metrics. 

The end result may be the free exchange of new ideas, and furtherance of the quality of contemporary writing - but it is market driven. If the consumer is attracted to content, and this attraction results in visits to a brand website, and these visits translate into sales - then there is real, economic, motivation to maintain high quality written content.

So, if Content is King, then the Consumer, who drives the demand, must be Queen.

And if a dopey song by Weird Al helps carry this message to the masses - so 'b' it.

Best, Sam EdgeFor more about Content, eCommerce and Business Strategy, visit my information site: The Edge on Strategy

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Dealing with difficult people (Including yourself)

"It's better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you a fool than speak and remove all doubt." Mark Twain et. al.

I attributed the quote above to "Mark Twain et. al." because there is some debate as to who said it - but it sounds like Mark Twain to me. Regardless of origin, this little pearl of wisdom has served me well. When I am unsure of where I stand or, more frequently, when I am not fit for Human consumption, I try to listen more and speak less.

I learned this lesson only after many years of conflict, trial and error.

For most of my thirties I worked in an office with twenty-five employees. I was one of only two men. I worked there for seven years. I was in a senior management position. Obviously, any authority I had over my employees was an illusion that I was allowed to entertain from time to time. Up until this time in my life I was allowed to believe that men were the stronger sex - not so.

Any true managing that I was able to achieve was through the art of strategic submission. I leaned more about how to get along with the Humans during those years than all the combined years before and since. I also learned a lot about true strength.

I managed to play well with the other kids - for the most part.

There were a few conflicts which I chose to engaged in with way too much enthusiasm.The delicate art of assertively setting and maintaining boundaries was foreign to me. Rather, I spent many nights plotting revenge on those who I was convinced were picking on me. Ultimately, I resorted to guerilla tactics.

I would spend an entire week crafting an e-mail to be concise, hard-hitting and full of double meaning and deniability. I fuelled fires with phrases such as: "I understand how difficult ... I am happy to assist with ... complex issues for a person of your .... given your limited ..."

My objective was to exact revenge while maintaining deniability.

At exactly 4:25 - five minutes before quitting time on Friday afternoon - I would send the e-mail, turn off my computer and go home for the weekend. I would be the last this the recipient would see before their weekend. They were left unable to respond. Monday they would be apoplectic.

Yes, I was a little, little man

Photo Credit:

Ultimately that job crashed into a mountain and I was the first to be eaten in the ensuing weeks. I will always be grateful for that experience. As a result I have never since found a personality conflict I am unable to rise above. From this experience, I developed the single best strategy to promote peaceful relations with the Humans.

I sleep on it - that's it.

I don't react in the moment I go home and let it sit for a night. Most of the time the problem resolves itself as I sleep. When it doesn't, I am able to find a way to resolve it with out bloodshed or viscous e-mail campaigns.

I still write e-mails to resolve resentments but I have my wife proofread them first.

Today I play well with the other kids. Life is too short for petty resentments and feuds. I need all the energy I have to be the best husband and father I can be. I don't have the luxury of nursing resentments.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Best, Sam Edge

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Strategics Ezine, May 2014

Hi everyone. 

As many of you know I have started a website "The Edge on Strategy". Part of this website is the Ezine "Strategics" where I put together a monthly article related to how we can use Strategy to become more effective in reaching our professional and personal goals. Below I am providing a link to the May article of Strategics for those of you who are subscribers to my Blog but not my other site. 

To be sure you don't miss anything I recommend you joining both the Ezine and Blog. Either one will get you my free eBook on Strategic Planning.

Enjoy the article and have a great June!!

Here is the link to join Strategics and get the article directly to your inbox.

Best Sam.
Tegan and Abigail

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Magic of Strategy: Manifesting Abundance

If you commit to the simple principles of strategy, you can find yourself effortlessly manifesting abundance in your life. I know that’s a bold statement - but time and time again, I have met and exceeded my personal, and professional, goals through the simple and powerful magic of strategy.

At it’s most basic, strategy is a decision to take deliberate actions to affect a desired outcome. This is the Holy Trinity of Strategy: Decision, Action and Outcome. 

Every single human-made thing in this world started out as a thought. The chair you’re sitting on, the computer in front of you, the words you’re reading – even the person writing them – started as a thought.

A thought, plus an action, equals an outcome. This is strategy - simple, elegant, magic. I have succeeded at almost everything I have put my attention to simply because failure doesn’t occur to me. I lock onto a goal, I visualize the outcome and I don’t quit until I succeed. Sometimes I adjust my goals along the way if something better presents itself, but I don’t give up.

This is the key to strategy and ultimately - success.

Long before I fully understood strategy, I was manifesting abundance. I first became aware of its magical powers working on business development with Indigenous communities in rural British Columbia. As a community planner, I was responsible for guiding the emerging economies in communities that had little business experience. 

After generations of poverty, as a result of the restrictive, and even punitive legislature, these communities had become accustomed to failure. Their governing bodies and businesses had learned to work in reactionary conditions. Understaffed, and underfunded, failure was embedded in their collective memory. 

However, without fail, when we took strategic control of our decisions, actions and outcomes, we were able to turn community aspirations into realities. We used this basic toolset to create new businesses, own source revenues and employment.

We transformed thoughts into things – like magic.

We don't merely overcome adversity, we find value in our obstacles. They became our greatest learning opportunities - important plot points in a story we author. Through the power of choice and action we influence outcomes. If we approach a bump in the road as an exciting learning opportunity it becomes fuel for success. We turn a deficit into an asset. If, on the other hand, we approach that same bump as a reason to quit - failure is inevitable.

The world is full of people who are quick to point out why something won’t work and we shouldn’t do something. These are toxic people. We pull them from our lives like weeds competing for our sunlight. We surround ourselves with positive people and thoughts of accomplishment. We visualize our goals and aspirations as reality and manifesting abundance becomes inevitable.

Strategy is about taking control of your own destiny. You are the author of your destiny. As the author you cannot fail. If you let circumstances beyond your control, or toxic people and negative thinking dictate your choices, actions and outcomes then success is all but impossible. 

Lock on to the outcomes that you want to create in your personal and business lives. Check yourself. Are the choices you make moving you towards or away from these outcomes? If they move you away – stop doing that. Make choices and take actions only when they advance you towards your goals.

If you look back at your successes you may find that you’ve been using these simple principles of strategy intuitively to realize your goals and manifest abundance in your life. With this awareness you can marshal choices, actions and outcomes at will and truly live your life on purpose. 

That’s the magic of strategy.

For more on strategy, strategic planning and manifesting abundance check out my website the Edge On Strategy or my eBooks series Strategies for Success.

Best Sam Edge

Sunday, May 04, 2014

The Edge on Parenting: Advise for Fathers with Daughters

Of all my life's experiences, it is my family, and specifically my daughters, that have given me the most to write about. According to my family's mythology surrounding parenting, sons teach mothers and daughters teach fathers. So it follows that a father who has a lot to learn will be blessed with more daughters.

I'm on the fence as to how true this is; however, this family folklore has survived a few generations. The fact that I have three daughters clearly supports the notion that a father in need of learning will receive daughters. I can also confirm, without a doubt, that my girls are, by far, my greatest teachers.

Each of my daughters has their own specific talent that is clearly designed to drive me bat-crap-crazy. It is my oldest (thirteen going on thirty) that has taught me the most. She is the product of a previous relationship that fell apart shortly after she was born. The responsibility of parenting was too much for her mother at the time. As a result, I took on most of the parenting responsibility for the first ten years. She was my "starter child", teaching me to parent through trial by fire.

My parenting philosophy was, and is, to ensure the child grows up feeling safe and loved at all times and above all else. As a result we now have a strong and healthy relationship that can weather life's obstacles. Also, despite the fractured family life she had growing up she is as well adjusted and happy a teen as you would hope to find.

In 2012, I lost a bitter custody dispute and she went to live with her mother. In a matter of hours my family was chopped by twenty-five percent. Working through this challenge has been the most difficult and most rewarding experience of my life. This confirms one of my core beliefs, that difficult times are opportunities to become better, stronger and faster than before.

As a direct result of this dispute, we have a co-parenting agreement where my daughter is able to rebuild the relationship with her mother while maintaining her connection to my wife, her sisters and me. Although, the role I will play in her teenage years is not what I had expected, or wanted, things have turned out just fine, if not even better, for her (don't tell my ex I said that).

It is a crushing blow to my male pride and ego to have to take a back seat to her mother in the parenting for the next few years; however, it is my daughters happiness, not mine, that matters. In the end, she will have a balanced upbringing with the benefit of a close tie to both parents.
It was the family mythology of daughters teaching fathers that helped me through the dark times of conflict and dispute. It gave me faith that everything would work out. I was able to looks for the hidden lessons and be grateful for them as they manifested.

I found that in times of crisis we lean on our stories, our family mythologies and traditions, to overcome the fear of the unknown. We are even willing to suspend logic for a justifiable diversion to help us make sense of our lives during times of crisis.

My daughter was just home for a visit. It's been a tough eighteen months for the poor kid. She's a little shell-shocked from it all. I have years, decades even, of practice working through the tough times - she doesn't. For the first few days of her visit she was stand-offish. The bitter conflict between me and her mother had taken its toll.

There's no instruction manual for this stuff (not that I'd read it anyways). So I sat her down and spoke to her from the heart. I explained that we were both grieving. Our relationship had been changed and it was going to take time getting used to the idea that life is going to unfold differently than we'd expected. I told her "different" could be hard and scary but it was up to us how it turned out. I assured her things could be better than ever if we worked together.

I told her I was just figuring things out as I went along and if something I did made her feel uncomfortable or sad she should speak up. I told her it was okay for her to grieve in her own way and if she had any questions she should ask. Most of all I told her we should take it easy on each other and remember deep down that we love each other and we're on the same side. I even found some words of praise for her mother to ease the tension around that rocky relationship.I ended our little caucus by sharing the family story about daughters teaching fathers. Then I thanked her for all she'd done for me and gave her a hug. The seed of the family mythology of fathers and daughters was planted in the unlimited pure potential of a new generation. It was now free to grow and flourish in the context of her life.

You could see her change physically from low to high frequency. The fear and anxiety melted away and that familiar feeling of love and safety flowed into place. From then on the tension was gone. Our connection became even stronger than before. And thanks to her I became a better man and a better father.

These are the lessons that stick. They are even better when we can share them. It is in moments like these when I know being a father is the hardest, best and most important thing I will ever do. The value of this experience is immeasurable as are lessons learned from it.

So, that's my advice for fathers with daughters. I hope you found something useful.

Best Sam Edge,