Personal posts

Top 5 Things on Jason’s Mind – February 19th, 2015

Author: Jason Terry

Okay friends. I had a hard time writing about a single topic this week, so I am going to do another “Top 5 Things on My Mind” post.  I hope one of these gets you thinking, makes you laugh or helps you take action.

1) Companies are spending money on marketing and training again.  That’s a good thing.

DollarsWe’ve noticed a jump in requests for new websites and LinkedIn training over the past quarter.  Almost double the normal volume.  Thank you to all of you that have sent opportunities our way!

I think that our type of business is an early indicator to where the economy is moving.  The services we offer tie directly to the sales and marketing efforts of the companies we help.  When companies start spend money on those efforts, it usually means the economy is in growth mode.

I’ve talked to quite a few companies lately about this trend and many are seeing the same thing.  More activity than normal.  Are you seeing that in your business?  I hope so!

2) One space or two after a period?

Completely random, I know.. but this has been on my mind for two weeks for some reason.  I stumbled onto an article that opened my eyes to the ongoing debate about how many spaces should be after a period.  One, or two?  I was taught two spaces in typing class in grade school. And there are a lot of people loudly claiming there should only be one space.

I think the most interesting perspective on the argument is that people might be able to tell you are over 40 if you double space.  Dang, that’s me.  I double spaced my sentences up to this point in my blog post.  Ugh.  What do you think?  Do you use one or two spaces?

Do a google search on “one or two spaces” and enjoy reading 70 million results. Read more

Mic Celebrates 5 Years and We Adopted El Centro!

Hi guys!  It’s Jason with our first blog post in 2015.  Happy New Year!

Mic Celebrates 5 Years With Blue Gurus!

I thought it would be appropriate to let you know that Mic is celebrating his 5th year as a Blue Guru this month.  Wow, it’s weird even writing that.  It doesn’t feel like it’s been almost 6 years since I started the company.  Crazy.

Please join me in congratulating Mic on sticking around this long and putting up with me these past 5 years.  :)

I really like Top Ten lists, so here’s my Top Ten list of why I love working with Mic Johnson:

  1. Mic Johnson 2014 He’s really, really funny.  He’s got a quick wit and he just makes me laugh.  Often.
  2. He’s helped me to see the value of balance and not scheduling myself with too much work in a given week.  That’s had a big positive impact on my personal life.
  3. He has no problem challenging me.  We actually enjoy the back and forth and the end result is always better.
  4. He’s been married a lot longer than me and offers good advice when I’m fighting battles with Trista that I shouldn’t.  It’s helped me to be a better husband.
  5. He’s helped me to better appreciate the value of what we do for companies.  And to price our services appropriately.
  6. He’s humble.  Even though he usually says that after talking about how awesome he is.
  7. He’s patient.  He handles adversity so well and keeps things from escalating.
  8. He’s organized.  Less clutter = less stress and Mic is a master at that.
  9. He’s got a big heart.  He cares deeply about friends, family and clients.  If anyone cares TOO much, it’s Mic Johnson.
  10. He’s willing to listen, learn and adjust.  And you can’t buy that.  It’s so rare.

Mic means a lot to me, and I really appreciate that we get to work together helping people!

Blue Gurus Adopts El Centro

We adopt a not for profit every month or so.  We spend a couple of hours giving our best to help organizations use web and social more effectively.

ElCentroLogoThis week, we adopted El Centro.  El Centro’s mission is “To strengthen communities and improve lives of Latinos and others through educational, social, and economic opportunities.”  We learned a lot about their organization and really enjoyed working with Clayton and Irene.  By the end of our time together, I felt like they had a good game plan for moving forward with their blogging and LinkedIn strategy to help their organization grow in 2015.  And it felt great.  They really appreciated our time and our advice and were excited to get going!

As always, thanks so much for reading.  Let us know if you have a LinkedIn, Blogging or WordPress question that we can cover in a future blog post.

Lessons From Loss…And One Of The Greatest Honors Of My Life

Post author: Mic Johnson

Missy WhalenIn July of this year I got word that my longtime friend Missy Whalen had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. I’ve known Missy since grade school and she has always been like a sister to me. Her laugh was as infectious as anyone I’ve ever known…and I absolutely loved making her laugh.

Missy died on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving. She was 43 years old.

I was asked on behalf of the family to write and read the eulogy. It was one of the most humbling and difficult things I’ve ever done….and one of the greatest honors of my life.

I’ve included a link to the eulogy below along with several thoughts from my experience over the last couple of weeks.

I’ll be honest. I don’t exactly know what you’ll take away from my experience, but I promise you this: If you take some time out of your busy day today…or save this post to read later…you will walk away with some perspective you didn’t have before.

Mic

3 Business Trends (I’m Thrilled About) That Are Coming Soon

Post author: Mic Johnson

There are a few things I’ve been thinking about for quite some time that need to (and I believe will) happen in the business world. I’m not exactly sure when the transition will reach “there’s no turning back now” status, but I’m confident that it’s going to. If I had to guess, I would say (optimistically) we’ll start seeing the pendulum swing further in the direction of the items mentioned below in the next 3-5 years.

(Small caveat: When I’m talking about generations below, I’m generalizing. Many of us have a blend of generational characteristics. In fact, I’ve long referred to myself as a GenX’er With Y Tendencies. Ask me why the next time you see me and I’ll explain.)ComingSoon

1. More women (finally) in leadership positions.

Women are moving toward the glass ceiling and have hammers in BOTH hands (and maybe a spare or two in their purses). Just a few recent examples include:

There are 100 women in Congress for the first time ever.

The American Legion has appointed it’s first-ever female Executive Director.

Women are now 33% more likely than men to earn college degrees.

This TED Talk by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on “Why we have too few women leaders” has nearly 5 million views.

Elise Stefanik became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

And one of my favorites….There’s a Girl Scout troop teaching girls to be CEOs.

I’ve talked with my wife Missy and several other women about some of the things they’ve had to put up with in their careers and it blows my mind. Even worse, there was an unspoken, reluctant acceptance that it’s just something that women have had to deal with if they wanted to advance in their careers.

I have a strong sense that more and more women aren’t going to put up with this much longer. And when they get to those positions of leadership after playing the game for so long, they’re going to change the rules of the game…and, in many instances, they’ll be even more effective than the men they’re replacing.

2. The Death of Old School Cultures

Old school cultures, led by old school (predominately white) men, being forced to (finally) change because Millennials (and increasingly more Gen X’ers) won’t work for them or buy from them.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with people about this topic. Everyone rolls their eyes and shakes their head knowingly. We’ve all been around cultures and people like this.

So why do we stand for it?

If we’re honest with each other, people have put up with this BS for decades because they’re afraid of losing their jobs and are afraid to speak truth to power. And to make matters worse, many in power surround themselves with people who won’t question them and carelessly build cultures where people don’t have a voice.

So one bad decision leads to another, and another, and another. Eventually, the culture begins to implode on itself. We’re going to see a lot more of this in years to come in businesses that have gotten away with old school, ineffective cultures for far too long.

3. Increased Entrepreneurship

It’s already happening, but we’ll see increased entrepreneurship among GenX’ers and Millennials if/when old school cultures don’t change. I have many friends who have been at companies for several years now (or hopped from bad culture to bad culture), putting up with way more than any employee should ever have to, and who are disillusioned or on the path to disillusionment.

Something seems to happen when you hit 40 (or even earlier for some of the lucky ones). You start to question…

“Is this it?”

“Is this why I’ve worked so hard?”

“So that I can do the same stupid/boring job working for the same people who don’t listen and who don’t ask for or value my input?”

Millennials won’t make the same mistake as many of the GenX’ers before them, even it means they have to live at home a little while longer instead of working for a company culture and leadership that suck.

Bottom Line

The rarely mentioned GenX’ers (yes I’m one of them and yes I’m tired of our generation being ignored) weren’t a big enough group with a big enough voice to force this much needed and long overdue collective evolution.

That’s not the case with Millennials. As soon as they hit their stride as a generation (and it will happen), big changes will soon follow. We’re already starting to see ripples in the water. Eventually, they will become waves. For businesses, governments, and for Boomers and Gen X’ers, the choice is clear:

Get on board and ride the waves…or grab a life preserver and hope for the best.

#BeRoyalKC: Oh Yes…It’s A Great Time To Be In Kansas City!

Post author: Mic Johnson

Can you feel it? Can you feel the energy and buzz throughout the entire city? Unless you don’t have a pulse, of course you can!

I’ve been in Kansas City since 1994 and have never seen, or felt, anything like it. Yes, it’s a great time to be in Kansas City. And all of the things we locals have known for years are now on display for the entire world to see.

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on just how PUMPED I am about all of the cool things going on throughout the city, starting with the…

Kansas City Royals

MicandMissyRoyalThere’s absolutely no debating this one. The Kansas City Royals, in the playoffs for the first time in 29 years, is the best story in town. Scratch that, it’s the best sports-related story in the COUNTRY right now!

Outside of the three other fan bases left in the Major League playoffs, everyone is loving on our Kansas City Royals. My wife Missy and I were fortunate enough to go to the Wild Card game and Game 3 of the ALDS.

Brandon Cale Royal FountainThose were two of the most amazing experiences of our lives. I can’t even describe the energy and pride that flowed throughout Kauffman Stadium. It was a magical experience.

Yes, buildings are going blue and the fountains are too (my friend Brandon Cale, owner of The Popperazzi, took this picture of the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain). And of course Royals merchandise is flying off the shelves.

There’s no doubt about it. The Royals have brought an energy and excitement to Kansas City that I’ve never seen before.

And it’s absolutely awesome.

Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs Kansas City loves it’s football and there are few things more enjoyable than a Kansas City Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium. The tailgating, the smells, the sounds, the roar of the loudest fans in the NFL….you can’t beat it.

They got off to a rough start in their home opener, but then dominated the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football…just one night after the Royals beat the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card Game.

Make no mistake: Those were two of the best back-to-back nights in Kansas City sports history.

Sporting Kansas City

SportingKCKansas City’s other “futbol” team, Sporting Kansas City, coming off of an incredibly exciting MLS Championship last season, recently clinched a spot in the playoffs.

I openly admit to not being the biggest soccer fan in the world, but I’ve gone to a few SportingKC games and they’ve been a blast every single time. If you haven’t been to a game, head out to their incredible stadium during the playoffs. You won’t regret it.

Travel & Leisure Taps Kansas City As The #3 Favorite City For 2014

Travel & Leisure Travel & Leisure had their 8th annual survey this year and picked Kansas City as the #3 Favorite City for 2014.

They gave Kansas City props for our Christmas lights, art scene, free attractions, affordability, and more.

BBQ, BBQ, And More BBQ

Joe's Kansas City logoThere are so many great BBQ places in Kansas City and the list just keeps on growing. Here are just a few, but the reality is you can rarely go wrong if you go into any BBQ joint in the city.

Joe’s Kansas City (my personal favorite)
Jack Stack
Arthur Bryant’s
Q39

Best Of Kansas City 2014

The PitchThe PITCH recently came out with their “Best of Kansas City 2014” awards.

Looking for the best doughnuts in Kansas City? What about the best hidden gem? Best florist? Best restaurant? Best bar?

They’ve got it all covered.

Nice People

It seems like everytime I talk to someone who is visiting Kansas City for the first time, they always say “The people are so nice.” And my response is always “That’s the way it’s supposed to be!”

Don’t Forget…

Also, don’t forget about the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, the Boulevard Brewing Company, the Historic City Market, the Power and Light District, and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Yes, it’s a great time to be in Kansas City. I’m so very proud to call this place home. #BeRoyalKC

What other great things are going on in Kansas City that you want people to know about? Leave a comment below to share with the rest of our readers!

Remembering 9/11… Something Special Happened Today

Hi friends!  It’s Jason with the Blue Gurus blog post for this week.

Enterprise-UniversityI really enjoy meeting new people and training them on using LinkedIn and blogging to grow their businesses.  I got a good dose of that feeling today when I did a 3 hour, in-depth training session on LinkedIn for Enterprise University.  EU is a training program that Enterprise Bank offers to customers and prospects.  There were about 35 people in the class today and we met at the Hallbrook Country Club, a beautiful venue for sure.

As I was driving to the club at 7:30 am, I was thinking about the fact that today is 9/11.  It’s hard to believe that today is the 13th anniversary of the terrible events and thousands of lives lost on September 11th, 2001.  I remember exactly where I was at when it was happening.  I was with my family in Colorado.  We had rented a cabin in Colorado Springs as our staging point for Garden of the Gods, the Pike’s Peak cog railway, hiking up Seven Falls, and more.

On the morning of 9/11/01, we were going to take the cog railway up Pike’s Peak.  I went out to the car to wait for the rest of my family and turned on the radio.  The station it was on had some person talking, so I changed the channel.  The next station I found had another person talking, so I changed the channel again.  When I got to the third station and it was still someone talking, I started to listen and realized everyone was reporting that planes were crashing into the World Trade Center.  I couldn’t believe it.  I went back into the cabin, and we turned on the TV and watched the news unfold for the next two hours.  I was shocked, heart broken, and angry.  The emotions were raw and stayed with me for weeks.

And then a year went by.  I remembered the events like they were yesterday on the first anniversary.  And then a couple more years went by.  Lots of things happened in life and in business.  I got married.  Moved a couple of times.  Started my own business.  And thirteen years later  I found myself in the Enterprise University class at Hallbrook Country Club getting ready to teach people a lot of cool stuff about LinkedIn.  I wanted to recognize the day as a group, but I didn’t really know what to do.  A moment of silence?  A quick discussion?  I just didn’t know what to do.

9-11-EULuckily, I was saved by Britt.  Britt came to the class to learn about networking on LinkedIn.  She is a singer.  She sings at weddings, sports events, funerals and corporate events.  During one of the breaks, she came over to me and said, “You know, it’s 9/11.  Do you think it would be appropriate if I sang the national anthem?”  I was floored.  I mean it.  You know that I am rarely at a loss for words, but it took me a minute to respond to Britt.  I loved the idea and pulled up a picture of the American flag on the big screen I was using for my training.

When everyone got back from the break, I asked them to stand for the National Anthem in memory of 9/11.  It got really, really quiet.  Britt sang the anthem beautifully.  It was an amazing moment.  Here was a room full of business people that didn’t really know each other.  And we all took a minute to remember the events of 9/11 together.  Some people sang along quietly.  Others had their hands over their heart.  And it was one of those moving moments that doesn’t happen very often.  It was unexpected.  And powerful.  I was so thankful that Britt was brave enough to sing in front of the group.

For me, there really is no distinction between “business” and “personal”.  It’s just life.  I am the same person whether we are training your executive team on LinkedIn or having a beer together at a Royals baseball game.  Today was a reminder to me that we are in this together and there is always common ground.

So as you read this, I hope you will join me in remembering 9/11.  If you knew or were related to anyone at ground zero that lost their life, I am so sorry.  And my respect and thanks to the bravery of the police, firefighters and other services that responded so quickly trying to help.

What I Learned Recently About Death and Social

Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

Friends, this is Jason.  I wanted to make sure you knew it was me writing because of the news I’m about to share.

Wilma TerryMy grandma died on Monday morning, 4/14/14 at 4:21am. Her name was Wilma Terry and she and I were very close… especially as I was growing up.

I remember playing “Giant” where we hid around her house while she slowly walked around thumping her cane on the floor and looking for us. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time. Other fond memories include eating her peanut butter rice krispie treats, getting my mouth washed out with soap for cussing (I was really young) and singing Christmas carols together. Read more

How PaperKarma Saved Me From 20+ Years Of Junk Mail

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Web Site Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Lover | Cancer Volunteer

Medicare MailingThere’s been an interesting phenomenon happening to me over the last couple of months. Out of nowhere I suddenly started getting “You’re Eligible For Medicare” mail. Every week, I’d get a couple of new pieces.

I’m nowhere near the age where I qualify for Medicare and I quickly realized that if these mailers didn’t stop, I’d be getting them for the next 20+ years!

I called the local Medicare office and asked if I’d been put on a list of some sort that I could be removed from.

They told me that the mailings didn’t have anything to do with them. They also said that there are several list companies out there, but there was no way to alert them all at once. I also called the people that sent the mailers and asked to be removed from their list.

But the pieces of mail kept coming.

I relayed the story to my friend Drew Hinrichs. Drew is one of those “Hey, have you heard of that app?” guys and he told me about the FREE app PaperKarma.

Now, when I get those annoying and unwanted Medicare mailings each week, I simply scan a picture of it with my iPhone, make sure my name, address info, and the mailing barcode are included, and upload it to PaperKarma. And they take care of the rest!

It’s super easy to use, saves me time from contacting everyone that sends me a mailer, saves me time from tearing up and recycling all of those mailers, and will save a few trees along the way. They also have a “status” tab that shows you whether an uploaded item is “Pending”, “Success”, or “Failed”.

So the next time you find yourself routinely getting unwanted junk mail, use PaperKarma!

PaperKarma (1)PaperKarma (2)

Sometimes It Hurts To Care So Much

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Web Site Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Lover | Cancer Volunteer

A few years ago Jason said the following to me: 

“That’s what I love about you. You care SO MUCH!”

At the time, I took it as a compliment and it really clarified something about myself that I never really truly understood until he said those words to me. But I’ll get to that a bit later.

For now, I want you to know something about me right now at this moment:

I’m hurting. Depressed. Numb. And kinda feeling like I just lost someone I loved.

Let me explain.  Read more

The Past Couple of Weeks Have Been Painful. Have You Been There?

Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

Well, the last two weeks have been interesting for me (Jason).  Interesting is the word I use in place of “awful, terrible, and sucky” when I’m trying to stay positive.  I’m sure you’ve been through periods in your life where it seems like the universe is out to get you.  Things just aren’t working.  Or worse, they’re breaking right and left. 

Here’s the story of how I got here.

It all started with our new washer and dryer.  We decided to put in a new washer and dryer proactively so that we wouldn’t have to worry if our older set just stopped working one day. We have a 2nd floor laundry room and I was really glad the installers were moving them up there instead of me having to do it.  Unfortunately, that was about the only thing they did right…

A couple of weeks after the install, I came home to find water damage on our ceiling.  Oh no.  I immediately had that pit-in-my-stomach feeling.  We checked the washer and dryer and sure enough, there was water behind the washer.  And so began the frantic process of stopping the water source and getting a company out to dry everything out before mold could set in.  Sage Restoration did a fantastic job. I was recommended to them by my great friend and client, Kandy Meehan at Home Rental Services. Read more