Mazel tov, bro

A speech for the best man

At first I wasn’t sure I’d give a best man speech at my brother’s wedding.

Nobody had mentioned anything to me, and Hermano’s style doesn’t lend itself to the spotlight or ceremony. So I figured they might just not be doing toasts, and I was fine with that – one less thing on the plate as work and school ramped back up for the new year.

But my feelings changed as the big day got closer. I realized this was going to be one of the most memorable days for him, her, and our families, and I wanted to give them all something special to show how much they mean to me. Considering that they live out of state and we don’t talk that much, the best man speech was my best shot.

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One semester in the books

10 takeaways from my first semester in the W.P. Carey ASU MBA program

“You’re going to be busy,” an executive told me after learning I had been accepted to the MBA program at the W.P. Carey School of Business. “But it’s a good busy.”

I didn’t realize how right he was.

Much like my first Ironman triathlon, my first semester of grad school somehow managed to break me down, beat me up and challenge me to the core, while invigorating and strengthening me at the same time.

I slaved over homework, group projects, papers and presentations all weekend, every weekend, and stayed up past midnight most weeknights. I developed a recurring eye twitch in the weeks leading up to exams, and replaced a rigorous exercise routine with copious amounts of coffee.

Constructive disruption. Enlightening masochism. Creative conflict. “A good busy.” Call it what you will.

But as I mentioned in my 2014 Awesome Bucket results, I can already tell the decision to pursue my MBA is one of the best moves I’ve ever made – and I’m only a quarter of the way through.

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Navigating the social media seas at #SMMW14

Top takeaways from Social Media Marketing World

Attending a conference is a lot like managing a business’s social media initiative:

You need to have a content strategy by planning which sessions to attend, engage your audience by chatting with other attendees, and gather feedback by asking the speakers specific questions that will add value to the conversation.

I kept these principles in mind when I attended Social Media Marketing World (#SMMW14), presented by Social Media Examiner in San Diego, March 27-28.

On the plane to San Diego, I highlighted the top three sessions from each time slot to help me manage my time efficiently and give me quick-reference safety valves should I need to switch day-of. I also talked with as many other attendees as possible, and joined in the the #SMMW14 Twitter conversations to share my notes and get an idea of what was going on in the sessions I didn’t attend.

Most importantly, I outlined in advance the main topics to investigate at the conference: corporate blog strategies, social media customer service training examples, trends in the creep factor and the declining News Feed reach for Facebook pages.

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8 social media FAQ, answered in haiku

Last week at work, I showed some nonprofit organizations a few best practices and tips for social media.

Most of the discussion focused on how an organization would best operate Twitter or a Facebook page, but some of the takeaways can be applied to personal use as well.

For this blog post, instead of hammering out a long-winded explanation of the social media tips that were imparted at the workshop, I responded in haiku to some of the most frequently asked questions from the workshop and other recent, related conversations.

Granted, I could say a lot more than 17 syllables in responding to these questions, but my goal with the haiku format is to cut the fat and give you a quick, easy and cadenced look at the most important tips. Here they are:

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8 tips to sharpen your family photos

I shot a few family portraits over Thanksgiving and learned something from each shoot. So, now that the dust has settled and the food has finally been digested, I wanted to share a few tips that can help anybody when taking pictures of family and friends…just in time for the holidays! But before we get started, here’s one of my favorite shots I took for my friends’ holiday cards.

The baby’s expression and turn to the camera really made this photo special.

Here are my tips and some of the lessons I learned: