Here is a winning business and sales strategy… passion!

John Nese is the proprietor of Galcos Soda Pop Stop in LA. His father ran it as a grocery store, and when the time came for John to take charge, he decided to convert it into the ultimate soda-lovers destination. About 500 pops line the shelves, sourced lovingly by John from around the world. John has made it his mission to keep small soda-makers afloat and help them find their consumers. Galcos also acts as a distributor for restaurants and bars along the West Coast, spreading the gospel of soda made with cane sugar (no high-fructose corn syrup if John can avoid it).

Here is an example of a man who’s winning business and sales strategy is his passion (the video is 12 minutes long, but worth every second).

Obsessives – Soda Pop

To order soda: http://www.sodapopstop.com/ John Nese is the proprietor of Galcos Soda Pop Stop in LA. His father ran it as a grocery store, and when the time came for John to take charge, he decided to convert it into the ultimate soda-lovers destination.

We Wrote 150 Blog Posts In 50 Days, How About Our Traffic?

For the last year we’ve written about 2 blog posts each week on our blog LogMyCalls. We said we had a content strategy, but we really didn’t.

 

Our blogs were read, but not all that much. It sort of felt like we were writing into an empty box.

Then I came across a blog post by a guy who had written 50 blog posts in 25 days. His traffic went up, his organic traffic went up, his referral traffic went up.

Everything went up.

So, we decided to do something similar at LogMyCalls. We decided to write 150 blog posts in 50 days.

We did this from Feb 3 until April 13. We only published blogs on weekdays, so the experiment lasted 10 weeks. Three blogs a day, 5 days a week. We wrote on marketing and call tracking related topics.

Blog Posts: Weekly Results From Day 1 to Day 50

Blog Traffic Increase: 210%.

Blog Organic Traffic Increase: 514%.

Blog Referral Traffic Increase: 901%.

Blog Direct Traffic Increase: 201%.

Entire Site Organic Traffic Increase: 69%.

Also…We Fired our SEO Firm

We were already leaning toward firing our SEO firm because we had been working with them for about 9 months and just hadn’t seen measurable results. The success from our blogging efforts really just pushed us over the edge.

About halfway through the process-as traffic was increasing-we realized that the vast majority of the traffic was not due to the efforts of the highly paid SEO company we had retained. Rather, it was due to our internal content efforts…150 blogs in 50 days.

Thus, we fired our SEO firm.

We simply couldn’t justify paying them a large sum of money every month when it was very clear that their efforts didn’t generate the traffic our efforts were generating.

Note: We are not advocating that every company fire their SEO firm, or that SEO firms are bad, or that our SEO firm was bad. We’re simply stating the fact that we didn’t see much impact in 9 months and our efforts were working, so we fired them.

Content is King

The bottom line here is simple: content seems to be the new SEO. Obviously there are other significant SEO factors, but nothing replaces really good content.

To learn more about this case study read LogMyCalls. We routinely post Questions and Answers about our marketing case studies.

What About You?
What are you experiencing with your blog? Do you believe in easy content marketing? I would love to read your opinion.

About the author
McKay Allen is the Content Manager at LogMyCalls. He is a sought after presenter and writer, appearing at events like the Social Media Strategies Summit and SMX. His expertise is routinely featured on Blog.LogMyCalls.com and on marketing sites across the web.

 

Things Come Apart : Photos of Everyday Objects Dismantled by Todd McLellan

Things Come Apart : Photos of Everyday Objects Dismantled by Todd McLellan: ”

‘Things Come Apart,’ is a photo collection of disassembled objects by Toronto-based photographer Todd McLellan. His work is on display at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry until May 19th, and his book is currently available for pre-order on Amazon…

Everyday-Gadgets-Dismantled-Parts-by-todd-mclellan-4
Everyday-Gadgets-Dismantled-Parts-by-todd-mclellan-1
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Everyday-Gadgets-Dismantled-Parts-by-todd-mclellan-3
Everyday-Gadgets-Dismantled-Parts-by-todd-mclellan-5
Everyday-Gadgets-Dismantled-Parts-by-todd-mclellan-6
Everyday-Gadgets-Dismantled-Parts-by-todd-mclellan-7
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Floating

China-born artist Zhao Huasen created this fun collection of images where bicyclists float along city streets…

Zhao Huasen

The Joy of Creative Ignorance:

The Joy of Creative Ignorance: Embracing Uncertainty In Your Day-to-Day

‘There is really no prescription for creative work, I heard a writer say the other day that he sits down at the keyboard and the first thing he says to himself is ‘I don’t know.’’ — Geoff Talbot

That writer sounds like a wise man to me. All too often, when we start work, we bring too much knowledge, too many preconceptions about how we expect the work to turn out. So many, in fact, that we end up cramping our imagination to fit our expectations, instead of allowing it to surprise us with something unexpected.

And as we know, that unexpected ‘something’ is the source of creative magic. Too much knowledge, not enough ignorance, and creativity will be conspicuous by its absence.

That’s not to say there’s no place for knowledge, skills, and experience. As a creative pro, we couldn’t operate without these. But when we start a new piece of work, we need to look at it with fresh eyes, set aside our assumptions and open our minds to fresh sources of inspiration. We sometimes need to embrace a bit of uncertainty and creative ignorance.

This isn’t a new idea. Keats famously wrote of ‘Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.’ Jonathan Fields wrote an entire book on the fact that uncertainty is integral to creativity, and the need for creators to tolerate and even ‘exalt’ uncertainty.

But it’s not always easy to feel the power of negative capability, or the joy of creative ignorance, when you’re faced with an empty screen, canvas, or stage, and the voice of doubt starts nagging from the back of your mind. At that moment, it’s only human to reach for any kind of certainty, to relieve the pressure.

And the pressure is more intense if you’re a creative professional. When clients pay for a professional, they expect to hire someone who knows what they are doing. How many of us would feel comfortable explaining to a prospective client that ‘It’s really important that I don’t completely know what I’m doing on this project’?

It’s a catch-22: the obligation to deliver ‘results’ makes it harder to stay in that creative headspace of ‘not knowing’ long enough for truly creative results to emerge.

Flipping fear into the joy of ignorance

Ignorance can be scary. But it can also be a source of curiosity, excitement, and even entertainment. Whenever I feel myself cramping my imagination by wanting too much knowledge and certainty, I remember these words from the poet Philip Larkin:

To write a poem is a pleasure: sometimes I deliberately let it compete in the open market, so to speak, with other spare-time activities, ostensibly on the grounds that if a poem isn’t more entertaining to write than listening to records or going out it won’t be entertaining to read.

My own best attempts at writing poetry generally happen when I recall Larkin’s pleasure principle, and admit to myself up front that I have no idea what will emerge from the writing session.

Instead of putting pressure on myself, or trying to predict the outcome, I simply look forward to seeing what happens – the same way I look forward to watching a movie or football game. Somehow, this makes the process more entertaining and enjoyable. And of course, that’s when the door is most likely to open to the unexpected.

Next time you feel too much pressure to know the creative outcome before you start work, use Larkin’s ‘open market’ technique to rediscover the joy of creative ignorance:

  1. Ask yourself whether other activities (such as watching TV, surfing the web, or goofing off with friends) would really be more enjoyable than creating. Wouldn’t you miss the feeling of being in your creative zone?
  2. Relieve yourself of all responsibility for the creative outcome – it’s the job of your imagination to entertain you, by surprising you with something unexpected.
  3. Show up at your workplace with the same sense of pleasurable anticipation you would bring to watching a movie, and start playing around with your materials, just to see what happens.

‘Yes but I have a client deadline,’ you may say. ‘Not delivering is not an option.’

Here are two variations on the technique that may help:

A. At stage 1 pretend you don’t have to do the work. This can be surprisingly effective, even though you know you’re pretending!

B. Remind yourself that, ultimately, you don’t have to work as a creative pro. You could always go to work in a bank. Remember what made you choose this path, instead of a more humdrum existence. Chances are it had something to do with the joy of creative discovery…

(Via 99U.)

tim flach black pug

Amazing recreation of Tim Flach pug image

Tim Flach is a photographer best known for his highly conceptual portraits of animals… Tim Flach website

He has a beautiful book called Dogs Gods which has a great close-up of a black pug (see first image). An artist called workbyknight has recreated this shot as a mosaic. Click on the second image and you may be surprised as to what the image is created out of.

tim flach black pug

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Touchscreen interface for seamless data transfer between the real and virtual worlds

Next Generation UI that can be touched with fingers against objects in the real world

Next Generation UI that can be touched with fingers against objects in the real world 動画日本語版(JapaneseVer.) → https://youtu.be/d55Pm1H2fvg Site version(English Ver.) → http://ikinamo.jp/en/touch_interface-2/ Fujitsu Laboratories has developed technology for detecting high-precision and high-speed operation of hand position and touch operations on objects in the real world using general-purpose cameras.

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a next generation user interface which can accurately detect the users finger and what it is touching, creating an interactive touchscreen-like system, using objects in the real word.

“We think paper and many other objects could be manipulated by touching them, as with a touchscreen. This system doesn’t use any special hardware; it consists of just a device like an ordinary webcam, plus a commercial projector. Its capabilities are achieved by image processing technology.”

Using this technology, information can be imported from a document as data, by selecting the necessary parts with your finger.

This technology measures the shape of real-world objects, and automatically adjusts the coordinate systems for the camera, projector, and real world. In this way, it can coordinate the display with touching, not only for flat surfaces like tables and paper, but also for the curved surfaces of objects such as books.

“Until now, gesturing has often been used to operate PCs and other devices. But with this interface, we’re not operating a PC, but touching actual objects directly, and combining them with ICT equipment.”

“The system is designed not to react when you make ordinary motions on a table. It can be operated when you point with one finger. What this means is, the system serves as an interface combining analog operations and digital devices.”

To detect touch accurately, the system needs to detect fingertip height accurately. In particular, with the low-resolution camera used here (320 x 180), if fingertip detection is off by a single pixel, the height changes by 1 cm. So, the system requires technology for recognizing fingertips with high precision.

“Using a low-res webcam gives a fuzzy picture, but the system calculates 3D positions with high precision, by compensating through image processing.”

This system also includes technology for controlling color and brightness, in line with the ambient light, and correcting for individual differences in hand color. In this way, it can identify fingertips consistently, with little influence from the environment or individual differences.

Also, in situations that don’t use touch, the system can be operated by gesturing. In this demo, when you move your fist, you can manipulate the viewpoint for 3D CAD data. So, there could be applications for this touch system by combining it with current gesture systems.

“For example, we think this system could be used to show detailed information at a travel agent’s counter, or when you need to fill in forms at City Hall.”

“We aim to develop a commercial version of this system by fiscal 2014. It’s still at the demonstration level, so it’s not been used in actual settings. Next, we’d like to get people to use it for actual tasks, see what issues arise, and evaluate usability. We want to reflect such feedback in this system.”

Bark Out Loud: Modern Day ‘Game Of Thrones’ Dire Wolves

I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan. I’ve watched the last 2 seasons and are thoroughly enthralled in season 3. Being a dog lover, I think the dire wolves on the show are fantastic and have expressed a desire to have a dire wolf of my own, knowing that it was a fantastic impossibility (they’ve been extinct for some 10,000 years). Well, turns out I was wrong — sort of.

The Dire Wolf Project is a breeding program by the American Alsatian Breeder’s Club that started in 1988 with the goal of “bringing back the look of the large prehistoric Dire Wolf in a domesticated dog breed”. This faux dire wolf is actually a companion dog breed known as an American Alsatian, achieved through generations of crossing Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds, English Mastiffs, and Great Pyrenees.

Not sure what the two Griffons would think about having a Dire Wolf in the family.

 

(Via Sights for sore eyes.)

The Good Boy and Good Puppy lamps

The Good Boy and Good Puppy lamps:
The Good Boy and Good Puppy lamps are by UK artist and designer ‘Whatshisname‘. Designed for the Art Below exhibition in London, they were ultimately banned for being ‘too offensive’. They’re available in limited editions of 100 (Good Boy) and 200 (Good Puppy). Mostly, the fact that you have to step on a turd (something I generally try my utmost to avoid) to turn the light on makes me giggle. More on DesignMilk.”

The 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

The 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

National Geographic invites photographers from around the world to enter the 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. The grand-prize winner will receive a 10-day National Geographic Expedition to the Galápagos for two aboard the National Geographic Endeavour…

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Cormorant Fisherman / © Andrey Pavlov

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Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl / © Graham McGeorge

sunset-at-li-river

Sunset at Li River / © James Bian

the-power-of-the-criollo

The Power of the Criollo / © Chris Schmid

cusco-sunset

Cusco Sunset / © Blake Burton

door-to-hell

Door to Hell / © Priscilla Locke

go_afoss

Goðafoss / © Joshua Holko

hagia-sophia-museum

Hagia Sophia Museum / © Melih Sular

milkyway-over-halema-uma-u-crater

Milkyway Over Halema uma u Crater / © Zong Ye Quek

mount-erebus-ice-cave

Mount Erebus Ice Cave / © Alasdair Turner

one-mothers-love

One Mothers Love / © Graham McGeorge

portrait-of-one-chilled-out-kangaroo

Portrait of one chilled out Kangaroo / © Graham McGeorge

shadows-in-dust

Shadows in Dust / © Max Seigal