The Stay-Put Meetup

“One afternoon, I went to a content strategy event in my pajamas. How it got in my pajamas, I don’t know.”

–Groucho Marx *

In late 2017, one of the cofounders (a self-described ‘snow chicken’) of the West Michigan Content Strategy Meetup (WMCS) suggested we convert our events to a lunch and learn, webinar format so we could avoid Michigan’s chill-weather for a few months.

Winter Sports

Winter Sports

I am not a snow chicken. I like cold weather. I like snow. Hell, I even like shoveling snow. However, I acknowledge there are three core beliefs that unite all humans:

  • Nobody likes driving in snow (or sleet, or freezing rain, or any reduced-friction conditions).
  • Finding host venues, on a monthly basis, for a networking group is freaking exhausting.
  • Everybody loves lunch.

So, I cast a “hell yeah!” vote for that idea.

It was clear that cost was the biggest barrier to webinar events. Thus, in order to go forward with these online meetups, we (or at least I) needed to revise our expectations for the webinar platform. The biggest revelation was that we didn’t really need a self-registration feature.

Long story, made shorter: we elected to have our conversations on Google Hangouts, that could be live streamed, or replayed on YouTube. Since we aren’t building a sales funnel, we don’t need your contact info. With YouTube as our delivery vehicle, you can show up at the time of the live event, or you can watch it later.

At this writing, we have done three of these events (see them here). We are planning to do more, and we are not limiting them to frightful-weather months.

Why would we? These events provide a great opportunity to share our learning with the world. Depending on the season, and your preferences, you can watch a webinar-meetup at your convenience, over a cup of mulled cider by your fireplace, or with a mug of craft beer on your patio.

In your pajamas.

The WMCS Meetup still does in-person events, too. We are planning one for later this month (details forthcoming). In April we did a lunch-and-learn webinar one day, and the very next day we did an in-person event here in Grand Rapids.

If you have an idea for a content-strategy topic about which you’d like to present–or your just want to learn about it–you can send me a direct message on Linkedin. Or you can contact me here. I would love to talk further about your topic.

Also, please join us at our one of our future in -person events, or our next webinar (info about both will be posted here).

*OK, I paraphrased Groucho…the actual quote:

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“Little Assholes”

Every high-gravity story on a news site is going to have its share of toxic commentary. I ignore most of it. Though it’s particularly distressing that people  are getting their knickers in such a twist about the National School Walkouts this week.

A lot of it, is  typical “in my day” “what’s the matter with kids today?”  sort of drivel, though a high percentage of it is incredibility mean-spirited. If the commenter has nothing  of substance  to say they tend to play the  “Tide Pods” card.  As if their generation never did stupid shit.

Several of the districts in my area are supporting the walkout and that has a lot of local going off the rail. One women referred to the student-protestors as “little assholes”.

Give me a break, already.

Kids in school today, were born into a state of perma-war; they face a $20 trillion+ debt, due to over 50 years of deficit spending; they endure mind-numbing drill-and-practice for standardized testing; many go  without recess, gym classes or extra-curricular activities.

And as a bonus they live with the daily worry of getting perforated by a high-capacity weapon.

If they make it out of high school, they earn the privilege of decades of student-loan payments and the thrill of competing against artificial intelligence for jobs…..

None of these of these circumstances were created by today’s K-20 students. Prior generations owe it to today’s youth to let them protest.

Now, please use the comments section if you’d like to  regale us with your stories about how tough you had it as a kid.


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Let’s Hunker Down, Meetup, and Learn About Brand Video

I don’t see or hear many people that agree with me on this, but I am fond of winter in Michigan. I love walking in snow, on a sidewalk or in the woods. And I love the few months of breathability between fall and spring allergy seasons.

I even enjoy shoveling (there, I’ve said it).

Though I realize that I’m in the minority. Most people I know detest winter. However,  regardless of whether  people like or dislike  a northern winter, I think you’ll find that hatred for some  seasonal nuisances  is nearly  universal:

  • Unsafe driving conditions
  • Finding street parking in the premature darkness.
  • Scraping ice of a windshield

Since the West Michigan Content Strategy Meetup has been in  existence, the organizers have talked several times about hosting webinars: to allow us exchange ideas about innovative content ideas and best practices, while we avoid ice-slicked roads and pitch-black dinnertime skies.

Next week, it’s actually happening and we will be welcoming  branding virtuoso, Dennis Ryan:

Dennis Ryan

Dennis will be joining us from balmy Minnesota. And you’re all invited.

All of you!

Please join us for a live webinar, “Brand Video: Evolving Beyond a Selling Platform” where will all have the opportunity to learn about the importance of video in your branding-messaging mix.

This is a free event, no registration is required. You can join  the live stream at the YouTube page at  the appropriate time. Please see event details summary below:

    • Title: Brand Video: Evolving from a Sales to a Learning Platform
    • Date: 12/13/201
    • Time: 12:00-12:35 (EDT)
    • Location: YouTube Live Event
    • This is a free event
    • No registration is required
    • Event will be available for later playback

Hunker down and tune in from  the warmth of your office, your home, or your favorite cardio machine at the gym. Please feel free to share the event details with your friends and colleagues.

Also,  consider joining our Meetup. We’re West Michigan-based, but have members from many far-away places. All are welcome.


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About Your Stance on Kneeling…

(From October,  2017, well before announcement of Nike’s Colin Kaepernick-centric ‘Just Do It’ campaign, or John McCain’s death).

In the past several weeks, we’ve seen a frenetic renewal of last season’s controversy involving NFL players kneeling.  during the national anthem (hashtag: #TakeAKnee).

The President of the United States entered into the conversation  and  went as far as to  call the protesting players derogatory names . This, at least temporarily, led to more kneeling, as the spirit of original protest (against police brutality) blended with a call for solidarity among NFL players.

Of course there has been much frothy-mouthed outcry on cable news and social media.

Personally, I don’t care if anybody stands, or takes a knee during the national anthem at an NFL game. I haven’t seen an NFL game in years, and have no plans to watch one again (perhaps, I’ll elaborate  on that in a future post).

Though in principle, I support anybody’s right to stand, or sit; (or sing along, or cover your ears) while the song is being played.

Though I  have one question for the people who have only recently boycotted, (or  threatened  to boycott) the league:

Why in the hell were you still watching the NFL?

The league repeatedly has shown a pattern of  moral bankruptcy, and yet you’ve supported it to this point. Just in the last fews years alone the NFL has been guilty of :

Yet, apparently you’ve been cool with all of  that so far.

And you’re just now getting angry enough to boycott the NFL (or claim that you’re going to), because players are kneeling during  Francis Scott Key’s  composition?

Fans threatening  to boycott the NFL based solely based on the actions of former San Francisco quarterback  Colin Kapernik and his supporters  should reacquaint themselves with these cases:

Ray Lewis 
Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was present during a double-murder at  Super Bowl festivities in 2001. He was originally charged in the killing though reached a plea-bargain to accept an obstruction of justice conviction.  His blood-spattered, XXL white suit “disappeared.” (give me a freakin’ break!).

Despite his admission of guilt, he served no time. I don’t fault his team or the league for that. Rich people get the best trial outcomes.  That’s a problem with our justice system, not just the NFL.

However, his team, and the NFL honored him with a statue when he retired. AFTER  he obstructed justice…in a DOUBLE MURDER!

Furthermore, upon his retirement he was offered, and accepted a job  as an NFL analyst by ESPN, and later by Fox Sports.

That is a problem with the networks. And the NFL. Did you boycott the NFL then?

Adrian Peterson
Several years ago Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson assaulted his son.

Save your argument about discipline, folks. Hitting a 4-year-old with a switch, repeatedly (near and on)  the genitals, and drawing blood is not “punishment” it’s assault. (graphic images).

It is ABUSE.

Peterson boasted about the beating in a text to the child’s mother. The child reported to police that Peterson had threatened to punch him in the face if the incident was reported to authorities.

The really bizarre thing is that the child  was abused because Peterson was trying to teach him a lesson….that hitting kids is wrong.

Peterson remained in the NFL. And you apparently remained a fan after that.

Ray Rice
A notorious 2014  case involved Ravens running back Ray Rice who knocked his girlfriend unconscious in a hotel elevator. A tape of Rice carrying the woman’s limp body was shared widely on the internet. Rice was soon  given a suspension of two games.



It’s worth noting that the NFL had previously suspended players for an entire season for smoking marijuana. That’s right, you get suspended for two games if you knock your girlfriend unconscious, but a 16-games game suspension for hitting a bong.

Rice’s suspension was lengthened only after public outcry that was largely driven by release of video of Rice’s punching his girlfriend inside the elevator. Rice was not singed by another NFL team, but was victorious in a wrongful termination  suit. He is believed to have settled for an amount that was close to what he’d demanded: $3.5 million.

How’s that for a punishment?

Richie Incognito
Dolphins lineman Richie Cognito  made death threats and repeatedly hurled racial epithets at a teammate (Jonathan Martin) in person, and via text messages. This  was initially written off as rookie hazing.

After some outcry in the media,  Cognito received  a short suspension and  later signed for a nearly $16 million contract last year.

That’ll teach him.

Dave Duerson
(Unlike the previous examples, Duerson was not guilty of a crime, though the NFL has been fraudulent in its claims of concussion-related injuries in the league).

In 2011, former Bears player Dave Duerson took his own life. While all suicides are tragic, what is especially unsettling about Duerson’s  is that his last conscious act was to point a gun at his chest rather than his head.

His suicide note specified hat he wanted his brain studied.

Duerson had been plagued in recent years by memory loss, cognitive issues and unexplained aggression and hoped that researchers might find a root cause. Duerson’s autopsy revealed that he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) a  brain condition caused by repeated concussive injuries.

CTE is a  large and controversial topic, but the NFL’s history with misdirection on this topic is well chronicled in the documentary “League of Denial” (trailer below):


(I could go on all day with these examples , but I have a house to clean…)

In the 2015-2016 NFL  season,  Colin Kaepernik began his protests during the national anthem, first sitting, and later kneeling (at the request of a Green Beret soldier)  while the song was performed.

That is not a crime (a reminder: obstruction of justice, domestic violence, fraud…are crimes).

I stopped watching football long before the protests,  in large part in response to some of the incidents, I’ve cited above.

I never saw Kaepernik play, (or protest). I only vaguely remember hearing his name before the national anthem-related coverage began in 2016.

Several weeks into the 2017 Kaepernik has not signed a contract.  His stance (ironically expressed by kneeling ) apparently has cost him a contract this season.

He has been willing to stand (kneel) for his principles.

Are you? If so, why were you OK with supporting the  league after any of the other events listed above?

And if your grievance with  the #takeaknee movement  is that “it’s disrespectful to veterans”  that  begs a new  question:  how vigorously did you protest this?

If you didn’t express objection to a presidential candidate’s (now president) disrespect to all POWs (yes, all), your claim that #TakeAKnee insults the military is rather hollow, don’t you think?

In any case, if you’re going to boycott the NFL, then boycott the NFL and  quit talking about it. As those sporting-apparel commercials have been telling you for 30 years: just do it.

Regardless of the antagonizing issue–misdirection on brain injuries, enabling of domestic violence, obstruction of justice–there are ample reasons to break from the NFL.

Pick a reason and stick to your principles (if you really have any). Be like Colin Kaepernik (you don’t have “like” Kaepernik).

This Sunday, at the time of day when you’re normally bellied up to the nacho bowl in preparation for a kickoff, get yourself outdoors.

Then go outside next Sunday and the Sunday after that….

If you miss football, then play some football. Enjoy the best weather of the year and run some fly patterns in the park or on your street. Let the neighborhood kids marvel at your over-the-shoulder catches.  You’ll enjoy the tranquility. And you could probably use the exercise.

You’ll also have the chance  to reflect on whether you are really the principled person you think you are.

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