Business Blogs For Women, Minorities, Etc… A Lament

I recently read an article on a blog called Under 30 CEO titled 8 Ways to Be Remarkable that I thought was pretty good. And yet, in my own way I felt I was intruding when, after the first post this was the first sentence: “You are a Wonder Woman!

Graduation Day at Nanjing University
Kevin Dooley via Compfight

I saw the post via a retweet by another lady named Susan Clark, and it’s her that I responded to by saying “Not bad but only women? I don’t want to be Wonder Woman ๐Ÿ™‚” I said that because, well, I don’t want to be Wonder Woman. I’m not even sure I want to be Superman (okay, I do want to be Superman lol), but that’s not the point.

What I’ve been thinking about lately is how there are so many blogs and organizations these days that are geared towards specific groups that, for all intents and purposes, could be geared towards everyone. The “women’s club” blogs and groups are the fastest growing and probably the strongest groups out there, and many of them are set up to help women feel empowered.

Frankly, I don’t have a problem with that, and I don’t have a problem with minority or other select groups that want to do the same. Association within a group that people feel comfortable with can be quite beneficial at times, although that’s never worked well for me.

In my past, I’ve belonged to only one “black” group. We met the first Friday of every month for a year, and it’s initial goal was to find ways to help black businesses connect and help to raise awareness in black children that they could be something other than, well, folks who ended up doing bad things in black neighborhoods. It was a nice goal, but within 5 months that goal was gone and, with nothing left to really focus on except becoming another group where it seemed like everyone wanted connections to generate business rather than try to help others, it just kind of faded away; sad…

My real lament with many of the blogs, clubs, and presentations geared towards women is that many of them present great information that men could learn something from as well. There’s someone I know locally who puts on a lot of presentations geared towards women, and she was always inviting me to them. I told her one day that I appreciated the invitation, but everything in her marketing was geared towards women specifically and I’d feel like I was intruding because when it says “women”, it should only be women, even if the message was for everyone.

She said that learning was learning and that if I thought I could benefit that I should show up. That didn’t work for me, as it reminded me of when I first got to college and someone mentioned something about a fraternity and that even though they didn’t have any minority members I could come anyway and maybe they’d invite me to participate. That wasn’t happening because I hated the concept of fraternities, but I’d also already had experiences that told me not to foist myself into places where I didn’t think (okay, I knew) I wouldn’t have been invited to begin with; why cause discomfort on someone else right?

Palenqueras al natural
Luz Adriana Villa via Compfight

Then again, I know someone else who was a member of my consulting group who was also a strong supporter of local women’s groups. She came to our group because she said she felt that women couldn’t really compete in business without learning some of the same things men learned. Unfortunately she spent a lot of time when she would offer her opinions in our meetings trying to get us to act more like how she felt women’s groups worked; that was a recipe for failure, and it led to her being dropped as a member later on.

Maybe I’m seeing things wrong, which is why I’m putting my thoughts out here. I don’t have a problem with “mommy blogs” talking about motherhood to other mothers. I don’t have a problem with female lead blogs trying to empower women to greater things. It’s not even necessarily a problem for me that what seems like a true business blog that could be for all then decides that it’s only for women, or at least caters to only women.

The problem is that I feel excluded, like I shouldn’t be there at all, and maybe it fosters old memories of going with a friend to an event like the Irish Fest and having everyone looking and wondering why I was there, kind of pushing themselves away from me or, every once in a while having someone come up and say “What part of Ireland are you from?” and laughing hysterically, as if they were the only one to come up with that joke. Maybe it’s why someone like Brian Gardner would write something like An Open Letter to Every Man Who Reads a Womanโ€™s Blog, which I also found interesting when I first read it a couple of months ago.

Am I being sensitive because of parts of my past? Am I justified? For that matter am I alone? What do you ladies think? Have I ever made anyone feel uncomfortable in commenting on any article on that blog because of their gender, or not written global content where almost anyone can like or dislike it without that being a consideration? Or do some people see it like my short lived Black Web Friday series, where I tried to help some black blogs and websites get some recognition from the public because it seemed no one knew black people existed on the web?

I just ask the questions; I’d really like to know your thoughts.
 

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To Capture Or Not Capture Email Addresses; That Is The Question

For 10 years I wrote a newsletter on leadership topics. For 8 of those years I also wrote a newsletter on health care finance, though it was a lot more sporadic. I stopped writing both because after so many years I not only could never get the list to grow all that much, but I never got any business out of either of them and almost never got any feedback on them. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure anyone was even reading them.

NEWSLETTERS

In my online life, that’s the only time I ever tried capturing email addresses, and it always felt, well, a bit smarmy to me. I told myself that everyone who was on the list voluntarily gave me their email addresses, which meant they really wanted to see what I had for them, and it’s possible that might be true, but when you don’t get feedback or hear from anyone… well, it just makes you wonder whether you’re bothering people or if they’re just ignoring you.
Continue reading To Capture Or Not Capture Email Addresses; That Is The Question

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The First Story Of The Year Is About… Dessert!

Welcome to the first post of 2014. I know it’s going to seem strange having the first post come one day after the last post of 2013, and yet I felt I had to create this particular article because, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with blogging or writing or SEO or anything else regarding social media, it does have a little bit to do with the article I wrote about focus some days ago. Truthfully this is a story, a true story that probably took less than 10 minutes of my life, but I thought it was a tale worth telling because you either identify with me, laugh at me, or sit there scratching your head wondering why the heck I wrote it to begin with. With that as the preamble let’s begin.

Rice Krispies Treats

As I was leaving Barnes & Noble, where I had gone to buy the DVD of Despicable Me 2, I decided that I wanted some fudge. I wanted fudge because the last video I watched before I left home was one of my online friends Tomeka Haywood making some homemade fudge. Part of me thought about trying that, and another part of me said it would be better if I could just buy some.

One of the problems I have is that, oddly enough, where I live you can’t just find fudge anywhere. Sure, there are a couple of the large candy companies that have fudge, but in my mind that stuff never quite qualifies as fudge. If it was a Saturday I would go to what we call the Farmers Market around here, but it’s Wednesday, New Year’s Day. I decided to check out my favorite grocery store, Wegmans, to see if maybe they had some fudge.

Truth be told, I knew they wouldn’t have fudge because it’s not something they normally carry. However, somewhere in the recesses of my mind I thought that maybe because it was a holiday they would have some on hand. They didn’t, but it wasn’t going to be a wasted trip because I needed more soda anyway.

As I got close to the soda area, I noticed Rice Krispies were on sale, and I thought about making some rice krispy treats. I really love these things, and they’re very easy to make, but I usually don’t have enough discretion to know how to space them out over the course of a couple of days. As a matter of fact, if I start in the morning you can pretty much be sure they’re going to be gone by the end of the day. I decided to wait for a couple of minutes and go get the soda, walk around to see what else there might be, and if I found nothing else then I might go back and get it.

As I walked around, at some point I found myself near the cookies. I took a quick look and found that they had coconut chocolate chip cookies from Keebler. I don’t eat a lot of these cookies, but it sparked a memory in my mind of how much I used to always love making a big cup of hot chocolate, and then taking my bag of cookies and seeing how many of them I could dunk and eat in one sitting. I love the flavor drastically, and you can imagine the smell of the hot chocolate and coconut cookie together, and my mouth was salivating again.

Now I had a mental dilemma. I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I have sugar cravings, and they were very strong at this moment. I knew that I needed some time to think about things, so I went into the frozen section where they have a bench, sat down on the bench and started to think. I had planned on calling one of two people, neither one of which was my wife, but the deep recesses of my mind said that would be pretty stupid.

Why did this take so much thought? Because I knew that either direction I went was going to cause some grief to my body. There is no secret that I’m diabetic, but I’m thinking the load of sugar that either one of these would’ve pumped into my body would probably bother anyone my age, or within 20 years of my age. Yet my mind didn’t really care for a while. And often, when I shop by myself, I just grabbed the first thing that comes to my mind, come home and eat it, and then feel both guilty and occasionally sick. I’m not one of those people who only eats two or three cookies and then puts it away, I eat as many as I want to until my body says please stop.

My wife thinks I’m crazy and that this shouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m pretty much of the opinion that anybody who goes through any kind of addiction and is trying not to do something probably goes through the same process, only probably not as long as I did. Knowing that one of the focus points for this year is to be more cautious with my health, I thought through the ramifications of the decision I was trying to make against what I felt was my immediate need for satisfaction. It sounds funny comparing suites to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes, but in my mind the decision I made was going to be very important.

The funny thing about time, when you have enough so that you can think things through quite often you will end up making a better decision than you were ready to make. I decided that I did not want to spend New Year’s Day feeling sick, so I immediately through out the coconut chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate idea. I then decided that even though I would be starting the treats later than early morning, the process of making them and then eating them while having to clean more things in the kitchen wasn’t quite as appealing as it had initially been. So, instead of either one of those two things, I decided to buy a bag of M&M’s. True, it’s still chocolate, but it doesn’t come close to the hurt I would put on myself with the other two options, and I’m not one to sit and eat an entire bag of that in one sitting.

chocolate cake

After I made my decision, my mind felt light and free. I went to the candy section and picked up the bag of M&Ms I wanted, this time the milk chocolate instead of the peanut butter. As I go to put it in my basket, my eyes got wide as I realized that I had picked up a 6 inch chocolate fudge cake and put it in my basket at some point; I wonder when the heck I did that? ๐Ÿ˜€ This means I would’ve had a lot of dessert and felt like I had to eat it all before I left town again on Sunday.

Here’s the rub. I’m of the opinion that if one of my goals wasn’t focus for 2014, as well as a goal of trying to be healthier, I would have bought one of those things without a moment’s notice, including the cake, brought it home and ate it without a second thought until I didn’t feel well. That wouldn’t have brought me any type of benefit, although my taste buds would’ve probably loved me.

The decisions we make and the reasons behind the decisions we make can be interesting. In a way, I could make this a topic about blogging because so many people start blogging without thinking all that much about what their intentions are for their blog. Heck, I certainly did it with this blog back in 2007. And our buddy Jeevan is starting his new blog today called Daring Blogger, and he seems focused on what his goals are as he tells us in the first post which I just linked to.

I hope you enjoyed this story, and in a weird way hope you learned something from it, not about me but about yourselves. One of the best things about stories is that often we can see something of ourselves in a story, and stories are sometimes enough to help us decide to make even the smallest of changes.

To close this post I’m going to add a video below that I created talking about how little changes can bring great growth in so many ways; I didn’t know I was going to do this, but I think it’s a good time to unveil it here on the blog. To everyone, let’s have a great 2014, and I hope to have good stuff for you throughout the year.
 


 

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