All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Thanksgiving; My Last Favorite Holiday

As a kid, I used to enjoy holidays mainly because it meant we had days off from school. By the age of 13, there was only one holiday that I actually cared about anymore.

That holiday was Thanksgiving. I cared about it even more than Christmas because it was the only time of the year that my mother would make her cornbread dressing. Actually, as a kid, it was also the only time of the year we would have turkey, but turkey didn’t mean as much without the dressing.

Why not Christmas? Sure, on Christmas you get all sorts of gifts, but when you think about it, you’re always getting gifts. You get gifts for your birthday. And, being an only child, your parents are always giving you stuff here and there. Actually, I think most kids probably get gifts, or other things during the year, and don’t think about it as anything special. I have always thought that the stuff I got was pretty special because I figured my parents didn’t ever really have to give me anything. So, Christmas was never really anything all that special; and no, I’m not religious either.

So, it was always Thanksgiving for me. The family would get together, and, odd enough, it was often the only meal of the year that all of us would sit at the same table for dinner. How strange is that? All of us have always had our own TV’s, and most of the time we watched different shows, so we rarely shared meals with each other either.

The last Thanksgiving all of us shared with each other, my dad knew he was really sick and probably wouldn’t make another one. It was my dad, mother, grandmother, wife, and myself. I wasn’t feeling all that thankful because I felt like I knew what was coming also; lung cancer, diabetes and renal failure doesn’t give one many chances for a full recovery. My mother really went all out for the meal, and for one day, Dad didn’t worry about sticking to this strict died they’d put him on. We had a blast on that day, and forgot everything for a few hours.

After that, things were never the same. I brought my mother and grandmother to my house a couple of years. Mom made her dressing only one more time. One of those years, Mom went on a trip out of town with some group, and my grandmother stayed with us, but we didn’t do anything overly special.

Now, Thanksgiving doesn’t mean as much to me anymore, and, since it was the last holiday I cared about, it means that I have no more holidays that I care about at all. I see it as a special day whenever I see my mother or grandmother, which means I don’t need one day to call a special day. Mom has stated she’s never making the cornbread dressing again, so I’ll never have that in my life again, as I never learned how to make it.

Last year we had food from Cracker Barrel, which was okay. This year we had food from Boston Market, much tastier. It’s easy food to eat and heat up, and it seems that’s the way we’ll be going from this point on. The day either my mother or grandmother aren’t here anymore, if they go before me (and that’s not guaranteed), nothing else will change because my wife and I know we can get food elsewhere, since we don’t know how to cook a real Thanksgiving meal either.

What we will miss is the opportunity to sit and have a meal with Mom or my grandmother; that will be sad for sure. But it won’t have to be Thanksgiving anymore.

So, I’m thankful for every day from this point on; but Thanksgiving itself… I wish everyone else a happy one, and of course I wish happiness on you every other day of the year also.

New Wave: NW37 Multi-colored Rug

Price – $899.00


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2009’s Top Inventions

Time Magazine has come out with a list of the Top 50 Inventions of 2009. I’ve taken a look at the list and feel totally lost. Most of these things I’ve never heard of, and as I like to consider myself a news and science junkie, this is quite disappointing. Let’s see which ones I’ve at least heard of, if not personally used.

I’m not a gamer, but I have heard of controller free gaming, where the body is the control and everything reacts based on body movements. That sounds intriguing, but I’ve yet to see it in practice.

I’ve heard that there’s a new Aids vaccine, but it comes along the lines of every other vaccine that still hasn’t had much done with it. Why it’s on the list, I have no idea.

Vertical farming is a very interesting concept, one that’s not really an invention in 2009, but has started coming out as a viable option in farming. In essence, it’s farming in buildings rather than on the land. One builds tall buildings where some of the layers have dirt and crops. You could build these in large cities, which would cut down on the cost of importing certain items into the city, and potentially be able to feed the entire city from within. The problems right now are having enough electricity to handle it on a large scale and of course having enough water But the concept is a fantastic one.

The 3-D camera is the last thing on the list that I’ve heard of. Instead of one lens, it has two, trying to simulate how life views things to try to give a more realistic image. The problem is that, to see it in 3-D, you have to have a special viewer, otherwise it looks just like any other image. Not necessarily Harry Potter stuff, but it’s an interesting concept.

Isn’t that a shame? Out of 50 items I’ve only heard of four of them, and only one of them do I know anything significant about; ouch. Is this a sign of age, or is this a sign of everything else being so cutting edge that there’s no reason I should know about them? I’m sure you’ll let me know, and I’m betting those closer to my age will give answers closer to mine, if they’re honest. lol

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Xbox 360 System – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Limited Edition Console (includes 250GB HD, Game, 2 Controllers)

Price – $399.99


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How I Write Blog Posts

Lately I’ve been seeing a rash of posts on blogs that are telling people how to write blogs. Of course, I have my own blogging tips, which I hope some folks have checked out here and there, but what I’m seeing are the same tips over and over from other people.

Let’s face this fact; just how many times do you want to read “first come up with a keyword rich topic, then write a keyword rich article on your niche?” No matter how many times you read that and how many ways someone tries to write it, nothing is different. How different is reading “write in your niche so that people will find you on search engines?”

I’m not saying it’s not true; I’m just saying it’s boring seeing the same thing over and over. And I’m not saying what I’m about to write is any better than what you’ve seen someone else say. But it will be different, and I’m thinking that’s my little niche. Let’s begin.

Believe it or not, the longest part of my blogging is trying to figure out what I want to write about. For someone like me, that doesn’t often take long. For this blog, since I pretty much write about what I feel like, it doesn’t usually take me longer than a couple of minutes. The same for my business blog, because I know my topic there. For my finance blog, it takes a little longer. I usually scour the news to see what feels like it might be interesting enough for me to expound upon, then I’m ready to go.

The next step, if needed, is the research. For instance, when I wrote my post the other day on my 13 favorite singers, that one took a long time to put together because I had to first list my singers, go find the videos for each of them, and then find the product links for each artist. For the last post, 34 questions, I had to actually answer the questions first. I could have answered them once I started writing, but I had some formatting I wanted to do so I answered them before I posted everything. For my finance blog, research is always essential, because I don’t want to use only one news source to write those articles from.

Next it’s time to either start writing or paste certain things into the writing area. When I’m writing, I go into my zone and just write, and I don’t usually stop until I’ve finished the article. That’s why it doesn’t take me all that long to write. If I have an opinion on something, my mind just puts things in the order I want to talk about them in and I go for it. Kind of my own Mozart thing going on. If I’m just pasting something, most of my work is already done.

Now it’s time for my internal linking. I don’t have full recall of every article I’ve written, but obviously I know my topics. So I go back through my topics to search for articles I’ve previously written on a topic. The internal linking serves two purposes One, it helps my site show off previous material that I’m hoping someone might be interested enough in to want to check it out. Two, at least on my finance blog, it helps with the SEO in reinforcing topics I write about there. This blog does okay in the search engines, but it probably will never get its PR back, which means probably only my affiliate advertising will ever be here, whereas that blog has a high PR, does okay on Alexa, and if I can increase the visits a bit more it’ll be prime property for financial advertisements.

Next is something I don’t always do, but I will check for it. Since everyone says text advertising is supposed to be so great, I go back through my words to see if there’s anything I said that can link to a product. Then I go looking for a product that I can link to and add that link, with the new blue lines.

The next to the last piece is trying to decide what I’m going to highlight at the bottom of each post. Will it be a product? Will it be just a banner ad of some sort? I certainly have plenty of stuff to choose from, so that usually doesn’t take much time either.

And now, the final pieces of the puzzle. I go to All-in-one-SEO and I write something in the description box on what the piece is about. I type in my keywords. Then I go up and type in my tags for the post, which is something I just started a few weeks ago. I select the overall category for the post. The last thing depends on if I’m posting the article immediately or on a delayed basis. If I’m delaying the post, I set the schedule for when I want it to post. Sometimes I write my posts a couple of weeks in advance, so that works great.

And there you go. Now, it takes me less than 5 minutes to write a post, but all the other stuff I add on is what builds up the time. It may eventually take me 10 to 20 minutes to fully complete a post, but that’s okay because the possible rewards for the extra stuff are worth it if you ask me.

Now, whether you fully agree or not, wasn’t that better than the cookie cutter posts you see all the time? 🙂
 

How Do You Feel About Blog Podcasting?

Yup, that’s my question: how do you feel about blog podcasting?

One of my new online friends has a pretty nice blog. However, the majority of her posts are short podcasts rather than the written word. Initially I was listening to her posts, but stopped pretty quickly. I had to think about why I didn’t like them, and I knew it had nothing to do with her or what she was talking about.

What I realized, and this may not be fair, is that I felt somewhat manipulated. Let’s think about this one for a little bit. We all want people to come to our blogs and participate in the experience. So we put together what we hope are thought provoking and entertaining posts, sometimes teaching, sometimes making people laugh, and sometimes just ranting a little bit. We might add a picture to help illuminate what we’re trying to articulate, or we might share a video here and there.

Why do we do all of this? Because we hope that people will stay on our blog for a little while. We hope that maybe they’ll like what they read, and want to read more. We hope that maybe they’ll be interested in one of the little things we have on the side of our blog, click on something, and we’ll make a little bit of money. And we hope that people will write comments, engage us in thoughts and conversation, and generally have a good time.

So, what about podcasts? Well, with either a podcast or video presentation, you pretty much have to spend a bit of time either watching or listening to it. You can’t speed read, which I do, and you can’t anticipate what’s coming. You’re pretty much stuck for anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes of listening to someone talking about whatever it is they’re talking about, or showing you. That’s why I almost never visit another blog by a guy I like, because almost all his posts are video, and I just don’t always have 10 minutes to hang around to watch a video.

Now, every once in awhile, if they’re showing you a presentation of something, that makes a lot of sense because it’s easier to show people how to do something that trying to just tell them how to do it. But what if it’s an every day thing? How much do you want to visit a blog to have to listen to a presentation every time?

I know someone’s going to say “yeah, but you have that “listen” button at the top of each post. True, but I put that there to give people an option as to whether they wanted to listen or read my post. I know some of my posts get quite long, and one of my wife’s gripes is that she hates reading long posts. But every once in awhile I’ll ask her to check a specific post out, and she’ll listen rather than read and enjoys that.

There are some websites that will put up a video, but also have the written transcript so that you get a choice as to which way you want to go. I love that option, and yes, sometimes I will just sit back and watch or listen to something instead of reading it. But it’s an option, a choice, and I love having choices.

I don’t want this to look like I’m beating up on anyone whose content is totally media driven. I’m asking this question because I really want to know what people’s general opinions on this are. If I started creating posts by recording them and, instead of writing much, just wrote a headline like “Have you heard about Google Wave? Here’s my take on it” and then posted an audio file, and all my posts were like that, would you still visit and listen to an entire file each time and still want to comment on it? Would you be encouraged to go to any of my other posts to listen to more podcasts or watch more videos if that’s all you could do when you visited one of those?

Share with me; let me know your thoughts. I’m wondering if it’s me, the guy feeling a bit old lately, or if I’m more normal than I think I am sometimes.

Bose SoundDock II Speaker System – Silver

Price – $299.00








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34 Questions

The other day I asked whether we could consider ourselves good marketers if we couldn’t get our friends and family to sign up for our stuff, or to subscribe to our blogs and the like. Tonight, I’m going to be somewhat thankful that most of them don’t subscribe.

Many of us don’t dare take the opportunity to answer questions about ourselves to begin with, let alone in person. Our friend John has been doing a series of questions that he’s been answering on his blog John Dilbeck & Friends over the past few weeks, and I’ve been examining myself along with him.

Tonight, I learned about a blog from Kristi’s Fetching Friday post on her Kikolani blog that had posted 33 Questions that actually turned out to be 34 questions, a blog called Dragosroua. I decided to go ahead and answer these questions based on how I’m feeling at the present moment after a pretty good Friday; honesty is my thing, even as it pertains to myself.

I doubt many folks will want to try this one, but hey, I have no fear:

1. What Do You Do For A Living?

I do a lot of things: health care finance consultant, internet marketing consultant for small businesses, executive coach, leadership/management/diversity trainer, professional speaker

2. Who Do You Love?

My wife of course 🙂

3. Do You Have Enough Money?

Is there such a thing?

4. Are You Healthy?

I’m better now, but overall, I guess I’m just above average

5. Do You Think You Are a Good Person?

I believe I am; could always be better, I suppose

6. How Old Are You?

50

7. Who’s Your Best Friend?

Not sure I have one; that’s a shame

8. What’s Was Your Childhood Dream?

I wanted to be a cowboy; do kids think about that anymore?

9. How Often Do You Laugh?

Not as much as I should

10. What Makes You Smile?

The original question said to list 10 things; all I can think of are my wife, babies, puppies and chocolate

11. Who’s Your Most Dangerous Enemy?

me

12. Where Do You Live?

Liverpool, NY

13. Do You Think You’re Strong?

As I come to grips with my mortality, no

14. What Was The Most Important Thing You’ve Done So Far?

Wrote a book on leadership

15. What Was The Most Stupid Thing You’ve Done So Far?

I’m not sure; lots of stupid, but nothing colossal

16. Do You Love Yourself?

No, I wouldn’t say that

17. What Do You Fear The Most?

failure

18. What Is Your Favorite Word?

Man,…

19. When Was The Last Time You Cried?

end of September

20. What Is The Best Thing That Could Happen To You Right Now?

get a big contract worth a lot of money

21. What Is The Worst Thing That Could Happen To You Right Now?

not getting a new contract of any kind

22. Picture Yourself In 5 Years From Now

Not sure how to answer this one

23. Do You Regret Anything?

too many regrets to figure out

24. What’s The First Thing You Do In The Morning?

check email

25. What Are You Thinking Just Before Going To Bed?

nothing; if I do, I don’t sleep

26. What Was The Highest Point You’ve Ever Been To?

I was on Mount Fuji as a kid, but I have no idea at which point

27. If There’s One Thing In Your Life You Want To Change Right Now, What Is It?

I’d like to be more sure of things

28. What Are You Proud Of?

I’m proud that I’ve actually lasted in business for 8 years on my own

29. Sum Up Your Life In One Sentence

Lots of lost potential, but still a new opportunity every single day

30. Name The Thing That Annoys You The Most

making mistakes

31. What Is Your No 1 Question To God?

since I don’t believe in god, I have none

32. Do You Have Secrets?

Well, who doesn’t have secrets?

33. What Makes You Laugh?

Seeing little kids trying to figure things out and puppies doing almost anything

34. Are You Happy?

No, but I’m working my way towards it

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