September 30, 2010

30 Days. 30 Bloggers. $11,474.



Through 149 individual donations, we were able to provide 573 people in the Central African Republic with clean water for the next 20 years during our #30water campaign.

That's awesome! Thanks to all of you who donated. I hope you enjoyed learning about an awesome new charity in charity: water as well.

More importantly, I want to remind you to give your money away. I know it's hard. But you'll get addicted to it. It's such good stuff. And if you can find the right charities (exclude Boy Scout fundraisers and Football team raffles), it's amazing what you can do with even a little amount of money.

Go change the world.

September 29, 2010

The Cell Phone is Dying

I'm having a nice dinner with my wife.
I'm taking a nap.
I'm out with my friends.

LOUD ALARM CLOCK NOISE!!!!!!

Oh wait, that's my phone. How is this convenient again? Well, it is convenient to be able to make calls wherever you are. But rarely to receive them.

How often does your phone ring when you think, "Yea! I've been looking to be interrupted!"? No, much more likely, you go, "Ugh, I'm not walking the 10 ft. over to the table to see who it is."

That's why I like the idea of texting to set up a phone call, but my friends still think that's weird. It may be weird, but I bet it's the future.

September 28, 2010

I Scared a Police Officer Yesterday

They're doing construction in my building, so he didn't hear me walking behind him. I was looking down and flipping through e-mails on my black cell phone, when he must have felt my presence. He glanced behind at me, and instantly stumbled forward while reaching for his belt.

Then he quickly composed himself and said, "Good morning." I replied with the same and didn't realize what had happened until a few seconds later.

He thought I was holding a gun.

Now, let's run this out to its inevitable conclusion. Because these policemen rightfully have their eyes out for suspicious things (someone carrying a gun). Yet, if you look around the college campus I work at, 99% of students are walking around, heading to class, head down, eyes on their phone. If this policeman got confused, somebody, somewhere, is going to try banning black cell phones for national security reasons.

As far as scaring a police officer, yeah, it felt pretty good.

September 27, 2010

How to Make Something Go Viral

This is probably one of the most popular questions I receive from my clients.
"How can we make something go viral?"

Well, you can't. You can't make something become insanely successful. That's why Hollywood makes so many bad movie every year. Because it's really hard to guess what the masses are going to love.

But the odds are it's not going to be some cheesy promotional video about your product...unless you're Old Spice. So, all you can do is go one of these two routes, and hope for the best.

#1. Be hilarious.
For something to become viral, it needs to have mass appeal. Not sophisticated humor. Not impress your buddy with how clever we are. Think physical comedy. Think someone falling down. Think 3 Stooges. Think "surprise".

#2. Be captivating.
Ok Go's music videos all go viral. And none are really funny. They're simply extremely elaborate. You can't take your eyes of them.

Your product isn't that compelling. Your market isn't that broad. So, you have to do a 1-off of your traditional market messaging to have any chance of going viral. And like Old Spice, brand it well so that your benefits come across while being either hilariously funny or genuinely captivating.

September 24, 2010

Non-Unionized Union Workers

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Working Stiffed
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Thank you The Daily Show for pointing out inconsistency wherever you find it. This is a MUST-SEE clip.

Note: you will find this creepy and slightly uncomfortable.

September 23, 2010

Raffles: An Even Odds Gambling Fallacy

I don't like raffles.

I don't like pools where you don't pick your team. I don't like the lottery.

But I like "gambling" as investment. As long as my winning is dependent on my intellectual superiority, I'm in. Otherwise, where's the fun?

September 22, 2010

Jumping to the Wrong Conclusions

People in bad marriages don't like hearing you're in a good one.

In fact, your good marriage, rather than convincing them that a good marriage is indeed possible, may wrongly convince them they simply married the wrong person.

30 Bloggers. 30 Days. $30,000 Update.

So far, we have provided 460 people clean water for the next 20 years. Think about that. Simply ridiculously awesome. 1 week to go...

September 21, 2010

Wedding Tips for Guests and Future Participants

The next time you're at a wedding, when the bride's coming down the aisle...look at the groom's face.

Typically my favorite part of the wedding. And you can learn a lot from it.

Me? Oh, I was bawling at that moment during mine.

Which leads me to Tip #2 if you're not married yet. Don't take pictures beforehand. That moment is too magical to ruin it by seeing your future spouse ahead of time.

September 20, 2010

Twitter Doesn't Suck. You Suck.

You might not understand Twitter. But, that doesn't mean it sucks. In fact, let's get over that whole crazy Luddite judgmental attitude toward technology we don't currently utilize or understand.

If 160 million people are using something, trust that these people must be finding value in it. (Seriously, I've never played Farmville, but it has to be awesome/addictive for so many people to play it)

"Oh, you tweet stupid status updates about how you're 'going to the bathroom.' Twitter is stupid!"

Ok, no one does that. In fact, Twitter is far more professional than Facebook. And that's what I see Twitter as. A networking tool. Facebook helps you stay in contact with people you already know. Twitter helps you meet people based on like interests you would never have met in the outside world.

I've made new friends on Twitter. I've gotten new clients on Twitter. And yes, I started following celebrities on Twitter, and now, host a podcast with a leading Hollywood writer.

Twitter doesn't suck. You suck.  So, shut up and come follow me.

September 17, 2010

Parenthood: Season 1

Parenthood: Season 1 was one of the best seasons of television I've ever watched. But, again, through bad marketing, it created faulty expectations among potential viewers, including me. And it's why I've only caught up just now, right as season two begins.

Last fall, you may have seen Parenthood preview commercials about a guy scared of his over-excited girlfriend wanting to have a baby. You may have seen a mother embarrassing her children outside a school.

But, the show is not a comedy. Well, it's funny. But, it's West Wing funny. Hilarious. But, it's a flat-out drama. Heart-wrenching. Beautifully written. Extraordinarily educational for current and future parents.

Where do I rank this show. It's Office: Season 2 good. It's West Wing: Seasons 1-3 good. It's Parks and Recreation: Season 2 good.  It's that good. Check it out.

You have just been evangelized to.

September 16, 2010

The Never-Ending Punch Line

What do Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods have in common?

Place your punchline in the comments below.

September 15, 2010

30 Days. 30 Bloggers. $30,000.



30 Days. 30 Bloggers. $30,000.

That's what this blog is a part of this month. And at this point, we've raised $6,810. That means we've raised enough money to provide 340 people in the Central African Republic with clean drinking water for the next 20 years.

It's an amazing thing to be a part of. Thank you to all of who have given. It's an amazing opportunity for the community of All Opinions Are Not Equal to get behind as well. To not only be content with being smarter than everyone else in the world. But to do amazing stuff precisely because of it.

Donate today.

September 14, 2010

Time or Distance Goal While Running?

Running is amazingly good for your body. If you're not doing it, start. I know you like biking more. But, it's like a 5-1 calorie difference. And you can learn to love running, too.

Here's the problem. We don't create good incentives for new runners. We say something like "Try running 30 minutes a day." But time is not a good incentive to work harder. Distance is. I think we should recommend that the new runner jog/run 3 miles a day. Because if we tell people to run for 30 minutes, they'll slowly jog it every day. No incentive to work harder. But, if it's 3 miles, then the sooner they get there, the sooner they're done.

Now, I know what you're thinking. But then eventually, their workouts will shrink from 45 to 30 minutes. But, guess what? They're still burning more calories running 3 miles in 30 minutes than running 3 miles in 45 minutes!

Diet and exercise are all mental, and I feel like we're not incentivizing people appropriately to beat the mental aspect of the game.

September 13, 2010

The Evolution of the RSVP

Last weekend, I played music at weddings for two of my friends. And I didn't properly RSVP to either of their weddings or rehearsal dinners.

Now, my wife and I are fairly organized. And we're (typically) incredibly socially sensitive. Yet, we completely ignored/forgot about both of these RSVPs. Why?

Because they arrived by snail mail. When, I receive an e-mail request, I don't delete it until it's resolved. Same thing with voicemail. But, snail mail goes up to this weird room upstairs we don't really go in, and gets lost underneath a pile of junk until it's forgotten about altogether.

You might ask, why don't I just RSVP the second I open the letter? Well, because RSVP'ing requires a stamp. And so that process requires finding/buying a stamp, both difficult. The former because I only use stamps when mailing in our yearly car registration information to the Illinois Secretary of State. The latter because the post office is miles away.

Now you might be thinking, you're just lazy. But some of you might be agreeing with me and thinking, ok, let's go to an online system for RSVP'ing?

But while evite.com might work for your Labor Day BBQ, inviting anyone 50+ and over might run you into the opposite problem as my stamp laziness. Because, my cousin recently did this for their wedding. Sent an invitation to my father. A computer programmer. And he couldn't figure it out. So, what chance did his mother have of figuring it out? And oh yeah, she doesn't have an e-mail address anyway.

Any better solution that doesn't require me to be less lazy?

September 10, 2010

Cows, Pigs and Chickens

Restaurant Naming Idea:
Would you go to a restaurant called "Cows, Pigs and Chickens"?
Is your "blink" reaction to the name, "that's cute" or "that's morbid"?

September 09, 2010

Individual Nudism

Recently, nudist colonies started to make sense to me.

Bear with me. Little children like running around naked, right? This is the idea behind the nudist colony. That, as a pure child, (note: follow a child around for a day, and you'll see how morally bankrupt they are) we wanted nothing more than to unshackle ourselves from the bondage of cotton and linens. And a nudist colony gets us back to that point. A life of freedom.

Here's the problem. These children who run around during "naked time", hiding behind furniture after taking their baths, have not been sexualized yet. We can't get back there. You could become used to nudity. Like what I assume a fine artist feels, you could get to the point where you wouldn't giggle every time you walked through certain parts of a museum.

But, you can't undo sexualization. You can't re-become the 6-year old who didn't think of being naked as anything more than being free.

At least in public. Individual nudism is fine. So, spend some time alone naked in your house and report your findings.



September 08, 2010

Situationally Gay

Haven't gotten you all riled up in a while, so here goes.

"The Week" recently featured an expose on the Afghanistan national guard. These are men, still mostly untrained, who largely spend their days making money off opium confiscation and bribery. And after spending some time with  them, the writer noticed that the entirety of them engaged in sexual activity with their fellow male soldiers.

The writer gave no other reasons for this besides an assumption of situation. The men were all packed together in very small residences for long periods of time. They had to share bunks. And the assumption was that this situation led to certain sexual behavior that likely would not have happened outside of this situation among these Muslim men.

This is what I would like to refer to as "situationally gay". There are many women who have been in abusive relationships with men, who then enter into relationships with women. The common argument is that these women were always gay. Perhaps many were. But, why exclude the notion that a psychological shift occurred? These woman, scarred by men, now associate men with violence, and therefore, now seek women as both emotional and sexual companions.

These Afghani soldiers, due to the situation of being bunked very tightly with other men, all ended up engaging in sexual relations with other men over time.

I imagine this theory will not be welcomed by many gay people. But, I'm not sure why. It simply acknowledges a psychological correlation for sexual companionship. It makes no moral judgment. It does not deny a genetic argument. It merely suggests that certain situations can overcome default preference.

September 07, 2010

The Sliding Scale of Insanity

We tend to put people into two groups. Normal people. And crazy people.

The truth is, we're dealing with a spectrum here. Everyone's a little crazy. And it will help if you start looking at people like that.

You ever come home from a long day thinking, "What is wrong with that person!??!"

Well, they're crazy. They don't live in a hospital. And society lets them drive a car. But, they're a little out of their mind. You can't reason with everyone the way we reason here on this site.

And that's why this critical-thought community exists. To reassure you that honest thinkers do exist. You're not alone. You're just surrounded by crazy people, too.

September 02, 2010

How to Be a "Happy" Person

My preferred personality is "polite". I love polite people. Good manners. Good social etiquette. Those who intuit back-and-forth communication. If everyone was polite, I'm convinced the world would be a much more enjoyable place.

But, there's another kind of person. "Happy." And not just happy, but bubbly. Always in a good mood. They always put you in a good mood. They energize you.

So, shouldn't I want to be that person? The only problem is, being that person is exhausting when it's not natural to you. So, what do I do?

September 01, 2010

30 Days. 30 Bloggers. $30,000.

30 Days. 30 Bloggers. $30,000.

I couldn't be more excited about this. My friend, Tyler Stanton, Christian writer and comedian, has invited All Opinions Are Not Equal to be a part of a 30-day fundraising challenge through CharityWater.org.

Right off the bat, let's be clear. There's no guilt trip here. This isn't a "wouldn't it be cool to be a part of this thing?" You all know my policy on generosity. We are generous people. We simply need to re-prioritize where we're putting our money. Where can our dollars do the most good for the most people?

That's why you hear me talk so often about the Copenhagen Consensus Project, which aims to solve that exact mystery. And clean water and sanitation is a perennial staple on their top challenges list. Not number 1. Because the Copenhagen Consensus Project leans more toward preventing death, from an economic standpoint, and this project through Charity Water, which does do an amazing $12 of good for every $1 of investment, hopes to not only prevent death but start real life in Africa through clean water and sanitation.

If you're currently supporting micro-nutrient funds or malaria prevention, keep your money going there. That's awesome. And dollar-for-dollar can't be beaten. But this is a really beautiful organization to be behind.

WHY WATER? (Learn more here at the charitywater site and watch the awesome videos.)

100% of your donation goes directly toward providing clean water. (Private donors have covered all of the overhead.)
$20 provides 1 person clean water for 20 years. (i know, it's crazy.)
This month, your donation will specifically help the beautiful Bayaka Tribe in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.).

I'll be sure to keep you posted with how we're doing throughout the month.
Now go change the world.

DONATE now through our "30 DAY. 30 BLOGGER" campaign.