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The #1 Place To Get Fresh New Blogging Ideas

I blog 5 – 6 times each week and it’s just a consistent part of my daily regimen.  People often ask me, “How do I come up with so many blogging ideas and so much blogging material?”  The answer to that question is simple.  The #1 Place To Get Fresh New Blogging Ideas is… Everywhere!

It’s truly that simple. There tons of blogging ideas everywhere, we simply have to look for them.  I’ll walk through a day for me and potential blogging ideas from when I wake up until lunch.

  • My morning 3-B Time: Bible, Books & Blogs
  • Conversations I have with my wife and boys over breakfast
  • Clips & thoughts from the morning news channels
  • Thoughts inspired from commercials
  • Conversations with clients
  • Things I see while driving to my lunch meeting
  • Conversations during my lunch meeting
  • Observations and business practices at the restaurant
  • Front page newspaper articles
  • People watching
  • Social media interactions, quotes & observations that I’ve had prior to my lunch appt.

The bottom line is Fresh New Blogging Ideas are everywhere.  There is actually some research that indicates that individuals whom blog daily are smarter. This is attributed to the fact that on a daily basis they are forcing themselves to think about and interact with the world around them in a different context.

I simply keep a running note of thoughts in my iPhone yellow notes.  I can easily jump on a flight and knock out a couple of weeks of blogposts or I can simply get up each morning and knock out a post from something that’s fresh on my mind.

The key is to think and to think often.

How do you get fresh new blogging ideas?  Share your thoughts on The #1 Place To Get Fresh New Blogging Ideas.

Top 5 Travel Tools

Throughout my 38 years on this earth I’ve had a number of seasons where my travel schedule was, well let’s just say heavier than others.  Over the last few years that schedule has increased drastically and in the last year it’s super-crazy.  When you are a consultant and speaker, super-crazy is actually a good thing, so I’m definitely grateful.

I get to travel around and work with some of the most amazing churches, non-profits, organizations and brands in the country.  One thing I have come to recognize is this: If you are going to travel, you should always have some great travel tools and systems in your toolbox.  I have come up with a list of my Top 5 Travel Tools.

1. Tripit Pro – This is by far my favorite travel tool.  Tripit Pro is like having a personal assistant that has inside information from every aspect of the airlines and airport.  I will try to sum up this tool in a few sentences and I’ll share some key features.  You can get regular Tripit for FREE and Tripit Pro is $49.  (It’s worth every penny)

Tripit Pro – Scans my email and automatically adds any confirmation emails from airlines, hotels, rental cars etc. to my account.  I have my wife and my Executive Assistant added to my account so they can always be aware of my itinerary or changes to my itinerary.

A couple of key Things I like about Tripit Pro is the fact that it will text me just prior to 24hrs. before my flight and let me know it’s almost time to check-in.  The day of my flight I get a reminder text of my flight number, gate information and any applicable changes, delays and cancellations.  Speaking of changes, I’m not sure how they do it but Tripit Pro always notifies me of flight changes before the airlines.

As soon as I land, I receive connecting gate information via text, even if my flight is early. (No more checking terminal screens or listening to flight attendants talk about connecting gates).  Another feature that generally pays for the cost of Tripit Pro is the fare reduction notification feature.  If there is a drop in fares from your original purchase, Tripit will let you know.  You can simply call the airline and get a credit for the difference.

One last feature is a tracking mechanism for all of your travel accounts.  I have my entire airlines; hotel and car rental rewards accounts and point totals in one location.

I could go on and on, this is by far the #1 travel tool.

2. Waze Waze is the best iPhone GPS App on the market and it’s free. I would definitely pay for this app. I have used several awesome paid GPS apps; however I have really come to appreciate Waze.  Waze is a very easy to use voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation app. When you download Waze, you not only get a free traffic & navigation app, but also become part of the local driving community in your area, joining forces with other drivers nearby to outsmart traffic, save time, and improve your travel or daily commute.

After you enter your destination, as you are driving you can participate in the driving community with the touch of one button to notify the app and community of traffic jams, police speed traps, accidents, speed cameras, hazardous road issues, map issues and more.

3. Eagle Creek Packing Cubes – I use various sizes and types of the Eagle Creek Pouches.  I am able to maximize space by putting my t-shirts, underwear, socks, jeans, shirts etc. into these cubes.  I even use some of these pouches to pack up cords and other things.  I also use some of the travel sacs, no matter what you use, their packing and travel tools are all great additions to your travel repertoire.

4. iPad 2 –  I don’t really need to give a lot of detail to this tool because it speaks for itself.  I use my iPad to:

  • Speak from (embed my notes into pages)
  • Read books
  • Watch movies
  • Face-time over wifi with my family both with in-flight wifi and at the hotel
  • Capture thoughts
  • Write blogposts
  • Create keynote presentations
  • The list goes on and on like the Energizer Bunny

The iPad is a must have travel tool.

5. Beats By Dre StudioOutside of having some gum on hand to make sure your ears don’t clog up or pop while in the altitude, having some good headphones is a must.  I have several good in-ear headphones; however I have come to appreciate having the fully enclosed Beats By Dre Studio noise canceling headphones.  It cancels all of the noise from babies, jets, wind and overall airplane and airport noise.  Additionally you can listen to your favorite movie or favorite artists with unimpeded clarity.

I have a number of other travel tools that I will share in the future.  For now these are my Top 5.

What are your top travel tools?  Share your thoughts and experiences on any of these Top 5 Travel Tools.

Voicemail Is Officially Shutting Down!

Let me start off by saying this:  I don’t like voicemail, I rarely never check voicemail, I think voicemail is old and outdated and I think Voicemail Is Officially Shutting Down.  I don’t mean that it’s like really officially shutting down, however more and more people simply don’t like or use voicemail.  I guess you could say it’s unofficially officially shutting down.

When Google Voice came out with their voice to text translation capability a couple of years ago, I saw that as the beginning to the end of voicemail as we once knew it.  As more and more people move to the instantaneous nature of texting, twitter DM’s and FB messages, voicemail will continue to be a thing of the past.  There are simply too many unecessary and unproductive steps.

  • Person leaves message
  • You call and retrieve message
  • You find a time to call the person back
  • You finally call them back and leave a message for them
  • The voicemail tag game officially begins “Tag you’re it!”
  • You finally connect some hours or even days later
  • The reason they originally called is no longer relevant

Years ago, I had a voicemail message tailored to my disdain for voicemail, it was something like: “This is Scott sorry that you missed me, either try back in a few or send me a text message.”   I didn’t want leaving a verbal message to be one of the options.  Finally, I had t-mobile cancel my voicemail altogether.  Over the last couple of years I have tried many different translation apps, that simply translate the messages to text and then I can respond immediately and uninterrupted for the most part.  The problem was finding a translation app that could actually dictate a proper message instead of something that was so off base that I had to listen to the message anyways.

T-mobile recently came out with a voice to text feature for like $3.99 per month.  So far the translation has been completely accurate and it’s totally worth the $3.99 price tag.  Texting is the future and it’s here to stay.  Voicemail is becoming the old school pager or beeper of our generation.  Once upon a time when it was cool and served a purpose, that time has come and gone.  Goodbye Voicemail!

Voicemail Is Officially Shutting Down!  There is a new Sheriff in town, his name “Voice To Text!”

Did I mention that voicemail’s distant cousin, aka “The Answering Machine” died a long time ago.

Do you agree?  Does voicemail get on your nerves?  Do you still use voicemail?  Is voicemail dead?  Do you prefer voice to text?  Share your thoughts!

Text Message To Apple Regarding iPhone 5

Today is the highly anticipated release of the iPhone 5, or at-least that’s what I’ve been told. As I was in the air at about 30,000 ft. in route to NY, I decided to send Apple a Txt Msg. Maybe since I was in the iClouds they will receive the text. Sometimes you just think about things that make you go hmm.

Will you be getting the iPhone 5?   Can you relate to my text msg.?

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Another BIG Move In Web-Based Church Management Software

A few months ago I blogged a post titled, The Largest Church Management System Is Now Bigger & Better. This was in reference to Fellowship Technologies, known to most as Fellowship One, was acquired by Active Network.  It’s seems to become a great partnership to help better serve the local church.  One thing about active Network, is they are a giant in the industry and they don’t mess around when it comes to positioning themselves to do great things.

Active Network has now acquired ConnectionPower, a web-based church management software solution. This acquisition, along with the acquisition that I just mentioned of Fellowship Technologies, the developers of Fellowship One, reinforces Active Network’s industry position as the largest provider of cloud-based solutions for the local church.

I don’t know all of the details, but one thing seems certain…  Active Network is serious about being the leader at providing the best web based management systems for the local church.

Here is a letter from ConnectionPower’s CEO.

Here is a press release about the acquisition.

I love to see the local church leverage technology and this provides more tools and more technology under one roof.  How is your church leveraging technology?

How Businesses Are #Winning With Social Media

Social media has well eclipsed the thought that it is just a fad; it is more like cotton – the fabric of our lives.  Social Media is not simply new media… it’s the media.  It’s the chosen form of media of the people.  If a business wants to be successful they have to be where the people are and the people are on social media.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the business of selling trinkets, pancakes, books, gas, financial services, phones, hamburgers or cars… Your customers are on social media and that’s where you need to be.  Many of them are reading this post from their mobile device.  They want to hear from you, they want to find you and more importantly they want to share the good, bad and ugly about you with their tribe.  Social media has allowed ordinary Joe to have a mom and pop type connection with their favorite brands, products and businesses through Twitter and other forms of Social Media.

If a company is not on social media they are failing bigger than a pregnant Twitter Fail Whale and that’s BIG.  Businesses need to have a social media presence just for the sake of being able to know what people are saying about them and their products.  Like it or not people are talking about your business, they are talking the good stuff, bad stuff and ugly stuff.  Not only are they talking but their friends and followers are listening.

Research shows that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations and only 14% trust advertisements.  For that reason, every business should have someone that understands social media (consultant or in-house) assigned and responsible for their social media presence.

I remember traveling to Florida this summer and had a layover at KCI, Kansas City International Airport.  If you have ever been to KCI you know that it is very tight (not cool, but small).  You have to leave outside of security to get food, other than a few little kiosk like stands.  While I was at KCI, I tweeted an honest but somewhat negative tweet, my tweet was this: “Kansas City might have some good BBQ, but they need to work on this airport captivity, can’t leave, must re-enter through security airport!” I also tweeted, “Kansas City airport is like a prison once you get through security…  You’re Locked Down.”

Shortly after my tweet went out, I received a twitter response from @kciairport that read as follows: @scottwilliams our design is not ideal for transiting pax. Working to increase avail concessions in gate areas.  Please enjoy our Free Wifi.” I loved the quick response and the fact that they directly addressed my concern as a customer.  It immediately changed my thoughts about the Kansas City International Airport.  I felt compelled to share my change of heart with my Social Media Tribe.  I tweeted this response, “Big #FistBump to @KCIAirport for having free wifi & a social media crew that responds to customers.  Awesome! Others should learn from this.”

The fact that the Kansas City International Airport had a viable social media presence saved their brand from a black eye and ended up adding value to their business.  If they didn’t have a great social media presence, those pregnant fail whale thoughts of mine would still be actively swimming around in the online waters of Twitter and Facebook.  Not to mention that 78% of my social media friends would agree with me and have similar thoughts.

Some Businesses Are #Winning With Social Media… While Others #Fail!

Do your favorite brands and businesses have a viable Social Media Presence?    Share your thoughts and experiences.

Largest Church Management System Is Now Bigger & Better

Active Network, a technology and media company has acquired online church management software provider Fellowship Technologies, known by many as (Fellowship One or F1.) As a result of the acquisition, Active Network will expand its technology offerings within the faith industry and provide a comprehensive suite of solutions for these community organizations.

Fellowship One will now be added to Active’s suite of products, which serves over 75,000 community, non-profit and business clients worldwide. Some of their featured customers include: Starbucks, Ironman, Oracle and Bose.

According to research there are more than 300,000 churches in North America alone. As the largest provider of software solutions to the faith-based market, Fellowship Technologies counts for more than 1,700 churches as clients, including 36 percent of North America’s largest churches.

At LifeChurch.tv we are one of the many large churches that uses Fellowship One’s technology.   LifeChurch.tv Innovation Pastor and Innovation leader Bobby Gruenwald talks about Fellowship One and their partnership with Active network, “Fellowship Technologies has been a valued partner in ministry with LifeChurch.tv for over 3 years. Their passion for leveraging technology for churches to connect with people and communities matches well with the mission of our church.  We are excited about what the combination of Fellowship Technologies and Active Network holds for our church and others.”

In my humble opinion, it sounds like the best may have just gotten better.  Jeff Hook, president and CEO of Fellowship Technologies said, “We still have the same God-sized vision and we still have the same management team and staff. With this acquisition, however, we believe churches across the globe will be better served, and we can improve the scale and quality of the solutions available… Joining with Active Network will accelerate our efforts to raise the bar… again.”

The Largest Church Management System is Now Bigger and Better.

Check out the video announcement below from Fellowship Technologies President Jeff Hook.

Raising The Bar Announcement from Fellowship Technologies on Vimeo.

This Social Media Video Will Blow Your Mind!

Is Social Media the vehicle to truly make the world smaller, or is it just a fad? Share your thoughts on these compelling stats and the overall impact of Social Media! ?

iPhone Unlocked

iphone.jpg The “Exclusive AT&T iPhone” has been unlocked, after being the market for only a little over two months.  A 17 year old New Jersey engineering whiz kid George Hotz spent his entire summer vacation trying to crack the code.  George stated that it became an obsession, as he spent over 500 hours trying to come up with a solution to unlock the iPhone.  George simply wanted to use the iPhone on his T-Mobile family plan.  “I unlocked the iPhone, I made the iPhone available for use on networks other than AT&T,” states Hotz.  George had one of his newly unlocked iPhones on eBay which was garnering ridiculous bids; however Terry Daidone, the founder of Certicell contacted him and offered to make a trade for the iPhone.  George ended up trading the piece of history for a sweet Nissan 350Z and 3 8GB iPhones.  Not bad for a summer’s worth of work!  This cracking of the code is apparently legal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  

It seems that this may just the beginning to the implementation of more simple software unlocking solutions for T-Mobile and other GSM providers.  One could only imagine that AT&T is probably not very happy about George’s discovery; however Apple is probably smiling.  Upon release of George’s successful unlocking of the iPhone, Apples stock was up 4.5 points.  Check out George Hotz’s blog, his unlocking video and his CNBC interview.

Does this peak your interest for the iPhone? What are your thoughts about the whiz kid unlocking the iPhone?  Is there a code in your life that you need to crack?

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