DSCOOP8 Nashville Photo Dump

DSCOOP8

DSCOOP8, held in Nashville.

This past week, a few members of the MindFire team visited Nashville to attend the DSCOOP conference.

DSCOOP is an HP user group, specifically for folks who own the HP Indigo (a digital printer), and companies that help these folks maximize their investment in HP equipment.

(By the way, these aren’t the little printers that sit on your desk; rather, they’re large $500k+ pieces of machinery for printing very personalized marketing pieces. If you want to know what a $1.5 million printer looks like, click here to see a picture of the Indigo 10000…)

I arrived a day earlier than the rest of the team to work on setting up our booth, and configuring our integration with HP (see the official press release here).

I’m very proud of how everyone on the MindFire engineering team worked to prepare us for the show. Our team worked with the HP engineering team to enable our multi-channel marketing automation workflows to easily print to the Indigo — with no human intervention. No human intervention means less errors, more value-added opportunities, and more margin for our mutual Clients.

We demonstrated the integration at the show, which required running a very long Ethernet cable from our booth to the HP booth. You’ll see that Read more of this post

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The Power Of Storytelling: Generating $1,421 In A Week

If you’ve been following this blog, you’re familiar with Dave: he’s 40 years old, homeless, and lives under a bridge.  Here’s where he lives now:

Dave's place under the bridge.  This is where he's been living.

Dave’s home under the bridge.

Against the odds, he’s making a love-fueled comeback.

After writing this post (my third in the series), I included a link that allowed readers to donate towards Dave’s journey.

Within minutes, $50 had been donated.  After a week, we received $1,421, not to mention other physical donations.

Honestly, I never expected this to happen.

As I’ve shared Dave’s story (you can read it starting here) and talked to readers about my blogging journey, I’m often asked how it started, and why Read more of this post

Why It Sucks To Be In Multiple Places At Once

Daddy & Abby

What does it take to be present, like Abby is in this picture? I doubt her mind was anywhere but on my lap, in that swing.

Do you ever have days you just don’t feel completely present — like there’s something between you and the outside world? Or where you’re physically present, but mentally somewhere else?

Maybe you’re:

  • With family, but wanting to check that newly arrived text message
  • In a meeting, but worrying about the emails you’re falling behind on
  • On vacation, but dreading the last day when you’ll mourn that it’s over

I’m sure you’ve got your own examples (I’d love to hear about them in the comments).

So here’s the question: Why is it so hard to be fully alive in the present? Why is it that we’re often (mentally) somewhere else?

For me, one root-cause seems to be my addiction to

Read more of this post

[PICS] Costa Mesa Homeless: My Time With Dave (Part 6)

Dave and I sit in the parking lot of this Starbucks and talk.

Dave and I sit in the parking lot of this Starbucks and talk.

On Wednesday of last week, Dave and I meet in a Starbucks parking lot, a 10- minute drive from home.

Come on, let’s sit in the car, it’s cold,” I tell him, motioning to my wife’s car.

We get inside, and I ask him how it went with his kids.  Because of your kindness, he was able to spend a night in a hotel, get cleaned up, and feel somewhat human in advance of seeing them.  This small luxury was a huge blessing for him.

“It was amazing … so, so good!” he says, repeating his words with emphasis and emotion.

“But my older boy, I think he’s got something on his mind about me,” he says, somewhat sadly.  I nod, wanting him to continue and share.

“I think he feels I left him, that it’s my fault we’re not Read more of this post

[Video] Costa Mesa Homeless: My Time With Dave (Part 5)

Dave & Dave!

Dave & Dave!

Earlier today, I met Dave for lunch at Panera, in the same shopping center as the Target we first met.

I brought paperwork from the OC Rescue Mission, including a Program Agreement, Application, and Policies Handbook.  He’ll review them over the next few days in preparation for his interview.

Since I took a tour of the location earlier in the week, I also showed him pictures (you can see them here), which he was excited to see. His mental image was much different than what I showed him; he’s pumped!

Last time we spoke, we made plans for him to read the posts I’ve written on this blog, and I wanted him to see your encouraging comments.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous of what he might think as he read the posts, especially because of the pictures.  As we sat eating our sandwiches, I told him that I feel he’s great about sharing his feelings, and that I wanted to follow suit by telling him that I feel a little vulnerable sharing the stories with him — but he responded positively, and was extremely encouraging.

In fact, part way through the first post, he was emotional and Read more of this post

Costa Mesa Homeless: My Time With Dave (Part 4)

At the corner of Hope Drive ...

Hope Drive!

Earlier this week, I visited the OC Rescue Mission, which happens to be about a stone’s throw from my office.

As you know, I’ve been spending time with some homeless in our area (click here to see the rest of the stories about Dave, in order), and through this experience, have started to make myself familiar with available services.

The OC Rescue Mission is built on the site of the Tustin Marine Base, which has two gigantic hangers you’ve probably seen if you’ve been around Orange County (which, by the way, I’ve heard you can see from outer space; is that true?).

This is what I’m talking about … if you’ve been to Orange County, chances are you’ve seen them:

This is the hanger I was talking about.  It is gigantic.

If you live in Orange County, you know this landmark.  This is where the OC Rescue Mission is.

My hope is that Dave (and Joey, who I wrote about here), can gain admittance to the program.  Dave is in the midst of waiting for his California ID (which will take 4-6 weeks), so I’m praying that there is some divine intervention and it gets here more quickly, as the folks at OCRM indicate there are openings.

I met with Kristin Bruce, an energetic, Read more of this post

Costa Mesa Homeless: Dave’s Story [Start Here]

Dave & Dave

Me on the left, Dave on the right — a day after your gift of a night in a hotel.

Dave is 40 years old, and homeless.  He lives under a bridge with 2 friends he met on the street.

I met Dave in a Target parking lot, and have been sharing his story on this blog. In response, you’ve showered him with an amazing outpouring of love and support.

If you’re looking to jump to these stories in sequence, here’s where to start:

  • Costa Mesa Homeless: My Time With Dave (Part 4):  Since readers have entrusted over $1,200 in donations to Dave and his story, I decided to take a tour of the Orange County Rescue Mission, which is where Dave intends to live.  I’ve included some pics — it is an amazing place!
  • [Video] Costa Mesa Homeless: My Time With Dave (Part 5):  Over sandwiches at Panera, Dave reads everything written about him on this blog (including your comments), and writes a thank-you note.  Also, he decides to film a short video!  See the man whose life you are changing.

How You Can Help

Many of you have asked how you can be a part of writing Dave’s new life story, and here are a few things you can do:

  • Share this story.  Send it to your friends, post it to Facebook, send links via email.
  • Leave Dave a comment on this blog.  Tell him where you’re from, and how you heard about his story.  I’m going to show him these posts soon.  If you have words of encouragement, leave them here.  He’ll love reading them.
  • Please continue to pray – not only for Dave, but also for me to discern what to do with the energy and momentum these stories have created.  Where is it leading?
  • If you have physical donations, I can arrange to pick them up.  If you have questions about what Dave needs, leave those in the comments.

Dave’s life is being changed by people he doesn’t even know, from across the globe.  Will you join in making a difference in his life?  Every amount counts, no matter how small.  Donate here.

Costa Mesa Homeless: My Time With Dave (Part 3)

It’s Thursday, January 31st, around 5 PM, and I’m running to a meeting when my wife texts me: “I need u to come home and help me”.

I step out and call her.  I can’t hear a thing she’s saying, but I get the point: stressful day, I’m needed.  Now.

I step back into the meeting, apologize, and run to my office.  I remember that I’m ready to publish a post about the prior week’s experience with Dave, who is 41 years old and homeless (see part 1 here, part 2 here).

I wrote the post while flying home from Vegas.  On the flight, I decided to try something that weighed on my heart: asking you to get involved.

I felt that asking you to help Dave get his ID, and providing him a gift of a night in a hotel would touch his heart.  This is why I included an “ask” at the bottom of the post, being faithful to the prompting but unsure of what to expect.  I connected the “ask” to a PayPal account, and configured it to allow donations of any size.

But my wife needs me, so I set the post to auto-publish at 5:30, and make a mad dash down the stairs.

I get home.  My wife is feeling overwhelmed with work (her first week back after a 9 month maternity break).  Plus, I’ve been out of town for three days.  Abby’s been a handful.  We talk, and things calm down a bit.

At 6:44, I remember I haven’t promoted the post, so I make a few status updates on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  I feel a little self-conscious about asking you to help, but I’ve learned this discomfort is usually a good sign.

At 7:19, a $50 donation comes in.  I can’t believe my eyes.

By Saturday morning, $176 rolls in.  What the…? Read more of this post

Blog Traffic Monthly Report: January 2013

Welcome to the second monthly traffic report, where I share the blog’s metrics (you can see last month’s report here). My purpose is to give insights and ideas that may help in your own blogging journey.  In the comments, let me know what other data are helpful to you.

Before we begin, here are some things I did differently in January 2013:

  • Added Pinterest as a sharing option (before, it was only available behind the “More” button).  Content started to get “pinned” almost immediately.
  • Started posting every few days, as opposed to once daily.  You’ll see the results of this experiment below (you might be surprised).
  • Completed my Google Authorship, which I had started in December 2012, but for some reason didn’t finish.
  • Revised the “About” page to be less formal.  Instead of referring to myself in the third person, I modified the text to the first person, and intentionally made it more personal.  My intent was for you to feel we were sitting down over coffee and chatting about our lives.  This page was the 5th most requested in January.

Let’s see what these changes did to traffic.

Read more of this post

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