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Boot Camp for Business

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Boot Camp for Business put on by David and Carl over at They recently increased the class to be a two day class with the first day starting at 6:00 PM. We got started with a networking exercise where we traded game cards with the other attendees to collect cards that best matched who we are as an employee. After doing the exercise we learned about the DISC-overy work/personality styles.

D – Dominance
I – Influence
S – Steadiness
C – Conscientious

It was a bit odd for me since I was evenly split between the styles, which made for an interesting conversation. Check out if you want to learn more.

The second day, we started at 8:00 AM and started learning about what it takes to have a great personal branding statement. You may know these as an Elevator Pitch or a 30 Second Commercial. It was a great exercise for each of us to give our 30 second commercial and have it focused and precises. Then the fun came… it was time to expand the 30 Second and go for a full 2 minutes. Did I mention that we were doing this in front of a video camera?

As many know, I do regular presentations in front of crowds of up to 200 with only a small amount of anxiety. OK, it is really more excitement due the passion that I have for my topic. I mention this since I was having a real problem getting in front of the camera and talking about myself for 2 minutes. I have not been that nervous since I was giving a speech in front of 250 of my peers and their parents when I was 18 years old.

I made it through the video recording after about 4 takes. I was having a bit of a synchronization issues with my tongue and lips.

For me, the big issue was that we were to add a bit of personal information or specifically a “Wild Card” to our talk. Something that most people did not know about us, something that made us unique or stand out from the crowd.

It was neat to hear some of the others in the class as to what there special thing was. One Lady was the Dallas Public Speaker of the Year, another was an avid water skier. For me, I mentioned my being the 7th Texan to receive the Gold Congressional Award for Achievement, Initiative and Service.

My takeaway from the class was that I need to bring more personal information into my communications. Letting a bit of my personal side out is a good thing when communicating my message. Stories are king, when talking to people, tell a story and they will remember. I’m camera shy, probably due to my being behind them for most of my life.

Would I recommend the Boot Camp for Business to others? But of course! Carl and David have many years of experience in management and team building. They convey some great real world examples of success in implementing the training that we learned in the class.

Carl also provides one-on-one coaching which I am going to have the opportunity to do in the near future. I’ll try and give you some feed back on that once it happens. In the meantime, check out his site at

Social Media Club Dallas – Chris Brogan

Had the opportunity to attend the Social Media Club Dallas January event with guest speaker Chris Brogan at the Angelika Dallas at Mockingbird Station.

I arrived early to help setup and do what I could to make the event a total success. Meet up with several of my friends @kfcatoe and @davidswinney. And very quickly the excitement was building with folks started arriving for the event.

In talking with the organizers, it was a sold out show with 200 people in attendance. Wow, how much Social Media geekiness can you fit in one room. It was awesome to see the number of well know social media leaders from the Dallas area all in one location.

I also had the opportunity to shake hands and chat with @chrisbrogan for a few minutes.

@mikedmerrill president of @smcdallas introduced @chrisbrogan and the event was on. I was being the true geek that I am and was tweeting highlights through out the lecture. After all this was an acceptable practice at an event like this.

Here are a few notes that I took:

  • We are all in customer service.
  • Networking is no longer passing business cards and shaking hands.
  • Experts say that we can only have a strong network of 150 people. We need to overlap our 150 people with other peoples networks and increase the strength and size of our networks.
  • Marketing should be made up of 2 parts helping, 2 parts connecting and 1 part selling.
  • Listening is a key part of being successful.
  • We should be like farmers… The look for ways to build and give back.
  • We should be spending 40% of our twitter time listening.
  • We should be making an effort to comment on other peoples blogs.
  • What can we do to give value prior to the sale?
  • We need to ask questions. Ask opinions. This helps us to listen and hear the needs of others.
  • LinkedIn is more than a job seeking tool. We need to write our profiles with a focus on the future and not the past.

@chrisbrogan suggested that we re-read Ogilvy on Advertising. He also mentioned that Guy Kawasaki’s site was a great source for information.

After the lecture, there was a tweetup next door at @Trinityhall where everyone went and packed the place for some great networking and Guinness drinking.

There was one other thing that happened that was a highlight of the evening. Once just about everyone cleared the Angelika, a couple of dozen of us were standing around chatting about the event. When from the next theater over out walked Jerry Jones and his wife. Yes the Dallas Cowboy’s Jerry Jones. He was pretty cool with it all and posed for several camera phone photos. I tried but the light was way to low for my iPhone to do much.

If you are interested in Social Media you need to check out the Social Media Club.

Until next time.

NosalCentral – Your Central Source for Web Solutions

Free FreeHand!!!

This was an e-mail that I sent in response to one of the guys from While it is not specifically a tip or trick regarding the internet, I figured it is blog worthy while I was typing it.

I am excited about the movement to get the FreeHand codebase released into the open source arena. I also would like to mention that I am still using FreeHand on a regular basis and avoid Illustrator at all cost.

Please note that these are my comments or observations and do not reflect the opinion of my former employer Adobe Systems (Macromedia).

Lets step back in the way back machine to the time of 1994 Adobe was acquiring Aldus and FreeHand future was first questioned. Would Adobe continue to be the distributor and have both FreeHand and Illustrator? Fortunately, Jim VonEhr and the leadership at Altsys the developers of FreeHand and Fontographer negotiated to sever the contract bringing FreeHand back home.

Then came the talks to merge with Macromedia which was buying up companies and technology in a wide variety of areas with Director, SoundEdit and a bunch of other little programs that finally died or was rolled into another new product. Then in January of 1995, FreeHand 5 (Mac) was release and the merger with Macromedia was final. FreeHand 5 was the first version under the Macromedia banner. Development was hot with the windows and Mac version 5.5 release shortly there after.

Then there was FreeHand version 6… wait I mean version 7. In many users opinion the best release since the sainted version 3. The marketing was one of the biggest pushes I ever saw. There was a world tour that was happening and the support team was going on site visits to major customers and user groups around the country. The excitement was big. The features were big, Shall I mention Graphic Search and Replace? I still remember demoing that feature to the team at National Geographic in Washington DC and they were sold. FreeHand 7 if I recall did capture some market share but did not get majority share.

Then the focus of Macromedia changed, it was dotcom this that and the other. Shockwave was the new push of the company, all applications had to write to the web in some manor. Director had Shockwave. Authorware had Shockwave for Authorware. Dreamweaver was in its infancy, Flash was now in the product line and FreeHand was now trying to figure out its place in the new corporate focus. GIF and JPEG format was added. There was even a cool Shockwave player for FreeHand that looking back was in competition with Flash.

Lets not forget this was also the point that Macromedia did the re-branding of the company with the new logo and icons for the products. RIP Pat. It was at this time that the clock started ticking down the remaining life for FreeHand.

Yes there was continued development of FreeHand all the way up to MX AKA version 11 but there was never a push to market it like there was with Version 7. Macromedia was only continuing to produce because the loyal fans were still wanting more and dare I say, there was still profit in it. Trade shows never put FreeHand in the spot light it was only in a side station and if someone asked it would be shown. So yes, software too can experience Cinderella Syndrome, FreeHand was now the step child that no one wanted to focus on at the corporate level.

Adobe was the 2000 lb. gorilla and was dominating the market. Photoshop was an industry standard, (Remember xRes?) anyone doing anything with images was using Photoshop. Because of this they had an advantage in pushing Illustrator as the industry standard. By default, users assumed that Illustrator was what to use despite the fact that it has two pointer tools (yeah, now FreeHand has two also). Shall we bring up Quark XPress and InDesign?

While FreeHand and Illustrator are both illustration applications, they clearly have a difference in the person that would be using them. You and others can ask yourself this question. Did FreeHand get in the way of your creativity? Does Illustrator?

Lets jump back in the way back machine once again to 1988, I was looking and evaluating everything I could get my hands on to find a more efficient way to do illustrations, than pen and ink. My step dad just spent a fortune on a Macintosh SE with a 10 MB hard drive. I was a moth attracted to the porch light on a warm June evening. I got my hands on a bootlegged copy of Illustrator 88, FreeHand 1.1, Super Paint and anything else that I could beg, borrow or well steal to find the answer to my nagging question that there had to be an easier way to get my job done.

Illustrator could only work in keyline mode. FreeHand was allowing me to work in preview. Super Paint well, it really sucked. It was at this point that I found that FreeHand was not getting in the way of my creativity and causing me to jump through hoops to get the job done. I went on to make my employer millions with with FreeHand. I could also mention the whole color and black and white thing also. It’s kind of like the Mac vs. Windows thing. Yeah you can do the same things on both. But which OS works in harmony with your creative side?

OK, back to today. I would love to see Adobe let go, it is time to let the 22 year old Adult move out of the house and out on it’s own and create it’s own future. There is still room for two illustration applications on this planet. Releasing the code base into the open source arena would be exciting to see what could become of FreeHand. Snow Leopard and IntelMac not to mention Windows 7 compliance. New features and Xtras could be exciting along with fixing a few of the bugs would not be bad also.

Free FreeHand!!!!