Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category

What is SEO in 2014?

March 4th, 2014

SEO has changed so much in the last year, as a result of  Google’s release of its latest algorithm,Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 5.53.51 PM Hummingbird.

Thanks to HubSpot for this excellent, simple explanation of what SEO means today in the year 2014.

Originally published Feb. 27th here

 

 

 

SEO seems pretty straightforward. You pick a few keywords, and voilà! Your page is optimized for SEO. Right?

Wrong.

Many people understand the basic principles of SEO, but a lot has changed in the last decade. The SEO that we know and love in 2014 is not the same SEO that we knew and loved (or hated) 10 years ago. And that’s why the basic question of “What is SEO?” is actually a really important question to continue to ask, and answer.

So … what is SEO?

(In 2014, anyway.)

SEO stands for search engine optimization. That much has stayed the same. It refers to techniques that help your website rank higher in organic search results, making your website more visible to people who are looking for your brand, product, or service via search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

There are a ton of components to improving the SEO of your site pages. Search engines look for elements including title tags, keywords, image tags, internal link structure, and inbound links — and that’s just to name a few. (HubSpot customers, you can check out the SEO panel in your HubSpot account to see how well you’re optimized for those things.) But search engines also look at site structure and design, visitor behavior, and other external, off-site factors to determine how highly ranked your site should be in the search engine results pages.

I guess we could end the explanation there …

… But it doesn’t feel sufficient. Even for a quick FAQ. I think to explain what SEO is today, we need to examine it through the lens of how it has changed. And perhaps outline exactly what SEO is not.

How has SEO changed?

SEO isn’t about including as many keywords as possible.

Optimizing for keywords doesn’t mean including your keyword as much as you can in your content. In fact, that will actually hurt your SEO because search engines will recognize that as keyword stuffing — meaning that you include your keywords too many times simply to attempt to rank for a particular keyword.

Nowadays, you should use your keywords in your content in a way that doesn’t feel unnatural or forced. I’m not going to give you a particular number, but if you feel like you’re forcing it, a good rule of thumb is to just leave it out.

SEO is more focused around content topics.

Before you create a new site page or blog post, you will probably be thinking about how to incorporate your keywords into your post. That’s alright, but it shouldn’t be your only focus — maybe not even your primary focus. Whenever you create content, your focus should be on what matters to your audience, not how many times you can include a keyword or keyword phrase in that content.

If you do that, you’ll usually find you naturally optimize for important keywords, anyway. Understanding your target audience (aka buyer personas) and what interests them is key to attracting relevant visitors to your website through search engines.

Social search is an important factor.

One of the biggest changes in the last decade is the way social media plays into SEO. Even just a few years ago, it didn’t make a difference who was finding your content through social search. But now SEO takes into account tweets, retweets, Google+ authorship, and other social signals.

Social search also prioritizes content and people that are connected to you. That could mean through a Facebook friend, Twitter follower, or connection through another social network. Sometimes social search will even prioritize content that has been shared by an influencer. Social search understands that you may be interested in content that your network feels is important to share, and therefore it’ll often get surfaced to you.

This all means when you’re thinking about your SEO strategy, you need to think about how your social strategy fits into the puzzle, too.

Your website visitors’ user experience is an important element of SEO.

Think of search engine optimization as “search experience optimization.” It isn’t just important for your users to find your website, it’s important for them to stay on your website and interact with your content.

SEO actually takes into account whether or not your visitors are staying on your website and engaging with other content. If you rank well for a keyword and attract a visitor who isn’t relevant, that won’t actually help your website. Think about your visitors and the content they are looking for more than how many people you can attract to your website.

First page ranking doesn’t mean guaranteed success.

In the past, SEO success was measured by whether or not you were ranked high on the first page of Google. But even if you ranked well for a term, does that actually mean you’re going to see results?

Not always. You may rank REALLY well for a term that isn’t ideal for your business. So you appear high on search engines, get a ton of traffic, but then your website visitors realize your company is not what they’re looking for. You don’t make any money off of this traffic, and ranking high for this particular keyword is essentially fruitless.

Also, you don’t necessarily need to be in the top three slots to be successful. In fact, if you rank well on subsequent pages, you may still have a high clickthrough rate, albeit less traffic. That’s great news for marketers who can’t seem to bring pages into those top slots or off the second page. We said it before and we’ll say it again: The amount of traffic to your page matters less than how qualified that traffic is.

So, having said all that … what is SEO?

It’s still the same thing it was ten years ago — a bunch of tactics that, if you employ them, will help you rank better in search engines. It’s just that the tactics you should use have changed, because what search engines value has changed.

It’s up to us to stay on top of the rapidly changing trends, and remember that ultimately, the goal of search engines is to deliver the best experience possible to their end-user — searchers. If you keep that goal in mind with your SEO strategy, you’ll probably make good choices, even if you’re not totally up to date on every single nuance of search engine algorithms.

What is Considered a Professional Email Address? And Why Is It Important?

September 18th, 2012

professional email addressI’ve been asked several times why I highly recommend setting up your email address to match your business’s domain, i.e. if your business domain name is www.mybiz.com, your email address should be” myname@md311.phpwebhosting.commybiz.com”.  If you can afford to purchase your domain name, then please take the time to sign up for a free Google Apps account and set up professional email addresses for you and your employees. Using  professional email addresses to communicate with colleagues, clients, and display on business identity collateral is a very simple yet effective way to appear as a legitimate business that has longevity, stability, and perceived as a “real” business.

 

Surprisingly, there really aren’t many articles on the web that talk about what is professional email address is. I found one great resource that clearly explains how to identify professional email addresses on www.daniweb.com. The original post can be found here: http://www.daniweb.com/community-center/threads/218079/what-is-a-professional-email-address#

 

A professional e-mail address is defined as one that, in its entirety, represents and reflects the professional interests of the user or owner of the e-mail address itself. A professional e-mail address forms a constituent part of how individuals or organisations actively market their products, services, skills, or professional objectives. A professional e-mail address also therefore communicates factual, useful, and meaningful information about the owner or user of the address.

To determine whether an e-mail address is professional, ambiguous, or unprofessional, both parts of the address, i.e. the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign and the domain name that follows have to be considered. Furthermore both elements have to be judged singularly and jointly to determine whose interests the e-mail address best represents.

To clarify further it is worth looking at examples and classifying them accordingly. For the purpose of examination the examples are based on the premise that the owner is using the e-mail address in a professional context.

Examples and classification

john.doe@md311.phpwebhosting.comcompanyABC.com
Context: John Doe has a professional relationship with the domain name owner.
In this example the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign adopts a conventional, informative and factual format, and the domain name represents and promotes the interests of an entity that John Doe has a professional relationship with (namely companyABC).
Class: Professional.

sales@md311.phpwebhosting.comcompanyABC.com
Context: ‘sales’ has a professional relationship with the domain name owner.
In this example the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign adopts a conventional, informative and factual format, and the domain name represents and promotes the interests of an entity that ‘sales’ has a professional relationship with (i.e. companyABC).
Class: Professional.

jane.doe@md311.phpwebhosting.commortgagebrokers-sonline.com
Context: The domain owner has a professional relationship with Jane Doe and others who operate in the mortgage broker industry.
From Jane Doe’s perspective the domain name represents three separate entities: Jane herself, others that use mortgagebrokers-online to market their services, and the entity that operates mortgagebrokers-online itself. In this case separate parties are operating in consensus to share a domain name for mutual advantage The domain name identifies and communicates the industry that Jane is operating in, and the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign, (i.e. her name), is conventional, informative, and factual.
Class: Professional.

john.doe@md311.phpwebhosting.comit-consultant.com
Context: john.doe is an IT consultant but has no professional relationship with the domain owner.
In this example the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign is conventional, informative, and factual, and the domain name acts to identify and therefore market John Doe’s skills or services.
Class: Professional.

teddy.bears@md311.phpwebhosting.commyunusual-domain.com
Context: the term ‘teddy.bears’ has a professional relationship with myunusual-domain.com and is relevant to a service, product, or other element associated with the owners’ professional interests.
This e-mail address can initially appear to be unprofessional however the owner may be providing a niche service. From the owner’s perspective the entire e-mail address may accurately reflect their business interests in a meaningful and professional sense.
Class: Professional.

companyABC@md311.phpwebhosting.comyahoo.com
Context: companyABC and yahoo.com have no professional relationship.
In this example the elements before and after the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign adopt a conventional, informative and factual format. Use of this e-mail address virally markets the name of companyABC, however it also endorses the services of the webmail service / domain owner. CompanyABC is using an address that in its’ entirety, does not represent or promote its professional interests. Given the relative ease of acquiring a professional domain name, and the fact that companyABC is claiming an Internet presence, use of this email address is not considered professional.
Class: Ambiguous / unprofessional.

jane.doe@md311.phpwebhosting.comgmail.com
Context: jane.doe and gmail.com have no professional relationship.
As with the previous example this address acts to serve the interests of the domain owner / service provider. Whilst jane.doe has elected to use a standard format for the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign, the overall e-mail address does not actively market or promote her professional interests.
Class: Unprofessional.

johndoe.superguy06@md311.phpwebhosting.comhotmail.com
Context: johndoe.superguy06 and hotmail.com have no professional relationship. Assuming Johndoe has no professional interest associated with the term ‘superguy06’ this e-mail address does not actively promote or market johndoe in a professional context. Furthermore, the format used before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign is, for argument purposes, neither factual nor informative and will not be respected professionally. The address does however actively promote the e-mail service provider. Johndoe has endorsed their service and is performing viral marketing on their behalf. From the service providers perspective their professional interests have been represented in a positive manner by the fact that Johndoe is using their product.
Class: Unprofessional.

Conclusion
In order for an e-mail address to be classified as professional, ambiguous, or unprofessional, it needs to be considered in context, format, and in terms of factual and informative content. The local and domain name elements of the address need to be considered in their relationship to each other, and the intended audience of the e-mail address needs to be understood.

What Does Spiderman and Fundraising Have in Common?

July 25th, 2012

We appreciate these tips offered by Network For Good in their November 3, 2011 issue. Thank you to Animal Shelter Fundraising for publishing in your July 25 newsletter, “What Spider Man and Marvel Comic Super Heroes Teach Us About Fundraising Appeals” .

The Journey You Are On is a Superhero’s Story
By Katya Andresen

 

stan lee spidermanStan Lee, former President and CEO of Marvel Comics, recently reflected on how to weave a great story.  He boils it down to a few elements that create a page-turner:

1. A good guy trying to do something
2. Facing insurmountable odds
3. Who keeps getting in trouble in his quest
4. So the reader keeps wondering “How’s he going to get out of this one?”
5. Until after a lot of suffering along the way, there is a victory of sorts

Stan Lee focused his career on superheroes, but this advice surely fits your story.  If you are trying to advance a cause, you know it’s a heroic struggle.  You are on a journey to a far-off destination that may never be reached in your lifetime – an end to poverty, disease or prejudice, for example.  There are a lot of obstacles along the way, and the quest is fraught with challenges.  But you have your small victories, all the same.

Are you telling your organization’s story as a dramatic struggle against the odds and celebrating the victories along the way?  You should be.  Take it from Marvel Comics-you’ve got a rip-roaring page-turner all around you.  Tell the tale with the drama and high stakes it surely merits.  Because you want everyone pulling for you, each step of the way.

“So that’s how you make coffee beans?” Learning from a Coffee Maestro

July 19th, 2012

Mr Mariposa Coffee, Jerry Caputo (left) surrounded by his many aromatic creations. Russell says, "mmmmm.....coffee."

Jerry is truly a Coffee Maestro. He told us not to call him a Master. He prefers to reserve that title for folks like Mr. Illy and Mr. Peet. Although Maestro is generally reserved for musical masters, after watching Jerry Caputo, owner of Mariposa Coffee in Mariposa, CA near Yosemite Valley, roast coffee with his special (and secret!) process, it was really like a watching a musician. The finesse in his touch, I didn’t even realize there was room for such rhythmic gestures. It was a little like watching someone practice tai chi. What do I mean? Watch this short video of Jerry putting his final touch to a newly roasted batch of Mariposa Coffee.

How did we find Jerry? While on a trip to Yosemite, we drove past a little shack on the main highway to our inn. We drove passed it several times, actually, before we decided to check it out. A few steps inside the small cabin, Jerry says (like we were local neighborhood folk), “I’m just about done with a batch here (or something like that). Wanna wait a few minutes…or come check it out.” We were technically tourists, and we thought to ourselves, “WHAT A TREAT!” Maybe locals get to watch this all the time, but we city folks who do love a good coffee experience were squealing with anticipation to see some real coffee roasting!

Jerry’s been making coffee the same way for decades. According to Jerry, 10-15 years ago when he first started Mariposa Coffee, there were probably roughly under 300 coffee roasters in the entire nation. And now, the total in California alone is likely in the thousands. The amazing thing is, Jerry still makes coffee the same method as he did when he first started, perfecting his technique here and there, taking a few hints from folks like Mr. Peet.

And if you can believe it, 1 lb of Mariposa Coffee will cost you under $10. And another thing you won’t believe, Mariposa Coffee does not yet have a website. We hope this is the start of a aromatic relationship!

 

Memorable Day with Muttville and SF Giants Pitcher Tim Lincecum

July 3rd, 2012

a special baseball card we made for Muttville's star, Timmy

A special day for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, July 1, 2012, will go down in Muttville history for a once homeless senior dog named Timmy. A week ago he was an abandoned stray. Last Sunday, he became a star! The chosen, long haired mutt now had a special advocate helping him find a new home… SF Giants star pitcher, Tim Lincecum!

I was truly honored to be one of the four Muttville representatives to meet two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum. He was a genuine, down-to-earth, animal loving gentleman that won our hearts. And we believe Muttville’s senior dog cause won Tim’s heart.

I created three items for this special day: a unique Timmy baseball card (shown on left), reminiscent of one of Tim Lincecum’s Topps cards ; a 40-sec video that was played on the Giants jumbo screen(!); and a Limited Edition Muttville baseball tee in Giants colors, worn by our proud Muttville volunteers. We gave one to Tim, too. I hope he wears it!!

 

Read Marie’s blog article for Muttville about Timmy’s big moment, and see the whole day captured in photos in this slideshow:

Marie Featured in Grouchy Puppy’s “Influencing Positively” Interview Series!

June 20th, 2012

We were so honored when Sharon Castellanos, founder and publisher of the blog Grouchy Puppy and Editor-At-Large for Life + Dog Magazine, chose Marie to be featured in her “Influencing Positively” Interview series! Sharon has been a strong supporter of animal rescue, and a great friend to Muttville and its senior dog cause. Her dog Cleo, a proud senior, helps “mom” promote Muttville’s motto, “senior dogs rule!”

Thank you Sharon!

Read the original article on Grouchy Puppy’s website.

June 19, 2012

Influence Positively Interview – Marie Rochelle Macaspac

SmallClubsDayOff

Marie is the owner of Switchblade Creative Studios, a design and marketing agency that specializes in working with nonprofit organizations and socially responsible businesses. She also co-manages Small Club, a walking/boarding/daycare service. With Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Marie volunteers as a foster caregiver, outreach member, and the team leader for marketing & design, and social media. For San Francisco Animal Care and Control, Marie offers support as an Animal Caregiver and provides Marketing and Social Media services.

Marie Macaspac’s passion is an inspiration to many within Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and beyond. She gives her time & talent helping unwanted senior dogs find homes. By fostering more than 40 dogs in her own home as well as offering care and shelter for foster/hospice dogs whose end is near, Marie’s heart is huge. Marie is a designer and is responsible for the accolades Muttville receives when our marketing efforts are noticed – Muttville’s website, the design of Muttville’s shirts, postcards/posters announcing an event, the concept for an event, and the design of the fast-growing Facebook page – these are just a few examples. She team leads the Marketing volunteers, overseeing video production, photography production, working with other people who give their marketing talents so that older dogs can be re-homed.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A quiet sunny warm day surrounded by nature, either the beach or the woods, with a handful of my furry friends enjoying the day with me – my girl ocean blue and all of our fosters/friends…..strolling without a care in the world, just being free and happy…

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be and why? probably a dog. Either a cattle dog or a shih tzu – or a cattle-shih tzu mix! i’d like to know what its like to be cute and cuddly, and equally smart and clever

What is your pets most treasured possession? my dog, ocean, who is an aussie, values most…being in school! yes, she absolutely loves to be in class. she values above all things learning new tricks and being helpful. I guess on that note, if she had to love a possession, she loves to wear her backpack! she carries muttville cards, my keys, her leash….and she feels like she is doing good and being helpful, which ultimately is what makes her happy.

Your proudest achievement so far? The first thing I think of is how much I love being a foster mom. I’ve proudly fostered over 40 dogs to date. Even when I think about it, I can’t believe it! And along with that experience, I value so much what I have learned hospicing dogs with cancer. Even though it was heartbreaking when I lost Collette (read my story of collette), everything I learned about helping dogs with cancer is a gift, and I have since been able to offer guidance to other hospice parents, Muttville mutts, and doggy moms and dads with their cancer dogs.

Who are your heroes in real life? When I was 6 or 7, I loved James Herriot who wrote All Creatures Great and Small, and then when I was 10, I discovered Jane Goodall and I have been a fan ever since. I never dreamed that I would work side by side with anyone as amazing as them, and here I am today – working with Sherri Franklin, who has changed the future for thousands of senior dogs as a result of founding Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. I am in awe of all I have witnessed these last 5 years, and so honored to be a part of it.

Congrats to the Nominees in the 2012 Bay Woof Beast of the Bay Awards!

January 6th, 2012

Vote for your faves in the Bay Woof Beast of the Bay Awards 2012

What a great 2011 and beginning to a new year for many of our pet-related colleagues and clients!

Switchblade is proud to announce the following clients and events nominated in the 2012 Bay Woof Beast of the Bay Awards. We are honored to be associated with these great events, organizations and businesses:

Best Adult Dog Play Group / Event:
Pet Pride Day
(sponsored by Friends of SFACC and SFACC)

Best Dog-Friendly Winery:
Mutt Lynch Winery

Best Dog-Friendly Bakery:
Paw Patch Pastries

Best Pet Superstore:
Pet Food Express

Best Doggie Birthday Present:
Massage from Happy Hounds Massage
A Paw Patch Pastries pastry

Best Canine Massage Therapist:
Shelah Barr, Happy Hounds Massage

Best Overnight Boarder:
High Tail Hotel

Best Pet Photographer:
Mark Rogers Photography

Best Rescue Group, Best Canine Cause:
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Best Fundraising Event:
Pet Pride Day (SFACC)
Moolah For Mutts (Muttville)

Best Online Adoption Website:
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

ALSO: Northern California Pet Adoptions has a photo of Switchblade founder Marie Macaspac with her beloved border collie, Collette, on its homepage! This website was also nominated for Best Adoption Website!. Photo taken by Mark Rogers Photography.

 VOTE! Support your favorite businesses, events, rescue organizations, and dog parks!

Click here to vote!

Switchblade Creative Studios and Adobe present “Bert Monroy, Part II: Photoshop Filters and 3D Workflow”

October 12th, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

OCTOBER 13th at Adobe offices, 601 Townsend, San Francisco, CA

6pm – 8:30pm

Bert Monroy, Part II: Photoshop Filters and 3D Workflow

Bert Monroy is considered one the world’s leading Photoshop painters. He

returns for a presentation to teach and inspire. He will share with you

many of the techniques he has developed in the creation of his

internationally renowned work.

If you think you know everything there is to know about Photoshop, you

must attend this event. If you were at his last appearance, you know he

will cover a lot of ground. Bert will teach you features of Photoshop most

people overlook — not just how things work, but, most importantly, why.

You’ll come away with a renewed excitement about what Photoshop allows you

to create.

Bert will show you how to use filters in ways you never thought possible.

He will show you how to take a blank screen and create imagery that

will force the viewer to question whether the image is real or an

illusion.

ALSO: Bert will also show new exciting 3D workflows for creative designers

who want to learn about Photoshop CS5 Extended’s 3D capabilities. There

are many simple 3D effects one can use for many different creative outputs

that many people aren’t aware of and Bert will wow us with these

techniques.

This event promises to be not only educational but inspirational. You will

be left with the motivation to take Photoshop and your imagination

to heights you never thought possible.

More about Bert:

Bert Monroy is considered one of the pioneers of digital art. His work has

been seen in many magazines and scores of books. He has served on

the faculty of many well known institutions, lectured around the

world and appeared on hundreds of TV shows internationally. Bert hosted a

weekly podcast called “Pixel Perfect” for Revision3.com. He was a monthly

regular on The Screen Savers TV show for almost 4 years.

He co-authored “The Official Adobe Photoshop Handbook”, the first book on

Photoshop plus many other books since. His latest books, “Photoshop

Studio with Bert Monroy: Digital Painting” has gotten critical

acclaim around the world. Bert writes a column for Photoshop User.

Bert serves a client list that includes Apple Computer, Adobe Systems,

AT&T, American Express, Pixar Animation, Disney Animation and

Lockheed/Martin. Bert has also worked in the motion picture

industry for Industrial Light and Magic, Pacific Data Images, and

R/Greenberg.

In 2004 Bert was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame.

We are very excited to have Bert join us again!

Why Failure is the Secret of Your Success by Suzanne Lucas

October 3rd, 2011







We found another uplifting article on success to start of the first week of October.

Thanks Suzanne Lucas, aka “EvilHRLady” for covering this topic, it truly hits the point! I get the same inspiration each time I read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.

Originally publish for CBS Interactive Business Network: http://www.bnet.com/blog/evil-hr-lady/why-failure-is-the-secret-of-your-success/

What does it take to succeed? Apparently a whole lot of failure. Paul Tough, in the New York Times, reports educational leaders who believe that knowing how to fail is the secret to success. Dominic Randolph, who leads an expensive, top ranked private school in New York City, is concerned about students that have known nothing but success. He states:

Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful. Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.

These kids don’t know how to fail because they’ve never done it. Therefore, when things get outside their comfort zone, or they first encounter people more capable than they are, they have no skills for dealing with it. We talk a lot about hard work, but school grading generally ends up being based on how well you did on the test, not about how much effort it took to get there or how persistent someone was.

But wait, don’t we want to hire those people who are naturally brilliant and don’t need a lot of hard work to be successful? Well, sure, except that if they don’t know how to fail they are going to be awfully difficult to work with. We hear this complaint from those who employ Generation Y. Many of their parents (and their schools) saw to it that failure wasn’t an option. Everything was fixed or extra credit given or forgotten lunches brought to school.

It’s not a phenomenon limited to the newly graduated, though. One of my HR colleagues who, at the time, was head of HR for the Research & Development side of a a major pharmaceutical company, lamented to me how much he hates the whining at performance appraisal time. “I have a PhD from Harvard, so I can’t be rated ‘average,’” they would say. Never mind that everyone in the department had a PhD from a top ranked school. There wasn’t a whole lot of willingness to find out what changes they needed to make, just the assertion that because they were considered exceptional in the past, they should still be considered exceptional today. An “average” performance rating was utterly devastating and difficult to get past.

It doesn’t actually allow for a whole lot of growth when you refuse to entertain the idea that you should be doing something differently. Some people would rather find a new job rather than fix the problems they are having with their old jobs. Risk taking wasn’t an option. If success wasn’t guaranteed, they wouldn’t try it.

At the other side of the academic world is David Levin, who is the head of KIPP, a network of charter schools, whose student’s families don’t earn even the $38,500 a year that Randolph’s students pay in tuition. They focus on inner city, low income kids and have a stated goal of having 75% of their students achieve a 4 year degree. (They are currently at 33%, which is considerably higher than the 8 percent average for kids from low income families.) They haven’t reached the stated goal, so Levin is open to the idea that he needs to do things different—accept that in some areas he’s failed. Tough reports:

As Levin watched the progress of those KIPP alumni, he noticed something curious: the students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths, like optimism and persistence and social intelligence. They were the ones who were able to recover from a bad grade and resolve to do better next time; to bounce back from a fight with their parents; to resist the urge to go out to the movies and stay home and study instead; to persuade professors to give them extra help after class. Those skills weren’t enough on their own to earn students a B.A., Levin knew. But for young people without the benefit of a lot of family resources, without the kind of safety net that their wealthier peers enjoyed, they seemed an indispensable part of making it to graduation day.

The ability to bounce back from failure is a key point. But, what if you’ve never failed? What if your parents fix every problem you ever have? What if you never gain this valuable skills? Then you’re far less likely to have true success. If you’ve never had to try again and again, are you going to assume that the problem is unsolvable if you fail the first time?

Lots of people live charmed lives as long as their parents are pulling the strings or they put themselves in places where success is almost guaranteed. Except that anyone in the working world today knows that failure is not only a possibility it’s a high probability. Businesses fail. Entire divisions get laid off, regardless of how brilliant any individual employee was. Sometimes it’s just a matter of trying to figure out what the problem in the darn code is. If you’re a one try and you’re finished type of person, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, you won’t succeed.

And what happens if you’re one of those people who has never failed? Never had to face disappointment and pick yourself up by your own bootstraps? It can be disasterous. But, to succeed you must be able to fail and recover from failure.

That means you must be willing to take risks, listen to others, and admit where you could improve. Arguing over a performance appraisal instead of listening to what your boss is trying to tell you are key indicators of someone who is unwilling to learn. (Not that all bosses’ assessments are accurate, but those appraisals tell you what your boss is looking for. Disregard that at your own peril.)

Perhaps even those of us who are long finished with school can learn something from people who are trying to educate our children.

How Switchblade Became Experts in Marketing for the Animal Friendly Community

September 19th, 2011

Switchblade Creative Studios is proud of our work with animal welfare/rescue organizations, film productions, and pet-related businesses that volunteer or support animal causes,
and/or donate their products and services.

small club: big adventures for small dogs

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Switchblade Became Experts in Marketing
For Animal Related Causes & Pet Lovin’ Consumers

When I left behind corporate life and started this company in 2007, the first thing I was excited to do was volunteer with animal rescue organizations. No longer living within a demanding 60+ hour a week job, I couldn’t wait to explore the options. Becoming a volunteer at the San Francisco Animal Care & Control was the perfect introduction to the animal rescue world. It became an important part of my routine and I welcomed this new community of animal loving folks. Shortly before my first orientation at SFACC, my life also dramatically changed when Jazmin, my soulmate canine companion of 11 years, passed away at the age of 14. Losing Jazmin motivated me to give even more in memory of her and our life together.

Volunteering at the SFACC was a joy, but coming home to any empty place with no pets depressed me. I started searching local dog rescue groups where I could foster. I used PetFinder and googled “dog rescue groups”. Searching through the dozens of listings, I gravitated towards dogs I thought were probably “less adoptable”, either because of age or health concerns. I searched and found the saddest looking dog within 50 miles, saved by Wonder Dog Rescue. She was a 40 lb 9-year-old cattle dog mix with the saddest story I have ever heard. And she was indeed the saddest dog I ever met. I named her Frida.

frida jedi switchblade creative studios

frida and jedi

I also sent an email to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue to inquire about fostering. It turned out Muttville was in its first year as an official 501(c) organization. We luckily shared the same neighborhood. Another plus for me was its focus on senior dogs. Muttville Founder  Sherri Franklin instantly became my hero and mentor,  and “Muttville Manor” my second home. My first foster dog was Jedi, a chihuahua mix with irresistible big brown eyes. Jedi and Frida joined my home and it felt warm and inviting to me once again.

My role with Muttville quickly grew into so much more than fostering. I had just left a career as a designer and marketing specialist for 11 years, working myself to the bone, so that part of me wasn’t going to change! I basically took over as Muttville’s marketing lead and designer.  The opportunity to combine my talent and skills with my passion to save dogs was invigorating! The role gave me the opportunity to work with more inspiring individuals behind Muttville: Board President, Jane Goldman, the V.P. of Lifestyle Marketing at CBS Interactive and founder of CHOW.com., and Muttville’s web development engineer, Carol Balacek. Five years later, they both continue to mentor and inspire me and are great influences to me as a business owner. As the Director of Marketing & Design for Muttville, I continually learn from the organization’s other team leaders who contribute their expertise in fundraising, public relations, event planning, and grant writing. As a team, we regularly collaborate and develop innovative strategies, challenging ourselves to improve upon the previous successes.

Muttville leaders at the 3rd Annual Moolah For Mutts

L-R: Jane Goldman, Chris, Sherri Franklin, Deanne Franklin (behind Sherri/Marie), Marie Macaspac, Carol Balacek, John Mounier

Four and a half years and 100 foster dogs later, my passion has led me to be a proud member of a community of inspiring, dedicated folks who have specialized their businesses and organizations in animals. For fellow pet-friendly business owners who create products or offer services or produce films, the most important aspect we have in common is our need to contribute to animal rescue. For those special leaders who successfully manage a rescue organization, who inspire a community to support their causes, I am honored to be a part of their work.

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