10 bloggers who inspire Hard Knox Life

At last count, I read around 150 blogs every day through my RSS.  Of course this includes the A-Listers like Seth Godin, Mashable, Jeremiah Owyang, Guy Kawasaki and ReadWriteWeb.  But it also includes several others who I find to be real inspiration for what I write on Hard Knox Life.  If you are looking for some great new reads, you should check these guys out (in no particular order):

Pete Blackshaw – Consumer Generated Media: I’m lucky enough to call Pete a good friend and mentor.  But he is also one of the best voices in Social Media today.  This guy is bursting with energy and it shows with his writing.  Cincinnati is lucky to have him as an adopted son.

Alan Wolk – The Toad Stool: I think Alan has managed to be one of the most referenced people here on Hard Knox Life thanks to his terming of “NASCAR Blindness.”  He is self-described “tradigitalist”– an advertising creative director and social media consultant with the rare ability to speak Web 2.0 and TV 101 – often in the same sentence.

Bob Gilbreath – Marketing with Meaning and The Challenge Dividend: Bob is another guy doing Cincinnati proud with his writing.  As Chief Marketing Strategist for Bridge Worldwide, Bob is a P&G Brand guy who made the switch to the agency world.  He’s been writing The Challenge Dividend since 2006 but just started Marketing with Meaning as a platform for some of the work he is leading at Bridge.

Ian Schafer: Ian is the CEO of Deep Focus, a digital shop who is doing some of the most amazing work I have seen (just check out their latest with Entourage).  Ian is always willing to push the envelope.  For instance, a couple of months ago he auctioned off the sponsorship of his Twitter profile to anyone willing to bid.  Keep an eye on what he is going to do next.

Peter Kim – Being Peter Kim: Former Forrester Analyst and current Commissioner of the Social Media Fantasy Football League, Peter is a guy that just gets it.  When he was at Forrester, he wrote several reports on the future of Marketing that are dead on.  I’m talking stuff that could shake up the industry if we are brave enough to follow his advice.  I can’t wait to see what he does in his newest venture.

Kevin Dugan – Strategic Public Relations: The 3rd Cincinnati resident on the list, Kevin is a guy who is really making things happen in our city.  He’s been blogging since 2002 and is one of the driving forces behind the Cincinnati Social Media Breakfast.  In his most recent post, he says he is feeling a little burned out…let’s hope that passes quickly.

Paul Isakson: Paul’s day job is Senior Strategic Planner for space 150 and he puts together some of my favorite presenations on marketing.  My only knock against Paul is that he doesn’t blog enough.  His site has the tagline of “Provoke, Prod, Inspire – Building a better future for brands” and he does just that every time he writes.

Darren Herman: I first came across Darren when I picked up his book “Coloring Outside the Lines: Confession of a Digital Native.”  He’s a guy that walks the talk, having founded IGA Worldwide, where BusinessWeek named him one of the top entrepreneurs under 25.

Matt Dickman – Techno//Marketer: Matt is a VP, Digital Marketing at Fleishman-Hillard in Cleveland.  Though he isn’t exactly based in a city that is a technology hotbed, I would argue he is more in tune with where technology and the consumer will meet than any Silicon Valley/Alley based blogger.

David Armano – Logic + Emotion: Armano nearly makes the “A-List” classificaton but I decided to keep him humble.  I have been following Dave’s writing for awhile and have been fortunate enough to get to know him over the past several months since his agency (Critical Mass) works with P&G.  Dave is a true visual thinking and he is able to use pictures to simple get across concepts that most of us need hundreds of words to explain.

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4 ways Web 2.0 might be flawed

I’m a huge believer in the power of “Web 2.0″; in the power of social computing to change the fabric of how society interacts with each other other.  So when I saw a book at the library that took the opposite stance and accused the Internet of killing society, I had to pick it up.  After spending the last two days reading  The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture by Andrew Keen, I have really been thinking if there might be some downside implications of social computing that I haven’t thought about.  It’s an interesting challenge to take the position or opinion that is completely different than yours.  So inspired by the book, I decided to jot down 4 ways Web 2.0 might be flawed…and why I might be wrong for being such a strong believer: [Read more...]

I blog to find the 1 percent

I had a very interesting conversation this evening where someone asked me “Why do I blog?”….”Why am I trying to do the whole Hard Knox Life thing?”  It’s a question I have seen plenty of other bloggers answer.  Some do it for creativity, some do it to vent and some do it because they just love to write.  Frankly I do it for all of those reasons but for one important reason:

I blog to knock down walls and find the 1 percent

Anyone that has worked with P&G (or tried to work with P&G) knows that we have tons of walls keeping outsiders on the outside.  It is done with a good reason because it keeps Brand Managers from being pitched every idea under the sun…it keeps out the 99% of ideas that aren’t worth our time to evaluate.  But the problem is, it also keeps out the 1 percent of ideas that could be really worthwhile and breakthrough.  We’ve built this moat to protect us and basically no one can get in. [Read more...]

Paid to blog about beer? Talk about a dream job…

So Becks has decided that instead of having a “corporate blogger”, they are going to hire a guy/gal off the street to be their voice.  As they describe on the site:

It Finally Pays to Blog: You live by the blog. You have a way with words that hold people captive. And you don’t shy away from being in the public eye. Then we want you. Give your two cents worth, and we’ll give you a handsome salary and other bright perks. Your name and blogs will be seen by many around the world. Others have 365 days, you have 365 entries in a year. You get to work with Beck’s and a congenial creative team in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You might even relocate to a greener pasture. Sounds too good to be true?  Apply now for a reality check

Personally I love this approach as long as they empower the blogger.  You cant have someone representing your brand unless you: A.) Give them full access, and B.) Don’t put handcuffs on them or censor them.  If Becks is willing to embrace blogging to this degree, they have huge potential in this.  Of course, on the flip side, they face huge backlash from the blogging community if they put too much of a box around this person.  I think the risk is worth it though to open their brand to the world with a real, authentic voice.

The birth of a blog

“It’s clear this conversation ain’t’ doing a thing, Cause these boys only listen to me when i sing” – Sara Bareilles, City

Over at Conversation Agent, Valeria Maltoni gives a great post of “how a blog is born“.  By giving a peak into how she views her “job” of blogging, she really helps all of us that are trying to do the same thing.  I particularly love when she writes ”I am talking about connection vs. transaction.”  Everyone that is deeply involved in social media gets that is about conversations and connections.  Its not just about pushing out news (that would be the purpose of CNN) and it’s not about just giving an opinion and leaving it at that.  The job is engaging with your peers, starting a conversation and seeing where things go.  At least that is what I am trying to do here on Hard Knox Life.  How do you think I am doing?