Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00

New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00

WhosListening00

Funny how life goes in circles. Years ago I was a pretty solid fixture in the internet radio/podcasting/online streaming space. I co-hosted a Toronto-based online show. I made regular appearances on a number of pretty popular online shows and even on my personal blog I was doing a video blogs very heavy.

Now, to have stepped away from that and then see you that same media blow up with a current surge of podcast activity I won’t lie it’s bittersweet. I think I have a habit of being too far ahead of the curve and several times I’m so far ahead that I missed out on the chance to monetize what it is I’ve already been doing.

With that being said, Facebook over the past week just rolled out a very interesting feature. They announced this back at the tail end of last year and now it’s finally hitting. They announce the audio only feature within Facebook live so if you’re not someone who is camera ready at the moment but has a lot to say, has a voice that needs to be heard or a voice that the people want to hear this is the perfect thing. Obviously, you would do your recordings for the benefit of a live audience at the same time your material is saved which you can direct people back to or share across social media.

This past week I introduced “Who’s Listening”.  Episode 00, the pilot episode. This is me stepping back into the podcast world with this first episode. I spoke about the Yankee captain Derek Jeter having his number retired along with a few Yankee memories. I touched on the NBA playoffs as well. In addition, there was social media talk about virtual reality and “Smart” tech like voice recognition.   The main topic of the show was the  “black women are trash black men or trash” t-shirt fiasco that hit the internet last week. I definitely gave some opinions on that so without further ado drop down and take a listen to the pilot episode of  Who’s Listening.

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My Day Speaking at Kamit Prep Institute in Brooklyn

My Day Speaking at Kamit Prep Institute in BrooklynKamit Preparatory Institute Career

One of the best things you can do in life is to aid the upbringing of the next generation. From education to social interaction, it truly is our greatest duty to put the youth in a position to do things bigger and better than we ever did.  To that end, I recently was invited to speak to the students of Kamit Preparatory Institute in Brooklyn for their first annual Career Day. KPI is split into 2 internal schools housing K through grade 6 in the lower school and grade 7 to 12 in the Upper.  This enabled me to address student across the entire spectrum of the system. It was an amazing opportunity that I really look forward to doing again.  KPICareerDay8

I gave 4 different presentations that day sharing my work as a Social Media Manager. The engagement was high across the broad. The youngest students seemed more curious about me personally than professionally which was amusing. As the age and grade level increased the questions picked up in details and scope.

The oldest students were very intrigued about the business I am in both on the digital/social media side as well as the travel side with my direct work with Nomadness. To that end, I was the one that was surprised to find out just how many of these students had passports. Not only do they have passports but they were very active having traveled to Asia, Europe, Africa and many other places across the globe.  You could tell that there were a number of future tribe members in my presence.

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The key thing with speaking to groups of any size, age or demographic is making a connection. With the overall focus of the day being about Careers, I made it a point to let these young minds know, not to stress. Do not feel that you are expected to know what you want to do with your life right now. Especially for those preparing for college that was a vital point I needed them to understand. At times I think we lay out these expectations for our kids and try to give them a foolproof plan to success. It’s well intended and for earlier generations, it did make sense. Today the world is in flux. It’s ripe with opportunities that venture way outside of the box and we need to make sure our kids feel the support to explore these options.

I look forward to checking up on the students of KPI and hearing great things about them in the future. When my time was done, I quietly made my way toward the exit. Suddenly I was mobbed with hugs from a half-dozen 1 st graders. It was the perfect end to my day. As I watched the kids run off, I couldn’t help but think of my son. Max is turning 1-year-old and time will fly and have him in school before I know it……and I will be there. Let’s be there for our kids now and forever.

Kamit Prep Institute

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NYC Hosts Word of Mouth Marketing Summit – [WOMMA 2017]

NYC Hosts Word of Mouth Marketing Summit – [WOMMA 2017]

womma logo

The New York Times building played host the annual WOMMA Summit this past week. The summit featured speakers from a number of major brands like MGM Grand, Tito’s Vodka, BuzzFeed, Wendy’s and many more.

WOMMA which stands for word-of-mouth-marketing presented two days of panel discussions, informative sessions that dove into various aspects of Social Media communication, content creation and the overall effect of digital activity on society. Many brands spoke about how they craft their respective voices along with the teams and systems that go into creating the content that the consumers see on a daily basis.

The online comedic wit of the Wendy’s brand was center stage for that chat courtesy of their V.P of Media, Ads & Social Brandon Rhoten.

Univision EVP Jessica Rodriguez opened up the Summit speaking on ownership of responsibility within her digital teams and the effects of “influencers”.

They also had a number of sessions that spoke not so much to a specific business purpose but how Society as a whole interacts with social media. As social continues to grow and evolve around us it’s playing a greater role in and having increased influence on day to day life. Topics such as prejudice, discrimination, fake news and more were touched on via author Emanuel Rosen

In addition to that WOMMA also addressed the issues of influencers in a few respective sessions. Kevin Knight of Experticity broke down what actually makes an influencer on various levels of scale, what their responsibilities are and how do they best express and deliver on the message of a respective brand.

It’s very informative to get a look into what larger mainstream businesses are doing and thinking in regards to social media. Learning what their methods are that result in the content that they create and what are the do’s and don’ts are that they apply to their own digital spaces. These things are important to be aware of as many of these brands set the trends that up-and-coming businesses and entrepreneurs tend to follow. Not to mention we see on a daily basis many mainstream bands continue to get social wrong and put themselves in positions where not just are they acting in error but then they are put on full display for the world to see just how out-of-touch they are. Truthfully speaking in today’s climate with social media as established as it is you should know the ramifications of the things you do in our business. Nothing is secret and customer service is now a spectator sport. How you treat your customers is no longer lost within phone calls and snail mail complaint letters.

Nicole Portwood of Tito’s Vodka says it best. “We focus on being as human as much as possible vs. being so product-driven.”

This sentiment does well in summing up the overall tone of the WOMMA Summit. Word of Mouth Marketing essentially is a reminder that no matter how far social media advances it is the social aspect, the direct person to person element that carries the greatest value for businesses to succeed. WOMMA isn’t stopping with the summit either. There are a number of events upcoming via WOMMA to continue the conversation of how our communication is evolving and impacting our business.

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SAMURAI SIT DOWN: ACTRESS, MODEL & SINGER – GENESIS VAL LEON

SAMURAI SIT DOWN: ACTRESS, MODEL & SINGER – GENESIS VAL LEON

Genesis Val Leon

Multitasking is a term that people toss around a lot. It’s true that today we find ourselves doing various things at the same time. Well, today I want to present to you a woman that truly embodies the definition of multitasking. A triple threat in everyone sense of the term, meet Genesis Val Leon today’s Samurai Sit Down feature.

Please introduce yourself, where you’re from and what you do?

My name is Genesis Val Leon and I am a curly-haired actress, singer, and model from the Bronx, New York

What was your earliest Inspiration for acting and modeling

I’ve been performing as early as 8 years old. I was that kid that would dance to TV commercials and even the car alarms that would go off on my street. My first classical music/ voice classes started when I entered second grade. I vividly remember my dad playing music from an old record player. We literally would go around the world through music. I remember him playing Tommy Boy, Queen, Whitney, Michael, Prince, Ana Gabriel, Selena and so many other. He gave me one of my greatest traits which my broad music palette. It was something we shared and still till this day do. My dad is an engineer but has an immense love for music (singing)

As for acting, my mom. My mom has the most electric and contagious personality I have ever encountered. Think Rosie Perez meets Sofia Vergara with the most beautiful accent. I remember attempting to imitate her while she would try to reprimand me and getting in so much trouble. I also remember writing apology songs and performing them whenever I got in trouble. My mom is also a huge Novela ( Hispanic Soap Operas) fan. And boy, that’s where the fun really started. You have not really laughed until you’ve watched a novela episode.

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As for modeling, it just came with my personality. My first “pageant” was when I was 5 years old. I wish you all can see this video. I always had big hair and I guess my mom had put my hair in two ponytails. Well, I decided I wanted my hair out. Next thing you know, I walked out with my hair out in this gorgeous fro and strutted my way across the runway, made a detour and walked through the crowd- absolutely messed up the entire order and the organizer had to go and get me.

GVL Coming Soon

Continue reading SAMURAI SIT DOWN: ACTRESS, MODEL & SINGER – GENESIS VAL LEON

The Rock and Under Armour Have Been Cooking Up Something Real Good

The Rock and Under Armour Have Been Cooking Up Something Real Good

ROCK UA

What happens when today’s top action movie star links up with the innovative Under Armour Brand? You get the new Project Rock collection which looks to capture the intensity that Dwayne Johnson himself brings to the gym within the first over head-to-toe performance training collection for men and women.  The Project Rock collection is now available on UA.com and selective retail locations.

Check out a few images from this awesome collaboration along with statements from UA and The Rock!

ROCK TALK (1)

· COOLING TO CRUSH IT
UA CoolSwitch pulls heat away from skin for a cooling effect that helps you perform longer.

· GO HARD, BREATHE EASY
ArmourVent® mesh breathes & releases excess heat.

· SWEAT NOTHING
HeatGear® fabric wicks sweat to keep you dry & light.

The SuperVent Project Rock Training Collection debuts with a full product suite for men, featuring SuperVent tees, tanks, shorts and leggings. And for the first time, a women’s performance collection is available, including exclusive cut and sew styles for tanks, leggings, accessories and much more. Price points range from $34.99- $89.99.

RockUA4

Also part of the collection is the Project Rock Delta training shoe—an exclusive version of the UA Delta trainer shoe that is inspired by Dwayne’s grueling training sessions. This cutting-edge footwear is built with Under Armour’s signature Charged Cushioning technology that absorbs impact and returns explosive energy. The training shoe also offers extended ankle support for increased stability and deep flex grooves to provide extra flexibility where you need it most. The Project Rock Delta is available globally today, retailing for $139.99.

RockUA1

Brand integrity is a serious thing and when you think of The Rock there’s a certain faith you have in him when it comes to things of a health and fitness nature. I can’t wait to get a few pieces from this collection for myself.

If you like what you see here then please make sure you take a look at the Fall/Winter preview I was invited to recently.

**Click Here to view**

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Media Updates – Sharing New Content and Features

Media Updates – Sharing New Content and Features

SMS UPDATES

It’s been a while since I’ve taken time to share some of the things I’m doing. Fatherhood has changed the way I work and my ability to focus on “me” is in a bit of flux. Slowly but surely I’m reestablishing my digital presence, getting my creative juices flowing and putting content out into new spaces. It feel’s good. I view 2014 as a pivotal year. It was in that year that I covered my largest events, wrote my biggest (at the time) article

Thinking back a bit I view 2014 as a pivotal year. It was in that year that I covered my largest events, wrote my biggest (at the time) article and landed my first client as a consultant. I’m using that year as a reference point for the things that worked for me professionally and how to implement them within my new reality.  That’s within the social media industry and beyond.

NYK

On the writing side of things, I’ve had a few recent pieces published via Complex. Sports connects to folks on so my levels so it’s cool to share thoughts within that space.  Here are mentions from my Knicks and Warriors stories.

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I’m also looking to bring a new outlook on Fatherhood to the forefront. Classic Daddy narratives often paint us in a position of voiceless, emotionless workers. As more dads are taking on the day-to-day hands-on duties of parenting in addition to work, it needs to be understood and respected that we are just as invested in the lives of our kids as anyone else.

In the last week, I’ve been featured by a couple of pro daddy platforms. It’s all about Max and whatever I need to do to keep him smiling.

Good Afternoon everyone👋😍 Meet @NightFall914 & his handsome son Max. This great guy knows the meaning of happiness. You can clearly see his efforts are well received in the joy his son has. A true man, a great father and positive role model. Let’s show him a warm welcome for being such a great Father on his journey as a father. I am proud of you @NightFall914 continue to be the amazing man you are. God has blessed you brother. Congratulations once again!!! Welcome to Fatherhood 👍😎 #FatherRights #DadCaresToo #DailyMessage #DailyInspiration #SingleDadLife4Ever #Daddy #Son #Daughter #Mommy #SingleDadLife #MommyLife #FathersWithoutBorders #ProudFatherOfALittleGirl #ProudParents #Postivevibes #PositiveChanges #SharedMoments #NewParents #FatherHood #ParentHood #Parenting

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at 9:44am PDT

The other feature was a great Q & A interview with DadofDivas. This is something I really want to build one going forward.

DOD
Snippet from Dad of Divas Interview Feature

It’s a new world for me in many ways but with a new motivation to press forward, I’m excited about the future. Also as I have reached and helped many of my readers, I ask those of you viewing this to please reach back to me if you see something that you think I could a match for. Online features, writing, public speaking. I’m wide open to opportunity.

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The Mysterious Month of Me – Facing Birthday Doubts

The Mysterious Month of Me – Facing Birthday Doubts

The Mysterious Month of Me

I don’t think I’ve ever had a month go by as fast as March has this year. The 1st fatherly Month of Me is complete and it has been one of extreme introspection. I’m trying to figure life out now without snapping at folks or losing my mind. The responsibility of fatherhood weighs on everything I do. Every time I look I’m my son’s eyes I’m dedicated that much more to not give up. Yet and still life is dead set on pushing me to my “adulting” limits. The juggling of family, finances, and feelings can get very tricky.

March does always remind me of a number of standout individuals in my life. I’m thankful for those people and the overall community that stands with me. The emotional pick me ups are clutch at a time when I’m battling serious feelings of inadequacy. The thing is, life doesn’t always provide a guy the outlet to release in the manner needed. I’m approaching a year since I left New Rochelle and so much has changed within me.

SMS MOM DD

I’m attempting not to hold so much inside but that is part of who I am at times. I’m trying to still be true to me in a world that wants my skills and talents but wants it in a different package. The emotions of life and daily economics clash often. It’s a puzzle I’m still working on. All the while Max gets bigger, smarter, more aware…….his Daddy’s story is an interesting one to say the least, but it’s still in its’ opening chapters.

As a new phase of this parenting operation approaches, I look forward to life presenting more opportunities. I also expect life to continue fighting me at every turn. Nothing worth having comes easy. I’ve slowly made moves to reestablish elements of life that make me full like my old self. The evolution of me, the progressive work of Jason continues and I’m looking to let Love, Faith & Family drive me forward.

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Facebook Suffering From Severe SnapChat Envy

Facebook Suffering From Severe SnapChat Envy

FaceChat

As social media continues to grow and evolve Facebook still reigns as the dominant site. In addition, its native messenger is the top communication app followed by WhatsApp which FB acquired In 2014. Add Instagram to the Facebook team and you’d think Mark Z would have no issues at all regarding digital dominance. So can someone explain why every week we’re hit with another feature upgrade ripping off Snapchat? They’re not even trying to be subtle with it.

Instagram stories may go down as the one understandable and well executed Snap rip off of them all. On the most visually focused platform, taking the core snap function and making it complementary element of IG was smart. You have the main platform for the best images you take while utilizing the 24 hr cycle of the stories feature to give real-time interaction. Adding the LIVE broadcast feature from Facebook into the Instagram system creates the perfect short form social media platform. From there I would have loved for the Facebook team to focus on new features to make FB/IG/WhatsApp stand out from Snap. No such luck.

WhatsApp & FB Messenger have both been given a useful 24 hr Snap status features. In addition, they’ve also been flooded with childish filters/masks that have taken a life of their own on SnapChat. I’m sure there are those that love this but personally, I don’t get it. Imitation at all costs when you’re already the dominant force in the industry reeks of insecurity. Maybe its a ploy to pull in more Gen Z users who prefer images over classic text content?

mark-zuckerberg-facebook-snapchat

Let’s not forget that Facebook tried to acquire SnapChat back in 2013 but had it’s $3 Billion offer snubbed but the up and coming app. I guess if you can’t buy them out you recreate them on your own terms.

FB SNAP

Here’s a look at the timeline of FB vs Snap activity. What do you think of Facebook ‘s Snap feature integrations?

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SAMURAI RIDES: THE 2017 MAZDA CX 3 – BIRTHDAY EDITION

 SAMURAI RIDES: THE 2017 MAZDA CX 3 – BIRTHDAY EDITION

#SamuraiRides #DriveMazda

After a short hiatus for the heart of the winter season, Samurai Rides is getting ready to welcome in warmer days. Before we hit the official start of Spring those good folks at Mazda sent me a little gift. Seeking to make my travel a bit more comfortable, the Mazda CX 3 Grand Touring was dropped off for me to enjoy my birthday week in style. Sitting at the top of the subcompact division you know the quality that Mazda delivers. When I saw the Dynamic Blue of this ride, my favorite color, I was in heaven, but enough chatter let’s dive into another edition of Samurai Rides.

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First off I can imagine what you are thinking? How on earth is he really reviewing a sub compact vehicle? Isn’t he tall? Yes, it’s well documented that I’m rather over sized but that is beauty of the CX -3. Even for someone of my height Mazda’s latest CX Compact car didn’t restrict my movement, comfort or enjoyment what so ever. I’ll admit I had to lean that driver’s seat back so heaven help who ever attempts to sit behind me. Outside of that it was all good. This is the 2nd year for the CX-3 after its’ initial introduction into the Mazda line up last year. It’s essentially a replacement for the Mazda 2 which is no longer available in the U.S.

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Max & Mazda. Matching Blue as we hit the road.

Truthfully, after a solid debut Mazda is just tweaking a few things for 2017. They have made a few features available in lower trims besides the Grand Touring edition. You can enjoy the redesigned 18 inch wheels at the mid level trim now as well as the  i-Activsense package which offers adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, automated emergency braking, and more. Mazda shaved off nearly $800 to bring that add-on option pack just under $1200.

Another thing I will say is that the CX-3 Is not the ride to get if you’re planning on lugging around a lot of stuff. There’s modest trunk space here. You should be ok with your weekly personal groceries but massive shopping trips will have you putting bags in the rear seating space.

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Design wise Mazda remains the master of giving the look of cars costing more than they do. Surprisingly luxurious would be a great way to describe the sleek appearance of the CX-3.

This ride looks like a mini SUV but it handles like a car smoothly navigating the road. You’re getting 146 horses out of the 2 liter 4 cylinder engine. That’s getting you from 0 – 60 in 8 secs. Not bad at all. It definitely did the trick as I celebrated my birthday around New York City. In this case the smaller ride made parking that much easier.

Overall, my streak of good times with Mazda cars continues. From the seamless on road handling, to safety features, to the always simple entertainment media interface, Mazda’s consistent delivery of quality shines through with their 2nd run of the CX-3. In all honesty I really only see competition coming from within their own brand. What I mean is that the price of the Grand Touring starts around $27K at which point you may be tempted to hop up to the CX 5 for a solid increase in power and size. So, aside from some possible in-fighting, Mazda is looking pretty strong to close out the first quarter of the new year. Take a look below at a few images and swing by Mazda USA for even more CX-3 info.

Stay Tuned Samurai Rides has something special on deck to usher in the Spring.

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Desktop Activity Isn’t As Dead As Experts Say

Desktop Activity Isn’t As Dead As Experts Say

laptopslaptops

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile…..that’s the future wave. Smartphones are the growing platform of choice for everything digital and while the world is engaged in the screens carried in their back pockets, what has become of the desktop? Well, if you let the many digital experts tell it, stationary computers have one foot in the grave already and are preparing for a swan dive. Fortunately for me and many others like me the demise of the desktop has been greatly exaggerated.

Let’s look at just what the real current status of the desktop computer is in the social media area.

Time-of-Day-Device-1-800x500

According to FlurryMobile, 90 percent of mobile user time is spent in apps. Consumers are often using their phones with entertainment and communication intent — calling, texting, checking email, engaging on social media, watching videos, listening to music, getting directions, checking store hours and playing games such as Pokémon Go. The chart above supports this view the personal time is more suited for mobile device usage vs the general office/work hours of the day. But what about the actions that are taking place o these devices?

Where the device decisions get a little more complex is during the process of detailed transactions. Depending on what you’re doing and how major a transaction it is, desktop usage offers a several advantages in efficiency over smartphones. See the following excerpt from Search Engine Land.

Most consumer journeys involve cross-device usage; however, the device used for the final transaction is often determined by the type of transaction and the amount of data needed to complete the transaction.

An example of this type of deeply considered journey can seen in the financial services sector, when a consumer opens a retirement account and makes initial investments. It’s a complex decision with a high cost of failure, and the average consumer will research the process across multiple devices; however, the final transaction of creating the account requires entering a significant amount of data. For that reason, this step is more convenient to complete on a desktop or tablet then on a smartphone.

On the other hand, when the purchase is simple and straightforward without a high cost of failure, like booking a hotel room due to a flight cancellation, I’m more likely to book my hotel stay on my smartphone as I’m exiting the terminal instead of opening my laptop to complete the transaction. And in e-commerce scenarios, the ease of completing the transaction through a one-click purchase option can help increase mobile conversions.

EMARKETER-eCommerceSales-ByCategory-523x600

Once again we see that while usage and time spent is trending towards mobile access, there is a large portion of online active that is taking place almost exclusively on desktops.

[M]arketers always overestimate the appeal of new things and underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.
Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

In the end it would appear that the desktop is not going anywhere. Desktop functionality has become much more direct and focused. Folks are browsing, entertaining and communicating as they move about. Yet they are still sitting down for the bigger decisions and transactions. Keep this in need with your own business. Do you fall into any of those desktop heavy industries? Remember that it will always pay off to have a balance in your professional positioning. One that includes both stationary and mobile accessibility.

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