Episode 109 - Dave Taylor on Secrets to Producing Great Quality Content Quickly
Dave is an author, blogger, business consultant and frequent speaker at the best industry conferences. He's helpful at a strategic level in understanding how to prioritize "what to do" online to create your personal or corporate brand using social media tools.
Dave gives his personal strategy for using Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools, including the all powerful blog and Flickr for his copious photos.
There's a solid focus in this episode about how to be organized, efficient and still create a lot of useful content. Many good details and insight here to streamline your content creation activities.
The conversation turns to syndication of content and Suz' new favorite site, MobyPicture.com. Then they talk about "comment threading" across socnets. (Note: Try uberVU, a new comment threading social service coming out of Europe.)
Dave talks also about the discipline it takes to write consistently and how to train yourself to "just do it."
Get a copy of Dave's latest book, (he's written 20!) by writing your desire on the DishyMix Facebook Page http://dishymixfan.com If we love your request, Dave will send you an autographed copy of, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Growing Your Business with Google."
Susan Bratton: Welcome to Dishy Mix. I’m your host, Susan Bratton, and on today’s show you’re going to meet somebody I absolutely, I’m in love with, I have a crush. He’s fantastic. Wait ‘til you meet Dave Taylor. Dave’s the founder of Intuitive Systems, but that barely scratches the surface of everything that he is does. Dave is a technology savant but beautifully balanced by being also a very active parent and renaissance man. He has a number of sites, including askdavetaylor.com, where you get all kinds of wonderful Q&A on technology questions. He has a new blog that goes with his Twitter account Film Buzz that’s called Dave On Film. He has a blog called Attachment Parenting. And he’s an avid photographer at Colorado Portraits. He’s written over twenty books on all kinds of technology, including a special one we have for you today. And on today’s show we’re really going to talk about Dave’s secrets, tips and tricks to producing great content quickly and widely. And the reason I wanted to have Dave talk about that is because he artfully blends the technology with the great writing, great imagery. He’s a combination of someone who can make beautiful designs, write beautiful words and do it using technology in a no muss-no fuss way. So lets get him on and ask him all the secrets. Welcome Dave.
Dave Taylor: Hello Susan. I really want to meet the Dave you just introduced. He sounds fabulous.
Susan Bratton: He is fabulous and you’re just going to meet him right now. So…
Dave Taylor: Let me grab a mirror.
Susan Bratton: You can dote on yourself. You can stroke your cheek while you’re talking to me. So you have written twenty books; one of them is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Growing Your Business With Google, and you’ve told me that you’re willing to personally autograph a copy for one of my Dishy Mix listeners, is that right?
Dave Taylor: Absolutely.
Susan Bratton: That’d be awesome. So if you would like to get Dave’s book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Growing Your Business With Google, which we could all use, all you have to do is go to dishymixfan.com, that’s my Face Book page, and all you need to do is post why you should be the lucky recipient of that book, Dave will personally autograph it and mail it out to you, and that’s our gift to you as a Dishy Mix listener. Now we’re not going to focus so much on Google today; we’ve been doing a lot of search shows. What I really wanted to talk to you about Dave was what advice you could give us to create great content. And I want to talk about it first at the level of how you choose your medium, and then how you can efficiently get content posted in multiple places. And then I want your advice for how you go about writing really great things, whether they’re your Twitters or your blog posts. I kind of want you to deconstruct your process a little bit for us so that at the end we’re feeling like, “Wow!”, we have a really good idea about some of your approaches, some efficiencies and some ways to be better writers so that more people want to read the work that we create. And I know that’s a lot but I know you can handle it.
Dave Taylor: Okay, lets roll. So the first question is how do you choose which media or medium to work with within the different media.
Susan Bratton: Yes.
Dave Taylor: So, are you talking audio versus video versus test or are you talking a Face Book update versus a blog entry?
Susan Bratton: Yeah, I’m really talking about the combination of those things. There’s kind of the way that you’re good at communicating and then there’s the place you’d want to do it and what’s good for what. Maybe a couple different examples of how you’ve seen it work really well.
Dave Taylor: Okay, great. So the first thing that I think about with when I’m about to produce content is its actual life span. So there are lots of things that are very assembled, but very important within that content. So for example, Apple just introduced a new iPhone. So for my readership, that’s something that they want to know about, so right now I’m very focused on that, but within that context information about the release itself is something that’s not going to be of interest in 30 days. How to do something in the new operating system and how to troubleshoot it or how to get the best results from it, that is something that has a longer shelf life, if you will. So the way that I’ve been approaching these sort of things is that, me, for example, being in the Apple store getting a new iPhone is something that I sent out as a Tweet on Twitter, because it’s not really worthy of a blog entry. I think a blog entry is just things that I want to memorialize, things that I want to have stick around. And, you know, having done that, the question of, for example, how to take a video with the new iPhone and then how to edit it the phone before you send it and post it, that is something that I think would be of value to people for at least another couple of years because I can’t imagine that Apple would be changing that dramatically. But certainly there will be a million people that bought one of these phones in the last seven days. So if I can get ten percent of them, you know, learning about how to do this particular capability using my site, then that’s a win for everybody. It’s a win for them because now they have this information, and it’s a win for me because I’m now able to serve and to help those people out. So, you know, when I look at the temporal nature of the information, that’s probably my primary selection criteria, and then generally I send out more things on Twitter, and then once or twice a day I try to do something maybe for Face Book update. I will caution people who are listening that hooking together your Twitter and your Face Book is a quick way to hear you out in the Face Book world. I have, I’m probably a little more aggressive than most people, but generally if I see someone have more than one update on my Face Book homepage because they are sending out lots of Tweets, which is exactly what Twitter’s for, but they’re showing up as Face Book status updates, then I will feel like they are flooding my news feed and I will actually hide them. So you will never know that I’m not following you on Face Book anymore. We’re still connected, but I’m no longer aware of your status update. So I think it’s really important to be aware of the expectations of the user community in any given social media setting. And, you know, same with Linkedin. Linkedin, if you once a month send out an email message to all of your connections saying, “I want to hire someone in this position” or “I have this cool new product I’m selling”, that might be too much. Once a month might be enough that most people would just unlink from you or hide your or, you know, mark you as spammers or something, which can have significantly bad effects in the long run in your ability to utilize that particular service. Whereas on Twitter, if you only sent out a Tweet once a month, no one would have a clue that you were there and it just wouldn’t be anything that would be interesting or engaging. So does that all make sense?
Susan Bratton: Yeah, it does. What do you decide is a Face Book update, and do you just update your status on Face Book or are you also sharing things with the Share Booklet and posting photos? Like how do you determine the things that will be valuable on Face Book? What’s your perspective on that?
Dave Taylor: Good question. Generally I would have to say I’m actually kind of lazy. So if I have photos, I will put them on Flickr and will, you know, hope that people will find them there. Maybe if I put up a new album of photos I will send out a Tweet about it, I might do a Face Book status update. I know there are ways you can connect Face Book and your Flickr photo stream. I might actually have done that, I don’t recall. But, you know, I know that one of the topics that we’re going to be addressing here is multiple use, but I feel like multiple use is a very gray zone where you can end up being spammy, where it’s just like, okay, you have a new picture, you Twittered about it, it’s on your Face Book page, it’s in your Flickr feed, I get it via friend feed. I really don’t want nine pictures, nine copies of that picture, and please don’t also email it to me…
Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.
Dave Taylor: You know. So it’s something that different people will find a different comfort zone with. But in terms of, you know, like Face Book status updates, I generally try to come up with something that will be like my thought for the day or my activity for the day or something where it might be on a Friday I have a status update that says, you know, “Going to a Rockies game this weekend. Really looking forward to it. Hope you guys have a great weekend.” And that’s my update and I don’t think about it again until Monday.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, I wish there was a dashboard that allowed us to say, “This post goes to these places only. This post goes to these places.” One of the things that I have recently been using is mobypicture.com, and I really like it because I am a big photographer myself. I’m not a good photographer like you are Dave, but I’m a prolific photographer.
Dave Taylor: I’ve seen your photos; I don’t know that I would agree with that statement. I mean, you are prolific…
Susan Bratton: Well I’m getting better. I am, I really, I just get so much joy at taking pictures and looking at them and playing with them and putting them on my Flickr account. And so one of the things that I’ve been doing is using Moby Picture to automatically take any particular photo and upload it to Face Book, it goes into my news feed as a photo, not just as a link. It sends it out to Twitter and it puts it in my Face Book photos category as well, not just into my news feed and posts it to Flickr. So I can push it once and it goes to all the places I’d like to have that picture without me feeling like that’s too much. That’s actually helpful for me to not have to post in multiple places.
Dave Taylor: Right. Yeah, I mean, that sounds like a great tool, and I’m just sort of thinking about the fact that on Face Book for example I have it hooked up so that when I write new blog entries on my business web log…
Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.
Dave Taylor: that a copy of them show up as a note on Face Book, and they also obviously show up in friend feed, so what ends up happening is that I end up with comments about a blog post in four different places…
Susan Bratton: Yeah.
Dave Taylor: when I really want all the comments to be on the blog so there’s a central spot where people can engage in a conversation…
Susan Bratton: I know.
Dave Taylor: That if I send out a Tweet saying, “Hey, I just reviewed Transformers 2”, then people respond in Twitter with “I didn’t like your review” or “I liked your review” or “You missed this point” or “I really like this sentence that you said.” And I’ll respond saying, “Leave that as a comment on my blog”, because otherwise the people that are in the Twitter world don’t know what’s going on on Face Book, the people on Face Book don’t know what’s going on on Friend Feed. Then the people that come to the blog entry three weeks later have no idea any of this happened.
Susan Bratton: Right.
Dave Taylor: So, you know, we’re at a very interesting…
Susan Bratton: We’re at a dip.
Dave Taylor: evolutionary point in all of this.
Susan Bratton: Yeah. I agree with you. There need to be some meta tools that give us control over all of those pieces, sucking information back into our blogs or pushing things out to very specific places. Are you seeing any movement? I mean, I know that Tweet Later Pro is – or Tweet Later is a free service, I use the Pro version – is a good service for planning your Twitters in advance and having them go out over time, but it only sends them to Twitter. It would be great if it was like, if Moby Picture and Tweet Later could have a baby, that would be good, you know what I mean? That would be the thing where you’d have the control over multiple social services, as well as the ability to time when things go out, ‘cause this is one of the things about efficiency, are you a batch processor, because when I do blog posts a lot of times I get into like a writing mood. Are you in a writing mood all the time or do you get in the zone for writing?
Dave Taylor: I have had to teach myself to not do the whole writers block thing. And I basically can sit down at any point and just start writing, and this is something that I think you can train yourself to do…
Susan Bratton: Definitely.
Dave Taylor: And I will just say just for a quick 60 second sidetrack here is that I believe there’s no such thing as writers block. I believe it’s just a matter of you just having the discipline to just start writing. And if you can’t think of that great first sentence, just skip it and come back to it…
Susan Bratton: Yeah, get the bones down.
Dave Taylor: Editing is your friend. It’s just, if you, if part of your job is communicating and writing, if part of your job is communicating with podcasts or something, it’s absolutely the best thing you could ever do is to train yourself and teach yourself to just do it. When you sit down and you have that 30 minute window between meetings, make that 30 minute window the time efficient use, you know, for you when you can just say, “I’m going to do a 15 minute podcast. I’m just going to put the headphones on and go”, and learn how to do that.
Susan Bratton: I agree with you that there’s definitely a requirement to have discipline around writing, but there are also times when you just feel like it’s a, you know, you just feel more writerly. And so what I do is I write three or four blog posts at a time, and then I have them come out over time, so I schedule them to publish over time.
Dave Taylor: Sure. I mean, and I definitely do that…
Susan Bratton: Yeah.
Dave Taylor: There’s no question. I mean, you know, as a film critic I have to do that because I see movies before they’re released and I’m not allowed, you know, part of the deal is I’m not allowed to publish my reviews until the studio says that the movie is officially out, so…
Susan Bratton: Yeah.
Dave Taylor: you know. I also then don’t want to wait two days or three days or a week to write the review because then it’s not fresh in my mind. So, you know, again, a great example is I saw The Taking of Pelham 123 last Monday…
Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.
Dave Taylor: and by the time I went to bed Monday night the review was basically written. Tuesday morning I re-read it, cleaned it up, edited a little bit, and then scheduled it to show up Friday morning at one minute after midnight when the studios say this is the official release date for the film. And we’ll actually get back to the film examples ‘cause they’re really interesting in terms of reusing content. But lets stay where we are now, we can come back to that.
Susan Bratton: Well I want to say that the first thing we started out with was, you know, what are the efficient ways that you are creating your content. And so some of those are tools based and some of those are discipline based. And then you also said how-to’s are really successful kind of thing. Not everyone can be a temporal news oriented blogger, so you have to provide more value than just your opinions on whatever is happening in the moment. What are some other areas we can explore around making whatever our content contribution is more efficient.
Dave Taylor: Okay, well I will say one of the things that journalists that they don’t talk about much but they all are very conscious of is what I call ‘day two stories’, where, you know, you let everyone fight out for the competition of who’s going to break the news fastest, because that’s kind of a crazy game and it’s really hard to play in that space unless you have connections and it’s exhausting. You know, I have one friend who is really, really well known in the social media space and he just sent out a Tweet two days ago saying that he actually had to leave his computer for an hour, and given everything going on with, you know, the world political situations, he felt like an hour away from his computer was like a day without his computer two years ago and he just was really having a hard time. And I was just thinking that I guess it’s good that he’s that motivated and he’s that plugged in because I don’t want to be. In fact, you know, if my kids say, “Lets go for a bike ride”, I want to say, “Sure. No problem. Lets go for a bike ride.” And so there are definitely people that really need to stay plugged in and re-breaking all that news. But if you can then go the second day and you can look back everything happened the previous day, then there are some really interesting stories that tend to be higher level and more thoughtful because you’re not stuck in that rut of “Be quick, be quick, be quick.” And, you know, so in terms of content that’s interesting, I think that analyzing and offering your thoughts and your opinions on things that are happening is far more interesting - and far more interesting to write about - than to just report the news. And I think that most reporters wish that they could write for the editorial page for exactly that reason.
Susan Bratton: One of the other things that I’ve been toying with, today I had a blog post appear that was promoting a recent episode of Dishy Mix with Chip Conley, he’s the founder of the Joie de Vivre hotel chain and he wrote a book called Peak, which was about creating a better culture in your organization so that your employees felt like where they were working was more of a calling than a job, using a lot of philanthropic work at a corporate level where everyone was involved. Really interesting things to make the culture of your organization more than just a place where you, you know, clean toilets and change sheets, right? And where you create transformational experiences for people. So he did a really good interview with me, and it was an in person interview, which is my favorite of course. I wish we were together right now, I don’t like the phone, I’d rather be sitting there right with you like we got to at South By Southwest. What I did was I did my podcast with him, interviewed him, and then at the end I asked him one of the questions, again, one of the more interesting questions of the interview that I liked the best. I had his assistant hold my video camera so that I could get a little clip of me asking him and him answering one question, it’s like a two minute clip. And then I put that on my blog as the teaser, if you will, for the actual long form half hour podcast. What do you think about that and what would you do to even make that strategy better, using kind of video ticklers for maybe your blog posts or interviews or podcasts or whatever you might be doing? Because so many people are interested in video now.
Dave Taylor: Yeah, well first off I got to say what you’re doing’s brilliant. That’s exactly…
Susan Bratton: Oh, I like that.
Dave Taylor: in my opinion the right way to do this, because if you have an hour long video right there or, you know, an audio, click here to play and listen to the audio and I see that it’s an hour and seven minutes long or thirty-nine minutes long, then that’s a serious time commitment. And I was thinking about that because I did a talk this morning for like a private PR conference, and one of the examples I was using was this company that’s launching this product and their press release literally said, “Please connect with us on Wednesday. We have a thirty minute interview with the founder of the company.” And I’m just thinking thirty minutes is a huge chunk of my day. That’s a lot of time, I could do a lot in that time…
Susan Bratton: Oh yeah.
Dave Taylor: Do I really need to spend thirty minutes talking to this person so that I’ll write six sentences about this product? You know, and I would be that almost no one, if in fact perhaps no one at all, actually took them up on that offer. So if I see that you have a little, like, one minute little taster and, you know, this is the whole Mrs. Field’s cookies at the shopping mall idea, is you give me a little sample and it’s engaging and funny and interesting and thought provoking, and then you have text around it that says, you know, “If you liked this, here are the topics we talk about in the longer piece”, then I will quite likely bookmark that and then later on when I know that I have time come back and watch it or listen to it. And again, I can’t emphasize enough that I know that we live an ADD society, but you really want people to pay attention to what you do. You don’t want them to be listening to your podcast while they’re bicycling and talking to the people next to them, because then they’re going to catch every fifth sentence, and, you know, they’re not really much of a quality listener and it’s hard for you to actually convey useful and interesting information to them.
Susan Bratton: Before we go to a break, which we must do ‘cause we’re running long, what are other things that you would do with that video clip besides post it to a blog? If you had a little snacky, a little snacky video where else could you radiate it?
Dave Taylor: Well I would definitely put it on YouTube. And I would put it on YouTube and keyword it, and I’m sure you already know that you should have your own channel…
Susan Bratton: I do.
Dave Taylor: and… Because I look at all of these major social media sites as their own independent universes. So someone on YouTube might very well search for your name or just jot Tim’s name or hotel design or motivating employees and see what videos they get, and so you need to be there, and if that’s your teaser and it ends with you saying, “Here’s where the full video is”, now you have a traffic generating technique that can be quite effective in a universe that you’re otherwise not present.
Susan Bratton: Yup. What else beside YouTube? Anything else?
Dave Taylor: I’m not an expert in the video space. There are many people that are. I would certainly encourage you to email ten of them and say, “I’m rethinking how I’m promoting my video” or “I’m rethinking how I’m using video to promote my stuff. Can you tell me which sites you think are the top three?”
Susan Bratton: Yeah, got it. And I actually just recently did a whole video SEO show with Bruce Clay - Bruce Clay Incorporated - and so we did that, we covered that recently too. So you don’t have to have all of the answers Dave, it’s okay. So we’re going to go to a break. I want to… I know, phew. I want to thank my sponsors because they let me do this with you. And we’ll be right back. You’re getting to know Dave Taylor. He’s the founder of Intuitive Systems, and some of the great places you can find him are askdavetaylor.com, my favorite, and Dave On Film. If you’re a film buff he writes awesome reviews. So… and if you’re a parent, Attachment Parenting, which is, I think it’s AP, it’s AP Parenting, right?
Dave Taylor: apparenting.com.
Susan Bratton: Thank you. Perfect. I’m your host Susan Bratton. We’ll be right back after this break. Stay tuned for more fun.
Susan Bratton: We’re back, and this is Susan Bratton, your host. We’re with Dave Taylor, founder of Intuitive Systems, author of 20 books, askdavetaylor.com, Dave On Film, lots of content. He is a content machine. And we’ve been talking about interesting ways to syndicate content, creative strategies for coming up with content, different ideas for, you know, managing your time, etcetera. Dave, before we close off on that, are there any other things that you want to talk to us about, about social syndication, blogging strategies, content creation that I might not have asked you? What’s coming up for you as advice that you’d like to give us for being efficient and super high quality in the content we’re producing on the internet?
Dave Taylor: I think the main idea that I’d like to convey is that each of the social media worlds has its own best practices and its own expectations of interaction. And you will find great, great benefit spending some small amount of time and paying attention to how people are using a given social media site and what kinds of things generate the most response and reactions. So for example, in Twitter that’s easy, you can look at which messages get re-tweeted, and that’s when you see the little RT in front of a message. That’s when someone has seen something that they’ve liked and has engaged their attention or picked their interest sufficiently, that they actually send it out again to their list of followers, and it’s just a really easy way to see how things are voted on. On Face Book it might be which ones garner the most comments, and in fact there are so many status updates on Face Book that get no comments at all and every so often you’ll bump across one. I had a friend that posted one and there were like 35 comments over the next two days, and so he really tapped into something that people were really interested in. And the other advantage of that is that you also avoid making mistakes that can have people un-follow you or unlink you or decide that they’re not going to pay attention to you anymore, because of course the ultimate currency of the modern era is attention.
Susan Bratton: One of the things that you and I have talked about in the past – and this is in the interview on dishymix.com of you and I at South By Southwest – where you talk about the fact that it’s not just about content creation, but it’s about reading what other people are writing in your keyword areas and then commenting on those things to increase your traffic, your followers, your influence, your awareness by other in the, you know, in the internet world. You use a couple of technologies; one is Twitter Search and you outline that very well in that audio interview I did with you, it was about a ten minute audio interview, and you told us exactly how to find out who’s saying what in the Twittersphere. You also - if you want to find out how Dave sets up his Twitter search queries, he explains it in detail – you also use some kind, do you use Tracker or what’s your technology that you use to find out who’s saying what in the world about you and other things you care about?
Dave Taylor: So, thank you for the compliment first off. That was a very fun interview and South By Southwest was a bewildering party filled event. Generally what I’ve been moving towards is something called Filtr Box, it’s f-i-l-t-r-b-o-x, dot com, and as with many web 2.0 companies, they apparently couldn’t afford all the vowels, but it’s okay. It’s a company here in Boulder where I’m based so I know the founders of it, but they offer a search mechanism that is sort of like Twitter Search on steroids. It searches, you give it a search pattern and it searches not just Twitter, but blogs, discussion forums, news feeds, all sorts of things, and then it gives you a nice little email message every night with “Here’s what I found yesterday” that mentioned you or your product or your service or your company name or linked to one of your URL’s. I mean you could set up these patterns in quite complicated and sophisticated ways. And then the key, and the reason to do this in the first place is because everything is already happening, there are already discussions going on; your product, your service, your company, your executives, the, you know, that cute girl down in the mailroom who goes to wacky parties every single weekend and makes a fool of herself, all of that’s already online. And you can either ignore it all and just write your own stuff on your own site and do your own Twitter stream and pretend that it’s a one way megaphone and you just have a lot of different switches on it to control which media you go into. Or you can say, “Gosh, there’s a whole world out there I need to engage”. And this is really, if we want to go back that many years, this is like the Clue Train Manifesto, a book that was written ten years ago, and their basic thesis was, you know, get a clue, this is all about discussions. It’s not about you speaking in one direction and not listening to anyone else. And so the sort of coronary to that is that those discussions are happening outside of your sphere of influence. And the idea of using something like Filtr Box or Twitter Search is to find those people that are already talking about your product or service or your competitors product or service, and then even if you choose not to engage at least you’re aware what’s going on. But ideally if they’re saying something critical about your product, for example, you might go and respond by saying, “Wow, we never really thought of using in that fashion. That’s really interesting. I’m going to forward this back to the product developers, and we’ll make sure that that doesn’t happen in the future.” And something like that by itself will make people feel highly empowered and will hugely improve your company’s reputation. But it’s also like having this huge focus group that represents your entire customer community, and I don’t know anyone in business who wouldn’t appreciate something like that.
Susan Bratton: I want to switch to another way you do online listening, and that’s through Google Reader. That’s your RSS reader of choice. I find it a little bewildering to figure out how to use that. I want to use it ‘cause I want to be just like Dave Taylor, and I want to know what’s happening out in the world in one interface, which is what I would think Google Reader would do for me. But how do I set it up so that I’m precise in what’s coming in? What, go back in time to when you were organizing your thought process about how to use Google Reader, and then tell us how we can use that with maximum efficiency and what its highest and best value is for you in your business, in your communication.
Dave Taylor: Okay, in the beginning… The idea of Google Reader is it’s really like so many other tools; it lets you keep track of what are called RSS feeds. And the chief benefit of that to me is that I can keep track of what going on on literally hundreds of websites without having to ever visit any of those sites. And there are some news feeds, there are some RSS feeds that are just, you know, this fire hose of information, where there are some bloggers for example where they’re posting ten or twenty times a day because they’re news sites, and then there are actually literally news feeds you can get from like the BBC World Service or Reuters or The Associated Press or just about every major news publication, New York Times, Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal’s an interesting example because the Wall Street Journal is a paid subscription service, but their RSS feed, which often gives you a nice little snippet of the story, that’s free. So that might be one way to pay attention to what’s going on there. The downside is that there’s not a lot of granularity. You can’t say, “Subscribe to all the stories in the New York Times that mention my name.” So you get everything. And so RSS readers are something where there’s some level of self-discipline, because you have to be checking them at some, you know, with some frequency or you have to accept that you’re only ever going to be able to pay attention to a subset of what it’s showing you because when you connect and you look at it and it says you have nine hundred new articles, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t think I have seven hours to dedicate to this.” But generally, any time when you’re surfing around on the web, when you see a little RSS icon show up in your address bar – and this works in Safari, this works in Fire Fox and the latest version of Internet Explorer shows you this – that tells you that the page you’re looking at, that that site in that area has one of these RSS channels available, so you then you can just subscribe to it, and I offer in screen by screen examples of how to do that in various browsers and with various RSS readers on my Ask Dave Taylor site, so if people like visual references I have it. And then once you do that then it all just neatly integrates in with all of your other RSS feeds and then shows you most recent to oldest. So for me for example I pay attention to the film industry and so I subscribe to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter and Flash Film and Rotten Tomatoes and, you know, tons of sites, and this gives me one unified place where I can just catch up on all the news without having to bounce around all over the web.
Susan Bratton: Got it. And so how often are you looking at that Google Reader for your information?
Dave Taylor: I try to do it every single day. Sometimes I’ll do it in the morning and in the evenings. And sometimes it slips and it ends up being two or three days, and since it shows me newest to oldest, what I just do is I will go through that until my brain has completely turned off or until I have something else going on, and then either I’ll just leave it, in which case I can just pick it up later, or I’ll just say mark everything from this point on as ‘read’ and then it just vanishes. And, you know, then next time I connect, now I have seventeen new messages, which have been in the last thirty minutes or something, and it’s a lot less overwhelming.
Susan Bratton: Got it. Okay. That’s one of my goals, just to get that set up, because I think it’ll be much more helpful than a lot of things that I’ve been doing, some email, some website, etcetera. It’s all, to me this discussion with you is all about using tools and strategies for efficiency and processing the volume of data that we’re both consuming and producing. So I just wanted to now spend a little time kind of moving off that subject. I encourage you, if there’s any other things that you think of after the fact that you want to, you know, you want to share with us, like, “Oh, you know what else I should’ve told you about, here’s a little trick I use”, totally open to having you blog a post about that and I’ll link to it or whatever would work, so… I know that you’re one of those people that likes to stew on things. I wanted to have a little fun and just play a little game with you. Are you game for a game?
Dave Taylor: I am the most game gamer.
Susan Bratton: Good, I like that. You’re up for anything, willing to play full out, I am sure of that. I thought it would be fun to just ask you a couple of my Susan super secret questions, and just question/answer, question/answer, kind of boom-boom-boom-boom-boom. So lets see what we get out of this little game. I’d like to know…
Dave Taylor: Okay, Dr. Freud.
Susan Bratton: I know, exactly. Lie down on your couch now. Do you still have your mirror?
Dave Taylor: It’s all fogged up.
Susan Bratton: All that heavy breathing. I’d like to know what your most sinful decadent guilty pleasure is.
Dave Taylor: That would have to be being on the phone with you Susan.
Susan Bratton: Give me something better.
Dave Taylor: Something better than that, most sinful decadent pleasure. I don’t know, I guess I hate to sort of be a wet blanket, but I don’t think of things that way. I just have fun and, you know, do crazy fun things with my kids and such and life seems to work out.
Susan Bratton: What’s the craziest most fun thing you’ve done recently?
Dave Taylor: Recently, my son and I went to a basketball camp at the University of Colorado Boulder…
Susan Bratton: Oh, I saw that.
Dave Taylor: and it was us and a couple of other dads and kids and the entire CU men’s basketball team and their coaches, and it took me about two days after that to be able to walk up and down the stairs ‘cause my muscles were so totally tired…
Susan Bratton: Oh yeah.
Dave Taylor: from this incredible work-out we got.
Susan Bratton: But you loved that?
Dave Taylor: Oh, it’s great fun, and my son and I have memories we’ll treasure for years.
Susan Bratton: There’s some great photos on the, I think it’s the Attachment Parenting blog about that. Your sons adorable.
Dave Taylor: Thank you.
Susan Bratton: What’s the thing that you’ve done so far that’s been what I call, that’s pushed your edge the hardest in your whole life? What’s the most difficult trial that you’ve been through so far in your life?
Dave Taylor: That’s easy; being a parent. That makes all this work stuff look like a breeze, however difficult it may be. And, you know, I do some very difficult things professionally, but it’s all really easy compared to the extraordinary responsibility and challenge of sculpting and creating another human life.
Susan Bratton: And how many children do you have?
Dave Taylor: I have three; a twelve year old girl, a nine year old boy and a five year old girl.
Susan Bratton: Nice. Who is the wisest person that you’ve ever met?
Dave Taylor: I will tell you a couple of people that I believe are full of wisdom, I will… and they are, you know, popular figures, so we don’t know what they were like as individuals, but I, for example, think Gandhi has lots of great wisdom. And Martin Luther King, Jr., a lot of things that he said really resonate with me too.
Susan Bratton: What’s on your bucket list?
Dave Taylor: Nothing, because I’m doing things as I find things that I want to do.
Susan Bratton: What activity could you do all day long without getting bored?
Dave Taylor: Hang out and talk to my friends, and make new friends.
Susan Bratton: What kind of things do you like to talk about?
Dave Taylor: Everything. From politics to religion to sports to sex, drugs, rock and roll. You name it and I probably am interested in it at some level.
Susan Bratton: What kind of music are you listening to right now that you listen to over and over again?
Dave Taylor: Jazz. KUVO Denver. I am a big jazz fan and listen to it a lot and I love older jazz too.
Susan Bratton: From where do you draw your strength?
Dave Taylor: I think I draw my strength out of just sort of this optimistic belief that things are going to work and that things are for a reason. I do believe in God, but I don’t necessarily follow any organized religion per se. I think that things like spiritual beliefs are better personal than they are organized. But my strength and my ability to get up every morning and just jump into things comes from my really heartfelt belief that life is good and people are good, and that by doing the right thing and really focusing on being a positive person that’s contributing, that good things will come back to me.
Susan Bratton: If you were reincarnated as some other animal or plant, what would it be?
Dave Taylor: Probably a house cat because then I could just lounge around and not do anything and occasionally just complain and cut people.
Susan Bratton: Would you be a fat old tabby cat or what?
Dave Taylor: I would probably end up being a fair to middling, maybe a banter weight cat.
Susan Bratton: What’s your most marked characteristic?
Dave Taylor: My sense of humor. I think that I have, I’m constantly laughing, constantly having a good time and trying to help people around me have a good time and I have absolutely no concerns or no qualms about looking a fool or a bit of a git to have that happen, and that embarrasses my children to no end, but we do have a good time.
Susan Bratton: What profession would you do if you weren’t doing what you do now? Which is about a million-fifty different things, but all tied together into essentially your, giving your wisdom to people. That’s what you are; you’re a wisdom offerer right now. But what would you do if you weren’t doing that?
Dave Taylor: I think I’d be a college professor. I would like to – and this is entirely possible in my future anyway – but I can see myself being this sort of token technology savvy person at a small liberal art college where the entrée is writing but the real topic is life.
Susan Bratton: What do you hope the business world will have changed by the time your kids are working?
Dave Taylor: Well I would like to see people act more ethically and worry more about the effects of their choices rather than just making those choices. But I fear that we are but imperfect beings and it is very hard to go beyond our own self-interests.
Susan Bratton: If there was one piece of advice that you could wrap this show up with for people who feel overwhelmed by everything that we’ve talked about right now, all of the things that we’ve talked about with regard to Face Book and Twitter and blogging and Filtr Box and Moby Picture and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, what’s the grounding piece of possibility that you could offer to them?
Dave Taylor: Well I’ll offer two. I’ll give you two, a bonus one…
Susan Bratton: Woo hoo.
Dave Taylor: I’ll offer you a practical pragmatic one and then I’ll offer you a philosophical one.
Susan Bratton: Okay.
Dave Taylor: So the pragmatic one is focus on one thing and get really good at it. I think that we live in an age where everyone wants to do a million things all at the same time and they want quick results and they’ll, people won’t study and they won’t put the effort in and they don’t have the patience. So I talk to people and they say, “How can I make money blogging? I want to start tomorrow?” It’s like well, you know, it might take a year. And then the second piece, the more philosophical is – and I know you’ve heard me say this before Susan – is always give more than you want to get back. Always start your conversations with “How can I help you?” And I think you will find your life will transform.
Susan Bratton: Nice. Give to get, that’s definitely been a recurring theme. Lorrie Thomas from Web Marketing Therapy and I talked a lot about that as well in the social, in the social mean, you know, giving to get as well and the power that that can have both at a corporate level and a personal level. Well Dave thank you for that, and also thank you so much for making one of your books available, the Guide to Growing Your Business With Google, personally autographed. If you want a copy of Dave’s book then you go to dishymixfan.com and put down why you should be the one who gets it and we’ll see if you are. And Dave thank you so much for coming on Dishy Mix today. I really appreciate it. It was a lot of fun, I always like to hear how you’re thinking and approaching things in your life, so thank you for that.
Dave Taylor: You’re very welcome Susan. Thank you, as always, for letting me be apart of your world.
Susan Bratton: Absolutely. You can get in my world whenever you want. The door is always open to my world Dave. Alright, I’m your host Susan Bratton. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Dishy Mix and I hope you’ll have a great day, and I’ll see you next week.