social media

Is Privacy Worth Worrying About?

This morning I had to add my debit card number into Facebook Messenger in order to receive some money someone sent me.

And just for a minute I thought, “Do I really want to give my debit card number to Facebook? I mean they just had yet another data breach of nearly 267,000,000 American users personal data?”

No, I don’t want to do that. Facebook has proven over and over again that they can’t be trusted with personal information.

Customer Service

Sir, why are you irate? (My Google Saga)

Google Do No Evil Policy
Here's the source of the Do No Evil policy:

“Sir, why are you irate?”

This was what Jonathan, a customer service agent in Google Montreal’s Google Apps call center, said to me this morning.

Well Jonathan– allow me to tell you why I am irate with your company right now. One of your corporate values is Do No Evil. In fact, your founder has repeatedly gotten applause for this corporate value. He loves to say it in speeches. No doubt, that motto is probably somewhere in the building you work in.

And yet, in the course of the past 5 weeks I have been repeatedly lied to, deceived, and lead to believe my case had been resolved. I can’t tell you how many times some specialist like you has tried to convince me they would call me back in full knowledge they were just using it as a tactic to get me off the phone. I am irate right now because your company’s system has erroneously billed me $1127. In fact, by your own admission, I owe you $8.33 which I will gladly give to you right now in any form of payment you will accept. But your system won’t allow me to give you the $8.33 I actually owe you because your engineers have built a system which does not allow you to either delete or modify billing… even when your engineers have already admitted that it was a mistake within Google Drive that caused my account to be billed for two 8 terabyte accounts of Drive storage when I asked for 8 GB. Moreover, you have admitted that neither an 8 terabyte nor 8 gigabyte Drive will work on my Apps account…but that’s not really the point. 

A week ago, a very lovely man in your Dublin office assured me that an account billing specialist would be calling me within an hour to fix this. He unsuspended our account, apologized in full knowledge that this was your engineers fault and not mine.

7 days passed and no one called me. 

And now, for the 2nd time, my account has been suspended because I can’t pay you. Now you are telling me that some person on the other end of your chat window will not authorize unsuspending my account because they didn’t call me back. 

So there is something you can do. You can tell that person to authorize the lifting of the suspension. 

I am irate right now because you are suspending my account for no reason. I can’t give you the $8.33 I owe you because your system won’t take my money while this dispute is in process. I’m irate because people on 3 continents have lied to me. I’m irate because you just told me there’s nothing that can be done while at the same time saying that the reason my account wasn’t just unsuspended was because a person you are chatting with won’t authorize it.

That’s why I’m irate, Jonathan. Your company is doing evil. While you are simply a cog in a very big corporate wheel you are unwilling to do more than pass me off as some irate customer before you go to get lunch. I’m irate because you won’t do anything. You won’t stand up and say… “Hey, we’re screwing this guy. Isn’t there something I can do right now?”

Do you understand why I am irate right now?  

If you know someone at Google who can resolve this case, who will take my $8.33, or who has guts enough to break through the silos and do the right thing, please contact me.

If you would like to help me but don’t know anyone at Google, please share this post on Facebook, Twitter, and especially Google+.

This is not a meme. This is not a joke. This is happening to my small business right now. If you need my case number or my phone number or any of the names/departments/employee numbers of the people I’ve spoken with and referred to in this post, please contact me.

I’m not anti-Google. In fact, we love our Google Apps account. We just need this mess resolved so we can get back to business. 

UPDATE: Thanks to all of your tweets, Facebook posts, and Google plussing… it seems we are moving towards a resolution. I’ll let you know for sure.

Christian Living

If Your Phone Could Talk

We used to say you could tell a person’s priorities by looking at his checkbook. I’d submit to you that today you can tell a person’s priorities by how he uses his phone.

If your phone could talk… what would it say about you?

  • Who is he talking to?
  • Who is he texting?
  • How is he talking about people?
  • How does he talk about people via text?
  • What is he looking at when no one else is looking?
  • When is he using his phone?
  • Does his phone fill his hand more than the hand of the one he loves?

Here’s what I know about technology. One day your phone will tell on you. One day everything you’ve posted on Facebook may become public. One day everything you’ve ever Googled may be public. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

One day… it will all tell the whole story of you. Every key stroke on that device could one day be exposed. Every text message, direct message, email, and Facebook message could one day become public.

I believe your smart phone is amoral. It’s can be used for noble or ignoble purposes. My hope is that as I use my phone,  (and technology like it) I use them as instruments of Good News in how I conduct my personal, family, and business affairs.

The story your phone tells is up to you.

Music Social Action social media

Google honors John Lennon

One of the most fun jobs on the internet must be to be on the team that plays with Google’s logo. I love this little doodle. Maybe I’m in love with the style or maybe the music? All I know if this is just too cool.

I want to be a dreamer, forever.

ht to Michael Novelli


Google TV: Who is it good for?

Hmm… bringing all the video you can find on Google, which isn’t already on Hulu or YouTube or Netflix? Sounds like Google TV was made for the porn industry.

Dear Lord, let this thing come with a very strong filter for the sake of our children. (And college students)

What am I missing? What’s worth watching that isn’t already able to be streamed to my TV via a device?

hmm... thoughts social media

Facebook Morphs Blogging Again

adam-head-09-100px-squareBlogging, by very nature, is a fluid art. Just a few years ago I thought I was pretty slick because I could journal on my computer using Microsoft Word. Flash forward a few years, to around 2000, and I learned that I could take those Word documents and convert them to webpages. It was cumbersome and I didn’t do it very often… but it was awesome. Then took “the web log” out of the hands of the HTML king and made blogging accessible to just about anyone willing to give it a shot. I was fasinated that I could link to friends blogs and that we could leave comments for one anothers posts. A few years later, 2005-2006 and Typepad and WordPress suddenly made it possible for blogs to live on their own domain easily.

In 2007-2008, blogging became all about search and syndication. I started seeing my stats level off while I could tell my reach greatly extended. RSS (really simple syndication) made my content portable and SEO (search engine optimization) got my blog noticed high in Google search results.

facebook2009 has seen blogging morph again. Facebook’s power in the adult demographic has brought blog syndication to a whole new level. Now my posts appear on my Facebook friend’s timeline, so a whole new audience of people has been added to the pool of people who read my blog. When they comment that ends up on their friends timeline, which greatly expands the pool of people reading and commenting on my stuff. (Though there isn’t yet a matrix for this so that’s a bit frustrating.) In the past few months I’ve run into tons of people who read my blog and I have no idea who they are or how they got here… but it’s awesome!

More noticeably, in the past few months I’ve noticed a steep uptick in folks who read my blog posts exclusively on Facebook and comment there as well. Often times, I’m left with a post which generates two separate conversations. Which is really cool! On top of that, Twitter has further expanded my blogs discussion and reach. While there is some overlap, Twitter is mostly a different audience for my content.

Wagon_WheelGoing forward, is now and will continue to be the hub of my online presence. It feeds RSS, search results, Facebook, and Twitter. I think of the personal blog as the engine that powers everything else. That said, my recommendation for beginners has begun to morph. You can certainly do the same thing with a blog (free) or even a Facebook account.

And since I know about 75% of the people who are reading this post will never make it to, here are some ways we can connect. We can be Facebook friends. You can follow me on Twitter. We can pool links on delicious. You can be a contact on Flickr. You can subscribe to my blog via RSS. But you can’t be my Myspace friend. That’s so 2005.


Confession: My Blog Pays the Bills

Here’s a Google Adsense screenshot from this morning.


Of course, here’s where I got my screenshot.

Church Leadership hmm... thoughts

Secret Sex

I’ve been around Christians long enough to know that they like to talk about sex. In fact, I know enough about internet traffic to know that only one thing is more popular than a post about sex. In fact, most of you are reading this because you clicked on a link with a keyword you like to click on, “SEX” and are wondering what the secret is all about.

What’s the one thing more popular than a post about sex? A post about sexual behavior Christians “shouldn’t do but like to talk about.”

– Homosexuality

– Cheating

– Masturbation

– Pornography

– Getting caught looking at gay porn and masturbating.

Here’s some data behind this Christian propensity to search for and click on things about sex. Notice the #1 read item at YMX over the last 2 years by a wide margin… it’s an article called “Solo Sex” and its about masturbation. In the 2 years that article has been on the site it has averaged 25 readers per day! Likewise, my blog data shows that most of my google visits from google searches arrive on terms such as “Christian dating” or “Christian sex.”

Proving this point further, stop for a second and think about this:Why are you reading this post? What about the title ‘Secret Sex’ made you click here?” Did I trick you to come here with my blog title? Did you click on a delicious link I served on Twitter? Or were you googling something like “Christian love advice?”

Here is my theory, disagree with me if you like. I think that internally many evangelicals are wrestling with sexuality. I don’t mean they are worried about their gender preference or even secretly longing to do sinful things. I think that within Christian circles it just isn’t safe to talk about sex which leaves many adult Christians very immature in how they handle sex. So the result is that we talk about sexuality in very immature fashions. (And then we wonder why students have messed up views on sexuality!)

While in non-Christian circles it isn’t unusual to have some safety within your peer group to talk about sex in an intelligent manner, I know I’ve never found Christian friends willing to have a serious conversation blushing it off as either “naughty” or diverting to childish jokes. (Of course, maybe its just my friends?) So while it may be normal and/or healthy to seek out talking with a peer about something intimate… in our circles we repress that discussion and look for answers privately.

And I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

I wonder if that repression of the discussion, which in and of itself is amoral but breaks a Christian taboo, is exactly what leads to the gross sexual dysfunction within many churches and marriages. Why can’t Christians just talk about sex? Why do Christians scour the internet searching for answers?

Sidebar: Of course it could also be that there are so many people out there googling anything to do with sex that this disproportionally elevates the click through rates of posts about sex… that’s a theory worth contemplating without devaluing the overriding question.

So, what is it?

– Victorian cultural leftovers permeating Christian culture?

– Fear?

– Our mommy told us never to talk about sex, just learn about it the way she did in the library?

– It should just be repressed. Asking this question proves that Adam is a pervert and just likes to say “sex” a lot.


I could do that, it’s easy

innovationThis week I’ve had a couple of people approach me about YMX. One said, “I thought about doing that but you just got to it first.” The other person said, “I thought about doing that but I just didn’t have the time.

Really, both are saying the same thing. I’ve heard it hundreds of times before. What I translate that to mean is… “I wish I had thought of that.”

We’ve all done it. We’ve watched Donny Deutsch or 60 Minutes and we’ve thought, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Then when we meet someone who invented something or started their own business (and succeeded) we think to those moments and jealousy swells. Then we say something really odd like, “If only I had the capital I could have done the same thing.” They just smile and nod.

It’s time to let you in on a secret… 99% of the best innovations in the world come out of the same formula. So if you’ve got a great idea. If you think you’ve got the next Google. If you think you’re ready to be the one who answers the innovation questions instead of asks them. Are you ready to see if you’ve got what it takes? Here’s the formula.

Innovation = hunger + brains + guts

Innovation: You know it when you see it. It’s a hot seller or a great idea or that little thing that makes life easier somehow. The best ones are the most obvious. But how do I get there?

1. Hunger: As I’ve said before, 90% of the population is lazy. They strive to be mediocre. But a small percentage of people wake up one day and say… “I’m just not making it the lazy way. I want something else in my life.” Maybe it’s a bill that has to be paid and you don’t have the money? Maybe its that you live in a small house and you are having a kid and need a bigger one? Maybe you need a raise and the only way the boss will take notice is if you come up with a great money saver? Hunger… either literal or figurative… is the root of most innovation. I’d even add a healthy dose of desperation to show you how important hunger is. Very few fat cat companies invent the iPod or Google or Berkshire Hathaway or Facebook. If a company has to hire research and development people, paying them a fat salary, to invent something… that company is not hungry. (Prime example: The auto industry) But when your company CEO and a core group of people have an “oh crap, we’re all going to go bankrupt” meeting… then you’re hungry enough to invent the iPod.

2. Brains. Let’s face it. There is a reason why most innovations never make it to the marketplace. They may be good ideas. But the person who is hungry enough to innovate something may not have the brain power to see if its a market-worthy idea, know how to capitalize the idea, or even how to make the idea a reality.
In actuality, the best thing most innovators can do is find the right people to pitch the idea to. YMX would have never gotten past a proposal on a Word document if I hadn’t bounced the idea around with some really smart youth ministry folks, technology folks, marketing folks, and business folks. All of that bouncing around is totally free… and totally made the difference between YMX being a good idea and YMX being just another failed start-up. Trust me when I say those people saved YMX from my incomplete thoughts. The reason we are alive as a company today isn’t luck… it was hunger + brains + guts. Sometimes “brains” also means recognizing that your innovation may be cool, but it isn’t profitable enough to make it. Having brains means knowing the difference between a great idea and a great idea I can live off of. And having brains is getting the right people on the bus before you leave the station.

3. Guts. When I get those people who come up to me at the booth or IM me or talk to me after church… I can tell they don’t have it in them. They may be hungry enough to innovate. They may have a MENSA mind. But they are wimps when it comes to making their ideas a reality. The last component is the differentiator. If you want to take your great idea to market. If you’ve bounced that idea around and gotten a million thumbs up. You have to pull the trigger and go after it with all you’ve got. It takes guts. Don’t have guts? Innovation isn’t for you.

I love watching Donny Deutsch because there is a common thread with his guests. At some point most of them marched into their bosses offices and said, “I’m leaving to go do this, I quit.” Most of them had no income to fall back on! They were hungry enough for that innovation that they were willing to be more hungry to make it happen. They were smart enough to know that they couldn’t really innovate at night after a hard days work. And they knew that to make their idea a big idea worth a lot of money… they’d have to put their life on the line. It takes guts to do that. Do you have what it takes?

So, if you’ve got the next great idea… and I think you do… now you know. It doesn’t happen by mistake. It isn’t an accident. It isn’t “dumb luck” or “good timing” and it’s never handed to you on a platter.

Innovation = hunger + brains + guts. Get it done. The world is waiting.