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Month: November 2013

Christmas Reading Ideas for the Photographer in Your Life

Image via Strobist.com

If you have a photographer in your life–spouse, child, friend–giving them a photography related gift is a challenge. They might want a new camera or lens but those are expensive and there’s a good chance you won’t get what they want.

Here’s an idea: get them a book.

David Hobby (Strobist) has released a list of seven books for lighting photographers, and any of these would make a good gift for the photographer in your life. A good photography book has a better return than a piece of gear since it gives the reader a window into another photographer’s mind and process. When you see a picture and wonder, “How (or, more importantly, why) did they do that?”, a book offers insight.

I own and have read the two Joe McNally titles on David’s list and just got the new portrait book by Greg Heisler. The McNally books are more “how to” in their approach. The Heisler book is full of gorgeous images and thoughtful commentary.

In addition to David’s seven, I’d also recommend Zack Arias’ Photography Q&A and Michael Grecco’s Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait. Zack’s book is great for beginners and veterans alike while the Grecco book is better suited to those who’ve mastered the basics of photography and lighting.

Gary Vaynerchuk: Marketing = Storytelling

This will come as no surprise to my students at Lincoln Christian University since we’ve been talking about it for years: marketing is really about telling a credible story. Seth Godin has written about this (see Purple Cow and All Marketers Tell Stories) and now Gary Vaynerchuk is beating the story drum in his new book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.

Gary’s take is that new forms of social media should be handled differently. You don’t market on Facebook the same way that you market on Pinterest or twitter. I’ve got the book on order and am looking forward to it.

Gary’s put together a little case for the storytelling approach. It’s good stuff.

The Great Discontent: These interviews may change your life

5657236729_727b9b81e9You’re stuck–I get it.

You’re in school or you’re out of school and you’re stuck. You don’t know what to do with your life, and it seems like everyone else has it figured out. They’re all on the fast track and you’re still in the pits but there’s no crew to get you fueled up and change the wheels.

Here’s the truth: they don’t have it figured out, even the ones who look “successful.”

How do I know?

I’ve read their stories.

Ryan and Tina Essmaker have created a wonderful journal/blog of inspiring interviews with creative people who’ve influenced them. I’ve just discovered it myself and have read the interviews of some of my faves: photographer Zack Arias, entrepreneur/author/marketer Seth Godin, and productivity guru/podcaster/funny guy Merlin Mann.

In these three stories alone, there’s a singular common thread: failure. All three have tried and failed–a lot. But they’ve kept trying and their persistence, plus some good mentors and heroes along the way, have helped them get unstuck and put them in places to do cool things.

The interviews are long–they’re not tweets or status updates–and it’ll take you maybe 20-30 minutes to get through one. But the payoff is worth it. The subjects share what was hard for them, what their days are like, how they continue to do what they do.

You might find that they’re not that different from you.

Check out The Great Discontent.

Photo Credit: bolandrotor via Compfight cc


Get Bob Goff’s “Love Does” for cheap at Amazon

One of my favorite books of the year, Bob Goff’s Love Doesis on sale at Amazon: get the Kindle edition for just $2.99 today.

The stories and lessons that Bob tells are delightful. When I reached the end of the book, my only disappointment was that it was over. Even my 13-year-old daughter Erin loved it.

Not sure how long the sale lasts so get it while you can.

Vincent van Gogh on Style

art - van gogh.001

“Occasionally, in times of worry, I’ve longed to be stylish, but on second thought I say no—just let me be myself—and express rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.” – Vincent van Gogh

h/t to Church Marketing Sucks

Study: Students who cheat want government jobs

From the Los Angeles Times yesterday:

College students who cheated on a simple task were more likely to want government jobs, researchers from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania found in a study of hundreds of students in Bangalore, India.

Their results, recently released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggest that one of the contributing forces behind government corruption could be who gets into government work in the first place.

For instance, “if people have the view that jobs in government are corrupt, people who are honest might not want to get into that system,” said Rema Hanna, an associate professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. To combat that problem, governments may need to find new ways to screen people seeking jobs, she said.

Here’s an alternative conclusion: instead of finding new ways to screen dishonest job applicants, how about cleaning up corrupt governments so honest people want to work in those jobs?

h/t to Don Giannatti who posted the story on Facebook

How to Get Hired

Your skills and resume get you an interview but it’s your network that really gets you connected to the right people in the first place.

So how do you get good connections? It’s pretty simple, really: be the kind of person people want to work with.

What kind of person is that? Seth Godin has a list.

It’s simple–anybody can do it. But it’s not easy, and not everybody will do it.

UPDATE: How to Use Google Drive for Assignments

A few weeks ago, I’d posted a screencast that showed how to use Google Drive to create and submit assignments with its sharing features. Google has since changed the way Drive is accessed, so I made an updated video (below).

If you’re not using Google Drive for team projects, you really should try it. The file sharing features are much more efficient than passing around multiple versions of Word docs and emails.

Graduates Speak: What They Gained From Studying Business at Lincoln Christian University

A couple weeks ago, I posted an email that I wrote to a prospective student. Ultimately, she wanted to know if she’d be able to find work if she chose to study business administration at Lincoln Christian University (where I teach).

Since I’m connected with many of our students and graduates on social media channels, I linked to that post on my blog and asked a question on Facebook:

LCU business students and grads: anything you’d like to add to my thoughts on this? Let me know and I’ll create a new post with your ideas.

Several graduates raised their hands and added comments and a couple emailed me. Here are a few of their responses.

…the opportunity to do independent studies. My senior year was almost entirely independent study courses which was an amazing opportunity not only to explore a specific interest, but to work so closely with Eric Teoro [the Business Administration department chair]. You don’t get that at larger schools! — Melinda Jordan, LCU Business Administration, 2008

An organization is only as good as its people, and… the business department is second to none. Having professors that encouraged me to follow my calling, even if it wasn’t the traditional degree-and-desk-job path, was huge in my development into who I am today. I’m grateful to both you and Eric for that. — Tyler Sickmeyer, LCU Business Administration, 2007

…most employers do not emphasize where your degree is from, only that you have a degree. Most employers care more about what kind of person you are and what experiences you have. LCU business majors gain the real world experiences they need while developing the type of character employers are looking for. If you ever would like a prospective student to talk with someone or even would like me to come talk to a class, I would be glad to help. I would also like to thank you and Professor Teoro for molding me into the business professional that I am today. — Alex Bond, LCU Business Administration, 2010

The opportunity I had to learn from you and Mr. Teoro was invaluable. I agree with everything you said but the paragraph starting with “Secondly,” really sums up what you are truly getting from LCU Business program that will help you in the “secular” workforce. From working for someone else in the “secular” workforce to owning a business in the secular sector of the workforce, it truly has been the character development that truly has helped me to excel. The way that you and Mr. Teoro both push us to do our projects in areas that we choose and are truly interested in is also great because doing projects that we are not actually invested in or care anything about doesn’t help us to develop our character or skill like we could if we were working on projects we are passionate about. — Danny Drewes, LCU Business Administration, 2010

John Whitbeck, a 2001 graduate, offered this as a response to the young student’s inquiry:

I would add that this blog is proof of the quality of personal instruction and mentor mentality a student will recieve. The more personal attention is extremely valuable today.

Dear __________, you are much less likely to recieve this kind of caring and individual attention at what one might consider a “major” university. Having a degree from a university with a “Big Name Brand” will only get you to the door. It’s the skills and confidence you learn that is the real rocket fuel to a career. As one of Mr. Gowin’s first students at LCU, I am happy to say that 15 years later we still communicate with one another both on a personal and professional front. This private sector professional is still getting an eduction from LCU through faculty relationship.

If you haven’t already, check out Ben’s thoughts on his first few months out of school as well.

Many thanks to Melinda, Alex, Danny, John, and Tyler–not just for their contributions to this post but for their hard work in the classroom and beyond. They are the proof in the program.

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