Daily Life

2022 in Review

Another year in the rear view mirror. So how did it go? The interesting thing to me is the halo effect – looking back at all 12 months it’s been a great year, but the wonky economy has made Q4 and the Q1 outlook weak, which is disappointing.

As part of the sandwich generation, keeping track of kids and elders went well. The only big miss was not going out to visit my family in Michigan at some point. I had a weird lockdown rebound, I thought that I’d be itching to travel once things were open again, but instead I just wanted to take advantage of everything here and rest. The Berkshires is a tourist destination so I was sold on the idea of a vacation where I didn’t have to spend any time driving. And it was great. We got a family pass to the town pool and I really enjoyed taking a couple hours after the work day to swim and then chat with my neighbors. The kids are both healthy and doing well at school, which is very satisfying, especially with H moving up to Greylock for Grade 7.

There was one home improvement project that we didn’t get done but the scoring on that is a little weird – we thought it was going to be a massive project but it turned out foundation work was not required, so even though it’s not finished we are farther ahead than we thought we’d be at this point without doing much of anything. So with that, just over 80% complete for family stuff.

Given the insanity of the past handful of years I had beefed up the mental health and fitness goals and then got it all done. Some points off for coming up 5 bike rides and 7 yoga classes more than I wanted, but I joined the local gym last winter because I was tired of not running as much in the cold and I more than made up for that excercise, including putting lifting back in the rotation which even with The Ultimate Warrior telling me I had to do, I never got around to it until this year.

I also managed to hit my weight goal as part of Falmouth Road Race training. The race was part of our Cape vacation which looking back was probably our best vacation ever. Bonus for getting to grab ice cream with Sarah, Mike and Lachlan! Concerts, gaming with cousins and skiing were all fantastic last year.

I’m not sure if I’m in for Falmouth again, Michigan may be the big summer trip but we’ll see.

Financial goals also went very well, the wrinkle is that I could have hit the investment goals but I’m keeping the cash on hand with all of the current weirdness.

And the financial goals are 99% dependant on the work goals. It was another growth year for MoC listeners but the ad market for Q1 is the shakiest I’ve seen in more than 6 years. Trust Insights breaking growth records solves all ills, as usual for a growing business. Since I decided to take 2022 off from writing there was no miss there. The only problem was that I wanted to do a live event for MoC in 2022 and that was not feasible. I at least finally got back to MarketingProfs B2B Boston in the 4th quarter after missing INBOUND because I did not stop testing positive for Covid early enough.

That makes it an 84% year from the numbers. When the big gaps are because I should have taken one more vacation and save more money (and funny that these are counter to each other) I have to admit that I’m truly fortunate and grateful for all that I have.

So my first wish for 2023 would be that it goes as well as the past year. A book has to go back on this list this year, as well as a Michigan trip. I do need to pick a road race so I don’t get lazy. I’ll spend the rest of the week kicking around some ideas before putting them on paper.

I hope your year went well, and all the best to you in 2023!

Daily Life

What Happened in 2022?

Here’s the latest: Marketing Over Coffee continues to roll along so that’s the majority of stuff that I’m putting out in the world. The format is basically me and Christopher Penn talking marketing and tech, and then every second or third week interviews with authors and business leaders doing interesting things. I had a great interview a couple of weeks ago with the team from The Mailworks, it was a lot of fun to talk direct mail which was a big part of when I was at DCI, which is just a bonkers story.

The Marketing Over Coffee Newsletter underwent a major upgrade, and that’s where I’m posting a lot of the interesting links that I come upon. If the stuff here is to your liking definitely check that out.

For the past year I’ve also been playing around with a text service. I’ve learned a lot of interesting stuff about how it’s different from email and some pitfalls to avoid. The thing with this is it’s the fastest way to get things out there so this is where I’ve been doing all the giveaways of audio gear and books that come from doing the show. If you’d like to get real time alerts when things are happening, and the chance to win free stuff just send a text to 617-812-5494

Trust Insights has been doing very well, we’ve been busy providing analytics and actionable insight to our clients. I’m thankful to be working with a team that I respect and we share the same dedication to improving both the tech and personal strengths for our clients and ourselves.

If you are on social I’m always on LinkedIn (who’s been a fantastic MoC sponsor over the years – get $100 in free ads here), and it’s been an insane year for twitter but I’m still there as of today /shrug/

That’s the latest, just wanted to get the update out there so I can now start working on my annual holiday gift post! Happy holidays to you, and if you’ve seen Spirited “Good Afternoon!”

Daily Life Productivity Booster


This is the week where it’s quieter and I look back on what happened this year and start to think about what 2022 might be about. There’s the things I have to work on, the things I want to work on, financial goals, family things, and some recreation so I still feel like I have a life in spite of pandemics, coup attempts, etc.

On the family front it was a good year, managing everyone’s heath issues is not a lot of fun as part of the sandwich generation but we’re doing ok. We did not get to go to Michigan this year thanks to the pandemic so hopefully that will happen in 2022.

Financially it was mostly good, which I rate as absolutely fantastic as everything else was bonkers. Of course the kids’ college fund could always be better funded so that’s a goal not completed. The only big work thing was that I wanted to start writing my next book on a concept I’ve been kicking around but I never made time for that. Like many people my cooking game has leveled up on a number of fronts and I’m not sure if I’d trade that for having a manuscript done. This past year has clearly demonstrated that time around the table with family is never guaranteed so I’m going to think hard over the next few days about what’s next for writing but maybe that could be shelved to post pandemic. On the other hand, the idea of doing some kind of MoC Conference (live unless the pandemic requires virtual, and I’m starting to think it’s going to be virtual) does have me excited so I’ve got to think about that too.

Personally it was a good year for preventative medicine, I caught up on all the doctor appointments that had been override by toddlers, then pandemic. I was about 75% as active as I wanted to be, I did get plenty of excercise but the Falmouth Road Race was not in the cards and I really need to find a Yoga class, I’ve reached the point where I can no longer stand the videos I’ve used for years so that needs to change in 2022 before I’m so stiff and inflexible that I break a hip or something.

Overall this year was a B+ and then factoring in all the turmoil, pandemic, and struggles I’ve seen my neighbors go through, it reminds me how fortunate I am and hopefully we can continue to succeed on our own fronts and help others do the same in the new year.

Daily Life

Now Hear This

I got a batch of NFC stickers and I’m playing around with that. The first use case is setting it up so somebody can tap my phone with theirs and they’ll download my contact info. After that who knows, but it’s cheap and easy to play with. The other killer app there is Apple supports passing WiFi login via NFC so tapping to get on the network is a whole lot easier than somebody typing nectarinem0nkey5785.

At the recommendation of Tom Webster I started looking at the Jabra line of earbuds when I was looking for full Bluetooth and checking out the latest from Bose and Apple Earpods. The Jabra 75t won, pushed to the head of the pack by great microphones and an Equalizer so I can tweak the audio so it sounds best to my ears. And it works, they’re the most fun I’ve had listening to earbuds.

Earlier this year I had a fantastic discussion with Joshua Cohen of TubeFilter. If you want to know how people are making piles of money on YouTube it’s worth the listen.

I don’t watch much TV, Carin and I usually have a single show we’ll watch a couple nights a week. We’ve never watched a season of anything more than once. That is until we found Ted Lasso back in the spring. It looks like it’s a sports show, but in reality it’s a workplace comedy. The producer of Scrubs brings a mountain of experience to it and the rapid pace is just a touch of Gilmore Girls. If you feel the world has been lacking kindness in the past 5 years, it will calm your mind and heart.

Daily Life

The Great Shutdown

For the past 4 years I’ve been waiting on a recession. I thought it would be just the normal Wall Street shenanigans or something, I never expected this.

I hope you and your family are safe and healthy, that’s our first order of business.

While it’s frightening watching the pandemic spread and not knowing when it will let up or how bad it will be, we will get to the other side of this and I’m hoping that we’ll look at things a bit differently. Maybe our healthcare system could put the health of all and more capacity and distributed supply chain ahead of just in time profits at all costs to “maximize shareholder value.”

I wrote a piece last week on the Trust Insights website about why this could be a defining moment for us, a time when everyone around the world can work together to build a better future. Please check it out, I would love to hear your opinion on it.

With our normal daily routines gone be sure you’re doing things to keep your brain healthy and minimize stress. Here’s a list I swiped from Christopher Penn:

  1. Endorphins – get some exercise
  2. Dopamine – play some games
  3. Serotonin – foods rich in tryptophan
  4. Oxytocin – Barry White time

If you’ve read any great books or seen any good movies feel free to chime in this Friday on the #FriLearning tag on twitter and tell us what you learned. Feel free to tag me in @johnjwall


Panoramic Photos

My friend Ron took these last year and I was trying them out on different platforms and VR headsets. The files were originally up on Facebook, which has no interest in you linking to them from the outside web, so I’m posting them here so they’re easier to get to.

These shots are from Bonnie Lea Farm, if you’re ever out in the Berkshires looking to learn horse riding, it’s the place to go.

Daily Life

Our Community

Jeremiah Owyang had a post asking why tech has not solved homelessness in the bay area. The obvious snark that’s far below me would be “Yeah, that’s shocking, tech people having difficulty handling social situations.” I know, here I am talking about compassionate stuff and opening being a mean jerk. It’s still funny.

It’s cliche (but still true) to say there’s no easy answer, but there are a couple of things I’ve been thinking about (and I try to write up the lessons of the week as #FriLearningGarry encouraged me to do this).

One problem is that homelessness is a bundle of many things. People having economic difficulty are a different problem than those with mental illnesses, substance abuse is another massive issue. AND, these are not mutually exclusive and a cover a wide spectrum from a little trouble to hazardous. Everybody I know that’s spent time on Market Street has a story about somebody doing something crazy and threatening others. I’ve seen law enforcement struggle with maintaining everyone’s safety and rights, doing all they can to negotiate with the irrational. I can’t give them enough credit for dealing with that daily.

Our country was created as a land of opportunity – you have a chance to go out and get it. I used to think that now a small amount of people have most of it. Having done more research, it’s been that way for most of human civilization, this is not new. I used to think that putting more effort into “helping the poor” was the answer. This divides us and it creates a real problem at the dividing line. The democratic party got a rude awakening this election from voters in the middle class that weren’t excited about paying more to make healthcare more affordable for others.

Maybe it’s not about “the poor” but trying to find a way to make food, shelter, medical care and taking responsibility for others part of who we are. And you can help, there’s no reason to wait for an ambitious government official to figure it out.


Things that guide my opinions: HandUp is has been trying interesting things. The Guardian on the homeless offered trips out of town. Our local food pantry.

Notes: Searching for “FriLearning” in twitter brings them up in chronological, searching on #FriLearning orders them some other way.

Brain Buster

Computers Will Not Be Misled By The Media

A couple of weeks ago our local news led with a story of a car crashing into a crowd in Austrailia.

400 Years ago a village 20 miles away from me could get wiped out by disease and I’d never even hear about it. Now a car crash on the other side of the globe is considered newsworthy. What about the 3 billion people between me and Austrailia?

Most of the world runs smoothly. Just because every time the evening news comes on it’s shootings, drug deals and disaster, that’s not what most of the world is like.

This week’s #FriLearning:

Daily Life

Trial and Error

Trial and Error sounds so clean, so clinical. Picking yourself up off the ground for the 10,000th time requires a lot more soul than just “starting the next trial”. In many ways I rate this blog as a failure (which sounds much more imposing than “an error”) having not taken the advice many successful bloggers did take of “think of it as working on a book, not a diary.”

But, I like having a bit of my own writing out there that’s fun for me. It may not be a big crowd, but if you do read this, you’re probably into many of the same things I am and I’m happier to have a few kindred spirits reading about things they want to, rather than feeling like I have to post something here seven times a day to “feed the beast”.

So, I’ll ignore the trial and error results and let’s get back to the diary! What’s going on that has kept me away from posting about audio or Christmas Tree ornaments here?

I’m working on a great project called Stack & Flow with Sean Zinsmeister of Infer. Sean’s opened up his rolodex to get Sales and Marketing leaders to talk about the sales and marketing technologies they are using to drive results. It’s just been fun to find a place for Marketing Ops people in the podcasting world.

Marketing Over Coffee has been growing like crazy thanks to all the excitement around podcasting. We’ve decided to launch our first events for listeners to work together in groups limited to 10 people. I’m hoping we get to take it on the road as our audience has grown to around 50% outside of the US which opens up the chance for some foreign travel which would be fantastic.

EventHero continues to grow, doing badging, lead retrieval and session tracking. We’ve been doing a bunch of the Dreaming’ events which keeps me in touch with what’s happening on the SFDC front. It’s always a thrill for me to see the app in action. I’m thankful for the privilege and trust of my co-workers.

The kids are off for the summer and doing a few weeks at camp, and in my spare time I’ve been helping Carin remodel 5 apartments. Currently working on bathroom 4 of 5 so I can’t wait for that to finish, not that it means I’ll have any free time…

I hope your summer has been relaxing, or at least fun!


Brain Buster

Seth Godin at Sales Machine 2016

This is the transcript of an interview I did this summer at Sales Machine 2016. You can listen to the audio of Seth Godin on Marketing Over Coffee.

John: Today, we have a special guest. He’s the author of over a dozen bestselling books. He’s been on the show many times, and I’m very excited to have him with us here today at Sales Machine in New York City.

Seth Godin, thanks for talking to us.

Seth:  What a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

John:  You’re here to talk to this audience about your latest book. In fact, it’s been about a year and a half since we talked to you last. How has the book done? I’ve actually heard you say that you love it more now than when you put it out.

Seth:  Yes, I did a webcast about it the other day. I’m fortunate in that I don’t organize my life around promoting books; I organize my life around teaching people, and if a book is helpful, that’s great. It never occurred to me that I was here today to talk about my book because I’m not.

The book What To Do When It’s Your Turn is a call to action. It’s illustrated. It’s consumed in a way a lot of people consume the Internet these days, in little bits and pieces. It’s determinedly non-digital; it’s only on paper. I published it myself so that I could sell it in boxes, as opposed to by the copy because I believe that if the people around you are also engaged in what you’re engaged in, it’s more likely you’ll be able to push yourself forward.

I’ve gone back to press five times. It’s become this community tool that enables an entire organization or a circle or a mastermind group or friends to be on the same page – literally be on the same page.

John:  So it’s the fifth printing in 18 months. That’s amazing. This has really done well.

Today, this event is all sales focused. What are you going to tie into that? I saw the keynote was about tribes. Does it link into the previous book?

Seth:  This event is called Sales Machine. They didn’t ask me before they called it that. I think it should be called Sales Human. The machine is the last thing we need in sales. When we think about what the machine has done to each industry it has touched, it industrializes it, it commoditizes it, it turns the players into cogs in the system.

Our chance to be linchpins, to be leaders, to speak up, to share what we believe, that’s the human part. As sales people, I think it’s essential that we understand that enrollment is the key to everything, that if the person you are trying to sell with feels like they’re being sold to, you lose. If they’re not enrolled in the process and eagerly pushing it forward, you’re just a spammer.

John:  Yes, I can totally see how a lot of this event is about software tools, narrowing the focus, and automating so much stuff, but bringing you in brings the human element back into it and allows people to think more about the relationship, as opposed to mining coal.

Seth:  Yes, and I think that the smart people, the caring people, the motivated people would rather not mine coal. The software is great if it gets you back to what you’re supposed to be doing, and what you’re supposed to be doing is being the one we would miss if you were gone.

John:  You’ve been doing the altMBA program. That’s continuing to roll on. Tell us about that. How’s that working?

Seth:  I started about a year ago, and the idea was to build a scalable, intimate experience online that does the opposite of most online courses. Instead of being huge, it’s very small. Instead of being easy, it’s really hard. Instead of being free, it’s really expensive. Instead of being open to everyone, you have to apply.

It’s a 30-day workshop. We take 100 or 120 people each time. We have coaches. We run it all in Slack and in WordPress and in Zoom Conferencing. In every given session, there are about 19 time zones represented, and 50,000 messages will pass back and forth in a typical week in Slack. I’m not there. My work is there, my projects are there, but there are no lectures from me. I’m not present. This is not how you get Seth. This is how you level up.

We’ve run it five times so far, and what we have discovered is that it works. It works in a way that’s more dramatic than any other thing I’ve ever done. For the person that seeks to see the world differently, to make decisions differently, and to be able to persuade others differently, this is a massive chance to be able to level up.

I didn’t set it up as a fast Internet thing; I set it up as a slow human thing, over time, drip by drip. We don’t have to run any more sessions. We’re only running two more this year. When we have the right group, we’ll run it again, but I’m not out there flogging it. It’s not some get-rich-quick thing for them or for me; it’s about how to go on this journey of becoming meaningful.

John:  Do you see that expanding into other realms, not just MBA? Would you consider something for kids? I know education is something that you’ve talked about a lot in the past, about how this current system is not serving what we’re doing. Could this expand?

Seth:  A little bit of what we do in the altMBA is like doing brain surgery in a moving vehicle in that it’s not for sissies and it’s tricky. We push people really hard, and they push themselves. I don’t think I have the enrollment or the standing to do that with 12-year-olds. It’s harder to do that kind of work online.

What I believe… And Stop Stealing Dreams, the e-book I wrote that’s free, continues to spread this. What I believe is that all schooling is homeschooling. Even when you send your school to public school as I did, they spend way more time being schooled by their parents. The real leverage that I have is to help parents understand that it’s up to them to ask their kids the difficult questions and up to them to expect their kids to lead.

As I was going through the altMBA stuff, you mentioned that you actually went to China recently.

Seth:  Yes. I went to Shenzhen and Dafen. I gave a speech in South Korea and then stopped by to see where they make all the smartphones and where they paint all the oil paintings.

John:  Has visiting China changed your perspective? Was this your first time there? Have you been there?

Seth:  It was my first time in China. I’m not really a world traveler. I’ve been everywhere but sort of begrudgingly. I didn’t see very much that blew me away in the sense that I’ve been thinking about it and studying it since Tom Peters started talking about it 20 years ago – that the cog economy that a country like China has no choice but to start with, because 20 or 30 years ago, that was the work that was available.

It’s interesting to note that South Korea in 1962 had the same GDP as Haiti. It was one of the poorest countries in the world. In my lifetime, it went from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the top ten. How you do that? You do that by doing the cog work fast and cheap, by being the manufacturer slash systems integrator slash “We’ll do it for you right now.”

But you can’t keep doing that because then you need better wages, then you need people who have better quality of life, then you need a workforce that seeks more than putting part A and part B. We see in South Korea and now in China this urgent move away from “How do we be cheap robots?” into “How do we actually add value by being human?”

The irony is that’s where the US was when I was born, and we keep arguing – quote – “We want good jobs back.” Those good jobs weren’t that good; they were just steady. The steady jobs are gone. We’re not getting any steady jobs back. What we have is a chance for human jobs, for the art of daring and leading and connecting and being human, but it requires way more personal responsibility than people in this country have been trained to seek out.

People want a map. We can’t give you a map. You’re better off with a globe because a globe gives you the lay of the land. It doesn’t show you how to get from here to there.

John:  You mentioned Americans saying they want these jobs back. Of course, those jobs are not coming back, and a lot of it is another thing that you talked about, which is identity versus logic. The logical approach to it just says that, in fact, what we consider terrible jobs could be the best jobs that are available in that country, so you can’t judge that country by the way that things run here.

Do you see China following a similar path as they evolve to become more knowledge-based, more personal touch?

Seth:  As fast as they can. If you think of it as a game or a war between two countries, the only advantage we have is that their schools are even more cog-focused than our schools. In our schools, even though we spend six out of seven hours drilling and practicing and focusing on standardized tests, we still spend one hour encouraging kids to dream and think big and realize that they have a shot to make a difference.

But what’s going on in a place like China… I went to one factory where every single person does exactly what they did yesterday. I went to another factory run by a 29-year-old son of a multimillionaire, and he is right on the edge. Yesterday, they weren’t making hover boards; today, they are. Tomorrow, they’re going to be making something else. He has a flexible workforce. He has people are eager to discover the next thing. You can walk into one of his little labs with an idea, and they’ll have it on the circuit board in three hours.

If there’s that kind of change happening on every street corner, how are we going to catch up when we’re just sitting here insisting on – quote – “good jobs”? That’s not where the good jobs come from; good jobs come from doing things that might not work.

John:  What would be the best advice you’d give to a parent to prepare their child for this new world and to get away from that assembly-line school? What things should they be doing to get on the right path?

Seth:  I volunteered yesterday at the local Farm CSA. I did my few hours, and a woman came in with her kid, Adrian. Adrian is three. She handed Adrian some purslane. “Yeah, I think this tastes a bit like purslane with hints of celery in it.” Then walked over and said, “What’s this?” We had a whole conversation about the xylem and phloem and why the napa cabbage is green on the top and white on the bottom. Then another three-year-old kid came in and the mom said, “Here’s an iPad. I’m going to go pick up the vegetables.”

The difference is really clear. If you say to your kid, whether they’re 3 or 7 or 12 or 20, “Figure it out,” they’re going to learn to figure things out. If you say to them, “Here’s a metro card. Go to New York City. Call me when you’re done,” and they’re 12, why not? What’s going to happen?

If you said to a kid, “Here’s how blogging software works. It’s not under your name, so don’t worry. Just start blogging. Here’s a Wikipedia entry. Put some edits into it” – things that might not work, things that you’re not qualified to do. If you start doing that with your kids, early and often, if you reward them for failing and make a face when all they get is the same grades as last time, then your kid gets the message.

But if the message is you need to go to a famous college, which means you need to get good SAT scores, which means you need to get A’s, which means you need to do what the teacher says, then why are we surprised when the kid is 25 and says, “No one came to the placement office to hire me.” They’re unemployed. It’s because we never taught them to be free-range kids.

I’m ranting. Sorry.

John:  No, this is excellent. I like the free-range kid idea, letting them get into trouble, letting them go out and do what they need to do. What’s next for you? Have you another project that you’re working on? What’s coming up?

Seth: Every day is what’s next for me, so I am thrilled and privileged to be here. We are cooking up some things in the office that I hope to be able to talk about soon, but right now, this now is the best now that we’re going to get for a really long time. I’m really into this now.

John:  That sounds great. Seth, thanks for sharing some time with us.

Seth:  A pleasure. Good to see you.