Trial By Mob and the New Social Media

Tennessee is looking for a football coach. Again. And in this sordid tale lies a lesson in all of us that portends the future.

After five lousy years, the University of Tennessee fired its football coach and after an extensive search, this past weekend they offered the job to Greg Schiano. Since 1995 Mr. Schiano has been a head coach at Rutgers University and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an assistant at Ohio State and Miami as well as the Chicago Bears. Prior to 1995 he was an assistant at Penn State for Joe Paterno. And Joe Paterno was the guy that turned a blind eye to another assistant coach, Jerry Sanduskey and allowed him to get away with molesting young boys for years.

Both Joe Paterno and Jerry Sanduskey got what they deserved courtesy a very public blood letting.

Fast forward to this past weekend when the University of Tennessee lets its fans know they’ve hired Mr. Schiano to be their head coach and before you can sing Rocky Top, east Tennessee’s social media went berzerk and blamed Greg Schiano for enabling every bit of Jerry Sanduskey’s child molestation.

“If UT actually cared about us you wouldn’t be getting ready to hire a supporter of child molestation and rape as the new football head coach.”

“Schiano covered up rape at Penn State”

And on and on.

Forget the fact that Greg Schiano was exonerated by the intense legal investigation that followed, or that he was good enough to get hired by two pro teams and two colleges in the years following. He was found guilty by a jury of Twitter and Facebook users and that was enough for the University of Tennessee. Mr. Schiano was fired by the end of the day. And my Dad promptly rolled over in his grave.

Dad was a judge in south Louisiana and he was routinely questioned on the outcome of many a sensational trial. People that had never set foot in his courtroom, much less bothered to read the trial’s transcripts would quickly pronounce judgement based on their skimming of a 500-word newspaper story. They would call him at home, stop him in the grocery store, or yell at him at a traffic light and demand an answer.

His response was always the same. “Were you at the trial because it lasted four and a half days and I don’t recall seeing you in my courtroom.”

So with respect to the University of Tennessee, I’ve got a couple of questions.

Q) Did they properly vet Mr.Schiano?

A) Definitely

Q) Did they anticipate a possible social media response to his Penn State background?

A) Maybe

So why the hell wasn’t someone at the University able to take a stand and tell their social media crowds they’ve done their due diligence and you’re over reacting? Jeez…

Who’s going to take this head coaching job now knowing that they could be fired by a bunch of Twitter users? Heck for that matter, why bother with a coach at all when you could have the fans calling plays from the stands via a Facebook update or an Instagram hashtag?

So what can we learn from this incident? This knee jerk reaction via Facebook isn’t going away so if you’re in a leadership position and you have to make a tough decision, you better be prepared for a possible social media frenzy. And when that happens, unlike the University of Tennessee, you’ll need to stand straight, look directly at the cameras, and respond; “Were you at the trial because it lasted four and a half days and I don’t recall seeing you in my courtroom.”

What Happened on Friday?

Dear Friends and clients of Jack Russell,
Did you lose your internet service or access to an important website this past Friday? You weren’t alone.  Although it sounds like something out of a James Bond movie, a foreign government attacked a multitude of DNS servers and was able to take down a big chunk of the internet. They did this by co-opting tens of millions of online devices, everything from baby monitors to Nest thermostats, and directing those devices to send data to very specific locations.  This was a very sophisticated attack that likely took months to plan and therefore hardly the work of your typical hacker.  Big online sites such as AirBnb, Twitter, Spotify, Woo Commerce, Shopify, etc, were all brought down, some for a few minutes, others for a few hours.  So what does this mean to you and how can you take precautions?
boom

Imagine if you lost your internet service for a week or more? It’d feel like someone dropped a bomb on your business.

First of all, here’s how this happened. Websites have unique online addresses based on a numerical value. These are the IP (internet protocol) addresses. My site, chefjohnmalik, can actually be found at 192.186.219.73
A DNS server translates that numerical value into the web address of chefjohnmalik.com.  When the websites started going down it was because the DNS servers (not the actual websites) were taken offline. 
The downside is that this will probably (definitely) happen again but who knows when? So please think about this.  If you did lose your internet for a day or so, how would your business survive? What could you do today to prepare you for the next outage? What systems could you backup to a local hard drive (not cloud based) that you could still access even if your internet went down?
If you’re one of my restaurant clients, how could you prepare yourself if Open Table went down on a Friday night? Perhaps you can make a paper copy of the night’s reservations on a daily basis?
If you’re in health care or medical, could you do the same thing with your appointments?  Is your POS system online and if so, what could you do if it went down? How would you make a sale?
Now when this does happen again, you might want to try accessing a particular site directly via its numerical value, all you’ll need to do is find it.
If you’re running Windows, just hit the start button, type in “command prompt” and a black box will open
Type in “tracert” then the web address
A search for my IP address would look like this—>  tracert www.chefjohnmalik.com

The IP address is what comes up next to where it says tracing route to chefjohnmalik.com
Here’s a screen shot of my own IP address.
ip-address
So my suggestion is to spend 30 minutes or so finding the IP addresses of your important sites, save those addresses somewhere safe, then if the same thing happens, you can try typing in the IP address which bypasses the DNS servers and perhaps you can still access your most important sites.
And here’s a story from C/Net on the recent web attack.  “That Massive Internet Outage, Explained

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#BritFit

Olly Pierce is one of my clients. Olly is a gym owner, body builder, and a former Mr. South Carolina. He’s fairly well known in the Greenville fitness circle because he’s been at it so long. Olly is also a really good guy and he knows his business like the back of his muscular hands. He loves helping other people make their goals come true, especially if those goals are fitness related.

Several months ago we partnered up and I’ve been doing a variety of work for him including making some videos. Some of these are fun, most are instructional. As his son Aidan prepares for his first body building competition, Olly asked me to create a video on Aidan.  Aidan played football with my son and he’s helped me in the gym; he’s a good kid with a good heart and he obviously enjoys being in the gym.

So here’s the result of our efforts. I think it’s a bit choppy but the clients love it and Aidan is in darn good shape for a 17 year-old kid. Darn good.

Take a look for yourself. And remember, if you’re looking for Social Media services in Greenville, SC, give me a call. (864) 616-7171

Giraffe for Rent in Greenville, SC

One thing’s certain in this brave new world of digital marketing, change. The arc of the social media landscape is as predictable as a handful of popcorn kernels tossed into a hot frying pan. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on the learning curve of social media, some platform throws a monkey wrench into the works and the popcorn starts popping. Right now I’m challenged by LinkedIn wanting to be Facebook, Facebook wanting to replace cable TV, Youtube wanting to be Spotify, and Twitter forgetting what made it cool. Even Instagram has forgotten what made it fun and interesting and so popular.  And Snap Chat? Sorry kids but now that Town & Country Magazine, Huff Post, and your local TV stations have Snap Chat accounts, the end of their cool factor is near.

DSC_0952

Autumn the Giraffe has a new Daddy.

One of my clients recently approached me and wanted to spend a chunk of money and they asked me to find an outlet. The client is Mark Muncy, a well-known Pediatric Dentist in Greer.  Mark’s office is heavily decorated in a jungle motif with parrots, tigers, monkeys, and plenty of tropical green plants. He’s also been known to don the occasional giraffe costume. Hey after all, he’s a Pediatric Dentist. And he’s sort of a big kid. You’d have to be to be in that business.

Dr. Muncy Logo RGB

And this is also my work, along with Curtis Newman and Sonya Brown.

So I thought about his needs, his customers, and how best to reach them. And then I went to the Greenville Zoo and found a huge opportunity for him. As of May 1st, Mark’s office now sponsors the Giraffe Cam and Giraffe exhibit.

Five years ago, heck even a year ago I would’ve come to a different conclusion. A year ago I would’ve spent some money on Google but take a listen, mobile web searches are now taking place in a handful of apps and that’s a trend that’s going to continue. How many of use now Facebook as a search engine without even realizing it?

“Hey friends, where’s the best place to get a tune up on a Lexus sedan?”

Every time you pose such a question on Facebook, a Google programmer gets that much further way from a 12% raise.

So back to those giraffes. Here’s why I think this’ll be a home run for Mark Muncy. The zoo gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a year and most of those are moms with their kids. And the Giraffe Cam gets tens of thousands of hits per month and in the end of the summer, we’ll get a third giraffe, a male that’s coming here to hopefully make giraffe babies with Autumn. Let’s hope, correct?

Plus the Giraffe Cam is so darn cute. I dare you to watch Tatu the baby for less than sixty seconds because you won’t want to miss her doing something baby giraffy.

So how can I help you? Is your business looking for an out of the box cross-promotional opportunity? Then give me a call and we’ll talk. (864) 616-7171. There’s a giraffe out there waiting on you.

Super Chef!

I’m the Chef that knows his way around SEO, Google, Facebook, and a kitchen.

 

 

Concessions

The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart. ~ Robert Green Ingersoll

Who hasn’t tasted defeat? I have and it hurts. I’ve competed in Tae Kwan Do, Cycling, Cooking, and Business. And in these competitive endeavors I’ve often felt well-prepared and ready for battle. Over the years I’ve brought home trophies, medals, glory, newspaper clippings, TV and magazine appearances, grand prizes, and cash. I’ve also brought home wounds, stitches, bruises, and scars of all shapes and sizes.  In one rather memorable NORBA-sanctioned Mountain Bike race, I knew, just knew I would win. I can’t remember being more prepared or more confident than at any time in my life. Then as soon as the starter’s pistol fired, I was waylaid by another rider and hit the ground hard enough to get a mouth full of dirt and gravel embedded in an elbow. I managed to finish in third place.

Ouch

I’ve been humiliated by a trio of kids on a Food Network show that was supposed to be fun entertainment but it sure felt like a winner take all competition to me. So that’s how I approached it. And when the kids overwhelmingly voted for the other chef, wow, did that hurt. Yeah, nothing like having millions of folks watch along as you get your butt handed to you by twelve year-olds.

As I’ve I grown older, I’ve learned to be prepared for defeat. It still hurts but it should also make me stronger, more resilient, and hopefully more gracious. I’ve also helped others compete and I’ve prepared them for victory, and defeat. Because at the end of the day, we have to be ready to accept the outcome. We can’t blame the officials, the fans, the field of play or the opponents. When we compete, we better have a keen understanding of the rules, our teammates, and our own abilities.

Which brings me to Cam Newton.

There’ so much to like about the guy. Of course his athletic abilities are super human and he’s done wonders for the Panthers. And I like his approach to the game. I love the way he signals a first down, the way his cadence can disrupt the opposing team, and the high fives he gives to his fans after a victory. And honestly I can’t remember any pro football player taking that much interest in the fans, or his teammates. At the NFC championship game, he had all the names of his teammates inscribed on his shoes. With respect to children, especially the ones battling a life-threatening illness, he goes above and beyond what any player in my recollection has done. Yeah, there’s a lot to like about Cam.

And then this happened.

Cam sulks jpeg

And we all know it was wrong. But just catch your breath for a minute and understand that Cam is the leader of the team, not the leader of the organization. There’s Jerry Richardson and after that there’s a host of administrative staff; a GM, assistant GM, Director of Player Engagement, Team Administrator, HR Director, and so on. So my question is, did any of these people prepare Cam Newton for defeat? I know, Cam should’ve been more professional and gracious. But the man is 26 years old and he’s just had his butt handed to him in the most important performance of his life. Of course he’s going to be disappointed and dejected.  Plus the NFL decided to cram both teams into the same conference room so he has to listen to the opposing team brag about their victory. The real question is why the heck was he allowed to go in front of the press in such a foul mood? Wasn’t there anyone in the Panthers organization that had prepared him for this moment?

When Apollo 11 lifted off on its way to the moon, President Nixon had a speech ready just in case the astronauts died. And he was prepared to read it. General Eisenhower had a concession speech ready in case the Normandy landings failed. It’s the hallmark of a great leader to prepare themselves.

Physically and mentally, Cam, and the Panthers, were ready to play football. He’s a tough competitor and I have no doubt he walked into that stadium in the best shape of his life. He’s had an amazing year and he’s led his team through adversity and glory. He’s done wonders for the organization yet when he needed the Panthers organization in his corner, they weren’t there.

Are you prepared for defeat? Are your people?

Work hard. Work smart. Know your opponent’s weakness and exploit them. And when all is said and done and you’ve given it your best shot and you still end up in second place, will you throw yourself on the floor and kick and scream? Or will you hold your head high, do a little self-evaluation, then plot your comeback?

Panthers 5

A Case Study in Cookies

I love making people happy.

In late December I bake chocolate chip cookies and bring big plates of them to my clients as a way of saying Thank  You and Merry Christmas. And today I dropped off some to one of my new clients, a law firm. Recently they had found themselves in a tough situation. This particular firm has been around for 20+ years and they’re seen as the old guard in their particular discipline. And for years they would get four or five referrals a month; new clients sent to them by other firms or previous clients. And life was great until about three years ago when their referral rate started to drop off.

Why?

Greenville, SC has grown tremendously in the last five years, likewise all of our town’s industries. The legal profession is no exception. We’ve had all sorts of attorneys move into this town and open up shop without any regard to tradition. They hang a shingle, have a professionally built website, then optimize their sites for Google, Bing, Yahoo. They get on Twitter, Snap Chat or LinkedIn and tell the world who they are and what they do. And they get out to Chamber meetings, sponsor beer tastings, 5K runs, and they blog twice a month. And soon they’re taking away business from the established law firms that have failed to keep up with the 21st century’s preferred forms of communication.

When this established law firm called me, I knew I could help. They didn’t use Facebook, did not utilize LinkedIn, didn’t have web links on their email signatures and they showed up on page seven or eight of Google’s search results. Yikes!  They approached me and asked for some help so I made some recommendations, built some snappy LinkedIn profiles, created a Google+ page and so on.  I also found one of their partners that can write like nobody’s business and set him up on a blogging schedule and we were off to the races. A great writer is key to a solid online strategy because you can blog all you want but if no one’s enjoying your words, they will not share, comment or engage with your blog and you will not get the most out of your SEO strategy. I cannot say this enough: An effective social media strategy requires a solid, creative writer.

It’s been about thirty days since we got everything up and running and today I was delivering those cookies. The paralegal at the front desk smiled broadly when I walked in.

“Oh John, they’re so excited. We got our first client from our Google page this week.”

Wow. I was floored but damn happy, too. And when she saw the cookies, she was doubly excited. And I got a quick thumbs-up from one of the partners as he headed to a conference call.

Social Media Greenville SC

Chocolate Chip, Oat, Malted Milk Cookies. Got Milk?

Now I don’t promise results like this because advertising is something we should look at with the long distance approach of a telescope, not a microscope. Though I do promise cookies at Christmas time.

Perhaps I can help your company. If you’re not getting the results you desire from your social media or you’re just too darn busy to properly manage it, give us a call. We’ll ask the right questions, plan a strategy then get to work. And we’re anonymous. Your customers will believe it’s you on Facebook or Twitter, and not some guy on the other side of town.  Got Milk?

How Can I Make You Happy?

“Is everything OK?”

“No sir, the pico de gallo is a little old.”
“Oh.  Is it mushy?”

“Yeah, it’s actually a lot mushy.”

“Alright.”

And off he went.  All I could do was watch him carry on with his business of wiping down tables and refilling glasses of tea.  What the hell?

I was having lunch at a local Tex-Mex restaurant that I enjoy.  Their food is above-average, their offerings are much more interesting than the frozen and canned offerings served by the numerous $5.99 lunch special “Mexican” factories, and their prices are fair.  I had ordered a side of black beans with my taco basket, and the beans come topped with pico de gallo.  Tooth of the rooster, that’s the translation, pico is usually diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro with salt and pepper.  As I lifted a fork of the beans to my mouth, I smelled something daunting, a strong aroma that was out of place.  I took a small taste and as I rolled the beans and pico around, I took a good look at the tomatoes.  They were covered in a pasty gray film.  I discreetly used my napkin to remove said tomatoes then looked for a staff member, and waited.

draft-taps

How about if I bring you some fresh black beans and pico de gallo and a cold beer to boot?

 

The young man that had delivered my food walked past and that’s when the conversation ensued. And he shrugged his shoulders and carried on.

Why?  Was he not used to someone complaining about the pico or the food?  Had he not been trained in problem solving?  Did he not care?

I was trying to be discreet because there were other people seated near me and I didn’t need to blurt out, “Hey pal, this is spoiled!”  As I said, I like this place and I’ve had many enjoyable meals there.

A minute later my waitress walked past so I smiled and asked for a hand.

“Yes?”

“This pico de gallo is very old.”

“Oh, sorry about that.” And she kept on about her business.

Oh come on people!  Make it right.  Ask the customer, “how can I make you happy?”  There was twenty five cents worth of pico de gallo on my $9.00 lunch and these two kids are about to blow this restaurant’s reputation.  For Pete’s sake, will someone make a decision here.

A minute later she walked past and I stopped her.

“I was trying to be discreet earlier because this pico de gallo is spoiled.  Please throw it out and bring me some fresh black beans with fresh pico de gallo.”

Well that got her attention.  She quickly returned with what I asked for. And I also had my next blog post.

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, your front line people should be trained in conflict management and problem solving.  If your promises are not being delivered, find out why, ask questions, and train your people to take care of business, right now.  Give them permission to solve the problem right then and there.  We don’t need to go get the manager, we can solve this right now.  How can I make you happy? Let me go get you some fresh beans and pico and how about a cold Thomas Creek to go with those beans?

Don’t let a twenty five cent serving of anything derail years of hard work.

Now that that’s off my chest, how may I help you?