XO: Tension


Three separate occasions today my wife asked if everything was alright. Hinting at the struggle of playing off the tense notion that was in my voice. I woke up on schedule, went to work, worked my tail off at the office, and the day played on. Continue reading

XO: Nehemiah Fest


*Stretches*

It feels good to be in comfortable skin again.

Once upon a time, many, many years ago my favorite time of the year was the summer. It wasn’t due to school being out, pool parties, or even family vacations. As cheesy as the notion sounds, it all revolved around two events: church camp and mission trips. Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: Shocking Results


Currently: I’m sitting in a car waiting for Darco to get out of work. My mind is preparing what a “portfolio” looks like for my business life.

Why?

I have an interview tomorrow afternoon. It’s specifically about social media, SEO, and all those fun analytical toys. Naturally, I’d need to use the Kansas City Shock as my example. So, I started finding clippings of the Shock throughout the news world (as of which it turns out there is a lot), and then I did something ‘daring’ in my book.

I put my pride on the line and typed ‘Kansas City Shock’ into Google (quotes omitted), after I signed out of my Google account.

Page one, the Kansas City Shock, in literal context is page one of Google search.

So, hoping to destroy my pride I typed ‘Kansas City women’s soccer’ and searched.

Now follow me here:
The Kansas City Shock first appeared on page two. Page one was dominated by FC Kansas City and the National Women’s Soccer League. Neither of these things surprised me.

Here’s where things get interesting. The National Women’s Soccer League is maintained by the US Soccer Federation; talk about the big guns with unlimited resources with plenty of insight knowledge in their analytics department. Not to mention the media inherently flock to the organization. The same holds true locally with FC Kansas City. It’s no secret the Kansas City Shock is the step-child of women’s soccer in Kansas City. If no one else, the local media (bloggers), have done a great job highlighting that. Understand that the Kansas City Shock has roughly 1200 ‘Likes’, 1200 ‘Followers’, and 450 ‘+1’s’. Unfortunately this is minimum compared to 70K, 80K, and beyond of Facebook.

So why am I excited?

Because our social media strategy is working. We are the little kid on the block, but yet our information can be found halfway through page two on Google with such a broad search.

Are you connecting the dots?

Social media is the great equalizer when creating a ‘reach’ to the public.

One news organization, $10, a website, and a cell phone and yet this program is running with the ‘big kids’.

What is my presentation going to look like tomorrow?

Gentlemen, I’d like to ask you to try something. Open your cell phone browser and type “Kansas City Shock”, I’d like to tell you a story…

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Better Block


I had the most fascinating day today.

…if you’ve ever in my life time have made a comment about me and the involvement of politics please save your ‘I told you so’ for later…

This morning my girlfriend, Dur, and myself found ourselves deep in Kansas City, Missouri at our favorite location on an early Wednesday morning; 1 Million Cups. This is my first day going out in the world since being sick and we made it one wild day. After an hour there, and spending some time talking to some business friends of ours we split to Blanc burger to enjoy some quality food from Kansas City.

Afterwards [and some coffee later] Dur was dropped off for work, and my girlfriend and I went to an event in our city that we were curious about: Better Block.

The concept of Better Block is unique:

Take an area of a downtown area [like a city block] and spruce it up; clean up some downtown storefronts and invite local businesses to ‘rent out’ the area for day and practically throw a festival. The final product is to show citizens what a rebuilt, lively downtown can look like. Given the city I live in is older than Kansas City; it could be royally sweet if cleaned up correctly. My girlfriend and I got a tour of some of the buildings [none of which I had ever been in] and the creativity within this city on the architectural side is breath taking.

Prior to this, we had, had a meeting in the regional development office for a few hours and taking the knowledge from the Kansas City Shock; myself and my significant other introduced ideas of social media influence, soccer concepts for the festival, and even the introduction of some of the start up businesses we work with in Kansas City.

We caught the ear of the right person.

Walking to the buildings from the meeting I was able to walk with the director for the regional development office. We spent some time going over my past, the city, and then we entered into politics; both of us being political science students in college. By the time we had entered the first building my questions had been answered, my foot was in the door, and this much had become evident:

I’m entering the world of politics.

I’m on the planning board for Better Block, working with the media director, and am also going to start plugging this group into our connections within the Kansas City area. Imagine if the ideas of innovation and development in Kansas City spread to our neck of the woods, it’d be continued development for the entire region. Needless to say, my head is busting with ideas, concepts, and the overall irony of how my life has played out.

Those closest to me, reading this, combined with the events of the Kansas City Shock are sitting back knowing what all of this is:

The first step.

-D-

O: Approval


Today was pleasant. For the first time in quite some time; I didn’t wake up with soccer on my mind. Sure, it’s filed away somewhere in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t the immediate thought when I got out of bed.

I spent the morning enjoying some eggs and pancakes with my girlfriend, talking about our double date last night, traveling, relocating some day, and just talking life.

No soccer.

I didn’t do it on purpose; I just awoke with the idea of enjoying company with those around me who deserve not to hear about ‘work/passion’ for a few moments. After my girlfriend left for work; I actually sat down and planned out meals for the two of us for the next week [that way we continue to aim at eating healthy and being financially smart], and then hit the store for some groceries.

Afterwards; I found myself at my parents house just talking about everything from “Duck Dynasty”, to deer hunting, to taking jet ski’s from Portland, Oregon to the Bering Straight, to eventually soccer, technology, and my future [we're a very dynamic group of people]. All over a pot of homemade chili [with deer meat].

Most of the night it was just myself and MC. Jim had been out hunting and was spending a good amount of time getting a deer hoisted up in a tree to air out for the night; prior to processing it tomorrow. I was upfront with MC, similar with my girlfriend last night, about the breakdown I had last night of just not always having answers to these new concepts that continue to pop up around me.

The new women’s team in Kansas City has changed a lot, but the one thing it interestingly did not affect was my business plan. I’m explaining to MC how I know God still expects me to push for this program because even though a new program is in the same area, the plan of action I had all along wasn’t affected. I talked about some of the phone calls I’ve had this week and last, I spoke of college coaches, showcases, politics, and the past two days I’ve spent in the city of Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

Selfishly; I spent hours just catching my parents up on what has been going on in the past week. I’ve come to the realization that those closest to me, including friends and family, don’t fully understand the magnitude of what exactly it is that I’m directly and indirectly involved with. Inside the town that my parents live, it is completely expected. However, for years I’ve been trying to find ways to get my parents approval on the job choices that I make, the life choices that I’ve chosen, and showing them that I really am trying to make a difference. After several years of this process, I finally heard it tonight when MC stated:

I’m just blown away by the type of people that you’ve spoken with these past two weeks.

She got it. She gets it. She understands that this is no longer some anxious expedition and wish; this idea is very real, and very life changing.

With the Shock doing what it does; there are some big things that are in motion and I can only, safely say this: when the first domino falls, there is going to be a chain reaction within the Kansas City area that is going to be mind-blowing awesome. I can’t express with words how thrilled I am to see some of these things coming together. “Shock the world” is going to take on a very, very real meaning. To be a part of it, and to know that God is doing incredible things; it’s a testimony that I could only dream up as a child. I would have never imagined that I’d be living this life. I mean, good grief, I spoke on the phone with Amy Jo Martin! In my book, that’s a once in a lifetime deal!

On the other hand, there has been a new development. With the Kansas City Shock comes the fact that I’ve built a program, a soccer team through social media before physically having a real program. Kind of trippy if sit and think that through. However, even after a diagnostic from an SEO and social marketing company in Kansas City, it’s evident that we’re still running a very, very strong market with social media [we got a grade of an 'A']. I’ve explained this to people over time, including the several business owners that I’ve spoken to in recent days. That’s when an interesting thought came up:

Well, would you be willing to help us set up our social media feeds?

It never dawned on me, but within two days I had four companies asking me for assistance in their social media department. Social media is free, but the ‘cost’ is the time that is put into it. Anyone who sees behind the scenes with the Kansas City Shock knows that the amount of time that we’ve invested into social media is staggering. That’s what’s required for that kind of success. Now, I’m looking at these four companies; trying to figure out how to incorporate them into a ‘business package’ [?] and building their interface from the ground up. However, if we’re keeping track that would mean: field consultant for corporate Subway, owner of Kansas City Shock, L.L.C, and social media design? That’s a lot of balancing, and currently; I don’t exactly know how to do it. MC made a comment that shook me a bit, and it’ll require some serious thought [and more serious prayer].

All of that said; I think back on a photo that I saw on Facebook today:

I think I can officially say that, that sums up the direction of my life. I don’t think the word “comfortable” was designed to exist within my life.

-D-

O: Bigger Than Myself


I’ve been told that in order to be more ‘web-savvy’ that I need more pictures.

Which can translate to this: people still struggle to read.

Photo: Indeed @pillarmusic love today! #IAmFireProof

Not. Cool. [maybe some day this'll be a meme...]

Regardless of the pointless intro to this piece; I’ve been conjuring over the past two days how exactly I wanted to entitle this entry, what to write, and how to do it tastefully, truthfully, without giving away too much.

I think back to the words of our Director of Media with the Shock;

…this is an ordained program…

Spooky, eh?

Part of the thing that I love about ownership is being able to sit down with our crew and just chat; sometimes 1-0n-1, biweekly as a team, and it ranges from our standard business meetings, to just asking how their lives our. I cannot express to you the amount of joy that I get from doing that.

A few weekends ago I found myself at The Roasterie; a coffee shop with a few locations in Kansas City [and also a DC-3 hanging outside their main building], for the first time. I was meeting with our Director of Media to discuss the face lift that our website needs, and making sure that we’re on the same page. I’m rarely in her neck of the woods, so I wanted to be sure to take full advantage of it. We spoke on work for a while, but more so the personal imagery that is associated with the Shock, and that’s when the quote above came to life.

In the business world it can sometimes be a hard task to stand firm to your calling, cause, and in this event; ministry. I’ve learned over the past several weeks that business is very cutthroat and the amount of business owners with integrity [let alone staff] is dwindling at a rapid pace.

Even though I’ve received some flak from those around me about my involvement with the Kansas City Shock [primarily Christians interestingly enough]. I tell you the truth; I can’t stop. Weeks like last week were too much for me to simply admit that everyone is right, “God doesn’t do business unless it is in a church…” and walk away.

I’d rather be stubborn. We all know from the beginning that this soccer program was unique to itself; it manifested from the mind of a guy that had a lot going on in his life. Now, I think we’re just getting started. In the past week, as I made mention prior; I’ve been talking to some rather important people in the social media world, along with team owners. I’ve learned plenty, and have scaled back a bit on my rants via social media. However, when I start to look at the grand picture of this program and what it can entail; sorry world, but I won’t deny God. It’s not worth it; there is the potential to reach out to not just a few, but hundreds, thousands of people with this story and be able to say that the only reason we exist and thrive, is due to the uncharacteristic nature of things we cannot explain. Meaning; I don’t know how anything happens, but God is in control.

While typing this, I received a letter from our league office. The only time I receive letters from the league; they want payment of some sort. Let the good times roll.

I challenge you; go ahead and follow the Kansas City Shock on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ (sign up for Google+ first), and just watch things take place that none of us [primarily myself] will be able to understand. In the end, we’ll just sit back and say the same thing:

God is good.

-D-