Sam Harrelson





Do We Really Want Our Government Run Like a Business? | Sojourners

In the Easter sermon at my own church, the priest commented that Jesus was killed by the 1 percent, in the form of an empire that exploited its citizenry for the sake of profit and growth. While this sentiment might not be surprising where I live in liberal Northern California, it’s also present throughout the Bible. President Trump, whose own religious beliefs remain puzzling, vague, and nearly impossible to parse even among theologians and religion journalists, has repeatedly pushed policies that are the opposite of many of Christ’s messages even in his short time in office.

Source: Do We Really Want Our Government Run Like a Business? | Sojourners


Good advice

I recommend this whole post for people starting out in a creative venture or pursuing a lifelong passion as a vocation or for profit:

Be humble, but always try to exceed expectations. When you accept an invitation to do a talk, or do a work for a commission, do something that’s a stretch, and then do it so well that it looks like it was easy. This can mean doing way more work in a small amount of time than people think should be possible, or learning a whole new technology to do a crazy idea.

via Too much advice – Zach Gage – Medium


Googling Inside Your Church

Fascinating piece on Google Maps history and possible directions…

So Google likely knows what’s inside all of the buildings it has extracted. And as Google gets closer and closer to capturing every building in the world, it’s likely that Google will start highlighting / lighting up buildings related to queries and search results.

This will be really cool when Google’s/Waymo’s self-driving cars have AR displays. One can imagine pointing out the window at a building and being able to see what’s inside.

via Google Maps’s Moat


The power of looking ahead

Never get so caught up in the past and present that you fail to see what’s ahead. Vision is a powerfully lucrative skill if you’re crazy enough to think you can change the world.

From 1992…

How rich is this lode? At one end of the spectrum is John Sculley, the chief executive of Apple Computer Inc., who says these personal communicators could be “the mother of all markets.”

At the other end is Andrew Grove, the chairman of the Intel Corporation, the huge chip maker based in Santa Clara, Calif. He says the idea of a wireless personal communicator in every pocket is “a pipe dream driven by greed.”

via The Executive Computer – ‘Mother of All Markets’ or a ‘Pipe Dream Driven by Greed’? – NYTimes.com


Meetings aren’t the answer.

Something we should all remember regardless of our line of work…

Meetings aren’t the answer. Creating the right environment is.

via March to NL Central crown just might be Joe Maddon’s best work as Cubs manager


How should we regulate Facebook and Google’s advertising platforms?

So how does Facebook’s ad system work? Well, just like Google, it’s accessed through a self-service platform that lets you target your audiences using Facebook data. And because Facebook knows an awful lot about its users, you can target those users with astounding precision. You want women, 30–34, with two kids who live in the suburbs? Piece of cake. Men, 18–21 with an interest in acid house music, cosplay, and scientology? Done! And just like Google, Facebook employed legions of algorithms which helped advertisers find their audiences, deliver their messaging, and optimize their results. A massive ecosystem of advertisers flocked to Facebook’s new platform, lured by what appeared to be the Holy Grail of their customer acquisition dreams: People Based Marketing!

via Lost Context: How Did We End Up Here? – NewCo Shift

I’m really torn on this one. John Battelle here (a tech publishing veteran who knows a good deal about online advertising) argues for more regulation and transparency of Facebook and Google’s advertising platforms.

I’ve seen how both Facebook and Google’s advertising platforms can work wonder for good causes like the nonprofits, religious group, and community organizations that are our clients. It’s wonderful to see the way that we can work miracles (hyperbole) to create new reach, fundraising, and awareness campaigns for these groups on a limited budget using Facebook Ads and AdWords. In the past, that would have required them to spend exponentially more on marketing and advertising. But now, we can help these groups grow on a shoestring. That’s a good thing.

However, we are at an inflection point.

I agree with Battelle on a theoretical layer, but there’s also the notion of democratic capitalism and the need to allow markets to flourish or wither based on their own actions (does our democracy value ethics, morality etc the same as it has and what does that mean for advertising?).

On the other hand, there are other advertising platforms that are major players in Asia and will be major players on a global scale soon such as Alibaba and Tencent and Rakuten. If we hamstring Google and Facebook, do we run the risk of advertisers abandoning those platforms for greener global pastures?

On the other hand, Russia interfered with our Presidential election and it’s no secret that politicians and special interest groups are doing bad things with these platforms.


Working Through Fears

Whether you’re starting your own business or non-profit or trying to make an existing one feasible as a “job,” the fear that you encounter at 4am as you do the week’s invoicing and receipts in your head can be staggering. I know, I’ve definitely been there in the low tides of “working for yourself.”

Our mind tries to trick us into being more cautious and avoiding the risk associated with such endeavors (often for good reasons). But if you can step outside of your own mind and observe the fears associated with “starting up,” you can make powerful realizations about your own abilities and potential.

Good read:

We can limit and hold ourselves back with our beliefs. In my case, I really believed I would be judged for what I was doing. For a while, I operated almost entirely on referrals. While I did excellent work, I didn’t have an active lead generation plan in place because that would mean showing up on social media and letting my friends and family know what I was up to. I convinced myself that people would make fun of me and my business, and I allowed that fear to hold me back to the point that while I was home for Thanksgiving last year, I even considered taking a family friend’s advice to leave Bali and “get a real job.”

Thank goodness I found a way to work through my fears and stick to my guns! There will always be haters, but at the end of the day, the people who matter will support you: between my social media and email list, I now have over 10,000 business owners following my work.

via How This 23-Year-Old Makes Six Figures From Her Online Business – And Helps Others Do The Same


Changing Conceptions of Work

NPR reported today: “Full-time employees have become the last resort. Companies will do anything to hire part-time, short-term, or contract positions.” In addition: “More and more people who are full-time employees need second jobs or side gigs in order to make ends meet.” Our world is not the same as it has been. The changing dynamics of the economy and the changing idea of what it means to work is changing young professionals.

via Why this Labor Day is Different – Merianna Neely Harrelson

Not to mention the imminent and radical shift coming to industries (particularly in the service area) from automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced robotics.


What Time Should We Post to Our Facebook Page?

I get this question quite often, especially from churches and non-profits:

“What time of the day should we post to our Facebook page to make the most impact?”

It’s a tough question to answer given the number of variables and because every church/group has a different set of Facebook followers and likes. You’ll find a number of posts on the web giving you suggestions as well (such as this one from CoSchedule). However, churches and non-profits are different beasts than companies, so you have to keep that in mind when finding a good time for your posts.

Here are a few graphs we put together from four different churches and non-profits we work with at Harrelson Agency (anonymous and with their permission). The graphs display the times when the fans of a Facebook Page are using Facebook on their computer, iPad or mobile device over the span of the last month on average. All have relatively the same size of Facebook audiences (and are close to the same size in terms of members).

This is completely anecdotal data, but it looks like the peak time for the most users being online is around 9 PM (that’s especially true on the weekends). Some days like Mondays had fewer users on Facebook but the graphs display a pretty interesting average over the past month. So if you’re looking for the most immediate eyeballs, the afternoon into the evening is a better bet than first thing in the morning or into the late evening (though there are some advantages to that as well).

So take from that what you will… I think it’s pretty interesting. Keep in mind that there is a great deal of variance and data points to employ if you’re looking to come up with a specific marketing plan around Facebook posts. This is just to provide a rough approximation based on a data set that I came across and thought was intriguing.

And you should probably not post an important update at 3 AM.


Social Media Legal Mistakes that Small Businesses and Non-Profits Make

Don’t use Google Images as a database for your social media posts, even if you’re a small business, non-profit or (worse) church. Just this past month I ran into this situation and it ended up costing the non-profit money they didn’t have to cover the expense.

Make sure the person or agency in charge of your social media presence is aware of your concern…

If your social media agency isn’t trained in the legal ramifications of social media activity, you can still be held liable if the posting is done from your account. I spoke with three leading social media attorneys for a rundown on the legal mistakes you are making on social media and how to avoid them.

via 13 Social Media Mistakes That Could Result in Legal Trouble | Observer