On Sunday, I ran 10 miles without stopping, save for a quick pee on the bushes surrounding the Kennedy Center (more on that later). Yes, this Michael James Barber and all 235 pounds of me ran an average pace of 10:45 per mile for almost two solid hours in the Cherry Blossom 10 Mi Race.
life Archives - michaeljbarber
I (re)married my parents this past week. It was an experience I will never forget.
Five years ago I moved to Phoenix. It seems like only yesterday when I packed my bags at UofA, loaded up my car and drove 100 miles north to a city I had never visited, save for the few job interviews the month or two previous.
I didn’t ever expect to feel like I was a part of this city. After all I had no roots here and Phoenix has a severe lack of that community feeling that I’d grown to love in Tucson and San Diego. I saw Phoenix as an easy place to start my life and save myself from having to crawl back to the comforts of my Mum and Dad in Southern California.
But something happened. I grew to love this city, and I hope in some small way it grew to love me.
Next week I’ll be calling Los Angeles my home for the most part (more on that later). It has been an incredible few years filled with not only enormous personal growth, but success for many of my friends, family, colleagues and employers. I would be remiss to not take a second and thank some of those people for their friendship and guidance.
Employers and Colleagues
My Sitewire Family – Bret Giles, Margie Traylor and the entire team at Sitewire were the best thing to happen to me in the early days of my Internet marketing career. I learned some of the most important life and business-related lessons there, and made lifetime friendships with many of my colleagues. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Emarketing/Nomadic/PrizeLogic – While I worked some of the longest hours in my career at Emk/Nomadic/PrizeLogic, I enjoyed every minute it. The team there are some of the smartest & most creative brains I’ve ever encountered, and I’m also lucky enough to still call many of them friends.
Mighty Interactive/Off Madison Ave – Jay Baer and the folks over at Mighty/OMA gave me my first marketing internship. I talked about that internship experience in a previous post. It was a tremendous opportunity to learn from the ground up from many of the smartest digital minds in the space including Jay, Chris Sietsema, Chris Book, Maggie Young, Jenna Broadbent, Megan Sandidge and many more. Again, many of my colleagues there are still close friends and mentors in the own right.
I am forever indebted to my mentors including Bret Giles, Scott Kaufmann and Jay Feitlinger. These men were always there to point me in the right direction, lend a helping hand or tell me when I was flat out wrong. Many of them not only were sources of sage advice, but employed me and gave me the financial means to enjoy life.
The Ignite Phoenix Team
No words can describe my admiration for my fellow Ignite Phoenix Team members including Jeff Moriarty, Oden Hughes, Matthew Petro, Jana Knapp, Dannie Moriarty, Erika Delemarre, Alan Dayley, Brian Carson and Andy Woodward. This team has worked the butts off to bring one of the best community building programs the Valley has ever seen. I simply love the team and the platform we have helped to build.
Last, but by no means least. I am immensely lucky to have an incredible circle of great friends. You all know who you are, and I look forward to more laughs, beers, glasses of wine and dinners in the near future.
Thanks again, Phoenix. The last five years have been a great run, and I look forward to the next five.
A few weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to join Kade Dworkin on his meetmyfollowers podcast site. The concept for the podcast series is simple. Each day Kade posts a new interview with one of his social network followers. If you don’t know Kade, take some time to introduce yourself. He is a knowledgeable, down to earth type of guy who is sincerely interested in the happenings of your life. He has channeled this interest into meetmyfollowers and I love the concept.
It’s 3:43am and I’m still awake. I’m sick, sore throat, running a fever, green snot, the whole kit and caboodle. This isn’t the greatest week to get sick. We are launching a phase two build of USAEnergyGuide.com (but it might as well be an entirely new site) later tomorrow, my parents are arriving on Thursday, Ignite Phoenix 7 on Friday and then I’m off to Southern California for FashionCampLA on Saturday.
And, then I look over and see this.
McDoogle asleep on his bed. Not a care in the world. Just dreams of kibble and treats, scratchies and play time. He reminds not to worry to much about my current worldly troubles and remember the simple things that make you smile and laugh. Looking over and seeing him is one of those simple things. I need to remember to enjoy the simple things more often.
Last night I attended the first PechaKucha Phoenix event, and I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed it.
If you don’t know about the format, it’s based on a simple idea: 20 images for 20 seconds. Similar to Ignite, the presentations are quick and to the point, but, dissimilar to Ignite, the topics focus solely on design and its related subjects. Think user experience, architecture, photography, information architecture, art…more creative subjects.
Attendees saw presentations ranging from Nan Ellin, an ASU Professor of Urban Planning who has worked to bring the Canalscape project to life, to user experience legend, Robert Hoekman Jr, who gave his opinion on what usability testing actually helps web strategists do, to Cyd West, who is helping to understand and better define Phoenix’s DNA.
Kudos to the organizing team and crew for putting on what looks to be like an event that is here to stay. If you have any interest in all things design, I’d encourage to attend the next PechaKucha Phoenix.
If you’re my friend on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you have probably noticed the big orange letters and black stripe on my profile image. They are there to show my support for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s MS Awareness Week. One of the cornerstones of the Awareness Week campaign is to share your story. Here’s mine.
My Story is My Dad.
My Dad has been diagnosed with MS for the better part of the last decade. Like many MS sufferers, his symptoms began with numbness in different parts of his body. After ignoring the issues for months, he went temporarily blind one afternoon. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was suffering from one of the tell tale symptoms of MS, optical neuritis. An MRI or two later doctors delivered the diagnosis of relapsing remitting MS.
Since then my Dad has really been a trooper for the most part. He changed his diet, starting working out, lost 50 pounds, quit smoking cigarettes (he still regularly indulges in a cigar) and gained a whole new perspective on life. Yes, the disease has taken its toll. He walks around with a cane these days. He bought a Segway to get around the house and I spent the better part of two weeks wheeling him around the cobbled streets of Italy. But, I suppose this all comes with the territory.
You have to understand the Barber men a little more to know that being diagnosed with anything is devastating. We hate being sick, we hate pain and over dramatize it and we love sympathy. So he soaks up as much sympathy as people will dish out, but I have to give it to him. For the most part, he has taken the diagnosis in stride and done everything he can to fight the disease including travelling to Costa Rica to receive experimental stem cell treatment.
He received that treatment less than a month ago and is already seeing dramatic improvement including hot and cold sensations in his hands and feet, something he hasn’t experienced in 5+ years. He even got a common cold last week which is actually good news. It means his immune system is normalizing.
While it is generally good news for my Dad, there are thousands of people suffering from MS that aren’t so lucky. Many of them have more aggressive forms of the disease or haven’t been as lucky to receive the cutting edge treatments that my Dad has pursued. If for nothing else, MS Awareness week aims to help those individuals and bring a larger light to this life-altering disease.
How can you help?
If you are want to help MS Awareness Week, here are a few ways you can show your support.
- Create a ribbon for Facebook profile pic: http://twibbon.com/cause/National-MS-Society-3/facebook
- Create a ribbon for your Twitter profile pic: http://twibbon.com/join/National-MS-Society-3
- Got some spare change? Consider a donation: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/donate/index.aspx
- More info on MS Awareness Week: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/get-involved/events/ms-awareness-week/index.aspx
- Hear more stories from those afflicted with MS at http://wekeepmoving.org
Has MS affected your life? If so, share your story in the comments. Or, considering writing a post of your own.
At least I’m breathing
At least I’m alive
As long as I’m dreaming
Everything’s going to be all right
In my short 25 years on earth, I have been reminded how precious life is more this year than any other. Between losing one friend to a drug overdose, two friends to suicide and almost losing another to cancer, the fragility of life is ever present in my mind.
In the past, I often found myself thinking about the future. Thoughts about when will this happen or where will I be in 6 months, a year or 5 years down the road. I think it’s a marketer’s curse in life to be more forward thinking. While I doubt it’s not the only cursed profession, we are constantly being asked to build campaigns for the future, set strategy for next month, next quarter, next year or understand our consumer’s future opinions of our brands.
If there is anything the past 11 or so months have taught me, it is that future goals and plans are great to ponder and put to paper, but you never know what’s on the horizon. Life is fleeting .
So, in honor of Tweetsgiving, I’m thankful for today, for the ability to simply breathe in and out, be right here at this moment, writing this post and listening to Lady Gaga tell me about a Bad Romance.
I hope you all have a safe and restful Thanksgiving, and if have a couple of extra bucks to spare please donate to Epic Change’s Tweetsgiving by clicking on the button below.
About a year ago, I came across the story of Stephanie and Christian Nielson through a mutual friend and former colleague, Andrew Bagley. Stephanie, the popular “mommy” blogger behind the NieNie Dialogues, and her husband, Christian, were traveling back from a family trip when they were involved in a private airplane crash (Today Show story here). Their flight instructor was killed and both suffered serious burns; Stephanie’s being more extensive.
I’m not quite sure why, but I felt an immediate connection to Stephanie. It could have been because my first recollections of pain were from serious burns that I experienced as child or the passionate love for her children she illustrates through her posts that reminds me of my Mum’s love for my sister and I. Alas, it could have also been related to my general nature as a complete softy.
Regardless of why, I followed Stephanie and Christian’s recovery through Twitter conversations, her family members’ blogs and then Stephanie’s when she returned to writing a few months ago. Though I have never met Stephanie or Christian, I have often cheered their successes and shed a few tears during their set backs. It’s odd to have such deep feelings for people who you have never shared more than casual interactions through their writing, and one that can only be somewhat explained through one of my favorite blogger’s, Leisa Reichelt, theory of Ambient Intimacy. Leisa describes Ambient Intimacy as, “being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible.
Social networks and the tools built around them are giving everyone participating levels of ambient intimacy with people we have never seen before. As Leisa mentions, Twitter gives us the chance to find out what people are doing at any given moment of the day, Flickr lets us see the world through other people’s eyes, event-based networks such as Upcoming show us where people might be going and Yelp gives us the likes and dislikes of everyone leaving reviews. We suddenly know more about individuals we follow than their own personal friends or family might now, and this creates significant levels of intimacy. Sometimes this intimacy can leave one feeling sad as David Armano wrote about when he heard about the passing of Megan Porter, and other times we feel uplifted as I felt when I read about Stephanie climbing a nearby mountain to celebrate one-year of life after the accident.
Ambient intimacy is an interesting theory and definitely needs more exploration. As social networks evolve, it will become more important not only to how humans interact on them, but also how brands apply the theory to humanize themselves.
What are you thoughts on ambient intimacy? Is it a bunch of hodgepodge or does it explain the emotions we feel for those who we only have a digital relationship with? How could brands apply this theory to humanize themselves across the social web?
(photo by Serge K. Feller)