This is Jim Phelps's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Jim Phelps's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Jim Phelps
Northern California
Recent Activity
Image
Have you ever been working on a project that just wouldn't let you go? When you're into it, you lose track of time, you're hyper-focused, consumed? And, when you're away from it the details of the project are always front and center in your mind? It's hard to not let your enthusiasm show. Either you find yourself walking into walls because all you can see are the possibilities; and, despite the bloody nose caused by those darned walls, a smile worthy of a Crest commercial is plastered below your nose 24/7. Friends and family constantly come to you and say,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2010 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
When it comes to certain things, some people are just "snake-bit". You know, nothing goes right or as it should; or certain disaster will come crashing down if a particular course is taken (and all others who take that course do just fine). Kind of like the Brooklyn Dodgers. They went 50+ years without a World Series win. It was just a given: the Yankees would beat them back across the bridge every time. The Dodgers were snake-bit. At least until 1955 - when they pulled off the miraculous and beat their well manicured rivals from the Bronx. February is... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2010 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
I thought this post really complemented yesterday's Creative Detox. It's by Ryan Healy, a direct response copywriter based in Denver. He has a lot of great information on his blog, Business Growth Strategies. I encourage you to check it out! Creativity is vital for any idea worker. But it’s easy to let creativity die. We get stuck reading the same things, thinking the same things, doing the same things in the same ways we’ve always done them. Doesn’t matter where you live. A guy in New York can watch the same TV programming in San Francisco. A guy in Fargo,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2010 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
According to a recent study by the The Kaiser Family Foundation, our kids (age 8-18) are packing in an average of nearly 11 hours of media every day. This is up just over 3 hours per day since 1999. So, how do they get all this media stuffed into their heads? Especially when they go to school, hang out with friends and still need 10 hours of sleep? Media multi-tasking. Imagine this: your 16 year old is writing a report at the family computer. As she's doing so, her ears are plugged into her iPod and there's a hulu bug... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2010 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
Know thyself, says the Oracle... Some self-reflection or introspection is always a good thing in small doses. Too much and analysis paralysis sets in. Too little and we can sometimes find ourselves way off course. But, sometimes when the winds of change blow, we find our true direction. In knowing ourselves, it's helpful to understand what "type" of creative we are. Based on experiencing a lot of people over time, and through a lot of research, I've come to the conclusion there are five basic types of creative. My thinking is that 99% of all people fit into one of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2010 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
We know a good story when we hear one. It’s instinctive. But, what are the elements that comprise a good business story? Not surprisingly, there a number of attributes that are universal—and there are also some very specific elements that should not be included, while others that must be included. Here is the DNA of what makes for an effective narrative. Engagement: The Lead The lead includes two distinct elements: the headline, and the first paragraph. Both elements must grab the reader by the throat (or heart) and pull them into the story. Both elements also apply to an oral... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2010 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
I read the news today, oh boy... Two items of interest caught my interest this morning. First, in Geoffrey James' Sales Machine blog he posts a story on The Death of Strategic Marketing. According to the market research firm IDC as many as 6,000 tech marketing jobs will have been lost by the end of 2009. Apparently the trend is moving toward merging marketing and sales functions into one united focus. Companies are also moving away from product-line marketing in favor of thematic campaigns that emphasize more diverse solutions. According to James, this trend is important because what's happening in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2010 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
Do you have a slush pile? You know, a file cabinet filled with unfinished projects? I do. And I'm glad I have one. Last week while suffering through a flu-bug that kicked the tar out of me, I woke up in the middle of night, unable to breathe, and re-imagined a novel I wrote 15 years ago. It must have come out of a sleep-deprived haze of sinus muck and aching joints, but I suddenly remembered this book. Back when I actually had energy to spare I wrote a number of novels that, after a few luke-warm attempts to publish,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
There has always been some controversy as to which periods of life we find ourselves to be most creative. Frankly, I think life doesn't really begin until after 30. Maybe 40. The proliferation of technology has blurred this historical reality, though. Stories of techno wizardry from 20-somethings abound. Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google when they were grad students at Stanford during the late 1990's. Bill Gates dropped out of college and started Microsoft. During his mid-20's, Steve Wozniak invented the Apple computer and launched Apple with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne. The work of these men, all in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
While perusing some old updates from B-Net, I found a story by Steve Tobak (The Corner Office blog) about passion. In Finding Your Passion Takes Faith and Sacrifice, he quotes Silicon Valley CEO's Steve Jobs and Bruce McWilliams. Each man gave up something of value to pursue a gnawing sense that they were meant for something else. Jobs quit college and teamed with Steve Wozniak to create the personal computer. McWilliams was a physicist who left a life of science behind to run Tessera, and eventually become its Chairman of the Board. From the article, I appreciated what Steve Jobs... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
Earlier today I wrote about two women who have shown incredible strength, courage and faith in their battle with cancer. Sadly, just hours after I posted that article I learned that one of those women, Danielle, passed away Sunday night. I didn't know Danielle well. I had met her only a few times. My wife, Debbie, was closer to her, having cared for her two small children a few times while she rested and her husband, Keith, could take time to meet with a men's prayer group. Debbie, a healing touch practitioner, also offered her some comfort by giving her... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
It really is a wilderness out there. And, in there. We live in an age of monumental uncertainty. It seems like nothing is within anyone's control. The entire world - even with all our gadgets and collective knowledge - is a wilderness. The moment we step outside the comforts of our homes, we enter uncertainty. We may think we have control, but there is a vast unknown that's always perched on our shoulder. Two women we know have pernicious and debilitating cancers growing through their bodies. Both are under the age of 40. Two years ago most people had a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
If you are, you need to check out my friend Kay Cannon's blog. Kay is an award winning coach who is supremely gifted at helping Type A's produce better results without creating collateral damage. She's also a gifted storyteller. Check out her piece on Tom Wynne's Coal Mining Wisdom. Creative Types are often Type A's. We're driven and passionate. While these qualities are essential, they can also lead us to make decisions that create conflict. It's one thing to have a little creative tension. That's a necessity to the process. It's quite another to create drama (which is a creativity... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
Most people think word of mouth (WOM) advertising is the most effective tool to use to attract interested customers. I think this is true, but with a caveat. WOM is only as good as your story. I was reading Geoffrey James' Sales Machine blog this morning and found his post How to Sell by Word of Mouth. While it's pretty basic, the wisdom is there. Here's a truth to live by: Your customers are not chomping at the bit to tell others about you. I know it seems incomprehensible - you really are fantastic - but, the sad truth is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
I'm kind of a sales profession junkie. I subscribe to a bunch of newsletters and blogs written by sales gurus like Jeffrey Gitomer. I was reading over a new article on Jill Konrath's blog, Selling to Big Companies, when I found an old article that resonated with me this morning, Embracing Rejection is Stupid. She was responding to an article she read in which the author contended that in sales "the results were in the rejections", and "The secret is for each salesperson to realize how much rejection is necessary for success." She didn't buy into that, and neither do... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
I was poking around looking for interesting stuff about work and creativity. A favorite academic in this arena is Teresa Amabile, a Harvard-ite who has studies creativity inside-out. Her post on the Harvard Business School blog about Management Being the Enemy of Creativity is thought-provoking. Although she posted this a year ago, during this time of tumult it's worth re-visiting. Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
"No wine before its time." It's a line from an old television commercial featuring Orson Welles. The idea behind it is that good things often take time to develop. That a great idea must have sufficient time to incubate before it can be given life in the world. Incubation isn't to be confused with inaction. Quite the contrary. In fact, over the course of a project, there may be several times of pulling away and letting the thing simmer in its juices. Kind of like removing a really good steak from the grill and letting it sit for a few... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
My friend Michelle Payne, Executive Coach supreme, is also an advocate for an organization that specializes in helping parents take a priority role in their kid's education. Innovative Education Management made its mark as a champion for the charter school movement in California. Its founder, Randy Gaschler, took a no-prisoners approach to locking horns with the California Department of Education and the other powers that had effectively cut parents out of the loop. One of the things that IEM endorses is the use of Individual Learning Plan. ILP's have been around for a while, and they are commonly used as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
My intention for this blog is to help people. Whether it's gaining insight into their own process, helping people get unstuck, or offering practical ways to approach problem-solving, The Creative Wilderness is intended to give some kind of hope in a fun and interesting way. Since it's my blog, I write about my experiences. I also open it up to other authors whom I think can add value to my reader's experience. I'll be doing more and more of that in the future. Today I introduced a new feature, books that I recommend. Any book that appears in the widget-thing... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
There's no doubt I love our daughter, Shannon. She's 16, smart, funny and wise beyond her years. I learn a lot from her. One of the things I like best about her is that she and her friends will just go ahead and do something if they think it's cool. They don't stop to think about whether it'll sell or not, if people will like it, how hard it might be, etc. If it's cool, they just do it. As adults we sometimes forget about this wisdom. We get burdened with all the practical realities. Much to their credit, 16-year... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
I gave a presentation to a local networking I belong to yesterday. My subject was marketing your business and building your brand by using articles, case studies and white papers. To go with the talk I wrote an article, 28 Ways to Use Articles to Market Your Business, Build Your Brand and Become a Local Legend. Whether you're a corporate type, small business owner, solopreneur or artist, articles, case studies and white papers are great tools. Like the article says, there are a whole slew of ways to use them. A billion years ago when I was just starting out,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
I know the rules. Blog every day. Write something every day. Be disciplined. Have a routine. I know this stuff is true. When I work on a big project, like a novel, writing daily is essential. Momentum matters, even when all I'm writing is crap. But, every now and then, you just need to take a break. I made that choice after the Treasure Island Festival. It wasn't so much the Festival, but all the time I had to think about stuff while I was wandering around feeling self-conscious in my Polo hoodie. So, I took some time over the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
I had to ask myself: what was I, a middle-aged, gray-bearded, straight-as-an-arrow dude doing standing in the crowd as The Flaming Lips entered the stage from, ahem, a gynecological wonder. Um, don't ask. Let's just say they birthed their party in a most unusual fashion. So, with confetti cannons blasting and great big balloons bouncing about the crowd, the band playing songs I'd never heard before, and the two college kids in front of me sparking a joint, I just gave in and enjoyed the show. And, it was a good show. A multimedia miasma of guitars, video and bits... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
Inspiration is a strange thing. It comes at the oddest times and in the strangest places. It's like lightning. It strikes and we stand back in awe and wonder and say, "Wow, isn't that beautiful and exciting?" Or, "Wow, isn't that beautiful and scary?" Ideas are like that, too. Great ideas are beautiful, exciting and scary. Anything innovative and new, something that takes us away from our comfort zones, will generate excitement and a little fear. The exciting and scary part is acting on the idea. That's catching lightning in a bottle. The moment we act on the idea, we... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness
Image
Mother Nature was howling the other night. A sub-tropical storm whacked us here in northern California dumping 3-6 inches of rain and gusting winds up to 80 mph in some places. The electricity blinked out at 5pm and didn't come back on until 4am. Within a couple of hours my wife and I realized that we were a couple of electricity addicts. We missed our cup of hot tea. Microwave popcorn. Television. Lamp light. Hot water. The internet. I know, we're a couple of real wimps. We don't complain when we go camping. But, we expect to rough it. It's... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2009 at The Creative Wilderness