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Carry On: Leaders travel light

Carry On: Leaders travel light

When we travel, we pack our bags with our belongings and set out our course, the adventure, the next gig. If it is an over the weekend, short or business trip there is a preference to have a carry on with us with the most important things we need on an immediate basis, such as medicine, a couple of shirts, shoes, underwear, pants, jeans, and trunks if you fancy a dip in the pool or the ocean.  By the way, hello from Puerto Rico! Now, If you are like me, you want to pack your tablet, the music player, the phone, the book reader, a physical book (I like them), chargers for all gadgets, notebooks, and portable gaming device (I still like to play video games.) Then you realize you are packing more than you need. You are willing to take more than you should.

In life, there are times you’re willing to carry things that your don’t need, things that don’t belong to you, or are of no use right now you. 

Most people, including myself, tend to carry stuff from our past. Bad experiences, guilt, things that don’t belong to user did at one point in but are no longer relevant as we’ve moved beyond that.  You’ve had experiences in the past that have formed, molded, changed, and made you grow; Yet, struggle with on a daily basis because they are that heavy baggage which leaves no room for growth.

You need your baggage to be light and carry only the essential, the tools necessary for that trip such as your knowledge and experiences, the good parts and have enough space left to bring something back, with you, to gain, whether it’s more knowledge and a great experience.

Life is definitely a journey that starts with one step. It will be as many steps and miles as you decide to go. It may be a lifetime or a limited time, but make sure you don’t take more with you than you need.  Make sure every step you take leads you to new experiences, to growth. Remember that there is no jumping or leap into success as Jeff Goins author of Art of Work reminds us. You build bridges that connect you to an unknown future and territories so you may conquer it and bring back that knowledge to lead others there. As a leader, entrepreneur, go to person, an expert, you look at things from different angles such as marketing, business, financial, or a customer’s, team’s and CEO’s standpoint. You are able to pivot and stay on your ground. But that can be accomplished as long as you are willing to focus on what’s necessary.

Being aware of the moment and understand you are not to travel heavy but lightly by carrying on your carry on.

Building Community

Building Community

In today’s world of social media, forums, blogs, RSS feeds, email newsletters, podcasts, and meetups, is easier than ever to create and develop niche markets and zero-in to more specific wants and need for audiences.

It used to be Rock ‘n’ Roll. Then it became Punk, Metal, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Speed Metal, Glam Rock, Power Metal, Heavy British Metal, Punk Metal, Nu Metal, Hardcore Metal, Symphonic Metal, Death Metal, Grind Metal, Gothic Metal, Metal Operas, and I think I heard someone say there’s “Angel Metal”?

The internet used to be about data information sharing from person to person, peer to peer also known as p2p. Napster is the most recognizable and well-known event in the last 20 years because it used the internet and ability to transfer files for distribution from person to person. The only problem was that it share files that were copyrighted.

But a community, followers, fans and many followed immediately because of the revolutionary influence this created in 1999 when the internet was used starting to being used and understood by major corporations and enterprises. Napster allowed the world to notice and put attention on the internet that it was not just the place to look for adult content, connect to your bank account, hack to your heart’s content, or chat. It was also a place to share data and where entertainment could live.

The biggest development in communities came with the very now famous white paper of Bitcoin. It created a movement and provided people something to believe in that was not tangible, personified, unified nor centralized. It was meant for everyone and those who wanted to participate in it, developers,  miners, traders, HODLers, and even haters who wanted to attempt to bash it.

Bitcoin: The birth of the Crypto Community

Bitcoin exploded a new world of possibilities and allowed the imagination to run wild for many people. They began to meet, run hackathons, start discussions on how to solve real-life problems with the transparency and efficiency of this technology.

The community took the initial thought of the creator and began evolving it at an accelerated pace. The developers have continued on making sure that Bitcoin stays strong. Other blockchains have been developed with other benefits, add-ons, types of governances, pros and cons. But what do each and every one of them have? Community.

The community is the people who vote, suggest, promote, evangelizes, criticizes for improvement, for growth, for accountability and fearless feedback of how to make something better. They may or may not know of the subject, but you want to be able to scale up and down answers for your products and services so you are able to address newcomers who are foreign to the ideas of your company or entity.

Growing and Developing

Creating, developing and engaging with a community is the most beneficial way to have a successful project and company. Making the community a tribe, where you organically develop a subculture, your own hashtags, your own trends during the week, care for each other and support each other to propel, that is the definition of success today.

Involving community into your project is key. Pat Flynn, creator of Smart Passive Income and Author of Will It Fly? recommends in this book to ask for people close to you what they see you doing. Now, this is for starting a business. But imaging already having a healthy amount of followers and creating a new service or product. Catering to their needs wants, services adding value so they feel like they are gaining more than what they are giving, is the key thing. In the words of the great Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.”

If the incentive created to buy it because it is a product that is new, innovative and it’s great. Those are three words thrown around nowadays so much that is just the same as walking to buy a car and having the salesperson tell me: “I’ll give you free rugs.” But when the incentive to buy something is because the product or service is catered to you, your needs, your budgets, your personality, your idea, your ethos, then the possibility of the community explodes and becomes something greater than you ever imaging. This grows into a movement that can scale upwards and expand aggressively, and I mean this in a positive way.

As we all are about to take some time off during the holiday season, one of the things you might want to start to consider for your business is the following: Is it engaged? Do you have clients that are fans? Clients, that refer you, other clients? Do you listen to their needs and wants to improve and build better products and services for the growth and improvement of your business practice?

The customer is not always right, I can honestly say this after working in retail after and customer service for many years, but every so often we have those great clients, that you really don’t want to let go and would do anything to have repeat business over and over again as much as possible. These are the most important ones. These will be the fuel to promote and propel you and your business.

Build a business around your community and in return, the trust will be built.

 

I Love Writing Day

I Love Writing Day

Every November 15th, since 2002, we celebrate I love to write day thanks to Mr. John Riddle. I learned about this day just recently and it was extremely interesting to me. So I decided to share some of my thoughts about the importance of writing and what I have discovered about it. 

Writing actually makes us vent out and grow as individuals. If you take the time to write daily it has tons of benefits. In a recent blog article written by Seth Godin called The first 1,000 are the most difficult he says and I quote

A collection of daily bloggers I follow have passed 1,000 posts. Fortunately, there are thousands of generous folks who have been posting their non-commercial blogs regularly, and it’s a habit that produces magic.

from Seth.Blog by Seth Godin

Writing daily such as Seth Godin does not only engages and drives and creates value for other people. We get the newspaper because we know to respect that perhaps there will be something that it will add value that we will learn that we will get on “aha” moment out of the newspaper o or we will just get the well might as well get something to read while we’re in the in the subway we’re lowering the bus or while wearing the UBER just trying to get somewhere to get to the office or whatever.

But whenever we are actually trying to get somewhere it’s amazing how many people actually just do anything, to be honest with you. Writing daily it’s not the easiest at first. It’s a habit and like any habit you have to begin with a 1% change, a 1% increment daily.

People think that to write a book you need to sit down and have this moment of inspiration that will just swoop you and you will start writing non-stop. In all honesty it has happened to certain people, but when you actually talk to people who have been in different industries, they decide to dedicate the time and commit to write a certain amount of words. They write words. They don’t edit. They write. Editing comes later. Writing is what they need to focus on first.

During the month of November, NaNoWriMo occurs. During the 30 days, you have the great opportunity to write a 50,000-word novel and submit it by 11:59 pm on November 30th. When you break it down, it is 1,666 words per day roughly. With dedication, anyone would be able to do it. But one can’t just jump into a marathon without proper preparation thinking it is like a sprint. One needs to prepare themselves. 

The identity

Becoming a writer is simply deciding to be a writer. You are who you are because you choose who what you believe, your creed, your moral compass and what defines you as a person. 

Being a writer is something that Jeff Goins Author of Real Artists Don’t Starve from Goinswriter.com talks and mentions constantly about how he became a writer and embarked on following his calling to not only write books but teach others how to become writers and even more, grow his own tribe. 

But it also all came down to developing habits and setting goals. 

Build habits

James Clear author of Atomic Habits talks in his book about how important it is that people develop habits, small changes, things that cascade and little by little build up momentum just like a train moving away from the station and on to the next stop. 

Waking up, brushing your teeth, brewing coffee, reading a chapter of a book, writing 500 words, waking up my daughter, getting her ready for daycare. That is my morning routine in a nutshell. I do a couple of things that take care of my personal well-being, my intellect and professional development as well as my writer aspect. 

So, on this I Love Writing Day: How will you celebrate it?

Gadgets for Entrepreneurs on the go!

Gadgets for Entrepreneurs on the go!

Entrepreneurs more than likely don’t have an office. They work from remote locations, coffee houses, their couch, bed, car, using their laptop, desktop, mobile phone, tablet, or any smart device they have with an internet connection and that enables them to connect to their chosen ecosystem of social media and website. 

Here is a list of the favorite gadgets I swear by that are truly remarkable and have made the 18k miles flown this 2018 a bliss keeping me as productive and as productive as possible. 

Chargers

We depend on our smartphones and tablets to stay connected to clients, family, socialites and the latest greatest with how is Tony Stark going to save us in Avengers 4 (maybe that last one is just me.) 

These two chargers mentioned here are my favorite ones. For plug-in options the Belkin has always delivered the best options and customer service ever since I had my job at Apple back in 2007. The fact that you obtain the wall and car charger plus an independent USB + (the one for your device) connection is great! The cable is resistant, strong and long. All three qualities that make it superior to Apple’s original charging cable IF that is your phone type. Apple knows how to design stuff. Especially how to design it to break it so you buy more. Capitalism?

For those who love wireless charging, I know I do, I present you this option. In my household I am an iPhone user (of course!) and my wife is an android phone user (I’m not sure why yet.) Our phones have the option to charge wirelessly and when I was looking for options I was reminded by a good friend that Anker makes really great products, which is true. I decided to pick this one up because of the review and I was not disappointed. 

In our kitchen I have setup what I call a “charging stating. We have a multiplug with two USB 2.1 A plug-ins. Each has a Lightning connector and a USB-C, but then we have the Anker Wireless Charger. You will always find one of the iPads, one of the phones,  or other gadgets charging and whenever we go and get coffee, a quick bite, do the dishes or something we just set the smartphone on top of the charging pad, leave it there and it is charging. Keep in mind that it will not charge as fast as plugged-in but hey it does the job and you don’t have to be using cables!

Headphones

Being an Audio Engineer is both a blessing an a curse. You know how to identify good sounds and you know how to identify bad sounds. The problem is…which one you think are the most common?

When I find headphones that I truly like, basically, I marry them. I do not want to be apart from them and I always want them by my side. I do not want to use any others. 

Here are my current and favorite headphones. 

Beats Studio 3

When the Beats by Dre came out I was working at Apple Retails Stores in Orlando, FL. I thought that they sounded too bassy for my taste. It represented and targeted a very good demographic, people who were into Hip-Hop, RnB, EDM. 

I have always been into Rock, Metal, Classical and enjoy my pop music. But if the only thing I can hear is Bass and I can not appreciate other sounds then just forget about it. 

When this new generation came out, a friend was very adamant that I try them out. I started researching them a lot. I was also never a fan of the design. Too big in my opinion. But I just decided to go for it. 

Now all I can say is…WOW!!! I bought the Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones Shadow Gray because they looked cool. Pairing them with my iPhone 8 Plus, AppleTVs (yes multiple across the house) and my Mac was a bliss. The first thing I did to test them was to listen to Call of Ktulu by Metallica in S&M recorded in 1999. I was able to listen to every single detail. Then Master of Puppets kicked in and that was it. I could listen to the crowd, the bass drum, the bass guitar, the riffs, the orchestra, everything, and then I looked up and realized my wife was talking to me but I haven’t realized because of the noise cancelling. 

So when I took my next trip first thing I packed were my Beats. I decided to test them to the extreme. What is the worst thing that could happen on a 4hr plane ride? You got it! Crying baby!

Amazing how I enjoyed listening to music, watching movies on the plane and playing Nintendo Switch on the plane, all while the baby was crying and I didn’t hear anything. When I landed – mind you I take redeye flights to maximize time and productivity during my travels – I was still fresh and didn’t have a headache, ringing in my ears or anything that would cause a headache. 

Reviews

EnacFire E19

I saw a friend using the previous version and I assumed they were BOSE wireless buds.When we got to talking and he recommended on Amazon I immediately looked them up. Reviews were mixed. But I trust my buddy when it comes to technology. 

Ordered them without second guessing myself. They are really sleek looking, kinda makes me feel like a spy, provide really good sound when it comes to music, podcasts, and while on the phone. 

Their nose cancelling is very good, although I preferred the Beats definitely. But for a day to day walking around the city without carrying anything too bulky, being in the gym lifting weights, running or something of the sort this is a great piece of technology.

The carrying case actually charges the buds and you can use the right independently. The controls can pause, skip or backtrack a song and even access Siri – although it is kind of a hassle, to be honest, I am happy with these headphones and use them daily when I am out on the mall, family gatherings, or even just walking my dog.  They are not too bassy, they don’t sound flat, for podcasting, power metal, heavy metal, symphonic metal, hip-hop, EDM, phone calls, audiobooks, they are simply great. 

USB Hub 

I am an Apple User. Every Mac is now with Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports which is better/worse. Better because through one port you can transfer huge amounts of data and many things and worse because dang it what the heck do I do with all my USB flash drives, and peripherals. Now I need dungles, and bungles. 

The benefit of this hub is that it is small, compact, a nice length cable and it is only $14.99 on Amazon. I have been using it and wherever I go, I take it with me. Sometime I don’t even use it in my computer but for other people who forget to bring their own or need to plug more than one device at a time. 

USB C Dock

When I got my Macbook Pro with only USB C, I started to look for options to maximize the ports. Most of the posts and articles suggested docks. Some of them didn’t convince me and some of them were just not very sexy looking design wise. Others were just snap on the side and that was it. Plus I would still have to use my own charged. 

Henge Docks, were different. The bring all the connections you need, a charging port, a SD Card slot, turning your notebook into a workstation with the connection to a display and ethernet as well. 

The beauty about this device is that you can set everything here and is just plug and play. This is excellent for conference rooms, for the entrepreneur who has a home office, or for his office and doesn’t want to be carrying his charging cable back and forth. You just unplug the cable from the dock to the MacBook Pro and that’s it. Simple!

Webcam Covers

Now, I am not the type of guy that is paranoid about “big brother is watching.” But after taking several courses about cybersecurity and ethical hacking, I decided to take care of certain things in my household and make them more secure. Something simple was: Webcam covers. 

These little three pack is simple enough to protect your computer, your tablet and your phone. Which is just what you need. The question is, why would you ned it right?

In a time and age where anyone can become anyone important, at any point in time, it is best to be careful and not let any window of opportunity to let people sneak in to your analog life from your digital one. 

Three tools to be a high achiever entrepreneur

Three tools to be a high achiever entrepreneur

Engaging whether it is software, gadgets, headphones, applications, smartphones or computers, I am always researching and trying new things. I like my software to be unique an great while easy to use and fully functional, my gadgets to be as cool and sexy looking as the new isomething, and my gear to be as sleek looking as a CyberPunk fantasy game.

In the past three years I have researched, purchased, tested, and used many products that are truly remarkable. In today’s post I will be focusing on some of my favorite day to day gadgets that allow me to perform my best.

Full Focus Planner

Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner
I used to just trust that everything I needed to do was in my big ol’ head. But with so much going on in it, so many distractions of social media, instant messaging, being a social media/community/ project manager and being constantly available for around 18hrs a day, plus being a dad, things can fall apart quite easily. Michael Hyatt is the “Internet’s Mentor” helping every one learned how to maximize their time. I first began developing the habit of using a planner from a another brand. When I saw the Full Focus Planner I thought it was going to be interesting. To my surprised I was able to not only plan the day, but plan the Week, the Quarter, and set goals for the year. You can visit the site There are different buying options for the planner program I can honestly say that in order to not cheat yourself, buy the annual subscription. As you will get the real value and money’s worth of everything you can learn from it. Trust me. I bought one stand alone, and two weeks later, I was full of regret. So I waited a month until I could purchase the annual subscription. The biggest achievement I have being able to do with this journal was start to get myself organized to do my job as efficiently as possible, so I could save time spend with my family, focus on my health and move on to start new projects. I hope you find value on this planner and join the many entrepreneurs and people who have achieve more thanks to it.

Airtable

We all need tools. Organization, project management, calendars, cards, and many other views that can help us propel tasks, businesses, teams, or simply be able to plan the party for your five year old without borderline loosing the sanity. You want to know your budget vs expenses? What is left to do? What has been paid in full, not paid, or just a deposit? A Timeline of everything in one place without having to go all around the email, notes, notebooks, scratch papers and many tools? Airtable is the one for you. Here is a quick intro video so you can see what I am talking about:
https://vimeo.com/174885512
From Airtable.com Help Section
This is my current  Layout of my Airtable Divided into personal and professional aspects. My Podcasts base is my go to so I can keep track of everything that is being or needs to be done such as editing, transcripts, social media sharing or if it is done. There are many templates and one of my favorites from a social media manager stand point are the editorial calendar ones. Many big companies prefer to use Airtable because of the great efficiency to actually make this work. There is the web version, Desktop Download, iPhone or Android App, iPad as well.  Click here to start using it today!

Crowdfire App

I have used the big names in Social Media handling applications. The ones that have come out of nowhere and the ones that have come and gone. One thing is obvious, it is extremely expensive to use the apps and their free versions are filled with limitations that make you wonder “what’s the point?” Recently I discovered Crowdfire App and fell in love with the simplicity and the great usage. I like reading and sharing what I find it to be interesting. The message in Facebook is one, how I address people in Twitter is another, LinkedIn I act as professional and courteous as I can be and in Instagram is where I abused the hashtags and have the most fun. Different tones, same messages all from the same place. CrowdFire let’s you connect your accounts on social media, Facebook Pages, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn; then you add your interest in topics, and you can share articles right from the app and it let’s you control how many posts per day will you do on each network. One of the challenges is that Twitter is very fast paces while Facebook not so much, Instagram things disappear as quick as they get created. So you want to stay as relevant as you possibly can with the followers and audience on that network. It also lets you connect your blog so as you as you post something it’s in the app and you can then proceed to share it with the audience. Instagram is tricky because of how the application is but it’s nothing that’s not manageable with to taps on your phone.
Here is a screenshot of one of the very cool features you can enjoy. Know your audience. Who follows you, what’s is trending, who is your fan, and even do a Friend Check. That one was surprisingly fun. This helps asses your strategy and work to move away or with the current message and the results of your work as they reflect on your followers. To begin using CrowdFire App click here On my next recommendation I will be sharing gear itself. The bags, microphones, headphones, both bluetooth and noise-cancelling, among other things that I can not leave my house with.
As a fan of Rock music, while writing this article, I was rocking out to some Queen songs from Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack) of the biopic.
https://open.spotify.com/album/3BHe7LbW5yRjyqXNJ3A6mW?si=3w8eYmIyQPeD8hXewOsX8A
Don’t forget to follow me in all social media channels and checkout my YouTube Channel
The new Alpha for Mikel

The new Alpha for Mikel

Every day it presents itself with new opportunities and chances to make things that propel us as individuals, to move beyond the comfort zones. Success is not something that is mailed to you, lands in your favor, or is just given as a git with a nice bow. Success is built. 

But the success in 2018 is very different from the one I thought it was back in 2010. Success is no longer a going solo thing. Success is actually achieve with an audience, a community, a tribe of people talking, engaging and inspiring. 

It is always inspirational to see people come together and share their experience as we would do when invited to dinner and someone would bring a casserole, the dessert, and entré, or the side. 

For a while I have been looking for the right moment to begin a couple of projects that I have been postponing for a greater part of the last decade. But I realized it is time to make things happen and it’s best to do so right now. 

Mikel Media is that. I have many passions, many dreams and interest to just conform to one thing only. I want to write music, but I also want to play and record it. I love technology but I also want to promote and talk about it. Love attending to concert and live events but I also get a kick of producing them. Mikel Media allows me to have a Portfolio Life from Jeff Goins. 

Also, now I can manage through Mikel Media, other aspects that interest me, such as my book and future band. 

Join me in the journey of this new tribe. Whether small, big, medium, the amount of people will enjoy the ride and will benefit from everyone in it.

See you all in the blockchain. 

Mikel

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