Fix bayonets…And charge!


I was chatting with a colleague the other day, and we were talking about wrapping up a key phase of a joint project. As we discussed the launch of the next phase, in my exuberance, I said what I always say when I am motivating myself:

“Fix bayonets. And charge!”

The phrase comes from one of my favorite films, Gettysburg. After mentioning it to my colleague, I had a hankering to see it again.

The scene is from Day 2 of the Battle of Gettysburg. The extreme left flank of the Union Army is exposed. The Confederates are trying to outflank and come in from behind to destroy the entire Union Army. It is left to a small regiment, the 20th Maine commanded my Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, to hold the line and keep the left flank from collapsing. (This is a true story, btw…)

Anyways, they have repelled multiple Confederate surges, but are now out of ammunition, exhausted, and suffering from casualties for over half their number. Left with no other options, and no ammunition, Chamberlain orders his regiment to fix their bayonets, and charge down the hill of Little Round Top in one last desperate attempt to hold the flank. Here is the scene:

I don’t mind admitting the scene makes me emotional, and it inspires me every time I see it. When I need a charge or a little boost to lift my spirits, I think of this story about the 20th Maine. It works every time.

So, inspiration in hand, I present you with “Marketing + Life Lessons From Col. Chamberlain:”

1. When you face desperate odds, a little innovation can help you make a last stand. And live to fight another day.
2. Courage – with conviction – will always serve you well.
3. The element of surprise will catch your competition unprepared almost every time. They won’t be prepared for your bold action.
4. When leading a bold action, you must lead the way. As General Longstreet says in the same film, “You can’t lead from behind.”
5. Be sure your team understands what they are supposed to do. Clarity of purpose improves odds of success.
6. Do your duty. When you are charged with a task, fulfill it to best of your ability. Leave no doubt as to your commitment.
7. Keep the task simple. When you think of it, Col. Chamberlain’s order was simple. What made it amazing with the courage it took, but in reality, the task was a simple one. Napoleon said that most generals fail because their plans are too complex.
8. Even in victory, you should be honorable.

Col. Chamberlain went to great heroism during the rest of the Civil War, winning the Medal of Honor, and he went on to serve four terms as Governor of Maine.

Think about how you can pull inspiration from this story, and apply these lessons to both your life and business. And what other lessons can be taken from this scene?

So fix bayonets…and charge!

j j j

Live Intrepid | Change Your Interior Dialog

Here at Intrepid, we are about living an intrepid life. The video below features Roz Savage, who was just like us, living a normal life. But as she describes in this video, she changed her “interior dialog” – and opted to live a life of adventure, and to fight for causes important to her.

So, here are your intrepid takeaways:

1. Change your “interior dialog” – and anything will be possible.
2. You will persevere through any challenge.
3. Free will is the greatest gift – USE IT! Choose to do big things!
4. Decide today to change your life story. It can begin…right now.
5. What do you want your obituary to say? And set out to live that life.

j j j

Be Off The Beaten Path…

I am in Nashville TN for the Country Music Half-marathon (finished this morning). Yesterday, my crew and I were out doing a little shopping when we stumbled upon this old bookstore just off the Vanderbilt University campus:

The Bookman Nashville from Todd Schnick on Vimeo.

Hard to tell from the video, but this shop smelled like old books. There were too many books for the shelves, in fact, each shelf had two rows stacked one in front of the other. It was very hard to find anything. The little nooks were small and cramped and I had to duck my head to get into most of them.

And. I. Loved. It.

This is the kind of place that people remember. This is the kind of place that you talk about. This is the kind of the place that I will share with others (this blog post notwithstanding). And this is the kind of business I want to be. To be off the beaten path…

Here are 9 things to learn from the Bookman:

1. Be the kind of place that when you see it from the road, people want to drop everything and check it out.
2. Be the kind of place that you love to just walk around and soak up the environment.
3. Be the kind of place that doesn’t care what people think about the decor. Create your own environment that is you.
4. When you find what you are looking for (in my case, Tom Peter’s In Search of Excellence) you will remember the story about how you got it for a long time.
5. Don’t be what everyone expects. That makes it memorable.
6. You don’t have to be online to thrive. There is a market for who you are, even if you are a bricks-n-mortar joint that sells niche.
7. Be inconvenient. Sometimes making a 6’3″ duck to get into a nook makes finding what he wants even more special.
8. Be the kind of place that when customer’s drive by, they point you out to the people they are with, and fondly recall the story of their visit.
9. Be off the beaten path. When people decide to find you, there begins their own story…

…which adds to yours.

Now, go out there and apply these lessons to you and your business. Just know people will probably come in and video your shop too…

Are you off the beaten path?

j j j

Solid As A…Static Rock?

Usually, something that is solid, that doesn’t move, that is unchanging, immobile, etc…is something we rely on, something that can be counted on, something that seems like a steady foundation. Almost comforting, if you will.

But not in the modern world of marketing. When it comes to your web presence, you don’t want to be described as unchanging or immobile. Your web presence needs to be…ENGAGING.

That’s what intrepid marketers do. [More text below video]

[In the video below, I discuss the value of an engaging web presence:]

Here are a few tactical ideas you can use to provide an engaging web presence:

1. Incorporate a blog into your site.
2. Allow comments on your blog.
3. Respond and engage people when they comment.
4. Provide forums to facilitate conversation.
5. Invite guest contributors.
6. Connect people to your social web tools, like Twitter.
7. Utilize surveys tools.
8. Solicit questions from your audience…
9. …and be sure to answer them!
10. Make it easy to share your content.
11. Invite people to join your e-newsletter.
12. Use an Instant Messenger plug in to invite conversation. Hold regular hours.
13. Provide content with various mediums, such as video and audio.

The items listed above are not new. They are not rocket science. In fact, I suppose when you reviewed the list, you probably said something along the lines of “no kidding.”

Yet I continue to be amazed how many entrepreneurs have chosen not to incorporate these simple tactical options into their web presence.

But that said, it is what you do with these ideas that matter. Here are a few reasons why having an engaging presence matters:

1. Strengthens your brand.
2. Allows relationships to develop. This is where the sales come from.
3. Simplifies process of testing – and getting feedback on – new ideas.
4. Does a better job educating people about you and your business.
5. Makes it easier to teach and help and serve others.
6. Allows for better story telling.
7. Not to mention provides fresh and unique content – updated regularly – that keeps people coming back for more.
8. Oh, and added Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strength.

At the end of the day, it is the safe and easy path to build a static website – one that is solid, reliable, and unchanging. But dare I say it is lazy? And boring? Static sites just don’t cut it any more in this fast-paced, conversational, and engaging world we now live in.

What do you think?

[Learn the 99 ways to be an INTREPID marketer]
[Subscribe to this blog via RSS]
[Subscribe to this blog via EMAIL]

j j j

You Might Be Intrepid, Vol. 5 – Identify A Problem? Fix It Now.

We all have a list of things that need to be fixed, adjusted, upgraded, tweaked, improved, or destroyed with malice. Yet many entrepreneurs don’t take quick action to deal with these little nagging problems. I talk about how intrepid marketers identify these issues, and take decisive action. Enjoy.


CLICK HERE to learn how to be an Intrepid marketer…

j j j

You Might Be Intrepid, Vol. 4 – Push The Envelope

I recorded this video following a recent run. It was one of my first longer distance runs (for me anyways) and I had to push myself to get through it. And it made me think that intrepid marketers often have to push themselves to achieve. And they aren’t afraid of pushing the envelope either… Enjoy!


Need help pushing the envelope? Click HERE to Be Intrepid!

j j j

You Might Be Intrepid, Vol. 3 – Embrace Relationships

In today’s “You Might Be Intrepid Marketer” episode, I talk about how intrepid marketers are NOT afraid to dive in and build relationships. With real people. In a video filmed last Friday morning, I share some thoughts about how profound relationships – that are formed online and strengthened in real life – can have a dramatic impact on your marketing and your personal brand. Enjoy!

Click RIGHT HERE to Be Intrepid!

j j j

You Might Be Intrepid, Vol. 2 – Embrace Real-time Search!

I’ve been doing some reading and experimenting on this topic. I think social search/real-time search is an important step forward for the social web. Big time. In this episode, I claim that intrepid marketers fully embrace this, and aggressively seek to take advantage of it. Enjoy!


Here is a VIDEO from Google to get you up to speed!

Learn how to Be Intrepid here!

j j j

You Might Be Intrepid, Vol. 1 – Committing Yourself To Experiment With New Things

The first in a series of blog posts discussing how we can all be intrepid marketers. In this episode, I talk about how we must NOT be afraid to try new marketing tools (apps, online tools, software, hardware, new technology). I suspect a majority of what we experiment with will not work for our business, but you just might land on something that may change your business. Forever.

The online, social web, and technology sites referenced in the video: TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable + Foursquare

How we help you Be Intrepid

j j j

Making Marketing Fun (And Effective) With Video

OK, so I made a complete fool of myself yesterday…

I was meeting with a client who is launching a blog very soon. He remodels homes. He is a sharp looking fellow. He is a master craftsman. He is the perfect candidate to do a lot of fun – and effective – video demonstrating home improvement ideas for his blog (amongst many other ideas).

So here’s Todd, walking around Starbucks with his flip, demonstrating a style and attitude that I think will work great on this guy’s blog. At one point, I am on my knees pretending to talk about how to repair Starbucks floorboards…

And yeah, patrons in Starbucks were looking at me strangely. But who cares. In fact, it is even fun demonstrating using video in your marketing… ;-)

That said, utilizing video in a creative way to help add some pop to your marketing is an increasingly popular way to go-to-market. Buying high quality, high definition, video cameras that are SIMPLE to use, is as easy nowadays as buying a calculator in the check-out line. I use a Flip UltraHD camera

Here are a few examples of some folks doing it right:

How Chris Jordan can even make insurance fun:

Stephanie Frost simply talking about an example of poor customer service. This video got picked up and was featured on the Huffington Post and on Diane Sawyer:

My model for successful vlogging, Chris Brogan. Demonstrating what “overnight success” looks like:

Stephanie Lloyd and I have fun talking about marketing and social media on He Said, She Said:

So here are a few things to keep in mind to make marketing with video fun – and effective:

  1. Be yourself.
  2. Make it memorable.
  3. Keep it short. These things don’t have to longer that 90 seconds to have an impact.
  4. You don’t have to be funny, but humor helps make it memorable.
  5. Be helpful. Serve. Try to impart information that really helps people.
  6. Remember that you don’t have to produce Oscar-caliber quality or editing for your videos to be effective.
  7. Be sure that when you upload them to a video site, such as YouTube, that you tag them properly with the right keywords to make them more searchable.
  8. Be real. If you are fake, you will lessen the impact. Considerably.
  9. Don’t rely ONLY on video. Integrate it into a broader marketing program.
  10. Remember, video isn’t for everyone. Find the medium that works best for you. And use it!


So, good luck. And if you can, leave some links in the comments with OTHER examples of people doing marketing right with video. Thanks!

j j j