The Lone Ranger Manifesto

1956 Lone Ranger & Silver
Next to my father, the only other man I looked up to when growing up was The Lone Ranger. I suspect that was because he and I would watch The Lone Ranger together during the summer months when I was out of grade school. Sometimes we would meet the masked man with a bowl of popcorn and cherry Kool-Aid and other times we would be empty handed, but always there was a surge of excitement when we sat in front of our huge floor-model television. The Lone Ranger was my father’s favorite when he was a child and now the legacy has passed to me. I may not remember each episode and nuance, but there are several things about The Lone Ranger mythos that has helped to transform me into the person I am and the person I hope to be.

Silver bullets, a black mask, a white horse and Tonto mean more in the maturity of my adulthood than they did in my childhood, but I always had an appreciation for them (even when I was not totally sure what I was celebrating). Webster defines a manifesto as “A public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions, especially of a political nature.” If you would indulge me, I would like to explain and evangelize what I call “The Lone Ranger Manifesto” with the hope that it becomes not just a series of amusing observations, but a moral template to live by.

THE LONE RANGER HAD A CAUSE, it was called justice. His 9 to 5 was avenging those who had been wronged, standing up for people who could not defend themselves and aiding the law to bring wrongdoers to justice. If one was to measure the amount of evil in the world and compare it to one decent person determined to reverse its course, the odds of success would be near zero. Yet, the magnitude of this mission never slowed the passion or tenacity of The Lone Ranger. Despite numerous pitfalls, fist-fights or gun battles, The Lone Ranger never stopped trying to accomplish the impossible.

THE LONE RANGER HAD TONTO and that alone was a wonderful, if not a miraculous thing. No one man has all the skill, talent, or knowledge to do everything; this is why it is important to team yourself up with someone whose strengths compensate for your weaknesses. According to the legend of The Lone Ranger, it was Tonto who saved The Lone Ranger’s life and (in one modern remake) it was Tonto who trained The Lone Ranger to fight with silver bullets. This brings to mind what I think is a very poignant observation.

Once The Lone Ranger and Tonto (his faithful Indian companion) had saved the day, the question was always asked, “Who was that masked man?” In most of the episodes I remember, no one gave much thought to Tonto. Whenever The Lone Ranger was spoken of or described in a newspaper, Tonto was conspicuously absent. Yet, the masked man would not be who he was without Tonto. And I thought to myself, “Why would Tonto stick around when he was not reaping the reward of notoriety and legend?” And then it hit me, Tonto shared in The Lone Ranger’s vision so much, that it transcended personal benefit or desire for recognition.

In addition to the shared mission of bringing justice to the Old West, The Lone Ranger and Tonto had (to some) an inexplicable friendship. Consider the cultural and historical significance of a white man and an Indian referring to one another as  “kimosabe” which is translated “blood-brother.” In all likelihood, they should have been uneasy allies at best. Judging by the increasing territorial claims and disputes between settlers and Native Americans, it would seem that there would be no common ground between them. Yet, they were bound by a vision that eclipsed racial divide and personal interest.

Lone Ranger and Tonto-1956

THE LONE RANGER ALWAYS OPERATED IN SECRET whenever he performed good deeds. How could he not? He was always in a mask by habit and nature. There were times when he chose to reveal himself in order to facilitate an end result or when he asked Tonto to make a query, but more often than not he was in disguise as a grizzly old prospector, a hooded priest, or simply an unannounced stranger. When camouflaged, he gathered information on who was in need, what situation prevented good people from helping themselves and then pursed a course of action to assist. Once it was all over, he slipped away before anyone could thank him and he never sought praise for what he did. Afterall, he was pursuing a mission and making strides towards that goal was its own reward.

THE LONE RANGER HAD SILVER BULLETS and I never considered that when I was younger, but silver bullets cost money to produce. How much money did he leave behind when he fired bullets at the bad guys? I never saw an episode where The Lone Ranger went back to collect his bullets. I also notice now that The Lone Ranger always rode in style; he and Tonto’s costume were always pressed, there horses were healthy and neither man seemed to be losing any weight. I also reflect on how The Lone Ranger could go anywhere at anytime to complete whatever mission he was on. All that to say, The Lone Ranger had resources that he chose to use for the benefit of others rather than live an opulent lifestyle centered on himself. He was a classy guy indeed.

THE LONE RANGER LIVED BY A MORAL CODE. He never seemed to wonder what was right or wrong and although I can not say this with any certainty, I believe The Lone Ranger was a Christian. I never saw him read a bible, but his life was a sermon to those who heard of him. Especially in light of Isaiah 1:17: “Learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.” Is that not all The Lone Ranger performed?

So all this being said, I would like to lay out a few rules to live by:

  • Have a vision for your life that is too big for you to accomplish alone.
  • Seek out those who can complement your weaknesses and feed your strengths. Do not allow differences to blind you from those who could prove to be your greatest asset. At every opportunity, work with those who can place the vision of your mission above personal benefit.
  • Do not seek the praise of others, nor special recognition, only the end result of your mission.
  • Gather resources to accomplish your vision and manage them well.
  • Live by a moral code.

Many people today are unaware of The Lone Ranger and what he stood for. While he rides on in legend, his values and character can (and should) continue in all who recognize the need for such in business, society and life. It is my hope that all who read this, heed the call of The Lone Ranger’s yesteryear in this present day.

Hi-yo silver! Awaaayyy…

P.S.  THE LONE RANGER and associated character names, images and other indicia are trademarks of and copyrighted by Classic Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

A Ridiculously Easy Way Netflix Recruiters Can Keep Their Candidates Warm

Jim StroudI love me some Netflix. Such being the case, I have an emotional investment in its success. That being said, I want to share an idea on a recruitment strategy that could benefit Netflix for the life of the enterprise. Intrigued? If so, read on.

Let’s imagine that you have applied for your dream job at Netflix. At some point, you would have volunteered your email so Netflix could contact you later. Should you login into Netflix with the same email you used to apply for a job, you would get additional choices. Check out my mockup below.

Recruitment strategy for Netflix

Clicking the “Jobs at Netflix” option would connect you to a special landing page showcasing jobs relevant to your background and videos promoting the culture of the company. How cool is that? Now, I realize that some would prefer not to have the “Jobs at Netflix” choice on their profile and I can understand why. What if a co-worker stops by to see your new big screen TV?

“Hey,” they say. “When I login to Netflix I don’t see a jobs option. Why do you have one?”

Awkward.

So, should this strategy be enacted, Netflix should give users the ability to turn off the “Jobs at Netflix” button. They should also send them an email before the button is live on their profile along with an explanation of how it got there. Make sense?

What do you think of this idea?

Jim

How To Get More People To Your Church

Recently, Twitter announced some new search functionality to its bag of tricks. Where did they make the news? Where else? (See below)

 

 

When I saw this, I thought immediately of churches. Why? I recognized how it could be leveraged to attract visitors.

In a nutshell…

1) Search Twitter for certain keywords or phrases.
2) Refine that search to people that are tweeting “near you.”
3) Engage said people and invite them to visit your church.

If you like this idea, download the Twitter app to your iPhone. (I imagine it would work the same on an Android phone, but I only have an iPhone.) Once you have the Twitter app open on your phone, look for the magnifying glass.

social-media-church-1
Click the magnifying glass and do a search for the phrase, “pray for me.” Once the results are returned, click the filter icon. (See arrow in the picture below?)

social-media-church-2
You are presented with several choices for refining your results. Click the “More options” link.

social-media-church-3
You are taken to a “Refine results” page. Click the “Near you” option (at the bottom) and then, “Apply” (upper right corner).

social-media-church-4
Now, all of the search results are from people in my area. For example…

social-media-church-5
*(I distorted the person’s name and location for the sake of their privacy.)

What “my area” is exactly, I cannot say. When I scroll through my search results, I notice that some are shown as being in my state (Georgia), others were 20 miles away from where I presently am and a few much closer.

For the sake of imagination, consider these searches:

# bored and alone
# help me lord
# too much stress
# family fun
# need church home
# need somebody
# “listen to me”

So, what do you think? I had a few more ideas but, will save them for future posts. For now, I would like to know yours. What do you think of this idea?

Jim

P.S. Although this post is centered around the Twitter mobile app, look for this function to come to the desktop version very soon. By the way, are you following me on Twitter? Are we connected on LinkedIn?

How Twitter Can Save Itself (…and make a few bucks in the process!)

Jim StroudAre you an avid Twitter user? I am. I tweet a great deal which is why recent news of Twitter slipping in popularity concerns me. I do not for a second believe that Twitter is going away anytime soon. However, from a competitive standpoint, I do not want it to slip into irrelevance (Friendster?) or battle for significance when it was once a force to be reckoned with. (MySpace?) That being said, I would like to humbly suggest to Twitter a few tweaks (and a couple of acquisitions) that might work to keep their rivals at bay. At least, for a moment or two longer.

 

HASHTAG REGISTRY

  • Set up a system whereby people can register a hashtag. I’m thinking akin to buying a domain. For example, let’s say I wanted to register the hashtag #resumeforensics. I fill out a form and pay something, really, really cheap. Say… $0.99 a month / $10.00 a year. What does this get me? When someone uses my hashtag, they click on it and are taken to a landing page that explains what the hashtag is all about and any related content (pictures, videos, whatever). They also see who are the most popular people associated with that hashtag. The owner of the hashtag gets to see traffic stats and how they rank against other registered hashtags in the system.
  • If someone wants to register my hashtag (and not just use it in a tweet), Twitter sends them a message that says #resumeforensics has already been registered and suggests other hashtags. If someone uses a hashtag that no one has registered, business as usual (as of now), just no special landing page when you click the hashtag.
  • This option could go a long way to helping people figure out what a discussion is all about should they arrive somewhere in the middle of it and give advertisers more choices. It also removes confusion should users in another country altogether start tweeting around the hashtag as well. Make sense?

FAVORITES ARE REALLY “LIKES”

  • I bet if you were to take a poll that most people would say that they use the “favorite” option on tweets as if it were a “Like” button. Why not change that verbiage? Are there copyright issues regarding that? I mean, will you get in trouble with Facebook? If so, consider other words like: Approve, “Thumbs Up,” “Good one,” Cool, Recommended or Nice.
  • Hmm… while you’re at it, maybe a dual choice is appropriate. Can I have the option to “Bookmark it” and/or “Nice it?” If I bookmark it, then I want to get back to it later. If I “nice it,” I’m just giving kudos on what someone said and do not necessarily want to clutter up my (now) Favorites list.
  • In the event you ignore my suggestions about turning favorites into likes (or the equivalent thereof), can you make it so I can sort my favorites by date and/or adding a filter so I can search my favorites? (Same way you let me filter images and links in my Twitter searches.)

MORE TWITTER FUNCTIONALITY

  • I love the search engine Tweepz because it allows me to search the biographies of people on Twitter. I would like that functionality on Twitter as well. (Or, simply buy Tweepz and add it in.)
  • In keeping with your pithy roots, how about letting me share 15 second audio bites? Since SoundCloud plays well with your system, why not buy them and fully integrate it?
  • I wrote a blog post explaining how to search for lists on Twitter. Why is there no easy way to search for public lists on Twitter? Honestly, this makes no sense to me. Lists are a great way to reduce the information overload on Twitter and help me focus. I would also suggest making automated lists for your users to choose from based on people they tweet with the most, subjects discussed, location and trending topics. I would also make list suggestions based on your “Who To Follow” algorithm.

MAKE MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS EASIER

  • I have multiple Twitter accounts. I use my main @jimstroud account to discuss social recruiting and job search strategy.  I use @isearchologist to focus on search and technology in general. I have others as well. I would LOVE IT if I could log into one account and manage them all, instead of signing out of one to go into another.
  • Imagine this scenario, someone visits my @jimstroud account. They also notice that I have other Twitter profiles as well. They opt in to follow me on the other accounts. Now, when I tweet something about social recruiting, it goes automatically to my main Twitter profile @jimstroud. However, if I decide to tweet about one of the greatest TV shows ever made – 24 (or Breaking Bad or Dr. Who or The Walking Dead or… whatever) then by tweeting as per usual and adding a symbol like ^2, then my tweet will get posted only on my @isearchologist profile and not my main one. Make sense? I also would like to give someone the choice of selecting to get ALL of my tweets from each of my profiles in one stream.

TREAT USERS DIFFERENTLY

  • Okay, one last thing! I’ve read that you have a lot of changes in the wind. I will be eagerly anticipating them. No doubt more user interface changes will be gracing the web and my mobile. Why not let me choose the interface I want? For example, before rolling out your changes to the masses, give your legacy users the option to keep Twitter as it has been? (But let them upgrade their interface later!) New users won’t know any difference anyway. Make sense?
  • Also, create interfaces for certain audiences. New users get an interface whereby you mouse over a section and a help menu appears (until they turn it off). More seasoned users who are not as active on Twitter, but have been in the past, get another type of interface. Expert users, those who have been using Twitter consistently, get to pick and choose what functions they want to use on the web and on their mobiles.

Or… Maybe I am just obsessing needlessly over Twitter and my ideas are hardly worth a glance. Either way, I would love to know what you think Twitter and anyone else who stumbles across this. Leave me a comment?

-Jim

P.S. Feel free to follow me on Twitter. 😉

 

Why is @Netflix leaving money on the table?

netflix is leaving money on the table

NETFLIX IS LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE

I love me some Netflix and get a bit happy everytime I hear them expanding into new markets or their stock rising. (Need to get me some of them options by the way.) Anyway, I was binging on some “House of Cards” when an idea came to me. I think Netflix is leaving some money on the table. I have a couple of ideas concerning Netflix that I would like to share with the hope that if implemented, it would get me free Netflix for life. If the powers that be are especially grateful, some Netflix stock would be reason enough for a happy dance (or Michael Jackson “moonwalk.”)

IF I LIKE MY MOVIE, CAN I KEEP IT?

I put a lot of movies in my queue and some I do not get around to viewing. Unfortunately, some disappear from my list before I can engage them and I am denied the choice altogether. (Ugh!) This had me thinking, “what if for a few pennies more, I could “lock” a movie in my list?” In this way, should Netflix cut it from the general offerings, I still have it in my list for as long as I pay the “lock” fee. This would be on top of my regular subscriber fee, by the way. If I cancel my “lock” privileges, my locked movies disappear only as long as they are no longer available to the general subscriber audience. Make sense? I think people would pay for that, even if they are too busy to actually watch everything they are saving.

House of Cards

DON’T LET ME SPOIL IT FOR YOU, BUT THE BUTLER DID IT

“House of Cards” and “Lillyhammer” are two of my favorite Netflix original shows. Love ‘em! Mean it. I would like to tweet or comment about each episode as I watch it but, I do not want to spoil it for other people. Moreover, I do not want anyone else spoiling it for me. So, this is what I thought would be cool. Howzabout Netflix gives viewers the options to leave comments at different points of the video and call it the “Spoiler Chat” or something like that. In this way, people who have already seen a show or are watching it for the second time, can rant and rave without messing it up for everyone else. Get me? Hmm… Just in case you do not, imagine this.

Let’s say I am watching the latest season of “Arrested Development” and a certain someone says, “Say goodbye to these!” I leave a comment on the video that very moment saying, “There’s always money in the banana stand.” The only way someone would see my comments and other “spoiler chats” is to click an option like, umm… the close captioning option. By doing that… ah! Okay. I think you get me now. Annnnd just in case there is still any ambiguity, check out the video below. If you mouse over the dots, you will see comments I’ve made.

In case you were somewhat amused, click here to view more of “The Jim Stroud Show” on my YouTube channel.

Okay, back to my point. For this to work, people would have to be watching on their desktops. Umm… I say that because of all the typing they would want to do. But now that I think of it, one could very well do this on a mobile device. The accuracy and speed by which my daughter can text with her friends is amazing. I’m sure others could follow suit. But, to make it easy, maybe on the “spoiler chat” interface could be some predetermined responses like smilee faces or “you had me at hello” or “Say hello to my little friend” or, any number of famous movie quotes. Just an idea. Hmm… Maybe people could add their own canned responses?

I would think that such an endeavor would present a double benefit to Netflix. Not only do they give their customers a means to build community around content, but they also get more data to extrapolate and analyze. For example, how many people commented on the action scene verses the love scene? Do they prefer to leave smilee faces at certain scenes? Do they prefer to write original notes or use the canned responses? Maybe they don’t like the idea at all or, maybe they love it? How do they respond when an actor or director leaves comments in the spoiler chats? Does this change draw in a larger audience? So much to speculate on and of course, all fodder to help purchase compelling content for their customers. Just a thought.

I also had some ideas around how Netflix could garner an unfair recruitment advantage over their competitors. I will save that for another day.

What do you think of the above ideas? Pretty solid? Or, a waste of time? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks!

Jim