Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

Hi, I'm Blake.

I run this joint. Don’t know where to start? Let me show you around:

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal

Work is still work—even with a job you love

BUSINESS_tomsawyer2I’m fortunate to have found my calling in life. I don’t dread Mondays. Returning to my desk after lunch isn’t a chore. I welcome the challenge of pleasing several bosses (aka “clients”).

But I’m still human. I look forward to weekends. I fake “sick days” and play hooky. And I daydream of dorking around, even when working with people I like on projects I’m passionate about.

I was reminded of this last Wednesday while on assignment for Google, writing a fun but challenging story for them. Once late afternoon hit, however, all I wanted to do was paddleboard or cut home movies.  Continue reading…

Preview of what I saw and did in Newfoundland last month

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Nine years ago, I stumbled upon an obscure YouTube video with only a few hundred views. Although I can no longer locate the video, the image it contained has haunted me ever since. A granite-green fjord flanked by towering cliffs, an enticing inlet, and an open invitation to hike it. I added the place to my bucket list and waited for the right opportunity to visit.

Three weeks ago, it finally happened. While on assignment for work (someone’s gotta do it!) and with my brother-in-law begrudgingly assisting, I hiked Western Brook Fjord in Newfoundland. Spoiler alert: It was everything I expected it to be. More beautiful than the already stunning photos of it.

I still don’t fully understand why word hasn’t gotten out; why more people haven’t visited it.

Well I hope to change that, starting with the above video and some feature stories to follow on not just the awesome hike, but the friendly locals, unexpectedly good food, and other exceptional adventures the island affords.

Make no mistake: I went for the fjord but left with a love for an entire province. I’ll be back.

The power of applause: Why recognition works

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Last week while eating lunch with my family, my playful wife invented a new game called “Clap for [insert person’s name here].” It works like this. You prompt everyone to applaud someone for several moments. Then watch their face, eyes, and smile light it while you do it.

Even though the act is forced, the game works every time. At least it does on my family, my wife and I very much included.

The only way I can explain why it works is that recognition matters. Just hearing your name, being complimented, or even just having your presence recognized as the above game so deftly accomplishes is enough to make people feel elated and special. When that happens, we want to become better people. That’s powerful.

As silly as it sounds, I invite all reading this to play this game and report your findings. Like Dale Carnegie taught, praise people, even the slightest. Recognize their contributions.

But more importantly, acknowledge people by remembering their name, take a genuine interest in what interests them, and applaud them for being who they are.

It’s magic, I tell ya.

How to win friends and influence people: 10 things I learned after reading the book

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

I recently read Dale Carnegie’s popular How to Win Friends and Influence People. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Trying to understand people is more effective than criticism. Not only does it bring clarity, it breeds tolerance and kindness, which engenders people. So before criticizing someone’s effort or creation, ask them why they did what they did. See things from others’ viewpoints. As a born critic, this is difficult for me to do. But I’ve already seen how effective this is after using it on those closest to me.
  2. Smile when greeting and talking to people. This is a simple and powerful act. “The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back,” Carnegie writes, this coming from someone who notes the power of dressing nice. And from someone who says “one” quite a lot. Continue reading…

Never postpone what you have the desire and means to do today

Blake Snow

Blake Snow

My wife taught me a valuable lesson recently.

For years, we’ve been planning to build a new house for our growing family. With that decision, we pegged a lot of other things to it, such as a new living room, new places to see, and even a family dog.

“Let’s update the living room after we move,” we told ourselves. “Let’s hold off on that vacation until we’re settled. Let’s wait for a dog until we have our own yard.”

We’ve held that belief for many years with various plans, not just shelter. Wait, wait, wait. When.. when… when… After, after, after.  Continue reading…

Doing the math: I have a 79% chance of becoming a millionaire

thumbs-up-gifI posses five and a half of the seven denominators of American millionaires, according to The Millionaire Next Door. Assuming each of these traits are weighted equally, I have a 79% chance (78.5% to be exact) of becoming one.

While the extra play money would be fun, I’m content with my thousandaire status. I have my health. I’ve got my soulmate. I found my calling.

I have five fabulous children, many uplifting friends, and a loyal dog. When kids ask me if I’m “rich,” I say yes, because I am.

Enough of the feel-good crap. A millionaire I am not. Let’s get down to numbers:  Continue reading…

Everyone who works with computers should read this (i.e. everyone should read this)

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Credit: Business Week

I recently read Paul Ford’s special report on software—all 36,000 words and three hours of it. If you work in computers, you should read it. If you work in business, you should read it. If you’re an adult human, you will learn a lot about the way things are and where they’re headed by reading it.

Admittedly, the story could have benefitted from some additional editing. Ford, after all, veers a little off topic. But like Bill Bryson, Ford is a master at explaining why things matter—in this case, why coders matter, and how they will increasingly influence the future.

If that’s doesn’t convince you to read the article’s entirety, maybe my 10 favorite excerpts will:  Continue reading…

8 hygiene habits that changed my life

blakeroundI’m grateful to my parents for teaching me basic personal hygiene. Things like regular bathing, brushing teeth, grooming, laundry, and hand-washing.

But in recent years, I’ve picked up new habits that have improved my life. My parents probably tried to teach me some of them. Others I discovered on my own or with the help of my wife.

Whatever the catalyst, all of the below have greatly improved my life:

  1. Relentless sun-screening. Several summers ago, I had an epiphany. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say, “I wish I hadn’t used so much sun screen.” Upon realizing this, I challenged myself to not get burned that summer, despite getting burned every prior summer through negligence (I’m a pasty caucasian). To beat the sun’s harmful rays, I applied sunscreen whenever I knew I would be exposed to direct sunlight for longer than 30-60 minutes. When swimming, for example, I reapplied often, several times an afternoon. Three months later, I conquered without getting burned once. And to my vain surprise, I was tanner than I’d ever been. Since that successful experiment, I haven’t been burned again, at least my skin hasn’t turned lobster, itched, or peeled. So remember: sunscreen only filters the sun’s harmful rays. It doesn’t block the good stuff like vitamin D and sun kissed skin. Continue reading…