Blake Snow

how blue chip companies tell better stories

Hi, I'm Blake.

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

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Why everyone should embrace frugality

Warner Bros. / Blake Snow

Warner Bros. / Blake Snow

My stomach turns anytime I witness waste, lavishness, or squandering. I smile whenever I see thrift, frugality, or resourcefulness. (See also: The difference between cheap and frugal)

In fact, the latter is a life-long pursuit of mine: To be resourceful in everything I do, including my personal and business endeavorers.

Which is why I relate to Amazon’s leadership principle on frugality, explained like this Continue reading…

Story of my life: Convincing clients to publish “soft” stories instead of hard sells

Kwekwe/Wikimedia

Kwekwe/Wikimedia

Five years ago, I “pivoted,” as they say in business. I went from writing feature stories primarily for top 20 news media to writing features stories for Fortune 500 companies as an embedded journalist and content advisor.

Landing a new client typically goes like this: They like my pitch and ask for more info. I send it to ‘em. We talk. They like what they hear and think I can grow their audience with a fresh voice.

Over time, however, some of those clients let that voice rot. Continue reading…

Quotes by Blake Snow: Am I allowed to quote myself?

quotesbyblakesnow

With age, I’ve started a habit of condensing my thoughts, ideas, and beliefs into short “quotables.” Here are some of my more Confucius-quality ones, formatted and ready to share—how conceited of me!

  • “In life, everybody is legally blind. Some are completely blind. Never follow the latter.”–Blake Snow
  • “If you depend on someone else to make you happy, you’re gonna have a bad time.”–Blake Snow
  • “Sometimes the best move in life (and chess) is to do nothing.”–Blake Snow (Aka Never let a threat, intimidation, or external pressure force you to do anything against your will. Make your own choices and dictate your own strategy.)  Continue reading…

These 5 albums have monopolized my airwaves recently

RCA Records

RCA Records

Ordered by most spins so far this year. All worth a listen if you like rock music.

  1. Stay Young by Young Rival. Says my friend David, “Young Rival will fill the gap left behind by Band Of Skulls. Good find!”
  2. Voices by Phantogram. The ’90s called. They want their trip-hop back—their really, really good trip-hop minus the grittiness. Referred by my sister, Sara
  3. After the Disco by Broken Bells. Nice record to clean the house to. Or remember the Bee Gees by. Referred by my brother-in-law, Steven
  4. Heza by Generationals. Cool sound. Not a lot of catchiness, but groovy just the same. Referred by my colleague, Gavin
  5. Melophobia by Cage the Elephant. Ignoble winner of the loudness wars (i.e. poor mastering), but some rocking tracks on this.

NOTABLE MENTION: Morning Phase by Beck—Pleasant, but not as good as Sea Change

Kids don’t stand a chance: My dog gets all the attention

Blake Snow

Blake Snow

There’s a funny saying in journalism. You could publish the biggest exclusive story in the world — a major political scandal, military coup, celebrity scoop, scientific breakthrough, or life-changing event. But it still won’t reach as many people as a cute story about a dog (See also: The AP Guide to News & Feature Writing).

I was reminded of this recently while walking my dog. Although I’ve walked the block many times with my adorable toddlers, one neighbor in particular never took much notice when crossing paths. No biggie. I just thought she was a private but pleasant lady. She’d smile; sometimes wave. We waved back. That was the extent of it for nearly four years.

Until she met Harley. Continue reading…

Smashing Pumpkins: “Like something from the 1900s,” my daughter says

Virgin Records

Virgin Records

Although they were one of my top three bands in high school, Smashing Pumpkins haven’t rattled my earbones much since. Maybe twice in the last decade.

To remedy that, I turned on Siamese Dream last week for myself and my posterity. My six-year old aspiring-drummer headbanged to it. My eight year old — who prefers electronic music — raised an eyebrow at it.

“Sounds like something from the 1900s,” she said unamused. I laughed and informed her that it was, more specifically, from the early 1990s, which reportedly took place two decades ago.

Well, when you put it that way…

Fun fact: Siamese Dream’s overly thick or “fat” sound is largely the result of up to 100 recorded guitar parts per song.

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…

Doesn’t happen often: When the movie is better than the book

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

My wife and I watched Stardust recently. It’s been on my watch list for years, given its high viewer rating. But the crap poster always kept me from hitting “play.”

I’m glad I finally did. Stardust is a five-star film. The best fantasy movie I’ve seen since The Princess and the Bride—maybe even better. It’s certainly better than the under-edited Lord of The Rings, the most popular fantasy film of late. (Don’t worry nerds, I kept my sub-genres separated.)

In any case, I liked Stardust so much, I immediately read the book. It’s good but ends with a limp. The movie, on the other hand, ends with an enormous and climatic bang. The similarly-ended The Natural is the only other movie I can think of that is better than the book.

Can you name any others?

Now I remember: Why I quite working in bed

I slipped up. After resolving five years ago to never work from bed again—thank you, Montana—I did it again recently.

“I’ll just work a little,” I told myself. Several hours later, I finally put the computer down. It was AM o’clock and I was fried. With lights off, I stayed up an hour or two longer, still trying to solve work stuff.

Of course, I woke up exhausted and sluggish. Had an unproductive day. Struggled through much of it.

But it was an effective reminder: Working from bed and overtaxing your brain is no way to live—at least for me. To be fully operational, you gotta keep your thirds separated.

8 things World Cup winners have in common

image

The World Cup starts anew this week in Brazil. If the past is any indication, there’s an 83% chance Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, and/or the Netherlands will make the final. What do these countries have that others don’t?

“Of the factors that contribute, none is, necessarily, a prerequisite,” writes Gabriele Marcotti for ESPN. “But the more of the seven ingredients below you have in your shopping cart, the more likely you are to win a World Cup.”  Continue reading…

I got this—but only because my daughter led the way

Snow Family

My sister-in-law challenged our family to a plank-off recently. Person who could plank the longest wins. “I don’t know,” I said. “I can’t stomach those things for 30 seconds.”

Or so I told myself.

Before continuing my story, a quick note: Like any inherently lazy human, there are a lot of exercises I hate doing. But planks are the worst—invented by Satan himself. They’re right up there with Turkish getups, mountain climbers, and wall sits as most uncomfortable for me. So I wasn’t enthused to participate.

“I’m in!” my wife said. My daughter, too, was excited to compete. “I’ll try,” I relented, offending Jedi Masters everywhere.  Continue reading…

Google Fiber: With speeds this fast, who cares about privacy!!??

Courtesy Google

Courtesy Google

I’ve seen the future. It’s called gigabit Internet by Google Fiber, and it just launched in my hometown of Provo, the second of three scheduled cities to get speeds that are 100 times faster than the rest of America.

“What good is really fast Internet if the content stays the same?” you may ask yourself. I certainly did, before testing the service. Besides, my “high speed” Internet from Comcast seemed fast enough, enabling my household to stream HD videos, load web pages quickly, and connect multiple devices as needed, largely without hiccup.

I was wrong.

Using gigabit Internet, even in its infancy, opened my eyes to speed and reminded me of why I love the Internet.

Continue reading on Fox News

Misunderstood: Why “fake it til you make it” is great advice

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Dan Waldschmidt thinks “faking it til you make it” is horrible advice.

But the catchphrase doesn’t mean what Waldshmidt thinks it means (spoken in my best Inigo Montoya accent). A quick Wikipedia search would have informed him that ”faking it til you make it” means imitating confidence until you find real confidence—not stretching truth, bending rules, or denying reality, like the columnist mistakenly believes it means.

The first commenter on his syndicated post said it best: ”‘Faking’ doesn’t mean “lying.’ It means faking that you are confident, self-assured, knowledgeable—when you, in fact, you’re not. It is excellent advice and helped me overcome many fears and doubts.”

Hear, hear! I, too, have faked my way to becoming a responsible adult, marketable guyhusband of one, and father of five. For me, the catchphrase is easily one of the top 10 pieces of advice on finding success.

So long, writer’s block. Chapter 5 is a go.

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

After more than a half year of writer’s block, I started typing the second act of my book today.

I’ve always liked the first act, and know how I want to end the book. But I’ve struggled mightily in penning the midriff.

Not anymore. I found my way again. Ain’t nobody’s gonna hold me down—not unfamiliar territory, the possibility of failure (i.e. the world thinking I’m a crap author), and certainly not myself.

In the meantime, might I suggest…