A 2014 Update

Greetings all!

I hope you all are well.

Things are steadily rolling along here. The second semester has been stop-and-go due to the wacky cold weather. As I write, CrownTown is projected to get close to 12″ of snow.


Other than that, below are a few things going on.

The Countdown

Yes, it is 60 days until I get married. That’s pretty exciting. We avoided some major pitfalls too, and everything (that we control) has been taken care of. For now.

Next Venture(s)

From spending nearly five years in the startup/entrepreneur space to jumping into the education world, I can not help but keep both doors open. I enjoy being busy. Plus, it keeps me out of trouble. I have several things on my plate I hope to steadily chomp off.

Writing a book– I know…I fell into the marketing strategist pitfall- creating something of my own. For the record, it is not entirely my fault. My future wife thought it would be a great idea, and when I’m given the opportunity for a new challenge, I can’t help it. Details about that soon.

Launching AdLand Heroes– One of the two big ideas I have. The Charlotte Agency will stick around, for the time being. But I picture AdLand Heroes as being an advertising publishing (own my book, probably), consultancy to help freelancers and small (3-10) advertising folks get noticed. I want AdLand Heroes to provide training for those populations that may not be able to receive it, and fill other gaps as needed.

Launching GoMatthewsMintHill– The second of two big ideas I have. These two areas, which are growing- and fast- has no real centralized digital presence so people know what’s going on. With help (programmer, sales people, office manager) I can get it off the ground.

Updating TCA– TheCharlotteAgency.com needs a serious facelift. So yea, that needs to happen too.

Needless to say, I am happy to see that though I am thoroughly enjoying teaching, that my entrepreneurial spirit has not yet withered.


Coming Up-

DECA States- Instead of being a judge, I will be an advisor during the North Carolina DECA Conference. Wild.
Social Media Day Charlotte (June 30th)- If you know people who’d like to be involved, give me a shout (Twitter: @SMdayCLT)

That’s it for now, folks. I hope to come back with updates on progress.

As always, thank you for reading.


No Referees? No Games. Love Your Refs.

English: English football (soccer) referee How...

English: English football (soccer) referee Howard Webb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have no idea what’s been going on in the world of sports recently, but it is getting out of hand. In less than a year, there have been three referee deaths in soccer, all in different parts of the world.

In December 2012, a volunteer linesman referee was beaten to death during an amateur soccer match in the Netherlands. The ref was 41 years old, while his assailants were two 15-year olds and a 16 year old; all players on the same team.

The linesman was officiating a match that his son was playing.

On April 27th, 2013, in Salt Lake city, Ricardo Portillo was assaulted while he was serving as the center ref of a match in a Hispanic soccer league. Portillo, who was 46, was punched in the face by a 17 year old player after Portillo gave the player a yellow card.

Portillo died later because of the internal injuries from being punched.

Now the craziest incident. This happened during the July 6-7th weekend. The center ref was 20yr-old Jordan Silva. He was officiating a match in Brazil when he showed 30yr-old player Josenir Abreu a red card. Abreu didn’t like it, and got in the ref’s face.

This is where it gets crazy.

Silva, the referee, pulled out a knife and stabbed the player, Abreu, which ended up killing him. The player’s family and fans captured the referee, tied him up, and when they heard that Abreu died, they tortured the ref and dismembered his body.

I’m going to need everyone to calm down.

This on-the-field violence, especially against refs, should not be tolerated. Players need to understand that without referees, they wouldn’t have a game to play. Referees instill rules. Referees instill fairness. When there is violence directed at the referee, no one wins.

Who knows why that situation in Brazil escalated so quickly. Why was the ref carrying a knife in the first place? Was he attacked before, was he given a reason to fear for his life and strike?

I’m not condoning his action. I hope no one ever has to make a decision to take someone’s life for fear of losing their own. I’m trying to figure out why the ref felt that he needed to carry one.

How can we shift the view of referees from “necessary evils” to “champions of the game”?

One group is trying. In memoriam of the referee in Salt Lake City, a group created the site, Love the Refs. The site is meant to show the world that “passion does not equal aggression.”

How true.

Being a fierce competitor does not mean that you must also wield your anger out on anyone or anything on the field. That is not how things work.

I think that sports organizations need to make an even stricter stand when it comes to violence against referees. Let players who show aggression be automatically suspended for 2-3 games. If they act on their aggression, ban from the league for that season. After that, any other infraction they are banned from the league and leagues around the area/region for life.

Or, every time an act of aggression towards the referee happens, end the game. No one wins.

Or, provide the referees with security.

In any case, the worse thing we can do, is nothing. Love the game, love your referees.

Social Anxiety Disorder: Why it Matters

Understanding the way people operate (or inability to) doesn’t not only help people in marketing and advertising. No, it also helps people understand how a culture or society interacts. Consumer (or in this case, social) behavior provides glances into our human psyche. It provides us a reasoning for the method behind the “madness”, meaning our seemingly predictable irrational behavior.

Like the saying, “the only thing you can predict is unpredictability”, the only thing we know for sure about common sense is that it is anything but common.

For example, as our society continues to become less face-to-face, we have dawned a new age of anxiety issues, off line and online. The latest (that I have seen) is called S.A.D., or Social Anxiety Disorder. Not to be confused with shyness, Internet Usage Disorder (IUD) or just being weird.


I stumbled onto this new disorder from a writer for Brain Magazine, where she talks about her plight with the social phobia.

The writer notes how “anxiety disorders are characterized by extreme mental discomfort with social settings.” And she goes into the technical parts of where in the brain scientists believe anxiety formulates. Most importantly, anxiety disorders disrupt and misinterpret information that impacts attention, memory, judgement and the ability to decipher information coming from oneself and others.

Basically, the ability to recall, and communicate.

This is serious. The ability to communicate thoughts and feelings is crucial to our social fabric. Those who do not and can not are dependent on those willing to help them, else they face de facto excommunication.

I’m not implying that the rise of online communities and social networks and gaming is the direct cause, but all of them are certainly elements.

Social Anxiety Disorder matters because it is proof that our society is losing its ability to communicate. As SAD develops, the more worried we should be.

What if Ten-Year Olds Ran Your Agency?

Grip Limited, an agency in Toronto is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in an unusual way. Instead of the party, the glitz and glam, and a roadmap predicting the next ten years for the shop, they decided to have some fun.

They brought in a group of ten-year olds to run their creative teams for the day.

Grip helped the teams set up, and asked them questions throughout the process. At the end of the takeover, the ten-year old troupes pitched their ideas to real Grip clients.

It is pretty cute.

The Charlotte Agency is turning 4 this coming January. I think we’ll have to wait a little longer before we pull something like this.

The DNC Lands in Charlotte

Long time no see, ol’ blog. According to the count I see on my LinkedIn page, it’s been a little longer than 160 days.


It’s been a busy time for me.

I’m still trying to make JDW: The Charlotte Agency work, and it has been full of its ups and downs. We’re working on a sports & entertainment spinoff from the marketing component, so more details on that as it develops. I got certified as a U.S. soccer referee, still doing multiple Charlotte YMCA activities, as well as Sportslink, and all in the meantime continually falling for my girlfriend and raising a puppy.

Also, just came back from seeing a good friend marry his sweetheart (congrats again Jeff!)*

I’m still trying to figure out this whole “adult” thing.

And then, the DNC comes to Charlotte.

As I’m writing this, day one of the Democratic National Convention has just begun. Bill Clinton has yet to take the stage on Day 2, and Obama has not yet accepted the nomination on Day 3.

Rumor has it that he will.

I’ve been in Charlotte since late 2008. In this period of time, I have seen Charlotte attempt to figure out this whole “international city” thing. It has been pretty fun to watch.

It’s brought multiple professional sports teams to the area. It’s bolstering up its downtown/uptown area. The startup community is ripe with young, energetic and bright entrepreneurs. Not to mention Charlotte is luring other FORTUNE 500 companies away from other cities (welcome again, Chiquita) And the city people do not want to be the next Atlanta- they want to be better than Atlanta.

I see you, Charlotte.

Then boom: Charlotte beats out Denver, Cleveland and some other city to win the DNC bid.

And rumors for a potential Olympics bid have already started to float around.

Charlotte is growing up and its maturity, so far, is looking good. The city is making the right decisions, attracting the right people, and desiring the right things.

But is it ready for the international spotlight already? Is it prepared to host the convention where the first (half) black american president announces his re-election? Can Charlotte aptly prepare America to move “Forward?”

Like in business, and in life, only time will tell.

*He gets the shoutout because he tells me he reads the blog. See what happens?

Why Fear Works

In North Carolina today there is a vote on a state constitutional amendment, “amendment one” it has been deemed, that will define marriage as a domestic legal partnership between a man and woman. Of course this has been the norm throughout history, but times are changing, and with different lifestyles developing, people find it necessary to stick to their old beliefs.

People have also called it “the defense of marriage” amendment. Yes, because its the gays and the civil unions, and the unmarried couples that are destroying marriages. For this argument, let’s ignore the teenage pregnancies, the 50% plus divorce rates for frivolous reasons and the bad habits of heteros.

For the defense of marriage.

In advertising- and in all professions that use persuasive tactics- we learn that fear has its place as one of the most effective tools to sway someone’s judgement. Fear has many forms, it could be fear of the unknown, fear of harm, fear of seclusion, or fear of being wrong. As humans we can’t fathom to think in those ways unless we intentionally practice to do so. Unless we accept that sometimes things won’t go our way, we will cling to things that we know, regardless of facts, figures and changing norms.

In this election year, much attention as come on the Religious Right; the neo-conservatives in the Republican party that hates birth control and non-Christians, and loves the Church and Israel. These are the same ones that tried to hijack the Bush White House to get him to do whatever it took to spread democracy and Christianity in the Middle East.

These are the same folks that have filtered into the North Carolina General Assembly to attempt to pass a constitutional amendment that takes into account a church stance in a state issue.

Separation? Not today.

People are afraid of what they don’t know. Outside the city areas of North Carolina, the people who will vote in favor of this amendment probably has had little to no contact with those people who will be affected by this amendment. Are they bad people? Are they insensitive? Not necessarily. The only fault one could provide is that the people who will vote in favor of this amendment have failed to widen their circle to the point that they understand and know the affected parties.

Let’s make this clear: we are not talking about a religious issue here. What other people do is their business, and I believe that no other human has the right to force their opinions or beliefs on someone else. If my studies serve me right, then there is only One who can decide and judge properly. I’ll leave that to Him.

The issue is a state one: since when in America can the majority force regulation on the minority? Is that not what most of the Federalist Papers warned against? The majority will not know the troubles of the minority, and with fear setting in, the majority is bound to do something senseless.

Listen. Fear is powerful, and it works. It is unfortunate that it will move a crowd so misguided in their views to strip a population of rights that, according to State precedents, they are entitled to.

For now at least.

The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on the Equal Protection Clause of Amendment 14, and if they decide that is covers the rights of the LGBT community, consider “amendment one” as weeks of pomp and circumstance.

We Need to Talk About Injustice

Bryan Stevenson, founder of Equal Justice Initiative gave a powerful talk about how a society will not (and more importantly, should not) be judged on the technology, entertainment and design that it creates, but it should be and will be judged by how it treats those who are poor, those who are disenfranchised, those who are incarcerated.

It is a very moving, powerful speech. And he’s right, we should look at a society- a superpower- and base its superiority not on how mighty it is, but how it treats those who are weak. When growing up, young men are taught by older men that strength of a man is shown when you can walk away from a fight, or when you protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Thank you Bryan for talking about a topic that our society is so eager to push aside.