Introducing Deeper Context

*deep breath* OK.

The Origin Story

As many of you know, I spent most of 2011 searching for work, after my time at Waggener Edstrom came to an end.  After a lot of soul-searching (and even more job board searching), I realized that the perfect job for me was not out there, so in September I decided to create the job I wanted.

Deeper Context LogoAs my professional passion has been feeding people’s curiosity through well-told and passionate anecdotes, I decided to make that the core focus.  It just so happened that I’d conceived of and registered the perfect name and url for the project several years ago:

The most challenging part of getting Deeper Context up and running since my decision to start has been clarifying my vision in terms that actually describe what I find so rewarding about talking to people about the things they love, and explaining why I think its so valuable for potential clients to embrace this kind of conversation in their marketing efforts. I realize that I’ve blogged a lot about these issues right here, so I wont rehash them (you can click on the sidebar to read any of the posts I’m talking about), and I’m working toward having Deeper Context embody as many of them as possible.

Defining Terms: What is Deeper Context

To quote myself:

We produce mini-documentaries that reveal and explore the human themes within your brand.  These stories excite existing fans — and attract new ones.

DEEPER CONTEXT develops and produces non-fiction audio and video series for the web and portable devices.  Our focus is on the personal experiences of carefully selected interview subjects who are passionate about the world your brand inhabits. They are delivered in a personal, intimate and conversational tone, that resonate emotionally with people in a way that a list of features and benefits cannot.

The website includes a mission statement, some conversation about the value of my work to potential clients, and a portfolio of some of the work I’ve done in this vein (mostly as an employee of Sony Music, though I hope to have that remedied as the weeks and months go by), which I do hope you check out. I would greatly appreciate any feedback, advice or suggestions you may have to offer me as I begin this journey.


My Hope For Your Involvement

I have two things to ask of you, dear reader, dear friend.

  1. If my undertaking seems like it might be of value to your or your organization, or if what I’m working on trip some synapses in your head that lead to you having suggestions or recommendations for me, please do let me know.  I’m looking for a few “seed” projects to build up the portfolio and get some good practice in interacting with clients who I consider friends.  I’m also looking for people to partner with, and am quite open to value exchanges.
  2. From time to time, I will be stuck lost and confused about what to do next (okay, let’s be honest, it’s going to be a regular occurrence).  Starting a business is a tough process for which there is no foolproof method, as I’ve learned already.  If you’re in a similar position, don’t keep it to yourself.  Talk to me, blog about it, Skype with a friend, SHARE what you’re learning.  I will do my best to do the same.

What’s Next For My Writing

For those of you who are RSS subscribers (and I know there are a few), you may be interested in the fact that I’ve launched a redesign of, putting more posts front-and-center in a magazine-style format.  This stems from the fact that I am not the worlds most prolific blogger (choosing to post only when I feel I have something worthwhile to say), and the reverse-chronological layout I had previously did not really provide access to all the useful posts from the archives.  I’ve re-categorized 10 years worth of posts to consolidate the main topics down from 23 to 7, and I hope that it proves useful.

I plan to continue blogging here at, and will also be posting more tactical stuff about digital storytelling dos and don’ts over at the Deeper Context blog (which is a little barren at the moment, but I have big plans for it!)

The Thank You’s

The road ahead is exciting and scary, but a few people have helped me along through this process that I would be remiss in not mentioning by name.

  • Amanda Lee Anderson, who designed the Deeper Context logo, and has been supportive of me and the new project throughout.
  • Megan Elizabeth Morris, whose boundless enthusiasm, infectious energy and pragmatic advice kept me pushing forward when I was ready to start looking for digital strategy jobs.
  • Mynde Mayfield, who has given me invaluable feedback and helped me inject more heart into my writing.
  • All the friends, former coworkers and other folks who I’ve pestered to look at my site and give me feedback or help me with some design work, code or grammatical snafu, including but (definitely) not limited to Jason Moriber, David Patton, Melissa Pierce, Chris Melvin, Peter Ciccotto, Judy Lerner and Kristie Macris.
  • …and of course my awesome girlfriend Kate Farina, my eternal champion, without whom I would most certainly not have the courage to follow this dream. I love you a really disgustingly large amount, momo.


So, that’s what I’ve been up to, and what I will be up to for the foreseeable future.

Wish me luck!



A new chapter, and a look back.

The stated purpose of this blog as of this writing is to foster discussion about the connection between human challenges and business challenges.

Over the last 3 years or so, we’ve talked about giving to others, being better communicators first, being curious about (and with) those around us, handling our fear, dealing with loneliness, de-emphasizing our egos, adjusting when conflict arises, focusing on context more than eventsbeing compassionate, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, giving ourselves a framework for creativity, sharing and connecting through our storiesnot dwelling in the negative, and even about some reflections.

Loch Alsh - reflection
Image via Wikipedia

These topics are ones that a lot of us (myself certainly included) struggle with regularly. What has been interesting is that the same things that we struggle with as people are also things that companies struggle with, and that we can use the same tools that we use to address challenges in our interpersonal lives to begin to shift how companies operate, inside and out.  This is what I’ve tried to point out more often than not here.

The fractal, scalable nature of what keeps us connecting (and keeps us from it, as well) is truly remarkable, when one is attuned to it.

Trying as best I can to avoid us vs. them thinking in my own head through connecting with people has really led me to begin to see the patterns (the “Matrix Code”, to geek out for a moment) behind many of the interactions that happen.   Being able to channel what I’m learning into this blog and have it resonate with even one person is so rewarding.

What I’m thinking about now is: What’s next?   There are thousands of blogs covering communications, from the perspective of tactics, strategy, psychology, life coaching and productivity, Buddhism and even parenting, each sharing variations on a theme of connection.

I’m certainly not the only one who talks about these subjects, nor the best or most regular blogger, but I’m proud of what’s happened here on my little corner of the interwebs, I’m ever grateful for those of you who choose to spend a few moments reading and responding (although selfishly I wish more of you would chime in and join the conversation happening in the comments).

As I begin the next chapter in the evolution of me (with some stuff that I will be announcing soon), I wonder how I can be most useful to you?

My intentions for this blog moving forward are to try to document my refocus on what matters to me (talking with passionate people about what matters to them, and collecting those stories into a cohesive overall story), and the process of making that into my full-time vocation.

What say you?

The story is the results (so don’t try to tell it yourself!)

This past weekend I was honored and privileged to co-lead (with Joe Vella) a discussion about Storytelling in the podcasting world at Podcamp Boston 4.  What I learned during the course of the discussion, and what I tried to put out there in some of the other panels I sat in on, was this:

When you tell your own story, its hype.  Other people telling your story is better.

In the 300 episodes of content that I helped to create while at Sony Music, very few of them (with the exception of Yo-Yo Ma) were focused on the artist talking about themselves.  This was by design, because stories told by people’s stories  to the music and the affect it had by coming into their lives definitively resonates more.

The danger with talking from the position of the creator (or your company, or your product) is twofold:

1) It’s increasingly difficult for your audience to believe you can be objective.

2) We all tend to severely over-edit or severely under-edit.

A question came up in another panel (run by @cc_chapman) about what non-profits could be doing better in the SocMed space, and I suggested that what may be lacking is an effort to truly document the stories of those that are affected by contributors donations.  If you have a charity that delivers shoes to poor kids in Africa, you’d better believe you’ll get more donations if you shoot a FlipCam video of the kids unwrapping and trying on shoes for the first time than if you point that same camera at the founder of the organization and let them talk about how much they need money to get those shoes over to Africa.

The Tom’s Shoes AT&T commercial is a perfect example of results-based storytelling, and finding that rare balance of focus.

Enabling the broadcast of passion and stories of people who are affected by what you do, or the product you put out, or the service you provide, whether it be  through podcasting or even just a comment section on your websites pages is the most powerful and effective way to show potential buyers/donors/fans/friends the value of what you bring to the table.

So my advice, when working on that new product strategy, that Social Media tone assessment, that podcast, your resume:

The story is the results, the results are the story.