"There is No Spoon"

We’ve all seen movies that stick with us. The kind that get in your head so that you have to mull them over for hours, maybe even days afterwards.

How many of you have seen a movie that went beyond that to actually changing the way you viewed the world?

My favorite movie is The Matrix. It completely changed the way I saw life, and this is not an overestimation. It was a pivotal moment because I knew I was actually different because of what I’d just watched. That’s also why I went to see it in theaters 19 times (no, really).

This movie was a watershed moment for me. Its impact was profound on multiple levels, probably due to the fact that I was also taking philosophy in college at the time.

There is a line from this movie, which you’ve probably already guessed, that has become my tagline. So much so that it’s getting noticed. I want to explain why that line means so much to me and to Think Digital

The Spoon Scene

There is one scene in particular that struck a chord. It’s the scene where Neo, the main character, encounters this small, bald child. The kid’s head is shaven which immediately peaks your curiosity because he’s not sick; you can tell that it’s shaven.

This boy has been bending spoons with his mind, and he enters into a dialogue with Neo. He’s holding a spoon in his hand and it’s bending and moving and shifting and you can tell this little guy is altering the shape of the spoon with his mind. Of course this impresses Neo, who basically says, “Hey, how did you do that?” This is the rest of the scene:

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Spoon boy: There is no spoon.

Neo: There is no spoon?

Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

(From The Matrix1999)

The Impact of the Spoon

The line that still sticks out to me is “there is no spoon.” That line comes up at various points throughout the movie and the rest of the trilogy just as Neo is about to attempt something that seems impossible. Something that actually, physically seems beyond the realm of possibility. Sometimes there is a visual cue of a spoon, but usually he says to himself “there is no spoon.”

As we know, in the Matrix you can bend and shape reality by freeing your mind from the shackles that the world puts on you. That line is fuel for him to attempt and achieve the impossible.

Now, that scene sticks out to me for a number of reasons, but it all centers around that statement “there is no spoon.” Over the years it has stuck in my mind that in real life, in our life outside of the movies, there is no spoon!

That which was impossible is now possible. We are able to achieve way beyond what we can think or imagine. Typically the only limiting factors are our minds. If we can’t dream it, we can’t achieve it.

This is why I have “there is no spoon” spraypainted on my office wall. Why I have had stickers made of that line. Why it’s in my bios on all of my social networks.

That statement really reflects a larger reality in which we are capable of so much more than we think. That which was impossible is now possible. It’s all tidied up in the phrase from a bald boy in a really trippy movie, and it’s stuck with me throughout the years.

What is Your Spoon?

For a lot of people, the spoon is that we have to work 40 hours a week. Clock in, clock out. Save 10% and retire when we’re 55.

The truth is that we are moving towards a world (and in some ways are already there) where that paradigm no longer exists.

What is your spoon? Where are you limiting your dreams or your capabilities?


Choosing our Market

Have you ever felt like you’re straddling two different markets? Are you fearful of choosing one market over another?

Basically, do you feel like if you do choose one you are going to miss out on another market?

The reality is most of us only have the ability to focus on one market at a time. One niche at a time. And if we don’t, we lose out on “old mo,” AKA momentum. Not losing out on old mo’ is something my football coach always talked about. Of course, I mostly just sat on the bench, but I still remember him saying that nonetheless. Because it so often applies to life and to business.

At Think Digital, we’ve been experiencing the tension between being in the church market and wanting to move into the entrepreneur/small business market. I used to believe that church folk would buy from business people, but business people wouldn’t buy from church folk. I no longer believe that.

As it is, we have two client bases. One is the product side, the other is the services side. The services side is where a lot of our agency work is; where we do social media management, social media content creation, blog post creation, website development, graphic design. All of the things you associate with an agency are done on the services side.

This side of the business is open to all who come! We specialize in book launches and working with publishers and also with large non-profits. It also includes small businesses, educational institutions, anybody and everybody comes through the services side.

Our other side is the product side. Our brand for churches specifically is known as Social Church. This brand was created off of the message of my book. We use that brand to serve churches specifically on the digital products side. This product side has served small businesses also, but we have reassessed.

We’ve made a decision that we are going to focus the product side of our business, the Social Church side, on churches for the rest of 2015. There is huge opportunity here because there is huge need here.

We want as much momentum in business as possible. So Think Digital is focusing on services, but digital products are being focused under Social Church. We aren’t abandoning everyone, though. We’re pulling a Taylor Swift.

How is That Like Taylor Swift?!

Taylor Swift was the belle of the country music ball. She started her career in 2006. She dominated the charts, quickly rose to fame; everybody loved T Swift. Eventually, you could not step into the country music circle and not see or hear Taylor or her influence.

She won every award that you could win, completely dominated the country music charts, and seemingly had no where else to go in country music.

And so, in 2014, she made the decision to become a crossover artist, moving completely from country to pop. She switched genres, much to the delight and to the dismay of many country music fans.

Since switching genres she has done much the same in the pop world as she did in country; dominating charts, snagging scores of raging fans (Swifties as they’re known), selling out stadiums and generally doing whatever in the world she wants to do when it comes to music.

How Crossovers Succeed

Now the switch was successful for one main reason: she had a system.

Taylor Swift had a music system that she developed in the country music world. That was, to put it in a relational metaphor, her first true love.

As is true with most first true loves, the audience was much more forgiving and open to the flaws, faults, and foibles that she brought to the table. So she could hone her craft, she could become comfortable with who she was, she could get to know her strengths and weaknesses and correct them and really put together an operating system of sorts that was untouchable in the world of music.

When she had completely exhausted what she felt was her potential in the country music world, she could have either:

  1. A) Chosen to be a big fish in a little pond.
  2. B) Taken a risk, capitalize on the momentum of her country music system, and catapult it into the much larger niche of pop music.

Obviously the latter is what she did, but it wasn’t without first perfecting her system which allowed her to get a standard set of blueprints for operation. She took what she learned in the country music world and applied it to the pop music world and the rest, as they say, is history.

Moral of the Story

Things are working for Taylor Swift. The same system that worked in country music is now working for her in the pop world. There’s a lot to learn from this.

We as a business are choosing to hone our craft in the industry that we know best: churches. Now, I firmly believe that the systems and processes and blueprints that we’re putting into place business-wise are definitely working in the church world. But I also believe that they will work in the larger niche of entrepreneurship and small businesses.

Remember, Taylor Swift did not go straight to pop. We have no way of saying what would have happened if she would have, but, I doubt she would’ve found the same success. Would she have been successful? Probably. She’s talented, she’s hungry, and people love her.

She would likely have succeeded. But I don’t think she would’ve been as successful as she is now simply because of all of the other voices and noise in pop music. She could really hone her craft in a tighter knit community that knew her and loved her and was way more forgiving than the pop world would have been.

The same holds true for us. My desire and goal is to take what we’re learning as a business and teach it to entrepreneurs of all sorts and shapes and sizes. In order to do that, first we need to ground ourselves in rock solid principles.

Because of the network and skillset and opportunities that surround us, specifically in the faith-based space, we are choosing to start there and really serve that market well. To really understand who they are and what their needs are and to develop a system specifically for them.

Then and only then, once we feel like it is not only helpful to the faith based community but can also provide value to the larger entrepreneurial community, will we make that transition.

Lesson Learned?

As you are growing your business, embrace the opportunities and the network that are sitting right in front of you.

Instead of aspiring to be something else, be who you are right now. Certainly plot a path towards your future and build yourself a roadmap. But don’t make the mistake I was in danger of making! Do not overlook the overwhelming abundance of opportunities that are staring you in the face.



Why We Chose Click Funnels & Ditched Lead Pages

Efficiency is one of the driving forces of everything we do here at Think Digital. So is quality. And so are results. Given that we are a digital communications business, that trifecta is greatly emphasized by landing pages.

When we make a landing page, it has a purpose. A specific goal that it is driving visitors towards. We don’t have time to code all of that from scratch; it’s not efficient. Especially with so many great applications out there which take that step away. We also know that those applications are frankly better at the building blocks than we are. Quality counts! Those two things roll into results, and many landing page creators come with quantifiably proven results stats. All of these are reasons why I’m so stoked on Click Funnels. Let’s dig into the various landing page options, to highlight why I’m loving what I see on this platform. Click Funnels is the best!

App Integration for Click Funnels vs. The Others

One of the first features I look for in any program I use is the ability to integrate with other business-essential applications. We’ve used LeadPages a lot as it is known for this feature. OptimizePress, on the other hand, is not as compatible at moving a page around. Unbounce allows it, but when you cancel your membership, you will lose your pages. Click Funnels does a great job of working with the applications we all know and love and rely upon. Some of the ones we have utilized most often: InfusionSoft, GoToWebinar, and PayPal; but the list is tens of times longer than our top three! The take-away? Check before you buy; what apps do you absolutely need, and what landing page resource will integrate? clickfunnelscomparison

Landing Page Customization

A favorite feature of Click Funnels would have to be their customizable templates. The other sites we have utilized have plenty of ready-made templates, which is functional to a degree. LeadPages has plenty of pre-made templates. But what if your business doesn’t fit a pre-made template mold? So many times in the past we’ve wasted time sifting through templates trying to find one that fit our unique needs. We’ve tried Unbounce, which offers a lot more flexibility (but at a pretty high price tag). OptimizePress has too steep of a learning curve to get points for efficiency. By offering the customization feature, Click Funnels saves us my favorite asset: time. Click Funnels is the best!

The Best Landing Page Value

It’s not just integration and customization that matter; we are all always thinking of the bottom line, right? This is where stacking the various landing page creators against each other gets interesting. We’ve hinted to it already, but Unbounce is the most expensive. OptimizePress is your most budget-friendly option, but for all of the extra time required, without stellar bonus features accompanying, I don’t think it’s the wisest investment. LeadPages is competitive, but again, without customization, it’s worth looking at the true worth. Click Funnels comes in at just under $100 a month you can get full functionality of this resource, so the price is perfect. Now, I’ll be perfectly honest. A huge added value of the already reasonable price would be their affiliate program. That means when people sign up using my links, I will get a commission. The same is true for you if you sign up for the affiliate membership! From a standpoint of pure logic, do it right, and your account will pay for itself.

Decision Time!

Landing pages are an integral part of online products. Creating them should be quick, should have great looking results, should work with your other apps, and should fit the budget. We’ve experimented with ‘em all, and when it comes to form, function, price, and conversion? Click Funnels is currently taking the lead at Think Digital. Click Funnels is the best!


Regarding Digital Products

At Think Digital, we spend a lot of our resources creating resources. Because of that, it’s not uncommon for us to get questions about these products.

Such as: Why do we sell them? What is the value of digital products? Why do we spend time creating courses, resources, and intensives?

Anyone Can Be an Expert, But…

First, let me clear something up about the team. It’s not that we necessarily know more than the Average Joe in Digital Communications. Sure, we spend a lot of our time working with clients and investigating the best practices for them and for our own business.

Because of the time we spend in the digital marketing world we have a broader depth of knowledge than most. But with enough time, most anybody can master digital marketing. With enough time, folks can usually figure this stuff out.

It’s just like any topic! If I had more time, I’d love to become a better chef. If I had more time, I would love to figure out how to produce music! But I don’t have that time.

We recognize that same lack of time exists for people interested in our field. So what we do with digital products is condense all of that learning into a step-by-step process, system, or series of systems for people to purchase.

Who and Why

Inevitably, someone will say “I could find that information out for free. I could just google that.” My response? You absolutely could. You could trade your time for Google searches and reading blog posts and listening to podcasts. you could trade your time for the trial and error processes and for investigating what works and what doesn’t.

You could absolutely do that whole process yourself, but it will cost you something that is way more valuable than money and that is time.

At Think Digital, we’ve already spent the time. So now, instead of you having to go and find all of that stuff out, read all of the blog posts, do all of the trial and error research, etc., you can just buy ours! You can buy what we know is proven to already work. It’s a very simple trade off!

Some people are bound and determined to figure this out for themselves. If they’ve got the time and want to spend it, that’s cool. More power to them. They aren’t our customers, but they can still be our friends.

Our clients are the ones who value their time and want to take the quickest path to results. They are the ones who want a step-by-step process where instead of guessing if it’s going to work, they can know with certainty that it will. Basically, they shortcut their way to success These people are the ones we target with our products and services, because these are the people we can benefit.

My Personal Experience

I know this system from both sides; I am a huge consumer of done-for-me products! Once, I paid $15 for an app from Gordon Ramsey that showed me how to cook steak.

You may think to yourself why in the world would you pay $15 for a couple of videos and recipes when you could just buy a steak and cook it yourself? The answer is simple. I don’t want to have to go through the hassle of learning how to cook a perfect steak, I just want to know how to cook a perfect steak.

So I went to a guy who knows how to do it, and I paid him to teach me how to do it. Now I can cook a perfect steak, plus an amazing chicken dish (that my wife really likes), beef wellington and lamb chops. All because of an app. I went to a guy that I know understands how to cook well and paid him to teach me how to do it directly. It’s the same concept as our services at Think Digital.

Expertise in Applying Knowledge

I want to remove that veil or illusion that there is some hidden knowledge that we exclusively possess. When I buy a course, I don’t buy it because I think the person teaching it has some hidden secret.

I may trust that they have more knowledge than the next guy, but ultimately I’m not paying for their knowledge. I’m paying for their expertise in applying that knowledge. I’m paying for their wisdom, strategies, and process.

I can find their information. We live in the information age. We’re not short on information. What we’re short on is time. Ultimately, that is the value of a digital product.

Digital products can give you your time back if you are willing to receive it.



Social Media is Not a Sales Media

“Asking for the close on social media is like making out in church. You can do it, but it’s highly frowned upon.”

My friend Brad can be credited for the above quote. And you know what? He’s right.

Why Social is Not for Sales

Many people make the mistake of seeing social as a sales channel. It’s not! I have said it before and I will say it again. Social media is a relational platform.

The goal is to start, grow, and nurture relationships. It’s not about timing studies. It’s not about mindlessly joining every new platform under the sun.

If you are using social media to generate direct sales you will be continually disappointed. That’s not social’s purpose, so it is simply not what you will get as a result.

As you may know, our company offers done-for-you digital marketing services. One of the ways that we try and set this up for those clients is by using the Know-Like-Trust-Build spectrum. Those are relational terms that we use to judge effectiveness for a relational platform.

Know Like Trust Build Spectrum

  • Know is about increasing awareness. How many people know who we are?
  • Like involves engagement. How many people like who we are and interact with us?
  • Trust is conversion or commitment. How many people are converting or committing to what it is that we put in front of them?
  • Build is all about advocacy. How many people are advocating on our behalf? Who is taking action when we ask them to take action? Who is willfully telling people about us on social without any coercive measures?

Realigning your view of social media to this relational perspective nullifies the ROI question, or at least puts it in a different light.

The Cost of Doing Social Wrong

Social media is one of the biggest assets an organization has. Almost everybody makes the ROI-obsession mistake. Everybody gets this wrong because they just blast social media with information, product, or blurbs about how great they are. Just know, this mistake costs everyone.

Not long ago, I looked at a company’s  social media accounts and could tell that they must be pouring hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars into content marketing on a monthly basis. Yet all of their content marketing is geared towards telling people how great their product is.

I would be shocked if they are making the money they are spending on those tactics back. Additionally, they are alienating tons of potential allies by that kind of billboard marketing!

Trust me when I say that I would rather have the most cobbled together content that focuses on building relationships with people than spend any amount of money to praise my own products on social media.

I know from my own and from client experience that the payoff of social media is in building relationships, and it’s so much more than financial.

This week, take a step back and look at how your organization is doing social media. If it looks more like a billboard or self-praise, it is time for a shift. Remember, nobody wants to see you making out in church.