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Thank You to Basecamp – You Are Amazing

Basecamp thank you trip for Bare Feet Studios
Is it just me or is it getting harder and harder to be wildly surprised, out of the blue, with something so totally unexpected that your first reaction is, this must be a prank? The internet has us all so connected and up to date on life as it is unfolding. We have become a society of know-it-alls (or maybe that is just me), in a very wide sense of that phrase. We’ve seen the hottest videos, know about the scams, and if we get asked a question we can’t answer, it’s easy enough to hop over to Google and get smarter in an instant.

So when we received a packet in the mail from 37 Signals, now known as Basecamp, with pretend passports, luggage tags, and a giant sheet of paper listing 10 cities around the globe for a free trip for two to the location of our choice, I was stunned! Shane and I scoured the materials, looking for the catch. This sort of thing is usually a sweepstakes with one in a million odds, disguised as a free trip. But knowing it came from 37 Signals, it had to be real.

Because Basecamp, aka 37 Signals, is the Real Deal.

“As a token of our deep appreciation for your long-term business, we want to do something really special for you.”

Yes they did! Imagine one of your vendors, giving you and your business partner, a free trip to Paris (from Maui), including airfare, hotel, private car to and from the airport, Metro cards, daily breakfast, and some spending money! Oh, and covering the extension airfare to Dublin for a personal side trip. Oh, and letting you pick the airline so you could use your miles to grab some upgrades. And doing all of the booking for you. And lastly, patiently waiting from February to September for us to create time and space to enjoy this adventure. Yes, this was a wild and wonderful surprise!

We easily continue to love, use, and evangelize Basecamp, for our client projects, our internal projects, and even for managing my elderly parents’ medical history since 2008. (Care providers are blown away when they see how easily we pull up 6 years’ worth of medications, doctor visits, et.) In fact, I cannot imagine my life without it.

We are just now returning from the two week experience, where we are able to get away from our so-called normal lives and truly breathe in the art of Paris, the legendary magic of Ireland (where I took a 5-day Mindfulness Tools Training) and Shane extended to Stockholm to visit his friend and inspiration, Vu Bui and see a stunning photo exhibit by Joyce Tenneson, another of Shane’s teachers. We have been restored, refreshed, and exposed to so many new ideas for our ever expanding creative and professional pursuits.

A few contemporary Paris Art Links
Gagosian Gallery, Peter Lindbergh Exhibit
Yan Marczewski, Painter
Ren Hang, photographer

Thank you, Jason, David, Andrea, and all of the brilliant people at Basecamp! We love you!

The timing was delightfully flexible.
We received the invitation in February. We traveled in late September, early October. It took seven months for life to line up in our favor, with no pressure coming from the Basecamp crew. Shane was able to create, install, and take down his solo art exhibition. I was able to plan and attend my Mom’s 90th birthday celebration. We were able to nicely wrap up several client projects before launching into new ones. September in Paris was so delightful!

The trip planning was gracious and personal.
It was interesting to notice how Shane and my brains kept trying to throttle the experience, while Andrea kept saying, “Yes.” and “Sure!” and “Why don’t we add on a private car service to and from your hotel; I can’t imagine you’ll want to deal with public transportation after traveling for nearly 24 hours!” Even when I wanted to add on a stop in Dublin, Andrea included it in the plane ticket, no problem, no need to backtrack.

The result was more than we could have imagined on our own.
Who knew that we were each really hungry for a change of place, a change of people? How did the Mindfulness Tools Program pop into my brain, and there just happen to be a program nearby at the time we wanted to travel, and on short notice they would still have room for me? How ironic, that as Shane and I expand our business in new directions, that we would be able to fly off to Europe for two weeks of being educated and nourished in all dimensions! It was clearly magical how quickly, easily, and richly the trip fell into place for us.

Please enjoy a few photos from our trip.

You can also see more on Instagram, at hashtag #roxshaneOTR. (OTR = on the road) Then, when you want to get your business more organized and help your clients help you, hop over to Basecamp and check it out.


Join Our List and Increase Your Internet Literacy

Join Rox's Email List and Get Support
I am celebrating 10 years of work using social business* tools, by, ahem, finally starting our own company email list. Yes, you can hear the horns of #irony blowing loudly at this moment, as I have set up over 50 email lists for clients over the years and it is one of my Number One recommended tools. All I can say is that we never needed one to accomplish our goals, until now. We have been a boutique consulting agency. Most of our clients are not that. If I have learned anything over the past 18 years of working in the “internet space,” it’s that there are more choices available than there are truly relevant tools. Scroll down to hop on the list.

Yes, your online business strategy is not one size fits nor all nor is it shoot as many bullets out there as you can and hope you hit a few targets.

I am launching a coaching service now and that is a very different type of business than a small digital agency. As an agency, we have clients for the longtime – our two largest have been with us the longest (and yes, those two data points are related) – since 1997. We have received all of our work through referral – either directly from an existing client or from my many years as a public speaker.

The coaching service I will be offering is for individual, not business, entities. I can and want to serve many more people. So having an email list is now a key component of both my marketing and my customer support strategy. I am so excited about the platform that I have bought into and will be announcing that in a few weeks. For now, I am reaching out to anyone who meets any of the following criteria, and inviting you to join my email list. Those of you on the list will be the first to get an invite to the coaching program!

You might want Rox as a coach if…

  • You feel overwhelmed by how and where to market your business online.
  • You know what you should or want to be doing, but somehow, it’s not getting done.
  • You want a community to find information quickly and experience respectful support.
  • You don’t want to pay high one-to-one coaching fees.
  • You want access to a library of vetted resources to help you be more effective and efficient.
  • You want to do all this in a private virtual space, on your own timeframe.

I sincerely think you will want to join this list if any of those statements apply to you. This coaching will be for amateur as well as professionals,. Why? Because, based on my own experience, I bet you are lacking focused motivation far more than you are lacking information. I’ve been using a similar coaching service for over a year and half for my writing projects, and it has changed everything for me. I am writing more, enjoying it more, and publishing more. I can hardly wait to launch this and create a community for us focused on building internet literacy and then acting on that!

Thanks so much for reading!


Get supported on Rox’s List!

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* When I say “business” I mean any work that you do, be it a for-profit company, a nonprofit, a hobby, or a dream working its way to becoming true.

Social Media Case Study: Collaborate with Traditional Media

Tehani Diaz of HCAP in PBN
Let me introduce you to my client, HCAP – Honolulu Community Action Program, Inc. They are among the top 10 largest nonprofits in Hawaii, with a wide range of services being provided across Oʻahu. I have been working with them for the past few months as a Social Media Executive-in-Residence. Somewhat surprisingly for an organization of its size, it had managed to avoid having any presence on social media until we started working together last October! On the other hand, it was a brilliant opportunity to start with a very fresh slate and create things, consciously, from the ground up.

HCAP designated an internal group of six who would form the social leadership team. They are a mix of communications, IT, and management – so we have terrific access to a wide range of talent and organizational knowledge. Our scope of work ranges from setting up a presence (and numerous associated tasks) on the leading social networks plus lots of training plus developing a new web site and also a web-based email system. We work in Basecamp, an online project management system we’ve been using for 10 years, combined with weekly Skype video conference calls and a few days a month where I am on-site working in the office and various satellite locations.

Please take a moment to Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter:

It started with #GivingTuesday.

One of the initial goals was to be up and running in time to participate in the 2nd annual #GivingTuesday campaign that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It is in the general category of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday – all designed to focus consumer attention in various targeted ways. This was a stretch, especially considering that HCAP is a cautiously-managed nonprofit. Making rash moves was not part of the plan!

On the other hand, having a specific goal and being able to join with thousands of others across the country in a cause much bigger than any of us, was too good an opportunity to miss! We decided to approach Giving Tuesday as a learning opportunity as much as a social media campaign.

What we did not expect was getting front page coverage in the Pacific Business News! In addition to building our strategy for the social campaign, we also wrote a press release and sent over a fact sheet to PBN about #GivingTuesday. We included the other local nonprofits who were participating. Remember, “sharing is caring” is a fundamental element of social media.

This led to HCAP’s Planning and Development Specialist, Tehani Diaz, being interviewed for a piece PBN did on the events. That was great and we were grateful! A few weeks later though, Tehani and HCAP landed on the home page of PBN, in a feature article under the Nonprofit Strategies column. This was powerful exposure in the community, aka earned media, that resulted from social media activity.

Not One, Not Two, But Three

So in less than four full months, HCAP has now been covered three times in Hawaii’s leading business publication. You can see the articles here, though some may require subscriber access:

Hawaii Nonprofits Join Giving Tuesday

How I Logged My Nonprofit onto Social Media

Honolulu Community Action Program gets $120k to help low-income workers find jobs

Thanks to Jenna Blakely for her converage and conversation!

Roxanne Darling

Roxanne Darling, photo by Tracy Wright Corvo

Roxanne Darling loves to travel, speak in public, be on and in the ocean, and is giving up working really long hours. She walks the line between technology and communication with a ballerina’s balance (she used to dance at the Palo Alto Dance Theatre and is a certified yoga instructor) and has a way of inspiring even luddites to try new things with technology. Please let it be known though, perhaps as a graduate of UC Berkeley, she is not a bystander or interested in the status quo! Click here is you want to book Roxanne as a speaker.

Roxanne's Work and Education History

Roxanne Darling is an early adopter. She was in the first graduating class at University of California Berkeley that wrote their own custom degree programs. Hers was Bachelor of Science from the School of Natural Resources, in Marine Ecology, and provided her with opportunities to study with extraordinary teachers – starting a trend for a lifetime. These days, she would say that is merely because she is a voracious student – and how could she not attract these brilliant guides? She traveled for over four months on sabbatical with Mary Lou Preston (now Coulston), one of three female instructors in the Biology Dept at UCB – which had over 100 male instructors. She received her UCB-approved for research SCUBA certification in 1973 – one of the first women to complete this grueling 10-week course that was modeled after Navy Seal training. (Required to be covered un the university’s insurance policy for conducting underwater research.)

She worked with Ron & Valerie Taylor to produce the Oceans book in one of the Time-Life Nature series; they went SCUBA diving for sharks at night to get footage for the Taylor’s TV show back in Australia, laying the early desire Roxanne would develop for internet video! She studied with Dr. Robert Risebrough, who discovered that DDT causes eggshell thinning in pelicans – his research directly impacted their survival. She was hired immediately after college by Dr. Ken Norris, who was responsible for discovering that whales and dolphins use sonar for navigation. She was part of the research team that conducted the first ever marine bird and mammal surveys off the Southern California bight. One of the high points was a glassy day on the water in their 60′ research vessel, while a 100′ blue whale swam just beneath them!

She gave up a budding career as a marine biologist to follow a deep, though fully untested desire to dance ballet. The well-known teacher, Richard Gibson, accepted her into his school at age 23, where she studied full time with 14 year olds. She joined the company and performed with the Palo Alto Dance Theatre before opening her own dance and exercise studio in Santa Cruz, California. She took her first aerobics class from Jane Fonda herself, and the famous studio in Beverly Hills.

Roxanne then became one of the original aerobics pioneers. A presenter at the first ever aerobics convention in San Diego in 1984, on the committee to write the first international certification exams, the first to teach low impact and mind-body aerobics both in the US an in Japan and Europe. She wrote the first fitness certification training manual, “No Train, No Gain!” Originally typed on a typewriter and xeroxed for her workshops, in 1986 she got her first Apple macintosh computer and taught herself desktop publishing and Filemaker database software. She created a unique community fitness leader training program that she taught in over 35 states, focusing primarily on indigenous communities from Alaska to Maine, working with Navajo, Hopi, Seminole, Cherokee, and many more tribal nations.

In the early 90s, she took a little time off to have a mild nervous meltdown, dealing with some deep-seated issues of depression. It worked and this time of her life continues to remind her that one never knows what others may be going through – act with kindness and respect.

She introduced “body esteem” to the early self-esteem awareness communities, led in part by people like Jack Canfield, publishing “30 Days to Body Esteem” and being featured on CNN, and in Vogue, Shape, and numerous publications. She built her first website in 1997; she gave the first talks on blogging, podcasting, and social media to the Hawaii business community starting in 2005. She and Shane produced one of the first video podcasts (aka internet tv shows), Beach Walks with Rox, which earned numerous awards and was the first of its kind to produce a daily show – going for 402 days straight! She produced Hawaii’s first Podcamp and Wordcamp events, attracting over 400 people and live-streaming both days to the world. She produced the first social media campaign on Maui, for the Maui Visitors Bureau in 2010. She won Best Social Media Campaign in Hawaii, in 2011 for her innovative work with the Lanai Visitors Bureau.

Please read some of her public speaking testimonials here.

View the Bare Feet Studios company testimonials here.

Photo Credit: Tracy Wright Corvo Portrait Photography
Tracy is a friend and a client and we adore her and her work!

Shane Robinson

Shane Robinson, photo by Tracy Wright Corvo

Shane Robinson is the original founder of our company and very committed to bare feet in his life. He can program computers, design and build furniture, make art, cook (clean – if he “has” to), train dogs, and fix almost anything. He’s really amazing at how he learns new things and can trouble-shoot anything mechanical or digital. The Maui artist in him is fighting its way to the foreground, with an occasional drone quad-copter spin.

Shane's Education and Work History

Shane grew up on a commercial working farm in Iowa owned by his grandfather. He worked seven days a week, feeding and caring for pigs. He opened his first business, a dance club for teens, when he was in high school and did much of the build out himself. He also started programming his first computer, a Commodore. Meanwhile his friends called him “copy machine” because he could draw whatever he saw. He managed to escape the hard life of manual labor and earned his Bachelor in Fine Art degree from the University of Iowa. He ran an art gallery in Madrid, New Mexico and apprenticed with a fine furniture maker, continuing to merge his creative and commercial interests.

One of the legends of Shane is that he heard of a job opening at Kinko’s in the computer design department back in 1995, so he rented several hours of computer time overnight and taught himself Pagemaker, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Quark Xpress. (Yes, they were the 1.x versions back them…) He sailed through the interview, and before long, he was itching to open his own company after meeting up with a database programmer he met via the Kinko’s rental computers.

Shane went on to become an accomplished programmer, system administrator, database developer, and information architect. These days, he is well known as Secret Cameraman on Beach Walks with Rox and is a great dog trainer whose bark is worse than his bite. Shane is a brilliant trouble-shooter and information architect, and with his art degree, he adds finesse to all of our projects.

He manages all programming, server administration, and application development for our web work. If you don’t know what any of those words mean, just think of Shane as the wizard behind the curtain who makes things on the internet work so well for our clients, our nonprofits, and yes our family and friends call on us too.

Shane’s re-emerging career as an artist started picking up in 2010 when his good friends the Bui Brothers (Lan and Vu) urged him to get a DSLR camera. By accident, his abstract ICM work was among his first shots as he was methodically teaching himself the technical tool, and they literally took his breath away! You can see them here. His first iPhone art pieces won awards and were featured in COLOR Magazine in 2010. One of his first large abstract paintings was accepted into the Hui Noʻeau Juried Exhibition in 2012 and was purchased by the state of Hawaii for the permanent art collection.

He recently completed a large commission for the Andaz Maui at Wailea – Maui’s newest luxury hotel. Roxanne coined this term for much of his work: Pixels are the paint of the 21st century. He moves seamlessly back and forth between acrylic and iPad, between building his own panels and “app-i-fying” his creativity.

Photo Credit: Tracy Wright Corvo Portrait Photography
Tracy is a friend and a client and we adore her and her work!