Archive for ‘Village’

June 24, 2011

I Like It Rough And Slow

Written by Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO of Chalkboarder

Yes, you read the title right. I like it rough and slow. I’m a little different that way. Perhaps hardcore might be another descriptive term. Or.. someone might say “he has an appreciation for the unusual”.

You see, I find opportunities where others might discount none to be. I look for the little clues that signal these potentialities. I’m willing to venture through unusual circumstance, that others would shudder at, to perhaps find that rare gem of an opportunity.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not talking about sex. Yes, I was leading you on; intentionally.

Rough Riders

I’ve always been a traveler – a bit of a nomad. I grew up that way and it in large part defines me. I feel trapped, or better, caged and bound, if I am unable to experience new vistas and experiences. I meet interesting folk this way. Sometimes, the people I meet have ability to transform and positively impact not only me, but the opportunities before Chalkboarder.

As I write this, I am up all night, at Boston South Station, waiting for the final leg of a six day journey across the USA. I boarded Amtrak Empire Builder in Oregon five and half days ago. We were almost a full day late into Chicago. Let’s look at the results from enduring lack of showers, lack of beds and lack of sleep this week.

  • Amtrak Regional Operations Director – Pacific Northwest. I bumped into this gentleman at the hotel they provided me for a half day in Chicago, between trains. An excellent representative of great customer service; honestly inquiring to my welfare and comfort. We’ll have coffee sometime later this summer.
  • Amtrak Empire Builder Cafe Car Attendant – Actually, someone I have had twice before using Amtrak between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. We remembered each other’s names and chitchatted at length. He owns a restaurant in Milwaukee, WI and I gave him pointers on his social media.
  • Harvard Behaviorial Health Professor – my seatmate from Chicago to Boston; one heck of a conversation, culminating in contact info trade and the possibility of reconnecting for coffee on Harvard’s campus.
  • Al Jazerra English Senior Technical Producer, London UK – this young gentleman and I had an outstanding conversation in Chicago, and have already traded tweets. I’m a big news junkie and he was grilling my opinions on the political landscape of the USA. Perhaps the most solid connection of this trip, and my introductory relationship to the Arab World.
  • Brooklyn Latino – this father and daughter made the trip with me across the country. His daughter, same age as my littlest, and I shared quite a few giggles. The father, while not fluent in English, and I got to know each other and have made plans to hang in Brooklyn sometime soon, where he will introduce me to his ethnic neighborhood.
I met others, such as the young gentleman who shared the very early morning hours with me here in South Station, who is from Worcester (pronounced Wooster in these parts) and just transformed a layoff from National Grid into an excellent new opportunity. He checked out Chalkboarder’s website and immediately referred four local Boston/Worcester businesses to me.
This is why I like it rough and slow. I am most definitely in need of a shower (I stink!). I need to do laundry. I’m coffee’d out. My ass hurts from sitting. My right knee is killing me with an arthritic dullness from not walking. I took a nap on the marble floor of South Station just before writing this..
Travel by airline, as the majority of travelers do, simply does not provide you with these opportunities to connect. It simply can’t. Why?
  • Everyone is stressed out.
  • You hurry through the system in lines.
  • Time is rushed. Get here, get there, don’t talk to others – such a isolating experience and yet so ironically, all together.
  • You can’t move about and randomly get into conversations with your other travelers.
So… how do you like it? Fast quickies with strangers? Or taking the time to get to know people?
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April 10, 2011

Get SMART NW – Social Media Advanced Relationship Training

Just launched and we’re wicked excited!

Get SMART NW was created to solve a problem – a lot of talk about social media, but no actual learning solutions. This program combines hands on learning, worksheet and tips to support your learning process. It’s a big world out there, but you don’t have to face it alone.

We understand that social media is a big ol’ complex world that changes every day. Our nine progressive classes help you learn, enjoy and succeed in social media.

It’s a big online world out there. You don’t have to face it alone. Get SMART NW pairs you with classmates at the same level of social media understanding to create a learning community. Affordable, easy and tailored to your needs.

 

Get SMART today!

We’re very excited to partner with Scene Marketing Group in offering this comprehensive and intensive social media training course.

 

February 6, 2011

BF&T Beard House Dinner Update (Social Media)

Just a quick update looking at metrics from a two week Facebook Fanpage campaign for Berkshire Farm & Table’s push into social media over the last month.

The Facebook Fanpage for Berkshire Farm & Table was launched on January 23rd, 2011. As of this afternoon, this fanpage has had over 25,340 post views in under two weeks. Nice job on social media optimization, BF&T!

February 5, 2011

Witticists on Twitter

I monitor Twitter constantly. At 140 characters per message, I enjoy the humor and banter to be found there greatly. A few of my favorite personalities and examples are below:

@RonRuggless

@JeffreyJKingman 35F headed to 40F in DFW. It came. We thaw. We conquer.

@Herbguy

If they’ve got the dirt on you RT @tchwojko: @Herbguy accountants can find truffles?

@royatkinson

Tonight Groaner: Very foamy poet – William Shakesbeer #humor

Who are your favorites?

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January 7, 2011

Squeaky Chalk News January 7 2011

#Crush2011

This is our slogan. We’ve made a few banners and got tattoos indicating our determination to absolutely crush 2011 in creating awesome villages for our clients and ourselves. Care to join us at the end of the day in Village Hall near the fire?

Chalkboarder is roaring into 2011 and we wanted to give you a little news from this past week.

James Beard Dinner Coverage – Berkshire Raised

Just today, we were approached by the Berkshire Chefs from around Albany, New York. In September 2009, they had been on their way to the James Beard House to prepare dinner using Berkshire raised ingredients. With a little 3000 mile collaboration, Chalkboarder was able to distribute content semi-live during the culinary preparation and dinner over social media.

They’ve asked us to do this again. I’m not sure of the date yet, but we’re very excited to become a “Social Media On Demand” producer for their benefit. It’s a challenge to coordinate social media production and distribution being 3000 miles away, but we’re pretty confident in conducting an effective campaign.

Urban Toile – Atlanta’s Hottest Food Truck (Launching Soon)

We’ve been working for the past couple months on a very exciting and challenging project – writing business plan, researching and coordinating logistics and relationships. Our client, Urban Toile, is only a couple weeks from ordering a $70,000 brand new food truck and is VERY close to signing a relationship with Atlanta’s hottest BBQ joint, Fox Barbeque. Stay tuned as we ramp up Urban Toile’s social media prior to the launch of the truck.

Northwest Foodservice Show

In partnership with Paul Paz of WaitersWorld (and longtime Oregon Restaurant Association board member), we’ve launched social media strategies that will help foodservice exhibitors and operators Raise The Bar in their social media adoption. Chalkboarder will be sharing a lot of messaging over the next few months from this source.

Foodportunity PDX

Foodportunity PDX is back! March 7th at the Heathman Hotel again. Join us that night for #nomnoms and great chat with great local restaurateurs and chefs. Chalkboarder was hired again to line up the participating restaurants and provide “Social Media On Demand” for this event.

Social Media for Pros

Over the last few months, Chalkboarder has been aligning with and working closely with The Scene Marketing Group, here in Portland. We’ve hired SMG to be part of some largeSocial Media On Demand” teams for six large (10,000 to 50,000 attendee) events around the country and are very excited by all the collaboration.

We’re in last phase planning for a social media educational program to be offered in two formats, here in Portland. An attendee of this program can learn enough skill and strategy to plan and execute a strong Social Media Optimization plan. It’s still a little early to release specific details, so stay tuned for announcements in a week or two.

Well, we don’t want to tie up your Friday when we’re certain you, like us, are trying to #Crush2011. Cheers and see you at Happy Hour!

Jeffrey J Kingman

November 1, 2010

Tap Me On The Shoulder – Building Village

This past weekend Chalkboarder produced broad-path Social Media On Demand for our client Coffee Fest Tradeshow in Seattle. Over 8000 attendees and exhibitors gathered together at the Washington State Convention Center Friday through Sunday, making it one of the most successful shows Coffee Fest has produced in their 59 shows.

On the Friday of each Coffee Fest (there are three to four a year around the USA), Coffee Fest hosts a happy hour for exhibitors and attendees. These happy hours are crowded and very lively.

Friday night at the happy hour, I received a tap on my shoulder. Here is the dialogue:

Tap: Are you Jeff that gave the seminar on social media last fall here at Coffee Fest?

Me: Yes, I am.

Tap: I want to thank you! I wasn’t in social media and sat in on your seminar a year ago. Because of your presentation, I got into social media. You are responsible for adding $9000 a month revenue over the last nine months to my business!

Me: (genuine surprise and pleasure)

Tap: Do you want me to sell Chalkboarder for you in Los Angeles?

You can imagine my reply to this gentleman. I am truly humbled that a simple (and now I know, relatively uneducated) presentation on my part, impacted this gentleman’s business so positively. I’m pretty satisfied to hear this news, that my simple words and demonstration could bring such change to a small business.

By the way, if you are doing business in Southern California and thinking about social media, I can provide a reference to you.

October 15, 2010

Atlanta Food Truck – New Client

We’re very excited this afternoon here at Chalkboarder to announce our latest client relationship. Watch out, Atlanta – the food truck scene is about to explode!

 

 

Atlanta, Georgia

 

Chalkboarder has been contracted to research and prepare a business plan for a dynamic and progressive food truck for the City of Atlanta. Our new client, UrbanToile, has vision to be a leader in Atlanta’s food truck scene and help explode that scene to the creative diversity found in other metro areas (PDX, NYC, LA).

UrbanToile has already met with Food Network Chef Alton Brown’s cameraman, who indicated that Alton is very passionate about getting Atlanta “on the map” with food trucks. It’s time for Chalkboarder to get busy for this dynamic and visionary client!

September 15, 2010

No Kid Hungry

September 19 – 25, 2010 ~ Great American Dine Out

I’ve lived on both sides of the tracks. I’ve lived both broke-as-hell-homeless and pretty well off in my quite full life.

Great American Dine Out

I grew up in Helena, Montana. We were pretty well off growing up, in the upper echelons of local society, entertaining often. I remember, though, visiting friends – other kids who lived in single-wide mobile homes with broken vehicles in the yard. Today, knowing what I know, I wonder how many of them were hungry, especially in the middle of those wickedly bitter cold Montana winters.

I follow @hardlynormal on Twitter, a former Hollywood filmmaker named Mark Horvath, who now travels the country and world documenting and interviewing as many homeless families and folks as he can. Daily, there are stories he tells of young children, homeless and hungry.

In 2004 I traveled to Nicaragua, spending two weeks with a very rural and very poor rice plantation squatters village, helping them to construct a comedor, a community kitchen, from local fieldstone and wood. The comedor was being constructed to provide the children breakfast before school, with five years of donation from the Japanese government. While these were some of the happiest people I’ve ever been with, I witnessed the children hungry.

In 2005, six months after Katrina, I traveled with Mary Sue Milliken (Food Network Chef/Borders of Los Angeles), Floyd Cardoz (James Beard Chef/Restaurant Tabla NYC) and other top industry professionals to New Orleans. By day the participants of this Share Our Strength group bore witness to the total devastation and hunger; by night we discussed it over dinner with Chefs John Besh, Susan Spicer and others.

Nearly 17 million children in America struggle with hunger. That’s almost 1 in 4 kids.

In the world’s wealthiest nation, childhood hunger is simply unacceptable. Hunger impairs our children’s health, growth and development in significant and long-lasting ways.

I’ve long been a supporter of Share Our Strength – they are singularly my favorite organization. In 2007, at the National Restaurant Show Annual Dinner, I was fortunate to spend more one on one time with Billy Shore and his sister Debbie, when Billy was honored by the NRA. I’ve participated in eight Tastes Of The Nation as a contributing Chef and instigated the formation of the Maine chapter (we raised $50,000 from 200 contributors on our first event in 2005).

It only takes political will. Our restaurants are the cornerstone of our society. Restaurants are where we gather around to celebrate joys and sorrows, crossing political and theological fences to be in community with each other. Ending childhood hunger only takes consolidated political will.

Please join me September 19th to 25th for the Great American Dine Out. As part of the No Kid Hungry campaign, funds raised through the Great American Dine Out are granted out to anti-hunger organizations that demonstrate effective work to help end childhood hunger. For more info click here.

Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO

Chalkboarder

September 4, 2010

Restaurateurs Have More Right Than Ministers…

Leah Chase stood in the middle of her restaurant in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, pounded her fist into her palm and flatly stated “By God, I’m going to reopen.” Six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, fifteen feet from this life-long restaurateur, I watched her eyes, full of fire, grit and bull-dog determination.

Leah Chase

Leah Chase

Leah Chase apparently never ran her restaurant to get rich. When I met her that early spring, she was aged, standing in the utter ruins of a neighborhood with rich history – a history full of music, food and long relationships. As we stood in the chaos of a blown-out restaurant, jumbles of electrical wires and naked framing abundant, the smell of mold and decay rampant six months after destruction, Leah told us stories of the restaurant.

Two of these stories illustrate clearly a thesis I propose to you. The first is from the civil rights era in the sixties. Leah and her restaurant were much younger then and as we stood there in her bombed out establishment (with no federal or state relief in sight), Leah related how she cooked for and served Martin Luther King several times a week, often joining his table for the post-dinner strategy sessions. MLK built community. He was one of those rare ministers that crossed theological divisions to build community in a tour de force display of will. Leah, with her abilities in food and service, helped sustain that effort, and through that work, built local community in Lower Ninth Ward that crossed theological, and political, divides across five decades.

Her next story is more poignant. Within 72 hours of Katrina lashing the Lower Ninth Ward in demolition furies, Leah and a few of her crew gathered at the restaurant. Within a week, Leah and some of her crew were making food for those residents of Lower Ninth Ward that had stayed behind. By the end of the first week, people were gathering at Leah’s restaurant, pinning notes to the beams, searching for those they knew; striving to come together in community again. Leah’s restaurant became the gathering place in Lower Ninth Ward to find your neighbors. Her restaurant was the focal point of rebuilding in tragedy; so much more effective than safety agencies, churches or other entities.

My thesis is this. Restaurateurs and Chefs have more legitimate right to be called “community builders” than ministers, politicians or nonprofits do. In this industry, our establishments are places where people gather; coming together across theological and political fences to celebrate each other’s joys and achievements, mourn each other’s losses and provide comfort and companionship, laugh with friends and family, assist and counsel peers. Our restaurants, from the coffee shop to the neighborhood bar to the casual fast-food to the best dining spots in the world, embody this age-less tenet of our business. We are humanity’s sacred gathering spot.

Since the age of hunters and gatherers, humanity has gathered around the fire. We are the only specie that has gathered around fire and used it to prepare food. Each time humans have done this, we have reinforced the basic building block of community – sharing with each other; sharing sustenance, not only in meal, but also in gathering together.

Today, in this society, it still occurs. It happens every day in our one million plus restaurant locations in the USA. Our specie still gathers and communes with each other in joy and compassion. While often the fire is tucked away in the back of the house – it remains the gathering place. I think as hosts, we often forget this, in the daily struggle with staffing, equipment, suppliers, et al.

How much more village can restaurateurs and chefs build by keeping their right as community builders closer to the chest? How much deeper connections can we assist in forging by recognizing each table as a unique and singular moment of opportunity to strengthen the bonds of community and humanity? And to be frank, wouldn’t a restaurant that pays attention to this enjoy the benefits of greater sustainability?

Three years after standing with Billy Shore, Mary Sue Milliken, Floyd Cardoz, Ron Ruggles and others on that Share Our Strength expedition to Katrina-devastated New Orleans, Leah re-opened her restaurant. I’m humbled that I was able to meet her. I hope my daughters have 1/100th of her spirit and determination in their lives and that they too – are community builders, no matter what their profession.

As always, I welcome your feedback, critique and observations.

Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO ~ Chalkboarder

@JeffreyJKingman



August 21, 2010

Gnomedex – Futurism and Humanity at it's best.

I’m at Gnomedex in Seattle, listening to leaders in geek, tech, futurism and social web give presentations on their various topics. My main intent being here is to determine what the future of social web connectivity and village building will look like over the next two years.

I originally came here for this purpose to gather this information and be of better service to clients. What’s really happening is my own building of village.. of community, internationally.

So many of the presentations here have focused on the use of tech to better humanity. What an awesome focus..

You can follow all the tweets from #gnomedex. There is also live-streaming, but we only have an afternoon left.