Samples of the newsletters I produce

Currently, all these newsletters are monthly and free. 

Streams & Loops

Creative Houston Sparks

  • People, places and projects which show the relentless inventive spirit of Houston
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  • Free for now, donations appreciated.

Health Guide USA Tips & Trusted Links

  • Links and recommendations for reliable sources of health information
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To deepen loyalty, turn your customers into members

A membership program helps your customers become brand ambassadors, proud to share their insider status with the larger community. If customers can learn from one another, they can build something together. Being a member is much more satisfying than being a customer. 

The Sociology of Business: From Loyalty to Membership, 2020-Feb-11, by Ana Andjelic

In the modern aspiration economy, consumers are fans, influencers, hobbyists, environmentalists, and collectors. Membership programs are designed for them.... 

The keyword here is not necessarily prestige and exclusivity, but identity and belonging. There’s a pure pleasure in the intimacy of consuming together, along with enjoying status within a community. Thanks to a membership in a community, a hypebeast gets access to new product drops and events. This is the domain of intangibles that most loyalty programs fail to deliver, and that membership excels in.... 

Membership is mentorship... define the activity that members can learn from one another. This activity needs to stem from a brand’s role in culture, environment, or society.

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To make a contribution: don't try to fit in

I love the idea of being the lone dissenter so other people have an opportunity to dissent as well.

The Atlantic: The Perks of Being a Weirdo, 2020-Apr by Olga Khazan

Psychologist Solomon Asch is famous for his 'conformity experiments,' but he also studied how dissenters influenced group behavior.... Having just one person who broke with the majority reduced conformity among the responses by about 80 percent. Perhaps the participants in those trials felt as though they and the dissenter could at least be weird together. Interestingly, they were less likely to conform even if the dissenter disagreed with the crowd but was still wrong. The dissenter appeared to give the participants permission to disagree. ...

In a small study, Rodica Damian, an assistant psychology professor at the University of Houston, and her colleagues had college students engage in a virtual-reality exercise in which the laws of physics didn’t apply. In this virtual world, things fell up instead of down. When compared with another group that performed an exercise in which the laws of physics functioned normally, those who had the physics-warping experience were able to come up with more creative answers to the question “What makes sound?”... Damian has a theory she’s researching: that all kinds of unusual experiences can boost creativity. 

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How to change someone's mind

I've read many explanations lately about why people are not convinced by debate. Fortunately, James Clear points the way toward persuading people: treating them as friends. 

JamesClear.com: Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds, 2018-Sep-10 by James Clear

Be Kind First, Be Right Later

The brilliant Japanese writer Haruki Murakami once wrote, “Always remember that to argue, and win, is to break down the reality of the person you are arguing against. It is painful to lose your reality, so be kind, even if you are right.”

When we are in the moment, we can easily forget that the goal is to connect with the other side, collaborate with them, befriend them, and integrate them into our tribe. We are so caught up in winning that we forget about connecting. It's easy to spend your energy labeling people rather than working with them. 

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What kind of mistake do you want to make?

Mistakes are a chance to collect information. Plan them carefully. 

New Statesman: It’s impossible to live in a state of error-free perfection: the trick is to make the right mistakes, 2019-Jan-29 by Ian Leslie

On an individual level, it can be liberating to accept that the whole trick of life is deciding how, not whether, to screw up. A student may do better in an exam once she feels that nobody is expecting her to answer every question correctly. Every day, somebody starts a new business, fully aware that it may go kaput, having weighed that possibility against another error: creating the regret that comes from never trying in the first place.

When theatre directors give pep talks to their ensembles before an opening night, they often point out that the odd mistake is inevitable. They do so because the worst mistake of all would be for the performers to be so cautious that they forget to put their heart and soul into what they’re about to do. Well, your audience awaits. If it’s not too late to ask, what mistakes do you plan on making in 2020? 

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