As many clients have heard me say, “I can barely change a light bulb, but words are my gift.” I’m fortunate not only to love them, but to be able to make a living from them.
When I’m able to, I like USING my gift for causes can make a positive difference somehow. Recently I wrote a speech for someone — I will also coach her on delivery — who could never afford my normal corporate rates … a very deserving young entrepreneur named Holly Daniels Christensen.
She founded Dune Jewelry with designs built around grains of sand — now from over 900 beaches — sent to her from people around the world who want to PRESERVE the beaches of the planet from erosion. ( dunejewelrydesign.com ) She contributes to organizations like The Surf-Rider Foundation, which champions beach preservation.
HOLLY likes to give back, too, and what inspired me to accept the assignment for her was the purpose of her speech — to help the villagers of Ariang in the war-torn South Sudan with the school they’ve been building by hand, forming their own bricks from the land for that purpose.
Each piece from this special Ariang Collection will incorporate bits of the schoolhouse bricks that have been sent to Holly by the villagers. They believe (rightly!) in the power of EDUCATION to help their children have better lives than the adults have had, with all their suffering. (HOPEforAriang.org.) Holly has been very appreciative and it makes ME feel good to know that my words, in this case, will be put to such valuable use.
She will soon be giving the speech I wrote at a benefit which will use her jewelry sales to raise funds for the village of Ariang. And so … I wanted to give Holly’s story this tiny spotlight of my own, with people I know and am connected with. Cheers!
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. I was a shy, geeky boy on a small SC island … a scared but ambitious newcomer on the island of Manhattan, NY … a driven junior executive … a wunderkind VP — developing 300 new products a year, publishing sales communications to consumers, and leading the development of training and motivating events for a vast sales force.
I gave speeches in French, led communications workshops in Tokyo with a Japanese interpreter, and learned to comfortably address an audience of 5,000 with gusto and impact.
After leaving corporate life, I became a marketing consultant — helping to develop an award-winning campaign for a high-tech software client … becoming (without fully realizing it) an online pioneer, and winning awards and media coverage as “Planet Earth’s First Interactive Electronic Journalist” (the first to cover key events via computer to global online readers.)
I authored a book written online … gained training and experience as a gestalt psychotherapist … and ultimately became a freelance speech writer, speech coach, focus group moderator, and creative director for business meetings … in addition, now, to being a published, BILLBOARD-charting lyricist of songs that range from Choral to Country, from R&B to Dance to Pop.
I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, but what I like about this space — like the “Mike Magazine” that I created and published decades ago — is that it’s totally my own. From time to time, I intend to share observations, experiences and interactions that I hope are of interest to readers … and which definitely are of interest to me.
Public and private comments are welcome … as long as they are respectful, not just of me but of any other readers. You can subscribe, if you like, and receive notification of my postings here … which will be sporadic, varied and always honest.
What is to come is unpredictable.
I know only that I was meant to write ….
I was an early online journalist … dispatching reports (that readers could respond to) from computer shows, the launch of Macintosh, the Oscars, the Republican and Democratic Conventions, writing that book of interviews about AIDS.
It wasn’t called a “blog” back then … we didn’t have the word yet … but that’s what it was.
So here I am again, decades later. I have a feeling I’ll have some exciting (or at least interesting) things to write about in times ahead.
There may be some significant “news”, for example, about some of my forthcoming songs. Or maybe I’ll share thoughts about some of the clients I’m inspired by (without violating their confidentiality, of course) or my experiences in corporate life, past or present. Or whatever other observations.
At any rate, this is my first post in the modern era that has not been squeezed into 140 characters for Twitter, or condensed to fit into the Facebook mindset. If you happen to follow me on Twitter or have “friended” me on FaceBook, then you’ll be notified by me there about additional posts I add here. Anyway, this is my first one on my own site — just to get things started.
by: Stefanie Kott
Originally published on August 1, 1985
Mike Greenly is a special friend to many ENA members. For many, it’s Mike’s work that prompted us to stick with Parti on the Source when it was a strange and foreign world. His fans in ever-growing numbers follow him wherever he goes, into whatever subject(s), just so we can see what he’s doing now, like junkies.
Then the members of the First Intersystem Symposium, pioneered by Lisa Kimball, decided to get together and look into each other’s eyeballs (and we learned they are NOT green on black!) Mike followed US and faithfully reported his reactions back to his readers on Parti on the Source in “Face To Face”. Since then, some of his readers have joined us in ENA.
These are just some of the reasons why Mike Greenly is a special friend to many ENA members.
When you read the following interview, you will see other reasons.
Stefanie Kott: Mike, a lot of people know you as the “first interactive online journalist,” but some do not realize that you’re a marketing specialist with a pretty heavy business background. Would you explain the background you come from and why you left it to pioneer online journalism?
Mike Greenly: Well I was and am a “marketing junkie” — I truly LOVE working on product strategy, market positioning, package design, advertising, PR, all of that stuff that can make or break a product or service. I loved gaining those skills the hard way at Scholastic, at Lever Brothers, and at Avon. And I love it when I do that kind of work for clients today.
I didn’t leave Avon to do journalism — that ultimate result caught *me* by surprise!
It was Toffler’s book, THE THIRD WAVE, that made me return from a vacation and say to Avon Products, “HEY! We’ve got to plug into technology and fast!”
At that time, I was their VP of Product Marketing. I guess I was so convinced, I was wild-eyed. So they said, fine, calm down! They bought me an Apple II computer, a printer, modem, software — and a Source Subscription! “That’ll keep you busy in your spare time,” they said. (My job was developing and marketing 300 new products a year.)
The software I saw showed me there was a huge opportunity for a true consumer orientation in technology. But it was the Source — and the Participate teleconferencing system in particular — that made me realize there was a *magic* out there I just had to be part of.
So I quit. (gulp) By the time of my first “Comdex,” I had already become so hooked on teleconferencing that I traveled everywhere with a Model 100. When I sent back my first Comdex reports, so many people were so enthusiastic I decided I had to keep exploring the boundaries of what I realized was a new kind of journalism. New because it’s interactive, and so time and space independent.
It’s exciting to be the first of anything worthwhile, but it was really reader reaction that emotionally fueled me. And still does.
SK: But, Mike — clearly you’re not supporting yourself through online journalism (lots of people know how to pick up a newspaper, not how to log on to a network). Doesn’t Mike Greenly Marketing provide your livelihood, and how does it feed back and forth to the technology (does it?)
MG: It *is* my marketing that pays for the journalism. I’m always on the lookout for new clients I can enjoy working with, and for products I can respect enough to put soul into helping make it successful. But the communications technology DOES feed into the marketing.
I use teleconferencing with many of my clients, for example. I’m on the road so much that it’s a lot easier to get in touch with me electronically than by phone or letter. When I was reporting on the Democratic Convention in San Francisco, I answered an east-coast client’s request for a promotional writeup before heading out to a Congressman’s press conference. We didn’t skip a beat.
My work as a journalist helps me stay informed about the industry. I believe that helps my marketing views be more savvy. I have only one “rule” — NEVER write anything that compromises either my journalistic integrity or my clients. I will ALWAYS tell readers if I have any kind of ax to grind, like a client closely related to a business I’m covering. It can actually be good publicity for a client; but more important to me personally is the importance of deserving and keeping trust from my readers.
SK: Many Netweaver readers know you formed a new organization called Transcoastal Electronic News Service (TENS) with Sherwin Levinson and Diane Worthington. You three were the first electronic journalists to be credentialed by the White House for the 1984 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
Tell us what that experience meant to you and what impact you think it had on computer conferencing.
MG: For me, personally, all that hard work with Sherwin and Diane (and having readers share it with us) is one of the most meaningful experiences I’ll ever had.
Every time I showed a political leader what teleconferencing can do, I saw a light bulb of recognition go on (or was that a CMOS display chip!?) I *know* we helped the Congressmen, Senators, and lobbyists we spoke with begin to think about how conferencing could organize a constituency or help people solve a problem irrespective of time and geography.
I also think we began to help some of the journalists who followed our work (including Erik Larson who wrote about us in the WALL STREET JOURNAL) appreciate this new medium — its very existence, and its enormous potential.
That’s how the process of growth is fed in the first place: by awareness of what’s even possible. The fact that no one had ever used the medium before in that way was reason enough to spend money and time on the conventions. Every reader who participated in those conferences shares a particular “first” in history with us.
Mike Greenly Lyricist
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