Thanks (but No Thanks) for Sharing



Most of us, according to Caitlin Dewey of The Washington Post, share content without reading. 6 in 10 people don’t read what they share.

Few of us write original content, most of us share after reading only a headline, and most of us have become headline cataloger robots.  

It’s understandable.We’re going back to bad habits because we don’t have a handle on the fast-paced, fast-changing online world and we hope that by filling up feeds with keyworded headlines and our avatars we’re at least shining the light on ourselves — in hopes that the audience will spot us. This is a form of (bad) top of mind marketing. It’s a broad light shining in a random direction.

How can we take the time to speak to our audience coherently when we haven’t made sure, first, that they are listening?

We need to go back to basics.

1. Your mission statement should help you out.

If you’ve crafted an honest, direct and bullshit-less mission statement, then it should answer the question: what do we aim to do for our customer and how. Use this to put a fence around your content world.

2. Know your audience. Again.

Just because you’ve identified your audience in the past doesn’t mean you have a lock on things. Your audience’s habits identify them, and they are acting differently as technology changes, so for our purposes as marketers, they need to be re-identified. So back to basics — who needs what you have and what is your audience’s relevant human attributes?

3. Clear your throat and keep talking.

It’s a conversation, yes, but stay firm in your message. Regardless of who is reading, speak to the one who really needs your product or service.

The One-off


It’s that one flyer, that one special event, that one piece of signage — you know, the one we try to make special by making it different. We spice up the design, or change our logo a bit, we use new fonts. We want it to stand out and be different than our ‘everyday’ brand.

And sadly, we create a disconnect where we’ve tried to create excitement. We’ve taken our audience away from, rather than toward or brand…by creating a culture clash.

It’s subtle, and sometimes it takes a critical eye, mind and heart to recognize a deviation from our brand culture, and reign things in, but if the goal is to create a strong brand presence, then it’s important.

Respect your brand in the work you do and the people you hire, but also in the art it represents, and that is found in it’s voice, it’s visual representation, and the power of consistency.

2016 Rising Stars Awards


Despite an electrical outage, this year’s event was fantastic. In fact, the dim lights during the first half of the show created the perfect ambiance for the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble, our spoken word performer, Jada Imani, and our Alumna speaker, Lia Lacy at the 3rd Annual Rising Stars Youth Awards. This is a BOSS Program you should know about — the full event video tells the story…

We had several surprise cash gifts for our Youth Awardees, a trend set off by our keynote speaker, Peralta Community College District Chancellor, Dr. Jowel C. Laquerre, who pledged $500 on the spot for whoever raised their hand first to attend his college. And of course, there was plenty of love and recognition. Continue reading

Getting in Touch with your Feelings


Get in touch with your feelings — they will lead the way in your branding and marketing. The more you can feel your brand, the more precisely branded your materials and message will be. Your feeling will guide you: it will stop you from incorporating some detail that you might be drawn to, but doesn’t create the feeling or emotion that your brand is all about, and it will tell you when you’re right on message.


Need Therapy?

If your marketing collateral is a mess, examine your feelings about your brand. There may be things you’re not quite sure about, or you may have conflicting emotions about some aspect of your message. Instead of starting with a re-write or redesign, start with the feelings — they will lead you to the source of the problem.


Rising Stars 2015 Presents the All Stars Cohort June 4th


You’re invited, so come on out and join the celebration on June 4th at 6pm at the Northbrae Community Church in Berkeley. Tickets at BOSS at

The Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble will perform, along with other entertainment, Leslie Stoval, from KPFA will MC, BETV, Berkeley’s local TV station will cover the event, Mayor Bates and Kyle Evans of the 2014 Rising Stars Cohort are expected to speak, and Café Rouge, and other great local eateries will keep you happy all evening long. And some great items have been rounded up for our silent auction. Thanks to everyone who has donated to the event and Awardee gifts, and to our wonderful sponsors, The Tileshop, Mechanics Bank, Kaiser Permanente, Comerica Bank, Jonathan K. DeYoe, and many others who make the event and scholarships possible.


Each year BOSS, through the Rising Stars program, provides scholarships to selected awardees at the Annual Rising Stars Celebration event. Scholarships are announced at the event.

It’s tough enough to get through the teenage years and graduate high school. Doing it while you’re dealing with homelessness, caring for family members, or other major difficulties seems impossible. Yet these 20 youth have made it and they deserve our appreciation and support as they move on toward college or career.

As we know, some of the most famous and successful people in the world had rough starts. The traits that got them through the rough patches are the same traits that took them to the stars. If you’re a business leader, hire or mentor a young person who has met the challenge. They are likely to do it again. And again.

If you don’t know about BOSS, find out more about the organization, and all the programs you can support, county-wide (Alameda County).

Thank you! See you among the stars on June 4th! -Malaga Smith, BOSS Board Member and proud sponsor


Technical Writing — Show you Care


Found on the web:

"Next, we will then start coding. The first 
thing we should do is to..."

Technical writing may seem like a piece of cake — who can’t write a set of step-by-step instructions?

But it’s not that simple. A technical writer establishes a voice and personality for the piece, just like any other writer. That voice can be dry and machine-like, leaving it up to you to process the information in your own head, or personable and warm — right there with you as you go through the steps.

Upset teenage boy at computer

A technical writer needs an editor just like any other writer to avoid the mistakes in the example above. After looking at the same piece of writing for so long, and focusing on the technical instructions, an instruction that tells us ‘next we will’, ‘then start’, ‘the first thing we should do’ is easy to miss. This example is harmless — it’s good for a smile but screams to be improved. But, it shows how the language we use in instructional writing can get our end-user into trouble — or simply distract them from the task at hand.

Technical documents reflect on an organization’s professionalism, and on the writer’s own skill and subject matter knowledge. Technical documents show the organization’s focus on the customer when documents are written with the technical level of the end-user in mind, and written with a friendly, helpful attitude. Take pride people! Yes, someone will read every word!

Latest Short from Judge Tauber – No. 7 in a Series: Accomplishing Drug Court Reform without Drug Courts

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Judge Tauber Looking Foward

‘…In the 1990’s, one of my priorities as NADCP’s founding President, was to see that the nascent drug court field did not collapse into a more punitive and destructive system than that which had existed before. At the time I was painfully aware of the shortcoming of some of our drug courts. Jurisdictions created drug courts for small numbers of offenders, with minimal or nonexistent drug dependence, and an over-reliance on non-therapeutic custodial sanctions. It was a direction that I strongly opposed a…more