It was 4:45 A.M. on Friday, September 21, 2012, when I realized I was under attack by malicious insurgent hackers. What other explanation was there? Until that moment, my upstart blog was drawing an average of 50 views per day (which is being generous). But on this particular morning, just five hours after posting a new profile about Kind Campaign founder Lauren Parsekian, I had already cleared 1,000 views. WTF!?! I went to my morning yoga class, but found it difficult to focus, beset with images of that cyber-criminal who was dispassionately crippling my Wordpress site from a coffee house halfway around the world. By 8:00 A.M., when I returned to my desk, Google Analytics was reporting well over 3,000 page views.
I emailed Lauren, who was based in Malibu, CA, to let her know what was happening and to see if she had any idea why her profile was receiving so much traffic. As concern mixed with excitement, I considered other possibilities, like the fact that Lauren is drop dead gorgeous. After all, it is well documented that attractive people draw more clicks. But 3,000? Before breakfast? Not in a million years, could I have guessed the real reason this was happening. And when I read Lauren’s email response a few minutes later, my jaw dropped:
My fiancé is an actor. His name is Aaron Paul. He is on Breaking Bad, and he really loved the article and he tweeted it early this morning. His twitter name is @aaronpaul_8
In that moment, I realized three things: 1) A single outlying data point will destroy one’s ability to read a Google Analytics graph, 2) I needed to do a better job researching my profile subjects, and 3) Talking GOOD was quickly becoming more than I had ever imagined.
On the Cusp of 100
It's been exactly two years since that tweet. To my amazement and great delight, Talking GOOD is poised to release its milestone 100th profile, scheduled for this November. I cannot yet disclose who it's going to be, but I'll say that it is a true honor to be profiling this individual and a fitting way to close out the first 100 (more on this next month).
“The first 100” … what a group it’s been. From 16-year-old Zach Bonner, whose homeless advocacy inspired a major motion picture; to Augie Nieto, whose success in business is being eclipsed only by his heroism in facing ALS. There was Ethan Zohn, the 2001 winner of Survivor:Africa, who survived Hodgkin's lymphoma (twice) and launched an organization to promote HIV education; and Maggie Doyne, the young woman from America who opened an orphanage in Nepal at age 19. We met Derrius Quarles, the kid from Chicago who, against all odds, earned a full-ride to Morehouse College and now teaches at-risk students how to thrive. And we met Joe Jones, a former drug user and deadbeat dad who now – among many other responsibilities – serves as an advisor on President Obama’s Task Force on Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families.
This just scratches the surface. To date, almost 100 people have used the Talking GOOD platform to open up about their extraordinary lives and how living with purpose is as great a gift to themselves as it it to others. With each profile that I write, I inevitably learn something new about myself.
Turning up the Heat!
With a dedicated website, a talented team of national contributing writers, frequent profile pick-up by other media sources, and an ever-growing community of followers, Talking GOOD will continue to profile inspiring people from around the world, who are making a difference and leading lives of purpose. But this is just the beginning.
Back in July, we teamed up with The Mission Continues to shine the spotlight on military veterans who continue to serve their country here at home. Together, we conducted a national search for veterans who have inspiring stories to tell and we'll be featuring them on Talking GOOD (and hopefully elsewhere) this coming Veterans Day (11/11/14). In 2015, we aim to partner with other organizations like The Mission Continues who champion important causes worthy of attention.
In addition, we are launching a corporate sponsorship program called "Talking GOOD Champions" in which companies can profile change-makers from their own extended communities via the Talking GOOD platform. For example, Infinite PR asked it's national client base of professional service firms to nominate the people they wanted to see profiled. Together, we zeroed in on two individuals who are doing outstanding work in the legal world, and we'll be featuring their "championed" profiles later this year. For socially conscious businesses that want to engage their communities in a unique and meaningful manner, a Talking GOOD sponsorship is worth exploring.
Other things we're exploring for the year ahead include the increased usage of original video, and an E-book chronicling the first 100 profiles.
By the way, if you're not yet receiving our periodic newsletters with new profiles, please click on this link to subscribe. You'll receive about 2 - 4 emails with new inspiring profiles each month, and I promise that your information will not be shared with anyone.
As always, thank you for reading and for your continued support!