Check out the new MattRagland.com


Hi everyone, I hope you’re doing well! If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted in a week, it’s because I’ve been workin’ like crazy to get my new self-hosted site up. I’m very pleased to tell you that MattRagland.com is now live, so please head on over and check it out! If you’re visiting from the Buffer blog, thank you for clicking through, if you don’t mind 1 more, your commitment would be the stuff of legend!

Thank you so much for reading all my ramblings and creatives for the past 4.5 months, your comments, thumbs-ups, and shares have all been really encouraging as I’ve jumped in to this. I’m really proud of the new site, and hope you’ll enjoy it too. The self-hosted option is so much better for content, sharing, and visual appeal.

As you can see, I’ve re-branded the site with the title “Life, Prioritized”. The focus is to explore and talk about how we make choices and decisions in our lives, and structure our time around the things we truly love and passionate about. All of my old content has been exported, so everything is there. Future posts are going to include interviews discussing how people have made the tough decisions to prioritize their families, new work, health, and more. I’ll still be delivering similar content to what I’ve been writing, but the focus will center around how people have made the choice of saying “this is important”.

From here, this is what you can do:

  1. Click through to the new site
  2. Update your email or rss feed by clicking the buttons on the right sidebar
  3. Check out my Resources page to read about the tools and services I used to build the new site.
  4. Explore the new site! Much of the content is the same, but I could really use your help in working out the bugs and broken links that occurred because of the export.
  5. If you have any questions or want to give me some feedback, please email me.

Thanks again for continuing to be a part of this community, I’m really looking forward to growing together!

– Matt

New Post on MattRagland.com


I just posted a new article on my new site, I encourage you to go check it out.

7 Lessons from My Adventure in Self-Hosted Blogging

If you haven’t switched over to my new site, you can easily update your subscription on the new site. The button looks like this…

click the image to
subscribe via rss

Have a great day!

Power to the People: 9 Extra Tools to Help You Organize the Internet


I want to thank everyone that has been checking out the guest post I wrote at Buffer, it has done really well! One of the cool side effects from writing a limited list is that I left products and applications out by necessity, and it started a conversation about tools I didn’t even know about yet!

So here is a list of 9 tools that readers brought to my attention in the comments and on twitter. Thanks for helping us all be more productive and organized on the web!

HootSuite – A social media dashboard that includes basic analytics, search options, and organization. Tip o’ the hat to Dorian Patterson.

Bit.ly – The standard in link-shortening software. I’ve been using it for a couple years, offers custom urls and analytics. Tip o’ the hat to ME.

RockMelt – Another browser on the market? Sure there are plenty, but Rockmelt offers complete social media integration! Tip o’ the hat to Valon Canhasi.

Symbaloo – great custom news and update site. Tip o’ the hat to Daniela Bolzmann.

Dropbox – Great cloud storage solution for keeping your stuff together online, especially large files. 2gb free storage to start. Use this code to sign up (Disclaimer: This code is a referral that just gives me some extra storage, no money). Tip o’ the hat to Shawn.

CamelCamelCamel – Web store price trackers and alerts, great for using with Amazon. Tip o’ the hat to BJMT.

Wunderlist – Powerful web based list making and to-do app. Tip o’ the hat to Robert Clay.

SpringPad– Cool web organization app that looks like a fusion between Evernote and Pinterest. I haven’t used it yet but it looks beautifully designed. Tip o’ the hat to James Schwabacher.

Clipix– Another cool looking web clipping app, not as fully featured as Evernote, but simplicity could be its best feature. I look forward to trying it out! Tip o’ the hat to Dmoser34 on the Buffer comment thread.

So there you go, 9 more great apps and services to try out! Do you use any of these? Anything else we can share with each other? I would love to hear your comments.

Have a great day!

Keep Singing


I don’t normally post entertainment videos, I simply don’t run a viral video kind of site. The videos I’ve posted are ones I feel inspire, educate, and kick-start adventure. But this video from Britain’s Got Talent blew me away. Before you play the video, let’s have a quick look at the contestants, shall we? Meet Jonathan and Charlotte.

Yeahhhhh… can’t say I would react any differently than ol’ Simon at the beginning, with snarky skepticism (it’s kinda his thing). They’re both precious and all, but c’mon!

Enough screen grabs (for now), raise the volume to max allowable level, and hit play.

OH.

MY.

GOD.

Of course you figured the big fella was going to be talented, but NOT LIKE THAT. I laughed, I nearly cried, and scared my dog with several exclamations of WOW!

The reactions are equally priceless, here are my favorites:

You can’t miss shocked excited guy and his nearly-sobbing lady friend, classic!

Judge David Walliams is either praying or telling Jonathan “You bring great honor to your family”. Either way, he’s sold half-way through the song.

Even Simon is coming around! The magic of the opera!

The British Seacrests are dumbfounded!

YAY FOR THE OPERA!

At the end, everybody’s loving it. Even Simon, whose expression of happiness looked so strained because he normally doesn’t show these silly emotions. Again, wow. I haven’t seen or heard anything like that since Paul Potts brought down the house.

Oh dear, I might have a musical thing for goofy-looking British amateur opera singers suffering from low self-esteem! Moving on…

There are also great lessons before and after the performance, where Charlotte talks about not judging a person on their appearance, i.e. ” you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, you have to read it and see what’s inside”. It’s obvious her encouragement has meant a lot to Jonathan, in fact he says so on stage. After they finish, Simon actually suggests Jonathan continue on without Charlotte, because she is merely good. He is incredible. But Jonathan affirms her right back, saying “We came as a duo, and we’re going to stay a duo”.

What This Means for Us

At the beginning, Simon is very sarcastic, and gives a dismissive “You think you can really win?” followed by “Ok good luck”. Jonathan has already spoken about his self-esteem and confidence issues, is standing in front of thousands of people, and the man who controls their fate is rude. And then he goes out and puts on an incredible performance!

As you continue to create your art and make your mark on the world, there will be people, like Simon, who dismiss you. Don’t listen to them, follow your passions. There will be people like Charlotte, who are beside you, encouraging you, and watching your back. Did you catch Jonathan actually starting a beat early? Charlotte simply gave him an affirming look, and he re-grouped. Just like that. You cannot underestimate the support of others when pursuing your passions. They are integral!

So keep singing, writing, painting, working, filming, cooking, and contributing. Bit by bit, you’ll build a community of people who expect your contribution in their lives. When the time comes, put on the performance you know you are capable of. The world needs Jonathan to sing. What does the world need you to do?

Why the Devil is Upset that Jason Russell Went Mad, and 7 other reading suggestions


Invisible Children is in the news again, and not just for the attention they have received for their viral video, Kony 2012. Jason Russell was arrested for indecent exposure and behavior, due to extreme exhaustion and dehydration. I don’t know the full story, and there are many different accounts. None of them are good though, the man was in a bad situation and there is going to be more backlash. But via my friends Jeremy and Jay, here is a great take on how the Devil may have responded to Russell’s breakdown and arrest. Think he was happy? Probably not.

My Dear Wormwood,

I received your letter this morning and I must say I am not the least bit pleased. You brag and gloat that you got the face of the world’s largest youth movement to go mad. To tear off his clothes and cry out to the Enemy in the streets for all the world to see. You list the lies you whispered in his ear as if it was some brilliant chess move. I understand that you think this is a huge victory, but I’m afraid you are terribly wrong. You fool. You have ruined everything. You had a perfect opportunity to inflate his pride, to make him believe it was indeed his voice and vision that woke the world up to love and justice. You could have coached him to be eloquent and poised, and in so doing, trick the world into giving him the credit. These millions of disgustingly idealistic and optimistic young people could have believed that this man is the author of these virtues. You could have distracted them completely from the very ideas of love and justice. You could have distracted them completely from The Enemy and His work in the individual hearts and minds of young people. You could have made them think ‘I’ll never be that smart, that creative, that loving, that handsome, that true, so I might as well do nothing.’

Read the rest at The Water is Black.

Now on to the rest of this week’s reading:

New book! Enjoying my read through Zorba the Greek, I will definitely have a review up in a couple weeks. Zorba came highly recommended by friends and other writers, even made its way in to the final chapters of Bird by Bird.

Empty Handed, Full Hearted – Zen Habits – Good advice for letting go of our things and being open to the present.

Creative Funk? – Jeff Goins – Who doesn’t go through this?

An old, used copy of The Copywriters Handbook (1st Ed). Yes it was published in 1990, before the internet. It also has great things to say about simply writing, getting your point across, and communicating effectively. All of which is at a premium in today’s 140 character & text message world. And it was $3.99.

How to Really Enjoy Tea – Podcast via Expert Enough, very interesting story about the process and experience of drinking tea.

Why You Should Clean Up Your Facebook Profile – Study done that suggests the way you present yourself on Facebook accurately predicts your academic and job performance. Basically, don’t be an online moron (or a face-to-face moron).

Doodlers Unite! – A fun TED talk by Sunni Brown, who uses doodles and other visual aids to increase productivity and find solutions. Her book Gamestorming just arrived, and is next on my work list after Copywriters.

What are you reading? Would love to hear your suggestions, I’m always looking for interesting reads. Have a great day!

TED Talk of the Week: Jason Fried of 37signals


Jason Fried is the head of 37Signals, a company that makes web-based collaboration apps for small businesses. At Rockmont, we use Backpack, and it has really helped us become more organized and share information better. He also curates their popular Signal vs. Noise blog, and wrote a book called ReWork.

 

Besides his efforts in design and programming, Jason’s other passion is the way people work (hence the title and subject of the book).

I also enjoy hearing how and where people work, and techniques for being more productive.

  • Do you enjoy working early, late, or the usual 9-5?
  • When do you feel most productive?
  • Do you work better alone or in a group?
  • Do you feel you must be at an office, or do you accomplish more at home or the coffee shop?

In this TED talk, Jason lays out the main problems (he calls them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make work work.  I would enjoy hearing your suggestions and comments!

How Kiva Connects Us to 3rd World Entrepreneurs


via Kiva.org

I normally would not send post again so closely to the morning, but Kiva is offering a limited number of free $25 loans that you can get started with. If there are any available I highly recommend it!

Kiva is a wonderful organization that provides micro-loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. They have facilitated over 210 million loans with a repayment rate of 98.91% (source). Comparatively, student loan repayment in 2009 was roughly 55% (source).

Unlike many charities, you can select the individual or business that you would like to assist, and then receive updates on their progress, and how your loan is being repaid. When it has been paid in full, you may withdraw, or loan it out another borrower.

Click to apply for a FREE starter loan today and begin making a difference.

How a Kiva loan works:

 

Kiva Founder Jessica Jackley talks about poverty, money, and love at TED.