on life, ambitions, and dreams


Posts Tagged ‘community’

The Tasty Story of Very Sheri Hauser

When I started working in book publishing, every week we’d hear about a local brick-and-mortar bookstore that was closing it’s doors due to the rise of Internet resellers and big box stores (RIP Borders) that were killing off our local independents. (Watch You’ve Got Mail if you missed this part of recent history.)

We aren’t naive any more. We learned through the grassroots “shop local” campaigns that gained momentum in 2007 and went mainstream when American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010. We know that if we want our favorite independent retailers to stick around, we have to put our money where our mouths are or these stores will disappear.

Sheri Hauser

Meet Sheri Hauser, the owner of Tasty, an art and gift shop specializing in homemade, eclectic, and colorful collectibles located between the Greenwood and Phinney Ridge neighborhoods in Seattle.

When you walk into her shop, you’re greeted by bright green and pink walls and artwork from familiar faces like Justin Hillgrove’s Imps & Monsters intermixed with sculptures created from found objects. There are necklaces made with the most divine gemstones and handmade patchwork pillows that you wish your grandma knew how to make. As you move through the store, the walls are adorned from top-to-bottom with a mix of vintage, retro, and rockabilly artwork and style. It’s like you walk into a classic 1950s neighborhood shop but with 1990s edge.

On the last weekend before Christmas, I walked into Tasty for the first time. But before I could peek through the picture windows I saw the sign in big bold letters: CLOSING JANUARY 31, 2014. TASTY LOVES YOU, PHINNEYWOOD.

As I shopped, a regular popped into the store and greeted Sheri with open arms and asked, “Aren’t you sad that you’re closing?”

And Sheri answered with a smile: “What are you talking about? I’ve been living my dream and now I get to start a new career!”

Sheri’s optimism at a time of change confused me. I have so many friends that have poured their hearts and souls into building their own businesses and the collapse of which would not leave them facing their customers with a smile. I needed to know more about this – about Tasty, Sheri, and the arts scene in Seattle. So I sat down to interview Sheri and learn more about the story of Tasty. (more…)

Taking the HTC One mini on Tour in Europe

This was originally posted on the HTC Blog.

laura kimball taking photo with htc one mini

One of the highlights of my job is talking to our most passionate fans online every single day. So when I was given the opportunity to take the newest member of the HTC One family, the HTC One mini, out on the road and introduce it to some of our top fans in Europe, I only had one question: “When do I leave?”


ManchesterThe first stop on our trip was London and the Abbey Tavern. We entered the tavern and snuck through a tight hallway into the backroom where 40 HTC superfans from the London area, and few from as far as Ireland and Italy, were eager for their introduction to the HTC One mini.

We spent the night giving them their first hands-on experience with the mini and other HTC devices. They spent the night drooling over the HTC One in Glamour Red, lusting over the Butterfly S, and adding custom music to Zoes they took on the HTC One mini.

As the night winded down a group of three musicians sitting at a table pulled out their instruments and started singing. This wasn’t an official show, just three friends hanging out at a bar and jamming. It was a great way to end our first night in Europe.


Amsterdam Meet-up

The next day I strapped the mini securely in my backpack and boarded the train to our next stop. While on the train admiring the English countryside, I couldn’t help feeling like I was in a Harry Potter movie.

The venue for that night was the Metropolitan, a grand Victorian hotel outside of the core of the city. The interior literally felt like a tavern house from the eighteenth century, with plush, overstuffed wingback chairs and leather couches surrounding large wood tables.

It felt very English and was a great backdrop for introducing the latest technology to some of HTC’s top fans. The excitement was evident. Several enthusiastic fans drove nearly four hours to join us.

And what did they think about the mini? Heidi Rawling probably said it best, “HTC One mini is the most beautiful phone in the world, if you’d held it you’d know!”

Off to the continent

It’s the phrase no one wants to hear at airport security: “Whose bag is this?”

“It’s mine.” Oh, right, I forgot to remove the dozen smartphones from my luggage as I was heading to Berlin. He grabbed the case filled with phones, unzipped it, and started counting. “What does a person need so many phones for?”

“I work for HTC.”

“Oooo, this one’s nice,” he said with a smile, pointing to the red HTC One.


In Berlin, we were at Café/Restaurant Neu, a trendy destination tucked off the beaten path. Fans drove hours to get there, some from far-away Romania. We started off with a champagne toast and introductions before handing the mini over to everyone to play with. Just as before, the fans in Berlin loved how the mini felt in their hand and loved taking Zoes.

The next morning I had a few hours free before heading off to the airport, so one of our fans, Alex, graciously gave me an impromptu tour of his city. Piling into his Peugeot, he took us everywhere: through the Tiergarten, past the Siegessäule, Brandenburg Gate, to Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall Memorial, and we even met Maxi, one of the two famous Berlin bears living in a park in the center of the city. Maxi was 27 years old and passed away last week.

Here’s an HTC share of Paul’s tour:

Thank you, Paul, for showing me your city.


Amsterdam is a city of history, canals, bicycles, and tourists. With the narrow semi-circle streets that curve around canals that wrap around the center of the city, there’s barely room for one lane of traffic let alone a taxi, row of bicycles, and pedestrians, most of whom are tourists.

The final meet-up was held at Sluizer, a gorgeous restaurant in the center of the city that has a charm of old Amsterdam mixed with modern fare, and an ideal venue to unveil the mini once again. Fans swapped stories about their first HTC device, took Zoes, and compared the size of the mini with their current HTC.

As Jasper, an HTC fan from Delft, Netherlands, put it: “Brilliant how the HTC One Mini has all the power the HTC One has, in a more compact package.”

Heading home

In each city, the HTC One mini won the hearts of our superfans. I still can’t believe that some traveled by train, others hours by car, and by airplane from the other side of Europe to join us and see the latest from HTC. Just as our phones work to bring friends and family together, I was thankful that HTC gave this opportunity to bring us and our fans together. I hope you see you at our next meet-up!

Europe Meetup

Thank you very much, London and Manchester. Until we meet again! Vielen dank, Berlin. Bis wir uns wiedersehen! Dank u zeer, Amsterdam. Totdat we elkaar weer ontmoeten!

How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog by Using Ryan Gosling

Hey Girl meme, CrossFit edition

There was some pretty stellar content floating around the Internet last week, but perhaps the best thing I stumbled upon was CrossFit Ryan Gosling (full set on Facebook and on the co-creator’s blog).

Ryan Gosling, the Meme

“Hey Girl,” the meme, was originally started by Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling on tumblr, and made famous by Danielle Henderson’s Feminist Ryan Gosling. The blog was started as a joke to keep track of the theorists she is studying as she works towards her graduate degree in gender studies. The content has no affiliation to Ryan Gosling, the actor, and as with most things we encounter online, it doesn’t really matter because Henderson’s content is so damn entertaining.

Like all good memes, spin offs happen, and last week I ran into the most amazing rendition of the “Hey Girl” meme and that is CrossFit Ryan Gosling.

CrossFit Ryan Gosling was created (I believe) by Gabe Billings and Robin Runyan out of Eugene, Oregon and shared like mild wildfire on Facebook last week. You can view all 21 photos (so far) here.

Why CrossFit Ryan Gosling works: A Lesson in Marketing

The reason why Feminist Ryan Gosling worked so well and is (arguably) more famous than the original is because of a few reasons:

1) Know Your Audience

People who are “subject matter experts” of the target audience created Feminist Ryan Gosling and CrossFit Ryan Gosling who these pictures were created for. The person behind Feminist Ryan Gosling is studying gender issues; the people behind CrossFit Ryan Gosling is a CrossFitter. They wrote captions for people who are like them and about things that matter.

The fact that Ryan Gosling is featured is for entertainment only.

Takeaway: Know your audience intimately.

2) Find Your Niche and Stick to it

According to Know Your Meme, “Hey Girl” was created in December 2008 but made famous by Feminist Ryan Gosling when it came to the scene in the fall of 2011 and was featured on Ms. Magazine blog, The Huffington Post, GQ, Newsweek, Bust, and about a dozen more.

Why did Feminist Ryan Gosling do better than the original “Hey Girl” in such a short amount of time? Because Feminist Ryan Gosling had a very specific purpose: feminist flash cards.

Granted, I haven’t spent much time on the original site, but the name is telling – “Fuck Yeah!” doesn’t really tell me what your site and your content is about, whereas Feminist and CrossFit does.

Takeaway: When given the opportunity, specialize and become an expert over being a generalist.

3) Do it Because You Want to

The best part about Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling, Feminist Ryan Gosling, and CrossFit Ryan Gosling are that they are all fans – of the topics they parody at least. If you want to create some great content that will have some “stickiness” to it, you have to enjoy what you’re doing and come from a place of curiosity or heart.

CrossFit Ryan Gosling was created because someone at the creator’s gym came up with the idea and the set is what they all came up with. The creators are CrossFitter themselves. They’re not getting paid and they probably did it because they wanted to. And that’s what it’s all about.

Takeaway: You will create something noteworthy if you love the topic you’re creating first.

In Other Sunday Serial News

When you’re done lusting over Ryan Gosling, here are a few other articles for you to read:

What did you read this week?

Post updated on April 22, 2012 to reflect multiple authors and the official web “home” of CrossFit Ryan Gosling to be here. Thanks, Gabe and Robin for stopping by!

Sunday Serial: Defending Disney Princesses, Flipping Community & Not Quitting Your Day Job

man reading the paper smacks another man in the face

There are some weeks when you cruise the Internet and find nothing of value. Nothing that tells you to think about something you never thought you’d think about, nothing that tells you how to turn your perspective and gaze into the eyes of the same thought for a new time.

This wasn’t one of those weeks. This past week, three gems floated across my radar that flipped three usual thoughts on their heads: we should never have admired Disney Princesses; the customer is always right; and why you will quit your day job to live your passions.

Plus, two bonus articles that will make you a grammar and email snob. Enjoy!

How to Defend Princesses, Give the Finger to Your Community, and Why You Won’t Quit Your Day Job

Day 125: In defense of Disney – At our house, princesses love yoga and disco. by Harmony Hasbrook on 100 Days or More

Read this because: You loved Disney princesses when you were little and have spent every day of your life since you were eight years old learning how these fairy tales that Walt Disney Studios capitalized on were bad for you. They set you up to believe that you would grow up like a dainty little flower and were nothing until Prince Charming came to rescue you.

They were wrong. To most little girls, we did not see them the way that we’re told to see them as an adult. They represent something more than that; they are something that only the world of child’s imagination can create.

Bonus reading material: I shared a link to Harmony’s post on Facebook this week, here were the responses:

Discussion about Disney Princesses on lamiki FacebookDisney princesses shared on Facebook

Listen to Your Community, But Don’t Let Them Tell You What to Do by Jeff Atwood on Coding Horror

Read this because: As a community manager, one of the most awkward things you can do is ask my community what they think about a product or what features they can see. But what makes it awkward is asking that question if you know that there’s no way in hell that your development team will implement any feature request that comes from that community. So don’t ask the damn question.

This is a great blog post that shows a different side of community management. It’s a great read, for community managers and non-community managers alike.

Why You Won’t Quit Your Job by Daniel Gulati on Harvard Business Review Blog

Read this because: You hate your day job, or perhaps “hate” is too strong of a word. You’re not happy with this life, whatever this life is. And you know exactly what you want to be doing instead. You don’t want to work for them anymore. You want to work for yourself and do what you’ve always dreamed of doing. You want to set your passion free and chase it to wherever it’s going to take you.

Well, I’m sorry to say that if you were going to do that, you would have by now.

In this article, Gulati has revealed why most people described above will not make the leap that they really, really want to do. Since I heard the first person say to me – Quit your day job! Follow your passion! Live the life you want! – I’ve been skeptical as to why the majority of those people who cry and tell others to do it, haven’t even done it for themselves.

How to Become a Grammar and Email Snob

And we’ll cap of this week’s edition of Sunday Serial by linking to two articles with healthy tips on how to be a better you, through writing:

  1. 20 Common Grammar Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Makes by Jon Gingerich on LitReactor
  2. Want People to Return Your Emails? Avoid These Words by Sarah Kessler on Mashable

What did you read this week?

Photo Credit: Al-khairi

What’s the deal with handstands?

Laura Kimball_handstand_Mazda2_Lamiki

Occasionally I post pictures on Twitter, Facebook, and even this blog of myself doing handstands. There are some friends and followers will consistently “like” those photos and drop comments of excitement and delight. Then there are other friends who will wait until we’re face-to-face and ask, “Why is your profile picture upside down?” Or even more direct—“What’s up with those handstands?”

What’s up with those handstands?

Handstands are the unofficial sign of a CrossFitter. To quote Greg Glassman, the father of CrossFit, “Handstands, hand walking, and pressing to the handstand are critical exercises to developing your athletic potential and essential components to becoming ‘CrossFit.’

Handstands work your balance, strength, and flexibility, three important elements that are “CrossFit.” They’re something that we can do outside of the gym, on a whim, and without any equipment. In the woods? At a national landmark? In your mother’s backyard—do a handstand; have someone take a picture of it and share it with your friends online for all to see and comment on.

It’s kind of like a gang sign as it shows your affiliation to a very specific group of people.  If you search on Google, bing, or Flickr for “CrossFit handstand,” the SERP will turn up a number of photos of people inside a gym and at the most awesome places around the world. These are CrossFitters in their natural habitats, doing their thing. (more…)