Tag Archives: becky mccray

Becky McCray changed my life

(Disclosure: Yesterday was Becky‘s birthday. So this is a birthday post. Except I got the date wrong. And I’m entering this post to try to win a free trip to SOBcon2010. Of course, I’m already going. And the flight won’t help. But still. The hotel would be nice. And notice, the post isn’t being judged, so I could write whatever tripe I wanted. But when talking about Becky, who wants to write tripe?)

Becky lives in Oklahoma.

I’ve driven through Oklahoma a few times. Some when I was little, before Becky was born. Some when Nancy and I were commuting between Austin and the north, while Becky was in middle school.

It is likely we never met face-to-face.

I actually met Becky online in 2006. I heard about a small business podcast she was doing, helped by Chris Brogan. I listened to an episode while Nancy and I were doing a garage sale. There was a comment line. I called and left an extended comment. Becky included it in the show and I became a regular contributor.

Becky pushed me to consider how I could have something to say outside my higher education and church circles. It led me to writing at smallbizsurvival.com.

But so far, our story is about online stuff. And, in order to enter this in the drawing, there has to be more. Somehow, because the theme of SOBcon2010 is “Where the virtual meets the concrete”, we have to consider some way in which the online, digital, virtual world actually connects to what I really do, how I really live. And because you can’t find the Great Big Small Business Show any more, unless there has been some actual change somewhere concrete, all of what I’ve been talking about is gone, too.

Becky McCray made me go to SOBcon 2008 (and 2009).

Nevermind how. She did. I would not have gone if it weren’t for Becky.

  • Which means that I wouldn’t have conversed face-to-face with Liz and Joanna and Amy and Robert and Cheryl and Chris and Thomas and Paul and Shashi and Amber and Glenda and Deb and others. Those conversations have changed how I write in every setting, have made me think carefully about how I talk about God, church, relationship, people.
  • And Nancy and I wouldn’t have spent a delightful April morning having coffee with Liz.
  • And I wouldn’t try so hard to write as clearly as I can at 300wordsaday. com, a blog which has found its way into classes I teach face-to-face and even into a session of a class Robert teaches in Houston. Some people in a church in Houston know a bit more about prayer because of Becky.
  • And Nancy and I would not have this desire to sit on a ranch in Oklahoma with Joe and Becky and eat barbecue and talk about cattle.
  • And I go to our car repair shop in Grabill and value the service I get in this small town shop and look for ways to tell those stories at smallbizsurvival and in conversations around church because my friend Becky cares so much about small towns and encourages storytelling.

Becky has done this by being the kind of friend who says, “why couldn’t you do that?” and “I don’t understand” and “what if you did this and this and this?” and “you have green stuff in your teeth.” (Though she also knows that the green stuff couldn’t be vegetables.) She’s also the kind of friend that laughs at you when you put sugar in carbonated water at a SOBcon table and it explodes, and then who runs to get paper towel to clean it up.

Happy birthday, Becky. See you in Chicago in April. Thanks for being my friend.

For more from Becky, here’s our 5 questions conversation.

And here’s a link to the Great Big Small Business Show archives.

Building bridges

Becky McCray gave me permission to steal from her. Of course, since some of the ideas are mine, and she credited me, it’s not really stealing. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s called collaboration.

Becky wrote to me one day and said, “Chris did this great post. Here’s what my ideas are. Do you have any ideas?” I wrote back and she published it as a post. It follows here.


Chris Brogan wrote a great post about promoting your media to the online world. That made me (Becky) think about increasing your audience by reaching out to new people.

Jon Swanson and I (Becky) decided to collaborate on a follow up, how to promote your online 2.0 media to the offline 0.0 world.

Here are my (Becky’s) suggestions:

  • Talk about it. Tell people what you are working on. Ask for their opinion.
  • Invite offline friends and experts to co-author or contribute.
  • Mention your media project in your regular printed materials.
  • Print business cards specifically for your blog or podcast. (credit: Vaspers)
  • Put it in your bio and resume.
  • Teach a class on how to create new media.
  • Reprint your writings in offline venues: newspapers, newsletters, journals.

And here are Jon’s ideas:

  • On your regular business card include the data for your Flickr and blog and LinkedIn and…
  • Talk about it all the time.
  • Use online friends as references for 0.0 jobs.
  • Collect your posts and print as a book.*
  • Email your posts from reader to people who only check email.
  • Have low expectations so you are more subtle.
  • Talk about online friends as real friends.
  • Get family members involved.

*In fact, compilations of all kinds of media would make great handouts. Booklets, audios, workbooks, PDFs, etc.


The more I thought about this post, and this conversation, the more I realized that Becky and I both do a lot to try to build the bridges between 2.0 and 0.0. And I realized that one of the things that is true about Becky, and I hope about me, is that the whole point is people.

That’s an odd phrasing. Let me try again.

Our goal isn’t to be merely to connect people to new technologies. Our goal, our passion, is to connect people to people and we do it using whatever technology we can get hold of.

Yes, that’s better.

I know that the technologies we use inevitably shape the message that we convey (yes, I used to read McLuhan). I know that some technologies are more user-friendly to produce (facial muscles) than others (books). I know that some technologies are more reliable, more data-rich, more nuance-rich, than others.

And that’s the point, I think, of using the social networking technologies. We are wanting to bring us much richness to our relationships as we can. We have a friendship in first life. We can’t see the person all the time. We want to stay in touch. We add email. We add text. We add twitter. And all of this to a real-time friendship.

(Okay, to be truthful, we can even add this to a marriage. Nancy and I, after nearly 25 years of marriage, have added all of this technology to how we interact. We actually do talk…but we text as well. It adds richness. And someday, she may tweet.)

Think the other way. We start relationships with twitter interactions. At some point, for many of us, we add other levels of interaction (email, blog.tv, skype, telephone, fedex packages). At times we even add face-to-face conversations. (This can become odd, like the time our son’s friend asked who the guy was sitting on our sofa. “oh,” said Andrew, “that’s my dad’s internet friend.”) Pretty soon, it becomes difficult for some of us to maintain a meaningful distinction between 0.0 and 2.0 friends. Our levels of interaction are almost the same, as we bring each group to a state of communicative equilibrium.

I know the point of this post was getting media (messages) from one venue to a new audience. Somehow it turned into something different, something about people. And maybe that’s the point. Thanks to Becky’s question, I’m thinking not about content, but about context, about human context, about relationships.

Thanks, friend.

a party


The other night I was reading my email, minding my own business, when I heard from my friend Becky McCray. She we writing to a couple of us and created a wonderful metaphor about starting something. She said,

┬áIt’s like you want to throw a big costume party.

You call a few friends, “hey, I’m going to throw a costume party.” “Great idea!” We make supportive noises, offer a few ideas, and say we’ll be glad to help. Because we are, we will be, glad to help.

Then you work out a bit more on your own, and you send out the invitations, and you prepare like mad.

And you wait. Nervously. For guests you *hope* will arrive. “What if no one comes to my party?”

When I read it, I thought she was talking about something she was starting, a small business online tv show called Small Biz Startup TV. You can see the first episode and find out when the next show is by following that link.

But no. She was writing to encourage the other person, a friend who is taking some cool and bold and risky and tentative steps.

It’s a great story. Go read the whole post. And then think about your own party.

And if it involves a small business, talk to Becky. I hear she is a great party planner.