The Wire » ZSwire The Wire is a collaborative journey detailing both business and personal inspirations that fuel us daily. Wed, 11 Sep 2013 21:19:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Share One Get One #SOGO Thu, 01 Nov 2012 06:53:06 +0000 Read More »]]> Today, we soft launched a small scale test of a new social good/social media application called SOGO, which stands for Share One Get One.

SOGO brings together a company and a non-profit to provide consumers a fun way to get a freebie while supporting a great cause.

It’s pretty simple. It goes like this…

  • You see a link on a social page or someone emailed it to you.
  • You click and you’re taken to a website at
  • You login via Facebook
  • You Like the business and the cause
  • You Share the #SOGO
  • You’re given a FREE coupon to redeem and further share. In this case, a FREE mini from Golden Spoon
  • And, if you do redeem it, the company has promised to give $1 to the cause for each redeemed coupon

Thus, a SOGO is new sort of a BOGO. It’s a social good, socially responsible BOGO.

For the consumer, instead of having to buy something to get something, we’re asking they share something to get something. And, for doing so, they’re rewarded with a freebie.

Good for the consumer. Good for the company. Good for the cause.

We’re hopeful SOGO tests well at Golden Spoon in San Diego as we already have interest from some other top retail and restaurant brands who’d like to connect and support some really awesome non-profits.

On a side note…

SOGO is not related to our eGood platform launching in the coming months. It’s simply another social good application our team at SWIRE is building in hopes of helping more brands do good ;)

You can help!
Please visit and redeem your free Golden Spoon. If not in the San Diego area, please visit and share. Or, just visit and let me know what you think.

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#ShareJoy Tue, 23 Oct 2012 17:28:47 +0000 Read More »]]> Today, at eGood, we’re passing along a little joy and we’d love for you to join us.

Simply share a pic that will bring someone joy. Be sure to tag them and tag your note with #ShareJoy.

I’ll kick it off by sharing mine above (and on Facebook & Instagram) with this note:

“#ShareJoy @Gwen Swire, H, C and N, you bring me joy. Every single day. Love U! xoxo”

Now it’s your turn to put a smile on someone’s face.

#ShareJoy with a coworker, a friend, your family. Anyone!

Once you’re done, visit our #ShareJoy Pinterest board.

eGood is nearing our Beta launch. For those not familiar with eGood, it began as a passion project for our SWIRE team. eGood is now a separate company housed in our SWIRE offices. We’re setting out to create a movement that challenges all companies to give back at least 3% to causes we all care about. Sign up for an early beta invite at

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Goodbye Starbucks’ Benefits Wed, 19 Sep 2012 14:36:58 +0000 Read More »]]> Okay, at first, I wanted to give Starbucks props for making a great move forward. Unfortunately, I can only congratulate them on the changes to the app.

What did Starbucks do?
Well, they finally listened to their customers and decided that their mobile payment app will soon track your free drinks and allow you to redeem from the app instead of mailing you a postcard. (Announced via email and a blog post entitled, “Bringing You Rewards Faster (and Tastier)“).

I don’t know if that is part of their Square partnership, but I do congratulate them on that! They stated this has been their number one request. Really? No kidding. If you read my previous post about this, Starbucks’ Kind of Loyalty, you’ll remember my frustration in how sending a postcard (to reduce redemptions) doesn’t create a truly loyal customer (and is super wasteful).

So, what’s the problem?
Instead of making this a positive brand experience, they decided to wrap in two items they’re removing from their Gold Card members. I guess they thought that giving a few new benefits would soften the blow. Well, it didn’t.

See the comments…
Shortly after the release of the post, you could see the hundreds of comments stacking up. 456 by the time I wrote this post. Mostly people upset about the removal of the free addition of Soy or Organic milk and free syrups for Gold Card members.

What could they have done…
Instead of trying to soften the blow, they should have kept that separate, or better yet, just kept providing that benefit. If they truly needed to remove those items, then, they should have given a window between the new benefits and taking these away. I’ve seen similar actions done by big brands with “rate notification” letters. Give something positive but take away a few existing benefits or charge more. This never seems to go over as well as the well intentioned marketing managers who plan these campaigns. Not saying that brands never have to communicate bad news, but it’s better to be honest and open why it’s being done, versus trying to hide the bad news away.

Agree? Disagree? Think I think way too much about Starbucks’ loyalty?


Related Posts Mentioned Above:

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Make Today a Personal Best Fri, 24 Aug 2012 16:48:51 +0000 Read More »]]> Hey SWIRE and eGood teams (and our followers of The Wire)…

I thought of writing a personal email to our teams. But, considering I’ve got to be at a meeting in 2 hours in Westwood, that simply didn’t make sense. So, instead, I’m writing this post to share with you and our friends.

When was the last time you woke up and thought to yourself,
“Hey self, I’m going to give everything I’ve got today.”?

I’m not talking about just having a positive day, that’s great.
We talked about that on Monday and it was amazing to see how our week has been by one simple change – a shift in attitude.

But, right now, I’m talking about that kind of day where you leave nothing left on the table. One where you’ll know it was your best, because you simply couldn’t have given one more ounce of yourself.

To give a personal best, you can’t let anything get in the way.
You’ve got to be mentally prepared before you start. That’s where the positive attitude comes in. But, more than that, you’ve got to visualize where you see yourself ending up.

Keep your final goal in mind and not let distractions derail you.
There will be plenty of games you play in your own mind telling yourself you just can’t do it. Hopefully you’ll have others cheering you on. But, if you don’t, you can’t let others distract you. Just press forward for that end goal and know you can do it.

You may end up on the ground.
But, that’s okay. In fact, that’s what you want. You want to be so wasted by the end of your efforts that you can barely stand. It’s a bit different from a workout to daily life, but I think you get the gist.

How does this help us?
Of course we can’t live every day like this, but from time to time, it’s pretty awesome to see just how much you can do when you believe in yourself enough to give a personal best day. You’ll find that each subsequent day becomes more positive and that you’re more capable than you imagined.

The best part!
When you live your life positively and occasionally give it a personal best day, you’ll see that it not only helps you be more fulfilled and enjoy each day, you’ll impact others around you. Over time, your family, your friends, and your co-workers will all be giving personal best days!

Now let’s go out and have a personal best day!


I’d like to thank a couple folks for helping teach me this – Eric LeClair and James Ferguson of Team Crossfit Academy (Eric’s talk this past Monday about arriving each day positively was truly amazing and James’s positive outlook and cheering today on my 1,000m row for time helped me break through some personal goals), Don Pierro of EmpowerLab (an incredible friend, mentor and coach), and a number of personal mentors and business advisors who’d probably prefer to remain unnamed. Thank you all.

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9 Shiny New Objects Mon, 16 Jul 2012 20:55:03 +0000 Read More »]]> Do you love shiny new objects? As much as I do? Here are some of my faves – all tried, tested and now recommended…

Side note: Many, many, many hours (let’s face it, years) of testing various competitive platforms and apps went into these selections, so hopefully I can save you some time and trouble!


  1.    PodioThis is a recent find suggested to us by the folks at ThoughtFarmer. At eGood, we were using so many platforms that it was tough to get everyone on the same page. We were using Workamajig, Basecamp, email, JIRA, Notable and a few others. Finding Podio was awesome, as it brought together many of those needs into one highly customizable and friendly platform that required zero team training. Although we still use a couple of the other platforms, Podio is our central platform for all communication, planning, task assignment and external alliance coordination. Say hi to Podio on Twitter.
  2.    Google Apps for Business – Email, Hangouts, Chat, Drive, Voice: A few years back, I was nearly sick to my stomach dealing with Entourage and the new Mac version of Outlook. It was a giant, disgusting mess. Then something beautiful happened. I switched to Google Apps and they’ve continued to amaze and impress me. From a better email experience to integrated Chat, Hangouts, documents via Drive and Voice, Google Apps has changed our business for the better. Say hi to Google Apps on Twitter.
  3.    Zendesk: If only all companies knew how awesome Zendesk is… When we started our search for a platform to manage support for eGood, we knew we wanted something that would aggregate all communication in one place (email, phone, chat, social & internal), and we wanted a system that would allow us to garner ideas and feedback from our community. We tested, GetSatisfaction, Olark, and others. But we found what we were looking for, and so much more with Zendesk. The new beta web interface is beautiful, the iPad and iPhone apps are awesome, and best yet, it simply works – leading to happy eGood users. Say hi to Zendesk on Twitter.
  4.    Notable: Where shall I start with Notable? In our world, dealing with proofs and edits from clients and internal teams has always been a pain…until now. We’ve explored so many platforms for agency management over the years that fail in this area. Especially when it comes to digital. Notable gives a simple screen element grab tool, almost like a Pinterest browser tool. You start adding comments and share with your team members and alliances. Comments and replies are pinned to the proper location on the page. You can also group multiple screens into a folder for quick review of entire sites and projects. Say hi to Notable on Twitter.
  5.   Basecamp:After reading Rework by the founder of 37Signals, I had to test out Basecamp. Immediately, I loved the simplicity of how team members could interact with alliances and clients without any training. It was intuitive, and simplified issues we’ve had with Workamajig and email. Although I was once a huge fan, I did switch to Podio for eGood as we needed something more customizable. But, I’m still a fan and will keep an eye on Basecamp. Say hi to Basecamp on Twitter.
  6.    Workamajig: At SWIRE, we’ve been using Workamajig since 2008. It replaced our traditional paper/binder system for managing campaigns. It allows tremendous control and real-time financial management of projects, campaigns and clients. The downsides are a lack of speed, and an intensive training process. (This is partly due to being flash-based, which I hope they fix.) Because of this, we’ve utilized Basecamp for client-facing interactions. Say hi to Workamajig on Twitter.
  7.    Nimble: From the early days of index cards in a box, to Salesforce and Highrise, we’ve tried just about everything for managing relationships in building our business. But, none can compare to the simplicity and functionality we get from Nimble. As it integrates with our Google Apps account, it aggregates mail and social connections into one system so we can more effectively manage and keep in touch with our prospective clients. Say hi to Nimble on Twitter.
  8.    Wonderpage: How do I keep track of all these great tools you ask? Simple – it’s Wonderpage. I’m visual, so I love Wonderpage as it’s a visual bookmarking tool. It also has a browser plug-in for grabbing pages and organizing them. Yes, you can use Pinterest for this too, but I like to keep these separate. And, Wonderpage gives you the ability to create private folders for things like your personal finance pages, family pages and such. Say hi to Wonderpage on Twitter.
  9. You know you don’t keep your contact book up-to-date. Nobody does. With, you don’t have to. It scans all emails and autofills and updates your Google Apps contacts database for you and emails you a daily recap. So simple, so sweet! Say hi to WriteThat.Name on Twitter.

I hope you find some of these Work Flow platforms helpful! Love to hear your thoughts :) Coming next…SOCIAL APPS & SITES

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Free Business Ideas Sun, 15 Jan 2012 05:32:36 +0000 Read More »]]> I can almost see my wife’s eyes roll in the back of her head as I start this post. She knows when I’m about to share a new idea even before I do sometimes. She can feel it brewing.

I love thinking up new ideas. Better ways to do things. Problems to solve.

Don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t have started SWIRE or eGood without some faith and trust in our marriage, but I’m sure I do tire her at other times in just sharing the random ideas I come up with. So, instead of sharing them with her, I’m going to share them with you.

All I ask is that if you take one of my ideas and run with it, let me know. Why? Because I’d love to see them in action.


IDEA #1:

Business Name: California Fresh or Fresh n’ Fast


Wouldn’t it be great if you could eat out every meal and it would actually be better for you to do so?

How It Works:

That means fresh, natural, organic, locally produced foods. No packaged goods. No processed foods. A menu that changes monthly so the food choices stay fresh as well. Also, it has to be fast but not taste that way. Both hot and cold food options, but keep each month’s choices simple, healthy, and varied enough so you could explore the options numerous times a week without getting bored.

Why It’s Different:

Our healthiest choices include places like Subway, El Pollo Loco, and the Flame Broiler. Other than a couple, small, healthy fast food joints in cities far away, I haven’t seen a model like this. Organic, local, fresh, and a menu that changes each month.

The Brand and the Place:

The key to this concept is an amazing brand design that is shown from the logo to the website to the social presence to the fine details of the interior store design. Impeccably done in every way. The brand is meant to create an entirely new category of dining out.


IDEA #2:

Business Name: Laundry Me


We all get behind on our laundry. It’s a part of life. The pile grows so high that we get sick to our stomachs just thinking about it. You’re out of underwear and you’d rather buy more than tackle that pile. So, reward yourself with a laundry catch up day.

How It Works:

A trained Laundry Me professional arrives at your home to tackle that heaping pile of madness. Sort, wash, dry, hang, drop items at fave local dry-cleaners, fold and for a little extra, put them away too. Laundry Me team members are expertly trained in laundering, folding and proper care of all types of garments. They’re background checked, probably a local college student, and trained to be friendly, courteous, out-of-the-way, and superbly professional.

Why It’s Different:

Your options now: Do your own crazy laundry catch-up day, pack it up and take it all to a laundromat for quick all-at-once washing, hire a maid, or buy lots of new clothes. This would be the first service that comes to your door, learns your specifics (such as where little Joey’s dino shorts belong), and is affordable. Really, it’s a gift to yourself, your family and your sanity.

The Brand and the Feeling:

Life is overwhelming at times, but when laundry becomes overwhelming, we just can’t handle it. Thus, Laundry Me is the much needed break you so very much deserve. It’s a relief. It’s the number you keep on your fridge, the site you Facebook and tweet your friends about.


That’s all I’ve got today. Well, not really, but that’s all I’m giving today. If you like this post, let me know and I’ll be sure to share more as I love coming up with and sharing ideas.



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With My Own Two Hands Fri, 23 Sep 2011 08:44:51 +0000 Read More »]]> To borrow from Ben Harper (with slight tweaks)…

“(We) can change the world, with (our) own two hands.”

You’re probably not aware that we’ve started a social good project within SWIRE.

Together, we can change the world.

We’ve got big goals, and we want you to join us on this journey we’re calling eGood. We plan to connect communities, companies and causes to create change for good.

Change can happen now. Change is overdue.

From the industrial age to the present, we’ve undergone tremendous changes in how we live, interact, and function as a nation and world economy. Technology and social media have enabled a new sort of global awareness. An awareness that wasn’t even possible 5 or 10 years ago. With this knowledge comes a new responsibility – it’s not okay to be aware and do nothing.

We are innately wired to do good.

Most of us want to do more. To make an impact in the world. But, we are challenged with the scale and scope of problems. We’re challenged with practicalities that limit our potential. We let others tell us what we can and can not do. We subscribe to everyone else’s way of thinking. We even question ourselves. Let’s be done with that.

We’ve been given a gift.

It’s time we move from an empathic society, to a society that takes action, to create long term change for good. If you’re reading this, you are part of the blessed few on this earth that don’t have to worry about basic needs such as food, clothing and water, or even worse, living and dying in extreme poverty or in highly corrupt societies.

My kids are watching.

At some point in my life, I know my kids will look at their dad and either feel indifferent, proud, or best yet…guided to a direction that fulfills both them and the world around them. I do feel a sense of urgency and need to do something.

I am grateful…

…for what I have – for God’s grace in my life, for my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my business, our clients and for our team. I’m grateful for the support of an amazing board and mentors that help guide my direction. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to start eGood.

Join us on this journey for good…

  1. Enter your email at
  2. Watch our journey unfold – eGood Blogumentary
  3. Soon take part…

Our hope is that eGood will enable change to happen at a pace never seen before, so that together, we can change the world. As Ben Harper so finely put it…

“You got to use, use your own (two hands).”

Ben Harper – With My Own Two HandsSpotify
eGood Blogumentary – Produced by our in-house alliance, Conscious Minds
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An Open Letter to Prospective Clients Mon, 08 Aug 2011 04:05:53 +0000 Read More »]]> Dear Prospective Clients,

I’m not writing to win your business. Nor trying to sell you.

I simply want to share how we like working with you.

  • We are a fit. Your team and mine.
  • Our abilities should align well with your needs.
  • We like your company and the way you do business.
  • You value us as an alliance – a core partner in reaching your goals.
  • We value you and will give each project our all.

We win and achieve great results for our clients, but we can do so much more when we work to our purpose; to Live, Create and Inspire.

I’m sure you’ve had partners that haven’t fully aligned with you, but still did their intended job. We’re not looking for a half-fit. We want to be excited and passionate about working with you.

This sort of fit makes what you do each day not work, but instead, why you chose your career in the first place. That’s what I want. And, what I want for my team, you and yours.

Most Sincerely,


PS. What do you want out of an agency?

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Are You Maxed Out? Wed, 13 Jul 2011 03:55:12 +0000 Read More »]]> BEFORE YOU READ THIS POST
If you’re on Empire Avenue, max out on my stock now before it jumps right back up! I’ll tell you why after you do…

Okay, you’re back and happy (at least you should be :) Or, you have no clue what I’m talking about. That’s okay too.

The last two weeks I’ve been off of Facebook, Twitter, email, work and life in general outside of my wife and kids. Thus, the drastic 27% decline in my Empire Avenue stock value and 4 point decline in my Klout score.

The day after our Summit 4 Hope hike, I took off for 7 days with my wife, Gwen, to Napa and a trip down the California Coast for our 10 year anniversary, followed by a week with our kids visiting San Diego, Sea World and the beach. Big deal, right? Well, it was. A really big deal.

Considering it had been 10 years since our last real vacation together and considering all that has happened in that time; marriage, first home, first career, opening SWIRE, birth of our triplets, growing SWIRE, growing family…it was needed. I don’t think I realized how much so until now. I was “Maxed Out”.

I wrote these words when I first opened SWIRE. I wanted it to be a mantra of sorts. One that extolls the virtue of truly living in order to create that which inspires others. I wholeheartedly believe in this new sort of business. One that you hear about from writers like Chris Brogan, Tim Ferriss and others. It’s more than just giving solid vacation time, good benefits and a happy work environment. Each team member must “Live” their life and find their own personal fulfillment in order to be effective and happy in what they do daily at SWIRE.

Pretty gross to actually visualize, but so true. I’ve found myself and other team members getting in the habit of later hours and more work. To what end? If we know we can produce better work as a team when we are happier and more balanced, then why would we do anything but that? Simple. It’s easy to get in a rut. Most of us do and many don’t ever escape it—sadly enough, our whole lives.

I still don’t have the elusive “answer”, but I do know that I’m not okay with being Maxed Out and not Living.

The simple fact is that no matter how much I love what I do at work, I love my family more. Yet, I don’t always show that. It’s tough for me to say that, but it’s true. I’m so grateful for having these past two weeks to clear my head. It’s given me a new sense of clarity on where I’m at and where I want to be – both personally and professionally. I’m committed to both my family and my team at work. I’m committed to leading by example and I’m committed to not subscribing to everyone else’s rules. I don’t know how soon we’ll get there, but I’m committed to going beyond traditional thinking in order to truly LIVE, CREATE and INSPIRE.

PS. If you decide to follow me on this journey, I’d love to hear from you. Comment below or you can find me just about anywhere online (and as of this week, on Google+ too :)

PPS. If you invested in my EA stock, no worries, I’ll soon be back up. But, I will be taking a more balanced approach to my social media time investment. The investment that matters most is my family, followed by my company. I do those right and everything else will follow suit.

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Starbucks’ Kind of Loyalty Mon, 20 Jun 2011 04:34:11 +0000 Read More »]]> Starbucks’ loyalty program has some flaws. Let me explain…

I don’t recall the first time I got hooked on that sweet milk and espresso. It was sometime before I began working for Starbucks back in 1997. After a couple years there, I no longer had the choice to enjoy a latte or not; it was simply part of me. Just look at my ‘Spending by Merchant’ trends in—it tells of my coffee…let’s say “enjoyment”.

In 2008, I picked up the $25 per year Starbucks Gold Card. You pay a little up-front, but the benefits far outweigh the cost if you are actually loyal. It worked for me. I got 10% off each visit, plus some other cool features.

On December 26, 2009, a new loyalty program, My Starbucks Rewards, came in, and out went the Starbucks Gold Card. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what to do or how to switch. A blog from Starbucks mentions the existing Gold Card members should have automatically moved into a Green Card level. Did I know? Nope.

I gave up on the card for a while. I felt dumped and didn’t get migrated. I was busy and didn’t want to learn something new. After all, I had been a loyal customer for many years. It shouldn’t have been my job to figure it out.

In mid 2010, someone gave me a Starbucks gift card and I decided to enter the new loyalty program. I signed up online and downloaded the iPhone app. Cool, I was back.

I knew it was 5 stars to Green Level and 25 more to Gold Level. Keep in mind, a star is a visit. Doesn’t matter if you buy 24 lattes for your team at once, you get 1 star. Any which way, no worries— I’d be there soon. And, I was. But, was I happy? Sort of. Am I a brand advocate? No.


  1. Starbucks dumped me: It’s not the customers job to figure out how to transition their loyalty card. Starbucks dumped me and it took me some time to jump back in.
  2. Starbucks forgot me: I’ve been going to Starbucks for 16 years, worked there during college for two years, and have been loyal as can be. I paid for the early Gold Card back in 2008 but wasn’t migrated in the transition. When I hit Gold status on My Starbucks Rewards, my card was sent with my name (cool) and ‘Cardmember since 2011′ (not so cool). Made me feel like my 16 years of loyalty didn’t count anymore.

    Starbucks Free Drink Postcard

    Starbucks Free Drink Postcard

  3. Starbucks doesn’t really want me to have a free drink: Most Green or Gold Level rewards are given at the time of purchase by paying with your phone or Starbucks card, but not your free drink. Why? Because they are hoping you don’t redeem.  They send you a postcard in the mail. Yeah, it’s a cool matte black postcard and you can redeem it when you want. But, when I want to redeem my free drink is exactly when I’ve reached that free drink. Don’t make me wait two weeks to get a postcard in the mail. I know Starbucks gets lower redemption rates by mailing postcards, but they should know that you create loyal customers by actually rewarding them. Not by making them think you are rewarding them.

    Starbucks App

    Starbucks App is Missing Social Sharing

  4. Starbucks must not realize the power of sharing via mobile: Why is the Starbucks app so static? It doesn’t connect me with my friends or allow me to share the fact that I just hit uber Gold status. Yes, I can login and share from the full website view, but not from my phone. It doesn’t incentivize me to bring others into my coffee madness. Influence is important in measuring loyalty. More important than just measuring visits.

    Coffee Klatch's Unbelievable Lattes*

  5. Quality: Starbucks drinks are not what they once were. The product is the reason you become loyal in the first place. If the product suffers, so will your loyalty. What happened Starbucks? You went super automatic. Drinks suffered and still do. When I was trained at Starbucks back in 1997, the quality mattered. That training matched what Howard Schulz wrote about in the book that inspired me to work there. In “Pour Your Heart Into It”, it was truly about a culture, an environment, the quality, and the experience. Today, it’s about speed, efficiency, and reducing workers injuries from pulling shots on manual machines.

How does this sort of “Starbucks’ Kind of Loyalty” sit with you?

*My fave two shops are Mike Perry’s famous Coffee Klatch in San Dimas and the quaint Classic Coffee in downtown Glendora. Their product is so good, they don’t need a loyalty program.


Image Credit: Coffee Klatch Lattes Image –
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