Friday Fun: How to build a personal theater with PVC

I have a nearly irrational love of PVC piping. PVC is incredibly versatile stuff: strong, durable, flexible, resistant to breaking down. True, it does break down over time, but that timeframe is roughly 140 years, longer than our operational lifetimes.

Over the years I’ve made instructions for how to build camera stabilizers, strawberry towers, and stop motion photography setups. Today, let’s build a personal theater.

A personal theater is something I saw last year, a trend in China in which people were cutting holes in cardboard boxes and mounting tablets in them, then placing those cardboard boxes over their heads and shoulders to create a personal theater-like environment. You simply lay down on a flat surface and watch, hands-free, in your own theater.

I tried out the original version and didn’t like it for a couple reasons:

  • The cardboard enclosure feels claustrophobic, not like the openness of a theater
  • The cardboard enclosure gets really warm, which is not ideal during the summer
  • The cardboard version also has no way to hold onto the tablet, so if you sneeze or move suddenly, you get a tablet in the face

How do we solve for these design problems? PVC!

I adapted the PVC frame from the stop motion rig, shortening the frame to be just slightly larger than my tablet. To mount the tablet without causing any harm to the surface, I grabbed two large, heavy rubber bands and stretched them over the corner joints:

PVC Personal Theater

With headphones, just slot the tablet into the rubber bands. They’ll hold it suspended and provide enough surface friction to keep it in place.

PVC Personal Theater

The one design consideration is focal length. If you wear glasses for distance, experiment with the distance the tablet needs to be away from your eyes so you can focus correctly either with or without corrective lenses. If you get this wrong, you’ll earn an eyestrain-induced headache. Measure first, then cut the length of PVC for the legs of the frame to that length plus an inch/two centimeters. (depending on the weight of your tablet, it may sit an inch lower in the frame.)

With this personal theater design, air flow is not a problem, nor is claustrophobia. The only downside with this design is if you need the room-darkening effects of the cardboard box and turning off the lights isn’t an option. If so, grab a sheet of velour cloth or other light-blocking cloth (an old light-blocking curtain would be a great choice) and drape it over the frame once you’re inside it.

Enjoy!


If you enjoyed this, please share it with your network!


Want to read more like this from ? Get updates here:

subscribe to my newsletter here


Marketing Blue Belt Preorder

Order your 2016 Marketing Planning Framework


Finding Your Next Job Using Digital Marketing, Part 5: Building Your Network

Once upon a time, a very long time ago in Internet years, I wrote a webinar and publication on finding your next job with social media. I stumbled over it recently while cleaning up one of my archives. While lots of the individual pieces are badly out of date, the work as a whole is still relevant. This series is a new version of the old stuff, modernized for today.

Building Your Network

Serendipity is like hope: it’s a wonderful gift and we should never spurn it. However, it’s a terrible strategy. Building these digital assets isn’t enough. “Build it and they will come” hasn’t worked in years, if ever. We must be proactive in building our network, attracting people to us.

Build Before You Need It

The absolute worst time to build your professional network is when you desperately need it. Why? It’s very difficult during times of need to channel what’s known as Giver’s Gain.

In normal times, we engage in Giver’s Gain, providing value to our networks first without asking anything in return. We create, we share, we amplify, we connect. Later on, when we do have a need, we can simply ask and the social debts we’ve created in our favor often reap swift results.

When we’re actively hunting for work, human nature and psychology changes us. We ask with an expectation of receiving immediately, and that changes our language, how we interact with others. Network before you need it, if possible.

How to Build Your Network

Professional networking is about creating community, and community is composed of five building blocks, the 5Cs:

definition of community.png

Caring

When we interact with others, we have to legitimately care about them. We can’t just feed random social media posts into scheduling software and walk away.

  • Caring means interacting with the people you connect with.
  • Caring means you put your community’s interests ahead of your own.
  • Caring means you think of how your networking will benefit others.

Caring follows a sort of golden rule: if you don’t care about others, you give others no reason to care about you.

Commonality

If we’re to successfully build our network, we shouldn’t proactively reach out to people who don’t share some kind of common ground with us. In professional network, that typically revolves around our work – the industry we work in, the role we perform, etc. Find your tribe, the people who you share common ground with.

Here’s a practical example: in Twitter search, type a job title in your profession. Below, I’ve entered CMO:

findingtwittertitles.png

These are people I’d want to connect with, and in many cases I’ve reached out.

Connection

The third building block is connection, reaching out to people you want to connect with. Caring and commonality are prerequisites if you want to reach out and be received well. The worst sentence in all of professional network is probably…

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

I’ve seen that sentence thousands of times in my years on LinkedIn. It’s the default text in the invitation to connect. That sentence showcases that you don’t care and you haven’t a clue what common ground we share.

Follow people who are relevant to your work, as I showed in the example above. Connect with 5, 10, 25 people a day – but do so thoughtfully, with caring and connection.

Content

The fourth building block is content. When people connect with us, they’ll often look to see what we share. Who are you, and what are you about? We make these judgements based on the content others share, so it’s reasonable to assume others do so. What do you share? How much do you share?

While I would never turn over my social media accounts entirely to machines, I do believe in using scheduling software to create a frame, a scaffolding of discussion starters. I share 5 interesting things I’ve read every day using software from Buffer.

As with connection, caring and commonality dictate what I share. If I didn’t care about my community, I would just share the fastest stuff I could find, regardless of quality. If I had no common ground with my community, I’d share irrelevant stuff. Instead, I share things my community relates to – marketing, analytics, a bit of entertainment, and curious content.

Conversation

The final building block is conversation. If we’ve done the previous steps well – caring about our community, finding common ground, connecting with relevant people, sharing great content – inevitably others will talk to us. We can’t ignore them. We shouldn’t ignore them. Invest time to respond, to participate in conversations, to join group chats and discussions. Conversation is an opportunity to learn what else your community cares about – and for the job seeker, it’s an opportunity to identify hiring needs (gently).

If you never participate in conversations, you’ll never find those opportunities.

Next: Community Concepts

In the next post, we’ll examine some common guidelines and practices for building our community based on the 5Cs, including Metcalfe’s Law, social synchronization, and capture.


If you enjoyed this, please share it with your network!


Want to read more like this from ? Get updates here:

subscribe to my newsletter here


Marketing Blue Belt Preorder

Order your 2016 Marketing Planning Framework


Finding Your Next Job Using Digital Marketing, Part 4: Publishing Your Brand

Once upon a time, a very long time ago in Internet years, I wrote a webinar and publication on finding your next job with social media. I stumbled over it recently while cleaning up one of my archives. While lots of the individual pieces are badly out of date, the work as a whole is still relevant. This series is a new version of the old stuff, modernized for today.

Publishing Your Brand

Now that we have gathered our assets, It’s time to make them public. Before we can reach out and let people know we are searching for a new opportunity, we have to build a place for them to go. In fact, we have to build several places for them to find us, to be where they are. We want two kinds of properties: owned and rented.

Owned property is typically our website, though it also can include our email newsletter. Rented property is typically a social network, something that we don’t own, we don’t have direct control over. We can publish to it, we can maintain a personal profile on it, but we ultimately do not have any say in how the property is run.

Domain Name

Before we can build a website, we need to have a domain name. Purchasing a domain name is simple and straightforward. Choosing a domain name is slightly harder. For job searching purposes, choose a domain name that reflects your professional name. For example, this website is built at christopherspenn.com. I chose that name because I share a name with a now-deceased actor.

For some people, their professional name differs from their legal name. For example, you may be known by your unmarried name. Choose the name you are best known by professionally for your domain name.

Website

Once you’ve procured a domain name, set up a simple website to house your story, your resume/CV, and a contact form. For more information about the website setup process, check out this post from our Marketing for Kids series.

Social Media Profiles

Social media is where most people fail to publish themselves well. To establish yourself as a leader in your field, be sure to share information on a regular, frequent basis. Share your own thoughts, share content from industry leaders, share timely news.

You’ll want to separate your personal social media accounts from your professional ones; if you use a network (such as Facebook) for personal use, be sure to set up either a business Page or a second account for your professional presence. You’ll also likely want to retroactively restrict your personal posts to Friends Only privacy settings, especially if they contain any information that would be harmful to your reputation.

LinkedIn

Your first social network should be LinkedIn. Create a LinkedIn profile and add as much information to it as possible. Remember all the awards, certifications, and other heuristics from part 3? This is where you publish it all. Unlike a paper resume/CV, you don’t need to worry about “too many pages” on LinkedIn – just relevance.

cplinkedinprofile.png

Publish every position, award, certification, etc. that showcases who you are professionally and who you aspire to be. Leave off experiences that aren’t relevant to the position you want next; I don’t put the summer I spent driving forklifts as a teenager on my profile because it’s not who I am or what I do now.

Twitter

A Twitter account can be an excellent vehicle for sharing lots of bite-sized information. Add your profile, photo, and website to your Twitter profile.

Facebook Page

As mentioned earlier, your personal Facebook profile may contain “disqualifying information” – content that could lead a hiring manager to pass you by. Disqualifying information includes:

  • Political or religious opinions
  • Content that could be misinterpreted as insensitive or offensive
  • Content showing inappropriate photos/videos of you
  • Content that could be taken out of context and misunderstood

I strongly encourage you to set all your past and present content to ‘friends only’ and set up a Facebook Business Page for yourself as a public figure. Use that Page to showcase who you are as a business professional (no matter your occupation) and let that Page be found easily in search.

Next: Thought Leadership

All these social media profiles and websites/blogs are a good starting point, but they are vehicles. Like a car, if you don’t get behind the wheel and drive them, they do nothing but collect dust. In the next post, we’ll examine how to leverage these properties to work for you.


If you enjoyed this, please share it with your network!


Want to read more like this from ? Get updates here:

subscribe to my newsletter here


Marketing Blue Belt Preorder

Order your 2016 Marketing Planning Framework


mautic is open source marketing automation