Why I like myself better in Italian.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Gianandrea Villa on Unsplash

Recently I was watching a charming Japanese Netflix series called Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame). At one point, the main character’s teenage lesbian daughter tells her dad why she prefers London to Tokyo.“I like myself better here,” she said. Even though it was a throw-away line in the show, but for me, it captured something that I’ve known for a long time. For many people, going abroad for the first time means experiencing life as a foreigner for the first time.

For LGBTQ youth who grew up feeling like foreigners in the own countries, visiting another country, another culture where they actually are…


The Simple Secret to Maximize Your Happiness

Image for post
Image for post
Pomodoro timer and biscotti. Photo by author.

One Sunday last spring, when all of Washington DC was still hoarding toilet paper and sheltering in place, I accidentally stumbled upon a secret to maximizing happiness that works like no other.

It was a dreary weekend. I had just finished two weeks of self-quarantine; I was irritable and, to top it off, things weren’t going great at work. I remember my first instinct (which is usually wrong) was to get in bed and pull the covers over my head.

What I really wanted was to call my mom. Not only was she my favorite psychotherapist, my mom always knew…


You Don’t Need To Make Writing Any Harder

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by crystalsingphotos.

Who Are You Really Writing For?

If you’re having trouble getting traction with your online writing, the problem may not be with your content. The problem might be that you’re writing it for the wrong person or the wrong reasons. Let me explain.

When I answer questions online, write emails, or send text messages, I usually know who I am writing for and why. I more often, know their names. Furthermore, I know exactly what I want to say and how to say it. It’s almost effortless.

My problem is that when I try to write for online platforms, keeping in mind audiences, editors, algorithms, stats…


Advice from a cool gay dad

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Before there was cyberbullying, there was bullying.

Before it was called bullying, it was called high school.

Back in the 1980s, when I went to high school, no one “felt safe.” No one was safe. Not students, not teachers, and certainly not a little gay boy transferred to a large suburban high school in the middle of his senior year.

I was that little gay boy. Little, and obviously gay.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the hatred I endured daily made my senior year of high school a living hell.

Although Faggot is not my given name (nor…


Forget About The Money And Focus Here Instead

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

Look, I get it. If you’re reading this, you probably want to make more money on Medium. Nothing wrong with that.

Here’s the rub. Focusing too early on, making money is probably counterproductive. Faced with disappointment and frustration, you might quit.

So don’t get caught up in the stats game.

You know what I mean. Checking your stats constantly, waiting for that one post to go viral and make you famous.

For the vast majority of Medium writers, that's not how it happens.

I recently interviewed more than 21 top online writers, marketers, and entrepreneurs, including Zulie Rane, Jim Woods


The Opera Diva And The Soccer Jock — A Digital Content Mashup

Image for post
Image for post
Left to Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash, Right Photo by Sven Kucinic on Unsplash

Let Your Imagination Run Wild

Today I asked former professional opera singer turned marketing consultant Christina Hager to share her thoughts on my recent interview with ex-soccer jock turned personal development author, speaker, and coach Jordan Gross.

Aside from the sheer irony of it, I paired these two speakers because they both embody what it means to look beyond the expected and find the human thread in their work.

A top Medium writer and a powerful storyteller, Jordan has developed a unique approach to personal development that he shared with me in a Zoom interview for story2021.co, …


Top Medium Writer Jim Woods Breaks Down His Top 10 Articles of 2020

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Mirza Babic on Unsplash

Do you want to become one of the 5 percent of Medium writers that earn more than $100 a month in 2021?

I know I do.

So yesterday, I asked my buddy Jim Woods, a Top Medium writer and coach, to share his top ten articles from 2020 with me to figure out how he does it.

Jim was not only kind enough to share his top ten list, but also sent me an audio recording explaining why he thought each article was successful.

In turn, I did a quick quantitative analysis of his top ten articles for commonalities, including…


Together They Have +200k Followers — Recently, I Asked Them The Secret To Their Success.

Image for post
Image for post
“Memo to Self” — Image by author.

I don’t know about you, but when I see Medium writers with 5K, 20K, or 83k online followers (for that matter), doing what they love for a living, I want to know the secret to their success. In detail.

So recently I asked them and… guess what? They told me.

Actually, they did better than tell me. They all agreed to be interviewed for my upcoming digital summit, story2021.co.

In Their Own Words

Recently I hopped on Zoom video calls with top Medium writers Niklas Göke, Michael Thompson, Ana Andjelic, Zulie Rane, Jon Brosio, Jordan Gross, Casey Botticello, Kristin Wilson, and Jim Woods to…


How To Turn Zoom Video Interviews Into A Polished Masterclass Series

Image for post
Image for post
Making a video masterclass series is easier than you may think. Screenshot by author.

If You Can Use Zoom, You Can Make Masterclass Videos

Have you thought about turning some of your content into videos, maybe for a masterclass but thought editing them would be too complicated?

I know I thought so.

In fact, I had zero desire to learn how to edit videos using iMovie (or any other video editing software), mainly because I find video editing software completely counterintuitive.

I’ve tried to learn basic video editing before; I’ve watched how-to videos, but, somehow every time I tried to do it myself, it always went horribly wrong.

TBH, until very recently I had such anxiety about using any video editing software, that the…


GenX Video Contest to Help Me Edit Zoom Videos

Image for post
Image for post
You’ve Got Less than 36-Hours to Enter! Image by author

For someone who made killer mixtapes in the ’80s, I can’t seem to use video editing software programs to save my life. Any of them. Can you help me today?

Video editing software makes no sense to me. I’ve tried using several, and I find them all to be completely counterintuitive.

I recently made 20+ recorded video interviews with Zoom for story2021.co, my upcoming Digital Content Masterclass Series. Now I want to make some relatively simple edits to them (using either iMovie or filmora on my Macbook Pro) and publish them on YouTube.

Yes, I’ve watched plenty of how-to videos…

Sean Smith

Recovering CMO obsessed with digital content. story2021.co

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store