Hi i’m Michael’s dog

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2020 by mstevensrev




What to do when life throws you a Corona, a perspective from a human in business development.

In Uncategorized on March 5, 2020 by mstevensrev

The phrase “what to do when life throws you a Corona” would have had an entirely different meaning a few months ago, instead of finding your beach or throwing your checklist to the breeze while letting yourself summer, the disease COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus has not only impacted the beer but is having a huge impact on the economy. Personally my week started with a major change of plans as two great conferences (TAUS Global Content Conference & GALA 2020) have been rescheduled or canceled. After a successful sponsorship at GlobalSakè Growth Conference these next conference grew in strategic importance to my 2020 growth plan at Translated. Living in King County Washington (Seattle), ground zero for the U.S. outbreak and my company headquarter in Italy, ground zero for the European outbreak, we are adjusting to being thrown a corona.

In the last few days, I have been adjusting my plan to take the new reality into account. Perhaps I’m behind the curve, right there thinking about the same things as you, or maybe these simple ideas will inspire and motivate you to focus during this time of uncertainty. Most importantly let me know what you think of them and if you have anything to add. I’m reminded of Zig Ziglar perspective having grown up in a small town during the depression and as he looked around he still saw people with large houses, swimming pools and fancy cars leading him to realize that regardless of your circumstances there is an opportunity if you have perspective. Here are a few of my ideas and suggestions:


  • Remind yourself that the way things are today does not mean it is the way they will be tomorrow.
  • Reflect and reconnect with those that have been the most influential in your career.
  • Seek creative alternatives to the plan that you already had in place. If you want a great example of this, check out what my podcast cohost Renato Beninatto and Nimdzi are discussing around those “stranded” for GALA 2020 San Diego.
  • Find the alternative areas of growth that you have neglected developing.
  • Anticipate those that have it worse than you and offer support.


As challenging as this may be for business and individuals we are a part of a larger connected world, I’m working to care for the needs of others at this time. Hope to walk through this knowing it improved my thinking, refined our strategy and took the best care of others during a rough time. Look forward to the day we find our beach and this is in the past.

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” – John C. Maxwell


The direction of our culture

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2019 by mstevensrev

“I don’t know anyone who is statisfied with the direction that our culture is heading.” -ANON

Well, Enlightenment Now author Steven Pinkerton is one person that makes the case from science that culture is moving in a positive direction. While his case is most interesting I’d also suggest following it up with a work by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, such as Skin in the Game, which will challenge much of Pinkerton’s optimism. What I take away from such discussions is that “culture” is a flexible concept measure differently by experts. When non-experts talk about such concepts they are likely to pick and choose the parts of culture that support their views on the direction of it.

When I hear a statement such as the one above, I want to challenge the person saying it by asking, “Do you have anyone in your life that may be experience the change in our culture as a positive one?” What comes to mind for me is those who previously could not speak out against police injustice now have a voice and those who previously were excluded from having their partners receive benefits because of “non-traditional” relationships are able to get these benefits or women previously silenced in hostile sexual workplaces now speak up against such actions. These three areas seem to be moving in the correct direction in my viewpoint.

For many on the traditional side of things the cultural shift feels more like The Purge than it should, rather this is an opportunity to listen and examine whether or not the benefits which you expect for the benefit of your family are also extended to those outside your family. Said another way, “Is you cultural stance loving your neighbor as yourself?” While in seminary, my teacher and theologian John Frame when explaining social justice made it very easy for our class to understand. He challenged us by saying, “Are you willing to stand that all children have the same rights and opportunity that you expect for your own?” Extended this beyond children and suddenly you are face to face with the Golden Rule.


Time takes all

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2018 by mstevensrev

time-losing-time-clock-pocket-wZig Ziglar has a quote that says something like, “Is two minutes a long time? Well, that depends on what side of the bathroom door you are on when you need to go.”

Just this weekend I had a moment that reoriented me regarding time. While cleaning out my filing cabinet I came across a nametag from the first onsite visit I had for a client that just last week gave me the verbal agreement to do business with me. The nametag was from six years ago. What is wild is that is not even the longest sales cycle I’ve had, my record to date is nine years.

Growing up I never imagined living past twenty-two years old, it was a real shock when I made it that long. Perhaps it was the folly of youth or growing up in a culture that did not have the wisdom to consider our future self regardless it took years for me to adjust my thinking. Now I regularly think about death, legacy and what my actions will mean five, ten and fifty years from now.

Some people take up gardening to expand their thinking in this area. For me, cooking has been a huge help. Meals take time, careful planning and slow cooked meat is just more rich and lovely than anything hurried. What are the practices in your life that help expands your perspective of time?

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


An embarrassment of riches

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2018 by mstevensrev

T4650616190_7f186f9396he neighborhood I grew up in, no one had money and yet it was customary to wear clothes that you clearly could not afford. Many Mom’s spent a majority of their income and used layaway in order to create for the family an embarrassment of riches.

Moving to the suburbs there were some people that had nothing but the very best, and then there was my family that move simply to escape the violence of our life in the city who did not have much. Before I started school on the first day, my mom took me to Kids “R” Us to buy me the nicest clothes I have ever owned in my life. The first week at school the kids made a mockery of me and my clothes, each day being worse than the next. For me it was an embarrassment of riches.

In high school, I lived for two years in Germany while my parents were working for the government. My dad got a trip back to the U.S. and I asked him to buy me a rugby sweater from Britches Great Outdoors, which I knew were very expensive so I was selective to only ask for that as a gift from his trip. He returned having gone to Sears and bought me six rugbys, an embarrassment of riches

Today receive a update from a family that I love dearly who is going through an unimaginable health situation. The words brought me to tears as I think about my life, at this moment in life I have no material need and yet a new understanding. Here are her words from the update,

“You have embraced our boys, kept us all fed, moved children hither and yon, research all there is to know about XXXX’s condition, give us places to sleep, and continually uplifted us in payer. It is an embarrassment of riches…”


about the rich

In art, business, Community, culture, faith, generosity on May 1, 2018 by mstevensrev

“Let me tell you about the very rich, they are different from you and me…” F. Scott Fitzgerald
There are two parts in viewing the rich. Yes the rich have more money, by definition, which tends to allow them to live different regarding many of the rules regular and poor people have to follow. This means that simple challenges others face are not for them: How do I research something that I can’t go and visit, How do I meet that person of influence, etc.
Lack of access to the money that can get you out of an emergency is one definition often used for poverty. When in a crisis do you have a friend or family member that could lend you $2,000 to get you out? If so you are likely not poor. When my wife and I were doing non-profit work there would be regular conversations about whether we were poor, yes we were a dual master degree family living below the poverty line, but as we finally demonstrated at any point we knew that we had the means and connections to relieve ourselves from the circumstance. This is not true for people in poverty.
On a layer different the rich are exactly the same as every other human being, same problems, hang ups and often their riches only make the flaws in their personality worse. Take care of those items regardless of your stature or rank. Often my experience has been that the rich are more isolated from others and the community around them.
Trust that good is available to transform you so that rich or poor you are living as the person you have been created. Also know that the rich are same as you.


Spring…into action

In art, blogging, business, holidays, Mornings, Uncategorized on April 23, 2018 by mstevensrev

images (3)Something happens to me as the days get longer. I’m finally aware of it after the past few years it becoming extremely noticeable. My goal was always to be steady, keep up a baseline of work and activity so that regardless of external factors, I know that I kept what I could in control.

Then there is a shift, both related to waking up and getting out of bed, but also in regards to my thoughts and creativity. The energy of the spring changes the way that I engage the world. At first, I thought it was just coincidence and that other factors in my life provided this energy. The explanation seems reasonable. Now after the fourth year of this change I’m embracing it, the slow pace of fall and winter begins to transition into a flurry of activity. This physical response has helped me better understand the world of liturgy and why spirituality is broken into seasonal expressions by most major religions.

Ecclesiastes 3  1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every [a]event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.


Writing becomes easier, thoughts flow thru more…leaving me excited for this season and the work that is before me.

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. -Margaret Atwood


Dear John,

In art, Books, Community, culture, design, faith, Friends, Fun, home, movies, Parenting, quote on May 19, 2017 by mstevensrev


Mr. Waters there is a god and it sure might be you and I am positive it is not the first time you have been told this (though probably in different circumstances:)

I was born in 1976 at St. Agnus Hospital in Baltimore and by 5 years old I was wandering the city blocks of West Baltimore in Edmondson, a wild thing for a white boy in the 80’s. As life moved on I became a devoted follower of you even attending movies at the Senator. As a young adult, I found the director’s cut of A Dirty Shame and your glossary of sex terms extremely helpful and still recommend it to my children and strangers when they find struggles with such naming conventions. “Full of Grace” is a regular quote in my family attributed to Pecker…and thank you for indulging my fanboy-ness but this note is about divinity, not celebrity.

This morning I realized that tonight at 40 years old I have reached the pinnacle of my life. My oldest daughter is 15 years old and deeply in love with theater and last spring at the drama auction for Ingraham High School in North Seattle I bought a “walk-on role” in the musical this spring. I was delighted to learn in fall that the musical would be Hairspray.

As a sophomore, the production has been a dream come true for my daughter, in addition to landing a role she was also given the responsibly of dance captain. Due to circumstances, she choreographed and co-choreographed several the songs including Good Morning Baltimore. As horrible people say, “the apple does not far fall from the tree” as her mother is a choreographer and movement artist.

Back to me, this week I learned and this morning it dawned on me how significant it is that my walk on role for Hairspray is during Good Morning Baltimore. Not only that but I get to be “The flasher who lives next door”. Following in the footsteps of your cameo role in the recent film.

For a kid that grew up the son of window cleaner in Baltimore my life could not be better, for that I am so grateful. I may live to see the marriage of my children, grandchildren born or even become a billionaire but nothing will compare to the moment when I walk out on stage tonight. No better script exists than my own life and this moment certainly makes me consider that all of it has been choreographed for me already. Happy belated birthday, missed you when you were in Seattle a month ago, and I do hope someday our paths will cross in person as they already have in spirit.





Michael Stevens

1004 NW 130th Street Seattle WA 98177

M: 206.390.8142 #mstevensrev


*This message was originally written on the fan page @JohnWatersFanPage where I realized that you are not on Facebook. Tempted to hand write the letter to you, but I wanted you to read every expression of my heart clearly. Many blessing enlighten one!


The Ability to Not FORG UP

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2017 by mstevensrev


A few weeks ago a few friends and I were talking about a project, that due to a vacation over spring break and a busy work schedule after returning, I had not talked about in almost two weeks. Before the conversation, the thought had crossed my mind that it wasn’t even worth meeting with them because perhaps the project was not all that I thought it was cracked up to be. In the first five minutes of the meeting, the fire back and I was energized.

So I mentioned this shift from doubt creeping into excitement and my entrepreneurial friend, Chris, said to me, “Oh did you forg up.” and I responded with, “What did you just say.” He apologized and said that he had just blended two things from his head when he spoke, he went on, “Did you forget which led you to give up?” I said exactly, “I could have forg’d up if we had not met today.”

There are times that we don’t intentionally quit, rather we subtly walk away from something that is bringing us life. The tragedy can be if it is something we are passionate about and because we don’t have someone to share it with at the time, we forget and give up…forg up.

Thanks to all the people in my life that have been there to listen, perhaps today I will be able to be present for someone else allowing them to not forg up.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

Abraham Lincoln


Special versus Valuable

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2017 by mstevensrev


diamond-807979_960_720Participation trophies, snowflakes, and the cult of the special has come under criticism. I’m in agreement that the criticism is well deserved. Life does not work this way. In our jobs in our personal lives we stack rank everything from most creative to best looking to richest.

Logically everyone knows: If EVERYONE is special, then NO ONE is special. The meaning of special is set apart, different, or unique. There is no way to have shades or varying degrees of special, it is analog.

Today for the first time I was able to hear something behind the movement (or cult) of special. My hope is that what people are trying to say is people are valuable. EVERYONE is valuable. We don’t wander into fallacies with that statement, and it gets to the heart of the matter.

Zappos is a company that I respect in many areas, and in their book “Delivering Happiness” they mentioned a practice to weed out fakers during the interview process. Headquartered in Las Vegas, the office is a pretty long trip from the airport therefore Zappos provides candidates that are interviewing a ride on their shuttle. When the person has completed their interviews and returned to the airport on the shuttle, a manager will call the shuttle driver to get the drivers perspective. As Hsieh said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2013, “It doesn’t matter how well the day of interviews went, if our shuttle driver wasn’t treated well, then we won’t hire that person.”

Make the change in your language, it is simple…those around you perhaps are not special but most surely valuable. And so are you.

The little things, I can obey. But the big things – how we think, what we value – those you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone – or any society – determine those for you.

Morrie Schwartz