Dear Santa,

I’ve been a very good boy this year. I’ve been making a list of a few wee gadgets that I’d love for Christmas.

  • Email Newsletter Incendiary Kit: an automated self-destruct device when people add you to their list without asking. A secondary incendiary device will also ignite when said emails contain no unsubscribe link – which is against the law in many countries.
  • Twitter Auto DM Electrified Blocking Mechanism: these things went out of style before Twitter was even born. Please make them stop.
  • Automatic Affiliate Link Alerter (AALA): I warned everyone about the perils of affiliate marketing in travel. But I think this gadget would make the world a much safer place.
  • WordPress Secure AutoLock Feature: This little whiz-bag gadget stops bloggers in their tracks – the ones who never bother to reply to comments, or the ones who set Twitter and Facebook to “auto machine gun mode.” They’ll unfortunately not be able to create more content until they amend their ways.

These are the gifts that keeps on giving, Santa! And if you’ve got room in the sleigh after all that, an iPad would be nice too. 😉

But those are just gadgets. In a world full of disgusting materialism, I want less, not more. In a world where people important to you get cancer and where people nearly die due to Mother Nature’s tempers and tantrums, gadgets only go so far. There is a big difference between the things you just like or want and the things you need. (Though I really would like an iPad, Mr. Claus!)

What I Actually Need

Santa, I know it is hard to say you had a bad year when you graced the pages of CNN, Newsweek, National Geographic Traveler, the Wall St Journal, and Newsweek. It’s hard to complain when you made as much income as you did as a corporate drone, built a mini media empire, and burnt your ass yet survived several business experiments that in hindsight were slightly scary.

But this month, while working on my AWDP (Awesomeness World Domination Plan) and choosing some crazy goals for 2011, I found out I lost something a long the way. Maybe it was focus, maybe it was vision, or maybe it was passion – I’m not sure.

Passion is a loaded word. Scott Gerber nearly got lynched for saying it isn’t the end all be all that many claim it to be.

Maybe it’s focus that I’m lacking. Yesterday, Alex Fayle – one of my most esteemed superheroes – sent out his end of year newsletter and talked about rockstar Lady Gaga, who perhaps maybe got it right from the beginning:

She writes her own music, she can actually sing without needing her backup singers or playback to support a weak voice, and she knows how to keep herself in the spotlight while not creating scandal or tearing anyone down in the process. Yes, she’s ridiculous and over the top, but isn’t that what we want from our superstars? They should be larger than life. But if you look at the press coverage, it’s always about her clothes, her hair, or her shows. It’s never about her lovelife, possible addictions, or other self-destructive behaviour. She plays with fame and I’m sure she loves the millions she earns, but she does it all with tongue firmly planted in cheek. She pokes fun at herself and at her fame. She doesn’t believe her own hype.

She’s just a person with talent who’s a genius at marketing herself.

Throughout her super-stylized Monster Ball tour, she talks about self-esteem, about being a freak, and about believing yourself to be as big a superstar as she is. It’s the same message that so many others sell. It’s the message I used to sell on Someday Syndrome. It’s pure marketing.

But that doesn’t make it any less true.

We are all superstars and we were born that way, she says.

Whether we do anything about that, however, that’s something else altogether.

I’ve spent a lot of time lying flat in dark rooms with eyes closed, thinking about what the people who are my rockstars, my contemporaries would say about all this – people like Chris Guillebeau and Danielle Laporte and Chris Garrett. I’ve ranted and raved at Becky, Pace and Trisha.

And Santa, with their help I think I might be able to figure this thing out. (Though I’m not sure I can match Lady Gaga’s costume choice. Those shoes!)

If you could just make sure to let me know if I go off course, that would be really great. Oh, and about that iPad….

Milk and Cookies are on the mantel – they’re those sugary butter cookies that you like. (And don’t tell Mrs. Claus, but I left out some Christmas Ale for you too – it’s behind the tree!)

Thanks Santa. You’re the best.



Photo by magma666