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I cannot add another posting here without FIRST saying a HUGE mahalo [thank you] to those of you who are reading these words.

You’re still here, and I am beyond overjoyed. Here’s why.

This past week has been uncharacteristically nerve-wracking for me.

I’m normally someone who is very definite about my decisions. I make them fairly quickly, just a few breaths beyond impulsively, knowing when I need to sleep on them before I act. Once I make my decisions there are usually no regrets, and rarely any turning back; I’m already working on my next set of intentions.

This past week I made, and acted on a decision which was the exception to my normal m.o. for I’d been thinking about it for months now, and I’m still thinking about it although it’s essentially done. At first-take the decision seems like no big deal: I dumped the email newsletter editor I’d been using for the past six years, because I decided that the program was no longer serving me or my subscribers as well as it could. I’d been waiting for some leadership in email communications which never came from them; they were my supplier, but not my partner, and I expected more, and was tired of waiting for it.

However I did not replace them either, for I couldn’t find the leadership and innovation I was looking for emerging with any of their competitors. So what I did this past week, was send a final letter to all my newsletter subscribers saying that my Ho‘ohana ‘ÅŒlelo email newsletter would be on an indefinite hiatus. To continue in auto-pilot mode when I was less than happy with the service just wasn’t acceptable anymore; I’d let it continue long enough. Thus my decision not to give someone my business any longer morphed into a bigger decision to put my newsletter out of commission as well, perhaps temporarily, but perhaps in a manner which ultimately means that bringing it back at some point amounts to starting from scratch.

Here’s why I feel this was a big decision. Where would my subscribers go? Would they feel I had abandoned them? I wasn’t just rejecting a so-so supplier, I was fragmenting and possibly invalidating what is pure gold to any business owner, or any person valuing a personal network of relationships: A data base of contacts who were never purchased from some list, but had opted in, giving me permission to send them email. I have essentially asked my email subscribers ”“ some for as long as the past six years ”“ to change their habits in communicating with me, and still remain connected to me through their own initiative and willingness to follow-up, taking the huge risk that many may choose not to.

I have not rejected email totally, but as I wrote in my final newsletter this past Tuesday,

“Email in particular, is something I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with: I still love it for communicating with people privately, however it has dramatically fallen out of favor with me as a broadcasting medium, and the way you respond to me has demonstrated that the great majority of you largely feel the same way. Membership in our Ho'ohana Community of Managing with Aloha practitioners continues to grow, yet I can no longer trace our most effective communication with each other as a consequence of my emailed newsletters to you.

The last thing I want to do is create more inbox clutter for you, and I feel I am very accessible; thanks to search, it is very easy to locate me online, even if you were to lose every email address you ever had for me.”

People could have taken my truthfulness in that last sentence as arrogance, and gosh I hope not, for that would be awful. I have to hope they feel they know me better than that, and have appreciated my honesty.

Here’s what happened so far.

I decided to share the results of this week’s decision with you for two reasons.

1. You did follow up! You are hugely important to me as the select group of people who are reading these words at this moment, and I want you to have the evidence why, evidence of how special you are besides me just saying so.

2. We Ho‘ohana together. Many of you face similar decisions in your own businesses, and if learning from my decision’s case study can help you at all it will make these results all the sweeter.

I mentioned fragmentation. As far as I can tell, my final Ho‘ohana ‘ÅŒlelo missive this week was opened by 40% of the people I sent it to. That number is a bit better than the track record of the past year’s worth of newsletters, and is a measurement which had significantly factored into my original decision. Experts will tell you that after awhile monthly newsletters do hit the downslope of diminishing returns (i.e. getting read at all), and that downslope motion has accelerated in recent years as a) spammers cause email firewalls to be more aggressive than ever before, and b) as our informational reading increases: We are all living in the age of digital bombardment.

Out of the 40% who opened my email, read it and took action:

Update: To be clear, some of you took more than one, or all of those actions above, for we do communicate in a number of different ways. The percentages add up to 100% as the first trackable action you took which I could trace.

So now what? Nānā i ke kumu ~ we look to the source.

So now you are here, and I want to do more than say “thank you” to you, I want to show you how much I mean it.

I am newly committed to making Talking Story the primary voice of our Ho‘ohana Community. I will be challenging myself ”“ and I hope you will join me in taking up this challenge ”“ to take Talking Story to ‘Imi ola ke Ho‘ohana Aloha, the best possible form for the Aloha we share as the Ho‘ohana Community of our future.


It feels right. We started here in so many ways, for Talking Story has been a source, pre-dating the thriving neighborhoods we now have for our community at Joyful Jubilant Learning, on LinkedIn and on Twitter, and even for Managing with Aloha Coaching (which had been MWA Jumpstart Second Edition).

That said, I don’t want to be bombarding you either, and I won’t be posting every day. Speak up, and let me know what resonates with you, what you appreciate being here and what doesn’t matter, and we’ll figure this out together, kākou, just as we always have.

In other words, we’ll talk story.

Mahalo nui loa. Thank you so, so much for being here.

The gift card above was designed for me by the ever-thoughtful Dwayne Melancon, author of Genuine Curiosity


  1. says

    Good morning Rosa. I was here all along, but would have followed you anyway :-)
    You, arrogant? I can’t imagine there’s a single person who reads your work who could entertain such a thought.
    I am interested in your decision as it comes at a time when I’m wondering if I should go in precisely the opposite direction! I want to have a mechanism to talk to people about services and coaching opportunities and I still find it awkward to do that on the blog.
    As for what content I’d enjoy here… honestly I enjoy your shorter posts, blended with photos. I can then follow your links to the think pieces in other places.
    I hope you enjoy a lovely weekend with your nerves un-wracked :-)

  2. says

    Aloha Joanna, and mahalo nui.
    I understand what you mean about using a newsletter for the email marketing of your products and services, however while I mixed it in at times, Ho‘ohana ‘ÅŒlelo did not really serve that purpose for me because it pre-dated the blog: My newsletter started as my blogging before there were blogs, but without the comment conversation mechanisms which continue discussions in such a rich way inclusively and collaboratively (and yes publicly) versus exclusively (and privately or for one-on-one coaching). If I bring my newsletter back it will likely be in the format you are considering instead, whereas before it could feel like unnecessary duplication; nagging almost (“hey! Come read my blogs!”)
    Our decisions as publishers (as we both are) must ultimately be focused on knowing who our customer is, so we can then serve them best. That is the challenge with blogging and with a newsletter when the opt-in request is too open or vague: You end up with a subscription base expecting a variety of things from you. So my advice to you would be to make it clear that your newsletter is for business marketing and you’re looking for potential customers, buyers and affiliate helpers; put the opt-in box on your business site but not on the blog.
    Your advice for me on shorter versus longer is helpful, thank you, and you’ll be pleased to know that the kind of posts you liked having me experiment with earlier this month will be more frequent, with the longer ones now showing up elsewhere ”“ a current reinvention I have in the works and will be announcing soon!

  3. says

    Aloha Rosa! I applaud you for your decision. I had a similarly difficult decision in moving from TypePad to my own domain. I’ve found it EXTREMELY liberating, both for me and my readers. No doubt you will find the same.
    Nice to see you here. I’m not going anywhere, and I’d follow you to the ends of the earth.
    If you happen to have any best/worst practices that you learned from your e-mail newsletters, I’d love to read about them.

  4. says

    Oh, mahalo nui Phil! You have supported me in every new idea and experiment I have tried in my publishing, and I am so thankful. I do know how loyal and supportive you are, and how consistent you are with giving me your attention, and I never want to take it for granted: You challenge me to be sure I remain relevant and useful to you. So absolutely YES, I’m happy to share more about my best/worst practices with you. However let’s chat about it on the telephone so we can have the real-time back and forth dialog about it; we can catch up with some other things too!

  5. says

    Aloha Rosa.
    One of the things I love about you is your generosity and capacity for sharing yourself. I can understand the gut-wrenching this decision caused you, for it almost goes against everything we’re told to do to build an internet based business. That said, I applaud you for going against expectations and against the established wisdom – you’re a maverick and you’re blazing the path (and sharing it!) for us all… bravo!
    I’ll follow you – as Phil said – to the ends of the earth…

  6. says

    Thank you so much Karen. Your comment just now has triggered more memories for me with how extraordinary a gift Talking Story has been over the years. My Ho‘ohana newsletter was a foundational building block, but Talking Story became, and continues to be so vital as the home base I always get pulled back to, for this is where you, Joanna, Phil and others became *our* Ho‘ohana Community, and not simply *my* newsletter. I realize that online transparency takes a lot of bravery (and it took way more back before we all knew what social media would be today), and what a joy that you have been here, and one of the most courageous of them all!

  7. says

    My pleasure Rosa. It does take a lot of bravery, doesn’t it – to put ourselves out there, exposed, for the world to see? I admit a few times lately I’ve had an attack of doubts and butterflies at the thought of exposure and leaving myself vulnerable.
    It’s always my absolute joy to visit with you, Rosa – real time or out of time. It’s never as often as I’d like, but I always get back eventually.

  8. Julie Yost says

    Aloha Rosa
    The discomfort your decision caused you is not surprising. You are so generous with your time, your knowledge and your expertise! Much of the time we, the recipients, of your generosity do not take the time to say thanks. I want to take this opportunity to send many mahalos for all that you have done and continue to do. You are a precious gift and way too valuable to let get away! Thanks for giving us many ways to follow you on your journey. Warmest regards from Colorado..

  9. says

    Hi Rosa,
    As a recipient of your newsletter announcing these changes it is really interesting to see the story of the decisions behind these changes from your perspective. As Karen said in her comment above, your willingness and instinct to share is a gift that is instructive and inspirational to many.
    I can really empathise with your decision to make this change. To me it signifies a couple of things: The first is your ability to exhibit leadership not just as a coach but in the way you live & lead your own work & life. The second is your willingness to embrace the new, new media that many of us are still feeling our way with and take the kind of steps that confirm the closeness and interaction you want with this community.
    As someone I know might say, that is Ho’ohana in action! ;)
    With Best Regards,

  10. says

    Rosa, I applaud your decision and your openness with the struggle. Your willingness to share helps me in my own tough decisions. I share your love-hate of email and the email newsletter has also been a personal struggle of mine. I do not feel like something has been lost but that you have given us more opportunities and platforms in which to connect with you. I love having choices to interact on platforms where I might be more comfortable than email. As for what I love here, it is you! So please don’t stop being who you are, living, laughing, learning out loud. :-)

  11. says

    Julie, how like you! You have voiced your appreciation to me on a couple of occasions, and it has definitely made a difference, keeping me going, and helping me be more tenacious and resilient in those times when I can wonder if what I do really amounts to much at all (times which we all have, and I am no different). And on top of that gift of gratitude you do write to me, both privately and on the blogs, I know you continue to buy my book and give it as your gift of choice! Mahalo nui my friend, for being here for me too: Julie, you truly seem to find the perfect days to reach out to me!
    It’s funny Paul, I pride myself on my independence (rebellion at times!) and on my quick decision-making, but I also know my growth has come during those times I open myself up to being wrong. I am still not there with everyone I encounter, but being wrong when someone in our Ho‘ohana Community is willing to tell me so? Wrong doesn’t get any better than that! So I open up and go with the learning that sometimes, keeping the can-be-ugly process all to yourself is foolish. This is one, very smart community.
    As for embracing the new media, that is actually the easy part, for I really, truly love it, and I think we should all have a) free medical care and b) free internet access! When I think of what we human beings could achieve by being fully healthy and fully connected… wow.
    Karen, your words mean so much to me, both as someone in our Ho‘ohana Community and because of the admiration I have for you in the work you do – I have so much to learn from you and the marketing expertise you so freely offer to all of us! Thank you.
    All of your comments are helping me so much this weekend as I make this shift – and it IS happening! My apprehension has given way to the excitement about the plans I’ve been thinking about with Talking Story and in the other places we communicate and learn! What a splendidly beautiful feeling.
    As Paul says, we Ho‘ohana :) Mahalo nui everyone, for I will readily admit that this was a post with which I needed the bracing, uplifting joy of your comments.
    ~ Rosa