Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Making Difficult Things Look Easy

I’ve always been impressed with NASA, but my admiration has mostly been about all the stuff that goes along with space exploration. And there is no shortage of impressive stuff that comes into my mind when I think about NASA. When someone says NASA, the obvious associations are astronauts, astronomy, ships, suits, stars, planets, probes, rovers, rockets, moon rocks, exploration, experiments, and on and on.

Since I am a marketing and communications professional, I really appreciate what it takes to make things happen like this NASA Tweetup. NASA is doing great things with social media, event planning, media relations, and their websites (they recently won at the Webby awards.) So along with all of the wonderful space stuff they do, I am now adding social media pioneers, PR professionals, and Web wizards to the list of things I admire about NASA.

The other night I was listening to an excellent interview with NASA’s spokesperson and social media manager Stephanie Schierholz about their PR and social media strategy and tactics. The interview runs about 60 minutes, but it is a very interesting peek into how NASA manages over 200 social media accounts, astronauts tweeting and checking in on foursquare from space, and the management of their very popular Twitter @NASATweetup events. Check it out here:

Today I listened to an interview with STS-135 pilot Doug Hurley ( discussing the upcoming Atlantis launch. He mentioned something that I deeply admire and understand when he said that launching people into space isn’t easy. Launching people into space is a difficult business, but they just make it look easy.

Making difficult things look easy. This is what professionals do. This is what separates the super successful from the rest. Making difficult things look easy isn’t easy. It is the result of a lot of planning, training, and countless hours of unseen hard work. And it often can go under or unappreciated because it looks easy.

I mentioned Web wizards above because I sometimes joke at work about my magic wand. During my many, many years of working on websites and having quite a few of them recognized for national awards and recognitions, I’ve realized that most people still do not understand or appreciate the amount of work it takes to create high quality websites. I don’t use a magic wand. But making difficult things look easy can make it look like magic to others.

The people that work at NASA are making difficult things look easy everyday. I’m glad I’ll get the chance to tell some of them in person very soon that I admire and appreciate all the hard work they do to make it all seem like magic. 

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