Posts Tagged ‘Tipping Point’

2010 in review

January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.


In 2010, there were 32 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 110 posts. There were 152 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 10mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 1st with 2,481 views. The most popular post that day was 01 October — ish.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for ibol, iraqi bundles of love, kitteh, funny rumors to spread, and ibol guy.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


01 October — ish October 2010


IB♥L II: Give A Little August 2010


Building a bundle August 2009


What to send August 2009


FAQ August 2009


Pretty cool, huh?  Here’s to 2010!

Laying the groundwork

November 13, 2010

One of the things I did this week, to start to lay the groundwork for an IBOL3D, was to actually reach out to the media. Well, sort of.

I contacted my alma mater, specifically the alumni folks who publish the nice, polished, glossy magazine. It’s very nice, very slick. I sent them a short note, told them that there may be an IBOL3D in the works, and that if they take a look, they might find that the project reflects a lot of the things that the school holds in high regards. Their initial feedback from both positive and enthusiastic.

I also reached out to the national office of my fraternity. Same deal — alumni, polished magazine, etc. I said that IBOL3D might actually happen, but I also pointed out links between the Army values and the fraternity values (yes, the fraternity as well-defined values). They were positive and enthusiastic, and have asked questions, asked for photos, etc. I am confident that they’ll publish something in the next couple of months.

But that’s it so far. I think these are good things — laying the groundwork now for an effort in the spring or summer. Should I draft something generic, for people to use in their guild newsletters? Should there be a deliberate once-a-month type update thing about IBOL3D, where it stands, what’s coming up, so that people can blatantly copy and paste it and send it around?

IBOL, and being a geek

August 29, 2010

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Well, if you read the IBOL book, it may not be a surprise.

I’m a total geek, and I love having access to the raw back-end statistics about how IBOL floats around the internet.

In IBOL I last year, the whole thing started with me just creating the blog. That was it. There was no following, there were no fans. There was no Facebook page, there was no key word to search for. Just a new blog on WordPress.  10 views one day, then up to a few hundred. And then, boom, there’d be an explosion, two or three or four times as much traffic in a single day — and I could dig and see where it was all coming from.

Some website would have made mention of it. Some blogger would have posted something about. There had been a guild meeting, or an email to members. Or it had made it into a new forum or online group.

Often, it would be a one-day spike, but after a while, they’d start to overlap and the statistics would stay elevated. Hundreds of visits a day became thousands of visits a day. And it all went through the roof when things like newspaper articles started, and when the crew sent out an amazing email to everyone headed to the Houston Quilt Festival.

I learned to watch things like this Google link, but the WordPress stuff also has a section where I can secret see who is linking to IBOL, and from where people are coming to the site.   It was easy to spot the big, well connected websites and blogs that were sending lots and lots of people to IBOL, but I’ll be honest – I most treasured find the little things.

So, yeah.  Neat to see all this again.  Almost a week into IBOL II, and there have been a little over 5000 visits to the blog (4 days in the 400 to 700 visitors per day range, and one day at 1700).  There have been a good 225  or some comments left on the website, and I’ve seen more than a fair share of references to people passing along the address in their guild and group.  Having been through IBOL I, this all means something to me — IBOL II is going to be just fine.

The End of Phase 2b

October 18, 2009

Wow, I’m a bit tired.

I got up last night before midnight, in order to go and meet the forklift guy and the truck guys. One 10k forklift and two eighteen-wheeler trucks in tow, we went out to IBOL World HQ and Warehouse, and loaded the six pallets onto the trucks. Loaded, the trucks rolled away and headed to the container yard, where they’ll likely hang out for a few days before moving on. The hour was late, the dust was blowing, so I broke out a disposable camera someone had sent me a while ago, and took a few pictures; it’ll be weeks before I can get them developed and posted.

I have, more or less, figured out how to distribute 3445 bundles. I never thought that would happen, folks.

This week, those six pallets, representing around 1500 bundles and about 12,000 pounds of love, will head to Kirkuk City (map). Five of the pallets will stay there, with one of our combat brigades, and the sixth will get cross-loaded and head further on into the Kurdish region to Sulaymaniyah (map).

So, about 2000 bundles made their way our into my neck of the woods, and the rest are headed to Kirkuk. This might not seem like much to you, but it means a lot to me.

Saddam Hussein is from these parts of the woods. Part of what had me thinking about this whole IBOL thing was wanting to make some kind of a positive impact on this area. Thank you — there are two thousand bundles coursing their way through this area. Which is pretty fantastic.

And if you watch the news as much as I do, or maybe even a fraction of what I watch and read, you’ll know that Kirkuk is… interesting. It’s disputed. It’s debated. It’s seemingly tied to most every other topic here in Iraq. At times it’s been led by Turks, Arabs and Kurds. It’s rich history, diverse people and mixed cultures makes it a land, a city, a community in need of some, well, love.

My year here is almost up. I’m working with the unit replacing mine. My kids are counting the days until I leave Iraq, for what may well be the last time. When I was young, Iraq was a re-emerging leader in the Arab world, but faltered and spiraled downwards under Saddam Hussein. But even during the darkest of times, when this land was being ravaged by war or hate or strife, I’ve held out hope that I’d be able to help do something to move this country closer to not just peace but the greatness it is capable of. I never would have guessed it would be this — almost 3500 boxes, packed by some amazing and great people, distributed here, there, and everywhere in northern Iraq.

So, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I have two more things to do. Well, okay, three. I’ll be in touch with the folks that have these last 1500 or so, and I’ll see what I can get from them to share here on the website. I also know that there’s a small snippet on IBOL in our own unit magazine, if I can every get my hands on the digital version of it.

The second thing is to see what if anything will carry on after I leave here. The warehouse is still there. CSM Flores and his crew think their replacements will support is being used the same way — if someone does something crazy like this. I need to find that someone, I guess. I’d like to leave here with a name and an address, and to be able to tell you to send what you want, when you want – I have no idea if I’ll be able to put that together.

And lastly, I need to look back at this whole thing, and do some writing. For my unit, for the Army, I need to capture what this was, why it worked, and what can be used again. This IBOL thing was pretty powerful; I’d hate for the Army to not learn something from this little undertaking. I’d like some crazy dreamer out there to have that crazy dream, and not have to start from complete scratch like I sometimes felt I did. Why think tens when you can think thousands. Writing about this, teaching the Army about this, is my Phase 3.

Thanks, IBOLsters!

Two last things, before I call it a day and go to sleep. Who saw my wife’s quilt in Houston, and who took a photo that they can send me?

And who is going to be near either Eugene or Beaverton, Oregon, before Thanksgiving? The IBOL Guy Family World Tour will be kicking off then, with stops in Oregon and the mountains east of San Bernardino, CA. Coffee’s going to be on me, and the locations will be small fabric and / or yarn places.

It’s time we had a little talk

September 11, 2009

When I started the project, I didn’t know how big it would get.

Or how it would spread across the web. Or the world.

Or how many people would take an interest, and volunteer to participate.

Or how many people would actually send a box.

Or how many boxes an individual would send.

Or the total amount of boxes, or their volume, or their weight.

Or when they’d arrive.

Or how I’d actually distribute them.

I also did not have permission from anyone to do this.

All I knew was that I had an idea, that it seemed like a good idea, and that I probably needed to act on it.

And so I did.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I spent time with my mail folks and the warehouse folks. I worked it out with my mail folks that any boxes coming to me would be delivered to the warehouse — if lots of bundles started to arrive (for some crazy reason), it just made sense to be ready and to have the IBOL’s go right to the warehouse. The warehouse folks had received the first few boxes mailed directly to them by then — maybe 80. I had received the other 414 or so total at that point, had given some out to a couple of local units, moved others to the warehouse, but still had about 80 in my own room.

On Monday, I moved some of mine to the warehouse, and posted photos here.

Tuesday, I got one in the mail; the warehouse got none.

Wednesday, I got one. The warehouse got 357 more in the mail.

Thursday, I got none. They got 365 more in the mail.

Today, I got my Sports Illustrated, but not my Hot Rod. I was kind of bummed. I was really hoping the new Hot Rod would arrive. I mean, after all, the new Sports Illustrated had arrived — shouldn’t Hot Rod arrive, too? Oh, and the warehouse, they got 697 bundles in the mail.

The urban legend is that 11 pallets of mail were flown in yesterday, six of which were for IBOL. I had two soldiers separately tell me that one.

I have not been to the warehouse since Monday, but I am told that there are a few over there now . Received to date? 1921, between what’s come to me and what’s gone right to the warehouse. So, there’s probably 1600 bundles at the warehouse right now.

And I thought 50 boxes was going to be a pretty good indicator of success.

Honest to goodness, between all of the passing of information in emails and in guilds and that crazy email from the Houston folks and the Sew Mama Sew stuff, I have no idea how many people have mailed boxes, much less how to estimate that.

I have no idea how many actual boxes are en route, or how to even begin to take a guess at that. Honest to goodness, I had a wonder lady explain to me in an email today that she put 19 bundles in the mail. Nineteen! And if you think that’s unique, I could probably rattle of the names of a half or full dozen more people who have mailed over 10. This is some crazy scary math, even trying to extrapolate this stuff out (~2600 comments, maybe minus 100 for non-requests of the address; 150+ from Sew Mama Sew; the Houston email went to maybe 50,000+ people; there are probably 36 to 60 guilds or groups that shared the address…)

Does your brain hurt now, too? Yeah, this is what I am dealing with — in and around my day job. Which also makes my brain hurt.

I have two good-sized units that are lining up trucks and pick up dates, and seem to think they’ll be in a position to deliver tons of IBOLS — which, if the boxes really do average out to 7 or 8 lbs per box, and there really do turn out to be 3000 to 5000 IBOLs, there really are going to be tons of IBOLs to deliver.

How does one distribute something like three to five thousand bundles? Very carefully, I suppose. It’s a bit like eating an elephant — figure out what size bites you can take, and keep eating. I’ve got plan A, and a plan B. I’ll spare you the details, but will try to get and share some photos. Not sure when I can get to the warehouse, either — I’ll see what I can do about tomorrow.

More later — I need to go sleep. Apparently, it’s Patriot Day (not to confuse anyone) — where did August go? Seriously, I need to work less and sleep more.

I’ve said thank you about a half a billion times, right? Make it half a billion and one — thank you.

A quiet day

August 27, 2009

No new mail today. And that’s OK — I’m trying to catch my breath.

I think IBOL would be a full time job, if I had the full time to give it. I don’t. On a good day, I get maybe an hour before or after sleep, and sprinkles here and there sometimes. I’ve got a full time gig that has me working day and night. If I had more, I’d give me, but that seems to be the theme of this whole IBOL thing, doesn’t it?

I met today with my press guy. He’s back, after being gone a few days. He did not know about super secret project #1 — 150 boxes via Sew Mama Sew. I thought he was going to have to take a knee and catch his breath, when I told him. I had warmed him — never underestimate you all.

I also told him about SSP #2, and the warehouse. He’s starting to sense that IBOL is a really, really good idea that is really, really catching on. He said he’d get back to me tomorrow. He has ideas, but needs a little bit to think about it — really, it’s likely he needs to absorb it all, since I did sort of ambush him with all this (he could not have seen this coming).

I guess it would be hard to anticipate this type of public response. On the day I set up this site, 10 people found it — and I bet most of them share the same family name. 30 posts and ~900 comments later, the site has had over 31,000 visits. The busiest day was Monday — when Sew Mama Sew went live with their online bundles (there were over 3800 visits that day). Oh, and Sew Mama Sew “sold” their 150 bundles in about 48 hours, apparently to people from all over the world.

I have not been able to even come close to tracking the # of people who are sending bundles, for a couple of reasons:

1. You’re sharing the address amongst yourselves via email.

2. People are sending 2, 3, — up to 12 boxes.

I’d like to think that one comment left on the website would more or less equal one box enroute here. But no, that’s not even close to being true – one visit to the website, one comment left, does not equal 1 box headed this way.

So, yeah. Press Guy (can I just call him PG?) is trying to wrap his head around all this. The outpouring is wild enough, without looking at the sheer volume of stuff headed this way or the very amazing way this is all being done quickly and via the web (blogs, twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc). When SSP2 hits, we’ll all gasp. If mainstream American media catches on to what we’re secretly doing here, we’ll all gasp, I’m sure.

IBOL — yep, it’s pretty darn tootin’ neat. Keep it up, world. You’re doin’ good.

Bigger, faster, stronger: IBOL 2.0

August 24, 2009

I said I needed a bigger truck, right?

I got a van instead.

And a warehouse.

No, really. There’s now a warehouse. No IBOL sign out front — IBOL is going to come and go in another month — but there’s so much coming that I asked for and got the OK to divert stuff into a frakin’ warehouse.

So, if you’re in the IBOL sending business, you may see that there’s a slightly different mail address now. The old one still works, but the new one works even better!

And 26 more arrived today. That pushes us past 100 total. 100 bundles, folks. Egads, that’s a lot.

And with Sew Mama Sew and their amazing effort, I am officially declaring this IBOL 2.0 — there’s way more going on than I ever imagined. The scope of this project has gone BIG. Knitters were added, which I never foresaw. There are more bundles falling out of the sky than I know what to do with. Folks are coming up with neat things like Twitter hash marks and people are blogging this like crazy. And I had to get a bigger vehicle, and to see a man about a warehouse.


But no, I’m sitting back and resting on my laurels. IBOL 3.0 is in the works. Get ready, world — I’m shuckin’ and jivin just as much as I can. My old commander use to say, “Put effort to emphasis.” And this IBOL thing is that important to me, is getting that much emphasis from me, that I am doing my best to put that much effort into it — and trying to leverage the efforts of all of you as most effectively and efficiently as possible.

Stick with me , folks — we can effect change.

OK, I’m off to go work on SSP #2. And no, Oprah has not called — yet.

Sew, Mama, Sew

August 23, 2009

But really, Whoa, Mama, WHOA!

As you may recall, a while ago I asked on this site if anyone was in the fabric store business. I wondered who was in a position to build bundles at or near cost.

Why? There are people out there in this world, like most all of my guy friends, who would probably be willing to support IBOL but who don’t have a stash into which they can raid. How could they, too, easily help with this?

The answer? Sew, Mama, Sew has set up this site. Anyone can visit the site, use their credit card, and push bundles of love this way. [UPDATE: She blogged the details, here]

Iraqi Bundle of Love
For your contribution of fifteen dollars we will send one Iraqi Bundle of Love to US soldiers who will distribute the bundles to Iraqi families and sewing co-ops. One bundle will include:

* 5 yards of new fabric
* 16 sewing needles in a case
* 32 pearlized pins on a wheel
* 1 tomato pincushion
* 1 pair folding scissors
* 1 150 yd spool white thread

The cost of shipping is included in the price!

So, I think this is about the coolest thing ever. EVER. $15 for 5 yards of fabrics, plus others goodies, shipping included, from Sew Mama Sew. And they have enough to do 150 of these.

150. Remember when I thought 30 bundles was going to make this project a success?

I kid you not — this takes my breath away. This has been SSP1 — Super Secret Project #1 — and in the works for a few days, but it is still amazing to see it online and working. Please feel free to help pass this news around, and please feel free to swing by the Sew, Mama, Sew blog and leave them a comment. Pass it on Facebook, send it on Twitter.

Whoa. Just whoa. If SSP2 turns out half as amazing as this, I’m going to see a medic to give me CPR.

How did you get here

August 12, 2009

This whole IBOL thing started with a couple of emails to a few family and friends, and then me quietly creating this website.  There really hasn’t been a lot of fanfare or hard pressed effort on my part to spread the word or sell this concept; I’ve more or less left it up to you all to get the word out about this crazy dream of mine.

Oh, and by the way, you all sure seem to be doing a damn fine job at that.  A slow day has been 300 hits on this site, and a big day was over 750.  Add to that other folks who have only popped up on email, or through Facebook, and it’s healthy numbers for a viral web based efforts.

So, where are you all coming from?  Well, I have numbers.  Having read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, I see these kinds of statistics as being indicators of who the Connectors are.

At the top of the list is some gal named Kristin La Flamme.  What’s up with that?  After that, it’s Robin.  Apparently, my Hawaii connections are indeed pretty strong.  I find it interesting that Facebook and Twitter are both in the Top 5 — in this modern world, I kind of expected they would be.  Personally, I like that Google Reader is in the Top 10 — I love Google Reader and rely on it to follow about 200 different RSS feeds (it’s just that awesome).

But the bottom line is, no matter how you got here, well, thank you for getting here.  This thing has caught on, indeed, and the feedback, good comments and constructive additions and ideas have been just great.  I’m just waiting for the weather to improve and the mail deliveries to resume!

Without further ado,  may present to you the top ten sites that push visitors here: