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Showing posts from 2015

Why We Hate Change

Over the 100,000 plus years we and our brains have been evolving. During that time, our minds have grown past our primitive lizard brains and as such have brought us intelligence; which in turn has allowed humans to accomplish some fantastic things. Even with all that time and evolution, we and our brains are still guided by these four most important motivators: avoiding threats, minimizing energy, seeking certainty (reducing risk) and obtaining rewards (increasing pleasure).
It is easy to see why these four conditions motivate us not to change, because change usually involved reducing certainty while simultaneously increasing risk and expending energy, often without any guarantee of obtaining a reward. Essentially, due to in a large part to our primordial past, when we find ourselves confronted with change, either on a personal level or say at your company, all the fears from our lizard brain are triggered.
So, how can we get past those fears and anxieties that our genetic makeup m…

So, What About Europe?

Often we wonder how countries get into bad financial difficulties, and sometimes we need an allegory to explain it.  Hopefully the one below can explain how some of the European countries have gotten into their financial mess?

Helga is the proprietor of a bar.  She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar.  To solve this problem she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later.

Helga keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers' loans).

Word gets around about Helga's "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Helga's bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in town.

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands Helga gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wi…

Five Rules to Being Happy

All of us want to be happy, but few of us actually feel that way most of the time. Of course, we all experience bouts of happiness, but in general, only about 20% of the people are happy most of the time. So, what keeps us from being happy, or more precisely, but experiencing a continuous state of happiness?

There seems to be five mistakes that are common on the road to happiness. Believe it or not, the first one is to try to figure out if we are happy or not! When we try to pursue happiness as a goal, we often want to experience more joy and contentment…than we had before. So, to find out if we are making any progress we start to compare our past state of happiness to our present condition. This creates its own ennui of dissatisfaction. As soon as we start to compare, we move from the experiencing mode into the evaluation mode.

To be truly happy (and there are decades of research on this), you have to be totally absorbed in what you are doing. Think of being engrossed in a good bo…

Friendship and Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving is upon us, I started thinking of all the "stress" and family turmoil this causes. There is a great book that deals with this titled, Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts that goes into the many instances that case this dissonance in a family, and how this leads to hurtful acts and grudges. The thing I liked most about the book is that it also gives some ways on how to "get over" these hurts, false believes, and bad feelings and to stop thinking we are so superior.  
Of course, part of being thankful is the feeling of gratitude, and part of being grateful is the ability to be an great friend and extending friendship.  The story below tells a poem of friendship and thanksgiving that is as timeless as it is beautiful.  I hope you enjoy it and give thanks always. And a youth said, Speak to us of Friendship.
And he answered, saying: Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which yo…

18 Laws Of Life (Sort Of)

As we move through life on this great big blue marble, we are often reminded of some immutable laws that we see all the time, but never really think about until we are “in it.” While they may not be the 1st or 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics, they seem to have some bearing on how life unfolds.  Hopefully this list will help you realize them when they happen to you.
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1. Law of Mechanical Repair- 
After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.

2. Law of Access Gravity - 
Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible place in the universe.

3. Law of Visibility - 
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

4. Law of Random Numbers - 
If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal or voice mail; someone always answers.

5. Variation Law - 
If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster…

Don't be a Diva

Divas act like divas because they have tricked themselves into believing that they are not getting what they are entitled to, and, perversely, that they are not worth what they are getting. Why?
When a diva receives something they feel entitled to, something expected, a thing they believe they have earned, it is not worth much (like candy on Halloween). And when they do not receive it, they are furious.  Furious in a way that is both irrational and unfounded.
Worthiness, on the other hand, is an essential part of receiving anything. (think of the difference of a participation award versus actually winning something, say the World Series). When you have worked hard to achieve a goal, you know the value of the toil, not so much from the success, but from the many failures that lead to the success.

When a diva feels unworthy, or insecure, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw. They cannot appreciate a thing as genuine or earnest …

Power and Organization

I read an article some time ago by Seth Godin about Power and Organization. In that blog, Mr. Godin claims that most power occurs because one side is better organized than the other. Labor is usually less well organized than management, criminals are usually less well organized than the police and customers are always less well organized than producers.
I have to agree with the assessment, and actually say that in order for any organization or company to be successful, they need to be better organized than their competition. In a real world case, look and the meteoric rise of Barack Obama from State Senator, to U.S. Senator, to President elect. Obama was better organized than Hillary Clinton, and better organized than John McCain. In essence, his "community service" background allow him to tap the Internet, word-of-mouth, multi-level-marketing, and good old fashioned canvassing to develop a grassroots movement that turned into a ground swell and eventually a movement that es…

Invent the Future that Has Already Happened

Peter Drucker once noted that companies that seem to have the most success “invent the future that has already happened.” Nice quote, but what does that mean exactly?
How can you invent an unknown future that has already happened? I think what he is trying to say is to look for successes in other industries or processes and copy them in yours. Some call this 'translation' of an idea or concept. Case in point, Dell took made-to-order and catalog sales (what Sears used to do with their Craftsman houses in the early 1900s), and applied it their computer manufacturing. Or how Keller Williams combined the success of ERA with Mary Kay’s multi-level-marketing (MLM) approach to become one of the largest realtors in the nation.
Essentially, how you invent the future is to take something that worked well in one industry, and see if it can be translated (moved) into what you are trying to do in another. Great companies are able to “steal” ideas, methodologies, and processes that worked wel…

The Moldy Middle

While taking statistics during my quest to get an MBA and while earning my engineering degree, the professors always emphasized the importance of finding the statistical mean of any population by using the Central Mean Theorem (a.k.a the highest point of the Bell Curve).
As an engineer, this was essential in order to maximize throughput, minimize cost and waste, and ultimately make a better, faster, cheaper widget. A funny thing happened on the way to the dark side of marketing. I discovered that the only thing in the middle of the road was quite literally dead road kill.
I do not know if you remember stores like Bradlees, Ames and Service Merchandise (just to name a few), but they all folded because the environment changed and they were caught trying to service the mythological “average customer.”
Part of that change came when Wal-Mart began its juggernaut with the discount department store. Wal-Mart did two things right: 1) Focused on “mobile” consumers, and 2) Focused on offering g…

10 Rules for a Good Life

We all want a “good life” but that good life is different for everybody. Some believe it is success at work, or acknowledgement of achievement, or having wealth, or a multitude of friends and being able to travel. Whatever your definition of a good life, there are a few rules that will allow you to enjoy it when your get there. Each one of these can be a book in itself, but only the highlights are given below.

1. Be Nice

Being nice triumphs all. Although no one can be nice all the time, and sometimes you have to push back, still if you have the option, be nice, people appreciate it. The ability to be nice means you give pleasure or joy, have an attractive or superior quality, and are kind, polite and friendly. Sounds pretty uplifting, does it not? So, when was the last time you heard someone complain about a little courtesy. Of course, sometimes being too nice has its downfalls, but practicing being nice also has a multitude of feel-good benefits for you. When we help others, and do …

Forever Cursed

Fill your head with anger and hatred;
Fill your heart bitterness and rage;
Your soul is consumed with vile feelings.
The love you wanted was in your arms
but escaped because you could not come half-way.
And now, it is gone forever
Never to return into your life.
You are lazy and selfish and stupid.
You deserve neither affection nor comfort
For your actions are neither noble nor honorable.
You are destined to live a life of worry and doubt;
Unfulfilled and wanting; desperate and lacking;
Because you cannot ever love or be loved
You bring this curse upon yourself for you
Stay huddled in the valley of a dreamless day to day existence
whose only purpose is the preservation of an illusionary sense of security and safety.
You fear the adventure of finding true, deep, passionate Love.
You fear going into the unknown and the unexplored.
You have given up the dream of what may lie ahead on the heights of tomorrow
For a perpetual nightmare of endless days and nights 
Fearing the loss …

The 7 Cardinal Rules of Life

While I did not formulate these 7 cardinal rule of life, I have to agree with the essence of their wisdom. This is a good first step to self-love and finding true happiness, and I hope offers some guidance to those looking for a better life. My only hope is that you find them helpful in your quest to a better, more fulfilling, and accomplished life.

1. Make peace with your past, so it doesn’t spoil your present. Your past does not define your future – your actions and beliefs do.
2. What others think of you is none of your business. It’s how much you value yourself and how important you think you are.
3. Time heals almost everything, give time, time. Pain will be less hurting. Scars make us who we are; they explain our life and why we are the way we are. They challenge us and force us to be stronger.
4. No one is the reason for your own happiness, except you yourself. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside.
5. Don’t compare your lif…

Marketing An Elephant

There is an excellent tale, by American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887),  that is based on a fable told in India many years ago. It is a good warning about how our sensory perceptions can lead to some serious misinterpretations; especially when we focus on one part in relationship to the whole.  It also deals with how people perceive things from where THEY stand not from were YOU stand. The tale in entirety follows this post.

While this is an excellent tale about perception, it is also a cautionary tale for anyone trying to market a product to a general population.  While you are trying to "sell" an elephant, certain features of the elephant will be more important and more pronounced than others.  So, what you as a good marketer have to do is figure out what are the most profitable market segments to sell to and then highlight those features prominently, that includes determining if someone wants the "whole" elephant.  In some instances, and if possible, you w…