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Science fairs suck. They’ve always sucked, and they suck even more now than when we were in school. Because the Internet. No elementary school kids are asking real science questions that they really want real answers to. Kids come home with a list of requirements, and parents Google the cheapest, fastest, and least-lame way to help their kid get an A.
But this year at my house, science fair did not suck because my daughter is awesome. She asked a real science question that she wanted a real answer to: How long does it take for an egg to blow up in the microwave? This like all great science fair projects was inspired by America’s Funniest Home Videos. And we got more science learning done than we bargained for because we also discovered how many eggs it takes to blow up a microwave. Read more
Many of us have heard of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. You know – the standing meetings, the quarterly priorities, the common language of reporting, communication and feedback loops. I’ll be honest… I never read the book.
Well, last fall, a customer reached out about some ideas of theirs as it related to a major project undertaking. They talked about a weekly check-in, they talked about budget line item responsibility, they wanted communication rhythm and short-term goals established. I knew right then that our team could add great value to this customer by being a catalyst to model and carry out the very practices taught by Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles. To my benefit, Scaling Up was just published as the first major follow up to Mastering the Rockfeller Habits. This book looks to build on the ideas in the previous book and includes real life examples and insights gained along the way. Scaling Up takes you through the following: Read more
One way to get me to do almost anything is to call me a chicken. As a matter of fact, just inferring that I’m a chicken is usually enough. I even do it to myself to motivate me.
Which is how I ended up asking for a 100% raise and a $10,000 bonus.
Back Story: Last summer my board of directors asked me to take on additional responsibilities with no additional pay. I knew we didn’t have any money for raises at that time. (Being the company comptroller,¹ I know crap like that.) I’m also a team player, and I didn’t want anybody to think I’m a chicken, so I agreed.
Over the years, I’ve developed a skepticism of brands, a healthy one I hope. And I would venture to say you have too. One ad after another, all making claims to be the best thing ever. Common sense tells us it can’t actually be — we all want to believe that particular cologne/perfume is going to make us instantly magnetic, but we know better. And then there’s one purchase after another; many don’t live up to the hype, some do, some do to begin with, but don’t last. Each of these experiences eats away at our ability to believe, to trust.
Brands can be so impersonal — marketing messages connect us to the brand, and humans become merely the means to get to the brand. Ads create a desire for Cheerios, and supermarkets and checkout registers are just a delivery mechanism to acquire Cheerios for ourselves. The quicker and easier, the better. Products, not humans, are the end. (Or perhaps more accurately, the emotional state promised by the products.)
But brands are real, right? I mean, after all, there’s Coca-Cola, Apple, Southwest, and Rolls Royce. They must truly exist. Or do they? Maybe they’re just made up. Maybe they only exist simply because we all agree they exist. Sorta like language — we all agree this scrawled shape on a piece of paper constitutes a letter, “d” we’ll call it. And we agree that it makes a particular, recognizable sound formed by our mouths and tongues. And when combined with the two other scrawled shapes “o” and “g,” signifies those panting, four-legged furry creatures in our homes. Read more