Showing posts from April, 2016

Why MostTraining Doesn't Work

We spend a lot of money on training and the money is wasted most of the time. Sunshine & Organic Granola Let's start with the conferences, retreats, and weekends out of town. This include "Ted Talks," "SXSW," and all that other good stuff. We should be honest: Mostly it's a lot of crap from an actual learning perspective. Because officially approved case studies, no matter how compelling the subject matter, are normally sanitized to death. Because of course, we don't embarrass ourselves, we're here to tell a positive story, we don't want to burn our bridges, the organization would have a massive fit if they found out you were telling us about that disaster, and so on. Mostly these things are about big companies selling stuff, by getting smart and moneyed and influential people together. It's about saying "I was there and I met XYZ and heard that." Of course it's about trying to network as well, and get a better job. I remem…

The 3 Immutable Laws of Writing

Remember that classic book by Al and Laura Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding? It's an excellent read, not only because the advice is so good but because it is offered with such certainty.

If you do any kind of writing in a professional capacity, I'm here to tell you that there are also immutable laws for that, and that they can be learned. Just remember three words: strategy, readability, and usability. #1. Strategy This means that you've thought ahead of time about what it is you're doing. Tips: Find out what information your audience wants and/or needs and give it to them. Avoid generating words that have no purpose to your audience.What will they do once you’ve told them? Don’t put it out there if you don’t know the answer.Never be boring. If it’s boring to you, it’s boring to them.#2. Readability This means that your user can easily understand what it is you have to say. Remember: When you use jargon, the reader feels like you are acting superior and gets tur…

"The Girlfriend Experience" - A Skillful But Terrible Personal Brand Playbook

I've been watching Steven Soderberg's The Girlfriend ExperienceIt is a show soaked in sex. But really it's about branding's stock-in-trade - how well some people trade money for fantasy, how they anticipate and fulfill those deep dark desires inside our heads. Christine, the main character in GFE, is more than a commodity, she is a brand. They don't want to pay just any female partner - they want to pay her. A thousand dollars an hour, to be exact. As a person-brand, Christine's value lies in her consistent ability to accomplish at least five critical things at once: She zones in on a target market, men who want companionship as well as sex.She takes the time to know her audience well, and to fulfill their most common fantasies - the physically attractive, upscale girlfriend who is smart but also deferential.She is deeply customer-centric - available instantly, will say and do anything to please.She creates additional desire with every interaction.At the same ti…

We Will Be Great Anyway

We may argue over who is most qualified to lead.
We may engage one another warily on Facebook.
We may be horrified by the nature of the cruelty and the suffering we often face.
But we will be great anyway.
We are a nation built on impossible dreams.
We stand on the shoulders of those who laid down their bodies and died for us.
For us.
As we seek to be great we will stumble, and fall upon the way.
We will be fooled by charlatans.
We may even give up hope.
But we will be great anyway.
Because we are a blessed nation. (Not perfect by any means.) But seeded with seeds of greatness. 
It may seem that corruption is strong.
But we, together, are stronger.
May the One Above guide us to be wise, and courageous.
More important, may He help us never to give up.
________ All opinions my own. Photo via Wikipedia.

Love Is The Strongest Weapon

"The only sustainable way to fight back against those who seek to divide us is to create a world where understanding and empathy can spread faster than hate." - Facebook founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg Recently Mark Zuckerberg took a lot of heat for seeming to suggest that we could somehow simply "love-bomb" terrorism out of existence. Fox News commentator Greg Gutfeld lectured him: "Naive pacifism is the barnacle on the boat of vigilance." At the Mixed Martial Arts forum, a commenter said sarcastically: "Wow, why doesn't he try walking up to an ISIS checkpoint with a box of cupcakes and see how that turns out." But a closer examination of Zuckerberg's comment reveals a more nuanced stance - one that actually makes sense. As we know from our experiences at home, at school and at work, hammering at people endlessly is not equivalent to managing them. Even if their conduct is completely inappropriate, endless war is not the answer. For …

Super Rich: Smart or Stupid?

"Secret Lives of the Super Rich" is my new TV addiction because I get to, number one, vicariously live a filthy rich life and, number two, imagine that I could duplicate how they actually did it.

This week I watched an episode with luxury yachts, luxury cars, luxury homes and an entire home that is a luxury closet. Plus there were the world's most lavish safes and a man who makes everything from fishing lures to toothpicks out of 100% gold.
I realized that these people were living by a different set of rules - some smart from a branding point of view, others not so much. 

1. Smart - The Yacht People: One guy on the show is a well known party organizer. He's the one who stocks the bar with gold-flecked champagne. He told the interviewer that the value of his parties lies not in the food and drink, but in the company and the atmosphere. Clients are paying for someone who can get the right high-class people in a rolm, make them feel good, and bring them back over and over …