Our thanks


If only…

The scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz sang about it. Pablo Picasso has a great quote about it. The group Hason wrote a song about it (did I really just link to Hanson??).

“If only”…two words that are full of regret, wishful thinking, Monday morning quarterbacking and other heavy anchors only there to prevent us from opening our eyes to what we have and taking action.

Cut the “if only” ties that bind you by looking forward, being grateful and doing what is in your power (or better yet, create more power for yourself). I know I am working really hard on this.

Seinfeld on Marketing: Kramer, Mavericks and Trailblazers

No, this episode of Seinfeld on Marketing is not about two NBA teams (but great guess). In this setup, Jerry and Kramer are walking down the street at dusk:

KRAMER: Look how dark it’s gettin’ already.
JERRY: Well, it’s not Daylight Saving time yet.
KRAMER: When does it start?
JERRY: I don’t know, they just tell you the night before.
KRAMER: Uh. Well, I’m sick of waiting. [Pulls out his pocket-watch and sets it ahead]. I am springin’ ahead right now.
JERRY: [Under his breath] Oh, I’m sure that won’t cause any problems.

[Side note, but important: A reminder that this weekend on March 9th is Daylight Saving time here in the US. Be sure to set your clocks ahead one hour.]

Here’s the thing. Jerry is a floater (“They just tell you the night before”) – like the feather in Forest Gump, he follows along where things take him. He follows the rules and no one gets hurt.

Kramer on the other hand is a maverick…a trailblazer…a rebel. Society says “this is when Daylight Saving time is” and he ignores it. He comes up with ideas that others think are too risky or won’t work (i.e. making your own pizza pie, starting the Peterman Reality Tour, writing his coffee table book about coffee tables, et. al.)

It’s the Kramers of the world that dare to see more out there beyond what society, your boss, government, your own mind, the status quo, The Matrix or whatever you want to call it says that you should safely see (and do). The Kramer’s of the world are the ones that inspire change. Here’s to the Kramers!

This old Apple commercial inspired this post and is dedicated to the Kramers of the world (Truly an awesome commercial, one to watch each morning before your begin the day):

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

Happy Friday!


It’s amazing how effortlessly we throw around the word “someday” (I’m no exception). With little or no thought, we lazily relegate “create a business plan”, “changing the batteries in the smoke alarm”, “update the menu items for my patrons” and “lose 15 pounds” to the black hole of all lists – the “someday” list.

If it’s worth your time thinking about it, it’s worth putting it on some other list than the “someday” list. The goal is to have your “someday” list starved for attention and always at 100% vacancy.

Happy Monday all!

Up and lit

Up and litMy wife and I like to play a game around this time of year. We call it “Up and Lit”. If your Christmas lights are up, we’ll it has been very cold in some areas of the country so we’ll let it slide. However, if your Christmas lights are still up and lit, it’s really time to let it go and move on. You’ll thank me later (or at least your neighbors might).

Drinking from the toilet

I am going to let you in on a little phobia of mine. Well, okay. I guess it’s not so much a fear as it is a matter of disgust.

Here it is…I can’t stand drinking from a drinking fountain near public restrooms. The bathroom odors (whether real or imagined) seem to “out-flavor” the water. The thought inevitably runs through my mind that I might as well be drinking from the toilet! I know, I know…I have a problem and I am working on it! In the meantime, can’t we move the drinking fountains further away from the restrooms?

Anyone else out there in the blogosphere a “drinking-fountain-near-the-restrooms hater” like me that would like to come out of the closet?

To be, rather than to seem

Most of us know someone who will say or do anything to further his or her own self-serving agenda. These people are two-faced. They are suck-ups. They seem at times to be a team player, but in reality they are only looking out for themselves. In short, they are hollow and lack any real substance.

Most of us are not these über-phonies described above. However, I think that most of us, to one degree or another, have these natural inclinations to want to seem to be more than what we really are.

So why do we have these tendencies? I think its part of our natural animal defense mechanism. As part of the scarlet king snake’s defense mechanism, it mimics the appearance of an extremely venomous coral snake. The praying mantis (or walking stick) appears to would-be predators as a harmless tree branch. We humans also use false appearances as a defense – a defense to guard our own insecurities and inadequacies.

There are 5 simple rules to help overcome being a phony:

  1. Stop hanging around image consultants. You’re not after changing the surface you. You’re after molding and defining your integrity and character – your true self.
  2. Work on yourself on your own time. When no one is watching, that is the best time to work on who you are. Silent, anonymous acts add more to our character than loud, attention-getting acts.
  3. Do what’s most important to you. Take time to list the things that are most important to you and make sure every daily action (or non-action!) you take gets you closer to what matters to you most.
  4. Learn to truly listen. I’ve found that the better listener you are, the more you learn from others which enables you to discover more about who you really are.
  5. Be true to your potential. We are all keenly aware of our shortcomings. Despite our shortcomings, innate in all of us is the potential to make a real difference. Live worthy of your potential!

In the pursuit of personal growth, remember the motto of North Carolina: To be, rather than to seem.

Doubting the value of my “ed-u-kay-shun”

I was browsing on the website of my alma mater the other day. What I saw shocked me and made me doubt the value of my university education. The following actual statements are found on faculty member’s web pages on my alma mater website (from the School of Business). I do not want to embarrass anyone, so I have purposefully left out the name of my university and the faculty members:

“I am interested in theory and reasearch methods…”

“From there, i was invited to a Doctoral program at Columbia University, but turned them dow to attend Harvard on full scholarship.”

“My students recieve the exact same training the exectutives from Firtune 500 Companies recieve.”

Wow! Can you believe it! I counted 7 spelling mistakes in only about 5 minutes of browsing. (Maybe this is where I got my bad spelling habits??) My heart couldn’t take it any more and I had to stop browsing. Now that I have blogged about it, I feel a little better.

Should I ask for a refund?!

[UPDATE: 5/1/07 Over three months and no change. I was in e-mail communication with the Marketing and Public Relations Manager for the School of Business over three months ago- but still no change. Maybe they will care soon.]

A reminder…

It’s January 23rd. Do you know where your New Year’s resolutions are?

Beauty is in the eye of…others!

Just having a few women smile at a man in public is enough to make other women consider him much more desirable, according to researchers.

Dr Benedict Jones of the University of Aberdeen recently released a study that he conducted to examine how other people can influence our decisions.

The volunteers first looked at photographs of four young men wearing neutral expressions looking directly at the camera.

The women judged two photographs of men and had to rate which of the two was the more attractive using an 8-point scale.

The same faces were shown again to the volunteers. This time, though, the male faces were paired with a female face, shown in profile, who either looked neutrally at the man or smiled at him.

The volunteers were again asked to give another attractiveness rating.

The attractiveness rating was downward by more than 10% on average if his picture had been next to a woman with a neutral expression. On the other hand, the attractiveness rating sharply rose by an average of at least 15% if the woman looking at him had a smile on her face.

What could this mean for marketers? Many women take their cues from other women when sizing something up a man (or products for that matter). This could be true in print ads, TV commercials, and especially in social networks.

In what ways can you incorporate cues from women with your products?

[By the way, the reverse was true for men: 28 young male volunteers took part in the same experiment, and their rating of the likeability of the male faces plummeted if the man in the picture was being smiled at by a woman. But if the woman had a neutral look, the likeability rating improved.]