Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Offer

Have you seen the new Expedia TV advertisement where they walk up to a stranger with the Expedia suitcase and a plane ticket to anywhere in the world?  There is only one catch; you have to go directly to the airport, right then. 

I love the ad because it conjures up the, "What would I do?" and if I could be that spontaneous, "Where would I go?". 

The commercial is great in reminding us that we count on our customers and consumers responding to us when we present them with deals and offers.  When they don't make the decision on the spot, or decide to respond positively, we get disappointed and sometimes resentful.  The other part of the Expedia ad are the people who turn down the offer. 

It's a once-in-a-lifetime offer and they turn it down, on the spot.  It just goes to show you how hard it is to sell and convince a consumer!

(For a further faith-based application of this post you can visit here)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Premier League Time

It's only taken 30 plus years but in the last year, we now can watch The Premier League soccer (football) on national U.S. broadcast television. 

We all saw it coming as soccer became the most played sport by kids.  But, the demographic changes could only take time to grow up and become viewers and consumers who could through their buying patterns and power create advertising pull and viewership.  And now, we have to ask, what next?  Could we see finally the development of a U.S. based Major League Soccer League that would someday rival The Premier League?  Sure we could. 

Demographic shifts sometimes feel like boiling a frog, but then one day it seems so obvious.  There is great value in spending time projecting forward and trying to align to the shifts, pulls, pushes and all that comes with them. 

Sure, we might be wrong more often than not, but wouldn't we rather be wrong because we thought about it, not because we ended up flat-footed, surprised and late?

(For a further faith-based application of this post you can visit here)

Monday, September 23, 2013


What an amazing amount of noise that has been created from the new Apple iphone5S and its Touch ID fingerprinting security system.  If you haven't been following it the controversy ranges from the extraction of a fingerprint from a person and what can Apple and others do with the fingerprint, all the way to the absurd of people worried that while they are sleeping that someone would use their thumb to unlock the phone for snooping or reading their emails.  Even Senator Al Franken (not as a comedian) has joined the fray to check if what Apple is doing is safe for consumers. 

It will be fun to watch this play out, but I predict that it dies out as a concern soon.  Biometric data has been here all along and why wouldn't we use what is already there? 

What also will happen is that our phones now even become even more personal to us.  No one could have predicted how dependent we are on that device and all of us who are trying to reach consumers have to be thinking mobile and mobile personalization. 

Where will we be as in the relationship with our consumers if we don't figure out how to be front and center with them, in a personal way, in a mobile way?

(For a further faith based application of this post you can visit here)

Friday, September 20, 2013

You Have A Suggestion?

Sometime along the way in the life cycle of a business someone says, "what we need is a suggestion box". The suggestion box becomes the way for people to communicate to management about their ideas and/or complaints anonymously and without perceived repercussion. While on the surface and at the time, this looks like a good idea, we have to stop and ask the underlying questions of why and how did we get to a place where the people in our organization can no longer feel free to speak directly to management?

One of the early manifestations of the suggestion box will be when management wants to have a company meeting and they want questions taken ahead of time and they will ask for questions to be submitted through a question or suggestion box, in an email address. The reason this happens is because management thinks that people are fearful to ask the tough questions. FYI, they are not fearful of asking the tough questions, they are fearful of the toughness of the answer.

Once the suggestion box is set up, the culture and the tone of the company changes. An intercessory has been established and the direct communication lines have broken down. This is especially troubling when you see these communication crutches being created or supported when the company has created positions like Human Resources or Employee Relations to help facilitate and keep communication lines open. If the suggestion box is still hanging around after someone is being paid to be that conduit then that spells double-trouble.

Free-flowing direct communication with a boss, senior management and each other are hallmarks of the great companies as no great company is such without a communication pattern that is open and free from fear.

(For a further faith-based application of this post you can visit here)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Out of Tune

I was on an airplane and thought, "I'll watch a movie."  I scrolled through the Samsung tablet that I was given and nothing really caught my eye except for the movie, "A Late Quartet".  I'm a big Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken fan.  The thought of that much pure acting chops in the same movie seemed worth the watch.

The premise of the film is that a string quartet celebrating 25 years together is falling a apart because of many life reasons, with the catalyst being the character played by Christopher Walken contracting Parkinson's disease.  There are a lot of messages in the movie but one that has stuck with me is what can happen when one instrumentalist is out of tune, or out of synch, and what happens to everyone else.  What occurs is that everyone else will begin to play and tune to the one that is off key or off rhythm, thus destroying the sound of the whole.

This happens everyday in our jobs.  There will be someone who is off of their game, off color, offsetting, off of strategy, and the rest of us will "tune" ourselves to them, versus collectively staying strong and true to where we know we are supposed to be.  Teams get weak and fall apart because of this phenomena.

It's worth having someone or someway of consistently checking and tuning back to true so to not let one person, or one team cause everyone else to go astray.

(For a further faith-based application of this post you can go here)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I was very fortunate this summer to be able to play a lot of golf.  Before you categorize me as someone who is good at golf, let me be clear, I stink.  But, I love the game.  Partially because it is outside. Partially because you can get away from everything else for a few hours.  And mostly, because it is a game that ends on an accomplishment.  I love other sports too, but most sports end on someone or one team making an error or not accomplishing something.  Think about that for a second.  

Baseball ends on someone not getting a hit. Football ends on someone not scoring or someone not being able to stop someone else from scoring.  Tennis ends on someone not being able to get to a shot by the other player, or returning the ball unsuccessfully.  Golf always ends on the ball going in the hole.  It may be, and most always is, the ball going in the hole in more strokes than you desired, but the game always ends on an accomplishment of the ball finding the cup. 

 If more of work was this way, think how much more satisfied we would be in our jobs.  If only every day we ended on an accomplishment.  If only every interaction with a customer ended with a point of satisfaction.  If only every employee interaction ended on a positive and and accomplishment driven word of recognition.  We can make this happen.  It is our choice.  

Like golf, work is a long game and one that we only get better at with time, practice, patience and endurance.  But, like the game of golf, work can always end on an accomplishment.

(For a further faith-based exploration of this post you can visit here)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


It seems so long ago that we went to work with keys in our pocket. We had one for the door into the building and then one for our office and maybe another for the storage room, or even the washroom.  Keys are a thing of the past and before long all offices, cars and homes will be without them and we won't even need them any longer.  But, I imagine that even generations from now we will still use the word "key" and consider that those who have the keys are the most important.  

When I was a boy I told my Dad that I wanted to be the like the janitor at our school and have a big key ring with hundreds of keys on a ring that hung from my belt.  My Dad smiled and said to me, "No son, you want to be the person who only has one key on his key ring."  It was a great lesson and one I never forgot.  

We should think about this in our business as well.  Our customers, partners and employees want to feel like they only have to have one key to access everything they need.  

Consider how many keys we ask them to carry today and how hard or easy it is to open the doors that they desire to pass through?

(For a further faith-based application of this post you can visit here)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Looking Down

Can you imagine doing this?

Not for the fainthearted or those who would question their own ability and focus.  I watched this live when it happened.  Among many aspects I was fascinated that he never looked down.  In fact, one of the hardest parts was that he said many times that the optical illusions of the hillside made it hard for him to focus.  But, one thing for sure, he never looked down.  How much of our time and energy do we spend, looking down and worrying about the next missed revenue target, the next product failure, the next bad hire?  We tend to look down a lot and then we wonder why we fall.  

(For a further faith-based application of this post you can visit here)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Siren Servers

Jaron Lanier, the Author of "Who Owns the Future" and "You Are Not a Gadget" calls out the "Siren Server" as the evil of technology that is corrupting civilization. 

In an interview with San Francisco Magazine he said this about the Siren Server: "It's the biggest and best computer on a particular network.  They almost always have evil consequences, even though they're rarely designed with evil intent. A great San Francisco example is Craiglist. Craig is genuinely a sweet guy (something I can personally attest to as well), but even so, Craigslist is destroying newspaper revenues and harming local journalism. The most damaging siren servers are the ones that deal with money.  When you cross a siren server with finance, as happened in the housing bubble, you get the meltdown of the market, "too big to fail," austerity, and jobless recovery." 

Lanier's definition of a Siren Server does not have to be just applied to the large-scale.  As each of us become more aware and able to use big-data to disrupt and upend one thing, let's remember that there is a law of unintended consequences that will create reactions that without long thought, could be more damaging than good.

(For a further faith based application of this post you can visit: