Thursday, December 31, 2009

Recitals and Time…

A few weeks back, I had the chance to attend Paco’s Karate belt test and Tonka’s dance recital.

I’ll admit that when I first started going to these, it was more with an eye towards achievement. How much did they know?

Now, however, I realize that it’s not about that…it’s about milestones and development (ok, so I’m slow. Sorry).

Seeing them every 6 months do whatever it is they are doing and about whatever they are passionate…that’s what is important.

It’s a moment to step back and reflect on the passage of time.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Start Your Happiness Project in the New Year…

A little shameless plug here.

Gretchen Rubin’s book (The Happiness Project) released on Tuesday and is already at #39 on the Amazon best-seller list. She just passed Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point.”

Feel free to pick up a copy. We’d love the support!

Go Give, Then You Will Get…

NSM Award winner, Dave, sent me a copy of Bog Burg and John David Mann’s business parable book “The Go-Giver.”
When you first start reading it, you may think, “oh no, not another Who Moved My Cheese type story.”
But, if you stick with it, you will discover the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.
And, as I read these, I realized how well they mapped to the attention economy and the culture changes that social media has brought upon us.
So, what are the five laws?
  1. The Law of Value
    Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you receive in payment.
  2. The Law of Compensation
    Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
  3. The Law of Influence
    Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
  4. The Law of Authenticity
    The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
  5. The Law of Receptivity
    The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
The  more you are involved in the business world, the more you realize that it’s not about what you know, it’s about the “social” aspect…how you relate others.
This, in a nutshell, is what this book will help you integrate into more fully into your personal DNA.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Grocery Store Checkout Lines..

I wonder sometimes if the Express line isn’t always the best option.
If I only have a few items and I see 4 people in the Express line and only 1 in another (but with a really big purchase), I think the 1 person line is better.
I think that the biggest time drain in the process is the actual payment/transaction part.
Deep thoughts, I know.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Kosher Ham and Jewdar…


Funny post from my friend David Berkowitz’s blog…

Kosher Ham's Jewdar Tell-All

Originally published in MediaPost's Social Media Insider

It's one of the most critical, controversial issues of our time. It's been the subject of more columns than MySpace. Even the Talmud, the great repository of Jewish debate and wisdom, is at a loss to comment on it. Yes, in what's undoubtedly the greatest miracle since the time the Maccabees kept their temple menorah burning with a small jar of oil, the gift of Jewdar continues to shed light on how marketers are targeting their ads.

I've wanted to return to this for months, ever since Jeremy Bloom reached out to me in August about his business, a humorous T-shirt site that claims, "Wearing anything else just isn't kosher." He even noted that my new BFF Perez Hilton has been spotted in his gear.

I was intrigued when Bloom said that he's been honing his Jewdar - in this context, the act of targeting Jews through advertising, specifically on Facebook - and that he'd be willing to share all his secrets with me. He wrote, "I am constantly behaviorally targeting different demos, but the most receptive audiences with some of the highest click-through rates and lowest CPMs seem to be Jews." He tests religiously, trying different subject lines, ad copy, targeting, and models and T-shirts in the photos.

He's able to reach Jews largely through the keywords field in Facebook's self-service ads that target users based on their interests. Facebook won't target users by religion specifically, but if they list "Jewish" or Jews" as interests, they're fair game. Bloom further targets users in major cities with large Jewish populations. This will inherently mean some non-Jews see the ads -- but hey, they're welcome to buy shirts too.

So what keywords does Bloom use to find Jews? The eclectic roster includes: Jew, Jewish, Hebrew, Israel, Hillel, Sigma Alpha Mu, Zeta Beta Tau, Annie Hall, Brooklyn, bagels, deli, Chinese food, Matisyahu, Phish, jam bands, being Jewish, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Seinfeld, Hebrew Hammer, Heeb Magazine, and Fiddler on the Roof. If you don't know what some of these mean or what they have to do with Judaism, you're probably out of the target demographic.

After perusing the list, I wondered how some of these would do head to head. Bloom indulged me and ran some trials in four different brackets: City, Comedian, Cuisine, and Music. Bids were set at 34 cents CPM. The top performing ads were those with the highest click-through rate (CTR) and lowest cost-per-click (CPC). And the winners are...

Bracket 1

City: New York vs. Los Angeles

Subject Lines: NY Jews Love Kosherham, LA Jews Love Kosherham

Winner: LA gets the Oscar, with 18% CTR and 16 cents CPC, coasting past NY's 12% CTR and 23 cents CPC.

Bracket 2

Comedian: Seinfeld vs. Woody Allen

Subject Lines: Seinfeld Fans Love Us, Woody Allen Fans Love Us

Winner: Woody Allen kvetches up the clicks, with 33% CTR and 8 cents CPC, while Seinfeld's 13% CTR and 21 cents CPC showed signs of shrinkage.

Bracket 3

Cuisine: Bagels vs. Deli

Subject Lines: Shirts for Bagel Fanatics, Shirts for Deli Fanatics

Winner: Bagels win by a shmear, with 13% CTR and 19 cents CPC, overstuffing Deli's tournament-worst 6% CTR and 44 cents CPC.

Bracket 4

Music: Phish vs. Matisyahu

Subject Lines: Shirts for Phish Fans, Shirts for Matisyahu Fans

Winner: Phish hoists up its tournament-best 55% and 5 cent CPC, out-jamming Matisyahu's 27% CTR and 10 cent CPC.

I asked Bloom if he could explain why Phish has so much mazel in hooking Phacebook -- er, Facebook -- users. He cited a number of reasons: the right age demographic, the loyal Phish fan base of liberal Jews, and the shared interests in certain botanical exploits reflected in Kosher Ham's apparel.

More importantly, I asked about conversion rates. It's great to get a lot of clicks, but do Jews on Facebook convert? (It's just getting too easy, sorry.) He says he was able to track a couple sales from the Phish ads directly, and he also notices spikes when running ads from people who go directly to or search for it. With search, Google has performed especially well, as has AIM Search -- Boom thinks people find shirts they like and share them via instant message.

So it turns out Jewdar is a little easier to understand than the Zohar, Maimonedes' "Guide to the Perplexed," and my fourth-grade Hebrew teacher's accent. And it's not foolproof, as there are probably a few Woody Allen fans in New York who didn't go to a Jewish sleepaway camp. But if a guy can start a site called KosherHam and sell T-shirts about getting the munchies for unleavened bread to Jewish Phish fans on Facebook, I've got to think he's on to something.


Post was written while listening to...Elton John, Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

Sunday, December 27, 2009

How do you react to death of a loved one?

I called a friend who recently lost his father to see how he was feeling.

“You know,” he said, “I feel like kind of a schmuck, but I actually feel fine.

“I feel like I am supposed to be really sad and not be able to do much, but you know…I was ready for this. It was a good life and I am doing just fine, but I feel like I can’t say that to anyone.’

The question we asked was:

is he unfeeling/uncaring or just super well-adjusted?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Kinder, Gentler TSA?

The video quality isn’t the best, but I was really struck by the way that the TSA experience (at BWI airport) at least has been “humanized” and better designed.

Colors, personal touches with story. Nicely done


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rushing to Judgment…

Got on the late plane out of Boston and saw my beloved aisle seat.

In the seat next to it, the window (no middle on this row), there was a heavyset man. A VERY heavyset man.

He was significantly in my seat as well.

In my heart and mind, I felt resentment. Irritation.

It had been a long day. I just wanted to sit, write a few blog posts, and be relaxed.

Instead, I was squished up and uncomfortable and wasn’t happy about it.

Then, we started talking.

THE NICEST guy. Super friendly. Funny, smart, interesting. I learned A LOT in a short period of time.

Then, I resented myself for having these feelings about him without actually knowing him.

It was a humbling moment.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why America Should Be Doomed…


When I read Sports Illustrated religiously as a kid, I remember a column that was titled “this week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us.”

I’ve now seen this Marshmallow Shooter advertised in 2 places (Costco Connection and SkyMall) and I can’t help asking myself “how is society better off with this invention?”

I’m a free markeeter, but even I can admit…this is ridiculous and I wonder what it says about our society.

Post was written while listening to...Gipsy Kings, Pida Me La

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Football and the Vernacular Education…

Paco says to me, “There’s no business in football! Why did the man say ‘the Lions are in business?”

Then, he says, “what did the Redskins do? The man said, “The Redskins are in trouble.”

Just had to get those down (and no, I haven’t explained the economic side of the game yet.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Miracle of Medicine and Will…

Miriam Silton Bat Mitzvah (18)

A few weeks back, we got the terrible news that the NFO’s cousin had been shot in the face while serving his country in Afghanistan.

Shortly after that, we visited him at Bethesda Naval Center where, to put it mildly, the outlook wasn’t great.

He had a trach tube, his face was swollen and the prognosis was unclear.

Well, 6 weeks later, I saw him at his cousin’s Bat Mitzvah and almost fell over, while trying to hold back the tears.

His jaw, which had been wired shut, wasn’t 100% functional, but he was able to talk, communicate, and even dance out on the floor.

Just inspiring. Very inspiring.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What Drives You?


Full disclosure upfront. Dan Pink is a Never Stop Marketing client.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, I can tell you that I LOVED Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

What Dan did in A Whole New Mind (a previous book) was explain the skills that would be needed to thrive and prosper in a post-industrial age.

He builds on that in Drive by taking the science of motivation (you know the ol’ ‘Carrot and Stick’) and totally flipping it on its head given the fact that the nature of work is changing so dramatically.

The FACT is (and his narrative ties together a ton of substantive research to back this up) that when we are faced with a task that requires creative and the proverbial “out of the box” thinking, we are going perform less remarkably and inefficiently when there is a specific reward laid out in front of us.

Instead, he introduces us to the underlying principles of Motivation 3.0, as he calls it (1.0 is the basic survival motivation, 2.0 is the carrot and stick that is the hallmark of most of management science and was appropriate for an era that is leaving us.)

Motivation 3.0 assumes that our base level of needs are addressed (i.e. you need a fair wage), but that once you get to that point, what brings out breakthrough performance and results are three key components that emanate from a person’s Intrinsic Motivation.

  1. Autonomy-do we have the control to make our own decisions?
  2. Mastery-do we possess the desire to continually improve in our chosen area?
  3. Purpose-does it all make sense to us a in cosmic sense? Do we believe that what we are doing makes sense and has meaning?

If you are asking yourself how you motivate your employees, your students, your community (and this is critical for the practice of Community Driven Marketing, btw) or your partners, you need to take Dan’s work into account.

There’s a huge disconnect between how we think we should motivate others and how we all area actually motivated.

Drive helps you understand what that is and, equally importantly, tells you what you can do about it.


Friday, December 18, 2009

When 20x times isn’t 20x

So, we have some sort of issues with our roof. Not great and it may need to be replaced.

The roofer suggested that I call our insurance confirm the type of coverage that we have.

Now, I had mentally prepared myself for the fact that a new roof would be about $15k-$20k. I have NO estimate now and no idea what it will be (or even if we have to).

Still, I wanted to know how much pain was coming my way.

The insurance rep said, “after your $1000 deductible, we will pay for the replacement of the roof.”

“…and that’s why you have insurance!” I yelled. “Of course, you will probably raise my rates after that, won’t you?”

“That could very well happen, sir,” he graciously replied.

Still, it dawned on me that the difference in emotional pain between $1000 and $20,000 isn’t 20’s closer to 100 times, right?

Anyway, let’s hope it’s not a roof replacement, right?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Malta of the Mind…

The traditional way of Epstein travel is to have a syllabus of required reading (usually put together by my dad, when he is involved).
The syllabus is to prepare you mentally for your upcoming trip (no matter where it is) so that you have the historical, cultural, and economic perspective on the locale.
For the Never Stop Marketing corporate off-site/vacation to Malta, here are just a few of the items
  1. Watched the movie Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta
  2. Watched the Maltese Falcon
  3. Read the entire Wikipedia entry, of course
  4. Read Christopher' Marlowe’s “The Jew of Malta
  5. Listening to At All Costs (Unabridged) (In 1942, Malta was the most heavily bombed place on earth).
More to come…

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Channukah concert and the joy of kids…

A few weeks ago, I took my kids to a Hannukah concert.

There were two very special elements to it.

First, the lead singer was Doni Zasloff who has the unique distinction of being my first girlfriend ever. ;-) Her band and music are just phenomenal, judging from the prestigious award they won.

But, more than that, was the way that my kids responded.

I don’t remember ever seeing them get up and dance in such a pure, innocent way as I saw that day.

I also don’t remember feeling so happy by the fact that they were so happy. They were on the stage, singing, dancing, hugging. Even Nadia was bouncing up and down like a little kid (oh wait, she is a little kid).

Seriously, just a great moment when you FEEL the emotions of your kids through you.

Video isn’t great, but here you go:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Minor Course Corrections…

What prompted the Iceberg post yesterday was two interactions I had recently with two very wise men.
I had been struggling with one element of my empathy skills and one aspect of Judaism.
They were both causing me consternation.
It’s typical, for me at least, to think “oh wow, this is going to require some massive change,” the psychological equivalent of surgery.
However, in about 60 minutes of chatting, both of these men did the minor course correction that was needed.
And they both made the same observation, of which I am proud.
“It seems like when you feel like you need help, you find people whose opinions you respect, ask them some questions, listen to their answers, and then continue along the new and improved path. Nothing more than that.”
I realized they were right. That is what I do and it works.
If you need some help don’t think that a massive shift is needed, find someone who will guide you for 30 minutes. That may be all you need.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Iceberg Theory of Change

Longtime blog readers will remember this, but documenting it for posterity…

A few years ago, I saw a documentary about oil rigs in the North Atlantic. The biggest enemy of oil rigs are icebergs. In a confrontation between the two, the iceberg is going to win.

So, oil rigs have an elaborate anti-iceberg defense mechanism that involves radars and tugboats. Once they detect an iceberg coming, they send out a tugboat interceptor, which has three options. One is to try and blow the iceberg to smithereens.

The other two (literally lassoing the iceberg or throwing the engines in reverse in front of the iceberg to create wake) are designed to alter the course of the iceberg by a miniscule amount. However, at a distance of 300 miles, a deviation of a few degrees or so will make the iceberg miss the rig by 200 miles or something ridiculous like that (the mathematicians out there can give you the exact numbers, but you get the idea.)

So, what’s the point? Well, the sooner you see the need for change and the sooner you make the change, the easier it is going to be. It’s easier to change the course of an iceberg by 1 degree than 30 degrees, which is what you’d need to do as it gets closer to you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Consultant and the Jewish Mother…

It was bound to happen.

I was telling my mom about my client,  Gretchen Rubin, her blog, and her upcoming book.

My mom started reading Gretchen’s stuff and was inspired by it.

So, of course, she emailed Gretchen directly to say “I love your blog and am Jeremy’s mom.”

I think it’s a unique service offering. Strategic marketing advice and a Jewish mother. 2 for 1.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How To Make Yourself Happier…

Pre-order Gretchen Rubin’s book: The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

That’s not just because she’s a client (she is), but because I just got my hands on a copy the other day and, as I blogged before, it’s a privilege to work with someone who actually makes you a better person.

If you are still wavering, check out what Bob Sutton, author of “The No Asshole Rule” wrote on his blog: The Happiness Project: I Hate Self-Help Books But Love This One

Still not convinced? Check out this great video trailer.
If you can’t see it, click here:


Here’s the pre-order link.


Post was written while listening to...Elton John, Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

Friday, December 11, 2009

Perceptions of Jews…

Forwarded to me by Elizabeth…


"Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world."

-- Winston Churchill



"The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire, and has illumined with it the entire world. He is the religious source, spring, and fountain out of which all the rest of the peoples have drawn their beliefs and their religions."

-- Leo Tolstoy



"It was in vain that we locked them up for several hundred years behind the walls of the Ghetto. No sooner were their prison gates unbarred than they easily caught up with us, even on those paths which we opened up without their aid."

-- A. A. Leroy Beaulieu, French publicist, 1842



"The Jew gave us the Outside and the Inside - our outlook and our inner life. We can hardly get up in the morning or cross the street without being Jewish. We dream Jewish dreams and hope Jewish hopes. Most of our best words, in fact - new, adventure, surprise, unique, individual, person, vocation, time, history, future, freedom, progress, spirit, faith, hope, justice - are the gifts of the Jews."

-- Thomas Cahill, Irish Author



"One of the gifts of the Jewish culture to Christianity is that it has taught Christians to think like Jews, and any modern man who has not learned to think as though he were a Jew can hardly be said to have learned to think at all."

-- William Rees-Mogg, former Editor-in-Chief for The Times of London and a member of the House of Lords



"It is certain that in certain parts of the world we can see a peculiar people, separated from the other peoples of the world and this is called the Jewish people....

This people is not only of remarkable antiquity but has also lasted for a singular long time... For whereas the people of Greece and Italy, of Sparta, Athens and Rome and others who came so much later have perished so long ago, these still exist, despite the efforts of so many powerful kings who have tried a hundred times to wipe them out, as their historians testify, and as can easily be judged by the natural order of things over such a long spell of years. They have always been preserved,however, and their preservation was foretold... My encounter with this people amazes me..."

-- Blaise Pascal, French Mathematician


"The Jewish vision became the prototype for many similar grand designs for humanity, both divine and man made The Jews, therefore, stand at the center of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose."

--Paul Johnson, American Historian



"As  long as the world lasts, all who want to make progress  in righteousness will come to Israel for inspiration as to the people who had the sense for righteousness most glowing and strongest."

--Matthew Arnold, British poet and critic



"Indeed  it is difficult for all other nations of the world to live in the  presence of the Jews. It is irritating and most uncomfortable. The Jews embarrass the world as they have done things which are beyond the imaginable. They have become moral strangers since the day their

forefather, Abraham, introduced the world to high ethical standards and to the fear of Heaven. They brought the world the Ten Commandments, which many nations prefer to defy. They violated the rules of history by staying alive, totally at odds with common  sense and historical evidence. They outlived all their former enemies, including vast empires such as the Romans and the Greeks.  They angered the world with their return to their homeland after  2000 years of exile and after the murder of six million of their  brothers and sisters.

They aggravated mankind by building, in the  wink of an eye, a democratic State which others were not able to create in even hundreds of years. They built living monuments such  as the duty to be holy and the privilege to serve one's fellow men.

They had their hands in every human progressive endeavor,  whether in science, medicine, psychology or any other discipline, while totally out of proportion to their actual numbers. They gave  the world the Bible and even their "savior."

Jews taught the  world not to accept the world as it is, but to transform it, yet  only a few nations wanted to listen. Moreover, the Jews introduced  the world to one God, yet only a minority wanted to draw the moral  consequences. So the nations of the world realize that they would  have been lost without the Jews.. And while their

subconscious  tries to remind them of how much of Western civilization is framed in terms of concepts first articulated by the Jews, they  do anything to suppress it.

They deny that Jews remind them  of a higher purpose of life and the need to be honorable, and do  anything to escape its consequences. It is simply too much to  handle for them, too embarrassing to admit, and above all, too difficult to live by.


So the nations of the world decided once again to go out of 'their' way in order to find a stick to hit the Jews.  The goal: to prove that Jews are as immoral and guilty of massacre  and genocide as some of they themselves are. All this in  order to hide and justify their own failure to even protest when  six million Jews were brought to the slaughterhouses of  Auschwitz and Dachau; so as to wipe out the moral conscience of  which the Jews remind them, and they found a stick. Nothing  could be more gratifying for them than to find the Jews in  a struggle with another people (who are completely terrorized by  their own leaders) against whom the Jews, against their best  wishes, have to defend themselves in order to survive. With great  satisfaction, the world allows and initiates the rewriting of history so as to fuel the rage of yet another people against the Jews. This in spite of the fact that the nations understand very  well that peace between the parties could have come a long time ago, if only the Jews would have had a fair chance. Instead, they  happily jumped on the wagon of hate so as to justify their jealousy  of the Jews and their incompetence to deal with their own moral  issues.

When Jews look at the bizarre play taking place in The Hague, they can only smile as this artificial game once more proves how  the world paradoxically admits the Jews uniqueness. It is in their  need to undermine the Jews that they actually raise  them.

The study of history of Europe during the past centuries  teaches us one uniform lesson: That the nations which received and  in any way dealt fairly and mercifully with the Jew have prospered;  and that the nations that have tortured and oppressed them have  written out their own curse."

--Olive Schreiner, South African  novelist and social activist



"If  there is any honor in all the world that I should like, it would be to be an honorary Jewish citizen."

--A.L Rowse, authority  on Shakespeare



Post was written while listening to...Robert Cray, Sleeping In The Ground

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Vicious Whale Hunting in Denmark…

I received an email about whale hunting/killing in the Faroe Islands. The pictures were too much to believe.
But, according to Hoax Slayer, the practice is true. It’s pretty revolting. Here’s the entry from Wikipedia.
Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 1
Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 2
Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 4
Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 5
Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 6
Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 7
Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 8
Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 9
Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 11
Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 10

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Seats on a plane…

Was boarding a plane the other day. Had my aisle seat reserved.

I get there and there is someone sitting in it. His wife is in the middle seat. The window seat is open.

I look at him and point to my boarding pass.

He nods, gets up, and moves to the window seat. His seat.

Now, I understand that people like aisle seats (I do), and sometimes you hope people won’t show up so that you can take a more desirable seat.

What I didn’t get, however, was why he did that BEFORE everyone was finished boarding?

Was he hoping that I would say “oh, you want the aisle, let me take the window?”

Some, less confrontational than I, might take that exact approach, but it seemed a bit rude to put me in the uncomfortable position.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

why some people shouldn’t be allowed on facebook

Thanks to my sister, Kira, for sending this along.










Monday, December 07, 2009

Social Search…

Over on the Never Stop Marketing blog, I’ve been sharing the ideas/consequences of “social search.” (For a more in-depth background, see this post from someone I really respect.)

Loosely, the idea is that if you search for something on Google in the future, you will first see the recommendations of people in your network.

Need a contractor? You’ll see the ones your friends have hired and rated.

Same goes for a doctor.

We already do it now on Facebook, but soon the anonymity could be lost.

So, this is great, but what if you are looking for a marital therapist?

You might know which of your friends have also searched/clicked/visited, etc.

Not saying that it WILL happen, but I can see some privacy/sensitivity areas emerging here.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Government Motors…

I hated the idea of the government doing anything to save GM or any car company. Thought it was wrong-headed and putting “good money after bad.”

Here’s an update that confirms many of my fears.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Greatest Game Ever Played…

No, it is not the Giants-Colts NFL championship (which I thought the movie was about), it’s actually the 1913 US Open.

I love sports movies, but this is, as the great ones are, much more than that.

The usual…overcoming adversity, etc. but told in a great way. I was choked up at the end. And this is golf.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Cost of Commuting…

To the untrained eye, it would seem that I spend a lot of time doing things other than working during the day.

I drive carpool, exercise, go to events at my kids’ school, run errands.

If you compare me with someone during the 9-5 hours, there are certainly some days when I am “not working,” (though I would argue in the digital age, that I am actually ‘working’ most of the time b/c 1. I have my phone/email with me and 2. a lot of the time I am thinking about business issues, but I digress.)

However, the 9-5 slot is not the full experience, since there is the cost of commuting.

I don’t spend 60-90 minutes each way engaged in the relatively inefficient commuting process when, typically, people are engaged in less than optimal tasks.

My commute is 40 seconds.

And, if I have to drive somewhere, it is with a specific purpose and, typically, I’ll set those meetings up during non-rush hours.

As we move into a new world of work (you may enjoy this video with Adriana where we discuss it), we’ll all want to challenge our assumptions about what working and productivity really means.

9-5 in one place every day makes a lot of sense in a manufacturing-based economy. Not always the case in an true information economy.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Find a husband after 35…



One of the things I blog about a lot on my Never Stop Marketing blog is the need to be Remarkable in order to thrive in the attention economy.

Well, my friend Marianne, certainly fits the bill.

She lives in Mountain View, CA and works at Google and she is focused on finding a suitable life partner.

She is reading and executing the plan laid out in Find a Husband After 35: (Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School).

Part of that is to make a card that makes it easy and memorable for your network to help you.

Well, this one fit the bill for me.

So, if you know anyone, feel free to contact her.










Monday, November 30, 2009

Eco-Friendly Business…

There were two days the other week that were notable for their eco-friendly nature.

On one day, I didn’t leave the house and didn’t drive a car at all.

On a 2nd day, I got a ride to the subway, took the Metro downtown, and got picked up on the other end. Didn’t drive myself at all.

Wonder if there’s some tax credit I can claim?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Washington Post…

For a long time now, there slogan has been “if you don’t get it, you don’t get it.”

I saw that slogan at a hockey game the other night and, since I’ve NEVER subscribed to it, and there’s plenty of evidence that the model is dead, I kind of felt like it should be:

“If you get it, you don’t get it.”

Maybe harsh, but hey, the blog is about creating controversy, right?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Just for kicks….

Click the top-right corner of this site.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Of Bassoons and Babysitters…

In one of those “step back and appreciate life” moments, the kids were treated to a bassoon concert (well, sampling, I suppose) by our dear family friend, Nancy Switkes.

Here’s the thing, however, Nancy was MY babysitter more than a few years ago, so it was really cool to see her sitting on the couch reading books to the kids and explaining to them how the bassoon (her instrument) works.
The book she read was about music and one of the kids’ favorites… Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Art and Portrait Outing…

outing to American Art Museum (3)Once a month, I make it a point on a Sunday to take the kids to do something “uniquely DC.”

With birthday parties and other activities, there are always reasons to not do it.

But, we’re in such a great city with so many attractions that it is a shame not to do it.

So, in our latest outing (here are some previous ones), we went to the National Portrait Gallery and Museum of American Art. (As a native Washingtonian, I am a bit embarrassed to say that I didn’t even know it was there.)

The point of these trips is not to turn the kids into art historians, it is just to give them a sense of appreciation for the place and, most importantly, to learn to ask questions.

There is a wonderful covered courtyard there as well, which, as usual, the kids liked more than the museum.
 outing to American Art Museum (2)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Facebook’s Nazi Security Password…

This has got to be some random thing, but check out the security validation that I got from Facebook the other night.

For background, see who Hermann Goering was.

It’s a Recession…Time for a New Job, New You

My new friend, Alexandra Levit, has a book coming out that I’ve checked out and think that it may be worth it for you as well. New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career is different than a lot of career guides (as is Johnny Bunko, by my client Dan Pink. Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

What I love about this book is how it is so based in the practical.

In fact, the bulk of the book are true stories of transition (and we’re talking TRANSITION in a big way) by regular people who figured out how to both reinvent their careers and, without sounding overly melodramatic, themselves as well.

Back in March when I got that nice mention in the New York Times, the focus was on how I was offering to assist the members of my network who had been laid off or “downsized.” (As we saw the other day, it’s not over yet, either)

So, I’ll now add this book to that list.

BTW, Alexandra also has a great blog where she cites a study she just completed saying that “half of employers say they currently have such a serious gap between their needs and employees’ skills that it affects their productivity.”

I think she’s got a very good read (having been a subscriber now for a while) for how our economy/workforce will need to change. 


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another Milestone…

Tonka has slept over at her aunt’s and her grandparents before, but the other night, she was invited to stay the night at one of her friends from kindergarten.

Just one of those seemingly inconsequential moments when you step back and recognize that your little girl is growing up.

Just wanted to share.

Friday, November 20, 2009

At what price are you trading?

I promise you, I had this idea 11 years ago. I remember where I was on the streets of Tokyo, Japan when I came up with it.

Maybe I wasn’t the first, but it was there.

Now, however, I will share with you a very well-written description of it….what if you could invest not only in companies or products, but in people and their future potential?

Privatize the market for education and development.

The premise is intriguing.

Rafe Furst kicks it off as follows:

Imagine you are in your early twenties, out of college several years and your best friend, who recently came into an inheritance of $300K cash told you they could think of no better way to invest the money than to invest it in you.  Not the company you started, not as a loan, but invest it in YOU, as if you were a startup.  In return your friend said all they wanted was 3% of your gross income for the rest of your life.  Do you think you would take it?

So, would you?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Should be an interesting morning...

I was invited by a friend and her husband to be their guest at a "High Tech Prayer Breakfast."

Always looking for new perspectives and to expand my circle, I gladly accepted.

The featured speaker is a woman named Elisa Cafferky, who appears to be a Jew for Jesus.

Should be quite the coffee klatsch.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Purell Sharing Moment…

My love and admiration for Purell is well documented, so sharing that love with someone else is something I cherish.

A few weeks ago, I was at the Museum of American History with the kids.

In the gift shop, I overheard a woman say, “Ugh, I left my Purell in the car.”

Not missing a beat, I pulled my vial out and offered her some.

She was thrilled!

I know the feeling of wanting Purell and, God forbid, not having it on hand.

Her two companions rolled their eyes (I’d seen that before), but we shared a special bonding moment.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grocery Store Cell Phone Plan…

I wish there was a word to describe the act I’ve committed and have seen other men do as well.

You are standing in the aisle at a grocery store and you can’t figure out which of the 5 products in front of you is the EXACT one your wife wants.

You have an 80% chance of failure.

So, you call and you are guided with laser-like precision to the right one.

There’s probably a word in German for it.

Send Flowers to Damascus…

League of Arab States

Image via Wikipedia

I had a geo-political revelation while reading Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle(which I reviewed from a business/innovation perspective on my other blog).

Were it not for the pressure cooker situation that Israel finds itself in because of the Arab world’s intransigence and desire to destroy the country, that Israel would not have the highest rate of innovation per capita in the world.

If “necessity is the mother of invention,” then “innovate or be exterminated,” certainly raises the stakes.

So, in a great ironic twist, the constant effort to destroy and isolate Israel has actually led to Israel’s increasing wealth and sought-after knowledge/innovation.

At the end of “The Believer,” a move in which an Orthodox kid becomes a neo-Nazi, the main character says that the way to get rid of the Jews is to “love them.”

Then, they will assimilate and be no more.

So, too, the Middle East, in some way.

Israelis will tell you this, “if the Arabs made peace with us and left us alone, we’d probably kill each other in a civil war.”

So, the 50-fold increase in living standards and having more companies on the Nasdaq than all of western Europe combined…well, that’s something the Israelis owe to the Syrians, Palestinians, and the rest of the Arab world that want them gone.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Eliezer, Abraham’s Servant…Master of Influence

Eliezer and Rebekah (illustration by Gustave Doré)

Image via Wikipedia

The other day, I was invited to give the sermon at my synagogue for the portion of the week known as Chayei Sarah (lit: the life of Sarah). It corresponds to Genesis 23:1-25:18

What I did was analyze the tactics used by Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, in his quest to bring Rebecca back as Isaac’s future wife and put them in the framework of social psychologist Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion.”

Here it is. Enjoy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

GWB Statute of Limitations…

Ok, so George W. Bush was the worst president in American history. A disaster and an embarrassment.

I get that.

What I’d like to know is: how long can the Obama administration and its supporters (and you know I am not one of them) say: “we inherited this mess,” or something to that effect?

At some point, it’s no longer about the problem you inherited and it is accountability for the decisions you actually make.

So, tell me…is it 1 year, 2 years, 4 years, 8 years, never?

Seriously. I want to know when the statute of limitations expires.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to react to sexism?

A few weeks back, I got some exceptional service at my car dealer, Fitzgerald Auto Mall.

I was so impressed that I interviewed the hero of the story and blogged about it.

The next day, I was back to pick up my car and I asked the 4 men in the room if they had seen the interview of their female co-worker on my blog.

One of them said, “All I saw were her ‘jimmies’ on the Internet.”

Now, it didn’t dawn on me until later, but I realized he meant breasts (I did a close-up of the logo on her shirt at the end…far from erotic, I will tell you.)

And I was really bothered by this.

Here was someone I was praising and here was a guy (who was generally nice enough to me) belittling his co-worker in a completely sexist way.

The question: what do you think I should do about it?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Anti-Semitic Believer…

So an Orthodox Jewish kid becomes a neo-Nazi….

Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it’s not.

It’s the premise of the The Believer, a seriously warped movie that made me think A LOT. I really enjoyed the extremes to which your sensibilities were pushed in this one.

By taking you out of your comfort zone, you are forced to look at things in a new light and this movie did that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tearjerker Movie…

The Notebook.

It’s a beautiful story. The NFO and I were a wreck by the end.

Watch it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Taxes and Economic Recovery….

So, I get a note from the Maryland Unemployment Insurance fund that because they are running low on funds (due to high claims), they are raising taxes on employers.

As a business owner, here’s how I think about it.

“Ok, it just got more expensive for me to hire someone, so I will hold back.”

Now, personally, I don’t want any employees, I prefer the Free Agent Nation (disclosure: client) model of working with sub-contractors, but when I think about margins and profitability, I see this angle and it gives me pause.

When you raise taxes on employers, you are slowing down the very process you need to speed up to get more people off unemployment.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Homeownership…a pain in the ?

Before I owned a home, my uncle Bob said to me that “owning a home is a pain in the ass. Something is always breaking.”

He’s right, of course, but I’ve realized I enjoy the challenge of managing the house from a systems perspective. Plumbing, electrical, etc.

When the BGE Home guy comes to do the pre-winter check of my furnace, it leads to a 20 min conversation on water heaters, gas vs. electric dryers, and furnaces. I learned so much.

I just completed a 2nd energy assessment of my house and am doing a bunch of weatherizing which will (hopefully) have a 2-4 year payback period.

I kind of feel like the captain of a ship and just have to know how all the parts work (or at least the roles they play) so I/we can make the most informed decisions.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

spreading anti-semitism

Following up on the Unprepared Jewish Generation, we have this video of current day activity.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Enjoy the Fall Foliage…

Have some fun…click the “full screen” on this video.

Then enjoy the ride

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Video: The Never Stop Marketing Story…

A few months ago, I got a call from Lori at Johnson & Johnson (client).

She had heard me speak and thought I might be a good fit for another project.

Lori asked for a 'capabilities deck.' I felt like a deer in the headlights… 'uh, I don't have one. People just hire me.' “Can you just quickly put something together?”

Now, when you live by the “Remarkable” mantra, you set yourself up for a high standard…and I couldn’t just send her a “deck” full of bullet points.

But Lori had laid down the challenge/opportunity and I thank her for that…(well, not really, but I made it one anyway).

“Could I make a 'remarkable' presentation that tells the story of what I do and why it matters?” Well, it was not really I. There was a team (see who really gets the credit below).

This is the effort. Let us know how we did.

The voiceover artist is Kathryn Schwab, who also turned my Community Driven Marketing whitepaper into a Podcast/mp3 file. She is great to work with and I’ve heard from a number of folks who have actually listened to it that it made a big difference for them.

But, the true hero of this story is Amy Detrick from the Tangible Group.

As you can imagine, I am not an easy client, but Amy was more than up to the task.

In my career, I have NEVER met a designer who was so able to integrate the brand identity into her work and take the raw vision I gave her and execute it in a way that made me happy. My basic direction to her was “this should make Nancy Duarte proud.” I don’t know Nancy, but I think she might be (or hope she will).

In short, I cannot recommend Amy highly enough.
 Is this video perfect?

No, of course not, but our goal is to be remarkable, not perfect and then iterate via perpetual beta with feedback from you.

Looking forward to your comments. Big thanks to Lori, Kathryn, and Amy for making this a reality.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Facing Up: Living and Dying With Grace

I’m pretty Type A and very driven.

Sometimes, however, as I’ve aged (and hopefully matured), I sit back and ask myself “hmmm…I wonder how many years I actually have left?”

I think that when we are younger we tend to believe that “I’ll live to 80 or so” and have a full life (like my grandparents did, for example.)

Of course, as we all know, life doesn’t always work out that way.

The question, of course, is how do you deal with it when it doesn’t?

Some of you knew Ned Stutman. Some didn’t. But, his approach to life (and death) is something that everyone can appreciate.

That approach is shared in his book: Facing Up: Grateful Ned's Guide for Living and Dying with Grace

Now, a bit of disclosure…I consulted on a pro bono basis to Ned’s widow, Suzanne, on how to market the book (and, if you buy the book from the link I’ll earn something like $.04)

The jacket to the book reads “What a Nazi-hunting comedian and lawyer can teach us about cherishing life at every turn.”

And it is through those multitude of unique character intersections that your perspective will be changed, I think, for the better.

His story chronicles his ordeals at multiple US cancer treatment centers, but the beauty of the story isn’t how it ends (you already know that), it’s in the journey itself.

His humor, flirting with the nurses, making a top 10 list of the benefits of having cancer (#1: you don’t have to worry about getting cancer), just show a man who has “figured out” what it means to be present.

For friends of Ned (and there are many), this book is a natural. The marketing challenge is “why would someone who doesn’t know Ned want to read this book?”

I’m biased since I knew him and he touched my life in many ways since 4th grade.

So, let’s try this…if you didn’t know Ned and you post a comment below about one experience you had that made you “more present” in your day-to-day life, I’ll pick one of the submissions and send you my copy of the book.

Then, you can tell me if you think it works for someone who didn’t know Ned.

Fair enough?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Appeal of Facebook…Sharing Moments

If you know any skeptics out there, here are two examples of the power and excitement of social software to build connections with our friends and family and to, in general, be more human.


Here are two moments that I experienced.

A glorious cloud formation and some beautiful fall foliage.

Once upon a time, I would have been alone in these moments.

Then, maybe, I would have snapped a pictured and emailed it to a few people…or just said “hey, I saw some great clouds the other day.”

But now, I can share those moments with others and they can participate in it, reflect on it and add their own comments.

Some may say, “why do you care?” But, I think that being a part of each other's lives in this way enriches all of us.



Friday, October 30, 2009

Register as a Bone Marrow Donor…

imageA few years back, my friend, Tamir was diagnosed with Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. Say that five times fast.

I don’t understand the disease and, frankly, it’s not a priority for me to do that.

What is a priority is that Tamir would get better and that this was a cause that is important, so when he asked for a donation, I figured, why not? Just $18, you know. No biggie, but enough to say that I cared.

He wrote me a nice note and then made a plea that the NFO and I register to be bone marrow donors.

And that is what I am asking you to do as well.

In order to register, all you have to do is go to register as a donor.

They will then send you a kit with a cheek swab, which is like a long ear bud. You swab your cheek, put the swab into a small container, and send it back to and you're done. You've registered. If you're ever identified as a potential donor for someone, you will be contacted and asked whether you are willing to donate. If you do, the patients' insurance will cover your costs, and you can typically have the blood work done at your local hospital or the closest one that has an aperesis machine that does the centrifuge.

It’s NOT a BIG DEAL. Here’s why:

The problem is that not many people are registering because they believe that it's complicated to register, and because they're scared of the pain involved in donating bone marrow - ie. being drilled a few times in the hips, back, etc. to get to the stem cells in our bone marrow. While this system is still used in about 10% of cases (still under anasthesia), the other 90% now use a much easier system for the donor.

This takes approximately 4 hours, and the donor is done, and has just potentially saved someone's life. Imagine what that must feel like - to be able to save someone's life like that - what a Mitzvah!

So, just do it: go to and click donate.