Sunday, January 31, 2010

Inglorious Basterds…

When I was younger, I didn’t really appreciate Quentin Tarantino all that much.

For whatever reason, I see the humor and appreciate the style and ironic twists of his film.

So, too, with my recent viewing of “Inglorious Basterds” which plays off the hilarious Seth Rogen line in “Knocked Up” (roughly paraphrased)

“I loved the movie Munich! In almost every movie, it is the Jews getting whacked. It’s about time we did the whacking!”

Well, the Jews do most of the whacking in this movie and it makes for some interesting “what if?” scenarios as well as some good ol’ not feeling like the victim always in Holocaust era films.

Irreverent? Absolutely.

Violent? You betcha.

If you have a stomach for these things, worth checking out. If not, skip it, you’ll just walk away offended.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Why Opposites Attract…

Over the last few years, as the NFO and I have gotten to know each other, I think we’ve come to appreciate how different we are in so many ways.

While the core, fundamental values are the same (thankfully), the other stuff?

Well, 180 degrees.

I mean, she’s the NFO. I’ve got a blog with almost 3000 posts.

She’s not on Facebook. I am…in full force.

And on and on and on…

But, the other day, it dawned on me, possibly, why it is that opposites do, in fact, attract.

It may be a Darwinian thing.

See, if nature is selecting for the best traits, then the mating of two different people will allow their offspring to develop and enhance (in theory) the traits that are most suited for survival and adaptation in the next generation.

If we were completely similar and the societal requirements of our offspring were such that our traits would not be beneficial, that would serve to hurt the future successes of our children.

Clearly, I have NO idea if this makes any sense, but my limited understanding of genetics (coupled with the fact that we occasionally drive each other nuts ;-) brought this idea to my mind.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Rant About Women...

A fascinating take on women...and their inability to self-promote...and the consequences.

The author is a professor at NYU and someone who is at the forefront of the communications/social media thinking world.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Speaking Tour of the Midwest

Following on the heels of the successful East Coast tour, the good folks on the Local Engagement Team at Microsoft (client) are taking the Marketing Survival Strategies for the Attention Economy show on the road.


You (or your friends) can catch me in the following cities.

Would be honored if you helped spread the word.

City Date
Chicago Feb. 9
Minneapolis Feb. 10
Cincinnati Feb. 11

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Appreciating the Harp…

I meat a harpist the other day….here’s my interview. I learned a lot. Perhaps you will as well.

If you can’t see the video, click here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why blog about your personal life?

Every now and then I’ll meet someone who asks me “why do you share so much about your personal life online?”

(Sometimes I meet people who make fun of me, but that’s a different story.)


Aside from the fact that I like sharing it, I also like hearing how it makes people feel.

I got a note from Jacob the other day, saying he was unsubscribing from this blog.

I didn’t recognize his name and thought that, perhaps, as is sometimes the case, he was a business associate looking for the Never Stop Marketing blog and, accidentally, had chosen the wrong blog.

“No,” he wrote, “I subscribed back when I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer and was reading about your experiences. I enjoyed your blog and reading about your family and your other musings. It’s just gotten to the point where I can’t keep up with all the other blogs I read.”

So, for 2.5 years, this random guy decided that the stuff I was sharing was of interest to him.

In some ways, though the comparison is probably not apt, I suspect this is what artists look for.

Affect people you’ve never met through your work.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rapping Rabbis…

Just when you thought you’d seen it all…

click here.

Ethiopian Carry Out (DC area)

So, our nanny has started a side business.

If you know folks in the DC area who might be interested, feel free to share the word.

It’s not kosher, so please don’t get confused.

However, she has cooked in our kitchen and I can definitely vouch for her skills!


Friday, January 22, 2010

The most remarkable “save the date” video…

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Watch this video. The most remarkable "save the date" invite ever.

Four Marketing Lessons from the US Navy…

Ripples appear along the fuselage of a US Navy...

Image via Wikipedia

Quick background:

I was invited by the US Navy to participate in their “Distinguished Civilian Program” because I am a “prominent blogger” (their words, not mine, I promise).

The incredible offer?

Spend 24 hours on the USS Stennis aircraft carrier, get briefed by an admiral, the captain of the ship, watch the day and night flight operations and get a deeper understanding of the sacrifice made by the dedicated sailors on board. (Here’s how Guy Kawasaki captured it when he was invited a few months ago).

Plus, I would have the opportunity to meet some people whose work I greatly admire in my field, including Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter and Chip Heath, author of one of my favorite books ever, Made to Stick, plus a slew of other really great folks in the marketing/social media world. (Jeremiah made a Twitter list of the folks slated to be on board together.)

So, what can we learn from the Navy?

  1. The Navy understands that it is an attention economy.
    The old model of having their story (broadcast via TV ads, for example) may not be the best way to tell their message. So, they are investing time and effort to identify, create, and activate Raving Fans (aka Community Driven Marketing)
  2. Recognize that “everyone is in marketing.”
    By bringing us on board and having the chance to meet sailors and officers, they recognize that “everyone is in marketing,” one of the core tenets of Dandelion Marketing. The Navy could tell us a story that was “sanitized and scrubbed” or they can let us tell it as we see it, by talking to real people, to add a level of authenticity to it to increase the credibility.
  3. Use your assets to build community.
    Not everyone has an aircraft carrier, but you do have things which your network would like to see in action. Bring together like-minded people around a “social object” and allow those connections to grow with each other. By applying Reed’s law to their community, the Navy grows the value of their network and their brand.

So, the plans were laid. Tickets bought. I was all set to arrive at the Naval Air Station in San Diego at 8am on Sunday, Jan. 24th.

Until this email came in, which was the last marketing lesson:

I'm sorry to inform you that due to weather conditions in the northwestern U.S., USS STENNIS was unable to get underway as planned, which has a direct impact on your scheduled embark.

Your group was to fly aboard the carrier as part of the first wave of flight operations. However, due to the one-day delay in the ship's departure, there will no longer be any flight operations on the 24th, which means we are unable to accomplish the overnight embark on the 24th.

I'm sorry for any issues or hardships this cancellation may cause you, but this is something that is beyond our control.

4.   When things go bad, just be upfront and honest about it.
They emailed AND called. And they used a truly human, personal voice to do it. They knew we would be disappointed and that came across in the communications. (And this is the Navy we’re talking about here!)

In preparation for the trip, I had been watching the PBS series Carrier and one of the phrases that stuck with me from the sailors was that “in the military, you have to learn to roll with the punches,” and that is what we’re all doing.

In the meantime, the Navy managed to create some positive Word of Mouth and cultivate me (and many of the others) as a Raving Fan…and we didn’t even have to get on the ship! (but we still want to! and we’re hopeful for a future date.)

My hunch is that your organization is less formal than the US Navy. If they can do it, so can you. Just go get an aircraft carrier and you are on your way ;-)

[I should add that my kids were thrilled that the trip was cancelled, since I’ll be home and we can watch the AFC/NFC championship games together-I’ve done a decent job of creating football Raving Fans in that category, if I do say so myself.)

Post was written while listening (intentionally) to: SmashMouth - - I get knocked down!.mp3

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why Scott Brown Won in Massachusetts…

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley ...

Image via Wikipedia

This isn’t about politics.

It’s about marketing and perception.

By now, you know that Scott Brown, the Republican beat the Democrat and presumed winner, Martha Coakley for the open Senate seat in Massachusetts. (I won’t call it Ted Kennedy’s seat, since it wasn’t his…it belongs to the people of Mass, but I digress.)

There are many factors at play here, but I’ll focus on one in particular.

As loyal blog reader Jeff said, “Martha Coakley didn’t stay true to your philosophy. She stopped marketing.”

Between Xmas and New Year’s, Coakley took a vacation.

Meanwhile, Scott Brown was out shaking hands at the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at Fenway Park in Boston.

It’s in moments like these that perception can be strongest. You have to show people that you really want it. You have to ACT like you Want the Business.

Now, I’m not saying that you can never take a break. You certainly can, but it’s the perception of that break which is important.

The perception that Coakley gave was “this is in the bag.”

Not “I’m running as hard as I can and taking 1 day to regroup during this sprint to the finish and to focus on my family since they are the most important thing in my life.”

Brown? Well, let’s just say he’s the first political winner of the Never Stop Marketing award (here are other winners).


Post was written while listening to: MC Hammer - - Too Legit to Quit

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

“Couple of Field Goals…”

My former boss, Paul Cimino, is a consummate entrepreneur.

An eternal optimist, he’s continuously driving for something better, faster, and more efficient.

It’s energizing to be around him and I think a lot can be learned from his attitude.

His businesses haven’t been the mega-successes and he knows it.

He’ll say “I’ve had a couple of field goals, no touchdowns yet, but I’m still playing the game.”

When you look at life as a series of drives in a larger football game, you’re more likely to be resilient after a punt, than if you view it as a one-shot deal.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

“No one except the Israelis…”

Watch the video here. Only the Israeli hospital in Haiti is taking patients.


jeffpulver RT @YeahThatsKosher CNN » "No one except the Israeli hospital has taken any of our patients" (VIDEO) #Haiti
Mon, Jan 18 14:57:49 from web

How to Get Better Service From Your Airline

Use Twitter.

Mike Eisenberg on El Al.

I also read a great story (though I can’t find the link right now) of someone who was flying Virgin America and using the in-flight wi-fi.

He wrote something like “the guy next to me probably hasn’t showered in a day or two.”

10 minutes later, a flight attendant came up to him and asked discretely if “perhaps he would be more comfortable in another seat.”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Who’s Worth Your Time? A Primer.

My friend, Jamie, sends in the following anecdote. It tells you how to asses who is worth your time and who isn’t.

I have a certain "rule" in place when I network with people.

When I left Barnard for my first job, I entered myself in the alumnae database indicating I would be willing to talk to current students about my job/career path. 

As I changed jobs and developed my career, I always updated my information and over the years I got e-mails from students interested in chatting with me about work, mostly they were looking for jobs and wanted to know how I got my job in news and how I could help them get one as well. 

In the beginning, I would email back and forth with some of them but that took a lot of time and energy. 

I decided chatting over the phone was an easier way to disseminate my wisdom; I could do it quickly, perhaps while walking to work or folding my laundry, but more importantly I could tell immediately whether the person was actually serious about hearing from me or was just going through the motions of "networking." 

So, I changed my policy.  I gave them my phone number and told them I would be happy to speak by phone.

An amazing thing happened.  In almost every single case, that ended the connection!  I never heard from the people again.  The ones who followed through either called me or emailed back to set up a time to chat. 

It was a remarkable weeding process since the ones who were willing to chat by phone happened to be really interesting people that I was delighted to help.

I was able to place two of them in internships, one at MSNBC and one at CNN.  I was able to make further connections for others.  And, I was happy to do this because these people were obviously committed to real networking. 

It has proved to be a remarkably efficient process because 9 times out of 10 people don't want to make the effort to call so I'm not wasting much energy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Good Friends aren’t afraid to slap one another

My buddy, Ben Vollmer, said that to me a few weeks ago.

I had been nudging him (consistently) about something.

He responded: “Back off, I’ll get to you in January.”

And he will.

When I thanked him for his direct approach, he said, “Good Friends aren’t afraid to slap one another.”[ ™ Ben Vollmer © 2009]

And he’s right.

Being a good friend means, I think, being willing to put people in their place and say what others won’t.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Care about America’s Financial Future? Watch this.

I don’t usually watch CNBC.

Most of the time, the talking heads there don’t make a lot of sense to me.

For whatever reason, I caught it yesterday morning just as the interview with Kyle Bass (whom I had never heard of before) was starting.

It was perhaps the most salient finance interview I’ve EVER heard.

His analysis, the data. I couldn’t help but think, “wow, this guys knows his sh*t!” (sorry, mom, that IS what I thought!)

What troubles me about this interview, however, is that Kyle lays out the case pretty clearly that we are driving in the direction that will take us off the financial cliff. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the President and the Congress will just not have the political will (or the American people, for that matter) to go through with it.

The fact that he points to Japan as the example of how things go horrifically wrong (a case with which I have some familiar) made it resonate even more.

Still, you could see when they went back to the anchor that even he was blown away by the information.

I highly recommend you watch this video…and share it.

Note: I was so impressed, I called Kyle Bass’ office today in Dallas to ask if had a blog, twitter account or whatever…I need to stay on top of what this guy says.

Here’s the video, if you can’t see it below.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cover Art for the Blook…

A “Blook” is a book based on a Blog.

Due to popular demand (ok, so my mom asked for it), I am in the final stages of putting one together.

A number of people said, “hey, I’m a Raving Fan of your blog and want an easy way to get ‘up to speed,’ without hitting the “back” button over and over again.”

So, I’ll be self-publishing “It’s All on the Blog, Don’t Buy the Book” and, of course, making it available for you to buy (but you shouldn’t since it’s all on the blog).

Of course, if you really want to, I won’t stop you.

Here’s the latest rev of the Cover. Feel free to weigh in via comments, email, or voting.





How I feel about the Cover Art...


The artist, btw, is Jonny Goldstein, founder of Envizualize, an information design consultancy that helps people picture strategic and tactical success.

You can follow him on twitter at @envizualize


Post was written while listening to...Mozart, Turkish March

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why Men Shouldn’t Write Advice Columns…


HT to my brother, Asher for this one.
Post was written while listening to...Schlomo Carlebach, Ki Va Moed

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Poof! The Moment is Gone…

Our kids love listening (and dancing) to CD’s in the playroom. It’s so cute to watch them run around.

The other night, while the NFO was giving baths, I was cleaning up in the kitchen and heard the CD playing.

I went into the room and turned off.

As I did it, however, I had a “mental snapshot” moment and realized that, one day, I won’t be doing this any longer. One day, the kids won’t be listening to CD’s after dinner and dancing around.

There are a lot of moments like that in parenthood…and in life. You do them every day. Then, all of a sudden, you don’t do them anymore.

Monday, January 11, 2010

How the Times Have Changed…

It seems like only yesterday when I was sending out notes and working the network, asking people for internships after high school and during college.

Well, the other day, the son of some of our friends approached me asking for one!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Twitter and the Western Wall…

I’ve met a few folks over the year who dismiss Twitter out of hand. They deride it for its frivolousness.

Here’s a nice story of how one guy put the Western Wall on Twitter (@thekotel)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Happiness in America…

Can’t hurt to try and be happier, can it?
Well, here’s a chance for the FOJ community (or for your friends in the right cities, I supposes.)
My client, Gretchen Rubin, is going on a national tour this month to promote her new book, The Happiness Project (and it hit #2 on the NYT best-seller list during its first week).

Gretchen is an amazing woman. She clerked for Sandra Day O’Connor, went to Yale Law School, and was chief adviser to a former FCC chairman. You got it, she’s not that bright ;-)

So, if you live in one of these cities (or want to ‘be the Connector’ to your friends there), you should go listen to Gretchen, meet her, and meet some of the folks who share their passion for her work and intellect.

Facebook Event Link
Jan. 13
Book Tour for the Happiness Project in Boston
Jan. 19
Book Tour for the Happiness Project in Chicago
Jan. 21
Book Tour for the Happiness Project in Denver
Kansas City
Jan. 20
Book Tour for the Happiness Project in Kansas City (my hometown)
Los Angeles
Jan. 25
Book Tour for the Happiness Project in Los Angeles
San Francisco/
Bay Area

Jan. 26
Book Tour for the Happiness Project in the Bay Area....
Jan. 27
Book Tour for the Happiness Project in Seattle...
Washington, DC
Jan. 18
Book Tour for the Happiness Project in Washington, DC

I’ll be at the DC event, of course.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Watching the Space Shuttle Launch…

Caught by a guy on an Air Canada flight (nice accent, eh?)

Very neat.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Stop Doing List…

I sat in on Dan Pink’s (client) New Year’s Day seminar which was, not surprisingly, very good.

As it was New Year’s Day, one of the ideas he shared was that, instead of New Year’s Resolutions (what will I START doing?) that we should (and would probably be better off, if we did) make STOP DOING LISTS.

The research, he suggests, supports an increased likelihood of success.

And I’ve read since then that something like 70% of Americans have a resolution about food or diet, so I’ll pile on to that stat.

My two Stop Doings.

  1. No more eating after 9pm at night
  2. No more taking seconds until 10 minutes have elapsed.

Feel free to chime in if you want the public accountability and support. Or humiliation, when I link back to this next year.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

London in the Snow…

 London 2009 002With no direct flights to Malta, we had a choice of which European city to go through. For a number of reasons, I chose London.

It had been 18 years since I was there last and I felt due.

We had just about 24 hours to do a whirlwind tour and we made the most of it.

Walked the city…even in a snowstorm and the highlight was visiting the War Cabinet Rooms where Churchill had led Britain’s defense/attack of Nazi Germany in underground shelters.

The exhibit was more than remarkable and the interactive display (video below) was just fantastic.

London certainly has special appeal  given the unique history and common language.

The evening was topped off with a meetup of some friends of Never Stop Marketing in a nice little restaurant.

All in all, a great quick visit to the City of London.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Real Time Web and Journalism 2.0

Here’s a quick story from my recent trip to Malta that shows why Twitter is powerful and what Journalism may start looking like.

We had to catch an early flight, so I got up at 7.15pm EST (1.15am in Malta) and checked email, etc.

Curious how the day’s NFL games had unfolded, I went to ESPN and saw the finals of most games, but noticed that the it was 36-30 in favor of the Packers over the Steelers with 1:58 to go.

ESPN offers a paid subscription to live game feeds, which I don’t buy.

I went to Google and typed in Steelers-Packers, knowing that “real-time” search was now an option.


I clicked on Latest Results and opened up a separate window.

For the last few minutes, the page refreshed every few seconds, as I saw the Twitter comments from people who were “covering” the game by putting in the the hashtag (#) Steelers.

By watching those come across the screen, I tracked the final drive and discovered that a last second pass from Roethlisberger to Wallace, as time ran out, won the game for Pittsburgh.

Football fans, Twitter, and Google had displaced traditional journalists.

Just fascinating. Not sure I fully understand how this leads to the new model, but I do know that the old model is broken.


Monday, January 04, 2010

Prehistoric Malta…

Tarxien Temple in Malta (4) If there was a theme to our last day in Malta, it would be pre-historic and early Malta.

Sometime, 6000 years ago or so, some folks sailed from Sicily and set up shop on the small island. Eventually, they became fairly advanced and built some megalithic structures that surpass Stonehenge in size and show a fair amount of complexity and sophistication.

We visited the Hypogeum in Paola, Malta and then walked over to the Tarxien temple complex.

The Hypogeum is a subterranean crypt/worship area that had 3 levels and descends 30 feet below ground.

There are etchings and red ochre paintings on the wall, plus one room where a specific pitch of your voice creates a remarkable and powerful echo sound.

Image via WikipediaCoat of Arms of Mdina Local Council (Malta) ma...

We then moved over to Mdina, the ancient capital, which was set up by the Phoenicians, and subsequently conquered by the Romans, the Arabs, and the Knights of Malta.

One of its interesting features is how the streets/alleys were designed for defensive purposes.

They are short (about 8 meters in length), before twisting so that arrows up a head of steam (so to speak).

It’s called “the quiet city” and it is indeed that. Of course, we were there on a Sunday…which is taken pretty seriously in Malta (as is Siesta, but that’s another topic), but still…relative tranquility.

We also learned that Count Roger the Norman ripped his red-white checkered battle flag in half and gave it to the city when he conquered it…thus creating the red/white flag of Malta today (which since added the George Cross following WWII).

You can see some more pictures from the trip here, if you like.


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Malta Day 2-Valleta

Valleta street scenes (2)

So, you are the Grandmaster of the Order of St. John and you’ve been given the island of Malta by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, as your base operations.

In return, you agree to pay a rent of one falcon per year (yep, the Maltese falcon) and you now have a home after having been evicted from Rhodes by Suleiman, the leader of the Ottoman Empire.

What’s more, he’s already attacked you on Malta and you see just how vulnerable you are.

So, if you are Jean de la Vallette, you commission the building of one of the world’s first grid-based, fortified cities…and heck, it is even named after you, Valletta, to defend against the coming invasion (which you know will happen…and in 1565, the Great Siege of Malta, it does.)

Day 2 of the Malta Experience was walking this fine city, seeing its glorious central Cathedral (St. John’s co-Cathedral), the ornate Grandmaster’s Palace and Armory, the gardens and the harbor it overlooked (as well as the other cities it defended as a result.)

A great study in military strategy and urban planning.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Malta Day 1-Forcing the Change…

Island of Gozo (11)There were a few things that compelled me to take a trip to Malta

First, as longtime blog readers know, I love travelling, meeting new people, and visiting new places.

Second, my wonderful wife, the NFO said it was OK (actually, that should be first).

Third, since I think “change is the only constant,” the act of putting yourself deliberately in new situations is how you condition yourself for change.

Fourth, it is super critical to take yourself out of the day-to-day (particularly when your economic success depends on creativity)  and relax, stretch, and inspire those brain muscles.

Of course, all of these are arguments for most places. Why Malta?

History, I suppose. This place is loaded with it. More on that later.

Uniqueness…we heard, on more than one occasion, people say “how did you know about our country?” (there aren’t too many places where they say that, is there?)

Remote, but not too remote. Situated where it is in the central Mediterranean, but still part of the Euro zone, it offers a lot in the way of civilization, but also the feeling of being “out of it.”

And it met my criteria of “not taking too long to get there” and not being ridiculously cold.

We arrived around 4pm on Wednesday and took it easy for the most part that evening.

Thursday’s primary activity was an excursion to Gozo, the 2nd largest of the 3 primary islands that make up Malta. It has only about 4% of the population in total and measures about 12 miles across. The larger island took us about 45 minutes to pretty much go across the whole thing!

Yep, Malta is small. Total population is about 400,000 people. 99.6% of them are Catholic. There are 365 churches (“one for each day of the year,” as the Maltese like to say). And note, divorce and abortion are illegal interesting side note.

For those of you who have been to Israel, it is remarkably similar using limestone to construct most buildings.

So, we took the bus to the Gozo ferry terminal, where we then took the boat across to Gozo.

We hired a cabdriver, G’akbu (aka Jimmy) [Maltese and English are the two official languages, since Malta was a colony for 150 years of so) to show us the sights (interview w/him is below).

He did a great job and started us off at the so-called “Azure Window” in which I am pictured here.

What’s fascinating about Malta, among many things, is how many times it has been involved in REALLY important historical moments.

Most recent was 1942 when it was under constant bombardment for over 150 days from the Axis (by comparison the famous London blitz was 56 days) in an effort to subdue the population.


Because Malta’s position as a naval and air base was a key asset in the Allies’ ability to disrupt Axis shipping in the Med and, in fact, the destruction of convoys was a key reason that Rommel lost at El Alamein.

We ended the day by joining the 100 person strong Maltese Jewish community for a Hannukah celebration.

More on the Malta Story is forthcoming….