Monday, January 31, 2011

Israel: Nothing to prove?

Years ago, when you landed in an El Al plane Israel, they would play traditional Zionist songs over the loudspeaker.

People would clap.

It was a celebration of the Zionist achievement.

Now, the plane just lands.

No clapping.

But, this isn’t about a nostalgic yearning for a different era, it’s about the fact that, in my mind, Israelis now feel like they don’t have to prove themselves to anyone anymore. And they have accepted that the views of others aren’t going to change.

A few months ago, there was a semi-controversial article in Time magazine saying “Why Israel doesn’t care about peace.”

The basic premise was that, with respect to the Palestinians, that most Israelis had gotten to the point where they realized that there was no credible peace partner on the other side of the table and that, the security issues had just become a “nuisance of life.”

My recollection was that many within the pro-Israel community were upset and concerned with this article and went to great lengths to denounce it.

I remember thinking, “yep, that sounds about right.”

This was my 9th trip to Israel, if I’m not mistaken and the vibe I am picking up (and maybe I’m looking for it) is:

“yeah, we’re here, people want to kill us every day ,but whatever…we’re just going to do our thing.

We’ve got one of the highest standards of living in the world, some of the best technology around, and we’re as global a country as you will find.

We don’t have to prove ourselves. If you want to hate us, ok, hate us.”

Israel used to have to celebrate itself because its accomplishments were so new and unbelievable.

It used to feel like “hey, I want to be loved. Please love me. I’ll do whatever I need to do to be loved.”

Now, it’s:

“Ok, the world is going to hate me no matter what and I just don’t really give a damn.”

At 63 years of age, the country, like a person is at the point of self-confidence.

I find that refreshing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The benefits of a travel agent

We were supposed to leave for israel on the day after Christmas. That was the day of the big blizzard. Our flights were cancelled. Everyone was scrambling. Airports closed and hold times for the airlines approached one hour.

As it turned out, I had bought our tickets via a travel agent.

So I called jay and, well, he saved the day by not only providing expert insit and advice, but he did all odd the heavy lifting. It was huge.

I used to think that airline tickets were a commodity busine ss.

Jay press proved it isn't, by adding so much value that i can highly recommend him.

Jay Press
International Travel Exchange

Friday, January 28, 2011

Benefits of kid travel

It is definitely tough traveling internationally with children. Jet lag, security lines, etc. But I will say this.

First of all, there is a lot of value in seeing travel through their eyes. New perspectives is one of the reasons to travel and kids do at for you.

Secondly, you oftentimes get to go to the front of the line.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Emotional Disclaimer…

One of the many things which the NFO does better than I is to express empathy for other people.

I'm working on it, but have a long way to go.

Typically, when the two of us receive an email from someone with any type of inquiry, I get it first and am happy to respond.

However, as I draft my response, there’s a voice in my head saying, “I bet I could be more sensitive, thoughtful, caring, and empathic like the NFO is.”

Of course, I have very little clue of actually HOW to do that, so I’ve come up with a hybrid approach.

I’ll respond initially by saying,

“Before I respond, I’d like you to imagine all of the thoughtful, caring, and sensitive language that the NFO would insert here about how much this means to us, how humbled we are, and how much we respect you, etc….yada, yada yada.

Now, here’s what I’ll say…”

and then I can just write it out.

Problem solved!!!!

It’s like those big disclaimers at the end of emails from lawyers, right? Winking smile


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Antidote to Fear…Book Giveaway.

Since I’ve started my business, many people have said to me, “I’ve always wanted to start my own business, but….”

it’s usually followed by an expression of some fear of something happening (not paying mortgage, healthcare, etc.)

Now, fear is important. It’s what kept us alive in evolutionary times (as well as some cases today).

Sometimes, however, it is artificial and a hindrance.

Recently, I was virtually introduced to Dr. Srinivasan Pillay, who teaches at Harvard Medical School.

He’s written a book called Life Unlocked: 7 Revolutionary Lessons to Overcome Fearalt and, after reading it, I want to give it away to one of you to encourage you to overcome your fear.

What I like about the book is that it’s not super touchy-feely. It’s based in science and practical. He gives you straightforward biological explanations for why you feel the way you do…and then relevant, focused advice on what to do about it.

I like the approach.

So, here’s how you can win a copy.

  1. become a fan of Never Stop Marketing on Facebook
  2. Then, share your biggest (current) fear in the comments section below.

I’ll pick one (yeah, it’s subjective) and send it out.

This could be the first step in the rest of your life! Winking smile

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cat’s in the Cradle…

Cat's Cradle, appears upside down in a later s...

Image via Wikipedia

Got a bit emotional the other night.

As usual, was working late.

Listening to my Pandora radio station.

Then, the song “Cat’s in the Cradle” comes on.

I’ve always liked it, but this time really listened to the lyrics.

Thought about my own son, Paco.

Man, this balance thing is tough.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Auto-Translate Brings the World Closer

You’ve probably seen this by now, but I still think it’s very cool…and a great sign of how technology can break down barriers of communication.

Now, when you visit a foreign language website using Google Chrome (at least…and I think in Firefox, too), it will ask you if you want to automatically translate it.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Harvard Defeats Yale 29-29

Great movie that is ostensibly about football, but contains a large number of life lessons.

Also, apparently the actor Tommy Lee Jones went to Harvard, roomed with Al Gore there, and played football, too.

Also touches on the ‘60s and American History.

Here’s the link on NetFlix.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Year of Touch Devices…

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

The other day I reached out toward the monitor of my PC and tried to touch the Windows Start button on it.


Then, it dawned on me.

My transition to “touch” devices as my primary way to interact with technology was complete.

A year ago, I had none.

In February, I received a “hand me-down” iPhone and, while I was late to the mobile game, I finally saw the revolution coming.

Then, in March, I received a Zune HD as a gift (don’t knock it, it’s a great device).

In April, I bought an iPad.

In June, I got a EVO 4G running Android.

Now, those devices (primarily the iPad and the EVO) are my primary and, often times, preferred methods for getting info, interacting, etc.

It’s definitely the case for my kids who are extremely adept at the iPhone and the iPad –here’s my 2 year old on it. (I won’t even talk about how they use Kinect).

I even jumped on the bandwagon with the Never Stop Marketing iPhone app.

As Eric Schmidt says, “Developers must think ‘mobile first’”. And I’ll add to that “think mobile TOUCH first.”

Steven Spielberg adds that it’s all about “making technology invisible.”  That’s what I think the power of touch represents.

As marketers, we need to continue to ask ourselves “what is the mobile experience?” “what is the ‘touch’ experience?” for our customers and community?

Breaking habits and paradigms is tough, but that underlies the never stop marketing mantra.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Clever ad that was forwarded to me…

Monday, January 17, 2011

How to enjoy carpool..

With three kids, there are often days that require logistical sophistication on the order of an Iraqi invasion.

Add in other kids, booster seats, nap time, etc. and you’re looking at a supercomputer scenario.

When driving Maximus to a birthday party (he and two sets of female twin girls Winking smile), I heard all of the kids laughing and interacting with each other.

In Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, the authors talk about how 50% of who we become is as a result of the people with whom we interact (an idea offered in another book I read called Herd).

So, as I sat there listening to Paco interact with all of the girls, I realized I was watching his development occur right before my eyes.

It made carpool a much more meaningful experience.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Playdate Milestone…

I figure the way to live without any regrets that I “missed” their childhood is to acknowledge the little milestones.

The other day, my youngest, Lakkanen, had her first “away” playdate.

I dropped her off, picked her up 90 minutes later. All went well. Took a picture and a deep breath. Just a small step in her development, but I noted it and savored it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Paranoia, Evolution, and Business…

When people ask me how my business is faring, I answer that “no matter what, I feel paranoid.”

“If I win a deal, I worry that I might get too confident and lose my edge.

If I lose a deal, I worry that it’s the beginning of the end.

I’m just constantly paranoid.”

For a while, my guiding light was a book by former Intel CEO, Andy Grove, called Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company, but my new favorite book: Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters also offers the same advice, though based on data and evolutionary psychology.

As they write, “evolutionary speaking, it's good to be paranoid because it might save your life.”

I feel much better now.

Wait!! Who’s that behind you?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to get people to give more money….

I know I keep blogging about this, but I told you, it was a great book.

My kids go to a parochial school and let’s just say, tuition isn’t super cheap.

We’re often approached by the school fundraiser/development team for additional contributions.

I’ve wondered about how this works, thinking most people already feel like they are paying a lot.

Well, in Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, the authors offer a plausible answer based on evolutionary psychology.

“by contributing toward the welfare of other members of such an "extended family' or tribe, so to speak, you are essentially providing benefits for your genetic offspring, both distant and near.”

Not sure if the development team reads this blog or not, but it seems like the pitch can be extended from “help others” to “help your kids and their offspring” which could be even stronger.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why are most suicide bombers Muslim?


Image via Wikipedia

While suicide missions are not always religiously motivated, according to the book “Making Sense of Suicide Missions,” when religion is involved, it is ALWAYS Islam.

The question: why?

According to Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, there’s an evolutionary psychological explanation for this.

Well, actually two of them.

The first has to do with sex, or as the authors say “the absence of sex.”

Islam tolerates polygyny which means one married to multiple women.

Consequently, young men of low status feel increased competitive pressure to find a mate and have increased odds of ending as “reproductive losers,” i.e. no offspring.

The authors explain that tolerance for this in societies around the world leads to increase violence of all kinds, but while this is necessary to explain the phenomenon, it’s not sufficient, since there are plenty of cultures that tolerate polygyny, but don’t have suicide bombers (west Africa, for example.)

They then point to the line in the Koran that says a martyr receives 72 virgins in heaven for himself which provides the final motivation.

Faced with the prospects of total reproductive failure on earth and the prospect of a personal harem, young Muslim men of low status (and the data supports this) are most likely to become suicide bombers.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

So, am I “very attractive?”

According to Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters,

“Young Americans who are rated "very attractive" have a 44 percent chance of having a son for their first child (and thus a 56 percent chance of having a daughter).

In contrast, everyone else has a 52 percent chance of having a son (and thus a a 48 percent chance of having a daughter) for their first child.

Being "very attractive" increases the odds ofhaving a daughter by 36 percent.”

Monday, January 10, 2011

Career Boost for Married Men: Work at Home

Man cave office

Image by Yasuhiko Ito via Flickr

After reading Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, I realized that working at home is actually a competitive advantage for me.

According to the researchers, the research suggests that married men hit their “age-genius” curve peak at age 33.9, whereas unmarried men hit their peak at average age of 39.9.

The reason is obvious.

Married men, particularly after having kids, start to question their priorities in life and start investing their time in their family versus their careers.

Consequently, they have fewer opportunities for breakthrough insights to significantly advance their careers.

What’s more, they start saying “why should I be at the office when I could be at home with my kids?”

So, for someone who works at home and saves 2 hours on commuting plus have access to my “full office” pretty much all the time, it would seem that while I have less time than an unmarried man, I have a lot more time to devote to my business WHILE still devoting time to my family than I would if I worked in an office.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

We Think Because of Evolution…

One of the most thought-provoking books I have reads in a long time, Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters attempts to take an “evolutionary psychology” view of life.

In short, we do things as men and women because for millions of years, those behaviors were “selected” for by evolution.

If you’ve read Freakonomics, you will thoroughly enjoy this book.

One of the more interesting findings was that women value their children more than men do.

You see, one woman can, realistically, have at a maximum, about 25 children.

A man, on the other hand, could theoretically have thousands of them.

As a consequence, women recognize the limited number of kids they have and inherently value kids more than men do.

Other questions which they raised and answered included:

  • why does having sons reduce the risk of divorce?
  • why do girls of divorced parents experience puberty earlier than girls whose parents remain married?
  • why are almost all violent criminals men?
  • why are women more religious than men?

They take a data-based approach to these questions (and are quick to stress that just because the data supports it doesn’t mean it’s an ideal situation. For them, it’s “just the facts.”)

Still, I found myself after every 2 pages or so, putting the book down to think about some element of their argument. It’s been a while since I did that.


Friday, January 07, 2011

I created this mess…

The other night, Tonka wanted to get out of bed (it was late) and look for her American Girl doll.

After an initial look, she couldn't find it. So, I told her to get in bed and we'd find it in the morning.

Next thing I know, she send me the email below from her iPhone while in bed!

-----Original Message-----
From: Tonka Epstein []
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2010 7:40 PM
To: Abba
Subject: Dolly

If you don't let me find dolly

You won't get your

Awsome birthday present

Sent with Love from my iPhone,


Thursday, January 06, 2011

We’re all biased….

One thing I found interesting was how based on equally limited information, many people (not just those who commented directly on the blog) were willing to guess the race and gender of the police officer in this “probably a black or Hispanic kid” story.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

“It’s named after Andrew Jackson…”

Andrew Jackson - 7 th President of the United ...

Image via Wikipedia

A few weeks ago at breakfast, Tonka, Paco and I were going over the results from the previous Sunday’s football games.

“…and Jacksonville beat Tennessee,” I said.

Then, out of NOWHERE, Jokinen says, “well, Jacksonville was named for Andrew Jackson and he was from Tennessee, so it’s kind of like they beat themselves.”

I couldn’t believe it.

Now, I know where Jackson is from, but I actually had to look up on Wikipedia to confirm that Jacksonville was named for Andrew Jackson (it was).

How he knew that is beyond me.

See, I told you that football was very valuable education tool


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

When you email your kid…who is 7

After I drafted yesterday’s post about Tonka, you know what I did?

I emailed it to her.

That’s right.

Tonka has use of an old iPhone (it’s only on wi-fi) and sends/receives emails.

So, I copy/pasted it and emailed it directly to her with a note “here’s what I wrote about you, hope it’s ok.”

Then, it dawned on me that I was beginning to have a new type of conversation with my oldest child.

It also dawned on me that she can now go back and read this blog. whoa!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Teaching Perspective….

A few weeks back, Tonka celebrated her 7th birthday.

As part of the festivities, we were going to have a small party for her class at school.

The NFO had asked me to drive her to the bakery to pick out a cake, but being the kind of person I am (feel free to interpret that as you wish) and a general aversion to retail experiences (unless I’m on a marketing research trip) combined with a drive for efficiency, wondered if there was a better way.

I suggested to Tonka that we look online to see if we could pick out a cake and just call in the order for a later pickup.

There were no cakes online, but there were cupcakes and Tonka agreed to having those instead.

What’s more, she agreed to ordering some for which she didn’t see a picture (the baker just told us, sort of, what was available.)

To Tonka’s credit, she elected to say, “hey, they are cupcakes and I’m pretty sure that, no matter what, they will be yummy.”

Instead of throwing a fit about having a cake or about having to see each and every one of the cupcakes, she said, “they are JUST cupcakes” and she was more than satisfied that the objective (yummy treat) would be met.

I was thrilled by her response and perspective. So proud of her for that one.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A “more perfect union?”

The other day, Nadia was listenting to her customized Pandora radio station and a song I had never heard came on.

It took me a minute, but then I realized that they were actually singing the Preamble to the Constitution.

Through the magic of YouTube, I found the song (here it is)

First off, I found myself getting emotional about it in a way that I never had before.

Second, I started to think about it, particularly the phrase “establish a more perfect union.”

What I don’t get is: how can something be “more perfect?”

Either it’s perfect or not.

Anyway, something to think about this New Year.