Friday, June 29, 2012

Holy Solar Panels, Batman…

Now that the summer is in full swing, it’s just fun to see this… 26 kWh of energy created in one nice sunny day. Forget the money…it just makes me feel good.

Ok, back to money…If you are interested, here's the link to get an estimate for your own solar panels.
(full disclosure...if you do sign up via this link, we both get some $).

I’ll keep you posted on the economics of this for me.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Stories We Tell Ourselves..

My cousin and I were talking about how to overcome adversity and the topic of the Navy Seal training program (known as “B.U.D.S.”) came up.

You know what their motto is?

“Embrace the suck.”

I really liked that.

We all have tough times and we’re all in need of a belief structure to pull us through.

Instead of wallowing in our misery, you can have the confidence that you will persevere and get to the other side.

“Embrace the Suck.”

Then, I started to think about the other cliché sayings which, to some extent, govern my life.

  1. “Leave it all on the field.”
  2. “Go Big or Go Home.”
  3. Burn the boats”
  4. Never Stop Marketing

Each of these are mantras, of sorts, which I call on when needed.

I think they also help me tell a story about the kind of life I aspire to lead.

What are yours?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Marking Time at the Playground...

Took the team to the playground the other day and had one of those slow motion flashback moments. Was thinking back to all of the times I had taken them before and had to push them on the swings, catch them at the bottom of the slides, or just hover.

No longer.

Now, I just get to sit on the bench and watch them do their thing...and think about how time flies...and savor the present of the present.

Monday, June 25, 2012

How Korach's Rebellion Teaches You to Socialize More

This will have a little less than widespread appeal, but sharing the sermon I gave this past Saturday at my synagogue on the portion of the week (Korach).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Movie: 130 Million People at a Train Station…

Last Train Home (film)

Last Train Home (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, not quite, but that’s kind of what it felt like as I watched the experience of two Chinese migrant workers in Last Train Home.

The film gives us a glimpse of life that is so foreign to us, but yet touches us every day. It’s the people who make all of the cheap “Made in China” things that make our lives what they are today.

We see the impact on a family where the parents leave their tiny village, putting the care of their 2 young children in the hands of the grandparents, and then move 2100 kilometers away to live in a 1 room dorm.

Then, the central part of the story is how everyone in China goes home for the New Year, but it’s not straightforward and can require waiting at the train station for…5 days.

Yep, 5 days.

And then, when they do get home to see the children they haven’t seen in a year, the conversation is “you're 5th in your class? You need to do better.”

Of course, that type of relentless focus doesn’t come without a cost and we see that as well, as the daughter rebels and the parents try to cope with it.

A huge chunk of the world doesn’t live like we do (but they do have mobile phones!) and this movie makes you realize and appreciate what you have, but also helps you understand (a bit) the global, human condition.


Thanks to Dave Sloan for suggesting that I watch it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Best Marketing Advice I Got…

Shanghai Night

Image by Sprengben [why not get a friend] via Flickr

So, what’s the best marketing advice you’ve ever received?

I chime in my thoughts in this Digiday article.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Too harsh a marketing lesson?

I received the following note recently. Read this and my response. Then, weigh in. Was I harsh or did I do the young man a favor?

Dear Mr. Epstein,

My name is _____ , and I have just completed my second year at ______ University. I'm now back in Maryland with my family for the summer, and last week I was fortunate to have been able to speak with Mr. _____ at length about his work at _______.

I was fascinated by his explanations of how he utilizes strategic marketing to exploit environmental markets, and he was kind enough to educate me about the marketing industry in general, and how best to pursue a career in it. He heavily recommended that I speak to you about the possibility of obtaining an internship at Sprinklr, and about the marketing industry in general as well.

I did some reading about how Sprinklr's dynamic SIREn platform aids businesses to manage multiple social media channels in a scalable way, and I am highly interested in learning what it is Sprinklr does in detail, and about what it is that you do for them.

I'm also hoping to discover if there are any potential internships at Sprinklr that would fit my skill set and interests, but just by reading your NeverStopMarketing blog and about Sprinklr, I'm certain that the opportunity to speak with you in person would be highly beneficial for the development of my interests and career path. I'm available to meet whenever is convenient for you, and if you prefer to contact me by phone my number is

xxx-xxx-xxxx. I look forward to hearing from you, and hope that you will have the time to talk, but I completely understand if time constraints render that an impossibility.
Thank you for your time.


Here’s what I wrote in response.


Thanks for writing. Appreciate you reaching out.

Your first marketing lesson, whether you intern for Sprinklr/me or not, is something called the "You/I" test.

You should look at your writing and ask yourself: which is used more frequently? "You" or "I/We".  If "you" doesn't win, you should start over.

The second lesson is "relevance."  You wrote a nice email, but your key point is "anything that fits my skill set."  However, you didn't provide any insight as to what, exactly, your skill set is. Nor any URLs for me to investigate, so I have no idea what the answer to the question is.

Now, you have a choice. You can be disheartened by this email and wonder how I can be so harsh and say, "I don't want to work for this jerk," in which case, we both move on.

Or, you can say, "what a great learning opportunity" and come back with an email that shows some real potential as a marketer.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

China-Please Vote for ME!

It’s either the beginning of the end of Chinese dictatorial rule…or it’s evidence that Democracy just isn’t worth it.

My friend, Dave Sloan, suggested that I watch a movie called “Please Vote for Me” about the election of a 3rd grade class monitor in Wuhan, China.

At the beginning of the movie, the kids have NO idea what Democracy is. Nor do they know what it means to Vote.

As the 3 candidates (8 years old) begin to square off, a few things jump out at you.

  • It doesn’t take long for them to realize that character assassination and negative campaigning is a strong strategy
  • The degree to which parents are involved…VERY involved
  • Votes can be bought through “favors”

It’s kind of like watching what happens when Democracy is introduced “in the wild.”

That…and some insights into Chinese culture as well.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Thankful Midshipman…

I met an inspiring young midshipman at BWI recently. Here’s the video.

So wonderful to hear such gratitude for what America offers…something we don’t hear enough.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Celebrating Asian-American Heritage

Some pics from the Asian/Pacific-Islander Heritage Day at American Art Musuem.

Kids had a good time, as you can see.







Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Rabbit’s Foot and the Gift from a Father

Every now and then fate just intervenes.

With my (relatively) new gig, I have (I’ll admit) been struggling with the issue of work/life balance (and I know I am not alone with that).

My buddy, Aaron Stopak sent me a note, introducing me to Allan Horlick, author of Rabbit's Foot, A Gift From My Father, who was looking for some help promoting his book.

Now, Aaron had missed my note announcing my move to Sprinklr (I guess I’m not as good a marketer as I think), so it wasn’t a good fit, but I did say to Allan…”send me the book, I’ll read it, and happy to offer some suggestions.”

And he did….and, it was like a whack upside the head.

The book is about a man (roughly my age) who is totally focused on his career…to the detriment of his family life.

Over the course of an engrossing story (which had some highly relevant angles-e.g. the protagonist is a big Redskins fan), you can’t help but come to terms with what is really important in life.

While the prose is not Hemingway quality, I think the imagery is just first-rate and the fact that most of us can find a bit of ourselves in the story makes this one worth picking up.

In fact, in the hours and days after reading the book (which I should say, I finished over the course of 2 days), I found myself thinking more and more about it and asking myself if I was living my life consistent with my values.

If that’s not the purpose of a book, I don’t know what is.

It did change my life. Enough said.

Particularly point as we head into Father’s Day…for all the dads out there trying to figure out how to do it all.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Art of the Video Game…and Asian Heritage Day

It was humbling.

I took my kids to the American Art Museum to see an exhibit about the Art of Video Games and one of the exhibits was Pac Man. (Here’s Paco playing it for the first time).

530070_10150883453324669_582724668_11605627_1474803348_nAnother was Super Mario Brothers.

Man, my childhood is in a museum…and all of this coming in my 40th year…hello mid-life Winking smile

What was great to see, as a technophile, was the wall of video game console evolution starting from Atari and Commodore 64 all the way up to the modern day. Just amazing to see how it has all progressed.

As an extra bonus, when we arrived, we walked into the beautiful atrium (a must see, if you haven’t visited yet) and we ran into Asian/Pacific-Islander heritage week.

Frankly, the kids loved that more than the Video Games (and that’s saying something) because they were able to make clay fortune cookies, decorate masks, and see a traditional Chinese dance troupe wearing the two-person dragon costume. Throw in some Indian dancers and Filipino music and you have a winner.

The Video Game exhibit is apparently going on tour. It’s not huge and it is fun. I didn’t get to read that much, but it does change your perspective on the importance of Gaming in our culture (more and more so), plus give you some perspective on the pace of technological change.