Browsing Tag


AARP is raising it’s brand equity via YouTube

Never let it be said that AARP isn’t relevant and the brand’s awareness is limited and only known to those 42 and over or people who have the same name as their father and accidentally gets the cool magazine every now and again.  Welcome to the social media, where age is largely unknown and rarely given.  So not only can you get really good term life insurance or a recommendations for how to deal with Medicare part B or whatever – they are putting some pretty darn inspirational messages into the marketplace via YouTube with the video below.

I’ve never looked to AARP for messages about hope, the future and contribution, will now though!  Glad I found this on FriendFeed.

Principles: Shading strategy, execution and interactions

prin·ci·ple [prin-suh-puhl] –noun

1. an accepted or professed rule of action or conduct: a person of good moral principles.
2. a fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from which others are derived: the principles of modern physics.
3. a fundamental doctrine or tenet; a distinctive ruling opinion: the principles of the Stoics.
4. principles, a personal or specific basis of conduct or management: to adhere to one’s principles; a kindergarten run on modern principles.
5. guiding sense of the requirements and obligations of right conduct: a person of principle.
6. an adopted rule or method for application in action: a working principle for general use.
7. a rule or law exemplified in natural phenomena, the construction or operation of a machine, the working of a system, or the like: the principle of capillary attraction.
8. the method of formation, operation, or procedure exhibited in a given case: a community organized on the patriarchal principle.
9. a determining characteristic of something; essential quality.
10. an originating or actuating agency or force: growth is the principle of life.
11. an actuating agency in the mind or character, as an instinct, faculty, or natural tendency: the principles of human behavior.
12. Chemistry. a constituent of a substance, esp. one giving to it some distinctive quality or effect.
13. Obsolete. beginning or commencement.

14. in principle, in essence or substance; fundamentally: to accept a plan in principle.
15. on principle,
a. according to personal rules for right conduct; as a matter of moral principle: He refused on principle to agree to the terms of the treaty.
b. according to a fixed rule, method, or practice: He drank hot milk every night on principle.

The funny thing about principles is that not only is the construct so nuanced that it supports 15 different dictionary use cases, but we often forget iT shades most daily actions. I was reminded of this throughout the week based on three different interactions within multiple settings – professional, social and familial. The trifecta of situational proof points that principles could be seen as an individual’ personal acceptable use policy.

Each situation for each participant is shaded by not only personal experience/biases, but constrained to the context of one’s principles. A friend has told me time and time again, your “world view” impacts your reactions and others reactions to YOU. For example, my view of productivity and follow up is not the same as others or vice versa. which while circular logic is the recursive spiral many interactions get into because of core DNA differences with folks. At times you just can’t connect your idea, emotions or actions toward what may or may not be common goals. Ultimately, how does an individual internalize a strategy, a brand or an action plan in the marketplace or in a cohort group is often the common thread of miscommunication between folks, as least that’s my lesson of the week around principles.

To effectively lead, manage or interact this is a baseline reality is often forgotten and overlooked, MYSELF included. I find myself not asking enough questions, but instead interpreting reactions and actions within how I would see/feel on a given topic which is more of an anchor than way to move forward and drive change. So my personal and career challenge to myself of week is to use my ears more than my mouth and to ask questions as to why something isn’t as effective as I thought it would be, rather than to make assumptions based on my own understanding/filter.

I think with this approach then perhaps I can avoid the pitfall of the best laid plans going awry. So now I think I have 101 things to be thankful for.

I really get excited when life hits you in the head with a blunt object and make you realize the best thing is that we are all different and bring different view, strategies and tactics.

For me it’s those situational reminders which provides clarity on things. I think I’ll read the 4 agreements again.

Out of the picture

You may be quite sure you know where you’re going
But sooner or later you’re out of the picture
Too many lost names, too many rules to the game
Better find a focus or you’re out of the picture

Somewhere along the way the clock runs out
Somewhere along the way it all stands still

Firemen save a millionaire’s mansion
But when it’s done, they sleep on the side of the road
You may be lost, you’ll find
Just another paradigm
Just a stop frame in time
And then you’re out of the picture

Somewhere along the way the clock runs out
Somewhere along the way it all stands still

Take away this Columbus Day
No more bones on display
Blackhawk never had a say
Just taken out of the picture

Somewhere along the way the clock runs out
Somewhere along the way it all stands still

Son Volt/Jay Farrar

What are you focused on in life? There are so many distractions on a daily basis that it is sometimes difficult to prioritize your efforts and try to align them to something meaningful. It’s been an interesting couple of days to say the least and hopefully an opportunity for me to make the next year just a little better for the folks around me.

This past weekend I rolled into my 36th year in the game, along with my twin Jay, and with fathers day I was ready for MY weekend. The last year has been great for many reasons – a new son and other milestones which I was lucky enough to hit, but unfortunately, I’ve not been thinking about about me but a dear friend who passed on a couple of weeks ago, Michael D. Foster at 59 years old. You know the type of friend, who I’m talking about someone who you would spend hours with just goofing and then somehow you lose touch. With a single phone call from a friend on my birthday to wish me well yesterday, I was reminded of the fragility of all of this with a single sentence “So I got bad news too — Foster’s dead, not sure you knew”.

Foster was just one of those guys who are one of life’s examples that people are often much more than what they appear on the surface. An unfortunate example of this is the recent death of Tim Russert, he wasn’t just a great political mind, but apparently he was Superman. Foster had a little bit of Superman in him too, he may not have been the godfather to 3 kids or famous on air personality, but he had the same type of unknown side by most. His day job was a way to a means, but family, friends and trying to do something better was his focus. He’s that unlikely sage who you random into at college house, that weird old guy who just happens to show up everywhere and then one day you just connect.

When I heard about Mike’s death yesterday, I immediately pictured him cackling/laughing, thought of his loyalty and his life long passion to do good for those around him. Mike wasn’t the type of guy who you see and say “I bet he’s a good guy”, in fact a good deal of folks would take a couple of steps the other way – he was disheveled to say the least and normally covered in paint, which is a good reason to step away. The guy ruined a couch of mine, got paint on my newly finished banister and tripped and broke a window at my house – kind of trainwreck actually, but part of the unpolished charm.

Mike was a proud father of two, Bob and Joe were central to at least 50% of the stories he would tell, sometime 20 times over – each time just a little more embellished, most of which both denied being something that actually happened, like most of us when our Dad’s tell stories out of school. He befriended probably 1000’s of people who met him during college and most of which drifted away every four years during the his nearly 30 years in and around Washtenaw county, I’m glad to say I met him. I’m glad I was able to learn from him, his lesson’s, his maxims and the crazy “music” he played on his numerous guitars which were never tuned. As his landlord, I had to try and respect the other renters, but secretly I didn’t give a shit – it was Foster, he had carte blanche as far as I was concerned, rent paid or not – mostly not.

So on this Fathers Day and with my slide in to the back half of the average life expectancy of a male, I’m just a little more focused on how to better understand where I’m going and how to not forget too many names. As a son, a father of 4 and a friend of couple of folks, I will challenge myself over the coming year to engage people just a little more and share my personal side with the folks I interact with. Perhaps I can be just a little more Dopp-esque and acknowledge those intersects with people and better prioritize things so that those intersections so they can happen just a little more than they do today.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going….

While I thought this might be a weekend where it was all about me, a mistake we ALL too often make, it’s become more about the people I know and thinking about what they are doing today. I’m glad I got the opportunity to catch up with Mike in May when I was in town, just one of those random schedule and geographic intersections.

Who are you going to catch up with Today? What are you going to prioritize a little higher over the next year?

Clock’s ticking and somewhere along the way it will run out and then you’re out of the picture…

Michael D. Foster

Fun on the road?

This post clearly has the opportunity to be a whoa is me post, but I’ll try and not make it one of those.

So I’m officially immersed in the my spring speaking tour, 3 speaking gigs this week and at least another 12,000 air miles and additional 3 pitches before June 10 and various and sundry trips in between. I just received an email from a colleague informing me to have fun in Boston and I thought about it and I think folks who don’t travel much don’t necessarilly understand that travel isn’t fun.

The Essence of Business Travel

No matter what the location – Pheonix, Maui or Amsterdam it is still work! Typically you travel somewhere because you have stuff to do and places to be. You may be staying at the Pheonician, a four seasons or resort in some place like Banff Springs – you rarely get to enjoy the ammendities. OK sometimes you DO get to golf…

Ultimately I try my best to weave in friends and family in as possible, but it is normally a 1 out 10 type of thing since the paid gig comes first – priorities. You have to make sure your up for a keynote, customer meeting or prospect meeting at 9, so you can’t do bars with your fraternity brother until 3 AM. So while I appreciate Ed’s well wishing and fun recommendation, it is gonna be difficult.

But wait, I should have a good meal at least right?

Good Food Must Mean Good Times, Right?

A man’s got to eat and not every meal on the road is good, there is a whole lot of airport McDonald’s, more than I like.  That being said, admittedly I have had some GREAT meals on the road, both on and off the expense account, but that doesn’t mean that it was fun. The general rule is that the better the meal, the more likely it is NOT on an expense account, since I’m a foodie I try and get the best local food possible.  I acutally spend a good deal of time investigating place to eat, since this is typically the only thing which you can ultimately count on when on the road, since a man’s got to eat.

At the end of the day, no matter what the restaurant is – it is business if you aren’t able to eat alone. You’ll typically have customers, partners or staff members and you still have to talk supply chain or technology all night long, remain sober and not unveil your real interests. I gotta be work Jon who likes wine, boring stories and is just facinated by your latest project which has no relationship to the deal I’m trying to position or close.

Not that I’ve done the math, but I think there is actually an inverse relationship between food quality and fun on the road. The better the restaurant the more mundane the discussion – karma punishment. Too often you are forced to fain interest in stories about a kid’s tee ball league, football or the latest cool thing they did with a Seibel integration.

So while you may get good food, you’re ultimately stymied by the atmosphere.   How many people who you work with or who you are selling to are people you would actually hang out with?

In closing, I do have to say the event I’m at and speaking to are some of the most interesting folks I know. The people that participate at NEECOM are as innovative as anyone in the industry and significantly improve my understanding of the stuff I do every time I attend. I am ultiamtely blessed by the opportunities I have and the people I meet, so Ed – I guess I will have fun in Boston since I will learn from the folks I see.

Please Note: Feel free to forward this to your spouse if you have the same type of discussions I have when I say good night as I leave Morton’s. If you have these discussion you know what I mean and you need to forward this as independent validation of life on the road.