Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hello, Irene

Big drug dealers have a simple strategy.  Sell a highly addictive, high-margin, readily available product in mass to low-income neighborhoods.  Example: Frank Lucas, heroin, and Harlem, NY. He claimed to earn $1 million dollars per day.

Big Food has a simple strategy, too.  Sell a highly addictive, high-margin, readily available product in mass to low-income neighborhoods.  Example: Irene Rosenfeld of Mondelēz (formally Kraft Foods), Oreo Cookies, and Mobile, Alabama.  She makes $28 million dollars per year.

That we perceive the former at any differently than the latter makes me want to do drugs.

Good thing there’s a 7-11 across the street.

The solutions that never go on sale

Free isn’t really free.  And free is often a bad pick between the paid alternative.  We know this.

But what about when it comes to fixing problems?

Have frequent heartburn?

  • P&G’s solution: Buy Prilosec OTC and take it every 24 hours for your entire life.
  • UL’s solution: Eat more alkaline foods.

Having frequent anxiety?

  • Privately practicing therapist solution: Schedule time with her every week.
  • UL’s solution: Exercise rigorously for 30 minutes, 4x per week.

Need to lose weight?

  • Sensa’s solution: Buy their white powder and sprinkle it on your food
  • UL’s solution: Employ both prior recommendations

So free isn’t always the poor choice.  Maybe it’s only when it’s the easy one.

Louis CK and Dane Cook

Getting good at your job.  Understanding the formula.  Achieving your goals with ease.

At that point, your job gets difficult again.  The difficult part is how to leave your customers with something more.  Something to ponder.  Something that really sticks.

Obviously, sales people have customers.  But so do educators.  And retirees.  And blue-collar workers.  Everyone has a job, and everyone has customers.  And at some point, everyone’s job gets easy.  Even comedians experience it.

Have you moved past the easy part yet?

Effing with Fear

American Airlines sent me an interesting offer.  If I fly 9,000 miles in the next three months, I can keep my Platinum Status.  I could do it.  And it wouldn’t cost that much.

It’s an interesting proposition.  Cutting the security line.  Boarding the plane first.  Free checked bags.  Walking a little taller.

Nobody who hasn’t had Platinum Status would take this offer right?  The benefits are nice, but are they worth the time and cost of flying 9,000 miles in three months?   No way.

But for me?  A guy who has tasted the world of Platinum Status?  I considered.  I considered taking a ride to Paris and back.  Twice.

Fear sells.  And it almost got me.

I fear losing my Platinum Status.  But I realized I fear being forever addicted to Platinum Status even more.

Dang it. Guess you’ll have to deal with our packages.

What’s your relationship with your customers?  There are two options:

1. The cable company model

2. The social model

  • Use your monopoly to their advantage
  • Get off to their joy

Fortunately, there are now more alternatives to companies using the former.  As well, it’s easier than ever to start something like the latter.

Do I really have to crank tonight?

Energy is abstract.  It powers lights, appliances, cars.  And even though we pay an electric bill, utilities bill and cash to the gas station, energy remains abstract.

That is, until we think about having to hand-crank a generator.

Thinking about energy like this is valuable.  No, lights aren’t powered by a guy cranking a generator anymore.  But the energy required to power the lights is the same or more.

Why not turn off some lights, especially in corporate office buildings.  So many of them stay on all night.

C’mon.  Let’s give the guy hand-cranking the generator a break.

Positively Cruz

Did you see Senator Cruz’s 21 hour speech?  Remember what he said?  Zero chance. But will you ever forget the speech?  Also zero chance.  Why?

Great speeches are not remembered for their words.  It’s the feeling.  Feelings of hope. Feelings of joy.  Feelings of pride.

Or in Senator Cruz’s case, feelings of disgust.  Boredom.  Max pain.

These feelings can come from words, yes.  But they must be, from the speaker’s perspective, the truth.  And from the heart.

Some of the greatest speeches, renowned for their words, were most impactful because of the feelings they roused.  I Have a Dream Speech.  Gettysburg Address.  Any of Obama’s campaign speeches.  Well written, but delivered with an energy that was unforgettable.

It’s the energy projected that sells seats.  Makes bridesmaids cry.  That starts revolutions.

Speak from the heart and with passion and with energy.  Your words may not be remembered, but your speech will.

Papa John Peyton

Professional athletes are part-time athletes.  Their other job is to be paid endorsers.  Clothing, pain relievers, and food.

Since professional athletes are rational, they will accept money to endorse products that increase their net worth.  Even if it means endorsing products that are detrimental to society.

But if there is a stigma about endorsing products that are detrimental to society, perhaps the more prudent financial decision will be to endorse products that are more beneficial to society.

Looks like one stigma, professional athletes endorsing junk food, may be ready to drive social change.  Or at the very least, make endorsing junk food a poor financial decision for professional athletes.

Reputation is precious.  Threatening it, and the ability for a rich athlete to get more rich, is powerful.

I cannot wait to see Lebron dropping McDonalds.  Peyton dropping Papa Johns.  Serena dropping Gatorade.

And for the record, this grassroots-awareness-resulting-in-stigma-for-celebtrity-endorsers thing transcends junk food.  How can we use it more?

Broygus airline cop

Need to negotiate?  Try “good cop / bad cop.”

Bad cop holds the position and is insensitive.  Good cop brings compromise and is understanding.

Airlines have to play “good cop / bad cop” all the time.  Delayed flights, changed gates, bag restrictions — they do it all day.

Yet, most airlines don’t fully understand the game.  They’re correct in not letting passengers interact with the “bad cop.”  But isn’t “good cop” supposed to be your friend?

Fake work pain

Fake work is exhausting.  Pretend to be busy.  Pretend to be engaged.  Pretend to be annoyed, maybe.

But for all the effort it takes to do the fake work charade, shouldn’t there be a better way to get through the crappy 9-5?

An online class.  A blog you’re writing for.  An event you’re planning.

That stuff is less effort than fake work.  And certainly less exhausting, right?