Monthly Archives: February 2014

The summit of mount February

The month of February in a cold-weather month is like hiking a mountain.

  • Feb 1: The beginning.
  • Feb 2: “I can’t believe we’re doing this again.”
  • Feb 4: Occasional moment to enjoy.
  • Feb 12: Short break, almost to the top.
  • Feb 14: The peak of the mountain. Proud you made it safely. Will take a minute to enjoy. Excited, but the moment fades quickly.
  • Feb 15: Beginning of the decent. It’s all downhill from here.
  • Feb 17: Short break to take it all in.
  • Feb 22: “Can you believe we did it, again?”
  • Feb 26: “I’m really getting ready to be done.”
  • Feb 28: “We made it back to the bottom. Cannot believe we did it. Was it worth it? We should never do that again.”

And just like mountain climbers, we’ll do it again. Just to say we did it.

Happy Top of the Mountain Day.

The easier, only way

Want to?

  • Write a book?
  • Market your secret sauce?
  • Start your own consulting firm?

Your words might be great. Your sauce might be delicious. And your team might be rockstars.

But who’s gonna buy one, some, or hours?


Except, every one of your biggest fans.

Get fans first. Sell stuff second.

That’s the easier way. The only way.

Daily vacation

Activating airplane mode is the unofficial beginning of a vacation.

  • No emails.
  • No Facebook.
  • No calls.

Just pure bliss.

Lately, I’ve been activating airplane mode every day. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes, I’m refreshed like after a week on the beach.

Of course, business travelers go on airplane mode on flights for work. But isn’t that still airplane mode?

Flying for work. No flying at all. Take a few minutes per day on airplane mode.

Who doesn’t want a daily vacation?

Recognizing selfish questions

Some questions:

Q1) Where are the people from that shop here?

Q2) How do you make money blogging?

Q3) How old is your dog?

These are FAQ’s of me have always been easy to answer.

A1) Around here.

A2) Promoting products like Vitamix.

A3) Between 2 and five years old.

But upon closer examination, those questions are not what I’m being asked. The real questions are much more selfish than what I heard.

Real Q1) Do people like me shop here?

Real Q2) Should I be worried about you paying rent or that you’re going to ask me for money?

Real Q3) Can I pet her?

The lesson? Answer the question they asked. It’s rude to jump to conclusions. But, don’t be afraid to take a stab at the real question being asked. At best, you make a deeper connection. At worse, it’s a lot more fun.


100% to 100%

A common site:

  • Applying to 20 undergraduate programs.
  • Submitting 100 resumes.
  • Knocking on 500 doors.

It’s impossible to give 100% to each, right? So why even bother with the add-ons that only get a half-hearted effort?

Yes, it’s nice telling ourselves we tried our best by applying, submitting, knocking on a gazillion opportunities. But isn’t it better to give our best to a smaller list?

It’s certainly better for the recipients.

Logmein Not Free Anymore

How to keep your customers forever: A lesson from LogMeIn

For several years, I have used LogMeIn for my businesses. For all of those years, the service has been free with an option to use their paid version. As of Jan 21, 2014, the free tier of LogMeIn is no longer available.

I used the LogMeIn’s free version. Now I can’t.

Logmein not free anymore

To say I’m upset is an understatement. But as I always preach, I’m choosing not to get angry. I’m choosing to laugh. Not at myself. But I’m choosing to laugh at LogMeIn for this decision. A decision that gives me a perfect opportunity to teach about business and life.

LogMeIn Free vs Logme in Pro

Quick background on LogMeIn, first. LogMeIn is a web-based software application that allows you to “access, manage and support computers remotely.” For me, I used it to jump onto my businesses computers while remaining location independent. Read: doing work from the beach.

LogMeIn operated their business on a “free and paid version” model. iPhone apps do this all the time. Think Angry Birds.

With LogMeIn Free and Pro available, people had the choice. Use a simple version for free or get the feature-rich version for a price. LogMeIn has always operated on this model.

Free versions vs Paid versions

The “free and paid version” model of software is often used because it works so well.

Most people, probably 90% of the user base, choose the free version. Of those 90%, maybe 5% will upgrade to the paid version.

The free version essentially acts like a lead-generation funnel. And with many similar models, free users still can drive revenue, either directly via advertising or indirectly through referring friends into the service.

The paid version costs money and is feature-rich. The profit margins on these users is huge.

The bottom line: When structured correctly, 90% of free users and 10% paid users can be very profitable. Just like Angry Birds.

User Expectations with Free & Paid Versions

Users of software or apps distributed through the free & paid model are happy users. They eventually fall in love with the brand.

  • Free users feel loyal to the company for all the value they’re getting.
  • Paid users love the brand’s service and opportunity to be elite, ad-free, and feature-rich users.

Everyone is happy.

But users of the free & paid version model expect it to stay that way.

Taking away the free option is like a punch to the gut. Betrayal. Free users no longer get their free service. And paid users are no longer treated any differently.

Imagine if your free version of Angry Birds suddenly wouldn’t open. And upon trying, you got a message saying:

“Your free Angry Birds game is no longer available. We have eliminated the free version. To obtain your scores and records, you must download the paid app. As a loyal customer, we’re offering special introductory pricing. For you, now through Friday, it’s just 49 cents to get the app.”

What would you do? 49 cents is nothing. But you’d still be an angry bird (pun intended). And most likely, you’d feel compelled to do what I want to do: Flip LogMeIn the bird (pun intended, again!). Then, you’d simply look for another app to get the job done.

Note: There is nothing wrong with a paid-only model. Using Lyft is not free and never has been. And I’m happy to pay because the service is great. And, here’s the key, it was never free.

The Result of LogMeIn Eliminating the Free Version

Lots of stuff will be a direct effect of this decision. Of course, I’m not in their board room to see their thought process. Perhaps they want to cut marketing expenses (AKA their free version, debatably) so they are a more attractive target for acquisition. But I’m not so sure Google, the king of free products, will still be interested after this move.

Either way, as a result of eliminating LogMeIn Free, I see LogMeIn:

  • Losing their entire marketing funnel (the free version).
  • Losing credibility among rival software firms.
  • Losing loyalty and trust from customers who, like me, constantly used and touted Logmein and their other products like

Can the damage be repaired?

It’s hard to say if LogMeIn will recover from stopping their free offering. They still have which is similar, but not a perfect substitute. I feel like LogMeIn stabbed me in the back, punched me in the gut and then spat in my face.

Logmein eliminatin of free version explaination

It hurts when a person or organization wrongs you.

Yes, you have to free yourself by forgiving. Seeking revenge forever brings you down as much or more than you could ever do to them. So you should forgive, but never forget.


Your relationship with your customers is precious. It takes years to build trust and loyalty. Despite not appearing on the balance sheet, your relationship with your customers is an asset.

Protect that asset like any other. You wouldn’t throw gasoline and a lit match on a pile of cash, right?

Keep your promises to keep your customers forever.

CTA: Share this if you know someone with customers. Perhaps they can be saved from making the same mistake as LogMeIn.

Luxury cars for everyone

Need gas? Fill your tank. Low grade fuel ensures worst performance and shortest running life. Premium grade fuel is the opposite. High performance and longest running life.

I’ve never owned a luxury car, so have never fueled with premium. So what? I still get from point A to point B. And if my car craps out, I’ll buy a new one.

Your body’s relationship with food is similar.

Good news is that everyone was born with luxury body. Bad news is that nobody can purchase a new one once it craps out.

So, what grade of fuel do you use?

Who will be first?

The first school to desegregate.

The first state to allow gay marriage.

The first state to legalize marijuana.

And now the first convenience store to ban the sale of tobacco products: CVS.

It took a long time. And a lot of courage. And for CVS, quite frankly, financial incentive. But slowly, others will follow suit. Just like they did with segregation, gay marriage and marijuana.

Way to be first, CVS!

Next up: Processed food products.

Who will be first?


Nice choose

Things you can choose:

  • To be on-time.
  • Your interpretation.
  • Your style.
  • Your words.
  • Your tone.
  • Your attendance.

Making an excuse for a bad attitude, being late, taking stuff personally, looking like a schlub, unkindness, yelling, or not showing up is your choice, too.

Which do you choose?

Lyft: Beyond the Pink Mustaches

The Ultimate Guide to Lyft Ridesharing

Ask any friend or family member how I get around in Chicago. They’ll say something like, “Cab or The El maybe?” Then, it will come to them. “Oh, Lenny? He uses Lyft.”

Yep, Lyft.

I’m crazy about Lyft. I’ve been getting rides via the Lyft app since they came to my city. No cabs, no train, no Uber. Just Lyft.

My fondness for Lyft goes beyond the service. I’ve been casually touting Lyft in life-themed blog posts for a while. I think they’re the model company for our generation.

Yesterday, Lyft sent me a link to give my readers. It gets new Lyft riders $25 in free money. Amazing! Perfect time to bring together all my previously published posts mentioning Lyft. So here it is. Your ultimate guide to Lyft.

This is a living, breathing resource, to be updated regularly.


As with any of my reviews, my goal is to uncover the good, bad & ugly. As such, I do not accept any payment for reviews like this.

I do, though, get referral fees for some of my links. What does that mean? I appreciate your support.

Ultimately, the goal of my writing is to make people and organizations better. So, if there’s something I don’t like, I won’t hesitate to make note. The goal with this blog is and has always been the truth. My thoughts are the truth. And stating facts is the truth, too. So if you disagree or see any errors or omissions, please leave a comment below or contact me directly.

The Lyft community: An Introduction

The Lyft community is incredible. Drivers are all very similar. They’re just looking for some extra cash on the side. Many Lyft drivers are creatives or entrepreneurs. Some have day-jobs.

But no matter what the Lyfter’s story is, it’s almost always a learning experience. Here are some of my favorite Lyfts so far.

Andrew. Father or two high school boys and owner of a real estate consulting firm.

Arlene: The gymnast who travels with the circus.

Pinchas: The chasidic Jew who is in his last year of biblical school. Don’t expect a ride on shabbas from him!

The common thread with Lyft drivers is that they’re:

  • Fiercely loyal to the Lyft community.
  • Cool conversationalists.
  • Attentive listeners.
  • Great people.
  • Just plain fun.

And like any good community, word spreads fast. Want a new feature from the Lyft service? Just ask.

Lyft vs Taxi Cabs

Taxi rides turn me into a different person. So do Lyft rides. The former into a mean, angry monster. The latter into a better, happier me.

I love Lyft because it’s:

Cheaper than a cab

A Lyft is on average 25% less expensive than a cab. And the savings improve when you add passengers. Unlike cabs, there is no extra charge for additional riders.

Safer than a cab

Lyftees benefit from a two-way paper trail. All rides are processed through their app. So, here’s the paper trail:

  1. Electronic record of you asking for a ride. Date, time, and location are logged.
  2. Electronic record of the driver agreeing to give you a ride. Date, time, and location are logged.

Try and get that with a cab, single ladies!

Like riding with a friend

Lyft drivers are incredibly safe and trustworthy. They are all given background checks. They all have clean driving records. And they are identified through their facebook profile, which brings an added layer of “friendship.” Plus, their car is certified Lyft-ready!

Just like riding with friends, you ride in front. Ensuring you get:

  • Less car sick.
  • More leg room.
  • Your own airbag!

While I’ve only had 4 or 5-star rides, you’re protected against a bad experience. If you rate your ride 3 stars or fewer, that driver can never pick you up again.


All Lyft rides are handled through the app. Your credit card is securely saved, just like

When the ride is over, you get to leave immediately. No fumbling around with cash. No uncomfortable requests to a cabby to pay with credit card.

Before Lyft, cabs and bars were the only time I used cash. Now, it’s just bars. 🙂

Concerns about Lyft

Right now, there are two concerns with Lyft.

  1. They’re only in select cities. NYC has banned them because they were hurting the taxi business. The solution? Not sure. They’re growing quickly, so perhaps they’ll be in your city soon.
  2. Drivers aren’t full-time drivers. They’re safe, as vetted by a background check and several mock Lyfts. The drivers, however, don’t always know the best ways around. Yes, they all have GPS, which helps. But sometimes they still need to be told the best route. The solution: Call your driver immediately. Specify your exact location. Telling my drivers I live in the building above CVS and Subway has done wonders.

How Lyft works

Lyft is app-based. It sits on the 1st screen of my phone.

When you need a ride, just open the app. Press the “Request Lyft” button and your’e set. The name and picture of your driver appear next to an ETA. You can even monitor the progress on the map.

You’ll recognize your ride by the pink mustache. Give your driver a “fist-bump” and pick a destination. You can go up to 60 miles away in any direction.

At the end of the ride, you just leave. Actually, it’s customary to give another “fist-bump” at the end. Then, you’re done.

For 24 hours, after the ride, you’ll be able to rate the ride and pay.

Payments are called “donations.” It’s Lyft’s way around some legal stuff. You can increase or decrease your payment as you like. Just keep in mind you’re rated, too. So decreasing payment might get you a low rating. And that could make it tough to get drivers to pick you up.

During busy hours, Lyfts are a bit more expensive. The increase fares go directly to the drivers as an incentive to drive when it’s busy.

How to start using Lyft

Download the app. It’s available in the app store and google play. First-time Lyft riders can get $25 in free Lyft rides with this link.

CTA: Give Lyft a try. You may not use it every day, like me. But you might just fall in love with the Pink Mustache.