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Archive for August, 2009

Attention Sports Fans: There Is Nothing Average About These Joes!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I was watching the Los Angeles Dodgers the other day and all of a sudden the camera was on Joe Torre. While he was on TV I was thinking this guy is a great manager and the NY Yankees made a huge mistake. I kept thinking about him and got to a place where I actually said this guy is no average Joe. I then got up, grabbed a pen and pad of paper and took a few minutes to put together a list of professional athletes with the name Joe (FYI – I didn’t use the Internet to help me with this exercise). They weren’t in any particular order but I thought I would start the list:

Baseball:

Joe Carter
Joe DiMaggio
Joe Torre

Basketball:

Joe Johnson

Boxing:

Joe Frazier

Football:

Joe Montana
"Mean" Joe Greene
Joe Namath

Hockey:

Joe Niewendyk

Now your turn

  • Who makes your list of professional athletes who start with the name Joe?
     
  • Who are the best of all-time?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Joe Torre

Joe DiMaggio

Joe Frazier

Joe Montana

What Is Your Favorite TV Sitcom Theme Song?

Friday, August 28th, 2009

I was driving around last night and all of a sudden I started to chuckle. I didn’t think of something funny and I was alone so no one said anything funny! The reason I was laughing is the theme song to "Welcome Back, Kotter" came on the radio. For me it brought back some fun times during my childhood and the show. I still remember John Travolta doing his thing and Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington and Gabe Kaplan! Just a very funny show.

I really like the theme song and it gave me a chance to pause and think about TV theme songs. Here are a few that I came up with and some comments:

  1. The Love Boat – I actually liked the star-studded show and thought the theme song was catchy
     
  2. Cheers – Being from Boston how do I not put this on my list!
     
  3. Mr. Ed – Ok I didn’t love the theme song so much as I liked the talking horse
     
  4. Laverne & Shirley and show that has "Schlemeel, schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated" in a song has to make the list. I thought the show was hysterical and a great spin-off
     
  5. Green Acres – catchy song and a funny show starring Eddie Albert and Zsa Zsa Gabor
     
  6. The Addams Family theme song made me laugh

I think my favorite of all-time starts out with "Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful ship . . . " which is the theme song from Gilligan’s Island.

  • What is your favorite TV theme song?
     
  • What do you think of my list?
     
  • Describe the memories the theme songs bring back for you
     
  • What theme songs do you know the words to?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Researchers: What Conference Will I See You At?

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The fall always brings a little cooler weather and research conferences. In fact, lots of conferences:

ESOMAR Congress Sept 15 – 18

 

AMA Research Conference Oct 4 – 7

 

QRCA Annual Conference Oct 7 – 9

 

CASRO Oct 13 – 16

 

IIR The Market Research Event Oct 18 – 21

 

PMRG October 25 – 27

 

MRA Conference Nov 4 – 6

 

WOMMA Nov 18 – 20

 

With tighter budgets and a challenging economy:

  • What conferences have you decided to attend?
     
  • What about exhibit?
     
  • Are you going to send fewer people to conferences?
     
  • Did I miss any conferences?

As of now I plan on attending the AMA, IIR and WOMMA conferences and am still on the fence with a few others. We will be having colleagues at most if not all of the conferences that I listed.

I look forward to reading your comments and hopefully seeing you soon.

The Hardest Sport I Ever Played And How It Changed My Life

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Over the past forty or so years I have played lots of sports. It all started when I was a little boy and attended an all sports camp. Over the years I have played baseball (my first love), football, hockey, basketball, golf and tennis. The question is what is the hardest sport for me to play? Well it was one of the ones that I listed with a little twist.

So let me set up the story. About 12 years ago, I am visiting my parents in Boca Raton Florida. It was another beautiful morning, one that I was going to hit tennis balls with Gunner the local pro in the area. Gunner is a great guy with lots of patience, a big smile, great strokes and an amazing upbeat personality. After sweating up a storm for an hour my next door neighbor Sonny was hitting with Gunner next. We exchanged hellos, handshakes and as I was walking to go to the golf range to hit some balls Sonny said "what are you doing in an hour?" I respond with "Nothing. What did you have in mind?" So we decided to play tennis in an hour.

When I returned (after hitting 100 golf balls, 98 not so well), Sonny was finishing up with Gunner. As they were done Gunner said why don’t you try it with this? Now you are probably wondering what "this" is? Well what I forgot to mention is Sonny has MS and has been confined to a wheelchair for many, many years. So the "this" that Gunner mentioned was a wheelchair. I have been playing tennis for over thirty years, but never in a wheelchair and frankly was a little taken back by the thought. As I sat down I was very uncomfortable in the chair, not to mention wheeling around trying to hit a tennis ball and by the way hit it close to Sonny – a lot of pressure. Well forty minutes into the experience I was really enjoying it. It was very, very hard, and I used any and all of the coordination I had in my body.

Well as I was going back for a return I fell out of the wheelchair and it ended up on top of me. I paused for a few minutes and looked up to the beautiful sun and blue sky and was thinking about life, how embarrassed I was at the situation and what I was going to do to get this wheelchair off me. I then realized I could move the wheelchair off me, brush the clay off, get a towel, clean up and get back in the wheel chair.

No what would Sonny do? He would need to call someone over to help him get back in the chair. At that point I realized so much:

  • How lucky I was to have my health!
     
  • How fortunate I was to be able to do things for myself!
     
  • No matter what the future brings good or bad, I will have the same positive attitude and smile that Sonny has!

These were three life lessons that I learned on that sunny day playing the hardest sport I have ever played in my life.

  • What is the hardest sport you have ever played?
     
  • Did it teach you any life lessons?

I look forward to reading your comments.

It Used To Be WHY NOT And Now It Appears To Be WHY BOTHER!

Friday, August 21st, 2009

For me something seems to have changed in the past year. Maybe it is the economy or just a cycle but lots of businesses seem to be going through this. Years ago I used to feel and hear a lot of people who were treating their clients like gold. It always seemed that "WHY NOT?" was the standard. Anything could be done to please a customer and no request was ever too big. You felt the company would do anything for you 24/7. It almost seems like that has turned into "WHY BOTHER?" What’s the point? I am probably not going to get a bonus or anything extra so why should I go above and beyond. I have seen this so many times in so many retail establishments it isn’t funny! Way too many to count. But from where I am standing it doesn’t end with them. It seems like it’s contagious and in most businesses.

Have you noticed this as well?

  • What happened?
     
  • Is it the economy?
     
  • Is it the last few generations of workers?
     
  • Is it work ethic?

Whatever it is I really don’t like it. I think the mindset really needs to change and change quickly.

Employees make the difference if the cash register rings! If revenue is going to go up it needs to be a team effort and everyone contributing to ensure every customer is happy every time they do business with the company.

What are your thoughts?

I really look forward to hearing your comments.

When You Are Performing At Your Best, What Words Do You Use To Describe How You Feel?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Last month while I was preparing to go to Omnicom University I was reading a Harvard Business Review case Study entitled "The Making of a Corporate Athlete." The article was very interesting and had a discussion around athletes and for them to describe how they felt when they were performing at their best.

I gave it some thought and wanted to see what words I would use to describe how I felt when I was performing at my best. Here are a few that I came up with:

  • Confident
     
  • Passionate
     
  • Focused
     
  • Excited

Now your turn.

  • When you are on the top of your game what words do you use to describe how you feel?
     
  • Describe the words that you would use when you are in a zone and making things happen.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Hey Guys, What Kind Of Manners Do You Have? Hey Ladies, What Kind Of Manners Do You Like?

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Sometimes by doing nothing and just looking around I can find a good topic for a blog. Last week was no different. As I was pumping gas, a car pulled up alongside of me and the driver got out. The person was maybe 25 and the passenger stayed in the car. As they started to pump gas I started to think that is really odd. The person who was pumping the gas was a female, while the male (no idea if it was her brother, boyfriend) sat in the car listening to music. I was kind of — no strike that — I was VERY surprised. Maybe it is me but I think the guy — the male — should always pump gas. Maybe I am old-fashioned but that is just the way I feel.

I started to think about this a little more and gave some thought to what other stuff am I old-fashioned about. Here are a few others:

  • When I am walking with a female I will always be on the outside or closest to the curb. This way if a car is out of control it hits me first.
     
  • I will always wait until everyone is served before I start eating my meal.
     
  • I will hold the door for lots of people: males, females, strangers — it doesn’t really matter. I will try and do this all the time.
     
  • I always will allow the lady to walk first into a restaurant, sporting event or concert.

Here are a few things I don’t do:

  • I don’t always stand up when a female leaves the table. Should I?
     
  • I don’t open the car door often for females. I wonder if I don’t do this because over time it is less expected. Maybe since everyone is in a hurry?

Now your turn:

  • Hey guys, what do you do?
     
  • Ladies, what would you like guys to do?
     
  • Because everyone is in a hurry do you think men have less manners now than they have had in the past?

I look forward to reading your comments.

I Think One of the Greatest Accomplishments is to Graduate College in Four Years

Friday, August 14th, 2009

I am sure a number of you have heard me say this before: One of the things that I am most proud of is graduating college in four years. I thought the transition from high school to college was very difficult and one filled with many challenges. With no one to feed you, set your schedule, make sure you do your homework, do you laundry and many other things, that period of time in my life and many others can be stressful.

So many people don’t graduate in four years. Perhaps it is because they change majors or the economy has affected how much money they may have or hundreds of other reasons, but the reality is many don’t do it in the timeframe that many of us had pounded in our heads. You went to kindergarten, elementary school, high school and then four years of college.

  • Since I have little kids should I be planning/saving for five years?
     
  • Is that the new standard?

Are you doing that?

I have a number of friends who have said to me that they will pay for college for X amount of years and if my kids don’t graduate in that timeframe they are on their own.

  • Is that reasonable?
     
  • Is that the way all parents should be thinking about it?

I am really on the fence with this. I really would like my kids to graduate in four years and set that expectation. But maybe in these days that isn’t reasonable.

  • What do you think?
     
  • How was your transition from high school to college?
     
  • How long did it take you do graduate?
     
  • Is five years the new standard for college?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Okay. Time For A Do Over – What Do You Do?

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Sometimes you can get a second chance. We have all made mistakes that we probably regret–mistakes that we probably would have changed if we could. So today I have some special powers and I can grant you a wish for a "do over" or two. Something that you should have done different. A chance to zig when you zagged. A chance to correct something that you would like to correct.

The question is, "What is it?"

For me when I think about this question, something pops into my mind right away. If I had a "do over" I would have studied abroad my junior year in college. I believe it would have been an amazing experience and allowed me to mature as a person. I especially could have used that experience in the global economy that we are in today. I know I discussed it a little bit but pretty much discounted it really quickly.

My bad for sure!

Your turn.

What is your "do over?"

  • Was it a relationship you would have changed?
     
  • A job you wouldn’t have taken?
     
  • A friend you wouldn’t have had?
     
  • A city you wouldn’t have lived in?
     
  • A college you wouldn’t have attended?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Isn’t Life All About Friendships?

Monday, August 10th, 2009

As time goes on I find myself reflecting on my friends more and more. I find myself thinking about my friendships in terms of health, happiness and our relationship. Not a week goes by when I don’t hear from someone in my past from one of the social networking sites. Clearly the search engines make it very easy to locate someone in your past that you have lost contact with.

Some of my thoughts include:

  • Am I a good friend?
     
  • Before I can ask that, what is the definition of a good friend?
     
  • Am I good listener?
     
  • Do I give a lot of thought before I give advice?
     
  • Am I sensitive to what someone is going through?
     
  • Do I ever say I told you so?

Lots of good questions. First of all I put a high value on friendship. Yes over the years I have been hurt by some friendships (who hasn’t?) so I probably am a little guarded before I let someone in. But once I let the person in they are in. I would help them any way I can. Whether it is a lift to the airport or listening to them talk about their parents’ health or financial situation, whatever it is, I try to be there for them.

Since I have moved around a number of times for work, I have friends in a number of different places. I believe I have grown personally and professionally because of this. For me, moving to different parts of the country has allowed me the opportunity to adapt to lots of different situations.

  • Are you a good friend?
     
  • What is your definition of a good friend?
     
  • As you get older, are friendships more or less important to you?

I look forward to reading your comments.