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Archive for October, 2008

Yes, I Chew! What About You?

Friday, October 31st, 2008

As most of you know, I still play a lot of sports. For me it is a time to relax a little bit and clear my mind from my day job. Last night I played softball and as usual had to make sure I had everything I needed for the game. Cleats, glove, batting glove, bat. Check. Got them all.

I also need to check to see if I have gum…Yes…gum! For me I think I would rather play a game without a glove than without gum. I love chewing gum when I am playing sports. For me it is part of the uniform, part of the game for sure. When I play sports, I really like Super Bubble or Double Bubble. They make nice bubbles and I like the taste.

During the course of a day (not in a meeting) I will chew Wrigley’s Big Red. I love the cinnamon taste and Big Red really does it for me.

Here are a few facts you might not known about chewing gum:

  • Chewing gum aids in appetite control
  • For some people, chewing gum relieves stress
  • Chewing gum burns eleven calories an hour
  • In the early 1900’s, William Wrigley Jr. was one of the first to promote the sale of branded goods through advertising. Wrigley’s new spearmint gum quickly became a best seller.
  • Cinnamon, spearmint and peppermint are among the most popular flavors of chewing gum today.
  • 100,000 tons of bubble gum are chewed every year
  • The average American chews over 300 sticks of gum each year.
  • Over $2 billion of gum is sold in the United States each year.
  • Dried chewing gum can be removed from hair using peanut butter

What about you:

  • Do you chew gum?
  • What’s your favorite flavor?
  • Does it help you relieve stress?

Interestingly I have always been brand loyal. I think I have been chewing Wrigley’s Big Red as far back as I can remember.

I am curious if most people are brand loyal as well.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Kiss a little longer...

Is It Me, Or Does It Seem To Be That The Glass Is Half Empty More Often?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

During the course of the week I spend a lot of time on the phone. I speak to a lot of people in the industry, and to clients, friends and family members. Maybe it’s just me, but I have noticed a trend over the past few years. People tend to complain about lots of things. They seem to be looking at the glass like it is half empty instead of half full. I realize that the economy isn’t where any of us want it to be, but it just seems that something (maybe that) is clouding their judgment.

Since I participate in a number of board meetings at both the college and industry level, I see many people come together and interact. It seems when a new idea is tossed out, more people go negative than in the years passed. They almost start with a "no" right out of the box. They start with it can’t be done for this reason or that reason! Did you consider this or that? They would rather spend 10 hours thinking about all the reasons this new idea can’t work as opposed to staying positive, focused and trying to find ways to make it work.

I have always been a person who is optimistic. Perhaps at times too optimistic (at least that is, in the eyes of some who know me well). Maybe they are right, but that’s the way I always approach things. I always believe that something can get done–especially if everyone is working together. Our job is to make something happen and anything less than that is a failure and unacceptable.

  • Do most people view the glass as half empty or full?
  • Do you agree with my thoughts?
  • Do you have some ideas and thoughts to get people to be a little more optimistic?

I look forward to your comments.

Why Don’t We Debate Why People Watch The Debates?

Monday, October 27th, 2008

A few weeks ago, I watched the third and final Presidential debate. During the 90 minute discussion, it seemed like both candidates must have said "that just isn’t true" a hundred times when the other candidate said something about them. Or if they weren’t disputing what the person said they seemed to be shaking their head with a sign of no that’s not correct.

Even though this posting has a little bit of a political slant (something I said I would never do), I am wondering why the average person watches the debates. Before you respond, the reason I ask is that frankly I don’t know who is lying. Maybe that is too strong of a word–misusing the truth or embellishing or spinning what they did or didn’t do. I don’t know who voted on this bill or that bill! When I think about it and have this conversation with friends and industry contacts they seem to say the same thing.

Are people watching the debate:

  • To see the interaction between the two candidates?
  • For the content?
  • To see if a candidate really messes up?
  • To see how the candidates handle themselves under pressure?

I look forward to reading your comments.

P.S. This posting is in no way endorsing either candidate.

Attention Sports Fans: Why Can’t We All Just Shake Hands?

Friday, October 24th, 2008

In the business world you say hello and then most of the time shake hands. You haven’t seen a friend in a long time? The same thing could happen: a big hello followed by a big handshake. Who knows? Maybe even a hug.

The other day I was watching a sporting event. Okay, it was game four of the Redsox/Angels playoff series. And as the game ends there is a huge celebration from the Redsox, followed by looks of disbelief on the Angels’ players’ faces followed by lots of interviews followed by even more disbelief and frowns from the Angels’ players, followed by lots of champagne flowing (in case you were wondering it was forty-eight bottles of Korbel for the Redsox celebration–sorry I digress) and even more interviews.

These teams played a playoff series for four games and never a handshake at the end of the series. Why? To me that is very odd.

Let’s review other team sports:

Hockey – after the teams literally pound each other in the playoffs, the teams ALWAYS shake hands at the end of the series.

Basketball – after the series is over, both teams usually meet at center court and shake hands, hug and share a few comments. No it isn’t as formalized as hockey but they still do it.

Football – at the end of any game and especially in the playoffs, teams exchange handshakes and in fact the coaches will push people (lots of people including cameramen) out of the way to shake each other’s hands.

At the end of a volleyball match the opponents shake hands! I can go on and on.

But not in baseball.

As you know, I am a huge baseball fan. For the life of me I don’t know why baseball players don’t shake hands at the end of a playoff series.

  • What is the reason why baseball players don’t shake hands?
  • Do you think this is some unwritten rule from 1910?
  • Have you noticed it as well?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Have You Noticed the Smaller Portions and Bigger Prices?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

As you know, I love to eat. No…really I do….I really enjoy eating, and lots of days I eat a lot.

As you know I am a creature of habit. I take my dry cleaning to the same place, get my groceries at the same supermarket and usually go to the same restaurants for lunch. Well I have started noticing a trend: smaller portions and bigger prices.

The first time I noticed it was at a restaurant called Brio. I really enjoy the food and atmosphere…and the location (two minutes from my house) can’t be beat. I noticed all of their entrees went up a few dollars which I totally understand. I also noticed that their portions got smaller. I was in a local Italian restaurant two weeks ago and couldn’t believe how small the spaghetti side dish was. It was literally three small bites and the portion was gone! No exaggeration. Three bites!

Last week I was eating with AB and RW at a restaurant called Best Thai and guess what? All of the prices went up $2.00. The egg rolls went up $0.50 each. Again I really have no issue with this (they need to make a profit) but once again I think the portions are getting smaller.

Are you noticing this as well?

I am really curious if different parts of the United States are experiencing the same thing.

I look forward to reading your comments.

That’s A Little Scary — What Is The Best Horror Film Of All Time?

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Yes I love to go to the movies or even watch them at home. I really enjoy action movies and a good comedy and frankly I was never a big fan of horror movies for one simple reason…I would always close my eyes when a scary part was happening. I have even been known to scream out or jump out of my seat when there was a really scary part going on.

When I think about horror films a number of them come to mind quickly:

Hello Danny...And of course The Shining and The Exorcist–which frankly are two of the scariest movies I have ever watched. I still have trouble watching The Shining and need to make sure that all the lights are on in the house….Stop laughing….It’s true!

  • With Halloween right around the corner, what is your favorite horror movie of all time?
  • What do you think is the scariest scene you have ever seen?

Which Bag Is Your Favorite? You Tell Me…

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Ok I must admit no matter where I am, I love to look at advertising. I love creative people and ads and constantly find myself looking at billboards, print ads and many other forms of advertising.

Below are six very creative "bag" ads. All of them are very clever.

Cinderella...dressed in yellow
Xray vision?
Well do ya punk?
Let go...let go.
The human touch

For me the funniest advertising "bag" is the one where the strings pull the woman’s hair. Her expression is priceless. Living in Texas, I realize the gun "bag" might seem appropriate to some—although I really am not a big fan of guns and don’t like that one. The "bag" where the lady is holding the hand of the autistic child was very impactful and I must admit I almost shed a tear. It made me really stop and think about the message and frankly wonder if there was a way to help.

  • Which advertising "bag’ is your favorite?
  • Have you seen an other creative "bag" advertisements?

I look forward to reading your comments.

So You Want To Laugh. Who Is Your Favorite Comedian?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

I gotta tell ya...Yes I love to laugh as most people do. Over the years I have been fortunate to go and see some great comedians. I can still remember being in San Francisco years ago with KW and seeing a young Robert Townsend or seeing Rodney Dangerfield in LA. Or there was the time I went with JW to see Jackie Mason. I must admit I love his humor and accent. Very quick and fast paced.

Recently I saw Jerry Seinfeld with five of my friends in Vegas and although I really love him, his show was very disappointing. A few years back I saw David Brenner as he was attempting to make a comeback and was disappointed to see him read his jokes off index cards. The best part of the night was asking an usher to give a note to David asking him to come out front and meet a few of his fans. He obliged and was very nice. I remember seeing Roseanne Barr in Boston when she was just starting out and doing her "domestic goddess" routine. Old timer Buddy Hackett was funny. He invited us back stage after a concert and one of my friends was sitting in "his" seat and he wasn’t too happy.

Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order:

  • Bill Cosby – very classy, funny. I love the faces he makes and how he looks at things.
  • The late Sam Kinison – He was wild looking, crazy, fast paced but I love him.
  • Rita Rudner – Saw her in a Vegas. She was soft spoken, very funny and her act was very clean.
  • Dom Irrera – You may not know who he is but believe me…VERY funny. I must have seen him ten times in Boston and another five in Philadelphia.

Without question my two favorites are:

  • Billy Crystal – enough said. GREAT performer. Would travel hundreds of miles to see him.
  • Robin Williams. Just thinking about him makes me laugh. He has great voices and mannerisms.

So that’s some of the folks on my list.

  • Who is your favorite comedian?
  • Who performed at the best comedy show you have ever attended?

P.S. I didn’t even mention Carrot Top!

Not Getting The Results You Want? Scrap The Plan…Maybe!

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Lots of people and companies develop plans and have success. Unfortunately with today’s economy, the number is probably less than it once was. So you are not getting the results you wanted? You are missing your revenue projections? You are missing your new client quota? You are behind on selling X amount for the new product that your innovation group developed?

So what do you do? Toss the plan? I say not so fast! In some ways the easy thing to do is to toss the plan, admit failure and go in another direction. It might give you some extra time to succeed with your boss and increase the energy level from your team who might want to go in another different direction.

I think the first step to do is actually take a step back. Take a deep breath and be honest with yourself and your company.

  • What is working and what isn’t?
  • What feedback have I gotten from prospects and clients?
  • Do the things that have made me successful in the past work now?
  • The business environment is operating at light speed. Am I keeping up?
  • Are my customer service and follow up skills perfect? If not they need to be.

During this year we have had some success in a number of business units. One of them is behind. Our leadership team is asking the same questions I have just tossed out there and the end result was we did make some minor adjustments as opposed to changing the entire plan and unit. I believe without question that was the right decision. A few hours after our discussions, I was having lunch in a Chinese restaurant and my fortune was "You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course."

I am sure a lot of the readers of the blog know exactly where I am coming from and can relate to this posting.

  • So what are you doing when your plan doesn’t work?
  • How long do you give it?
  • How much do you invest?
  • How much is the economy affecting your decision making?

I look forward to reading your comments.

We Are Planning Our Next Family Vacation and Need Your Help!

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Yes I am a planner! Yes I love to take family vacations at the beach. Well next year will be no different except I need your help with some recommendations on a location. The past few years we have gone to Seaside, Florida with my sisters and their family and rented a home on the water and had a great time. Seaside is a small, beautiful town on the water between Destin and Panama City. We love the location, the sand, ice cream and everything it has to offer. At the end of the trip we were discussing next year’s trip and yours truly was given the task of possibly a few different locations.

Here is what we are looking for:

  • Beach vacation
  • Rent a house on the beach with a pool
  • Preferably in the United States
  • Not sure of the dates–maybe June
  • Five bedrooms
  • Ninety minutes from an airport

Initially we were thinking about Hilton Head or San Diego. Now for your job. Where should we go?

  • If you have a location, I want to hear from you!
  • If you have a rental office, please send me the link!
  • If you have a family member who rents out their house, please send me their phone number

I look forward to hearing from you.

P.S. A little incentive: If we choose a location based on your recommendation there will be a gift package from my family to you!