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Archive for August, 2011

You Now Work For Apple And You Just Got Tim Cook’s First Company Email… What Are Your Initial Impressions?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

A few weeks ago Apple announced that Steve Jobs was stepping down as CEO and Tim Cook had been promoted to fill his spot.  Here is Tim’s first company email:



I am looking forward to the amazing opportunity of serving as CEO of the most innovative company in the world. Joining Apple was the best decision I’ve ever made and it’s been the privilege of a lifetime to work for Apple and Steve for over 13 years. I share Steve’s optimism for Apple’s bright future.

Steve has been an incredible leader and mentor to me, as well as to the entire executive team and our amazing employees. We are really looking forward to Steve’s ongoing guidance and inspiration as our Chairman.

I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.

I love Apple and I am looking forward to diving into my new role. All of the incredible support from the Board, the executive team and many of you has been inspiring. I am confident our best years lie ahead of us and that together we will continue to make Apple the magical place that it is.



I really like the message for a number of reasons:

  • First, the tone seems very sincere and from the heart.
  • It is very complimentary to Steve Jobs and highlighted his leadership and mentoring.
  • It is short, direct and to the point.

The only negative is the teamwork message is a little thin for my taste.

  • What are your thoughts?
  • Do you like the message?
  • If you worked at Apple what would you want to hear?
  • If you work at Apple now what is the overall tone atmosphere of the company?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Researchers! Change Is Good – Just Ask The MRA

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Having grown up in the market research industry, there are a few things that I can predict will happen year after year. When you go to the MRA Fall Conference, you will see lots of people from the data collection end of the business, presenters would be from suppliers and the conference would be in November.

However, all those things appear to be in the past!

    • The conference is now in September!
    • The conference is now called The Corporate Researchers Conference!
    • As of the last count, 40% of the attendees are from corporate America!
    • The speaker lineup is a who’s who of big business with companies like: Taco Bell, Kraft, Madison Square Garden, T-Mobile, American Express, Microsoft and Motorola Mobility.

As I type away the MRA Corporate Researchers Conference has over 350 people registered to attend. NICE JOB! I am very impressed with the changes that the MRA has made and wish them only success. I look forward to experiencing firsthand the revamped conference when members of the M/A/R/C team attend next month.

    • What do you think of the changes?
    • Are you planning to attend?
    • What do you think about the speaker lineup?
    • Are you excited about the networking opportunities?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Are You Ready For Some Football? Time To Join Our Weekly Football Pool! Yes It Is Free And There Are Prizes!

Friday, August 26th, 2011

The strike is over and the season is right around the corner.  Last year we started a football pool and I am excited to say we are going to continue it for another year. Last year’s winner, Sarah Baird, will try and defend her title.

It is VERY easy to participate. Here are the rules:

  • Every Monday (unless it is a holiday then it will be Friday or Tuesday) we will post a link to the weekly pool.
  • All you need to do is click on who you think the winner will be.
  • We are just picking winners. The point spread means NOTHING in this pool.
  • Every week we will have a winner. The winner will be the person who has the most correct games.
  • If there is a tie, the tiebreaker will be the total points of the Monday night game.
  • If there is still a tie there will be multiple winners.
  • All picks need to be in by Friday at 5:00 CST UNLESS there is a Thursday night game and then the picks need to be in by Thursday night by 5:00 CST.

The weekly prize will be a $50 American Express gift certificate. In addition, the person with the highest CUMULATIVE SCORE for the year will be awarded a $200.00 American Express gift certificate and the person who has the second highest cumulative score will be awarded a $100 American Express gift certificate. The tie-breaker (if needed) for the cumulative winners will be the total points for the Monday night game on week 16.

There is a bonus as well!

The pool will go on like this for 16 weeks. For week 17 only the winners of the prior 16 weeks and the 2 cumulative winners can participate for the grand prize which will be a $400 American Express gift certificate. If a person wins multiple weeks during the first 16 weeks they can have multiple entries in week 17.

I will be playing as well but CANNOT win the pool. I hope everyone will enjoy the football pool and I can’t wait to see who wins the first prize and has bragging rights until next year!

Good luck to all and click here to let the games begin!

Wow Check Out This (Positive) Attitude!

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Imagine you are on top of the world. You have a house that you worked for years to make it great for you and your family. All of your possessions are in the perfect place and you are very comfortable.

Then, at the drop of a hat, it’s all gone. Well, that exact scenario happened not once but twice this summer to members of our team. In St Louis a tornado touched down a block away from one team member’s house, almost destroyed their entire neighborhood and basically left a shell of their home. A few weeks later in a rural part of Texas some type of freak rain storm destroyed another house. I spoke to both of our team members and amazingly they both had great attitudes! I am sure that both of them were really upset, disappointed and frustrated, but I must they never showed it!

I asked one of them how things were going and what we could do to help and here is their response:


“Yesterday was better than the day before so I think we are making progress. I got my internet and voice line hooked up at the rental yesterday which was huge….3 days ahead of schedule. Second adjuster went out to the house yesterday and so we should have the majority of that wrapped up by tomorrow. I’m slowly getting my head wrapped back around the projects I was working on. It seems like I was ‘out’ for a month, rather than a few days. We have several months of cleanup and rebuilding ahead to put back what was wiped away in 15 minutes… but we are up for it. Thanks for checking.”


I must admit her response got me a little choked up especially when she said they had to cleanup what was wiped away in 15 minutes …but they are up for it…
Amazing! What a great attitude and way to go through life. D.N and J.S. – I am so sorry for what you and your family have gone through. I hope I would have the strength and courage to have your positive attitude and outlook if something like that ever happens to me.

  • Have you ever had something like this happen to you, friends or family?
  • If so how did they handle the situation?
  • Shouldn’t all of us have a positive attitude no matter what the situation is?

I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments.

Attention Travelers! Are You Having As Much Fun As You Used To?

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Like most readers I travel a fair amount. My travel involves client meetings, industry presentations, board meets for associations I am on, sporting events or just sitting on a beach trying to relax. All of that is great, enjoyable and productive. The problem is getting there! Traveling these days just isn’t as much fun as it used to be. Maybe it is the travel delays. Maybe it is the challenges of changing a ticket without giving up your first born. Maybe it is the lack of information you get from gate agents so you can’t make an informed decision on your traveling schedule. Maybe all of that adds up to a lot of frustrated people at the airport who seem to be becoming very inconsiderate and perhaps rude. Here are just a few things that happened on my last few flights:

  • When they made the announcement for First Class and Executive Platinum, the only person who didn’t try to board the plane was a 4 year old.
  • Prior to take off the person behind me was speaking very loud on her cell phone I truly believe she thought she was a celebrity who was on her own private plane.
  • No one buys food on a plane anymore. Instead, they bring their own. I must admit some of the smells are tough to take on a two hour flight.
  • The oversized bag routine – frankly I could go on for 4 pages alone about this one.

What are your thoughts?

  • Have the delays, the extra charges for everything forced people to be self centered and very rude?
  • Have you noticed the same things?
  • What is the worst thing you have ever seen?
  • What bothers you most about traveling?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Football Fans! Time To Pick Your All-Time Greatest Team!

Friday, August 19th, 2011

With the football season right around the corner I thought it would be fun to have a football post. It’s time for you to pick your all-time football team. What I am asking is, if you could have anyone on your team, regardless of when they played, who would you want? You will be picking just skill positions. Pick 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers and 1 tight end. This team will play under the current NFL rules.

So my question to you is, who is on your all-time greatest team?


Click here to pick your team!


I look forward to seeing your team.

As We Get Older… We Need To Start Listening To The Most Important Person In Our Lives…

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

As I get older there is a need to change and to change quickly. I really need to put this at the top of my priority list. What do I need to change you ask? I need to listen to my body! If I have a lingering ache or pain I need to do something about it by either stop playing a sport, get treatment or get this…go see a doctor! Ok, I said it. Like most, I don’t like seeing doctors and frankly, it is very easy to put off a visit. Recently, I had an injury that I kept telling myself was nothing. Week after week, month after month I kept saying “It isn’t anything. It’s no big deal. It will go away.” Well, I didn’t. Finally, after I heard from a friend who was sick, I saw a doctor. The first doctor thought I had a sports hernia and the second one wasn’t sure what it was. They sent me to a surgeon who believes it is probably a tear that needs to be addressed.

The reason I am sharing this isn’t for any sympathy at all. It is for one reason only – I want to make the point that as we get older we need to really listen to our body and NOT tune it out! It is very easy to get caught up in life and forget to take care of yourself.

So, I ask you…

  • Do you listen to your body?
  • The next time you aren’t feeling well or have a nagging injury, what are you going to do about it?

I truly hope you do the opposite of what I did.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Time To Put The Lowe’s IMPACT MODEL To The Test!

Monday, August 15th, 2011

I am in the process of doing a lot of remodeling and have been spending some of my free time at Lowe’s. As I was coming out of the restroom I noticed a number of employee lockers and a big sign that read, ‘THE IMPACT MODEL.’ I got a little closer and really concentrated on their IMPACT MODEL and what it meant.

I  Initiate Contact
M Make Assessment
P Provide Assistance
A Add on Sales
C Close the Sale
T Thank the Customer

I really liked the IMPACT concept. I like what it stands for. The question is, how did my experience rate compared to the IMPACT MODEL?

Initiate Contact – I must admit I was in there at 5:45 which can be a tough time to find someone to help you. For those of you who don’t know me, I am not handy and clearly need a ton of help. It took me a while to find someone to help me – probably about 5 minutes. It wasn’t because the employees were helping anyone else. It seemed like they were short handed, which was confirmed by Cleo, the nice gentlemen who helped me. Also, there was no greeter at the door. For ‘Initiate Contact,’ I would give them a D.

Make Assessment – I must say that Cleo did a really nice job. He asked lots of questions and really helped in the process. I assume ‘Make Assessment,’ means can the employee help me or does he need to find another colleague who can? Cleo was solid at this and I would give him an A.

Provide Assistance – Again, Cleo was fantastic. However, the second person I spoke with was just OK. They couldn’t answer all my questions so they brought in a department manager, who in turn passed me onto another person, who finally answered my questions. This process was very fragmented and didn’t work very well. It made me feel like a hot potato. This is also when I asked Cleo how business was doing. He said it was OK, but they were very short handed. It showed. For ‘Provide Assistance’ I got a mix of good and bad so I would give them a grade of a C.

Add on Sales – Cleo did nicely in a VERY nice way. I never got the feeling that he was trying to sell more expensive items or items I didn’t need. One of the other people who helped was Chance, who was also great. He mentioned a few ideas about getting the items they were out of and for a little less money. He told me I could do that online and get this – at other stores! For ‘Add on Sales’ I would give them a grade of a B.

Close the Sale – Well, the proof is in the pudding and I bought almost $800.00 worth of stuff so it seems like a Grade of an A to me.

Thank the Customer – It started with Cleo and ended with the cashier. Everyone was great, friendly and helpful. The only person who appeared to be a little short and show how busy they were was the department manager. As a manager, I would have been proud to say all these people worked for me.  I would give them a grade of an A.

My scorecard reads:

I  Initiate Contact D
M Make Assessment A
P Provide Assistance C
A Add on Sales B
C Close the Sale A
T Thank the Customer A

Overall, that would be a solid B.

Now your turn:

  • What do you think of the Lowe’s IMPACT MODEL?
  • Please describe and RATE your last experience at Lowe’s.
  • Are you more loyal to Home Depot or Lowe’s?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Time For Some Fun Friday Trivia

Friday, August 12th, 2011

A few weeks ago I took a trip with the kids and bought a card game. The game was ‘Presidential Trivia’ and we had a fun time playing together. Some of the questions were very interesting and I thought today we would have a fun quiz about our presidents. This quiz includes some questions I took from the card game as well as others I got from my own research. As usual no need to try and Google the answers or ask your friends. The quiz will be timed. Time to play and see how many you get right.

Click here to test your presidential knowledge!

Good luck to all and happy Friday!

Everyone Wants To Save More Money. The Real Question Is, How?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Have you ever said, I wish I could save more money? How about, Wow, it would have been great if I bought that for a little less? Perhaps one of your friends has said, I won’t be able to retire until I am 90?

I would argue that most people would like to save more money. The question is, how?

Saving for me isn’t about eating at a different restaurant or buying a 15 year old car. Saving for me is about continuing my behavior by eating and shopping at the same places or utilizing the same services but at less of a cost.

Here are a few ways that I have decreased some of my expenses in the past few months:

  • Cable Bill – Direct TV always seems to have great plans, discounts and bundling options. All you need to do is inquire. A 15 minute phone call can save you $30 per month.
  • Even though I am not a huge coupon guy, I don’t enter a Home Depot, Lowe’s or Best Buy store without a 10% off coupon. They send them constantly and they are very easy to find and use.
  • Energy Bill – most people won’t take the time to review other options. Trust me, if you do it you will probably save some $$$.
  • Wherever you shop sign-up for the store’s loyalty program. These savings can add up fast and it still amazes me that most people don’t take advantage of this.

My hope is we can build a list of best practices, websites and tricks on saving money.

Your turn:

  • What are the ways you save money?
  • Are there any websites you visit that can help?
  • Please give some recent examples of saving money.

I look forward to hearing from you.