Tuesday, September 29, 2009

News Bummer

I am a conservative guy, with a pretty conservative viewpoint, but I have had it with the news media. It is no longer news but spin. Spin for ratings and personal agendas. It is a joke. I am so tired of the combination of entertainment / political spin. Just give me the news and keep your personal feelings to yourself. I don't want entertainment, I don't want feel good about my viewpoint, I don't want propaganda—I just want the news! I am tired of Fox and flipped over to MSNBC, and got the same crap from a different angle. What a bummer.

I love staying informed—but I am done with TV news. If these guys were musicians, I'd say, "shut up and sing"! (I am not a big fan of musicians spewing their politics either.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Signals provide us with a clue of what is to come. A signal is a transmission used to relay information or instructions. Over the past twenty years or so, due to my background in design, I have been extremely tuned in to the visual signals that exist and what impact they play specifically in the area of market positioning. Many clients I have worked with over the years have had the right stuff, but lacked the ability to provide the appropriate signal to the market. Companies that had great ideas, great products, people and expertise—provided signals that were contrasting their exceptional capabilities. It happens. It happens all the time in fact. What starts out as a perception problem often blossoms into full dysfunction.

Companies will surge and grow regardless of the poor signals they send. Besides, most of these companies and organizations aren't communication companies, they sell widgets, and build bridges—signals and communications aren't important—just widgets and bridges...or whatever it is they hock for a buck. But what happens is they grow into big companies and their small signal / perception issue becomes a gargantuan communication problem. Now we don't have 33 people sending the wrong signals, we have 33,000 people degrading a brand. You can see where this could get a little messy (and expensive).

Let's look at a turn signal (on a car) for an example. You might take it for granted but consistency, frequency, and standardization have really helped this simple little signal communicate with clarity and connect with people at the highest level. Misunderstanding about this minuscule little light could have grave consequences. Just think if some people tapped the brake 3 times for left and 2 times for right. Or, what if others honked their horn, or waved a hand to indicate or signal which direction they were turning. With over 250 million automobiles on the road in the U.S. it would be devastating not to have our signals jive up with our actions.

What signals are you sending? What signals do we send as parents? What signals do we send to our spouse? What signals do we send as a church? What signals do we send as a business. What signals do we send as a state—or as a nation? Are we sending the right signals?

I plan to write a series on this topic, and hope that these posts will inspire you to stop, refocus, and look at things from a new perspective. Why does it matter? —Stay tuned.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Remembering the Purple Dragon

"Purple Cow" is a book by Seth Godin based on a concept of being remarkable and different. In his book Seth discusses the reaction one would have if they were driving through cattle country, and came upon a purple cow. He says we would definitely take notice. We might stop and take pictures, call some friends, knock on some doors, call a reporter...It would just be a freak circumstance that would definitely be worthy of conversation.

Purple Dragon is the studio my old friend used to own in Atlanta. It is also the tattoo that he revealed after pulling his pants down in a conference room full of people. That was definitely a meeting worthy of conversation. Over the years, I came to love this friend. His love of life, his love for his family and his love for the people he met—he really loved life (maybe a little too much). His life stories and experiences were over the top, some of the things he shared with me were beyond belief.

He came from a culture that was totally foreign to me. I don't think I can recall a time that he didn't arrive or leave without a manly embrace, and a kiss on the side of my cheek. His entrance and exit was that of a rock star. Loud, boisterous, usually trailed by several expletives and his signature-"ROCK N' (F'N') ROLL! He was a true character, but he was genuine. The purple dragon was definitely a purple cow. Maybe somewhat crazy, but definitely remarkable.

This guy had done everything everywhere. His life was unbelievable, but unfortunately his death was not. He had everything and he had nothing. I know that nothing was left unsaid between the two of us, and I hope that nothing was left undone. I ran out of time, and so did he.

I'll miss him greatly.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Be Nice Have Balls and Dream

This entry is in response to a comment I made on Facebook. After spending the morning at a conference about leadership, I heard some fantastic stories. I thought the speakers, the setting, and everything was great! However, I guess I am getting somewhat cynical in my old age...in the half day that I attended, there was not much, if any reference to faith, or God's role in the success of these leaders. Great analogies for sure. Linda..."think small-be nice--(it can come back to you)", John..."Dream" (a safe book to write), Kevin..."follow your passion" (Red Rubber Balls), and Tony..."Look to yourself" (?). Again, I was just their for a half day--but what was the focus? Teaching points for us to learn from the pros on leadership? (If so, from the part I heard, there was not much acknowledgement of the role faith played.)

Listen. I am growing but guilty of the same thing. I don't stand for my brand as well as I should. I hope God sees me as a work in progress--and I certainly can not cast any stones. I just think that we as people and as a country are missing the focus. At our office we try to practice an idea we call "absolute function". Absolute function is something that works--all components work together and no one part fails the test. In the ad business we can design a great ad, have it on- time, and on-budget, but show the client's phone number wrong and "we fail". We could have the best ad copy, everything could be correct, on-time and on-budget, but the design is not creative enough to stop the reader and grab their attention...and guess what - "we fail".

All I am saying is in the world we live in today we better get back to Jesus. We can still use the balls, the dreams and the stories, but will only get true success when the focus is on Christ, and the order puts Christ first. I know, I know, I know--this may sound deep and extreme--but it is the simple fact. If the measuring stick for Maximum Impact was selling seats and promoting books, I would say it was a great success.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I am just a regular guy (without a book deal) sharing his feelings....and that's all.

Peace. & Thanks!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Burger Kings and Queens

A good friend of mine (Ed Jackson) always says if you want to be King, you need to treat your wife like a Queen. Sounds like pretty good advice. I think the same could apply with Burger King in general, "if you want to be the Burger "King", treat your customers as if they were the Queen. "How you are", defines "who you are". Make good food and treat people right, and you will be the "King". Get greedy and deceptive and you're likely to lose your throne.

This weekend I noticed that when you order a small coffee at Burger King you are actually getting a medium...and a medium is actually the large. Their small is "the 12 oz" coffee. So, naturally people communicating their request for a small coffee are getting duped and up-sold without their knowledge. Pretty disappointing, but I guess I am not surprised.

I can remember our President (Clinton) defining the definition of "is". Banks define the definition of "Totally Free Checking" (which is not really free), and now Burger King (and probably others) are redefining "small coffee". All for a few extra coins...

Can't we just say what we mean, and mean what we say anymore? A man can't even buy a simple cup of coffee without getting screwed by another man trying to make a few more pennies. What have we done to ourselves?

I hope you get two things from this entry. 1. Treat people how you want to be treated, and 2. when you want a small coffee at Burger King ask for the "12oz coffee" (it will save you a few pennies).

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Nashville seems to be a great city. We did a lot of walking, people watching, picture-taking, and eating (oh, I spent a day learning as well). It was a great trip to learn about managing creatives...but I think someone must have got the wrong idea concerning my L.A. Blog entry :(

Creative directors are truly a unique group of characters. I guess I should mention that I was attending a seminar by David Baker entitled "Managing Creatives".

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Coming out of the closet: The L.A. trip!

Wow. I have to say Los Angeles is an interesting place. People are very nice and pretty laid back (unless you stop on a yellow light). Anything and everything seem to be okay. I attended a planning retreat, complete with incense, candles, a chime, and even a little yoga. For a a meat and potatoes, conservative, non-sushi, married to a woman kinda guy—I actually liked the workshop, and felt I learned a lot.

I have noticed that the older I get, the more I see, and the more I listen...people are becoming much more accepting. Wow, that is pretty nice! Or is it?

It seems okay now for a man to be gay, for Sally to have two moms, to wear a head-dress and a face-cover at the airport, to bash the President, to be conservative, to be liberal, to cheat, to lie, to over indulge--it seems like anything goes.

I am a "lifer". I don't separate church and state, freedom and religion, work and play, career and family. I just call it "life". What you see is pretty much what you get. I spend countless hours helping clients study and identify who they are, what they do, and how to communicate those things to others.

As a man, a husband, a father, and a business owner. It may have taken a trip clear across the country to help me do this, so I have to thank the L.A. culture for teaching me a little more about myself.

Even though I am married, I have to tell you that I met a man who changed my life. He is my hope. He gives me strength. He provides for me. He cares for me. He supports me, and He loves me. Even though I don't always act like I should--He even forgives me. What a great man! In a time where anything goes, I have decided to come out of the closet. No, I am not gay. I am a Christian.

If you are a man, woman, gay, straight, white, black, conservative, liberal, pope, pastor, or criminal...I only wish you the best. I hope and pray that someday we can once again light a public Christmas tree, send a Christmas card, tolerate each other, love one another--without feeling awkward and out of place.

May God bless you all, whether you believe in Him or not.

Peace. & Thanks!

Friday, January 2, 2009

West Virginia Apple Buyer's Beware!

Growwwlllll! Hisss! Errrrrr!!!

I have purchased Apple computers for over 15 years. Very rarely do they break. BUT, when they do, don't look to Apple for any help if you live in West Virginia. Now that we don't have any authorized technicians, you will have to hand carry your desktop systems to the nearest provider (Roanoke or Columbus). The guys I dealt with at Applecare (which I have religiously supported over the years), have really let me down. After 4 or 5 calls where I thought we were making progress——I got shut down after they told me that they don't accept shipping of desktop units for repair. (--Would have been nice to know during the first 5 conversations we had about shipping the unit back.)

What a great resource for West Virginia business owners who use their product. Maybe there should be a new caveat..."AppleCare, cares...unless you live in West Virginia."

I would imagine Apple makes a pretty penny on all the AppleCare they sell. After this experience, I will certainly think twice before purchasing additional support help from Apple.