Category Archives: Life

There’s Always a 10% Chance

I was just looking over my local forecast and noticed something I’ve never noticed before:

There’s never less than a 10% chance of precipitation. 

Clearly, there are days everyone knows it’s not gonna rain. But it appears it is against weatherman code to ever count it out.

A few possible thoughts behind why this might be:

  1. Anything is possible right? There is always, scientifically, a chance that it could rain.
  2. This is the ultimate CYA. If it rains, you gotta be able to point to at least claiming it was an option, and therefore, it’s best to just never count it out so you’ve always got something to fall back on.
  3. People are lazy, and want things in even, incremental numbers. Why isn’t there ever a 34% chance of rain, or 4% chance? Maybe 10% covers everything from 0-10%.

I can’t clarify why I think this is relevant and/or post-worthy, but it just feels like something worth pointing out. If you can reap some nugget of wisdom from it, please share.

Kathy Griffin Disses Jesus

In case you haven’t heard yet, Kathy Griffin recently won an Emmy for her show, My Life on the D List. And she said some things about Jesus in her acceptance speech. In case you missed it, here are some links to catch you up, and the original video.

  • Then Christians got pissed about it
  • Then a theater company bought a $90k ad in USA Today
  • Then Kathy said this about it
  • Now all hell has broken loose (at least in the press)

Here’s where I stand on this: I am a Christian, and as a Christian, I would never say something like Kathy said, I would never agree the tone of it and I can’t help but twinge when I hear her comments. As a Christian, the goal is for Christ to have more and more to do with my life.

But her statements don’t outrage me.

Kathy Griffin is a comedian. Not a very funny one, but she is a comedian. She’s known for shocking people for comedic reasons, and she is obviously doing that here. I’m also pretty sure she’s not a Christian (she admits on her own website to being a militant atheist due to Catholic School experiences). So why should I expect her to thank him or think he had anything to do with it? She’s probably correct in stating that Jesus didn’t have much to do with it, and, if anything, she’s being honest (and “funny”).

What does irritate me is the reaction to the whole thing. The catholic guy in this video has lost it; I think it’s pretty close-minded to think she’s only offending Catholics. Sadly, I seem to agree more with this sissy priest on his assessment of the whole thing.

Here’s my point: I don’t expect people who didn’t go to my high school to care if they go to the state playoffs. I don’t expect country music fans to care much about my memories of sitting on the 4th row of a Prince concert. I don’t expect homosexuals to appreciate my view of sexuality, and I don’t expect non-Christians to think much of Christ.

God gives us free will, and Kathy Griffin has exercised hers. I don’t have to agree with it, but I also don’t have to get mad about it. My free will is quite free of Kathy Griffin’s.

Some other entertaining blog posts on the topic:

A Fancy Name for Failures

Pioneer is just a fancy name for failure.

Other synonyms are trailblazer, innovator, groundbreaker, leader.

I know what you’re thinking: “Pioneers are celebrated. They are heroes. They are successful.”

But there’s no way you move forward into uncharted territories without making mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Really big mistakes. In other words, failures.

But the difference in a pioneer and a true failure is that the pioneer addresses the mistake, then moves on. A failure let’s a mistake stop them in their tracks, and accepts it as unsolvable.

Some of us face things that have never been done before. At least specific enough to our situation. It may be a completely new product idea. Or maybe a break from your company’s traditional way of doing business. And when that happens, you have no reference point, because you’re the first. You’re the pioneer. And when you’re the pioneer, you have to plan for unforeseen challenges, mistakes and failures.

An expedition with Lewis & Clark was filled with carnage. Hiking to the North Pole guarantees a bout with frostbite. Safaris are characterized by encounters with lions, killer bees, snakes or all of the above.

And if you’re a pioneer, you’ll experience plenty of stuff you didn’t see coming. Shipping costs are 15% higher than expected. The Chinese New Year screws up your timeline. Product testing unveils a major flaw.

But if you plan for it, accept it, address it, fix it and move on, that’s when you’ll be a real pioneer.

Are the Questions Better Than the Answers?

You don’t need to know all the answers. In fact, you’ll be better off if you don’t. You need to know the questions. 

It’s rare for the person with the answers to just speak up. But if you know the questions to ask, you can prompt the people with the answers to share them with everyone else. And when they speak up, you know what to do, and they feel empowered. 

The questions reveal the plan and process and people you need to move your idea forward. And since no one will ever have all the answers, it’s makes much more since to try to know all the questions.  

Weekend Reading, August 24-26

Great links I hit over the weekend:

  1. Look Up During Your Sermons: Thanks to Brian for his take on this ProBlogger post. Excellent way of looking at the “stick-to-it-tive-ness” needed to blog successfully.
  2. A Change In Perspective: Believe it or not, this joker actually flew up to Kansas City just for a BBQ dinner. And a change in scenery.
  3. New Blogs from Great Friends: Rick and Jan Loy have started a new blog, and I guarantee you they will be an outstanding daily read.
  4. Two Must-See Videos: Frank tracked down two of the coolest videos I’ve seen in a while. Here’s Amateur, and here’s Kitchen Diaries. Where would web-surfing be these days without YouTube?
  5. Start With the Customer: Interesting how so many of us marketers use the same words and same approach to sell different products. Neil has an excellent example that’s specific to direct sales.
  6. Top Names for Pets: Similar to the post above, David points out that the top name for both dogs and cats this past year was the same name. How’s that for differentiation?

My Friend is an Idiot

And here’s proof:

The guy on the left is Aaron Loy, my college roommate, best man at my wedding and all that other stuff. He is, undoubtedly, an idiot. But an entertaining one, at least.

Other good Aaron links:

Weekend Reading, Aug. 3-5

Interesting links from my browsing this weekend:

  • Viruses in web ads? Say it ain’t so, Joe. Magnosticism points out that now you’ve got to think twice before you click on that sponsored banner on the side of your favorite website. What does this do for pay per click advertising (an already diminishing advertising tactic)?
  • Life improvements: Here are 10 general but pretty effective ways to improve your life. My favorite quote: “Most people, even your friends and colleagues, aren’t talking about you, thinking about you, or concerned with you at all for 99% of the time.”
  • Tips on web design: Jim has some simple ways to help your design suck less. Pretty practical tips – I don’t really incorporate many of them, but then again, I’m the low man on the totem pole when it comes to designing.
  • More news on bottled water: The AdvoCare blog has more to share on recent developments with bottled water, specifically the crap that Aquafina (Pepsi) and Dasani (Coke) are trying to sell. Makes you wonder why we’re paying for it . . . .
  • Hilarious O.J. Simpson Video: Frank shows us the recent phone calls that bombarded OJ on a recent web video show. Can someone say bad idea?

Naturally 7 Subway Video

No other way to say this than this video is just cool. Great skills. Don’t know what it is, but something about it inspires me.

Tip o’ the hat to Chris for leading the way – thanks.

Here’s Feedback on Feedback

We often hear business gurus singing the praises of receiving feedback. How it leads to the best ideas. How it fosters the most profitable customer relations. How it makes for the best office environment.

I don’t deny any of that. But . . .

What’s not talked about enough is how to receive feedback, and when to respectfully ignore it.

Stories I’ve heard from other offices as well as my own experiences leads me to think that we all lean toward pleasing as many people as possible. Because of that, lots of feedback often leads to lots of confusion, frustration and distilling. Especially for workers not on the executive leve. Especially when executives are likely to try to please the masses just like everyone else.

But a glowing sign as to your level of expertise is your ability to diplomatically yet emphatically sift through feedback, marking the good, the bad and the insane. In your area of expertise, you are the expert. And while feedback is most important, you should have experiences, knowledge and instincts that should not be tossed aside. That’s what you’re paid to have. Don’t deny at – act on it.

Many of us crumble under a barrage of feedback. We let it cripple us, weaken us, even depress us. We stop thinking of ourselves as complex human beings who can systematically analyze all the feedback and then synthesize it together into the right decision. More times than not, we receive the feedback, find the common ground that will please everyone (or the common ground that won’t displease anyone) and we just go after it. Straight down the path of least resistance.

And it always produces mundane results that don’t really get anyone excited.

Then there’s the issue of having too many cooks in the kitchen. Unless you’re really, really, really good at leading a meeting, too many people almost always results in chaos and more confusion. And obviously lots of feedback. Lots of people wanting to throw their two cents in. Lots of people wanting to share opinions. Lots of people forgetting that, in most cases, they probably aren’t the target market, but you should go ahead and try to meat their wants, nonetheless.

If you’re not confident in or aware of your skills in the issue at hand, this avalanche of opinion will overwhelm you.

Finally, there’s customer feedback. The holy grail, right? The customer is always right. Unless, of course, they’re wrong.

Admittedly, giving your customers what they want is usually a good thing. But sometimes, you need to be the parent in the relationship, shielding your child (your customer) from consequences they simply cannot comprehend. Holding your ground when little Johnny wants to pet the pretty porcupine. Showing some tough love when Susie Customer demands you don’t discontinue a product, even though you can’t pay anyone else to buy it.

Feedback is a beautiful thing, but it is not the authority. It is always biased, always opinionated and very rarely objective. So knowing how to deal with it (and when to completely ignore it) becomes one of the most important attributes we can develop as marketers, as leaders, as spouses, as people.

Who Says You’re a Hottie?

CafePress - MyHusbandIsAHottieI wonder who buys these shirts more: the wife or the husband. I think we could all make a pretty educated guess on that one.

 Here’s the full page.