Monday, February 25, 2008

Things that I am most proud of...

I recently took on another personal development exercise and I have to admit it too was harder than I thought. I was asked to write about the personal accomplishment that I was the most proud of. When I really thought about it, there are a lot of things that I've accomplished in my life. Many that I'd really taken for granted over the years and just wrote off as "Well, yeah. No big deal." The truth is they really are a big deal. To list just a few:

  • Marched for 15 seasons in competitive junior and senior drum corps
  • Worked three seasons for the Baltimore Orioles
  • Judged my first parade at the age of 15
  • Worked as one of the youngest professional Santa Claus' in Baltimore retail history
  • Photographed a variety of events for McDonald's Baltimore regional office before I was 21. Including Ronald McDonald appearances, store openings and McDonald's crew competitions.
  • Took a three day temporary staffing assignment as a courier and stretched it into a four month project as a team member of a task force on mortgage banking, a subject I had no prior knowledge of before the project.
  • Invited to apply for two positions at Maryland Public Television after serving several temporary assignments. Used the second invitation to secure a position in the copy center that then opened the door for my position with MotorWeek.
  • Created the position of Manager, Strategic Alliances at Drum Corps International.
I'll stop there, but there are more. With all of that said, the accomplishment that I am the most proud of is that I did all of this without a bachelors degree. I have been blessed with the capacity to intuitively offer solutions that create cool environments and unique experiences.

I don't advocate not getting a degree as it will open even more doors when I'm finished, but remember that the lack of a degree should never stop you from pursuing what's important to you.


Who are my heroes?

This has been a hard question for me to come up with an answer to. I really never considered having heroes in the traditional sense of the word and have struggled with this for a while.

If I had to define who my heroes are, I most identify with people like Walt Disney or Ray Croc (McDonald’s founder). I would also have to add into that list people like Bill Veeck and his son Mike. While Apple is in fact a brand, it's corporate manifesto reflects why I think I of it as a hero as well.

Apple manifesto,
To the Crazy ones.

Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them,
quote them, disbelieve them,
glorify them or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine.
They heal. They explore.
They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty frame
and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song
that's never been written?
Or touch a rock on a planet
where no one else has ever stood?

We make tools for these kinds of people.
Because while some see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.

And it's the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, who actually do.

Think different.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Okay, this is one of the more interesting combinations of two of my favorite pastimes, food and music...

For all you drum corps fans out there, the next question is, does a cucumber/pepper qualify as a woodwind or brass instrument?

Check out more clips of vegetable musical instruments

Sunday, February 10, 2008

New car sales and a naked man... UPDATE

This an update to one of my posts from last summer...

I came across one of the better commercial for a new car dealership this afternoon. Its for a dealer group in Norwell, MA. The Clay dealerships and their agency Boathouse Group get it. They understand how to disarm the buyer by poking fun at the retail auto industry and in the process gain an enormous amount of exposure not only locally, but internationally.

In a nutshell, the spot features a slightly overweight car salesmen, explaining the unseemly tactics traditional dealers will use to get your business. Why does it work, they get your attention as they guy disrobes as he describes how Clay will show you the naked truth about the pricing for the car that you're looking to buy.

The 4 spots debuted on back in early April and will soon appear on local cable. To view the spots and play a little game that helps re-cloth the nearly naked salesmen, go to

The only other auto dealership spot that I've seen in this same category would be the "Trunk Monkey" spots for Suburban Auto Group in Oregon. While the spots are fun and memorable, I don't think they do nearly as well at communicating a message that in the end distinguishes them from the competition as a place worthy of your business.

Bottom line for both is they get your attention and at the end of the spot your very likely to smile. And that's always a good thing.

I'll write more about this later, but thought it was important to point out that I discovered the Clay dealership "We'll Show You Everything" campaign on a great web site and blog by the authors of the book Punk Marketing: Get Off Your Ass and Join the Revolution. It's an easy ready because its both well written and insightful. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Blogging Workshop Notes

This afternoon I led a discussion on the use of blogging for festivals and events. We covered a variety of topics from a basic overview of blogging as a communications tool to actually building a blog site on Blogger.

Here are a couple of key points to summarize the session.

  1. Define the purpose and style of your event or organizations blog. What is it you want to say and how will you say it. For me, a personal voice works well. I basically write like I speak. You might want something a bit more formal if that works best for your intended audience, so it helps to know who you're writing for.
  2. Select your platform. Is it a free blog like I use at Blogger or is a dedicated blog hosted on your own web site. Both have their advantages. If you're just getting started free is a great way to go. When you have some more experience, you can migrate your site to your own web hosting service which will give you a little bit more flexibility.
  3. Define your look and what you want you want to say. Sites like Blogger provide a variety of standard templates which can be further customized with simple changes to colors and fonts. There are also a number of sites that provide pre-built templates some are free, while others charge per template or offer a subscription to the their site for access to their collection.
  4. Add content to your site. How will you keep them engaged and coming back to your site? First, write about what you know. Keep it relevant to your target audience. If you're an arts festival, a good place to start might be profiles about your guest artists or about a style of painting that would be of interest to your readers. If you are a Parks and Recreation Department, you might write articles that talk about camping, crafts, game and related activities.
  5. Quality is far more important that quantity. A question that's often asked is do I need to blog every day, and the answer is no. You should create new content on a regular basis to keep your readers coming back often, so if you don't have time to write a lot of content yourself, consider occasionally inviting a guest blogger to write about your topic or check out some of the sites that offer free content an a variety of topics.
  6. Learn and grow as you go. There are blogs about everything you can think of, including blogs about blogging. Check out the links at the end of this article for some of the resources to get you started.
  7. Finally, let me say thank you to the folks that sat in on my session this afternoon for your input.
For those who missed my session, here is a list of links to other sites to get some insight into building your own blog. I look forward to reading your blogs, and oh yeah... Welcome to the blogosphere.

General Reference sites

Wikipedia Blogging page

Wikipedia List of Blogging Terms

WeblogMatrix weblog comparison

EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers

Blogging software or services



Word Press


Free Blogger Templates

Great blogs about blogging...

Andy Wibbels - Author of Blog Wild

Chris Garrett's - The Business of Blogging and New Media

Yaro Starak's - Entrepreneur's Journey


Damn I Wish - Articles about Word of Mouth marketing and blogging

Other blogs to check out for ideas...

My personal Odd's and Ed's site

My resume as a blog

A news page for one of my clients using Blogger

Guy Kawasaki's Change the World blog

Mark Cuban's BlogMaverick


Monk at Work

Presentation Zen

Ted Conference Blog - really rich content. Don't miss it.

Scott Adam's Dilbert Blog

Chicago White Sox official blog

Ken Levine's - The World As Seen By a TV Comedy Writer

Jack Morton Worldwide Corporate Blog

Delucchi+ Corporate Blog (Real Estate)

Stumbling on Happiness Blog (Book)

Illinois Special Events Network Convention Update

Okay, so it's just past noon, but this is a good time to provide an update on the day so far. I attended two terrific sessions and a very insightful opening keynote.

Opening up this morning was Jodi Rudick, President of ADvisors Marketing Group. What a great way to start the day. Jodi's keynote was titled "Talking 'Bout My Generation" and it provided some wonderful insight into the differences and similarities of generations from Millenials (1982-2002), Generation "X" (1961-1982), Baby Boomers (1943-1964), the Silent Generation (1925-1942) all the way to the G.I. Generation (1901-1924).

To give you an idea of how impressed I was, I opted for her session following the keynote. It was well worth the time as it picked up where we left off and helped provide even more insight into the western world as defined by generation.

A hard act to follow for sure, but I new my next session would definitely be worth the time since the speaker was Ira Rosen, president of Entertainment on Location. I've know Ira for the better part of the past 10 years and I knew that he wouldn't fail to provide me some new insight into the process of strategic planning. The time was very well spent as it served as a great reminder of the value of strategic process, which has been a challenge as I've spent so much time in tactical mode lately. Thanks for the gentle nudge Ira.

Okay, off to lunch and the ISEN Skyscraper Awards. More this afternoon.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Winter Wonderland

What can I say, its been pretty much a lost day. Snow fell until noon. Christina was under he weather and I was basically a slug. Did run out this evening to pick up a prescription and a pizza, but it was one of those evenings where everything that could go wrong did.

Pizza was to be ready in 45 minutes. Left house with 15 minutes to spare to run to Walgreen's. Two cars in front of me at the drive-thru. Took 20 minutes to get to the window and pick up prescription. Had already called pizza place to tell them I'm running late. Not a problem, pizza's in the warmer. Good.

Every possible obstruction between the pharmacy and Spizzico happened. Slow cars, traffic lights and no parking at restaurant. Arrggghh. Pulled a wicked u-turn, backed up to curb and sort of parked illegally. Special thanks to the Chicago Police Department for not saying anything. Given the night I was having, I'd have probably snapped and been arrested. Got home and stuck in snow in front of garage. (Now think it might have been a good idea to have shoveled BEFORE I left).

At the end of the day however, it all turned out okay. Good pizza, nice quiet evening with Christina, a pitcher of water and an hour of crash and burn videos on SPIKE TV. It was part of their "What the @#$% Friday" lineup. Which I'll comment on another time.