Why fitting in might mean missing out

05.24.19 A few years ago, when I was first learning to play guitar, I had a go-to song that made me feel I was half-decent… even though I really wasn’t. It was Horse With No Name by America – and I liked it because it was a breeze to play. I found a beginner’s arrangement with two simple chords that required moving one finger in the whole song, with a basic strumming pattern.  A chimp could play Horse With No Name, it’s that easy. I also tried to sing like America.  It made me feel like I fit in, like I was a player.  l was delusional, of […]

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Playoff hockey and its lessons on culture

04.26.19 It was a few months ago… in a windowless meeting room in Las Vegas. A small group, maybe 25 of us, were gathered to hear the speaker.  He was well known, highly regarded.  Anticipation was high. But there were technical difficulties.  The video didn’t work, and the slides were messed up.   The speaker admitted he wasn’t used to this.  He was off his game, a bit uncomfortable.  After a few attempts, he gave up on the video, deep-sixed the slides, turned to us – and decided to just talk. The room got quiet. And then for the next hour-plus, he spoke of the one thing […]

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Don’t we all just want to belong?

04.05.19 The arriving passengers couldn’t miss the sign as they exited Helsinki’s airport. It was late November, a couple of years ago. Many were there for SLUSH, a tech start-up conference in Finland’s capital… just as the days turned shorter and darker (3:27 p.m. sunset!?), and the temperatures were dropping. A large banner greeted them.  (See above.) Images of the sign soon went viral.  Some experts called it one of the best travel promotions ever.  Praise poured in for the ingenuity and honesty of the message. Except you, you badass.   Welcome. What made SLUSH’s message especially powerful was how it appealed directly to the […]

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When good people make bad decisions

03.08.19 I bought a new car a few weeks ago. This was big for me – the last time I’d done it was 2008.  Apple had just introduced the iPhone to the world.  A Bush was still in the White House.  If you wanted an Uber, dream on.  It was three years away from launch. You may have guessed – I’m not a car guy. This recent car purchase was memorable for another reason, too.  It underlined, in striking detail, the so called customer experience. The dealership where it all happened has some neat things going on: Slick new service bays, where you could pretty […]

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Who’s in your symphony?

02.15.19 Are you one of those people who hangs around to see the credits, every last one of them, at the end of a movie? I am. Back in a former (corporate) life, one of my responsibilities was producing TV commercials at a financial company, a national brand.  It gave me a glimpse of the sheer number of players involved in bringing a simple 30-second TV spot into our living rooms. I soon learned that these productions involved the same ingredients as making a full-fledged movie.  The scale may be different, but the same roles are required – whether it’s a sweeping epic […]

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What’s your roadmap for 2019?

01.25.19 Nerd alert. I was a map geek as a kid. Any time I was in the car – whether a long family vacation or a short day trip to Toronto – it was in the back seat with a map and a green highlighter to plot our route.  It helped me pass the time (I hated car travel), but mostly I was interested in maps.  Mom and Dad tolerated me.  My siblings rolled their eyes. Fast forward 45 years… I’m still the same.  I’ll open Google Maps multiple times a day to find a location I’m reading about or one I […]

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When good things happen at bad times

12.08.17 “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou We said goodbye to our best friend three weeks ago. Like most Labrador retrievers, Charlie was happy 24/7, so it didn’t look like it was his time. But the old guy (he was eleven) had slowed down. The perpetual smile and wagging tail were still there, but the energy was gone. Arthritis had set in, and his legs were failing. In his final weeks, I was carrying 100 pounds of Charlie up the […]

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