Blog

June 2013 - PS Insights

TIME THIEVES

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We wrote recently about Paul’s International students and their culture-based sense of time. Steve has a different approach to “cultural understanding.” Whenever he’s doing a talk or workshop, he looks at the clock and gives stragglers 3 or 4 minutes. Then he turns to the room and says, “How about we start—and not penalize the people who were polite enough to be on time?” It always gets applause…and no one is ever late after the breaks. What are your techniques for managing time thieves?

EXPRESS YOUR PASSION

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Steve’s son, Max, is a newbie writer in LA. He met with a producer last week who reviewed all his submissions but then asked Max, “Which script is your passion? Which is the one you believe you had to write—no matter what?” A smart way to find out where a writer’s heart is. And a smart rule to keep in mind whenever you start a new project. Do you work from your heart and does your work demonstrate your passion?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GENE

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The Supreme Court recently ruled that genes can’t be patented. There is also new debate about freeing the rights to the song Happy Birthday. Yes, every one of us is in copyright violation when we sing the song. The composers of the tune had good use of their copyright for 80+ years; but should a corporation have the right to buy it and continue to copyright it into perpetuity? When is a creation, finding or public use so important and omnipresent that the public should own it, not some corporation?

PROFESSIONS

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How do you measure the arc of your professional life? When Steve’s kids were growing up, he often gave them a simple yardstick: “A job,” he said, “is what you do for money. A career is a succession of jobs, ideally each one for more money. A calling is the thing you’d pay someone else to let you do.” Do you have a job, a career or are you lucky enough to have a calling?

WHAT A WASTE

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Steve attended a trade show at the Javits Center the other weekend and admired an Italian distributor’s chair. When he asked for more information, the distributor scanned the QR code on Steve’s badge and assured him (without writing anything down) that he would send the information after the show. Following the show, an e-mail was sent, but alas, it was a generic blast to everyone he scanned and contained no information about the chair Steve had asked about. In effect, the exhibitor completely blew the order. When you exhibit at a trade or any other kind of show, do you think through the various scenarios and details related to providing quality customer feedback?

LIMITED SKILLS

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Shaquille O’Neal is a retired NBA player who’s a shoe-in for the Basketball Hall of Fame. But he was such a lousy free throw shooter that opposing teams would deliberately foul (hack) him…trading a sure 2 points for a likely-to-miss one point. It’s a tactic now known as “Hack-A-Shaq.” We find it interesting that a player could be so brilliant in one area that his coaches are willing to overlook a glaring flaw in another. In marketing, it’s similar to having a brilliant creative person who simply has zero social skills and can’t be taken to client meetings. Do you work with anyone like that and what do you do to improve his/her foul shooting?

ARRIVE EARLY

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Steve spoke at a conference a couple of weeks ago. He arrived early—and realized the conference and its attendees weren’t focused on what he thought the content would be. Arriving early gave him the time and the opportunity to adjust his remarks for the next day—to laser focus on the conference issues. What do you do to ensure you know the game in order to make the biggest positive impact?

YAWN

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It’s June. The NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals are underway. Or are you deep into the baseball season and waiting for NFL summer combines to begin? How long can or should a season be? Squeezing extra dollars out of advertisers and consumers doesn’t make the event more valuable. Do you care?

TCHOCHKAHS

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Steve’s mother has been a children’s librarian for many, many years. Along the way she started collecting reading figurines. They now number almost 600 and occupy every nook and cranny of her house. Steve’s view is the only difference between a Hoarder and a Collector is whether the stuff gets dusted. What are you obsessed with in your life—and is it inspiring or out of control?

GREAT LISTS

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One of our readers sent us a link to Bloomberg News’s eclectic list of lists. We now share it with all of you. In case you’ve never seen it, it’s the best and worst of anything, though generally in the financial arena. From highest-paid CEO’s by country to highest-priced auctioned cars (as investments). An absolutely fascinating way to waste a solid half hour at work one day. You can learn a lot by productive time wasting. And, if you want to waste some more time, check PointlessSites.com. What are your favorite time wasters?