How Do You Value Relationships? How Does Facebook?

While searching for a family heirloom my mom came across her mom’s high school autograph book. Most of the inscriptions are from 1881 and in verse. It’s a beautifully tooled leather booklet. Gives the autographs some weight, some feeling. It was fun leafing through. Most of the inscriptions are in verse. My mother tells me that her father and mother often traded poetic notes with each other and it looks like the practice was widespread, at least in this neck of the woods. While I’m sure many of the verses were used multiple times among many friends, each page provides a touch of personality — a small window into the lives of people I never knew. It felt very personal. “My friends in my album I ask you to write, but to tear out the leaves I deem impolite.    A. Maiers” Annie had a sense of humor. As did Jeannie: … Continue reading

What are you selling?

Took advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend and wandered uptown for a coffee, passing an old favorite shop. A decade ago it was one of my must stop destinations before Mother’s Day or an upcoming birthday. The owner had an eye for the affordable unusual. Through the window the shop looked familiar, still an eclectic mix. But off. Almost interesting, but not quite. Hard to explain. Leave it to say, I had no interest in going in. Haven’t been interested for quite a while. I was no longer a customer. Why? The new owners have done a fine job of maintaining the mix. But maintaining is the key word here. I never went into the shop because I expected to find ‘country’ or ‘humor’ or ‘handmade.’ I went into the shop to be entertained and to pass that entertainment on to my friends. While the old owner’s taste was always … Continue reading

The 2400 Year Old Problem

I love my excursions down to Indiana University. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the level of creativity, passion and dedication that survives (and perhaps thrives) after years of schooling. (Disclosure: This be a proud papa moment…) This weekend my daughter’s adaptation of  Aristophanes’ “The Wasps” hit the streets and it struck me how familiar the problems of our ancient greek cousins were. Having spent the past four years studying ancient history and theater, that was Sarah K Schlegel’s point of course and her goal in producing the play for a modern audience. We know we should learn from the past, but, oh so often, it seems so far away. Turns out Aristophanes felt he lived in a very litigious society. Sound familiar? So much so that he said lawyers had become like wasps, stinging with suits at every opportunity and swarming from victim to victim without serious care as to the … Continue reading

Is The American Dream Dead?

In describing why business models must change, Kay Plantes pointed out a study that indicates 78% of respondents believed the American Dream has died. This has bothered me all weekend. I believe that most positive change comes from optimists building what they believe is possible. (Have you ever worked with a pessimist trying to build what they believe is impossible? It makes for a long day.) Could it really be that the the U.S. is depending on 22% of the population for that optimism? Maybe that is enough in Ayn Rand’s world , but I like the odds when more folks are on board. So this evening, rather than thinking about how much I enjoyed watching Mr. Burns drink a Coke during the Superbowl, I’m thinking about what is the American Dream. The study by Context-Based Group softens the blow a bit by indicating respondents felt the meaning of the … Continue reading

It’s In The Details

I’m not usually one to point out spelling mistakes (glass houses and all) but this sign was pointed out to me by my lovely wife during a quick stop in Peoria the other day to see my son perform in the All-State Honors Band and I figured I would share. Even in today’s wonderful world of spell check, misspelled or misused words are all around us. I usually gloss over it. Poorly executed marketing is a depressing thing to see. But here we have the former offices of a Private Detective Agency. The sign had been there a very long time. Covered most of their window. And the question that comes to mind is what the heck are they going to be able to find if they never noticed the missing ‘E’ and ‘L’ on their own sign. Poor marketing execution often indicates other details are being missed as well.