Cold!

Today is January 18, 2018 and it is cold.  34 degrees cold.  Not quite freezing but it will be frigid later after the sun goes down.

I bet you’re thinking this is going to be a piece about how much I hate the cold weather.  Nope. I actually enjoy the winter and the cold and the wind that slips up your jacket sleeves and down your overcoat collar and chills you like a frigid caress.

The cold makes you walk faster — which is good for your heart.

The cold helps you burn calories faster — because your body needs more calories to generate heat.

The cold is a good reason to duck inside stores to warm up and maybe do some browsing since you’re now inside — and that’s good for the store’s business.

I like the cold.  In fact I’m going to head out into it right now. And maybe duck into a bookstore to warm up with a hot coffee and blood-pumping which warms the body, mystery book.

Really. Truly.

 

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How to get a shark to bite!

I was watching the show “Shark Tank” the other night.  A fellow came on with a product that at first seemed crazy.  He had developed nose plugs that look like small oval band aids that cover your nostril openings.  They allow air to pass through while at the same time filtering out germs, bacteria, fungus, pollution, all types of harmful elements. And according to the creator of these nostrils covers they are 99% effective in filtering out pollutants.

The group of “sharks” who he was making his pitch to all chuckled and were on the verge of dismissing his invention as a who-needs-it-this-is-a-crazy idea shrug when he suddenly hit them with one detail:  He had already obtained a $7 million purchase commitment from a company in Saudi Arabia.

Whoa!  The sharks sat up straight.  $7 million purchase up-front and all the inventor was looking for was $500,000 to fund the making of the nose covers and for that he would give the investor a percentage of the company plus a 10% royalty until the shark’s investment was paid off.

The sharks all started circling him but they weren’t looking to chomp him into bits. They were looking to throw money at him like fishermen throw chum to sharks in order to bait them, hook them, and haul them on-board.

It was an amazing transformation from disinterested to mesmerized. What caused the shift?  Once they heard that the inventor had already acquired a $7 million sales commitment they were ready to open their wallets.

And what does this prove?  All the hype…all the talk…all the brand building and brand imagery in the world doesn’t mean a thing unless it can generate results. And when you can talk about results — “Over a billion served” — you will allay doubts and drive people to your product or service like a, well, a shark to chum!

True story.

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How Can You Confuse Black Coffee?

One morning last week I turned on C-Span TV network. C-Span has a morning show where people call in and talk about some issue or another in the news. On this particular day the subject was the new healthcare program being proposed by the US Senate.

The callers were divided into three categories — Democrats, Republicans, Independents. Each caller was allowed a reasonable amount of time to make their case for or against the bill.  Some made sense. Some made no sense.  But one stood out.

An older woman called (no faces are seen but voice tone is a pretty good indicator of age) who had the most amazing opinion. She asked for how long we have been  trying to find a cure for cancer.

The TV moderator estimated research had been going on for 70 years or so.  The caller then asked if we had found a cure yet. The moderator said no.  The caller then declared, with the utmost sincerity, that we had wasted millions and millions and millions of dollars trying to find a cancer cure.  According to her we should immediately stop throwing away money on cancer research and re-direct it to taking care of sick people. Doing this, in her mind, would save the healthcare system.

Between the TV moderator, myself and I’m sure everyone watching there was a coordinated rolling of the eyes and laughing out loud at the proposed cure for our ailing health system.

I thought to myself are people really and truly that dense?

Well, I got my answer later that day when I met a friend of mine for a business meeting. We were sitting at a casual outdoor coffee shop in the Flatiron district of Manhattan to go over a TV show proposal.  Before we got into the details we called one of the wait-staff over to order.   My friend asked for tea. When the wait-staffer turned to me I said I would like a cup of coffee.  I was then asked how I would like my coffee and I said, “Black.”

The charming, cheerful, eager, bubbly wait-staffer smiled at me and asked, “Would you like milk with that?”

I couldn’t believe it!  Two dense-confirming, eye-rolling incidents in less than 24 hours.

True story.

 

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Looped

Just minutes ago I was evacuated from my office due to a fire in the building basement. Right now I’m in the cafeteria of another building just a block away that my firm uses for administrative office space.

All evacuees are safe. But I’m loopy. Which shouldn’t be surprising since it doesn’t take much more than a change of daily routine to do it.

I guess you could say I suffer from the curse of unstructured time. I am a list person. Lists on legal pads. Lists on paper scraps. Lists on my cell phone. Lists are the anchor that keeps me from getting squirelly.

When I don’t have a list to structure my day I feel adrift – like going around and around in a loop.

So while I wait for the fire department to give an all-clear signal to return to my office I guess I’ll make two lists. One of the things I still have to do today. The other of the things I could do if they shut the entire building.

Know what? I’m just going to make a list of the could-do things and go do them.

Not loopy anymore.

True story. 

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Funding 

A good-hearted guy asked me to help him with a pproject. He wants to make a documentary ir TV series about his business which helps children with “special needs.” But first we need funding. Never having done this before I’m entering unknown territory. So I will be keeping the world posted about the process.  And in keeping with the theme of this blog every step taken and written about will be true.

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Large type music

So I go into a Starbucks before a business meeting.  I have 30 minutes to spare. I think a cup of coffee would be fine. Now I’m not a big Starbucks fan but it was freezing outside and being a…

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Large type music

So I go into a Starbucks before a business meeting.  I have 30 minutes to spare. I think a cup of coffee would be fine. Now I’m not a big Starbucks fan but it was freezing outside and being able to sit in a warm coffee shop was irresistible.

Inside I ordered my cup of black coffee and sat down at a long table.  I thought to myself I’ll look through my phone and warm my bones at the same time.

Sitting, sipping and scrolling I noticed that there was music coming through the overhead speakers.  And it was music that had clear lyrics and brassy horns.  I found myself tapping my feet and thinking back to when I first heard the tune.  It had to be at least 50 years ago.  Guess that makes it a classic.

I then heard someone next to me ask another person, “Who is that singing?” The person being asked said, “I’m not sure.  I think it’s Tony Bennett.”

I glanced over, curious to see who this person with the young voice was who actually knew Tony Bennett.  The Tony fan turned out to be an Asian man. He was asked the singer’s identity by another young Asian man and sitting between them was a middle aged African American woman who didn’t think the singer was Tony but she wasn’t sure who it could be.

As they discussed the identity back and forth I listened and then chimed in with, “It’s Bobby Darren.”  The trio said, “Who?” and I repeated, “Bobby Darren.  And the song he’s singing is called Mack the Knife.”

None of the three had ever heard of Bobby Darren, which didn’t surprise me, but they all liked the sound of his voice.  (Poor Bobby. If only he was around to hear this.)

The woman then asked me if I could write down the name of the singer for the two Asian men. They were visiting New York from Hong Kong and they wanted to purchase the music and take it back west to the Far East.

I pulled a small notebook from my carry-everything bag and printed on a piece of composition book paper,  “B-0-b-b-y  D-a-r-r-e-n”

The lady, who was a friend of the two men, didn’t even look at the paper but she immediately said, “Could you print it large please?”  As if she expected me to write the name down in small type.

I turned the paper over and printed, “B-O-B-B-Y  D-A-R-R-E-N”.  She took the paper and handed it to one of the men and everyone thanked me – a lot. Boy, they were really appreciative.  I thought to myself that they must not be from New York. Not to say we New Yorkers aren’t courteous but we do have our limitations.

Glancing down on the table I noticed that the woman had in front of her three white sticks, around 12 inches apiece. Because they seemed to be so interested in the music playing I made an assumption and asked her, “Are you a drummer?  Are those your drum sticks?”

The woman looked at me as well as the two men and the trio laughed.  Suddenly looking at them in the eyes, and then glancing down at the white sticks on the table, I realized the obvious.

“Me?  A drummer?  No, those aren’t drum sticks. That’s my walking stick.” And she picked up the pile of sticks and with a couple of whips of her wrists unfolded them into a 4 foot long, white walking stick.

“I’m blind but my friends here can see a bit. That’s why we asked you to write down the name of the singer in large type.”

I paused and actually said, “Oh, I see.”  Luckily they laughed.

True story.

 

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