Producing Results

John Lennon and Overcoming the Naysayers

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John Lennon was raised by his Aunt Mimi, who is usually described with words like “strict but loving.” And while there is some debate among Beatle people over exactly how “loving” she really was, nobody questions the “strict” part. As you can imagine, then, she was not a big fan of young John’s obsession with rock and roll, or his non-stop guitar practice.

“The guitar’s all well and good, John,” she would say, “but you’ll never make a living at it.”

Years ...

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Ringo, Innovation, and Challenging Times

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So I was out to dinner last night, and two guys at a nearby table were discussing Sunday’s Grammy awards—specifically Paul McCartney’s performance of I Saw Her Standing There with Foo Fighter (and former Nirvana drummer) Dave Grohl on drums. This led one of the two to say “Well, Ringo never really was much of a drummer. But I guess he was an okay timekeeper, and that’s really all the Beatles needed.” The other one agreed. At that point, I’m ...

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The Ed Sullivan Impact and Your Business

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Tomorrow—February 9, 2009—will mark the 45th anniversary of the Beatles’ historic first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. An estimated 73 million people—roughly half of the U.S. population at the time—watched as the Beatles performed five songs that night (All My Loving, Till There Was You, She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There, and I Want To Hold Your Hand). Although just a little kid at the time, I was one of those 73 million. For that I have ...

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The Beatles and Great Teams

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If you’re trying to create a great team, you may want to keep in mind some of the traits that made the Beatles one of the greatest teams in recent history:

  1. Diverse, yet complementary, skill sets. Guitars were a crucial element of the Beatles success, yet Ringo Starr was a terrible guitar player. Guitar playing wasn’t a skill set that Ringo brought to the game. Instead, he was the perfect drummer for the band. John Lennon may have been a musical ...
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Details, Details, Details

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I just listened to Strawberry Fields Forever again, for what must be the thousandth time, and I heard a harmony I had never noticed before. That’s one of the things I love about the Beatles’ music: there are so many layers, so many little details, that you can listen to it over and over again and still hear something new. That’s one of the reasons so many of their songs sound as fresh and exciting today as they did forty ...

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A Simple Economic Equation

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Why are the Beatles still popular today, nearly 40 years after they broke up? Nostalgia is a small part (the Baby Boomers still rule the earth)–but the much larger reason is that the music still holds up. The songs the Fab Four created from 1963 to 1969 still sound fresh and exciting today, even if you’ve heard them a thousand times. In other words, the Beatles created something of lasting VALUE.

On a personal level, there are two sides to the ...

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An Outside Perspective

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A couple of miles from where I live is an intersection where a local panhandler has staked his claim. Day after day he’s there brandishing his sign, looking for donations. Most days I just drive by and wave; he always waves back. Occasionally I’ll give him a few bucks. Clearly the location is working for him, otherwise he would have moved on long ago. A few weeks ago, during a brief respite from the winter cold, I was driving along ...

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What’s Your Focus?

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I have a friend who is really struggling in his business right now. He works for himself, and when the phone was ringing life was good. But the phone hasn’t been ringing for a couple of years now, and he doesn’t know how to turn things around. He said to me the other day, “I’m doing everything I can think of, putting in ten hours a day trying to build the business, but nothing seems to be working.” And it’s ...

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Barack, the Beatles, and Change

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Along with the rest of the world, I just watched Barack Obama become the 44th president of the United States of America. No matter what your own personal political views may be, there can be no question that this represents a monumental and fundamental change in our nation’s history. And I’m reminded once again that change, in and of itself, is nothing to be feared. Rather, change is a necessary and natural part of progress, of growth.

Yes, change can be ...

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The Beatles, Money, and the Richest Person in Washington

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I just finished listening to Breakfast with the Beatles, a weekly two-hour radio program here in Seattle. I listen to it every Sunday morning (unless I’m on the road for business); it’s a ritual for me. One of the songs they played today was the Beatles’ cover of Janie Bradford and Berry Gordy’s song, Money (That’s What I Want), which begins with the lyric:

“The best things in life are free, but you can keep them for the birds ...

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