The Beatles

The Crucial Thing Your Customers Can’t Tell You

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So I was reading an online article yesterday about the iPad (because, as we all know, there haven’t been enough articles about the iPad). The article itself wasn’t earth-shattering—something about how the iPad is outselling Mac computers—but I thought one of the comments was hugely insightful. The thread was about why Apple products, particularly the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, are so immensely popular. The comment that caught my eye (or, in AppleSpeak, my “i”) was this:

Everybody else is ...

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How Good is Your “Satellite” Team?

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We all know their names: John, Paul, George, and Ringo. (If there are any children reading this who don’t know what I’m talking about, these are the names of the Beatles. The Beatles were a pretty famous musical group in the 60s. The 60s was the coolest decade ever, and you missed it. So there.) These four guys changed history, but they didn’t do it alone. Here are four other names:

Brian, Neil, George (a different one), and Mal.

These are just ...

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Stop Lurching Through Your Business!

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As a professional speaker, I get to visit with many different businesses in a cross-section of industries. I’m noticing some trends that I find encouraging—trends that I’ve confirmed with several of my speaker colleagues. Now, I’m not going to sit here and try to convince you that we’re completely out of the economic doldrums. You’re too smart to fall for that (except for you—the guy in the yellow flowered shirt—you’ll believe anything I tell you). But in broad terms, ...

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Do Your Customers Feel Like They Belong?

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I went to hear a Beatles tribute band last night. That, in itself is not remarkable. I see a lot of Beatles tribute bands. But here’s what struck me. I got to the venue a half hour early, and there was already a line. But this wasn’t a line waiting to get in; this was a line hoping to get in. See, the venue was already filled to capacity, and they weren’t letting anybody else enter. (Fortunately, by virtue of ...

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Why You Don’t Need to Solve Every Problem

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How much time are you wasting trying to solve problems that could simply be eliminated?

I once spent nearly an entire summer trying to solve a problem. But when I finally came around to eliminating the problem instead, the “solution” seemed so simple! Here’s what happened.

I was the producer of a sketch comedy TV show in Seattle called Almost Live! We were a one-hour show, airing Sundays at 6pm (a terrible time for sketch comedy, by the way). In addition to ...

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Are Your Customers Finding You Dispensable?

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I just got off the phone with a colleague who was complaining (whining, really) about the fact that nobody seemed to have any money to hire him. It’s the economy, of course. A few years ago, people had money, and he was being hired. Now, it’s dried up. Damn this economy!

To a certain extent, he’s right—things were easier a few years ago. But he was wrong when he said that nobody has any money. Because here’s the truth:

There’s always money ...

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Harley-Davidson, the Beatles, and Change

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Earlier this morning I delivered the keynote address to a meeting of 1,000 Harley-Davidson dealers. It was an amazing experience. Perhaps the most amazing part was that 1,000 Harley people, who had packed the various hotel bars the previous night, actually showed up to hear an 8am keynote!

As part of my research, I had talked to several of these dealers in the previous few weeks. Among the questions I asked them was, “What do you think is the biggest challenge ...

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Are You Preparing for Success, or Just Waiting?

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Are you preparing for success, or, to paraphrase Shakespeare, waiting for success to be thrust upon you?

My first job in television was basically that of a glorified secretary (and by “glorified” I mean “unglorified”). My primary function was to answer viewer mail. At around 2:00pm on my first day, while I was answering the 50th inane request for the Chicken Kiev recipe that some local chef had made on our morning show the previous day, I recall thinking what a ...

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The Unseen Details Make the Difference

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How committed are you to the quality of your work?

If you go to the British Museum (and you really should, you know), you will see the Elgin Marbles. These are a collection of ancient Greek marble sculptures that used to grace the Parthenon. (And by the way, contrary to popular belief, the “g” in “Elgin” is pronounced like the “g” in “goat,” not “gin.” Mmmm, gin.) These are magnificent statues, but what’s really amazing is what you see when you ...

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Are You a Real Leader? Here’s One Test

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For fifteen years, I produced a sketch comedy TV show in Seattle, Washington. And for fifteen years, I was routinely asked the question, “What, exactly, does the producer actually do?” Many times, this question was asked by my mother. My stock answer was this:

“The producer is the person who apologizes the following day.”

As hilarious as this answer might be [How hilarious? On a scale from 1 to 10…about a 4], it’s only partially in jest. The producer is the person ...

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