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What if Lennon Hadn’t “Hired” McCartney?

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What if, on the day John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met, Lennon (who was the leader of his own band, The Quarrymen) had said, “You know, this McCartney fellow is pretty good—but I’ll bet if I look around I can find somebody cheaper.”

If that had happened, there’s a very good chance that you and I would never have heard of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, or the ...

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If It’s Not Broken, Break It!

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“When everything is running smoothly, there’s no impetus to change, to grow, to progress. It’s only when things stop running smoothly—when they break—that we suddenly look at alternatives and discover, often to our amazement, that there’s a better way.”

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Oh, I know—you’ve got enough problems to deal with without tinkering with the stuff that’s already working. “The water’s already choppy,” you say ...

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Why Don’t We Take More Risks?

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We all love a risk-taker, don’t we? The business owner, the entrepreneur, the CEO who has a big idea, then boldly rolls the dice with a “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” attitude. We look at them with wonder and envy, and jealously applaud them when they make it big. We hear people tell us, “You have to take risks ...

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Don’t Ignore the “Small” Opportunities

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How many opportunities (including BIG ones) are you leaving on the table because you’re ignoring the small game?

I was just reading an interview with Paul McCartney’s bass player, Brian Ray (and what kind of pressure must that be—playing bass for one of the greatest rock bassists of all time?!). The interviewer asked the obvious question: “So, how did you get the McCartney gig?” I think Brian’s answer is a great business lesson for all of us. Here’s what he said:

“In ...

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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 Passionate About Your Work?

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Let’s see, what’s Paul McCartney been up to lately? Well…

  • He just kicked off a new European tour with an energetic three-hour show in Hamburg.
  • He just spoke to the European Parliament about climate change and healthy eating.
  • He just wrote a new song for the new Robert De Niro film.
  • He just announced that he’s been writing lots of new music, and will have a new CD out in 2010.
  • Oh, and he’s also planning a major U.S. tour for next year.

All of this, ...

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Where Will You Be In 5 Years?

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“Where do you see yourself in five years?” That’s a pretty common job interview question. The answer, of course, is “Someplace better than the pathetic job I’m applying for right now.” I was talking about this question recently with a friend of mine who works in Human Resources, and she said that most applicants respond to this question with what she called “lofty, unrealistic goals.” She went on to say, “The truth is, five years really isn’t all that much ...

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Why You Need More Pain in Your Life

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I attended a workshop yesterday at my local Mac store, and the conversation turned to iPhones. This was pretty inevitable, because we were surrounded by the bloody things; still, it turned out that one attendee, whom I’ll call Cheswick because it’s a funny name, had not yet made the switch. He fully intended to, but said, “I guess I just haven’t reached my pain point with my current provider yet.”

I’ve been thinking about that, and it occurs to me that ...

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