Producing Results

When Plans Go Awry

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Boy, was yesterday going to be a great day! So many fun plans, and perfect weather for them, too! (You: “What were these fun plans, Bill?” Me: “None of your business. But trust me, they were going to be fun!”) I hop out of bed, eager to get started. But first, a quick e-mail check. Yes, this is a blatant violation of the rule Julie Morgenstern talks about in her book Never Check E-Mail In the Morning, but I’m a ...

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The Power of Ideas

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I’ve been talking a lot about ideas lately. I love ideas. I love coming up with them, I love watching others come up with them, I love seeing them brought to fruition. It’s been said that, in business, nothing happens until somebody sells something. That may be true, but you know what? In virtually everything—business included—nothing happens until somebody has the idea for it. Look around you. Everything you see (at least everything human-made), from the shoes on your feet ...

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Are You a Crank or a Visionary?

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So I was reading through a book of Mark Twain quotes last night (did the guy ever say anything that wasn’t pure gold?), and I came upon one that was particularly relevant to my last post:

“The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

Bill Gates was an idiot whose idea of “a computer on every desk” was patently absurd. Those wacky Wright kids, Orville and Wilbur, with their crazy “flying machine” idea—what were they thinking? And ...

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Have You Missed the Boat?

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Do you ever feel like you missed the boat? Do you ever feel like opportunity has, once again, passed you by? Do you ever find yourself saying, “If only I had…

…invented the Pet Rock;
…bought into Microsoft when it first went public;
…come up with the idea for Facebook?”

Somehow the innovations always seem to go to the other guy. It’s not that you’re not smart; it’s just that your timing is off, right?

Bull crap.

Charles Duell, the Commissioner of ...

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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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