Category Archives for Pushing The Envelope

Now That It’s February, Happy New Year

  If you ask the attendant at your health club what the busiest day of the year is, he’ll tell you it’s the day after New Year’s. That’s when all the New Year’s—resolution types pour in. By February only a handful are left. Now that New Year’s Day is well over, tell me, how many […]

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Take a Lesson from My Folks: Never Stop Learning

    If at first you’re afraid to fail, then you won’t ever succeed. One of the greatest things my parents did for me was to encourage every one of my ambitions, even if they appeared to be overreaching. They listened to my dreams of being a golf champ or a basketball pro, cheered them […]

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Wisdom? You Bet Your Aphorism!

  When I was a kid, my dad, who was the AP correspondent in St. Paul, Minnesota, would take me down to his office. It was a wonderful place. What made the biggest impression on me were the walls. They were covered with the memorabilia of a lifetime of front-row seats. They were his favorites […]

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7 Things Not to Do With a Friend

  Someone once asked a great philosopher which he would rather have—a gift of money or a gift of friendship. “Friendship,” replied the philosopher, “because money is spent but friendship can last forever.” “I shall think of that advice forever,” the questioner responded, “as a mark of your friendship.” “Sorry,” the philosopher apologized, “my friendship […]

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Myths of the Marketplace

  1.       We don’t have any competition. This is the attitude that practically sank IBM, General Motors, Schwinn bikes, and every other company that thought they could disregard and/or abuse their customers endlessly because their products were unique and indispensable. Surprise! They weren’t. Every business, every individual, has competition. The more you act like you […]

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Follow the Leader

  Bill Gove was a legend as a salesman at 3M. He used to tell this story in his motivational talks to the troops. “I was just starting out in sales when my boss called me in and said, ‘Bill, I want you to go to New Orleans and see our fieldman, Harry. You’ve never […]

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Don’t Get Clocked

We save it. We shave it. But we can’t store it, speed it up, or slow it down. It’s the same for all of us. Time. I learned time management skills at a ripe young age by following my Associated Press correspondent-father around. He lived by deadlines. And aphorisms. “Miss a deadline, miss a headline.” […]

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The Wisdom Of Dirty Harry

I’m always amazed when I ask someone who their customers are and they say “everyone.” You can’t log on with that one. “Everyone” equals “no one.” I make and sell envelopes. Everyone uses envelopes. So is everyone my potential customer? No way. The margins in the envelope business are paper thin, so my profitability depends […]

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Creativity Killers

Want to know how to kill creativity? go to a cocktail party. No, I’m not talking about tossing back Bahama Mamas until the only joke you can think of to tell is the latest Doonesburry cartoon. I’m talking about listening. Cocktail parties are all about unwinding, and when people unwind they tell you things. The […]

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Speed Kills

The greatest trick in business is to create a breakthrough product category, like the computer. The greatest trick in marketing is to convince people that they actually need it. The computer has three basic strategic values: speed, cost effectiveness, and quality. Three, not one. Three. The problem is, there is too much emphasis on speed. […]

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