For the first 60 years the docks at out cottage in Northern Ontario were kept in place, with massive cribs made of old railway ties that were then filled with boulders. While they last a lifetime, they are not very good for the lake or the shoreline flora + fauna.

About twenty years ago crib + boulder docks were banned and floating docks became the popular go-to solution. To keep the docks from floating away steel chains, wrapped around boulders (from dismantled cribs), cinder blocks (left over from cottage foundation improvements) or old engine blocks (with oil still in them), were often used as dock anchors. This solution was a bit better for the environment but tougher on the back because the dock chains need to be adjusted as the lake's water level rises and falls.

Last year my son introduced the latest solution. It’s made up of two small pitons driven into an onshore rock crevice and two thin, but very strong nylon lines (that keep the dock from drifting). Think mast rigging rather than foundation building. Now there's no more heavy lifting, no more near shore habitat issues, and no more monthly chain adjustments since the dock mooring is now lateral – not vertical.

There are a few business observations here:

  • Some old technology is worth replacing because it really wasn’t all that good for us or the environment.
  • Some new technology, like nylon + plastic, has gotten out of hand but when used carefully and sparingly, it is better than the old technology for all of us.
  • My parents saw change occur slower than my generation did, and my son’s generation is seeing it occur faster than I did. But all three generations respond in similar ways to change because people have not changed at all in the last three generations. So while you may not be able to fathom the tactical change your children or grandchildren are going through, the coping strategies that your parents or your grandparents used to embrace and leverage change can be taught to your children or grandchildren to enable them to surf the waves of change, rather than be drawn under and drowned by the strong under toe of change.  






When I was a kid I hated Brussels Sprouts, and as an adult I just ignored them. Until last month. At a trendy Japanese restaurant they were served sliced and grilled with bits of bacon (rather than served whole + boiled to death).

Since then my wife and I have had them three times. Each time we’ve experimented with a different recipe; as a coleslaw, sautéed with bacon, and mixed grill.

The brand, business and life lesson is this.

Sometimes it’s important to revisit the old ways you hate and avoid to figure out a new way of embracing and loving the stuff in life that’s good for you or your business.









Let me show you how to generate cognitive dissonance in three easy steps:

One:         Do a new package layout.

Two:         Layout the copy in three languages.

Three:       Add a product-in-action shot.

Now maybe it’s just me but the SensiCare Ice image just begs for a bit more copy. Something like "The Orrigional and still the Only Ice-Cold Rectal Examination Glove".

When I wrote this post I was inspired by the SensiCare Ice package - with the pointed index finger, but when I proofed my work I realized the white Curad glove elicited the same reaction in me, but maybe not in you.

This is why I prefer to panel-test the images that I recommend to clients before publishing them on or off-line.

I need to know if my reactions are typical or atypical.

Then I'll know if there is any cognitive dissonance AND I can decide if it will help, or hinder, the work I'm doing for my clients.






I’m inundated with flyers, but since it’s part of what I do for a living, I pay attention to what comes in, what catches my eye and why.


Here are a few examples: I like the first grocery flyer because it tells me what it is and how long it’s good for VERY quickly.


I give to a number of charities on a regular basis. Direct Mail from organizations that I’m familiar with get opened and scanned for “brand continuity”. If their letters make me feel like they’re (still) doing good work, they get a donation. If not I pass + toss. New charities need to work much harder. The envelope itself needs to stop me from tossing it into the recycled bin unopened. If it does stop me, then the letter needs to convince me that the charity is worth adding to my donation list.


Blank envelopes like the one at the bottom confound me. The communications advisor that recommended this “affordable” idea should be shot. It’s a complete waste of time and money – especially since small companies need the best, not the worst, ROI to remain viable. A simple affordable change could have this  the most effective piece in the pile.

A lump. Lumpy mail is the most intriguing and, with the right offer, the most effective.