How strong is your network?


While we all like to believe that we have a powerful network around us, odds are that it’s pathetic. In the ‘70’s singer - songwriter Linda Ronstadt nailed it when she lamented that “everybody loves a winner, but when you loose, you loose alone.” If you don’t believe me, try this little network strength-test.

First, let your network know about a big opportunity.


  • 3 BR. Downtown Condo w. Pkg. : NINE months FREE rent while I'm away.
  • A +$150M job + International Travel + Expenses.
  • Estate sale: 5 year old Mercedes – 2,000 miles  |  $10,000.

You’ll probably get lots of hits from folks who want to know more, because 99.9% of your network wants to increase their standard of living as much as possible with as little effort as possible. 

Then, a few months later, share another big opportunity.


  • Hey does any one of you have a spare room or couch for a month?
  • Hey, just lost my job – and need a P/T gig to make ends meet. Can any one help?
  • Ouch. Just trashed my car. Who can lend me a car or help me find a reliable one for $2,500.00

The responses and the response rates will be dramatically different.

This sagging fence post illustrates how a strong network should work and how a good network supports you when the shit hits the fan. I’m not here to tell you how to build a network that’s as strong as this fence (for free), but I will give you this piece of free advice: bank on less than 1% of your network in a pinch.

Save this picture to your personal and professional development files and use it as a litmus test to see if an existing contact is worth having + investing in, or not.

The use of this picture as a planning too will change your life.




Dock cribs, chains, lines + change


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.  




Brussels sprouts, life + business


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.



Season's Greetings




Cognitive dissonance 101


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.