FRESH IDEAS.
HAND-CRAFTED WEEKLY.

Inspiring thoughts on innovation, growth, leadership,
creativity, transformation, and disruption.

 

Quick reads, powerful results.

On Second Thought…

A student was in physics class taking a test. The final question on the test was, “Given a barometer, how would you measure the height of this building?” Now, the go-to answer for this is to go to the first floor, note the pressure, go to the roof, note the pressure, and run it through […]

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Reaching Your Next Level: 5 Weekly Habits

Getting to the next level means something different to each of us. For you, it could be launching a startup, landing a big promotion, starting a band, being a better parent, or making a bigger impact in your community. The thing all of us have in common – even the best of the best – […]

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Chipping Away

MYTH: Achievement occurs through some gigantic epiphany or an all-at-once breakthrough. FACT: Most things worth accomplishing involve a persistent stream of small advances that, over time, lead to something transformational. Michelangelo once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside.  It is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”  His vision was brought to life […]

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What’s the Wait?

So many people wait around endlessly for the perfect opportunity to emerge.  And then, when that big opportunity comes a knockin’, few are prepared to seize it. There are many things outside of our control, but there’s never a shortage of actions we can take right now so that we’ll be ready to grasp opportunity […]

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Your Band Doesn’t Need Five Drummers

Imagine if the Beatles had no Paul, John, or Ringo… just four Georges.  Their incredible contribution to the world – their timeless music – would be merely overlapping guitar solos and too many strumming chords.  Blah! A great band comes to life through the unique contribution of varying instruments, talents, and perspectives.  So why then […]

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What’s Your Calling?

As the waiter told us about the specials this past Saturday night, he didn’t simply drone on with emotionless facts. Instead, with the animation and passion of an opera singer, he told us about the Kobe beef “experience” and the incredible “intensity” of their dry aged steaks.  This guy was doing much more than his job.  […]

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The Myth of Life Balance

In addition to reaching the top of our game in our careers, we feel crushing pressure to excel at nearly every other area of life.  The list of “shoulds” puts us in a pressure cooker that could turn coal into diamonds.  We should be have a sculpted body, be a perfect parent, be well-read and well-travelled, be […]

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Reaching Conclusions

As events unfold, it’s human nature to interpret situations quickly and reach immediate conclusions.  We tend to judge swiftly and prefer the binary view of good/bad, happy/sad, or win/lose. In today’s complex world, reaching early conclusions can cloud your judgment and lure you away from achievement.  One of my favorite Zen parables illustrates this beautifully: […]

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Stop the Beatings

I’m short.  And Impatient.  I stink at details, I am a horrible dancer, and I am a lousy athlete.  Like you, I have dozens of imperfections and spend a lot of time focusing on them.  How completely unproductive. Worse yet, I spend far too much time focused on the shortcomings of others.  The driver in front […]

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Your JumboTron

As basketball fans enter their favorite time of year, all eyes will be on the ever-present JumboTron.  In addition to all the flash, this giant scoreboard provides critical information to players, coaches, and fans.  In its larger-than-life format, everyone has up-to-the-nanosecond knowledge of the score, time remaining, period, and many other vital stats. Now, imagine […]

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Dance Like No One’s Watching

There exist few things in life as awkward as the self-conscious dancer.  Prancing about without rhythm or timing, their embarrassing moment becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  There’s one at every wedding, every party, and every dance club. This hapless soul has a counterpart: the person who doesn’t give a shit.  He lets it all hang out, irrespective […]

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Getting Unstumped

In our personal and professional lives, we’re often faced with a problem that has no apparent solution.  We reach an impasse where logical, conventional thinking simply isn’t cutting it.  In these frustrating cases, we have a choice: We can resign ourselves to the insurmountable nature of the challenge, or we can get creative. Doug Dietz […]

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Swiss Army Knife Innovation

That ubiquitous red contraption contains just about every feature you can imagine.  A nail clipper, ice pick, and Philips screwdriver.  None of the individual tools are especially remarkable – you could buy a corkscrew that is higher quality and more beautifully designed – but all of these mediocre features are crammed into one product. Is […]

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The Hard Part

Whether you are running a startup, building a relationship, or rebuilding a community, there’s an easy part and a hard part.  One requires less work in the moment while the other unlocks the potential of your efforts and concurrently is the playground for personal growth. Those comfortable things that require little thinking, risk, or effort exist to test […]

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Leadership Lessons from Floyd Mayweather

Love him or hate him, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. is the champ.  With a perfect record of 43-0, he’s the highest paid athlete in the world having earned over $200 million in the ring.  In Saturday’s pay-per-view bout, he made a cool $32 million; putting his total purse from the last three fights over $100 […]

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You Can’t Hug Every Cat

This hilarious video has been viewed over 21 million times.  As a young lady records her first dating video for eHarmony, she gets a bit, well, distracted: As if that didn’t make you laugh hard enough, the Songify folks then made an even funnier auto-tune song from the video. That video has been viewed nearly 17 […]

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The 10X Factor

So you’re launching a new business.  Or pitching to a new potential client.  Or trying to snag that promotion.  What will it take to bring home the win in today’s hyper-competitive environment? You need to be better by a factor of ten. Breaking through inertia to disrupt the status quo can feel more daunting than […]

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Extra Turn of the Knob

There have been countless books written on getting ahead, habits of successful people, and forging solid relationships.  Each year, some new psycho-babble buzzword or slick management technique emerges to help success-starved individuals reach the next level. When you really boil it down, the most effective thing you can do is simply over-deliver.  That’s right, no […]

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What’s Your Range?

Grammy-winning singer Mariah Carey has a five-octave vocal range.  She can stretch her voice to reach those super-high notes, and she can also swoop way down low to hit those rich, deep tones. The best entrepreneurs and business leaders have a similar ability: they can zoom out to a 50,000 ft. view of their business, […]

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Overnight Success?

As Chris Dixon pointed out in a recent blog post, Angry Birds, the incredibly popular game, was software maker Rovio’s 52nd attempt. They spent eight years and nearly went bankrupt before finally creating their massive hit. Pinterest is one of the fastest growing websites in history, but struggled for a long time. Pinterest’s CEO recently said that […]

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Aspirin or Vitamins?

If you have a burning headache, you’ll do whatever it takes to subdue it.  If it’s 3:00 am on a cold, snowy night and you are out of pain killers, you’ll bundle up, drive to a 24-hour pharmacy, and desperately pay nearly any cost to alleviate your pain. Vitamins are a different story.  They are […]

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Razor’s Edge Creativity

In an age when the pressures of the world can overwhelm the best of us, it can feel like the window of opportunity has become smaller than a tic tac.  Many entrepreneurs look back in time and long for the days when there were oodles of products not yet invented.  It’s one thing if you […]

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Next Play

Duke University’s coach Mike Krzyzewski has won more games than any other men’s college basketball coach in history.  He’s the big cheese.  The top dog.  The head honcho.  His leadership skills have produced unparalleled success and he’s had a tremendous influence on the world of sports. One of Coach K’s key rituals is to declare […]

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How Bad Do You Want It?

My friend Les Gold, star of the hit TV series Hardcore Pawn, gave a dynamic speech this week that left the audience mesmerized.   His opening line really struck me: “How bad do you want it?” As products of a consumer-driven society, we want just about everything.  We want fancy cars, palatial homes, and exotic travel.  We also […]

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Aim Up, Compare Down

To me, it’s not about comparing yourself to other people or being boastful. It’s about comparing “down” to a previous version of you.

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The Front Page Test

Now I’m no prude and I’m all for artistic expression. But peddling obnoxious trash to audiences in order to sell more records can’t be making the world a better place. Sure, these “artists” are scoring a bunch of cash. But at what cost?

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My 11 Principles

My 11 guiding principles for graduates, dropouts, young guns, and seniors alike.

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About to be Nested?

That’s right… the Nest sells for ten times the price of the find-anywhere industry standard thermostat. And they are sold out everywhere you look.

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Inventing Your Enemy

Throughout my career, my favorite saying has always been: “Someday, a company is going to come along and put us out of business. It might as well be us.”

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