Saturday, 21 September 2013

Steve Jobs On How Content Is Truly King [video]

Content Truly Is King

In the middle of this amazing "lost" Steve Jobs interview is some of the best thinking on content and product development I've ever discovered. Jobs discusses the very important distinction between process and the masterful craftsmanship required to develop great products.

Listening to this extraordinary segment I thought Jobs was contradicting Dov Seidman's book How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything. On repeated listening not so much. Jobs is warning against process police taking over and attempting to substitute hollow business process where passion, commitment and genius should rule.

Seidman is suggesting that creating the kinds of teams Jobs was famous for leading is the only business process anyone owns. There are no secrets and intellectual property is a poor substitute for fast moving new market creating genius (iPad, iPhone for example).

"People get very confused that the process is the content."

Content Greatness Under Attack

Content fights a two front war. The "process police" are easy to spot. They use words like, "can't", "never before" and "better check with legal". Process police live for the obstruction. Their victory is delay, derail or obfuscation. This is not to say we should all shoot first and figure everything else out second.

While it is hard to define professional obstructionist process police we all know them when we interact with them. In many places these "police" have a kind of institutional tenure. Process police can leach their way into any company or institutions they can be all but impossible to remove or go around.

Steve Jobs was asked to leave the company he started. Perfect example of a company taken over by process police. Why would any company give up a Steve Jobs? Jobs's tells you why in the video when he discusses how difficult it can be to employ and interact with brilliant content creators.

The way of the creative warrior is mercurial, unsure, tempestuous and difficult. In contrast the Process Police hold up a picture of calm seas and quiet hearts and promise unwavering fealty. We do the things the way we've always done them because to do so creates security and assurance that life is orderly, predictable and calm.

In my thirties working for a large consumer packaged goods company I wondered about the nature of risk and time. On the surface our lives seemed ideal. Making large salaries and doing work I loved was great, but each battle was changing me.

The illusion I sold was "intra-preneurship" - approaching my job within a billion dollar company as if I was an entrepreneur. I found out what a total fiction such self deception is when, at 35, we started Found Objects (twenty years ago).

Immediately the fiction of "intra-preneuring" was exposed. All that process strength meant next to nothing in the big bad world of product and content. The fallacy of process as content was clear, striking and immediate.

Content doesn't START magical. Kings of Content, those mercurial people Jobs laments are impossible to manage, craft clay, steel and wood into the art of great content. Would your company hire the next Steve Jobs? If they did would your process police hector him or her right out of the company?

Hope for your company and career's sake the answer to both of those questions is YES and NO.

State of Michigan to host MiVirtualCareerFair

LANSING  — Job seekers and employers can connect with each other in a live virtual environment through a MiVirtualCareerFair career networking event hosted by the State of Michigan, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 at
“There are more than 60,000 jobs currently available in various industries on the Pure Michigan Talent Connect website, which connects Michigan employers to qualified talent as well as provides resources for job seekers,” said Joe Quick, Manager of Talent Programs, Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
MiVirtualCareerFair allows employers to connect with top talent and gives job seekers the opportunity to apply for dozens of available positions without the inconvenience and expense of traditional job fairs.  Since the first MiVirtualCareerFair event in February 2012, more than 90 employers and more than 10,000 job seekers have been connected.
Within MiVirtualCareerFair, employers host exhibitor booths that include links to job postings, company profiles, employee benefits, and employer contact information, and allow job seekers to communicate one-on-one with company representatives. Post-event, employers receive in-depth analytics including candidate resumes, applications, chat transcripts, and booth visit data. All job openings posted during the fair will be accessible to participants for 30 days after the live event. 
These employers will take part in the September MiVirtualCareerFair: Advanced Physical Therapy Center, Auto-Owners Insurance, Cochrane Supply, Edgewater Automation, GC Services, Genemarkers, General Electric, Grid Logic, Inc., Hope Network, Lyons Industries, Microline Technology Corporation, New York Life Insurance Company, Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., State of Michigan, Stout Systems, TechSmith Corporation and Van Loon Industries, Inc.
Employers interested in hosting a booth in one of the upcoming MiVirtualCareerFair events are encouraged to contact Andrew Belanger, Project Coordinator for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation at

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Trust Is A CATCH-22

Pebbles and CATCH-22's

What does it mean when a cool idea for a watch earns $11M on Kickstarter? Certainly one clear and loud implication is crowdfunding is ready for prime time, but there are more sweeping and profound implications. Why would anyone make anything without testing and creating a digital market long before materials are purchased to make something material.

Pebble's brilliant Kickstarter campaign proves the man, machine, mountain parable. Match the right man (or product) to the right mountain and supply him (or her) with the right tools and the mountain will be climbed. Make the Pebble pitch to Walmart and it is a nonstarter.

Pebble Smartwatch 2013 video from Pebble Technology on Vimeo.

This "match the hatch" of product to market and marketplace has never been more important. You have one chance to make a first impression so matching your idea to favorable audience is critical. There is a CATCH-22 hidden in our new distribution model. You can't know what is right until you test and testing steals "first impression".

Our Story of Cancer Foundation just DIDN'T sell its first product on eBay. We probably did ten things wrong listing my Specialized SL2 since we didn't make our first sale. Ebay is a trust system. The more you sell the more trust you develop. We started with a BIG and expensive thing when we should have learned and built our reputation on smaller, less expensive things. Worth another go, but not with the Specialized.

Kickstarter turned the eBay model on is head. They said, "We have an exclusive number of things like distributorships, celebrity endorsements and watches, get them if you can". The right question is how can we sell on eBay in the Pebble watch way? How can we create the perceived exclusivity that creates a competitive market in our favor?

Exclusivity is an important currency online. Important and often overlooked since the web seems to have everything in abundance. What makes a digital good exclusive? The story you tell. takes commodity rumbas and makes them special with the stories they tell, the voice they tell those stories in and the perceived exclusivity of great deals with deadlines.

Stories are important, but so are other e-commerce tools such as deadline, exclusivity, legitimacy (realized via testimonials) and TRUST as distilled from many interactions with your online brand. What do you do if you don't have any of those things? Find something you can give away FREE and then over deliver on that promise.

Pebble Watch is both exception and new ecommerce rule. Chances of your hitting an idea so dead solid perfect are about that of being hit by lightening, but you can and should emulate basic "new ecommerce" lessons such as:

* Stories Matter.
* Deadlines Matter.
* Exclusivity (real or perceived) matters.
* TRUST matters most.

Trust Is A CATCH-22

Trust is one of those strange things. The more you chase after it the less you get. Your EARN trust you don't get it instantly or for FREE. Trust can come from a scaled network like Kickstarter or from your LinkedIn profile, a video or "like me" friends who comment, share impressions on social media or write about your efforts (as my amazing friend Phil Buckley did recently).

The Story of Cancer Foundation isn't trusted on eBay yet, so my bad for starting with a BIG EXPENSIVE THING. Trust requires TIME, TESTING and some TROUBLE. People want to know what you do when something doesn't go your way. When you blew that shipment or forgot to do something are you concerned fixing your systems?

Will you trust me because my friend Phil said nice things? Maybe, but you are likely to want more validation. The best validation we provide is what we do online every day. Phil pointed out in the comments that I'm known for creating a lot of content (not so much this week sine I'm sick as a dog lol).

Presence creates trust. Presence is also a chit, a promise. When I can't keep my normal schedule that can be the equivalent of a broken promise. Once a social identity is established be careful with how you change it. Over communicate why change is happening and where you are going or trust can be lost.

Social presence creates trust. Social presence over time creates expectations and trust. Be careful with both and if you know how to sell on ebay please let us know :). Thanks, Marty

Developing international IP strategy program is Friday

TROY — The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Commerce, East Michigan District Export Council are hosting a program on intellectual property rights in the global marketplace, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20 at Michigan State University, Management Education Center, 811 W. Square Lake Road, Troy.
This one-day program is aimed at providing companies with tools to develop an IP strategy to support expanded export sales and increased global business activities, while avoiding the pitfalls of IP theft and abuse. The program is open to companies of all sizes in all industries, located across the United States. The cost is $125 per person. To register, visit or call 248-975-9609.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Stories - Why So Important NOW

Stories Matter

The web moves in phases. The first phase was presence. In 1999 when I built my first website, (now RIP sadly), having a website was sufficient to generate Return On Investment (ROI).

The next phase was the battle for commerce. The move from "brochure-ware", websites that were little more than printed brochures that happened to be online, to limited interactivity.

Once the conversational door was open the social tsunami began. Where once we lucky few Internet marketers lectured now, in the social era, we listen and curate. Having conversations means we develop different kinds of websites.

One easy to spot difference is the ubiquity of social share buttons. Social signals such as Facebook Likes and Tweets confirm our claims and the conversations taking place on our new more social websites.

Why Stories Matter NOW

  • No one speaks first, so conversations must be present and robust.

  • Speaking in stories creates more vulnerability than "marketing speak".

  • Being vulnerable creates trust and a quid pro quo. 

  • Stories create relationships. 

  • Stories create engagement. 

  • Google's algorithm changes. 

Google's Changes

Google is simultaneously the web's greatest influence and gauge of what is important. Google's re-emphasis on engagement and relevance protects the core of their model - the validity and democracy of links. Debating if Google's shifts are in response to an observed trend or their desire to create a better web is moot.

Understanding WHY something becomes as important as stories are now is often a fool's errand. Internet marketing is fast moving. Time is often too valuable to spend understanding the past since to do so risks the NOW. Every dollar your website will ever make happens in the only time the web recognizes NOW.

Watch Andreas Ekstrom explain how Google knows when you will get the flu and who will win an American presidential campaign and one Internet marketing truth is clear - what Google wants you want too:

Google Wants Relevant Stories

Google doesn't speak nearly as clearly as, "More and better stories please". Google uses words like "engagement" and "heuristics" to say the same thing. A website's heuristics are metrics such as time on site, pages viewed and bounce rate that should demonstrate a growing value, a growing relationship.

Google is going to do their job, ship traffic to our websites. Your job is to treat that traffic like family. When I was a Director of E-commerce we washed thousands through our conversion funnel to trap hundreds. Not a good idea now.

After Google algorithm changes less traffic converting better holds up our end of the Internet marketing bargain. Google is the traffic cop and we are tasked with creating unique experiences that thrill people Google sends.

"Thrill" means people spend more time with your content, share it with their friends and social network and convert (take some action Google can see such as clicking for more pages, joining your email list or buying something).

Story As Conversation Starter

Stories, voice and tone have never been more important, but we aren't in college and this isn't a lecture. Stories aren't lectures. Stories are examples of your website's recognition of where we are, what phase of the moon we are in.

Your website must begin by sharing stories. Almost immediately your marketing should emphasize User Generated Content (UGC). You share your stories to create TRUST. When your customers share their stories trust is assured.

This can be a hard pivot. Internet marketers tend to get stuck in a single gear. Once marketers gear up to tell stories they may forget we share stories with intent - to create an ecosystem where conversations happen, where our customers are comfortable enough to share their stories.

There was a time when we lucky few marketers invaded Russia in the winter. We gathered millions of dollars of resources, pointed all of that armor at a target, gritted out teeth and bulled our way forward. Not so much anymore.

Even if a marketing team could create such a massive campaign actually spending the money would be foolish. Today's marketing is about smaller steps more carefully watched. Today's marketing requires stories because stories are the best way to feel our way forward.

Great Story Resource

Karen Dietz is my favorite online storytelling resource. Karen is writing a book about storytelling and here is a link to one of my favorite posts on's blog:

Whoever Tells The Best Story Wins

Storytelling To Grow Your Business Karen's

Just Story It on Scoopit

@Kdietz on Twitter

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Business events in Oakland County

Sept. 18
SOUTHFIELD — Flagstar Bank presents the third annual ‘Speed Networking’ event, which will bring together more than sixty professionals in the business and legal arena for a chance to network, exchange business cards, and promote their services. It is 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18 at Regency Manor in Southfield.
Each person will have three minutes to introduce themselves to another professional, and provide a short ‘pitch’ for their products or services before they rotate to the next professional.
The event is co-sponsored by the Armenian- American Bar Association, the Chaldean American Bar Association, the Chaldean American Association for Health Professionals, the Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan, the Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and Steward Media. For more information, contact Derek Dickow at 248-702-5501 or email To purchase tickets to the event, visit

Sept. 18
WATERFORD TWP. — Women's Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification Orientation is 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18. The cost is $25 per person. The workshop covers the benefits and process of becoming a Women's Business Enterprise (WBE). Benefits include certification to private sector WBE's and access to procurement opportunities with major national companies. It is held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Sept. 19
WATERFORD TWP. — Business Research: Feasibility to Expansion is 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Sept. 19. This free workshop is for startup or existing small business looking to research their business idea or find research for their business plan. It is held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Sept. 19
BIRMINGHAM — Miller Canfield lawyer Michael P. Coakley along with Linda Cena, securities examination manager, and Jason Craft, securities examiner, will discuss the latest legal developments affecting the securities industry at an upcoming “Before the Bell,” 7:15-8:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept.19 at the Townsend Hotel in downtown Birmingham.
The presenters will discuss examination sweep results and best practices derived from them, IA switch firms’ most common violations and recent legislative developments in the industry.
There is no cost to attend. Reservations are required, contact Sandy Bera at 248-267-3345 or This event is limited to investment officers, registered representatives or trust officers. For more information, visit

Sept. 19
TROY — The Troy Chamber of Commerce will host the next luncheon in its CEO series on Thursday, Sept. 19, featuring Delphi Automotive President/CEO Rodney O’Neal. O’Neal will present a keynote address, “Reinvention and Remaining Relevant.” The event will begin with a mini business expo at 10:30 a.m. followed by lunch and O’Neal’s keynote address, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The event will be held at San Marino Club, 1685 E. Big Beaver Rd., in Troy. The cost to attend is $27 for Troy Chamber members and $37 for non-members. An additional $5 will be charged the day of the event. The cost to exhibit at the event is $100 for Troy Chamber members and $150 for non-member (limited number), including one lunch.
To register, call 248-641-8151 or e-mail

Sept. 19
WEST BLOOMFIELD TWP. — The Greater West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce is hosting Nancy Schlichting, Chief Executive Officer of Henry Ford Health System as the keynote speaker for the fall 2013 Leadership luncheon. The luncheon will be held at noon Thursday, Sept. 19 in the atrium of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Schlichting was named the Crain’s 2013 Newsmaker of the Year and is recognized as a national leader in the health care industry. Dr. Frank  McGeorge, WDIV-TV4 medical reporter and Henry Ford Hospital emergency medicine physician, is the master of ceremonies for the event.
Tickets are $45 for West Bloomfield Chamber members and $50 for non-members. To register or for more information, visit or call 248-626-3636.

Sept. 19
DETROIT – Paul A. Glantz, founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment Inc. and CEO of Proctor Financial Inc., this month will speak at Wayne State University about ways start-up businesses can attract investors and protect their financial investments.
Glantz will present “Valley of Death: Surviving the Financial Rut” from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in the Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium at Wayne Law, 471 W. Palmer St. The free workshop is open to the public. Parking is available for $6.50 in the structure across West Palmer Street from the law school. For more information, contact Shawn Starkey at 313-577-4629 or
The keynote talk will begin at 6:15 p.m., and hors d'oeuvres and networking are 7:15 to 8 p.m.

Sept. 24
TROY — A Health Care Reform Connect Conference is 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24 at the MSU Management Education Center, 811 W. Square Lake Road, Troy. There will be a series of interactive sessions with experts discussing: what's new, exchange options and changes required for your benefit plan. A speaker from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, will discuss the latest updates to the Affordable Care Act and answer questions. The cost is $100 for Michigan Business & Professional Association members or $125 for nonmembers. Admission includes workshops and brunch. For more information or to register, call 586-393-8800 or visit

Sept. 24-25
ANN ARBOR — The Center for Empowerment and Economic Development is hosting the annual Great Lakes Women’s Business Conference, Sept. 24-25. The 13th annual  Women’s Business Enterprises Council Great Lakes (WBEC) conference will offer networking, silent auction, workshops and opportunities to speak with supplier diversity professionals. The event will include “Power Lunches.” The list of participants is at Tickets start at $150 and can be purchased at or by calling CEED at 734-677-1400.

Sept. 25
BIRMINGHAM — The 10th annual Vine & Dine gala benefitting Gleaner’s Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan is 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 at Neiman Marcus at the Somerset Collection in Troy.  Hosted by the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber, the event will showcase the talents of students from Oakland Community College’s Culinary Institute.
The event includes a runway fashion show featuring Neiman Marcus Fall fashions, a chance to win a diamond necklace valued at $3,800 from Astrein’s Creative Jewelers and a luxury vehicle display from the Fred Lavery Company.
Food and wine participants include: 220 Restaurant, Beverly Hills Grill, CafĂ© ML, Cameron’s Steakhouse, Fox Grill, Hills Fine Wine & Spirits, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Maggiano’s Little Italy, Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council, OCC Culinary Institute, Old World Olive Press, Peabody’s, Roadside B & G, Salvatore Scallopini, Schakolad Birmingham Chocolate, Streetside Seafood and Woodberry Wine.
Neiman Marcus is at Somerset Collection, 2705 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy. The event includes complimentary valet. Dress to impress. Tickets are $75 each. Special corporate pricing is available for groups of 12 or more. To purchase tickets, visit or call 248-430-7688.

Sept. 25
TROY — L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive discusses what advanced manufacturers need to build a globally-competitive workforce, 7:30-9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 at Troy Marriott, 200 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy. Breakfast is at 7:30 a.m. and the program is at 8 a.m. The event is free, but registration is required at

Sept. 25
WATERFORD TWP. — QuickBooks Essentials Part 1 and Part 2 is 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25. The cost is $40 each or $75 for both parts. This introduction to small business financial management provides an overview of accurate recordkeeping, report interpretation and utilization, and management of  QuickBooks tools. It is held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Sept .25
WATERFORD TWP. — Health Care Reform and Small Business is 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Sept. 25. This free workshop discusses health care reform legislation and how it will affect all business owners. It is held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Sept. 25
WATERFORD TWP. — QuickBooks Essentials Part 1 and Part 2 is 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25. The cost is $40 each or $75 for both parts. This introduction to small business financial management provides an overview of accurate recordkeeping, report interpretation and utilization, and management of  QuickBooks tools. It is held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Sept .25
WATERFORD TWP. — Health Care Reform and Small Business is 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Sept. 25. This free workshop discusses health care reform legislation and how it will affect all business owners. It is held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Sept. 25
PONTIAC — Buckner's Bakery, A Dessert Cafe is hosting a ribbon cutting is from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25. Located at 19 N. Saginaw St. in Pontiac, the cafe features cakes, pies, ice cream treats and hand-scooped ice cream. For more information, call 248-454-0445 or visit
Briggette of Petals and Gems

Sept. 26
TROY — Automation Alley Headquarters is hosting Technology on the Move, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26. This presentation will provide business leaders with knowledge on what their mobile devices can do for them, and will provide a sampling of applications that exist that can benefit their business. Speakers include Suzanne Chartier, Director of Engineering Services, eyeWyre Software Studios and Jim Salter, Business Development Director, Persis Consulting Company. Lunch is included. The cost in advance is $20 for members and $40 for nonmembers. The cost at the door is $30 for members and 50 for nonmembers. Call 1-800-427-5100 or visit to register.

Sept. 26
WATERFORD TWP. — Writing a Business Plan is 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Sept. 26. The cost is $40 per person. This course covers business planning along with a demonstration of the MI-SBTDC online business plan tool.  It is held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Sept. 26
SOUTHFIELD — Southfield-based Farbman Group, a leading full-service real estate company, is hosting a speed networking event titled Five Minute Farbman for its metro Detroit tenants and vendors. The event is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sept. 26 at the Southfield Office Centre, 18000 W. Nine Mile Road, Southfield.
Five Minute Farbman provides the real estate company’s tenants and vendors with the opportunity to meet and connect with potential new customers, clients and vendors, while learning and sharing best practices for conducting business from individuals across a broad spectrum of industries.
Lunch and refreshments will be provided. For more information, or to register, visit

Friday, 13 September 2013

Secret Prize For Top Social Media Buzzer In October


We need help from social media and Internet marketing wizards. We are launching two major nonprofit websites in October: (crowdfunding cancer research) and (shop to cure cancer).

Both websites are funded by Atlantic BT and me and 100% of's donations go to cancer research. This is how I pay back people who've worked so hard to save my live (I'm a cancer survivor) and how Atlantic BT pays their amazing growth and success forward.  Both websites are part of the Story of Cancer Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit.

We need great online marketers to help beat the "cure cancer drum" in October, increase awareness of these two new ideas and demonstrate the power of social media marketing. If you are up for a challenge please join the Cure Cancer Buzz Team Today. If you can tweet you can help cure cancer.

We also need great editors, writers, photographers, video artists, artists (see our Art Cures Cancer contest) and anyone who wants to be part of something unique, special and fun.

Unique Prize

Four weeks after launch we will tally up IMPACT from our social media marketers and select ten outstanding Cure Cancer Buzz Team members. We will ask our community who deserves a special reward.

We've read Drive by Daniel Pink and know most people help worthy causes out of a sense of altruism and a desire to help. I've benefited from the kindness of strangers many times including the strangers that made a cancer drug that saved my life.

Four weeks after Cure Cancer Starter's launch we will award a unique prize to the TOP BUZZER along with our THANKS and appreciation. This "secret prize" will be the 4th one ever made and we hope the winner will be able to point that fact out with great pride as thousands of these secret new products walk around the planet helping raise cure cancer research money.

Want to guess? Here are three hints:

1. Both men and women look great in it.

2. Many will have already owned one at one point in their lives.

3. This new product will be a great Cure Cancer communicator despite the fact it is NOT electronic or digital.

FOM (Friends of Martin) Hint: Sue Rush has a picture of Ray Galvin wearing Martin's back in the day.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

How to get ahead by showing weakness

Submitted by Dottie DeHart, DeHart & Company Public Relations,

New York, NY  — Do either of these scenarios sound familiar?
A colleague sends you a snarky email, so you type a cutting response right back.A Facebook “friend” insults your political beliefs in a post, so you write a scathing comment about their obvious cluelessness.

Nobody likes to back down, give in, knuckle under, or swallow an insult. And showing weakness isn’t likely to get you anything but disrespect and marginalization…right?Wrong. Communication consultant Geoffrey Tumlin says being what some would call a “wimp” is often an effective response. And in the right circumstances, it can even be a way to get ahead
“Weakness can be a very effective communication tool,” said Tumlin, author of the new book Stop Talking, Start Communicating: Counterintuitive Secrets to Success in Business and in Life“In many scenarios, allowing the other party to maintain what appears to be ‘the upper hand’ can help you successfully navigate volatile situations, protect important relationships, and get you what you want personally and professionally.”

So why do we feel it’s okay—even smart—to maintain a forceful presence? Some of it might be the vestiges of our caveman past, but Tumlin believes it’s also a consequence of the digital communication revolution. We’ve gotten in the habit of impulsive, expedient, and self-expressive communication. We can chat, tweet, text, and email to our hearts’ content. And because it’s all so quick and easy, we’ve come to believe that it’s our right, as citizens of the digital age, to say what we want, when we want.“One consequence of this mistaken belief is that we often fight back too quickly and too forcefully whenever we’re annoyed,” Tumlin says. “But impulsive and unfiltered communication—whether it happens face-to-face or digitally—often costs us dearly. Because we aren’t willing to be seen as wimps, conflicts escalate and relationships deteriorate. We would do much better to hold our tongues, control our emotions, and focus on long-term goals instead of on short-term gratification.”

Tumlin shares six ways to get ahead by showing weakness: 

Respond with weakness. We all too often use more force than we need to accomplish our objectives. We yell when a measured response would work better, send a blistering e-mail when a more restrained reply would suffice, or issue an ultimatum when a firm but gentle statement of convictions would do. Conflicts that start or escalate with excessive force frequently cause a destructive cycle—attack, retaliation, escalated attack, and escalated retaliation, etc. No matter how justified you may feel, the bottom line is that using excessive force isn’t usually a winning strategy.
“You should try to apply the least amount of interpersonal force and intensity necessary to accomplish your objective,” asserts Tumlin. “In other words, bring a stick to a knife fight. No, it’s not always easy when emotions are running high, but a ‘weak’ response can often stabilize a harsh conversation and prevent damage to the underlying relationship. Try to stay serious and focused and keep the conversation as brief as possible. Keep your words calm, controlled, and even boring—don’t add any new emotional material." 

Back down from challenges. In our achievement-oriented society, backing down from a verbal challenge can be the equivalent of not accepting a triple-dog-dare on the playground. But that’s exactly what smart communicators do. They know that our quick, cheap, and easy digital devices allow us to have far too many unnecessary conversations, engage in way too much unnecessary chatter, and get our hands (and thumbs) on too many irrelevant issues. Smart communicators are willing to let some problems go unsolved so that they can focus on those that are truly important.
“I recommend dividing challenges and problems into three categories: Now, Delay, and Avoid,” instructs Tumlin. “Problems in the Now category require an immediate, solution-based conversation. Don’t automatically assign too many issues to this category—this is the most frequent miscalculation of our ‘everything now’ digital age.
“Delay is your default category,” he adds. “Many issues don’t need your active intervention, and others may disappear completely or resolve themselves without your participation. Finally, some issues reflect highly emotional, incredibly complicated, and other volatile feelings that reside deep inside the other person. Avoid them unless they are impairing the accomplishment of critical work.” 

Let difficult people win. Jane talks too much. Jim is incredibly stubborn. Uncle Billy loves to argue. Whether they’re controlling, critical, or cranky, the behaviors that make someone a difficult person tend to spark frequent confrontations—even though we’re unlikely to influence these people. For example, we wrestle with Jane to get a word in edgewise. We struggle to change Jim’s mind. We fire a barrage of points and counterpoints into Uncle Billy’s arguments. It’s time to quit trying, insists Tumlin.
“At the end of a conversation, the difficult person remains the same, but often you are in a weaker position,” he points out. “Only a commitment to let go of your desire to ‘win’ by imposing your will on the other person can realistically and consistently improve your communication with difficult people. When you find yourself with no choice but to interact with a difficult person, have modest expectations, avoid tangents, and stay focused on your end goal. It’s really all you can do.” 

Swallow your pride and say you’re sorry. Apologizing to another person isn’t easy, even when you know you’re in the wrong. It’s even tougher when you think that the other person is being unreasonable. And, of course, it doesn’t help that certain people view apologies as a sign of weakness. Yet Tumlin believes you should apologize anyway.
“In so many situations, a well-placed ‘I’m sorry’ can keep an incident from escalating and can prevent lasting harm,” he says. “Usually, salvaging a relationship and staying on track to accomplish your goals is worth a momentary blow to your pride.
“Apologizing might seem weak, but in fact, it’s a powerful communication maneuver. Most people have a very hard time refusing a sincere and timely apology. ‘I’m sorry’ cures a wide variety of interpersonal ills.” 

Ignore insults. When somebody offends you, your inner Neanderthal rushes to the front of your brain, urging you to club your foe over the head and show the other person that you won’t allow yourself to be treated that way. But guess what? Your inner Neanderthal isn’t known for restraint, civility, or strategic thinking. Sure, it might feel good to act on your emotions and indulge your impulses, but responding aggressively to insults can also result in a lot of long-term damage.
“No, I’m not suggesting that feelings don’t matter. And I’m not suggesting that you should let anyone insult you consistently. But people say things they quickly come to regret all the time. Don’t let your inner Neanderthal lunge for the club; give the other person a chance to self-correct instead.
“Even if you’re offended, try not to let the interaction escalate,” he adds. “Not allowing your feelings to dictate your words will impact your quality of life profoundly: You will get what you want more often. By focusing on what you want to accomplish instead of what you want to say, your goal—and the underlying relationship—can survive for another conversation.” 

Stop constantly defending your beliefs. Standing up for your convictions has been the American way since the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776. And yes, you should speak up when you feel your own or someone else’s well-being is being threatened. But even though others might label you a wimp for keeping your mouth shut, you don’t have to rise to every challenge. Even though your brother-in-law’s political rants on Facebook make your blood boil, you don’t have to comment on why you disagree with each and every post.
“Too much impulsive disclosure and reflexive communication can upset the people who are most important to your work and personal life,” Tumlin says.
“Ask yourself which is more important to you: throwing your two cents in or maintaining a decent relationship?” he continues. “And be especially careful on Facebook and Twitter because there are many more deeply held beliefs to consider. Play your cards closer to the vest. Failure to exercise caution around sensitive topics can lead to a relational explosion.”“It’s like Kenny Rogers sang in ‘The Gambler’: ‘You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run,’” Tumlin concludes.

About the Author: Geoffrey Tumlin is the author of Stop Talking, Start Communicating: Counterintuitive Secrets to Success in Business and in Life. He is the founder and CEO of Mouthpeace Consulting LLC, a communication consulting company; president of On-Demand Leadership, a leadership development company; and founder and board chair of Critical Skills Nonprofit, a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to providing communication and leadership skills training to chronically underserved populations.
Tumlin holds a PhD and an MA in communication from the University of Texas at Austin and a BS from West Point.
For  more about Geoffrey Tumlin at, and you can reach him by e-mail at

About the Book: Stop Talking, Start Communicating: Counterintuitive Secrets to Success in Business and in Life (McGraw-Hill, August 2013, ISBN: 978-0-0718130-4-4, $20.00, is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and at

Social Media's ROI Magic: Using SMM As A Tactic

Please Join Cure Cancer Buzz Team & Beat The CURE CANCER Drum this October

Heroes and Friends of Martin's (FOMs)

I'm worried and my friends know it. I've gone and bet the farm again and it would appear we will come in short of our goals. How do I know this? Social Media Marketing. Prior to social media, back when I sold M&M's, our marketing didn't live in the NOW.

At Mars we would dutifully benchmark our new Twix campaign based on other similar campaigns and miss more than we hit. Social media can rescue such SWAGs. I put the spreadsheet for this post in a public Google doc here:

Buzz Team Analysis on Google

Using Social Media To Create ROI

I painstakingly visited each current Cure Cancer Buzz Team's social profiles to harvest their followers. I wanted to know if we have enough Cure Cancer Buzz Teamers as of today and the answer is no. If we launch Cure Cancer Starter and Cure Cancer Store in October (looks like Monday the 7th now) we may fall short of our crowdfunding goals simply because we don't have enough of a crowd yet.

Key Metrics

Total "followers" across all social are around 500,000.

If we move 4% to Cure Cancer Starter that would be 20,000 people.

If those people convert at 5% with an average contribution of $50 then Cure Cancer Starter helps raise $50,000, not bad but not BINGO either.

We will have 8 cure cancer "campaigns" from UNC Lineberger Cancer Center, the Duke Cancer Institute, Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo and UW Carbone Cancer Center in Wisconsin.

We will also have the help of Cure Cancer Buzz Team members.

And, if we don't find between 20 and 40 more Buzzers we will fall short.

ROI Magic

Here is where social media's ability to make the abstract and historic relevant to now is magical. We know we will come up about $30,000 short. Divide $30,000 by $50 average contribution means we need almost 600 contributors.

If we think about contributors as coming from the social media waterfall we've already established we can divide our shortfall by the average social following to discover we need 19 more Cure Cancer Starter HEROES to join. Since some of this math is a tad on the optimistic and magical side lets safely double our number and say we need to find 40 more Buzzers between now and October 1st.

Cure Cancer Buzz Team Benefits

We are working on a cool new website to heap praise and thanks on heroic friends, power Internet marketers and people who know how to do the right thing (over and over again). Most who help will have no expectation of reward pointing out precisely whey they are so special.

I've bet on the kindness of strangers several times and never been disappointed.

But I'm worried now having very possibly bitten off more than I can chew (lol). Why am I straining personal finances and friendships to build 2 BIG project at the same time? I'm not depressed about having cancer, I have leukemia, but I am IN A HURRY.

I don't ask people reading this to stop busy lives and contribute by becoming a Cure Cancer Buzz Team Member to save me, though that is what is happening. I ask you to pause and contribute your ability to SHARE an idea whose time has come - curing cancer in our lifetime.

I hope your children and their children only know cancer from a Google search. Cancer is a scurge and our inability to cure it, despite great strides, limits our aspirations and desires. Cancer teaches many lessons such as you always have what you need and NOW is what is real, sure and granted.

My health is good despite having days when it feels like a monster sits on my head. We all have those days. Tomorrow please take out your sword (or cell phone) and smote the dragon, kill the monster and JOIN us as we create our aspirations and live as close to dreams as is humanly possible.




Founder Story of Cancer Foundation, 501c3

Founder - crowdfunding cancer research (Launches 10.7.13)

Founder - shop to cure cancer. (Launches 10.7.13)

Monday, 9 September 2013

Oakland County business events set for this week

Sept. 10
WATERFORD TWP. — Davidson Family Dentistry is hosting an open house and ribbon cutting, 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 5574 Cooley Lake Road, Waterford Township. Reservations requested at 248-977-3006.

Sept. 11
SOUTHFIELD — A seminar to assist franchise owners and operators in navigating union protests and strikes focused on quick serve restaurants and other franchises is being hosted by Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth &  Heller P.C., a Southfield-based law firm and Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants, of Brownstown Township. James M. Reid, IV, a Maddin Hauser employment attorney, and Ricardo Torres, a former high-level union official and president and CEO of Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants, will lead the seminar, which is scheduled for 8 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11 at the Skyline Club, 2000 Town Center, #2800, Southfield. A complimentary continental breakfast will be available at 7:30 a.m. Register for the free conference by email to or call James Reid at 248-351-7060 or Bob Carroll at 734-536-7829.

Sept. 11
PONTIAC — The Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce presents a healthcare reform luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11 at Downtown 51 Grill, 51 N. Saginaw St. in Pontiac. Healthcare reform starts Oct. 1 and  how it may impact business owners, will be discussed. The cost for chamber members is $18 and $35 for nonmembers.

Sept. 11
BIRMINGHAM — The Community House continues its monthly “Bulletproof Your Success Business” Lecture Series, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. This lecture, presented by Camille Jayne, President and CEO of of The Community House is titled, “Strategic Planning For Your Career & Your Work.” The Community House is at 380 South Bates Street, Birmingham.

Sept. 12
WATERFORD TWP. — The Dance Place is hosting a ribbon cutting, noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12. The Dance Place is at 7544 Highland Road, Waterford Township. The event is a grand reopening and features snacks and give-a-ways.

Sept. 12, 19, 26
WATERFORD TWP. — The Oakland County Business Center offers Walk In — Start-Up Thursdays Free Business Counseling every Thursday. The hours are 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Sessions will be limited to 15 minutes and are available on a first come, first-served basis.
The weekly business counseling is held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Sept. 13
NOVI — The Greater Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is hosting “Steer Business Forward,” as the organization sponsors a General Motors “Ride & Drive” event, Friday, Sept. 13 in the parking lot of the Novi Sam’s Club, 27300 Wixom Road. Several General Motors vehicles such as the Chevrolet Impala, Buick Encore and Cadillac ATS, will be onsite and available to be test driven, 4 to 6 p.m. It’s free to drive, but it is recommended to arrive early to get one of the limited amount of drive tickets. All drivers must be 21 years or older and present a valid driver’s license. The event includes a BBQ provided by Sam’s Club, a dessert reception and guest speakers talking on the topic of “Steering Business Forward.”
The reception, which includes a raffle, is 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at The cost is $10 for NAWBO members, $15 for non-members.

Sept. 13
TROY — MI Biz Growth Expo and Workshop is Friday, Sept. 13 at Northwood University, 1500 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy. The event includes Expo and Networking, 9 to 10 a.m. and six speakers to choose from, 10 a.m. to noon. Register for the free event at or call Minesh Baxi at 248-866-0063.

Sept. 13
TROY — Automation Alley’s 13th Annual Awards Gala is  6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 at The Henry Hotel in Dearborn. The categories and finalists for the awards include: Automation Alley Member of the Year: Rochelle A. Black, Oakland University; Tara Miceli, Walsh College and Karen Mitchell, DTE Energy.
Educational Program of the Year: Central Michigan University New Venture Competition; PTAC of Schoolcraft College and Wayne State University GO-GIRL: Gaining Options - Girls Investigate Real Life.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Bill Coughlin, Ford Global Technologies, LLC; Sarah Jacobs, The Robot Garage and Yan Ness, Online Tech, Inc.
Global Trader of the Year: Fluxtrol, Inc.; Fori Automation and Process Development Corporation.
Technology Company of the Year: Pratt & Miller Engineering; Secure-24 and Vectorform.
The cost is $175 per person for Automation Alley members and finalists and $200 per person for non-members. For more information, contact or call 800-427-5100.

Sept. 16, 23, 30
STERLING HEIGHTS — The Macomb-Oakland University INCubator will host its Startup Lean program. Part of the OU Lean Diversification Program, this three-part series will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Mondays, Sept. 16, 23 and 30.
Startup Lean is targeted specifically toward startups, early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs. The Green Belt and Black Belt certificate programs, also part of the OU Lean Diversification Program, are more comprehensive and beneficial to companies at any stage.
"The Macomb-OU INCubator has successfully trained numerous existing companies in Lean through both the Green and Black Belt programs and decided that it made perfect sense to develop a course that was shorter in duration and focused primarily on startups," said Julie Gustafson, executive director at the Macomb-OU INCubator.
Tuition is $95, breakfast is included.
For more information and to register, visit or contact Joan Carleton at 586-884-9320 or

Sept. 16
WATERFORD TWP. — A ribbon cutting is at Leo's Coney. 11 a.m. to noon, Monday, Sept.16 at Leo's Coney, 5076 Highland Road, Waterford Township.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Content Marketing, UGC and Storytelling = New SEO

Content Marketing As A Virtual Cycle

When the great curator Robin Good's feeds hit 1,000,000 views every content marketer should take note - curation is the key to successful content marketing. I created controversy recently at Phil Buckley's SEO Meetup, the largest such Meetup in the country, suggesting curation should be 90% to 10% creation for successful content marketing.

Curation isn't alone. My ratio left out important gears such as social (the blue gear above) and e-commerce (the green gear). Content Marketing's Gears create a "virtual cycle" where the gains and momentum of one creates gains and momentums in others.

Content Marketing's Gears, when balanced, function as a positive perpetual motion machine where any turn of any gear helps all gears. TIME is the most difficult dimension to illustrate. Content marketing has a longer gestation.

Time is part of Google algorithm. Your website creates expectations. New websites don't have millions of unique visitors unless they are exceptions to the math that drives the web and Google's SEO calculations. An exception that proves the rule, such as a movie star's new website, gets included on an "exception report" and checked by "editors" (i.e. humans).

If Google's editors can find an honest exception the traffic and authority points it brings stand. If there is no honest explanation the traffic and rank is removed. Before the social web became so PRESENT so called "black hat SEOs" could manipulate elements within Google;s math to create "false positives".

Not su much anymore

The Math Always Wins

A content network is a man made "universe" where the physics is so complex its simple. Google's genius wasn't in creating the world's most powerful search engine. Google's brilliance was in realizing they, like all companies, brands and people, are in the information business first and all other businesses second.

Win the information business to win the war.

The "Law of Large Numbers" is the magic key to any "information business". Google recognized how the MORE information they "processed" (fed through their algorithm) the easier life became. As the amount of information Google modeled got larger and larger patterns were easier to see, predict and understand.

Big Data's promise is to illuminate the mysteries of any businesses "deep space" much like sending a telescope into space did for our vision of what is "out there". The analogy is not as strained as it reads since the amount of information flooding over the ramparts is replicating exponentially.

"We create as much content every 2 days now as from the dawn of man until the year 2003," Google CEO Eric Schmidt famously said at the Techonomy Conference in 2010. I have no idea how such a number cold be calculated, but if anyone could perform such math it would be Google.

Graphic created for Saving the N&O, but applicable to all businesses. 

Social Media Changes Everything

Schmidt went on to correctly identify the "culprit" of our rabbit-like content multiplication - User Generated Content (UGC) via social networks. If you listened carefully to Schmidt's lament you could hear the pain.

Google was in trouble.

And then their brilliant engineer Navneet Panda rode to the rescue. Panda's faster machine code would have been useless UNLESS Google made the most brilliant decision of their young life - if you can't beat them join them. Google decided to collaborate at least long enough to assure their rule.

Google's decision to value social signals as confirmation PLUS Panda's faster machine code made the water threatening to drown the first company to truly understand the extent we are all in the information business now a friend. Water that once seemed life threatening lifted Google's boats.

Panda changed content forever.

SEO was too successful. When everyone can look behind the curtain there is no wizard. Google's entire existence depends on the honest democracy of links. If links are for sale then Google's democracy becomes a purchasable dictatorship. If Google's Search Results Pages (SERPs) represent MONEY not LOVE all is lost.

Vox Populi Vox Dei

Romans, the Google of their time, understood the voice of the people is the voice of God. Google's algorithm is built on Vox Populi Vox Dei. This truth is why curation should be the biggest gear in your content marketing.

Curation is LISTENING. Curation is listening with intent. When, like Robin Good, you curate an important pool of information such as "cool new social media and Internet marketing tools" followers can spend LESS time worrying about finding new cool tools themselves. We learn where to go WHEN we need certain kinds of information.

"Where to go" is AUTHORITY. Google looks for trusted authorities because Google's brand depends on the related engines of modeled relevance, speed and NOWness. A search engine whose algorithm brings back the most relevant information form five years ago violates the most important customer requirement for the most relevant information NOW.

Content networks have only one time - NOW.

When a handful of smart engineers saw a chink in Google's armor, when Google before GPlus couldn't keep up, they created the fire hose radio of the web known as Twitter. Twitter's creation confirmed Google's decision to use social signals as confirming signals. The combination of Twitter and Facebook taught an even more important lesson - all business are now SOCIAL information businesses.

Your Content Marketing

Putting theory into practice is where rubber meets road. Here is what the thousand words above mean for every content marketer:

  • Claims without confirming social signals do more harm than good.

  • Curation should be the largest content marketing "engine".

  • Don't pay for social signals as much as be influenced by them.

  • Collaboration & User Generated Content are IMPORTANT.

  • LISTENING more than your content marketing talks is KEY.

  • Rewarding and appreciating UGC is critical.

  • SEO is the efficiency of your gears, storytelling & UGC.  

The last bullet is our new "secret sauce" as content marketers. Content marketing isn't a secret anymore, so your marketing better disrupt and WOW or it will not generate the confirming signals required to survive and oil your content marketing gears.

Marketing's change is complete. Where once we invaded Russia in the winter with millions riding on speaking to ourselves about ourselves now we must win hearts, minds and advocacy. Listening and getting just a little smarter everyday is the NEW MARKETING :). 

Birmingham publisher hosting celebration of local authors

Grey Wolfe Publishing of Birmingham is hosting a celebration of local authors, with readings, signings and networking, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Troy Community Center, Room #304, 3179 Livernois, Troy.

Local author and attorney, Michael Kitchen, will read from his debut novel, "The Y in Life." This is the story about the revelations and consequences of questioning life. Darryl Lawrence was a man who never questioned anything. On the cusp of his marriage proposal to college friend, Lisa Nelson, an event happens that changes his life, causing him to question the purpose of life. His journey takes him to Agra and Dharamsala in India, and to Jakarta, Indonesia.
Other featured authors include Ralph Moore, Kevin Lucas, Diana Kathryn Plopa, Christopher Chagnon, Lisa M. Wolfe and the Grey Wolfe Pack Writers.

This is a casual, family-friendly, free event. RSVP is required by Sept. 12. Food and beverages will be served. RSVP to or call Diana Kathryn Plopa at 248-914-4027. For more information, visit

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Join New Cancer Research Revolution

Become A Cure Cancer Hero This Fall

We need an army of social people to help create a new cancer research revolution this fall. Please consider becoming a "Cure Cancer Communications Hero/Partner" today.

Yes, I Can Help "Beat The Drum" About Curing Cancer This Fall!

We need help because here are the "cure cancer" websites launching or have launched:

10.1 Launch - crowdfunding a new cancer research revolution. - shop to cure cancer & create a cure cancer store.

We need an estimated 25,000 visitors to these two websites in October to achieve our cancer research goals. 100% of donations go to cancer researchers such as UNC Lineberger, Duke Cancer Institute, Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo and Carbone Cancer Center at the University of Wisconsin. Your HELP tweeting, Facebooking, Scooping and Pinning well help start a revolution (and how often do we have a chance to do that?).

Live (recently launched)

Cure Cancer Starter on Facebook

Cure Cancer Starter on Cure Cancer Starter on Pinterest
- 501c3 nonprofit helping to fund a new cancer research revolution. - clean out to help cure cancer with our online garage sale.

Story of Cancer eBay Store - auctions help cure cancer, 100% to cancer research, tax deductible.
- stories cure cancer, share your story.

Heroes Cure Cancer Daily - daily features of heroes working hard to cure cancer. - art cures cancer, share your art

100% of profits, my current Atlantic BT salary, proceeds from the sale of my house and savings are funding these ideas. Friends are helping with donations of money, time and expertise.

If you can help "beat the cure cancer drum" this fall please review our Cure Cancer Communications Partner Program Details and

email Martin(at) if you would like to help.

Here is my rant about why this cancer survivor wants a NEW Cancer Research Revolution.

Six personality types that can sabotage brainstorming

Submitted by Dottie DeHart, DeHart & Company Public Relations,

New York, NY (September 2013)—Brainstorming can be a productive way to solve problems; generate new products, services, or processes; and capitalize on golden opportunities. But far too often, say creative problem solving experts Mitchell Rigie and Keith Harmeyer, the process is hijacked by disruptive individuals who undermine collaborative efforts.
“Have you ever found yourself in a brainstorming meeting that felt dominated and controlled by an attention-seeking personality?” asks Rigie, coauthor along with Harmeyer of SmartStorming: The Game-Changing Process for Generating Bigger, Better Ideas (Dog Ear Publishing, 2013, ISBN: 978-1457516634, $29.95, 
“If so, you are not alone. It seems every company or organization has its share of those idea killers.”
“In fact, in our twenty years of brainstorming experience working with many of the top Fortune 500 companies, we’ve identified what we call a ‘rogue’s gallery’ of six disruptive personality types you might want to avoid inviting to your next brainstorming session," said Harmeyer.

See how many of these troublesome types you recognize:
Attention Vampires—They always want to stand out, be in the spotlight, and be the center of attention. It’s always about them. Attention Vampires can smother a brainstorming session by dominating the conversation, excessively pushing their ideas, and ultimately sucking the life out of the whole group.
Wet Blankets—These are the pessimists who see the flaws in everyone else’s ideas. Nothing goes unscathed. Wet Blankets have the unique ability to instantly dampen the enthusiasm level of a session. They are discouraging and depressing, and the majority of their comments don’t hold water.
Idea Assassins—These seasoned killers love to shoot down ideas…anyone’s and everyone’s. Under the pretense of being constructive, they will find flaws, poke holes, and pick apart promising ideas until they bleed to death.
Dictators—They love every idea—as long as it’s theirs. These totalitarians feel they are the only ones with good ideas, or good taste, for that matter. Everyone else’s contributions need to conform to theirs or risk being shot down. Many bosses unknowingly become Dictators in meetings (not on purpose, but their role in the company makes it too easy.) Such idea overlords are to be avoided at all costs. It’s not wise to let them dictate a negative outcome for your group.
Obstructionists—To them, nothing is simple or easy. They overcomplicate conversations and procedures and bring up extraneous facts or considerations that derail the flow of the group. Obstructionists overthink, overspeak, and singlehandedly dead-end otherwise promising sessions. 
Social Loafers—These are the people who show up for a brainstorm session, but rarely participate in the generation of new ideas in a meaningful way or contribute much of substance. They usually sit back, appearing bored or aloof, and let others do the heavy lifting.
Any one of these problematic personalities can undermine the focus and collaborative efforts of a group. While it’s difficult to prescribe a simple, one-size-fits-all formula for handling all these different personality types, Rigie and Harmeyer say there are a number of practical steps you (or the session leader) can take to more effectively manage disruptive behaviors to keep your sessions on track and productive:

Forget the Invitation—The simplest way to avoid problematic personalities in a session is not to invite them in the first place. If it’s the boss or a senior-ranking person, assure him or her that you will share any good ideas the group generates afterward.
“Tell the boss that other session participants may be intimidated by her presence in the room,” suggests Rigie. “And since she certainly wants the ideation session to be as productive as possible, it may be best if she waits to join the group until the end, when ideas have been developed and selected.”
Establish “Rules of the Game”—Introducing a few rules at the start of a session can help eliminate, or at least significantly minimize, disruptive behavior problems.
“Some popular and effective brainstorming rules are ‘Suspend all judgment,’ ‘There’s no such thing as a bad idea,’ ‘Go for quantity, not quality,’ and ‘Embrace wild, audacious ideas,’” shares Harmeyer. “It is also important to reinforce the fact that brainstorming is a collaborative group effort; so the origin of any idea is irrelevant.”
Impose a Short Talking Moratorium—If a participant is dominating the session, being overly negative or judgmental, or being an attention hog, quickly shift gears and introduce a nonverbal brainstorming exercise. For example, ask everyone to silently write down five ideas and then read their favorite aloud.
Segregate Strong Personalities—A great tactic for managing strong personalities is to divide the group into smaller teams of three. Deliberately assign any disruptive personality types to the same team…and watch the sparks fly.
“Surprisingly, strong personalities often get along with one another in a productive way,” says Rigie. “Have these teams develop ideas, and then take turns sharing the best ideas with the whole room.”
Create a Self-Policing Group—Explain early in the session that if anyone exhibits any type of negative or judgmental behavior, he or she is to be bombarded mercilessly by the group with crumpled paper balls.
“Make a game out of it,” suggests Harmeyer. “Encourage everyone in the room to participate in order to create a self-policing environment. While it may seem silly, this technique is a playful, good-natured way to minimize transgressions and allow the group itself to enforce the ‘No Judgment’ rule.”
Engage in Silent Idea Voting—Evaluating and selecting ideas can become problematic when strongly opinionated individuals assert their preferences or biases. Instead of ideas being selected based on merit, the evaluation process can devolve into a Darwinian contest for favorites. Using a silent voting technique can help eliminate coercion and level the playing field for everyone to vote.

Invite a “Dream Team” vs. “The Usual Suspects”—When planning your next brainstorm, why not invite your dream team? This group would be made up of knowledgeable individuals who possess a collaborative, can-do attitude—even if they are typically far removed from the project at hand.
“Let the usual suspects, the mixed bag of colleagues or teammates you usually invite by default, sit the session out,” says Harmeyer. “Shaking things up can have a dramatic impact on a group’s ability to collaborate freely, share, discuss, and build upon one another’s ideas. This is how innovative solutions are born.”
"A brainstorm is only as good as a) the people in the room and b) the tactics you use to minimize bullying and self interest, stimulate creativity, and bring out the best ideas in everyone,” says Rigie.

About the Book:
SmartStorming: The Game-Changing Process for Generating Bigger, Better Ideas (Dog Ear Publishing, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-4575166-3-4, $29.95, will be available from all major online booksellers and at

About the Authors:

Mitchell Rigie is a creative professional with 25 years experience in the fields of art, design, communications, strategic marketing, and human development. As a vice president and award-winning creative supervisor for advertising agencies—including Saatchi & Saatchi and Foote, Cone & Belding—and as a consultant for Grey Worldwide, he has managed creative teams in the development of campaigns for Fortune 500 clients, including Johnson & Johnson, American Express, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, and General Electric.

Keith Harmeyer's background includes over 25 years in advertising and strategic marketing, sales and business coaching, and advanced presentation and communication skills training. As a marketing and creative executive at agencies in the Omnicom and Publicis networks, as well as founder and principal of his own marketing communications firm, Keith created successful brand-marketing programs and business presentations for companies such as American Express, JPMorgan Chase, Sony, Time Warner, ABC, Disney, Philips, Fujifilm, CondĂ© Nast, Sports Illustrated, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, McDonald’s, Foot Locker.
Throughout their careers, Mitchell Rigie and Keith Harmeyer personally experienced thousands of brainstorming sessions and witnessed firsthand how frustrating and unproductive the process can be.
The SmartStorming methodology is based on their experience and expertise, their extensive research on the subjects of idea generation and creative problem solving, and practical application in the areas of innovation, peak creative performance, and interpersonal communication.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Women Tell All...Almost Luncheon features insight from local women leaders

Achieving personal as well as career success with balance will be discussed during the "Women Tell All... Almost" event hosted by the Auburn Hills and Rochester Regional Chambers of Commerce. The Chambers, in collaboration with leaders from Crittenton Hospital Medical Center, FirstMerit Corporation and the 52nd District Court, will share insights into the professional and personal stories of the panelists that have lead to their advancement within their careers and the community.
Women Tell All...Almost panelists include Judge Lisa Asadoorian, 52nd District Court Division 3 serving within Oakland County,  Michelle Hornberger, Chief Strategy Officer of Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Rochester and Sandra Pierce, Vice Chairman of FirstMerit Corporation and President and CEO of FirstMerit Michigan. These business and community leaders will provide personal insight and encouragement for women of all ages and stages of their careers. 
The Women Tell All...Almost event, sponsored by Oakland University, and dbusiness Magazine, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18 at Great Oaks Country Club in Rochester. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $35 for members of the Auburn Hills or Rochester Regional Chambers of Commerce and $40 for nonmembers. Table sponsorships are also available.
For more information about the event contact: Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce: 248-853-7862,,
Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce: (248) 651-6700,,