Latest Observations

On Mistaking Talent for Truth

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Oct 31, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Flint M

Do not mistake appealing writing for truthful content, and do not mistake a great intellect for a great theologian/philosopher. There is a difference between being skillful and being right.

On the Value of Insights over Results

Topic:Method
Posted on:Oct 30, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

What we call "customer theory" might better be conceived as "customer wisdom". Too often, marketers pursue quick results rather than rich insights. However, profound understanding of the customer can be translated into profound advantage over the competitor.

On the Decline of the Well Written Letter

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Oct 29, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:David J

It occurs to me that letter writing, which achieved rare form in recent centuries, has been on a steady decline. The advent of technology has increased our output, but not our quality. It has also schooled us in shorter forms of communication. As I reflect over my life, it seems that some of the most compelling moments occurred as I read a thoughtful letter. I think that I could use the power of the letter far more effectively in my own work. I want to reflect on this more. I am busy writing books, busy sending emails, and event texts. In the process, I wonder if I have lost appreciation for the power of a well written, well timed, letter.

On the Illusion of the Past

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Oct 28, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

The older I grow, the less certain I am in the reality of the past. It is difficult to comprehend what it means to be non-existent. The past does not seem to exist. To say that it is, at least in some way, is to say that remnants of the past exist. But the past itself cannot exist, unless you subscribe to certain theories of time, and those theories have little correspondence to my own experience.

I realize that my son is today what he is today. He is not just the boy of yester-year who has grown. The dynamic between him and I is very present tense. The past has influenced the reality of the present, but it does not exist within the present. This is important because it helps me understand the transience of life (it is fleeting).

I think time, as we conceive it, is an illusion. I am not saying time, as an element, is an illusion, but rather time as we conceive it. We are specters living from present to present, grasping at the passing moment as if we could seize it and hold it still. But time, like water, slips through our fingers.

On Urgency and the Growing Organization

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Oct 27, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Austin M

Over the years, I have avoided developing a frantic work environment. I have found that frantic activity produces stress and errors -- so much so, that the increase in work produces only limited results.

Nevertheless, I have grown to recognize that in the attempt to avoid frantic activity one must not lose a sense of urgency. It is easy to underestimate the impact of time on the quality of results.

This is the resolution: one must learn to cultivate a sense of urgency throughout the organization while avoiding a sense of panic. Frantic activity is wasteful; urgent activity is powerful.

On Passing Style vs. Timeless Style

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Oct 24, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

One needs to discern the difference between passing style and timeless style - whether it's choosing clothes or writing prose. There may be a reason to consider passing style, but there is always reason to honor timeless style.

On the Balance of Passion and Responsibility

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Oct 23, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Paul C

The leader must be careful not to let their passion for future opportunities eclipse their present tense responsibilities. Exciting visions and challenges are no substitute for doing what we have to do every single day.  It is not that we should ignore future opportunities, but that we must faithfully earn our way in…

On the Danger of Apprehending Beauty

Topic:Personal
Posted on:Oct 22, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Paul C

Beauty is not apprehended; it is appreciated. It is the apprehension of beauty that costs us beauty itself. The harder we grasp for it, the more damage we inflict upon it. That which is most beautiful is most free. The moment we capture beauty is the moment we diminish it.

On the Importance of Capability and Character

Topic:Philosophy Topic:Communication
Posted on:Oct 21, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

In the end the decision to trust someone to perform a service for you can be summarized into two questions: “Can they?” and “will they?”  Indeed, these questions thought of differently are the drivers of two positive conclusions that the marketer must achieve: the “you can” and the “you will.”

“You can” translates into capability. “You will” translates into character. Your prospective customer must believe both. Trust does not hinge on character alone, but also on capability. The nurturing phase of the lead managing process is about building trust. All collateral should serve to foster these two conclusions: that “you can” and that “you will.”

On the Medium as Grafted into the Message

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Oct 20, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Austin M

The medium changes the message. We may wish it were not so but that does not help. One must be sensitive to how the medium necessarily contextualizes the message. This is why, for instance, trying to take the transcript of a lecture and turning it into a book is so difficult. The medium is grafted into the message.