Dr. Burleson's Posts

Building Healthy Ecosystems.

Building Healthy Ecosystems.

Mark Watson is the founder of Aquila Capital Partners. I had the pleasure of listening to one of his interviews and an audience member asked him, in Q2 where he would invest $1 million. It’s the same question we’re answering at Flagstaff Ventures. Mark invests in the technology that drives a lot of insurance companies and his fund is only available to institutional investors or family ... »

The Costs of Short-Term Thinking.

The Costs of Short-Term Thinking.

As a general rule, employees don’t form unions if they are thrilled with management, pay, working conditions and their jobs. Especially in the United States, forming a union is not a recreational activity. It’s difficult and could cost workers their jobs. Amazon and Starbucks both face fast-spreading unionization efforts. In addition to worker complaints and demands, Starbucks has a lo... »

On Peak Performance.

On Peak Performance.

If you’re a college basketball fan, the NCAA Final Four games last night were a blast to watch. Kansas beat Villanova, so everyone in my neck of the woods is happy.  The Carolina-Duke rivalry was elevated to a new level. Last night was the first time the two teams have met in the Final Four. Country music superstar, Eric Church, is such a die hard Tar Heel fan, he cancelled his sold-out... »

Seeds of Growth.

Seeds of Growth.

During the pandemic, there has been a run on seeds. With vacations and business travel cancelled, people stayed home and grew vegetables and flowers. As Dr. Sue Stuart-Smith shares in her book, The Well Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature, there’s a lasting imprint of our hunter-gatherer heritage.  “In the garden, we can grow hope,” she says, “it grounds us and g... »

Chasing the Wrong Prize.

Chasing the Wrong Prize.

Last month, Netflix announced a first quarter forecast of only 2.5 million new subscribers. That would be the weakest quarter for the world’s largest streaming service since 2010, when the majority of Netflix customers still got DVDs in the mail. The day after the announcement, Netflix shares tumbled more than 25%. Disney+ has grown rapidly. The firm set a goal of 60 million subscribers by t... »

Ideas, Convictions and Dogma.

Ideas, Convictions and Dogma.

Ideas come and go. Every day, I write down a handful of new ideas in my planner. I’ve done this for years. I try to write down at least ten, not because any of my ideas are all that great, but because it gets me in the habit of seeing ideas come and go. Also, it doesn’t hurt to capture what’s in my head. Occasionally I will stumble across something really interesting and my only ... »

It’s Almost Like 2020 Never Ended.

It’s Almost Like 2020 Never Ended.

In the last few months of 2021, The Harris Poll collected data to see how the United States felt entering 2022. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, mass lockdowns are a distant memory, vaccines are readily available and the economy grew at the fastest pace since 1984, but Americans are anxious, uncertain and stressed out. Let’s take a look at some of the data from the poll: Ants in O... »

An Omicron Update

An Omicron Update

“The omicron coronavirus variant is slowing the economic recovery, making worker shortages for already- shorthanded employers more severe and leading consumers to pull back from spending on restaurants, hotels and airlines that have been battered by two years of pandemic upheaval,” reports David Lynch in The Washington Post. “Since it was first detected in southern Africa late last year, the... »

On Reflection.

On Reflection.

Like a dog waiting for its master to come home, in the last few minutes of a long day, trapped inside with nothing more than a bowl of water, as the garage door opens and excitement oozes out of the furry little creature, each trip I take on this bright blue and green ball around the sun beckons me, towards the end of the year, to forget every challenge I’ve survived in the preceding 11 months and... »

Tradition Be Damned.

Tradition Be Damned.

My clients and friends in Italy find it hard to believe that the United States enacted a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages for twelve years. I no longer drink alcohol, but I’m told if I move to Italy they will kick me out of the country if I don’t at least hold a glass of red wine at dinner. 😀 In 1933, w... »

On Skin in Game and Bearing the Cost.

On Skin in Game and Bearing the Cost.

During a recent coaching call, I was asked about several specific investments I’ve made and my outlook on those assets. While the answers I gave were specific and strategic (i.e., fluid and reactive), the underlying principles were not and they centered around having skin in the game. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author, mathematician and former options trader talks frequently about having skin in... »

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset.

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset.

Each month, we have really great coaching calls for Look Over My Shoulder members and received two excellent questions from members, Dr. Michael McCarthy and Dr. Kim Mai. The principles and strategies reviewed during the call teed me up nicely for a small handful of new client calls and progress reports. Both members in the group call had their eyes on the horizon, a willingness to learn and share... »

Write (and Live) What You Know.

Write (and Live) What You Know.

There are too many examples to count in which a struggling writer, faced with writer’s block or a tight deadline, experiences an epiphany, resulting in prolific prose only after he or she starts writing about what they know. In an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, Maggie Gyllenhaal talked about directing “The Lost Daughter,” her first production as screenwriter and director. Based on a novel ... »

On Creating Magic.

On Creating Magic.

Raymond Joseph Teller is an American magician, writer, actor and film director. He is half of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, along with Penn Jillette, where he usually does not speak during performances. Jillette shared the story at an event where we were both speaking on stage to a large group of entrepreneurs that Teller started out in stand up comedy being relentlessly heckled by the a... »

On Leisure.

On Leisure.

Before the pandemic, I’d sit at the bar of my favorite local Italian restaurant and order a Negroni, dinner and glass of wine. More than once, a bartender or server would ask me why my newspaper was pink. If you read the Financial Times, you’ve probably been asked the same question. The paper has been printed on a characteristic salmon colored paper since 1888. A lot has changed since ... »

Stop Searching. Start Creating.

Stop Searching. Start Creating.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Be the peace you wish to see in the world.” This is such a true statement and concept which extends into every other area of your life. If you want more joy in your life, stop searching for it and start creating it. If you want more love, peace, prosperity and respect in your life, stop searching for them and start creating them. Write this down and p... »

In-Market Shoppers.

In-Market Shoppers.

Google dominates online advertising. The company reported revenue of $183 billion in 2020. More than $147 billion, or 80.3% of total revenue, came from Google’s ads business. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is on pace to grow 36.9% in 2021 to $250.6 billion in revenue. While regulators in Washington D.C. and Europe attempt to wrangle the digital advertising behemoth, smart marketers ... »

A Living Culture.

A Living Culture.

A few months ago, one of our private clients reached out with a human resources challenge. I swiftly recommended he call Sean Barnard, our trusted HR expert and certified professional in this area. Sean has decades of experience building, leading and managing high-performance teams and was a general manager tasked with generating $250 million in revenue each year for a tremendously-successful and ... »

On Diligence and Running Towards Fear.

On Diligence and Running Towards Fear.

In her book, When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron shares the story of her teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche’s, response to being asked if he had ever been afraid. He explains that he was once confronted by a fierce guard dog. The people he was traveling with ran from the dog. He ran toward the dog. The dog was so surprised that he ran quickly away. Chodron approaches fear and anxiety as moments to stop st... »

Remote Work.

Remote Work.

I played tennis with an attorney friend last weekend and I learned a few things. First, I learned my knees and right shoulder are not as young as they used to be. My joints groaned like the hull of a wooden ship in a heavy storm. Ice and Advil were my best friends for a few days after our match. Second, I learned about a huge law firm taking 90% of their employees and attorneys out of the office a... »

The Efficiency Trap.

The Efficiency Trap.

In his new book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, Oliver Burkeman takes readers through a sobering assessment of “time management” and presents a new way to form a better relationship with yourself and escape the dangerous “efficiency traps” lurking around every corner. In a nutshell, Burkeman argues that the more productive we are, the more pressure we feel and this cycle is dang... »

On Gratitude.

On Gratitude.

When the big stack of mail gets plopped on my desk each day, I won’t lie, there are many letters I’d prefer not to open. When I see a return address from an attorney or the IRS, I react with as much gleeful anticipation as a toddler sitting in front of a very large bowl of steamed broccoli. It’s on these days that a hand-written thank you card from a Burleson Seminars member shin... »

On Mistakes.

On Mistakes.

Danny Meyer, the famous founder of Union Square Hospitality and Shake Shack, calls mistakes the greatest renewable resource on earth. As humans, we make mistakes all day long. I made at least 20 mistakes just trying to write this article. Like waves in the ocean, there are always more mistakes coming. The real question, Meyer says, is what will we do with them? “Assuming they’re honest... »

Progress vs. Perfection

Progress vs. Perfection

Most people, particularly dentists and doctors, need way too much information and are paralyzed by and can’t move forward because of the misconception that they must wait until the time is perfect to move. If you have 80% of the information you need to make a decision, you probably have enough and you should pull the trigger. The key characteristic or defining hallmark of my decision making skill ... »

The One Thing.

The One Thing.

One decade ago, Ashleigh Barty won the girl’s Wimbledon title at the age of 15. This year, she won her first Wimbledon women’s final and her second Grand Slam title. Barty tends to be very quiet and holds her cards close to her chest, but over the last several weeks, it became obvious how very ambitious she was to win the incredible Wimbledon tournament. The first Australian woman to reach a Wimbl... »

Capital deployment.

Capital deployment.

In a wonderful conversation this week with a 5-10 year startup now producing over $40 million in annual revenue, spitting off lots of profit, I was pleased to hear the co-founder admit he struggled with a common problem I see happening right now in professional practices throughout the world–the problem of capital deployment. It’s hard to imagine the fact that 20% of the U.S. dollars in circulatio... »

Go deep.

Go deep.

If you’ve been listening to The Burleson Box podcast, you’ve probably heard me brag on our guests for going “a mile wide and a mile deep” on the topic of their well-researched and referenced books. They think and behave in opposition to everyone else around them, and that’s why I seek them out and ask them to come on the program. When it comes to any subject, hobby or... »

On Complex Systems.

On Complex Systems.

Last month, the U.S. government declared emergency powers in order to keep fuel supply lines open, due to fears of shortages following a cyber attack on the Colonial pipeline. This one pipeline provides almost half of the fuel consumed on the east coast of the United States. Following a ransomware attack on Friday, the entire pipeline shut down. As of yesterday, The Colonial Pipeline Company has m... »

The BIG Idea.

The BIG Idea.

Apple put privacy back under your control recently with its latest iPhone update, iOS 14.5, and the new feature called App Tracking Transparency. Apple announced this change last June and Facebook threw a historical hissy fit. Google has sworn to protect you from unwanted cookies but that’s only because it will strengthen their position as a dominant search advertiser and their business mode... »

Control Freaks.

Control Freaks.

Before the 2021 Rose Bowl, Alabama Coach Nick Saban had quite an answer when ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi asked him for one thing he learned this disruptive year. “I’ve spent my whole life trying to keep everything in some kind of a controlled mechanism that I thought was going to lead to better performance, better production, more consistency, and this year, that hasn’t been possible,” he said. “There was ... »

Serious Business.

Serious Business.

“Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up. Not really. They get older. But to grow up costs the earth, the earth. It means you take responsibility for the time you take up, for the space you occup... »

The Quick Fix.

The Quick Fix.

In his latest book, The Quick Fix, author Jesse Singal, takes psychological research to task. He demonstrates over and over again how only half of all published experimental psychological findings are successfully replicated by other researchers. The subfield of social psychology fares even worse. Without a doubt, you’ve seen these trendy and popular concepts touted in TED Talks and the best... »

A Pile of Beans.

A Pile of Beans.

Big data. The name alone commands respect and intrigue, like Big Oil. And that’s the trouble with labels. They over-simplify and often stupefy people into thinking one way about a related issue, challenge or opportunity. For years, I’ve been arguing that we’re in the age of actionable data. This is a significant step beyond the Information Age. Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google ... »

On Memory.

On Memory.

I listened to an interesting report on NPR recently about police hypnotists, which I didn’t know existed. Apparently hypnotism is one of many tools detectives will use in Texas to help get more information from victims and suspects. The problem and challenge, as you might imagine, is the power of suggestion and the imperfect nature of our memories. Because spring is the season of renewal, I’... »

Chasing vs. Living the Dream.

Chasing vs. Living the Dream.

Last week I was browsing through a book on Epicurean Philosophy and stumbled across this great quote by Epicurus, who lived from 341 to 270 B.C. “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” How true this still rings today, 2,300 years later. Put in terms my thick little skull can understand, “Where we are ... »

Observe. The Formula for Success.

Observe. The Formula for Success.

One of my favorite cartoonists wrote in the introduction to his first book, “I’ll never forget the first time I ever laughed out loud at a cartoon. The year was 1989. I was casually wandering past a stationery display in a department store when a batch of greeting cards caught my eye. I picked one up, looked at the drawing, read the caption and then it happened. I laughed. Not just a c... »

Trade Offs and False Proxies.

Trade Offs and False Proxies.

I see a lot of smart people giving dentists and orthodontists dumb advice. Your in-box and social media feeds are filled to the brim with mostly well-intentioned people trying to make a buck convincing you this one metric or that one metric will solve all your problems. They promise efficiency and growth in new patients, revenue, case starts; more of this, more of that. They sell magic weight loss... »

Enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm.

Massimo Chiapponi launched his Parma bike shop Italia Veloce in 2009 with fellow “retro- velo” enthusiasts Christian Grande, a multidisciplinary designer, and advertising executive Max Rabaglia. He has been racing bicycles since he was a kid and turned his hobby of hand-built bikes into an Italian business that now ships to clients as far away as the U.S., Japan and New Zealand. Chiapponi’s lead m... »

Remote Work.

Remote Work.

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, our administrative team members have been working remotely since March 2020. Here’s what we’ve learned: Schedule fewer meetings No meetings back-to-back Designated “meeting-free time” Flexible work hours Find ways for remote colleagues to socialize We’ve also discovered lots of things don’t work as well online as they do in the real world. For example, long... »

Weeding.

Weeding.

In a New York Times feature on his summer garden to-do list, Timothy Tilghman, head gardener of the Untermyer Park and Gardens in Yonkers, New York, shares tips and advice to home gardeners. “If you can’t enjoy weeding, you won’t be a happy gardener. Everyone enjoys the neatness of a fresh planting, but unless you’re willing and eager to get in there and weed…” He could just as easily be giv... »

On Burnout and Toggling.

On Burnout and Toggling.

At the time of this writing, there are only a few days left in the year 2020. To quote Leslie Jones and her thoughts about the year, “I would say it was a train wreck and shit show but that would be unfair to trains and shit.” Naturally, we’re all ready to move on from this year and to set big goals for 2021. I recently hosted an entire training program with members, helping them set n... »

On Brand Promises.

On Brand Promises.

The Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupon is so ubiquitous that one of the mailers was even found by FBI agents in the junk drawer of notorious gangster, Whitey Bulger.  Comedians and television shows make fun of the coupon and I’ve done a fair amount of my own ribbing of the brand. At peak circulation, over a billion coupons were mailed per year. Nearly everyone has seen one of these or has one... »

How Pfizer Delivered a Covid Vaccine in Record Time.

How Pfizer Delivered a Covid Vaccine in Record Time.

Some articles grab you by the shoulders and shake you awake. This is one such summary of an article by Jared Hopkins in The Wall Street Journal. Definitely worth a read. Here are the highlights: First lesson: go all in. If you have an idea that a small test group of your patients, clients, donors or customers think is great and they are willing to tell 10 more friends who will tell 10 more friends... »

On Reaping Where You Have Not Sown.

On Reaping Where You Have Not Sown.

In The Law of Success, Napoleon Hill demonstrates how people have a tendency to reap where they have not sown. You see this with companies who assume the grass is greener and hop into another industry or mess with their core product or service, to their detriment. Coke did this with New Coke in the 80’s and it cost them billions in marketshare. Based on a few surveys, Coca-Cola thought they should... »

On Thick Skin.

On Thick Skin.

In my work with clients abroad, I get to learn about all sorts of fun advertising regulations and standards. Because a full 20% of our client base is outside the U.S., I’ve been forced to learn quickly. In the United Kingdom, for example, they have the Advertising Standards Authority. It does nothing more than issue strongly-worded letters and seeing as how the British are so polite, even their st... »

What You Can Learn from the Christmas Tree Shortage.

What You Can Learn from the Christmas Tree Shortage.

In a recent edition of The Burleson Report, I wrote an article about hindsight and how looking backwards can help uncover bigger trends and assist learning, especially when applied to the future. It was a rather simple assessment of a complex prediction in the rise of the renminbi versus the U.S. dollar. To switch gears but remain in the same mindset, I’ll offer a rather complex look at a si... »

Time, Energy and Money.

Time, Energy and Money.

If you observe the most productive and most successful people on the planet, you’ll notice three very important similarities in how they achieve results. It doesn’t matter if the person is an entrepreneur, doctor, lawyer, politician, religious leader, actor, teacher or any of a million different occupations. Those operating at the top 1-5% of their chosen field or profession have these three trait... »

Flying Blind.

Flying Blind.

From Melanie Evans and Alexandra Berzon in The Wall Street Journal: “During a pandemic, hospitals and local, state and federal agencies rely on a range of real-time metrics to respond to emergencies quickly. They need to know how many beds are available at each facility, whether hospitals need more nurses and the available number of ventilators and other critical supplies. That way, patients... »

Too Good to Ignore.

Too Good to Ignore.

Apple trotted out the iPhone 12 to adoring fans earlier this month, like a proud farmer showing off his prized bull at the county fair.  It’s dangerously thin! Gasp! It has many cameras! Bazzinga! It runs on 5G! Shazam! It comes in the most-beautiful color of blue that even God is jealous!  Wait. What?! Oh well. For as many things that make me chuckle at an iPhone launch, there is still... »

Structured Procrastination.

Structured Procrastination.

In his excellent book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King addresses the phenomenon of writer’s block. He says, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” I agree. I’ve written thousands of pages of content, spread across ten published books, scores of special reports, articles and hundreds of marketing, management and leadersh... »

Four Steps to Help Your Practice Navigate the Pandemic.

Four Steps to Help Your Practice Navigate the Pandemic.

In a few short months, Disney has gone from the envy of Hollywood to a company scrambling to adapt to a prolonged crisis. Without the anticipated summer blockbuster movie releases, the firm has been forced to realign its priorities. The reopening of Disneyland in California has been postponed indefinitely. Hong Kong Disneyland has shut down again and Disney World in Florida is on shaky ground. The... »

The Storm is Upon Us.

The Storm is Upon Us.

I’m a relatively inexperienced sailor in unknown waters, which is one of many reasons I hire an experienced captain with local knowledge whenever I’m offshore and out of my element. I joke with friends when we go sailing in the midwest on small lakes. During a quick safety briefing of the boat, I remind them, “It’s a small lake. You can see the shore from the both sides of ... »

Actionable Data.

Actionable Data.

Ro, a digital health care startup, just raised another $200 million in venture capital, bringing its total to over $376 million. The company will use the funds to double its 70-person computer engineering team.  With over $250 million in revenue generated last year, the firm’s latest round of funding came in at a $1.5 billion valuation. Ro currently runs a digital health site for men and anot... »

On Encouragement.

On Encouragement.

A school bus driver in Massachusetts has his students to thank for encouraging him to become a history teacher. While driving kids to school, Clayton Ward would talk to them about their history lessons. “It inspired me, hearing them say ‘You should be my teacher,'” the 30-year old bus driver said. He had dropped out of college 10 years ago but through the encouragement of the stu... »

Unity of Purpose.

Unity of Purpose.

In his review of the new book, How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Biggest Decisions, David Roll shares what is known about the evening before a critical World War II invasion, when General Eisenhower visited the 101st Airborne Division at Newbury, a town in the south of England: “This was the unit whose glider forces and paratroopers, Leigh-Mallory had predicted, would suffer ro... »

By the Numbers.

By the Numbers.

The first half of 2020 was one for the record books. We saw an entire decade’s worth of job gains vanish in two months. Then, about a third of the 21 million lost jobs came back.  More than 1 in 7 U.S. workers lost their jobs during the economic shutdowns. Even though we’ve added jobs at a record pace in May and June, the unemployment rate remains at its highest level since the Gr... »

On Priorities and Profit.

On Priorities and Profit.

The pandemic and economic crisis have forced Disney to adapt very quickly. Without the anticipated summer blockbuster movie releases, the firm has realigned its priorities. The reopening of Disneyland in California has been postponed indefinitely. Hong Kong Disneyland has shut down again and Disney World in Florida is on shaky ground. The glue that connected blockbuster stories and characters with... »

Question Every Hand.

Question Every Hand.

Maria Konnikova holds a Ph.D. in psychology. She writes about her research on how quickly people make up their minds and how unwilling they are to change them. She’s a New York Times best-selling author and also a world-champion poker player. For her latest book, The Biggest Bluff, she trained with and then competed against some of the best poker players in the world. They taught her to ques... »

Give Yourself Space.

Give Yourself Space.

Today, when someone in Beijing gets the coronavirus again, the entire world knows about it within hours. 52 years after the Hong Kong flu, we still don’t know how many people actually died from it. The WHO says between 1 and 4 million people. That’s a pretty big range.  For the dad reading this on Father’s Day, imagine if someone asked you how many kids you have and you said, “somewhere betwe... »

The Cycle of Growth.

The Cycle of Growth.

During periods of growth, it is common to create certain complexities inside your business that, left unchecked, will stifle or even strangle growth. Consider this one of the great paradoxes of running a business. The more successful you are and the higher you reach for the stars, the more likely you are to get tripped up by the very things that brought you success. I’ve seen this with nearl... »

Memory and Measurement.

Memory and Measurement.

Barbara Kingsolver said, “Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth but not its twin.” In coaching clients, I often ask to see a lot of numbers. KPIs and benchmarks, historical performance and pro forma data are all important. The reason I ask for data is because our memories are not perfect. We think quarter-over-quarter growth was good, but the numbers might indicate we did ... »

Uninterrupted Time.

Uninterrupted Time.

In a recent course on passive income streams, while teaching the concept of leveraging one’s time, I quoted the author of Rework, Jason Fried, who also happens to be the co-founder of Basecamp.  Fried said, “40-hour weeks are made of 8-hour days. And 8 hours is actually a long time. It takes about 8 hours to fly direct from Chicago to London. Ever been on a transatlantic flight like tha... »

On Grit.

On Grit.

Angela Duckworth is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies grit and self-control. In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Professor Duckworth defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” “In their work with The United States Military Academy at West Point, Duckworth and he... »

You Have Everything You Need.

You Have Everything You Need.

Scientific American describes the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into a butterfly like this: “One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth.” Recently, I listened to an i... »

Circumstance vs. Character.

Circumstance vs. Character.

In coaching, consulting and reviewing the reports from our on-site trainers, human capital challenges are at the top of the list of items we’re hired to fix. As I’ve done with most systems, challenges and opportunities in business, I help my clients and trainers develop and deploy “litmus tests,” or quick “yes/no” tools to help guide next steps. Here’s one... »

Innovation vs. Improvement.

Innovation vs. Improvement.

When Brian Carroll was laid off unexpectedly from his sales position at a car dealership in Michigan, he received a call from a past customer wanting a car.  Carroll told the buyer he no longer worked at the dealership, but the customer didn’t care. “He hired me to find the exact car he wanted and to negotiate with different dealers to get the best price.” Carroll then drive... »

Go Where the Water is Deep.

Go Where the Water is Deep.

As of November, Nike no longer sells directly on Amazon. Nike is not alone. Birkenstock, Louis Vuitton, North Face, Patagonia, Asics, Ralph Lauren, Rolex and Vans do not sell directly on Amazon either. Nestlé Nespresso dominates a huge direct-to-consumer channel and paid Starbucks $7 billion to take over the sale of coffee and capsules for Nespresso machines. The new Disney+ streaming service cut ... »

Lowering the Bar.

Lowering the Bar.

From the first Netflix earnings call of 2020 and MarketWatch:  “What does it mean to “watch” a show on a streaming service? For Netflix Inc., it now means viewing at least two minutes. The streaming service noted in its first quarterly earnings report of 2020 on Tuesday that it has changed the definition of viewership — while Netflix used to consider any customer that streamed 70% or mo... »

Expectation.

Expectation.

Indian spiritual leader, Sri Chinmoy, explains that peace begins when expectation ends. Perhaps the most dangerous trait I see in perfectionist doctors and business owners is the attachment to their expectations on how things should be; how a certain result should be achieved. They are attached to a very specific outcome. You know this sets you up for disappointment, frustration and failure. Inste... »

On Ego and Change.

On Ego and Change.

There’s a great article in the Wall Street Journal today about NFL coach Andy Reid, who is taking the Kansas City Chiefs to Super Bowl LIV in Miami this weekend. The author, Andrew Beaton, focuses on two of Coach Reid’s unique abilities. He thinks like an outsider and he doesn’t have an ego. He’s been a head coach in the NFL for 21 years and made the playoffs 15 times. Thos... »

It’s Not Where You Left It.

It’s Not Where You Left It.

I’m back from a whirlwind trip to Las Vegas, where we hosted 50+ TC Boot Camp attendees, three private coaching clients, a quarterly planning meeting for two of my companies and a scouting trip for a few long-shot investments. In two of the three private coaching meetings, a common theme we discussed was systems management. In a recent Look Over My Shoulder program, I reviewed business syste... »

Strategic vs. Reactive.

Strategic vs. Reactive.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was a brilliant general. In the Second World War, he devised the “Eisenhower Box.” This is a matrix that ranks priorities according to importance and urgency. Eisenhower didn’t want unimportant things coming to him in an urgent manner. He also didn’t want important decisions to be made urgently if time wasn’t a factor. Many business schools actual... »

The Cost of Free.

The Cost of Free.

The internet once promised complete information equality. Children in poor countries would have access to the same knowledge as a child in California. But, it hasn’t turned out that way. Different countries have different ideas about the internet. China and Turkey censor their internet aggressively, while America allows disinformation, extremists, hate speech and pornography to infiltrate ev... »

On Narratives.

On Narratives.

Five years ago, Nir Eyal wrote a book called Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, which helped startup tech firms understand user psychology. He discussed the research on slot machines, which use variable rewards and pleasures that come at unpredictable intervals. If you haven’t read, Addiction by Design, it is both amazing and alarming. In response to pressure from psychologists and... »

Nothing New.

Nothing New.

Mark Twain wondered, “whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.“ His quote could have been written 1,000 years ago as easily as today or 1,000 years from now. This is one of many reasons I like Twain. He knew how to think accurately about human nature. He focused on things that never change. This way of thinking is an anti... »

Savaged by Noise.

Savaged by Noise.

“Silence is the presence of time undisturbed.” In a world savaged by noise, distraction and heedless entertainment, it has become more and more difficult to locate and protect our ability to be silent. It’s fascinating to consider the amount of creativity produced during a day in which one is silent. Taking long walks in nature, spending time near the water, carving out a reading nook or ref... »

Throwing Elephants Overboard.

Throwing Elephants Overboard.

I’ve been presenting on the power of patient gifting and marketing automation for many years. The most common question from audiences revolves around cost. I’m asked, “How much should I spend on a new patient welcome gift, shock ‘n awe package or new start ‘wow’ box?” My answer has always been the same: whatever it takes. Clearly, one of the top five reaso... »

Healthcare Trends.

Healthcare Trends.

It’s Q4 2019 and time to start planning for next year. According to Definitive Healthcare and McKinsey and Company, here are the top healthcare trends for the coming year: Consolidation – Over 803 mergers and acquisitions took place in the last 12 months, in addition to 858 affiliation and partnership announcements. This trend brings newer technology to smaller clinics and hospitals, as they... »

Gravity.

Gravity.

Three months after its public debut, Uber posted a $5.2 billion loss that’s “impressively vast” even for a company whose business model is based on outspending the competition, said The Economist. Since its inception, Uber has lost a total of $14 billion. A few weeks ago it laid off 400 people from its marketing department, representing a third of the entire division, and has pla... »

Emotion for Thought.

Emotion for Thought.

From T.S. Eliot’s essay, The Perfect Critic, for the literary journal Athenaeum in 1920: “The vast accumulations of knowledge – or at least of information – deposited by the nineteenth century have been responsible for an equally vast ignorance. When there is so much to be known, when there are so many fields of knowledge in which the same words are used with different meanings, when e... »

On Influence.

On Influence.

Karin Krog is a too little appreciated Norwegian jazz singer. Her album with Dexter Gordon, Some Other Spring, was produced in 1970 but sounds as rich and energetic as anything being produced today or in the heyday of Kansas City Swing or 1940s bebop. The album has earned its rightful place in the top jazz albums of all time and I recently rediscovered Krog while reading through The Penguin Jazz G... »

Solve Practical Problems.

Solve Practical Problems.

There’s so much talk about algorithms, digital disruption, artificial intelligence and the future of everything, it’s hard to focus on anything, let alone what consumers really want. Hardly a day goes by where I don’t read an article about some group of people who might lose their jobs to robots. Think tanks, policy pundits and regulators all agree that 40% of American workers wi... »

Ask Better Questions.

Ask Better Questions.

Most small business owners are used to giving answers, not asking questions. If you followed around some of the world’s top CEOs and leaders, you would find the exact opposite is true. The best leaders are great at asking questions, so that the best ideas win and the best answers quickly become evident, even if they arise from the least-expected team members. Management expert Peter Drucker ... »

What You Can See.

What You Can See.

Advertisers wasted $5.8 billion last year on digital ads that were viewed by bots and fake accounts. According to the Association of National Advertisers and fraud-detection company White Ops Inc., “Ad-fraud schemes have quickly risen and been much more difficult to measure.” No kidding. If ad fraud was easy to measure, we advertisers would fix it quickly. But it’s not, and here ... »

Sell It Differently.

Sell It Differently.

The latest online shopping craze has a unique twist. Instead of sitting in front of a web browser or flipping through items on a smartphone, millions of Chinese consumers are obsessed with live-stream shopping. ShopShops employs real people to go into real stores, like a T.J. Maxx in New York City, and stream their visit to as many as 10,000 people live watching from China. These shopping trips ar... »

The Ritz-Carlton Customer Service Standards

The Ritz-Carlton Customer Service Standards

If you’ve been hanging around me for very long, you know that I like to read. A lot. As a rule of thumb, even though I read nearly every new business book that comes out, I read them quickly and scan for common principles that I might be able to apply to my businesses or to help my employees, business partners or coaching clients. I much prefer to read classic books that have stood the test ... »

Driven by Emotion.

Driven by Emotion.

From a recent Kiplinger editorial survey, “On Valentine’s Day, one in five die-hard sports fans turns down romance to watch a game. A good chunk of men, 31%, want their lovers to be bigger fans; 18% would take a pay cut to change their partners’ interest level. and both sexes would gain weight or add to their commutes to alter their lovers’ interest level in sports. A full ... »

What We Don’t Know.

What We Don’t Know.

During the American Civil War, morphine was widely used to treat pain, dysentery and malaria. Many farmers and citizens grew opium poppies to help support the war effort, rushing morphine to the front lines. So many soldiers were addicted to morphine during the war, that they had to be given syringes and taught how to self-administer the drug after the war ended. With an epidemic of morphine addic... »

Why Smile Direct is One of the Best Things That Has Happened to Orthodontics.

Why Smile Direct is One of the Best Things That Has Happened to Orthodontics.

Recently, Smile Direct Club (SDC) launched a new ad campaign and celebrity endorsement from Shawn Mendes, the pop star and Canadian singer-songwriter. I have no idea if their expansion into Canada and the timing of this endorsement are intentional or lucky happenstance, but I know this is smart marketing and PR. Combined with their huge win in arbitration against Align Technology, SDC recently ann... »

The Life Unlived.

The Life Unlived.

Adam Phillips is a brilliant writer, psychologist and regular contributor to The London Review of Books. The closest I can come to the kind of people who think at this level, is that they let me subscribe to The London Review of Books. Barely. Although I don’t agree with Phillips on a lot of issues, I take particular delight in his assessment of couples who come to him with a desire to chang... »

Perseverance of Beliefs.

Perseverance of Beliefs.

In the 1980s, Ross and Lepper published the seminal work on the perseverance of beliefs. This is the tendency for people to continue to believe something is true even when it is revealed to be false or disproved. In one study, students took an aptitude test and were told they scored poorly. Later, when they learned the exam was miss-scored, most participants were unable to erase the experience. Th... »

What They Want.

What They Want.

I returned from a great meeting with clients recently and met my assistant to go over our plans for the coming week. If I’m in one of our offices, I like to go walking around and say hello, let people know I’m still alive and, occasionally, like I observed today, I get to see a new employee or two in training. At our departure desk today, there was a new smiling face in training and a ... »

Tact and the Sycophant.

Tact and the Sycophant.

At lunch this weekend, my 10-year-old son told me “at mom’s house, we keep our opinions to ourselves.” I didn’t even finish swallowing my food before I said, “I completely disagree,” quickly stopping all conversation at the table. I asked, “When should you freely share your opinion, even if it isn’t well-received?” All three of my boys had good... »

Time is Money.

Time is Money.

Most small business owners have scores of reports they check each month to help them manage their money. Expenses and revenue are tracked meticulously. Budgets are set and regularly reviewed before new investments are made in technology or human capital. Even the average business owner has some idea of their production, collections and expenses this week or this month and how they compare to the s... »

Groupthink.

Groupthink.

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of social media and Facebook groups. Particularly for pathologic perfectionists (i.e., orthodontists), this method of communication is dangerous for several reasons: First, those who post in these forums assume they assert unique views and ideas, imagining themselves as individuals. Yet, to a great extent, the views espoused are heavily influenced by colleagues, ... »

Belief and Doubt.

Belief and Doubt.

One of the best television commercials in history only aired one time. In it, a young girl is shown in a field, picking pedals from a flower she holds in her hand. As she pulls off each pedal, she counts and then drops them to the ground. The commercial starts off warm and makes viewers smile, but just before she reaches the final count, she looks up at the camera with a suddenly worried expressio... »

Know Thyself.

Know Thyself.

One of the most difficult tasks I face as a coach and consultant is helping doctors better understand what it is they want and who they want to become. It’s also the most rewarding part of my job. Erich Fromm said, “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become who he potentially is.” I’ve spent private coaching days with hundreds and hundreds of doctors and small business owners ... »

Some Things Never Change.

Some Things Never Change.

The Smithsonian magazine reported recently that archaeologists uncovered an ancient Roman bathroom, decorated with suggestive mosaics, meaning dirty jokes were built right into the walls. Just like bathroom humor has been around since the dawn of time, there are many things that never change, even in today’s fast-paced, always-on, hyper-connected society. For example, your patients will alwa... »

Different, Not Better.

Different, Not Better.

For many years now, I’ve taught doctors it’s best to position their practices as different not better. Consumers cannot judge whether your treatment is better or not until after the fact, so you might as well get on with the task of showing them how your office is different and solves problems that others are either unwilling or unable to solve. Consumers assume you’re going to provide great quali... »

Carry More Tools.

Carry More Tools.

You’ve probably heard me repeat the following proverb many times: “To a man with only a hammer, every problem tends to look pretty much like a nail.” Unfortunately, orthodontics is a narrow professional doctrine and liable to suffer from man-with-hammer thinking. I’ve witnessed this in my own practices and in those of the orthodontists I coach. The most-successful orthodontists study broadly outsi... »