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Friday, July 29, 2005

Dear Radio...
How are you? I am fine.
Didn't know if you were aware of this book, but it's IMPORTANT (note use of ALL CAPS.)

"Life After the 30-Second Spot: Energize Your Brand With a Bold Mix of Alternatives to Traditional Advertising" by Joseph Jaffe, will (should!) make you rethink your industry, services, programming, and personnel.

Great book, spot-on about most of the new advertising strategies (and deadly accurate about the rapid demise of the old ones.)

You should read it -- definitely worth your time, and could quite possibly add a few years to your industry.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

How to look BRILLIANT
(with little effort.)

I've working my way through the doorstop of a book that is Jack Canfield's "The Success Principles." Although I wasn't a big fan of the Chicken Soup series, my friend Michael York told me I just had to read it. It was important (he was right.)

The book is about 455 pages long and I'm only on 169, but I ran across this gem this morning, and wanted to share it with the Community Action Hero -- after I typed it into my message to him, I realized it was truly worth sharing with YOU today.

Virginia Satir, the author of the classic parenting book "Peoplemaking", was probably the most successful and famous family therapist that ever lived.

During her long and illustrious career, she was hired by the Michigan State Department of Social Services to provide a proposal on how to revamp and restructure the Department of Social Services so it would serve the client population better.

Sixty days later, she provided the department with a 150-page report, which they said was the most amazing piece of work they had ever seen. "This is brilliant!" they gushed. "How did you come up with all these ideas?"

She replied, "Oh, I just went out to all the social workers in your system and I asked them what it would take for the system to work better."

She ASKED them.
How many businesses would be better off if the companies simply ASKED their customers what THEY want? It's an old and established principle, but I can't recall the last time a company I did business with bothered to ask ME how their business could be improved.

How about you? Have you been asked lately?
...and who have YOU been asking as you run your business/department/project?

Plenty more brilliance in the book.
Pick-up a copy and start reading. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to make your way through it -- just finish it. As my buddy Michael said; "It's important."

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Flowing as with Honey;
Smooth; Flowing Sweetly

That's how Dictionary.com defines Mellifluous -- which is itself the only definition they give for Mellifluent -- which brings us to today's post. Some of the best ideas seem to come from out of the blue and, amazingly enough, that's where some of my most interesting emails come from as well.

For example, I received one a couple days ago from Earnest Pettie. Earnest is an "Idea Man" and was looking to make contact with other "Idea Men" websites he'd found on the net. As a matter of course, he must have tripped over one of my Idea Guy sites and figured it was close enough.

I get a least 2 or 3 "will you trade links with me?" requests per week, some of them actually DO contain related content, but most are simply mass-mailed, lame linking sites merely looking to increase their search engine stats.

The junk mail gets no response from me, the personal (although misguided) email will usually get a 'no thank you' or 'perhaps in the future' response, and others (too few and far between) get an immediate mention in the blog and added to the link-list update file. Earnest Pettie's Mellifluent.info gleefully qualifies as one of the latter.

Like the mellifluous word from which it takes it name, the ideas sweetly flow like honey through each one of the posts. Some of the proposed ideas may be as familiar to you as the flashes of brilliance sparked during the course of a normal day from a million different stimuli; how to make blog reading easier, a quick-view option for all those open Firefox tabs, how to find things faster in a grocery store, or alternative ideas for pedometers and laser measuring devices.

Earnest and Company's (there appear to be several people posting on the blog) also flow to the outrageous, outlandish, and brilliantly bizarre. They have a plan for making society more tolerate - 'one beatdown at a time', and how the health food industry should take their cues from beer commercials and make Wheat Germ sexy. Mellifluent.info may also have come up with the perfect idea for getting European Union back on track -- free iPods for every country that ratifies the constitution. But, my absolute favorite (so far!) has got to be the idea posted by E-Rock for a time/cash converter.
People will ask me, “Do you have a minute?” And I will respond, “Yes, and it’s yours.” I also know that time is money, which is why there should be a time/cash converter.

I would carry that and a book of reciepts around with me. That way when I’d finished given someone a moment of my time, I could give them a reciept and say, “You just received 84 dollars and 36 seconds.” I wonder if that’s tax deductible.
I heartily recommend getting into 'the flow' with these Idea Men of Mellifluent.info.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Funny Ha-Ha?
Or Funny Weird?

...REALLY Weird.
I'm thinking this is one of those pseudo-corporate/comedy websites. It couldn't be "real" -- could it?

The Floppy Hat style (and the price!) makes me think it's a joke, but stranger things have happened (and been marketed!) so who knows?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Stay In The Room
I wanted to share an excellent bit from one of my favorite pint-sized books of powerful inspiration -
The Pocket Muse.

I once heard a college student in Waterville, Maine ask visiting writer Ron Carlson how one knows if one is really a writer. Ever the showman, Carlson delivered an entertaining riff about the distractions writers put in their own way all day, all the time: leaving the room to get coffee, check the mail, get coffee, walk the dogs, go to the bathroom, get coffee, look something up, get coffee. Then, dead serious, he summed up the whole enterprise in a line I have never forgotten: "The writer is the one who stays in the room."

Innovation is about 'staying in the room' too.
Innovation isn't easy. It's constantly challenged by interruptions of "real" work, and the pressure of "being productive." The catch-22 is, the right sorts of innovations with help you accomplish more work more profitably -- which equals greater productivity.

Stay in the room in the room to develop your ideas, just know when it's time to get out and put them into action.

Note: This is the same as my entry for today's Idea Department blog on The Duct Tape Marketing Blog Channel, but this is not always the case. If you haven't clicked-over to the new "blog channel" to see what's on -- you're missing lots of new and rare Idea Guy content. I invite you to visit and see for yourself.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

An Idea's Time That
Has Finally Come
As a charter member of BrightIdea.com, I missed it dreadfully when it was basically shuttered and shut down a few years ago as a result of misuse by an influx of nasty new members on a quest to take advantage of the site's 'penny-per-point' reward system for bright ideas.

In their rush to pick the pockets of the site's creators, these locust-like invaders simply pasted recipes and other recycled suggestions not of their own creation into BI's incredibly creative idea collection engine. The most creative things these cut throat commandos did was to invent and organize "rating gangs" to drive up the rating points and increase the falsified value of their "un-ideas."

I've visited the site over the years and was disheartended to see it standing as a ghost town for the modern days -- an abandoned stop on the information super highway. It would have been less cruel to simply take the whole thing down than to let it live on life support for so long.

But a funny thing happened the other day -- The patient took a breath on its own.

Someone shocked new life into the burnt-out BrightIdea bulb, and has it juiced and jumping again. Even their new logo shows a light bulb looking as young and vital as the new site and its new direction.

BrightIdea.com's new mission is that of webhosted suite of idea management tools intended for corporate use. In a day and age of outsourced labor and manufacturing, BI now provides a means for businesses to focus and build on their only sure competitive product -- better ideas.

Take a tour of the new BI and see what I mean.
BrightIdea.com is dead -- long live BrightIdea.com

...I just hope they found a good home for Sparky, their idea-sparking cartoon mascot dog. If he still needs adopted, I volunteer to give him a good home.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Are You Bolting the
Door of Opportunity?
It seems to be the nature of opportunity to avoid negative people. These Negative Nancys and Negative Neds rant and rave that nothing comes their way. While they wander from person to person bemoaning their lot in life and wishing they could catch a break like that lucky so-and-so who sits in the next cubicle at work -- they can't hear Opportunity leaning on the buzzer trying to get them to open the door over all their woe-is-me-whining.

Bolted Brains cannot conceive exciting new ideas, they cannot envision new innovations, nor are their minds open to the creative connections waiting to made if they would simply open themselves to the possibilities and invite Opportunity in for a nice chat and a cup of coffee.

Approach every challenge with a positive attitude. Know in your head that you CAN solve the problem -- that it's probably a simple answer to a complex problem. The solution is "there" you just have to recognize it.

Think on your past successes and remember them in the middle of this new challenge. Past victories will help conquer current quandries. You just have to quiet your anxiety and listen for Opportunity's approach -- and leave those negative locks off the door so it can make a grand entrance!

Note: Negative Nancy and Negative Ned are fictional characters. They are not intended to represent any real people, living or dead, that happened to be named Nancy or named Ned.
...or named Negative (just in case.)

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The Idea Department | PO Box 26392 | Columbus, OH 43226 | Phone/Fax (614) 340-7910