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Are You Following A Lemming?

May 24, 2014

I had lunch with some senior leaders of a large company, one we all know well.  A company that's run by people with just enough hubris to not realize they're going to be out of work, one way or another, in the next 12 months (at most). Why?  Not because they're not smart or talented or charismatic.  The fact that they're all 3 of those things, not to mention arrogant, is probably why they've gotten this far to begin with.   You know what, at this point in my life I can live with the arrogance, I expect it from a certain breed of corporate exec.  (Plus, they paid for lunch!) What bothers me is their certitude.  The fact that -- in the midst of the most complicated media landscape in the history of time -- they've decided they know where everything's headed.  Despite the likelihood (in my estimation) that they're wrong, they're so absolutely sure, they end enquiry and charge forth to the land of milk and honey. You'd think with decades under our fancy belts we'd have most of the answers to the challenges of the universe by now.  Turns out, we don't.  Not even close.  In fact, those of us who know what we're talking about know that we're lucky if we wake up in the morning and remember what we don't know.  Even luckier if we find ways to succeed, as we spend our time trying to figure it all out with other smart and creative people who also know they don't have all the answers.  Leaders like the guys I had lunch with are so driven by their own conviction that they'll lead armies of hundreds or thousands to the farthest shore -- to drown.  Like lemmings: Here's the sad thing about lemmings:  Even after leading the masses on a devout journey to certain death...some inevitably survive.  Only to live on and lead more and more lemmings to their doom.  Make sure you don't work for a lemming.  

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Knowing Your Place

November 24, 2013 — 0

Long ago, in what seems like another life, a colleague much senior to me (in age, experience and level) summoned me to his office on a Friday afternoon for a "chat."  Sounded ominous, and it was. I'd been working for the (unnamed) company for some time, and had achieved some early success.  Enough success that I wasn't just feeling confident, I was feeling unstoppable.  You might say that my ambition was showing.

Like Reese Witherspoon's character in Election.  The executive, a tall man with decades of service under his Gucci belt, started by acknowledging the progress I'd made at the company: "You've got this little rocket ship, or whatever you want to call it.  You're moving fast, and us corporate guys upstairs are moving so slow.  You wear your sneakers and your ripped jeans and you think you're soooo cool." He was right, I did think I was kinda cool, back then.  I was also -- I didn't realize it -- beginning to venture into areas of that company in which I wasn't, shall we say, welcome.  Areas that weren't, as they say, part of my job. "Well," he continued, "You should realize you're one of us now.  And you need to, you need to..." Oh, Lord.  I've pissed off this man, big time.  I've somehow disturbed his universe.  Here it comes.  I waited and waited for his next few words, but he seemed stuck.  I stared at his shoes, which cost more than my monthly rent. "You need to know..." What did I need to know? "You need to know your, your..." I couldn't take it anymore.  I finished the sentence for him: "My place?" I asked. "Yes," he said.  "That's all, you can go now." As I walked out of his office and down to the elevator, I remembered a line from The Cluetrain Manifesto, co-authored by my friend, Doc Searls: "Just about all the concessions we make to work in a well-run, non-disturbing, secure, predictably successful, managed environment have to do with giving up our voice." Today I work in a place that, unlike most others, I'm never expected to give up my voice.  In fact, having a voice, not giving it up -- and having enough confidence to use it to inspire others -- is probably half the reason I have my job. Last week, we had a huge idea for a client.  And by "we" I don't mean me.  I'm the one who heard it, developed it with my team, and ultimately pitched it.  The client loved and bought it.  It was huge. But the idea itself came from a colleague in an area of our company whose job description couldn't read less like a creative mandate.  Someone who in most companies wouldn't even have the courage or the opportunity to express a creative idea outside her narrow lane. I used to say all the time that one of my biggest goals was to bring creativity and innovation to every area of an organization.  Problem is, that kind of hubris presumes creativity and innovation aren't already present in those areas, and that I'm somehow the one who can bring it. Look closer: creativity and innovation are bubbling under every surface, thriving in every nook.  It's up to each of us to find ways to unlock and unleash it.  To champion ideas, no matter where they come from.  And to celebrate anyone with the courage to express themselves beyond the parameters of their job description. Great people work hard.  Great ideas shouldn't have to. Know your place, indeed.  If where you work doesn't sound like a place that believes in the brilliance of human creative potential, maybe you're in the wrong place.    

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Discount Kamagra

September 25, 2011 — 0


Here's the stream of my appearance on Kate Ebner's VoiceAmerica radio show Discount Kamagra, , "Visionary Leaders, Extraordinary Lives." (And here it is on iTunes.)


The title of the show does indeed make me sound dead and eulogized, but I was instead hyoercaffeinated and borrowing the office of a colleague at AMC Networks, where I was that day.

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Avodart For Sale

April 7, 2011 — 0

Avodart For Sale, We all, at some point, struggle with natural questions about who we lead, who we follow, and why. Avodart australia, Like all of us, I've followed (and still do) some inspiring leaders, 40mg Avodart, Avodart overseas, and I've also followed some leaders that simply didn't -- or couldn't -- lead. Why did I even bother to follow them as long as I did, 200mg Avodart. Avodart usa, As Simon Sinek's TED talk, below, 50mg Avodart, 10mg Avodart, reminds us: "There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, 750mg Avodart. But those who lead, inspire us, Avodart For Sale. Avodart craiglist, We follow those who lead not for them, but for ourselves."

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Leonard Bernstein Performs Haydn With Almost No Hands

August 30, 2009 — 2

My new friend, legendary conductor Itay Talgam, gave his TED Talk at the Nokia Ideas Camp this weekend. He walked us through the variations in style and technique of the world's greatest classical conductors, ending, of course, with Bernstein. I can't even begin to reproduce Itay's brilliance here; he's someone I hope everyone will have a chance to experience in person. Itay has such a facility with the canon, he makes the rare maestro air seem like something we can all, at least for a moment, breathe in and understand. Itay ended with a clip of Bernstein conducting Haydn's Symphony #88. It's a beautiful piece, but what's most memorable is Bernstein's ability to channel Haydn through the orchestra with nothing more than a glance, a brow, a twitch...and almost no hands: (If only the rest of us could conduct ourselves with such grace.)