The BIG Idea.

journals May 20, 2021

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 model is much more diversified than Facebook. Otherwise, Google would be crying a loud, sloppy cry just like Facebook.

It is no shock that consumers want digital privacy. What might surprise you is the fact that most marketers are doing everything they can to stop it from happening. So, what’s the big deal with tracking, privacy and advertising? It helps to understand the status quo and then we can take a peek at where we’re headed. Until now, you’ve been tracked like a lab rat and marketers are not giving up without a colossal fight. The Wall Street Journal recently...

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Control Freaks.

articles May 20, 2021

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 a time, in my career as a coach, I would have never been able to tolerate some of the things we’ve had to go through. So that has made me better, I think.”

One of the world’s ultimate practitioners of routine handled the complete opposite of routine this year by embracing disruption, focusing on endurance and staying the course, regardless of circumstance.

That’s the problem with control. It gives you a false sense of security.

Let’s admit it. Most audiologists, orthodontists, doctors and lawyers are control freaks. You...

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Serious Business.

books May 20, 2021

“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 occupy. It’s serious business. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed.”

— Maya Angelou

I’ll never be invited to give a motivational speech at the American Academy of Audiology and no one wants me dropping in on their Facebook group, reminding them that 99.9% of the “sharing” and “space to be vulnerable” is really just a dopamine feedback loop, fueled by ego and a desire for recognition. 

I’m too pragmatic and serious for most...

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The Quick Fix.

journals Apr 27, 2021

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-seller corners of your favorite bookstores. I’ve written about them at length, here and elsewhere. They offer simple solutions to complex problems. And, that’s why they are so popular.

Who wants to be told the solution to their management, marketing or leadership challenge is too difficult to cover in a single TED talk, book or research article? 

I get more than a handful of member requests and questions sent to my desk each day. That’s after the easy ones have been filtered out and handled by the appropriate team member. I welcome the hard...

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On Memory.

books Apr 27, 2021

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’ve been thinking a lot about memory, particularly as it relates to all the financial pain and suffering, in addition to horrible loss of life, that started a year ago with the pandemic. 

One year ago, the S&P had dropped 34% in five weeks. Economies all over the world were shutting down. Millions of people lost their jobs and investors were terror-stricken. 

Here we are, 12 months later, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 have each gained 76%, the best annual performance for either index since 1934. What an unbelievable year of financial gains, but...

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A Pile of Beans.

articles Apr 27, 2021

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 aren’t the most powerful companies on the planet because they have a ton of information. They are valuable because of what they can do with those data (i.e., make decisions about people and markets in order to sell more advertisements, products and services). 

Smart marketers and advertisers have taken note. On an upcoming Loud and Clear program, I take a deep dive on the Google Display Network. This tool is making it easier for good marketers to get better and for bad marketers to get worse. 

Why? Because more data does not always mean accurate, relevant or...

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Chasing vs. Living the Dream.

journals Mar 15, 2021

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 today was once a dream.”

Doctor, lawyer, specialist, audiologist, professional practice owner, mother, father, husband, wife, partner, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, best friend – all of these accomplishments were once a dream. How much time are we spending chasing after the next dream versus living our current one?

Listen. I’m the first person to encourage you to keep chasing after new dreams and bigger goals. That’s called growth. However, growth doesn’t always mean getting bigger, it also means going deeper.

I specifically chose the...

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Observe. The Formula for Success.

books Mar 15, 2021

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. It 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 chuckle. I’m talking about a proper belly laugh. By the time I’d looked at the entire range my cheeks were aching. I didn’t know anything about the person behind the cartoons. All I knew was that each card had a logo on the back with the words, ‘The Far Side by Gary Larson.’

From that moment on, I was hooked. I became a cartoon junkie. At first I devoured every Gary Larson cartoon I could find. Then I moved on to the work of other great cartoonists like Charles Addams, B Kliban and many more. I developed a genuine love for cartoons as a comedic art form but it...

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Trade Offs and False Proxies.

articles Mar 15, 2021

I see a lot of smart people giving audiology practice owners 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 pills while Grumpy Jared tells you to eat your vegetables and go to the gym. I’m clearly not here to win any popularity contests. Listen. There’s nothing wrong with efficiency and growth, but these swindlers and self-professed gurus use the wrong proxies for efficiency and growth. They look at labor costs, marketing investments or cost structure and set about in an attempt to improve them. But what if increased efficiency or growth in these areas cause the customer experience to suffer or referrals to decline? What if their proxy keeps you from...

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Remote Work.

journals Feb 11, 2021

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 meetings. With longer team meetings in the office, like our half-day training sessions, employees could get up, stretch their legs, take a coffee break, socialize in the hallway on breaks, etc. With online meetings, an hour seems like an eternity.

Instead of long virtual meetings, schedule more one-on-one meetings and keep group meetings to no longer than 30 minutes.

Many years ago, recognizing the problem of their employees being “on the job” even when they were at home due to email, voice messaging and texts, Volkswagen started...

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