Monthly Archives: July 2009

Cape May Confidential IV

Best day of the week yesterday, moderate wind, about 82, warm water, wonderful breakers. The granddaughters loved it, although I couldn’t figure out how to fold up their sand tent and had to haul the entire thing back to the apartment, like a huge spinnaker sail, hat pulled down over my eyes. I’ve driven over a dozen exotic cars, many with stick shifts, and I can’t fold a sand tent.

We’ve walked past a nondescript café here a hundred times. It’s called Freda’s Café and is adjacent to the shopping district. Enough people told us it was wonderful to influence us to try it. We took the kids, and found ourselves in a very intimate room, but the staff and other patrons were terrific, and so were the kids once we removed everything graspable from Alaina’s and Gabrielle’s reach, which is considerable.

The food was magnificent. Not for Cape May. Not for New Jersey. For anywhere. Better than many “name” New York seafood restaurants, by far. Some of the finest fish and most wonderful preparation in my memory. And the service is cordial and friendly. It’s at 210 Ocean Street, and you need to go there if you’re within any kind of driving distance. Since it’s one of many BYOB establishments here, I was able to find a 2005 Cesare Amarone, which most people might not consume with fish, but I will consume it under just about any conditions.

Our final day here, we drive home tomorrow, Danielle, Alaina, and Gabrielle departed last night. (The Beemer’s computer is almost as difficult as the sand tent.)

(Click on this image to enlarge)

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Value of Community

The members of the Million Dollar Club, which I host, have come up with an “accelerant curve” (presented by Mark Smith), which we’ve embraced and expanded upon to demonstrate the connection among products and services ranging from ease of entry/low fee, to high intimacy/high fee. But it’s a two dimensional model, basically, and I’ve also tended to think in terms of a “web” of interaction among members of a community. (My value proposition is that “I create community,” and “The Architect of Professional Communities®” is a registered trademark.)

Anyway, I got to thinking on the beach (always dangerous) and I realized that there is an exponential and reciprocating value growth in communities. So as to appear scholarly, academic, and “deep,” I’ve decided to call this REV: reciprocating, exponential value.

What the kid from Union City actually means is this: The more valuable a community becomes—because of intellectual property, resources, networking, interactions, speed of response, status, peer reinforcement, etc.—the more valuable it becomes to be a member of that community. As the fee increases for being a part of a constantly, increasingly valuable community, more and more people are drawn to it (as many of you have seen in my process visual where fee follows value until the lines cross, and value actually then follows fee, because people expect to get what they pay for—this is the very essence of a strong brand).

This community “engine” becomes self-reinforcing—reciprocating. The more people entering at increasingly high levels, the more value THEY bring to the community, making it still MORE valuable. And people are apt to ensure that the quality they perceived or desired is indeed delivered, and those responsible for the community are motivated to not only meet, but exceed those expectations.

You can create community with your clients; your prospects; your members; your audience; your suppliers; and so on. Too many professional associations falter because the don’t have REV. Instead, they just have people bragging to each other, or taking while not giving, or just putting initials after their names.

I’m sure some of you in this community will find ways to use this for your own growth and prosperity. And so I mention it here, as my thoughts continue to formulate about REV.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Don’t Look Now IX

Lead articles today in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, respectively:

“3-Year Descent in Home Prices Appears at End”

“Home Prices Rise Across U.S.”

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Cape May Confidential III

Have to catch up a bit. Weather has been good, some rain late afternoon or evening, but not what we feared from the reports.

Dinner at the Black Duck was excellent, as always, augmented by a Cakebread 2003 Merlot. “I don’t get much of that,” said the liquor store owner, “good choice.” Thinking ahead, I said, “Do you have any Montrechet?”

“You must be kidding,” he smiled. (This is the best wine shop in Cape May, but they can’t afford to stock really good stuff even in season.)

Anyway, we had an assortment of appetizers, a wonderful Stilton salad, and then some spectacular tuna.

That evening, my wife receives a 10 pm call from Danielle—she’s downstairs with the granddaughters! They had not communicated her arrival quite accurately to each other, shades of Houston and Pasadena with the Mars lander (inches, vs. centimeters). But, a day early was fine!

The kids loved the Atlantic, making the fourth generation to enter it (that we know of). We all went to the Blue Pig for dinner where, awaiting them at the bar, I was informed I could get the “Belvedere special,” which was a dollar off my martini, making it $8! Grilled Octopus and a “sizzler of shellfish” was polished off with a Joseph Droughin Chablis, my daughter ably assisting.

I’ve sent along a photo which should appear here of an amazing kite hovering near our balcony, I hope it reproduces well. There was a lighted one last night over the beach outside of our apartment.

Tonight we’re off to Wildwood for another long-standing family tradition, a trek up and down the two-mile boardwalk.

(At breakfast today, Alaina downed some banana pancakes while my daughter actually ordered Tater Tots for herself. There is a picture of this ancient, indeterminable food group on my Facebook page if you’re interested in bizarre ritual.)

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Discipline: Ready? Learn!

I’ve been asked a LOT about how I accomplish so much, organize my time, set priorities, etc. And while there are specific techniques I’ve often discussed (e.g., use a physical planner or calendar, not an electronic one), the subject of discipline is really central to organizing and controlling your life and your work.

Here are some factors to think about:

1. Priority Priority. What system do you use? If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. (Virtually nothing marked “high priority” in my email ever actually is.)

2. Disturbance Insulation. How vulnerable do you allow yourself to be to the phone, email, the doorbell, someone asking you to come out and play? You don’t even have to say “no” if you refuse to listen in the first place.

3. Perfection Rejection. Discipline is about succeeding, not gaining sainthood. Finish the article, conclude the speech outline, send the introductory letter, network with strangers—stop telling yourself that you’re unprepared, not up to it, “blocked,” or having delusions.

4. Procrastination Cessation. There will not be a “better time,” there isn’t something missing that you desperately need, no one requires you to be momentarily ready to leave for Madagascar. Ask yourself if you would accept the excuses from someone who owes YOU work.

5. Rebouncefullness. So something didn’t work, who cares? An alternative was not as effective as planned, or even outright failed. The objective is still there, Find another way. If defeat disables you, you’re not going to live a very fulfilling life.

6. Personal Mastery. Don’t worry about anyone else’s performance, worry about your own. Don’t be distracted or discombobulated because someone claims it was easy for them, or they’ve already done it, or they think they’ve hit a triple, when in reality, they were born on third base. (I’ve often maintained that most professional conventions, especially those in the speaking and consulting professions, are opportunities for colleagues to come together and lie to each other about how well they’re doing.)

7. Time Proportionality. I told a coaching client not long ago to stop spending 30 percent of her time on 10 percent of her business. (That’s why I earn the big bucks.) Be careful about your ROTI: Return On Time Investment. Discipline requires the time to apply these factors to the right needs.

8. Low Tolerance for Suffering Fools Gladly. If someone is deficient, remiss, or otherwise clueless who must provide you with help, coach them, fire them, or require that they watch “So You Think You Can Dance” seasons one and two without letup. That will teach them. A Detroit police sergeant told me once that the told recruits, “Ready, learn!” He knew what he had to do, and expected the proper support.

Okay, get with the program.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Cape May Confidential II

Dinner at Peter Shields last night, one of our favorite places, huge old home across from the beach with a sprawling restaurant on the genteel first floor. BYOB, so I purchased a Silver Oak 2003 Cabernet, which even Maria liked, who drinks very seldom. Shellfish, Caeser, rack of lamb. (Have you noticed that “Caesar Salad” is a misnomer these days? You’re likely to find feta cheese, onions, tomatoes, shrimp, chicken, and an eclair in there. And it’s never made tableside except in rare establishments.)

Drizzly morning, walked over for the papers and had a few staring contests with the “dumpster gulls” trying to undo the tops. I lost the contests and I imagine the dumpsters will lose, too. I must be one of the few people who can’t tolerate Starbucks coffee, even as a ritual, so I made a second stop in an old-fashioned diner with cheaper, better coffee.

The Sales Talk Teleconference has drawn 200 registrants thus far and I’m inquiring about how many orders my automated system can hold, since I don’t want to process them on vacation. Nice problem to have, I guess. Discount deadline still three weeks away.

From our balcony, I’m watching the lifeguards practice in the morning, swimming in rough seas a mile or so, and rowing these ungainly boats through the surf. Those are the folks I want coming after me. They can swim where I’m not able, they can go where I haven’t yet been. Don’t hire a coach or mentor who doesn’t have the same credentials. If all they do is give advice, it’s the equivalent of the lifeguard simply standing on the beach and screaming to you as you flounder, “Tread water! Tread water! Haven’t you read my tips on the Internet?”

(Working Hard)

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Witch Doctors

What do you think may the difference between witch doctors and modern stock experts?And why do psychics need cell phones? Listen to this podcasts and to Alan’s answers and oh yeah, don’t forget to listen to Alan’s recession prediction at the end.

and now also on iTunes

Click Here for entire podcast series table of contents

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Cape May Confidential

We dined last night at Martini Beach and, sure enough, I snagged a parking space across the street. I still have rolls of quarters in the console from the Newport Film Festival in June, so we gouged the meter and climbed the stairs.

From the balcony dining area you can watch the passing scene with a great perspective. The service is always terrific, though the wine list is, well, a list. But they can make a wonderful, frosty martini, and the manager found a glass of Sauvignon Blanc that went nicely with the outstanding tuna. It was a fabulous meal and the place was packed. I think Cape May is quite crowded this year, and I’m guessing a lot of people have substituted this for a trip to the islands or a cruise. A great many out-of-state plates, some from quite a distance. Restaurants are not hard to get into, meaning that a lot of people are cooking their own meals.

This morning, as is my habit, I awoke at about 6:30, wrote a couple of columns, and then figured that the Sunday Times would have arrived. I hiked two blocks over to the sister property, Congress Hall, and found the newspaper and a cup of coffee. I encountered a guy with three tennis rackets, waiting for a triple shot of espresso. He then went outside to smoke. The humidity is about 98 percent. I told him he was going for the trifecta, and he smiled, telling me I was right. He said he had to change his shirt twice yesterday. I thought he was lucky he didn’t have to change his heart.

I strolled over to the beach. Coffee is not a drink for me, more like a ritual. It’s the excuse to put the dogs in the truck and get some biscuits in the morning, or to have after a nice meal alongside a brandy. But coffee itself is not what I need in my system, so it’s sort of an accessory, like my hat. I sat with my coffee and Times on a bench overlooking the water and the power walkers, joggers, runners, and bike riders in the passing scene. (They can use the mile-long strip until 10 am.)

To each his or her own, but a lot of them looked very unhappy to me, and very temporary. You can tell the real runners by their posture and build, and their technique. For the rest, it appeared to be the exercise equivalent of lip service.

Bad storms last night, it seems, but the sun is out this morning. I’ve got three books and the Times, and the surf awaits.

Scenes from Cape May:

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Don’t Look Now VIII

The Dow Jones Industrial Average just posted its best two-week rise since 2000. It rose 4% last week, and 7.3% the week prior. (Wall Street Journal, July 25, article by Peter A. McKay).

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Atlantic City

Made it in 4:25, at the pool. Deli and gambling tonight, 40 minutes to Cape May tomorrow.

– Post From My iPhone

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