Monthly Archives: January 2013


As we’re undergoing renovations and we’re emptying out abandoned storage areas, we’ve found treasure troves of stuff. I thought you might enjoy these:

This is 1976, Williamsburg, VA, at a company meeting where the entire consulting firm had to perform in skits. I was director of client service, and that’s my boss, the VP for North America, Don Gallagher. I was Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent, and he was Ed McMahon.

This is the only known picture of me in a beard, taken at a management conference panel in Sydney, Australia in about 1979 when I ran the Far East and Latin America, a dozen offices and 36 million square miles of ocean!

I’m shown here in about 1980 with some members of my management team when I was running the North American operation.

Apparently, I’ve been renovated more than the house!

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Alan’s Thought For Today

Believe what you see, not what you merely read or hear. — Alan Weiss

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Dumb-Ass Stupid Promotion

In case anyone out there doesn’t think that spammers are stupid and mass emails aren’t complete wastes of time, here is a verbatim communication received a few minutes ago. Aside from the ridiculous punctuation errors, Buddy Beagle (that’s two names, not one, please) is not about to publish his next book with the “Pro’s”!

Dear BuddyBeagle,
You have received a new private message at Internet Marketing Forum | Learn Affiliate Marketing From The Pro’s from Doc, entitled “Special Invitation Into My New Network”.
To read the original version, respond to, or delete this message, you must log in here:
This is the message that was sent:
I wanted to personally invite you join one of my newest networks – LevelUpAds! My business partner in this network is Andre Ramsey. Andre is an innovator in the incentive and content locking ad space. As I’m sure you know I own 2 other very successful networks ( and LevelUpAds is located at and is perfect for new internet marketers or very experienced webmasters. We have developed new technology that is far superior to anything else available today and we are continuing to innovate and create new concepts all the time.
Please Come Check It Out TODAY!
LevelUpAds is premier Ad Network that provides quality-advertising solutions for top-quality content publishers and is a uniquely positioned alternative to Google AdSense™. LevelUpAds boasts cutting edge technology featuring LvlUp Connect™, LvlPlayer™, and LvlUnlock™ that make turning a profit on web properties easy.
If you have incentivized traffic you owe it to yourself to run a split test to our offers and compare EPCs!
Go HERE now and signup:
This is a very personal invite, after you have signed up make sure you email our approval department here ( to be expedited and get your account approved quickly. In the email be sure to add your Skype contact so we can add you and get you into the network. If you do not have Skype go to and create a username and add your Skype contact to the email for quick and easy approval.
I hope you have a great 2013!
LevelUpAds, Andre and I are here to help make it the best year ever!
Again, please do not reply to this email. You must go to the following page to reply to this private message:
All the best,
Internet Marketing Forum | Learn Affiliate Marketing From The Pro’s
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From today’s New York Times:

“Thirty years ago if you were looking to get on the escalator to upward mobility you went to business or law school. Today the law school escalator is broken.”
WILLIAM D. HENDERSON, a professor of law at Indiana University, on the declining number of applications to United States law schools.
Now, could that be because lawyers stupidly charge by time units instead of value? Or that they are notoriously non-responsive and late? Or that they have zero client service skills? Or that they are so narrowly educated they can’t relate to anything outside of the law? Or that “lawyer” has become almost as bad a title as “multi-level marketing scheme” in terms of ethics? Or that they pad their hours to increase revenues? Or that huge firms have dumber-than-dirt partnership tracks?
What a shock!
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Jennifer Lawrence and My Daughter

Jennifer Lawrence received an Screen Actors Guild award a few days ago, and acknowledged in her speech that her start in the business was in an MTV commercial pitching their show Sweet Sixteen. That show was executive produced by my daughter, Danielle.

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The Purpose of A Business

The purpose of a business is to offer value (through products and/or services) to customers, who pay for the value with cash or equivalents. Minimally, the money received should fund the costs of operating the business as well as provide for the life needs of the proprietor.

Any money in excess of these needs of funding and salary—”margin” or “profit”—may be used to reinvest in the business; to be invested for future needs and security; and/or to be used for philanthropy and the environment.

There are direct actions required in this process: the acquisition, perpetuation, and expansion of customer business. These actions may also include R&D (creating new value); marketing (creating need); and finance (pursuing receivable to create better cash flow).

There are indirect actions often engaged in, which may include upgrading equipment; improvement or realignment of physical property and work space; legal protections; and so on. In large, complex, and diverse companies, e.g., IBM, these indirect actions are often departmentalized and run by distinct managers. I call all such indirect actions “overhead,” and although a large company can sustain a great deal of overhead, I’ve found in my organization development work that I could remove 20 percent of all such managers and never have the customer realize or be affected by it.

In solo practices and boutique firms, such overhead directly detracts from the resources available for the direct actions. Indirect actions are often pursued because they provide immediate gratification and are easier than direct actions. But they will not acquire, perpetuate, or expand business.

Proprietors undertake the risks inherent in creating and operating a business, employees do not. Hence, employees are paid according to the proprietor’s evaluation of the value they provide, but the purpose of the business is to offer value to customers, not to offer employment. As a rule, employees involved in direct action are far more valuable than those involved in indirect action. People who solely “deliver” and do not acquire business are less valuable than those who create business. They are also far more common and easy to find.

As the proprietor gains success and increases margins, he or she is able to raise fees while decreasing personal labor, with or without employees. Raising fees generates money. Decreasing labor intensity generates discretionary time. Money provides power, but discretionary time provides wealth. The blind pursuit of power can easily erode wealth.

Value is always that which is perceived by the customer. Ideally, it should evolve, change, and multiply over time. Ultimately, a brand is the ideal representation of uniform value which by itself can serve in business acquisition. Thought leadership is the human representation of a brand, irrespective of whether other brands are also employed. Therefore, the ultimate brand is your name when recognized as the leader in your field.

When you possess such a brand, virtually no overhead is required, and direct actions are greatly facilitated. Margins and discretionary time are exponentially increased.

© Alan Weiss 2013

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The overwhelming (unsolicited) feedback on my lip-sync comments was in agreement, but I had some people who were outraged that I settled for “less than excellence,” and some comments that Beyoncé shouldn’t accept the “gig” if she couldn’t deliver live.

My reaction: Did anyone actually buy a ticket to attend the outdoor inaugural function (Is that how we’re reducing the debt?) AND believe it was an entertainment event? That’s like taking an airplane trip for the cuisine.


© Alan Weiss 2013

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 1/28/13

January 23, 2013—Issue #175

This week’s focus point: What nonsense about lip-syncing. The recorded, reverential Gregorian Chant played before some Masses in church is far superior to the off-key live solos which the music director insists upon. You and I, daily, supply our simulacra to clients and customers in the form of videos, audios, text, and messages. I can’t sit and read this Monday morning missive to tens of thousands of subscribers, so the text, written the day before, will have to suffice. I love the “personalities” in the media with dyed hair, capped teeth, cosmetic surgery, and changed names who condemn Beyoncé for lip syncing! The message is the key. Whitney Houston’s Star Spangled Banner brought tears to my eyes, the best rendition I’ve ever heard. It was lip synced. But the tears were in the moment.

Monday Morning Perspective: You should have seen it, sir, before the war. — Said to a visiting Oscar Wilde by a southern plantation owner after the Civil War, when Wilde, desperate to find a positive topic for conversation, remarked that there was a beautiful moon that evening.

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© Alan Weiss 2013. All rights reserved

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I cannot begin to understand the frenzy over Beyoncé lip syncing at the inauguration. She is a talented performer who chose to do what cellist Yo Yo Ma did four years ago, and what Whitney Houston did at the Super Bowl in the greatest rendition of the Star Spangled Banner I’ve ever heard.

Opera singers have someone in a prompter box feeding them lines when needed. Television “anchors” are merely reading a Teleprompter. (They often mangle names because they don’t check pronunciations ahead of time.) Talk show hosts use “cue cards.” Every reality show—from American Idol to Survivor, from Dancing with the Vaguely Familiar to Last Surviving Bachelorette Dolt—is scripted, does retakes, and heavily edits.

President Obama is two different people when he reads his speeches and when he speaks extemporaneously. If you’re a veteran speaker and coach (which I are), the differences are startling.

The non-talents Milli Vanilli were dumb enough to use other people’s voices. But that WAS Beyoncé’s voice (and Whitney Houston’s and all the rest; it WAS Yo Yo Ma’s cello performance). The degree to which we prepare, prerecord, and strive to remove imperfections is well documented.

I recall listening to a recording of Pablo Casals where I could hear his fingers sliding on the frets. I thought it enhanced the performance and was glad they didn’t remove it (which often happens). I remember Streisand demanding once that the editing which removed her breaths between passages be restored, which I appreciated. (It’s when she talks that she makes me crazy—ergo, “Shut up and sing.”)

We’ve come to a juncture where “perfection” is sought, rather than merely success. It’s like demanding that a baseball player bat 1.000 because .380 isn’t nearly good enough (he’s not hitting two-thirds of the time). We delve into politicians’ and appointees’ backgrounds with a scrutiny that none of us could survive or pass. Some people still excuse Lance Armstrong because they don’t want to surrender the notion of this “perfect” cyclist and rationalize the doping and the lies.

Every once in a while Sinatra hit a clunker in person, Koufax walked the batter, and a Rockette was out of step. It made them human. Hugh Jackman lost his place in a play one night, and simply started the scene over. Cliff Gorman, portraying Lenny Bruce, went “up” on his lines and yelled to the audience, “Where was I?!” We told him.

This is an age of dyed hair, capped teeth, cosmetic surgery, changed names, and outright lies on every social media platform in existence. Some people should be arrested for fraud on the basis of their publicity photo and résumé.

Kelly Clarkson sang live at the Inaugural, so if anyone has a right to comment, she does, and she has said nothing, simply acting like a mature professional. As for the rest of us, if you can sing like Beyoncé and in cold weather, then do so.

But if not, shut up and don’t sing.

© Alan Weiss 2015

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The Dog Star: Learning to Learn

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

I’m watching Bentley, now four months old, learning to be a German Shepherd, his destiny in life. He’s smitten with predatory drift, and will chase anything that moves. But he also knows now to check where the squirrels usually hang out. He knows when he gets fed, and what merits a dog treat (relieving himself in the yard, fetching a ball), and where the dog treats are kept (bottom drawer).

He’s not quite sure about the truck, a non-Shepherd-DNA endeavor, so he’s learned how to get in, but is still uncertain how to sit comfortably. (This may be because he grows every five seconds.) In my Bentley yesterday, he started the convertible top down by stepping on a button with his huge paws (it operates when moving under 20 MPH).

As he grows, he trusts his judgment about some things and not others, learns what works and doesn’t work, and is open to teaching. He has learned how to learn.

I find that some consultants learn facts or situational responses, but can’t integrate the learning. They’ll ask me the same question every time the same situation arises. (“Why won’t she call me back?” “Because you’re  not dealing with a true buyer.”) Their own “predatory drift” is “methodology drift”and they incessantly become mired in the input and not the output. (Instead of catching a squirrel, they concentrate on making sure their shoes are on with the proper laces.)

The worst of it, though, is that consultants are afraid to use their judgment, abjure the role of expert, and seek validation, justification, verification, and vindication—often by quoting some other expert or wasting time on nonsensical studies. If you don’t trust your own judgment, why should a client or prospect trust it?

We need to integrate our learning, streamline it, use it, and find comfort in it. If you keep quoting other sources, I’m going to hire the other sources.

Pretty soon, now, I expect Bentley will be running between the squirrel and the tree and start catching his prey, as it is in nature. Will you be able to close business, as it should be in your nature, or do you keep staring at your feet?

© Alan Weiss 2013

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