Sizzle Matters

Hey Kids,

Marketing rules says to sell the sizzle not the steak.sizzle

It seems, on the surface, to be disingenuous at the least and salesman sleazy at its worst. But outside of trying to sell someone something, there’s a truth to it.

Upon arrival at the apartments this afternoon, there was attached to the little clip by my door, the May newsletter. It contained a warning to clean up after your dogs on the grounds. A warning to keep your dog or cat (their words) on a leash. A warning to get your patio cleaned up. A notice about where the city will be placing dumpsters for spring clean-up. And an announcement for a kite festival this weekend, but the location is listed as: TBA.

Oh yes. And an invite to follow them on Facebook.

There was a picture of presumably May flowers but no attempt to make the overall look interesting. No interesting fonts, logo, or maybe even some positive news about something.

My goal is not to dog on this newsletter. I know it was most likely produced at the command of a management company, by employees who have too much to do already. Instead, my point is that when you are going to deal with people, be a person. Make at least part of it interesting or even pleasing to look at. This applies to a newsletter, a PowerPoint presentation, or a photo (photos are almost always more interesting if someone is in it- even if it you don’t know who it is.)

Talk like normal people talk, not like a lawyer, a doctor, or an apartment manager.

Have fun and don’t be afraid to try to be funny. Even if you’re the only one laughing- at least that’s one person laughing.

Steak as steak is just a chunk of meat. It’s when it starts to sizzle that people really get interested.

Sizzle matters.


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My Crew

Hey Kids,

I have a staff. We are all just people with jobs. We trade our time and talents and get paid for it.

I like to think I’m one of the crew, another employee with my own specific duties. I start the day and end the day, just like everyone else. I’m just one of the “guys”.


Ordinary Average Guy

Except I’m not.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing special about me. I’d be the first to doubt my abilities, my importance, and my book smarts. I’m pretty run of the mill.

But I am the leader of my small staff. They look to me to make sure their time gets turned into money. They look to me to watch for those things that are best for them. While they do their jobs, they expect me to do mine- make their jobs easier, valuable, and safe.

They come to me when they are troubled, mad, or disappointed. They tell me of their victories, their families, and their desires. They share their goals, their dreams, and occasionally their deepest secrets.

I console when family members struggle, get sick, and pass away. I offer advice when life delivers hard blows. I encourage when life puts up hurdles.

I’ve laughed with them. I’ve sat through tears with them. I’ve spoken at funerals of a couple of them, and hugged their grieving mothers.

None of these things make me anything great or special.

Except what an honor it is to be someone who is trusted to be part of so many people’s special moments.

What an honor it is to be given a second chance to be a dad once again.


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Hey Kids,

I ran into some ex-coworkers this evening.

We said hello, fist bumped, and asked how each was doing. We talked a little about what we had been up to, what we had seen of each other on Facebook.

Leaving, my old boss, the one I worked for directly, said, “You can come back anytime. Really.”Burning_Bridges_Logo

I know some people fantasize of leaving in a blaze of glory, with a one finger, salute, and a good piece of their mind. It might feel immediately satisfying to do so, but that’s not my style.

I take pride in the fact that I left on my terms and in a way that I could always return if I needed or wanted. The fact that I hear this same invitation when I run into the other members of that management team means more to me than any bridge-burning parting expression.

Legacy is not how many people you can put behind you, but is how many people who are willing to back you up.


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Doing Alright

Hey Kids,

Am I lucky?

I rode a motorcycle to work.

I have a job. It pays.

I ate breakfast this morning and Take-and-Bake Pizza for dinner.

I have a place to call home. It has a roof that doesn’t leak and an oven that works.

I own a phone and a laptop and a TV. More computer fighting power than what put a man on the moon.

It’s raining tonight- another kick to the dead horse called the drought (a good thing in this case).shapeimage_3

My bed awaits. It has covers and a sleeping wife and cat who love me.

Am I lucky? I don’t know, but you’d be hard pressed to conclude I have it rough.

I’m doing alright.


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Make it a Home Run Derby

Hey Kids,

One-at -bat, as my online mentor Gary Vaynerchuk would say.

You get one shot at this life. Within the one-at-bat you’re granted,
you’ll have moments of strikes but ultimately one result. A result you’ll never realize until it over.

Except in this scenario there is no 3 strike limit.


Reggie Jackson- Mr. Oakland

No limit to hits, no other inning but the ninth, and always playing for the win.

I’ve had some worries lately and I’ve been letting it get me down. But my dear Annette
also reminded me how stupid that approach is. She lives for today with an eye to the future. She never passes a good laugh, time spent with those she loves, and a good long bath with bath salts.

She reminds me of what’s good in this world, what’s important, and what’s not.

Success and happiness are always waiting at the next pitch.

I think it’s time to let it rip and swing for the fences.


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My, What a Wide Tie You Have On

Hey Kids,

I hate looking at old pictures. Actually, I hate looking at me in old pictures. I wonder what I was thinking, and what was I wearing?pastphoto

At the time of the picture taking, I’m sure I thought I looked great with that haircut. My clothes, of course, would never be consciously thought of as embarrassing. The bell bottoms, the mullets, or the wide flared collars were, in their time, cool.

Yet if I took a picture of me today, I would assume I have moved past all those “childish” fashions. I now look as good as I have and ever could be. The thought that today’s photo would ever look out of style is not possible. And yet it will be. It always ends up that way. It could be a simple as the photo’s quality when compared to what it might be in 5 years from now. Or 10. Or 20.

And there lies the fallacy of every generation: the idea that the present is permanent.

It’s not.

The styles are changing. The materials are changing. The technology is changing. The style of things we use is changing. The phones, the media, the foods, the fuels, the attitudes, the beliefs, the understandings, the climate, the earth, and our language; are all changing.

It’s ok. It’s how we progress.

The problems comes when we hang onto the present as if it’s the only way. Or when we decide that the new generation will never survive itself. Or when we long for the past so much, we can ignore the future.

The only thing that doesn’t change is the past and the resurfacing of those damn embarrassing photos.


Post 3-096

Sluice Box of Life

Hey Kids,

I’ve been at my job for nearly 25 years now. In those 25 years, I’ve accumulated a desk full of papers, gizmos, and trinkets. I decided it was time to empty some of those items. Mostly because my desk is full and I might be there for a few more years.

Within the reaches of the drawers, I found my weight in mystery keys, a bible’s worth of pages of old notes and scribbles, and two decades of memories from past employees.

I threw out piles of worthless Coke caps that I never got to enter the codes for some grand prizes never realized. There was a mountain of business cards from companies and people with which a few we did business- most we did not.

A few ID badges had been left behind. I read the names and looked at the pictures of their past owners. I recalled their stories. A small number of them left due to immigration issues. Others moved on to different opportunities- some have stayed in touch, most others have not. I found a letter written to me by an employee who passed last year. It was written during a trying time in her life and she had wanted to thank me for my support during that time. It meant a lot to me then, but even more now.

My runner-up find was a voucher assigned to me on my very first day with the University. I was to exchange it for an ID card within my first few weeks of employment. I never did, but got an ID card anyway. I don’t know why that amuses me, but it does every time I see it. Apparently, I rebelled against the rules even way back then.

The grand prize find was a copy of my oldest son’s fishing license. It is the most valuable because it has his signature on it, something he did with his own hand and I own it. I miss him and it makes me feel closer to him.

Life marches forward and these treasures of sluicememories get caught on the riffles of time, much like gold in a sluice box. And like the largest nuggets in the sluice box, they can disappear under the mundane black sands and irrelevant gravels of life and disappear out of sight, and out of mind. Today reminds me to not fill up on the trivial but to unbury and cherish those moments and people that are important today, and not when I clean out my desk every 25 years.


Post 3-095

Right Tool, Right Now

Hey Kids,

The right tool for the right job. It always makes a difference. What could be a miserable job, when tackled with the right tool is easy- maybe even enjoyable.

Today called for rain. Lots of it. The morning was a balmy 51°at daybreak but the weather report warned about being led astray. An evil cold front was to roll through about mid-day.

Believe it or not, it was true and right on the money. The clouds darkened and the moisture fell.

By quitting time, the rain really opened up. But my motorcycle and I weren’t scared.

In my saddle bags resided my rain gear. A few minutes of donning the newly acquired Frogg Toggs and the rain rolled off of me like the back of a duck. I also wore the full face helmet so I didn’t have to worry about the feeling of 1000 bees stinging my face (how rain feels with an exposed face in rain at any speed over 30). It was nice, cool, and refreshing, despite the looks of pity from the cagers.

I had the right gear for the road conditions today. *Pats himself on the back*

Although when I think of right tools for the job, I usually and immediately think of working on cars. Others may have different ideas but it’s what I did for so long with all the wrong tools. I learned. Here are a few examples I can testify make a difference.perfect_tool

A spark plug socket instead of a long socket. Or a short socket with an extender on it.

A harmonic balancer puller, or any puller for that matter, over a hammer and two screwdrivers.

A flare nut wrench over a standard combo wrench.

A pneumatic or electric lug wrench over a star wrench.

American made over China made; any tool.

A volt tester over moistened finger tips.

What’s something you know that makes a difference?


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