What is management?


Drucker über alles

WorK, with a hard K, is trading your time and talent for treasure. That’s why it’s called work. You’re supposed to contribute to the company and make a profit.

Management requires you to reward top performers and move the bottom performers out.

That’s it.

Fake News, Advertising, and Programmatic Buying


In December, the New York Times ran an article about fake news and advertising networks, “Advertising’s Moral Struggle: Is Online Reach Worth the Hurt?” It’s a story about the challenges of algorithms picking ad placements in networks based on following prospects wherever they might roam online. What caught my attention is the comment that this:

“has inserted a new ethical cost into the automated advertising equation, which promises companies large, desired audiences at low prices with little need for human intervention”

After I read that, I thought, “Has it? Has it inserted a new ethical cost?” Read more

The New AMALGAMATE Business Booklet is Here

Business Booklet

The Winter 2016 Edition of AMALGAMATE is ready for download. Read more

How to Script Your “Why Us?” Video

scripting videos

Clients are adding more video content to their websites and most popular are the “Why Us?” videos, as in, “Hello viewer, this is why you should choose us versus our competitor.” Before you sit and shoot, get that script down. According to my video guru, it’s the number one way to make sure your video rocks. He even made me watch a movie on television show runners, http://www.showrunnersthemovie.com, that hammered home the point. If just having a video used to be cutting edge, having a strongly scripted video is what’s separating the best from the rest today. Read more

Build on Your Strengths


This article originally appeared in Amalgamate: A Mix of Ideas for Your Business, Summer 2015

I have a bias. It happens when I think about your business.

I default to creating or uncovering the innovative ideas inside your business. Breakthrough concepts. I want to encourage visionary thinking. Invent ways to propel the business to the next plateau in the S curve of growth. Read more

Greg, What Does Your Planning Look Like?


Yes, I take my own medicine. As proof, I spent the weekend applying some of my ideas to recapping 2016 and looking ahead to 2017. Specifically, I’m planned my flow of business for next year. I use this map, which you may have seen before. Read more

Before you send that proposal. . .

Before You Send That Proposal

  • Does your proposal start with an About Us section? Change it to an about them section.
  • List their objectives. They’re considering you because you can help them reach their objectives. Don’t bury them, lead with them. If you aren’t clear on their objectives, ask. Use their language.
  • List how everyone will know your proposed product/service is working. Caution: if it’s a measurement that you’ve created, scratch it and go get theirs. If you’re selling a renewable service, this measure is, um, important.
  • Consider offering multiple solutions, giving them options. Just make them unique. As my restaurant friend suggests, “instead of offering two chocolate desserts, offer something chocolate and something nutty.”

All there? Now you can send it.

Good stuff.

Time is Precious

Time is Precious

This article originally appeared in Amalgamate: A Mix of Ideas for Your Business, Summer 2015

As humans, we understand the concept of “future.” We project ourselves into it and understand our eventual mortality. As philosopher Stephen Cave puts it, “we live with this sense of personal apocalypse,” and it drives our busyness. It drives how we choose to spend our time. How we spend that time shapes who we become.

Busyness. Great word.

In my startup life there was a constant comparison and contrast to corporate life. Two of the words that took on particular meaning were “prioritization” and “allocation.” Everything in startup life was viewed as an allocation problem. As in “not enough resources to allocate.” Including Time.

In hindsight I should have realized that time was my non-renewable resource. It demanded prioritization, not allocation.

Alan Weiss says that ironically, the harder we work to merely make money, the harder we are working to decrease our true wealth.

True wealth is self-directed time. Money is the fuel. The more we mindlessly work, travel, and respond to others, the lower our wealth regardless of how much money we’re earning.


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

— Percy Bysshe Shelley

Help your people prioritize their non-renewable resource. Time.

1 Billion People Live on Less Than a Dollar A Day

1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day

Late this summer I was lucky enough to travel to China and that stat resurfaced in my head. 1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day. Almost the population difference between the US and China.

While I didn’t see that kind of poverty in my visit, I did get a strong sense of the enormity of that number. The crowds were amazing. Everywhere we went, we dealt with the constant press of people. Some of whom noted our presence, (tall, white and obviously American, we stuck out like broken thumbs), but most didn’t notice. Mothers tended to children and fathers looked bored while standing in line, concerned more with getting where they’re going than what was going on with me.

I’m taking comfort in those memories as reminders as the election season finishes shaking out. Billions of people have other things to think about.

“The universe has as many different centers as there are living beings in it.” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn




Perception is Reality

Perception is Reality

Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Copyright© 2014 Getty Images

This article originally appeared in Amalgamate: A Mix of Ideas for Your Business, Summer 2015

Quality of decision making was a recurring theme during the conference. One decision trap went by various names: Framing, Bounded Reality, Relative Comparison.. but all of them share the same bias.

The decision making structure/frame we are given goes unexamined.

Here’s an example: Compare these two statements about an opportunity to purchase a competitor’s customer list.

(A.) “If we take advantage of this opportunity to buy Company X’s customer list for $100,000, we have an 80% chance of adding $400,000 in revenue this year but a 20% chance of losing the entire $100,000 investment.”

(B.) “If we miss this opportunity to purchase Company X’s customer list, we lose the opportunity to add $400,000 in revenue this year.”

Economists say we are risk averse when looking at gains and risk seeking when it comes to avoiding losses. The ability to sidestep this decision trap, to pause, step back from a given frame and confidently reframe the structure of the decision is rooted in self-esteem. Confidence.

A recent NFL defection illustrates this further. Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers retired from the NFL at the age of 24. Forgoing years of earnings that could have been in the tens of millions of dollars.

He may have been risk averse when that choice was framed as a gain: “You can earn tens of millions of dollars but there’s a strong chance that your quality of life will be severely degraded in middle age.”

He may have become risk seeking if his choice was framed to avoid loss: “We’re prepared to pay you millions of dollars. Dollars that will prevent your family from being doomed to poverty. But you should know there’s a chance you’ll be impaired by middle age.”

My point is that you can train your people to recognize this trap. When they hear something like “there are no other options.” Help them work around the trap. Give them the confidence to take the frame they are given and hold it up to closer scrutiny. When they hear “there are no other options,” they know that there are always other options. Avoid the trap. Check your perceptions and come up with alternatives or find a trusted advisor to help.