Friday, November 21, 2014

Trevor Muir - Teacher-Preneur

This week on "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" (episode 16) I had the pleasure to interview Trevor Muir.  I met Trevor at TEDx San Antonio, where he was one of the most compelling speakers of the day.  

In chatting with Mr. Muir after his presentation I knew he had to be on the podcast.  He is more than a public school educator, the is a "Teacher-preneur".  I think we all wish we had more teachers like this when we were in high school.

Here is the video link from Trevor's talk in SA.

Please take a minute to download his interview on the "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" podcast.  Also, if you enjoy the show, I would appreciate it if you would leave a review.  THANKS..

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Fake Plane Ticket

Entrepreneurs do whatever it takes to advance the cause for growth of their companies.  Those who create success work hard, take risks, and do things that other people may never think about in order to make things happen.  Creativity is key to connecting all the dots necessary to be a disrupter and a maker all at the same time.

One person I know bought a fake plane ticket to be able to network with a key person they needed to meet.  While at an industry conference in Dallas they saw a speaker who was paramount to the future success of their business.  This person was a little famous and had immense influence that could have a direct impact on the entrepreneur's future business.  My friend knew that approaching this person after their talk was futile.  Too many people would rush the stage and a few minutes of "Great Speech" chit chat would be all they could accomplish.    

Our hero in this story decided he needed to take a chance to get more time with the speaker than just a handshake and a business card exchange.  The speaker had mentioned heading home later in the day and my friend began to wonder how to capitalize on this knowledge.  He thought about this person getting to the airport and having nearly an hour of waiting for their plane.  It would be an ideal opportunity to have a meaningful conversation, however Dallas is a big city with two airports, so he needed to think about the possibilities.

He went on his phone and looked at all the flight options the speaker could have to get home that day.  There were several choices, but he made some educated guesses about the speaker and decided that one of two American Airlines flights were the most logical.  He bought the cheapest ticket he could from Dallas to anywhere (one-way to Oklahoma City, although where did not matter as he was never gong to fly, he just needed a way to get through security) and left the conference before the speaker finished their remarks.  

Once inside the airport he waited by the gate.  He eventually thought he had wasted his time when suddenly he saw the person he desired to meet.  He casually approached and introduced himself, commenting on the wonderful presentation at the conference earlier in the day.  The discussion lasted for 40 minutes and ended with an exchange of emails, personal cell numbers, and a promise to talk more about the industry topics they had in common.  

After the speaker boarded their plane, this entrepreneur returned to his car and drove home from Dallas to Austin.  

In my opinion the odds of this scenario working out so well were slim, and thus most people would never attempt such a costly and time consuming stunt.  But successful entrepreneurs go the extra mile and do not think about the failure options.  Instead they visualize the success and then do whatever it takes to make that happen.  

What will you do today that goes beyond the "norm" that can advance your success?

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #119) - Scott Webber and Sean Ackerman Simulcast Their Podcasts

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

Two of my podcasting friends did something very cool on their shows: They simulcasted an episode of both of their shows as one, yet two, podcasts.  They held a friendly chat about "10 Ways Successful People Lead Themselves" and both released the show on the same day as a new episode.

Sean Ackerman is the host of You Leading You and Scott Webber is the host of Not Bad for Dad.  I know them both through an online community, but met them in-person at the Podcast Movement conference in Dallas earlier this year.  I have had the honor of being a guest on both of their shows, and am learning so much from each of them about podcasting and life.  

The idea of a simulcast episode is great.  I enjoyed hearing the show, but even more I loved the idea of doing a joint session of podcasts.  I am now excited to record an episode of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" with another podcaster.

Congrats to Sean and Scott on this interesting idea that they executed in a spectacular manner.  It is the perfect example of  "Cool Things My Friends Do".  I am happy to have them as week #119 in this ongoing blog series.

Jump over to iTunes and find both their shows and if you enjoy them.... leave a positive review (the 5 stars and written reviews matter to the success of a show). 

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #118) - Brian Tannebaum Releases New Book: The Practice

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

My friend, Brian Tannebaum, has just released his book, The Practice: Brutal Truths About Lawyers and Lawyering.  

Congratulations to Brian.  It is very cool to launch a book, and I am thrilled to have him as week #118 of Cool Things My Friends Do.  (I think I need to interview him for the Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do Podcast,.... as he is clearly one of the most entrepreneurial lawyers I have ever met).

I met Brian via social media.  He lives in Florida, and has a great national reputation in the legal circles. In the early days of my blog and Twitter I would have conversations with him about the topic of "legal marketing".  Brian is a lawyer who "gets it" when it comes to what attorneys must do to promote their practices, and he does not like the bull-shit advice that is out there on the subject.  Over the years we got to know each other, and last year we had a wonderful dinner while I was in Miami to give a speech.

As its title suggests, The Practice delivers brutal truths about lawyers and lawyering in Tannebaum’s slightly snarky—but always honest—signature style. His opinions are provocative and provide plenty of food for thought, and maybe a laugh or two along the way. This compelling book is an assortment of posts from 'Above the Law' and 'My Law License', two of the most acclaimed law blogs for which Brian has written.

In The Practice, Tannebaum riffs on everything from asking yourself what type of lawyer you want to be, to the most effective way to network and market yourself in an industry where lawyers increasingly over-rely on social media to prove their relevance. It also discusses other important topics, including the proper way to handle referrals, rainmaking, reinventing yourself as a lawyer, personal branding, and much more.

Check out Brian's book in the ABA Bookstore.  And if you ever get to meet Brian... he knows good wine!!!

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Friday, October 31, 2014

"Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" - Podcast Update

Happy Halloween.

This week on the podcast we have two episodes you will not want to miss:

Episode 9 - Lara Loest, The Queen of Show Notes

Episode 10 - Why Networking Matters to Entrepreneurs... roaming interviews at the October Austin Tech Happy Hour.

Please download, listen and review (downloads and reviews really make a difference to a new show).  

We hit #3 on the "Careers Podcast List" on iTunes this week.  I appreciate all who listen and who have given feedback.  Next week there are two new show (I am getting better at these podcast interviews each time).

CLICK HERE to hear the show!!!

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, October 27, 2014

What's New on the Podcast?

The Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do Podcast had a big weekend on the iTunes charts, ranking #4 in "Careers" and #15 in overall "Business".

Not sure how they do the algorithm for these lists, or why the show appeared so high, but it was fun to see it score well in a list that is populated by so many amazing Podcasts.

Last week the show featured Michael O'Neal (host of The Solopreneur Hour, and Mary Kelly, PhD (CEO of Productive Leaders).  This week will have two new shows that will release on Tuesday and Thursday.  I am having so much fun learning from the people I interview that I wish I was doing a 7 day a week show.

It is important for a new show to have listeners.  If you have an iTunes account please subscribe, download and leave a review.  If you are not on the Apple platform, you can go to Stitcher and also get the show (You can get the Stitcher app in the Android store), and the show can also be heard at  

The show is getting better with each interview, as I am finding my voice and getting some good feedback on how to interview by those with lots of experience.  I have a long way to go, but we are on this journey together.  Thank you to those who are investing their time to be part of the show.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

The Cowbell Principle (Guest Blog Post by Brian Carter)

How To Succeed By Defying Mediocrity

Have you seen the More Cowbell sketch from Saturday Night Live? It’s more than just funny. Believe it or not, it’s a powerful metaphor for a successful work life. And it provides insight into the kind of people you need on your team, and what makes an effective team.

Everyone has at least one cowbell — it’s your unique, profitable talent people pay you for or your company's unique offering. It’s something people have a fever for. When you discover it and give those people a ton of it, you gain success and happiness for both yourself and others. It’s a win-win.

A cowbell is simultaneously something you love doing and something other people really want as well (although, as we’ll see, you still will have detractors and critics). A cowbell creates joy for you and other people. It makes them yell for more. They can't get enough.

Defy Mediocrity

If you’re too vanilla, it’s hard to be successful. You don’t stand out. And, interestingly, the most popular flavor is vanilla. But that’s because it’s ice cream, something most people find hard to ignore. Vanilla wafers, not as popular. Vanilla Ice, not popular at all. We talk about him in the section of the book about being annoying. But anyway, vanilla is mediocre. Pink bubblegum ice cream? Now that gets noticed.

Are you in an environment where people praise mediocrity? Then you might be incentivized to stay mediocre, which will only get you an average career. Do you want a remarkable career? Then become a remarkable person. And go weird out some mediocre people.

What you achieve is somewhat determined by your expectations and the expectations of those around you. For example, some families won’t allow their kid to live at home after dropping out of college. They expect their children to get a degree. They expect excellence. Dropping out of college is unacceptable to them. They paid for you to go, so you must succeed. No excuses. Some families are willing to shun their children if they fail. Right or wrong, that’s pretty motivational for kids. Where excellence is expected, mediocrity is rare.

Mediocrity goes along with low expectations, a lack of motivation, a lack of ambition, and zero passion… it’s sleepwalking through life. Is that what you really want? I mean zombies are cool, but do you really want to be one?

A small percentage of people leave their jobs and create a business out of their personality. They don’t have to invent a car or resell wholesale foods or split atoms. Successful speakers and consultants believe the power of their words and intellect is worth more than most things. Are these people confident? Definitely.

Some people succeed just because they want status; they want to look good and be acknowledged as special. Pathological? Maybe, but effective.

If you had $10 million, would you live in a private house on the ocean with huge walls around it? Sure, unless you really want the neighbors to see when you buy your wife that Lexus with a bow on it. Garrison once heard a guy say, “I bought my new Mercedes, and it came with tinted windows. What’s the point of that if no one can see who’s driving it?”

Culture vs. Success

Sometimes your culture fights against your success. Brian learned when speaking in Norway that many Norwegians are fighting against a traditional cultural idea called Janteloven (pronounced yonta-loave-en), based on the laws of Jante, from, believe it or not, a novel. Why they let a novel hold such sway over them, we don’t know!

These rules are so extreme that we want to share them with you, because when you read them we think you’ll understand why the Norwegians need to rebel.

The 10 rules of Jante state:

    1.       You're not to think you are anything special.
2.       You're not to think you are as good as we are.
3.       You're not to think you are smarter than we are.
4.       You're not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
5.       You're not to think you know more than we do.
6.       You're not to think you are more important than we are.
7.       You're not to think you are good at anything.
8.       You're not to laugh at us.
9.       You're not to think anyone cares about you.
10.   You're not to think you can teach us anything.


Those rules make us want to punch somebody in the face (a very American reaction best carried out by anyone with “rock” in their name: Rocky, or The Rock, or Jim Rockford). Or at least we want to make fun of these rules.

Americans don’t believe that stuff, which is why the Scandinavian motivational company Speaker’s Club imports American speakers. We feel bad that they have to fight that inside themselves, and we wish them all the best in fighting it.

But even Americans fight something similar, to a degree. When we succeed, even if we don’t hear explicit jealousy from others, we can imagine it’s out there. Your inner voice may ask you, “Who are you to deserve this or that?” And when we do succeed, we can feel a kind of survivor’s guilt: “Is it bad that I’ve attained this or that when the people from my high school or college haven’t?”

You Can Be Remarkable And Humble

Still, we love humility, the kind you find among Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs teams; they are great, but their greatness comes from teamwork and good fundamentals. They never get too high or too low.

Brian’s favorite definition of humility is this: a right-sized view of yourself, neither greater nor less than you actually are. Humility insists that we be honest, confessing when we’re lucky but taking credit for the action we have taken and results we’ve achieved.

False humility is believing you are worse than you actually are. Egotism is believing you are better than you actually are.

If you’re good at something, or even great at it, tell people. Or show them. Don’t deny it. Don’t hide it. Don’t be embarrassed about it.

If you have gifts, talents, and skills, you have cowbells — and there are probably people with a fever for them. So go give them more

Get A Free Digital Copy Of The Cowbell Principle

This post
is an excerpt adapted by Brian Carter from the forthcoming book The Cowbell Principle: Career Advice On How To Get Your Dream Job And Make More Money, by Brian Carter and Garrison Wynn. Brian and Garrison will be giving away a limited number of digital copies at launch time. To get notified when they’re available, sign up at

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #117): Tim Hayden - "The Mobile Commerce Revolution"

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

Welcome back to "Cool Things My Friends Do".  This nearly weekly blog post series is now in week #117.  I have not posted lately, as this series has spun out a new podcast: "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do", and launching a podcast is a lot of work.... but the first six shows are live (two new episodes each week coming to an iTunes or Stitcher account near you!!!).  Check it out, subscribe and leave a comment.

Tim Hayden just released his book, "The Mobile Commerce Revolution". That is cool. Tim is a serial entrepreneur, marketing guru, speaker (he just joined the National Speakers Association), and a friend. I have known Tim for several years, and I mentioned him in my 2nd book, The ABC's of Networking. It has been great to see him navigate the ups and downs of an entrepreneurs, solopreneur, and intrapreneur.

Tim is a real thought leader in the world of social and mobile marketing.  He is also a hard working entrepreneur who makes things happen.

His book ,which is co-authored with Tom Webster, is an actionable guide is packed with brand-new case studies and practical guidance from small startups to large brands. The authors share their immense experience in a way that will make the reader think.

Congratulations to Tim and Tom.  I am thrilled to have them as week #117 of "Cool Things My Friends Do".  Also, Tim has agreed to be a guest on the podcast... so check back in a few weeks to listen to that episode.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Saturday, October 18, 2014

TEDx San Antonio

Today was TEDxSanAntonio.  My 17-year-old and I spent the day together listening to the inspiring speakers and participate in this 5th Annual event.

Yes, we live in Austin. Texas.... not San Antonio.  But TEDxAustin has apparently died off (temporarily, they say).  I had attended the Austin event a several times, and always found it cool to be part of the TEDx community.  The ideas that most speakers share are original and make me think. My daughter is on the planning committee for the TEDx youth event in Austin, and is a big fan of all things TED.  Since San Antonio is only 70 miles away, it was an easy decision to drive down for the day.

Wow, what a great event.  All the speakers were good, and covered a wide variety of topics that linked to the theme of "Ideas in Action".  Three of the speakers were outstanding (this is my opinion, haters leave me alone):  SJ Murray -"Hardwired for Story", Trevor Muir - "Should School Take Place in the Real World", and Leezia Dhalla -"Hiding in Plain Sight".  Each of these presentations were a perfect combination of powerful content with excellent speaking skills.  

I was surprised that more people from Austin did not attend the TEDxSanAntonio event.  Our two communities are separated by approximately 70 miles and are two of the fastest growing cities in the United States.  The San Antonio community is filled with amazing people who are as nice as you find anywhere on the planet.  While we did not know many people at this event, those who we met were friendly and welcoming.  

When it comes time for the 2015 event, I would happily head back to San Antonio to participate again.  Kudos to the organizing committee who curated a perfect day.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Friday, October 17, 2014

This Week on the Podcast

The new podcast, "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do", is booming along.  It was number SIX on Thursday on the "Career Podcasts" list on iTunes.  It was also #44 in the general business category. 

Not sure how it ranked so well, but it was fun to see the green circle logo riding high for much of the day.

This week's interviews (Tuesday and Thursday) were with Beth Ziesenis and Roger Courville.  Both are friends of mine from the National Speakers Association ("Cool Things My Friends Do" seems to be merging into the podcast!!!).

Here is where I can use your help.  Please jump to your iTunes account and subscribe to the show.  Also, it is helpful if you leave positive ratings and reviews (5-stars and a few words).  In the first few weeks the show gets discovered via something called "New and Noteworthy" on iTunes.  A year ago it would have been easier to land high on this list.  But podcasts are all the rage right now, and thus the competition is crazy.  Your investment of 90 seconds is valuable to me.  (Thanks!!!)

Have A Great Day

thom singer