Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Living The Dream

Congratulations to my friend, Tripp Segars of South Carolina, who just got accepted to law school.

Tripp is a recent graduate from Clemson University and has had a life-long dream of being a lawyer and pursuing a career serving in the political arena. This is his first step. He is the perfect example of someone who sets their mind to a goal and goes for it....regardless of if it is easy or not.

I foresee great things in Tripp's future. Attorney Segars.....Congressman Segars?.....Senator Segars??....President Segars???? (Hey, why not?)

If you have a dream, are you taking actions to lead you to realizing that dream? Sitting around on your butt will not get you there. You need to be working toward what you desire.

Again, Congratulations to Tripp on this life-changing accomplishment. I am proud to know him. And when he becomes President of the United States in 2040, I hope he will appoint me the Ambassador to Ireland (Hey, why not?)

Have A Great Day.


Come On People, Manners!

I went to Starbucks today. Read the Austin American-Statesman (my local newspaper) and then quietly read a few pages in a book.

The line of coffee enthusiasts was long. People snaked through the place, past my table.

While I was reading my book, a woman reached down onto my table and picked up the newspaper and started reading it. The line was slow and she even had time to grab a second section before tossing it back on my table.

Granted, I was done with the paper and was actively reading my book....but it was very clearly my newspaper. She never asked if she could read it. She never said "thank you" after returning it to my table. Nothing. No eye contact, no smile, nada. I kept looking up at her, expecting some response...but she avoided looking at me.

I found this very rude. But welcome to our society in 2007 where some random person feels entitled to my paper. I assume she is just a bitch in all aspects of her life.

Don't be like this woman. Have manners.

Have A Great Day.


Out-Think The Competition

Look at all the marketing, business development, sales and PR activities that your competition is actively pursuing. Advertising, events, seminars, direct mail, calling, networking, etc...

Now look at what you are doing.

Is it the same stuff?

Stop doing "Me Too Marketing". Be different. Be unique.

I have never understood why people observe the competition and instantly mimic their every move. Why would a prospective customer select one clone over the other? Don't be a clone!

I have a sign on my desk that reads "Out-Think The Competitor Everyday". It makes me feel sorry for them, as I do not think they try to out-think me.

Have A Great Day.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Implode The Past and Start Fresh

In the height of the technology boom Intel Corporation began construction of large, ten-story office building in downtown Austin. They had grand plans of expanding their corporate footprint in the Texas technology hot spot. But alas, boom lead to bust, and Intel stopped construction of their building with only a shell of concrete raising five stories above 5th and San Antonio Streets.

For the over 6 years the unfinished building has been an ugly reminder of the better days for the technology industry in Austin. While the local economy recovered, the Intel Building has remained a blemish on skyline of one of the most dynamic cities in the country.

The land was sold and a planned new federal courthouse will be build on the spot.

But first, they had to bring down the skeleton of what might have been. The building, which was never finished, brought national media attention to its explosive end on Sunday morning. Everyone loves to watch the planned demolition of a building. But as soon as the dust cleared, the spectators were gone, and the rubble remains until crews can wipe the slate clean.

Wouldn't it be great if we could erase past mistakes in our own lives as easily as an implosion? Just the push of a button could forever clear away the rubble of our past.

Once the empty lot is cleared of the debris, new construction will erase all memories of the Intel Building. Nobody will look at the new courthouse and recall the pile of twisted metal and concrete that is there today.

Not so easy in the life of a person, but if you don't dwell on your past, most others wont either. As for those who revel in others shortcomings, screw them. We all have made mistakes. I believe that, in most cases, everyone deserves the opportunity to dynamite the past into oblivion. The real proof is in your current actions!

Have you ever known someone who can't get beyond a career failure? They do not allow themselves to clear away the past. Is that person you??? I say, just bulldoze it all to the side and start the new construction. The skyline of your life will soon have a new landmark.

Have A Great Day.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Help Others Achieve Their Goals

When you read about what is important in cultivating your networking skills, you will consistently hear that you need to do for others. To think that when you meet someone in the business world they will immediately start sending you business and/or referrals is plain naive. Most people do not make others the priority (you will not matter to them until you build a relationship), and therefore they will not think of you again after they walk away.

Of course this is okay, because you understand that one meeting does not make you part of their network. One meeting make you someone they met.

One of the fastest ways to get noticed by others is to help them in their quest to reach their goals. Thus, you need to discover what it is they desire. You can do this by asking questions and listening closely to their words. But then comes the "work" part of networking (have you noticed that the middle of the word "networking" is "w-o-r-k"?), you need to make them a priority in your life, even if you are not important to them!

Yep...networking is not a 50/50 exchange. Sometimes one person does more to assist the other. To be successful you have to become comfortable with the fact that you will help others more often than others will help you. But, if you are sincere in your efforts, you will receive more as as well. Even if you do not get an equal amount of attention from your network, a rising tide rises all boats, and what goes around comes around (cliche? yes...but true!).

I am not suggesting that you become a doormat and allow others to walk on you or take advantage of you giving spirit. I am suggesting that you discover the joy of helping others, and get your payback just from the fact that you helped another person move toward their goal. That way you are at 50/50 from the get-go. Now everything that others do to help you puts you over the top!

Hundreds of people will read this blog post. If everyone decides to find five people today and discover a way to help them with a business, personal or soul great would that be?

I want you to think right now about what kind of person you are.. ARE YOU ONE WHO LOOKS FOR WAYS TO HELP OTHERS ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS? (Be honest, nobody can hear your answer in your head). I hope you said yes. If not, DO YOU WANT TO BE THE TYPE OF PERSON WHO HELPS OTHERS ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS? (If you said no, then go away).

Before you go to bed tonight, ask someone: "What is your biggest challenge and what can I do to help?". And when someone asks you the same question, know your answer!

Have A Great Day.


Have you taken The Networking Quotient Quiz? The 31 question quiz is designed to make you think about how you respond in a variety of networking situations. It will show you how you compare to everyone in your demographic who has already taken the quiz. It only takes eight minutes to complete!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

An Author AND The Prime Minister of Canada???

Author and blogger Steve Harper shares the same name as the Prime Minister of Canada. Canadians purchase his book on thinking it is the work of their leader.

Steve's friend, Carlon Haas, created a funny video of how the famous politician in the great white north must also have to deal with constantly being confused with the author of The Ripple Effect.

I think Steve (the one in Austin, not the one in Canada) has a huge marketing opportunity on his hands. I think all his business cards and other materials should read "NOT the Prime Minister of Canada". He had better get on it soon, as in a parliamentary system it is hard to tell how long he will have the job. (Too bad the odds are not in my favor that the next PM will be named Thom Singer).

Have A Great Day.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Free Hugs

Walking down the street today on my way back from lunch I encountered a young businessman with a large button on that read; "Free Hugs". It made me laugh, because it was just out of place. He was in his mid twenties, wearing a nice suit, and looked very professional, except for the button.

Laughing, I asked him if he was getting many takers from pretty women? As we crossed the street and walked down the block we joked about this (I was NOT interested in a hug, by the way!). Apparently the button was his grandmothers, and he had just put it on at lunch and left it there. I think the only hug he got was from granny.

I admire a person who can step out of the box and walk down Congress Avenue with a silly button on his lapel. He works for a consulting firm and I predict he will be very successful in his career. Having that mix of professionalism and yet not taking yourself too seriously is a great trait to possess.

The trick for him will be to not lose the fun side of his personality as he gets older. Many people stop allowing there silly self to shine through as they get older and climb the corporate ladder. Life has a way of jading the fun out of us as we get more responsibility (at least while downtown at and around the office).

I challenge every reader of this blog to be a little silly today in honor of the "Free Hug" guy.

Have A Great Day.


A Sales Tale

I enjoy the viral aspect of the internet. Because of people passing along links to other blogs I have been blessed with reading many inspiring and interesting stories...but few as great as the link I have posted for you below.

I got an email from a lawyer named Bryan. I met him at an engagement party some great friends of mine who will soon get married. After we met, Bryan started reading this blog, and two days ago he sent me a link that he thought I would enjoy. He had found the story posted on A VC Blog, and sent me both links.

Bryan's gut instinct that I would LOVE this story was right on the money. In might be one of the most inspiring business development stories I have ever read.

It is a long blog post, so if you click on the link below you need to be prepared to read for a couple of minutes (blog scanners beware!). But if your job requires you to develop new need know that being tenacious is the only way to win.

Andy Monfried writes a blog called "You Aint Gonna Learn What You Don't Want To Know", and on Valentine's Day he wrote a long post about a life changing sale that launched his career into the stratosphere. It is a wonderful example to everyone about creativity and long-term relationship selling.

Click Here. You will enjoy the read. Thanks Mr. Monfried, I think you are my hero.

Have A Great Day.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Triumph Over A Bad Day

Even the most motivated business professionals sometimes lose their steam. Nobody is in a great mood everyday. I imagine that even motivational gurus (think Tony Robbins) sometimes just want stay in bed with the covers pulled over their head.

Being in a funk is inevitable. I know, it happens to me....although I am usually quite upbeat. I normally wake up early with a lot of enthusiasm (this annoys my wife!) and do not let the negativity in the world upset me. I smile often.

However, sometimes I get worn out from all that I do with my job, my family, my books (my second book is now complete and will be released in March), speaking gigs, travel, exercise, friends, etc.... There are nights when I come home and wish I could just go to bed and sleep for 12 hours.

When you feel overwhelmed and just do not have the energy to attack the world with vigor, this is when you need to do three things:

1. Don't give in to apathy. Fight through these feelings. To roll up in a ball and give-in might feel good at the time, but you will regret it later. When you have responsibilities you need to make sure that you get them done. Put on a smile (even if you are faking it) and get your work done.

2. Be organized about what needs to get done. I do not always make extensive lists or strict schedules, but when you are not working at your peak potential you must be focused. To not be organized will cause you to miss things that you need to accomplish.

3. Plan some personal time. I rarely have any "Me Time" away from my normal activities and responsibilities...but I realize that I need some to recharge my soul. Regardless of what you like to do for fun, be sure to make it a priority. It will give you something to look forward to. Every year I have "Boys Weekend" with two friends from college. We usually go on a five day ski trip (this year they came to Austin for a short weekend) and I look forward to this all year. Additionally, a few hours on a Saturday to read the paper or a book can do wonders for my attitude. Know what it is that you like to do and then do it.

My grandmother used to say "Don't let the bad guys get you down". I can't say I know many "bad guys", but I do know that stuff in life will occasionally try to break your spirit. Be prepared and triumph over a bad day!

Have A Great Day.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Segway Your Way To Success

With two friends from college visiting Austin this weekend, I was perplexed to find a unique activity. A three hour guided tour of downtown on Segways was suggested, and turned out to be an amazing experience.

Unless you have lived under a rock for the past five years I am certain you have seen the Segway. It is the funny looking two wheel contraption that uses computer technology and gyroscopes to balance, while moving humans from place to place.

A company called Gliding Revolution provides the machines, the training and a guide for the three hour tour. The company is a perfect example of a niche business and they rely heavily on "word-of-mouth" advertising. I work in downtown Austin, and have seen these tours rolling along the sidewalks, but never imagined it would be so much fun.

They do a great job. Our guide, Janice Walker (ironic since she rides a Segway!) was great, and knew how to keep the day entertaining.

But it is more than just a joy ride, you can learn a lot about business from riding a Segway:

It is best to practice before you go into traffic.

It is important to be in balance.

You must watch out for the curbs.

Parked cars are the enemy.

Your direction is effected by how you lean and where you focus.

Spinning in circles is fun, but gets you nowhere.

Success is fun.

Being different makes you stand out in the crowd (yes, everyone stopped to watch the tour go past).

There are no brakes or safety nets, you just have to figure out how to make it all work.

If you are interested in taking a Segway tour, call the good folks at Gliding Revolution at 512-296-2666.

Have A Great Day.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Leave A Comment!!!

Remember, leave a relevant comment on any February post on this blog by February 28th and be entered into a drawing for a $25 MyChoice Gift Card from

Comments help to expand the conversation of a blog, and I welcome you to participate in the "Some Assembly Required" Community.


Text Messages Are Flying

Boys night out with two old friends from college. Even after 20 years it is still fun to hang out with your buddies, drink a few beers and tell stories.

One friend is newly divorced and I learned tonight about the power of the "text message". He met a very attractive, intelligent woman and they exchanged phone numbers. Within minutes of our leaving the bar, they were texting back an forth.

Not being an experienced "text messenger", I was amazed at how fast they were corresponding. In my single days it took days before the next contact after meeting someone. There were "rules" about how fast you made the follow up call...... Now folks are in touch before the night is over. They agreed to meet for breakfast via text messages.

This is an important lesson for the guy who trains others about networking. The world is a-changing and you gotta keep up. I don't even know how to send a text message (fortunately I am married!)

How will texting effect the world of business networking? Time will tell. Technology is effecting the world of my guess is that it will effect all aspects of relationships in the future.

Your cell phone is becoming a powerful networking tool. It is true for my friend and his breakfast date. I bet it is true for you as well.

Have A Great Day.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Parade - Competition Assault Day


End to the work week.

Business casual day.

The weekend has arrived.

All thing are happy on Friday.

It is Competition Assault Day.

What? Competition Assault Day??? Huh??

Yep. Friday is the day each week that your team needs to take action to do something....anything... to out perform your competition. This is the day you call all their clients to schedule an appointment, host an amazing educational seminar, send cupcakes, or drive around and hand deliver ten dollar Starbuck's gift cards to those you want to know better.

I know, you are saying "I should do that everyday!". Yes, you should. But do you? Probably not. Thus, you need to get your whole staff excited about Competition Assault Day. Make it fresh, make it fun, but make it happen.

Creativity on getting noticed is what it is all about. All employees should input ideas that can lead to total market domination.

How fun would Friday be if everyone came to work wearing army fatigues? If that is too wacky for you, then maybe you just print out your competitors logo and put it on a dart board. At lunch everyone gets one shot at the bulls-eye...winner getting a prize. Would everyone go back to their desk with a new feeling of competition that they did not have earlier?

You can't sit and wait for victory, you need to have a tactical plan and then storm the castle.

Go on the offensive, if not all the time, then do it on Friday.

Have A Great Competition Assault Day.


****Have you read my book? Come on, why not. Buy it now!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Speak Up

I was asked the other day what was the best career decision I ever made?

I did not have to stop and think, the answer is joining a Toastmasters Club.

I assume that most people reading this have heard of Toastmasters International.

It is a club that was founded in 1924 by Ralph Smedley where people learn how to speak to groups. There are now over 10,500 clubs in 90 countries. 200,000 active members participate in local groups of 20 to 30 people. Members take turns filling a variety of roles to execute the meetings, and everyone involved is given the opportunity to overcome nervousness and expand their abilities.

If you have never looked into joining a Toastmasters club, I suggest that you get off you fanny and look into this awesome organization. Most clubs meet weekly, and there is one near you (really!). I suggest you dedicate yourself to active participation for one year and then assess your progress. I have never met anyone who regularly attended their club for 12 months that did not sing the praises of the experience.

I met a sharp guy, Matt, in Phoenix this week while speaking for a large technology company. His office had a Toastmaster's Club (The Bridge Toastmasters), and he is an active member. He had already seen the value in his participation, and I could tell that Matt has much career success in his future, and his ability to speak well will only take him to higher levels. He was disappointed with a co-worker who viewed Toastmasters as a waste of time. We both agreed that one day this drone will realize he missed out on a chance to expand his career.

You can wait and wish that you were a better speaker. I have found the ability to talk to groups has brought me more business opportunity. I am assuming that if you read this blog, you are interested in expanding your take my advice and join Toastmasters before the end of February.

I now speak professionally around the country for companies and organizations...but my speaking skills help me in other situations as well. Even if you do not want to be a paid speaker, you still should want to improve your communication. Toastmasters is the best way I know to improve yourself, regardless of your career, industry, etc...

If you are an active Toastmaster or an alumni, let me know about your experiences with Toastmasters by leaving a comment on this post.

Have A Great Day


Have you taken the Networking Quotient Quiz?? This 31 question free online tool will help you discover how you prioritize your networking efforts. The purpose is not about the score, it is about thinking about your views on building real business relationships.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to my wife, Sara.

There are no fancy plans for tonight, instead we will have a nice dinner at home with our kids. We stopped going to restaurants on Valentine's Day 15 years ago. That year, our 2nd V-day together, I got the flu. We had to wait four days before we could go out to dinner.

The restaurant was not crowded, there was no wait, and the server was not trying to rush us out the door (servers want you out fast tonight as the more couples who sit at that table, the more tips they will earn).

Our waitress told us that we were better off going to dinner on any other day. In addition to the better service, she said the kitchen is crazy on Valentine's Day, thus you get a better meal on a normal evening.

We have never gone out on February 14th again. We will still do a date night this week (dinner and a movie on Saturday), but why battle the craziness of a manufactured holiday.

The great news is that my wife fully agrees. She also does not ever want jewelery as a gift. Yep, it is true. This is just one more of the bazillion reasons I know I married well.

Have A Great Day.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

More on Law Firm Marketing

Larry Bodine had an important post at the LawMarketing Blog a couple of weeks ago about the importance of the marketing professionals in service firms.

Yes, it is true, there are disconnects between lawyers, accountants, consultants and those who run the marketing departments inside those firms. Many firms look at the marketers as "cost centers", and see them as less important than the professionals who make up the rank and file of the firm.

But the reality is that the top marketing professionals in these firms are valuable assets. To treat them without respect will make them vulnerable to being lured away by the competition. Larry shows how when one marketer changes firms, a whole ripple effect of moves follows throughout the industry.

Firms have a bad habit of looking at those who work inside the firm on two unequal tiers: Lawyers and non-lawyers. The term "non-lawyer" always bugged me when I worked inside a law firm. The most arrogant and smug jack-ass lawyers were the ones who viewed those without a JD as sub-human (yes, these people exist!). Most of them could not survive the day without their support staff, but they will never acknowledge the contribution. (Some firms even have separate holiday parties for lawyers and staff....and the lawyer party is nicer...which flaunts this HORRIBLE message!)

The average tenure of a marketing professional inside firms is less than three years. Firms either decide to "change directions" or the marketer leaves for greener pastures. The best thing a firm can do if they want to achieve success with their marketing team is to be as committed to the marketing staff as they would be to a laterally hired attorney (lawyers reading this are screaming right now in horror). They need to make sure that everyone realizes that they are committed to the game - and changing quarterbacks every quarter is just dumb.

Alas, I could write about this forever. I predict I could re-run this post in February 2026 and the problems inside big service firms will still exist.

Have A Great Day.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Confirmed - Networking Is Important

I had the pleasure of seeing a great presentation this weekend by Ken Blanchard (legendary author of The One Minute Manager, and dozens of other books), Margie Blanchard (wife of Ken, and one of the best professional speakers I have EVER seen), Scott Blanchard ("son of The One Minute Manager", and top tier speaker/author in his own right) and Madeleine Homan (Scott's wife and a national expert on the topic of business effectiveness and coaching).

They were in Austin to conduct a seminar for the Texas Chapters of the Entrepreneur's Organization. I volunteer to help a friend who was planning the conference so that I could have the chance to see the presentation, as Ken Blanchard has always been one of my favorite authors/speakers, and was an inspiration to me in the creation of my own books.

It was well worth my time. They were very inspiring in their message, and are an amazingly nice family. The Ken Blanchard Companies has over 25 years of teaching workplace learning, productivity, and leadership solutions. They have been at the leading edge of business consulting since before consulting was cool.

A key point they delivered to their audience was when Scott asked the crowd "What is the number one most important trait a successful entrepreneur needs to possess?". The crowd was composed of highly successful business owners, and they all had ideas: being a risk taker, persistence, integrity, clear vision, leadership, hard work, financial skills, sales skills, etc...

The answer was that "a successful entrepreneur needs to have the ability to create and leverage a network that will assist the business owner in the execution of his vision". Nobody can be successful by themselves.

That is a big thumbs up to the importance of networking.

I agree, and it goes beyond just entrepreneurs. Everyone needs to have a network. Anyone can achieve more in their personal and professional life if they have other people who believe in them.

Quit making excuses and trying to ignore the importance of cultivating your network. Start today to give credit to those around you, build real relationships and to expand your circle. While the benefits of your networking efforts will take time to materialize, doing nothing will get you nowhere.

If you ever get a chance to see one or more of the Blanchards give a talk, I highly recommend that you attend. They were great!

Have A Great Day.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Remember - Leave A Comment On My Blog

Thank you for reading the "Some Assembly Required Blog" and a double thank you to those who have signed up to get the posts by email (you can sign up by adding your email in the box on the right). It is the readers that make this a community.

Remember, in February anyone who leaves a comment on a February post will be entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift certificate or copies of my book. The post must be relevant to the topic and you must identify yourself with an email address or link to your blog (so I can notify you if you win).

Have A Great Day.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Parade - The Tuxedo

Many years ago I was a groomsman in the wedding of a close friend. Rather than giving each attendant in his wedding an engraved flask or shot glass, the groom had the brilliant idea of buying a tuxedo for each of his groomsmen.

A classic black tuxedo. Over a decade later, I still find this to be the most phenomenal idea I have ever seen for a groomsmen gift. I only have the opportunity to wear a tux once or twice a year, but when I do.... I own my own (no renting and having to wear another man's pants!). I have taken great care of this suit, and it still looks great.

Last night was the Real Estate Council of Austin's annual "Knock Out Night" party. It is one of the top networking events of the year in the local business community, and is "Black Tie". Alas, the chance to wear the penguin suit. Each time I wear it I think of my friend and his wedding...and I am reminded that he is brilliant.

I share this story with you because it is the perfect example doing something out of the ordinary....something extraordinary, which forever makes a person memorable. I have been in several weddings, and I have no memory of any other gift. Yet my tuxedo is cool. (Oh, and yes, I am proud that I once again can fit into my tuxedo after a few years of being 25 pounds fatter!)

Be bold today. Do something extraordinary and forever burn yourself into the soul of another person.

Have A Great Day.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Many people ask me about why I write a blog. It began as a way to help promote my first book, Some Assembly Required, but over the past two years (Yikes, it is hard to believe that I have been writing this for twenty-three months!), I have found the blog to have much more value.

1. A blog is the best way I know to improve your writing skills. Since a blog is a living organism that must be fed regularly, to be successful you must consistently be posting fresh material. Writing a new 200 to 600 word article four or five days a week forces you to concentrate your thinking and tighten your mastery over the written word.

2. In order to find inspiration for writing the blog, a blogger must constantly read other blogs on similar topics. Success in the blogosphere comes from the viral nature of blogging. On days when I do not have a topic on hand, I will surf my favorite blogs to discover topics that I can write about. One should always give credit and link to the post that sparked your creative thoughts (otherwise you are stealing), but by reading a number of interesting articles I am not only inspired, but I also continue to learn new things. Reading is a great way to learn.

3. A successful blogger will help build a sense of community with his or her regular readers and other bloggers. Over time a blog will attract a loyal audience. That audience will return again and again, and become part of that blogger's circle of contacts. Some readers will add comments or send emails, and you will get to know them. The blog becomes a networking tool to help build a relationship with those who read your blog, as well as with other bloggers with whom you share links. When people read your writing, they get to know you at a deeper level.

4. A blog will also give you the ability to create work that can be repositioned into other products. Your blog posts can become the rough draft for articles or a book. While the writing style is different for different mediums, you can use your posts as an outline to build upon. Many people I have met desire to write a book, but do not because it seems to be too big of an undertaking. Start small with a daily blog post and in a year you might have enough material to create your book. Some fiction writers even blog their way through a novel. If you want to be a writer, you must be writing constantly.

If you have considered starting a blog...I say go for it. Realize that you need to be committed to writing regularly or your blog will die. The internet is littered with stale blogs that have been orphaned by their creators. However, if you begin to open your soul in a blog, you will expand and grow personally. Two years later you may surprise yourself with what your blog will become.

Have A Great Day.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Audio Blog - The Five Myths of Networking

Welcome to today's Audio Blog. Click below to hear about the five myths of networking.

Let me know your thoughts about the audio blog format.


The Perfect Storm of Time Management

Time can be your friend or your enemy. If you can harness time you can soar to accomplish amazing things. Become a slave to time and you will be lost in the dark.

I have found that I can do a lot more stuff than I used to be able to do in a day. I keep a lot of projects in the air at one time between my job, my book, speaking engagements, family, friends, this blog, reading, writing, staying fit (or close to fit), and other random stuff.

However, sometimes a perfect storm of commitments collide and cause my world to sink into the abyss.

I get overwhelmed and allow important responsibilities to go undone, or to be completed with less than my best effort. This leaves me feeling disappointed and frustrated.

I am trying to become more scheduled. When I am realistic up front about my allotted time I will complete more. If I am left to free flow my calendar I tend to drift along without the right sense of urgency.

Any other time management tips would be appreciated. Remember, everyone who leaves a comment on this blog in February is entered into a drawing to win a prize!! So share a your best ways to lasso the bronco of time.

Have A Great Day.


****Have you taken the FREE online Networking Quotient Quiz? It takes about eight minutes and it will help you to think about how you react in different areas of important networking skills.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Austin Business Bloggers Club Meets Again

Sixteen bloggers showed up for the 2nd monthly gathering of the Austin Business Bloggers Club.

This is a very informal meeting of folks who write, or are considering writing, business oriented blogs. There is no agenda, just free-flow conversation about any topic regarding blogs. It was fun to watch the experienced share and advice others about how they have achieved their success.

We met some interesting people tonight who have a variety of interests, expertise and experience in regards to their blogs. It was a great chance to network and meet others who are creating.

Those with current blogs who were in attendance included:

Shawn Shillington

Glenn Ross

Steve Harper **Steve has a great post on his blog about this event and about creating community. Click over and read this and you will be inspired. His point about almost not attending the event after a busy day is a lesson to everyone!

Byron Van Arsdale

Connie Reece

Sylvester Becker

Scott Ingram

Carlon Haas

Conrad Hametner

Joel Gray

Others in attendance were gathering information for personal or company blogs that they are getting ready to launch.

We will meet again on the first Monday of March at Guero's Taco Bar (Congress Ave at Elizabeth). Please show up at 5:30. At 5:45 we will determine how many are in attendance and get a table. Bring cash to make paying for your dinner and drinks a painless experience for everyone involved. Please join us next month.

Have A Great Day.


Surround Yourself With The Best People

The older I get, the more I appreciate the incredible people in my life.

I have been fortunate from a young age to have associated with those who inspire me to accomplish more than I ever could have alone. Many of my friends are dynamic entrepreneurs who have mastered life in ways that most people can only imagine. These folks are not only my friends, they are my role models.

I am still learning my way. Everyday I try to read something new, attempt tasks that had been out of my reach and search inside myself to discover more of my God-given abilities. I am a work in progress.

It is because I am surrounded by amazing people that I can continue to expand. I have come to know myself through those whom I interact and I have less fear of making mistakes because of the net of support that these people have underneath me as I walk on the tight-rope of life.

Look around at your friends. If you are the richest, smartest and most interesting in the group....then you need to get new friends!!!! You want to be in a crowd of peers who have accomplished things that you still dream about. Their success will light a fire inside you to do more with your life.

I believe that the best days of my life are in the future. I know this because I have great people in my life who also believe this to be true.

One the flip sure that you are finding ways to help those in your circle whom can benefit from your experience, connections and advice. I got an email from a mentor of mine whom I had not seen in a while. She shared with me what is new in her life and then asked "And your number one challenge in 2007 is???". The implied part is that if she knows my challenge, maybe she can help me build a bridge to the other side. Do you know what help those around you could use? Ask!

Have A Great Day.


***Have you read my book, Some Assembly Required??? If you enjoy the blog, don't miss the book that started it all! Available at

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Everybody Wants To Work In Marketing

Congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts for the Super Bowl 41 victory.

My favorite commercial - Go Daddy, "Everybody Wants To Work In Marketing".

It is always a party in the marketing department!!!

Have A Great Day.


Networking Carnival - 5th Edition

February Networking Carnival brings us some great posts from some great bloggers.

This month brought the most submissions to the Networking Carnival since it began five months ago - but it also drew a huge number of spam submissions (posts that do not relate to the topic or were commercials for specific products). I deleted those and only picked the ones that will bring benefit to the readers.


David Maister has a pod cast on "Relationships and Romance - new careers podcast episode"

Kent Blumberg on "Giving to your Network - Face to Face"

Kent Blumbert on "Giving to your Network - Virtually"
Jane May with "Be Ready to Network At All Times"

My friend Dan Naden, who does not have a blog, sent in the below tip:

'How can I help you?'

It is a rarity these days to find people who are truly jazzed about serving others. When networking, you can really stand out from the crowd by asking your colleagues, "How can I help you?" Don't just say it, however -- mean it!!

Shoving your business card or resume down someone's throat does nothing to promote goodwill. Before you start asking that person across from you for help with a job search, business idea, or venture capital, genuinely ask how you can help that person.

If you've helped someone once, keep on giving. The key to establishing time-tested connections is to display a real concern for others time and time again.

My Dad used to tell me the following during my self-centered adolescence: "Daniel, you need to display a little concern for the other guy." Now, I know exactly what he means.

We all have our wants, desires, and goals for the New Year. Helping others to achieve their goals will undoubtedly help you reach yours faster.

Thanks Dan!

And Thank You to everyone for participating in the Networking Carnival.

If you want to host March's edition on your blog, let me know ASAP.

Have A Great Day.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Parade - Seven Random Airport Observations

I flew to Washington DC this week for a presentation on networking skills to a top tier law firm. I had to change planes in Dallas (From Austin, Texas you cannot die and go to heaven without changing planes). There was a delay, so I had plenty of time in the terminal to people watch. I wrote down the following random observations:

1. People are not friendly. Everyone just looks rushed and grumpy. Even when you try to smile at them, they just look away. This is sad.

2. The health food craze has not found its way into the DFW terminal. I am hungry, but after having seen the documentary "Super Size Me", I cannot ever again eat at McDonalds. I could eat a pretzel, yogurt, or ManchuWok...none of which will do the trick. I will just skip eating.

3. When they make a gate change announcement people run (well, walk fast) to the next gate, even though there will be more than an hour until we board the plane (and it is only from Gate A32 to A 20). Maybe they need the exercise after eating at McDonald's.

4. A young businessman on his cell phone is talking too loudly about the woman he met last night on his business trip. He is wearing a wedding ring, so I am assuming he is not sharing these details with his wife. Jerk.

5. Airports should invest in better PA systems. I cannot understand a damn thing they are saying. Too bad the guy on the cell phone is not talking over the PA...I really don't want to hear about his exploits.

6. I have no fashion sense. All these business travelers have really nice overcoats. Maybe because I live in a warm climate (well, most of the time), I don't need a stylish overcoat, and thus survive with my basic beige coat. Fashion is not my strong suit.

7. Who ever invented the rolling suitcase is a genius. I hope he or she patented this brilliant thing and made billions of dollars. He deserves it. When I was a kid we had to carry suitcases.

Have A Great Day.


****Leave a comment in February an be entered into the drawing for a $25 gift certificate and other fun prizes. (other "fun prizes" translates to: copies of my book!"). Comment must be something useful and interesting to be entered.

Groundhog Day Laughs

My friend Steve Harper has one of the funniest things I have read in a while on his blog today.

He has interviewed other famous groundhogs to get the E-True Punxsutawney Story on Punxsutawney Phil, the world's most famous rodent of the day.

It is worth the time to read it. It will make you laugh.

Long live Punxzutawney Phil.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Business Skills - Life Skills

On a plane flight this week to Washington DC I sat next to a very successful corporate and securities attorney from our nation's capital. He had grown up in a working class steel town and had gone on to build one of the most successful business law practices in the country. Additionally, he was just a really nice guy.

I had spent four years working as the marketing/business development manager for two large law firms, and continue to consult lawyers on the topic, thus we had a very lively discussion. This guy was one of the few law firm partners I have ever met who really understand the importance of marketing, sales, finance and other basic business disciplines in a successful law practice.

We also talked about how law schools do not prepare their students for the real world of being an attorney. No law school in the nation teaches the business and personal finance skills that are needed to achieve true success after graduation. Most of the law school deans do not understand these topics themselves, so they view them as "fluff".

My new friend shared many stories of lawyers who earn over a million dollars a year who have no idea how to manage their money, and are basically broke. Nobody ever prepared them for the trappings of their wealth.

I think that business, sales, relationships and finance skills are important for everyone. It is about taking personal responsibility, which is not just a problem for lawyers, but for everyone in our society.

Some law firms realize this gaping void and host seminars for their associates to educate them on a variety of business and life skills. I recently spoke to a firm that quarterly holds mandatory educational classes for all younger attorneys and professional staff. They believe that by exposing their team to skills that can help them with their business and personal lives, they will create a better quality of partner in the future. They invest in more than just the technical legal training, as they understand that success lies deeper than quality documents and briefs.

Recently many major law firms raised the entry level salary for a new lawyer to over $160,000 per year in an effort to improve recruiting and retention (they will also give guaranteed raises of $20,000 per year! Few professions give lock-step guaranteed raises). They are making a huge investment, but are only focusing on money as the important issue. There is more to creating a good work culture than cash. Granted, these firms have profits per partner near a million dollars, so money is a motivating factor.... but real human capital success requires more than a big salary. Profitable firms can pay whatever they want, but they will not reach higher levels of success on salaries alone.

The guy on the plane wants to teach at a law school when he retires, but not law classes. He wants to pioneer the teaching of classes that can help future lawyers learn more than just the law. He wants to impact the lives of attorneys by educating them about real life. I wish him luck.

Have A Great Day.


"Anonymous" Strikes Again

An "anonymous" reader left comments on a variety of posts here at the "Some Assembly Required Blog" over the past few days. Pretty critical of me (which is fine, cuz God knows I have faults and have made mistakes!).

My anonymous friend claims to know me personally....and it is clear he or she is not a fan of ol' Thom (which is also okay, because I learned a long time ago that not everyone is going to like me).

But I am annoyed that they post anonymously. I am not comfortable with those who attack someone while hiding out. If you think I am a schmuck, tell me, but use your real name. I have had folks tell me my faults before. Yikes, I don't want to hear them, but I am not made of glass. To toss out anonymous comments is just not right. Better to keep it to yourself if you don't have the confidence to say "Thom, you make some of the mistakes you talk about in your posts and I do not like you".

Yep, I do make mistakes (wish I didn't. Try to make less of them). I do not write this blog from a point of superiority. My writing is a learning experience for me (as well, I hope, for others). It helps me accomplish my goals of being a better, enthusiastic, more supportive, positive person who really does want to be of assistance to others.

Many bloggers do not allow anonymous comments, and make everyone register to post a comment. I think that is a good idea, but does not have that feature.

I do not want to hide what "anonymous" says about me from my since they are on older posts, I am putting the links below so everyone can easily find them.

I am human. I make mistakes. I can be judgemental. I have not always had the right attitude in my dealing with others. Granted, I try to improve myself year over year, and I like to think I do fewer stupid and selfish things! I am sorry anonymous thinks I am a hypocrite. I try not to be, and most of the time I am not a hypocrite....but being human is just hard sometimes.

Here are the posts where "anonymous" flamed:

Treat People Better Everyday

Get Over Yourself

Leave A Comment and maybe Win A Prize (Ironic, since anonymous comments are not eligible to win the prize)


Thank you to all who read regularly and spread the word about the "Some Assembly Required Blog". I appreciate all the kind (well, usually kind) comments and emails I get from readers. But we can't learn from just the good thank you to "anonymous" for your thoughts as well.

Have A Great Day.


***Update - It has been brought to my attention that does give me the ability to make people register before they can leave a comment on my blog. I am going to consider this based on if "anonymous" readers continue to leave negative comments in the future. I think the problem with the internet is that it empowers people to be nasty through anonymity. I reserve the right to activate that feature at anytime, even in February, during the "Comment Contest".

Also, I do realize that "anonymous" is NOT always the same person (I do think the comments on the above links were because of the time frame in which they were posted).