Sunday, July 30, 2006


WestBound. Just the sound of it rings with the exciting buzz of entrepreneurship.

WestBound is the newest lifestyle guide for Austin and the surrounding Texas Hill Country, recently released by West Sky Publishing. Even the cover photo, a wake-boarder jumping over the waters of Lake Travis, screams of adventure.

But this is no regular magazine. It is a dream come true for publishers Sherril Scott and Rosa Herrera Flanders. These two Austin women had no magazine experience. They had never written, photographed, edited, sold advertising, or overseen graphic design. They simply had a dream of a publication that would highlight the things they love about Central Texas.

Many advertisers saw the glimmer in their eyes, and took a chance on the magazine. Other experts admired their enthusiasm and offered advice: Photographers, writers, designers, sales and marketing professionals and others were all encouraging them as they charged ahead with their debut issue.

This was a labor of love. It was two inexperienced publishers who never listened to the nay-sayers who told asked, "who are you to create a magazine?". Instead they did what achievers do....they just did it.

The unique size and shape of the magazine coupled with the outstanding photos and expertly written words have come together in one amazing product. Available for free at a variety of businesses in Austin and the surrounding countryside, Westbound is a must read.

More information is available at (512) 924-6089.

Congratulations to Sherril and Rosa on their first edition. All of Texas looks forward to your future editions.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Prison Break

"Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds" -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

In the search to expand the reach of my career (and to promote my book and professional speaking) I have had the honor of talking with some very successful individuals. I am repetitively surprised at how those with real success are the same people willing to lend a helping hand. Accomplished and secure in their own success, they are never jealous or petty. They enjoy seeing others excel. Selfless.

These people have allowed me see that I can accomplish much more that I had thought.

Those whom I have come to admire most do not see a world of limitations. Instead they have either been born with an unlimited view of opportunities or they have broken free of the conventional shackles that hold so many of us captive.

I have lived in such a prison. I did not know it, but I believed I had boundaries.

I have recently been taught that those who rise to the top in their careers,.... Financially, spiritually, and emotionally do not think small. These people who make up the top 1% of their fields are constantly creating opportunities where others saw none. They THINK BIG.

The hard part is to plan your "prison break" from mediocrity. Everyone around you is a guard, keeping you from freedom. They often do not even know that they are holding you back. To escape you must be like the cunning lead character, Michael Scofield, on the Fox Network show, Prison Break.

Scofield knows what is going on around him. He knows who he can trust, and whom he cannot. He has surveyed the grounds and has studied the schedules of the population around him. His alliances with the other characters help him supplement his own shortcomings. And most importantly, he believes that he can escape from the maximum security prison where he is being held captive. The walls wont stop him....the guards can't catch him.....and the other prisoners will not hold him back.

I am planning my own prison break from mediocrity. Wish me luck.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

15 Years Home in Austin, Texas

Fifteen years ago today I drove into the Great State of Texas in my Toyota 4x4 truck (which just six months later I crashed on MoPac. Totaled). It was about 10:00 PM when I first saw the skyline of my new town. I had been born and raised in California, but at twenty-five year old I had taken an opportunity to move to Austin, Texas. An adventure. I figured I would stay two or three years and then return to the West Coast.

But life has a funny way of working out. At the time, Austin had a small and struggling economy. The business community was dominated by the state government, the University of Texas and the thriving music industry (July 27, 1991 I first visited 6th Street!!!). Texas businesses had been hurt by the oil bust and the Saving & Loan crisis of the late 1980s. July 1991 is when the economy bounced and began to grow. I am not saying that I had anything to do with the recovery, but all I knew for the next decade was Austin as a "boom town".

The technology market exploded and the face of Austin changed. It was an amazing place to live and work during the late 1990s. Everyone you met had a business plan, venture capital money was being handed out like free samples at Whole Foods, and nobody thought it could ever end.

It ended, and the tech bust hurt Austin, but it did not bruise my admiration for the city and those who live and work here. Austin is truly a Mecca for the entrepreneurial spirit.

I got married in Austin, built a home, my two daughters were born here, we have made amazing friends and worked with incredible mentors. I have experienced a phenominal (although turbulent) career. Heck, I wrote my book based on my experiences building a network of professional contacts in this town.

I feel that I grew up with Austin. When I arrived it was the 25th largest city in the United it is the 16th largest city.

On July 26, 1991 I had no idea that I was driving into the city that I would call my home. The city I adore.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Reading at Starbucks

Yesterday morning I was sitting in my favorite Starbuck's reading a book when a friend walked in to get a cup of coffee. He had seen me there on other mornings, as it is part of my routine when I do not have a networking breakfast to grab a little quiet time before going to the office.

"How many books do you read a year?", inquired my friend.

"Around 25", I replied.

"What a waste of time. I have not read a book since college." He went on to get his cup of coffee.

I had no reply. I could not imagine making any of the career strides I have made in the past decade without the knowledge I have gained from reading books. I think continuous learning is one of the most important things that a business professional can do. I know few who continue to improve who do not read.

I felt sorry for my caffinated friend. I mailed him a copy of my book, Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships (New Year Publishing, 2005) as a gift.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

The Legal Eagle of the Blogosphere

Mike Sigers at The Simplenomics Blog has a post "Got A Legal Question About Blogging" where he introduces his friend, attorney Bob Silber. It is a long post, but the gist of it is this:

*Laws of blogging can be confusing. Many bloggers are mis-guided about what they can and cannot do in regards to the law.

*Bob Silber is one of the nations top lawyers on internet law.

*Bob has agreed to answer blogging law questions for free on a site Mike Sigers is building called "Ask Bob Silber"

* He has a temporary place to ask you legal questions already operating. Click here.

If you do not regularly read Mike's Simplenomics Blog, you should. Mike is very passionate about many topics in the sales and marketing realm. He can be controversial and enthusiastic. And he deeply cares, which is proven with his desire to provide a link to legal advice for bloggers. Check it out!!!

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hit the Marketing Bullseye

Sam Decker is one of the nations "thought leaders" on the hot topic of "Word of Mouth Marketing" and is the Vice President of Marketing and Products for Bazaarvoice (a very hot word-of-mouth marketing start-up that is taking over the word-of-mouth industry!). He is a blogger whose celebrated Decker Marketing Blog is a must read for anyone who wants to find fresh perspectives on a variety of topics. Sam is a former e-commerce executive at Dell, Inc. and the author of 301 Do-It-Yourself Marketing Ideas.

This month Sam has started a new series on his blog titled "How to hit the Marketing Bullseye".
Sam sees the marketing bullseye as a series of rings. The important stuff is in the center (the bullseye), but most of the time marketers get caught up in the outside rings, thus staying busy with work that is not the most likely to produce the desired results.

He is right and we see it all the time in professional services firms. Regardless of if the firm has a marketing team or if the partners are their own "rain-makers". Law firms, accounting firms, consultants, banks, and others spend most of their time in the outer rings and never get the return on investment that they really desire. Then they wonder why their marketing efforts do not meet expectations.

The "bullseye" activities need to be identified and action must be taken to complete those most important tasks if you want to really excel.

Sam has just three posts so far, (here and here and here). It is a great series and we look forward to learning more about his "Marketing Bullseye" philosophy.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hiring A Keynote Speaker For Your Next Planning Meeting

2007 Strategic Planning Meetings require a great speaker. A thought leader. An individual who will challenge your team to want to do more to expand your client base.

All types of professional service firms around the United States and Canada will soon begin to plan their partner retreats, associate gatherings and staff meetings. 2006 is a wrap. It is time to begin laying the ground work for a bigger 2007.

Are you a law firm, accounting firm, real estate firm, consultancy, or other service business who sells your product or services to people? Are you confident that better sales, higher revenue, greater visibility and more profit will be enhanced if your team was serious about business development, networking, marketing, sales and public relations? Can your team use a booster shot to assist them in doing a better job in this arena?

Thom Singer's "Some Asssembly Required Networking Bootcamp" is the answer. I have trained thousands of professionals on simple techniques that produce results in making, growing and keeping your business relationships.

Last week a partner in a large law firm announced to his team immediately following the presentation:

"Nothing Thom taught us today is new or hard to implement. However none of us are doing these important things. As a partner in this firm I should be concerned with networking. As an associate in this firm, you should be care about building your reputation in the community. There is no excuse. Our future depends on it!"

For more information or to schedule a keynote presentation at your company meeting, call or email today.

You can learn more about the information in the Networking Bootcamp by reading the book, Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships available at or

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Entrepreneur Is A Warrior

**The following is adapted from the book The Art of Acting by Stella Adler. It has been changed from addressing the actor to the entrepreneur. However the message rings true for any profession.

The Entrepreneur Is A Warrior

Some of you just sit there, not working. I'm afraid you will fade out. You must dare to work. Otherwise you'll just fade into the crowd. You must grab the platform whenever you can. Don't hold back. Go forward!

That's one reason it pays to study the military mind. It enables the entrepreneur to say, "I'm Powerful" when you are young, when you're at an age when nobody will let you be powerful.

So assume the power. Be strong. Entrepreneurs need a kind of aggression, a kind of inner force. Don't be only one-sided, sweet, nice, good. Get rid of being average. Find the killer in you.

You have grown up in a time that hates the military. Entrepreneurs hate formality. You hate regimentation. The military is degenerated in our minds. We as a country are too passive. We don't see the army's epic size.

In Moscow during the Soviet period when a general entered a room his presence was overwhelming. He wore his medals. His uniform was full of embroidery. And he knew who he was. We haven't tolerated that kind of attitude in this country for many years.

For centuries it was the army that protected a country, protective of the people. It also protected tradition. Therefore it had a strong position in society. Today it is the entrepreneur who has status in America.

I am urging you to find ways to gain size. You must see yourself as full of strength, power, and authority. You are the conductor of the orchestra, not just a player. You cannot be weak inside. The entrepreneur must sense the power, the quality, the size in building your business. If it doesn't mean anything to you, instinctively, you haven't got it.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Happy Birthday, Bob

My brother, Bob Singer, turns 49-years-old today. Every reader of the Some Assembly Required Blog please take five seconds and say out loud "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BOB SINGER!"

I remember when he turned forty. I was thirty-one (Yes, he was nine when I was born). Forty seemed soooo old. Now I am forty. Heck, forty is young. I guess as he stares the big 5-0 in the face, he thinks fifty aint old either!

When I was a kid I wanted to be just like Bob. I tagged along with him every time I could. He was a great older brother.

When I was three and he was twelve I dumped a bunch of toys in his fish tank and turned up the heater (cooking all his exotic fish), and he did not kill me. I am sure he wanted to.

He'd always take me to movies and the park (although I learned later that Mom used to give him gas money for doing these things, but I still appreciate it).

He gave me my first beer when I was thirteen. (now that he has teenage kids, I am sure he is less proud of that action!).

When I was fifteen he gave me his car, as he had a company car and did not want to sell his 1966 Mustang. When I was nineteen he took it back, but I did have the coolest car imaginable in high school.

When I got married, he was my best man.

For an old guy, he is still a very cool big brother.

Happy Birthday, Bob!!! And yes, over 100 people a day around the world read my blog, so this is a HUGE INTERNATIONAL BIRTHDAY WISH.

Thus, don't expect a gift. (Plus, under Singer Family Tradition, if you live more than 50 miles apart, no birthday or other holiday gifts are to be exchanged! Hey, I cannot break a tradition!!!)

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Generation What???

My computer at work kept giving me an error message. Nobody could figure it out.

In comes the twenty-something summer intern, Matt. Click, click, click. Problem solved.

All those years growing up playing his game-boy paid off. "Generation Y" saves the technology day again.

I don't even have a "generation". If the "Baby-Boom" ended in 1965 and "Generation X" starts in 1970..... I am lost in between. I am too young to have protested the Vietnam War, and I am too old to care that Kurt Cobain died.

I did have one of those hand-held Matel Football games (remember, the blinking red lights trying to block the brighter red light from getting down field!!). Very high tech for the late 1970s. Still have it. Not quite the graphics level of my kid's PSP.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Remember Respect

Scott Ingram over at The Network In Austin Blog had a good post a couple of months ago about being respectful to others. It should go without saying in the business world, but so many people fail in this regard, that apparently we all need reminders from time to time.

Scott has seven simple tips that you should do when attending meetings with people clients, network contacts and your social friends:

*Arrive at your appointments on time, even a couple of minutes early

*If you’re running late for a meeting, call

*Show up!

*Don’t answer your cell phone

*Don’t take anyone for granted

*Do what you say you’re going to do

*If you screw up, apologize and give people a second chance.

I think that often times we all get so caught up in our own stuff that we forget about others feelings. I am amazed how often people will cancel a lunch meeting at the last minute by saying that something has come up. This translates to "something more important than YOU has come up".

I try very hard to treat all my appointments as important. If someone else wants that time slot I do not judge it against who is "more" important. I say I am busy and suggest another time. There is always another option.

Sometimes things pop up that are out of your control, like your boss moving a meeting or sending you to an out of town meeting. In that case you will have to reschedule. But this is more of the exception. Usually you CAN keep control of your own schedule.

Treat everyone with respect....ALWAYS.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Monday, July 17, 2006


This weekend my family went to our neighborhood pool for a late afternoon swim and dinner. Our pool complex has a restaurant that sells great burgers, pizza, salads, soft drinks and ice cream. I have always thought it to be cool having such an amenity at the pool, although this was the first time we have ever ordered dinner at this establishment.

Neighbors had proclaimed that the food is good, and it lived up to the reputation. The problem was the young woman who took our order. She was probably around seventeen years old, and was clearly not happy to be at work. I am not implying that she was rude, because that would not be accurate. She did a sufficient job of taking out order, but she was simply indifferent. When I asked how long it would be for the burgers to be ready, she looked like a deer in the headlights and replied, "I don't know, a little while".

They make a lot of burgers. Had she been paying attention to the other orders that day, she would have had a clue.

Many people in the business world (in all types of companies, not just burger joints!) seem annoyed or indifferent toward customers. There is no sign of caring, enthusiasm or joy in their work. They just go through the motions.

When I was sixteen I got my first job as a busy-boy at The Big Yellow House Restaurant. My father gave me a piece of advice when I left for my first day of clearing plates. Dad said, "Always work hard and do the best job possible for your employer. When dealing with the public, be enthusiastic. Smile. Take an interest in you customers. Make a positive impression on the people you serve.".

To my knowledge my father had never worked in a restaurant, but it was good advice. It served me well at The Big Yellow House and in every other job I have had since. Obviously the girl at the pool had never been given these words of wisdom. She did not have any concern for the impression she was making on those around her. She did make an impression, and it was one of a bored teenager.

You should always try to make a positive impression on your clients, prospects, co-workers and anyone you meet. Embrace every action you take. Give yourself permission to be more than just an order-taker. Engage other people in conversation and show them who you are on the inside. Shine.

They say that you only have one chance to make a good impression, and that people will forever remember. It is true. While the food was decent (not the best burger, but good for the ease of having it available at the community pool) memory of this establishment will be one of this girl who did not smile.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Start Your Engines - Entry #1

**Start Your Engines is an ongoing business fable. More entries will appear periodically on The Some Assembly Required Blog. Stay tuned.

Kicking The Tires

Margo Monteverdi pulled back the car cover on her newly re-painted 1966 Ford Mustang. She smiled. The sun shimmered on bright red paint. The car appeared as fresh as she imagined it did when it first rolled of the assembly line in Michigan four decades earlier. The car was born the same year as Margo, and her whole life she had always wanted to own one. On the day of her "Big 4-0", her husband, Michael, surprised her with a slightly rusty version of that lifelong dream.

Nine months later the car was drivable. The leaky windows had been resealed and the black vinyl covering on the roof had been replaced. The seats, with the stamped of wild mustangs running free had repaired and the mechanic had completed installing the new engine. The paint was the last step in the rebirth.

Margo was experiencing somewhat of a rebirth herself. After many years of trying to launch a successful career, she was starting to see the achievement she always desired. Yet she still did not trust herself. Margo had never liked surprises, and she often felt that she needed as much work as her old car before she could navigate the unknown future.

Our heroine did not go to a top tier college. Her youth was coupled with some unfortunate choices and a whole lot of fun. The five and a half years she spent at Eastern Texas State University had not been all bad. During her tenure there the institution had been rated the number one party school in the country. She knew her dad was secretly proud when she was quoted in USA Today describing how she and her sorority sisters had contributed to the university's reputation. Besides, it was at school that she had met Michael Monteverdi, although it was a few years before she agreed to marry him.

After college she held a series entry jobs to help make ends meet while Michael completed law school at Southern Methodist University. She was twenty-five years old when she discovered that she had a knack for sales, and that a career in sales had unlimited financial possibilities. She spent three years successfully selling telephone systems before the birth of her twins. Michael's law career was in full swing, and the demands of Kyle and Katlin were too much for her to balance. Together they decided that Margo would be a full-time mom until the children were older.

Ten years later she decided to return to work. A decade out of the work force left her feeling insecure. Margo had failed to keep up in touch with her most of her former co-workers and clients. The company she had worked for had gone out of business and her boss had moved to Seattle. She was back at the starting line.

Margo had not known where to begin to look for a job. The telecommunications industry had changed and she had not kept up with the technological advances into wireless. She was also sure she was not interested in phone business. Most of what she had done for many years had centered around the lives of her twins, who now seemed much less in need of mom's attention. She combed the Sunday paper classified ads and found nothing that was worthwhile. Posting her resume on brought no satisfaction and even less results.

By this time Michael had become a partner in one of the city's largest corporate firms. He suggested that Margo speak to the firm's Director of Marketing, Richard Ryan. Michael had always felt Richard had a firm grasp on what was happening in the Dallas business community and he might help her identify interesting companies and industries. Additionally, through his job at the firm Richard had developed an extensive network of professional contacts throughout Texas.

She was resistant to asking someone at Michael's law firm for assistance. She did not feel comfortable reaching out to someone she had only met a the annual holiday party. It also made her uncomfortable with other in their social circle knowing that she was having trouble with her job search. But Michael said, "He will be happy to help. I wrote a recommendation for his brother's law school application to SMU last year. This is what networking is about. Not everyone will have a way to be of assistance, but if you are too shy to reach out and will have no way of knowing. People like to help other people."

Margo had scheduled lunch with Richard to "pick his brain". She purchased a leather bound diary to record any nuggets of wisdom that she would learn along the way.

Her first entry was:

*People like to help other people. Do not be scared to ask!

Friday, July 14, 2006

To The Top!

Many business professionals have great intentions for their success. Most launch their careers imagining that they will be in the top ten percent of their industry. But I have news for you....only ten percent can get there!

So what happens to the rest?

All sorts of things happen to the rest. They scheme, they dream. Then they stand in the hall and talk with co-workers, predicting the demise of their competition. Next they stare out the window and imagine their future victories. Maybe they make a few calls or attend a networking event (and then congratulate themselves for "doing" business development).

What they fail to do is to create a real plan. They do not give enough emphasis to strategy. They look for short-cuts. Little or no action is taken.

Think about this for a minute. Of everyone in your industry, only ten percent can reach the top 10%. Hmmmm, sounds simple enough.

But that means that 90% are somewhere below. Is that you? OUCH.

Professionals have no idea what it takes to be a true "Peak Performer" (it is not taught in school). They think it means being a good technician,...knowing their craft. Lawyers, bankers, accountants, etc.... all mistake being successful with having skills. If that were true, why would so many succeed who do not have the best industry knowledge?

Reaching the top is more complicated. Achieving real success involves having more than a good product, but also: sales, marketing, public relations, customer service, image, brand, competitive advantages, advertising, networking, business development, research and development, communication, financial responsibility, risk-taking, and wrapping it all up in an executable strategic plan.

But Thom, that sounds difficult! Can't I just do my work and dream about market domination?


There is a reason that successful corporations have multiple departments with highly paid executives who run the necessary business functions. If you work for a smaller business, then as the executive you must wear all these hats. To ignore any area because it is hard or out of your comfort zone will not put you in the top tier. Your choice.

Time to get busy!

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Thursday, July 13, 2006


In the book The Art of Acting by Stella Adler, the legendary Ms. Adler notes that we live in a society that celebrates "smallness". She encourages her students to have substance, to have mass, to never be small.

The same is true in business. We work in a society that does not celebrate those who are larger than life. To achieve great success means that you will soon have a target painted on your back. The arrows will be sent your direction. The masses will attempt to make the very thing that makes you great appear trivial. The trials of victory is enough to keep some from trying.

To succeed you need to be bigger than those around you. You must resist any efforts to marginalize your accomplishments. Do not ever be small.

This is not as easy as it sounds. It is simple to hide behind closed doors and just do your work. Instinct will tell you to retreat to protect yourself from detractors. However, the prize only can be awarded to the competitor. And to compete, you must be actively engaged. Anything less is a one-way ticket to mediocrity.

On the sports field many men and women give 100%, but in the boardroom they do not. They become small. But in every company and every industry there are giants. What is your destiny? Do you have stature? Mass? Are you a giant?

A California Redwood tree is not meant to be a rose bush. While it takes years to grow, it is not meant to be small. If planted in the proper location, and given the right nurturing, the Redwood will become colossal.,... And it will never apologize for its towering size.

In your career you need the same things:

1. You need to be planted in a climate that will allow you to thrive. If you are not in the right place, ...move!

2. You need to invest time, as greatness does not happen over night. Allow your roots to go deep and wide (the network you build is part of that root system!)

3. As you grow, you cannot run and hide from the attention that you will draw upon yourself as you soar to the sky.

4. You must continue to grow for as long as you live. Those who stop growing will be cut into firewood.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Networking - You Still Need "Face-to-Face"

Jan Vermeiren has a post on his "The Networking Coach's Blog" this week about "Online or Offline Networking" where he answers the question: "Do we need offline networking events when we have online networking websites?"

Jan lives in Belgium and is an author and professional speaker on the topic of building networking connections. He states that this question about "online vs offline" networking is one that always comes up following his presentations. I find this very interesting, because it is the same question I hear after every talk I give on the subject in the United States.

People around the world know that having a network is important for business success....but they still are hoping for a shortcut. But there is no way to instantly create a network, or to just sign up online and have it happen by magic. It takes work (note that the middle of the word NETWORKING is the word "work")

I believe that online sites such as LinkedIn or ecademy are just tools that can help people make connections. But meeting someone (in person or via an online service) does not make them part of your network. To really build a relationship you still need to have multiple and meaningful interactions with them.

While it is nice to create and electronic link to someone, that link does not make them your friend, a business referral source or a trusted advisor.

These online sites do make it interesting to see who our friends know, but that knowledge alone does not lead to new business. To really network we must build mutually beneficial relationships. It is give and take. It is about knowing the other person's business needs and finding ways to make their life easier....and vice versa.

Use online tools if they work for you, but do not pretend that an electronic link is really a friendship. Just like in online dating, sending a few emails is no replacement for what can be done "face-to-face".

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pieces in the Puzzle

Jeremy Postal, a regular reader of the Some Assembly Required Blog had a very insightful post on his blog on June 27th.

Jeremy lives in British Columbia and is an uniquely amazing individual. He is a Christian Youth Pastor - rock climbing - skate boarding - book reading - coffee drinking philosopher. I do not personally know this guy, but from reading his comments on my blog and on his blogs, I find him to be wise for his years. The next time you see a bunch of kids riding skate boards outside a coffee house, do not discount them as there just might be greatness there.

His post is titled Jesus Doesn't Fill Your Void (I did mention he is a youth pastor!!!), but his comments transcend religion and ring true for all aspects of life.

He compares parts of life to jigsaw puzzle pieces. One piece alone cannot fill the void, it takes all the parts to make a completed puzzle:

"......Like most people, I am yet to find a completed puzzle that has captured my imagination and devotion for longer then a brief instant. When a puzzle is finished and we lock that last key piece into place there is that fleeting moment of satisfaction, a nice picture, and then we move on with life. It looses interest real fast. However, an incomplete puzzle will keep me interested for hours; I might get up and leave the puzzle for a few minutes to go to the bathroom and get some food and I might even leave for a day to go climbing, but the incompleteness of the puzzle brings me back. There is something about searching for the pieces that is much more opium-like then actually locking the final piece into place. "

I think he is right. It is the journey, not the destination that is fascinating. I know in my own life I get too caught up looking for one piece of the puzzle that I think will give me total satisfaction. But it is never just one thing in life that brings happiness. I find we need to achieve balance with our business, family, spiritual, friendships, health and fitness, education, hobbies, etc.... We never complete the whole puzzle that is our life. We can walk away from some areas from time to time, but we need to continue searching for all the pieces in order to discover the delightful areas of life.

Thanks, Jeremy, for making me think.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cupcakes For Everyone

In keeping with the all pastry weekend (yesterday was a donut quote)....I have now discovered that there are blogs that focus on just about every topic under the sun. I ran upon a blog that is all about cupcakes, Cupcakes Take The Cake (It is all cupcakes, all the time!!!)

Now I have seen a lot of blogs on niche topics....however these three women do an amazing job of regularly posting cupcake photos, recipes, and trivia. My favorite is the photo of the $50 handcrafted cupcake that is wearing felt rather than a paper wrapping.

It is my belief that they are probably the internet's leading experts on all miniature cakes. If one needs information on cupcakes, not this site!!!

Just looking at this blog makes me very hungry for cake. Sadly, since I lost 30 pounds last year I have had to limit my cupcake intake. But if you like such things as cupcakes or really niched blogs, check it out!!! It is just more proof that if you are excited about can make a business, a book, a blog, etc... from that passion. Go for it!!!

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Quote of the Week

I saw the below quote on the blog of my high school friend, Anne (Do not ever forget the "e" on the end of her name. I once made the mistake of writing "Ann". NEVER AGAIN!!!). Anyway, the quote made me laugh.

"The doughnut is the dumb blonde of the pastry world. Buoyant and pillowy as a breast implant, it promises delight while innocently denying potential consequences. Offer to buy a doughnut a drink, and your reward is a giggle followed by coy acquiescence. Beloved of police, children, and Homer Simpson, the doughnut beckons us all to forget our cares and surrender to sugar-induced hilarity."-- Jill Lightner in The Seattle Weekly

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Life Has No Training Wheels

Seth Godin has a wispy little post pointing out that the reason more of us do not ride unicycles is because they do not come with training wheels. If they did, more would learn, and thus unicycle sales would boom.

But life has no training wheels. Don't get me wrong, I want training wheels. I want someone to come and show me the way and help me find my balance in my career, marriage, parenting, etc.... But if I wait for that help, I will find myself waiting for a long time.

Take my book for instance. I would love for some publishing expert to have found me and held my hand as I created the text and now to guide me as I find ways to market the product. But half the fun of the project has been the uncertainty. The thrill has come from finding that balance on my own.

Instead, if you want something, just go and do it. Yes, you will fall down and get bruised. But a boo-boo on your knee is not the end of the world. Rather it teaches you just one more way NOT to do something. Get back up and start peddling again.

What makes unicycles so appealing to watch is exactly the fact that so few people do know how to ride them. If everyone reading this knew how to ride a unicycle, then the unicycle would not be a good analogy. Seek out the unique and make it your own, ...and people will notice.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Death By A Thousand Paper-Cuts

If your firm thriving or dying? If the answer is not "thriving", there might not be an in-between. Stale is dying and you will never reach the highest possible levels of success.

Thriving does not mean life at work will be easy or that you and your co-workers will always agree on every issue, but moving forward is a must. You must all know the direction of your firm and agree on what equalls "success".

I once worked for a company that had a history of amazing achievement. It was a fun place to work (high pressure, but still very enjoyable). While the senior managers did not always see eye-to-eye, and occasionally had heated (and public) disagreements, they had common goals. Profits soared.

Years later they lost sight of those goals and became divided on almost every issue imaginable.

The End.

How about your place of business? Does senior management have complimentary goals or are they competing with eachother? Are there individuals on your staff who enjoy seeing other on the team fail? Is name-calling and finger-pointing the accepted practice?

If a senior executive (or group of executives) left your company to join a competitor, how would the rest of the staff view the event? Would this be an unfortunate incident that would pull everyone together with pin-point focus.... or would it destroy the morale of the whole team? This is an important question to ask yourself because in today's business climate this could happen at any moment. To believe this could happen to you is burying your head in the sand.

Too many business professionals allow their own egos to dominate their decisions. You need to pull your team together and find out what conflicts are boiling under the surface. Discussing these issues in advance will help you when you face a crisis (or it will prevent the crises altoghether).

But everyone in your company has to check their ego at the door. This is easier said than done. Determining the common goals of a professional services firm is a bit like hearding cats. Everyone has an opinion, and usually they look down on anyone with other points of view. If you cannot decide what success looks like, then you will either stagnate or fail to reach your success.

It will be death by a thousand paper-cuts.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July

Today is the 230th Birthday of the United States of America.

While there are many political issues that will divide people (both inside and outside of the U.S.A.).... today is a day to CELEBRATE FREEDOM!

Tom Peters says it best on his blog where he calls for a one day truce from all the political bickering.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" - From: The Declaration of independence, 1776

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Monday, July 03, 2006

Snakes On Your Network

It is just a fact that sometimes you will encounter "snakes". Not the slithering kind that Samuel L. Jackson will soon be fighting at 20,000 feet in the upcoming overly-hyped film "Snakes On A Plane" (Yes, I think the title sums up the whole plot).....but rather those people who are just icky.

If you are actively meeting people and building a professional network of contacts, occasionally you will welcome into your life those who do not have honorable intentions:

Some are "takers". These are selfish individuals who are networking only for their own benefit and they do not give a damn about you or your success. They "play the game" to get in your good graces, but never once think about anyone but themselves. It is disappointing when you discover the truth, as you have usually invested a lot of time providing them assistance when you realize they will never return the favor.

Others are "back-stabbers". Sadly you will build relationships in your lifetime with people who will openly point out your flaws to others in the business community. They love to gossip and expose your shortcomings. They think that by tearing down the success of other people they will elevate themselves. Usually it is just the opposite, as those who are successful see right through their blabbering. Unfortunately, they will also sometimes tarnish your reputation.

Finally there are the the "Klingons". Not the kind from Star Trek, but rather people who attach themselves to you and your network, and go along for the ride (they "cling-on"). Their intentions are good, and they would love to help you if they could, but they do not have any connections of their own. They provide no value to those around them, yet they are very nice. In most cases they cause no harm, but sometimes these people are very high maintenance friends who take up a lot your your time and attention.

Much like the passengers on the ill-fated "Snakes on a Plane" will learn, snakes can hide anywhere and everywhere.

On a side note, this "Snakes On A Plane" seems to have created more buzz than any other summer movie.....and you now see people lampooning the otherwise horrible looking movie in all kinds of ways. See Snakes On A Blog for a good laugh and the journey of one man's quest to get a free ticket to the Hollywood movie premier!!!

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Star Jones Not Headed For The Poor House

With all of the publicity this week I have to admit that I have never once seen an episode of "The View". Apparently I am missing out on some cultural phenomena that is much bigger than I could have imagined.

I do know that eight years ago Barbara Walters and a bunch of unknown women launched this mid-morning talk show...which must be quite informative and entertaining.

That being said, is the show so popular that the departure of one of it's co-stars, Star Jones(the once fat attorney - turned Hollywood-chic-bridezilla), warrants this much attention? I would think not.

And yet the news channels (both entertainment news and traditional news) have been buzzing with the apparent firing of the star, Star. Rosie O'Donnell (comedian, actress, activist) will replace Ms. Jones later this summer. Apparently the recipe for success of The View calls for a chubby woman in that chair.

CNN, Fox, and all the networks have covered the story in depth. Larry King Live dedicated an hour to the topic.

The most entertaining part of the whole spectacle is the photo montage of Star Jones. She has lost so much weight that she looks like four different people when they show old clips from "The View".

The controversy circles around the massive weight loss and the techniques used to gain Star's new, svelte body. Was it exercise and diet or a major medical procedure? Does she owe it to the public to fess up to having gastro-by pass surgery?

And now the real question..... WHO CARES?????

The woman's contract was not renewed so that the show could go a different direction.

News Flash....this could happen to anyone tomorrow. Any employee can be fired, laid-off or otherwise separated from their job with little notice. I was laid off three times in eight years (due to the downturn in the economy)....Larry King never called once.

Being out of work can be a scary thing for a regular person. But Ms. Jones is not a normal person. Regular people have to go out and get a new job or launch their own company. Not easy, but it happen every single day. Regular people do not have agents and PR firms getting them interviews with People Magazine. Let's not confuse Star Jones with someone working at General Motors.

Star Jones is celebrity and so it is big news. But millions of Americans have lost their jobs over the past decade. Why is it that we are giving so much sympathy to this woman? Star Jones is not about to go hungry (especially since she had her stomach stapled!). She makes BIG money, and will have multi-million dollar contract coming in from every other media company (besides of ABC) within a month.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer