Amidst the helmeted hairdos, hyperbaric hyperbole and heated harangues, a presidential debate was apparently held this past week.
The Donald on the right. Madame Secretary on the left. And a collective nation of weary voters crammed smack in the middle.
News flash: The presidential debate was anything but presidential.
Pointed questions went pointedly unanswered. Vague claims and misleading statistics and snide references were haphazardly thrown around. And copious sniffles abounded.
This was not America’s finest moment – at least from a business perspective.
I just love buying stuff on Amazon. That new 400,000 BTU Red Dragon flamethrower. A bulky 10LB Flame King propane tank. The optional flame control valve kit. Did I forget to buy extra gauze pads and sterile burn cream? Click, click, click, click. Hey, life seems great.
That is, until I get the whopping credit card bill.
Paranoia issues aside, I know there’s a sinister plot waiting to be uncovered here. The sales geeks over at Amazon wirelessly injected my keyboard with a clandestine concoction that forces me to buy more than I need. And don’t even get me started about what happens when the wife gets into the act. No Tory Burch flats or Jimmy Choo pumps can hide from the long arm of a woman equipped with a FiOS 25MBPS internet connection and a hungry American Express credit card.
So it was with a sigh of relief – and a tinge of debt – that I was pleased to hear how the man responsible for creating this economically perplexing phenomena, Ezra Firestone, will be speaking at LTB 2015 about a topic that is oh-so-relevant: selling stuff on Amazon and beyond.
Boy, have I got a boatload of questions for him.
There’s a man who collects junk for a living. And he’s made millions in the process.
As a walking, talking, breathing, sneezing King Midas protégé who’s known to surround himself with rusty ovens, dusty desks, and musty mattresses, he’s clearly very unique – every piece of junk he touches turns into gold.
His part-mythological, part-entrepreneurial touch transformed an upstart company (originally founded by a few shaggy-haired college kids with an equally shaggy pickup truck) into an international powerhouse called 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.
Just who exactly is this proverbial King Midas and what’s his story?
Got questions? You’ll find that Siri will field your fine dining dilemmas, upcoming weather quandaries, traffic jam plights, and standard assortment of day-to-day lifestyle related queries with aplomb.
But try asking Siri how to differentiate your product from the competition. Or how to deal with conflict in the workplace. Or how to go about delegating vital tasks to employees.
I’m willing to wager that you’ll be left staring at the blank screen of your iPhone with an equally blank look on your face. And don’t fool yourself by thinking that Amazon’s newfangled Alexa will be much of a help. There’s a better solution.
Did you hear? Apple is releasing the new iPhone 6S soon.
Hey. Did you read about Kim Jong Un’s latest rant against America?
Wow. They’re saying LTB 2015 is happening on July 8th.
Okay, you’ve got my attention.
Predictable headlines and banal captions are ideal for topics involving technology geeks camping outside Apple stores in flimsy tents and despotic dictators bent on fashioning nuclear bombs out of paper clips. But when it comes to describing a game-changing movement that has impacted so many lives and helped countless entrepreneurs from our community flourish? Now that’s worth an exclamation point or two.
The Big Apple has been turning rather sour lately.
In the most recent showdown between the New York Police Department and Mayor Bill de Blasio, hundreds of uniformed police officers publicly turned their backs on the mayor as he delivered a eulogy during the funeral ceremony of Officer Rafael Ramos.
I’ve spent my entire day listening to acclaimed political pundits from both sides of the spectrum debate the underlying causes of this rocky relationship, argue whether aggressive policing tactics are a concern of reality or perception, and squabble over the possibility of reducing tensions between police departments and the communities they serve.
Frankly, the pacifist in me is getting nauseous.
The reports of Black Friday’s death have been greatly exaggerated. I’ve borrowed Mark Twain’s famously derisive line to challenge the media’s contention that Black Friday is losing its luster.
Yes, I know that folks are claiming Black Friday sales were down 11%. But I don’t buy it (no pun intended). Take a closer look and you’ll see these numbers are skewed. While the value of an average online order did indeed drop by 1.8% compared to last year’s figures, actual online sales increased by a whopping 9.5%.
So you tell me: Is Black Friday a failure? Hardly!
The campaign was a knockout. Accolades pour in from all sides. People call to congratulate our marketing agency, rave about how intrigued they were by the theme, and of course ask the inevitable question I’ve heard so many times over the years: “So how’d you come up with the big idea?”
This ostensibly innocent little inquiry irks me to no end.
As if I pulled a furry pink Energizer Bunny out of a magician’s top hat. As if I snapped my fingers at the mustachioed maître d’ in a snobbish steakhouse and the big idea was ceremoniously carried in on a gleaming silver tray, resting neatly alongside a fresh mound of mashed potatoes and steamed artichoke. As if I sat down at my desk, gave my pneumatic chair two swift pumps, rolled up my shirtsleeves, and knocked out the idea in five minutes flat.
Wouldn’t that be sweet.
I’m always getting requests from people.
Will you take out the garbage already? When can you buy me that shiny toy? Could you get this new project finished before tomorrow’s deadline?
The requests arrive hard and fast, throughout the day and without letup. At home or at work, while eating, reading, showering, dressing, typing, snoozing.
You get the idea.
I pity Dave Crenshaw.
He’s going to be a featured speaker at LTB 2014 and will be flying into JFK from far-flung Utah.
The man will spend five hours sitting in a narrow economy-class seat surrounded by violent turbulence, screaming babies and frazzled parents. He’ll then be forced to take off his shoes and socks while passing through TSA security as a group of giggling Japanese tourists look on gleefully. He will cap off his ordeal by dragging a bulky American Tourister suitcase through a maze of endless terminals and hallways in search of the elusive Budget Rent-A-Car desk.
But that’s not why he’s earned my sympathy.