December 2015

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Don't fall into the New Year trap

New Year’s Day is approaching. With it will come all the predictable talk of resolutions and discipline. And that stuff is fine. As long as you avoid the New Year trap, which comes in two forms: Hyping the new year so much that the first time you stumble, you give up and wait for next
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What the food bank taught me about marketing

I wrote on Monday about my recent volunteer work with the Houston Food Bank. I volunteered with my family over the holidays, and the experience taught me a lot. My previous post was the lesson I learned about theory versus practice. Another important lesson I learned was about marketing. In the warehouse where we sorted
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How the food bank taught me about theory versus practice

My family and I volunteered at the Houston Food Bank over the holidays. We spent an afternoon in the warehouse, sorting incoming food donations. I realized something almost immediately after we started. The fulfillment I got from volunteering was stronger than I anticipated. Before we volunteered, I expected to feel fulfilled. I knew that organizations
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Take the time to consider a plan B

I’m processing a ton of data at work right now. In an ideal world, I’d have some software built for large data sets. In the real world, I have Microsoft Excel. We have developer licenses for TIBCO’s Spotfire. I’ve used Spotfire in the past, and I really like it. It would do what I need
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You are not the center of attention. And that's a good thing.

Paul Bloom recently wrote a cool article for The Atlantic titled “Stop Being So Self-Conscious: It may make you happier”. He used social psychology research to argue that other people don’t pay as much attention to you as you think. And that can be liberating. What does that have to do with your career? If
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The Fed, interest rates, and the fear of change

You probably heard the news that the Fed raised U.S. interest rates last Wednesday for the first time since 2006. I want to talk about how this big change, a move away from “near zero” interest rates, makes people nervous. Because you’ll see the same nervousness with any big decision in the business world. If your
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Star Wars shows the importance of owning your story

I read a Bloomberg article the other day called “Why Disney Blew Up More Than 30 Years of Star Wars Canon”. Yes, I’m a nerd. Yes, I love Star Wars. And yes, I find it kind of cool that some people take Star Wars so seriously that they have legit debates over what’s “real” or
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What in the hell does "synergies" mean?

I work for a large public company going through an acquisition process. That means, over the past year or so, I’ve heard a lot about “synergies”. As you might expect, the more often a word is used, the better the chance for misuse. With misuse comes confusion. Let’s try to clear some of that up
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What story is your company telling about itself?

I read an article today in Bloomberg called “Can Cool Clothes Get Any Cheaper Than This?” It’s about the UK clothing retailer Primark and its move into the United States. Primark positions itself at the intersection of trendy and cheap. In terms of price, they’re competing against Walmart, Target, and Kohl’s. But Primark is considerably ahead
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Take the time to sanity check your work

Seth Godin wrote a blog post the other day that resonated with me. It’s titled “When things go wrong”. He lists the steps you should follow when something has gone wrong. Step zero? “Double check the work to make sure that there are no other problems within it.” I’ve processed a ton of data at work
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