Are you a clown? Find out because you don’t want to be one!

January 30, 2007          Comments (2)

Is fear of change holding you back? It certainly has a great possibility of holding me back.

Here’s why:

As I sit here working in my office (apartment/bedroom/desk) diligently planning, strategizing and working on my business only one thing is in my way of making this work.

Your fear of change. (Yes. You.)

The business I’m working on has a ton of potential for everyone involved. I 1000% believe in it. That’s all I need to keep me going. Without that belief, I’d still be an employee at Ernst & Young, fearing change.

Many people want me to help them realize their body’s full potential. They appreciate my input and having me on their side.

But, many won’t. No matter what I say or what I offer them, they’ll decline. Reason?

Fear of Change.

You are stuck in your ways. You are used to doing whatever it is you do, whether it works or not. “What does this hotshot 23 year old know,” you say.

Well, I am so confident because I know what I’m doing will work and help you realize your body’s full potential!

I certainly would want my partner to be 1000% confident in what he’s doing.

Are you a clown? Here. Figure it out for yourself.

Clowns ignore science. Whether it’s the magic of fitting sixteen full-sized clowns into a Volkswagen Beetle or the constant struggle between clowns and gravity, the fruitless conflict between what’s real and what a clown desires is a fixture in a clown’s act.

Businesses (and people) tend to believe that science is optional. It’s not. If you run ads and they don’t work, it doesn’t matter how you spin it; they didn’t work. If your industry is changing because of a technological breakthrough; it’s still there. We may have all sorts of business and personal reasons to challenge a piece of science, but denying reality never leads to a positive outcome.

Clowns refuse to measure their results, because measurement means they accept the reality of the outside world. Wishful thinking is not a replacement for the real world. Only clowns get away with that.

Whewww, I didn’t think you were a clown.

The clowns running Kodak were a huge bunch of, well, clowns. Kodak spent years denying, ignoring, or evading the reality of digital photography and its inevitable impact on the film business. And when it recently announced plans to lay off one-fifth of its already decimated workforce, you couldn’t help but yell, “You clowns! Did it just now dawn on you that digital cameras were going to catch on?”

You have to feel terrible for those innocent folks who lost their jobs because senior management was busy trying on the big red nose.

So, don’t let fear of change hold you back. No matter what you want to do.

“Change is always something to celebrate. It’s a sign that you’re still alive.” I love that quote by Ben Mezrich from his book Ugly Americans.

Embrace change. Embrace new ideas and views. Embrace new people. Don’t be so close minded.

If clownhood is our natural state (and I think it must be), then the alternative must be anticlown. Success lies in rejecting your inner clown and adopting a long-range view of the world (even if it’s just five minutes longer than your peer’s view).

What would Krusty do? Or Chuckles? Bozo? Figure out the behavior of a real clown – and do the opposite.

This post was inspired by my main man, Seth. I thought it was important enough to share with you because letting fear of change hold you back is certainly no way to live. And, I certainly don’t want my precious readers to be clowns!



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Make me feel like a genius!

January 22, 2007          Comments (4)

This post is inspired by a true story. It happened to me last Saturday morning when I was on the LIRR all excited to get my stitches removed.

I was sitting on the 2 seat side. And next to me, on the 3 seat side, were your typical grandparents from Florida. I over heard them talking about how they couldn’t wait to get back to Florida. I’m not nosy. See the cute, wrinkly, old couple, was very hard of hearing.

I was sitting there entrenched in the book I was reading, finishing up my Turkey Sandwich on Whole Wheat bread. But, as I was crunching down on my pickle (love a good crunchy pickle) waiting for the train to start, some guy in a big trench coat…

(You know how on most trains they have the metal things on the back of the seat in front of you to keep your ticket. Well, some people put their tickets in the metal thing before the train starts even moving.)

…was walking down the aisles and evidently stealing unused train tickets if the people weren’t paying attention. Most people are paying attention to their book, newspaper, conversation or pickle. On this day, Grandpa had his ticket up in the metal holder. Luckily, I didn’t.

Grandpa, who appeared to be reading the paper, some how, noticed this clever crook take his unused ticket in the metal thing. As the crook was briskly walking away Grandpa immediately gets up and runs up to the crook and screams, “Hey! Give me my ticket back!”

Remember, Grandpa is hard of hearing. While every person on that car almost had a heart attack because of how loud he was, the crook was stunned. He was shocked that Grandpa had noticed. In a split second the crook decided to give Grandpa back his ticket and run off the train.

Grandpa, in his cute Grandpa outfit, walked back feeling and looking like he was on top of the world. “That sun of a gun was going to steal our tickets!” Everyone quickly realized what just happened as they saw the brief but LOUD confrontation. The crook wasn’t able to steal tickets on our particular car because Mr. Grandpa was in the way.

Worried Grandma asked Grandpa, “Hun, hun. What happened? Are you okay?” Grandpa says, “Yeah, it’s okay now! That bastard was trying to steal tickets! But I stopped him! Good thing I noticed!”

Everyone applauded Grandpa on the train. And he ate it up. Smiling and smirking he couldn’t get enough of it. Remember – Grandpa and Grandma are hard of hearing so everything they say, 3 rows of seats in either way, can hear them.

30 minutes in to the train ride, Grandma looks at Grandpa who is very fidgety and says, “Hun! What’s the matter? Are you okay?” Old Man Grandpa says, “Yes. Yes. Ya know, maybe, I should’ve punched that sucker out!”

I almost fell off of my chair when I heard that.

Old Man Grandpa was on top of the world and felt like a genius because he caught that Sun of a gun! No one gets by Grandpa. But Grandpa can’t punch anyone.

With the way he felt, maybe he could’ve.

Moral of the story:

Don’t leave your tickets in those metal things anymore.

And if you can make your customer feel like a genius, you win!

For example, Home Depot had a great commercial with a guy hanging up a picture frame and after hammering in the nail, he says, “Man, I’m some sort of home improvement genius!”

Google won because there were early internet users and late adopters. The late adopters at some point decided and realized that the internet was here to stay and had to learn what it was all about. My grandma would ask me, “How do I find something?”

“What do you mean Grandma?”

“I want to look for different things on the web,” she’d reply.

“Grandma, type Google.com in your web browser. At the very top of your screen. Replace the Aol.com with Google.com and then hit enter on your keyboard. Then, type in whatever your heart desires in to Google. See that space to type things in?”

5 minutes later I’d always get the, “Adam, you’re a computer genius!”

Now, who doesn’t like to feel like a genius?

So, what did Grandma do?…wait for it…yup, she told all of her friends about Google. And just like that it spread. Why? Because my Grandma was now going to be the new computer genius in sunny Florida.

Make your customer feel powerful, smart, influential or like an expert, and you win. And who doesn’t like to win (besides the Patriots)?

AM I RIGHT GRANDMA?

(Her eyes. You know.)



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Dare to Dream

January 17, 2007          Comments (0)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

– Mark Twain



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Freedom. What a feeling! My last day of work…

January 12, 2007          Comments (1)

It’s 4:04 PM, on Friday January 12th, 2007. I’m sitting at my desk, overlooking one of the most amazing views in the entire world. Times Square from the 28th floor is absolutely incredible. I wish everyone could see this. I took a picture but the reflection in the window is obstructing the view.

If I ever have a view of the Hudson River, Empire State Building, GE Building, Chrysler building, downtown Manhattan, Statue of Liberty and Times Square, like I do now, I’ll be in pretty good shape.

It’s a very strange feeling I have right now. It’s the last time I’ll ever be able to comfortably blog with a steady paycheck, the last time that I’m on someone else’s clock and the last time I can ONLY dream.

But, there’s also this feeling of freedom. It’s almost this euphoric feeling. That this world is just absolutely incredible and we truly can do ANYTHING we want and ANYTHING we put our minds to. A feeling that I can actually go and make something happen, to change the world in my own little way.

I’m only restricted by my own fears and limitations I set on myself.

I graduated college. I got the great corporate job that my mom wanted for me so desperately. Although her dream of safety and comfort slowly dissipated she slowly started to let go of it. Moms will always be moms. I happen to have an amazing mom.

But, I truly have no one to answer to anymore. No one.

I can do whatever my heart desires. It’s my life. I’m very proud to say I am and have been fully self-sufficient since the day I’ve moved to NYC back in July of ’05. (That feels like 10 years ago!)

Although, I’m extremely lucky that my parents always came through for me when I wanted that special gift or whatever it was, I’ve always had to work to get what I wanted. It’s just the way I was raised.

So, as I rant and riff about freedom, unfortunately, I still do have a few things I’m still a slave to every month.

Rent, utilities, cable/internet, cell phone and now… health insurance.

But, why should I limit my entire life because of 4/5 stupid things. It’s amazing the boundaries we set for ourselves. The restrictions we embrace. We let fear run our lives.

What do I have to lose?

Or more importantly, what am I missing out on if I don’t take this risk?

That’s the question.

How much of my potential will be unused? How much of my creativity will be unused? How much growth will I be missing out on if I don’t take this risk?

Everyone has a “Michael Jordan” in them. I’m certain. Sadly, 95% of people are too fearful to ever experience it.

I truly believe that if you can make money doing something you love and have some amazing friends and family to support you, and be healthy, you CAN’T ask for anything else.

That’s what life is about.

So, here it goes…

Oh and Mom, as promised I’m walking out of work today with my “right” foot first. I swear.



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Verizon Wireless – “We Never Started Working For You!”

January 11, 2007          Comments (3)

We’ve all seen Verizon’s commercial with the dorky actor repeating, “Can you hear me now?”

Ironically, for a telecommunications company it’s quite a challenge to get through to an individual. Obviously by design. How do they see this as a benefit to their customers and their bottom line?

Of course, they are the quintessential customer-serving and customer-oriented company.

They certainly love their customers, and definitely convey that attitude to their precious customers.

Like when I just tried to trade in my overpriced Razr for a Treo or one of their other “Blackberry” type devices.

I finally spoke to someone after ten minutes of yelling into my phone and making sure every inflection in my voice was precise for the, yup you guessed, live, human … voice system. No matter how many different scenarios I brought up or how many times I told them I was trying to pay yet even MORE money per month, they wouldn’t accommodate me.

They kept referring back to the contract that I signed about a year ago.

Apparently, I used all of my Verizon luck last year. My old cell phone screen had cracked and my two (2) year contract was going to be ending in 3 months.

I had to literally convince them that not fixing a 21 month old phone that hardly worked (and having to spend $75 to fix it) to spend $400! on a new phone was something they should gladly do for a loyal customer.

I’ve had Verizon since I first had a cell phone my junior year of high school. Apparently, they don’t break rules for great customers like me (pays their bill on time, recommends family members and friends, and isn’t a pain in the ass).

Of course, I educated them about customer retention, acquisition and reminded them of their ever growing attrition and compression rates. They did me a huge favor. I insisted they also give me the notorious $100 credit we all know and love. I told them I’d sign another two (2) year contract.

They agreed. I felt like I defeated the enemy.

John Harrobin (VP of Marketing for Verizon Wireless), I have some questions for you.

When you read that sentence in bold does that make you feel good?

John, I know you know what the lifetime value of a customer means and I’m sure you know how much I’m worth to your company. Right?

According to my LOW calculations I’ve already spent roughly $7700 in my life with you. ($80 / month x 12 x 8 ) Not counting the hundreds, probably thousands, I’ve thrown out in overages.

The (extremely conservative) lifetime value of Adam Gilbert is easily going to be $80,000!!! That’s figuring the rates stay constant and I live until 100. You and I both know only the latter can happen.

Here’s my free advice. There’s no need to hire expensive consultants, run focus groups, or conduct surveys.

Treat your customers the way you’d want someone to treat you.

Don’t make it a challenge for me to try to spend more money per month and become even more dependent on your company.

Rules mean nothing. You bend over backwards to make your customers happy; especially when it’s still highly profitable for you. Even if it’s not. Look at the LTV above. If you have to forfeit a $100, $200, $300, $400 credit to make me happy then do it.

Stop acting like a monopoly. People are starting to switch. I can keep my number.

Your competition is destroying you with much better offers. And very enticing ones. What have you done for me lately?

Offer better phones (and nice work getting the iPhone!). The ones you have are terrible. My Razr has the worst battery I’ve ever had. Fix it. For free! (Why do I have to pay more money to get a battery extender when I was promised my phone would work for countless hours?)

I can go on and on. And so can thousands of your customers.

Listen, John. I don’t want to switch. I’m a loyal a guy. And you shouldn’t want me to switch. But, why do I always have to convince your staff that I’m the loyal customer and that I can go to 5 other different companies with much better phones and prices? Why are you still the most expensive when your competition is killing your prices with better phones?

I think I’m going to switch John. I’m getting sick of this.

Hey John…

Can you hear me now?

Good.



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Top Ten Things I’m Worrying and Wondering about after having my 4 wisdom teeth removed

January 5, 2007          Comments (7)

As I am sitting here with gauze in my mouth and feeling less than stellar (literally got home 45 minutes ago) I decided to write a top ten list of things I am worrying and wondering about after having my 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed.

One

This really is ridiculous. My wisdom teeth weren’t even bothering me. My dentist insisted I get them extracted.

How come human beings who have one precious time around on this Earth (at least, I don’t remember any other times) do so many things NOW for future happiness and less pain in the future.

Mostly everyone I know seems to be absolutely miserable with their current situation in hopes of future happiness. How about enjoying the NOW folks? Because right now, I’m in a lot of pain.

Two

I could really use another Vicodin right about NOW!

Three

Is my Oral Surgeon really passionate about being an oral surgeon? Was he at his happiest when he was cutting into my gums and blood was all over the place so he could remove those stubborn lil’ suckers? And, do his dental assistants dream of one day becoming the Doctor, so they too, can have assistants? “We need more straw. Turn it up, too much saliva. I can’t see anything in there!”

Four

Wouldn’t it be hilarious if I walked into a supermarket or drugstore with my cheeks and mouth as they are and say, “Listen, I need ice. Lot’s of it! I’m backing up my car. I need all of the ice you have!”? I’d love to see the reaction on these poor people’s faces. “Okay, okay, give him all the ice he needs. This guy is crazy. Look at him! Give him whatever he wants!”

Five

Is my Mom going to put money under my pillow tonight? I haven’t had a visit from the Tooth Fairy in a long time. I deserve it. No?

Six

How many milk shakes am I going to consume in the next 2-3 days and how many different flavors of milk shakes will I come up with? This should be interesting.

Seven

Writer’s block.

Um…Oh crap.



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Happy New Year! Plus, BIGGG NEWS that you can’t miss!

January 3, 2007          Comments (5)

It’s 2007! The first post of the new year. A clean, fresh start – for all of us.

Is it me or is time flying by? It’s insane. I can’t believe it’s 2007 already. But, it’s here and we might as well embrace it, in a BIG way!

I’ve been getting emails for the last week asking me what my New Year’s Resolutions are. I figure there is no better place in the world to share them than right here, right now on my blog.

I have one resolution for this year and that’s it. I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions. If I want something bad enough or want to change a habit, why do I have to wait until January 1st?

100% of the time I’m hung over on January 1st. So it doesn’t begin until January 2nd. But then January 2nd doesn’t feel like a good day to start because it’s my first day back to whatever it is I’m doing. I wait. And before you know it, my resolution has dissolved.

What is my New Year’s resolution?

To be AFF!!! That’s right.

What does AFF stand for you wonder?

ABSOLUTELY FUCKIN’ FEARLESS!

(Note to prudes: I apologize for the vulgarity. I tried writing that last sentence without profanity. It just didn’t work and it’s not as catchy.)

What does that mean?

It means going after my dreams. It means not caring at all what other people think. It means taking some risks. It means being absolutely tenacious.

So, in order to uphold my resolution I am leaving Ernst & Young. I put in my two weeks yesterday. It’s quite scary but way more exciting to finally have the opportunity to go after my dreams. Besides, what’s the worst thing that can happen?

Ernst & Young is a great place to work and I learned so much. I now have that credibility that my mom wanted for me so desperately. I did everything I had to do there and now it’s time to move on.

It’s time to go after my dreams and be AFF!!!

I hope you join me on my quest in pursuing a life of passion, purpose and prosperity!

P.S. I’ll need to be AFF this coming Friday. I’m getting all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed…

[Update: I got my wisdom teeth removed and it was a success.]



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