Innovative alignment versus institutional preservation

Why is it Starbucks instead of Maxwell House? Why is it an iPod instead of a Walkman? Why is it LinkedIn instead of the Chamber of Commerce? 

If the mission of Rosetta Stone is to teach people a new language, why haven't they offered to a six-month subscription to every non-English speaking household in America for free? 

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Gifts given and received

I was having lunch with Chris Nordyke last Thursday when I asked a question I often ask people to whom I could listen for hours: "When is your book coming out?" He wondered out loud what the next steps would be, so I rattled some off as if I had written a thousand books. 

That afternoon, I called my friend Chris McLaran. I had been thinking a lot about Chris for the whole month of March. The first anniversary of Mike McLaran's passing would soon be here. I needed a healthy distraction, and I wondered if Chris did too. Friday morning, Chris and I hatched an idea that I had been sitting on all month, too afraid to say it aloud. 

Today, I celebrate the longest run of my life.

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Follow You Anywhere

It was almost exactly a year ago when I emailed my mentor and former boss yet another thank you note after completing a huge project for my first Canadian client. His response: "always pay it forward." Today, I found myself teaching others what he taught me... Paying it forward.

I wish he was here with me to see what he's done. He started something and he should be here to see it, not to accept our applause, but to silence it and push me -- all of us -- to do more. Not more in quantity but more in listening, more in art, more in humility, more in encouragement and more in service to others.

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The Super Bowl of Branding

With all the chatter following any Super Bowl, it's easy to lose sight of your own favorites in all the noise. The noise today is about Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Chrysler.

Coca-Cola released an ad with America The Beautiful  sung in languages from around the world, symbolizing that America is beautiful in any language or culture. The backlash from many folks was related to the patriotic nature of that song. Reactions may be tied to efforts over the last century to give America the Beautiful legal status either as a national hymn, or as a national anthem equal to or in place of The Star-Spangled Banner

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Supergroups hit the branding reset button, STP misses an opportunity

Brands have a flavor, style or sound that mean something to their fans. I recall hearing the CEO of Coca-Cola speak of letters received after ditching their time-tested formula which referred to the change as "messing with my fondest childhood memories."

For those of you tied to auditory memories from the 90's, Stone Temple Pilots release their newest album this month minus Scott Weiland, who was apparently fired in February from the group he founded twenty years ago. Weiland and STP are now trading legal actions as they cling to what they believe fans want from them and their talents, legacy be damned.

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