Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another Find for Freaky Friday

I clicked on a random (?) Google Adwords link and came across this ...

If you flip through the gallery you will see that Jim Rosenau puts an amazing amount of work into his "book shelves" to get the desired "effect"!



Friday, October 06, 2006

Freaky Friday Business Accessory ...

I got a link to this as part of a review of a whole series of work environments and thought this one was, by far, the best !

The "Conference bike" ....

One person steers while everyone pedals. A great way to get everyone "on the same page" while also taking them down the same street !

Check it out here.

If you have seen one in person, leave a comment and tell us what you thought of the experience !

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fractal Branding

I came across the interesting idea of "Fractal Branding" via Diego Rodriguez's blog, In the post talking about the FAA web site, he says:
Brands are fractal entities, and the meaning of the whole is to found in the execution of even the lowliest detail. Especially if your brand is all about rigor, safety, and juggling lots of big, heavy balls without dropping even one in a million.

His link on the term, fractal entities, brings you to his observation of an Apple "iPod store" which is a great example of taking the brand all the way from the smallest thing (physically for Apple... the product) to the biggest thing (physically...the store). It could also be looked at the other way... from the biggest thing (the product) to the smallest detail (the cosmetics of the store). Either way, Apple seems to understand fractal branding!

For those who have not dealt with fractals before, they are, according to wikipedia:

In colloquial usage, a fractal is a shape that is recursively constructed or self-similar, that is, a shape that appears similar at all scales of magnification and is therefore often referred to as "infinitely complex."

Some other marketing examples of "Fractal Branding" are available ...

... in an article by Sean Carton at ClickZ titled, "The Brand Promise".

... a post by Aaron Dignan in his blog, BrandPlay. This also leads back to the post below.

... a post by Kathy Sierra in her Passionate User blog, titled "Remarkable at every scale"

How consistent is your brand? Certainly it should be clearly presented in your advertising and promotions, but how deep does it go in the company?

Does it show up in the product or is marketing and branding an afterthought once the product is created? Does your brand show up in the the delivery of the product? the customer service? the accounting department?

Do you have good examples of fractal branding? Please leave a comment so we can share them with others. Even examples of BAD fractal branding would be helpful since we can also learn from them as well.

Write ON !
Dave Wheeler

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday's Humor ... "Unabashed Gearhead Gnarlyness"

I came across this and just had to post it ...

As Diego Rodriguez says over at MetaCool blog ... this is some serious "Unabashed Gearhead Gnarlyness" !

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Humor (?)

I found this picture on Seth Godin's blog and thought you might get a kick out of it ....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Catch The Wave ....

Again I refer to Seth Godin's blog ....

Seth talks about the "timing" for a business. He uses Vegan cooking and Starbucks as examples of businesses that could not have been successful in a different era.

As always, Seth brings up a good point and it brought to mind an analogy....


If you are trying to catch a wave there are a number of steps involved:
1. Get a surfboard and get in the water. If you are on the shore, you aren't going to catch a wave. Same thing in business. Unless you are actively IN BUSINESS and even, perhaps near, or in, an industry it will be difficult to see the approaching waves.

2. Paddle out. This involves avoiding or overcoming other waves (and other surfers) while you try to find "your wave". In business, this is "survival" while keeping your eyes open for the right opportunity.

3. Catch a wave. The first thing you do, once you see a wave you want to ride, is the get your board turned around (toward shore) and start paddling FAST so that you are ON the wave. In business there are few companies or people who can "paddle" fast enough to actually catch the wave.

4. Ride the wave. Use your creativity and skills to ride the wave for all it is worth. Eventually it will die out and hit the shore, so enjoy the ride.

5. Repeat.

Does anyone with more experience with surfing or business have any comments?

Dave Wheeler

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Peaceful Warrior .... Movie experience

I went to see an interesting movie recently called The Peaceful Warrior. It is probably not at your local cineplex since it is in very limited release. In fact, I had to travel to New York City to find a theatre that was playing it.

I should start by saying that this movie is not for everyone. Let's be very clear about that. If you are looking for standard Hollywood fare, look elsewhere.

Peaceful Warrior has been compared to the Karate Kid and I can see the similarities, but this is not a movie for teenagers. College students might relate to it since the story involves a college athlete but alot of the concepts in the movie won't appeal to kids who are not yet concerned with "the meaning of life" and their place in the cosmos. You will see in some of the reviews below that there are even some adults who "get it" and some that don't.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and I would recommend it. It is not for everyone, so if enlightenment is not high on your priorities, don't bother with Peaceful Warrior. Go see a summer blockbuster.


Here are some other reviews .....

Here is what STING had to say about the movie ...
"A lot of movies promise happiness, but most often it's the 'fleeting' happiness of a thrill ride, and when it's over, it's over; you feel empty, and begin searching for the next thrill. Very few movies actually question what happiness is, or suggest ways that it can be sustained. Peaceful Warrior asks this question and in doing so takes you out of your mind, and those who would consider themselves sane would be 'out of their minds' not to see it. Peaceful warrior is an important film, an inspiring film, and a film that could change lives." -Sting

There are also comments on (which has been called the "community site" for the movie) from other celebrity such as Phil Jackson(Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers), Deepak Chopra(Author, "Peace Is The Way"), Eckhart Tolle(Author of "The Power of Now") and Jim Carrey (actor).

Here are 4 links to critic reviews (originally found on Fandango):
These are 4 generally negative reviews... and it is pretty clear to see that they don't get it.

USAToday... "Peaceful Warrior is The Karate Kid set in the world of gymnastics. The Pat Morita character is less Zen and more homespun, in the silver-haired and smoothly coiffed form of Socrates (Nick Nolte). His alleged wisdom is a blend of platitudes and New Age psychobabble: "Be in the moment. It's all about the journey. There is no start and there is no end. There's just being."

LA Times... "Like a blip in a genre timeline that extends from "Grass-hoppah" through "wax on, wax off" and Morrie-filled Tuesdays, the sage-elder/wayward-charge saga Peaceful Warrior aims for inspirational highs but mostly feels like a self-help book read aloud by actors. "

Variety.... "Long-in-gestation Peaceful Warrior is so under the spell of the be-here-now philosophy of Dan Millman's New Age-y memoir from which it was drawn that it loses sight of the need to credibly dramatize the ideas. Mere recitation of homilies for better living -- which is what Nick Nolte's gas station guru imparts to a struggling young gymnast -- and a half-baked account of the athlete's comeback are no substitutes for a complete movie."

Washington Post... "An arrogant college gymnast gets his comeuppance, followed by a measure of Eastern-style enlightenment in this over-earnest, heavy-handed drama. Yet despite its artistic flaws, certain teens will deem Peaceful Warrior a profound experience because of the way it asks its central character -- and us -- to reorder life's priorities. True, the film smacks more of The Karate Kid (PG, 1984) than Little Buddha (PG, 1993), but for American kids to hear a mentor urge a callow youth to "live in the moment" and treasure the journey more than the destination is unusual. "

Now, here is someone who "gets it" !

Hollywood Reporter... "...There's no question that legions of Millman's fans will embrace this film version of the 25-year-old best-seller. But in adapting the first two-thirds of the book, director Victor Salva and writer Kevin Berhardt clearly aimed to do more than preach to the personal growth/self-realization choir; for the most part they avoid self¬congratulatory New Age philosophizing and focus on character. "

Other blog reviews:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Problem of "Too Much Money" ....

I was reading Steve Pavlina's blog (click here to read the post) and it was interesting to hear about the problems when you have "too much money".

Before I start, let me say that this is not MY PROBLEM. It is purely theoretical for me, but I also found it to be a stimulating mental exercise to try to figure out and solve Steve's problem(s).

My first observation is that Steve is doing well by recognizing his true purpose and what makes him happy. He also is very smart to have a diversified portfolio of income sources with many being passive income generators. Most middle-class people never get to this point and if you are still working for someone else, I would recommend reading "Retire Young, Retire Rich" by Robert Kiyosaki. He is the author of the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" best sellers and the RYRR book has some good ideas on the mental aspects of wealth building including "context".

Back to Steve's problem ... I think he needs to THINK BIGGER ! Additional wealth will give him opportunities that he might not have otherwise. For example, he could probably afford to sponsor conferences related to his area of expertise, personal development. This would be a great use of his financial leverage... even if it he only provided the working capital or seed money.

Overall, I'm sure Steve will solve his problem and I KNOW that he will not get any sympathy from me or most of his other readers !

Write On!

Dave Wheeler

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Interesting Ideas and some good talks ...

I have always wanted to attend TED and now we all have the opportunity to see a bit of what goes on there ...

Check out some of the speeches (click here).

I think you will be impressed. I particularly liked the talks by Sir Ken Robinson and Anthony Robbins.

Enjoy !

(P.S. If you are a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture, be sure to watch the commercial at the end.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

The importance of Context ....

The recent blog post at DesignObserver (brought to my attention via Seth Godin's blog) brings up an excellent point that can be applied not just to marketing and logo design, but to nearly all aspects of life.

click here to read the post. It is well worth the time to read through it!

The Context of a logo (or a piece of art) (or an act of kindness or exceptional customer service) is something that is BUILT over time. Certainly each part must support and reinforce the other parts, but it is important to understand where each part stops and the other begins.

What do you think???

Monday, May 08, 2006

Why didn't you tell me it was World Laughter Day???

I didn't find out about World Laughter Day until the day after (today, Monday May 8th).

Perhaps it was due to the fact that I live in Connecticut (USA) and there are not World Laughter Day festivities scheduled (or at least none listed on the World Laughter Day web site, click here.)

It sounds like a GREAT idea and I'm going to celebrate it (in my own way) today.

I encourage everyone to find something humorous in your life and treat yourself to at least 3 good laughs today.

It shouldn't be too hard.

Just take your boss for instance .... do I need to say more?

Or your kids... they do the darnedest things!

And don't get me started on signs or the way people drive! (Check out the "game" faces that people use when driving sometime. Preferrably when you are stopped at a light so you don't drive into the other lane.)

Laugh it up Fuzzball!


Thursday, April 27, 2006

National Downshifting Week (in UK)

The BBC in the UK had an interesting article about "National Downshifting Week"!

Check it out at:

National Downshifting Week celebrates the trend for taking life easier by
encouraging people to take small steps towards living a more relaxed lifestyle.

Sounds like a great idea, doesn't it!

What do you think?

Write On!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Pitfalls of a Startup business

I came across an interesting topic brought to my attenion by Seth Godin in his blog that could apply to my NoteWordy Card / Art business ....

"How do you keep someone from stealing your great business idea before you can get your business off the ground?"

Before I give my opinion, here are some other blogger's opinions ...

Paul Graham's blog comments:
As a rule, startups shouldn't worry so much about competitors, especially big
companies. Competitors are a second-order problem. Startups should worry more
about making something worth copying and less about whether someone will.

From The Cardboard blog:
Remember, good ideas without PROVEN success are nothing more than BS.

My opinion:
I must agree with Seth and Paul that most ideas are not as special as the inventor thinks. If a problem is obvious, there will be someone trying to solve it. The real key is to turn it into a business. Clearly that is the difficult part and it often involves many more parts than the inventor originally imagined .... distribution channels, financing, manufacturing, packaging and more.

On the other hand, it just makes good common sense to get as much protection for your idea as possible. If an idea is patentable and you show it to someone you could lose your rights to patent it. I highly recommend reading "Before You Quit Your Job" by Robert Kiyosaki (author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books). In this book he tells about how his failure to put legal "barriers" in place caused him to lose out to cheaper competitors.

As in many areas of business, there is not a simple answer. On the other hand, if you have the opportunity to get help turning your idea into reality from someone like Seth Godin, TAKE IT! It is better to take an idea to market than to protect it and never make any money.

Plus, it is more than likely that your initial idea won't be the one that will work. The second or third or 100th iteration is much more likely to work if you are learning along the way!

One last comment that I think applies comes from Hugh Macleod, who makes art on the back of business cards. When he is asked whether or not he is worried about someone copying him, he replies ... " Let them try. No one will have spent all the time I have doing it and it is unlikely that they will understand it as well as I do." (to paraphrase).

So, GO FOR IT ! Do something... even if it is wrong. If it is wrong, do something else. You will still be far ahead of the people who did nothing, but protected their idea!

Write ON!

Dave Wheeler

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"How To Be An Early Riser" ... and Self Discipline

I came across the following blog post and found it interesting !!!

Steve Pavlina talks about "how to be an early riser" and I am definitely going to try out his ideas. I especially like what he says about self-discipline:

If you can’t get yourself out of bed when your alarm goes off, this is likely
due to a lack of self-discipline. If you have enough self-discipline, you’ll get
out of bed no matter what. Motivation can also help, but motivation is short
lived and may only last a few days. Discipline is like a muscle. The more you
build it, the more you can rely on it. Everyone has some discipline (can you
hold your breath?), but not everyone develops it. There are a lot of ways to
build discipline — I’ve written a whole chapter on this topic in my upcoming
book. But basically it comes down to taking on little challenges, conquering
them, and gradually progressing to bigger ones. It’s like progressive weight
training. As your self-discipline gets stronger, a challenge like getting out of
bed at a certain time will eventually become trivially easy. But if your
self-discipline has atrophied, it can seem an almost insurmountable hurdle.

Definitely looking forward to his upcoming book !

Dave Wheeler

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Marketing VS. NCAA Tournament .... a great analogy

Shotgun marketing blog has an interesting post that draws an interesting analogy between the NCAA [basketball] tournament and Marketing.

Click here to read it.

I would add one more analogy....

"March Madness" is what they call the exciting action provided by the NCAA basketball tournament.

"Market Madness" is the [unbridled? unrealistic?] enthusiasm brought on when you start to believe your own marketing hype.

Any other ideas ???

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What's Important to your customers?

Seth Godin's post today (click here to read it) got me thinking.... His premise is that there is a "life cycle" of authenticity. Some things are "more authentic" than others, such as Starbucks vs. Dunkin Donuts. Click the link below to see his graph example.

The real question though is ... what is important to your customers?

Some may value authenticity while others value consistency. (Not that the two should be mutually exclusive ... as the best companies often show us.)

Some customers value modern, cutting-edge art while others like the classics. Different things for different people.

No news there.

The key point to remember is that authenticity can make your brand STRONGER and it is usually better to have it than not. Even if "consistency is your thing", you should strive to keep it authentic! If you don't then your brand starts to dissipate and lose its cohesiveness and eventually its meaning.

What do you think? Am I nuts? Leave me a comment !

Dave Wheeler

Monday, February 20, 2006

Very Cool Video

I found a link to the following video on a blog called "Creating Passionate Users" by Kathy Sierra.

Here is the blog link to see her comments (click here)

Here is the link to the video (very cool stuff... sort of like Spielberg's movie, "Minority Report")
(click here for video)

I especially like the interactive lava lamp !

Write On!
Dave Wheeler

Friday, February 03, 2006

[ Hypothetical Art created for Dave Wheeler's speech entitled ... "Is it ART?" ]

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Is it ART?

I gave the following speech at the WestConn Toastmasters, Wooster School Library, Danbury, CT on Wednesday, February 1, 2006.

Is it ART?

Is this art? Sure, I think everyone would say that this is “art”

Is this art? Show of hands?

Is this art?

Is this art?

Is this art?

Is this art? [see picture in post above]

How do you know what is art? Especially with non-traditional types of art?

First, let me start out with the "dictionary definition" of Art ....
"The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium. "

Doesn't really help much when it comes to non-traditional art, does it?

I’m going to address three common issues with non-traditional art and when I’m done, it is my goal that you will have a different perspective on what you consider “good” art !

The 3 issues are:

1) If it didn’t take long to create, then it isn’t worth much. A variation on this is, “My 3 year old daughter could do that.”

2) “I just plain don’t like it.”

3) “There’s too much garbage out there that’s not art !”

To tackle the issue of how much effort it takes, let me tell you a story about my grandfather.

Back in the early 60’s, he had an old run-down pump to provide water for his vacation cottage in NH. It always seemed to me to be held together with rubber bands and was always dying, usually when I was in the middle of my shower.

One day it died and he called up the local mechanic to fix it. The mechanic came out, looked over the pump.... took out his wrench .... and gave it a solid rap on the side. It roared back to life! My grandfather thanked him and figured since it only took him a few seconds, the bill would be small, if he even sent him a bill.

The next day, a bill from the mechanic for $35 showed up in the mail. My grandfather was furious. How could it be that much ... remember that $35 in the 60’s was like $500 now !

So he called up the mechanic and demanded and ITEMIZED bill, figuring that he would be embarrassed to itemize it or would not be able to justify his charges.

The next day, a new bill showed up with the following itemization:
Rap on the pump: $ .03
Knowing how to do it : $ 34.97

Art is the same way. Anyone can do it, but it can takes years to develop the background and skills to make the creation look effortless.

The second issue is: “I just don’t like it.”

To this I would ask, “Do you like freedom?”

The United States is a great country because we have freedom of expression. You have freedom of choice.

You don’t have to like someone else’s art, but it is in your best interest to defend everyone’s right to choose.

In addition, you also have the freedom to vote with this (show money). What you buy in many ways helps to determine what gets shown in public because if people cannot make money, they will have to do something else.

This leads me to the third issue: “There’s too much garbage art out there”
On this point, I have to agree with you. But I will add that it can actually be a good thing.
First, let me say that the internet has caused an explosion in choices.

A good example that people can relate to is books.
It used to be that there were best selling books in bookstores and if it didn’t make it to the bookstore, the odds were that you would never find it because it cost the publisher too much to get it into the store.

Now with the internet, there is what is called the “Long Tail”. This is where it costs next nothing to publish one more book and sell it on Amazon. Since the cost is so low, authors can publish their works and turn a profit by selling a very small number of books. These books usually appeal to small niches or segments of the market. For example, did you know that you can do a search on “toe nails” on and come up with 2,494 books!

There’s lots of stuff out there. It applies to books, records and even art. The good news is that whatever you like .... it is out there ! You just need to find it !

In summary, Art is subjective but what if you expanded your mind to appreciate the skills and years of practice that went into other forms of art.

I encourage you to defend other people’s rights to choose ... so you maintain your own right to choose.

And finally,

Find art that suits your tastes... there is lots out there and some of it is PERFECT for you !

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Marshmallow Effect ....

I came across an interesting blog post (referred by Seth Godin) ....

What Marshmallows are you eating today that you should set aside until tomorrow?

Won't they get hard if you let them sit out too long?

What's your Marshmallow philosophy? (Is it getting you what you want?)

Write On!

Dave Wheeler

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Growing Businesses .... The Tree Analogy / Metaphor

This post is in response to Kathy Sierra's blog post: (Read her post first... so this will make more sense).

I liked the "tree" analogy (or is it a metaphor, I always get those mixed up) and I would even take it a couple steps further.

I recently "read" (on audio CD) a book called "The Innovators Solution" by Clayton M. Christensen. In the book, he talks about Disruptive versus Sustaining Innovations and this can extend your tree idea.

Big companies (if they are any good) typically build their "tree" or systems around Sustaining innovations. These are Incremental improvements to existing products in existing markets. These are easy to see and, to use the analogy, are like the leaves collecting water and sunlight to feed the branches and trunk of the tree.

Disruptive innovations are usually for new markets (which "the branches" find hard to quantify or understand due to a lack of history in the markets) and often are for new (breakthrough?) products.

The "Solution" (as I interpret Clayton's book) is to plant the seeds separate from the main tree (spin them off?) and run them differently from the main business.

Clayton's overall suggestion is that to sustain overall growth you need to be planting seeds and protecting their growth because eventually the main tree is not going to be able to adapt and it will die!

Back to the tree analogy ... Leaves are workers supporting the operation of the tree. SEEDS are the innovations or ideas that can be grown into new trees (businesses). What do you think?

Good to have Kathy back on her blog!
Keep up the good work !

Dave Wheeler

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Public Speaking tips ... from Guy Kawasaki & Steve Jobs

Below is a link to Guy Kawasaki's blog post which features some of his tips for public speaking!

Guy is one of my favorite authors (Art of the Start is his most recent effort) and I highly recommend him for people interested in marketing or business in general.

He references another source (click here) which describes Steve Job's keynote addresses and all the preparation that goes into them. There are plenty of lessons that we can learn from this article as well as some more that you can get by joining a Toastmasters club.

Speak UP!

Dave Wheeler

Friday, January 13, 2006

The benefits of Hindsight ...

Guy Kawasaki has only been blogging for 10 days and he is already one of my favorite blogs ...

This post has the full text of his "graduation / keynote speech". Check it out !

Friday, January 06, 2006

New Year's Resolutions . . . . Learn from 2005, Apply in 2006

Scott Ginsberg has a post (see link below) that has so many great quotes that you just need to check it out !

HELLO, my name is BLOG: Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself

After reading Scott's post, I would summarize it like this ...

Learn from what you did in 2005. What worked? What didn't? What did you try for the first time? What did you intend to try, but did not?

Once you learned.... How are you going to apply your learning in 2006? Now is the time to make plans and MAKE YOUR DREAMS HAPPEN !


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Year's Resolutions . . . .

New Year's Resolutions.....

The beginning of the year always seems like a good time for reflection on where you are and where you want to go.

The cold hard truth? If you do the same in 2005, you will probably get the same results in 2006 as you did in 2005. (see this blog entry by Seth Godin)

So . . . . What do you want to change in 2006? What challenges do you want to tackle?

Will you improve your speaking skills through Toastmasters? How about your leadership skills? (Did you know that Toastmasters also has a leadership skills program?) Check out their web site at to find a club near you!

We would love to hear what you think ! Please leave a comment here !

Happy New Year !

Dave Wheeler
Founder of