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November 18, 2008

Only, First, Best? REALLY? Keep it to yourself!

I was recently looking at the corporate underwriting (advertising) opportunities on my local NPR station - WHYY in Philadelphia and was struck by their submission guidelines.

They permit your "spot" to include the following:
• Names of products or services
• Non-promotional, value-neutral description of products or services
• Company location and number of years in business
• Telephone number, e-mail address or Web site address

They DO NOT permit:
• Comparative or qualitative descriptions of products or services
• Superlatives (e.g. "best" or "biggest")
• Price references, even if the product or service is free
• Calls to action or inducements to buy
• Third party endorsements from newspapers, magazines, etc.


No wonder their advertisements aren't so annoying to hear!

No wonder I have such a positive image of many of their sponsors (even though I may have no direct experience as a consumer of many of these businesses and organizations).

What if all advertising had this much integrity?

Can people be just as effective without grandiose claims or negative digs?

(ps, both political campaigns could have received some good counsel from this policy.)

I have heard the conventional wisdom that supports the stating of numbers, the cattle call of achievements, heightened sense of urgency, and the slighting of others as effective advertising tools.

However, in most cases, I have to disagree.

I think the NPR kind of guidelines instead make you focus more closely on articulating your value proposition and underlying goal.

What your business does and why is then left to stand on its own, uncluttered by boisterous empty phrases.

Devoid of gimmicky language or sales-y speak, this kind of advertising forces a genuine and candid exchange between you and the consumer, mano a mano, as they say.

It makes you think....

* What would your NPR ad say?
* Would this position your company strongly?
* Would you be confident in your message?

posted by Adelaide

November 7, 2008


The SBA Office of Advocacy published an interesting report by economist Dr. Chad Moutray called: Baccalaureate Education and the Employment Decision: Self-Employment and the Class of 1993.

The study found that "College graduates who specialize in social science tend toward self-employment as compared to those with bachelor’s degrees in other subjects".

Interesting, no? Any other social science majors out there? As for me, I double majored in Sociology/Anthropology and Educational Studies...so this finding can certainly be generalized to me!

The study doesn't posit any theories on the correlation, but instead leaves us to our own musings...

* Perhaps it is because we social science majors are interested in the nuance and complexity of the social world. We see the interconnections and linkages between themes, patterns, systems, and people.

* Or perhaps, it is because most social science majors graduate asking the question, "What can you really do with a degree in XYZ?". And because of this we are left to our own creative devices when it comes to career development.

* Or perhaps it is because the study of social sciences instills in us an inquisitive tradition, encouraging us to go about the world asking "why things are the way they are?" and "under what circumstances could they be different?"

For what it is worth, Moutray also found "that business and management majors are more likely to work in for-profit businesses while those with specialized degrees such as health, education, or biology are more likely to end up working for non-profits and the government."

And, that "race, ethnicity, and gender did not play a large role in who became self-employed."

However quite humorously, the study found that a student’s motivation as measured by a series of “values” questions in 1993, closely tracked with employment decisions a decade later.

"Those who valued job-security were more likely to be government employees, those who desired intellectual challenge were likely to work in non-profits, and those who did not highly value prestige and status were more likely to be self-employed."

All of this seems so true to me! Although, the fact that the students didn't highly value prestige and status may have explained why they (we) were social science majors in the first place!

posted by Adelaide

November 2, 2008

Feng Shui 101 – Enhancing Your Life by Enhancing Your Space
posted by Ann Bingley Gallops, of The Organized Life

There was great energy in the room for my “Feng Shui 101” workshop on October 21! Everyone who came was interested in learning how to improve their lives with Feng Shui, the art and science of enhancing your life by enhancing your space.

Feng Shui has been used for thousands of years and is still a very big part of Chinese culture, slowly making its way to the West. In fact, Feng Shui is all around us. One prominent personality, Donald Trump, has been using it in all his buildings ever since he found out that Feng Shui could help him make more money!

If you weren’t able to make it and are curious about some of the things we talked about, here’s a sample:

Everything in our surroundings has a physical and psychological effect on us. Feng Shui enhances the beneficial aspects of our environment, while minimizing the not-so-beneficial ones. It’s about enhancing your health, abundance and well-being, so that you’re better equipped to live the life of your dreams.

Feng Shui literally means Wind & Water, which is a great metaphor for describing one of its most important concepts: how chi (life force) energy flows in our lives. It aims to harmonize our man-made environments with the ways of nature. For example, Feng Shui doesn’t like straight lines or sharp corners because nature doesn’t create things that flow this way: they’re unnatural.

Feng Shui works on two levels: knowing which changes need to be made, and knowing why you’re making them. It identifies how chi flows and where it is blocked, because blockages in your space are likely to correlate with where you are blocked in your life. Feng Shui “cures” are designed to correct those blockages.

We use three tools to analyze and work with any space: Yin & Yang, the Bagua (energy map), and the Five Elements. These tools were developed in ancient China as a way to identify the dynamics in any space.

Yin & Yang symbolize the balance of “feminine” and “masculine” polarities in a space.

The Bagua is an eight-sided energy map that describes the most important parts of your life. It’s the tool we use to align your space with your life so that you can bring intention and purposefulness to every important part of your life including your career, your love life, your health and more.

Finally, the Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water -- are used to balance and harmonize specific visible and invisible energies in your space.

Here are just a few more key concepts: place the most important piece of furniture in each room in “the Command position”, which is in the place farthest from the door, slightly diagonal to it (think of the best seat in the restaurant!). This will give you the best vantage point from which to be in control of your environment.

And of course, clear clutter! If there’s one thing that “chi” gets stuck on, it’s clutter: you can’t have good Feng Shui in a cluttered environment! And things that are well-cared-for signify your intention to take the very best care of yourself, too!

There’s so much more, so I hope you’ll take one of my future workshops at IGC, or give me a call at 646-382-3878 to find out more.

posted by Ann Bingley Gallops, of The Organized Life