Blake Snow

how blue chip companies tell better stories

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Tagged stupid human tricks

There are better ways of spending your time…

… than watching this. Usually (I make exceptions for high-profile sporting events and the occasional Netflix stream.)

Point is, DVR lowers your standards. You wouldn’t watch half that crap (and by “crap,” I mean poorly produced, written, and acted shows when compared to movies) if it were live. So why subject yourself to lesser entertainment? I’m sure some people use DVR as it was designed: to make it easier to watch the shows you used to watch live. But the majority of DVR users actually abuse the technology, and end up watching more television (i.e. settling) than they normally would.

In that sense, DVR is not better living through technology. It’s clouding our judgment. It’s reducing our ability to think critically.

What’s my age again?

This just in: Further proof that I’m a teenager trapped in a man’s body.

After a rather disappointing 16 holes of golf last month, I decided to hit a practice shot into a ravine while waiting for 17, which was on the outside edge of the course. As I setup my shot from the side of the tee box, my buddy threw down a verbal challenge: “Try and hit that moving truck on the opposite side of the valley.”

Without thinking, I quickly teed my ball. Since the distance to the other side was so far, I swung half-jokingly, paying no mind to what might happen. Continue reading…

Do you tip your “waiter” on take-out orders?

Part two in my Awkward Tip Etiquette series

carryoutI stiffed my take-out waiter for the first time this weekend and got an ugly look for it.

Normally I tip receptionists a buck for boxing my meal and carrying it all the way from the kitchen to the reception desk. (Excruciating work, I know.) But this time I grew a pair and followed my wife’s example: Don’t tip a restaurant worker for putting carry-out in a bag for you.

Again, I’m fine tipping someone that actually “waits on you” in a dining room. Servers don’t get paid a minimum wage. They’re normally hard workers and/or are struggling to make ends meet. So I’m happy to throw a few Washingtons their way for good service.

But I’m done tipping for carry-out, since the person handing me my food doesn’t add any value to my patronage, nor do they serve. I don’t care if it’s the bartender, the host, or some other receptionist. And I’m not going to let awkward attempts to “serve me” a bag or ugly looks deter me. Unless, of course, you can convince me otherwise.

Do you tip for carry-out food? If so, why?

Worst email reply ever

A friend recently (and politely) declined business from someone he once worked with. This someone didn’t take “no” for an answer. Nor did he take unanswered emails. Behold, his latest email:

Dude… what am I missing here ??

I have always assumed entrepreneurs treated each other with respect and responded to each other; especially those that have known each other for a while.

So… um… why are you treating me (a 3 tie INC 500 winner and 5 x successful entrepreneur; arguably more successful than you)… like crap ?

I respected you enough to personally respond… not to have one of my people call; you.

If that is your definition of class. Please… don’t respond to my email at all.

Persuasion: You’re doing it wrong. Ellipses too. Not to mention unnecessary spacing before question marks. In any case, my buddy did not reply. ZING!

When your celebrity endorser becomes the town bycicle, it’s always best to dump him

tigerwoodspgatour10_coverAfter Tiger Woods took “extramarital affairs” to new lows this year, numerous sponsors canceled their contracts with the once role model, including Gatorade, AT&T, General Motors, Accenture, Tag Heuer, and Gillette. Out of all his major sponsors, only two “stood by” his sleaziness, including Nike and Electronic Arts.

Today, the latter is wishing it hadn’t. Continue reading…

To the cop that ticketed my wife yesterday: Get bent.

My wife has deservedly received traffic citations in the past, most recently last month for going 55 miles per hour in a 40. She also had a run in with a parked dump truck in March, so she’s in no way an innocent driver—particularly this year.

But yesterday, some cop short on quota caught her going 30 in a 25, just five miles over. He tailed her until her destination, a neighborhood birthday party, then flashed his lights as she pulled to a stop. He then barked at her for opening the driver door instead of rolling down her window, which she couldn’t do because the windows were tinted that morning. (Sob story, I know. But it’s true. The windows were all marked with “Do NOT roll down for 3-5 days,” which the cop clearly saw.)

There she was, a mother with three kids in the car—newborn screaming for her bottle—and this overzealous, insensitive, and unfriendly officer ticketed her. And he took his sweet time doing so, all while the baby was crying as if she was going to die (you know how they do it).

Make no mistake, I’m grateful for law enforcement. And I’m obviously biased here. But the stated facts weren’t embellished. This is just another case of some cop not having anything better to do.

I’m sorry we can’t make a deal. Please don’t heckle me.

As a self-employed individual, I’ve closed a lot of deals. Seven years worth, in fact. Enough to make me a thousandaire. But I’ve lost a lot more than I’ve won, something that’s expected in business.

What isn’t expected, however, are the rare occasions when a prospective buyer ridicules me for not meeting his terms. It usually happens like this: Buyer probes, likes what he sees, and then starts asking questions. We talk. I name my final price. He doesn’t like my final price.

But instead of walking away, like most sane buyers do, this buyer hangs around, and suddenly decides he no longer likes the free market. Continue reading…

Fine print: “Investment products may lose value”

In case you didn’t know, I don’t like Wall Street. It’s not that I think the stock exchange is wrong, but I don’t like how its description went from being “speculation” to “investment” in the last 50 years. And I don’t like how it’s primarily sold to the uninformed public.

If you watch TV, chances are you’ve seen numerous investment commercials for Prudential, ING, Pacific Life, Merill Lynch, Charles Swab and countless others. What you might not have seen is the fine print during all this commercials: “Investment products may lose value” and “Investments involve risk.”

This of course is neatly tucked away at the bottom of the screen while some voice over promises an increase in wealth, a secure future, and guaranteed retirement. It’s yet another reminder that what these people are really selling is speculation.

In other words, know your stuff before playing the game, or stick to what you know if you want to protect and grow your principle.

5 years later, these 10 cell phone commandmants still ring true

cell phone addictionCourtesy of Joey Reiman for Pink Magazine, published in 2005:

  1. Thou shalt not take the BlackBerry to any table with food on it or family around it. A BlackBerry is not a fruit, nor does it come from a tree.
  2. Thou shalt not use the BlackBerry as reading material in the event of insomnia. It will only worsen your situation.
  3. Thou shalt not BlackBerry in lieu of responding to a child’s request (e.g., “Wait a second, I’m reading something.”).
  4. Thou shalt not place the BlackBerry within distance of hearing its incessant beeps while at home. It is not a bird.
  5. Thou shalt not check BlackBerry as if it were your baby. It will not cry or stop breathing.
  6. Thou shalt not confuse number of e-mails with self-worth.
  7. Thou shalt do everything possible to misplace your BlackBerry on weekends.
  8. Thou shalt remember that a BlackBerry is not a body appendage. It is a device that belongs in your briefcase or on your desk, and not in social settings.
  9. Thou shalt refrain from bringing the BlackBerry to events involving family interaction. Extraneous dialogue with this contraption in lieu of real conversation suggests addiction.
  10. Thou shalt never, ever, ever bring the BlackBerry to bed.

Since canceling my data plan last year, I haven’t broken any of these. (Thanks, Josh)

Remember when I almost killed myself running?

I like running.

With exception to an injury hiatus, I ran several times a week over the past two years. And since reading Born To Run, I do so enthusiastically (not begrudgingly like I once did).

I normally run continuously for 45 minutes to an hour. On occasion, two hours—whatever I feel like really. I don’t time myself or track miles—an act that makes running feel like work—I just run.

Two weeks ago, I was feeling especially light on my feet. When I left the house on an empty stomach that Saturday, I didn’t plan on running for three plus hours, but I did. I also didn’t take water or food with me, and nearly put myself in the hospital as a result.

Continue reading…

Incredible: Unread email actually waits for you on your computer!

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OREM, Utah — After four convenient but usually bad-habit forming years, I canceled my Blackberry email/data plan with T-Mobile last week. To my surprise, I was amazed that my email would actually wait for me on the computer, as opposed to following me around wherever I went. Now, if I’m away from my desk, my email will tell me how many unread messages I have upon my return, so as not to overlook anything. (Some fancy email programs even support audible alerts, such as “You’ve got mail!” Really neat stuff.)

In a flurry of discovery, and in search of more answers, I asked a representative of ARPANET, the inventor of email, for comment. “The great thing about email is that it’s free, provided you don’t give money to your cell phone provider for the same service,” the spokesman said. “And unlike the Post Office, you don’t have to put a hold on your mail if you’re away, say on nights and weekends. If it fits, it ships—which is all the time.”

Continue reading…

You’re never too busy for people

I have found, as many before me, that with age comes added responsibility and a much larger to-do list. I’m arguably busier than I’ve ever been in my life with managing a marriage, a new baby, a company, and working on several other projects. Opportunity surrounds us, and I want to take it all in. I hope to learn, experience, and do as much as I can (or even can’t sometimes) throughout my life. I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people, learning new things, and finding other ways of applying the little that I know.

While pondering all of this on my way to Salt Lake City this morning and after catching myself saying “I’m so busy,” to those around me, I couldn’t help but think how this claim might sound to the receiver. Does that phrase add any value to the person listening? Does that make them feel important? If it doesn’t, then do away with it. Continue reading…

Golf clubs aren’t worth much anymore—at least recreational ones

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At my request, Lindsey bought me some recreational (aka cheap) golf clubs two years ago for Christmas. It took me a year, but I recently become infatuated with sport. I have “found religion,” you could say.

Anyways, last month I was whacking balls with my three wood at the driving range. After a slight miss-hit, I sent both my ball and club head flying into the distance. The ball went about 150 yards. The head went about 30. At first I wasn’t even mad. I was amazed actually. But then I got frustrated with myself. Continue reading…

Let’s call the stock market what it really is: speculation

The British had it right at one time. During the 19th century, their culture viewed stocks and securities exchange as a less than noble venture, according to the writings of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens—like how you and I look upon multi-level marketing companies today. Appropriately, the stock market was widely known then as “speculation.” A theory. A guess. An unverifiable promise or conclusion.

At some point, investment sharks (don’t call ‘em bankers) hijacked the accurate description of “speculation” to mean “investments,” “stock market,” and “Wall Street”—prestigious terms that sound nothing like the conjecture they represent. Smart people made money on changes in the fickle market, giving hope to uninformed individuals, who blindly followed and still lose the majority, if not all their money, every few decades. Some are lucky. Most are not.

Continue reading…