The day I dissed a billionaire

I have a confession to make. Many years ago, I demanded a certain percentage of a job for which I hired a friend. I insisted on getting 10% of the overall pay. “Ben, shovel the walk. I’ll collect the money.” “Why can’t I collect it?” “I need to take 10% of the pay. I promise I’ll give…

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Mike Ditka and the power of push

Every football fan who was around during the ’85 Superbowl knows of the hard-hitting coach Mike Ditka. “My grandmudder could tackle better den you guys,” is the kind of thing he would bark to his players. And they responded. The hard-knuckles approach of “Iron Mike” worked. Yes, he was a hothead. He did throw a…

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Boost your mailed fund appeal with this one trick

Just a few days ago I received a fund appeal letter from a worthy organization. It was well written, and listed a lot of accomplishments that this non-profit had carried out over the months. Wouldn’t it be nice if I received a follow-up email from the same organization about five days later? The email could…

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Fit-ty cents, please, is my marketing pitch

A shabbily dressed man steps through a conductor’s door on Chicago’s “el” train that rattles on in the evening hours. “Folks, I hope you can help me out,” he implores. “I just need a little money for a cup of coffee.” Passengers warily glance up from their ipods and earbuds. The man talks more and…

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Shiny apples might be hiding your selling problem

I recently strolled through the splendid halls of the legendary Leo Burnett headquarters in Chicago. I was on my way to a marketing conference held at this advertising agency. First of all, I didn’t see any bowl of apples on the receptionist’s desk. Why was this important? The bowl of apples is the hallmark symbol of this company. As…

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Is your website a buggy whip? Time to move to mobile

Only a few years ago, you just built a website and that was it. Now, the horses have been replaced by automobiles. About a third of Americans surveyed recently said they use mobile as their primary way to access the web. And the number increases every month. That means that when they browse for a…

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The pigeon that smacked me upside the head

When I went to college I helped my psychology professor with an unusual task: catching pigeons in an attic. The pigeons were to be captured and trained to peck at tiny lighted disks in a Skinner box to uncover the secrets of reward and response. Our job was to sneak into the darkened attic of the faculty hall,…

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What’s the big deal about a mobile-responsive website?

What does it mean to have a mobile-friendly website? Is there any difference between mobile friendly and mobile responsive? I’m Kevin Banet, and I will design a website for you that is mobile responsive. What that means is that your website pages will be easily visible from all devices – whether a desktop, a smartphone,…

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What I found in General Patton’s basement

As a journalism student years ago, I found myself in the party room at the home of General George Patton. No, this wasn’t the General Patton. It was his son’s house. My class, part of a graduate program at Northwestern, was invited to a party by the illustrious general’s grandson, who was a student in…

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What puts the “Jack” in the beanstalk

For years and years, the story of Jack in the beanstalk seems nothing more to the average man than a child’s innocent fairy tale. And then one day, its real meaning stares him in the face like a roaring lion. It’s not just any man or woman who discovers this. It’s the person who has done something as audacious as…

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