MAY 2012

  • LOOKING FOR A REASON TO SAY NO OR TRYING TO FIND A WAY TO SAY YES?

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Life Lessons

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    Before you make any snap judgments on which one of those options is better, you have to consider context.  As a matter of fact, I could argue that both can be detrimental….

    I was on my way to my car tonight in the corporate parking garage and happened upon this motorcycle parked in the handicap stall.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that it was quite a phenomenal piece of machinery.  What looks like a standard sidecar is actually a housing for a wheelchair and all of the standard controls are wired to be operated from that sidecar.  There’s a steering wheel complete with a linkage to the handle bars, a hydraulic shifting mechanism and a throttle control all very integrated into the bike.

    Clearly, this guy had every option to back out and say NO but made a decision chase his dream of riding a motorcycle, clearing some significant hurdles along the way.  I thought about it on my ride home, and in that quick evaluation, I find that I fall into the NO trap quite often.  Whether it’s a challenging problem at work, coffee with a friend that is maybe a little inconvenient to my schedule or even getting this blog off of the ground….It’s easy to find excuses to NOT do something.

    Conversely, I also find myself falling into the YES mode….making something happen at all expenses, ignoring the impacts to my career, personal relationships and well being.  Making a decision in a vacuum, over-committing to low priority projects or just arguing with my wife when I know damn well that I’m wrong.

    So what’s the right approach?  Is there some sort of filter you can apply to this?

    I haven’t fully thought that through yet, but I would say YES or NO you better be convicted (You know it in your gut, You have data that can vindicate you, You’re willing to sacrifice in exchange for your passion, etc….).  Whether or not he knows it, that Motorcycle Rider’s desire to ride sure will make me re-think what I’m saying NO to.

  • OMAHA BREW CLUB, WHAT TO DO WITH AN OBSESSION

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Beer

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    My brother Ryan (one of my 3 younger brothers…I’ll try to cover each of them over time) started a really cool club in Omaha.  He and a couple friends  came into craft beers a couple years ago and it has turned into a bit of an obsession.  They decided to act on this obsession by forming the Omaha Brew Club, a monthly(ish) gathering of friends and family where they get together and expand their horizons.

    The concept is fairly simple…they outline a theme (i.e. in March they did Red Ales, this month’s was “Nebraskan Beers”) and each person is required to come toting their favorite beer and a $5 entry fee.  The event culminates in a blind tasting where each beer is poured in 2-4oz samples around the room so the brew club attendees can taste, rate and guess which beer they are currently sampling.  Everyone has a score card which is then tallied at the end of the evening and the beers are unveiled to many gasps (“I could have sworn that was Lucky Bucket Certified Evil”) and vindicated palates (“I knew #10 was Jaipur Jalapeno”).  The person who brings the beer with the best score is crowned the champion of the evening and is awarded the money from the pot (in last night’s case, about $100).

    In addition, Ryan and his friends cook up a feast worthy of kings.  For the Memorial Day OBC gathering, it was a 24hr labor of love, complete with 30lbs of smoked brisket, potato salad, coleslaw, broccoli salad, smoked baked beans, cornbread, apple crisp and ice cream (EVERY bit of that menu completely made from scratch…..I was exhausted just watching them work, fortunately there was plenty of beer around to keep my thirst quenched).

    Putting that much food and beer together will always spell a FANTASTIC time but the gathering was more meaningful than just re-connecting with old friends, meeting new ones, gorging myself with WAY too much BBQ or being completely surprised with how many great brews there are in Nebraska.  For me, it was fun to watch these guys in action, taking a fairly simple hobby and turning it into something they could share.  As a marketer, I often struggle with how difficult it can be to process and translate something I love so much into an experience others are able to consume.

    As people filed out the door, it was great to hear people talking about what they learned, asking what next month’s theme was going to be and thanking everyone up and down for the hard work they put in.  If you happen to be in the Omaha area and like beers, great food and even better company, I would challenge you to find their club on Facebook and stop by the next event.  I can guarantee you’ll be welcomed with open arms as long as you have an appetite, a favorite beer and $5.

    This month’s entry list with links to the brewers:

    #1 Empyrean Dark Side Vanilla Porter
    #2 Jaipur Jalapeno Beer
    #3 Schilling Bridge Lemon Lime
    #4 Empyrean Burning Sky Scottish Ale
    #5 Jaipur Berry Wheat
    #6 Empyrean Super Nova
    #7 Corn Stalker Dunkelweiss
    #8T Empyrean Watchman IPA
    #8T Lucky Bucket Certified Evil
    #9 Blue Blood 1327
    #10 Upstream Brewing Flagship IPA
    #11 Empyrean Chaco Canyon

  • ROAD GREMLINS…

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Marketing Brilliance

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    I stopped into a Harley dealership over the weekend to go drool over a future purchase (probably distant future…but a guy can dream right??).  While checking out some of the used inventory, I came back to find my Dad talking with a couple guys drinking some of the dealership’s complimentary beer (it was a Saturday, and if you haven’t been to a Harley dealer on a Saturday you’re missing out on another  level of brilliant marketing).

    As it turns out, they were good friends from my father’s previous career.  They had traveled 4 hours each to meet up in Omaha (score another one for Harley) just to come kick around town.  Both had recently purchased bikes but one of the men had just purchased his first.  For those not familiar with the dangers of riding a motorcycle, the man with the new bike was in desperate need of a Gremlin Bell to ward off these evil little creatures who put objects in your way while you’re casually cruising down the road (read the full story HERE, it’s actually pretty good).

    It made me smile just a bit at the brilliance of the whole scheme…  I instantly had visions of a corporate office where people are manufacturing stories and cheap Chinese trinkets to go along with it, the only thing they’re in need of is a loyal and passionate group of people who are ready to sneeze this marketing ploy all over their friends.

    This kind of a trickery is generally reserved for children with brainwashed parents…a specifically vulnerable segment of the market that will eventually give into whatever their kids are begging for.  Comic Books, Decoder Rings, Garbage Pail Kids, POGS, Tamagotchi Pets and most recently (and likely one of the more novel ideas of the holiday season) Elf on a Shelf.

    These aren’t children though….these are burly bikers with tattoos, piercings and probably weapons.  Someone had the gall to believe they could sell them bells….and even get them to PURCHASE THEM FOR THEIR FRIENDS!!!! (My biker uncle insisted that I have one when I purchased my last bike a few years back….and I’m totally in on it!)

    I don’t know what I’m doing with my life right now, but I can tell you what I’m looking for….an affinity group, a creative story and 10 million cheap trinkets that I can sell for $10-15 a pop!

     

  • MINTED MANHATTAN

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Cocktails

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     Ok – so finding your voice is always a work in progress right?  One thing that I promise to you, I’ll work cocktails (specifically bourbon inspired) into my writings….here’s my first.

    I spent the weekend in Kentucky during the Derby and was able to carve off a little time to go visit the Bourbon Motherland.  One of my favorite stops had to be the Maker’s Mark Distillery (for many reasons…but I’ll tell you about that another time).

    I returned from there with an armload (to my wife’s disappointment….) a trunk-load of bottles to consume.  One of those was the Maker’s Mark Mint Julep bourbon… made only during the Derby and sold only in Kentucky (I HAD TO GET IT!).

    This brown liquid is delicious all by itself and even better (GASP!) over a little ice…but I experimented a bit tonight and came up with the Minted Manhattan.  Follow along if you dare.

    Ingredients:

     

    How I did it:

    1. Fill a martini glass with ice and water, set aside
    2. Measure(ish) your bourbon into a stirring glass (I like to pack a punch, so I always add more than most people are comfortable with, but this turned out great with 3oz)
    3. Add one dash of orange bitters
    4. Add 2-3 solid ice cubes (I’m an ice snob…this tray is fantastic)
    5. Mix with a bar spoon (do not shake this drink!) until you’ve made the booze nice and cold
    6. Dump out the water in your martini glass and shake dry
    7. Pour a small amount of sweet vermouth and roll around the glass until coated, dump the remainder of the vermouth out
    8. Place one cherry in the bottom of the glass (I like Luxardo…they’re not cheap but worth it)
    9. Strain your bourbon cocktail over the cherry
    10. Rub mint leaf around the rim of the glass and dump a couple fresh on top for good looks
    11. Take pictures, drink, enjoy and tell the world!

     

    What did you think?  Don’t have the Mint Julep Bourbon?  That’s ok….just use a little simple syrup/fresh mint and gently muddle before adding your bourbon of choice.

  • DEAR INTERNET:

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Hello World

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    I’ve been here before.

    I’ve tried and failed on numerous occasions, but I had a foot hit me square in the rear this week.  Time to get back at this whole Internet thing and make a real effort (Twitter’s still around right?).

    I love technology, adore my career and can’t get enough of the marketing world.  All that being said, I’ve been terrible at utilizing the 1st to enhance the 2nd and prove that I’m good at the 3rd.

    Per the swift kick in my ass:  I was visited by a former executive at my very large company.  She has been gone for 3 years now and has thrived…evidenced by her large smile, positive outlook on life and genuine excitement to be where she is right now (as she put it, she left the corner office for an office in the corner).

    I like where I’m at and I’ve learned a lot.  So much that I probably have a lot to share with people who may be casually interested in the same stuff as me.  I also know that I’m not going anywhere quickly, by quietly accomplishing my job in my corner cubicle.

    All of the experts agree…the web is your resume, and it never hurts to use it to your advantage.  I’ll be developing my voice and working through that publically over the coming weeks, I hope to make it interesting to a select few or a really kick ass private journal.

    Talk to you soon…

    Erik