Crony Capitalism – How Bad Has It Gotten In The US?

We all know the problem of the revolving-door in our political leadership and bureaucracy. Folks are in and out of government, keep their contacts and make a fortune from the known reality: it’s not what you know but whom you know. The problem with all this is exactly what Adam Smith warned us about; the incestuous relationship between government and business. Corporations in the US are large and powerful, and have and hire the best talent, retain and control endless resources – these corporations do not NEED government favors, nor does their executive leadership, they are doing fine.

To secure the most optimum efficiency in our economy, we must keep the free-market as free as possible, when we allow a skew due to political favors or inside information, or allow lobbyists to the run the table, often at the expense of the people all we do is prove the cynics correct that; the game is rigged. Perhaps this is why Donald Trump has promised to; Drain the Swamp. And, he’s human too, I have no doubt he will drain the left-side of the swamp first, but it’s still a good start. The trick is to set a new set of rules, lay down the letter of the law, and move forward.

In Harvard Business Review, December 2013 Issue, there was an interesting article titled; “Unwinding Inequality” and in that article was a quote by Angus Denton; “When people use their success to change the rules in their favor, that success is no longer to be celebrated.”

“Yes,” I say, “Indeed.” But let’s take this argument to a higher level shall we. First, I find it rather hypocritical to read of this in the Harvard Business Review, as most there believe in the concepts of Adam Bellow who wrote the book “In Praise of Nepotism” which might explain why all the Supreme Court Justices went to Ivy Leagues, Harvard or Yale, some both. Worse, look at the academic records of the last 5-presidents of the US, and a darn good many senators, and heads of major bureaucracies, corporations and NGOs.

Second, if we dissect that quote, it talks about “success” and the concept of changing the rules once one, a group or corporation gains in the synergy of their own success. Well, isn’t this really the same challenge with guerrillas or terrorists attacking the status quo, authority and government – if they succeed, they are then in control and then they inevitably seem to use the same so-called tyrannical methods of ruling that their predecessors had before they ousted them – thus, the word “revolution” as it just goes round and round as another group comes along to then unseat their new authority.

Now, one can see a similar process in business and industry. For instance, read;

1. “Rule Makers and Rule Breakers,” by David Garnder
2. “First Break All the Rules,” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
3. “The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business,” by Clayton M. Christensen

Once the company garners market share synergy, and industry status, it moves to change the sector’s associations to lobby to get the rules and regulations changed to its way of doing things blocking future disruptive competitors from coming along to change the industry just as they had to get to where they are today.

The easiest way to do that is through crony-capitalism, campaign contributions, public-private business partnerships, which also leads to selling goods and/or services to the government and secure a free flow of money to further continue their dominance by playing with the political elite – who all went to Ivy League schools. Thus, I find it so fascinating that HBR (Harvard Business Review) had the gall to even publish that article – due to the obvious hypocritical nature of the norm which comes from that elitist institution. Please consider all this and think on it.

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Growth Consultant: Giving New Direction To Your Business!

Earning substantial profit is the main objective of every business and for this it is imperative that your business grows in significant direction keeping pace with changing scenario. Because, if a businessmen continues to follow conventional methods of conducting business he might not be able to stay even in competition with his contenders and may lag in competition.

For the continuous growth of business it is indispensable to keep a strict eye on every change taking place across the business world. The relevance of keeping an eye on changing scenario increases more today’s age because today as an impact of globalization business operators are blessed with vast opportunities of exploring their business throughout the world in short span of time.

Days have gone back when business operators centralized their activities within a limited region, but now the time has arrived when they need to move ahead by eliminating cultural and demographic traits and transfer their orthodox business model into customer centric, best in its segment, broadening potentials of growth with feasible profits from business.

To assist the business owners in moving their business according to changing environment, growth consultants can play an incredible role in getting the infrastructure of their business keep changing in accordance to global market.

The growth consultants provide their expert advice and suggestions to business groups and may even help them in getting those suggestions implemented in organization in determined strategy. These consultants make business operators understand the drawbacks of orthodox business concepts and make them realize the changing role of not so recognized sections like women and youth in growth of an organization. They make business owners understand the contribution which they can make in exploring their business.

Moving ahead they also make them realize the changing nature of consumer behavior and how they can succeed in offering varied services and products to their multicultural consumers located in different regions of world.

The consultants of growth help business groups in:

1. Re-evaluating the core targets and models of their business

2. Identifying the gaps in their value delivery systems

3. Make them understand whether their strategies of VP communication are misfiring or not;

4. Generating the identity of their brand in accordance with values, beliefs and strengths of new worlds market place (NWMP)

5. Selecting and strengthening their value propositions and competitive differences

But sharing business details with an unknown person is not an easy task for any business operators and therefore it is necessary to get assured that information shared with consultant will stay restricted only with him and not affected by any kind of elusion. The selection of growth consultant should be done after proper research about his past experiences and knowledge.

As a general practice need of a growth consultant is felt when:

1. Growth of your business has stagnated

2. You are not able to make appropriate use of the available sources

3. When you are speculating to introduce a new initiative in market

How do growth consultants assist the business groups?

The growth consultants conduct an intensive study of every aspect related with your business on your behalf and then point out the pros and cons of your business comparing with your contenders.

After analyzing your business they find potentials of your growth keeping the changing atmosphere and making system approach for your business according to recent trends. They also help you in assessing the results and difference in your business after implementation of their recommendations. This strategy will help you in achieving desired success in your business in appropriate direction.

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Know When Your Business Needs IT Consulting Services

Businesses must ensure that only the latest technologies and software are deployed at the workplace, in order to provide quality solutions to their clients, and to be ahead of the competition. With the ever-changing technological trends in the industry, businesses find it cumbersome to adopt these technologies. Instead they can hand the entire function over to a sound IT consulting services company – who in turn will tap into their global pool of highly skilled IT professionals, who have the advantage of working in various IT environments, and have extensive experience across sectors. By providing assistance to business, IT consulting services providers free up existing resources; ensure IT transitions are smooth and problem-free; optimise key business processes; identify areas that benefit with further cost saving; build competitive advantage through IT; reduce IT complexities; provide IT strategy consultancy services, IT project management services and provide specialised programme management solutions – all of which, help the organisation achieve significant business efficiencies and cost benefits.

Choosing to work with an IT firm definitely boosts a company’s overall efficiency, which in turn decreases costs. Firms tend to look for a flexible and bespoke solution to address the client’s IT needs, thereby delivering solutions that are in tandem with the client’s goals.

The advantages listed above necessitate hiring an IT company. But how will a business know that it needs IT consultancy services?

A business may function with its existing IT architecture without knowing the benefits of such services. In order to discern the need for IT consulting services, businesses must first understand the details of their services. According to Wikipedia, ‘IT consulting is a field that focuses on advising businesses on how best to use IT to meet their business objectives. In addition to providing advice, IT consultancies often estimate, manage, implement, deploy, and administer IT systems on businesses’ behalf, known as Outsourcing’. IT consulting services firms thereby help businesses strategise and evaluate their IT functions as a whole and take the necessary steps to implement and/or deploy and then administer effective and robust IT systems in place. Businesses can seek the services of an IT firm when:

  1. IT investments regularly overshoot the set budget. Fast-paced technologies and trends warrant proper planning. When making strategic use of the allocated budget seems difficult, seeking the advice of IT consultancy services providers is imperative.
  2. A business decides to relocate or reduce staff.
  3. Projects regularly miss deadlines. Lack of specialists, complex projects and shoestring budgets lead to inefficient project management. A sound IT consulting services company designs bespoke, safe and cost-effective solutions, either full time or part time.
  4. Challenges of globalization, technical and regulatory changes arise. Business and technology management when integrated help the business survive, and therefore IT strategy consultancy is important.
  5. Programmes and projects eat into the budget. A business needs specialised programme management solutions to achieve significant cost savings. A robust IT services company provides either the co-sourcing or the outsourcing model to help businesses remain ahead of the competition, by providing tailored solutions.
  6. There is a need to change networks or when the need to shift to a new IT architecture arises.
  7. The company is in need of a robust disaster recovery plan.
  8. There are no data storage systems in place.

Availing the services of the right IT consulting services company may be a challenge. A business must choose a provider before the problems stated above get worse – and must choose a provider who is able to set in place a sound IT system in place. Therefore, a business must choose a provider who provides flexible solutions. Businesses must also remember that though they think they are able to fix small issues, the reality is that these issues must be treated at the root, and they can be properly tackled only with strategic IT solutions – only provided by an effective IT consulting services company.

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Why You Should Stop Boasting About How Busy You Are

An Accomplished Life

“Hi Tom, how are you?”

“I’m well Jane, just extremely busy.”

“Oh, I’m glad to hear you’re keeping busy then.”

“Yes, I’m flat out at the moment.”

The above interaction is one that takes place between people on a daily basis.

But what is behind the busyness?

Is it a way to deflect attention from what really matters?

People brag about their busy lives to highlight themselves living an accomplished life to their peers.

Similarly, they may wish to communicate how meaningful their work is and so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Being occupied implies oneself is consumed with matters of significance. That is why people state their busyness, to have you know they are important.

Busy people struggle to keep their attention in the present moment because their focus lies in future events and planning for the next project.

“We become active and busy, but this doesn’t actually move us any closer to success. Activity is often unrelated to productivity, and busyness rarely takes care of business,” states authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.

I question those who have a hectic schedule as a method to divert their attention from connecting with their core self.

The title quote by the Greek philosopher Socrates, invites you to be wary of a busy life which can be barren.

The busy person is disconnected from others, simply because their attention is focussed on their own commitments. There is the impression of a purposeless life, masked behind the facade of a frantic lifestyle.

Busyness can be reframed to imply your pursuits are purposeful instead of busy.

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan affirm, “Don’t focus on being busy; focus on being productive. Allow what matters most to drive your day.”

Busy or Just Unproductive?

You can be busy but not productive and still chase your tail.

Beneath the busyness lies the unconscious desire to be rewarded for hard work.

People believe being preoccupied is impressive and associated with status. You must be pursuing something prestigious, otherwise you wouldn’t be busy.

I’m reminded of an episode in the Seinfeld sitcom where the character George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, walks around the office looking annoyed. He realises that being busy is associated with stress and works hard to uphold this facade.

He appears irritated, causing his supervisor; Mr. Wilhelm to fear George is cracking under the pressure of his work.

While this scenario is fictional, it shows how people unconsciously use busyness to draw attention to themselves.

Similarly, you may believe multitasking is indicative of productivity. Busyness implies being on top of things which is often the furthest thing from the truth.

“Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil… It’s more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time,” affirms associate editor at Psych Central, Margarita Tartakovsky.

The busy pandemic comes at a cost to people’s well-being and happiness. You may find it difficult to disconnect from work to spend time with family. These are the pursuits that rejuvenate you instead of deplete you.

Busyness can be a sign of procrastination. It is a smoke screen to cover up being overwhelmed and in need of help to prioritise your life.

Consequently, those in the creative field will tell you they are absorbed in their interests and not busy with work.

It was the late Stephen R Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People who said, “It is possible to be busy-very busy-without being very effective.”

The Demands of a Hectic Schedule

It is vital that you set clear boundaries if you wish to be fulfilled. Busy people find it difficult to say no since they do not wish to offend others or be seen as incapable.

I’m yet to meet a busy person satisfied with their hectic schedule. I’m certain they would trade their frantic life for: less work, more time and money.

Occasionally, you might be pulled by circumstances not of your choosing. Business may unexpectedly increase if you’re self-employed as you try to meet the pressures of growing sales. But that doesn’t mean you are happy if all you are doing is working to provide for the demands of other people.

You have a choice how you spend your time. To claim you are busy is failing to prioritise your time wisely.

“Everybody’s busy. Everyone does the actions. But were they the right actions? Were those actions productive? Did you take a step forward? These are questions that most people never take the time to think about,” reminds us author Jeff Olson in, The Slight Edge.

After all, what is the point of being busy and stressed to the point of exhaustion that your health and relationships suffer, just to improve your bottom line?

Surely, there’s a more efficient way to work in the 21 century while enjoying more leisure time?

Busy people are prone to being overwhelmed if they continue to drive themselves hard. It is not healthy to run yourself into the ground and expect to stop at the drop of a hat.

Something must give. That may be as excessive drinking to help you wind down or toxic behaviours such as: compulsive eating, gambling or whatever distracts you from what is important.

We all have the same hours in the day and how you spend it is entirely up to you. Many people squander their time running around believing they are productive, when they are simply busy due to their lack of organisation and prioritisation.

“We are so busy being enticed by our next endeavour that we forget to savour what is already there and could be deeply meaningful. It is useful to remember the adage “The more things change, the more they remain the same” avows author Bernard Roth in, The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life.

A better way to reframe busyness is to state you are productive or engaged in what you are doing. Conversely, communicating you have taken on more than you can handle, is a step towards reclaiming your lost time.

This is not a cry for help, but exposing your vulnerability to those willing to help you better manage your time.

Find ways to be less busy and more engaged so you are in Flow, as the Hungarian psychology Professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi espouses.

Busyness is a not indicative of a rewarding life if all you are doing is jumping from one task to the next.

Those who manage their time successfully hold on to it like it was their last breath. They prioritise what is important and so should you.

I invite you to think with the end in mind as Stephen R. Covey conveys in his teachings.

Only then will you appreciate what really matters and worth devoting your time and energy towards.

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What is the Basic Difference Between Music Production and Sound Engineering?

Music production involves creating the music from scratch and sound engineering involves mixing the different instruments together so it sounds nice.

I will reveal both aspects as they relate to D.J.’ing but more so on the production side.

For most established D.J.’s, meaning those who have been D.J.’ing for a while whether it is in their bedroom or in the club, music production is the next logical step. Because D.J.’s play so many different types of music they come across a lot of beats and sounds. This inspires some D.J.’s to sample those beats and sounds and make up their own songs.

This is the beginning of the music production stage. There are 3 stages to music production: pre-production, music production and postproduction.

Stage 1 Pre-production

The music production stage is the crafting of the new song. I call this the pre- production stage because you are just experimenting with music. This is where music from the record or mp3 is sampled using a sampler or drum machine like an Akai MPC. But before you can sample and produce music you have to make sure your gear is properly connected:

So that I can sample sounds into my Akai drum machine I have my Technics turntable going into the phono input of my stereo unit. Then I take the phono out of my stereo unit to the input of my MPC 3000. My MPC gets connected to my Akai DPS 24.Then the DSP 24 is connected to the CD input of the stereo unit so I can hear what I produce.

In order to sample I have to make sure I select the phono option on my stereo unit. After I sample the sounds I have to switch to the CD option on my stereo unit so I can hear the playback from the drum machine. Once you’ve completed your musical arrangement and saved all of your work and you are satisfied with it you can move into the part two of the pre-production phase.

During this phase is when you bring in artists to perform on you track. This is where you begin to rearrange the track or music you created with the artists. This collaboration period enables you and the artists to make minor adjustments to the music and the lyrics. You may also add to or take away parts of the track such as adding additional drums or strings. The artists will practice their song using your track. Once this is very tight you move to the studio to lay the music and the vocals on separate recording tracks. The reason why you want to practice before you get to the studio is because studio time is very expensive and you don’t want to waste time practicing in. That is where you need to focus all of your time making sure the music and vocals are recorded cleanly without pops and clicks.

Stage 2 Music Production

When you get to the studio this is where the sound engineer comes into play. This person is responsible for making sure all of you music sounds excellent. These people have years of experience. Some D.J./Producers also like to engineer their own music because they know how they want their music to sound. If this is the case then the sound engineer simply assists the D.J. with mixing the music and using the studio equipment.

The mixing part of the music production phase is done in the studio where all of the music tracks and vocal tracks are blended together to give you what you hear on your CD.

Each musical instrument and vocal track is mixed and adjusted using what is called a mixing board like my Akai DPS24 only larger or software based mixing console like Pro Tools.

Stage 3 Postproduction

After the mixing is done the postproduction process begins. The final mix is taken to what is called a Mastering Studio where specialized equipment is used to bring out the best possible sound. When this process is completed the final results of the song are then pressed on CD or vinyl and sold to the customer.

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5 Ways of How to Destroy a Business Partnership: Don’t Start That New Business Until You Read This

Let any one of these 5 situations into your business and you’ll ravage your entrepreneurial career:

1st – Stop needing each other:

There’s a considerable chance that the partnership power and responsibility structure will start to shift and will look very different starting anywhere from 3-12 months after inception.

In the beginning of any new venture, a dynamic and compelling new venture phenomenon, made up of fear, anxiety, stress and excitement, emerges and makes for an impressive personal barrier disintegrator. No facades and no charades are the hallmark of a new venture. The partners forget about their own needs and are on their best behavior. Everyone is madly in “love.”

“Needing each other” is a compelling power source in successful business partnerships. In most partnerships that “need” is the bond that keeps it all together. As time passes, especially after the 12th month of being in business, everything and everyone starts to shift, evolve and a displacement arises that will be unsettling and transformative for the business and all the players.

See #4 for more information on “not needing each other”

Solution: Accept the fact that the above information is valid. Discuss it openly with your business partners. Be vigilant and sensitive to your business partners and what they say and do and how they say it and do it. You don’t have to be “a touchy feely kinda person.” Think selfishly. Think protection for your future. Think protection for your business’ future. Communicating, openly and civilly, is the only preventive measure that will increase the chance for a favorable outcome.

2nd- Allow your significant other to point out all the expensive gifts your partner’s significant other is receiving and they’re not:

Significant others, and other family members, can be the source of great pain and distress when it comes to the relationship you have with your business partner.

Greed, jealousy, being overcritical, being generally resentful, tactless and being superficial are some of the flies swimming around in the business partnership ointment. Money and power sometimes brings out the worst in “significant others” and family.

Solution: There’s two parts to the solution:

a-It’s the smart business person who pays extreme attention to the health and tone of his business partnership. It should be the number one concern, above and beyond anyone else in your life. I know I’ll get a lot of Boos and Hisses but, if you take care of your business and the business partnership, it will always take care of you and the people you love and who love you. Everyone will be happy and satisfied.

b- Going to, or inviting in, a counsellor or therapist to meet privately once a month, individually and aggregately, with the business partners will always be money well spent. I’ve seen the wreckage that family members have created in some very successful businesses.

You will have partnership strife and discord. Bet on it. Prepare for it now and have the preventive and supportive resources at the ready and/or in play from the beginning. It will be a shame if one day you’re standing outside your padlocked office wondering what happened.

3rd – Have sexual relations with a family member of your business partner:

I “feel” the smirks already. Talk about destruction. This is an insidious act of extreme betrayal. It not only will leave your business ripped apart, it will destroy precious family and personal relationships. People will be crushed and devastated for a lifetime.

The reputations of all the partners will be tainted. You’ll be amazed and appalled at the same time to find out how many suppliers, banks and customers will turn their back on you. They know that with a soiled and stained situation like this, destruction and failure may be close by. No one wants to be part of this, especially if it hurts them financially. Something many people take for granted is that It takes years to build a reputation that’s respected and trusted. It takes 24 hours or less to blow it up.

Are you are going to make your bed and Lie in it, or not?

Solution: If you’re over 18, take a wild guess. Under 18? Talk to someone over 18.

4th – Do some self-talk about how you deserve more money than your business partner:

“I’m working so much harder than her.” “He was supposed to be the sales end of our business but…” “Our biggest customer can’t stand her.” “He can’t handle the pressure.” “I never realized how much she talks.” Do I need to go on? You may recognize one of these.

In the beginning of a new venture there’s “reality” and there’s “wishful and well-intentioned thinking.” The responsibilities and strengths that you bring to the new venture are not necessarily the responsibilities and strengths that will be in play when things get started and are rolling along.

Being aware of each partner’s powerful strengths and their ‘vulnerabilities’ will allow weekly partner meetings to be productive and allow for everyone to be open, honest and transparent. Staying flexible and being willing to adapt, not only leads to a sustainable business but what’s more exciting is, it leads to personal growth for all the partners.

Solution: There’s 3 parts to the solution.

a-Mandate, enforce and re-enforce up close and personal, respectful and empathetic communication meetings on, at least, a weekly basis. These meetings are confined to the partners only and are done behind locked and closed doors. Bring in food. Do not go to a public place to talk.

b- There are always 3 realities: Yours, theirs and the business’ reality. Work with the reality of the business only and adjust your life to the needs of the business. I repeat, make your business the priority above and beyond all others and the “others” will have a phenomenal life.

c- Accept as fact, that you may have to change your place and responsibilities in the business as time passes. Welcome it with open arms. If you have a problem with this I say, respectfully, get a therapist as soon as possible. Your reluctance is connected to, and about, ego, self-image and self-confidence. It pays to have someone help you disentangle your emotions and consequently save your entrepreneurial career.

5th -Start the new venture on a 50/50 ownership platform:

If you’re forced to initiate an equal stock partnership, then having or learning patience, empathy, and anger management becomes even more crucial and essential than ever before. A 50/50 is fine until the “cracks” start to appear. If you don’t follow the advice in step #4, it could be the beginning of the end for everyone.

Some interesting points:

a-In a partnership breakup your net worth is never, I repeat, never what you think it is. It’s always much less.

b-Banks, customers, suppliers and even employees will scatter when they get a whiff of bad news on the horizon. Your net worth could entirely dissipate in the time it takes you to say “Wait, I changed my mind.”

c-Make the partnership agreement as simple as possible (two pages is good) or you’ll find that the lawyers will make more than you.

d-You could make a 51/49 % stock ownership with a 50/50 % profit split. It’s worth it to give up more on the profit split in order to get 51% ownership of the company. In any event, no matter what you decide it’s always wise to have salaries, expenses and benefits remain equal.

Solution: See the solution in step #4

“Now go with your eyes wide open”… Good Luck out there.

A Personal Note:

I’ll be accused of being negative and shortsighted. My response: That’s Crap. This is reality. This is life. It’s raw, pure, up close and certainly personal.

You don’t like the article? I understand. The truth and reality have a way of making people feel uncomfortable.

Just do me one favor. Print it and put it in a drawer, in a sealed envelope. Open it 12 months to the day that you started your business. If I was right you unfortunately learned a valuable lesson and if your verdict is that I was wrong, please take a closer look and search for cracks in the partnership relationship. You may be in the “subtle stage.”

Partnerships are great when they’re solid and built on mutual respect. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. This article is about possibilities that you must be aware of and in tune with. Consider this article a practice “fire drill.” Adapt now, because when the flames start to roar, it’s too late.

This article is about coating your business relationship with empathy. It’s about knowing that you’re not only responsible for your welfare and performance, but you’re also responsible for your business partners state of being. I’m not advocating that you become super-parent. I’m advocating for you, and this article is all about your protection and your financial and mental well-being.

Once again. Good luck out there and never, ever give up on your dreams.

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How Advertising and Marketing Got Started

Advertising, as we know it, probably started to prosper in 1904 when John E. Kennedy gave the world that definition: Advertising is Salesmanship-in-Print. A definition that has not been bettered since and many have tried.

But modern day advertising started a few years earlier than Kennedy when Richard Sears produced the very first mail order catalog (around 1892). This catalog contained hundreds of pages of articles for sale and each with their own sales copy. And Sears Roebuck is still going strong today, in marketing and sales.

Around this time, advertising agencies sprang up everywhere. And the people they employed and trained, left us with such treasures that all top marketers today display in their resource libraries and use to their advantage.

Shortly after Kennedy arrived on the scene, Claude Hopkins came along. He left us with a legacy we should all thank him for. He pioneered market testing, sampling, vouchers, and a whole lot more.

At the turn of the last century there were many others: Walter Dill Scott, Maxwell Sackheim, Haldeman Julius, John Caples, to name just four.

Then around the middle of the century such geniuses as Elmer Wheeler, Robert Collier and other contemporaries appeared.

Post war, advertising greats David Ogilvy, Joe Karbo, and Gary Halbert also made their mark.

And living legends Jay Abraham, John Carlton, Dan Kennedy, and Ted Nicholas, have all made many millions both for themselves and their clients.

Towards the end of the last century, the greatest marketing tool of all time was unleashed on the world – the Internet. Early pioneer of the Internet, Ken McCarthy, is still around and his “System” seminars are an absolute must attend.

The Internet has opened a whole new world for advertising and marketing. And a new breed of entrepreneur has been born. Guys like the late, great Corey Rudl, Marlon Sanders, Robert Imbriale, Yanik Silver, Jim Edwards and many others have shown what can be done and in such a short space of time.

But one thing all these “gurus” have in common is that they have studied the markets. They have studied the psychology of what makes people buy. They have learned these principles from the great masters of the past the John Kennedy’s, the Claude Hopkins, the Walter Dill Scott’s, the Elmer Wheeler’s.

And that’s what my articles are all about.

You will be taken from the very beginnings of advertising and get an insight into the writings, the ideas and the philosophies of most of the greatest marketers that ever lived.

For sure, you will recognise much of the material that is mentioned as we take the “tour” but it’s doubtful that you will have come across all of it.

All top marketers recommend that you continually add to your education and you will not do better than picking up any (or all) of the material that you will be exposed to on your “tour.”

Each manuscript mentioned in this “tour” is a desirable addition for your resource library.

Pick them up, maybe one at a time. And you will profit from them just like all the great masters have done past and present.

This article is a brief history of events leading up to the appearance of John E. Kennedy in 1904.

But it also highlights a few milestones in advertising.

1704 The first newspaper ad appeared. It was in a Boston Newsletter and sought a buyer for an estate in Oyster Bay, Long Island.

1729 Benjamin Franklin starts to publish the Pennsylvania Gazette in Philadelphia which included ads.

1742 America’s first magazine ads published by Benjamin Franklin in General Magazine.

1784 America’s first successful daily newspaper, the Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, starts in Philadelphia.

1833 Benjamin Day publishes the first successful “penny” newspaper, The Sun. Circulation reached 30,000 by 1837 which made it the largest in the world.

1843 Volney Palow opens the first ad agency in Philadelphia.

1868 Francis Wayland Ayer opens N. W. Ayer and Sons in Philadelphia with just $250.

His first clients include Montgomery Ward, John Wannamaker Dept. Stores, Singer Sewing machines, and Pond’s beauty cream.

1873 The first convention for ad agencies held in New York.

1877 J.W. Thompson buys Culter and Smith from William J. Carlton and pays $500 for the business and $800 for the office furniture.

1880 Department Store founder John Wanamaker becomes first retailer to employ a full-time advertising copywriter John E. Powers.

Wannamaker makes famous statement: half my advertising is waste, I just don’t know which half.

1881 Daniel M. Lord and Ambrose L. Thomas form Lord and Thomas in Chicago.

1881 Procter and Gamble advertise Ivory Soap with an enormous budget of $11,000.

1886 N.W. Ayer promotes advertising with the slogan: Keeping everlastingly at it brings success.

1886 Richard Warren Sears became the world’s first direct marketer.

1891 George Batten and Co. opens.

1892 NW Ayer hires first full-time copywriter.

1892 Sears Roebuck formed.

1893 Printer’s Ink founded by George P. Rowell. A magazine that serves as the little schoolmaster in the art of advertising.

1898 N.W Ayer helps National Biscuit Co. launch the first pre-packaged biscuit Uneeda.

1899 Campbell Soup makes its first advertising.

1899 JWT becomes the first agency to open an office in London. 1900 N .W. Ayer establishes a business-getting department to plan ad campaigns.

1904 John E. Kennedy bursts onto the scene to change the face of advertising forever.

My next article will continue with the evolution of advertising as we know it.

Mail order guru Ted Nicholas said that the old marketers were the best and that they, and the works they produced, should be studied – he did!

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Photography Specialties

There are quite a few Americans who believe photography is all just about taking photos; however, there are so many specialties one can get into if they go to school for photography. First, numerous schools exist for those who want to focus on just one type of photography. For example, a photographer can specialize in taking just senior pictures. Below you will find a brief list of some of the different types of photography and what kinds of jobs you can have in each field:

1. Wedding/special event photography can be a very rewarding career. Many professionals in the field revel in having the ability to capture their clients’ happy memories on camera. Most photographers in this specialty start off at a small studio, then move on and open their own studio. Owning your own studio can be a lot of work, so some people prefer to go into a partnership with one other colleague to share the costs and responsibilities of owning a studio.

2. Graduation photographs, which may or may not be separate from wedding and special events. Some photography studios are just dedicated to taking graduation photos all year-long. Taking pictures of high school seniors has become more and more popular. Many studios offer personalized service for their clients. For example, they will shoot a variety of images whether it is indoors or outdoors for each outfit the client brings to the studio. A high school student can wear jeans and a top for an outdoor picture and wear a dressy outfit for an indoor shoot.

3. Photographing nature can also be a very rewarding career. The first career choice that comes to mind is shooting photos for National Geographic, which would be a really fun thing to do all the time. A lot of travel is involved in shooting nature photos for any kind of magazine or periodical. Nature can include living animals in their natural habitat and non-living things in their natural habitat. With this track, you would usually be working for a magazine and you would travel with a journalist to whatever site is chosen for the article.

4. Finally, another popular direction for photographers is to shoot models for magazines and/or fashion shows. This is a very difficult field to get into because it is seen as the most glamorous. Many people would love to be involved in photo shoots with models and celebrities for one of the more popular magazines, but there are a limited number of jobs in that type of industry.

Contrary to popular belief, there are so many directions one can take their photography careers in once they are finished with all the schooling. Which you decide will depend on how you want to spend the rest of your career. If you want to settle down, stay in one place and have a family then maybe starting your own studio would be best for you and doing special events might be good for you. If you want to travel a lot and maybe not settle down anywhere in particular, then maybe the nature photography track would be best, since photography for any type of nature magazine usually requires a lot of travel.

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A Heartfelt New Year’s Resolution: Show You Care

I heard the sirens behind me before I saw the flashing lights of an ambulance, followed closely by a fire truck. Like everyone else on the roadway, I looked around trying to figure out where the ambulance was heading, and as soon as I saw the lights, eased my car over to the right side of the road. Only the ambulance wasn’t traveling in the direction of traffic, the ambulance was heading for whichever side of the roadway was clear, if only for a few car-lengths – much to the surprise, no doubt, of those in the oncoming lane of traffic.

I figured it must be a truly urgent emergency for the ambulance and fire truck to be commandeering both sides of Pacific Coast Highway. Nonetheless, drivers on either side were nudging their cars onto the side, out of the way. At no time did the ambulance have to blow its horn, slow down, or do anything else to get where it needed to go.

We care. We really do. In moments of crisis, large or small, our respect for one another simply as human beings, shows up. I am reminded of a very touching video posted in the final weeks of the chaotic Presidential campaigns, which featured a woman trying to find the owner of a lost dog found wandering in a parking lot. It was an “equal opportunity” posting, in that the same situation was played out in both Trump and Clinton rallies. The woman wore a “Trump” t-shirt in the Clinton situation, and a “Clinton” t-shirt in the Trump situation. Didn’t matter. People in both rallies, without exception, treated the woman with respect, and tried their very best to help her find the dog’s owner. Small crisis, true, but oh-so-telling.

We care. We really do. So what if, this New Year, we made a resolution to show our caring, our respect for our shared humanity, when it isn’t a matter of a lost dog or tragic accident? What if, just as a matter of course, throughout our most ordinary of days, we made the effort to give people the benefit of the doubt, to assume people are doing their best (including ourselves!), and to respect them, regardless of whether or not we agree with them?

I know, it’s easier to do with lost dogs than it is with co-workers or family, much less strangers who are rude to us or ignore us altogether. But heck, we’re still all in this together, and a little bit of respect and consideration goes a long way.

And who knows? Someone may give you some of that respect and consideration when you least expect it, in a most delightful way.

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20 Anytime Gifts That Will Last Forever

It’s that time again. You need a gift to take to a birthday, wedding, anniversary or any other occasion. Most of us don’t want to get just another gift, we all want to give and receive gifts that are timeless.

From the thoughtful custom necklace to the one-of-a-kind handmade trinket; we have you sorted out with our list of 20 anytime gifts that will never go out of fashion

The Thoughtful Gifts

1. Personalized Letter

In this day of technology, who wouldn’t love receiving a handwritten personalized letter? Personalized letters are particularly a great gift from children to grandparents or vice versa.

2. Memory Capsule

Memories are timeless. The best gift you could ever give a loved one is a piece of encapsulated memory. Recreate old photos taken with loved ones to form your memory capsule.

3. Quality Time

Sometimes your present is enough of a gift for that special person. Set aside ample time to spend a day together or go on a getaway.

4. Personalized Gift Cards

Personalized gift cards are still a timeless favorite from kid to parents or vice versa. Give out several with thoughtful tasks that they can be redeemed against.

5. Technology Lessons

Time has flown by and our grandparents, and parents, might need a little help catching up. Kids can gift their grandparents and immediate parents technology lessons to teach them about social media as well as the use of other gadgets.

Gifts for Him

6. RFID Wallet

Wallets are overly popular gifts for men, but not the RFID wallet. The RFID wallet will protect unwarranted card data theft, and it is one wallet he’ll be keeping for long.

7. Bartender Kit

Men love their drink, well most do. There isn’t a better gift for that drink lover than a bartender kit. A bartending set will also benefit you because, with it, he’ll be whipping up those delicious cocktails well into your hay days.

8. Balance Board

Balance is necessary for everyday life, and as we age, we lose our elementary balance. For the man looking to regain balance or just to keep fit, a balance board would be the perfect gift for them.

9. Smart Sprinkler Controller

Who is in charge of the sprinkler system, or just about any electronic, in your house? For that man, an intelligent sprinkler system would serve them well. Men love gadgets, and he will rave over the ability to control the sprinklers conveniently from a laptop/tablet/phone.

10. Watch

A good watch is always a great gift for that man in your life. It doesn’t have to cost much but go for a durable timepiece that will end up being an heirloom.

Gifts for Her

11. Jewellery

Let’s face it; time has proven it, women love jewelry. You can’t go wrong with a good custom necklace or just about any tasteful jewelry that she can pass on down the family tree.

12. Tea Set

Know a woman who loves tea? Then a tea set would make the perfect gift. This isn’t necessarily an age-restricted present; any woman who hosts company will like to add a good tea set in her collection.

13. Character Apron

Aprons are functional pieces of protective clothing and contrary to tradition; they don’t have to be flowery. Character aprons can instantly transform a lady into her beloved hero.

14. Scarf

Often overlooked, scarves are exquisite and complimentary outfit accents. Most women keep them for years, and that’s why they make it to our list of timeless gifts.

15. Handbag

Next to jewellry and shoes, women love handbags. Women also keep bags for years and getting her a good, quality bag is an ideal gift choice for any occasion.

A Custom Necklace and Other Custom Gift Ideas

16. Custom Pendants

A custom necklace is a good gift, but a custom locket is a great gift. A pendant allows you to take a treasured photo with you on the go. Anyone would love getting a personalized jewelry as a gift.

17. Picture Mug

Who doesn’t love a photo mug? Why not get her or him a collection of mugs with pictures of the people dearest to them?

18. Keychains

Everyone uses keychains at one point or another. Personalized keychains are thoughtful gift options.

19. Clocks

Clocks are also great options to personalize with custom photos. Go for a traditional wall clock or a wrist watch for a custom gift option.

20. Map

Have someone you have shared countless of adventures with? Get them a customized photo map to map out your travel memories.

There you have it; with our list of 20 anytime gifts that will never go out of fashion, you are equipped to give timeless and ageless gifts for any occasion.

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