Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Motorvationally Speaking": View from the Top

Where does a lonely executive turn for advice, accountability and understanding?

Who does he or she get to bounce ideas off of in a forum that offers both challenge and confidentiality?

In this tough economy, CEOs aren’t looking for a quick fix. Faced with circumstances they’ve never seen before, a growing number are seeking ongoing help from other executives and experts to figure out what to do and how to help each other weather the economic storm.

One of the world's most respected CEO peer groups is The Executive Committee (TEC), with more than 15,000 members in 16 different countries. Founded in 1957 by a Wisconsin businessman, members meet in small groups every month under the same guiding principles — to help one another make better decisions, achieve better results for their businesses, and enhance their lives.

Today we have the chair of TEC 390 in New Brunswick, Mike Mallory, stopping by for a chat on this edition of "Motorvationally Speaking"

"Don't join an easy crowd. You won't grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high" JIM ROHN

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Seven Smart Cities

Over 430 cities worldwide stepped up to the plate.

Only 7 are celebrating home runs.

The Intelligent Community Forum, a think tank full or "smarticles" studying economic and social development of the 21st Century, announced last week its list of the Top Seven Communities of 2009. These communities were named to the Top Seven based on analysis of their nominations by a team of independent academic experts:

And the winners are ...

- Bristol, Virginia, USA

A first time honoree, Bristol made an impact after taking on incumbent telcos in court and the state legislature to win the right to deploy a fiber network called OptiNet. OptiNet has attracted more than $50 million in private investment, including the region's first technology employers, and improved rural education and healthcare.

- Eindhoven, Netherlands

Long the industrial heart of the Netherlands, the Eindhoven region is leveraging a public-private collaboration called Brainport, to maintain and accelerate growth, while at the same time coping with an aging population and shrinking workforce.

- Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

This community became the industrial zone of Paris in the early 20th Century only to suffer de-industrialization in the post-war years. Beginning in 1980, a visionary mayor focused policy on creating an innovative, IT-based knowledge economy, implementing e-government and deploying cost-effective broadband. Public-private innovation includes a cyber-kindergarten for children, cyber tearooms for older citizens, a successful business incubator and ICT-based real estate projects.

- Stockholm, Sweden

In the mid-90s, Stockholm, the economic and political capital of Sweden, established a company called Stokab to build an open-access fiber network. Today, the 4,500 km network connects more than 90 competing service providers to government and business customers. Stockholm also manages KISTA Science City, housing more than 1,400 companies, plus a support program for start-up and early-stage companies.

- Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn has risen from post-Soviet economic ruin to become an economic tiger largely on the strength of ICT. Making creative use of people and funding, Tallinn computerized its schools and deployed widespread WiFi as well as nearly 700 public access kiosks. The city also developed a large-scale digital skills training program, extensive e-government, and an award-winning smart ID card. Rated #2 worldwide for economic potential by the Financial Times, Tallinn is home to half of Estonia's companies, which receive 77% of the country's foreign direct investment.

- Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

For most of its history, government and education were the economic mainstays of Fredericton. When it could not get broadband from the private sector, Fredericton founded e-Novations, giving the city a 70% penetration rate at speeds of up to 18 Mbps. The next step was the Fred-eZone wireless network, which provides free WiFi service across 65% of the city. The combination of broadband, entrepreneurship and Fredericton's universities has powered the creation of over 12,000 jobs.

- Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Twenty years ago, Moncton was a former railroad and industrial hub facing a doubtful future. Since then, this bilingual community has become a major Canadian customer contact and back office center, and built a "near-shore" IT outsourcing industry. Private-sector carriers have collaborated in the city's growth as a telecom-centric economy, and helped power the addition of 20,000 new jobs since the early 1990s.

Given that TSB has deep Moncton roots, forgive the shameless plug for the city and region with this somewhat cheesy, yet informative promo put together by the folks responsible for tooting our horn in this part of the world.

In this 21st Century, connectivity is a double-edge sword: threatening established economies on the one hand, and offering enormous opportunities on the other. Landing in the Top Seven is a major achievement for these cities and one of the Top Seven will succeed the Gangnam District of Seoul, South Korea as Intelligent Community of the Year in New York City on May 15, 2009 during ICF’s annual "Building the Broadband Economy" Summit.

Which of the Top Seven will be the one city that really knocks it out of the ICF park in May?

Don't blame us if we're pulling for both Moncton and Fredericton from our end.

Doesn't it make you wonder how not one, but two cities from such a small province as New Brunswick, Canada could end up on a list like this one?

Hmmm ...

"Today's problems cannot be solved with the level of thinking that created them" ALBERT EINSTEIN

Monday, January 26, 2009

Celebrating Greatness

What do Wayne Gretzky and Eddie Van Halen have in common?

Perhaps, more than you think.

Besides being regarded as virtuosos in their respective pursuits, Number 99 and EVH are also enshrined in their respective Halls of Fame after each decided on his chosen career path at an early age.

Wayne and Eddie also share the same chiropracter, describe golf as their favorite form of recreation and each considers Tiger Woods as a buddy.

And ... they also happen to share a birthday!

Today, the Great One turns 48 while Eddie turns the dial up to 52.

And while Van Halen's "Eruption" was the warning shot that revolutionized rock guitar when it was released in the late 70's, Gretzky also turned his sport upside down when he entered the NHL at about the same time period, on his way to becoming the most prolific scoring machine in hockey history.

TSB joins the millions around the world who admire and applaud Wayne and Eddie for the efforts they've made to take their gifts to the highest level.

Happy Birthday fellas!

"There's a plaque on our wall that says we've sold over 65 million albums, and I don't feel I've accomplished anything. I feel like I'm just getting started" EDDIE VAN HALEN

"The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it" WAYNE GRETZKY

Friday, January 23, 2009

Resurrection in the Desert

He has been written off on several occasions, booed off his home field, benched, doubted, undervalued and underestimated.

Kurt's story isn't new, but it never gets old.

He is an inspiration to anyone ready to throw in the towel.

The Readers Digest version is that Kurt only grabbed a starting place in college football during his senior year at the University of Northern Iowa and barely got a look at a Green Bay Packers training camp in 1994 before landing back home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, stocking shelves and bagging groceries at a local supermarket for $5.50 an hour.

But, Kurt still believed in himself when nobody else did and eventually landed a quarterbacking job with the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena League before catching on with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. He parlayed that into a backup role with the St. Louis Rams in 1998 and when starter Trent Green was injured during the 1999 pre-season, Kurt emerged as the the pitch man for "The Greatest Show on Turf,", capping it off with a Super Bowl victory over the Tennessee Titans where was he was named MVP.

After three impressive seasons, the St. Louis track team ran out of steam and Kurt landed in New York with the Giants, struggled in the Big Apple and wound up sitting behind a kid named Manning. He appeared on his way out of football before joining Arizona as a backup again in 2005. It looked to be the end of the road for a veteran gunslinger, riding out into the sunset as a caddy for Cardinals #1 pick, Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart.

But, with Leinart becoming known more so for enjoying late nights as opposed to late-game heroics, Kurt has bounced back yet again, leading the underdog Cardinals to their first playoff victory in 60 year and a Super Bowl berth next week with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

From where Kurt Warner sits - as a man of faith - it's easy to explain why he was risen from the ashes in Phoenix.

In every place Kurt has played, he has been a people magnet, because he never allows Warner the athlete to define Warner the person. On the day Warner was benched in Arizona two years ago, the first thing he did when he left the office was seek out a Cardinals employee to comfort him about the diagnosis of the man's autistic son.

Warner and wife Brenda take needy, at-risk and/or Make-a-Wish families to Disney World for a week every off season ... and they don't just pay for the families; they stay with them. When he and Brenda go to dinner with their children they pick out one family in the restaurant, call the waiter over, and anonymously pick up the tab. The secret is, the family can never know who did it. It's all about being charitable for charity's sake -- not for the sake of being thanked or recognized for doing a good deed.

Win, lose or draw, there are certain things no one can take away from Kurt Warner.

Who else do you know that could be called a better person than a player?

"The first night we met, after we danced that night, I told him, 'I just want you to know I am a divorced mother of two, so if I never hear from you again, I will understand. The next morning, he showed up with a rose and wanted to meet the kids" BRENDA WARNER

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Could it be THAT Simple?

Does Will Smith really have it all figured out?

Could success in life all come down to simple R & R?

Running and Reading?

Balancing physical and mental exertion.

Physical fitness provides a mental edge while voracious reading allows one to discover writers who can serve as sounding boards, sources of inspiration, or thought-provoking agents.

But every once in a while, it helps to go off the beaten path ...

Bumped into a new friend of mine before the holidays and I'll never forget what he shared over a cold brew while he was surrounded by hot ladies.

Allain's take on success boiled down to four stimuli that need to happen each day.

Do all four each day = a great life.

The four things are as follows:

- Stimulated Physically (Exercise)
- Stimulated Intellectually (Learning)
- Stimulated Socially (Friendships)
- Stimulated Emotionally (Love)

TSB has never pretended to have all the answers on how to make this thing called a life run smoother, but it sure is interesting to think about once in a while.

Especially with good friends.

Old and new.

"Man always travels along precipices. His truest obligation is to keep his balance" POPE JOHN PAUL II

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Motorvationally Speaking" : The Knight Moves

Today is National Hugging Day.


A hug - otherwise known as the universal medicine. The shortest distance between two friends. Like a handshake from the heart.

And few people take this issue more seriously than "Canada's Huggable Car Dealer" as CHCD-TV embraces the CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, Anthony Knight on this weeks edition of "Motorvationally Speaking".

National Hugging Day - especially for family and friends is sponsored by Kevin Zaborney of Clio, Michigan. He’ll announce "The Most Huggable People of the Year" at

Ever notice how much you may try and hug your money or your possessions, they never hug back.?

A hug. One size fits all, and it's easy to exchange.

Who will you reach out to today on National Send a Hug Day.?

"You can't wrap love in a box, but you can wrap a person in a hug" AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Floating Hope

Today is Inauguration Day.

It's a day when , according to the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the terms of the President and Vice-President end and the terms of their successors begin.

It's also a day when the words of one audacious man, will echo throughout America and around the world; words that many hope will mark the beginning of the end to economic hardships, environmental unrest and military operations that have yet to accomplish their mission.

And today, in Boulder, Colorado, there is an elderly man who thinks history is about to repeat itself with the Obama presidency.

If the world is falling apart, isn't it time hope fell into place?

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek" BARACK OBAMA

Monday, January 19, 2009

Illusionary Thinking

"Is it a good idea to start a business during a recession"?

That was the question put forward during a class last week from a would-be entrepreneur, trying to decide whether the dream of starting her own business is worth pursuing.

Forget about the answer for a moment.

Personally, I am not sure she was asking the right question.

People have many reasons to be motivated to start a business, but TSB has noticed over the years that successful entrepreneurs are especially driven. Here’s why. For them, it’s not just a job that’s on the line; it’s everything. Livelihoods and families are at stake. Far too often, people who say they want to own a business are really saying they want to own an already successful business; their illusions fired by the thought of the prize as opposed to the process.

So in search of the better question, we embarked on a YouTube journey that began with a guy who knows at least a little bit about what it takes to be an entrepreneur ... Donald Trump.

Success guru Brian Tracy also weighs in with this insight into entrepreneurship:

And see if you notice how a certain pattern develops from this collection of top business people in the U.K. offering their advice to entrepreneurs:

Passion is the ultimate driver for true entrepreneurs.

They put passion into everything.

It’s a magnetic quality that doesn’t just motivate them to get to work, it persuades — and even inspires — others to want to work with them. Playwright Neil Simon once quipped: “If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor.”

What kind of person would it take to launch an entrepreneurial venture during the height of a recession?

Is that a better question to be asking?

Or, are we missing something here?

"Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you're generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don't make" DONALD TRUMP

NOTE: The Sistine Chapel is located in the Palace of the Vatican, the official residence of the Roman Catholic Pope in Vatican City. It was built between 1475 and 1483, in the time of Pope Sixtus IV, and is one of the most famous churches on our planet. Michelangelo Buonarroti was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508 to paint the ceiling with the work completed between 1508 and November 1, 1512. He painted the Last Judgement over the altar, between 1535 and 1541, being commissioned by Pope Paul III Farnese.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Brand of Steel

Throughout history, this brand has matched the hard-nosed work ethic of a city and its people. It's most loyal supporters describe the brand as “strong,” “tough” and “hard-working,”.

This weekend the Pittsburgh Steelers will demonstrate why they are more than just a good football team.

They're also a powerful brand.

The Steelers franchise traditionally ranks as one of the strongest team brands in its local market compared with scores of other professional sports teams in consumer surveys. According to the 2007 Turnkey Team Brand Index, the Steelers ranked first among 122 team brands in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL with data supplied by more than 12,000 fans in 47 markets. In the 2008 survey, Steelers ranked third.

Values such as “family-oriented”, “blue collar,” and "stability" have created a brand whereby the team actually defines the city. "Pittsburgh" and the "Steelers" have always gone together ... much like "Bud" and "Wiser".

Probably the single biggest reason is the long-term vision instilled by the ownership of the Rooney family which dates back to the early 1930's. Current head coach Mike Tomlin is only the third person to occupy that job over the last 38 years as he follows a trail of glory blazed by predecessors, Bill Cowher and Chuck Noll.

Like the Yankees in baseball, the Celtics in basketball, and the Canadiens in hockey, the Steelers embrace a rich championship and Hall-of-Fame history to create an internal brand in their locker room before it charges out on to the gridiron at Heinz Field before 70,000 "Terrible Towel" waving fans.

Myron has passed on but the power of the "Terrible Towel" lives on in Steeler fans such as 90-year old Agnes Falls

And there are no shortage of companies lining up these days to jump on the Steelers "brandwagon":

This Sunday, the finalists for Super Bowl XLIII will be decided with Arizona Cardinals hosting the Philadelphia Eagles in a "Battle of the Birds" to determine the NFC champion. The AFC title will be contested in Pittsburgh where the Steelers and their fans will prove to be less than congenial hosts to the visiting Baltimore Ravens.

Don't be surprised to see a Cardinals-Steelers Super Bowl matchup, February 1, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.

"I like being the hunter rather than the hunted" BEN ROETHLISBERGER

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Swimming in a Blue Ocean

It's an old idea, but with a new twist.

Positioning, differentiation and business growth can be discovered by making strategic decisions based on principles revealed in the best-seller "Blue Ocean Strategy". The book has sold more than a million copies in its first year of publication, is published in 41 languages and is critical of the idea that successful business are either low-cost providers or niche-players. Instead, "Blue Ocean" thinking proposes finding value in other ways that defy conventional wisdom and segmentation.

In other words, create new market space by changing the rules of the game.

Here is a quick overview of the book and the concept:

As the business waters become increasingly choppy through 2009, owners and management teams would be well advised to be framing strategic vision through a sharply focused lens such as "Blue Ocean Strategy". However, blue oceans are largely, uncharted waters. The dominant focus of strategic thinking over the past 25 years has been on competition-based red ocean strategies.

If you look around, you will notice others brands who jumped in to create uncontested market space such as as Curves, Southwest Airlines, Cirque de Soleil and the Wii from Nintendo.

How could swimming in a "Blue Ocean" impact your brand?

"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day" JOHNNY NASH

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Motorvationally Speaking": A Woodside Chat

You are no doubt familiar with the phrase ... "The more things change, the more they stay the same".

Here is a case in point.

Back in the early 1930's, a political leader invites listeners to cozy up to their radios as a way to seek shelter from the economic storm. As the Great Depression ravaged companies, communities and families, FDR offers hope and reassurance with his series of "fireside chats" and the promise of a "New Deal". Gradually, America begins to pull itself up by its bootstraps and cleans up the economic mess triggered by the Wall Street crash in 1929.

Today, on the premiere edition of "Motorvationally Speaking", another elected official is coming forward to ignite the power of positive thinking, albeit on a different scale and in a different medium. Don't know if this is coincidence or not, but he was at one time, a radio talk show host who often shared comforting thoughts with his listeners on a variety of subjects.

Some might contend that words offering comfort and hope may be more important than gold these days as we weather the current situation.

You can decide for yourself with the longest-serving mayor in the history of Fredericton, New Brunswick - currently into his seventh term - the featured guest on CHCD-TV ... his worship, Mr. Brad Woodside.

"We have nothing to fear, but fear itself" FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Branding in a Recession

Do you know the difference between a recession and a depression?

Perhaps the easiest way to distinguish the two is to think about it this way:

"In a recession, your neighbour loses his job; in a depression, you lose yours!”

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) confirmed on December 1, 2008, that the U.S. economy has been in a recession since December 2007. Many economists believe the current recession will be the worst since the recession of 1981-82.

But, you already know tough times don't last; tough people do and today on TSB you get to contemplate how life will change in the business ocean you are currently splashing around in. This ocean (your market) that has sustained you and your competitors, is about to shrink to the size of a pond, and that spells trouble for those who can't foresee the implications of this contraction. Natural law dictates that some competitors (smaller, slower fish) will be squeezed out of the pond, gasping, choking and wheezing their way to a spot on the beach.

A natural, knee-jerk reaction to this "shrinking pond" dynamic would be to cut back on your branding activities, such as marketing, advertising, P.R., and the new darling, social media; however, studies have shown taking your foot off the branding pedal might be the most dangerous thing you can do for your enterprise in tough economic times.

In a study of U.S. recessions, McGraw-Hill Research analyzed 600 companies from 1980-1985. The results showed that companies that maintained or increased advertising budgets during the 1981-82 recession averaged Significantly Higher Sales growth, both during the recession and for the following three years, than those that eliminated or decreased advertising. By 1985, sales of companies that were Aggressive Recession Advertisers had climbed 256% over those that didn't keep up their advertising.

But wait ... there's more!

Another series of six studies conducted by the research firm of Meldrum & Fewsmith showed conclusively that Advertising Aggressively during Recessions not only boosted sales, but also increased profits and overall market share. This fact has held true for all post-World War II recessions studied by The American Business Press starting in 1949.

When the pond is shrinking, there are fewer competitors with the gills to splash around and make some noise. Consequently, your message has a better chance of being heard and when the tidal wave of prosperity comes rushing back in (which it always has in the 35 recessions since 1867) your brand has a window of opportunity in 2009 to leapfrog over everybody else; to the ONE brand customers in your category think of first.

- Everyone still needs to put gas in the car.

- Families still need to buy groceries.

- Kids still need clothes and school supplies.

- Handymen still need power tools and other gadgets.

- Women still need makeup and lipstick.

- Sports fans still need the new Jalapeno-flavored Doritos chips for the NFL playoffs.

- And great brands still need to flourish and grow.

Here is why:

When times are good, your branding activities - such as marketing, advertising and P.R. - set you apart from the other fish. When times are tough, your branding activities allow you to gain an unbeatable advantage once the inevitable rush of fresh water from the turnaround arrives.

Market share is up for sale in 2009.

Will you decide to wade in the shallow end or head to deeper water?

"I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crunch Time


Wanna be "in the know" about the latest, hottest stuff coming out of Silicon Valley?

Technology and brands that are going to rock your world?

Today, TSB explores the glitz, glamour and geeks who flocked to the annual "Crunchies", this past Friday night in San Francisco.

The 2008 "Crunchies" recognized and celebrated the most compelling startups, internet and technology innovations of the year. Co-hosted by GigaOm, VentureBeat, Silicon Alley Insider, and TechCrunch, one of the unique aspects of this show is that the internet community is invited to choose who wins. About 170,000 companies were nominated for awards, such as "Best bootstrapped startup" to "Best Founder", which went to Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.

The biggest winner of them all, however, was a 24-year old Harvard dropout with a net worth exceeding $1.5 billion dollars. When he moved to Palo Alto four years ago, he had no car, no house, and no job. Today, his company has over 800 employees with a current valuation of about $15 billion dollars. One in three Canadians currently use his app, which attracted more than 60 million users in the last year.

He has also appeared on "60 Minutes" as well as the covers of Newsweek and Rolling Stone while Time Magazine ranked him #52 out of 101 of The World's Most Influential People of 2008.

Meet, Mark Zuckerberg, a double winner at the 2008 "Crunchies" with his company, Facebook capturing Best Overall honors, while Mark himself took home the hardware as Best Start-Up CEO.

Zuckerberg is just one of hundreds of bright, entrepreneurial minds wheeling and dealing through Silicon Valley these days, with each sunrise offering hope to other hackers and code crackers that they might be the next ones to hit the high-tech jackpot.

Some of the other big winners at the 2008 "Crunchies", included:

Best Application Or Service - Google Reader
Best Technology Innovation/Achievement – Windows Live Mesh
Best Design – Cooliris
Best Bootstrapped Startup – Github
Most Likely to make the World a Better Place – GoodGuide
Best Enterprise - Amazon Web Services
Best International – eBuddy
Best Clean Tech – Project Frog
Best New Device or Gadget – iPhone 3G
Best Time Sink Site or Application – Tap Tap Revenge
Best Mobile Startup – Evernote
Best Mobile App – Imeem
Best Startup Founder – Jack Dorsey, Twitter
Best Startup CEO – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
Best New Startup of 2008 - FriendFeed
Best Overall - Facebook

The spirit of the evening was perhaps best captured by The Richter Scales, a hilarious acappella act, offering advice on how to make it through these tough economic times.

"I really want to see us build a product that lets you really feel a person and understand what's going on inside them" MARK ZUCKERBERG

Friday, January 9, 2009

Shining Starr

He was the Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and John Elway of his day.

Yet, rarely did he bask in the media spotlight, overshadowed by his legendary coach, a guy named Lombardi.

While Vince ascended to immortality (naming the Super Bowl trophy after him serves as a reminder), the man who piloted his on-field machine often reminded mere mortals what could be accomplished, despite having the odds stacked against them.

Back in the mid-fifties, no one would have given a 17th round draft choice named Bart Starr much of a chance to stick in the NFL, let alone become one of the games greatest, albeit underrated players. He went on to win no fewer than 5 NFL titles, including the first two Super Bowls; he is one of only 5 Packers to have had his jersey retired and each year the Bart Starr Award is presented annually to an NFL player of outstanding character.

Bart Starr turns 75 today.

And for those who wonder why, the Green Packers of the 1960's are still talked about as one of the greatest sports dynasties of all time, one has to look no further than what transpired on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field with the 1967 "Ice Bowl".

Are the life lessons and teamwork examples from the Packers of the Sixties, still relevant for individuals and organizations in the Digital Age?

If nothing else, aren't you a little bit curious as to why the Lombardi legacy still carries so much Starr-power?

"Anyone can support a team that is winning - it takes no courage. But to stand behind a team to defend a team when it is down and really needs you, that takes a lot of courage" BART STARR

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Exchanging Vows

November 7, 2008, at 9:45 am.

Close to 500 people attending a workshop in Barcelona take a vow for non violence in their thoughts, speech and actions.

Inspired by author Deepak Chopra, each person vowed to ask two other other people in their lives to join them in making this commitment.

The goal is to create a global movement, which would mobilize millions of others to make a similar pledge and transform the world in some way.

Last night, this movement spread to my inbox.

Jaded cynics and sarcastic skeptics will likely snicker and sneer at such a courageous effort to step forward and commit to this type of action. However, it takes zero effort or any level of commitment to criticize the efforts of another. Last time we checked, very few statues have been erected to honor the gutless critic.

Personally, I have long admired what Deepak Chopra has been trying to do with his life's work. Beginning in 2004, my copy of Chopra's "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" has been read and re-read about 400 times. It's one of those rare books, that depending on where you are at on your journey, will reveal different insights about what you can do to achieve success in harmony with natural laws; so that good health, fulfilling relationships, and abundance in every kind imaginable, spring forward in an effortless fashion.

I took the vow this morning.

Will you?

"There is no such word as can't"

JEAN MAXWELL (November 7, 1937 - February 28, 1998)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Motorvationally Speaking

What happens when you take a Canadian used car dealer, fuelled by high-octane inspirational thoughts, wisdom and a passion for serving people, and combine it with a TV camera and a ubiquitous, seamless, platform called the Internet?

The answer is CHCD-TV.

You can see for yourself with this preview episode of what you can expect in 2009 from Canada's one and only "huggable car dealer", Jim Gilbert of Fredericton, N.B.

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily" ZIG ZIGLAR

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Best Classic Rock Logo?

The best of this bunch wind up being sketched in pen on more than a million different school notebooks,

They grace T-shirts, denim jackets, and yes, even body art.

From a purely artistic perspective, there are few musical genres that even come close to the branding tactics employed by the legends of classic rock. When was the last time you saw someone with "Pavarotti", "Boxcar Willie" or "Celine" tattooed on their bicep?

But, if you were to decide the Top 5 Classic Rock logos of all time, you would be hard-pressed to narrow it down to such a short list. There would be no shortage of nominees, including, Deep Purple, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Yes, Queen, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and many others ... but to pick only five is a tall order indeed.

Nevertheless, Top 5 Lists are what we do from time to time at TSB and since there were so many classic rock gifts handed out over the holidays (thanks KL!) and in keeping with the current "Rockband" craze, (actually saw Peter Mansbridge riffing the other night), here it is:

Here they are, the TSB Top 5 Classic Rock Logos of All-Time ...

In descending order, let's begin with ...

5. AC/DC

Can you believe the mileage the Angus and Malcolm Young have received from this after naming their band after their sister's sewing machine? There were a few different versions of the logo in their early days, but the current form has been used since the release of "Let There Be Rock" in 1977. The lightning bolt between the two groups of letters also perfectly fits, representing the electricity of the band (Alternative Current/Direct Current) and their music. The recent "Black Ice" CD release even has Wal-Mart worshipping this brand and what it stands for.

4. Led Zeppelin

The late Keith Moon (drummer from the Who) actually predicted that this new band founded by ex-Yardbird Jimmy Page would crash like a lead balloon. Page liked Moon's suggestion so much and instantly saw the dichotomy created by the light-heavy connotations of the name and how it reflected in Zeppelin's musical approach between acoustic melodies and blitzkrieg power chords.

3. Van Halen

More than three decades later the Van Halen brand is still able to leap off the tallest drum riser based on its 2007/08 highly successful reunion tour with original frontman David Lee Roth. The original logo was created by designer Dave Bhang for their debut album in 1978. The "wings" element may have been inspired by by the Aerosmith logo, but Dave gave Van Halen a bigger Bhang for their design buck by making the VH icon cleaner and sleeker.

2. Metallica

Lead singer James Hetfield deserves credit for creating the logo that defined where classic rock was heading as far back as the early 1980's. Metallica went through two other versions before reverting back to a re-working of their original logo for the release of their ninth studio effort, "Death Magnetic". Never afraid to break with convention, Metallica worked with design company Turner Duckworth to create packaging and branding for the album.

Turner Duckworth is better known for designing logos, packaging and visual identity systems for consumer brands like Coca-Cola and


Still the biggest seller of them all with more than 3,000 licensed products. Guitarist Ace Frehley designed it but Gene Simmons was the business brain that catapulted KISS to the top of the rock and roll merchandising mountain. The New York-based rockers created this symbol for their second album "Hotter than Hell" in 1973 and is reported to have a value estimated at $500 million dollars.

That kind of cash could definitely inspire one to "Rock and Roll All Nite ... and Party Everyday".

We may have missed some of your favorites on this list, so don't be shy about letting us know.

Wonder what other Top 5 lists we could put together in 2009?

"The great thing about rock-n-roll is you realize the top of the mountain is big enough for more than one band" PAUL STANLEY

Monday, January 5, 2009

The "Other" List

As 2009 kicks into gear, items from your "Bucket List" may have made their way on to your "other" list.

How many times have you set out to "resolve" to do something special or meaningful whenever it's time to clean the calendar and start a new year?

How often do you succeed with your resolutions?

Most of us are familiar with the "bucket list", the itemized version of those things we wish to do or have before we "kick the bucket". The idea was further popularized by the 2007 comedy-drama starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, as two terminally ill men hit the road on a quest to check things off their respective lists. However, when you watch the movie or listen to folks around you rhyme things off their "list", it invariably comes to back to being an exercise in self-centred shopping. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but the focus of these lists tend to focused on things we don't have as opposed to what we do have. I have done this more times than I can remember so just to change things up, the "bucket list" and "New Year's Resolutions" are getting kicked to the curb in favor of the "Gratitude List".

This idea was inspired by two events.

The first attributed to a great friend of mine, Dale Betts, who sent me an article penned by Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life) on the morning of December 31, 2008. Warren said in part, "We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by a purpose? God didn't put me on earth just to fulfil a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings".

The second event involved a trip to the Moncton City Hospital's neuro-intensive care unit, but that story will have to wait until another day. Few things will alter your perspective like visiting a young man fighting for his life while a family and community is hoping and praying for the best.

So, if you don't mind me sharing, here is the first-ever (for me) 2009 Gratitude List; some of the things and people I am grateful for as we head into a new year with a chance of making it our best one ever.

I am thankful for having:

- Had the opportunity to co-chair the enormously successful "Taking Flight" Atlantic HR Conference, held back in October of 2008. Many thanks go out to Rachelle Gagnon for betting the farm on a vision that may have looked risky at first and to David Cannon for making sure all of the nuts and bolts were in place to make the plan come together.

- An opportunity to hear Doug Stevenson at a CAPS meeting in April of 2008 in Halifax and learn about his "Story Theater Method". And if it wasn't for the "Flower", Martin Latullippe, I never would have become involved with CAPS in the first place. Thanks to CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers), other doors continue to swing wide open after a 4-day NSA conference in New York this past August that I still think was one of the most remarkable events I have ever attended. Just to be in the same room as Bill Strickland and hear him speak ... wow!

- Not one, not two, but three first-class buddies named Ken. LeBlanc, Margeson and MacLeod sounds like a law firm, but the only thing the Three Kens will ever solicit is the highest of regards. KL, K-Rod and K-Mac are as different as personalities go, but share a common trait called "loyalty". Neither Ken will ever be confused with the action figure by the same name but they did luck out in the "Barbie" department. These guys are lucky enough to be with dolls.

- So many success stories accumulate from the Fundy Group of clients through 2008. It takes a different breed of business owner to work with some of our methodologies, but those who follow the process and take a patient, longer view, are usually better off for it. Thanks to our clients, they provide a canvas that allows the unique talents of people like Darren Sears, Dave MacKenzie, Ian Varty, Amanda Duff and Ryan Maxwell to display what they are capable of.

- Colleagues and friends like Leanne Taylor, Walter Melanson, Jeremy Demont, Jim & Dawna Gilbert, Don Schmincke, Tyson & Janice from WestJet, Cheryl Karpen, Randy Gould, Marc Maurice, Dan Martell, Danielle Leger, Katherine Maurice and Jack Lamey who challenge, inspire and entertain in their own unique ways.

- The challenges presented by certain relationships that have not gone the way I would have hoped and the lessons they have provided to help take my game to another level in 2009.

- A world-class sister, who refuses to judge and is ALWAYS there in good times or bad. There aren't many people like Karen who can look right through me, see what's flawed and still enjoy the view.

- Loyal readers of TSB like Carl Fischer, Rick Nicholson, Steve MacDowall, Terry Gaudet, Jon Reid, Matt Eldridge and so many more who take time to share comments and opinions.

- and franchisees like Mike Shanks, Shannon, Gavin, Debbie Allen Kenny and Tracey Singleton and others who continually amaze me with their dedication to a business that, for them, has become a cause.

- Roy H. Williams and the folks at Wizard Academy.

- Ron MacLean of HNIC who taught me the essence of what it takes to serve.

and, last, but not least .... YouTube.

What would land on your "Gratitude List" as you head into 2009?

"If you're alive, there's a purpose for your life" RICK WARREN

p.s.... This is one example of how YouTube helps make the world a better place.