Great Works Require Rest

April 12th, 2009 by Nick Corsi

Music & Arts: A Time For Rest
By Nick Corsi

Try Resting

Sometimes it is the notes you don’t play.

SOME GREAT MUSICIANS WILL TELL YOU…

They will tell you this: A lot of times, it’s the notes that you DON’T play that truly make a composition what it is. An experienced musician knows when to hold back and let silence or resonance to fill the air. Sometimes we forget what “rest” can do for a piece of music, for a project, or for our work.

APPRECIATION AND ANTICIPATION


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Israeli Couscous

April 11th, 2009 by Alex Gergar

is-couscous1

Osem’s Israeli Couscous

Food & Design: Trends of Summer, Israeli Couscous

One of my favorite new food trends that have been hitting the commercial grocers is  Israel couscous. However, it may be a bit late for me to say that this is a new truly trend in American culture because chefs have been experimenting with this type of pasta since the early 1950s. Over the past few years there has been a sudden boom to explore this culinary favorite which is why I put it at the top of my culinary trends for the summer.

ISRAELI COUSCOUS: A HISTORY LESSON
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A Camera Doesn’t Make You A Photographer

April 8th, 2009 by Bob Martin

Always use a professional photographer.

Consciousness: true selfishness

By Bob Martin

A CAMERA DOESN’T MAKE YOU A PHOTOGRAPHER

I hear the same comment over and over…”I can take the product shot. I’ve got a digital camera”.

A few years ago, I was walking through “Ace Bargain Center”. Ace was a combination of connecting buildings that went for an entire city block. This store had every kind of used merchandise you could possible imagine. It was like an indoor junk yard (but clean and safe). As I was walking by one of the rooms I noticed that it contained all the materials for a complete operating suite; gurney, cabinets, lights, autoclave and even some surgical utensils. I realized that for the paltry sum of a couple of thousand dollars, I could set up my own operating room. I would have the equipment. The problem was, equipment doesn’t make you a surgeon, talent does. The same thing goes for photography.


A GOOD PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER IS MORE ARTIST THAN PHOTOGRAPHER.

A pro realizes the effect of lighting, positioning, backgrounds and even the image your product conveys. Lots of people can take “good” photos with a digital camera and they can be the hit of the picnic, but the professional photographer takes it the extra mile to make your product shine.

You’ve put a lot of time into developing your product and you’re proud of it. Put your best foot forward and show it in the best possible way. I think you’ll find that most photographers can work wonders and are a lot less expensive than you’d think.

Another tip: Don’t dictate to the photographer, let him ask questions and give you his best possible recommendations. If you let an artist use his vision, chances are you’ll get something much better than you had hoped for. In my 35+ years of experience, it’s worked every time.


Next week: The Car Dealer and TV.

Always let the artist make the suggestions!

Bob Martin is principal of Martin Creative Consultants, providing advertising consulting and services to manufacturing and retail businesses. His MCC VoicePros division creates audio voiceovers for radio, TV, internet ads and presentations.

The Art of Balance

April 8th, 2009 by Greg Pashke

What's the Best Path?

Wobble Wobble

I’m King of the World

strategic planning: innovation: management:success

LIFE IS EVER CHANGING & DYNAMIC

Do you remember the challenge, the fear, and the thrill of learning to ride your bike as a child? Do you remember how proud you felt when you finally got the upper hand on gravity? Didn’t you feel like standing on your handle bars and screaming “I’m King of the World!” You had acquired the “art of balance” to keep your peddling in a mostly forward, albeit erratic, direction. Life was grand.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you need to keep moving.“-Albert Einstein

Well, balance remains a big part of our lives. It just takes on different forms when we grow up. I emphasize the art of balance since feeling might be more relevant than logic in determining the current state of balance in our lives. Although it’s a personal process and a private journey, here are a few questions to kick-start your assessment:

First, what does your gut tell you? Are the various components of your life in balance? Do you work to live or live to work? Are you becoming multi-dimensional or one-dimensional?

At Work: Read the rest of this entry »

“Act Locally” Benefits Pitt Habitat Chapter

April 5th, 2009 by Nick Corsi

Music & Arts: “Act Locally” Benefit Concert
By Nick Corsi

Erie Art Museums Blue and Jazz Festival

“Act Locally” Poster
click to enlarge

FINALLY – SOME OUTDOOR MUSIC!

This past Thursday at the University of Pittsburgh, our Habitat for Humanity Chapter put on a Benefit Concert. As a University chapter, we have a long term goal of eventually sponsoring the entire cost of a Habitat home. This goal will see its fruition in years to come, but the fund raising is ongoing and provides a slow but steady stream of income to the account. Each year our Benefit Concert provides for this goal and also acts as a capstone event for the year.

PLANNING Read the rest of this entry »

Quinoa

April 4th, 2009 by Alex Gergar

quinoa-pic

click for larger image

Food & Design: Trends for Summer, Quinoa

SUMMER TRENDS FOR GRAINS

As a caterer I am constantly looking for the new and interesting ingredients to add in my dishes. One of the most important parts of my presentation to my clients is assure them that I can keep up with current trends. Because of the rise of the health movement in the last few years, more than ever, individuals are looking at the ingredients that comprise their food. Since spring is upon us in the United States, and with summer quickly coming, I have decided to write about several grains that are making their move for pantry space in the average American home.

In my first segment of my discussion, I will talk about Quinoa. I first discovered this grain on a food blog several months ago. Intrigued, I searched for the grain in my local food stores but was at a loss. However, soon this grain popped up in a local Pittsburgh grocer and I immediately started cooking with it.

QUINOA: A HISTORY LESSON
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Advertsing’s Acceptable Lie

April 2nd, 2009 by Bob Martin

Hey, This doesn’t look like the photo!

Consciousness: true selfishness

By Bob Martin

Advertising’s Acceptable Lie

Truth in advertising is one of the most important rules in business. It’s what drives the ridiculously long disclaimers in automotive advertising and the list of discouraging side effects when the pharmaceutical companies hock their latest medical miracles. I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the side effects of some of these meds, I wonder if the ailment isn’t better than the cure.

So, I enter my favorite fast food restaurant and order that perfect cheeseburger pictured so deliciously over the counter. I take my treasure to the table and unwrap my sandwich to  find a squashed bun, most of the melted cheese sticking to the wrapper, catsup all over the place and a pickle stuck to the underside.


What happened to my picture perfect meal?

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It Looks the Same to Me!

April 1st, 2009 by Greg Pashke

What's the Best Path?

It's in the eye of the beholder

What do you see?

strategic planning: innovation: management:success

OUR PERCEPTUAL BIAS

Do you tend to see what you’ve always seen? Do your past experiences prevent you from seeing things from a fresh perspective?

Beware: limited perceptions can create some powerful mind traps. They become subtle tendencies in the way we view the world and can impede our ability to find creative solutions to problems and opportunities.

Let me share a few related stories from Robert Pirsig the author of the philosophical masterpieces Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Lila.

“For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses.” -Robert Pirsig

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Wisdom Through Classical Music

March 29th, 2009 by Nick Corsi

music & arts: classical music lessons

TED.COM – BENJAMIN ZANDER ON MUSIC AND SHINING EYES

Cant see it? Get FlashPlayer, or view at TED.com

DON’T BE AFRAID – CLASSICAL MUSIC IS YOUR FRIEND

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Clorox’s Disinfecting Wipes

March 27th, 2009 by Alex Gergar

pink-flower-001

Click to visit Clorox’s “Redesign Clean”

Food & Design: Entry 1 of 2, Counter-top design

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?

The average housewife or stay-at-home mom has changed greatly in the last 50 years. Before, women were expected to always keep the house scrubbed and clean. Now, women are happy if things are just organized and tidied up. The pace of our lives has sped up and we are all trying to fit more into our 24 hours.

In the 1950s, women wouldn’t dream of having their cleaning product in the line of sight for others to see. Today, Clorox is trying to change the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Clorox, through their redesign of their disinfecting wipes is pushing the question, “Why wouldn’t you want others to see your cleaning products?”

DESIGNING FOR YOUR TARGET MARKET

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The Meltdown Of The Culture Of Financial Pretense

March 26th, 2009 by Judy Berg

Ending the culture of financial PRETENSE

network marketing: global trends

THE LURE OF A BEACH LIFESTYLE

A lifestyle of the rich and famous is a common image projected by many network marketing leaders. It is extolled in video presentations. It is acted out at “major events” held in exotic resorts. It is seductive…a heady experience. We attend in droves, in hopes of an epiphany on the road to riches. We listen to the dream, with hopes the dream now includes us.

These sessions do inspire and encourage…but, if what follows is financial and relationship stress arising out of unreasonable business expectations and overextended  expenditures, the inspiration backfires. A promise of vast, easily-acquired wealth, is seductive and destructive; both for the new person, and for the leaders who are under pressure to uphold the persona.

OH – NO – ANOTHER NETWORK MARKETING BANKRUPTCY

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Don’t Make Them Look For You

March 26th, 2009 by Bob Martin

Most consumers won’t spend time looking!

Consciousness: true selfishness

By Bob Martin

DON’T MAKE THEM LOOK FOR YOU!

About a year ago, I saw a great pizza shop ad on the back of a newspaper tab. It was full color, full page and it looked great. The ad actually made me hungry for pizza, so I decided to order. There was this great effective ad, but no phone number or address. I had no idea where the shop was. My resolve was to order from a competitor.

THIS AD WAS A TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY.

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Managing Change: The Paralysis of Inaction

March 25th, 2009 by Greg Pashke

What's the Best Path?

What’s the Best Path?

strategic planning: innovation: management:success

MOVEMENT HAS IT’S OWN BENEFITS

“I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.” Does this describe your organization and how it deals with change? One could make a pretty compelling argument that General Motors suffered from this type of malaise for decades. Whether it is too little or too late for GM is certainly up for debate. But you have to respect their recent proactive course of action. The former giant is now in the role of the underdog but at least they are doing something. Commitment and execution are excellent attributes to embrace.

“Indecision may or may not be my problem.” -Jimmy Buffett

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The Three Rules of Advertising

March 22nd, 2009 by Bob Martin

Consciousness: true selfishness

By Bob Martin

Bob Martin’s career has spanned almost 40 years of media, marketing and ad agencies, including 19 years as Manager of STI Creative. He’s kindly offered to provide us with weekly articles on advertising for the small to medium size business. I’m pleased to welcome him to Thinking Big Works.

Yes, it’s Monday and Bob’s posts will show up on Thursdays. So look for a bonus this week – two posts instead of one.

David VanAmburg

The Three Rules of Advertising

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Music Festivals: It’s All About … Planning

March 22nd, 2009 by Nick Corsi

music & arts: Entry 3 of 3 in Music Festival Event Planning

MUSICAL FESTIVAL PLANNING

Erie Art Museums Blue and Jazz Festival

One of Tammy’s Successful Events
Click to see the Erie Art Museums Event Page

This post is the third and final in a series of 3. I have been exploring the planning of music festivals through the insights of one of Erie PA’s best event planners, Tammy Roche. Check out the first article “Music Festival: It’s All About Creation” and the second “Music Festival: It’s All About the Music.”

TIME TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

So far we have talked about planning committees, music selections and event strategy…all that is left is to make it happen. The final installment of Music Festival planning focuses on some of the logistical issues that are faced when planning and implementing a music festival.

WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT? Read the rest of this entry »

Counter-top Design

March 21st, 2009 by Alex Gergar

kleenex1Kleenex EXPRESSIONS make your own box design here

Food & Design: Entry 1 of 2, Counter-top design

SPRING CLEANING

It’s nearing the end of winter here in the northeast, and that means Spring Cleaning is upon us. As the weather gets warmer, new cleaning products are popping up to be used in apartments and homes across the region. Perhaps this was Clorox’s intent when it hired design team Brand Engine. The “counter top” design that Kleenex implemented raises an interesting question about up and coming trends: will common mundane products try to push out from beneath the cabinets?

IS THIS THE START OF SOMETHING NEW?
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Network Marketing #10 No-No – We will Build It For You!

March 19th, 2009 by Judy Berg

Just sit back and I will build you a multimillion dollar business!

network marketing: global trends

NETWORK MARKETING AS WELFARE

We have reached the number 10 pet peeve I believe most people have with network marketing. I began this rant more than 10 weeks ago with my first post, People Don’t Dislike Network Marketing, They Dislike Network Marketers.

In that post I outlined 10 behaviours I believe need to be changed for network marketing to undergo the revolution I know will occur when we discover the potential this economic model has to lead business into the future. For the ten weeks following that initial post, I have expanded on each of those 10 behaviors. (click for a complete listing to all posts on this subject).

IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A BUSINESS THAT PAYS YOU FOR NOT DOING ANY WORK?

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Be Careful How You Keep Score

March 18th, 2009 by Greg Pashke

What's the Score?

What’s the Score?

strategic planning: innovation: management:success

WHAT YOU SCORE CAN IMPACT HOW YOUR TEAM BEHAVES

Does your score keeping drive desired performance? Or does it produce individual and group behavior that conflicts with your primary goals and objectives? Finding the right metrics is not always an easy task. Be aware of the pitfalls that can happen if they are not the right ones.

People can and do change their behavior when they are measured, but it’s not always in the desired direction. Let me share with you a few related stories I’ve heard over the years:

“Tell me how you’ll measure me and I’ll tell you how I’ll behave.” -Famed management guru Eli Goldratt

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Music Festival: It’s All About The Music

March 15th, 2009 by Nick Corsi

music & arts:Entry 2 of 3 in Festival Event Planning

Erie Art Museums Blue and Jazz Festival

Drummer at the 2008 Erie Art Museum’s Blues and Jazz Festival

MUSIC FESTIVAL PLANNING

This blog post is the second in a series of 3. It is a look into musical festival planning through the insights of one of Erie PA’s best event planners, Tammy Roche. If you haven’t read the first article, “Event Planning: Its All About the Creation,” check it out here.

WHAT IS THE CORNERSTONE OF A MUSIC FESTIVAL? Read the rest of this entry »

Pepsi Natural

March 14th, 2009 by Alex Gergar

pepsi-natural-white1

Pepsi Natural
click for Pepsi Raw’s UK website

Food & Design: Pepsi Natural

GOING ORGANIC

It seems like the new trend for products is to go organic these days.  Or at least trying to find a more eco-friendly or natural approach to their products.  So one would think that this would be an interesting approach for a cola company, PepsiCo. to switch over to the “natural” ingredients that nature has to offer.

IN THE UK
At first, Pepsi tried out the “natural” approach to its United Kingdom customers.  Calling their new recipe Pepsi Raw, PepsiCo. introduced a cola made from sparking water, cane sugar, apple extract, tartaric acid, which comes from grapes, just to name a few.  This is such an interesting idea for a cola company -remove the high fructose corn syrup and market it as the natural cola.

Now, on this side of the pond, American customers will find three similar Pepsi products sweetened with natural sugar in March and April: Pepsi Natural, Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback.  The two throwbacks will be available nationally April 20 for eight weeks.  To complement the name, the throwback packaging will have a retro-look.  As for Pepsi Natural, the glass bottle, sold in a four pack will have a sleeker, simple design showcasing the three main ingredients: sparking water, sugar and kola nut extract.  In addition, Pepsi is labeling this as the “all natural cola”.

WHY DID PEPSI DEVELOP A ‘NATURAL’ COLA?
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