books Feb 11, 2021

Massimo Chiapponi launched his Parma bike shop Italia Veloce in 2009 with fellow “retro- velo” enthusiasts Christian Grande, a multidisciplinary designer, and advertising executive Max Rabaglia.

He has been racing bicycles since he was a kid and turned his hobby of hand-built bikes into an Italian business that now ships to clients as far away as the U.S., Japan and New Zealand. Chiapponi’s lead mechanic is a skilled welder, leatherworker, fabricator and designer. Their bikes start at 2,900 Euros and go up from there.

From a small shop in Parma, these bicycle enthusiasts have garnered attention from Vanity Fair, Class, Gentleman, Marie Claire, GQ, Case & Country, Grazia, The Good Life, Monsieur, Maxim and The Financial Times.

Bicycle enthusiasts is an understatement. These guys eat, live and breathe bicycles.

Their leather seats are hand cut, sewn, stamped and designed on-site. The aluminum frames are bent and welded on-site. They even have hand-made wooden mud...

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Remote Work.

journals Feb 11, 2021

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, our administrative team members have been working remotely since March 2020. Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Schedule fewer meetings
  • No meetings back-to-back
  • Designated “meeting-free time”
  • Flexible work hours
  • Find ways for remote colleagues to socialize 

We’ve also discovered lots of things don’t work as well online as they do in the real world. For example, long meetings. With longer team meetings in the office, like our half-day training sessions, employees could get up, stretch their legs, take a coffee break, socialize in the hallway on breaks, etc. With online meetings, an hour seems like an eternity.

Instead of long virtual meetings, schedule more one-on-one meetings and keep group meetings to no longer than 30 minutes.

Many years ago, recognizing the problem of their employees being “on the job” even when they were at home due to email, voice messaging and texts, Volkswagen started...

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How Pfizer Delivered a Covid Vaccine in Record Time.

articles Jan 13, 2021

Some articles grab you by the shoulders and shake you awake. This is one such summary of an article by Jared Hopkins in The Wall Street Journal. Definitely worth a read. Here are the highlights:

First lesson: go all in. If you have an idea that a small test group of your patients, clients, donors or customers think is great and they are willing to tell 10 more friends who will tell 10 more friends, go all in. You can’t be half-pregnant with a great idea. Pfizer’s CEO went all in, investing hundreds of millions of dollars to build a global manufacturing network, even though he knew his team was racing to develop a new vaccine based on a technology that had never been approved before.

Second lesson: follow through and oversight are critical. The CEO didn’t check in occasionally. He held twice-weekly meetings, constantly asking how they could make more vaccine and how they could make it sooner. When you start a new marketing initiative in your...

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On Brand Promises.

journals Jan 13, 2021

The Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupon is so ubiquitous that one of the mailers was even found by FBI agents in the junk drawer of notorious gangster, Whitey Bulger. 

Comedians and television shows make fun of the coupon and I’ve done a fair amount of my own ribbing of the brand. At peak circulation, over a billion coupons were mailed per year. Nearly everyone has seen one of these or has one in their stack of mail at home. Many consumers keep them in their cars and purses, waiting to use them.

But did you know? The brand started in 1971 as a single store in New Jersey, Bed ’n Bath, selling sheets and towels “at prices low enough that people didn’t have to wait around for a semiannual department store sale.” 

Founders, Leonard Feinstein and Warren Eisenberg didn’t want to operate their stores like everyone else. “We didn’t want to change prices and run sales. That’s a very costly way of doing business,” they...

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On Burnout and Toggling.

books Jan 13, 2021

At the time of this writing, there are only a few days left in the year 2020. To quote Leslie Jones and her thoughts about the year, “I would say it was a train wreck and shit show but that would be unfair to trains and shit.” Naturally, we’re all ready to move on from this year and to set big goals for 2021. I recently hosted an entire training program with members, helping them set new direction, aspirations and resolutions for next year. And, in that training, I reminded private practice owners to acknowledge the internal conflict and imbalance created by these new resolutions or goals.

I quoted a brilliant Harvard study and wrote about it recently. We’re all striving for something better and that’s OK but it is vital to our mental health to be content; to enjoy the harvest and not go looking for problems where there are none. Thus, you might find yourself toggling between peaceful contentment and constant striving. Our world, including yours truly,...

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It’s perfectly legal to mandate vaccines – if you’re legally perfect!

articles Dec 23, 2020

In 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and Lieutenant Edwin P. Ramsey ordered the last cavalry charge in American history. Nearly eighty years later, the presidents and CEO’s of Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, GSM, Sanofi, and others leading the vaccination charge, are our new heroes. Saddling up and replacing swords and rifles with needles, they are heading out to save lives throughout the world.

But can you force your employees to be saved? Can you enforce vaccine compliance? What do you do if there’s pushback or refusal?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance that helps employers determine how to move forward, although their advice is just as we would suspect – not abundantly clear and subject to change.

Employers may encourage or even possibly mandate vaccinations, but any policy that affects the health and safety of your Team Members must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights...

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On Thick Skin.

journals Dec 14, 2020

In my work with clients abroad, I get to learn about all sorts of fun advertising regulations and standards. Because some of our client base is outside the U.S., I’ve been forced to learn quickly. In the United Kingdom, for example, they have the Advertising Standards Authority. It does nothing more than issue strongly-worded letters and seeing as how the British are so polite, even their strongly worded letters are quite nice, relatively speaking. Routinely, I have doctors telling me that I’m ruining the profession of audiology and that they find me repugnant. The British would never be so harsh. 

In an annual report, the UK’s ASA listed 755 complaints from consumers about a Kentucky Fried Chicken ad which features a chicken dancing to DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It To Ya.” It was the most complained about ad of 2017. Consumers said it was “disrespectful to chickens and distressing for vegetarians, vegans and...

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On Reaping Where You Have Not Sown.

books Dec 14, 2020

In The Law of Success, Napoleon Hill demonstrates how people have a tendency to reap where they have not sown. You see this with companies who assume the grass is greener and hop into another industry or mess with their core product or service, to their detriment. Coke did this with New Coke in the 80’s and it cost them billions in marketshare. Based on a few surveys, Coca-Cola thought they should make Coke taste more like Pepsi. The were reaping where they had not sown and they abandoned a very fertile garden and let it get overgrown with weeds. This went on during the early days with Uber, where they assumed they could continue to reap revenue while they haven’t sown in the field of employee satisfaction. You see it now with firms that have not embraced how consumers want to buy from them.

Conglomerates do this all the time. They take government contracts for granted, they take relationships with unions or local municipalities for granted and in short order, they...

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What You Can Learn from the Christmas Tree Shortage.

articles Dec 14, 2020

In a recent edition of The AuDExperts Report, I wrote an article about hindsight and how looking backwards can help uncover bigger trends and assist learning, especially when applied to the future. It was a rather simple assessment of a complex prediction in the rise of the renminbi versus the U.S. dollar. To switch gears but remain in the same mindset, I’ll offer a rather complex look at a simple example: the Christmas tree. 

Over 26 million Christmas trees are produced each year in the United States and Canada. This year, 70% of Canada’s 110,000 snowbirds, who typically migrate to Florida, Arizona and California for the winter, are staying put. As people avoid travel, holiday parties, shopping and dining out, all of the holiday energy is being concentrated at home. It’s now more difficult to find a Christmas tree in Canada and many parts of the U.S. than it was to find toilet paper back in March and April.

Sales of Christmas trees are up 25-40% throughout...

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Time, Energy, and Money.

journals Nov 27, 2020

If you observe the most productive and most successful people on the planet, you’ll notice three very important similarities in how they achieve results. It doesn’t matter if the person is an entrepreneur, doctor, lawyer, politician, religious leader, actor, teacher or any of a million different occupations. Those operating at the top 1-5% of their chosen field or profession have these three traits in common:

First, they are intentional. 

You’ve heard me say, “Nothing really great ever happens by accident.” Warren Buffett, Bob Iger when he led Disney, Tim Cook at Apple, Michael Jordan, Judd Apatow, Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook – these high achievers are intentional with their time, attention and energy.

In an interview with a gentleman who sold his business for $1.7 billion. He explained how he did this, when others in his field typically grow to $6 or 7 million, exactly the size of the business when it purchased it 20 years ago. His...

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