I have lived all over the world and one of the pieces of advice I offer to people when asked, is to take a lot of pictures when you first get somewhere new because you rarely get the chance to see something again for the first time. I’ve recently re-relocated to New York City and have had that rare opportunity to see the city again for the first time, so I decided to take my own advice and take some pictures to see what I could learn.
Embracing beauty at 49th & Broadway
There are moments that happen every day in our lives that get by us at the time but that stick to our subconscious that we don’t fully appreciate until the moment has gone. It takes some focus and practice, but being in the moment and realizing what you are seeing or experiencing lets you harness the power of now and be fully present and real. This is not only an important life lesson, it is an important rule in business these days, as authenticity and transparency are qualities that feed good business and create the most important building block of all – Trust. Be in the moment more often, it will not only make you better at what you do, it’ll make you better at who you are.
Casting a long shadow at Grand Central
I’m finding that taking the train into Grand Central Station every morning comes with significant challenges, but on the odd occasion, when the light is just right, the main hall can seem celestial. The thing that struck me in this moment, with the sun streaming majestically in through the upper windows, was the long shadows cast by the busy men and women scurrying to make it to work on time. In business, the shadow of influence that we throw can sometimes be broad and wide-reaching. In leadership roles, it is important that we cast that shadow across opportunities that help make the world a better place. The biggest choice we have is how we chose to spend our time. In the face of flailing governments, it is the role of business to help lead the world to a better way of being. The shadow that we cast as business leaders needs to have positive influence on the sustainability of the planet and of humankind in general. Choose to cast your shadow of influence sourced from a positive future-oriented light, and we will collectively help to make the world just that much better and smarter.
AI vs. BI (Buttificial intelligence)
Steven Hawking has said that Artificial Intelligence will spell the end of the human race. There will come a point in the not so distant future, he says, where AI will iterate and redesign itself at an ever-increasing pace that will supersede humans who, as carbon-based life forms, evolve at a much slower biological rate and will therefore not be able to compete. This may be true, but I think humankind already has all of the tools at its immediate disposal to bring about its own demise. Witness the recent Snap by Playboy playmate Dani Mathers of a 70 year old naked woman in a changing room with the caption – “If I can’t unsee it, you can’t either.” This is a prime example of what I am calling Buttifical Intelligence that I believe is a much bigger threat to life on earth than AI. The ability to share, in an instant, our deepest most basic thoughts without engaging our cerebral cortex will most certainly lead to the demise of society as we know it. I am reminded by this everyday on my walk through Times Square, as I am exposed to all of the Butts screaming out to me, to revolt against the trap of Buttificial Intelligence. We must employ more than just our reptilian brains when engaged with new media and technology. By making sure we are using our whole brains to help sustain life and society by harnessing our natural powers for good, and not evil, we will hopefully ensure we have a world left to pass on.
Nobody wants to know how the Hot Dog is made; they just want to know they have the best
If we stopped to think about it, we’d never eat a hotdog, ketchup or not, we just wouldn’t, the ingredients, in most cases make it prohibitive. Yet all too often when we are in business development mode with a new or prospective client, we spend most of our time talking about our unique methodology, our proprietary tools, our superior process. When you’re in the service business, I find that in most cases clients care very little about how you provide the service, but care a lot about the benefit they will get from engaging your service. Building stories around what’s in it for the client, and not how great your process or methodology is, is always a winning approach. Sell the promise of the taste, not the ingredient list or how it’s made.
And a lesson from the homeless – Generosity always pays
Whether it’s the woman at 52nd & Broadway feeding the birds, or the guy sitting outside the Duane Reade ham-fisting his way through Stairway to Heaven,our tenacious ability to give is our greatest gift as humans. If we are truly able to think about what we can give to the world without first calculating the return, an investment in generosity will always pay. I believe this to be true in life and for brands. If brands invest in generous acts of giving that are meaningful to people, the world of commerce will fuel social progress. Social currency is the new greenback, and the more a brand can create and give meaningfully generous experiences to their devotees and their potential flock, the more it will benefit in kind.
It’s amazing what you can learn when you see the world again with fresh eyes. Take pictures and think new things.