Category: Learnings

Airport Conversations and The Secret Sauce of Success

Every once in awhile someone will ask me what I do for a living. These conversations usually occur in the kinds of places where strangers feel compelled to carry on polite chitchat. In line at the grocery store. Doctor’s office waiting rooms. Airplanes waiting to be cleared for take-off. When I tell people I am …

Inspiration.

The Erics, looking for inspiration. Hello! Hope you’re excited about the week ahead of you. I am. About a year or so ago, I posted a blog asking YOU a simple question. And since I LOVED the answers and they all inspired me, I am asking again… I really need you guys today. I love …

The Power of Kindness.

Fresh flowers from Libby William’s Photoblog. The other day I got a note in the mail. The old fashion “ink on paper” kind. It started like this: Dearest Darling Robbin, Hmmmm. I have to tell you in the middle of my crazy, busy, over stimulated workday, those words stopped me dead in my tracks. I …

Emotional Marketing: Speak to the Heart

There I was, standing in Target on an average Saturday afternoon – when I saw him. From down the aisle I could see his big, brown eyes staring at me, the corners of his mouth turned up with a hint of hopefulness from under his soft whiskers. The instant I saw him, I knew what …

The Art of the Imperfect: Mix Tape

Mix tapes were the social media of my teenage days. My friends and I carefully crafted playlists to share with each other, layering song after song in the hopes that we could produce a magical, imperfect mix tape. I’m not sure my goal was to ever make the perfect mix tape. I was always inspired to throw a random, wild card song in the mix, …

A Year for More Picnics: Logging Off to Live Better

According to a 2011 Nielsen study, Americans spent 53.5 billion total minutes on Facebook last May. Collectively, that factors out to roughly 101,720 years – in a month. On a per user level, that means each user spent about 6.5 hours (roughly a full work day) of their life each month scrolling through status updates. Our …

Permission to Dream.

The other day a handful of us at Brains on Fire met to talk about something we seldom have time for these days. Brains on Fire. Cordell created, in normal Cordell fashion, a little keynote. On the screen in the front room of our offices were these words and a relaxing soundtrack in the background. …

5 Things I’ve Learned Working at Brains on Fire

I have always liked Vicky’s brother-in-law’s synopsis of Brains on Fire when she first came to work here. He compared it to “a place people work in the movies.” When people find out you work at a place called “Brains on Fire,” their first question is always “What the heck is Brains on Fire?” Their …

What is your ultimate business travel story?

I saw this post on Mashable. And it triggered a story from my very early years. BTW: I think it must have been about 20 years ago when this story happened. If you don’t know Merlin Olsen, the NFL Hall of Famer and FTD spokesperson, it might not make sense. If you do. Read on. …

New Spins

Every so often someone realizes that the market for a certain product or service has achieved a really high level of similarity, and that the customers in that market have become accustomed to that similarity. And every so often, someone figures out how to break the mold of that similarity in a really striking way. …

Life Lives in the Magical Details.

Last Monday was a cold, foggy and gray sort of Monday. Just couldn’t shake the chill of it. The Peace Center (our local Performing Arts Center) was opening its new lobby and as a member of the Board, I wanted to be there for that shiny occasion. Garrison Kellior was the entertainment and about all …

Go Ahead and Play: The Link Between Playfulness and GREAT Work

Yesterday I stumbled across a really, really amazing Ted Talk by Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO. If you don’t have 30 minutes to watch the video (which I HIGHLY recommend) – today’s blog post is a synopsis of his talk about the connection between playfulness and creativity. THE VERY BRIEF RECAP Playfulness is directly linked …

You Really Don’t Want To Be a Rockstar

The other day I was walking through the office and I noticed a book that had “…Like a Rockstar” in the title. That got me thinking about what it really means to be a rockstar. Typically when you hear that phrase you think about partying like a member of a super-band, having the spotlight, earning …

Can I Get You Anything Else?

A few days ago, someone in the office told us a story about finding what looked like a bone in their son’s canned vegetable soup. Gross, I know. The story went on to be a classic tale of a customer having a problem, contacting a giant organization, and feeling like their call for help echoed …

What Do You Dream About?

Today’s guest post if from our friend and Kindred Spirit Hugh Weber. I love this powerful and simple message. Today feels like a great day to do a little dreaming. Thanks for sharing with us Hugh! I’ve found that sometimes the world speaks with a still, small voice in the midst of earthquakes, fires and …

Community, Changes, and the Problem of Free

Imagine… Imagine that you have a group of friends you play soccer with in a small, out of the way park in your town. You’ve been meeting there after work weekly to play for years – it’s a staple component of your social life. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. Everyone knows each other. It’s how you …

Getting your Hands Dirty in Order to Reach Out and Touch your Customers

To me, there is something magical that comes from knowing each bottle of Meeker’s merlot passed through the master’s hands to my own. A little blessing as the vintner sent a message (and a story) in a bottle on its way. It connects me to the wine and to the people who took it from bunches to bottle. It makes me feel like an integral part of a life cycle from ground to grape to glass.

A Culture of the Little Things

At some point in my time at Brains on Fire I was given the responsibility of handling requests from people seeking jobs and internships. I thought it was a great opportunity, and the rules were pretty simple: respond to every single person in an inspiring way, especially when we’re telling them no. I didn’t realize …

Scared, but doing it anyway.

Last week I attended a nutrition class. (Did you know that microwaving veggies zaps the nutrients out of them?) And the teacher (who just happens to be my wonderful morning Yoga Teacher) made the most interesting statement. “In America, we tend to wake up with this slight sensation that we’re being chased by a bear. …

More than a Feeling: Message Matters

Message matters. That’s no big surprise. But “They will never forget how you made them feel” may be truer than anyone realized when it comes to marketing. Turns out, purely emotional marketing outperforms purely rational marketing by nearly double. Yesterday I was hard at work re-painting my home office. When Pandora decided to play Sarah …