Archives: Creativity

I like Blackwings…

I like Blackwing pencils. They write very smoothly. They can’t roll off a table. The pencils have their own slogan, “Half the pressure, twice the speed.” You can even replace the eraser. All of that is great.

The reason I really like them is the story behind the company. No, I’m not going to tell you the story. You’ll have to go here to find out about it.

Including stories in your writing and public speaking makes a big difference. Stories make things interesting and sell.

Stories make a difference…even with pencils.

A quarter each, 3 for a dollar.

Teachers have an on-going problem. Students come unprepared. Often, they don’t have a pen to write with. If you let a student borrow a pen, it will probably never return. If you don’t provide one the teacher is “mean.” When I was a middle school teacher I came up with a simple solution. I put a note on the chalk board that looked like this:

Selling Bic pens was not meant to be a profitable business. However, it served a purpose. And, adding a bit of humor made it a fun activity. Several students deliberately got 3 in order to take advantage of the “deal.” Adding humor can make an otherwise serious activity much easier on everyone.

Space is valuable…don’t waste it.

It’s true. Supermarkets are much smarter than the average professional…doctor, lawyer, writer, photographer, and on and on. Supermarkets know the value of space. If something doesn’t sell, they won’t keep it on the shelf. Every foot counts.

Professionals on the other hand, give away valuable space…on their business card. The backs of most business card are empty. For a few extra dollars they can have more information that could be a value to your customers. Don’t waist the back of your business card…space is valuable.

Looking the other way…

On most mornings, I take a walk in the local mall before it opens. I walk in, turn right, and walk. Usually I go around the upper level of the mall three times. It takes about thirty minutes. It’s my exercise after my bypass surgery seven years ago.

One day I was bold. I walked in, turned left, and walked. It looked like I was walking in a different mall. Items I never saw appeared.

Sometimes, looking the other way will be a magical difference. Try it.

Silly or Loyal?

I came across an item I want to buy. Amazon sells it for $22. A specialty vendor I like to use sells the same thing for $33. The specialty vendor has many items that are very difficult to find. I buy from them often.

Is it silly to spend more to support a vendor I actually like…or get it for a lot less from Amazon? Interesting issue…at least for me.


Look at your pencils. Most (probably 99.9%) write dark gray.

Why just gray?

Pencils can write in a great variety of colors. The writing would stand out. It would show feeling much like emojis do.

Why aren’t yours colored?

How much is free?

Have you ever been offered a job and told you should work for free? Photographers, writers, speakers, and others are asked to do things for free all the time. Usually they are told it will help promote themselves. As one who has written and spoken for free I can tell you that as far as I know that doesn’t happen. You usually don’t even get a thank you card, much less a referral. On the other hand, it costs you to work for free!

When I speak for “free” it takes about 10 hours to prepare for a free 1 hour or less presentation. At a minimal wage of $10 per hour that comes to $100…not counting gas and materials I usually hand out.

Before you ask someone to work for free think of how much time, effort, and skill is put into it.

How much is free?

Would you hire you? [Be honest!]

If you were sitting on the other side of the desk, interviewing someone for your job…would you hire you? Here’s one question that you should ask yourself. It might be the next question YOU are asked.

What have you done in the last day/week/month/year that makes you stand out?

Does your resume look like everyone else’s? Do you know what your Klout score is? Do you have a following on Twitter? Can you call yourself creative and mean it? Not the only questions to ask yourself…but you might start with them.

Are you worth hiring today? If not, start working on it NOW! Somebody else may be closer to your job than you think. Start preparing for your next job NOW.

Would you hire you? Would you?

My best app is universal…works with PCs, Macs, iPhones, Androids and more.

My best app works with all devices. It doesn’t need electricity. It comes in different colors and sizes. It isn’t even an app. My most useful app is a Post-In note. Got an idea, jot it down to remember it. I attach mine onto my computer so I remember what I want to write later on. Thanks Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver for inventing them.

PowerPoint sucks…

PowerPoint sucks…if you want to use it as a handout. Too many speakers make the mistake of printing out their slides and giving it to members of the audience. Terrible idea for three reasons.

  1. If the members of the audience can make out what you said by looking at your PowerPoint slides than you weren’t needed as a speaker.
  2. Handouts are not meant to duplicate your presentation. Handouts are meant to summarize what your major (not all) points were.
  3. Handouts should help your audience remember YOU as well as what you said. Your handouts should include your contact info on each page.

PowerPoint is great (sometimes) as a speaking tool…not for handouts.