We're All Making a Ding in the Universe

I live by smiles. For me a smile is a means to an end, because it makes me feel better and it makes me more pleasant to be around.

It’s also a result. Notably, smiles are the result of what I consider healthy thinking.

Imagine an empty, white room. It may be beautiful, but it’s empty and it’s white.

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A Friendly Open Question For Clay Collins

I like Clay Collins. I think he’s very smart, funny and helpful, and I’ve learned a lot from him, and still do. That’s why I’m subscribed to his marketing show and that’s why I received the email that ultimately led to this post – and hopefully to a bit of friendly debate.

Clay Did Something I Didn’t Really Like – And it Confused Me. A LOT.

Last week, an email notification flashed across my screen, announcing a message from Clay. Subject header: ‘Hater’.

Now, I’m a guy who lives and dies by the power of words – quite literally. I also like to philosophise about things like ethics, psychology and semantics, amongst a bunch of other things.

As such, the word ‘hate’ is one that I rarely, if ever, use.

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The Most Beautiful Lonely Christmas – And Loathsome Marketers

This was supposed to be a vitriolically angry post, but my cat just snuggled up to me, so I’m a bit placated. You win.

It may seem really weird and antisocial, but this last holiday season, I decided to stay at home and spend it all by myself, on my own. I didn’t want to go out and see people – I just wanted some quiet time and retreat a little.

I’m really happy I did, because it enabled me to meet some amazing people online, and I mean really tremendously amazing people. One in particular (you know I’m talking to you) but that’s something that isn’t meant to be shared – yet.

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How Do You Make Money?

A few years ago on a rainy and gloomy night, I was approached by some guy as I was hurrying home.

“Hey, listen, lemme tell you something. Do you want to know how to make money?”

I was pretty hungry in those days, but I was badly cynical too. As I walked on, he followed up and stopped me. Under the streetlight I could see him better and he looked friendly enough. And he was getting as wet as I was, so I listened to him.

“I have here one of the last copies of my book. This very book is all you will ever need to make money. Lots of it, if you want to. Everything is in there, this is your manual to make bucks. You want it? Only twenty Dollars.”

To be honest, it wasn’t expensive. And he seemed honest enough.  Actually, I quite liked him.

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Can I Have My Christmas Present Now Please?

Last week I had a strange and somewhat shocking experience which inspired a post. I accidentally asked Erika Napolitana if she would be interested in running it and quite surprisingly (or not) she accepted, so it now lives here.

The short story: people hurt, people break, people struggle and life can be really tough.

But!

We all, no matter how poor we are, can give. In the spirit of Christmas and with the hope that you will all carry this into the new year and beyond:

All I Want for Christmas

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Lessons From a Scoundrel: How to Write Killer Subject Lines

Imagine a really pretty woman as she walks into a bar with a female friend. It’s probably after work and they’re about to have a drink, a chat, and unwind a little.

Now this lady is awesome. Stunning.

I’m talking Raquel Welch-ish or maybe Naomi Campbell. Or Susan Boyle if you like, I’m really not a judgmental kind of guy.

She’s obviously been approached by many guys in her life, with various degrees of lewd intention. What can I say? If you’re really beautiful, you get a lot of attention. That’s how it works. A good part of that attention has been the inevitable pickup line. ‘Naf’, is what my girlfriend calls it. “Who uses pickup lines, anyway?”

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Spin Tops and Thanksgiving

img source: http://bit.ly/i9Pu23

So I’ve had the blogosphere positively bombard me with remarks, tweets, and articles about thanksgiving. Which is cool, if a bit odd for a European.

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe, unfortunately, though we do eat turkey.

Thing is, in Holland turkey is eaten at Christmas. Nothing wrong with that. What really sucks though is that the traditional way to cook the bugger is to first stuff is with a mix of minced meat and chestnuts, and then stick the whole lot in the oven.

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Ethics in marketing. Really?

Uh-oh… JohnnyBTruant has just posted an article I wrote, and I realized that it’s been three weeks since I wrote anything here. So, go check out the article: http://questiontherules.com/i-am-johnnys-balls/

I’ll see you back here when you’re done.

Ethics in marketing. Really?

Have you ever seen a kid in a store launch into a frenzy of  covetousness upon seeing some candy or a toy? ‘Mommy mommy, I want this, can I have this? Please?’

Of course you have. Adorable I say, but that’s probably because I don’t have any children. My abbot wouldn’t let me.

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We're All Manipulators. Yes We Are

Twenty years ago when I was just a young, green, and clueless novice monk, our abbot called me in and sat me down.

“It’s not that you’re a liar, but you’ve got a problem with telling the truth. You need to change that.”

Of course, it was a bit of a blow, since I considered myself anything other than a liar, but seeing how obedience goes with being or becoming a monk, I got down to work and spent the following years contemplating ‘Truth’ and observing my behavior.

Slowly it dawned on me that he was right. I didn’t tell lies, but I tended to present things in a way that was beneficial to my goals and so I would bend the truth, rather than break it.

So I changed it. I resolved to never say anything that I knew was untrue, and never to misrepresent things in a way that suited my purposes.

Years later, after I’d become a truthful Ethic whose lips never uttered a lie (note the self-sarcasm, thank you) someone pointed out that I was manipulative. Another heavy blow. I only wanted the best for others, right? Win-win for the world etc? So why was I being accused of this?

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Nothing is as Bad as Good Advice

Yeah, I used to be flashy

Those of you who know me will remember that a few years ago, I used to drive a splendid red classic convertible. A Saab 900, 1987. Wonderful machine, wonderful handling and quite a mover. But it had some issues and it had to be repaired every now and then. My house mates at that time were unanimous: ‘Sell it. Get yourself a modern car, something decent. Martin, you’re going to burn your money on that car.’

So for once I thought I’d do something smart: I followed their advice. I’m not pointing fingers here, but it was the stupidest thing I ever did. That and perhaps that time I decided to see what would happen if I pulled the handbrake on a snowed-under road in the forest. (Not while driving my Saab though). Long cold walk to civilization, I can tell you.

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