If Not Now, When?

Life is an incredible journey.  Many of us are very blessed to have had brushes with some of the greatest people in the world.   Artists, Musicians, Athletes, Leaders.  People that other people look up to.   Then we have also had brushes with the truly greatest people in the world.  Mothers, Fathers, innovators, givers, the selfless and at times the hopeless.  We always like a great rag to riches story.  A story where someone overcomes great odds to succeed.  Mostly sheer will and determination plays a part.  Throughout my life, I have met many people who have been a part of all of the above.  The most memorable are the ones that have stories to tell.  Stories of despair, stories of hope, stories of perseverance and stories of beating the odds.  You see it isn’t about fame or status, but life is really about courage and character.  I have been shaving my head to raise money for St. Baldrick’s for 12 years now.  Along that journey, I have met parents who have endured triumph and heartbreak.  I have met children who were courageous beyond any adult I’ve ever known.  I’ve met great people and good friends who have both given of themselves to raise money and have donated.  You see, we all get to play a part in a bigger cause.  Mine is simple…I work to raise money to cure childhood cancer.   So if you click a link to help a candidate fund their campaign, then I’m sure you can donate to something that really gives a ROI…a donation to help kids with cancer.  https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/CatThomas2020

Now that I’ve given my pitch, the best people in the world are the ones who are given challenges that they never asked for, yet fight with all their energy to overcome.  If I have to pick a team, I’d give up everyone I’ve ever met to make sure that no parent will ever have to hear a doctor tell them that their child has cancer.   So be a part of something greater.  Join me to help the greatest people in the world.   The kids.   Thank you.


Learn To Lose


Losing isn’t always a bad thing. 

In many situations, it’s a necessary step in discovering what it takes to win. 

The tricky part is when we let our ego get in the way of the experience being a learning opportunity. 

Take sports, for example –  losing control of one’s ego can be the “make or break” for even the most seasoned competitors. I remember when Rory McIlroy walked off the course during the Honda Classic several years ago. He went into the tournament as the top golfer in the world but played nine holes of lousy golf and walked off the course, ignoring a long-held code that states, “a player finishes his or her round unless they have a persuasive reason for withdrawing.”

He wasn’t going to win, either way, but he lost a second time when he decided to let his ego take over. It stinks to feel like you’re struggling, but there’s always a chance to learn or share a positive example for others in those moments.

It’s inevitable; there will be bruised egos throughout life – in business and personal relationships. The sooner we all learn to embrace the moments that challenge us as individuals, the sooner we’ll all be able to thrive together.

Breaking Predictability To Build A Viral Campaign

Tony Chau at http://www.bizconnect.com

Virality in B2B marketing can be extra challenging, because traditional methods of marketing are already dominated by B2C companies. In viral marketing, a company will aim to spread its message with the help of large numbers of online users, who willingly share the content.

Virality is boosted by a small portion of the population, which is responsible for a large part of the sharing. Research shows that 17.6% of people share videos once or more each week. 9% of people share videos once or more every day. The 9% is responsible for 82.4% of the total shares on the internet! If you can specifically target this 9% of the user base, then you can potentially gain significant exposure and opportunity for virality for your content.

When people read or watch content that has been shared with them by family, friends, or even casual acquaintances, they are much more likely to take action, and also more likely to recommend it to others. An analysis from Unruly examining over 430 billion video views shows that the potential for virality is based on these two most important factors:

  1. How people feel after seeing the content (psychological response)
  2. Why they should share the content (social motivation)

If people feel intense emotion after viewing the content, they are more likely to share it with others. And the greater that intensity, the greater the likelihood of them sharing the content. The key to evoking this higher level of intensity in your audience is to break their expectation for predictability.

Breaking the pattern of predictability is fascinating because the human brain is drawn to novelty, and novelty is what helps you stand out in a sea of clutter. The human brain is predisposed to seek – and care about – what is new. This tendency dates back to our early evolutionary traits. During ancient times, the human desire to seek novelty was what allowed us to explore new lands and create new tools. It allowed us to invent new weapons and develop technologies, such as mass food production in agriculture. Our desire to seek out novel experiences plays a key part in virality.

You can promote interesting content by showing people anything that may disrupt predictability. This means something that is unexpected, and beyond the pattern or “norm” that they have always been used to. For example, blending a smart phone in a blender is something that can be considered novel. This was the core idea behind a viral marketing campaign that led to the highly successful launch of the “Will It Blend?” video series for the Blendtec line of blenders. This success was due to how the experience disrupted a pattern of predictability. After all, no one would be willing to put their expensive mobile phone inside a blender, and therefore they don’t know what to expect when it happens. When this does happen, people instantly pay attention. They will also be more likely to exaggerate the details of their experience by letting others know about how ridiculous it is to see a phone getting shredded. Such a tendency to exaggerate about interesting experiences occurs because sharing such stories will also help to make the person sharing the content seem more interesting to others.

Another example: Consider how the video of a Southwest flight attendant rapping a song before takeoff quickly went viral. The reason behind this is that no one on the flight would have predicted such an unusual event; they didn’t expect to be entertained with a live rap song by an energetic flight attendant. Again, this caught the passengers’ attention at a time when most (especially if they are frequent flyers) would typically have been checking their phones, getting a book out to read, or otherwise not paying attention. This was a completely different, new, and novel experience… and it was fun! These passengers are also more likely to exaggerate the details of their “rapping flight attendant” experience by letting others know how smooth the song was, how well it was delivered, and the length that it lasted. All of these details help make the person sharing the content seem more interesting themselves, because they experienced a new, novel event.

To help promote virality, you should focus on any content that is unpredictable to your particular user base. From my own online marketing experience, one example of unpredictability was when I openly told my audience that I succeeded in online marketing not because I listened to my audience, but because I stopped listening to them. This is a kind of verbiage that breaks the pattern of predictability. It gets people curious. It gets their attention. And it gets people talking!

To see firsthand how this break in predictability can get people talking (and eagerly sharing your content), the next time you have guests visit your home, try giving them something they couldn’t possibly expect. For example, you can try placing orange-colored tissue papers on the table for people to blow their nose. Almost certainly, people will talk about your orange-colored tissue papers. That’s because they are not used to seeing tissues in that novel color before, thus producing an effect of breakage of predictability. They will also be more likely to tell others about that one time when they saw and used orange-colored tissue papers at your home. That’s because retelling such an experience can make these folks seem to be more interesting to others.

The premise here is to focus on delivering content to your audience that can break the patterns that they have always been used to. Surprise them with content that is extraordinary in order to encourage them to share their experience with others.

A good example of early viral content stemming from an experience which broke predictability is in the story of Susan Boyle. Susan came on stage as a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent at almost 50 years old, when most of the other contestants were much younger. She was poorly dressed, overweight, had an odd head of hair, and she looked as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof. What did people expect at this point? Everyone had low expectations of her as a performer. People quickly wrote her off, as evident by the laughs in the audience when she revealed how much she wanted to be a professional singer. No one took her seriously at this point because she did not have the expected looks, confidence, or charisma to be a singer. Susan was the embodiment of the type of grandma-next-door that you’d expect to find in a rural part of town, not a professional singer suited to entertain others. People expected her performance to be miserable.

Then all of a sudden, Susan masterfully broke the pattern of predictability when she proceeded to deliver a show-stopping performance! Susan Boyle became an instant viral hit. Her video on Britain’s Got Talent became one of the most prolific viral videos of her time, helping her attain a level of stardom that’s the envy of aspiring singers around the world.

The virality of Susan Boyle’s content resulted from her ability to break people’s pattern of predictability. Before Susan’s performance began, her pattern showed numerous predictable signs of an expected poor routine. There wasn’t anything about Susan Boyle before she began singing that indicated she could be a star. No one expected her golden voice. But, as soon as she started to sing, she threw the audience for a loop. The intensity at which Susan Boyle’s performance broke the viewers’ patterns of predictability helped make the content (her performance) far more interesting than it otherwise would have been, had she not broken predictability. As a result, Susan enjoyed a level of fame through virality that has endured.

B2B companies can draw from past examples of unpredictability to help craft a marketing campaign with the potential to go viral. As traditional methods of marketing are dominated by B2C companies, it becomes more important for B2B companies to find innovative ways to urge users to share their message through viral content.

By Tony Chau at http://www.bizconnect.com

Cat’s Quote For Today

I have always loved quotes.   Many times there is a lesson of hope, a lesson of failure, a lesson to motivate or drive one to succeed.   They are small pearls of wisdom that give us something to think about as we ponder our own path.  So many times we are looking for outlook or perspective on things we come across in life.   Over the years in my weekly jock meetings, I would look for quotes to fortify our situation or support a teaching moment with my staff.   Quotes many times take long, verbose thoughts and deliver them in PPM fashion with just a single thought.   So as you check back from time to time, I will share with you those pearls of wisdom that I have captured along the way.   When I’ve been asked to describe myself, I’ve always had a philosophy.  I might not be the smartest, fastest or strongest competitor, but I’ll always give it my all and I will be relentless.  People have rarely outworked me and the ones that have, I hired for my team.   As we all continue to grow and look for resources to help us succeed, remember that by going the extra step when others won’t is the quickest way to succeed!   So I leave you with Cat’s Quote…

“I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.”

Larry Bird

The Strong Hand Of Vince

Many times in life, we have that one person who becomes a friend, a confidant and a kick in the ass when you need it.  For me, that guy was Vince Pellegrino.   Vince was one of the strongest and most straight forward people I’ve ever know.  Whether it was in person where he grabbed your neck in his vice grip like hands or on the phone where his thick New York Italian accent would yell out “Are you F***in’ crazy?”    Vince was a man of passion and conviction.  I was proud to call him my friend.  I remember sitting at my desk when he called me to tell me about his “bad report” from the Doctor.   He had been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.  Many people would have sounded scared or lost.  Not Vince.  He told me he looked the doctor in the eye and said, “I’m gonna beat this.”   I know I believed him.  Vince was amazing.  Even when I knew he had Chemo treatments, he was on the phone telling me how strong he felt after the treatments.  How energized he was.  He sounded good.  For the next few years Vince would get a good bill of health only to report a few weeks later that he needed more treatment.  Honestly, he may not have had a good bill of health but I’ll be damned if Vince was going to let anyone think something might be wrong.  As time went on, I could tell that treatments were taking a toll on him.   That he was getting tired.  I think that I would intentionally tell him I didn’t like a record that he was passionate about just to get him fired up and yelling at me.   I always enjoyed the heated arguments with Vince when we were on opposite sides of the music issue, but now I found myself taking the opposite side just so I could get that vocal kick in the ass that only Vince could deliver.  I miss those times.   Vince was taken from his family and friends two years ago this month.  I still can’t believe that he’s not here.  Cancer sucks.  It has taken so much from so many.  I know many reading this enjoyed the time with Vince.  The weekly calls arguing music passionately.  The Annual S.I.N. Awards which really brought so many of us to NYC in December.  The SIN Awards were more like a family reunion than an awards gathering, at least it was to me.  It was liking coming home at Christmas to visit your favorite Uncle and your extended family. It honestly reminded me of The Dropkick Murphy’s video “The Season’s Upon Us” with a Soprano’s theme!  Dropkick Murphys Video   Today I wanted to honor not only my great friend Vince Pellegrino but all those whose lives he touched.  He was a great friend to me and my wife.  He was a good man and most importantly he was the Godfather to a generation of Radio and Record people.  All those that spend time with him are better off for knowing him.  Yes…Cancer Sucks.

In Vince’s honor as well as all those I am blogging about as I raise money for The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, I would like to ask for your help by clicking the link:  Donate To Fight Cancer By Clicking Here  It is my goal to help support Childhood Cancer Research and Care.  If we can cure cancer in our children, it is like pulling out the roots before cancer can develop in adults.  In essence, curing Childhood Cancer is how we cure cancer altogether!  Thank you for you time and help.  I know that Vince, who supported me when I started raising money NINE years ago, is smiling down on us all!   Actually, he’s probably fighting with God on why he can’t get several records in rotation up there!

SIN Vince Pellegrino
Vince, We all love and miss you!


So You Don’t Like Justin Bieber…

Well…it’s soap box time!  I’m tired of the people who bash Justin Bieber.  People who hate him for the simple reasons that he friggin’ talented, girls think he’s cute (I hear it from my daughter everyday) and his future is pretty much a lock!   Do I love seeing Justin Bieber at every turn?  Not necessarily, but you will not hear a derogatory term from me.  As I told my buddy Mike A. (name is redacted to protect the innocent) back in October 2009 when he asked me “Who in the hell is Justin Bieber”, I told him then that he’s the next HUGE artist.  By the way…was I right Mike?   The kid plays 5 instruments, can really sing, seems to be a good kid, was very respectful and humble when I met him and stayed an extra hour to make sure that every one of his 300+ fans got an autograph and picture with him.   I can see why people would dislike him.  He’s a very talented 16-year-old kid who has hit the lottery.  All I can figure is anyone who has something derogatory to say about the kid has either never met him or is just insanely jealous of his success!   So, with that being said, I’d like to say thank you from my family and co-workers to Justin for giving us music that drives listener passion and ratings.   The reality is I wish at any point of my life I can suck enough to become independently wealthy like him.  So I lift my Diet Coke to you, your music and in 5 more years, I’ll happily buy you your first beer!