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Just Being Einstein

The 10-part-series Genius began Tuesday night, on National Geographic. I taped it but haven’t started to watch it yet, so there are no “spoilers” in this blog. (I always wanted to write a TV review blog to say “spoiler alert” and I almost made it!)

The crazy part of it is that the subject matter is Albert Einstein. It’s hard to believe that an anticipated series is about Albert Einstein. So, I suppose a true story can’t really have any spoilers. The NY Times wrote a review of the series in case you want a quick summary without watching the 10 episodes. (Here)

His story really is a reminder that success doesn’t come easily, even if you are “an Einstein”. He did not speak until he was four. He didn’t read until he was seven. That understandably concerned his parents and caused his teachers to believe that he was mentally handicapped.

Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich. At that point, there was no expectation that he would develop the theory of relativity, win the Nobel Prize in Physics and ultimately be considered the authority on our universe. (and my summation of “authority on our universe” is almost laughable, but it does make my blog short enough to read this morning)

J.Edgar Hoover, as Director of the FBI, was adamant that Einstein should be kept out of the United States. The FBI even kept a file on him that grew to 1427 pages. Hoover was overruled by the State Department, and the “rest is history”.

I blog on Einstein today because I am fascinated by some of the explanations of his success. Perhaps his own words are a good explanation, and also a challenge for us:

Learn from yesterday; live for today; hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

And finally, I also like his hair. It became a symbol of why he was also known as the Father of Distraction. 


One story from reflects what apparently was his way of life:

When Einstein is on a train in Germany. He is then a famous researcher. The conductor enters the wagon and Einstein desperately looks in his pockets for the ticket.

“Oh, but I recognize you, of course: doctor Einstein. You can ride for free. Don’t worry about the ticket,” says the conductor.

“Thank you, but if I don´t find my ticket, I won’t know where to get off the train,” says Einstein.

And for pic o’ day, with every outfit it all starts with the shoes:



Some Friday Marketing Thoughts

     Once again, we arrive at a Friday blog. It does seem to get here quickly. It’s always fun for me because it gives me an excuse to ramble. (I know… how is this different from other days?)

     When I first started advertising, I nervously began in the yellow pages and then radio. Then, you could only purchase half-page yellow page ads and I was in 11th place. I had to figure out a way to still be effective. No one holds up a big foam hand at football games to celebrate “we are number 11”.

     I decided to try to be available all the time. That meant finding an answering service that could handle calls. It also meant getting crazy calls in the middle of the night. I got my share of “I’m calling because I slipped and fell, and now I have a crack all the way up my butt”. (yes… even for the blog,  it’s a bit out there)

     Still, I was starting to get calls for cases. But, I was still working nervous because I had started the practice with $4,000 in the bank. Not much room for mistake… or advertising. I wasn’t even giving out free pens. I was probably using Holiday Inn pens myself. 

   Then I committed to radio advertising. My first contract was with a Tidewater AM station. (WNIS). For $700 per month and with a lump in my throat, I had made my first media buy

     That meant that I had to cut a radio spot. When I got to the station, I learned that their recording equipment did not have the capability of fixing mistakes without starting over. So, to cut a 60 second spot, I had to read it perfectly. That took many takes. Plus, it was such a boring commercial that I think I started dozing off during one of the reads. (exaggeration footnote)

               I was able to resolve some cases.  I bought some additional radio and even moved to FM. Yep… true splurging. Soon, on to television. That included daytime and late night. The late night brought more of those crazy calls. I was paying for all those childhood crank calls of  “Do you have Prince Albert in a can… Well, let him out”,  that I had made to grocery stores.

     Since this is a Friday, I won’t overwhelm with much more of the advertising journey.   The ending to this is where we are in advertising today. Social media has changed the playing field. Now, new lawyers can do a whole lot without a lump in their throat. Technology and the Internet means that you don’t have to spend. Still, lawyers ask me “do you get business from your website?”.  Or, “why do you take the time to blog?”. 

     On one hand, I guess that I could be glad that most lawyers are not focusing on their website or social media for business. True, I don’t really think of other lawyers as “the enemy”,  but maybe Napolean Bonaparte’s philosophy does resonate when he said,  “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

     The context of this blog is how our law firm has progressed. We decided that we were going to do things differently and not just continue to do radio, yellow pages or TV. We were going to branch out.

     I have seen another company listed in marketing books who says that they are going to market differently.  

     The clothing company alottosay (website) decided their marketing was no longer going to be about just advertising or coming up with some mission statement.  They eliminated their mission statement. Their website describes the company as:

A Lot To Say, Inc., was founded by two sisters who have worked very hard to make sure their tees are the ultimate in environmental apparel. The company creates and sells t-shirts, tanks and other apparel that are hip, interesting, fashionable and wearable. Every day, in every day lives.

          Here is what they say for a Manifesto instead of just a mission statement. Is this progressive and will it work; or is it nonsense that will fall by the wayside? You decide!

A Lot To Say: Our Manifesto

If you think something, say it.

If you believe something, say it.

If you want something, say it.

Because saying it creates new awareness.

Awareness sparks new behavior.

And new behavior inspires us all to be better.

If we speak out, others will act out.

To vote. Recycle. Save.

To think a little more.

To try a little harder.

To live more honestly.

Thoughtfully. Joyfully.

You have a lot to say.

So never be afraid to say it.

Or wear it.


     And for a Friday pic o’ day, let’s go with a reminder of frustrating customer service:


TV versus the Internet

     This week will be one of those “plates in the air” kind of weeks. Of course, I have always said that the practice of law is like having 5 baskets, 5 snakes and 4 lids. I didn’t make that up, but I can’t remember who did, to give them credit.

     Anyway, this week will also be a combination of law and marketing. Right now, I am working on a couple of scripts for upcoming law firm TV commercials. This Sunday, we will be on in our TV markets, with a Super Bowl ad. Right now, I am trying to decide if I should “whip up” an ad, just for the Super Bowl, or do one that will be used down the road.

     Most of the Super Bowl  ads are placed nationally. That’s why you see all those articles about the pricing of ads. And, of course, I always feel riveted to my chair at the commercial breaks. That’s some of the best viewing. It’s rare that the public does pay so much attention to TV ads. The local TV stations have 3 or 4 ads to sell in game. That’s where we try to get in.

     I titled this blog “TV versus the Internet” because that is really what has happened in marketing. I regularly hear lawyers complaining about how their TV advertising no longer generates business. For us, we have greatly reduced our TV ads over the last few years. That’s because the Internet has replaced a lot of what TV and yellow pages used to do. .

      The Internet has created a different buying experience. When I am contemplating a product or book to read, I look at the recommendations of others. Did they give the book 4 stars or not. It’s what Facebook is trying to capitalize on, in having your “friends” give a thumbs up or a thumbs down on a product. That will also probably have an impact on professional services.

     It won’t matter how many TV ads a lawyer or doctor might air, if there are a lot of online comments about the services that aren’t beneficial to the business. TV will be more for “top of mind awareness”. 

     The Internet has become the great equalizer and really returned us back to the days that people choose, based on recommendations. It’s a good thing because a 30 second advertisement on television really doesn’t tell you much about a business, except to introduce you to it.

     Well, that’s what’s on my mind. I wish you could give me an amazing TV ad idea. The Super Bowl is one time that you reach an audience all at once. Plus, it should pull big numbers; since Green Bay and Pittsburgh are playing.

     I want a close game; a lot of viewers; several ads that make me laugh and, I need a good idea for our firm. So, I’m pulling out a pen and pad and beginning to write. I have a cup of coffee next to me. Hopefully, if you are in one of our markets, you will see what comes to fruition. That assumes that the production will get it done  and on to the stations.

     That sounds like the same “five baskets” slogan too. I guess that’s the way life really is.

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