It seems strange to think that Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, but we are now eyeing the year-end holiday season.

This is traditionally my slow time of the year, when I get to plan for the new year and get some writing done, but thanks to the continued popularity of the Repeatable Successful Acts platform and the One Level Above Expectation strategy, I will find myself on the road working with clients just about until you can hear sleigh bells. November has me headed to some cold parts of the country with trips to Minneapolis, Milwaukee, New York and San Francisco. It's hard for a Texan to think "sweaters."

One of my constant challenges is to keep my current topics up to date with cutting edge examples to support my ideas. This requires a steady diet of research, of culling sources for the most impactful information available. In October I presented the UPSIDE DOWN THINK program, and there was a person in the audience who had seen it in September. He came up to me after the program and expressed amazement that it was practically a new program. I am often asked where I get my material and thought I would share that with you:

Those are four good sources to get your brain moving!

The Law of the Paradox of the Anomaly

By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox. -Galileo

Business success is built on modeling, the process of repeated aspects of formal and informal processes. There are literally thousands of business models in play around the world. A good example is the "Bait and Hook" model. This 20th century example is familiar to everyone. Provide a basic product at a low price then charge a recurring fee for associated products or services. Get the Razor cheap, but pay out the nose for the blades. Get an inexpensive cell phone but pay a high price for minutes. My favorite is to buy the incredible multi-functional printer for a song and watch the investment in ink cartridges add up. The idea is that a model has value in its ability to be replicated. Models are recipes, kind of like baking. In baking you need to be precise in your measurements, temperatures and times to make the end product delicious…every time you bake it.

But, there are paradoxes to the idea of repeatable models, true processes that lead to contradictions. Don't think of baking, but think of cooking gumbo: a little bit of this and a little bit of that, a pinch of this and a smidge of that.

The new idea of how things are done often flies in the face of tradition. Here are a couple of ways to see the power of the paradox:

Here are a few simple paradox examples:

HITACHI TRACK BALL TV REMOTE: Why are all TV remotes the same, about 47 tiny buttons, of which we use about seven? Hitachi has attacked this model with a simple roller ball prototype that connects directly with an intelligent TV screen interface. It is a contrary idea to every remote out there. A real paradox of design and simplicity.

LOCOPOPS: Taking the Popsicle to a new level. North Carolina-based Locopops has taken a very simple and paradoxical journey into selling unique, exciting, and delicious popsicles. They have a wonderfully simple retail model directly connected to their web strategy. This direct connection gives a complete and simple client experience. Popsicles are now way cool! Look 'em up.

NIKE: Get rid of the "crap." When Mark Parker took over as CEO of Nike he got a call from Apple emperor Steven Jobs. Parker asked for a little advice and Jobs told him this, "You make products people lust after, stunning products of function and design, but you also have a lot of crap. Get rid of the crap and focus on the stunning." Apple carries less than 30 products.

You can find your model. You can build your own paradox, a contradiction to the status quo of your field.

It's about finding your "simple ground," and then not just holding it, but advancing it.


Crowdsourcing: Now in beta, UK-based Myoo Create ("Myoo" is short for "me" and "you") aims to help organizations put the crowds to work solving environmental and social challenges. Organizations begin by signing up with the site and posting a challenge they'd like to see solved. They also offer a specific prize for the best solution. The Myoo Create community then brainstorms and submits solutions to the challenge, which then become available for evaluation, voting and feedback from other participants on the site. The process varies with each contest, but generally there's one prize for the crowd favorite, while the ultimate winner is selected with the input of expert judges. Organizations involved so far include Levi Strauss & Co. and National Geographic.

NBA Twitters: The NBA's New York Knicks are one of the best "social media-represented" teams in all of pro sports. The Knicks, with 11 players active on Twitter, are using social media to connect to fans. This is quite a reversal from a year ago when players were banned from saying anything in public. What's your social media policy? Do you connect to your clients using every tool possible?

US Home Sales on the Rise: In September, US existing home sales jumped 10% to 4.53 million. This rise is the largest on record. Now we are still far from a healthy home sales market, but recent months have shown positive signs for this lynchpin measurement of economic health.


Interested in these ideas?


You can contact Steve at or give him a call at 972-490-7717.
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