Friday, December 13, 2013

The Godfather Guide To A Good And Happy Life

Do you ever feel that you have so many 'life rules' thrown at you that you can’t even remember them, let alone make sense of them?

You’re not alone in feeling like that.

The ‘rules of life’ that have stuck most easily with me have come from movies – perhaps because they're not only visual, they're visceral.

There is a scene in The Last Samurai where Katsumoto and Algren are about to advance to almost certain death and Katsumoto says: “Do you believe a man can change his destiny?’ Algren answers: ‘I believe a man does what he can until his destiny is revealed to him.’ There’s Buddha right there, a philosophy of life you can live by.

Perhaps one of the greatest movies that provides some of the greatest rules for living well is The Godfather. Michael Corleone lived a Shakespearian tragedy. But if he had taken his own good advice and that of his family it might all have been so different:

Here are 9 Corleone rules you could build a good and happy life on:

A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man
- Don Corleone to Johnny Fontaine

Building a business is hard work. There are countless hours spent stressing, planning, focusing – and no guarantees at the end of it. And it requires Olympic level mental energy. You have to prioritize your time; but don’t let your family come second. You’re doing it for them, right? What’s the point if they’re not there when it’s all done? Set strict work hours and keep to them. Or your successful business will end up owning you. And what’s successful about that?

You act like a man (slap!!). What’s the matter with you?
- Don Corleone to Johnny Fontaine

Don’t whine when things don’t go your way. Change what you can and what you can’t change – suck it up. Lose your cool about it and you just lose other people’s respect. Remember: Life is not always fair. Deal with it. (slap!)

I don’t like violence, Tom. I’m a businessman. Blood is a big expense.
- Solozzo to Joe Hagan

Anger is unhealthy in business and in relationships. It doesn’t mean you can’t get pissed off – if you didn’t, there would be something wrong. But how you deal with it, that’s another matter. Go to the gym, run ten kilometers, burn off the rage, get away from whatever is scorching you up BEFORE you lose it. Deal with the problem yes, but do it when you’re calm. Once there’s blood on the street, literally or figuratively, it’s too late. If you accept anger isn’t a good answer to problems, you have a chance of being happy at home and productive at work. If you can’t control your anger, get help before it screws up your life.

My father taught me many things. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
Michael Corleone to Pentangeli

It’s only too easy to get into conflict with difficult people. Going into battle with them may feel good at the time but it will always end in tears. The answer to people giving you problems is not to tune them out or bawl them out. Have you noticed how that just makes it worse? People are often loud and obnoxious because they think nobody cares about them. Listen to them – everyone is entitled to five minutes of fame. Most negative people feel powerless – show them how to solve their problems rather than blowing them off.

Don’t overestimate the power of forgiveness
- Michael Corleone to the Archbishop

Your husband left you for an underwear model; your business partner emptied the business account and went to Brazil. Of course you want to get even. You’re only human. But as the ancient saying goes: "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." Forgiving doesn’t mean you roll over and let people walk over you, it’s about letting it go. It means they only hurt you once and not every day for the rest of your life. Remember: the best revenge is happiness.

I have always believed helping our fellow man is profitable in every sense, personally and bottom line
- Michael Corleone to reporters

Whether you feel altruistic or not, helping others is the bottom line of every business and indeed every human endeavor. In a financial sense we prosper by solving other people’s problems, whether we’re writing blogs, taking out an inflamed appendix or selling a car. If you keep this principle in mind in your personal relationships, it will serve you spiritually and emotionally too

Go to the mattresses
- Sonny Corleone

When things get tough, there are times we have to dig in and just plan on getting through. At these times, life is stripped down to its bare essentials. Maybe we have lost someone close to us; perhaps it’s a personal financial disaster; or we face a health crisis. All we can do is sleep, eat, fight and think of nothing else till the peace returns. We all have to go to the mattresses sometimes. Know the time, and do it.

There wasn’t enough time, Michael, there wasn’t enough time.
- Don Corleone to Michael

Life is short. It never seems that way when we’re young. But as you get older, reality bites. Remembering the brevity of existence should be a spur not a cause for despair. While you’re alive there’s still time to fulfill your dreams. So seize the day. Life is not a dress rehearsal, you only get one shot. More than money, charm or looks, time is the greatest gift there is. If you’re reading this, you still have some left. Spend it wisely.
Life is never like the movies. There isn’t always a happy ending when we want one, and the bad guys don’t always get what’s coming to them.

We’ve all seen the way it really works, right?

But that doesn’t mean it’s all wrong and sometimes there’s some great truths in great movies, if we would only pay attention.

So listen to what the Godfather is telling you; pay attention to your family, don’t let anger control you, remember that serving others is the way to success. Maybe you’ve heard all these things before. But the way the Don says them, maybe you’ll pay better attention.

There’s plenty for everyone to wet their beak a little. Start wetting yours.

And last and most important of all, remember this:

 Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.
- Clemenza to Rocco

 If you’ve ever had cannoli, you know it makes sense.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

National Best & Brightest Companies to Work For

We are excited to announce that for the second year in a row, we have been nominated for "National Best & Brightest Companies to Work For"!

Keep up the great work team! It is because of everyone's hard work and commitment that we have been considered for this honor. You guys rock!!!

You can check out the press release below. Be sure to follow us to stay up to date on all the latest surrounding the award and company news.

We will see some of you guys on the river tomorrow, have a great weekend!

"People focused and dedicated to growth, we are redefining direct marketing for the world."

Monday, June 24, 2013

8 Words to Avoid When Selling

I've read hundreds of sales messages and heard dozens of sales presentations. Probably 90 percent of them are full of words that are both trite and ineffective.

Here are the worst offenders:

1. "Exciting"
There is no word more boring than the word "exciting."  Claiming that something is "exciting" tells everybody that it's not. Instead, find something about your offering that actually excites the customer's interest.

2. "Innovative"
Same here.  I can't remember ever hearing Apple claim to be innovative; they just are.  That's true of every company that actually innovates.  For them, it's just normal everyday behavior. They don't have to point it out.

3. "Discount"
Let's leave this tired old term back in the world where "But, wait! There's more!" is state-of-the-art sales patter.  Look, your stuff has a price and maybe you've got some flexibility. But offering a "discount"?  How cheesy.

4. "Guarantee"
Everyone in the world who has an ounce of sense knows that a "guarantee" means absolutely nothing. "Guarantee" is just the word that people use when they're too chicken to use a word that has some real legal muscle, i.e. "warrantee."

5. "Honestly"
When this word comes out of your mouth, it makes everything else you've said so far seem like you were probably lying.  Same thing goes for starting a sentence with "To tell the truth,..." Say whut? You've been BSing up until now?

6. "Collaborate"
How did this dreadful word get into the business vocabulary, anyway? Yes, you've got to work together with people to get stuff done, but "collaborate"?  Hey, that's what the Vichy France did with the Nazis.

7. "Opportunity"
This is the classic case of a word that sounds positive but carries a huge load of "it's all about me."  Calling any sales situation an "opportunity" is telling the customer that you're all about closing the deal.  Just like any other opportunist.

8. "Quota"
On what planet does a customer care whether you make your numbers?  Selling is all about helping the customer make the best decision...for the customer.  When you're selling, your quota should be the farthest thing from your mind.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

AT&T has solid Q1

News about one of our biggest clients:

AT&T returns $4.7B to shareholders in a solid Q1

AT&T returns $4.7B to shareholders in a solid Q1
                At this point, AT&T’s shareholders must be pleased.

AT&T reported revenues of $31.8 for the first quarter of 2013, up 1.8 percent from last year, with $6.1 billion in operating income — clearly its business is going strong. The company also noted that it returned $4.7 billion to shareholders throughout the quarter through dividends and stock buybacks.
Specifically, AT&T paid shareholders $2.6 billion in dividends and $2.1 billion via stock buybacks. The company says it has purchased 67.7 million out of the 300 million it’s been authorized to buy back.

The carrier sold 5.5 million smartphones during the quarter and added 726,000 new wireless customers (both prepaid and postpaid). AT&T now has 103.9 million wireless customers.

Not surprisingly, wireless revenues also grew significantly over the quarter, up 20 percent from last year (or more than $1 billion). Revenues for AT&T’s home television and Internet service U-Verse also grew 38.2 percent since last year, putting cord-cutting concerns to rest. AT&T noted that its wireline growth (home internet service) was the highest ever for the past nine quarters.

Overall, AT&T is certainly in a better position than it was last quarter, when it posted a $3.9 billion loss due to Superstorm Sandy and benefit plan expenses. With no major product or service announcements, the first quarter was unsurprisingly steady for AT&T, but you can certainly expect things to heat up over the next few quarters with the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and increased anticipation for the next iPhone.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Welcome April!

First quarter down, three to go! This seems like a good time to reflect on how you have started your year. Are you off to a good start? If not, how are you planning to get back on track?

We are honing in on promoting our first assistant manager of the new year, and have been chosen by our client AT&T to help pilot a new business campaign here in Sacramento! This is an amazing opportunity to really grow! Off to a decent start, yet a ton of work still lies ahead.

Be sure to follow us to stay up to date on the latest news and events!

Press Room

“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

Teamwork & Vision

Teamwork and vision go hand in hand

By John C Maxwell
Have you ever been a part of a team that doesn’t seem to get anything accomplished? Where the team may work and work, but nothing actually gets done? If so, you’ve probably been on a team that lacked vision.

Vision works like a rudder on a ship. Without it, the ship may travel a distance, but not necessarily in the right direction. With it, the ship reaches the destination by the shortest route possible.

Vision determines the direction of the team.

Champion basketball coach Pat Riley once said, “Teamwork requires that everyone’s efforts flow in a single direction. Feelings of significance happen when a team’s energy takes on a life of its own.”
With vision, a team has energy, and team members feel like they’re doing something of value. So if you’re the leader of a team, how do you impart vision to your people?

You transfer the vision both emotionally and logically.

What is needed to emotionally transfer a vision?
  1. Credibility. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. Your people need to know that you can be trusted.
  2. Passion. Team members will not be excited about a vision that the leader doesn’t care about. They need to see and feel your passion before they embrace it.
  3. Relationship. How well do your teammates know you? How well do you know them? People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  4. Timing. For a vision to connect, its timing needs to be right. The right decision at the wrong time is still the wrong decision.
  5. Felt need. This is relatively easy, because we all need to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Revealing how your vision meets that need can lead to emotional buy-in.
What is needed to logically transfer a vision?
  1. A realistic understanding of the situation today. A firm grasp on reality gives your vision a starting point, and makes team members more willing to partner in achieving it.
  2. An experienced team. How familiar are team members with the specific problem? The more they’ve dealt with similar situations, the more confident they’ll be in their ability to tackle this challenge. Make it your goal to show them how their previous experience has prepared them.
  3. A sound strategy. Do you have a game plan that you can articulate clearly and succinctly? Team members need to know where they’re going before they can fully accept the responsibility for getting there.
  4. Acceptance of responsibility by the leader(s). Do you embrace your role in achieving the vision? Are you willing to be held accountable? People need to know that you’ll do your part.
  5. Celebration of each victory. A big vision is filled with many small goals. Celebrating victories in those areas helps team members track their progress and find the motivation to continue on the journey.
  6. Evaluation of each defeat. When the team misses a goal, it’s important to acknowledge that and communicate how the team can do better moving forward.
Great vision precedes great achievement. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, a leader of troops during World War II, wrote that “every single soldier must know, before he goes into battle, how the little battle he is to fight fits into the larger picture, and how the success of his fighting will influence the battle as a whole.” People on your team need to know why they’re fighting. This helps them buy in emotionally and logically, so that they can work together with you to achieve victory.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dreamer vs. Doer

The Great Separator

One thing separates the dreamer and the doer.
It also separates the wishful from the wealthy.
Two people can have the same capabilities,
same hope and same aspiration,
but have radically different outcomes.

One acted and the other did not.

ACTION is the great separator.

Right now, there are opportunities, ideas, dreams or aspirations in your life that you know you SHOULD act on, you WANT to act on, but you are afraid to do so.
Oh, you might be excusing your lack of action by your telling yourself you don’t know what to do, how to do it or if it will work out.

I can tell you firsthand, nothing I have ever accomplished had I done before.
I have been in wildly different industries: from the direct selling of environmental products, to real estate, to television, to educational software, to Internet media, to publishing and more.
None of these industries was I educated or trained to be in;

I had no experience in any of them previously—I just jumped in and started. And the outcomes evolved in ways well beyond what I could have planned for or envisioned at the beginning, meaning all the paralysis by analysis is useless anyway because it will never work out as you plan.

The key is to just get started.

Someone said to me recently, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step.” That’s the key—just take the first step. Then when you do, take another. One at a time—one after another.
Before you know it you will have risen to the top of an industry, maybe heights you could never have allowed yourself to dream of and set goals for, simply because you jumped in and got started.

That’s all it takes, ACTION.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Run or Dye 5K!

Pleased to announce that we will be participating in this years Run or Dye 5K! You can check out the press release about it and to learn more about the event here: Be sure to follow us on twitter and facebook to see the "after" pictures, should be good! We have raised over $300 for the event so far which is teaming up with United Way to support United Way Fit Kids Program!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Harlem Shake!

Army version, pretty cool!

Check out this article from billboard on the history of the viral craze and some pretty cool stats!

Also, stay tuned as Magnetic Consulting is working on our version of the harlem shake, due out next week!

Monday, February 11, 2013


When You Get Kicked in the Rear, You Know You’re Out in Front

By John C Maxwell
Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “Criticism is something you can avoid easily—by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Obviously, that isn’t an option for anyone who wants to be successful as a leader.

Good leaders are active, and their actions often put them out front. That often draws criticism. When spectators watch a race, where do they focus their attention? On the front-runners! People watch their every action—and often criticize.

Since criticism is a part of leadership, you need to learn how to handle it constructively. The following has helped me to deal with criticism, so I pass it on to you.

Know yourself.
Do you really know yourself? Are you aware of your weaknesses as well as your strengths? Where do you fall short as a person and leader? Not sure what your weaknesses are? Ask five trustworthy people close to you. They’ll be able to tell you where you come up short.

Know the criticism – and the critics.
When you receive criticism, how do you tell if it’s constructive or destructive? (Some say constructive criticism is when I criticize you, but destructive criticism is when you criticize me!) Here are the questions I ask to get to determine what kind of criticism it is:
  • Who criticized me? Adverse criticism from a wise person is more to be desired than the enthusiastic approval of a fool. The source often matters.
  • How was it given? I try to discern whether the person was being judgmental or whether he gave me the benefit of the doubt and spoke with kindness.
  • Why was it given? Was it given out of a personal hurt or for my benefit? Hurting people hurt people; they lash out or criticize to try to make themselves feel better, not to help the other person.
Stay open to change.
Let’s assume you now know yourself pretty well. You can tell when a criticism is way off-base; maybe it’s directed more at your position than at you. And you know when a criticism is 100% legitimate because it’s about a weakness that you’ve already discovered.
But what about the gray areas? The criticisms that might hold a grain of truth? A good leader stays open to improvement by:
  • Not being defensive,
  • Looking for the helpful grain of truth,
  • Making the necessary changes, and
  • Taking the high road.
Accept yourself.
Jonas Salk, developer of the Salk polio vaccine, had many critics in spite of his incredible contribution to medicine. Of criticism, he observed, “First people will tell you that you are wrong. Then they will tell you that you are right, but what you’re doing really isn’t important. Finally, they will admit that you are right and that what you are doing is very important; but after all, they knew it all the time.”

How do leaders who are out front handle this kind of fickle response from others?
The Serenity Prayer, made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs, gives direction in this area:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
If you have endeavored to know yourself, and have worked hard to change yourself, then what more can you do?

Forget yourself.
The final step in the process of effectively handling criticism is to stop focusing on yourself. Secure people forget about themselves so they can focus on others. By doing this, they can face nearly any kind of criticism—and even serve the critic.

I try to live out a sentiment expressed by Parkenham Beatty, who advised, “By your own soul learn to live. And if men thwart you, take no heed. If men hate you, have no care: Sing your song, dream your dream, hope your hope and pray your prayer.”

As leaders, we must always be serious about our responsibilities, but it isn’t healthy for us to take ourselves too seriously. A Chinese proverb says, “Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves. They shall never cease to be entertained.”

My friend Joyce Meyer observes, “God will help you be all you can be, but He will never let you be successful at becoming someone else.” We can’t do more than try to be all that we can be. If we do that as leaders, we will give others our best, and we will sometimes takes hits from others. But that’s okay. That is the price for being out front.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


We are cranking here at Magnetic Consulting! Starting the year off with a bang! Props to Chris, Graham and Tyler on their promotions to Lead Account Management, well deserved guys. And shout out to the whole team for finishing the month of January strong. Posting some of our best metrics to date in the company, awesome job! Our client is impressed and thats how you start of the year with incredible momentum.

Be sure to follow us on twitter:
Like us on Facebook:

To stay up to date on all news and upcoming events! We have a charity "cornhole" tournament scheduled for this weekend benefiting Operation Smile. As well as Keys to Success slated for Feb 21-24 and our quarterly conference in San Jose slated for March 24th.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Interesting Article

Stumbled across this article this weekend and thought we would share it. From Mark Cuban's blog, you can check out this article and more: Enjoy!

Will Your College Go Out of Business Before You Graduate ?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from High School kids asking whether or not they should go to college. The answer is yes.

College is where you find out about yourself. It’s where you learn how to learn. It’s where you get exposure to new ideas. For those of us who are into business you learn the languages of business, accounting, finance, marketing and sales in college.

The question is not whether or not you should go to school, the question for the class of 2014 is what is your college plan and what is the likelihood that your college or university you attend will still be in business by the time you want to graduate.

Still in business ? Yep. When I look at the university and college systems around the country I see the newspaper industry.

The newspaper industry was once deemed indestructible. Then this thing called the internet came along and took away their classified business. The problem wasn’t really that their classifieds disappeared. It was more that they had accumulated a ton of debt and had over invested in physical plant and assets that could not adapt to the new digital world.

When revenue fell the debt was still there, as were all the big buildings they had purchased, all those presses they had bought and the acquisitions they had made declined in value, but the debt
accumulated to pay for them never went away.

They were stuck with no easy way out.

The exact same thing is happening to our 4 year schools. You can’t go to a big state university and not see construction. Why ?

Why in the world are schools building new buildings ? What is required in a business school classroom that is any different from the classroom for psychology or sociology or english or any other number of classes ? A new library, seriously ? What is worse is that schools are taking on debt to pay for this new construction.
Think about this from a business perspective. Schools are seeing state and federal funding decline, as it should. Why should taxpayers be paying for another building ?

They are seeing their primary revenue source, tuition, once a number that was never really questioned, becoming a value decision by prospective students. As they should.

Unless your parents are wealthy or you quality for a full ride or something close, the days of picking a school because that is the school you always wanted to go to are gone.
The class of 2014 and beyond now has to prepare a college value plan. What classes are you going to take online that enables you to get the most credits for the least cost. What classes are you going to take at a local, low-cost school so you can get additional credits at the lowest cost.
Then, with your freshman and sophomore classes out-of-the-way, you can start to figure out which school you would like to transfer to, or two years from now, which online classes you can take that challenge you and prepare you for the areas you want to focus on. If you have the personal discipline you may be able to avoid ever having to step on a campus and graduating with a good degree and miracle of miracles, no debt.

For the smart student who cares about getting their money’s worth from college, the days of one school for four years are over. The days of taking on big debt (to the tune of 1 TRILLION DOLLARS as I write this ) are gone. Going to a 4 year school is supposed to be the foundation from which you create a future, not the transaction that crushes everything you had hoped to do because you have more debt than you could possibly pay off in 10 years. It makes no sense.

Which in turn means that 4 year schools that refuse to LOWER their tuition are going to see their enrollment numbers decline. It just doesn’t make sense to pay top dollar for Introduction to Accounting , psychology 101, etc.

Of course the big schools are going to argue this all day long. They want and need your money. They want to tell you how beautiful their campus is. The social aspects of going away to college. The amazing professors they have. The opportunities they create. The access to alumni and sports. All were great arguments in 2001 when tuitions were still somewhat reasonable. They no longer hold water.

So back to the economics of 4 year schools. Before you go to college, or send your child to a 4 year school you better check their balance sheet. How much debt does the school have ? How many administrators making more than 200k do they have ? How much are they spending on building new buildings. None of which add value to your child’s education, but enrollment declines will force schools to increase their tuition and nail you with other costs. They just create a debtor university that risks going out of business.

There will be colleges and universities that fail , declare bankruptcy or have to re-capitalize much like the newspaper industry has and long before the class of 2018 graduates.

The smart high school grad no longer just picks a school, borrows money and wings it. Your future depends on your ability to assemble an educational plan that gets you on your path of knowledge and discovery without putting you at risk of attending a school that is doomed to fail , and/or saddling you with a debt heavy balance sheet that prevents you from taking the chances, searching for the opportunities or just being a f*** up for a while. We each take our own path, but nothing shortcuts the dreams of a 22-year-old more than owing a crapload of money.

Now is the time to figure it out and avoid the mess schools are creating for themselves and for those who take the old school way to college graduation.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Engineer Who Saved Facebook

Very interesting article from business insider about Facebook's mobile app and the engineer behind it's revamping. Check it out below!

This Engineer Saved Facebook

Using a white board to illustrate his points, Ondrejka told Zuckerberg that Facebook was broken in a big, scary way and that he, a relatively new engineer at the company, had the solution.
Facebook's problem, according to Ondejka, was its mobile app.
Yes, it was the most popular app on Android and iOS.
But, built in 2006 using HTML5, instead of native iOS or Android code, it was, by October 2011, slow and awful to use.
It was so slow and awful, that it opened the possibility that users would defect Facebook for faster, better mobile social media apps.
Ondejka told Zuckerberg that he could re-build Facebook's app using native code and make it much, much faster.
According to the Wall Street Journal's Evelyn Rusli, who reported on this meeting in an excellent story on Facebook's mobile efforts, Zuckerberg responded to Ondejka with doubt.
He didn't believe, right away, that Ondrejka could "rapidly improve" the apps' performance with his re-write.
Rusli says, "Ondrejka assured him he finally had the technical resources and engineering expertise to get it done."
Ondrejka was right.
In August 2012, Facebook released a new version of its app, and the tech press and users rewarded it with near-universal praise for its speed and usability.
Meanwhile, Facebook continues to survive the consumer world's transition from desktop to mobile.
In this chart, you can actually see an acceleration in mobile-only users since Ondrejka's version of the app launched in August:
Death Of The PC
Business Insider

So, who is this engineer who put his career on the line and saved his company?
He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1992 with a badass sounding degree: "Computer Science and Weapons and Systems Engineering."
Ondrejka joined Facebook in November 2010 when it acquired the assets of a company he had founded, called Walletin. Before Walletin, Ondrejka worked briefly at record label EMI.
Before EMI, Ondrejka was CTO at Linden Labs, where he launched Second Life – the "virtual world." For about a half decade, Second Life was a pretty big deal, and it brought a lot of exposure to Ondrejka.
On his infrequently updated personal blog, you can find links to presentations he's given at conferences. One, titled "Angry dinosaurs: accelerating change institutional incompetence," sounds particularly intriguing.
You can get a sense of Ondrejka's personality and priorities reading one of the last posts on his personal blog – predictions he made for 2010. They were:
  • A major telecommunications company will recognize the competitive threat posed by Google Voice and begin offering “voice is free” as a method to gain customers and transition into more profitable data services.
  • At least one of the ineffective, post-9/11 airport security theater provisions is rolled back.
  • The current crop of social games will go the way of the original wave of Zombies and Vampires as players tire of the repetitive gameplay and friends start a backlash — again, exactly as we saw with Zombies and Vampires. The winning social game companies will be those which pivot dramatically.

  • Apple releases a tablet and moves computing onto a 4th screen, adding a new form factor to their existing complement of full screen (desktop/laptop), handheld (iPhone), and living room (Mac Mini/MacTV). It will be incredibly fun to use for the range of activities currently least served by current screens — movies, reading, browsing/social media on the run, and video/text chat. It will bring at least one new UX tech to the party to help make it the “ZOMG, WANT!!” product of 2010 — for example, front facing 3D camera for gestural control without touching the screen.

  • The 2010 midterm elections will see a degree of negative campaigning and hate mongering the likes of which the United States has never seen. It will be so bad that political and media leaders from both parties will finally remember that the point of politics is not to win but to effectively govern.

  • Amazon responds to the gaggle of competing copycat ebook readers by turning Kindle into a full fledged book platform: author choice on DRM, p2p sharing, and loaning; community elements for book recommendations, annotations, and ranking; and, user-generated book metadata for series and sequels, to allow author and series subscription for automatic delivery of new books.

  • Backlash against the world’s biggest banks and their windfall profits will contribute to the emergence of new regional, community, and online banking options.

  • The threat of Three Strike’s coming to the United States via ACTA will generate a grassroots debate about the merits of Obama administration’s IP maximalist strategy.

  • Heath care reform makes it through the committee reconciliation process and passes despite complaints from all sides.

  • I will be back at work full-time on something seriously cool.
Boy did he nail that last one.

Read more:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Interesting article on Apple and Microsoft

Dear Apple, Welcome To Microsoft's Agonizing World (AAPL, MSFT)

Microsoft Apple Comparison Chart
For the longest time, Apple bulls could sneer at Microsoft.

After peaking in December of 1999 at $58, Microsoft slipped to $22 a year later. Since then it's failed to break out of the $17-$36 range. It looks flat if you look at it over a ten year period.

While Microsoft's stock went sideways all it could say was, "It's the market. It's out of our hands, we can only do so much."

Microsoft's top PR man Frank Shaw built a good defense of his company. While the stock was flat, he noted Microsoft:
  • Tripled revenue from $23 billion in 2000 to $70 billion in 2011.
  • Increased profits from $9 billion in 2000 to $23 billion in 2011.
  • Returned $194 billion to shareholders via dividends and stock buyback.
Impressive numbers, but it didn't matter. Microsoft looked vulnerable to attacks from Apple and Google despite churning out impressive numbers year after years. The stock suffered because CEO Steve Ballmer failed to see the rise of mobile.

And while that was happening, Apple's stock was a rocket racing to the moon. Apple investors could look at Microsoft and laugh.

Well, the shoe is on the other foot today, as they say. Apple's defenders are throwing their hands in the air, shouting, "Apple had the fourth biggest earnings in history! What does Wall Street want?!?!"
The Street wants growth and stability. Apple's period of mega-growth is over. And real or perceived, there are threats to Apple's business right now. Samsung is selling a lot of smartphones. Amazon is clobbering Apple's margins. Google isn't going anywhere.

Apple can, and will, exist quite profitably while those companies do their thing. But, Microsoft existed quite profitably while Google and Apple did their thing. The looming threat is what held Microsoft in check.

The story can change for Apple. It doesn't have to be the next Microsoft. What really killed Microsoft was whiffing on the next big thing.

So far, Apple hasn't missed a technological revolution. If Apple rolls out a TV, an iWatch, or something else that people fall in love with, then it can avoid going sideways forever. But if Apple does miss the next big thing, then Apple will have to learn to live in annoying world Microsoft has been living in for years.

Read more:

Winter Storm Luna

News like this makes me happy that I live on the west coast and not back east! Tons of weather delays and closings. I hope our colleagues in the east stay safe.

Monday, January 14, 2013

You've Got To Pay The Toll

Growing up in the Hampton Roads area as a youngster, I have seen my share of toll roads.

In fact, I remember along one particular expressway you couldn’t even get off an exit without paying.

As I grew up and began to travel I have been taken by surprise by unexpected toll booths. I would dare say, some of you reading this have been caught behind me as I fumbled in my car for change and enraging travelers stuck behind me.

I have heard it said, “The difference between good and great is often the sacrifice one is willing to make to achieve it.”

When we look at this in the perspective of the life we live compared to the life we really want, we see where it disconnects.

In one word, it’s SACRIFICE.

I have never met someone who didn’t want more, but the issue seems to be their ability to see this principle.

If you’ve ever sat frustrated with your lot in life, you know exactly what I am speaking of.

Deep down inside you know full well it is never about what others have done, or not done for you. It’s what you would not do for yourself.

I want to share three simple tips that will help you identify where you are in the process and what is truly required of you:
  • It all starts with your attitude: Attitude is key! In fact, you can have all the intelligence in the world but if your attitude is one of negativity and strife; you will never attract the right life. I’ve seen people with all the potential in the world, but one blind spot in their attitude ruined any chance for them to step into greatness. We must address our internal expectations before we can expect to excel.
  • Next, establish the right circle of accountability: To some, this is a dirty word. Some see accountability as a fence or barrier to progress. But if you adjust your thinking to see accountability as the structure that holds the bridge of ‘greatness’ up, you learn to embrace it. Imagine how nervous you would be to cross a bridge with no guard rails. Chances are you would turn around and seek out another route. Many are wandering now because they lack authentic accountability.
  • Last, you have to take action: A good attitude without the proper action is like a brand new Ferrari without an engine. It’s going nowhere fast. Sure you look great standing next to it or even sitting behind the wheel. But it’s all a show. Action is the one part of the puzzle you cannot ignore. Life boils down to those who take action and those who do not. How many ideas have you filed away as ‘unattainable’ because you lingered too long? Action could have made you a millionaire five times over by now.
Greatness is not easily accessed.

If greatness was easily accessed, every person on earth would be realizing their power every single day.

But the sad reality is, it is not. Greatness costs. Often it costs more than most are willing to pay. We have to learn to sacrifice what we like to do now so we can live the way we desire in the future. Look at it as sowing seeds this year for the harvest coming next year.

See you at the TOP!
Early Jackson

Monday, January 7, 2013


Top 3 Interview Questions for Hiring Salespeople

In tough economic times, the pipeline for a sales job is often glutted with hundreds of applicants. With numerous seemingly qualified applicants to choose from, the interviewing and selection process can become long and drawn-out--and a waste of your valuable time.

Hiring on gut instinct may feel right, but it can lead to big mistakes. A skillful interviewer will instead ask questions that reveal how serious a candidate is about the job and how likely he or she is to succeed in the position.

Here are three knockout questions that can form the centerpiece of an effective interview. When asked together, they should give you a deep profile of the interviewee. If a candidate can’t answer these questions satisfactorily, quickly move on to the next applicant.

1. What do you know about this company and our industry?
The applicant's answer to this question should show solid research into your company and the industry. If he or she knows little about what your organization does, you likely have someone who’s just job shopping. That’s not what you’re looking for--you want people who are passionate about building a career with your company and in your industry. These are the people who tend to be successful long-term employees. Candidates in this group will have done research on the company and industry and will be able to enthusiastically articulate why they want to join your team.

2. What do you want to accomplish at this company?
When you ask this question, listen for ambitious but realistic answers. I once interviewed an applicant who in all seriousness told me he expected to be the company’s president in three years. Given this person’s background, there was absolutely no way that was happening--he wasn’t in touch with reality, and he wasn’t hired. But you should also be wary of those who have low expectations of themselves--these probably aren’t the high performers you’re looking for.

3. What have you done to prepare for the job?
The applicant’s answer to this question should show you that he or she is committed to securing the job. I once interviewed someone for a sales position at a medical device company, and when I asked what she had done to prepare for this job, her answer was: “I’ve studied your catalougue and website, and my best friend is one of your sales reps--I’ve traveled with her while she made customer calls for the last two weeks. I really want this job and am ready to start today.” Actions like this show commitment, and people who are dedicated have a much higher degree of success.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Non-negotiable Traits of a True Entrepreneur

Read this article and thought it would be great to share. I believe these to be true no matter what endeavor you are undertaking this year! Enjoy.
Successful founders are as different from each other as they are from everyone else. Except they all, without fail, share these four indispensable traits.

You say you want to start a company, but do you really think you have what it takes? You may be a detail-oriented geek or a visionary, a hyper-active multi-tasker or an obsessive, and have an equal chance of success. But there are certain character quirks that entrepreneurship simply demands. After building startups myself and investing in many others over the past 20 years, I hold these four traits to be non-negotiable.

1. You must be up for an adventure.
Starting a company or investing or joining a startup is like embarking on a four-week backpacking journey with enough food for one week. You don’t know where you or your company will be a year out; you don’t know how many people will be with you. You have to be comfortable with uncertainty. You should a clear vision on the end point, but the journey is very unknown.

Look back at the times in your career when the future has been uncertain. Were those the times that you thrived? Were you the irrationally positive person in the room? Were you the one firing up the team when everying seemed bleak? If you were not, let me say this: You at least have to be smart (and honest!) about your shortcomings, then hire someone who can do that for you.

As an investor, I prefer to see an entrepreneur who can do a little bit of everything without stressing when things fall outside his or her comfort zone. But I also recognize that a crack team of founders can be just as effective (if not more effective) than a one-man show.

2. You have to be patient.
Success will not happen overnight. This may be hard to believe if you’re constantly reading tech blogs, in which it seems to be gospel that billion-dollar valuations come to everyone who shows up. But the fact is, the companies that have endured took years to build. Starbucks opened in 1971, and eight years later they still had only operated a handful of stores. Spotify has been around since 2008. Amazon took 9 years to turn a profit.

You need to understand that the problems truly worth solving, the big industry problems, will not be wrapped up neatly in a year or two. It may take decades, and you will almost definitely have to make many adjustments to your initial vision. You’ll have to persevere through unfavorable conditions. But if you don't easily discourage, you will always have a better chance of succeeding.

3. You can’t be a perfectionist.
This is not a business where you will be able to spend all of your time and energy fixing one problem.

Good entrepreneurs can find a way to jump into the fray and start implementing ideas and solutions, even if they don’t have all the answers. You have to be comfortable covering a wide territory, with knowing a little bit about a lot of things, rather than a great deal about one thing. Compromise is essential for survival.

If you can easily check off all the risk factors when looking at a problem, it’s probably not a problem worth solving. So embrace the messiness. You’re going to learn more about what your battle plan should look like, and what challenges you need to expect, as you go along.

4. You have to be your company’s best sales person
Finally, it’s essential to remember that you must be, at your core, a great salesperson. You need to be able to sell your vision to potential partners, investors, and customers. If you can’t successfully do this, you’ll have a tough time getting very far. You’re going to be the first person to introduce the world to your product, and first impressions are important. Everyone wants to hear about your passion from you.

Learn the most common questions and reservations that people will have. They’ll want to know why what you’re doing is valuable. Cut out the jargon and speak to the heart of the matter. Start at the core, and then fill in the details. You have to hook them with the big picture before they can appreciate the nuances.

You wouldn't be reading this if you didn't have great faith and excitement in your idea. But you don't have a real business until you can enkindle that faith and excitement in others.

-Inc magazine

Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 is upon us!

Are Your Goals Realistic?

Are your goals realistic?
Take the Test

Ask any successful person, and they'll agree. In order to succeed, you must have goals. They are what turns your dreams and visions into reality.

Seems simple, right? You just write down what you want, and you're on your way to prosperity. Well, not exactly. In order for goals to work, they have to be realistic. Stating that you want to have more sales than Apple in 2013 won't make it happen.

So how do you know if your goals for next year are attainable and not just some pie-in-the-sky dream? Take this test to find out. If you answer no to any of the following statements, it's time to re-evaluate.

Are your goals in writing?
It's awesome to dream, and you should never stop thinking about what can be. But to actually achieve milestones, you have to get your goals down on paper. It will help you stay on track and reach them.

Are your goals specific and measurable?
For goals to work, you need to zero in on exactly what you want to accomplish. For example, saying that you want to make a profit won't cut it. Instead, how about, "I would like to make $500,000 in revenue this year"? It's specific and includes an exact (measurable) dollar amount. Once you have your targets, create a plan with deadlines. Then break it all the way down to daily activities. While preparing your strategy, it will soon become clear whether or not your goals are obtainable.

Are your goals shared?
Once you've written down your goals, it's time to get your team on board. Share your goals with your staff—called "casting your vision"—early and often, and watch them get fired up too. With everyone passionate about obtaining your dream, what may have seemed unrealistic this year could be totally obtainable in 2013.

Are your goals your own?
One of the easiest ways to fail while trying to reach your goals is if they are not your own. If your Aunt Edna wants you to be the most successful podiatrist in the tri-state area, it won't happen unless that's your dream too–even if you live in a place with some really bad feet. Why? Because as we all know, business is not for the weak of heart. It's tough. And you won't have the courage to fight through if you aren't working toward your own goals.

As Dave and thousands of business owners across the country have proven, turning your dreams into reality can come true. And it all begins by setting realistic goals. So before the new year, take time to write down your goals. You'll be amazed with the outcome

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Corp! Magazine

Check out the below article on Corp! Magazine's site. The article outlines the nomination process and how the winners were chosen for the National Best & Brightest Companies to Work For 2012! We are excited to have been nominated and to have won the award! Thanks to all the amazing people we have the pleasure of working with who made this incredible distinction possible!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Most Important Business Skill

The Power of People Skills

By far the greatest obstacle to success that I see in others is a poor understanding of people. A while back the Wall Street Journal published an article on the reasons that executives fail. At the top of the list was a person’s inability to effectively relate to others.

One day I was talking to someone who was complaining about not winning a business contract that he had bid on. “It wasn’t fair,” he told me. “All the people involved knew each other, and we didn’t have a chance. It’s all politics.” But then what he went on to describe wasn’t politics. It was relationships.

Authors Carole Hyatt and Linda Gottlieb indicate that people who fail on the job commonly cite “office politics” as the reason for their failures, but the reality is that what they call politics is often nothing more than regular interaction with other people.

If you haven’t learned how to get along with people, you will always be fighting a battle to succeed. On the other hand, making people skills a strength will take you farther than any other skill you develop. People like to do business with people they like. Or to put it the way President Theodore Roosevelt did: “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

Monday, November 12, 2012

Magnetic Consulting Group goes to the game!

It's not all work at Magnetic Consulting Group, the owner recently took several high performers to the Sacramento Kings Blackout game.

The Sacramento Kings played a season opener against the Warriors.  Fans who wore black had a chance to receive special gifts, as the team tried to fill the arena with fans in their colors.

The Kings came close to losing, but managed to pull off a narrow win against the Warriors, 94 to 92.  They had a 16 point lead in the second half, but that lead disappeared in the fourth quarter and it was only the Kings defense that kept the Warriors at bay.

But everyone at Magnetic Consulting had a blast at the game, and went home talking about just how close it really was.

Check out some pictures of Magnetic Consulting Group from the game. 

Smile for the camera!

Check out all of those fans!  It really was a Blackout!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Magnetic Consulting Group has been named one of the “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” in the Country.

Magnetic Consulting Group named One of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the country
Magnetic Consulting Group has great news! We were recently named one of the “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” in the Country for 2012, due in large part to our commitment to our people and to our team.

The competition reviewed the hundreds of companies that participated and judged them based on whether or not they met key human resources initiatives.  The National Association for Business Resources (NABR), which was in charge of the contest, reviewed Magnetic Consulting Group on measures like work-life balance, benefits, community initiatives, compensation, and engagement and retention.

It was an honor to even be nominated, and Magnetic Consulting Group has always been sure to put its people first.  We believe that the reason we routinely beat out the competition is because of our people and their commitment to integrity and professionalism.  And because the quality of life of our employees is important to the quality of work that they provide we are active in making our office the best possible environment for our team.

Magnetic Consulting Group will receive additional recognition at a Best and Brightest Companies to Work For™ awards symposium and gala and will be recognized in the December 13th online edition of Corp! Magazine.

Check out the full list of National winners here:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Top 5 Best Business Books

If you’re a business entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur, chances are that at some point you will pick up a book full of great business advice. Sometimes we learn from our own experiences and mistakes, but it’s also good (and less painful) to look at some of the lessons others can pass on to us because of their experiences.

But where to start? There are lots and lots of books out there, and sometimes it can be hard to decipher which ones are winners and which are duds. Here’s a list and short synopsis of Amazon’s best five business books:

1.     Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins—This book explores the answer to the question of what makes a company achieve enduring greatness. Through five years of studies and comparisons, Collins and his team attempt to define what puts some companies above others.

2.     The One Thing You Need To Know:…About Great Managing, Great Lending, and Sustained Individual Success by Marcus Buckingham—What leads to outstanding achievement? Marcus Buckingham shares with readers invaluable lessons on how to succeed in the three most valuable areas of professional activity: management, lending, and individual success.

3.     The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni—In this instructive leadership fable, Lencioni explores the trials and tribulations of teams—and how to triumph over them.

4.     First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham—Another compelling read by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, this book explores how great managers break all the rules to find talented employees, set up expectations for them, motivate them, and develop them.

5.     Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink—In his newest book, Daniel H. Pink looks deeper into our humanity for what motivates us—and finds that our motivation is dominated by our need for control over our lives, continued learning, creativity, and becoming better people in a better world.