Sept. 11, 2010: The Right Way to Remember


Nine years after terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, a memorial and a transportation hub are taking recognizable shape and skyscrapers are finally starting to rise from the ashes of ground zero.

That physical rebirth is cause for celebration on this anniversary. It is a far more fitting way to defy the hate-filled extremists who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and to honor their victims, than to wallow in the intolerance and fear that have mushroomed across the nation. They are fed by the kind of bigotry exhibited by the would-be book burner in Florida, and, sadly, nurtured by people in positions of real power, including prominent members of the Republican Party.

The most important sight at ground zero now is Michael Arad’s emerging memorial. The shells of two giant pools are 30 feet deep and are set almost exactly in the places where the towers once were. Leer más “Sept. 11, 2010: The Right Way to Remember”

9/11 Reconstruction

Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg News

After years of sluggishness, the pace of building the new World Trade Center has quickened considerably. About 2,000 construction workers are on the job — weekends included — and that number will just keep rising.

In 2008, it was difficult to imagine how the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site of the trade center and is building most of it, could ever finish the eight-acre memorial in time for the 10th anniversary of the attack, on Sept. 11, 2011. Today, it is difficult to imagine what would stop them (though, given the site’s tortured history, the possibility shouldn’t be completely dismissed).

So many conflicting demands were imposed on the site — it was to be a solemn memorial, a soaring commercial complex, a vital transportation hub, a vibrant retail destination and the keystone in Lower Manhattan’s revival — that none could advance. And the many competing players seemed unable to break the logjam for long. They addressed one another as “stakeholders” in public, but the stakes they wielded usually seemed destined for someone else’s back. Leer más “9/11 Reconstruction”

Finding Creativity in Unexpected Places

I’ll confess to a certain amount of pride in seeing that my relative’s ideas have come to life in a place with an employee bulletin board celebrating hiring anniversaries, boxes full of products awaiting shipment, and lively discussions about how best to grow the company. This place makes products that took a lot of scientific and engineering creativity to devise. And the machines that make them didn’t come from off the shelf at Acme Manufacturing Equipment. They had to be designed and custom-made to the specifications of this plant.

In short, I saw a lot of creativity in this place.

Okay, enough manufacturing. Now let’s look another field that isn’t renowned for creativity, plumbing. Last year, I wrote about my experiences as a post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction volunteer in coastal Mississippi. Some, but not all of my fellow volunteers were employed in the construction trades. One of the professionals was a master plumber from Georgia. For the better part of a week, he and his volunteer crew worked on a real brain-twister: Re-floating a house boat.

In Janet Martin’s August 4 FreelanceSwitch article on creative activities, we read about the importance of building new creative muscles.

The end of this article included a list of five suggestions for expanding one’s creativity:

  1. Try photography
  2. Make something by sewing it or employing another craft
  3. Learn stop-motion animation
  4. Take a writing class
  5. Take a drawing class

These are very good suggestions, but, to me, they don’t go far enough. All too often, we creatives are criticized for not understanding how non-artists work. So, it’s time to break out of our artistic bubbles and explore the rest of the world. And, not to worry, there are plenty of friendly tour guides out there.

Take, for example, the manufacturing plant I visited in late July. A relative co-founded the company, and I’ve heard him talk about it for years. But I’d never been there. Now, you may be thinking that I just visited the dullest, most uncreative place on the planet. I mean, come on. A manufacturing plant. How exciting can that be? Leer más “Finding Creativity in Unexpected Places”

Salesmanship Lessons From Donald Trump

Everyone likes to do business with a winner. No matter what stage of your career, you need to look like you’ve made it. That means wearing a suit that will impress. As a universal rule, make it your business to be the best-dressed in the room. If you lack the fashion sense, a premier store will be more than happy to assign a knowledgeable salesperson to assist you.

And if you’re thinking of the budget thing again, forget it. Put it this way; a smashing, well-tailored suit will last you for years. Allocate the upfront cost over dozens or possibly hundreds of business meetings and the investment becomes a mere pittance. Remember that your goal is not to save money; it’s to make the sale–leave the penny pinching to others.

Bring your ego with you in full bloom. It’s not enough to look successful; you need to act it as well. This demonstrates that you are also one of the smartest people in the room.

Again, take a page from Trump. Sure, he can be garish and way over the top, but no way is he going to check his ego at the door. Neither should you. So find a way to bring up your most significant achievements, tell an intriguing story and talk up your travels, discoveries and epiphanies.

The timid and the small thinkers will talk sports and weather. They will pale in comparison to the bold winners who regale their prospects and customers with compelling ideas and stories.

Mark Stevens: The Heat-Seeking Sales Machine
Mark Stevens: The Heat-Seeking Sales Machine

Practice the art of the thrill–dress to impress and go big or go home.

In his bestselling book The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump provided a unique perspective on constructing and negotiating business transactions. But as much as we know Trump as a deal-maker extraordinaire, his greatest skill is his salesmanship.

Think of The Donald as a salesman on steroids. And in this lesser-recognized role, Trump practices the art of the thrill.

Want to know what I mean by this and what we can learn from it for our own salesmanship?

Consider the following:

Never do things for your customers and prospects in a small way. Make it big and important or don’t do it at all. I can assure you that when Trump takes a banker out to lunch to discuss a construction loan, he takes him out for a feast. He’s not out to save money on the meal; he’s determined to make money from it.

Now think of your own mental gymnastics when you invite a prospect out to dine. Chances are you think through the options, searching for a nice enough place but affordable.

Affordable?! If you’ve set aside $100 for dinner and drinks, push it to $200. If the prospect is big enough, consider $300 or even $500. Is it extravagant? Yes, but you’re out to practice the art of the thrill. No one will remember another run-of-the-mill dinner, but an over-the-top feast will make you the thrill-maker they remember. Leer más “Salesmanship Lessons From Donald Trump”

35 Lego Mega Constructions You (Probably) Haven’t Seen Before

It’s pretty amazing how piles of colorful plastic bricks can build wonders when they are attached together. Lego was first introduced by Lego Group in 1949 and have been everyone’s favorite ever since.

preview 35 Lego Mega Constructions You (Probably) Havent Seen Before

What we are going to show you today are some Lego models you don’t get to see often, not available for purchase in the neighborhood stores for sure. They are complex, massive and definitely jaw-dropping. If you are a Lego fan, this is something you would not want to miss.

Here’s a collection of 35 incredible Lego Mega Construction, large in scale but built to its finest details. Full list after jump.

Kennedy Space Center
Occupying 1,506 square feet and made up of 750,000 lego bricks. This massive construction took more than 2,500 hours to build.

kennedy space centre2 35 Lego Mega Constructions You (Probably) Havent Seen Before Leer más “35 Lego Mega Constructions You (Probably) Haven’t Seen Before”

B2B Content Strategy is Sexy

In most B2B organizations, marketing is slowly making its way out of the secretarial or admin pool perception. You will still get the order of isolated sponsoring ad and stand alone sell sheet (with fries on the side) and in some cases even the dictation of a cover letter in your voice mail.

That’s because many B2B organizations started life with a strong sales component, and now culture. Sales sees marketing as subservient, and not leading the charge when it comes to customer acquisition and retention.

However, in recent years, increased competitive forces and the faltering economy have opened the doors to marketing playing a key role in customer retention and acquisition efforts.

Whitepaper In most B2B organizations, marketing is slowly making its way out of the secretarial or admin pool perception. You will still get the order of isolated sponsoring ad and stand alone sell sheet (with fries on the side) and in some cases even the dictation of a cover letter in your voice mail.

That’s because many B2B organizations started life with a strong sales component, and now culture. Sales sees marketing as subservient, and not leading the charge when it comes to customer acquisition and retention.

However, in recent years, increased competitive forces and the faltering economy have opened the doors to marketing playing a key role in customer retention and acquisition efforts.

Thanks in part to the world wide web and organized content strategies that replace with scale the one to one initial conversations and check ins until a prospective customer is ready to buy. Leer más “B2B Content Strategy is Sexy”

Why You Should Position Yourself As An Expert To The Media

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20:  A Bob the Builder toy...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

This is a guest post by Shelly Cone.

I absentmindedly drummed my pen against my keyboard waiting for that elusive muse to grant me some much needed inspiration. I had just accepted an assignment for a large trade magazine about what’s new in construction and manufacturing machines. Big machines. The extent of my knowledge of machines is what I’ve seen on Bob the Builder cartoons.

I needed an expert to tell me what the latest new thing in equipment was, but who is an expert in that?

Every field has its experts. When you read, watch or hear a news story the reporter isn’t the expert, it’s the person being quoted. But even then that person isn’t always the expert. A lot of times that person is simply the person who was consistent at building a relationship with that reporter, who got on their radar.

Most likely there is someone who is more of an expert than the person being interviewed, but when you are a reporter with a deadline looking for an expert for your story, any schmoe with enough knowledge about the subject to speak authoritatively can be an expert. As long as they are available for interviews.

I’m not knocking reporters by the way. After all, I’ve been one for many, many years. But let’s face it, when you are on deadline, the best source is sometimes the first one that comes to mind. That someone should be you.

How This Applies To You

Don’t discount the importance of offline media relationships to increase your exposure both online and off.

Media loves to use experts, so establish yourself as one. In my situation, I knew I could contact some construction company or any manufacturer or even the president of a contractors board or union — all of these people would know about their industry but they couldn’t tell me a thing about trends, or maybe they could but I wouldn’t have any specific questions to ask. I’d be fishing for information. And worse, I wouldn’t know exactly what information I was seeking.

Essentially the conversation would go like this:

“Hi, President of the Contractor’s Board. I’m Shelly Cone and I’m a reporter covering trends in machinery for a magazine. So what are the latest trends?”
And he’d say, after rolling his eyes and sighing in frustration, “What kind of machinery?”
And I’d say, “Big construction-type of equipment.”
Then, he’d want to hang up. But since he is the President of the Contractor’s Board, he’d say, “Well, it depends on the machine. And what do you mean by trends? I only work with front loaders.”

So instead of having this long drawn out conversation I knew I needed someone that I could ask that question to and wouldn’t be wasting their time. Someone that could fill me in, allowing me to ask some specific questions of the frustrated Contractor’s Board President.

My expert was someone in the field but someone also up on the latest buzz. Turns out ergonomics was the latest trend in machinery, in all types of manufacturing and construction equipment. You know, things like push buttons instead of levels and comfy seats. It was a great angle and when I talked to the manufacturers and board president, I had some very specific questions to ask.

So How Do You Establish Yourself As An Expert? Leer más “Why You Should Position Yourself As An Expert To The Media”

25 Beautiful Examples of “Coming Soon” Pages

“Coming soon” pages are a great way to tide over your visitors until you finish your new website. They can be used as a teaser for your future website, or places to simply put your information where people can get to it while you are under digital construction. We are going to look at a collection of how websites are successfully using “coming soon” pages.

1. SquidChef


SquidChef has a cute under-the-sea theme and an illustrated squid character to go with their name “SquidChef”. Having a character illustration like this almost ensures that the site is going to have a friendly feel. (Check out some more illustrated character designs). I also like the idea of putting all the information into the talk bubble.

2. Accentuate


I like the color scheme of this “coming soon site”. It’s a simple theme that uses pink to highlight the important areas. The colors go well with the simple layout of the website and the image of the chairs makes the website more interesting than just having text.

3. Flowdock


Having an illustrated look to a website usually gives it more of a fun and laidback feel. It has a bright and welcoming color palette, and I like how the headings in the three sections in the footer are different colors. It makes the color flow throughout. Leer más “25 Beautiful Examples of “Coming Soon” Pages”