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Book Review- Art of the Start 2.0 March 2, 2015

Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Communications, Marketing, Marketing Planning.

Art of the Start tweet graphic (2)It was an honor to be selected as a guest reviewer of Guy Kawasaki’s latest book, The Art Of The Start 2.0. As a long-time follower of Guy’s thought leadership, it is no surprise that he once again delivers the goods in this revised edition of his 2004 work.

If you are thinking about or presently starting your own business, this book is a necessity. Guy’s writing style is hard-hitting and realistic. He challenges you to stop fretting over how you will scale your business and make something that people really want.

The reader is challenged with a series of thought-provoking questions that are a huge mistake to gloss over. You will also receive some “fill-in” exercises and benefit from added “mini chapters” Guy has included, offering new insights from his extensive career experience.

Amongst my favorite takeaways in the book is the section on mission statements and how much time and effort is wasted on them. Although we have never met, I swear I’ve uttered many of the same words with consulting clients over the years.

His sections on hiring people who are better than you and the art of “demoing” are stop, get your highlighter and take copious notes good.

Consistent with his reality-based presentations, videos and other works in the Kawasaki catalog, Guy provides a nice mix of entrepreneurial wisdom, humility, pointed challenges (doing and shipping) and of course, humor.

Block out some time to read this one. If you are like me, you’ll lose track of the time once you begin reading it.




Book Review- Small Town Rules January 21, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Branding, Chamber of Commerce, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit.

I recently completed Small Town Rules by Barry Moltz and Becky McCray a very interesting read that likens the connected world to a small town environment where every customer can talk with one another.

Today many businesses (including the  large companies) are quickly learning that people are seeking genuine interaction and a local connection. One of the most interesting takeaways was the desire of consumers to learn the “story behind their purchases.” Instead of mission/vision statements and value propositions, many humans want some history on the business and how it adds tangible value to the community. For many that connection may prompt a consumer to bypass a cheaper option and purchase the local product because they feel  personally involved with the product or service.

Since the Great Recession began in 2008, there has been a resurgence of the Shop Local movement which is covered in-depth. The authors cover many important points about businesses needing to do more than place “Shop Local” placards in their store windows and call it a success. Taking the Shop Local concept to an urban level is also reviewed with examples from the unique neighborhoods of Chicago, a major metropolitan market with numerous chambers of commerce.IMG_0190IMG_0197

Having worked in bank marketing for decades, I found the Bank Local section particularly interesting. Many community based banks did not participate in high-risk lending practices and actually made it through the worst of the financial crash with minimal impact. During the 1990’s and 2000’s,  many larger U.S. banking organizations eliminated local community banking charters, creating large-scale branch banking networks seeking the efficiency play. Some years later the wisdom of that strategy is questionable, as more wary consumers want a “small town type” relationship with the people managing something as personal as their money.

The lessons of minimalist business management, planning for “zero years” (storing surpluses) and exactly how small town businesses have survived for generations is wisdom many business owners large or small will surely find useful.

A devoted website www.smalltownrules.com is also available to remain connected for updates from the authors.

Book Review- Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain September 24, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Sales.
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I just finished reading Ryan Blair’s new book Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain written with author Don Yaeger. This book is a must-read for anyone thinking about starting a company or those in the early stages of forging their own independent venture.

The eighth chapter called “First Things First” really resonated with me for many reasons. First he recounts a story very similar to a work experience I had with a boss early in my corporate career the frantic run into the bosses’ office with a “monumental problem” only to be turned away with “that’s the problem, but what’s the solution?” (Although my boss said it in much less politically correct terms used in office settings of the 1980’s). That lesson has remained with me until this day deliver solutions, not problems.

It also made me think about many people I meet in my consulting and academic worlds people unwilling to do the analysis or “the math” as Ryan calls it; they simply freeze up or complain. Making an effort to solve a problem with minimal emotion is really the secret that he points out and it’s advice that’s right on target.

Mr. Blair’s book is not meant to be a rags to riches “tear jerker”, but more an introspective look into the mind of a young man whose gang affiliated teenage years landed him in a lonely place-jail. He was in the valley of right and wrong and elected to pull himself up, have faith, do the work and approach each venture as if he had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

He is right about success being a choice and finding the mentors to help you get there. Why not get a copy and read it, after all what have you got to lose?

For more information on this amazing young man visit;


Book Review- Real-Time Marketing & PR June 16, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Brand personality, Communications, Marketing Planning.

I think it took me less than 5-minutes and this book by David Meerman Scott had me locked-in. The author provides many examples and a great deal of practical advice on the importance of being engaged in real-time communication. The speed at which information and consumer opinion travels in the “always-on” world is reason enough to look at your marketing/PR operation and determine how you’ll respond to opportunities and threats.

In the book’s appendix David provides a “real-time speed analysis” of Fortune 100 companies and how quickly they responded to a question for an article he was preparing. An astounding 61% did not respond to his inquiry! He also shares the variety of responses (many are downright comical) and how far companies really need to go before they are truly in synch with a real-time mindset.

This book is a valuable resource for any business owner or marketing/PR professional, well worth your time.

Book Review- Cognitive Surplus May 23, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Communications, Market Research.
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Global Connectivity

Cognitive Surplus the 2010 book by Clay Shirky an Interactive Communications professor at NYU is a highly intelligent look at the enormous potential that people have to change the world through generosity (shared thought).  One of the most striking examples is Wikipedia, created by volunteer effort online using approximately 1% of the time Americans spend watching television shows each year.

Another example of connectivity that I found particularly motivating was PatientsLikeMe.com , an online community where people can share medical data to support others facing similar medical conditions. The site also connects medical research with people seeking answers.

The power of the Internet and tools like WordPress provide each of us with affordable, amazing forums to connect and make positive change happen at speed only dreamt about in previous generations. This book really helped me connect the dots on the evolution of the Internet and provided new ways to think about the future of information sharing.