Leverage Presentation


Today, the WieseLaw Contract Studio presented at a BITS conference on the topic of Leverage. The presentation was a lot of work and a lot of fun to put together - probably one of the best things we've ever done. It seemed like we really connected with the group in attendance and we had a great time being there.

Some things we learned:

  1. Always check your behind for stuff stuck to your posterior BEFORE you start.
  2. Technology will always find a way to sabotage you in some way, just be ready for it instead of freaking out about it.
  3. People LOVE prizes, even if they are books. Winning is awesome.
Here's some pictures from the day - now you can put a face on us here at WieseLaw. Come by and say 'Hi!'

Check out this Lightsaber I found!

Interstate Highway Revitalization


Mon March 3, 2009, President Obama and Veep Biden announced the release of $28 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to states and local transportation authorities to repair and build highways, roads and bridges.

It might sound kind of strange, but I'm kind of excited to see what the have planned to help revitalize the interstate system. As a kid my family used to drive from Omaha to Salt Lake City (and later from Kansas City to Salt Lake City - oy!) each summer to visit friends and family. The speed limits were a bit lower back then (55 mph) and the trip would take about 20 hours each way. This was all before iPods and DVDs, so your best bets for entertainment were: 1) AM Radio, 2) Playing highway games (e.g., spotting license plates from the 50 states, Slug Bug, etc.) and 3) any roadside diversions.

Unfortunately, by the mid 80's, there wasn't much in the way of roadside entertainment. Still there were two roadside oddities that I always enjoyed.

First, this crazy Abraham Lincoln head Monument (Commemorating the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Highway):
And second, Chimney Rock (major landmark for the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails):

I always liked Abe because it was just kind of bizarre and there was a nice rest-stop there where you could escape from the other 6 people piled in the car. Chimney Rock was a little different - after getting a little back-story about all the different American migrations that passed by that geological oddity, it was interesting to think about all those who had stopped by to check out this rock sticking up out of the middle of nowhere on their long journey. Luckily, I wasn't walking or using buffalo chips to as firewood!

Deal World Rule #3 - Great Dealmakers Employ Great Methodology


Creating, refining, and consistently applying a strong methodology empowers you to leverage your experience, tools, knowledge and wisdom into a winning formula. You gain efficiencies, reduce your risks, and achieve better results.

Below is a visual overview of our methodology (at a high level) . . . one that we’re continually refining to incorporate the most innovative ideas that we can garner from our experience, from our studies, and from the world’s great thought leaders. It contains 7 phases:
This Deal World Rule #3 is about efficiency, flexible consistency and life long learning. To negotiate great deals, your approach should honor your authenticity and the uniqueness of each deal, while weaving in what you have learned (and continue to learn) about the essential common qualities of all great deals.

When you see great negotiators who appear to be shooting from the hip they actually have an underlying method to their seeming spontaneity. At the start of one deal, I overheard the other negotiator whispering to his colleague -- “Remember, lets be spontaneous … like we planned it.”

How do you approach your deals? Do you do it in a manner that empowers you to collect wisdom along the way? Do you learn from your successes (and from your failures)? Do you incorporate that wisdom into a well crafted and continuously refined methodology? Do you apply that methodology consistently, yet flexibly, to each unique deal situation? If so, congratulations. If not, start today

Presentation Power!


Ok, I'm the first to admit that I'm terrible when it comes to presentations. What's the first thing you think about when you think presentations? Powerpoint (or Keynote, a mild improvement from Apple)? Probably. And you know what? As far as that software is concerned, you could do a whole lot worse when it comes to efficiently presenting loads of material. But too often I succumb to the temptation to overload the page with words to ensure that I'm getting all my points across. I give too much information and not enough solid "take away moments."

There are so many great sites out there to help out us poor schleps with our presentation skills, but I'd like to draw your attention to a couple in particular. First, Garr Reynold's blog and book Presentation Zen have been a great resource to me. He is writing a new book due out this Fall called Presentation Zen Design - I'm really excited to see what that looks like. Second is Ted - Ideas Worth Spreading. This is just an amazing site. If you want to see some world-class presentations by some amazing people, Ted is the site for you. Check out the quick presentation below and you'll have your first taste of something different in presentations.

Under Pressure


In these troubling economic times...

Yeah, how many times have we heard this sentence lately? Probably more than we'd like. As a relatively young person, this is the major economic crisis that I've ever had to deal with head-on and much like everyone else out there, I'm a little freaked out. In fact, today (April 9), the New York Times ran an article about the effects that people are feeling. For the most part, people seem to be doing a great job coping with things - you only hear of the aberrations on the nightly news, because, well, they're aberrations.

In perhaps the strangest pairing of ideas ever, I present Michael J. Fox. From Family Ties to Back To The Future, he was a big part of my entertainment growing up. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson's (at 29!) he's become more than just an advocate for those suffering from Parkinson's - he's become an optimist. Recently, MJF discussed his diagnosis and his research into writing a book about optimism.

So, what's the takeaway? For me, it's simply this: The glass always has some water in it, even if it's not exactly half-full anymore. It's really easy to focus on what we don't have or to let our anxiety run wild. Next time I feel that vice-like pressure in my chest when I see the Dow down another 150 points, I'm committed to seeing what's left in my glass.

Stepping Back In Time


This weekend I had a great opportunity to tour the beautiful Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota this weekend with a friend who acted as my impromptu tour guide. The art and architecture are amazing, especially in a structure officially consecrated in 1958 (though the cornerstone was laid in 1907).

In all the high-flown arches, amazing paintings and dazzling stained glass, two particular features caught my eye, due in large part to the human elements involved. First, in the main Naive amongst the pews is a small plaque commemorating a visit by then-President John F. Kennedy (dated October 7, 1962). It was exciting to be able sit in the pew and imagine President Kennedy there.

The second piece I got a kick out of was a rough-hewn stone from the Castle Rouen that imprisoned Joan of Arc. It was set in a finely polished marble alcove which presents quite a juxtaposition against the rough stone. There is a simple plaque on the stone (see below) as well. You could clearly see the tool marks on the stone from the stone-cutters tools and you could feel the stone. It was amazing!

What Ever Happened To Civility?


I am consistently underwhelmed with the caustic and often-times disturbing conversations that go on in online forums and commentary. I have always believed that you show your true colors when you can't be held accountable for what you are doing. Unfortunately, too many people take advantage of the anonymity offered by the internet to be petty, small-minded, bigoted, etc. The old proverb often comes to mind: Destroying things is easier than building them.

Some time ago, Tom gave each of us in the Studio a great book - Return To Civility: A Speed of Laughter Project, by John Sweeney & The Brave New Workshop.
The book has 365 suggestions for ways to improve your life and the lives of others by taking small and simple steps. The back of the book has a bit of great advice: "Act the way you want the world to be."

Avocado Milkshakes!


For those of you who have always wondered (or even if you haven't) how to make an Avocado Milkshake, WieseLaw is here to help you out: