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View from Here - June 2020 Update

Mike Krass • July 1, 2020 • 5 minutes to read

Last month was the first time I used this venue to share things that were on my mind that did not relate directly to the work we do here at MKG. Frankly: It was incredibly refreshing for me.

Sticking with that trend, I'm going to continue to unpack what's on my mind. In this edition of The View from Here I plan to examine three lessons that have been on my mind over the past month.

1. Never Quit on Your Teammates

It took me a few months. I've finally finished up The Last Dance, the miniseries that ESPN put together about the Chicago Bulls run in the 1980's and 90's.

Man, 10 episodes is a lot of ground to cover!

One of the episodes focused on Scottie Pippen. In the 1994 playoffs, with the Bulls down by a couple points and only a few seconds left in the game, Scottie Pippen actually refused to enter the game.

The reason? Because the game winning play was designed for his teammate Toni Kukoc. Toni was to get off a last second shot in order to tie or win the game.

Scottie quit on his teammates.

After the game ended (Toni Kukoc sank a 3 point shot to give the Bulls the win) the team ran back into the locker room.

And nobody talked about the game-winning shot.

Instead, one of the Bulls players called Scottie out right then and there. He expressed his feelings; that Scottie quit on the team when the team arguably needed him the most.

That made me think about moments when I've been quit on or been the teammate who decided to quit before the game was over. I've been in both positions before in my life. Reflecting back on that made me feel determined to never, ever quit on a teammate again.

Have you ever been quit on? Have you ever quit on someone else?

Simple, FTW

Simple thoughts. Simple questions.

When everything else is complex, hard to understand or gives you a migraine, thinking simple helps me stop digging myself into a hole.

Last month I finished reading the Art of Client Service. Great read. I highly recommend the book for anyone who works in consulting, marketing, PR or advertising. While some of the information is dated, there are loads of timeless lessons to learn in the pages of that book.

Here are three examples of simple yet powerful thinking.

1. Simple actions: Jerry Weintraub was the promoter who booked Elvis's shows. At the height of his career, Elvis himself mandated that every single seat in the venue needed to be occupied. He would only play in front of sell out crowds. Jerry found himself in a bind one day when the 2 shows (an early matinee and prime time) did not sell out. In fact, the matinee had 5,000 unsold seats less than 24 hours before showtime. The simple action Jerry took: he told the venue to pull 5,000 seats and correctly declared it a sold out show :)

2. Simple questions lead to an idea: There was an enterprising young executive at American Express who worked with his ad agency to create the concept of Membership Miles (which eventually turned into AMEX Membership Rewards). The question that he/others asked themselves was simple: why should credit card points only be allowed on a single airline? Why can't I rack up AMEX points to fly on any airline I please? A simple question led to an idea that is now the industry standard.

3. Observation is Simple (and often free!) An ad agency from Bozeman, Montana, won the advertising account for a regional telecom company. This client believed in their bones that their clientele was made up of upper/middle class Americans across the region. Instead of blindly believing the client, this ad agency decided to stake out a handful of stores to see who really came in. After a few days watching customers go in and out of the client's stores, the agency discovered that their customers were actually blue collar, paycheck-to-check workers. This changed everything in terms of how they spoke to their customers through the advertising and marketing components of their business.

Marcus Aurelius, the OG Stoic

According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly. (Wikipedia)

With all that is happening in the world right now, a dose of stoicism has been very helpful for me at work as well as in my personal life.

Here are a few lines that have really been speaking to me from the writings of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor, philosopher and famed Stoic who lived in the mid-100's AD.

Treat with respect the power you have to form an opinion.

Remember that man lives only in the present, in this fleeting instant: all the rest of his life is either past or gone, or not yet revealed.

Until Next Month…

Let's see if I'm still feeling pensive or philosophical next month when it comes time to pen the next edition of The View from Here :)

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