Sunday, September 24, 2023

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends...

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

… Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends

Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends

With a little help from my friends...

Written collaboratively by John Lennon and Paul McCartney during the final stages of the Sgt. Pepper project, 'With A Little Help From My Friends' was sung by Ringo Starr. The song was written for and sung by the Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr as the character "Billy Shears". It was ranked No. 311 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Throughout the band's journey to America, Ringo became the most popular member of The Beatles. It was explained that Ringo was so popular that the Beatles manager George Martin wanted to capitalise on his growing fandom. Therefore, the drummer was given a song on each record.

I think that my favorite thing that I do - my favorite thing that I GET to do... is our Coffee In The Clouds video podcasts. I'll come back to this.....

What did George Martin have to do with the Beatles? 

Sir George Martin, producer of almost the entire awe-inspiring recorded catalogue of The Beatles and a hugely accomplished writer, arranger and musician with countless other achievements to his name, was born in Highbury, north London, on January 3, 1926.

What did Beatle Paul McCartney think of George Martin?

“He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me. He guided the career of the Beatles with such skill and good humour that he became a true friend to me and my family. If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George,” McCartney wrote.

Mark Fortier is the founder and president of Fortier Public Relations, LLC. His 30-years of publicizing hundreds of successful books earned him the​ ​2019 Porchlight Jack Covert Award for Contribution to the Business Book Industry​. He is the sixth recipient (and first publicist) following previous winners like Tom Peters and Seth Godin.

Before founding Fortier Public Relations, LLC in January 2007, Mark worked at book publicity firm Goldberg McDuffie Communications for almost nine years, rising from assistant director of publicity to director of publicity to vice president to partner (the first and only employee there to earn this title). There he worked with literary authors including Philip Roth and Henry Louis Gates, public officials like Robert Rubin, the CEOs of Citigroup and AT&T and organizations ranging from The Library of America to the National Endowment for the Arts. Books he worked on ranged from the global bestseller The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho to the Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow, which was adapted for the surprise Broadway hit musical. The first two business books he worked on are now classics: The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christensen and Blue Ocean Strategy, which has now sold over four million copies.

Fortier's media placements include NPR Fresh Air & Morning Edition, Today, Good Morning America, CBS, Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the covers of Time, Newsweek, Fortune and The New York Times Book Review, the Tim Ferriss podcast, the oped page and Saturday Essay of The Wall Street Journal and the front page of The New York Times.

He is far more proud of the accomplishments of his growing team at Fortier PR, where he enjoys applying the management lessons he’s learned from the best leaders and business school professors who are our clients. Previously Mark held positions at Penguin U.S.A. and Columbia University Press.

Mark is a graduate of Wesleyan University, and has studied at New York University and the University of London. His work has been recognized by Newsday, The New York Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Publishers Weekly, Book Publishing Report, and PRWeek. He has written about book publicity for numerous trade publications, and has lectured on book publicity at the Public Relations Society of America national convention, the Association of American University Presses, the New York Advertising and Communications Network and Thinkers 50. An interview with Mark is included as a chapter in several books including Publicize Your Book, What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting and How to Write a Business Book That Matters.

Several years ago... I had the pleasure of meeting the folks at Fortier Public Relations

Thanks to Tom Peters. I'll come back to this...

For over sixteen years, FPR has represented Pulitzer Prize winners, 208 books on the bestseller list including 76 in the last two years, 21 #1 bestsellers, and books by 33 of the Thinkers 50 list of the world’s leading business thinkers including Jim Collins, Clayton Christensen, Seth Godin, Marcus Buckingham, and Amy Edmondson, journalists like Maria Bartiromo, virtually every publishing house, and the CEOs, presidents and/or founders of Starbucks, Facebook, Alphabet, Google, GM, Citigroup, IBM, CVS Health, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, AT&T, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, BP, Deloitte, Whole Foods Market, Best Buy, Honeywell, Home Depot, Yum! Brands, IDEO, Innosight, Mayo Clinic, Nokia, Aetna, NASDAQ, AIG, BP, Gallup, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hearst Magazines, MetLife, Seventh Generation, Medtronic, The Container Store, Dunkin Donuts, Texas Roadhouse, Gilt Groupe, Korn Ferry, Kleiner Perkins, Burson-Marsteller, Kickstarter, Nielsen, Razorfish, Reddit, Salomon Brothers, SHRM, The Harris Poll, JWT, Loews Hotels, Equinox, Flywheel, Putnam Investments, Oaktree Capital, Paychex, Guardian Life, MetLife, LRN, Compass, Twilio, The Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), Brooks Running, Mandalay Entertainment, The Conference Board, Summit Series, Russell Reynolds, HubSpot, YSC, Okta, Snowflake, Nest, Stanford University and Simmons University.

I really don't know exactly how it happened, but a few years ago I (chased? stalked?) ah, I reached out to Tom Peters (via social media, no less...) about his new book. I thought he would make a great interview - and we could promote his new book via the interview. It took a few tries, but Tom Peters finally said yes. I might have begged, not sure. I remember it like it was yesterday - landing that Tom Peters interview. Tom Freakin' Peters! It was THAT Tom Peters interview that put us on the map - with the folks at Fortier. That interview lead to another, and another author from Fortier PR - the award-winning Manhattan based PR firm for business and nonfiction authors and thought leaders.

When we interview someone famous, their community becomes our community. Actors, Authors, Thought Leaders, Subject Matter Experts - those interviews now attract millions

Show me a Tom Peters fan, and I'll show you someone who should - full stop. Yes, Tom Peters was our first big interview. And now, 100+ AMAZING interviews later...

What does Tom Capone think of Mark Fortier - and of all the folks at Fortier PR?

Sing it with me...

… Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends

Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends

With a little help from my friends...

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Obi-SD-WAN Kenobi

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

SD-WAN, or Software-Defined Wide Area Network, is a technology that simplifies the management and operation of a wide area network (WAN) by separating the networking hardware from its control mechanism. It uses software-based controllers and application programming interfaces (APIs) to direct traffic across the WAN and improve application performance.

Not GEEK enough for you?

SD-WAN technology has gained popularity as organizations seek more flexible, agile, and cost-effective ways to manage their wide area networks, especially in the context of the growing adoption of cloud services and the increasing demand for remote work solutions. It simplifies network management and enhances performance while offering better control and security options.

Ah, Tom.... is today's Sunday Blog going to be "for Nerds only" ???

A few months ago... in a galaxy far, far away....  [ .. ok, sorry...]

In early 2023 I attended an SD-WAN webinar from AireSpring. I'm an old telecom guy, I wanted to get up to speed on SD-WAN, the technology that improves control, management, up time, business agility, security, and data encryption of Wide Area Networks. The webinar was very well done indeed. 

I followed up with AireSpring. I said: "Hey I used to be a Master Agent with you guys - like - 23 years ago! It was back when you guys were selling BlackBerry, and I owned and ran in NYC. I was servicing the Maritime Industry, and BlackBerry was a big deal. I am thinking about being your Master Agent (again) to service the millions of members of NYDLA | USDLA | NADLA - but now for telecom and technology solutions. 

Nope, Sorry Tom. 

AireSpring is not taking on any new Master Agents. And.... if we DID make an exception, you would need to have $1M+ in business - right now - today. That would be table stakes to get in the game. But again, we are not really accepting new Master Agents. We would, however, be happy to place you under one of our existing Master Agents, like Telarus or Sandler Partners

It is now that I would normally go battle, to "fight" for the deal. But this time, I basically began to slowly walk away. Maybe I'm getting too old for this game. But as I was heading for the exit, I did say: 

"Well, you guys at AireSpring are probably the most honest company in telecom. You guys STILL send me a commission check every month, even though it is WAY less than $100. This money is from old business that I sent you YEARS ago. Your honesty is impressive, and rare in the industry." 

  • Wait. You are still getting checks from AireSpring? In 2023? 
  • Then - you are still active in the AireSpring system as a Master Agent.
  • We (AireSpring) have never missed an agent payment - in 22 years.
  • Then - you are (still) a "Legacy" Master Agent! 
This is like finding a Ferrari under a tarp in the barn of Great Grandpa's old country farmhouse. 

Last Friday, I attended the AireSpring "Lunch 'n Learn" at the Capital Grill in New York City. It did not disappoint. The product portfolio of AireSpring has grown dramatically over the past 23 years. I jokingly said at the lunch: "AireSpring is probably the biggest telecom company that no one ever heard of..." currently processing 30 billion calls per year. 

Around 23 years ago, AireSpring would leave BlackBerry and they would go into the Long Distance Business. I dabbled in various telecom and technology niche businesses over the last 23 years. And now, today, I run the Distance Learning Association, which really has become DIGITAL Learning, and now, in 2023... DIGITAL LIVING. 

All things remote. All things cloud. All things wireless and mobility. All things Internet. All of the things that are now found in the AireSpring portfolio. Connectivity. Security. You know, things like SD-WAN.

We are now getting ready to offer all things AireSpring to the 5.8M+ members of The Distance Learning Association - soon to be 10M+ members if we keep growing at our current pace. If we do not become the #1 AireSpring partner over the next 24 months, we did something very (very) wrong. 

I feel that there are many lessons here, buried like Easter Eggs in today's Sunday Blog. One is that you need to show up - and speak up. The other: it pays to never miss an agent payment in over 22 years. 

Yep, Honesty is the Best Policy.  Karma works! 

And finally this: the steaks at the Capital Grill at Rockefeller Center NYC are amazing. 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

For Sale: Used Flux Capacitor. Works Great!

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

The Flux Capacitor is a piece of technology in the 1985 time-travel film Back to the Future and its sequels. Although it’s described as the thing that makes time travel possible, the precise mechanism it works by isn’t ever explained. It simply consists of a box with three flashing lights connected in a Y shape, installed in the film’s iconic time-traveling vehicle, the DeLorean, a short-lived sports car famed for its doors, which open up rather than out. The flux capacitor was invented by Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and allows Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) to time-travel.

So, there really is no such thing as a Flux Capacitor. Not yet, anyway...

Yes, a flux capacitor is a bit of fun sci-fi technobabble made up of two pieces of genuine scientific terminology. In physics, flux is the amount of something (like electricity) that’s passing through a given object’s surface and a capacitor is a device that stores electric charge.

What about luck? And is there such a thing as a luck capacitor? What is luck - scientifically?

Luck refers to that which happens to a person beyond that person's control. This view incorporates phenomena that are chance happenings, a person's place of birth for example, but where there is no uncertainty involved, or where the uncertainty is irrelevant.

Having an open attitude and looking around for new opportunities can open you up to lucky chances. Look on the positive side: Focusing only on the negatives dampens your spirits and future expectations.

Today, I bring you the story of Cockerell Academy.

Ah, but let's go back in time, shall we? Here is the original thread, cut and pasted from LinkedIn:

Sunday. February 26, 2017 (10:48 AM EST) Me: Lee, I met you via David Burkus. YOU.......are amazing. I would LOVE to add you to the TALENT pages of the You have the gift to get the point out to the millenials. Can we talk one day soon?

Ten minutes later...

Sunday. February 26, 2017 (10:58 AM EST) Lee: Hello, Tom. Nice to meet you. I am on a speaking tour right now. I will be in my car from 2-5 today and tomorrow from 1-5 if you want to call me: 407-908-XXXX. 

And so, on a Sunday afternoon, February 26, 2017 I kept Lee Cockerell company during his drive time. 

On March 7th, 2017 I flew down to Orlando to meet Lee. I just felt it in my bones. I had to go, so I bought a ticket and flew to Orlando. Just, go. Take the shot. 

And so, at a cool restaurant bar in Dr. Phillips, Florida, the idea for Cockerell Academy was born. Lee's body of work, his lessons, his lifetime of wisdom could be hosted in Cockerell Academy for the entire world to benefit. 

Sometime in April 2017, less than 30 days later, Lee asked me: "Tom, how far do you live from Mount Olive, NJ"? Turns out that Lee's grandson was going to be spending a college summer internship in Mount Olive, and the family was having trouble finding a short term rental, in a good neighborhood. 

Lee and his family were asking for advice on where they could rent for a few months for their most precious treasure - their grandson. 

Me: "Well, we are not far at all, Lee. Maybe 20 minute drive, if that. Also, the 2nd floor of our house is now empty. Both of our sons have moved out. Your grandson would be welcome to stay with my wife and I for the summer as our guest. He can have the entire 2nd floor - I never go up there as it is! Home cooked meals included!"

I have many Lee Cockerell stories. Via Lee we met his son, Dan Cockerell who drove his son (Lee's grandson) up to NJ, to our home. The video podcast interviews with Lee, with Dan, and with (Lee and Dan) have been some of the most viewed interviews of all time. The idea for Cockerell Academy which was born in March 2017 at a bar in an amazing restaurant in Dr. Phillips, Florida took off. I am no longer involved, that baton was passed. But I continue to tell the world to check out Cockerell Academy. And, via the Cockerell family, we met and interviewed Harris Rosen in Orlando, the founder of Rosen Hotels & Resorts. But that is a blog for another day... 

So, back to luck.

Luck could be defined as a chance event that occurs without any control or intention. Luck can have a significant impact on the outcomes of our lives, it can come in the form of unexpected opportunities, chance encounters, or random events that we have no control over.

Today: the video podcast interviews that we host via NYDLA | USDLA | NADLA reach millions of people, mostly thought leaders and subject matter experts from the world of business. Our global membership is growing exponentially, because of friends telling friends. Friends like Lee and Dan Cockerell. 

The Flux Capacitor might not actually exist, but Luck Capacitors do. Yes, Luck Capacitors most certainly do exist - and I highly recommend that you put a Luck Capacitor to work for you and for your business today. 

And with that... In June of this year, I (once again) fired up my trusty Luck Capacitor. It went well. Very well. Coming Soon to the Cumulus University ( I bring you the Cialdini Institute. 

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Do as I say not as I do

Who is the "Father" of persuasion?

In ancient Greece during the 4th century BC the father of persuasion, Aristotle, opposed a group of teachers known as the Sophists. The Sophists provided instruction in various disciplines, but became infamous for their teaching of rhetoric.

OK, then who is the "Godfather" of persuasion? 

Dr. Robert Cialdini. He is the most cited living expert in the field of persuasion research and is best known for his 1984 publication on persuasion and marketing, Influence: the psychology of persuasion which has sold millions of copies and has been translated into 30+ languages.

Cialdini has spent his career researching the science of influence. This has earned him an international reputation as an expert in the fields of persuasion, compliance, and negotiation. Because of the global recognition of his research and his ethical business and policy applications, he is often regarded as the Godfather of influence AND persuasion.

Cialdini's 6 Principles of Influence are reciprocity, commitment or consistency, consensus or social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity.

And now there are 7. Unity: us and them.

Humans are social. We need to be part of a group, community, or family. The unity principle, which Cialdini penned only a few years ago, concerns this desire for shared identities. They’re about relationships and bonds. You have a strong bond with your best friend, that’s the main reason you trust their judgment. Brands can boost conversions by communicating with their audience like they’re family.

Sometime in 2017... Dr. Robert Cialdini says: "hey guys, I found another one..."


A few years ago, Dr. Cialdini wrote:

…now I believe that there is a seventh universal principle that I had missed — not because some new cultural phenomenon or technological shift brought it to my attention but because it was hiding beneath the surface of my data all along.

This new principle of influence is called Unity, the feeling that the people or entities involved share an identity, that is to say, people perceive the influencer as part of some definition of “us.” By fostering that shared identity, by implying an “us,” you become more influential.

June 2023: New York Times Bestselling Author of Influence and Pre-Suasion and Keynote Speaker Dr. Cialdini is approached by me to do a interview. I found him on LinkedIn, we have been connected there since 2017. Cool. 

July 2023: ADMIN for "Hi Thomas, I spoke with the CEO of the Cialdini Institute, Bas Wouters, and he would be interested in having a 30 minute conversation with you to find out if your video podcast is a good fit for Dr. Cialdini."

August 2023: Three Zoom meetings with Bas Wouters [my new BFF...].

September 2023: we shall be inviting the millions of members of | | to join us in attending and benefitting from the Cialdini Institute. 

OK, folks. One more time, with feeling: This new 7th principle of influence is called Unity, the feeling that the people (or entities) involved share an identity, that people perceive the influencer as part of some definition of “us.” Fostering shared identity - by implying an “us” - you become more influential.

For the last 15, maybe 20 years, I have been "preaching" about Distance Learning. I used to say that "everything is distance learning" using TED Talks and Netflix documentaries as real-life examples. I would say to everyone that I know and to everyone that I would meet that Distance Learning has become DIGITAL Learning, and now, it is all just DIGITAL LIVING

And over the years, my personal "catch phrase" became: We are all living, learning, working, playing, teaching, training, coaching, mentoring in the GLOBAL cloud economy. The future of work - the future of education - is in the clouds. Join us!