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Summer travel is a fascinating study in how little people think about the ways their bodies AND their clothes will be stretched beyond normal limits. It’s a great opportunity to practice keeping your eyes very focused on what you are doing and ignoring the “local scenery” . . . Being on the road during the summer is also a great opportunity to write a “Larry King-style” summer travel blogging update . . . I’d never smelled that “new airplane smell” until the first flight in the morning. Kinda wanted to go kick the tires.

Airport-Terminal

I appreciate how women like going to the bathroom together. For two woman headed to the bathroom together on this plane, however, things are going to get a little crowded. My point was made when they came scurrying back within a minute . . . For some reason, the antidote to a failed group girl trip to the airplane bathroom is to turn on ALL the lights in their row and talk at the top of their lungs. . . There is pretty much nothing in the world important enough to me that I need to watch it on TV on an airplane.

Airport-Plane

There is no reason why my iPad should keep falling down backward when I’m typing on the table tray on the airplane. I don’t type THAT hard . . . A woman in front of me on the flight sported a tattoo on the underside of her forearm that read, “The only thing that’s constant is change.” Yes, and also that tattoo . . . The guy next to me on the plane is going to an “Intensive Retreat.” How I so much want to open his notebook and see what it’s about . . . Someone sent me a message saying she wanted to tell me I had a great body. She realized later her talk-to-text had translated “voice” to “body.” She was red with embarrassment. I experience the agony of defeat.

Calling “gate checking” luggage “valet service” is an intriguing, albeit completely false customer experience ploy . . . I was on a late Southwest Airlines flight where I think they decided to just not do any drink service because the flight attendants didn’t want to work . . . When you have a drink named for you at a hotel bar in the city where your employer is headquartered, you may have a problem . . . Overheard on a plane: Child says, “I love you, mommy!” Mommy says, “I love you more.” Child says again, “I love you, mommy!” Mommy once again replies, “I love you more!” Child says a third time, “I love you, mommy!” Mommy fesses up, “If you keep saying that throughout this flight, I’ll abandon you when we get to O’Hare, so I guess you really do love me more than I love you.”

Travel-Curacao

The lady at the restaurant where I had dinner told me you usually miss a flight for a reason. I’ll work with that . . . I went into an airport store that carried various Dr. Seuss mini-books. I bought, “Oh the Ways You Beat Yourself Up.” That title fit with the day’s theme . . . I saw a flight crew that high-fived in lieu of chest bumping. The female flight attendant said she’d have knocked the male flight attendant over if they had chest bumped. Ouch! Not sure which one of us had the tougher day. – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

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We (and by “we” I mean “I”) would like to believe we’re strong at strategic thinking in business. And an appreciation of strategic thinking from a business perspective SHOULD extend over into ALL the decisions we make.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

With strategic thinking, it’s often so much easier to apply it to other organizations and people than to our own situation.

The-Thinker

Need a few examples to back that claim up?

Here you go.

The SMARTEST Thing I Could Do Would Be To . . .

  • Prioritize all the business development stuff I need to do, but I sit at the computer struggling to write a blog post for the next day.
  • Get on with writing a blog post for the next day if that’s what I’m going to insist on doing, but instead, I spend time chatting on Facebook Messenger.
  • Work on one thing at a time and finish it, yet my desk is strewn with 15 things that need attention by the end of the day.
  • Stop snacking, but I’m too busy walking to the kitchen to get cheese crackers as a way of getting exercise.
  • Appreciate the people that have reached out wondering why I seem so frazzled lately, but all the while I’m concerned about what I’m doing that’s making it so obvious how frazzled I’ve been lately.
  • Turn off the computer to clear the memory out and let it take a rest, but I refuse to shut it down and have to re-open all those Windows Explorer searches.
  • Go to sleep instead of staying up past midnight once again, KNOWING I have to get up by 4:30 to complete my weekly newsletter writing deadline.

See what I mean.

It’s easy, when it comes to strategic thinking, to KNOW better.

It’s not nearly as easy (it seems) to DO the better thing you know you should do.

Maybe that’s all part of being human.  – Mike Brown

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Sitting at the Las Vegas airport after speaking at the Social Media Strategies Summit, you realize how important a great friend is, whether you’re arriving in or departing from Las Vegas.

Las-Vegas-Airport-!

In fact, by my informal, unscientific observations, there are NINETEEN reasons you want a great friend at the Las Vegas airport if you’re moving through McCarran or hanging out waiting for a flight.

Skeptical?

Well, a great friend at the Las Vegas airport will:

  1. Tell you that you are actually carrying three carry-on items, no matter that you think one item doesn’t count because it is two pairs of sneakers in a plastic shopping bag
  2. Remind you that your scarf is still 5 bags back going through x-ray because you didn’t take it off until you were ready to go through the security scanner
  3. Tell you when you are too fat to wear what you’re wearing out in public these days – or at least tell you to pull down your shirt.
  4. Buy you a coffee when you are too messed up to do it for yourself
  5. Hold something for you while you try to get everything back on after going through security
  6. Have a multi-plug-in adaptor to get you some juice for your phone before the plane boards
  7. Agree that you are getting screwed over by the boss, but not try to fix the problem for you
  8. Let you know that the bra you are wearing has so much padding you may be in violation of truth in advertising regulations
  9. Spilt that bagel with you
  10. Watch your luggage while you go to the bathroom
  11. Suggest you not drink as much this time in Vegas
  12. Figure out how to tell you the tight white pants you are wearing might as well be sponsored by Camel Cigarettes, if you get what I mean
  13. Remind you lots of people are worse off than you are
  14. Glare at you for interrupting an in-person conversation to take a call you needn’t have taken right this very minute
  15. Point out that despite them being in, wearing your hair long is cooler than the man-bun you decided to rock this morning
  16. Tell you it is time to let it go when it comes to the conference you just attended
  17. Challenge you that (at least right now) wearing a Kansas City Royals shirt is really cool and wearing a Chiefs shirt is really all about, “Remember 1969!”
  18. Check to find out the plane is half full, so you can puhleeez chill out and quit griping about running late
  19. Tell you that while those shorts still are okay for you, it’s time to add about another inch and half to the length, just because, you know, you haven’t been a teenager for twenty-five years

Yup, the Las Vegas Airport is a great place to have a great friend.

Las-Vegas-Airport-3

And, in keeping with Las Vegas, just so you know, all the links (except two) in this article are affiliate links.

So shop, shop, away! – Mike Brown

 

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When I was still in my corporate job, I not only was writing Brainzooming, but also did a five-day a week business humor blog called Funny Eye for the Corporate Guy.

I’m not sure how I created all that content, but when you’re not responsible for sales, it must clear up some extra time and brain cells for creating more content. One of the my favorite features from the Funny Eye for the Corporate Guy blog was called, “Economist’s Corner.” It was based off of an economist I worked with who, while he didn’t diagram things in Venn diagrams, inspired me to see things he said in that format. That perspective extended to Christmas music. I would sit in meetings this time of year and wonder how to diagram popular Christmas music as if he were explaining it to a university class.

On a lighter note for today, here are some of those cartoons, just in time for the onslaught of Christmas music in EVERY store you’ll visit!

Enjoy, have a few laughs, or at least see if you can figure out what these Venn diagrams are conveying!

Economist’s Corner – Christmas Music Meets Venn Diagrams

Blue-Christmas

Jingle-Bells

Jingle-Bells-Two

Please-Come-Home-Christmas

Rudolph-Reindeer-Grandma

Santa-Claus-Coming-to-Town

Mike Brown

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“This week was the weirdest week in my life.” As I was “travel blogging” those words on the plane ride back from Boston, the week wasn’t even over yet . . . On the upside, always try to be the “bright spot of the day” for everyone you encounter . . . I can’t say it often enough: If you are willing to “listen,” God will put you exactly where you need to be . . . Some organizations make decisions based on deciding. Others make them based on no one disagreeing. That’s a huge difference . . . I think “Adorable as it is infuriating” (via Emma Alvarez Gibson) could be the definition for smooth jazz . . . You put the bits and pieces together, somebody packages them with a wallop, and you have no idea what hit you.

Travel-Blogging-Boston-Leg-Room

The Week in Baseball

When your local team is in the post-season, you want your flight crew to be from your home city. That way, you get score updates during the flight . . . Royals Hall of Famer Frank White was on my plane to Boston. What an incredible hero he is for Kansas City . . . Joe Maddon is out, and Ned Yost is in the World Series again. They are both smart managers, so let’s get past the Ned Yost doesn’t know how to manage and Joe Maddon is a genius crap.

Travel Blogging in Boston

Travel-Blogging-Boston-Compilation

On a long flight, there always seems to be one flight attendant that stops doing the job and just hangs out talking to a person (or people) in a specific row . . . It’s one thing to have the need for speed. It’s quite another to have the need to pee . . . A recommendation for when you’re in Boston? The Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. It’s as pricey as everything else, but the room actually had space to walk around in it . . . There is nothing like a Boston accent . . . There’s a reason I don’t like to dine alone. One reason is you get the worst seats (as I share a table with a couple where I’m at the end of the table in the dark) . . . If you have to cook your own dinner at the table, you should get a hefty deal on the price, don’t you think?

In the Projects

Don’t make a big effort to do something only to turn around and ignore it . . . It’s so easy to piss away two weeks in about 30 seconds through inflexibility, lack of information, and an insistence on everyone participating all the time . . .  It’s important to have a way to put the screws to someone, just in case that’s what is needed . . . A friend who is perceptive, honest, and willing to challenge you when you need challenging is such a blessing to have. Even if having one can be scary and shake you to your core . . . That smell is coming from someone else. I’m not sure who it is, but it’s definitely not coming from me . . . It’s not until you get what you thought you wanted that you realize you were a LOT better off before, but simply didn’t realize it.

Lesson for the week: You can be oblivious for only so long, so grab a clue and get on with life! – Mike Brown

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Every now and then, we’ll run a post that recaps Facebook and Twitter updates, blog post scraps, and other random creative thinking, all smushed together, Larry King-style. If you enjoy those, today’s your day!

Traveling Deep in the Heart of Texas

“Danger. Danger, Will Robinson.” Sometimes danger is scary. Sometimes danger is attractive. Those latter situations are the ones that are going to REALLY get you . . . Something is something….clap, clap, clap, clap….deep in the heart of Texas . . . I love staying in places in cities that make walking to things viable . . . “She calls me ‘baby,’ she calls everybody ‘baby.'”

L-Austin-TX-Elevator

I appreciate conference producers that will let you, in the moment, completely deconstruct a presentation into something you couldn’t have ever planned for, but turns out to be a unique experience for the audience . . . Too bad unique isn’t repeatable . . . Something I hate? People who refuse to leave their phone number because they think your phone displayed their number. THAT doesn’t always happen . . . Sleeping? We don’t need to stinkin’ sleeping. That works for only so long, however.

Sometimes when you are trying to accomplish an unfamiliar mission, it feels weird when you actually accomplish it. In fact, it can feel like failure . . . Beating something up to improve it is one thing. Beating something up because you don’t know what else to do is another thing, and you should stop it right away . . . Having someone channeling an early Sandra Bernhardt attitude in a creative session is not advantageous.

Travel Blogging at an Airport Bar

L-Skybox-Bar-DFW

The guys that paid their tab 20 minutes ago are still sitting at their table in the airport bar. Glad I didn’t hang out waiting for them to leave . . . There may be a pretty strong correlation between doing tequila shots in an airport bar and missing your flight. The correlation may be even greater with doing tequila shots and then not being able to read when you need to board the flight you’ve been rebooked on after you missed your original flight.

If you’re Catholic, don’t ever pass up a priest on the way to get on an airplane . . . If you are of a certain age, it’s funny how you still feel like you should call someone when you pass through their city even though the call doesn’t cost you more than calling them any other time from any other place . . . If you’re confused, just wait. You may find you need to know just right around the corner.

L-St-Marys

Facebook Friends

The last Facebook friend-worthy person I met on a flight was 7 months ago. I don’t know whether that’s a bad sign or a good sign . . .  I was in row 17, if you know what I mean . . . So far, for the woman in 17F, I’ve shown her how to put her phone in airplane mode, told her how to spell Phoenix, and let her know what time we’re supposed to land in Kansas City. And that’s all before we have taken off yet. You gotta love travel blogging! – Mike Brown

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Most futile words you can ever utter over the phone while standing in an airport security line: “Delete those tweets.” Seriously . . . Best line ever delivered before a hang up on a phone conversation taking place in an airport security line: “I’ve been up since 5 a.m., dude. Deal with it.” . . . Both of these were delivered by the same guy . . . I was reported to TSA for suspicious activity in the security line. I wasn’t completely apoplectically pissed off about traveling. THAT is suspicious . . . It’s rare you get a fun person next to you in the TSA line. I had one next to me the other day, and I went over to him after we both got through to shake his hand and thank him for having some fun while we were standing in line . . . By the way, I’m not sure why Omaha, NE has security lines that would rival Midway airport. Can anyone explain that to me?

Omaha-Airport-Fun-Guy

It’s fascinating how you can make seven decisions all intended to save travel dollars, but in total, they wind up costing you more than if you had made a few more expensive decisions along the way . . . Big thanks to my neighbor for going on a road trip with me for the sole purpose of driving my workshop supplies to Nebraska since I’d be flying to Nebraska (and couldn’t take them along) two days later. It made a potentially wasted afternoon so fun . . . Even if everything else is okay, getting to your hotel room at 1:15 a.m. is a clear sign of bad planning . . . And btw, bad planning for your connecting flights used to be a $50 deal. Now it’s like a $500 deal and not worth the trouble of making a change . . . Does anyone else suspect the percent of people in airports with bad tattoos HAS to be higher than in the general population?

At a dinner the other night, we had to go around the table in a crowded restaurant and share our stories. While a quiet, mild-mannered man from California at the other end of the table told his story, I leaned over to the person next to me and said, “I think he said he shot a man in Reno once, just to watch him die.” She said I was deranged . . . The difference between driving from St. Louis to Carbondale, IL at 55 mph vs. 80ish mph is night and day . . . I handed out orange TicTacs claiming they were creativity pills, and they seemed to work to make people more creative. Go figure!

Orange-Tic-Tac

Lesson learned during this recent trip: When you’re doing a media event, look at the cameras. Ignore the people, and look at the cameras. I’ve got that for next time . . . At the start of a Brainzooming workshop the other day, the video person (a woman) and I spent about 90 seconds unbuttoning and buttoning my shirt and playing around with my pockets trying to get two microphones placed on me. In a moment of exasperation, I told the audience, “That’s the first time a women was undressing me that really wasn’t that exciting.”

It’s amazing (let me repeat…AMAZING) when you can get together with a college friend you haven’t seen in decades and have a dinner conversation that is a pure delight. AND you want to continue the conversation later . . . And how crazy is it when you see a teacher you had for one week in grad school completely by chance and recognize him decades later? THAT is a blog post all on its own . . . Self-talk: That wasn’t me. No matter what you might think, that wasn’t me. I promise . . . You hear more bragging and unbelievable stories on a Southwest flight on Thursday night than Monday morning. Do you think THAT many people had THAT good of a week? Yeah, me neither.  – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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