Apr 29

Yesterday my four-year-old asked me to help her learn how to ride her bike. Her balance has a way to come…so I helped her quite a bit, with my arms to either side of her and she a pinball between them trying to stay upright as we went along.

And then I let her go.

The results were staggering. When I took away my support, she went 2-3 times further on her own.

By default, I directly relate this to business. I find that at Merge, I need to let go of the following:

-Employees (not let them go per se, but let them work). I need to get out of the way and let them do their thing. They can go farther without me than with me.
-The Creative. Trust the creative “process.” I tend to want to know how we come up with things, the rhymes and reasons for what we create. I need to get out of the way and let the creatives do their thing.
-Vendors. Trust them to do the job they say they are going to do. I’m going to start letting go earlier.

Wanting to be in control stunts our growth. To go farther, just let go and trust that people will give their best effort without you.

Apr 23

Pet peeve: Getting meeting requests that automatically put events on my Outlook calendar without my approval. I manage my own calender, thank you very much, and I have my own system which requires me to do so. So I have to go in and delete the automated entry, decline to update the other party, yada yada.

Web sites are the same, especially when it comes to forms. Do you really need their address? If they’re asking for a quote that you’re going to send them by email, why get their address? Do you really need to require every field on your form? Probably not.

This is but one example of how to give users control. They’re on your web site and not talking to you because they want to be in control. They’ll contact you when they’re ready. If you make them do things on your web site (require an email addresses, watch a video or fill out a form for more information), they’re that much less likely to do what it is you’d like them to do.

**Update. Get control. Turn off the auto-accept for your Outlook Calendar.

Apr 19

We’ve all heard it and said it. But if there was a test where your life depended on it, could you define the following terms?:


Ok, values and measurement are easy. But I sense you’re nervous about vision and mission. Defined:

-Mission (Why we exist)
-Values (What we believe and how we will behave)
-Vision (What we want to be)
-Strategy (What our competitive game plan will be)
-Measurement (How we will monitor and implement the strategy)

What I love about business blocking and tackling is it relates so well to your digital strategy. Why does your web site exist (8 out of 10 execs don’t have a good answer for this). How are your values communicated through your web site? What do you want it to be (the vision)? We often ask, in two years from now, what would you like to say your web site did for your company? What is the overall strategy-how are you going to competitively compete amongst 100’s, if not 1,000’s of other web sites? And lastly, what is your plan for measuring the web site’s results?

Mission and Vision. Strategy and Measurement. How does your web site measure up?

Oh, there’s so much to having more than just a web site. For your web site to matter, it will need to answer these questions.

adapted from HBR’s 2008 article Can You Say What Your Strategy Is?

Apr 14

“I’m horrible with names.” Translation: “I could not care less about you.”

Remembering a person’s name is one of the greatest compliments you can pay somebody. Why tell them to their face that you are not going to respect them by NOT remembering their name? If you think a teeny-bit harder, I bet you can do it. It’s safe to bet of all the people who make this claim of suffering from name-amnesia, only 20% truly have the condition. Those 80% just don’t want to think. They merely don’t want to provide the brain power to remember the name.

So don’t say, “I’m horrible with names.” It’s a cop out and about the dumbest thing you can say. Simply trying will take you from here to there. Pay them the compliment. Give them the respect. When you can remember people’s names, you look like the superstar.

Apr 10

My wife bought a new Dyson vacuum to replace our 10-year old Hoover which was no longer cutting it.

Dyson’s strategy: Make the product look cool (so it doesn’t “domesticate”) and show all of the dirt the vacuum cleans up. The result: You feel cool vacuuming and you see it working right before your eyes.

I couldn’t help but make the correlation with selling services, whether it’s consulting, branding or web design. Show the prospect your super-cool process (Dyson’s cool design, the engineering). Then show them as much visually as possible (Dyson’s see through “results chamber,” where the dirt goes).

Too often (maybe I’m just speaking for Merge) we are selling concepts and what could be, but we try to paint the picture using words. Instead, use as many images as possible so the prospect can see the vision instead of trying to “get” the vision.

PS, by the way, I’m still learning. I realized after I wrote this blog, that maybe I should show a Dyson? Brother. By the way, my wife recommends Dyson.

Apr 07

Merge is talking to several prospects right now, and for a couple of them, there’s a clear advantage to be had if they’ll take the time to create content and position themselves as their industry’s expert.


The web site isn’t the most expensive part of the solution. It’s the time the business needs to take to create the content.

“They” say content is king. Web sites aren’t magical-they need the content mojo that makes the web site valuable. Your prospects want value. Invest in content and give the prospects what they want.

Apr 04

Merge is proud to announce the launch of a new brand and web site for Carruth Homes.

Merge provided the brand positioning “Mountain Homes Crafted by Carruth,” the logo, copy, web site design and programming.

Apr 01

There are brand experiences, and there are brand experiences. Today, I had the good kind.

About 30 NEXT CEO’s and friends assembled at the BMW Performance Driving Center.

All I can say that this is one of the most powerful, most genuine brand encounters I’d ever experienced and that I will never forget. The Ultimate Driving Machine lived up to 110% of its name. No gimmicks. No marketing tricks. BMW is who and what they say they are-just as a brand should be.

We drove the Z4 Coupe in the rat race, the 335 Twin Turbo Speed Test, the X5 off-road adventure and the Hotlap in the 500hp M5. The videos below were exactly how we were driving on the course. It was an adrenaline rush. Highly recommend it if you’re ever in Greenville/Greer.

The Rat Race:

The Hot Lap: