The Best and the Worst

The best blogs or vlogs or art of any kind are an act of generosity. They offer a point of view, insight, encouragement, something interesting or even something beautiful. The worst try to sell you something: "And that's how the Dalai Lama approaches conflict. And speaking of conflict, how often have you seen people conflicted [...]

By |2018-09-09T07:48:03-04:00September 9th, 2018|Art, Blog, Business, Creativity, Humor, Marketing|Comments Off on The Best and the Worst

A Very Simple Rule

Austin Kleon is an artist and author of the book Steal Like an Artist that I highly recommend for anyone who has a creative passion that they want to express. Austin has a weekly email newsletter that I look forward to receiving every Friday morning. This past week he shared a quote that really resonated with [...]

By |2018-09-07T07:28:00-04:00September 7th, 2018|Creativity, Rest, Stress|Comments Off on A Very Simple Rule

Solitary Confinement

It is when I am in a flow state, a time of effortless focus, like a shortstop turning a double play or Arthur Rubinstein performing  Chopin's Mazurkas, that I am the most valuable. I can create something of value for my clients. But during these times I am considerably less valuable in a human sense. [...]

By |2018-09-03T08:33:11-04:00September 3rd, 2018|Creativity, Relationships, Skills, Value|Comments Off on Solitary Confinement

Differentiate

It's probably not enough to know the tax code better than most other accountants. It is helpful, it shows that you are a serious and competent professional. But in the end clients don't care. What they care about is how you make them feel. That you take the time to carefully explain a matter, to [...]

By |2018-09-02T08:04:57-04:00September 2nd, 2018|Creativity, Generosity, Humor, Jargon, Marketing, Niche|Comments Off on Differentiate

Be Jealous

You only get four, six if you are lucky. If part of what you sell is creative or problem-solving in nature, you may have noticed that the flow state required is not something you can keep up all day. The reality is that human beings can only sustain this level of deep work for about [...]

By |2018-09-01T06:58:55-04:00September 1st, 2018|Art, Creativity, Productivity, Small Business, Time Management|Comments Off on Be Jealous

Getting A Letter

I sat down for breakfast this week with a friend and really fine appraiser who recently started his own business. A lot of his work is in the commercial mortgage sector, which is pretty typical for a fledgling practice. I don't do a lot of mortgage work, so I was surprised to hear of the [...]

By |2018-08-24T06:46:44-04:00August 24th, 2018|Automation, Creativity, Small Business, Trends|Comments Off on Getting A Letter

You’re Doing It Wrong

For those of you not familiar with Wordpress, there are these things called Plugins. Plugins are little programs that do specific tasks, like creating a contact form or preventing spam comments. I once used a Plugin that "helped" me write blogs. There were all sorts of rules: at least 300 words, the text of the [...]

By |2018-08-14T06:26:42-04:00August 14th, 2018|Blog, Creativity, Stories|Comments Off on You’re Doing It Wrong

Autodidact

Our Word of the Day is autodidact. It means, "a self-taught person." We are all autodidacts. Everything we learned in school, and even in classes directly related to our careers, was general and theoretical in nature. No class I ever took taught me how build a spreadsheet in Excel or format a Word document. Or [...]

By |2018-08-01T08:36:25-04:00August 1st, 2018|Creativity, Grit, Professional Development, Skills, Technology|Comments Off on Autodidact

Hum a Few Bars and I Will Fake It

If you are not familiar with the phrase, Hum a Few Bars and I Will Fake It, you are probably under 40 years old. I am not sure of its origins, but it was uttered by a deeply experienced musician who, with just a hint as to the melody of a song, could play the song [...]

By |2018-07-31T06:28:01-04:00July 31st, 2018|Brand, Business, Creativity, Music, Professional Development, Skills, Small Business, Stories, Success|Comments Off on Hum a Few Bars and I Will Fake It

On Getting Better

To date I have published almost 300 blog posts. Recently, I started publishing a blog  every day, seven days a week. And I love it. Writing is deeply fulfilling and I hope I can offer some encouragement, wisdom and insight. And maybe bring a smile. Maybe. It bothers me that my writing is often not [...]

By |2018-07-25T10:41:18-04:00July 26th, 2018|Art, Creativity, Habit, Humility, Humor, Personal Development, Skills|Comments Off on On Getting Better

You Can’t Force It

In his book, Willpower Doesn't Work, Benjamin Hardy argues that creating environment, not the will to succeed, is the way to create new and positive habits. Let's say that you want to write every day, which is, not coincidentally, a goal of mine. In the past I tried to force myself to write. I left [...]

By |2018-07-19T08:01:08-04:00July 19th, 2018|Art, Blog, Change, Creativity, Future, Habit, Personal Development, Planning, Success, The Human Condition|Comments Off on You Can’t Force It

Making Art

As an English major in college I did a lot of writing, but I found it difficult to sit in a room, alone, and write. The blank page was just too much. I found that the ideas flowed better when I found a comfortable seat in a busy public place. I needed the stimulation. If [...]

By |2018-07-18T09:28:37-04:00July 18th, 2018|Art, Blog, Books, Creativity, Personal Development|Comments Off on Making Art

Stark Raving Fans

It is not enough to service your clients, or even to service them well. Whenever possible, go above and beyond. Make suggestions, deliver something extra, spend time, empathise, care. Put the proverbial bow on the box or the cherry on top of the sundae. Someone might be offended, but it is worth the risk. You may [...]

By |2018-07-14T07:18:54-04:00July 14th, 2018|Creativity, Customers, Future, Gratitude, Small Business, Success|Comments Off on Stark Raving Fans

Don’t Kill Yourself

Journaling, and its outgoing cousin, blogging, is one of the most helpful therapeutic devices available to the average person. I am a big fan. I use an online journal called Penzu because it works on all of my devices and I can even dictate on it when I am in the car. Plus it has [...]

By |2018-05-19T08:32:50-04:00May 19th, 2018|Blog, Creativity, Habit, Personal Development|Comments Off on Don’t Kill Yourself

We’ve Got Just the Thing for That

Miss Karen and I visited the Morgan Museum to see Drawn to Greatness, Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection. The exhibit had sketches from some great masters, but the work that intrigued me most was this one: It is called Fantastic Castle at Twilight. The artist, I was surprised to find, is Victor Hugo, author [...]

By |2018-01-26T11:49:14-05:00January 26th, 2018|Art, Books, Creativity, Humor|Comments Off on We’ve Got Just the Thing for That

How Unique?

Answer Yes or No to the following: Is the work you do every day repetitive? Do you know the answer before you start? Can someone be trained to do what you do in a month or less? Is what you do something that any healthy adult can do? Does your work involve forms of any [...]

It’s Like Magic

When I regularly post blogs, the traffic on my website goes up. Dramatically. Calls for proposals also go up. Dramatically. The complexity and challenge of the work also goes up. Dramatically. Did the calls come from the same people that came to my website? I don't think so. A desire to encourage, inform or entertain [...]

By |2017-12-12T08:56:38-05:00December 12th, 2017|Art, Blog, Business, Change, Communication, Creativity, Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Success|Comments Off on It’s Like Magic

Plus or Minus

Real estate appraisers use the term "plus or minus" and symbols like +/- a lot. It's not that we don't have confidence in what we are doing. It's because we are reporting on and analyzing a market. A market in which every item is unique. It's artscience.

By |2017-12-11T09:43:09-05:00December 11th, 2017|Art, Creativity, Economics, Market, Real Estate, Skills, Value|Comments Off on Plus or Minus

Where Is the Modern Coffeehouse Scene?

Where is the modern Algonquin Round Table where artists and thinkers from a variety of disciplines come together to discuss big ideas? Where are the coffeehouses of Vienna where the likes of Jung, Freud, Zweig, Klimt, Loos and Adler would get together and toss about some bon mots? Where are the non-fiction Central Perk, Cheers or [...]

By |2017-10-23T09:53:44-04:00October 23rd, 2017|Art, Books, Business, Change, Communication, Creativity, Future, History, Hotel, Humor, Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Travel, Trends|Comments Off on Where Is the Modern Coffeehouse Scene?

Get Uncomfortable

I have done some reading lately by and about a Dutchman named Wim Hof. For years Hof, using himself as a guinea pig, has done experiments on the limits of human endurance (okay, some of them were stunts), specifically resistance to cold. Hof discovered that exposure to cold increases the number of brown fat cells, [...]

By |2017-09-08T10:38:13-04:00September 8th, 2017|Attitude, Books, Change, Charity, Creativity, Education, Grit, Health & Wellness, Personal Development, Stress|Comments Off on Get Uncomfortable

Gimmicks

Marketing is simply a way to get attention for your business, charity or organization. A way to stand out from the crowd, to create a story that attracts customers to your door (or website). Some gimmicks are personal in nature: Slash's top hat, Angus Young's schoolboy outfit, Richard Simmons' striped short-shorts, Steven Tyler's scarves. Some [...]

By |2017-08-29T10:32:18-04:00August 29th, 2017|Art, Brand, Communication, Creativity, Customers, Humor, Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Sport, Stories, Tactics|Comments Off on Gimmicks

When Was the Last Time?

When was the last time you: Updated your curriculum vitae? Updated your website? Checked in with your best customers? Sent a thank you note? Got new photos taken? Asked for a testimonial? Increased your prices? Really challenged yourself? Made some art? Today would be a good time. Pick one.

By |2017-08-17T08:46:06-04:00August 17th, 2017|Art, Brand, Business, Creativity, Customers, Marketing, Personal Development, Professional Development, Small Business|Comments Off on When Was the Last Time?

Failing a Lot

In his April 2016 TED talk, Adam Grant made a point that I found fascinating. The best known and most re-recorded classical composers are the ones that generated the most content. Beethoven, Bach and Mozart wrote so much music that some of it turned out to be great. In other words, they were the ones [...]

By |2017-08-12T15:30:17-04:00August 5th, 2017|Art, Creativity, Grit, Music, Productivity|Comments Off on Failing a Lot

tl;dr

There are some fine blogs out there, well written, thoughtful and authoritative. Too bad nobody reads them. They are just too long. I realize that Twitter's 140 characters may be too few to make a fine point, but holy smoke, 500 words? Every day? Here's a hint: if you write something so long that the reader has [...]

By |2017-08-12T15:32:18-04:00August 3rd, 2017|Art, Blog, Communication, Creativity, Humor, Tactics|Comments Off on tl;dr

The A-hole Factor

Go on, admit it. You increased your fee because you think the client is or will be a pain in the patoot. In my experience, the relationship starts off badly and goes downhill. The client has a chip on her shoulder, demands a specific outcome, or complains about your terms of service. No matter how [...]

By |2017-07-30T08:59:58-04:00July 30th, 2017|Business, Creativity, Criticism, Customers, Marketing, Small Business, Trust|Comments Off on The A-hole Factor

Puzzles, meh

I really don't care for board games. I have no idea how to play Backgammon, Cribbage, Yahtzee or dominoes. I don't know how to play Spades, Rummy or Bridge and I am fuzzy about the rules of Poker. I kinda sorta understand Blackjack, but when it comes time to split hands I get lost. I have [...]

By |2017-07-27T10:20:30-04:00July 27th, 2017|Creativity, Hobby, Real Estate, Skills|Comments Off on Puzzles, meh

Why Not A Washer/Dryer?

We purchased a new washer and a new dryer several months ago. The washer has a setting called Fan Fresh. When the wash cycle finishes, the machine breathes in fresh air and occasionally tumbles the clothes to keep wrinkles at bay. The Fan Fresh cycle lasts up to 12 hours. When we wash a load [...]

By |2017-07-19T08:52:42-04:00July 19th, 2017|Automation, Business, Creativity, Future, Productivity, Profitability, Technology|Comments Off on Why Not A Washer/Dryer?

No Sooner Than You Make A Commitment…

...that the Universe tries to thwart your efforts. It is not only your personal Lizard Brain that can work against you, the entirety of the Universe seems to want to put you in your place for daring to create something. Want to write every day, smart guy? Ha! Crashed your computer! The Universe knows that [...]

By |2017-07-06T08:36:40-04:00July 6th, 2017|Art, Blog, Creativity, Planning, Risk, Small Business, Social Media, The Human Condition|Comments Off on No Sooner Than You Make A Commitment…

Morning Is Too Precious

My mom never let us watch television in the morning when we were growing up. At the time it probably had to do more with getting us out the door on time than anything else, but as always, there was wisdom behind my mother's many rules. In the past few months, sucked into politics like [...]

By |2017-07-03T09:07:50-04:00July 3rd, 2017|Art, Blog, Books, Creativity, News, Personal Development, Skills, Social Media, Success|Comments Off on Morning Is Too Precious

Etsy and Irrationality

An example of my personal irrational decision making: I recently ordered several handmade and vintage golf ball markers on Etsy. Some have cool skull and crossbone logos and some are made of unique materials with a motto, my initials, etc. I love these silly things. Do I "need" them in any way, shape or form? Heck [...]

By |2017-05-17T13:18:19-04:00May 17th, 2017|Art, Business, Creativity, Customers, Marketing, Profitability, Small Business|Comments Off on Etsy and Irrationality

Kick Start

I have not been blogging lately. Instinctively I know this is wrong. I am resting on my laurels, as it were - today's business is due to yesterday's marketing. Which begs the question, what about tomorrow's business? And you know what else? I missed the creative side of it. But life is funny. As I [...]

By |2017-05-04T08:44:13-04:00May 4th, 2017|Blog, Business, Creativity, Future, Marketing, Personal Development, Skills, Small Business, Social Media|Comments Off on Kick Start

Protect the Asset

When you hear the term Protect the Asset, what do you think? Security systems? Insurance? Wealth Management? Form an LLC? I suggest to you, fellow professional, that it is all in your head. More specifically, your brain. Your brain will make you millions of dollars over the course of your career. It is by far your [...]

By |2016-06-02T10:08:55-04:00June 2nd, 2016|Creativity, Energy, Future, Health & Wellness, Personal Development, Small Business, Success|Comments Off on Protect the Asset

Question Your Way to Success

I am on the Superprimo plan on Audible, so I am always pleasantly surprised that I some credits for "free" audio books waiting for me when I log in. On a lark, I downloaded The Magic Question: How To Get What You Want in Half the Time by Bart A. Baggett. The concept of affirmation has [...]

By |2016-01-14T14:43:11-05:00January 14th, 2016|Books, Business, Creativity, Health & Wellness, Personal Development, Skills, Success|Comments Off on Question Your Way to Success

The Appraiser Prosperity Coalition is seeking to level the playing field. I think they should just change fields.

I recently received an email request for a donation to the Appraiser Prosperity Coalition. I was not familiar with the organization, but I took some time to read up on who they are and what they are trying to accomplish. What I found was a group of well meaning residential mortgage appraisers fighting their latest [...]

By |2016-01-07T10:46:29-05:00January 7th, 2016|Bubbles, Business, Creativity, Economics, Financing, Freedom, History, Professional Development, Professional Growth, Profitability, Real Estate, Residential, Risk, Skills, Small Business, Success, Value|Comments Off on The Appraiser Prosperity Coalition is seeking to level the playing field. I think they should just change fields.

You’re Good…

...but are you damn good? Are you a  trusted adviser? Do you give your clients what they ask for, or better yet, what they need? Do you deliver good work, on time? Of course you do. So don't apologize for your fees, or your payment terms. This is your business. Your family and your employees [...]

By |2015-01-29T09:27:39-05:00January 29th, 2015|Business, Creativity, Customers, Professional Development, Profitability, Service, Skills, Small Business, Success, Value|Comments Off on You’re Good…

Essentialism

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less is a new book by Greg McKeown that tackles the Unimportance of Practically Everything. Or, put another way, if you don't prioritize your life, someone else will. I originally bought Essentialism as an audiobook, but after I got a cold and was forced to stay home (and rest, and drink [...]

Hidebound

[ˈhīdˌbound / adjective - unwilling or unable to change because of tradition or convention] My industry is hidebound. Stuck. Full of rules. 50% to 70% of my reports are standard boilerplate that has to be there. That's a lot of senseless murder of trees. After the real estate crash in the early 1990s, the Federal Government decided [...]

By |2014-11-13T08:56:08-05:00November 13th, 2014|Creativity, Freedom, Future, Humor, Personal Development, Professional Development, Professional Growth, Risk, Service, Skills, Success, Value|Comments Off on Hidebound

I’m Thinking….

A friend recently mentioned that she is reading John Maxwell's How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life. She was a little puzzled. What does thinking look like (as opposed to reading, web surfing or sitting like a lump)? Her question brought a quote from Wallace D. Wattles to mind: "Thinking is the hardest [...]

By |2014-10-23T07:45:27-04:00October 23rd, 2014|Books, Creativity, Health & Wellness, Humor, Personal Development, The Human Condition|Comments Off on I’m Thinking….

Becoming a Master

There are four stages to learning any skill and ultimately becoming a master: Unconscious Incompetence Sometimes called "beginner's luck", at this stage the person doesn't know how little they know. The stimulus to go on depends on the person's perceived value of the skill. Conscious Incompetence In this stage, the person becomes aware of how [...]

By |2014-10-09T09:43:20-04:00October 8th, 2014|Art, Creativity, Education, Personal Development, Professional Development, Professional Growth, Skills, Success, Value|Comments Off on Becoming a Master

Stay Classy

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a terrible thing. A viral marketing campaign that raised awareness and a pile of money for the ALS Association is a good thing. But things are getting a little, well, silly. Celebrities and politicians, anxious to demonstrate their sensitivity, are jamming YouTube like the Three Stooges trying to get through a door. But [...]

By |2014-08-28T08:36:38-04:00August 28th, 2014|Charity, Creativity, Humor, Marketing, Social Media|Comments Off on Stay Classy

You Are Not Selling Your Time

Repeat after me, "I [state your name] will never again refer to my delivery of professional services as 'selling my time'". You know who sells their time?  Day laborers. The going rate for a pair of hands and a strong back is $40 to $50 per day, plus maybe half of a hoagie. Most of [...]

By |2014-07-31T13:40:32-04:00July 31st, 2014|Business, Communication, Creativity, Customers, Education, Expert Witness, Personal Development, Professional Development, Professional Growth|Comments Off on You Are Not Selling Your Time

Progress

It occurred to me recently that the real game-changer in energy won't be the development of new or more efficient sources of energy. The problem with power distribution is that it has to produced on demand - solar panels are useless at night, so another source of power has to be engaged during those hours. [...]

By |2014-06-26T09:35:47-04:00June 26th, 2014|Creativity, Distribution, Energy, Environment, Future, Tech|Comments Off on Progress

Trust

Nicholas Harary is a Chef, Sommelier, Restaurateur and Entrepreneur.  His Restaurant Nicholas, located in Red Bank, is one of top eateries in the state, if not the country.  Restaurant Nicholas is truly a fine dining experience, with a kitchen that has been described as a "laboratory," it has been our go-to special occasion restaurant for [...]

By |2014-04-01T09:36:59-04:00April 1st, 2014|Business, Creativity, Customers, Service, Success, Trust, Value|Comments Off on Trust

What’s Your Story?

Last fall I received an email from my Alma mater, Vanderbilt University, asking if I would be interested in interviewing prospective students from the area. Vandy had never asked me to do anything before, so I agreed. Nothing happened for months. Then, in the middle of January, the emails came fast and furious. In all, [...]

Never Before in Human History

Never before in human history has such creative energy been unleashed. There are billions of people creating every day in tweets, blog posts, photographs, videos, music. There is no questions that a lot of it is drivel. Some of it self-aggrandizing nonsense, mean, base and even cruel. But some of it is terrific. True expression, [...]

By |2014-02-18T09:09:42-05:00February 18th, 2014|Art, Blog, Creativity, Future, Personal Development|Comments Off on Never Before in Human History

Rethinking Computing with a Chromebook

Working from home can be great. I roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and get to work. Two or three hours later I have the equivalent of a day’s worth of work done, and the rest of the day available to talk to clients and prospects. Years ago I discovered GoToMyPC and found that [...]

By |2013-12-12T13:27:40-05:00December 12th, 2013|Blog, Business, Creativity, Humor, Productivity, Profitability, Real Estate, Small Business, Time Management|Comments Off on Rethinking Computing with a Chromebook
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