At least we’re talking…

The Trump administration is learning that pursuing North Korean denuclearization is going to be a slog.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just left North Korea after talks that he thought were productive. North Koreans had other thoughts

His rosy outlook was almost immediately rejected by North Korea’s foreign ministry, which called the U.S. attitude to the talks “regrettable” and accused the United States of making unilateral demands for denuclearization. Pompeo just hours earlier said the two sides engaged in “good-faith negotiations.”

At least, we’re talking. If we’re talking, we’re not immediately on the path to blowing each other up, which seemed imminent before.

Ronald Reagan on Trade Deficits

Republicans have departed so far from Reagan’s legacy.

Ever since that time, the American people have stayed true to our heritage by rejecting the siren song of protectionism. In recent years, the trade deficit led some misguided politicians to call for protectionism, warning that otherwise we would lose jobs. But they were wrong again. In fact, the United States not only didn’t lose jobs, we created more jobs than all the countries of Western Europe, Canada, and Japan combined. The record is clear that when America’s total trade has increased, American jobs have also increased. And when our total trade has declined, so have the number of jobs.

Principle > Power

Conservative commentators are dropping like flies from the Republican party. Max Boot is the latest

That is why I join Will and other principled conservatives, both current and former Republicans, in rooting for a Democratic takeover of both houses in November. Like postwar Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.

It’s refreshing to see someone put principles over power. I hope more will follow suit.

Compromise & Politics

In his first inaugural, Abraham Lincoln talked about the preservation of the union…

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Success in politics isn’t about getting everything you want. It’s about being able to work with those different than us to ensure our joint success.  It’s about appealing to “the better angels of our nature.”

NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman has a great column about the communities that are coming together, setting aside their differences, for their joint success.

Our country is actually a checkerboard of cities and communities — some that are forming what I call “complex adaptive coalitions” and are thriving from the bottom up, and others that can’t build such adaptive coalitions and are rapidly deteriorating. You can find both on the coasts and both in the interior — and you can find both in just one little corner of south-central Pennsylvania.

A nation of immigrants

Ronald Reagan said

These families came here to work. They came to build. Others came to America in different ways, from other lands, under different, often harrowing conditions, but this place symbolizes what they all managed to build, no matter where they came from or how they came or how much they suffered.

They helped to build that magnificent city across the river. They spread across the land building other cities and towns and incredibly productive farms.

They came to make America work. They didn’t ask what this country could do for them but what they could do to make this refuge the greatest home of freedom in history.

They brought with them courage, ambition and the values of family, neighborhood, work, peace and freedom. They came from different lands but they shared the same values, the same dream.

Being Skeptical

I once listened to an interview with Dan Rather. He talked about the importance of being skeptical (and not cynical). That means learning to question things.

Now more than ever, we need to learn to question what we’re told by our governmental officials.

For example, White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow announced that the federal budget deficit was decreasing because of President Trump’s tax cut.

The deficit is NOT decreasing. It’s increasing and quickly.

Don’t take things on face value.

Caliphate by The New York Times is One of the Best Podcasts of the Year!

I listen to a lot of podcasts. The podcast, on ISIS, Caliphate by The New York Times (subscribe via iTunes) is one of the best podcasts that I’ve listened to all year.

Caliphate Host and New York Times ISIS beat reporter Rukmini Callimachi shares incredible research on ISIS, interviews former ISIS members/trainees, and goes to Iraq & Syria to collect document in abandoned ISIS buildings.  It’s masterfully produced.

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard about terrorist group ISIS. Every day they’re in some kind of news story. There was so much I didn’t know. I didn’t realize that ISIS was such a governing state. They administered municipal services like trash pickup. Despite the physical state having been disrupted, I didn’t realize how much the mentality had spread across the world because of the Internet.  I didn’t realize the depths of their brutality.  In the podcast, they talked about the view of sexual violence and child slavery as a religious act.

When there’s an issue like battling ISIS that’s so prevalent in American life, it’s important to educate yourself. The New York Times, Rukmini Callimachi, and the Caliphate team have done an incredible job with this podcast. It’s a MUST listen.

Start Building Your Marketing Funnel

Are you looking to grow your business? It’s good to think about the growth in the context of a funnel. You know the funnels you use to put oil in your car or how you used to consume beer in college *wink*? It’s big at the top and gets progressively smaller.

You need to start thinking about the different stages of building relationships with your audience, customers, or group of people that you’re trying to grow. Once you understand the stages, then you can start to build a plan to move people towards whatever goal that you’re trying to accomplish. For most of you, that goal is revenue or sales of some kind.

When I started my first marketing job, I just kind of did stuff. Luckily enough, that user-base grew pretty rapidly. I’d imagine for as much as I did right that there was plenty I did wrong. I could’ve benefited from being more methodical about understanding my users

If you Google marketing funnels, there’s a million of them of varying complexity. So definitely feel free to take what I’ve written below as just a baseline.

Awareness – Does someone know that you exist? How do you start getting on someone’s radar? You could do this through advertising, press, social media, or optimizing to rank highly on search engines. Awareness is a BIG first step. This sounds like a pretty simple statement but it a doozy… someone’s not going to buy something from you if they don’t know you exist.

Consideration – This is where someone knows where you are and they’re starting to think about pulling the trigger on whatever it is that you’re selling.  What are the benefits of what you’re doing?

Acquisition – Now ya gotta get them to buy what you’re selling.  When someone’s thinking about buying something, they start thinking about the upsides and they finish thinking about the risks. At this stage, you want to assuage any fears that someone has so you can push them over the edge.

Retention – How do you keep them buying what you’re selling? They already have a relationship. You want to keep in touch. Make them feel the love. If they bought something, they likely already love you.  In some cases, it’s going to be easier to get an existing user/customer to buy more than to teach someone new why you’re awesome and then get them to buy something.

What’s the biggest problem for your business? Do people know you exist? Do people know you exist and they’re not buying? Have people bought but they’re not coming back? By understanding the funnel, you can tailor a solution that fits the problem. You can market yourself not just for the sake of marketing but to accomplish an important business objective.

In future posts, I’ll dive into each of these stages and the associated tactics.

Funnel Image By Donovan Govan. – Image was taken using a Canon PowerShot G3 (reference 7849)., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

My favorite beers

If you know me, you know that craft beer is one of my hobbies. There are so many different craft breweries, regions, and styles. It’s fun to explore how the brewer can take simple ingredients and turn it into a really interesting beverage that tells a story and invokes an emotion.

The other day a friend asked me what my favorite beer was.  It depends on the day and my mood and the style that I’m excited about at any given moment.

So, I looked through my Untappd profile and broke down my favorite beers based on the style.  Yes, I’m sure there are other beers that I’d love that aren’t on here. This is influenced by the fact that I live in St Louis, MO and grew up in Michigan.

But here’s my list. What’s yours?

Everyday – This is the beer you gravitate to when you don’t feel like being adventurous but still want delicious.

Classic IPA


Citrus IPA

Special IPA

Brown Ale

Scotch Ale

Saison – This is my favorite style right now.



Coffee Beer


Desert Beers