On March 20th of this year we marked the hundred and one year anniversary of Napoleon’s land grab – an obscure law which allowed the French state to seize and sell off plots of village common land. Back in 1813, Napoleon used the land grab as a way to generate much needed francs to combat the devastating deficit which continued to increase post his failures at war.

Fast-fPainting : Napoleon at Fontainbleauorward a hundred years and land grabbing continues to exist. Lester Brown’s article “Food, Fuel, and the Global Land Grab” describes how emerging trends such as wealthy countries now leasing or buying farms in poorer countries are measures used to secure future supplies. The results as he shares could prove to create future economic disparities and even food wars.

But how does the term land grab connect to the way we approach business today?

Drawing parallels from Napoleon’s era and applying it to business, a form of land grabbing is seen as “securing resources”. Resources could be both inanimate and animate. Include but not limited to budgets, processes, and people. We are today operating in a state that requires us to constantly be engaged in some form of land grabbing. A jockeying of position exists even if our ultimate goals remain aligned.

But what we learn from history is that land grabbing wasn’t always a successful endeavor. In fact, Napoleon’s strategy proved to generate sums much smaller than they had originally estimated. Within North American colonial history we see the challenges even today between aboriginals and there contested rights and dues.

So what are the long term ramifications of our land grabbing mentality applied to business? What can we learn by studying our history and applying those lessons?

I’m not sure. What I do know is that our constant need to secure talent, budgets, and positions exists today.


The Modern Day Land Grab

Why Kevin Durant is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player

I’m not an avid basketball fan. In fact in most recent years I’ve almost all but lost the thrill I use to experience when I watched the beautiful game. I remember growing up and having goose bumps when I watched the likes of Kobe and Jordan.

In a recent newsletter that a friend of mine, Bob Kreisberg from OPUS Productivity Solutions publishes he made mention of a fun video that epitomizes leadership. The video showcases Kevin Durant’s MVP speech which captures my undivided attention.

Here were my key-takeaways and reminders from Durant’s speech:

• Your teammates elevate you as a leader.
• Simple gestures and saying thanks make an impact. In Kevin’s speech he highlights one instance where he finds a note in his locker that simple states that he’s the MVP and that’s enough to keep him focused on the larger goals.
• Team members recognize voids and good leaders enable others to rise and elevate themselves to fill those gaps.
• Leaders inspire and are inspired by those all around them.
• Rudyard Kipling said it best …”Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch”. An ideology Durant embodies as you witness his enormous amount of thankfulness and recognition of all involved in the process that lead him to MVP status.
• Lastly – we are all works in progress

I would love to hear your feedback on speeches that have changed the way you viewed an individual, a profession, or a movement!

Why Kevin Durant is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player

Why Walter Bell hasn’t aged a day since 1952

Today I was humbled by having the good fortune to meet Walter Bell.

About two weeks ago, I got a cold call from an account executive looking to secure an appointment on my calendar for me to speak to Walter. Now unlike most individuals who hate cold calls, I love evaluating them for technique and effectiveness. On the other end of the phone was a gentleman with a deep tone, clear and short message, and with a singular purpose. I said yes and my curiosity secured a face to face meeting with Walter.

When Walter walked in and sat down he immediately grabbed my attention. He pulled out three pieces of paper and laid them on the desk and looked me straight in the eye and said “Imran, I’m 80 years old”. I immediately smiled and remarked, well then I’m sure I have a lot to learn from you. The pieces of paper reflected recent press releases surrounding our organization and the opportunities they presented.

Walter owns a lead generation company that specializes in appointment setting within the manufacturing sector. But as he clearly outlines he discriminates with age and only hires individuals sixty five years or older. In his candid words “thirty year olds are great but when you come to our age we’ve handled so much rejection that by this point it doesn’t faze us a pinch”.

Monroe Calculators

Monroe Calculators

Walter started his sales career in 1952 selling Monroe Calculators and bookkeeping machines.  Very quickly, I became more interested with his story than necessarily the service he was offering.




I asked Walter two questions:

  1. What inspires him to wake up and keep moving forward within his sales career?
  2. What advice would he give someone like me to stay inspired and driven at his age?

For Walter, inspiration comes standard if you find your passion, “the quickest way to death is not working towards something”.  Finding purpose and setting goals is what’s made the difference and keeps him excited to wake up every morning.

I left the meeting by letting Walter know that he’s already impacted my life in more ways than he could imagine.  How do you find inspiration and a reason to keep pushing forward?

Modern Marketing Infograph

Marketing has adapted, thrived, and evolved. In recent years, the rapid growth within the technology sector has aided in the development of new and innovative marketing tactics, tools, and solutions.   I came across a great resource that Marketo, a marketing automation platform provider developed.

A few highlights that caught my attention:

  • Modern marketing has been around since the early 20th century.
  • Although not immensely popular when it began, radio got widespread attention following the Titanic disaster.
  • TV quickly grew in popularity and was never intended to be used for marketing. However it took 21 years before The Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) allowed commercial licenses on TV.
  • Beginning in the late 1990s, email marketing really took off with the advent of Hotmail.

Continue to the complete article and inforgraphic.

Storytelling – The Emotional Transportation Business

This week I wanted to share two resources I came across around the art of storytelling. I’ve always been fascinated with storytelling and the transformation it can create.

Storytelling is a practice that’s been essential to survival since the dawn of time. It has a proven ability to create higher levels of retention, engagement, and actionable outcomes – it’s helped forge peace, war and almost everything in-between.  It’s connected cultures, religions, and people.

First Resource:

I recently read an enlightening article by Leo Widrich entitled, The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains.

Leo describes how storytelling activates our brains described within the neural coupling model and the essential nature of this art within today’s business environment.

Read Leo Widrich’s the Science of Storytelling

Second Resource:

Peter Guber, chairman and CEO of the Mandalay Entertainment Group, explains to Harvard Business Review how to establish an emotional connection with any audience. Peter highlights four key areas that he feels are essential, most notable being authentic when telling a story.

Like Clock Work

Benjamin Franklin's essay in 1784 introducing the concept of daylight savings time.

Benjamin Franklin’s essay in 1784 introducing the concept of daylight savings time.

Many historians notion that the idea of daylight savings time (DST) came to Benjamin Franklin in 1784, the proposal of creating such a shift for man to George Vernon Hudson in 1895, and finally the invention of daylight savings is mainly credited to William Willett in 1905.

Now you’re probably thinking, why the sudden interest in daylight savings time? Well not DST exactly but the sheer notion of such a seemingly simple idea that as history teaches us was filled with complexities and challenges.

Let’s start with the three men I stated above.

Benjamin Franklin published an essay titled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” which he first conceived during his stay in Paris in 1784. The essay proposed to economize the use of candles by rising earlier to maximize the natural morning sunlight.

George Veron Hudson, an entomologist was a shift worker in New Zealand. Whose passion during his leisure time was to collect insects. This passion was what led him to value after hour daylight. The Wellington Philosophical Society received a paper from George proposing a two hour daylight saving shift which at the time conceived considerable interest.

William Willett, from Britain who was an avid morning golfer proposed the idea in 1905 of moving the clocks forward in the summer to take advantage of the mornings and lighter evenings. His idea captured the modern day notion of moving time forward and then switching back in the later part of the year.

In all three cases, three men who had no seeming connection were in fact connected by a singular idea of maximizing daylight – no matter how diverse the motive that led them there was.

DST to this day is met with opposition and acceptance. It’s founding visionaries and the defining tipping points in history such as the First World War where Germany and its allies first used DST as a way to conserve coal during the wartime effort.  Motives played an integral role in the shaping and movement of such ideas, theories and concepts.

I’d love to hear about simply ideas that you’re curious about or have researched that exist all around us.

It’s in your blood

We’ve all hopefully encountered an individual or witnessed someone of excellence whether it is Wayne Gretzky or Warrant Buffet and simply remarked, “it’s in their blood”. There is something in the

It's in your blood

It's in your blood

ir DNA that makes them who they are. Right? Well, as it turns out – there may actually be a correlation!

Recently a friend shared with me the concept of eating for your blood type. As it just so happened we both discovered that we share the same rare blood type known as B+. The conversation eventually led to reviewing the research of Dr. D’Adamo  who is a well published authority around how to feed your body for your blood type. Apparently I’m not supposed to eat chicken as often as I do which single handedly almost resulted in my loss of interest and abandonment of an otherwise interesting subject.

Our blood types have a lot to do with our origins and descendants way of life.  Well duh right? Why wouldn’t they correlate but where the research gets interesting is how we still utilize those basic characteristics in different facets of our life.  Here is an excert around Type B personalities that explores these characteristics further, “ Dr. D’Adamo found that most Blood Type B’s often described themselves in ways related to the following characteristics: subjective, easygoing, creative, original and flexible. In another study, Type B’s scored significantly higher on “intuiting,” indicating a preference or sixth sense information; and they scored high on the “intuiting/feeling” combination, indicating that they tend to be insightful, mystical, idealistic, creative, globally-oriented, people-oriented and good at imagining. They also reported that they learned best through listening, then reflecting on and interpreting what they had observed. Perhaps the nomadic life of the steppes contributed to long hours given over to talk as well as ample time for meditation and reflection.

So what’s in your blood?  Are we often fighting hundreds and thousands of years of DNA structure by doing some of things we do, eating what we shouldn’t, and ultimately fighting who we are supposed to be?

P.S. A notable statistic: while Type B blood constitutes only 9 percent of the United States population, some 30 to 40 percent of all self-made millionaires are Type B.