STAN: Where the Hell is he?
HARRIETT: Relax. He’ll be here.
STAN: I’m telling you Goldberg’s a hack. He was a hack writer and now he’s a hack blogger. In fact, he should be driving a hack!
HARRIETT: It has been taking him a while to get a new blog up.
STAN: He hasn’t posted in two damn weeks! Maybe the jerk ran out of brilliant ideas. Not that he ever had any!
HARRIETT: He’s not a jerk, Stan, and I don’t think Jack will ever run out of ideas. Do you realize over 350 new Readers have joined 10 Minutes of Brilliance since the last two blogs, “Why You Are Here on Earth.” and “The World’s Greatest Card Trick”
STAN: Big deal. That just proves it. The less Goldberg writes, the more people like it. If he didn’t blog for a year, he’d probably have a gazillion Readers.
HARRIETT: A gazillion Brilliant Readers!
STAN: Yeah, whatever.
HARRIETT GLANCES DOWN THE BLOG AND NOTICES SOMETHING STRANGE. IT’S SO STRANGE, FOR A SECOND, HARRIETT THINKS SHE IS IN THE WRONG BLOG.
HARRIETT: Stan, look at that!
THIS IS WHAT HARRIETT SEES:
1. Brilliant Video
2. Brilliant Coke Ad
3. Brilliant Strategy
4. Brilliant Simplicity
5.Brilliant FREE Business App #1 Evernote
6. Brilliant Free Business App #2 Google Translate
7. Brilliant FREE Business App #3 Keepass
8. Brilliant Paint Job
9. Brilliant Politics
10. Brilliant Readers
HARRIETT: Oh, my God LOOK, the blog has been cleaned up. Everything’s in order.
STAN: I don’t believe it. Goldberg’s got today’s topics numbered from 1-10.
HARRIETT: Who could have cleaned up the place?
STAN: Maybe the folks from Downton Abbey.
HARRIETT: Stan, They’re not real.
STAN: Of course, they are.
HARRIETT: Stan, they’re not real! Neither is Donald Duck, the Easter Bunny or Uncle Remus. And guess what Stan? You’re not real either.
STAN: Well, I know the Easter Bunny’s not real. I found that out last year. But I’m real Harriett. I’m real.
HARRIETT: No, you’re not. I keep telling you. You’re something Jack dreamed up.
STAN: I’ll prove it to you. Kiss me.
STAN: Oh, all of sudden you don’t hear me? Like you couldn’t just look at the side of the blog and see what I said?
(Readers: Please go back and re-read this line, but this time, do it with a Jewish accent.)
HARRIETT: I saw it. I saw it. I was just trying to ignore it.
STAN: If I’m not real, then why won’t you kiss me? Huh, Harriett? Better yet, if I’m not real, why don’t you sleep with me?
HARRIETT: When you say sleep, Stan, you don’t mean…sleep, do you?
STAN: There could be some sleeping. Some brief sleeping.
HARRIETT: OK. Yes.! No! Yes! I don’t know?
STAN: What don’t you know.
HARRIETT: I don’t know whether you love me or Jack’s putting words in your mouth.
STAN: I love you, Harriett. I truly love you. Besides, I’m not real anyway. So what have you got to lose?
HARRIETT THINKS TO HERSELF: He’s right. What have I got to lose?
HARRIETT SMILES, GRABS STAN’S HAND AND STARTS WALKING OFF THE BLOG WITH HIM.
BEFORE STEPPING OFF THE BLOG, STAN TURNS AROUND, LOOKS DIRECTLY AT THE READERS (THAT’S YOU!), AND WINKS.
HARRIETT STICKS OUT HER FOOT AND TRIPS HIM. STAN GETS UP AND THEY BOTH DISAPPEAR OFF THE BLOG.
Hey, it’s me, Jack. Sorry I’m late. I’d like to welcome a slew of new Readers to 10 Minutes of Brilliance. (How much is a slew?) ( How much is half a slew?) (And why do I put so many phrases in parentheses.) (Do I?) (I guess I do.)
While I want to welcome our Brilliant New Readers, I also wanted to honor my long-time Brilliant Readers, a pioneering group who have been with me since I launched this blog.
A little history about 10 Minutes of Brilliance for my New Readers. I started this blog in 1973. There was no Internet. No electricity. And no cell phones. We had to text by candlelight. We’d still be doing that today if Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet by fashioning a set of tubes. Or was it boobs. No, not those kind of boobs, boobs like the The Four Republican Musketeers running from the President.
Where was I? Oh yes, today’s blog is in honor of our 60 original Brilliant Readers who were with us in our first year, 2010. We honor them and the 1.400 new Readers who’ve joined us in the last year. There’s so much to celebrate, I decided this blog would have 10 times the brilliance of our regular blogs!
STAN: Now that’s a very clever thing for him to write about. Brilliant things. I wonder how long Goldberg will be able to keep up this ruse?
As always, I’ve overwritten this blog. So feel free to check out early at any time. Of course, if you leave before we get to Brilliant Idea#5, you’ll miss hearing about the cool, FREE business apps you can get. And if you leave before #10, well, you’ll miss your Homework Assignment. And you wouldn’t want to do that. As always, thanks for stopping by!
1. Brilliant Video: I wish I wrote this. I didn’t. This is a self-promotion vehicle that a copywriter wrote to drum up business. It’s great!
2. Brilliant Coke Ad
Coca-Cola has always had brilliant, emotional advertising. In this spot, an elderly gentleman takes his first sip of Coke and…it appears to change his life.
What makes the spot brilliant is that it is interesting, emotional and memorable. When a spot is well done, you can watch it over and over again and never tire of seeing it.
SORRY: You Tube wouldn’t let me embed the spot in my blog. So to see it, click on the blue word “Coca-Cola” right below the words “Brilliant Coke-ad.”.
WARNING: After you’ve seen the spot, click your back button to come back the the blog. You’re only 3 numbers away from the FREE Business Apps.
3. Brilliant Strategy
Next up, a pro-bono spot by The Partnership at Drugfree.org. By the way, pro bono means: “for the public good.” See, you thought you weren’t going to learn anything new today.
Now it’s relatively easy to write an emotion laden spot for a charity, a cause, or something that negatively affects people. Like disease, a human tragedy or thinking about the possibility of President Newt.
What makes this spot so strong is that it doesn’t blame kids for abusing drugs and alcohol. It blames their parents. I understand kids are responsible for their own actions. They’re just not likely to do anything about it.
Blaming parents is controversial, sure, but crafty and brilliant if it shakes parents out of their state of denial.
Here’s the spot:
4. Brilliant Simplicity
“Less is More”: A Brilliant Idea from Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Sort of.
Everyone has heard the expression “Less is more.” It’s true in a lot of circumstances, but especially when you’re communicating. Compare someone who makes one clever comment in a meeting to someone who never shuts up. Even if the blabbermouth made one or two brilliant comments, you’d never hear them because they would have drowned in the tsunami of comments that person was uttering.
My favorite example of “Less is More” comes from the great English poet, Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Tennyson never said the words, “Less is More,” he exemplified them. The story Tennyson’s college exam brilliantly demonstrates the importance of brevity.
I know I’ve blogged about this story before.But it’s worth hearing again.
STAN: Sure it’s worth hearing again. Goldenberg doesn’t feel like writing anything new here. The lazy bum!
HARRIETT: Stan, sometimes, you’re a real schmuck.
STAN: Thank you, Harriett. Was that something you noticed were..ah..we we’re…ah.
HARRIETT: Sleeping? Yes. (Said Harriett sheepishly.)
The story takes place when the nineteenth century Victorian poet was only 16 years old. Tennyson was in his sophomore year at Cambridge University and he was taking one of the University’s toughest courses, comparative religions.
His final exam was a long, grueling affair, a 6-hour essay exam with only one question on it. Tennyson’s professor handed out the exam booklets and announced the question.
“Jesus turned water into wine,” the professor said. “Please explain in detail how he did it.”
“You have six hours to answer that question as completely as possible,” said the professor looking at his pocket watch. “Begin now.”
Eleven students opened their exam booklets and began feverishly answering the question. The 12th student, Alfred Tennyson, sat there with his exam booklet and eyes both closed.
“Five hours to go,” the professor announced about an hour into the test. “Keep writing.”
Eleven of the students picked up speed and wrote faster and faster, completing their first booklet and now writing in a second. Tennyson just sat there with his exam booklet closed.
As every hour went by, the assembled students wrote so much, their hands hurt. Many of them filled up 3 or 4 exam booklets explaining how Jesus turned water into wine. Still, Tennyson just sat there, oblivious to his frenzied classmates, some of whom were buckling under the stress of the exam.
“One half an hour to go,” the professor announced. “Start to finish up, class.” He glanced over at Alfred Tennyson. He still hadn’t picked up his pencil. The professor couldn’t understand why Tennyson hadn’t written anything in his exam booklet. He was supposed to be a brilliant student. Was he so stumped by this question that he couldn’t think of anything to write?
“One minute to go,” said the professor said, as he gave a cold hard stare to young Tennyson.
Finally, Tennyson opened his exam booklet for the first time.
“Thirty seconds. Time’s almost up.”
Tennyson picked up his pencil and started to write. There was barely enough time to write one sentence. But that’s all he needed.
“Time’s up! Hand in your booklets,” the professor admonished his class.
All 12 students, including Tennyson, handed in their exams. When the grades were given out a week later, most of them ranged from a B minus to B plus. Only one student, Alfred Tennyson, aced the exam, and got an A for his efforts.
When he was asked how to explain the miracle of how Christ turned water into wine, Tennyson’s one sentence reply was simply, “The water met its Master and blushed.”
I have a friend named Becky Blanton. She’s a wonderful writer and a very special human being. She was busy recently and couldn’t handle an assignment, so she asked me if I could handle it for her The project was to rewrite a Web site for a tech client in Australia. I agreed to do it because, well, I’ve always been fond of having food on my table.
The client, Brent Valle, the President and Founder of NGage Technology Group, turned out to be a Copywriter’s dream. He was smart, honest, he knew his business. and, best of all, he let me do what he hired me to do. Like range free chickens, writers do their best work when they are allowed to roam free.
Together we created a 2-part campaign, online and off. Brent came up with an ingenious way to promote the new Web site I was writing. He sent clients and prospective clients a bottle opener in one box, a week later a lemon, and then Box #3 arrived with a bottle of Corona beer. I wrote copy for the mailers, but believe me, they preferred the beer.
STAN: Does Jack ever explain something in just a few words?
HARRIETT: Yes. But not in this lifetime.
For another part of the campaign, I created a 2012 IT Toolbox, a clever way of packaging, virtually, 10 really cool and awesome business apps.
All of these apps are available on the Internet, but I wanted my Readers to know about them. So here, without further do-do, are the 3 free apps I promised you. If you like them, I bring you more apps in future blogs. The first app is called Evernote.
Evernote is like having a personal assistant whose job it is to remember things for you. https://www.evernote.com/
With Evernote your personal assistant is always right there by your side,
remembering all the important things you need to do for your business. He can
keep track of receipts, capture a chart for later reference and write down or
voice record important messages for follow-up.
With Evernote, you can do all that and more, and access it all on any web enabled
computer or smart phone.
6. Brilliant FREE Business App #2: Google Translate
With Google Translate, you can be fluent in 60 languages.
They’ve been saying it for years. Business is going global. And now, you can too. Once you’ve
conquered all the business opportunities at home, mine some foreign territory. Even if you flunked Spanish in high school, there’s a way you can still succeed.
Google Translate helps you understand spoken words in 60
languages. You can translate what you can hear or say. So if someone says,
“Usted tiene tiempo para escribir un pedido grande? You’ll know they mean, “Do
you have time to write up a big order?”
KeePass is like having a bodyguard who keeps your passwords safe. And secret!
The problem with having so many passwords is they’re hard to remember. And now at some sites, you haveto change your password every 6 months.
KeePass is a highly secure, easy-to-use Password manager.
With KeePass, you can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with a master key or key file. You only have to remember one single master
password or select the key file to unlock the entire database. The databases are
encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known
(AES and Twofish).
What do Elvis, Cher, Michaelangelo and Pliny the Elder have in common? They all all had real last names. Well, except for Pliny the Elder. Incidentally, Pliny the Elder was not always known as Pliny the Elder. Early in his life, he was called Pliny the Baby. And in his early 20’s, he was known simply as Pliny, the Pain in the Butt.
There’s a lot I’d like to tell you about the Sistine Chapel. For instance, did you know that Michaelangelo didn’t paint the sistine Chapel. He re-painted it. The Sistine Chapel was originally painted by Piero Matteo d’Amelia and it included a star-spangled sky. How do I know this? Let’s just say I have my sources . (Wickipedia)
Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel depicts scenes from Genesis. No, not the rock group. Anyway, why talk about the Sistine chapel when I can show it to you? Really, show it to you.
Ladies and germs, may I present the Sistine Chapel. (Note for gorgeous examples of Michelangelo genius, click HERE.)
You are about to use an amazing and brilliant piece of technology. It will give you a once-in-a-lifetime view of the Sistine Chapel. No, I take that back. In the real world, the Sistine Chapel is so crowded, you’d never have the opportunity to view it alone. And you’d never get such a close-up view either.
Please read the instructions carefully to get the most out of your visit.
To view any part of the Sistine Chapel, just click and drag your Mouse (arrow) in the direction you would like to see.
In the lower left, click on the plus sign (+) to move closer, on the minus sign (-) to move away.
Move the arrow up and down and you will see every part of the chapel. This virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel is incredible. Apparently created by Villanova University at the request of the Vatican .
9. Brilliant Politics
I know politics can be a sticky subject in public or on a blog. Everyone has their own views and many of us are pretty set in our ways, having formed our political opinions from our parents and experiences we had growing up. I don’t have any idea which political parties my Readers support, or if they support any at all. Still, as a marketer, I try to look at all communication with an open mind and I would hope my Readers can do the same when they see the next video.
Granted, it puts one candidate for President in a very favorable light. I just think it is a stroke of genius (hence, the brilliance!) to see President Barack Obama congratulate Betty White on her 90th birthday.
I know Obama didn’t come up with this idea, but whover suggested it should get a raise. At first when I saw it, I didn’t think it was real, especially towards the end where you see President Obama grooving to Betty White’s theme song from Golden Girls, Thank You for Being a Friend. Anyway, it’s short, so even if you’re a Swift Boater you should be able to sit through it and enjoy it. Well, maybe not enjoy it.
Well, I know I said I has 10 brilliant things to lay on you in today’s blog. But that’s all I’ve got. Let me see if I can round up Stan and Harriett. Maybe they’ve got some brilliant ideas.
STAN: I can’t believe Goldberg left us holding the bag. You got anything brilliant to tell Jack’s Readers?
HARRIETT: Nope, you?
STAN: Not a thing.
HARRIETT: I’ve got it. Something the Readers will like.
STAN: A video of us doing the…
HARRIETT: STAN! That was personal. Just between you and me. Besides, you’re not real, so we didn’t really do anything. Now, if we need something brilliant to close out today’s blog, I’ve got the perfect idea. We’ll have Readers submit their own ideas of what they think is brilliant.
STAN: You think they’ll do it? You know how much they hate to even leave a comment.
HARRIETT: They’ll do it. Jack has some of the most loyal Readers this side of the Rio Grande.
STAN: What’s that mean?
HARRIETT: Don’t know. I heard it on an old Western. Stan, I’m gonna do it. I’ll see if I can get Jack’s Readers to help out.
HARRIETT: Hey Readers, Harriett here. You know, Jack puts a lot of time and effort into making 10 Minutes of Brilliance a great blog.
STAN: Harriett, do you think Readers won’t know that Jack put you up to that?
HARRIETT: I have a mind of my own, Stan. I may be a fictional character, but I have real feelings. Now where was I? Oh, yeah. Readers, Jack needs your help. Surely each and every one of you knows something you think is brilliant, awesome, something that everybody should know about.
STAN: Like what?
HARRIETT: That’s the beauty of it. It can be anything. A book, a Web site, TV show, movie…
STAN: Like Cassablanca?
HARRIETT: Sure, Stan. Cassablanca is a brilliant movie.
STAN: (Doing his best Humphrey Bogart) Of all da gin joints in the world…
HARRIETT: All right, Stan! There are two ways you can help. One, just leave a comment on the blog. It can be a word, a sentence or a web address, with an brief explanation of why it’s brilliant.
STAN: (Still doing Bogart) What’s da second way, sweetheart?
HARRIETT: (Ignoring Stan) Or, if you don’t want to leave something public online, say maybe because you were in the Witless Protection Program, then instead of leaving a comment, send your brilliant idea and brief explanation to firstname.lastname@example.org
STAN: Remember your brilliant idea can be anything. Your Mom’s chocolate chip brownies recipe. An app that seemingly does magic.
HARRIETT: So leave a comment or e-mail us your brilliant idea. Jack will post them all on the blog.
STAN: Cheese it!
Harriett: Is Cheese it a product you think is brilliant?
STAN: It’s a product. But that’s not what I meant. Cheese it! Scram! Get the “F” outta here! Hurry! I think I hear him.
HARRIETT: Are you trying to take me where I think you’re taking me?
HARRIETT: No? No? Well, maybe you should.
STAN SMILES, WINKS AT THE READERS, AND PULLS HARRIETT OFF THE BLOG.