A Book Idea: Nick at Night Business School, or All I Learned from 60's Sitcoms

I think that there might be a market for a management book based on the 60's sitcoms. It would be sort of 'tongue in cheek' but also a constructive look at common management problems and solutions as told by the stories in some classic 60's sitcoms.

There could be a few different ways to set this up. Either each chapter could address a certain problem and then show examples of different solutions from various shows, or each chapter could focus on a show and what we can learn from it. A combination of the two could work well also.

Let me give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Take Jed Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies and his internal optimism and easy nature. Near the end of Episode 6, Trick or Treat(Four Minutes into Clip) , Jed decides that it would be a good idea to call Cousin Pearl. Jethro tries to dissuade him some by reminding Jed that Cousin Pearl 'ain’t got no telephone at home'. Granny says that mere fact 'don't matter, she ain't never home no how'. Jed concludes:

"The way I look at it, you can’t never tell what you can do until you try"

After Granny reminds him to 'spin the wheel' on the phone, and with a little help from culminating concurrent events, they do in fact end up connecting with Cousin Pearl.
One could suggest from this situation that optimism and focus could and should outweigh insurmountable odds and their drum beats.

The importance of communication could be highlighted with any of the farcable situations that took place in these shows.

One simple example is in this I Dream of Jeanne clip.

She's trying to get Major Nelson to except something 'big' from her as a wish. Tony finally agrees, but before he can state what he wants she blinks and produces an Elephant. Then Dr. Bellows show's up, of course, and.....ect, ect, ect.

The two problems there would be that what 'big' is was not clearly defined and Jeanne acted before a common plan was devised (I, for one, forgive her).

Some show episode titles could serve as inspiration in themselves. Take for example these Dick Van Dyke episode titles, any of which could stand alone as a management book title:

Never Name a Duck.
A Bird in the Head Hurts.
It May Look Like a Walnut.
The Square Triangle.
All About Eavesdropping.
The Pen is Mightier than the Mouth.
Fifty-two Forty-five or Work.

In that last episode Rob recalls the time he was out of work and had no furniture, a new house and a pregnant wife. In 'Never name a Duck' Rob finally has to tell Richie that his duck got too big, and was like a 'duck out of water'. Those are two stories that could easily be made into management lessons.

My favorite 60's sitcom management tool would have to be the one that comes from F-Troop, the show about the Civil War Era soldiers at Fort Courage.

I like this lesson so much I have an F-Troop post card on my refrigerator as a reminder.

You see, on this show there is a reoccurring gag. During a cannon salute, the cannon is lit and doesn't fire. It never works. The frustrated soldier then kicks the cannon wheel. This causes the cannon to topple over. Now it fires, and because of the new angle, it is aimed at the guard tower. The guard tower with guard inside falls over. It's great stuff actually. As a kid I couldn't wait until they shot the cannon off.

Of course there is so much to learn from this and could make for an entertaining PowerPoint for the staff. First, there is the simple 'doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result' issue. Diving deeper, we could spot light a training issue, such as 'don't kick the cannon tire when the cannon doesn't work'. There is also a maintenance issue: Fix the freaking cannon.

Then there is the big picture issue: Why are we doing cannon salutes in the first place, and why with real cannon balls, and why the cannon is facing anywhere near anything it could destroy?

These questions could easily be transposed into the particular situations of any company and thereby make 60's sitcoms an entertaining way to spread some Great Ideas.

Edamame Food Carts for Pretty Secretaries

If somebody hasn’t started some up already, it’s seems like a pretty natural progression in the big scheme that Edamame Carts would be popping up in Manhattan and other major parts of major cities soon.

If you got the time and the money and the energy,
Edamame Food Carts are probably a Great Idea for you.

Great Ideas Blog Roundup

Pat Doyle has given us 23 Great Ideas for Blog Posts, Momma has given us 5 Indoor Activities to Keep You Sane, and Christine OKelly at Self Made Chick tells us how to turn Shit into Sugar:

"I’ve been kind of obsessed with 50 Cent’s new reality show ‘The Money and the Power.’ If you haven’t been following, it’s like a g-style version of The Apprentice where the contestants live in a crappy warehouse while they are tested and judged by Mr. Fitty and his G-Unit crew. Every week the challenges revolve around one of 50’s words of street wisdom – such as “Choose Your Crew Wisely,” “Respect the Hustle,” and one of my favorite new sayings “Turn Sh** To Sugar.”

Just last week, I mixed a little sh** with Fitty’s wisdom and a healthy scoop of a Mindshift technique learned..."

Also: Ali Hale, via Dumb Little Man, gives us 5 Easy Ways to Fit Excersise into our Busy Schedules, Ian Newby-Clark, via Zen Habits, enlightens us with "The Power of Gradual", and Michelle MacPhearson has a great new mantra to drive our intentions: Momentum:

"Rather then set specific “resolutions” for the new year, I decided on a theme to carry me through 2009 and I wanted to share it withyou, as it’s something both new and experieced marketers can benefit from.
The theme itself? MOMENTUM!
That’s moving forward (not just moving on).
I had an absolute rash of personal stuff come up just after the 1st that has kept me both literally busy and emotionally busy. It’s been hard to concentrate on work stuff as I’m so busy worrying about the personal.
And I repeated to myself, 'Momentum, momentum, momentum…'"

FlatBrokeLove: An Online Dating Service

I think that it could be a good time for a new type of online dating service that caters to people whose lives have been impacted by the current financial crisis. I would call it FlatBrokeLove.

Just think of the single guy who has to take extra care of his finances at this time. He doesn't even have enough extra cash to blow on those first couple 'bullshit' dates where he's spending money like a rich dude to impress the ladies (when in fact both of them know he's not really that rich).

Now if you set up a nice dating site where the fact that everyone is broke is brought out to the forefront then you might end up with a dating site where the stress of being Flat Broke doesn't hinder the ability to meet like minded and fun companions.

The site would also have articles showcasing cheap dating alternatives, cheap eats, free events and such to give couples a range of possibilities for their first dates.

It could even have recipes for two, and movie rental ads to give ideas for stay at home dates.

The site would be completely free, of course, with no hidden fees. It would be set up like Craig’s List, so that people could contact each other anonymously at first.

FlatBrokeLove could really be a fun site where materialism is taken out of the relationship building process which might even help build more rewarding partnerships.
FlatBrokeLove could even be built for free with Blogger! All it would take is a little creativity and the love of a Great Idea!

A No Repeat Holiday Season for Radio Stations

Christmas music seems to get on everyone’s nerves by the end of the Holiday Season. Part of the problem is the repetition. Really, how many times can you listen to the standards like White Christmas by Bing Crosby and Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms without going a little nuts.
In the workplace, if the radio is turned to the local Christmas Music station, you’d probably hear these songs five or more times a day! Even renditions by artists you enjoy will get beaten into you!

That’s why we think that some radio stations in local markets should adopt a Alternative Indie Christmas Music Format for the Holiday Season.

Why play the same old things over and over when there is a plethora of Christmas Music, both originals and covers of the classics, out there to choose from?

To up the anti, the Radio Station that is brilliant enough to use this idea should declare a No Repeat Holiday Season by promising not to repeat any Christmas Songs between Thanksgiving and New Years.

It would be a great marketing campaign and help make for a more joyous, fun and fantasic Holiday Season for us all!

Merry Christmas from Great Ideas!

Strategies for Some Corporations in These Troubled Times

Let’s get right to it.

Home Depot: In terms of customer service, the word is not too good out there for you these days. Your stores always seem in a mess, and following any advice from a sales person (if you can find one) would be like betting on black or red (or even green!). A crap shoot.

Time to get back to the original concept: Contractors working for you that can better help the customers. I'm sure there are some out there that need some work right now.

And straighten up the isles. Or I have one word for you: Grossman’s

Kmart: Speaking of original concepts, it seems to me that Sam Walton used to be pretty enthusiastic about the 'Buy American' philosophy in his Wal-Mart stores. But he's gone now and Wal-mart, in seeming to have the corner marketed on 'cheap', is probably going to fair pretty well in this economic storm. But with unemployment on the rise it is probably a good time for a competitor, like Kmart, to pick up the 'Buy American' mantle.

It would be hard to do quickly, I imagine. A lot of deals already made and inventories of foreign products already in the pipelines, but an immediate solution could be an advertising campaign in where the CEO talks directly to the people, Sam Walton style, and commits the company to go, say, 80% American by the end of 2010 or so.

Starbucks: Two words: Free wi-fi. Sure, your couches and comfy chairs are nice, and I dig the indie alternative music, and the well dressed good looking people coming and going are a great plus, but guess what, for the price of a Grande I can get a large coffee and two bacon cheeseburgers down the street at McDonalds.
And the coffee doesn't taste so bad, and the plastic doesn't feel so hard, once I get into surfing the net for free.
Another plus is that I can sit in the corner for fours hours’ blogging and nobody cares. And if it's not McDonalds, there's always the local coffee shop that also has lightly restricted free wi-fi.
No need to sign up for a 'rewards' program. Just flip the lid and type. Get with it Starbucks!

Wendy's: It's probably too late, but bring back the commercials with the people in the big plastic Wendy wigs. Word has it that the upper management didn't like those ads even though they were positively received in test markets. The reason for the disapproval was that they didn't represent the traditional Wendy's image created by Dave Thomas. Two lessons to be learned by this:

Times Change, learn to change with them, and Get Over Yourself, it's not about you but about the customer.

It's a burger joint!

Tim Horton’s (A coffee chain in Canada making its way into the northeast): Highlight your inexpensive but good sandwiches and the fact that in house patrons get a nice old school coffee mug, not some behemoth piece of Styrofoam (also highlight the fact that you don't use Styrofoam, but paper cups). I imagine most of the business is take out, but a few inside visits will generate a few more drive thru's later.
Corporate America, here are your great ideas.
You are welcome!

Black and Tan Kits

Today as I was purchasing some beer I thought how nice it would be to have a black and tan, that wonderful concoction which requires a pale ale and a stout poured perfectly together. A nice black and brown mix that makes for a great afternoon or evening of inebriation.

The problem was that I didn't feel like buying the two types of beer needed to make a great black and tan. That's when I thought that it would be nice to have 12 and 6 pack black and tan 'kits'.

Guinness and Bass Ale, the classic combo, could put together such a kit, and even small brewers, most of which make their own stout and pale ale, could also market such an item. I'd buy it!

An extra selling point would be if they included a stout pouring spoon, a cheap plastic one even, which would help the layman pour his perfect layered mix.

Add a couple pint glasses and you have a wonderful gift for the holidays.

So here's a CHEERS! To another great idea!

Successful TV Series to Movie Idea: Thinking Ahead

As I was driving the Journey song Don’t Stop Believing came on and I was reminded of the Sopranos (that song was used in the final episode). I started to wonder if they would ever make a movie of that series. It has long been thought that they might, and it surely would be a successful venture, but the problem is that a lot of the show’s favorite characters are dead now.

Of course they could be brought back in dream or flashback sequences, but obviously the great meaty years of the show could never be recreated, especially since it’s always been a continuing story line with character development and growth. Even more so for the younger characters.

They could use stock footage and find someway to give the audience enough of the early years to satisfy the nostalgia, but I was thinking that a good idea for any popular series would be to film ‘the movie’ right during the peak years. Then, when the time comes to make the movie, a slightly referenced but separate plot line could be shown from when the characters were still fresh. Later in the movie the plot line could move ahead to ‘the present’, to when after the regular television series ended.

In the case of the Soprano’s, for example, there is more than enough lose ends to still mop up with a movie. For example, there is that hot mob boss on Sicily that Tony almost had an affair with. (He didn’t because it was ‘bad for business’):

Not to mention Furio, who left the states after almost killing Tony because he fell in love with Carmela:

Then there was the Russian who escaped into the woods and was never heard of again:

You take three story lines like those and combine them with a new, previously unseen plot from the early years and then segue that into the current years then you will have a substantial movie with enough left over for a sequel.

Think how interesting it would be to see your favorite characters younger again and then halfway through the movie see them again as they are ‘now’. It would be like seeing two movies in one!

So if I had a successful series going on right now,

I would try to fit in a movie schedule.

You got to admit it’s a pretty good idea.

Electronic and Backwards Bumper Stickers

The advances in electronic paper have made it possible to have electronic bumper stickers.
These could be used for personal messages or for advertising or both.
The message, if personal, could be changed from inside the car at the drivers whim, perhaps with a device that picks from some preset message choices. This would be great fun and the major selling point for the stickers.

As an advertising medium, the message could be changed by satellite or cell phone technology. A company , or an advertising company selling the mini bill boards, would change the message from a distant location.

A combination of the two systems would drive the price down and make it affordable for the car owner as long as they were willing to have rotating advertisements mixed in with their personal messages, much like banner ads on the internet let people like me blog for free.

Another thing you don’t see much of is the backwards bumper sticker. These would be bumper stickers that you put on the front bumper to be read by people from their rear view mirror. The lettering would have to be backward, like the lettering on the front of an ambulance.

The backwards bump stickers could make for some new takes on old favorites:

Of course, their maybe legislation someday to outlaw or restrict both of these bumper sticker ideas, but that would only be proof that they were successful and therefore great ideas.

Free Great Mundane Blog Ideas

Presented in partnership with The Ultra Mundane:

A Yearning Undefined
Mother’s Milk verses Prozac
The effects of not breast feeding on the boomer generation and beyond.

This is ok, but that was Awesome!
A Gastronomic Survey
Interrupting people at eating establishments to ask them about their favorite meal ever.

Moo versus Woo
Cud Filter Optional
Catch people saying ’woo’ on video and then interview them to see if they are anything like cattle.

Regis and Kelly and Me
Live blogging while watching the monologue of Live with Regis and Kelly everyday.

It’s All About Me
I Knew It!
Picking out, tracking down, interviewing and examining people you come across in even the slightest of ways to prove that the only reason they exist was to cross your path.

Straight to the Dump
Eliminating the Middle Man since 2008
Go to wal-mart, pick something out, buy it, then bring it straight to the dump.
Document with photos and/or video.

Back from the Dump
A Coffee and Danish Revenue Source
Finding stuff at the dump and bringing it to Wal-mart for a refund then buying a cup of coffee and pastry with the cash.
Document with photos and/or video.

Breakout Dance!
One Person Dancing to Breakout by Swing Out Sister
All posts a video of the same person dancing to Breakout by Swing Out Sister. Titles of posts would be Trailer Dance, Shower Stall Dance, Steps of a Church Dance, Fenway Dance, ect.