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!