Monthly Archives: December 2015

NEW BEGINNINGS: The Parable of the Chewing Gum Wrapper

It’s How You View It

The words of this blog may seen the bit self-serving and they probably are. Every missive has a point; it’s up to the reader to find application to whatever they are doing. Consider the parable of two people that stumble upon a chewing gum wrapper, separately and moments apart. They both pick it up and look at what’s written on the back of the wrapper. One person sees it as just a bunch of words on a piece of paper. He tosses it back to the ground. The second person stumbles on it, reads it carefully and sees the ingredients as perhaps be the key to the universe.

Here’s the lesson: pay close attention to the moment at hand and to what you are looking at because an elusive kernel of wisdom is staring at you.

I know this relates to me in the following respects. Operating a small advertising agency, which I will mention prominently throughout, is my latest foray into business. I’m also a writer of mystery fiction. I enjoy both and good at them. I find myself questioning whether or not either have brought me to success that I want –the question is whether or not success can be to find. That is an internal argument and ongoing.

Here is where a chewing gum wrapper analogy comes in. A man I was helping to get through a number of problems took exception to the way I was doing business. He made a comment that I was smart, so smart and back that I should be a millionaire. I listened, remembering that my Mercedes was parked downstairs next to his junk on wheels, and my shoes cost more than his entire ensemble. That isn’t being arrogant that wasn’t putting the guy down, but I’m stating a fact. The dude was actually putting me down because I didn’t act ostentatious like someone would have that he deemed to be successful. He misread the gum wrapper. But, I also learned something about life, and how quickly what one has dissipates in the thin air.

Guard what you have and build on it.

I took stock of my business assets, and other things including property that I owned. On the surface, or paper I was a millionaire. He was seeking rather rudimentary advice and if he’d taken his time to really observe what he felt the need to seek counsel for, he could have figured it out.

As the cusp of the 2017 stands over the horizon, I realize my agency cannot continue to do things as we have and expect optimum results. Change has been necessitated by time. It’s time for me to go forward and find people that share a common vision for marketing midsized companies. Every small agency owner faces the same thing – the quality of their staff, their motives and their commitment. Work-life balance is great – but for me it’s a myth.
It isn’t that busting my brain assures more of what I’m hoping to achieve – it’s just that hard work can pay off. Success is according to your own definition – but you have to try.

Working hard does not assure that I’m smarter than the next guy either. Success is a matter of positioning. Even the dumbest people have succeeded in business in spite of their lack of common sense. It’s blind luck, or just their turn to succeed. You have to try and put yourself in that position of achieving orbit of success.
What you did in the past is relevant only to the extent that is foundational to what you are trying to do today. It does not define you. As a year closes we probably can reflect on mistakes as opposed to pockets of success. Be that as it may — it is milk that cannot be unspilled.

Whatever business you’re in you happen to in is part of the cycle. Sometimes is repeated, sometimes it’s best to forget it and act as if it never happened. It’s the Don Draper Philosophy. Forget it – it’s happened – get your tail in gear and roll up your sleeves.

I know in my small corner of this business, we will encounter businesses that believe that they will succeed without the type of marketing we provide. I know they believe a fallacy because the client I’m attempting to do business with will encounter potential customers being courted by a similar product.

That’s too much reliance on the past. “We succeeded without you … Blah…blah…blah.” When moment that happens, business will go south because consumers will see the old company as being irrelevant. As Joe Friday said: “That’s where I come in. I carry a badge.” Well, in my case it is a briefcase, a Samsung tablet, a yellow pad and pen.

CDM Digital Advertising offers advertising services that will help a company survive on something other than its own inertia. Our agency specializes in and execute campaign plans, analyzing marketing trends and development, and importantly, consumer receptivity of a brand. I learned that that my decision a few years ago about the type of clients I’d take on may have been wrong. Nowadays the very people I refused to marketed in the adult industry are being assisted by others, as are the medical marijuana merchants. It’s only foundation was that a mistake? No. It was looking at the chewing gum wrapper and realizing that those decisions were foundation to where I want to go.

Check you, later.

Bernard A. McNealy

Food For Thought: In Plain Sight

woman-645705_1280There is much uproar about whether a country can ban a group from its shores based on ideology, religion or nationality. What I said, you’re late to the party — it’s been done already.

People suffer from selective memory, especially if they believe it elevates them on some self-proclaimed platitude of being better than someone else. Let’s put it in context: Donald Trump. As people scream about Trump (who is enunciating a hypothetical policy and speculative political posture — thus words) there is an historical fact that backs him up.

It has been done before — by a ‘progressive democrat.’ It was the well-respected gentleman from Plains, Georgia, the “Peanut Farmer,” James Earle Carter. Get off the floor – I’m not making this up. Facts are facts.

US President Jimmy Carter froze immigration from a Muslim-majority nation in 1979 after the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun and American citizens were taken as hostages and terrorized by their captures.

Carter issued an executive order that all Iranian students in the U.S. had to report to immigration officials within thirty days. As a result of his sole decision 15,000 Iranians who were ejected from the country from a population of 50,000.

Now that’s just damn right un-American, isn’t it? Certainly no court would have allowed it to stand. Think again.

An Appeals Court decision upheld the President’s authority for the action, in part saying this: “The present controversy involving Iranian students in the United States lies in the field of our country’s foreign affairs and implicates matters over which the president has direct constitutional authority.”

There is a nexus to the current situation referred to in Trump’s idea. A concurring opinion in the decision made this point:

“Distinctions on the basis of nationality may be drawn in the immigration field by the Congress or the executive. So long as such distinctions are not wholly irrational, they must be sustained.” The court went to say that Carter’s edict is justified by perceived threats to national security.

History also points out that five months after the hostages were taken, the President imposed formal sanctions against Iran, including closing government offices, prohibiting exports from the U.S. into Iran, seizing domestic Iranian assets…

And, stopping entry by Iranian citizens into the U.S.

Here’s the pertinent line from Carter’s announcement:

“The Secretary of Treasury [State] and the Attorney General will invalidate all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States, effective today. We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas, except for compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest of our own country requires. This directive will be interpreted very strictly.”

The United States has thus banned entry into the country on national security grounds – and under Democratic presidents. None of them are even close to what we call ‘evil.’ In addition to Carter’s freeze of entry into the U.S. for Iranians, FDR certainly imposed restrictions taken against Japanese and Germans.

Here is what people must remember. In the United States domestic policies, national security issues and the legalities of visa restrictions should be debated without vitriol because we should be concerned about the country and its direction. I’m afraid that the screaming and wild denunciations not only chase away civility, but common sense.

You don’t learn unless you listen to other viewpoints. You are a fool if you believe that only your ideas matter. Truth then hides in plain sight. If America has enemies, that’s their key to our destruction.

Trump may not be diabolical or mean, and neither was the “Peanut Farmer.” Their motives are and were spurred by what is seen as unjustifiable events from members of a certain population.

Bernard Alexander McNealy, President
CDM Digital Advertising Agency