Entries by Mark O'Brien

Settled Science: Breakfast Edition

To understand how absurd a notion is settled science, we needn’t tread the politically inflammatory territory of weather, climate change, and global warming. Nor do we need go so far as to read — let alone comprehend — the one tract that utterly debunks the possibility that science can, should, or will ever be settled. […]

Prophets and Loss

What’s the most valuable attribute of successful people? We can find lots of answers to the question from lots of sources: Courage. Vision. Imagination. Persistence. Willingness to fail. Iconoclasm. Lunacy. Every one of those attributes is a factor in the equation that yields success. But none of them is the most important. The most important […]

Higher and Hierarchy

I recently became aware of a consulting company that compels its clients to begin strategic business planning with a sales and marketing review. That’s the rough equivalent of compelling architects and contractors to build skyscrapers from their lightning rods down. And it invites five perennially perplexing questions, as intriguing as they are troubling and, as yet, […]

In the Soup

I read a story on Medium recently called, “Why Thomas Edison Required Job Applicants To Eat Soup In Front Of Him”. According to the article: The reason for this soup test was that the famous inventor wanted to see if the applicants added salt and pepper before tasting what was in their bowl, or if […]

Food For Sales Thought

Since I’ve been a marketing guy for most of my working life, my Spidey Sense has been tingling since I caught my first whiff of marketing automation (the artist formerly known as inbound marketing). The promise of marketing automation is seductive, indeed. I do have to grant that. It promises prioritized leads from multiple campaigns and […]

The Nerf Bat

I’m fortunate enough to be connected with a gentleman on LinkedIn named Dr. Barry Brownstein. Dr. Brownstein is professor emeritus of economics and leadership at the University of Baltimore and the author of The Inner-Work of Leadership. His essays have appeared in publications such as the Foundation for Economic Education and Intellectual Takeout. Dr. Brownstein recently wrote […]

People First

We tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization. (Charlton Ogburn, 1911-1998) We once helped a company enter a new market. The company had hired a consulting professor from a prestigious university to help it with […]

But We Had a Plan!

When my younger son, Quinn, played basketball at Salve Regina University, I noticed something: When things went badly during a game, the coach would call a time-out and summon the team to the sideline. As the players assembled, he’d pull an index card out of the breast pocket of his shirt, scan it, put it […]

Science Friction

I recently read a blog post about technology (marketing-automation technology, specifically) and finished a book, Great Sky River, by Gregory Benford. The latter opened my eyes to the former. In Great Sky River, the last of humanity fights to survive on Snowglade, pursued by murderous mechs, robotic creatures that recycle, retain, and evolve remnants of themselves to […]

Think About the Future

There are a number of memorable lines in the 1989 Tim Burton/Michael Keaton film, Batman, many of them delivered by Jack Nicholson as The Joker. Here are just a few: “You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” “Batman … Batman … Can somebody tell me what kind of a world we live […]