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Tom Peters in Saudi Arabia


Tom Peters went to Saudi Arabia to give a presentation at King Fahd University on May 16. I downloaded the slideshow that he used. Good stuff... and I haven't finished looking through all of it. Here are some snippets.

"The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind—computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people—artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers—will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys."
- Dan Pink, A Whole New Mind

Why Do I love Freaks?
(1) Because when Anything Interesting happens … it was a freak who did it. (Period.)
(2) Freaks are fun. (Freaks are also a pain.) (Freaks are never boring.)
(3) We need freaks. Especially in freaky times. (Hint: These are freaky times, for you & me & the CIA & the Army & Avon.)
(4) A critical mass of freaks-in-our-midst automatically make us-who-are-not-so-freaky at least somewhat more freaky. (Which is a Good Thing in freaky times—see immediately above.)
(5) Freaks are the only (ONLY) ones who succeed—as in, make it into the history books.
(6) Freaks keep us from falling into ruts. (If we listen to them.) (We seldom listen to them.) (Which is why most of us—and our organizations—are in ruts. Make that chasms.)
- Tom Peters

"The only reason to give a speech is to change the world."

Great design = One-page business plan.
- Jim Horan

"You do not merely want to be the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do."
- Jerry Garcia

New Work SurvivalKit2005
1. Mastery! (Best/Absurdly Good at Something!)
2. "Manage" to Legacy (All Work = "Memorable"/"Braggable" WOW Projects!)
3. A "USP"/Unique Selling Proposition (R.POV8: Remarkable Point of View ... captured in 8 or less words)
4. Rolodex Obsession (From vertical/hierarchy/"suck up" loyalty to horizontal/"colleague"/"mate" loyalty)
5. Entrepreneurial Instinct (A sleepless ... Eye for Opportunity! E.g.: Small Opp for Independent Action beats faceless part of Monster Project)
6. CEO/Leader/Businessperson/Closer (CEO, Me Inc. Period! 24/7!)
7. Mistress of Improv (Play a dozen parts simultaneously, from Chief Strategist to Chief Toilet Scrubber)
8. Sense of Humor (A willingness to Screw Up & Move On)
9. Comfortable with Your Skin (Bring "interesting you" to work!)
10. Intense Appetite for Technology (E.g.: How Cool-Active is your Web site? Do you Blog?)
11. Embrace "Marketing" (Your own CSO/Chief Storytelling Officer)
12. Passion for Renewal (Your own CLO/Chief Learning Officer)
13. Execution Excellence! (Show up on time! Leave last!)
Distinct or Extinct!
- Tom Peters

He gave this presentation in Saudi Arabia. Think about that.


Tags: tom peters | daniel pink
by Brett Rogers, 5/19/2005 8:56:14 AM



I'm mildly offended that Tom Peters is trying to turn the word "freak" into another overused managerial buzzword. :-)

Your writing over the past couple of days hit home. My boss has two masters degrees. Very smart woman. Very nice woman. At least twice a week she just shakes her head and says, "This is why I went to school for 8 years" in a tired, mildly sarcastic voice. We both agree that the only reason that we are kind of good at what we do is the general lack of "common sense" in the world, and the fact that we have it. It's a VERY marketable skill that nobody ever bothers to advertise for. :-)



Posted by Bella, 5/19/2005 1:20:31 PM

Sensible is a great skill. But you never see it on a resumé, do you?



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 5/20/2005 1:04:24 AM

Well, it tends to get wordsmithed in cover letters with phrases like "problem-solving skills" (like knowing to call the plumber when there is water running down a wall rather than running around like a chicken with his head cut off) or "multi-tasking" (being able to alphabetize AND answer a phone at the same time) but everybody else says they have these skills too, so sometimes HR folks don't know who to believe, and if they take it on faith, by the time they figure out the person has no's too late.

The boss I mentioned also jokes about using the interview as a common sense test, and instead of asking, "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" asking questions like, "The building is on fire. What do you do?"

Sadly, where I work, some of our folks would answer that question, "Call Bella." :-)



Posted by Bella, 5/20/2005 12:03:15 PM

Great point about the word-smithing.

lol about your boss' question. The answers must be awesome. (Got any favorites?)

My favorite interview question is a 2-minute puzzle, for which I give them a pencil and paper. Goes like this:

You have a balance scale. You also have eight bricks. All of them are exactly the same weight but one, and the difference is impossible to tell by hand.

You can only use the balance scale twice. Which is the lightest brick?

I've had every reaction from quietly solving it to telling me that I was an ass for asking such a ridiculous question in an interview that had nothing to do with the position.

I don't really care whether they solve it, although bonus if they do. I want to see how they react to pressure and problems that arise.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 5/20/2005 12:18:29 PM

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