By | Blog | No Comments

In 2008, I had an idea. It never came to fruition, but has always been a fond reminder of my unbridled ideation process: Identify a problem. Solve. Five years ago, I saw a problem (business cards are boring) and I took it upon myself to come up with a solution. I wanted to make business cards more exciting than the rectangular pieces of cardstock we all pass out, and end filing somewhere unseen, or simply throwing away. Nowadays, my favorite way to recycle business cards is to use them to give myself a manicure. On to my point…my idea: frisnesscards. Yes, frisnesscards. I was going to create a throwable business card – a cross between a Frisbee and a business card, (in case you didn’t “catch” that by the name). It’s not necessarily sustainable, because no one wants to hold 50 Frisbees in their briefcase (pockets are out of the question), but nonetheless it was an idea. As an entrepreneur, I constantly…

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The Next Big Thing

By | Blog, Peeks | No Comments

Anyone can come up with an idea. Fast food for lunch is an idea. I’m talking about a great idea – one worthy of you spending the majority of your time perfecting, polishing, planning, and eventually executing. Every thing started with an idea. And, yes, I separated every and thing intentionally. Maybe the idea was accidental and stumbled upon. Perhaps your idea came to you two twelve-ounce bottles into a six-pack looking ahead into a summer weekend. Mine did, and probably ruined my weekend in the sense that I did not spend it outside enjoying the weather. I spent mine indoors, on my computer, reading – an activity I rarely do. Seventy-two hours later, it had a name, and even that wasn’t the important part. The meat and potatoes – the architecture – had not been defined. I still needed to determine what exactly my idea was, how it would work, and who would use it. Moreover, why would people…

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Rewriting What Lies Ahead

By | Blog, Peeks | No Comments

I have neglected my blog for a long time, but tonight I had a revelation. I am going to document my journey of developing my second entrepreneurial venture. My first entrepreneurial adventure was a valuable learning experience and landed me in where I am today – in Austin. Who knows where this one will lead me. I’m starting it from scratch and these blog posts are a teaser version of what I am documenting in the book. I’m a entrepreneur, not an idiot. If my idea doesn’t work, I need something to keep me sane. I love to write. Maybe I can sell the book to offset the enormous financial risk involved in what lies ahead. Stay tuned.

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Putting The Pieces Together Before Falling Apart

By | Peeks | No Comments

After just three hours of attempting a 1,000-piece puzzle, my fiancé and I decided to toss in the towel. In that short amount of time, we realized two very important things: The minimal amount of color variance in the Planet Earth puzzle featuring a polar bear and its cub in the snow can drive a person insane. My systematic approach to solving the puzzle did not fit with her text-message-my-sister-or-plan-our-wedding-or-watch-TV approach. Before the pieces came together, our relationship (and sanity) would have been compromised. As she Googled “Galapagos Islands weddings,” I built the border – unsuccessfully. There were at least twelve floating pieces that could fit in more than one location without enough evidence to justify any particular spot. However, the experience did yield a creative punishment for our planned children: thirty minutes of silent puzzle time. The puzzle is yet TBD, but will likely be just as difficult.

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The Engagement Paradox

By | Items to Ponder | No Comments

I recently popped the question. A bubble floating around in front of me had the words “will you marry me” nested inside it and I took a pretty little diamond ring and poked right through it. “Yes.” That’s what she said. Over the course of two weeks I have heard, “so, when/where are you guys getting married?” from every single person we have delivered the news to, whether via text message (SMS), multi-media message (MMS), phone call, social media, or the grapevine several of my friends/family keep referencing. Some of those in the know have even inquired twice. Is that something that needs to be established right away? Is it similar to engagement photos, selecting a wedding cake, buying a house, having kids, and joint-checking accounts? I do not think life should work like that. Why can’t the date and location remain TBD for a week, or a month? Why can’t the exact date and location be a non sequitur…

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F*ck Cancer

By | FYI | No Comments

Yep. That’s how I feel toward all cancers. According to the Official Sponsor of Birthdays®, 1:2 males and 1:3 females will develop some type of cancer in their lifetime. I do not like those odds. So, in October, I ride my bike in support of the most common cancer women get – breast cancer. Help me in my fight by donating to the Mamma Jamma Ride. Thanks for your support. Regards, Ross The Official Sponsor of Birthdays is a registered trademark of the American Cancer Society

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Excel Pro Tip: Hiding Formula Errors

By | FYI, Marketing | No Comments

I’m an Excel nerd, but by no means am I all-knowing when it comes to best practices. I use Excel to manage several important spreadsheets, at the top of that list is my company’s yearly marketing plan, (what my marketing efforts live and die by). One of my formulas aggregates analytics data to give me an overview of performance for various metrics, but if there’s limited data, or data hasn’t been entered yet, I still want the “totals” column to be accurate. In order for that to happen, the other formulas cannot throw an error into the mix. So, I need to effectively hide the formula errors in Excel. A good friend of mine, Andy Row, is an Excel genius, so I often ping him to help me with complex functions or formulas. He recently noticed my Tweet which referenced one way to hide annoying formula errors in my marketing plan. Upon seeing that Tweet, he suggested an easier and…

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Why I Avoid The News

By | Items to Ponder, Peeks | No Comments

On the way to dinner last evening, my girlfriend began reading the local news that took place over the past few days. Three alcohol-related car accidents, which resulted in two deaths; a sexual assault; and an argument at a night club that ended in gunfire, injuring five and killing three others. The driver in the fatal head-on collision fled the scene – leaving their passenger in critical condition and the female driver of the other car dead. Both driver and passenger fled the scene in another accident after rolling their car, but the passenger was later caught. Five people’s lives are over, a woman will likely have permanent physical and psychological damage, and two cowards have yet to be brought to justice. This local news could have happened anywhere in the US, and likely did – in some cases to even more of an extreme. I like believing there are good people in the world, and there are; unfortunately, the…

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Regarding Dave Chappelle’s Composure

By | FYI, Really? | No Comments

I complain when something is wrong. This is the first time I have felt it necessary to write a letter to the editor of several local papers regarding something I found “wrong” – us. Last night, I attended Dave Chappelle’s surprise performance and could not believe what I unknowingly became a part of. Here’s what I wrote, verbatim. I drove home from The Paramount Theatre on Tuesday night in silence, feeling embarrassed, ashamed, and quite pissed off. The vague questions and severely outdated movie quotes were almost as disrespectful (and annoying) as the shouts comprised of unambiguous words like the current year, a city, his name, and the college you clearly didn’t learn any manners at while attending. As an audience member, I would like to formally apologize to Mr. Chappelle. Sorry we wasted your time. Sorry we claim to love you, but have not figured out what that means. Sorry we transformed the area beyond the stage into a…

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Writing an Effective Email Subject Line

By | Marketing | No Comments

Email remains a strong medium of mass communication in business. However, the presence of SPAM has made it more difficult for marketers to get their emails delivered and opened – even when the message is warranted, relevant, and sometimes requested. To that end, a compelling subject line is paramount, especially when reaching out to recipients for the first time. The internal marketing department, or corporate marketing partner, should be responsible for coordinating all mass emails. This way a group of (presumably) experts that can determine appropriate timing, content, theme, call-to-action, and place of each email message in the marketing plan. That said, there are times when an email needs to be sent to a small group of people (i.e. fewer than 20 recipients) and there’s literally no time for the approval process. In these instances, the sender (usually a salesperson) is responsible for determining the specifics, and with those specifics, the email subject is arguably among the most important, because…

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