Letting the Nerd Come Out to Play

I once found a Halloween costume called “The Nerd Kit.”

The contents included a pocket protector, fake teeth with braces, acne paint, a black bow tie, a pair of thick-rimmed glasses with adhesive tape over the bridge, and of course, a red and white nametag that read “Harold.”

Perfect.

Then again, I’ve always been a nerd.

The nametag just gave me permission to let him come out and play.

When I was in elementary school, every week a handful of us were pulled out of class to spend part of our time in Gifted and Talented Education. We did critical thinking drills and creative exercises. We learned how to ask questions and where to listen for answers. And we were given an irrevocable license to create in an atmosphere that was free of judgment, ridicule and snobby girls named Emily.

Basically, it’s where we got to practice being nerds.

And the cool part was, nobody really told us why we were pulled out class. Our parents and teachers just said we were part of this unique group. And when the gifted teacher visited our classroom, it was time to pack up and go get creative.

Which clearly meant that we were better than all the other kids in class.

Suckers.

Looking back, that program was the absolute highlight of my childhood.

It’s where we were totally free.
It’s where we felt safe being ourselves.
It’s where we nurtured our eccentricities.
It’s where we no longer had to hide our truth.

Everything was fair game, everybody was weird and nothing was off limits. By practicing being nerds, we had an emotional and spiritual release that helped us become the best, highest versions of ourselves.

Interestingly, I don’t remember anything I learned in third grade.

But I’ll never forget gifted time. I can’t. It’s too much a part of my creative soul.

And so I always wondered to myself: Why wouldn’t they make all of school like that?

Kind of like the airplane: If the only thing that survives the crash is the black box, wouldn’t they just make the whole plane out of the black box?

I don’t understand.

We shouldn’t need a separate classroom to let the nerd come out and play.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How nerdy are you willing to be?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

4 Keys To Success That Small Business Owners Often Forget—Even The Pros

Small businesspeople are smart.

They’re masters of marketing, sales, leadership, operations and customer service.

But occasionally they forget basic elements that make them successful. And to ignore them is to ignore the potential of new business.

Straight from my monthly column at American Express Open Forum, make sure you don’t forget these four keys:

1. Simplicity is eloquence. It happens all the time. Nametag companies send me their fancy, cluttered badges to wear instead of my own. No thanks. Not that I don’t appreciate the gesture. In fact, I save all the nametags people send me. But my brand is a friend of simplicity. Is yours? Or, do you try to be too fancy, make things bigger than they need to be and create riddles that take too long for impatient customers to solve? Simple means instantly repeatable. Simple means easy enough for a kindergartner to understand. Simple means explainable in less than ten seconds with less than ten words. Simple means eliminating the extraneous, letting the necessary speak and disengaging the inessential.

Unfortunately, simple is hard. It requires more energy, more brainpower and more courage that complexity. But simplicity, pursued relentlessly, can change the world. Is your brand a friend of it?

2. Friendly costs nothing. My business card is a nametag. But it doesn’t say Scott – it says Scott’s Friend. I don’t give people a choice. Everybody my friend, whether they like it or not. Amigo del Mundo. That’s how I was raised. I want to be friends with everyone, all the time, everywhere. And I want to love everybody I meet forever and then some.

Over the years, these friend cards have created a lot of special moments. I’ll never forget the incident on the tarmac. I was waiting to board my plane when I felt someone’s eyes upon me. Glancing up at the door, I noticed the groundsman holding up his laminated security badge with one of my business cards facing outward. “Hey look everybody – I’m Scott’s Friend!” he laughed. “Wait a minute. Where did you get that? Have we met before?” “No, but you flew through here last week. And I think the zipper on your bag must have broke, because we found three hundred of your cards scattered across the runway!”

Great. Not only am I a litterbug, but now my contact information is all over the trash. “Oh, don’t worry about it Scott. Matter of fact, I made my entire staff on the runway wear your cards in their security badge holders.” “Really? Why?” “Well, our airport just got a new general manager. His name is Scott, and he doesn’t have any friends.” It’s not who you love – it’s whose life is better because you love them. How many friends did you make last week?

3. The problem with the Internet. When I went to my ten-year high school reunion, I had this romantic, cinematic vision that I’d walk in the door, tell everybody the story about how I made a career out of wearing nametag and watch as they listened in disbelief. One of those how-do-you-like-me-now moments. But it doesn’t work that way. Not anymore.

Instead of asking what I’ve been up to since graduation, former classmates I hadn’t seen in a decade came up to me – didn’t even say hello – poked my chest and asked to see my nametag tattoo. I’m fine, how are you? That’s the downside of the Internet: We never have to wonder about anything anymore. No finding things out on accident. No learning things through trial and error. No imagining things by sitting around and pondering. The Internet just gives you a blank box and puts the entire world behind it. And personally, I think that’s too easy.

The secret is, we can never bury our sense of wonder. It’s what makes us human, helps us feel alive and enables us to connect with each other. Einstein said imagination is more important than knowledge. I say imagination is more important than anything. What does your brand say?

4. Decide what your legend is. Whether I’m attending a conference with colleagues, practicing yoga with friends, interacting online with readers or having dinner with family, people constantly tell me stories about telling my story. A few years ago I was on the bike at the gym. The guy next to me noticed my nametag. And after a few moments of awkward silence, he launched right into the rumor:

“You know, I once heard a story about some guy who wore a nametag everyday in college. I think it was a sociological experiment or something. But they made a documentary about him. And think he set a world record. Pretty crazy, huh?”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him. The rumors were far too interesting to listen to. And I didn’t want to ruin the image he had about the story. So I just kept asking questions. “Did you ever meet him?” “What ever happened to that guy?” “Do you think he went crazy or something? I wonder if he knew I knew.

The point is, your brand tells a story whether you like it or not. And while facts are misleading, rumors are always revealing – even if they’re wrong. If you want to make your legend worth crossing the street for, if you want people to feel proud and eager to spread your myth, you have to manage your story like an asset. Because people don’t just buy what you sell – they buy what you tell. Are you spreading positive rumors about yourself?

REMEMBER: Never underestimate the power of continual application of the fundamentals.

Forget the rudiments and forego the revenue.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you overlooking?

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For the list called, “8 Ways to Out Give Your Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

What My Nametag Taught Me About Diversity

Every culture responds to my nametag in its own unique way.

Latin Americans are engaging.
When I walk in their stores, they smile and say, “Buenos dias, Escott!”

Indians are proper.
When I shake their hands, they always call me, “Mr. Scott.”

Australians are affirmative and humorous.
When I tell them I wear a nametag everyday, they nod and say, “Good on ya mate! I reckon that’s helpful when you’ve had a few pints.”

Canadians are non-confrontational and inclusive.
When I meet them they say, “Nice name tag. Eh?”

Asians are enthusiastic.
When I walk into a sushi bar, the chefs bow and say, “Scotto!”

Jamaicans are hospitable.
When I walk through the airport, they yell, “Scott my brother! Ya mon! Anything you need, no problem.”Brits are dry and sarcastic.
When they see my nametag, they ask, “I take it your name is Scott?”

French people are snobby.
When I walk into their store, they look at me like I’m crazy and said, “Scott.”

Russians are playful.
When I meet them at conferences, they joke, “You have memory problem?”

Hasidics are inquisitive.
When I interact with them, they ask me a million questions, “Why do you wear the nametag on left side? What about color? Where do you buy them? You get good deal?”

Middle Easterners are accommodating.
When I shop with them, they say, “Scott my friend, come inside. I like you. You have nice face. I give you good price.”

What’s amazing to me is, in eleven years, the people who responded most negatively to my nametag were Americans. All the hatemail, insults, negative feedback and death threats came from my own people.

So much for winning the war at home.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do people from different cultures respond to you?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Download a Copy of “The Nametag Principle” For Free, In Its Entirety, No Strings, Right Now!

Thanks to my friends at esbjournal, you can now download my latest daily devotional, “The Nametag Principle”, in its entirety, for free, no strings attached, right now.

Yes, you can also buy the book on Amazon.

But I just figured, what the hell. Why not give it away? The more you give away for free, the wealthier you will be.

Markets reward generosity.

Enjoy the devotional.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Will you take a moment to make a memory?

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For the list called, “52 Random Insights to Grow Your Business,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How Do You Practice Being Vulnerable?

Wearing a nametag doesn’t just encourage people to be friendly.

It also invites people to stare at me, make fun of me, point at me, spatially violate me, yell at me, curse at me, share overly personal information with me, attempt to sell drugs to me, start fights with me, kiss me in the middle of a crowded bar, and on a few occasions, stalk me.

No wonder nobody else wants to wear one everyday.

Still, it’s great practice being vulnerable.

Allowing yourself to be seen as you truly are.
Allowing yourself to be affected by the world around you. And in my experience, the more vulnerable you are, the more open you are. The more open you are, the less you have to hide. The less you have to hide, the more relaxed you become. And the more relaxed you become, the more effectively you can communicate with others.

Yes, you’re risking your truth, risking standing out and risking being rejected.
Yes, vulnerability requires confidence in yourself and implies security in yourself.

But.

But nothing.

Stick yourself out there.

It’s worth it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How vulnerable are you willing to be?

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For the list called, “154 More Pieces of Contrarian Wisdom,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

What Social Gift Are You Known For?

Humans don’t like to think, choose or remember.

It’s too much work, takes too long and causes anxiety.

That’s the upside of technology: You no longer need to remember or know things – only where to find those things.

But you don’t always have a computer. Sometimes you have to depend on your brain.

That’s why a nametag is a social gift. It’s one less name to remember. People don’t have to do extra work to figure out who you are. Your act of generosity relaxes their already overloaded brains, pampers their memory and frees up their heads to focus on more important things.

That’s why complete strangers will actually thank me for wearing a nametag.

You’re welcome.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What social gift are you known for?

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For the list called, “46 Types of Marketing,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

When Laxatives Aren’t Enough

The problem with laxatives is that we never learn how to push on our own.

It feels good. It cleanses the system. And it gets the job done. But when we give ourselves a crutch we don’t need, we develop a limp we shouldn’t have.

As artists, the goal is to get things moving without outside assistance. To fire inspiration into ourselves, instead of waiting for lightning to strike and then chasing the flame.

We create from the inside out, not the other way around.This approach is hard. Took me several years to figure it out.

It challenges us to trust our own ability to sit down and spontaneously respond to life. Like a like a jazz saxophonist, there’s no preparation because our life is our preparation.

We have to believe in our own resources. To have faith that we’re richly supported by something bigger, and that we possess the will to channel that spirit. That way, when the creative moment comes, we become the convergence of everything that’s ever happened to us, and just start riffing.

And hopefully, it doesn’t sound like poop.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you get things going?

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For the list called, “99 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Isn’t Gender Strange?

I was supposed to be Jessica.

My parents were expecting a girl all along.

Which makes total sense, considering how girlie I’ve always been:

I cry at movies. I’m ultra sensitive. I’m touchy feely. I don’t care about sports. I hate beer. I’m not macho. I love shopping. I’m obsessed with my hair. I have way too many shoes.

I’m the daughter they never had.Still, I’m proud to be Scott every day of my life. I’m proud to be a man everyday of my life. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. Considering women are the most oppressed minority on the planet, I think I lucked out.

Besides, there aren’t as many branding possibilities with, “HELLO, my name is Jessica.”

Turns out, the name Scott actually translates to “painted warrior.”

Considering the tattoo, I’d say my parents made the right choice.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Isn’t gender strange?

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For the list called, “71 Things Customers Don’t Want to Hear You Say” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

A Different Philosophy on Being Different

My whole life, I never quite fit in.

I was always just a little different.

Not so different that nobody wanted to be friends with me. Not so different that I felt excessively entitled or self-righteously appointed. But different enough to feel like an alien wherever I went.

And then I moved to Portland.

The city where different is the default.Everybody fits in – because nobody fits in. It’s so fantastically unique, so delightfully weird and so endearingly eclectic, that you can’t help but acknowledge and applaud people’s differences.

The place is so weird, I almost felt normal. That says a lot.

I remember my first day. I was riding the bus when a guy asked, “You’re not from around here, are you Scott?”

“How did you guess?”

“Nobody uses umbrellas here. When it rains, we either celebrate it or ignore it.”

That’s when I said to myself: “These are my people.”

I fell in love with the city. Had some of the greatest times of my life. Made lifelong friends I’ll never forget. And learned lessons that changed me forever. And although I only spent fourteen months there, the spirit of Portland will always remain under my fingernails.

You have to understand, I grew up in suburban St. Louis. I went to college in rural Ohio. So it was a nice change of posture to live in a community where accepting people’s differences is a given – but celebrating them is the gift.

Can you imagine if more places adopted that mentality?
Can you imagine if we stopped holding ourselves hostage by our intolerance?

Sadly, our society still operates on the outdated, close-minded cliché that the nail that sticks up should be hammered down. That being different is the enemy.

I don’t care how open we claim to be: We still actively avoid contact with people who are not like us because of a fear of social contamination.

It’s time to adopt a different philosophy about being different.

Not only that it’s acceptable – but also that it’s encouraged and edified.

Fit out.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you put yourself on equal footing with the people around you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “31 Questions to Test Your Listening Skills” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Watch Scott Ginsberg’s Interview on The Big Business Show w/Rod Kirby

Learn more about Rod’s very cool show here.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you known for?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “8 Ways to Move Quickly on New Opportunities” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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