Go to a Museum – We Did Tonight

I’m telling people to do a lot of things lately. While I’m at it, here’s another one. Go to a museum. My wife and I went to one tonight. The one we went to was the opening of an exhibit at the Stanford Mansion on Theodore Roosevelt’s visit to California in 1903.

We went to the opening of the exhibit as the guests of a friend whose collection of “Rooseveltiana,” as he described it was the centerpiece of the exhibit.  I wrote about The Adam Gottlieb Collection a bit before, so go read that then go visit the Stanford Mansion.

SACRAMENTO –  Rough Rider, police commissioner, cowboy, big game hunter, governor, vice president, president, and conservationist.  All these titles best characterize one man – Theodore Roosevelt – whose accomplishments are now celebrated at a Sacramento museum.

A new exhibit, The Great Dreamer and Great Doer: Theodore Roosevelt’s Impassioned Life,” arrives at the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park (SHP) in Sacramento on June 29, 2010.  The exhibit captures the vibrant life and times of “T.R” through visual panels, vintage political campaign buttons, ribbons, photos, and other memorabilia on loan from the private collection of Adam Gottlieb.

Through artifacts from Roosevelt’s 1903 Western Tour, this exhibit showcases Roosevelt’s life, his beliefs on nature and conservation, his accomplishments as well his lasting impacts on the Golden State.

An avid collector of political Americana, Gottlieb has been collecting Roosevelt memorabilia for more than 30 years.  His interest in T.R. was spurred by a 4th grade class field trip to Roosevelt’s summer home in Oyster Bay, NY.  His collection has been displayed in the State Capitol, California Historical Society, State Library, and the State Fair.  He is a member of the American Political Items Collectors and Theodore Roosevelt Association.

The exhibit will continue through June 24, 2011.  The Stanford Mansion SHP is located 800 N Street in downtown Sacramento. Hours: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday.  For more information, call (916) 324-0575 or www.parks.ca.gov/stanfordmansion

PS – It’s more fun to go to museums if you have someone to go with you like I did.

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Grow something

A few years ago we moved out of Silicon Valley.  We’re just two hours away from San Francisco and I still go there somewhat often for work, in fact, I’m going tomorrow, but in other ways we’re in a different world.  I still work with innovative companies but that isn’t all I do.  I’m growing things.

Every year we plant a few tomato plants and other vegetables in a small patch on the side of the house.  Eating tomatoes right off the plant is amazing.  Even better is having my girls as excited about growing things as I am. Guess, I’m growing more than tomatoes.

The first tomato of the year

What are you growing?

Old School PR Done Right – Competitive Eating

Kobayashi. One name. Well his full name is Takeru Kobayashi.

Until Joey Chestnut came on the scene, Kobayashi was the unquestioned greatest competitive eater of all time.  I wrote about Kobayashi and the International Federation of Competitive Eating a few years ago just before their annual marquee event, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

The professional business of competitive eating was created by a few PR guys in NYC.  Read the book about it, Eat This Book.  Amazing story and well told.

The impetus for this post was the news that Kobayashi will not compete this year for the coveted Nathan’s Famous Mustard Belt.

Every year I’m impressed by the work done by the promoters of this event.  Read the press release for this years’ event. It’s simple. It works. It gives enough information for reporters to tell the story, but really encourages people to attend.

To get you ready, here’s the video of last year:

Note:  No, I don’t think encouraging overeating is good for you.

Am I the only one confused?

I just read a short article on PR Week about San Jose Airport being renamed for Hill & Knowlton Vice Chair Norm Mineta. Couldn’t read the entire thing as it was behind their registration wall but this is what was there:

“Airport renamed in honor of H&K vice chairman”

June 24, 2010

NEW YORK: San Jose International Airport is to be renamed Mineta San Jose International Airport in honor of Hill & Knowlton vice chairman Norman Y. Mineta. Before joining H&K in 2006, Mineta was secretary of the United States Departments of Transportation and Commerce.”

Um, wasn’t this done in 2001?

Business Cards – Use them effectively

When people think about business cards, they usually think about their own.  I wrote a post about our first business cards at Morgan/Dorado a few years ago.  See, I was thinking about my own.  I wasn’t thinking about other people’s business cards.

When I meet someone and they give me their card, I usually hold it with the thumb and forefinger of both hands and look directly at it for a second to try and fix some of that information into my melon. Then I transition the card to my left hand and keep it there as long as I am talking with the person.  When I’m done talking, I try and add a few notes to the back of the card, with information such as where I met them, what they do, people we know in common and any follow-up.

Rob Lagesse from Rackspace has his own system and I am seriously impressed by it.  His system is built to give him the most utility for his job from a card. His job is Director of Customer Development. That sounds like a sales job. It is and it isn’t. He makes things happen for current, past and future customers of Rackspace.  Rob recently wrote about his system and I’m going to see how I can adapt it to what I do.

Rob’s system is built on folding. His basic system is:

“If I am talking to a current customer, I bend over the upper right corner. If I am talking to a potential customer, I bend over the upper left corner. A current customer that wants to buy more gets both upper corners bent.I have a lot of variations of how I bend business cards. A card folded in half means someone wants to talk to me ASAP. A card folded diagonally belongs to a competitor that I feel I can talk to.”

There’s more to how he works and you should read his entire post at his blog, and follow him on Twitter.

Old advice – Fix it and get it off the front page

I received a call from an old friend today. When I say old friend, I don’t mean someone I met at a conference five years ago. His house was across fence from mine when we were growing up. He used to work here in Sacramento in politics but has gone home to run his family’s agriculture business. He’s enjoying life as a farmer, and I was happy to hear from him.

When he was still in Sacramento, we would get together for lunch and talk shop.  He reminded me today of something I mentioned one day over lunch about dealing with a crisis.  He said, “You told me, there are only two things you have to do in a major crisis, fix the problem and get it off the front page. Looks like BP is failing at both of those.”

Yes Matt, the definitely are.

Congratulations to Margit Wennmachers

Wow!  I met Margit back in 1998 when she and Caryn were starting Outcast Communications.  I met them for coffee at a coffee shop in South Park. I knew they were building something cool. The did more than cool. They created an amazing firm that was eventually acquired by Next Fifteen.

Margit has a new challenge now. She’s a partner with Marc Andreesen at Andreesen Horowitz. This is awesome. Congratulations Margit!