About Adams Hudson
Note from Adams: I purposely delayed this editorial. Was a hard one to write, at least until the end. Here goes.
My son was born on 9/11.
He turned 9 on ‘that’ 9/11, and had football practice that day. It was a bright Alabama day, blue skies completely and eerily unpierced by the presence of airplanes. Parents sat on aluminum bleachers, creaking with each anxious shift, speaking in hushed tones of suspended disbelief, most with folded arms. Any feeling of laughter felt guilty.
I’d returned from my first ever speaking engagement the day before, elated from the experience, which quickly diminished to triviality. Celebration felt guilty.
You know where you were too. Though we’d like to forget, each time we remove half our clothing in the airports under scrutiny of eyes trained to spot the ghostly outline of your favorite pocket knife you meant to remove, you’re reminded.
But here’s what did NOT feel guilty…
Growing up, I fished a lot. Since my father died before I
could remember, my uncle stepped in to be my surrogate. Plus, he needed someone
to back the trailer. And deal with the bait. And drive the boat. I was more
than willing since I had some ‘learning’ to catch up on.
Lots of days, the trip was valuable even if we caught nothing.
This came in handy more often than I admit to other fishermen. We had a good
time talking, out in the sun and discussing, as he said, “which one of the
4,812 reasons the fish didn’t bite today.” As a career writer with Readers’ Digest, he had a knack for phrasing.
The top reasons – for which the fisherman had no influence –
were the usual, such as water temperature, presence of food and whether or not
we were so blooming hot we had to move the boat or else we’d burst into
Yet the esoteric reasons for not catching fish were casting
ability, bait presentation and lure retrieval. All this was the fisherman’s
We eventually arrived at an honest conclusion.
Shockingly, it impacts your marketing
and your business, every day, even among your customers and employees. Click
for advice from two overbaked fishermen, potentially feeling the effects of
Vienna Sausages. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
A couple years ago, I had my semi-annual meeting with
consultants in what has half-jokingly become the “Secret Syndicate.” Fittingly
enough, we met in an Italian Restaurant reserved months in advance.
The waiter was incredibly attentive. Responded to half-empty
wine glasses with a silent, refilling flourish. Accepted the incredibly complex
request of one of our pickier Italian members. (He asked something like, “I
want al dente pasta, but don’t insult the prosciutto; I’ll know if you do.”) Our
waiter took pictures, making sure the lighting was right, and that my head was
actually visible in the photograph.
The meal was superb. Conversation and connection abounded.
Toasts and plans made. My standard writer’s Manhattan clinked gently as I
thought fondly of my departed family of writers who preceded me. For the
waiter, a well-deserved 20% on the $770 meal.
Then something happened. His unassailable customer service
shriveled against an idiotic policy. A small chink caused a fissure in the
evening, prompting conversation and shaken expectations. My marketing coach Dan
Kennedy often says, “Little hinges swing big doors.” Never more true.
After I had signed the check and calculated the tip therein,
my partner in conversation smelled the espresso. “Ahh, that smells great,” he
said looking up at the waiter, with check folder now in hand. “May I have a
said the waiter. Then he did the unthinkable. Before you click, can you
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