Friday Thoughts – April 30 – First you have to get a chicken neck….

By , 04/30/2010 1:24 PM

Long, long ago – before internet, electricity and paved roads – most grocery stores had a butcher in the back….maybe some still do…. and you could get chicken necks for free since they were just going to throw them away….  I know you already asking, what the hell am I going to do with a chicken neck?  Just hold on, I will get to that ……..

…. within minutes of being born each of us started trying to convince other people  to do something for us……it began with just being fed…..and it continued and grew from there …..

Sometimes it is very small things….getting the cab driver to go a bit slower…. asking a friend to help you move furniture…..

Sometimes it is very big, serious things…. negotiating to buy a house….convincing an aging parent to move into ……

 every day we are trying to persuade someone to do something we want ………  and somehow success, however we define it for ourselves, can be largely determined by how good we are at persuading others……

Now of course there is an entire science of persuasion ….. and I guess it is useful … and certainly the classic Getting to YES provides a powerful way of thinking about negotiation…. And Tom Sawyer masterfully convinced (manipulated ? conned?) his friends into whitewashing the fence  for him…..But the best lesson I personally learned about persuasion was with a chicken neck…..

I was on vacation near Pawleys Island  and my brother in law Garry takes a group of us to go catch crabs….. so we go to a tidal marsh ….. and you start with a chicken neck…. You tie a string around the neck and throw it out into the water… say 10-15 feet from the shoreline and 2 feet deep……..and you leave it there say 5 -10 minutes….. somehow the crabs find it (can crabs smell??) and start chewing away…….

……and then you slowly……really slowly start pulling the string in…. so slowly that the crabs just keep enjoying that delicious raw chicken…. and don’t notice that the chicken neck is moving……you finesse it and keep pulling it in very gradually….stop for a few minutes… and then slowly start pulling it in again…. Stop…and gently start again….slowly pulling it in until the neck – and the crabs – are right there next to the shore in 4” of water…. And then you take a net and move in very slowly and then when the net is right at the surface of the water – you pounce quickly and scoop them up !!!! 

It is very cool….(you can see a  demo here)  Everybody caught lots of nice crabs… …except me…… I only caught a couple of very, very tiny ones…… the others did 3 things very differently….

–          Initially they left the chicken neck in place long enough for the crabs to really start chowing down… I always started pulling too soon

–          They pulled the string very slowly – I pulled the string too fast… the big crabs got suspicious when their chicken neck moved…. And once the crab has been spooked once, they are not so easily fooled next time….

–          I moved in too quickly with the net… when the crabs are in just 4” of water they can see the sudden movement and scamper back into deeper water

So now when I find myself struggling to persuade others, I think maybe I need to…. Get a chicken neck….be more patient to start …. pull the string a bit slower…. and not move too quickly to close the deal…….

Have a great weekend,


Interesting Unrelated Facts:

Texas has 6736 lakes  but only one, Caddo Lake , is natural

Joseph Swan invented the light bulb before Thomas Edison.

Friday Thoughts – April 23 – Live Interview

By , 04/23/2010 1:44 PM

It has been a little over a year since Friday Thoughts was started. To commemorate this tragedy we bring you a live interview with the founder from our studios in beautiful downtown Embarrass, Minnesota

Editor: Thanks for joining us for this live interview!

Founder: We can’t have a live interview…..this is an email!

Ed: we have a new fancy Collaboration 8.0 app. I will prove it – we have callers standing by. But first–could you first tell us why you started this Friday Thoughts nonsense?

Founder: Nonsense?! – you don’t hold back do you ?

Ed: that’s my job – to get to the truth

Founder: wait!! I write Friday Thoughts!! Who are you?

Ed: There are persistent rumors that you really don’t write FT yourself

F: Yes, I have heard those rumors….

Ed: And?? ….what is your response?

F: I don’t respond to rumors……

Ed: Hey – don’t get smart with me I am the Editor – if you do write Friday Thoughts, then you are interviewing yourself right now – and that would be very dumb.

F: ugh, I guess you are right….

Ed: let’s get back to the question – how did this tragedy begin?

F: a group of analysts and consultants in Atlanta told me all the email I sent out was boring and meaningless….

Ed: Really? Who said that ?

F: Rae-Anne, Sam, Richard, Marvin, Robin, Mary and Claudy

Ed: did they get in trouble?

F: No ….I think they were promoted …..

F: they recommended I start writing what was on my mind and send it out Friday mornings so they could avoid doing real work

Ed: And what do they think about the result?

F: I don’t think they like it…..they don’t talk to me anymore

Ed: We have our first caller from Toad Suck, Arkansas – go ahead Kermit

Kermit: Thanks – do you think our CEO reads Friday Thoughts?

F: Of course not!!

Ed: why are you so sure?

F: he definitely does not – I still have a job….

Ed: if you are so sure, then say something bad about our CEO?

F: There is nothing bad to say about our CEO

Ed: brown noser!

F: …..well… there is this one thing….

Ed: say it, say it!!

F: I better not…. it is true… but I really should not say it…

Ed: We have another caller from Forget, Saskatchewan – go ahead….ughhhh – go ahead

Caller: where do the ideas for Friday Thoughts come from?

F: things happen during the week….like I read the back of a boarding pass and it inspires me ……sometimes it is an insight from one the emails from Mr. Mailer

Ed: OK, we will take more calls later – lots of people say Friday Thoughts is… …….well…. there is just no nice way to say it… is quirky….

F: Quirky? That’s what people say?

Ed: yes

F: well, that’s not so bad, I was afraid people would think it was just plain stupid.

Ed: they say that too…

F: ohhh…

Ed: think about it…..fake calls during a fake interview with yourself….

F: they do have a good point….

Ed: you could redeem yourself quickly by saying something bad about our CEO

F: well…, no, I really should not do that…..

Ed: Wimp!

F: yes…….but I am an employed wimp

Ed: when do you write Friday Thoughts?

F: about an hour before I hit the send button

Ed: that explains the quality…

Ed: you touch on some pretty sensitive things – ……do the folks in HR or Marketing ever get upset with Friday Thoughts ?

F: they were pretty mad about some of them…. I am being punished….

Ed: Punished?? How are they punishing you?

F: I have to attend their conference calls.

Ed: do you get emails from people that are offended?

F: Oh sure – the Canadians think I have been picking on them…..

Ed: They don’t have much of a sense of humor do they??

F: You said that, not me….

Ed: I understand the folks in Minneapolis weren’t too happy either….

F: that’s right……until I started making fun of Canadians….

Ed: People also say you must be really narcissistic to think lots of people want to read what you write….

F: I am not narcissistic; I was tested for that as a kid. And I don’t think many people read Friday Thoughts – only people with nothing better to do..….

Ed: like people in Minneapolis and Canada ??

F: ….and Marketing

F: … and HR

Ed: if you don’t think any one reads it then why do you write each week?

F: it’s cheaper than a therapist…

Ed: since this is a talk show, we are obligated to mention Sarah Palin

….any comments about Sarah?

F: no, no … let’s not go there….

Ed: We have another caller from Tarzan, Texas– Go ahead Jane
Jane: are you going to put these thoughts into a book?

F: I am planning to skip the book and go straight for the movie – but I can’t decide if Matt Damon or Ashton Kutcher should play me….. what do you think?

Ed: hate to break it to you, but that is another stupid idea….

F: Well…OK…what about a musical? I kinda like Lady Gaga ….

Ed: yea…. right ….now what were you going to say about our CEO???

F: I really should not….

Ed: we have a caller from Why, Arizona …. Go ahead caller

F: Wait, Why??

Ed: Because this is a call in show

F: no… there is a place called Why?

Ed: yes, I don’t know why

F: I don’t know it either, never been there….

Caller: – Helloooo! You have consistently sent out Friday Thoughts every week for a year – how do you do it?

F: I really have nothing better to do… maybe my ancestors were from Canada…. 
F: ….. and, just to be clear I don’t commit to do it every week – so if it does not show up one Friday, just find something productive to do till the next week….. in fact, just to prove I don’t do it every Friday, I will probably skip next Friday,

Ed: We have caller from Ware, Massachusetts – go ahead
F: from where?
Ed: No, Ware!
F: a caller from nowhere?
Ed: Ware, Massachusetts!!
Caller: This is the CEO
Ed: uh oh…….
CEO: did I win the iPad??
F: Sorry Bill, that contest ended a couple weeks ago…..
CEO: what was it you were going to say about me?
F: Actually we do have one more iPad….
CEO: Come on, what were you going to say?
F: ….well…. just that you are….. you know….
CEO: I am not from Minneapolis ….
F: …..I know….I was going to say that you are a Red Sox fan
CEO: I WAS a Red Sox fan… have you seen them this year? Now about that iPad….
Ed: I am sorry, we are all out of time!

Thanks for joining listeners !!

Interesting Unrelated Facts:

Ida May Fuller of Brattleboro Vermont was the first Social Security recipient in 1939. She contributed $24.75 and received $22,888.92 in benefits.

– World oil demand will hit a record high this year. The IEA estimates 86.6M bpd this year, up from 84.9M bpd in 2009 and higher than the previous record in 2007 of 86.5M bpd.

– Each week 100M customers shop at Wal-Mart – more than 1/3 of the US population.

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