During the summer of 1999, I toured eight cities as America's Idea Expert.
My job was to dispense ideas at public appearances in these cities, to support the new
"Get an Idea" campaign for The Yellow Pages. This was the first national phone
book campaign since the "Let your fingers do the walking" campaign, launched in
the 1960s. You may have seen the Jon Lovitz TV commercials which support this new program.
I did media interviews and public speaking in several
cities about ideas and creativity in general. I loved this project; I got to express my
creativity and support people to think big. The first event was held on June 15 in front
of the Boston Public Library. I met James Earl Jones at this event, who was on hand to
The last event was in Denver in late August at Coors stadium at a
Colorado Rockies/Phillies baseball game. I was honored to throw out the first pitch in
front of 50,000 people. I wrote an essay about that unnerving experience - click
here to read it. You can read more in the articles section of this site, where I've
posted a newspaper story about the tour.
I'm a personal and business coach. I help executives be more
effective and have more fun. I'm a mentor for hire and I form a collaborative partnership
with clients so that their creativity can flow.
Do you give clients big ideas?
All the time. Ideas come easily for me. But everyone has big ideas
to express; most of us are just too busy with our lives to access them. One of my biggest
functions is to support people to off-load all the tasks in their lives that thwart
creativity. I regularly help people delegate.
How does one delegate tasks in their personal life?
I recommend a lot of personal services, for example, unless you
can't afford it or really love doing it, everyone should have a cleaning service for his
or her home. A personal assistant can help too. Look under concierge or secretarial
services in the yellow pages.
What are your picks for biggest ideas of the 90s?
Anything that helps busy people let go of stresses so they have more
time to do what they love, such as:
On-line banking-scheduling automatic recurring payments so that you
don't have to pay monthly bills
Personal concierge/errand service
Mobile animal hospitals that park in front of your door and save you
a trip to the vet
Any service that delivers to your home
Indoor rock climbing gyms
What's the biggest idea you ever gave a client?
I have a client whose wife never felt adequately taken care of and
it was a big drain both of them. I recommended he hire a florist to deliver flowers once a
month to his wife. It cost him about $500 per year, but by giving his wife what she
wanted, it has helped their marriage and was well worth the money.
Where do you get big ideas?
Riding my bike (That's why I own 4 different bikes)
Showering (I ride and shower a lot)
Foot reflexology (This process has released some big ones!)
What are your client's worst ideas?
Staying in relationships that drain or stifle creativity. Exerting a
lot of energy hoping that one day a person or circumstance will change, rather than taking
charge and doing some life re-designing.
Do you ever have bad ideas?
I have my share. I once planned on getting into the recumbent bike
business. I have one that I ride on the road and it is a blast, I love the thing, it is
much easier on my neck and shoulders than my road bike. It's a new concept that may catch
on. But investing my life in educating consumers about why they need one would have been
overwhelming. I am glad I didn't choose to pursue that industry.
Another bad idea was during my tenure as the marketing guy at Archie
Comics. Batman fever was rampant one season and I created, "Hatman," Jughead in
a cape with his trademark crown printed in profile on his chest. When Riverdale was in
trouble (or the Chocklit Shoppe was out of ketchup), Mr. Weatherbee would beam the hat
signal in the sky and Hatman would save the day. I thought it was hysterical. None of the
What do you think are the worst ideas of the last decade?
Spin classes and Oxygen bars. Why not go outside for a ride and meet
How can people get more big ideas?
Look in the yellow pages, of course.
Fort Myers, Florida
With James Earl Jones in Boston
33 Wallace Road
Stony Creek CT 06405