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I have a question, but I'm concerned that once I ask it, you'll tell me it will make a good post for our website.


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And, what is wrong with that?


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Sometimes I simply want to ask a question – not have to document the conversation.


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Says the former straight-A student who, to this day, takes copious notes?


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Yes, but at business meetings or when we're on business calls. Or when I'm talking with medical experts. Or maybe when … Never mind. I get your point. But not with my sister!


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But, you keep telling me our telephone conversations would make great podcasts, so how is basically creating a transcript of them any different?


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They would make great podcasts. Especially since most people could relate to my frustration of turning to you for answers, but instead getting questions. Lots of questions.


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Not always.


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You're right. Sometimes I get sarcastic remarks. Or you connecting dots that I think are unconnectable. I never know what to expect!


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Actually, you do. You know that you will get sarcastic – and pragmatic. Just like I know I will get warm and fuzzy. The good news is consistency and dependability are valuable traits. Regardless, what was the question you originally wanted to ask?


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I was wondering why do I feel like we're as busy as we've ever been, yet at the same time, we're as unclear about where we're going as we've ever been?


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That is an "almost" accurate description. Sometimes you know where you want to end up but need to figure out the best way to get there. Right now, we are busy keeping all options open.


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Well, that would explain why our daily posts are a mixture of real-life topics interspersed with our "commentary" on current events. And until we started doing them, I didn't realize that we'd touch on so many subjects, although I'm not surprised that you and I always seem to see things differently.


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That is an understatement. But, the challenge is we have so much existing content, and are constantly producing more, that is of interest to broader demographics than I ever expected. Layer on top, we are in an ever-changing marketplace hungry for content.


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That's been our problem ever since Neiman Marcus launched our self-published book, which at the time we thought could be the basis of a sitcom. But then the detours started, and we kept "throwing stuff against the wall" to see what would stick, and it seems everything did.


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The hardest thing for me was to let Red & Black grow organically, riding along as we traveled down different roads when part of me wanted to grab the steering wheel and drive it in a specific direction.


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You and your car analogies. But I've been shocked that you've been so patient. It seems very out of character, especially as you sign many of your emails "throttle on" and that's the last thing we're able to do.


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When you race, you are either on the throttle or the brake. You "pick a pedal" and stick to it. The purpose of braking is to slow the car down to steer through a corner (change directions), and you "throttle on" once the car is pointed in the right direction. So, that is basically what I am saying when I sign an email that way. But, right now we are coasting along.


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So keeping with your analogy, is the fact we hired an industry expert to help us identify the road to take to build the Red & Black brand as well as pitch potential partners (whether a publisher, an agency, a content provider, or even a consumer product company) like getting a new race car driver?


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Exactly. But, in this case, we are replacing an amateur (I know my limitations) with a professional because he successfully developed entertainment franchises for Disney and Hasbro. The fact he sees the potential for Red & Black to be a "franchise" is one thing, but having the experience and industry contacts to help make it happen takes it to a new level.


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It's funny. At first, I was confused when he used the term "franchise" as that term makes me think of buying a McDonald's, not building a brand or "franchise" like Power Rangers. But I guess every industry has its own terminology. Meanwhile, there's not much we can do right now except to let him get to work, have patience, and continue to "coast" …


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And, look forward to the day we can say, "Throttle on."

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.
Photo by enviromantic for iStock


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I know I shouldn’t say this, but I can’t stand N95 masks! They make me feel like a duck.


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That quacks me up. Regardless, they are much more effective than cloth masks. And, FYI, they do come in different shapes.


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I just wish they were more comfortable.
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Photo by bhofack2 for iStock

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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Well, it’s our first column of the year. A new beginning. Any “new” ideas for topics? Something other than New Year’s resolutions.


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Is there a reason you do not want to talk about resolutions?


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Obviously, yours was not to ask fewer questions.


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That will never happen, but you are avoiding the question. Why?


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Because every year, I have a long list of things I want to do, and I start strong, but within a few months, I fall back into old habits. Sometimes it only takes weeks. It’s frustrating and disappointing.


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Next question. What is the opposite of “old?"
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