Tag Archives: Martin Luther King

Dreaming Again

I’ve posted what follows each year for the last few on the days we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. This was written in January of 2009 as we prepared to put President Obama into office. Last year I expressed my disappointment that we hadn’t come further over the last few years, given the election of our first African-American President. Like many, I’m doing my best to remain hopeful for the immediate future, despite some troubling incidents. But we keep dreaming, right?

Dr. Martin Luther King at a press conference.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week was actually Dr. King‘s birthday but since we’re celebrating it today I thought I’d add my two cents. I’m old enough to remember him and while he didn’t light the fire of the civil rights movement in the US (I’d say Rosa Parks is that hero), he certainly brought the fire to life and tended it well until his assassination (and I remember that as well – how horrible a day it was!).

What inspired me, a young (then) white kid was his notion of bringing a dream to reality. OK, the words and delivery were pretty inspirational too, even when you read them off a page. Yesterday the Inauguration Committee had a concert on the very place where Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech to celebrate, nearly 46 years later, a big piece of that speech coming to reality. One can’t help but wonder what Dr.King would have felt and said – he certainly should still be alive – he’d just be turning 80.

Robert Kennedy said “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”  I think that’s great business advice as well, even if George Bernard Shaw had the notion before Bobby.  Mark Twain wrote that Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

So today, I celebrate Dr. King’s dreaming of a better world and making it happen.  Tomorrow, we can watch it become real.  What are you dreaming of?  Can it be real?  Why not?  Or better – why not!!

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Making The Dream A Reality

This was the post I wrote in 2009 on Dr. King’s birthday, which we celebrate today.  It’s interesting how over the last 7 years much of what I was feeling at the time about the possibilities that were presenting themselves have yet to become a reality.  In some ways, we’ve gone backward despite some of the progress.  I’m not sure race relations in this country are at the place I recall back in the 60’s but it’s good to have a day dedicated to the man that moved us all forward so we can reflect on the topic.  The business point in the post hasn’t changed – some things, such as Dr. King’s message – are eternal.

Last week was actually Dr. King‘s birthday but since we’re celebrating it today I thought I’d add my two cents. I’m old enough to remember him and while he didn’t light the fire of the civil rights movement in the US (I’d say Rosa Parks is that hero), he certainly brought the fire to life and tended it well until his assassination (and I remember that as well – how horrible a day it was!).

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What inspired me, a young (then) white kid was his notion of bringing a dream to reality. OK, the words and delivery were pretty inspirational too, even when you read them off a page. Yesterday the Inauguration Committee had a concert on the very place where Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech to celebrate, nearly 46 years later, a big piece of that speech coming to reality. One can’t help but wonder what Dr.King would have felt and said – he certainly should still be alive – he’d just be turning 80.

Robert Kennedy said “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”  I think that’s great business advice as well, even if George Bernard Shaw had the notion before Bobby.  Mark Twain wrote that Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

So today, I celebrate Dr. King’s dreaming of a better world and making it happen.  Tomorrow, we can watch it become real.  What are you dreaming of?  Can it be real?  Why not?  Or better – why not!!

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The Content That Matters

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There has been a lot written about content marketing.

Some seers have even proclaimed 2014 as the year of content marketing, and as Google adjusts their search algorithms to make content more important in determining search rank, one can understand why “content” is on everyone’s lips here in digital business land.  Since I’m never one to miss a large bandwagon, let me jump right on to talk about the only content that matters.  I have a particular reason for doing so today.

We celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday today.  As I’ve written in past years on this occasion, I remember him and his struggles well from my childhood.  The quote that stuck is from the “I Have A Dream” speech about the importance of judging people by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.  That is the content that matters – the ONLY content that really matters – as we do business.

What, for example, does it say about the character of those retailers who run sales tied to “the MLK event.”  What it says to me is that they are tone-deaf, as was the cognac brand that sent out an email with drink recipes “MLK Jr. would be proud of.”  Really?  This is not about Dr. King or his principles or his legacy.  It’s about a brand trying to sell something and is, in the word Dr. King’s daughter used to describe similar activities, “appalling.”  That describes the character of their content just as it does the content of their character.

I don’t know about you, but I try to do business with people, not brands.  There are restaurants and other businesses I frequent almost solely because I like and trust the people with whom I deal.  I hope that many of my clients have hired me not just for what and who I know but also because they have a sense of the business person I try to be.  You can be sure that many of the people with whom you do business are looking at you and your company in the same way.

A business’ success or customer service isn’t about the store; it’s about the person on the other side of the counter or the desk or who answers the phone.  The content of their character will determine the brand’s success or failure.  You can choose those people wisely and support them as they let the content of that character show.  You can choose to market as did the brands above which also reveals a lot about the content of brand’s character.  It’s the only content that matters.  What’s your choice?

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Having A Dream

Today is the 50th anniversary of the “I Have A Dream speech Dr. King gave on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  I began to write about him and my memories and then I realized I had already done so in 2009.  In reading it again, the thoughts seem appropriate to today as well so here is it once more, albeit slightly edited.

I’m old enough to remember Dr. Martin Luther King and while he didn’t light the fire of the civil rights movement in the US (I’d say Rosa Parks is that hero), he certainly brought the fire to life and tended it well until his assassination (and I remember that as well – how horrible a day it was!).

Martin Luther King, Jr.

What inspired me, a young (then) white kid was his notion of bringing a dream to reality. OK, the words and delivery were pretty inspirational too, even when you read them off a page. Yesterday the Inauguration Committee had a concert on the very place where Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech to celebrate, nearly 46 years later, a big piece of that speech coming to reality. One can’t help but wonder what Dr.King would have felt and said – he certainly should still be alive – he’d just be turning 80.

Robert Kennedy said “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”  I think that’s great business advice as well, even if George Bernard Shaw had the notion before Bobby.  Mark Twain wrote that Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

So today, I celebrate Dr. King’s dreaming of a better world and making it happen.  Tomorrow, we can watch it become real.  What are you dreaming of?  Can it be real?  Why not?  Or better – why not!!

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Dreams

Last week was actually Dr. King‘s birthday but since we’re celebrating it today I thought I’d add my two cents. I’m old enough to remember him and while he didn’t light the fire of the civil rights movement in the US (I’d say Rosa Parks is that hero), he certainly brought the fire to life and tended it well until his assassination (and I remember that as well – how horrible a day it was!). Continue reading

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Leading

A few brief thoughts.  It’s the weekend – I don’t normally post now but these horrible things going on in India got me thinking.

Gandhi liberated India, not by raising a gun but by raising nothing more than his voice and the world’s consciousness.

We have an African American President elect.  That reflects Martin Luther King committing peaceful acts, not taking hostages.

During the Vietnam war, Buddhist monks lit themselves on fire to protest, not buildings or other people.

To lead, one needs to set a positive example.  That’s true whether you’re a business or a person.  It’s particularly true if you’re asking the world to rethink something, whether it’s you, your business, or a political situation.  Ask yourself if the business behavior in which you’re engaged would pass that test.

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