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Stop Fining Pro Athletes

Dear Pro-Athlete Agents of Discipline,


Roger Goodell

If you would like to curtail particular pro-athlete behavior you may want to give up the fine. It is pointless. In fact, at best it is directed toward appeasing fans and not preventing future actions. The $25k fine sounds painful to a fanbase who have an average annual salary of only twice that much, But when you see that $25k fine to a player who made $1.25m this year is a 2% hit it’s more like hitting an average joe with a $1000 fine.

Brendan Shanahan

I do not begrudge anyone making any amount of money he or she can for any service he or she can provide, but let’s face it….Athletes are some of the highest paid people in the country. Imposing a financial fine on them is not the same as imposing such a fine on a regular citizen.

Say you hit a regular person with $1,000 fine then you know that you are  affecting his savings, her ability to pay bills, and a family’s ability to eat.  But with an athlete, It may sting, but the player moves on.

PennsylvaniaHandicapParkingSignpa1218ra5Ever been in a hurry and parked at a ‘no parking’ sign that gives a minimum and maximum fine? There has been times that you know You have weighed the option. Some of these fine-able actions, such as wearing unauthorized logos, can be not only justifiable, but add a little extra attention to that player.

Marshawn Lynch Beastmode Logo Hat

Say I am a player making $1m this year and my buddy comes up with a logo he’d like me to wear. Since he’s my friend I could likely only charge the potential fine to get his logo some good solid press in the 24 hour sports media.     It’s worth the fine.  I’d suggest not letting athletes with more money than financial acumen have the choice.

Rather than financial fines,  I suggest Community Service as a more affective punishment. No more public decrees regarding punishment either. Handle all minor disciplinary incidents in house.

Take away off-field free time and get rid of the Bad for the League/Good for Personal PR headlines and you’ll see reactions. Consider, additionally, what good can come from athletes showing pro-community behavior.

Community service over fines. #NFL #NHL #MLB #NBA

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Jimmy Fallon, the Tonight Show, and What it Means for the Next Generation

I was born in 1982. I am a child of the 1980s and early 1990s. I am from the only generation to know what it’s like to organize meeting up with friends both before cellphones and after. I grew up on dial-up internet and AOL Instant Messenger, I then enjoyed the transition to High-Speed internet and twitter. As a kid I watch Full House, Saved by the Bell, and Reading Rainbow.

Jimmy Fallon and Zack Morris

Jimmy Fallon and Zack Morris

I endlessly watched Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and The Neverending Story.    Point is: Jimmy Fallon, and his humor, appeals to me.  Very few, if any, of his references are lost on me. The jokes, the impressions, the skits, the innuendos are all geared at my age group. This Jimmy Fallon, and the writing staff for whom I have a great deal of respect, is now taking over The Tonight Show. The premiere television position. The man who sits at that desk and hosts that program must represent the dominant generation of the culture. By turning things over from the silver haired Jay Leno* to the fresh, wrinkle free face of Jimmy Fallon is a sign that our generation is taking it’s place at the top.

Jimmy Fallon and Full House Guys

Jimmy Fallon and Full House Guys

When Conan got the job it wasn’t great timing and he wasn’t the right guy. He is stuck between generations, Jimmy is right where he needs to be. I very much look forward to where he will take the iconic Tonight Show. I can tell you that I hope references and reunions of shows that appealed to my generation such as Full House, Saved by the Bell, and California Dreams will still be prevalent.  

Additionally, I think Jimmy Fallon is terribly likable. One thing that I noticed 5 years ago when the show began was his own appreciation and admiration of celebrities that came on his show. When celebrities sit at Jimmy’s desk they must feel something different than they do anywhere else on national tv. The_Tonight_Show_Starring_Jimmy_Fallon_LogoJimmy seems star-struck and legitimately impressed more than any other host; it is  relatable as an audience member. It’s not as fun to watch a host try to appear equal to Paul McCartney as it is to watch Jimmy smile from ear to ear, staring into the camera basically asking the audience ‘can you believe who is sitting here?’ with his expression. It makes for great TV. I hope he keeps that charm.

On a marketing level, it’s hard to ignore what Fallon’s team has done with social media. With almost perfectly maintained Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts, our generation is properly inundated with Fallon updates. Weekly asking his audience to participate via Twitter,  leading to worldwide trending topics, shows (or solidifies) his hold on his targeted audience. His sketches and celebrity participation bits are perfectly timed to be easily digested by the diminutive attention span of the demographic who brought us Vine (show it in 7 seconds or less). As a connoisseur of Social Media myself, I consider his staff to be second to none at delivering their goods to the right places at the right time.

Kevin Redford on Jimmy Fallon

Kevin Redford on Jimmy Fallon

I also noticed early on through personal experience the way Jimmy included audience into the program. To know that anytime you attend a show you could be on T.V., not just waving but actively involved,  in front of millions of people makes for a great trip to NYC.

Kevin Redford on Jimmy Fallon  Catchphrase

Kevin Redford on Jimmy Fallon Catchphrase

More than anything, realizing that our generation has made it, with one of us as the host of the legendary Tonight Show, is quite unique and scary sensation.

*I love Jay Leno. He has a feel-good quality to his humor. It’s nice to tune in at 11:30pm and see some current events humor, some celebrities promoting a new project, and a man-on-the-street comedy sketch or two. He is good people. I personally wish him well as he goes.

KEVIN REDFORD is a 20 professional in the Pittsburgh Wedding Industry. Splitting time as a photographer and a DJ, Kevin has worked some of the finest weddings in Pittsburgh over the past two decades. His personal knowledge and experience provide incredible events for Pittsburgh brides every year. Kevin can be reached via his website http://www.RedfordDJs.com, twitter @djredford, instagram @kevredford, and facebook.com/redforddjs


Walmart,Sears Portrait Studios Go Out of Business

As I have made clear many times, I am a photographer and it is my primary business. When photography related issues make news I certainly like to comment on them. One major issue that came across my feed today relates to the closing of the ‘Portrait Studios’ within the stores of Sears and Walmart2700 stores closing overnight.

Considering the rapidness with which they closed their storefronts and operations, it is definitely a blessing that they never attempted to persuade anyone to use them as a wedding photographer.

One Word to describe why the PictureMe model did not work: cheap.  You’ve seen the ads, walked past the studio, perhaps even utilized the studio for a quick portrait need. Pay a $30. session fee then fork over all of $3.99 for a 11×14 wall portrait, 25 8×10 sheets, and 48wallets. Once you received ‘what you paid for’ you weren’t happy and you weren’t satisfied, but for $33.99 it wasn’t worth fighting. And even more so to CPI, it wasn’t worth making better. This is the danger of working to service the masses. Prices must be absurdly low, so profit is always in danger. Easiest expenses to cut are the people hired to service the clients. Customers wanted an artist and they got a shift worker. Creating beautiful portraits of a person requires more than a camera, a cheesy set, and lights permanently set in position.

They had cheap prices, cheap labor, and they set out to cheapen professional photography.

Paying customers will always want art of their family and children, this is how my family has prospered, through creating art of families and children, but also by being of service.

Just because you called employees clicking a button ‘photographers’ doesn’t make them such. Just because you called bad expressions and poor printing a ‘Portrait’, doesn’t make it such. Just because your employees are dealing with customers, doesn’t mean they understand customer service. CPI learned this the hard way, it just took too long for the customers to realize it.  Cheaply trying to create ‘art’ to satisfy crowds of people for mass profit leads to a $20million dollar loss and 2700 people unemployed.

How many professional photographers who dedicated their life and money to the art of photography for decades were put out of business by PictureMe,CPI?

In a free America, CPI had every right to do their business their way, I have no problem with the effort, but I am not surprised by the result.  It proves the system is working.

Kevin Redford Business Speaker,Author,Consultant

Kevin Redford is a speaker and author on the subjects of leadership, motivation, social media marketing, and customer service. He is available to speak at your next event, contact him at me@kevinredford.com.

Next up, the school picture providers who suffer the same epidemic that brought down CPI,PictureMe. Hourly workers made photographers servicing the masses leads to disaster eventually.

These providers of K-11th Grade school pictures, mass hire people and gives a simple training to ‘be a professional photographer’.
Immediately following their training, they are sent into your kids schools to take your hard earned money in exchange for cattle call photography wherein no real effort is made to garner genuine expression, nor an attempt to utilize flattering posing and lighting.

Therefore, in today’s world, everyone assumes school pictures are just going to be awful anyway…but WHY?!?!?!?! Because they have trained you this way?

Photography is not about equipment or clicking a button, it’s about relating to people, and finding their best expression, their best light.  This takes YEARS to master and see, not a week-long training course.

My company has had a great deal of success in the K-11th Grade field because we bring, on average, 20 years of photographic experience in each photographer. We DEEPLY care about the happiness of every family, and we take pride in what we do. We move faster than the national providers as well because we know how to quickly relate to each child, find their best side, and capture their best expression in a timely manner. This can’t be taught over night.  Its what we do year round.

Kevin Redford is a speaker and author on the subjects of leadership, motivation, social media marketing, and customer service. He is available to speak at your next event, contact him at me@kevinredford.com. Kevin is also available for small business consulting.

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Defining a Clear Mission for your Company or Personal Brand

The most important element to any business is a palpable desire in the marketplace for its services. Beyond this, there are many things that should be considered prior to either starting a new business or making a major change within an existing endeavor. Planning is the wing man for success. Planning is the game. Talent and ideas are wonderful; a successful day can be achieved on these things. Careers and longstanding, profitable, and fun businesses require more.

Longstanding success begins with a solid mission statement. A clear, concise explanation of just what the company is going to be about. Defining the mission should trump all other immediate concerns in your pre-planning meetings. It is the most important step in the planning process.

Your company’s mission statement should be on the lips and in the hearts of everyone of your representatives in the market arena as well as the minds of your stake holders, share holders, and every member of the brain-trust entrusted to propel your company forward. The equation for determining one’s mission is simple: Values+Vision=Mission.

Shrewd business is good business. A company is best served when there is a healthy profit. This does not, however, suggest that one must ignore moral clarity and consciousness to obtain profit or success. There is much to be said of what one can do on the energy gained by a night’s sleep when one’s mind is clear of guilt and regret. Values are the reflection your company makes in the proverbial waters of the marketplace. How will your reflection appear?

Will you have a reputation for your ability to find loopholes and technicalities to justify your company policies in spite of your clients? Or will you go to the end of the world to make sure your customers have only good things to say about you?

Will you be known for ‘Nickel and Diming’ customers to squeeze every last penny of profit? Or do you know that you are more likely to reap significant rewards from leaving a little extra money on the table to assure your customers shout your praises from the rooftops?

Will you be privately charitable to your local organizations and churches? Or will you rely on the umbrella of your taxes to take care of your fellow man?

Your values will answer these questions and in turn determine how the market, and your potential buyers, will perceive you.

Kevin Redford Business Speaker,Author,Consultant

Kevin Redford is a speaker and author on the subjects of leadership, motivation, social media marketing, and customer service. He is available to speak at your next event, contact him at me@kevinredford.com.

The values that drive your business ethics and customer service make up a little more than half of your mission. Without a personal sense of what they are, and an employee understanding and commitment to them, it will be incredibly difficult to usher in changes or get your company off the ground. It’s easy to dream of fancy logos, glowing signs, and big sales- but breaking down your role and projected reputation in the marketplace will set the table for the long term success you truly desire.

Vision is not simply about setting goals or setting the stage for a big splash, its about a genuine review of the situation and projecting forward what is expected. While I am a big proponent of competent goal setting, vision must be more than a few hopes and dreams.Vision must be concise and definable. Whether it is your vision to be the best wedding photographer to work with or the most honest car dealer, a clear definable vision will ultimately light your path to your desired position.

The vision must be set at the top and enforced all the way to the bottom. A great leader, whether at a start up or leading an established company through a big change, should be known for being able to gauge just how far or close the company is to the destination.

Without vision everyone suffers. Employees strain to understand if they’re doing enough. Leadership struggles to assess the progress of their subordinates. A haze will consume the company and little genuine progress can be made. Employees will slow, leadership will become frustrated, and those at the very top will likely blame everyone on the ladder, despite the truth that it is likely the leader who never set forth the vision,values, and mission.

Define your values. Establish the vision. Promote the mission.

Kevin Redford is a speaker and author on the subjects of leadership, motivation, social media marketing, and customer service. He is available to speak at your next event, contact him at me@kevinredford.com. Kevin is also available for small business consulting.

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Baseball’s Disparity is NOT the Fault of Capitalism.

There are plenty of small market baseball fans, who also happen to be communists, who believe that the difference in the Houston Astros ($25m Payroll) and the New York Yankees (25m per back up catcher) is the fault of capitalisms cruelty. It is not. Baseball’s woes are the fault of their collective owners and league leadership.

Here are 3 reasons why capitalism is not the problem.

1. Despite the difference in the payroll, the ‘other half’ of baseball has been represented often in the playoffs throughout the years. The Yankees, who spend more than most teams combined, have actually only won the World Series once in 13 years. So if the argument is that capitalism chooses winners and losers it’s doing a terrible job for the highest bidder.The teams with less capital find ways to win through other means than money. This is capitalism at it’s best.

New York Yankees

2. Capitalism teaches that we are not to simply defeat competition, but eliminate it. In the event that the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays were not simply beaten but eliminated, the Yankees would have no one to play and therefore they would cease to exist. If Walmart eliminated it’s competition it would thrive. Capitalism does not demand that our best 29 competitors remain relevant. Baseball is an industry unto itself. The teams are like company divisions fighting for the right to be employee of the month. Sure one gets budgeted more money, tough, play the cards you’re dealt.

3. Finally, capitalism is about the consumer having a choice. As a Pittsburgher, I am without a choice on which team to support. I was raised here and I will die here. I will support the Pirates regardless, simply due to my birth. That’s not choice! In a capitalistic society I would have moved on to another team following the first or second time that they failed to provide the service or product I would like. But, since there is no ‘choice’ but to be a Pirate fan I am obligated to retain their services as my team, despite their annual shortcomings and failures. Were the marketplace given any option we would have moved to change the ownership, demanded new employees and services, and kept the prices at a level equal to their product through traditional means like withholding support. This is a sports town, we don’t withhold support, we consider our fandom a right of passage. We don’t simply cast our fandom away. We have no choice. AND…even if we tried, Baseball would have come to the rescue of it’s franchise through the shared wealth from other clubs to keep it afloat. Ask Ames how it felt when Major League Department Stores came to it’s rescue…oh, it didn’t happen < That’s Capitalism!

PIttsburgh Pirates Blown Call in 2011

So before you suggest that the Pirates having 21 straight losing seasons is somehow the fault of capitalism and not the responsibility of ownership, management, and poor decisions over two decades, think again. Take away 2009 and the Yankees have the exact same number of rings as the Pirates over the past 13 years. The system doesn’t favor Pittsburgh, but it’s not capitalism either.

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Generation Y Vs. Customer Service

America is FAST becoming a service based economy again and Generation Y’ers, right there in the middle of it, are going to find themselves in over their heads. Gen Y has been sold a unique bill of goods regarding technology and communication. Taught that traditional communication such as Face to Face and Telephone communication are likely on the way out, Generation Y has focused on digital communication such as Social Networking, Email, and HTML Code.

To succeed in the next economy it’s believed that if one cannot build the perfect website and write html code for searchability then they might as well prepare for minimal pay and scarce work. However, those who wrote that curriculum didn’t fully understand the power of the new economy and what TRULY drives the dollars within it.

The true force of the economy, in any capitalistic free economy, is that people have wants, needs, and desires and people looking for income position themselves as best they can to fill these needs. The money exchanged is what grows the economy and makes life livable for everyone.

It’s no surprise that Bachelor Degrees,Doctorates, and PhDs are specifically in demand. Skilled people who know how to use these degrees as qualifications to gain entrance to the workforce will always be the ones who succeed and prosper. However, what is truly scary is that this element is not at the forefront of the education system. It would seem that the general consensus of those entering college today is:’Get Degree, Job will Follow.’ But, the degree is nothing more than a stepping stone. (Personal reference coming)  I decided to pursue a bachelors degree later in life (30) for my own personal growth, not as a means to obtain a job. What I found astonishing is that little effort was made to show students how to actually use this degree. The thinking exists that suggests the degree is what gets hired, not the man or woman. This is far from the truth. A degree is a qualification needed for entrance into the corporate world, but it is not a definable skill set. Degrees are akin to being able to ice skate. Simply having that one qualification does not make one NHL ready. It’s a necessary step but a player must also have stick handling ability and the instincts to think on the ice in the midst of fast paced hockey action. Degree, like skating, may get you on the ice but once there you’re going to be expected to do more.

Kevin Redford Business Speaker,Author,Consultant

Kevin Redford is a speaker and author on the subjects of leadership, motivation, social media marketing, and customer service. He is available to speak at your next event, contact him at me@kevinredford.com.

When attending college, students are taught getting good grades, which is simply an extension of the reading, writing, arithmetic model they had mastered in high school, will prepare them for the rigors of creative marketing strategy meetings, meeting payroll, securing a profit, and annual budgeting. The sad fact of the matter is that a degree is worth nothing more than the person who holds it.  Even sadder is that the degree holders are not taught the necessary deductive logic to blame their own shortcomings when they fail to impress those doing the hiring. In fact, the popular response is to blame the economy, politicians, corporate executives, HR departments, and their post-graduate career services.

The greatest neglect made by the generations in, and just recently out of, college is in personal interaction. I know it’s shocking that the first generation to have Twitter and Facebook as a primary communication medium during what should be the most interactive time of their life (High School) might be rough around the edges socially, but it’s true. Unfortunately, through all the advancement made by the past generations away from basic social skills the next generation has been sabotaged and set up to fail.

So now we, as every generation does, expect the next generation to pick up their mantle and give the economy a boost. In the meantime we get less patient and  more and more disappointed.  Generation Y’ers who are raised to work only on computers, quietly without hand to hand communication, are now expected to successfully Negotiate, Sell, and Service? Convinced for so long that they would never need to pick up a phone, respond to a timely email, or actually speak with a customer? Here comes the boom!

While the world is connected via social networking and websites, forgotten is the need for human interaction and communication. This presents a unique opportunity for some wise entrepreneurial members of generation y. The skills that have kept their traditional social powers at bay have made them terribly intelligent technically. It would behoove the motivated within Gen Y to apply themselves to the ‘old school’ style of communication so as to diversify their value and stand head and shoulders about their peers. This is not hard, it is simply done by refusing to accept those practices which are considered the social norm. Picking up the phone to call rather than texting, making small trips to do some face-to-face interaction with those in power, leadership, or are simply older would take a few moments and go a long way in personal growth.

The fact remains that, at least for a while, generations who are not entirely understanding of social media, who prefer to work in a more traditional sense, those who own businesses that need to update to the times, these should be their target employers. Help them along in the new economy, by being a child of both worlds. Connecting the past to the present will find generation y’ers employed and valuable.

Kevin Redford is a speaker and author on the subjects of leadership, motivation, social media marketing, and customer service. He is available to speak at your next event, contact him at me@kevinredford.com. Kevin is also available for small business consulting.


Creating Raving Fans

In any economy, in any business, the best marketing cannot be written or strategized.  The best marketing is simply the unbridled enthusiasm of past clients. We call them raving fans. These are customers who, after experiencing your product or service, become unapologetic in their love for the work that you do. Willing to broadcast your their praises on Facebook, instagram, yelp, and twitter.

The good news is that these happy clients are created, not born.

Here are 3 new ways to create raving fans:

 Boundless Customer Service       

The extra mile is old news, everyone should go that far anyway. Taking it a step further beyond that extra mile, is a good start. If you want people to bend over backwards to sing your praises, you’re going to have to give them something to sing about. Thinking outside the box is important here. Consider the exceptional service you already provide to be the box, now explore the region out around the box.

Deliver great products and service as your standard. Consider that doing more, and with creativity, sends a clear message that you are worthy of endorsing.   Delivering an order by hand rather than fedex, and with delicious chocolates or a fruit flower bouquet, will leave a lasting impression. Your regular efforts should keep them coming back regularly, what you do beyond that is what gets them to sing.

Using your best clients in your marketing

There is something to learn from the Kardashians: People enjoy being a celebrity. (Even if that celebrity leads to a life of shame, I guess.) Give the gift of celebrity without the shame.  As you’re putting together your next marketing campaign and considering pictures for the piece, why not contact your best clients, or long overdue regular clients, and use them for the marketing.

In the least, they can enjoy your services while you create the piece.The best case scenario they’ll place a new order and ask for a 1000 copies of your advertisement to hand out to their friends and family.

Give Your Best Clients the Power to Discount 

One quick lesson my wife taught me in our marriage is that she LOVES a good coupon. Imagine giving your favorite clients the power to give the gift of discount to all of their friends?

If your client loves you, its quite possible that her friends will love you too.Give her the green light to not only brag about you and your services, but also give the gift of discount to her friends to enjoy you.

In my industries,I am on the higher end of the price spectrum. I’ve been told on a few occasions that some great clients hesitate to refer me because they fear that they don’t know enough about their friends’ finances to suggest me. I tell them that if they refer their friends, they can enjoy a XX% discount. It makes the referral that much easier to give. More often than not, Good money people hang with good money people.I am not suggesting that you give a 50% discount, in fact, a 15% coupon is enough to get some serious attention these days.

Easy and Inexpensive ways to get your best clients to become raving fans are not hard to come by. Provide incredible, above and beyond service on a regular basis. Use your best clients in your marketing. Give your best clients the power to discount your services to close friends. Doing business is fun.

Hope you enjoyed this

Kevin Redford