Wednesday, February 16, 2005

February 15, 2005
The True West sales gang met at the offices at seven in the morning. We all piled into Joel Klasky's big, white, 4fun van and waded down into The Beast. The traffic was horrid, but we did get to use the HOV lane (High Occupancy Vehicles) and this helped a bit. Still took an hour to get down to America West Arena and once we got down there all the streets were snarled in every direction as we all tried to find an open parking garage. I remembered the Matador parking lot, and we snuck in there. The woman standing outside wasn't going to let us in, shaking her head with a kind of Don't-even-try-it look, but when I yelled out, "We want to eat a bean at the Matador," she smiled, stepped aside and let us in. Of course we had to sneak around the other end of the block to get to the arena so she wouldn't see us (in our defense we snuck out of the fourth seminar and ate at the Matador for lunch, $75, includes tip, biz account).

The first speaker we heard was Zig Zigler and he is a 78-year-old dynamo. He has a very strong country preacher style, but his words were golden. Most impactful message: "What brought you to here, won’t get you to there. Keep priming the pump." This message alone made the trip worthwhile because I feel rejuvenated to keep up the good fight.

General Tommy Franks was long on drawl and short on style, but he was ultimately likeable. Most impactful message: "Move it to the right" (incorporating his five Cs which were way too military and I won't bore you with them).

Joe Montana came out with plenty of glitz and rock aesthetics (big, monster rock riffs, with gangster rap bass, sparklers and mini-Kiss-fireworks from the four corners of the center stage). Joe told a big fart joke about putting his hands behind a center who had just eaten a huge green chile burrito. I laughed. Most impactful message: "Prepare for a perfect game." Why? Because you can't have a perfect game but if you aim at the top you'll score higher than if you aim at the top, and then come out in the middle. Joe also told a great anecdote about being on the Letterman Show and throwing footballs into passing cabs.

The founder of Kinko's came out and looked genuinely afraid of the fireworks. He had no speaker voice, kind of mumbled, claimed he was an idiot—couldn't use any of the machines in Kinko's. He confessed Kinko's was just one of his nicknames (Pubic Hair was another, the obvious conclusion being, he was kind of glad he picked the first nickname. I laughed hard). He also owned up to a sex problem (he has run out of fantasies at boring meetings). Obviously, I really loved this guy because he wasn't going for slick (many were, and an oily slick at that). Most impactful message: "We started to make it when we realized we weren't in the thing business, we were in the people business."

We got a couple of stock and real estate guys mixed in with the big speakers and they were quite swarmy and oily, to me.

Jerry Lewis was insufferable, full of himself to the point of a clownish ridiculousness, but then, what else is new? His jokes were painfully old and he made all those stupid faces the French love so much. In spite of this I laughed until I cried. He was so bad, he was funny. Most impactful message: You can cover a ton of bets with childish enthusiasm.

The clean-up speaker was Rudolph Giulani and I hate to say it but he was kind of a letdown. Rather soft spoken, he obviously didn't feel the need to boom. Of course, his riveting first person account of being at Ground Zero and having to keep looking up so they wouldn't get hit with falling debris and bodies, was quite strong. Most impactful message: "We were not prepared for someone utilizing planes as missiles and flying them into buildings. But we did have a plan for burning buildings and a plan for terrorist attacks and we utilized and pasted together a way to deal with it."

Got out of the arena at about five, got caught in the worst traffic imaginable. I am so glad I don’t have to drive down there. Got home about 6:30 and home at seven. Long day. Learned a ton. Can’t wait to apply it.

"Where passion is not found, no virtue ever dwelt."
—Maria Brooks

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