WARNING: Don’t read this book unless you want to feel inspired.

At the heart of it, it’s about someone who had a crazy idea and, after a few risks, made it work.

But, in a wider context, I think this is a reminder to all of us that we’re all under the same sky as one another, as well as the people we admire.

And no one can dream higher than the sky because we can’t see any higher than the sky – which surely means it’s worth chasing your dreams?

I know I am.

Netflix and Chill

In a business world of bottom lines, fees, fines, negotiations and contracts it’s easy to be…well…for lack of a better word, boring.

If it’s a serious matter that you’re dealing with, there’s no room for humour – right?

Well, actually I think that’s wrong.

Why do we have to sound like clerks and solicitors all the time?

Why no de-formalise things from time to time and have a bit of fun?

Now, I’m not saying that you should go to your next board meeting in a clown suit, but in a busy and noisy world…perhaps sounding a bit ‘fun’ and a bit ‘humorous’ might actually be a good way to stand out?

Take Netflix for example.

A big brand who are in the middle of battling a very competitive market. They were one of the forerunners when it came to ‘on demand’ programming and as other competitors rise they’re doing all they can to stand head and shoulders above them.

One of their big pushes at the moment is their own shows. One of them being ‘Stranger Things’ – a show that I’ve never watched, but hear a lot about thanks to social media.

Anyway, without asking Netflix’s permission, a pop-up bar in Chicago opened up and named themselves after one of the fictional worlds in Stranger Things.

Which is copyright infringement.

Netflix’s lawyers were informed and, instead of sending a threatening letter, they sent out this genius response:



I think Netflix got it right here. They knew that they were dealing with fans of their brand, and dealt with it accordingly.

Read the full article here.

Ashley Brown 2017

The businessman and the painter: a story about the perspectives of success…

There was once a big, successful businessman who owned a beautiful house in the suburbs of a busy city.

He loved business and had dedicated his life to it. Earning a fortune in the process.

Along the way he’d fallen in love with an equally successful woman and they’d had a couple of children between them. He had everything he had ever wanted in life.

One day the businessman decided the house could do with a new lick of paint and some decoration.

He searched around for a painter and eventually found a reliable sounding one in the area. Rich as he was, the businessman still liked to drive a bargain, and was pleased that the painter was very affordable.

The painter arrived the next day – he was a humble, affable man and the businessman instantly warmed to him.

All the work that the businessman had wanted done was completed within a few days and he was very pleased with the results. He paid the painter and told him that he would be his first port of call if ever he needed any work done.

That night, as he was settling down for a glass of Scotch, he noticed that the painter had left a few of his things there.

The painter’s office wasn’t far away, so the next morning the businessman drove it over for him. He was surprised to find out that the man’s office was also his home – a modest apartment that he shared with his girlfriend.

The businessman was invited in for a coffee and duly accepted. As he went in he saw a framed degree hanging on the wall – the painter had first class honours in fine art from a very prestigious arts university.

The businessman also noticed several easels set up around the apartment with half-finished paintings on them – the artwork looked incredible.

After a while the businessman asked him: “Painter, your artwork is incredible – why ever didn’t you decide to pursue a career as an artist? You could make it so easily”.

The painter smiled and nodded; “I have done. You see, every day I paint for people and I give them exactly what they want. Not what I want, or what I think they want. And every day they live in their homes or sit in their offices surrounded by my work. I’m giving people what they need and I never grow short of work”.

The businessman couldn’t help but look astonished.

“I know my work will never go out of fashion, no one will ever steal it, no critics will ever sneer at it and no one else but me will dictate how much it costs. Plus, when I’m long gone no one will ever try to copy it!”

After his coffee the businessman left and continued on with his day, a new perspective on success had opened up in his mind and he would admire the painter for as long as he lived.


How old Tom & Jerry cartoons can help you tell your brand’s story

When you were younger, did you ever watch the old ‘Tom & Jerry’ cartoons?

Or, any of those other old school cartoons from that time period?

If so, you may remember an old gag they used to do.

Usually it involved a newly born baby duckling (or baby bird in general) who would mistake one of the characters (usually Tom) for its mother.

It would then follow him round for the majority of the episode.

This harks back to a phenomenon that animal experts call ‘imprinting’. So, when a baby duck is born it usually sees its mother right away and then never forgets her.

However if the duck sees someone or something else first it can often think of it as its mother.

When it comes to branding, if you’re to tell your story and make it stick in your potential customers’ minds it’s worth thinking about your unique selling points.

Is your business a world first? Do you do something that’s never been done before?

How can you imprint yourself in someone’s mind to make sure you’re the first thing they think of?

Think coke…which brand do you think of? Think fast food burgers…who comes up? Think low cost airline…who do you think of?

And so on.

Your answers to these questions could be marginally different to mine…but I bet that we’re very close.

Telling stories is all about being unique and, when you can be, being a world first.

By Ashley Brown

This article was inspired by “Positioning” by Al Ries and Jack Trout

What could you learn from Wayne Rooney?

As a football fan it’s taken me a long time to like Wayne Rooney.

And, truth be told, I’m still not quite there.

He played many a game Manchester United and, as an Arsenal fan, they’re not a team that I like.

However, at 31 years of age, he’s now gone back to his boyhood club, Everton. I feel I can like him more, at least until he next plays Arsenal – he always seems to score against us.

But this post isn’t really about football.

It’s about a decision Rooney made today (23/08/17).

He decided to step down from international football – which was a difficult decision for him, he’s England record goal scorer with 53 strikes to his name!

But, what I admire about this decision, is that he decided to quit while he was on top and focus his attention on his main job – playing for his club.


(photo: the telegraph)

Sure he could have played for a few more years. But, he’s getting old and there’s only a certain amount of time within which you can stretch yourself over different platforms before you start getting injured or tired.

Now he can do what he loves for the club he loves with no other distractions and no other pressures.

His career will likely last longer as a result.

It’s something we can all bear in mind – an example we can learn from, sometimes it’s worth taking away some of our side jobs to work towards your most important goal.

A case of essentialising.

Now of course representing your country at a sport is a great honour, and one that not many of us have.

But what a lot of us do have are other distractions and side jobs that take up our time and, most importantly, our focus.

How often have you stopped to think to yourself something like – ‘I’ve got enough on today and yet I still need to do….’ or how often have you found yourself agreeing to something, and then realising (somewhat too late) just how much of your valuable work or leisure time it’ll suck up?

Sometimes it’s better to quit these things while you’re ahead, before they just get in the way and do you more harm than good.

After all, the further you stretch yourself, the thinner you spread yourself.

Check out Essentialism by Greg McKeown – it’ll change your life.