What a Guy!

During my time at Mays Business School I had the opportunity to hear from several business leaders and industry experts. I thoroughly enjoyed each one for their inspiration, motivation, knowledge and insight that they offered the class. However my favorite speaker was one that patiently sat on floor outside the classroom, reading the USA today, while eating a PB&J sandwich before class began.

When he entered the classroom to begin speaking a flood of memories entered my mind as I had watched this man stand on chairs, bounce on tables, whip money out of his pocket, and enthusiastically state, “Gallery Furniture saves you money, TODAY!” my entire childhood. That’s right, THE Mattress Mack, Jim McIngvale was speaking to my class of 20 marketing students that day and it was such an honor.

Mack speaks just as enthusiastically as he does on his commercials and is one of the most genuine, hardworking, and inspiring individuals I have had the opportunity to meet. His character is an example to us all.

Not to mention, he doesn’t watch any tv, unless it is sports, loves going to work each day, and puts customer service above all other aspects of business….three things hard to find in a person these days.

His unwavering attitude is an inspiration. He talked about when the man on duty at his warehouse called and told him it was on fire. Mack responded, “well, put the son of ***** out!” Mack soon learned it was much larger and the whole thing was pretty much engulfed in flames. When Mack arrived on the scene emergency personal told him to get away and Mack said, “if the ships going down, I’m going down with it”. After authorities threatened to arrest him, Mack backed off. Interestingly enough, the next day he had a speaking engagement. The organizer called him and said they saw what happened and that they completely understood if he was unable to speak the next day. He told them, “I said I was going to speak and I will be there”.

At the time I heard Mack speak, the 2016 presidential race was early on. He didn’t speak a lot about his political views, but noted that he had personally interviewed Donald Trump and was impressed. It is important to note at this time, no one thought Trump would ever become president of the United States.

Of course he had a lot of business knowledge to share, but I was so impressed with his character that naturally it made sense how he built a successful business. He is a humble guy with a heart for giving, as the entire nation watched during Harvey and Houston has for several years.

Mack is the best best speaker I’ve had the opportunity to hear and how could you not like a guy that is a huge advocate for MADE IN AMERICA!

What a guy!

Spoken Like a True Texan

I wrote the story: “Spoken Like a True Texan” below using 50+ Texas towns and counties. All it is, is a play on words and I think you’ll find it quite punny! Hope you enjoy it!

Oh, and the picture above is my brother, Travis and me back in the day when my parents were still character building so we had to create our own creative fun. That’s Fort Melvin in the background, designed and built by yours truly, under the direction of Trav, of course. That’s us standing out in front of it, on sand pile, next to a tree branch flag pole, holding up the Texas flag. ‘Merica!

Spoken Like a True Texan

I woke up Munday and realized Texas Independence Day is this week! A 181 years ago, today (March 2, 1836) the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed at Washington on the Brazos. So it’s a pretty imPoteet day and I’d be Lyons if I told you I wasn’t proud to be a Texan! Therefore, if you have Spur moment, grab a carton of Blue Bell, or some What-a-Burger, or a Shiner beer…basically whatever makes you Happy and enjoy my story: Spoken Like a True Texan.

To begin, I’m originally from Columbus. Most people have never Hearne of it before because it’s a small town and they initially think Columbus, Ohio. You’ve got to be Glidden me, do I sound like I’m from Ohio? My Columbus is located deep in the Hart of Texas just east of San Antonio and west of Houston right off of I-10. It’s a Plano town, but home to 3,600 of the nicest people where the kids are well Bee Caved…well for the most part 😉 Anyways, this story isn’t about Columbus, it’s about the great, great Lone Star State!

Point Blank, I LOVE Texas! From its history, to its geography, to the people, it is truly a unique place. You can have a Sweeny goodtime at the dancehalls, a blast riding the Ferris wheel at the State Fair, Dooalittle floating down the Guadalupe, Comal, or Frio river, watch Tye down roping at county fairs, follow the Bowies out the Gulf, eat some of the best BBQ (and Lotts of it), Converse over not just a Shiner beer, but a Shiner beer in Shiner, watch high school quarterbacks pass Diboll under Friday night lights, and much, much Moore…you get my Point!

Of Morse, I cannot forget about the endless fields of bluebonnets and other wildflowers that will pop up along the highway as Spring fast approaches. This year, we aren’t predicted to have a Coldspring, so those bluebonnets will start appearing in no time! Speaking of weather, a little adRice if you’ve never been to Texas…be prepared to experience all four season in one day! I’m not Mason with you, Texas weather is crazy. It’s not uncommon to have a Frost in March or 90 degree weather in December, it’s just the Norm…angee around these parts.

Now every Texans favorite place to stop on road trips is Buc-ees. I’m not too sure how to explain Buc-ees to those that have a Blanco look on their face, but I do know people are Bryan Beaver Nuggets like crazy and their restrooms are Barry clean! While traveling the state is definitely fun, we all would like to know when I-35 construction will be complete. That in conJunction with the daily hustle and bustle always creates Lotts of traffic and a convoy of 18-Wheelers. So don’t be surprised if you’re Hartley moving down highway 35, that’s just the Waco goes.

But let’s not talk about the negatives, Hempstead let’s talk about some of our Staple food and drinks, we have quite a Range: What-a-Burger, Shiner beer, Tito’s Vodka (really a lot of vodkas), HEB, Blue Bell ice cream (Byers just won’t do!) and numerous others. Are you beginning to Seguin why Texas is just Cool? I mean I could talk about Texas for Hays!

So in conclusion, I’ll Warren you, we many not be the most Humble, but I’m Kurten we are the friendliest….and Justin case you’re wondering, we don’t ride horses to work and school. So if you’re Pondering looking for a New Home and you’re Rankin your choices, go ahead and move Texas to the top or at least visit us on a Holliday break….we’ll Welcome you with open arms! Waller you waitin’ for!

(yes, my fellow hwy 290 east people, you caught me, that last one is on a Buc-ees billboard, just outside of well, Waller!)

Homework for the Holidays

Christmas is indeed in the air and the last thing any college student wants to think about is school. After all, you’re probably still recovering from finals…it’s been a tough few weeks of cramming, living off ramen and trying holding your tongue at group project meetings. I get it. The good news is, you have about 4 weeks to recoup before it’s back to the mines. It’s time to do whatever you’ve been looking forward to doing. Woo-hoo!!! But somewhere between visions of sugar plums dancing in your head and finding the perfect ugly Christmas sweater, set aside time to create the best Christmas present you can give your future, create a personal website.

Seriously.

You’ve spent the last four years putting yourself in a position that makes you marketable, now you’ve got to find a way to market yourself!

Unfortunately, we’ve been taught to print our resume on ivory resume paper, use Times New Roman font, not be too text heavy, not to use colors or designs and to sum everything up on one 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.

Amiright?

The point is, unless the hiring manager truly reads your resume we all look the same at first glance.

This bothered me that after all that hard work I was one of a hundred in a stack of papers. Nowhere could I showcase my personality, work ethic or most importantly for marketing majors….my creative side! I wanted a way to highlight my talents and set myself apart from the rest.

I expressed these frustrations to a mentor who turned around and gave me the BEST.ADVICE.EVER. when it comes to job searching– build a personal website. What a thought!

My personal website included everything a typical resume would (job experience, education, skills, honors/awards, and leadership activities), but I was also able to include an introduction (which included a link to my blog…. another great selling point), links to projects I did in college from role plays, research papers, to 60-page marketing campaigns and I could elaborate on my work experience and leadership activities. Not to mention the fun and professional theme used to express it all!

Since I built the website myself, I was also able to highlight my creative side and learn a new skill…. web design! This gave the reader a good sense of who I was, long before I had the opportunity to meet them face-to-face. You wouldn’t believe the positive feedback I received from mentors, various individuals in my “network” and most importantly, future employers. It truly made a memorable impression.

But the real value in building a personal website for me was….

It didn’t help me land a job, it helped me communicate my passions and interests and land a job I LOVE!

Ironically, I work for a web/app development and digital marketing company. I do anything from content marketing, branding, marketing automation, social media marketing, to frameworks for webpages. Shoot, everything I enjoy!

So this Christmas season when you’re warming your toes by the fire and sipping on some hot chocolate, pull out a pen a paper and begin creating content for your personal website, before you know it you’ll be live on the interwebs and impressing hiring managers left and right!

Job searching isn’t easy, but it can be fun! Give recruiters something to talk about!

Merry Christmas!

I’ve Been a Fan of Alan Jackson Ever Since I was Little Bitty

Anyone who knows me, knows without a doubt my favorite music genre is country and my favorite artist is Alan Jackson! I make everyone in the car, unless they are singing, stop all conversations when one of his songs comes on…because it’s the respectful thing to do.

Anyways, I wrote a story using 31 song titles that he either recorded, wrote and/or wrote and recorded about the moment I knew Alan Jackson was my favorite artist and why I still like him today! Enjoy!

I’ve Been a Fan of Alan Jackson Ever Since I was

Little Bitty

I’ve loved Alan Jackson ever since I was Little Bitty. I Remember When my brother, he was just a Little Man, and I would run around the house, guitar in hand singing Tall, Tall Trees. We always had a Good Time performing jam sessions for the family and I’m convinced half the time they thought we had Gone Crazy. They probably Wanted us to take our show somewhere else, but they listened anyhow.  We have come a Long Long Way since then, but I still LOVE Alan Jackson, it’s just Who I Am!

I have every album he has ever recorded at Home from the 90s to bluegrass and everything in between and Don’t Ask Why, but I refuse to purchase digital downloads- I have to have the CD complete with liner notes. I know the words to every Alan Jackson song and If I Could Make a Living on reciting those lyrics I wouldn’t need Job Descriptions.

But do you know what I like most about Alan Jackson? When I read the USA Today he isn’t one of those celebrities I have to worry about seeing Who’s Cheatin’ Who because Where I Come From we don’t really care, we’re Laid Back and Low Key.

I agree with George and Alan that there has indeed been a Murder on Music Row because I’ll Try to listen to a new “country song” on the radio when I go for a Drive, but the whole time I think to myself, I Don’t Even Know Your Name and you claim to have Gone Country? Well There Goes 3 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back…just Another Good Reason to listen to Alan Jackson.

But, you won’t find me singing the Blues, Man because it’s 5 o’clock Somewhere and That’s All I Need to Know.

This story is a Work in Progress and has a Long Way to Go, but maybe Someday I’ll finish it. Until then they’ll be driving Buicks to the Moon the day I stop listening to Alan Jackson.

The Rest of the Story

Paul Harvey

Today a friend of mine shared a YouTube video on Facebook that was a tribute to police officers written by Paul Harvey. Of course it was a touching tribute especially amidst everything occurring in our world today, but hearing Paul Harvey’s classic mid-America radio accent brought back a flood of memories.

Growing up we spent a lot of time at my grandparents who always had the radio on in their house and barn. In addition, my mom worked from home so when she went to town, so did we. I don’t mean to sound old here, but this was before Bluetooth capability so you either listened to the radio or CDs in the car and often times when we were buzzing from place to place it was the radio. Well one of the local radio stations out of LaGrange, KBUK, broadcasted Paul Harvey’s daily “Rest of the Story” segment shortly after the Texas State Network News at the top of the noon hour. The local radio host would chime in briefly between the two segments and say “and now here is Paul Harvey with the rest of the story”. As he muttered those 12 words, my brother and I did too…suddenly the radio host had two co-hosts. Now at a young age, after we introduced Paul Harvey, my brother and I were the least bit concerned about “the rest of the story”, but through his storytelling capability, memorable voice and look of interest from the adults we couldn’t help but listen to his 4 minute segment even if we didn’t know who John D. Rockefeller was, why we cared that the Ohio River didn’t have any bedrock to build a bridge in the late 1800s or what the placebo effect is. We listened anyways.

As we grew older, more and more stories became of interest as we understood the world around us. Suddenly, we took an interest towards Paul Harvey’s stories and became excited if we actually knew who or what he was talking about! It really is true, you do get wiser with age.

Now, right around the time I got my driver’s license is probably when I stopped listening to “the rest of the story” for a few reasons. One, because well I had control of the radio now and Bluetooth connectivity was also a thing and two, he passed away right around this time and I’m not too sure if KBUK continued to broadcast reruns or not. Nonetheless, until this video popped up on my newsfeed today I hadn’t given Paul Harvey much thought.

Well, as I scrolled through my Facebook and pressed play on this video and was greeted by that classic voice, I thought I should pause it and start it over so that I could give him his formal introduction of “now here is Paul Harvey with the rest of the story”. Of course I didn’t do this, but after watching the video I did track down “The Paul Harvey Show” podcast and got immersed into listening to various 4 minute segments. I learned that Merle Haggard almost escaped from San Quentin with his friend, but at the last minute decided not to in which his friend got caught and received the death penalty, 40 inventions that took place during the golden age of railroad invention in the 19th century were invented by women and John Hertz (founder of Hertz rentals) is noted for establishing yellow as the standard color for taxis, among other notable things. I just kept listening to story after story and you don’t even want to guess how many 4 minute segments you can listen to in a day.

Now I realize that Paul Harvey has his critics and while it’s questionable if all his stories are true, there is no denying his enticing storytelling ability. It’s not until the last 30 seconds that he reveals the person, place or thing he just spent the last 3 minutes and 30 seconds talking about, not to mention the way he told the story and suspense building up to this reveal was just as interesting as the reveal! As I listened, I mentally tried to figure out who or what he was talking about before he gave it away at the end and said “and now you know the rest of the story”.

Now, besides the fond memories it brought back of spending time with my grandparents or riding around with my mom, I actually found his stories interesting compared to 12 or 15 years ago. I love learning new things, hearing about people’s background and keeping my history skills sharp…and this is exactly what Paul Harvey did. He combined all three into a 4 minute segment, 6 days a week, for all to hear.

So I believe the next time I head out the door, I’ll connect to the Bluetooth in my car, turn on the podcast and it’ll be just like old times…except I’ll actually know what he is talking about and I won’t be faced with possibility of missing “the rest of the story” if I’m not in a position to tune in just after the noon hour…..I wonder what Paul Harvey would say about today’s technology?

Pun Times in Austin!

Pun-Off- Austin, TX

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love a good pun. Heck, 99% of my social media posts that include a picture are accompanied by a caption full of wordplay and well the titles to my blog posts usually have something to do with a pun as well. Corny? Well maybe if you ask my brother, but deep down I know he, like most, appreciate a good pun. After all, they’re punny! Well, about 3 years ago we had some family over at the house and we began discussing my fascination with puns and my aunt mentioned that she had read about the O.Henry Pun-Off World Championship that is held nowhere other than Austin, Texas each year around mid-May.  That was all I needed to hear, a pun-off world championship, not 80 miles from my house and I was sold.

However, finals were in full swing the Saturday of this competition and there was no way I would forgo my studies to attend it. Of course I was in the same predicament the following year and the year after that. However, by the time the third year of hearing of this event rolled around I was a senior and getting ready to graduate…my mindset was much different from my first and second year of college. It wasn’t that I no longer cared about grades, but I had a better understanding of balance and that there is a such thing as over studying. That brings us to today, I left my textbooks in College Station and headed to Austin for the highly anticipated O.Henry Pun-Off World Championship.

Go ahead make your jokes, but the creativity and the ability to think on your feet that the “punsters” exercised was phenomenal. The competition is held right downtown, a block off of Sixth Street and one would assume a great location for some characters. While the competition is certainly filled with nothing but characters, many of the “punsters” actually traveled from all across the United States and local competitors were pretty slim. The competition is broken into two parts, Punniest of Show and Punslingers.

Punniest of Show is a prepared “punny” story with a 90 second time limit. Each story had a theme that the puns were based on. For instance, one local competitor crafted a story using well known Austin landmarks, another told a story through US Presidents and another took full advantage of the Trump campaign….just to name a few! I’m not sure how many hours, days, or years it took to craft 90 seconds of whitty wordplay, but it was 90 seconds of pure cleverness.

The second part of the competition was the Punslingers competition. A pair of competitors were given a topic and each player in his turn had 5 seconds to deliver or begin delivering a pun and it was back and forth until one of the contestants failed to make a pun. Topics ranged from sports, to movie titles, to space travel and everything in between. After the first couple of rounds I really started to get into the mindset and flow of the puns. I begin mentally crafting my own puns based on the topic and I Strait killed the country music topic.

All in all, it was a great day and I anticipate attending once again! I’ll admit it was a bit on the corny side at times, but you cannot knock the wittiness of the “punsters” and their creative mind. For me, in addition to my personal fascination with puns it was also a great event for one who is about to graduate with a degree in marketing. Puns are creative and catchy and often times quite memorable because you have to actually think to catch the pun. Correct me if I’m wrong, but is that not the ultimate goal for marketers? Creative…catchy….and memorable, all tied into one! Just as the “punsters” were mindful of the topic, marketers have to be mindful of their target audience, once this is accomplished the creative, catchy and memorable puns or in marketing terms: slogan, brand name, tagline, product, etc. must follow to achieve total success. At the Pun Festival, the well thought out puns advanced to the next round, leaving the competition tongue-tied. Likewise, those with well-planned out and executed marketing campaigns surpass the competition.

Now it’s not like attending this competition was some educational experience that replaced the time I should have studying for finals, but it gave me something to think about and many ideas for future social media posts.

It was a pun day in Austin!

Conversations Marketing Majors Have

Hump Day!

Three years ago I began my journey at Mays Business School or as us business majors like to call it, Wehner High. It doesn’t take long and soon you find yourself knowing everyone, attending class with the same 30 people and even forging what I forecast to be lifelong friendships. It’s fair to say I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Mays, but chuckle when I think about the conversations we, more specifically marketing majors, have during and outside of school. Of course we talk about our weekend plans, things going on in our lives, A&M sports and where we see ourselves in the future….but somewhere in the conversation we always relate the topic back to marketing. No, not to get a better grade (the professor isn’t even present) or to outsmart one another, but simply because marketing is so ingrained in our minds.

It’s actually quite amazing that at this point in our lives it doesn’t take a professor to tell us to pay attention to a certain ad, to watch the Super Bowl for the commercials, or to be in tune with the many marketing mavericks in the industry…..we process all the above on our own whether we consciously realize it or not.

One of the best things I’ve heard thus far is, “I hate how you know how the advertisement is trying to make you feel and you tell yourself I’m not going to fall for it….and yet you still do. It is so frustrating because you have all this knowledge, yet you’re still a consumer”. I certainly agree, you get caught up in the message and then you take a step back and you’re like, wait, wait, wait, I know what they’re trying to do here.

Nonetheless, the beginning of February is a big time for us as that is when the Superbowl is played and the $5 million, 30 second ads are revealed. Most people tune into the commercials because they are some of the best you will see all year, but they also use that time to heat up the queso, check their squares or to go to the bathroom, of course! However, as marketing majors we find ourselves analyzing the commercials’ message, thought process, brand alignment, target audience, content, on and on! By the end of the night not only are we stuffed with guacamole, but we are stuffed with loads of new and exciting talking points to share with our fellow marketing friends! We anticipate sharing our thoughts of the commercials on Monday and by the end of Monday we have relived watching the Super Bowl and have further analyzed every commercial. In fact, I believe it was just a few weeks ago that we finally stopped talking about Super Bowl commercials.

Outside of the Super Bowl, some of my favorite conversations about marketing have happened at Ring Dunks. Yes, Ring Dunks. We find ourselves analyzing the creativity behind the event names such as “White Men Can’t Dunk” or “Dunk it Ags”. Cheesy? Yes. But you’re sure to remember it! 😉  The custom t-shirts and decorations are always an added bonus to our conversations.

In addition to the Super Bowl and Ring Dunks, we pay attention to the banner ads on websites, spend excessive amounts of time crafting the “perfect” social media post, and get excited at the sight of novel and creative ads, but are the first to have an opinion about an advertisement gone bad. We are like the homebuilder who points out all the faults in a home he didn’t build, the electrician who notices a poor wiring job, or the server dining in a restaurant that critiques every mistake of the one serving them.

After all, everyone has a specialty and ours just happens to be marketing! We don’t mean to relate everything back to marketing and halfway through every conversation we take a step back and ask “are we really talking about this right now?” But in reality, it’s kind of hard to avoid because marketing is something that is present in everyone’s lives. In fact, it is often a topic of conversation among ALL people whether you realize it or not. Coworkers, friends, and even acquaintances discuss their favorite Super Bowl commercials (past and present), how annoying the Beggin’ Stripes advertisement with the dog is (“I’d get it myself, but I don’t have thumbs!….mmmm bacon! There’s no time like beggin’ time!”), or how we miss the Etrade babies……AND admit it, you’ve walked into the office on a Wednesday and said, “GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?????” So it is not just the marketing majors who are fascinated by marketing….we ALL are!