V&V: Aaron Cohn of Laundry Puppy

This installment of V&V covers Aaron Cohn of Laundry Puppy. He recently sold to FlyCleaner and we caught up around Thanksgiving for a debrief. Down-to-earth and super personable, Aaron is still helping Laundry Puppy clients through FlyCleaner and helping FlyCleaner maximize their investment in him. Acquisition for Talent. Big Learn: You really can do just

Be Exponentially Better, Not Incrementally

“It’s Easier To Make Something 10 Times Better Than To Make Something 10% Better” – Astro Teller, head of Google X My students who struggle the most start 30-60 points away from their target score. It seems so close. But the brutal truth is that most won’t make it. In the hordes of students I

Students and Self Esteem

This is the abbreviated version of a Saturday Night Live skit (Basement Karate – Bryan Cranston). What was so striking was the little boy’s reaction to getting shellacked by his old man. I have heard some of the exact same phrases out of my GMAT students…. I know, I know, I shouldn’t laugh . .

What is Talent

The most obvious expression of talent is that which is shown externally. A fast athlete,the top of the class, MacArthur grants . . . some talent is innate, the rest is cultivated. Can we do better cultivating the good stuff? That might depend – what is our definition of the good stuff? We fixate on

Start at the Beginning

As students struggle to determine how to invest their time wisely, one question dominates the conversation. Do I make incremental improvement or do I start from the beginning? In proper CYA fashion, it depends . . . But what it depends upon may surprise you.

Crush Your Competition – the Superstar Effect

The best way to win? Be better. How much better? Soul crushingly better. Sound cruel? The Weekend Journal shared a great piece about the Superstar effect – how some stars are so much better than everyone else in the field that they literally crush their competition before the game/match/negotiation begins. Boris Spassky, Bobby Fishcher’s rival

Superstar Effect

Everyone’s favorite Intimidators The Weekend Journal recently published an article on one of my favorite topics – the Superstar Effect. They also kindly included a list of the most famous intimidators. Here is that list: Muhammad Ali – noting himself as the “greatest” and following it up with a nasty punch . . . very

Stat of the Week – Monkeys and Medals

Lionel Tiger shares the history of monkeys and medal in his latest Op-Ed piece for the Wall Street Journal. He posits that there is a biological need for humans to have games such as the Olympics Like our primate cousins, competition is in our blood. Is this just more justification for what my less athletically-inclined

Seth Godin, Linchpin

I was fortunate to receive an advanced copy of Seth Godin’s latest, Linchpin. I had a very hard time writing an appropriate review on Amazon. What others reviewers are raving about is how this book is about doers . . . kind of, but not really. This book is about people who fancy themselves single-handedly

Margaret Thatcher – We Must Win

The newsletter this week includes a favorite item from Mrs. Thatcher: “Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.” A few weeks ago the Wall Street journal published an opinion piece worth a revisit. The original piece by Warren Kozak

Sports Stat of the Week: Old Guns, Young Guns

Sports Stat of the Week It’s all in the numbers…. Never mind what happened Sunday afternoon . . . I turned off the second display in my office and focused on teaching our Advanced Quant class. The students didn’t have to know the Boys were being destroyed by Future Rapper Favre. (Pants on the Ground?

Mastery – how to know when to get back to basics

What do you call it when a defender “bounces” a puck into his own goal? Ready? . . . Heart Breaking. Actually I can’t believe I have yet to find the term . . . surely there is a term for this phenomenon given what my beloved Robi had to say about it, “I hope

Sports Statistic of the Week: Cowboys versus Giants

Brett Favre is looking royal in purple. Hard to believe he recently crossed into 40. Though they lost to the Cardinals . . . “I’m anxious to go watch it on the news because I’m pretty sure everybody is going to talk about what Brett Favre did wrong, and not talk about how our defense

Confidence Building for the Guys

Bringing Sexy Back – Time Management Lisa, assistant project manager at Paladin Principals, and I were talking about guys this afternoon and we discovered that we both find some of the same traits super sexy in men. What is that number one trait . . . #1 Time Management It’s not that we want our

Education Issues

If you do some digging at katemckeon.com you will discover that I am a fan of outsourcing. Who wouldn’t be? Get the best talent to do the best work at the best price. That at least is the mantra of outsourcing . . .And oftentimes, outsourcing a project works. But then there are times it

Mastery – Semper Fi

Happy 234th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps! A big thank you to those who have served and those who will serve. Bob Parsons, the Chief Nutty-Nut at GoDaddy.com creates a rousing tribute to the Marine Corps each year in celebration of the evening at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, November 10, 1775. https://www.godaddy.com/gdshop/holiday/usmc2009/default.asp?isc=gdr1162a The

Earn 59% more Just by making one switch….

  So you’re a lefty and life is tough? Stop your whining. Look at the numbers . . . you’re in pretty good company . . . if you can survive adolescence. This week we compare the salaries of left-handed pitchers with the average salary of all pitchers over the past 20 years. I can

Best Comeback – Sports Stat of the Week

Ever feel like you’ve started on the wrong foot? Maybe the project didn’t get off to a good start or the date started with you falling down a flight of stairs . . . I hear these things, um, happen…. Can you get the win after a rough start? On October 26th, 2009, the Toronto

Excellence versus Mastery

Mastery is a path, not a destination so I thought I would clarify a few things that have come up in comments . . . You can be better than 95% of all other people after you have persevered for 1000 hours in one area. So if you are a runner, does that mean you

Your Sphere of Influence

That’s it. I’m pulling out the brat card. I had an epiphany today. . . . As much as I push to find pockets of excellence whether they be academic, athletic, artistic or some combination thereof, excellence is what I “do.” It’s my research it, my downtime reading, and to paraphrase Austin Powers, “it’s my

Super Stars Mini-mite Hockey

If you haven’t seen the latest in mini-mite super stars, check out this video of a 9 year old. Now this trick is a learned trick and wouldn’t fly in the NHL (puck must be moving forward at all times – this one doesn’t), but come on, it’s pretty cool to watch. Fair warning, this

When Free is too Expensive

I am writing from Newark, New Jersey, which is not my new favorite place. But this is not a post about that. On the flight here I noticed the airline magazine and spent a few minutes going through the puzzles. Across from one of the puzzle pages was a full-page glossy ad for FRE*E Hotel

What is Talent?

Talent is one of those things we talk about all the time, but very rarely define. How often do you refer to someone doing something incredible: Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Michael Phelps, Dara Torres, Usain Bolt as a Natural Talent? Since that often feels a bit like a cop-out, let’s dive in to the science

Why you want to Win

The internet has brought tremendous opportunity to the masses. Who would have predicted 20 years ago that selling schlocky stuff that didn’t sell at your garage sale on a little community website would allow you to make millions of dollars?** Yet, eBay has done just that. The success of eBay highlights the idea that as

Leadership in Education: No Child Left Behind

Rewriting the No Child Left Behind Law is in process. If you have children in school this may be important to you. If you are childless, it may seem unimportant. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Whether or not you have children, if you plan to be living in 20 years, how our children

Leadership in Hockey: Absurdities

This week’s sports stat is a small collection of hockey absurds. 1. Wayne Gretzky has left the building. – AND – 2. Sean Avery is more interested in Fashion than Forward. 1. Wayne Gretzky has left the building. No, he’s not dead (he wasn’t that lively last time I saw him…), but he has retired

Leadership in Education – Now What?

Leadership in Education is a big concern. The influence teachers have on our kids is immense and immediately powerful. I remember hearing one of my little sisters read her paper on the Iraq war circa 2004 at age 12 . . . it is safe to say she did not get those opinions from my

Winning with Nuclear Fusion, a New Metaphor

Winning with Nuclear Fusion Thursday evening I ended up in a conversation about nuclear fusion, not a subject I know much about, but I have a vague understanding . . . that got me thinking about what it takes to launch a business, or learn a new skill since both of those activities require an

Record Breaking Second Place

Earlier this week a reader reminded me of another example of a record breaking performance that comes in second place. Sammy Sosa vs Roger Maris . . . . . . vs Mark McGwire In 1998, Sammy Sosa soundly beat Roger Maris’ 1961 home run record of 61 in one season. Sammy was the first

Running Mastery: Sports Stat of the Week

So you probably thought you’d hear about hockey this week given that preseason begins . . . now, but instead how about a diversion to running. In tandem with my research on the non verbal, environmental cues that foster the growth of super stars I get to look at super stars themselves. It’s really amazing

Growing Super Stars: Part 2

Who are you hanging around? If you are interested in being a track star are you hanging around couch potatoes? When you are ready to push yourself, you drop the ineffective parts of your training without a second thought. For a business owner who is about to blast off, that may mean you stop hanging

Never Too Old to be a Super Star

Think you have mastered all that you are able to master and that life and learning are about to pass you by? Has your dream of challenging Eric Clapton to a little strumming vanished? Think that you are too old to pick up the violin? There is hope! Many adults consider themselves over-the-hill and not

Supers Stars have higher IQs?

Most of what we know about intelligence is wrong. Let me start with an example. Who has the higher IQ? The Chess Master or the steel worker? No peeking! Make a choice. If you said the Chess Master you would be in good company. Most people say the Chess Master. Their reasoning is that the

Sports Stat of the Week: HPHS Football Leadership

Preseason is in full swing.With that in mind a little stat on football leadership from a local high school. In researching the athletic prowess and at Highland Park High School for comparison with its academic (Nobels and Rhodes) prowess, I stumbled across this little tidbit . . . of our big stars in the NFL,

Influence in Little Prodigies

What is the major influence that turns children into little prodigies? Mind-blowing research in Neurology points us in a new direction. Is it amount of practice? Is it in-born talent? Is it high-income parents – or other privileged access to resources? No, no, no. The driving factor that influences a child to be a prodigy

Sports Stat of the Week – Favre Leadership

Minnesota Signs McKeon No, of course not. I wouldn’t last 2 snaps on a field full of kickers. Having had the opportunity to kick one between the uprights at Texas Stadium I can also state that I wouldn’t make it as a kicker (missed completely). Even those of us without TV and Radio know that

Economic Leadership Starts with Simple Math

Seth Godin proposed a simple quiz for marketers this morning. To instantly see how quickly statistics get out of hand with a natural bias – also known as fuzzy math, consider his “quiz for smart marketers,” below. It makes a brilliant point. Not feeling mathy today? I put some numbers to it so you can

Leadership in Hockey: Sports Stat August 17

Excuses last a lifetime. Achievement leaves you proving yourself again and again. Sports Stat of the Week: Leadership in Hockey I do (heart) hockey so back to hockey this week. The question ticking along today is, “How well do teams with one dominant player do . . . as determined by time on the ice.”

Success leads to Success

Try, try, try again and one day you’ll get it . . . heard that one before? Turns out that may not be so helpful after all. Save some time and get a better result by utilizing this short cut. New research coming out of the clever folks at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and

Success in Hockey

Success in Hockey depends on keeping the boys on the ice and out of the penalty box despite the excitement fisticuffs causes with the fans.

Failure of Education System – Delusional Students

A rant about the failure of of educational system. Are our best and brightest simply delusional? A suitor, Jay*, recently approached me about taking the GMAT. He knows that I teach for ManhattanGMAT (a super fantastic group!) and he was prepping to take the test on his own. I shared some general words of advice


If you haven’t had the chance to read George Leonard’s Mastery, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. I happened upon the book at the same time I picked up Blueprint to a Billion this summer and really couldn’t have found a better companion book. You may forget that this book was written