posted 06/25/2014

When a Salad is More than a Salad

In my travels and ongoing desire to sample new food, it’s rare that I would find something novel in a place that serves soup and salad. In a visit last fall to New Orleans, I was highly impressed with what’s going on at City Greens, a venue that re-defines what it means to be a local eatery. At first glance, their thematic color scheme (green), extremely high food quality, and ability for the diner to fully customize any salad or …Continue Reading


posted 04/22/2014

On Mustangs and Mentors

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang. The Mustang is an iconic symbol of American culture and the older ones serve as an object of envy whenever one passes by. While I’ve never owned one, I did get a chance recently to drive the 2015 Mustang Coupe, thanks to the Avis car rental manager at LAX airport, who heeded my request to drive something cooler and hipper than the Altima they had waiting. Little did I know …Continue Reading


posted 04/01/2014

Good Things Come in All Packages

Have you noticed how much more interesting it is to open new purchases these days? We’ve come a long way since the over-wrapped and under-exciting era when you bought a new electronic device and had to pore through a user’s manual to set it up  (think VCR and the ever-blinking “12:00” on the time display).   I credit Apple for starting this trend, from its sleek packaging of both its products and its store environments. Today’s consumer goods have a …Continue Reading


posted 03/17/2014

The Search for Significance

Among many good books I’ve read over the past year, several have stood out in my mind for being more than about success; they are about significance. Maybe it’s because I’ve recently turned 50 on the life odometer, but there’s something about learning in life that is much more powerful than money or other ways the world defines success.  Here are four books I found impactful and hope you may find same:     Mockingbird’s Song Hettie Keller’s 10 Maxims …Continue Reading

Aim Act Alliance

posted 02/12/2014

My Entry Into Politics: Taking AIM at Medical Devices

Over the course of my career, I’ve developed a passion for helping new medical technologies succeed, especially those subject to a free market where doctors can choose to provide and patients can elect to pay directly for services they deem worthy of their hard earned money.  In a way, this is how the pre-insurance days of medicine operated between patient and doctor.   The medical device industry has created jobs for hundreds of thousands of employees and provided benefits to …Continue Reading


posted 10/30/2013

A New Era in Healthcare: ALPHAEON

Earlier this month, we witnessed the birth of a new company called ALPHAEON. Those attending the recent American Society of Plastic Surgery in San Diego saw first-hand the debut of a company dedicated to improving patient outcomes as well as patient experiences.   ALPHAEON is the brainchild of Robert Grant, an industry executive who has been a client of mine while at the helm of multiple companies in the self-pay segment including Biolase (laser dentistry), Allergan Medical (Botox, Latisse, Juvederm) …Continue Reading

The Great Gazoo

posted 09/26/2013
2 responses

When Mayday Becomes Payday

One of the trickiest issues with technology is how to effectively support customers.    This can be as simple as helping customers recover their login to a password protected website or as complicated as setting up a new home entertainment system.   Today,  Amazon chief Jeff Bezos unveiled Mayday, a really cool approach to tackling this issue.  When you press a special “Mayday” button on their Kindle tablet, a live person appears in a video screen to help.  Within 15 seconds.  …Continue Reading

Thomas L. Friedman with Moisés Naím

posted 07/23/2013

Five Technologies Coming Your Way

Last month I attended The New York Times Global Forum hosted by columnist Thomas Friedman (author of The World is Flat).    This was a great day spent listening to luminaries and visionaries describe what’s going to happen in the world over the next two decades.    As an avid Sunday reader of The New York Times, I enjoyed what is best described as seeing the paper come alive on stage.   While I took lots of notes on my iPhone, I …Continue Reading


posted 07/09/2013

My Own Personal Nordstrom Story

Most of you have heard the legendary story about how someone returned a set of tires to Nordstrom, which they took back no questions asked.   It’s part of their legacy for legendary service and taking care of the customer. A few months ago, I went to pick up two pairs of suit pants that were needed for a business trip starting the following day.  After 20 minutes, he asked if they could deliver them to my home later that evening, …Continue Reading

49ers and Ravens

posted 01/30/2013

The Heart of Motivation

The role of every coach is to motivate his or her players to perform their best.   In professional sports, this can become very challenging as the season wears on and teams are tired.    With the NFC conference championship game looming,  San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh had his staff find pictures – the high school recruiting photo – of  his players and had them posted above each player’s locker.  As is Coach Harbaugh’s style, he didn’t pronounce the pictures or …Continue Reading


posted 05/17/2012

Think Critically, Act Locally

The most important college course I took had nothing to do with my psychology major or my interest in organizational behavior and what makes workers happy. It was during my sophomore year that I signed up for “Critical Thinking 212,” a small class of 15 at the University of Michigan where we sat around the table and talked. The professor challenged us in every class on what we read and wrote. He wouldn’t accept quick answers but made us dig …Continue Reading


posted 05/03/2012

What Is Your Story?

Storytelling is a mode of communication that has been around as long as people have gathered around the fire.   We love a good story, which is why the storytellers among us can hold the attention of audiences large and small.   When we meet someone for the first time, we instinctively want to know their story:  Who is this person? How did he or she get to where they are today?   In the last few years, the role of storytelling in …Continue Reading


posted 04/11/2012

One From the Bucket List

I had an opportunity last week to walk the grounds of the Augusta National Golf Club.  The good news is that it was on the first day of The Masters, a  championship that I explained to my kids as “the super bowl of golf.”   This year’s Masters was full of surprises, including a little-recognized pro named Bubba who won the playoff on the final round.  It was golf drama at its finest. I learned to play golf (and play poorly, …Continue Reading


posted 04/09/2012

Price as a Cue for Quality Videos

The price of a good or service can have a significant impact on the perceived quality. Shareef Mahdavi shows the importance of exercising prudence when setting prices on elective procedures.


posted 01/25/2012

The Real “Real Thing”

The Coca Cola Corporation spends untold millions of dollars each year trying to convince the public that their product is the real thing.  The length of the soda section in most supermarkets  attests to the success in building their brand and its motto proclaiming Coke to be the real thing.   At our local grocery store, a cooler just inside the front door (see photo 1) displays individual bottles of Coke   with the nostalgic swirl design many of us remember …Continue Reading

Made in America: The Return of Innovation

posted 12/20/2011

Made in America: The Return of Innovation Videos

If you find yourself wondering what’s happened to innovation and the ability for Americans to invent new products, you will want to watch this video tour of Tech Shop SF, a member-based place (Kinda like your high school woodshop… On steroids!)where people can bring their dreams to life by prototyping new product concepts.     Have you seen that little “square” that attaches to the iPhone and iPad for credit card transactions?  It was invented at Tech Shop, and it is …Continue Reading


posted 11/29/2011

The Best Things in Life…Aren’t Things!

Last month, I experienced an amazing pair of concert  events:  one to start my week, the other to end it.    More than just great shows, they were rich enough in customer experience principles to make them worthy of sharing with you.     One Sunday evening, I traveled to the Red Rocks Amphitheater in the foothills west of Denver where a couple of buddies and I got to see Furthur, the latest iteration of the legendary Grateful Dead.  Bassist Phil …Continue Reading


posted 10/28/2011

Blowing the Save…A Failure in Listening

When a major league pitcher is brought in late in the game to help his team secure their lead and win the game, he earns what is known in baseball parlance as a “save.”   If he allows the other team to score runs and loses the lead, it’s called “blowing the save.”   That’s precisely what Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings has done to his customers.  After making a major gaffe this past summer and having an opportunity to “right the …Continue Reading

posted 10/19/2011

Meet Ray, the Usher from Section 121

Ahhh, the Fall Classic is upon us once again.  Sadly, the San Francisco Giants didn’t make the cut and will not be repeating last year’s World Series  triumph.   This season was too full of injuries and a lack of offense to give the fans at AT&T Park a chance to root for the “G Men” during the month of October.   I was fortunate to have been able to attend – a dozen games this season, having purchased  tickets from a …Continue Reading


posted 09/27/2011

Groupon for Surgery: A Bad Idea

Like many of you, I get a daily Groupon e-mail and will often take a look and see what special deal is being offered.   I admit to being intrigued by the upcoming Tomato Battle taking place in my town next weekend (modeled after the annual rite in Bunyol, Spain), but I’ll leave it up to a few thousand others to enjoy that event.     While I have serious reservations about the longevity of the business model (which were confirmed by Groupon’s recent …Continue Reading


posted 09/15/2011

A Taste of Merlindia Videos

The gourmet food truck has emerged as a new dining category in many larger American cities, giving urban workers additional lunchtime options and aspiring chefs a new means of delivering their fare besides having to open a restaurant. The trend has even spawned its own reality show, The Great Food Truck Race on The Food Network.   We traveled to Merlindia (via Washington, DC) to check out one of the more popular food trucks (as evidenced by the long lines) offered by …Continue Reading

posted 08/23/2011

Social Media Helps The Help

A recently released movie called “The Help” finished this past weekend as the top grossing movie, beating out bigger budget flicks about apes, kids, and a re-made barbarian.  What’s remarkable about this feat is that The Help didn’t open as the top movie its first week.   Opening week sets the tone for a movie’s revenue trajectory,  and revenue as well as ranking typically fall with each succeeding week a movie is in theaters.    The Help broke that trend, appealing to …Continue Reading

posted 05/31/2011

Just Feed Me!

Last month, my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans and witnessing the 41st year of Jazzfest (a great music experience for those of you who enjoy outdoor concerts).   Based on a tip from a waitress at breakfast, we learned about a great restaurant that had earned the #1 rating on Trip Advisor and I was determined we would eat there sans reservation.   We found the Louisiana Bistro on relatively quiet Rue Dauphine, which was remarkable given that …Continue Reading


posted 04/08/2011

Wisdom can be found …

…where you least expect it.     Just remember to keep your eyes open!

posted 03/24/2011

ASCRS Happenings

Well, as I described in last month’s Pecha Kucha video segment, the buzz on laser refractive cataract surgery is heating up!   Those of you wondering what all the fuss is about may want to read an article I wrote that’s the cover story in the March issue of CRST.   I’m bullish on this technology and believe it will transform both cataract and refractive surgery and improve vision for millions of people.  So are the four key manufacturers, each of which will have …Continue Reading

posted 03/16/2011
1 response

Relearning How We Teach

As a nation, we often hear (and proclaim ourselves) that “our children are the future” and use this mantra to justify spending more money on education. It’s hard to argue with the cause, but the data trends seem to indicate we are headed in the wrong direction. Every few months or so, another report appears in the media describing how we are falling behind other industrialized nations in terms of educating the next generation of workers and leaders, particularly at …Continue Reading


posted 02/17/2011

Pecha Kucha – a better way to present

How many times have you sat through a powerpoint presentation where the speaker went on far too long? I bet you are saying it happens far too often for your liking!   One cure for the ailing PPT comes in the form of Pecha Kucha, a Japanese-inspired method of giving presentations that is really effective. Pecha Kucha (pronounced pe-chach-ka) comes from the Japanese phrase for “chit chat” and is based on a simple formula: 20 slides x 20 seconds per slide. …Continue Reading

posted 01/26/2011
2 responses

The Power of an Idea

Some say that money makes the world go ‘round. I say that ideas are what make the world around us happen (and often fueled by money in order for them to take root and prosper).   This past year, two Hollywood blockbuster movies deeply explored the power of an idea, albeit in different ways. Inception explored the notion of altering the future through the planting of ideas during a person’s dream state and brough literal meaning to the phrase “getting …Continue Reading

posted 12/21/2010
1 response

A Senior Moment in Time

January 1, 2011 will mark a special birthday for 7,596 people.   It will also serve as a cultural milestone as the day when the very first Baby Boomers turn 65 years of age.   It’s hard to say “65 years old” because most Boomers wouldn’t describe themselves that way.   About five years ago, I wrote an article on the impact of Baby Boomers on eye surgery as they turned 60.   The heat on that topic only increases as this population enters Medicare and …Continue Reading

posted 11/02/2010
1 response

What Pandas, Beards, and Torture Have in Common

Those of you who are baseball fans will immediately recognize these three icons and their significance to the San Francisco Giants, who have just won their first-ever World Series. Being a resident of the City by the Bay, I too have come down with a bad case of Giants Fever, paying a small fortune for the “cure” by going to Game 1 of the fall classic last week.   What is even more remarkable than the unlikely playoff appearance by …Continue Reading

posted 10/21/2010

A Big Big Business Forum – being held Oct 25-29

Unlike those business seminars that promote a “see all these business and political leaders for $99” deal that takes place in one of the big arenas (which got exposed as not quite meeting customer expectations in a recent article in USA Today), I have just registered for one that is worth sharing with you.   Next week, the Enlightened Business Forum takes place and is expecting 20,000 attendees from 100 countries.   It features 40 of the most innovative business leaders and thinkers in …Continue Reading

posted 10/12/2010
1 response

High Touch and High Tech

Technology is moving at a torrent pace, affecting just about everything in our daily lives at home, at work, and at play. As the world becomes increasingly “high tech,” consumers have a corresponding need for “high touch.” I first learned about this concept as one of ten “Megatrends” in the 1982 book of the same name by futurist by John Naisbitt. This megatrend still holds true today, nearly 30 years later, as evidenced by several business leaders I had the …Continue Reading

posted 09/27/2010
1 response

Reporters Gone Wild

I could not believe my eyes last week when I turned on ABC News and saw a story that represented some of the poorest reporting I had seen in a long time.  It made me think we’ve returned to the days of yellow journalism.   The topic was LASIK, and the story attempted to discredit what has become the the most commonly performed elective surgery worldwide.   Knowing what I know, it seemed to reach too far, especially in light of …Continue Reading

posted 08/27/2010

I’m in a back-to-school state of mind

With apologies to Billy Joel, it seems that summer is over and it’s already back-to-school time with all its associated rituals of getting ready for the new school year. I thought summer went by fast, until I witnessed my oldest daughter start high school this week. How did THAT happen? Among the rituals each fall is the publication of an intriguing list that helps us appreciate the perspectives of today’s college students. The Beloit College Mindset List, issued each fall …Continue Reading

posted 07/27/2010

Hyatt Gets It

Hotels are a good place to learn about emerging consumer preferences, and the new Andaz brand from Hyatt is becoming a big hit with travelers. They’ve eliminated the front desk, and arriving guests are checked in by hosts who have mobile devices in hand. They hire hosts for personality based on retail skill rather than front-desk experience. And they understand that employees are indeed responsible for the customer’s experience. “We’re on show all day, every day,” exclaimed the hotel chef …Continue Reading

posted 07/13/2010

It’s Time for Ice Cream

July is ice cream month, and this frozen delicacy illustrates the history of economic progress and how the value for an offering can increase over time.   I’ve noticed ice cream taking a definite upscale turn lately, as evidenced by five ice cream trends noted in the latest issue of Sunset Magazine.   More than just a fun food, ice cream has some lessons for us, as shown in a video originally published last summer.  This video shows examples of customization, celebration …Continue Reading


Creating Your Customer Experience Cycle – Nov. 2010

Our team of professional “patients” will call and/or visit your practice and keep track of every aspect of their experience. This is essential for surgeons who offer LASIK and/or Premium IOLs. You will receive a detailed analysis that can be used to help train doctors and staff to continuously improve the way patients perceive your practice.   Click here to learn more.

posted 06/25/2010

Are You Happy?

Whenever I see employee surveys that indicate that the majority of workers are not happy with their current job, I get concerned. In my view, it takes happy employees to create happy customers. That is, high customer satisfaction and outstanding customer experiences don’t just happen on their own. They are the result of dedicated employees who understand and live out on a daily basis their organization’s mission and values.   You can tell when you walk into a place if …Continue Reading

posted 06/07/2010
2 responses

Is Luxury Back?

After a year or longer where most luxury offerings got hammered by a never-seen-this-before economy, there are new signs of life that are a positive for those of you who offer refractive surgery and other elective services.   In the first quarter of this year, luxury hotels such as the Four Seasons showed a 17% increase in room bookings over the same period last year. This compares to a 5% increase across all hotels in the US.   This is …Continue Reading

posted 05/27/2010

Nobody Wants Eye Surgery

Click here to read the article

posted 05/21/2010

Patient Experience Audit

Our team of professional “patients” will call and/or visit your practice and keep track of every aspect of their experience. This is essential for surgeons who offer LASIK and/or Premium IOLs. You will receive a detailed analysis that can be used to help train doctors and staff to continuously improve the way patients perceive your practice.   Do you know what is happening at your front desk? Are you losing patients before they even come through your door? Let SM2 …Continue Reading

posted 05/05/2010

Going Undercover

There’s a new show on network television that first debuted following this year’s Super Bowl game.  And it’s worth watching!   It’s Called “Undercover Boss” and shows executives of major companies taking a week-long break from their leadership role to re-enter their company as an entry-level employee.   I really like the premise and the “aha” moments experienced by executives as they get an unvarnished view of what it’s like to work in the corporation they lead.   These executives change their …Continue Reading

posted 12/22/2009

Saying No to the Super Bowl

It wasn’t front page business news, but Pepsi’s announcement last week that it’s not going to advertise in the coming Super Bowl has major significance. Advertising on the day of professional football’s climactic moment each season has become a big deal for advertisers and consumers alike. Increasingly, going to a Super Bowl party has become as much about watching the TV ads as the game itself – everyone’s chatting during the game and then there’s a big “hush” when they …Continue Reading

posted 10/12/2009

The Power of Empowerment

What separates a good business from a bad one? In the realm of service and customer experience, it all boils down to people. A recent trip to my alma mater, The University of Michigan, offers two encounters that illustrate what happens when people are or are not empowered to take care of customers.   In Ann Arbor, a stop at Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a must for anyone who has set foot on campus in the past 25 years. It’s an institution that …Continue Reading

posted 09/21/2009

Singin’ the Blues at Jury Duty

As is our civic duty, today was my turn for jury duty. Most of us, myself included, dread this annual event. But once you arrive and start to observe the wheels of justice turning, things can get interesting.   It often helps to keep an open mind in life, and today is another reminder of that principle. Sitting in the jury “waiting room” (a term I hope to abolish in medical practices), I was struck by the way the clerk …Continue Reading

posted 09/18/2009

A New Palace in Dallas

Dallas Cowboys Stadium   This weekend, the new home of the Dallas Cowboys will be unveiled to the National Football League and football fans everywhere. Team owner Jerry Jones has spent $1.2 billion on a stadium that strives to re-define the game-day experience, with 70 foot high-def TV screens, 20,000 standing room only tickets (on top of 82,000 seats), and 7 acres of designed open space surrounding the stadium.   This brings a new wow factor to those who attend …Continue Reading

posted 08/21/2009

Stop Walking Backwards

Although I came across several stories on healthcare this week that were candidates for commentary, here’s one that has nothing to do with healthcare but will make you smile and remind you about what’s really important to your customers.   You may recall taking campus tours when deciding which college to attend. They can be boring, feel overly scripted, and can be downright dangerous to the student leading the tour, who’s walking backwards most of the time.   One of …Continue Reading

posted 07/20/2009

It’s Your Job To Know

In our town we have access to a hiking trail that surrounds a newly developed golf course. It turns out to be a great place to go for a run, as the trail winds through the hills and offers spectacular views, alternating between open fields and shady tree groves. Somewhere in the middle of all this is the golf course clubhouse, a good pit stop if needed.   Today I wandered into the pro shop, curious about the distances on …Continue Reading

posted 07/19/2009

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For ….

Ice Cream, of course!   July is national ice cream month (who knew?), and we devote this month’s Premium Experience Network broadcast to America’s favorite summertime treat (excluding margaritas).   The value creation that has been developed by the ice cream industry is worth noting and offers many lessons for how we can enhance customer experiences. You will see the history of economic progress… through the world of ice cream.   And be sure to download the above worksheet to …Continue Reading

posted 07/02/2009

A Fifth and a Fourth

Click Here For Full Story   Medicare just announced that they want to take 21.5% away from physicians in the form of reduced payments. That puts them more than one-fifth of the way towards the year 2017, now forecast by Medicare’s Trustees as the date the system will go broke (two years ahead of schedule, I might add). Any wrangling and arguing about reducing the cuts may act as a form of self preservation in the short term. This effort, …Continue Reading