Hi, I'm Don Neal and welcome to what I hope you'll find is a fresh approach to how you think about your business, your job and, occasionally, your life. I Iook forward to hearing your questions, ideas and feedback.

Thanks, and here's to the future.

Don's blog: Gratitude
Every year at Thanksgiving, I take personal stock of what I have to be thankful for. Among many other things for which I am grateful, I am grateful for you, the reader of my weekly blog.

I chose to revisit my Thanksgiving blog from last year for a few reasons: I couldn’t improve upon it, the sentiment feels even more relevant this year and we all need a reminder of the basics now and then.

I wish you a peaceful and meaningful Thanksgiving this year.

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Are You Disney or the Movie Theater?
If you’ve ever wondered why Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube are producing their own original content and programming, the answer is clear. None of them want to be a “dumb pipe.” Being a utility that carries someone else’s original work, ideas, creativity and “content” is a recipe for low margins and commoditization.

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A New Lens for Conference Designers
It’s long been understood that most business or professional conferences and trade shows have been about the 3 C’s: content, commerce and community. These three legs of the stool for big, national events made sense. Aggregate an array of education and programming known as content. Host a football-field-size trade show with booths and let people wander, looking for the right company that had what the “shopper” was looking for. And bring a community of like-minded people together in the hope that the right people would find each other and build or renew a professional relationship.

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The 3 Screens
If you asked someone to follow you for a day and record the amount of time you interacted with a screen, would your screen time outweigh the amount of time you interact with people face-to-face?

You might think that live media (real human interaction) outweighs digital, but it would be good to know for sure. According to a recent CNN report, Americans spend 10 hours and 39 minutes a day on a screen, consuming media – gorging really. Maybe you’re the exception.

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And You Think Health Care Is Complicated
You may have never been to a medical conference or a scientific meeting, but I have, and I’ll tell you they are something to behold.

This past week I hosted a group of medical society executives to talk about the challenges and opportunities they are facing with the physicians, nurses, researchers, academics, medical students, residents and a myriad of other cohorts in the communities they serve.

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The only time any of us ever wanted to hear this question was when we were under the age of 10. Why?

A recent WSJ article titled “When Did You First Feel Old?” by Clare Ansberry, got me thinking: when did I first feel old? And the answer – not yet.

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Don's Blog: Do you "get" your audience?
We all want to be understood: to be heard, listened to, cared about.

We want those who are close to us to “get us.” It’s high praise when you can say to someone, “you get me.” We all know what it means and what it feels like. To get someone you have to care about them. We have to want to know what makes them tick. And, in most long-term professional relationships, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care (cheesy but still true).

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Don's Blog: Who is your Alexa?
Marketers have long known about the awareness continuum–the process of moving a shopper or a potential new customer from a state of unawareness to awareness, then to interest, consideration, trial, purchase, repurchase, and ultimately loyalty and brand advocacy.

In a recent WSJ article, Amazon Takes Over The World, I was surprised to learn that 55% of searches for products begin on Amazon, not Google. The author points out that “Amazon could be described as a search engine with a warehouse attached to it.”

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How many questions do we ask each day?
But by the nature of his questions.” This Voltaire quote has long inspired me, and after watching a commencement speech delivered by James Ryan, the new president of UVA, it got me thinking. How many questions do we ask each day?

While there is no precise data, there is some evidence that children ask about 125 questions a day, and adults, six. Even with a big statistical variance, I believe we do stop asking questions as we get older. There are many reasons: we know more, we think we know more, we don’t want to be embarrassed, we lose our curiosity … the list is long.

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We all know what it feels like to be in the company of someone who is: not paying attention, not hearing, not listening, maybe even looking away—in a word, not being mindful.
Have you ever thought what it means to be preoccupied? We all know what it feels like to be in the company of someone who is: not paying attention, not hearing, not listening, maybe even looking away—in a word, not being mindful.

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