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Sunday, December 30, 2007

(If you just looked at my video to the left, it talks about last Thursday’s posting here. I’ll change the welcoming video to date-neutral soon! John)

On this date:

James Gadsden, U.S. Minister to Mexico, and General Antonio López de Santa Anna, President of Mexico, signed the Gadsden Purchase in Mexico City on December 30, 1853. The treaty settled the dispute over the exact location of the Mexican border west of El Paso, Texas, giving the U.S. claim to approximately 29,000 square miles of land in what is now southern New Mexico and Arizona, for the price of $10,000,000.

U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis had sent Gadsden to negotiate with Santa Anna for this tract of land which many people, including Davis, believed to be strategic for the construction of the southern transcontinental railroad. Many supporters of a southern Pacific railroad route came to believe that a transcontinental route which stretched through the Gadsden Purchase territory would greatly advantage southern states should hostilities break out with the north.

The first transcontinental railroad was, however, constructed along a more northerly route by the "big four" of western railroad construction—Collis P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker. A southern transcontinental route through territory acquired by the Gadsen Purchase was not a reality until 1881 when the tracks of the "big four's" Southern Pacific met those of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe in the Territory of New Mexico.

It's the birthday of the man who introduced us to Coca-Cola, Asa Griggs Candler, born in Villa Rica, Georgia (1851). He grew up during the Civil War and wanted to be a doctor, but his family was so poor that he could only receive an elementary school education before becoming a pharmacist's apprentice. But Candler proved to be business savvy, slowly building his own drugstore empire, and in 1886 he bought sole rights to John Pemberton's original formula of Coca-Cola and formed the Coca-Cola Company in 1890. Candler understood the importance of advertising. He used calendars, billboards, and posters to keep the Coca-Cola trademark prominent in the public's mind. After selling the patent in 1919, he went on to serve as Atlanta's mayor and funded a teaching hospital for Emory University's Medical School.
It's the birthday of musician and songwriter Bo Diddley, born Ellas Bates in McComb, Mississippi (1928). His big break came in 1955, when he recorded "Uncle John" and "Who Do You Love?" for Chess Records in Chicago, and these two songs became the foundation for early rock 'n' roll. He once said, "I opened the door for a lot of people, and they just ran through and left me holding the knob."

From today’s New York Times: Innovative Minds Don’t Think Alike When experts have to slow down and go back to basics to bring an outsider up to speed it forces them to look at their world differently and, as a result, they come up with new solutions to old problems.

Two ways to create this effect and get new solutions: 1) bring in an experienced consultant, not to tell you what to do but to listen and ask questions or 2) join a business peer support group. To find out more about the Franklin Circle for entrepreneurs, business owners, and creative managers I’m now forming, email me at

I just posted this on the Made to Stick website. Do you think I’ll get one of the free books?

Morris Massey was a popular teacher at the University of Colorado who made the concept of a "significant emotional experience" stick in one lesson, which I’ve borrowed many times.

Massey taught that "who we are now is where we were when" that our values were formed by the age of 5. These values change with a "significant emotional experience." What's that? To explain, Massey told this story:

"I was Dean of the business school at the University of Colorado when we build a new business school building. It was beautiful, with wood paneled halls on the main floor. Students at CU had developed a habit of bringing bicycles into class, and it was quickly clear that 1) the bikes were ruining our wood paneling and 2) students ignored the “No bikes” signs and verbal warnings . So I decided to create a significant emotional experience.

“When classes were changing, and the hall packed with students, I tore a bike away from a student and stomped out the spokes of both wheels with the hiking boots I was wearing. As you can imagine, seeing and hearing this happen gave me the full attention of all the students who packed the hallway around us. I picked up the bike and gave it back to the student as I said in a very loud voice, ‘If you don’t respect my property, I’m not going to respect yours. Don’t bring your bike in here, it tears up my beautiful new home.’ This immediately stopped the bike problem.”

I very often tell this story in training workshops to make my point about the importance of emotion in change, the story seems to make the point very sticky.

John S. Wren, MBA+
Business Consultant & Adult Educator

If you still have one of the 100 books, would you please send it to:
John Wren
960 Grant St. #727
Denver, CO 80203

Thanks for the very Good Work you are doing!

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