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Throw The Corporate Look Away

One of my friends, Philip Tirone, is a master at creating
deep emotional connections. In fact, that’s exactly what Elovon, his marketing
company, does.  They help clients create
strong bonds with their clients and potential clients.  Philip has managed to fill a marketing niche
that had been previously void, not because someone told him how to do it, or because he read it in a book.  But, because he has worked hard and perfected his approach through a lot of trial and error and pure old-fashioned effort.  If he were a little younger, and playing football, his name might have been, “Rudy.”

You see, Philip does not have the Rudy Syndrome.  On the contrary, he has worked harder than most people I know to gain an edge in a ridiculously competitive marketplace.  In honor of tonight’s BCS National Championship Game in which Notre Dame will play for the college football title for first time since 1988, I want to share some advice Philip gave me.  It goes like this: “Throw the corporate look away.”

Here is the lesson he teaches to go along with that simple advice.



A lot of business owners are trained to think that all their
marketing and branding collateral should be glossy and polished. They think
that true professionals should embrace the corporate look.

The truth, though, is that people do not connect with
corporations.
 
People connect with people.

This doesn’t mean you should ditch the suits and jump into a
pair of sweatpants when you go to your next meeting. It means that your
marketing materials should be designed to be warm and personal.

For example, don’t just send weekly emails to your customer list.  Everyone does that.  Get personal.  Tell them about you and what makes you human.  In Philip’s case, he literally tells readers about his wife, the birth of his fourth child, his goals,
and—most of all—his failures. He told his customers and potential customers
about how he was practically illiterate going into college, and about how his
income tanked one year.  This vulnerability helps
his customers and potential customers know and
trust him.

“Imagine the weight this carries later when I ask them to do
something or buy something,” he said to me. “My customers and potential
customers know me. They know that what I’m saying is authentic.”

Philip has an exercise that helps clients learn how to write
using a personal and conversational tone. He asks them to look at the emails in
their sent file and identify those sent to close friends and family members.
Then he tells them to use these emails as a template for style, voice, and
tone.

If your potential customers do
not know who you are, they will be far less likely to buy from
you. Let them know, and they will reward you.


Thanks, Phil, for being an example of an entrepreneur who does not have the Rudy Syndrome. 

And, now, Go Irish!

Predictions for 2013

As I tweeted on Christmas Eve: what a difference a year makes. Since we racked up an all-time high score of 90% on our 2012 predictions, we’re feeling pretty smug at the moment.  But, we have no delusions of grandeur here.  We know our long-standing tradition of predicting the future is based on no science or fact whatsoever.  So, if next year’s score is an all-time low, we wont be surprised.  With that overwhelming vote of confidence, here is what we see happening in 2013, in no particular order.


1.  The madness that is the fiscal cliff negotiations will be replayed all over again at the end of February, when the Republicans will avoid any substantial revenue increases, which we need, and the Democrats will avoid any substantial spending cuts, which we need.  The net result will be the worst of each, rather that the best of both.

2.  Which brings us to prediction number two: Americans will continue to dislike Congress more and more, despite having sent virtually all members back for another term in the 2012 elections, something some people would acknowledge is the textbook definition of insanity.

3.  People will start refering to the year 2013 colloquially as “’13″ or “thirteen,” rather than “two-thousand thirteen” or “twenty-thirteen.”  This will save thousands of wasted words, hours of airtime, Twitter characters, and newsprint as we finally let ourselves merge into the 21st Century, rather than holding onto the “year two-thousand” as if it happened ten minutes ago.

4.  NFL fans, owners, and players will stop pretending and finally acknowledge that professional football is only about making money and has nothing to do with putting together a winning team to which fans can become attached.

5.  The shine that wore off of Facebook after its less-than-stellar IPO will continue to tarnish as other more targeted social interaction opportunities continue to emerge in online communities, and advertisers acknowledge that the Facebook marketing model they didn’t really understand doesn’t really work.

6.  Americans, regardless of party-affiliation or political involvement, will begin to realize what an effective Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was, as her replacement begins to be scrutinized for failing to live up to the incredibly high standard she set.

7.  Business leaders from various industries will be recruited to run for office as Americans become less and less satisfied with the extremist positions taken by their elected officials, as well as their complete failure to represent the vast majority of the population who have center-right political views.  And, some of those business leaders will accept the challenge.

8.  Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, will move back to her home state of New Mexico to pursue the continuation of her extremely successful and politically astute career in the public sector, this time seeking national office.

9.  Charitable giving will trend toward educational charities rather than those focused on medical research and human welfare.

10.  And, evidence of global warming will continue to mount, regardless of the insistence by some that, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary, global warming is pure fiction.

That sums up our fifth annual look at ten predictions for the year ahead.  Help us keep score and be sure to tell us where you disagree.

But, mostly, we encourage you to spend every day committed to developing your skill on par with your talent. 

Happy New Year from The Rudy Syndrome!

 

2012 Score Card

As we approach the end of 2012, and reflect on the past 12 months, we have to take a deep breath and determine how we fared on our annual predictions.  Any time there is a presidential election, things are necessarily more difficult to predict.  But, before we start making excuses, let’s see how we did.  Who knows, maybe we’ll beat our all time record of 80% recorded in 2011.  Here goes:

1. The Republicans wont know who their 2012 presidential candidate is until shortly before the RNC convention in Florida, as primary candidates trade leadership positions in the polls and at least four candidates win at least one state’s caucuses or primary election. This will have the side effect of weakening the Republican candidate’s chances in the general election and will give president Obama a large lead going into the general election cycle.
TRUE.  Mitt Romney was not deemed to be the Republicans’ presumptive nominee until June, and even as late as July, there was still talk about Ron Paul supporters attempting to stage a protest at the RNC Convention.  Just as we predicted, four candidates, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich, won delegates in Republican primaries. This did give Obama a lead that the Republicans never could close, and thus, a second term for President Obama.
2. The situation on the ground in Iran will destabilize to the point where the US has to get involved in stabilizing control of Iran’s nuclear arsenal.
TRUE.  Iran brazenly continued its nuclear weapons program, despite UN votes against it, and threats to take action in the absence of an agreement by Iran to discontinue development.  The US issued Iran a nuclear deadline this month before taking formal military action.
3. Similarly, in Pakistan, the increasing turmoil will escalate as military and political leaders struggle for power.  US-Pakistani relations will deteriorate and the US will be forced to reevaluate its relationship with Pakistan and its support for Pakistani leadership.
TRUE.  The fact that we got this one right is most troubling.  Notwithstanding the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, which resulted in the death of the Al Qaida leader who had been hiding in Pakistan, the US’s relationship with Pakistan has now deteriorated to the point where it has reached a dangerous low.  
4. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will continue to stand out as a capable and respected leader and a commanding presence in US international relations, causing even more Democrats to wonder why she wasn’t their candidate in 2008, and calling for her to replace vice president Biden as president Obama’s running mate in the 2012 general election, or better yet, to challenge the president in a Democratic primary.
TRUE.  In fact, Secretary Clinton’s recent resignation as Secretary of State has generated all sorts of talk about her inevitable run for president in 2016.  She has made her boss and her party look good with her tireless efforts to represent the US abroad for the past four years.  She will be a formidable force in the coming years.
5. Congress will continue to have abysmally low approval ratings as they engage in another partisan fight about the debt ceiling, payroll taxes, and health care, rather than focusing on coming together to make progress on ways to balance the budget, address the state of education, and solve immigration issues.
TRUE.  Congress hit a low of 13% approval in August.  That basically means only family members and paid staffers aprove of the job Congress is doing.  (Thanks, Sen McCain, for use of your joke.)  In the midst of the current fiscal cliff debacle, the ratings, which peaked at 21% in November, are back on a downward trend, hovering at about 18% as of this writing.
6.  US troops will continue to leave Iraq, but will deploy to new areas of the destabilizing Middle East.
TRUE.  The troop numbers in Iraq decreased in 2012, despite requests from the Iraqi government to leave stabilizing troops in place after 2012.  Additionally, there were new and additional deployments to Turkey, Syria, and other areas in and around the Middle East during the year.
7. Redistricting resulting from the 2010 Census will inure to the benefit of the Democrats who will pick up seats in districts previously drawn to favor Republicans.
TRUE/FALSE.  Redistricting did help Democrats pick up a lop-sided number of seats in Arizona, where Republicans have the largest percentage of registered voters.  But, the same was not necessarily true in all sates.  So, we get half a point on this one.
8. Social media-driven movements, much like the Arab Spring, will continue to drive policy, influence opinion, and impact consumer spending.
TRUE/FALSE.  While studies are universally showing no impact on sales as a result of social media engagement by companies, major movements took hold via social networking in 2012 in Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Dehli, and other important stories.  So, we get half a point here, as well.
9. The unemployment rate will continue to decline slightly.
TRUE.  The US unemployment rate started at 8.3% in January and November’s number came in at 7.7%.
10.  And, charitable giving will start to make a slight come back as some unemployed Americans go back to work.
TRUE.  Thankfully, donations to charitable groups continued to rise in 2012, suggesting Americans may feel a bit less unease about the economic prospects in the near term.
So, where does that leave us?  Looks like if we give ourselves partial credit for predictions 7 and 8, we’ve come in at an all time high of 90%.  Perhaps that is a sign we should quit making predictions now?  90% would be very hard to beat in coming years.
But, we still have to talk about the three additional, but unof
ficial, predictions we made at the special request of one of our favorite readers, @Zimmy21.
1. Super Bowl.  We’ll go with an upset in the NFC with the 49ers beating the Packers in the Conference Championship.  The AFC will go to the Patriots, as expected.  So, the Super Bowl will pit the perennially outstanding Patriots against the newly reinvigorated 49ers.  
Results: Pats over Niners.  Spread = 7.
FALSE.  Not even close.  The Giants beat the Patriots 21 to 7.
2. Tebow.  The Broncos will beat the the Steelers in a down-to-the wire AFC Wild Card Game (sorry @horsestoharleys), but the Patriots will easily handle Tebow, despite Divine intervention, in the Divisional Playoffs.  Tebow will go on to win at least ten games as the Broncos’ starter in the 2012 season.
FALSE. Not only did Tebow not win 10 games, he ended up playing for the Jets.
3. Democratic pick-ups.  The current split in the US House is 242 (R) to 192 (D).  After redistricting, the Rs will keep the majority, but the Ds will pick up somewhere around 15 seats, making the R majority much narrower.  This, of course, has the unfortunate side effect of making an already unproductive Congress even more evenly split, more partisan, and less likely to get anything significant done.
TRUE.  The Democrats significantly narrowed the Republicans’ majority, reducing the gap to 234 (R) to 201 (D).
Now, if we count the un-official predictions, we’re at 77%.  A much less respectable, but still better than average, rate of success.  Still, we’re going with the 90% we got on the official predictions as we mentioned we would at the time we made the predictions as we have no expertise to predict the outcomes of specific sporting contests.
And, as per our long-standing tradition, here is how our own trend line is looking:

Historical Recap

2009

75%

2010

60%

2011

 80% 

2012

90%

Stay tuned for our 2013 predictions, coming up soon.

Mitt Romney Does Not Have The Rudy Syndrome

A month or two ago, with political polls showing widening gaps in favor of President Obama, Governor Romney’s public approval ratings slipping, and political pundits claiming he had no chance of winning, presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, looked doomed to certain electoral defeat.  If you asked me at that point (and, many people did), I said the following:
“if the election were today, Governor Romney would lose.  But, there is a way he can win, he simply has to establish a plan, and follow it.”

Turns out that in this particular game of predicting the future, I must humbly confess that my predictive skills, although apparently accurate, were accompanied by a healthy level of skepticism.  I truly believed there was a way for Governor Romney to win, I just didn’t believe he would actually do it.

You see, based on the way his campaign had been conducted up to that point, with an almost singularly inward focus, it seemed to me there was no possible way Governor Romney would find the inner fortitude to put on the brakes, look his inner circle of advisors in the eyes, tell them to take their heads out of the sand, and establish and follow a winning plan for the remainder of the campaign.  I could not have been more wrong.

Yes, not only did they establish a plan, but for the past few months, they have been expertly executing said plan with surgical precision.  It appears to have started with the first debate, which even his fiercest critics agree Governor Romney won.  Since that time, the tide has shifted and President Obama’s chances of winning have gone from 100% to zero. 

How did this happen?  It’s easy.  Mitt Romney does not have the Rudy Syndrome.  He has a set of talents and he has been developing his skills with respect to those talents from a very early age.  In that way, his integrity and discipline, which are now second nature to him, carried him through the most difficult part of the campaign: the part where everyone says you’re going to lose.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have admired the President’s campaign savvy and political skill, as well.  And, in all candor, until very recently, I was certain he would be a two-term President.

In this particular case, however, it looks like sheer will and determination are going to win out over connectedness and political smoothness.  Whether you agree with his politics or not, you have to admire Governor Romney for refusing to give up or give in.  And, for that, we salute him.




12.25.12 Editor’s Update
We have received 3,124 new comments on this post since the election.  Most, surprisingly, in support of Governor Romney.  We were obviously wrong in our prediction about the election, but our readers have enthusiastically agreed that Romney does not have the Rudy Syndrome.  Whether you voted for him or not, one truth remains: every effort is worth your entire effort, whether you win or lose.

The Trust Edge

My good friend, David Horsager, is the foremost researcher and expert on trust in America.  He wrote a book, The Trust Edge, in 2010, to help educate business leaders on the importance and value of trust in business.  The book was so well-received, Simon & Schuster, one of the top five publishers in the country, is re-releasing it on October 9th, as their lead business book of 2012. I cannot recommend it highly enough.








I invited David to guest-author an article here to briefly explain why trust is important, and why you might want to read his book.  Here is a slightly modified version of what he sent me.





The Real Crisis and 8 Ways to
Beat It

You’ve heard we are in the midst of a financial crisis.  That much is obvious.  But, did you know our financial woes pale in comparison to the crisis of trust we have on our hands?  That’s right.  Our most significant crisis revolves around a lack of trust.  When even leaders of the World Economic Forum agree that our biggest crisis is a lack of trust and confidence, you know it must be serious. Sadly, few people really understand the
bottom line implications. Not only does it affect credit and government
relations, it affects every relationship and every organization.
Professor John Whitney of the Columbia Business School found, “Mistrust doubles
the cost of doing business.” I think it costs even more. Trust is not just a
“soft skill,” it is the fundamental key to all lasting success.

Without
trust, leaders lose teams and sales people lose sales. We all lose
productivity, retention of good people, reputation, morale and revenue. The
lower the trust the more time everything takes, the more everything costs, and
the lower the loyalty of everyone involved. However, with greater trust come
greater innovation, creativity, impact, freedom, morale, and a bigger bottom
line.

All
of my Graduate research points to the fact that
trust is
the unique commonality of the most successful leaders and organizations.
Obtaining this level of trust isn’t easy. If you are looking for a quick fix,
don’t look to trust. While it may appear to be static, in reality it is more
like a forest—a long time growing, but easily burned down with a touch of
carelessness. Trust is by nature solid and proven. Without trust no lasting, genuine success exists–just a brittle, fluffy, mirage of the real thing. The
good news is that we can build this fundamental key to success. It is worth it!
And it is the ONLY way to genuine relational or organizational success. The
Trust Edge is the competitive advantage gained by being trusted whether as a
mom or dad, a community leader or a consultant, or a business owner or
government leader. Following is a synopsis of the eight pillars that build the
Trust Edge.

1. Consistency: It’s the little things, done consistently,
that make the big difference. In every area of life it is the little things. If
I am over weight it is because I have eaten too many calories over time, not
because I ate too much yesterday. If I am a good husband I am doing the little
things that honor my wife on a daily basis. It is the same in business. The
little things done consistently make for leaders being followed, increased
sales and retention, and a higher level of trust. Consistency is
the
way brands are built and character is revealed. Even if we don’t like
McDonald’s, we trust them because they deliver the same burger in Cleveland as
in Tokyo. Do the little things, consistently.

2. Clarity: People trust the clear and mistrust or distrust the
ambiguous. Be clear about your mission, purpose, expectations, and daily
activities. When people are clear about the mission they do the little things
differently. A clear mission unifies and inspires. When a manager is clear in
expectations, she will likely get what she wants. When we are clear about
priorities on a daily basis we become productive and effective.

3. Compassion: Think beyond yourself. Never underestimate the power
of sincerely caring. It is the reason we trust our mothers over some sales
people. We are skeptical if the sales person really has our best interest in
mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just an old
saying, it is a bottom line truth. If followed it builds trust.

4. Character:
Do what is right over
what is easy. Leaders who built this trust consistently did what needed
to be done when it needed to be done whether they felt like doing it or not. It
is the work of life to do what is right over what is easy.

5. Contribution: Few things build trust quicker than actual
results. Be a contributor who delivers real results!

6. Competency: Staying fresh, relevant and capable builds trust. The
humble teachable person keeps learning new and better ways of doing things.
They stay current on ideas and trends. According to one study the key
competency of new MBA’s is not a specific skill, but rather the ability to
learn amidst chaos. Arrogance and a “been-there-done-that” attitude keep people
from growing. There is always more to learn, so make a habit of reading,
learning, and listening to fresh information.

7. Connection: People want to follow, buy from, and be around friends.
People become friends when they build connection. Ask questions. Listen. Life,
work,
and trust are about relationships. All
relationships are best built by establishing 
genuine
connection.

8. Commitment: Stick with it through adversity.  Followers trusted General Patton, Martin
Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Jesus, and George Washington, because they saw
commitment. They saw sacrifice for the greater good. Commitment reveals and it
builds trust.

Trust
does not start with the economy or government.
The good news is that YOU can build these pillars and enjoy greater
relationships, revenue and results.
It
starts with individuals becoming trusted. When will we get out of this trust
crisis? When we as individuals decide to build the
Trust Edge on a daily basis. Keep on being trusted.

David Horsager, MA, CSP, is an award-winning speaker,
author, producer, and business strategist who has researched and spoken on the
bottom-line impact of trust across four continents. His brand new book titled, The Trust Edge: What Top Leaders Have &
8 Pillars to Build It
gives the framework for building trust at work or at
home. Get free resources and more at www.DavidHorsager.com and www.TheTrustEdge.com.


A key result that flows from developing your skill on par with your talent is the trust that comes from living a life of integrity.  We here at the Rudy Syndrome encourage you to read or listen to The Trust Edge, and to live its principles every day.

Rudy: My Story

Ever wonder what Rudy Reuttiger, inspiration for The Rudy Syndrome, has been doing since graduating from Notre Dame?  Well, you’re in luck.  He has a new book out.  And, as you may have guessed, we highly recommend it.


Here is an excerpt from Amazon’s review:

How does a lower middle class kid, who suffered through school with undiagnosed dyslexia, get into Notre Dame and become the inspiration for millions in a Hollywood film that has become one of the most inspiring sport movies ever made? He never gave up.
The inspirational real-life story of the man behind the beloved movie Rudy, his continued determination to make his dreams come true, and how you can dream big too.

And, here is an interview with Rudy discussing the book, in his own words:


Thanks for continuing to inspire us, Rudy.  And, thanks for being the original real-life example of what it looks like to develop your skill on par with your talent. 

A refresher: What is the Rudy Syndrome?

This article was initially posted on December 25, 2007. Since so many have asked me to explain the Rudy Syndrome lateyly, I thought it was worth a little refresher course. 


The Rudy Syndrome is not a disease.  It is not even a real syndrome.  The Rudy Syndrome is a state of mind.  

I made up the term “The Rudy Syndrome” as a way to refer to a certain attitude many years ago after watching the movie “Rudy” about famous Notre Dame football player, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger.  Rudy was a small, not-very-talented, but determined young man from Joliet, Illinois.   Rudy made it his goal to make the football team at the University of Notre Dame, despite all odds being stacked against him.  If you haven’t seen the movie detailing this heroic story, it is a must see.  

So, here’s how The Rudy Syndrome works.  There are people who have heart.  And, there are people who have talent.  The people who have heart work with all their might to be the absolute best they can be at whatever they do.  Rudy was a heart guy.  He gave everything he could to be the absolute best practice team player in the history of Notre Dame football.  No one worked harder than him.  No one.  Although he was never good enough to be a starting player, every guy he played with knew that he made them better just by being willing to take a beating, day after day after day, no matter how much it hurt, because he couldn’t see giving anything less than his absolute best every day, no matter what.  Because he had heart, and gave his best, his team was better because of his efforts.

Then there are the people with talent.  Some of Rudy’s teammates, for example, were given the gift of football greatness.  They didn’t have to work for it, they were just born with it.  Some of them worked hard to become the best football players of their era.  But, some of them didn’t.  Some of them just coasted along on their talent and didn’t put out the effort of a guy like Rudy because they didn’t have to.  They didn’t put in nearly the effort Rudy put in day in and day out.  These guys had The Rudy Syndrome.  

The Rudy Syndrome happens when people of whatever talent level fail to put in the effort to become the very best they can be.  This blog is published for the purpose of focusing on how people can avoid The Rudy Syndrome.

 

So, that’s how it works. We encourage you to avoid the Rudy Syndrome, and to develop your skill on par with your talent, in everything you do.

Predictions for 2012

It’s January 1, 2012, and it’s time for our annual look at the future.  Since we got our score up to 80% this year, we are feeling pretty good about our chances.  So, here is what we think could happen in 2012, in our purely unscientific, objective opinion.

1. The Republicans wont know who their 2012 presidential candidate is until shortly before the RNC convention in Florida, as primary candidates trade leadership positions in the polls and at least four candidates win at least one state’s caucuses or primary election. This will have the side effect of weakening the Republican candidate’s chances in the general election and will give president Obama a large lead going into the general election cycle.
2. The situation on the ground in Iran will destabilize to the point where the US has to get involved in stabilizing control of Iran’s nuclear arsenal.
3. Similarly, in Pakistan, the increasing turmoil will escalate as military and political leaders struggle for power.  US-Pakistani relations will deteriorate and the US will be forced to reevaluate its relationship with Pakistan and its support for Pakistani leadership.
4. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will continue to stand out as a capable and respected leader and a commanding presence in US international relations, causing even more Democrats to wonder why she wasn’t their candidate in 2008, and calling for her to replace vice president Biden as president Obama’s running mate in the 2012 general election, or better yet, to challenge the president in a Democratic primary.
5. Congress will continue to have abysmally low approval ratings as they engage in another partisan fight about the debt ceiling, payroll taxes, and health care, rather than focusing on coming together to make progress on ways to balance the budget, address the state of education, and solve immigration issues.
6.  US troops will continue to leave Iraq, but will deploy to new areas of the destabilizing Middle East.
7. Redistricting resulting from the 2010 Census will inure to the benefit of the Democrats who will pick up seats in districts previously drawn to favor Republicans.
8. Social media-driven movements, much like the Arab Spring, will continue to drive policy, influence opinion, and impact consumer spending.
9. The unemployment rate will continue to decline slightly.
10.  And, charitable giving will start to make a slight come back as some unemployed Americans go back to work.
There are our ten 2012 predictions.  As always, we encourage you to stay positive, work hard, and develop your skill on par with your talent.
Happy New Year from the Rudy Syndrome!

02 January 2012
Special Editor’s update:
Three additional predictions, by special request of one of our favorite readers, @Zimmy21.
1. Super Bowl.  We’ll go with an upset in the NFC with the 49ers beating the Packers in the Conference Championship.  The AFC will go to the Patriots, as expected.  So, the Super Bowl will pit the perennially outstanding Patriots against the newly reinvigorated 49ers.  
Results: Pats over Niners.  Spread = 7.
2. Tebow.  The Broncos will beat the the Steelers in a down-to-the wire AFC Wild Card Game (sorry @horsestoharleys), but the Patriots will easily handle Tebow, despite Divine intervention, in the Divisional Playoffs.  Tebow will go on to win at least ten games as the Broncos’ starter in the 2012 season.
3. Democratic pick-ups.  The current split in the US House is 242 (R) to 192 (D).  After redistricting, the Rs will keep the majority, but the Ds will pick up somewhere around 15 seats, making the R majority much narrower.  This, of course, has the unfortunate side effect of making an already unproductive Congress even more evenly split, more partisan, and less likely to get anything significant done.

2011 SCORE CARD

With 2011 almost over, it is time for us to turn our attention to the long-standing tradition of scoring our prior year’s predictions against what actually happened during the past year.  Last year, we were down to 60% on 2010 predictions, as compared to 75% for 2009.  So, let’s see if we were able to get back to our winning ways.

Here were our predictions for 2011:

1.  Sarah Palin will continue her meteoric rise in popularity among conservatives.  She will also continue to attract huge crowds and followers, until she gets serious about running for president, at which time the Republican base will run to other more serious and qualified candidates.

TRUE: While Palin can still draw a massive crowd at a political rally, gets paid huge fees for giving a speech, and was recently rated the fourth most admired woman in the country, now that the Republican primary campaign season is in full swing, there is not a peep about her being a serious candidate and her approval/popularity rating among the general population has plummeted

2.  President Barack Obama’s approval rating will slowly begin to improve after bottoming out in mid-2011.  The media will support his return to popularity and major news outlets will run specials about the many achievements of the first three years of the Obama Administration.


TRUE: The president’s approval rating at the end of the year is about even with where it started, and it bottomed-out mid-year, as predicted.

3.  Tech IPOs will make a major comeback with Facebook and other tech IPOs reaching Biblically huge proportions.


TRUE: While Facebook didn’t go out in 2011, and appears to be exploring a public offering in 2012, Groupon, Pandora, Zynga, and LinedIn, all major tech companies, created a feeding frenzy when they each filed S-1s and went public in 2011, signaling a renewed market appetite for tech IPOs for the first time in several years.

4.  The unemployment rate, which has been hovering at around 10% for the past two years, will begin to go down.


TRUE: Although there is some suspicion about how official unemployment numbers are calculated, the numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate a reduced level of unemployment from December 2010 (9.4%) to December 2011 (8.6%).

5.  The Stock Market will gain over 1,000 points, and experts will claim there was a major improvement in the economy.


TRUE: The Dow started the year a bit over 11,500, went up to around 12,800, and then settled in to close the year at 12,300.  While Americans see the economy improving, many say they haven’t experienced a personal improvement.

6.  There will be a major troop reduction in Afghanistan.


TRUE: The number of US troops in Afghanistan is down by at least 10,000 to about 90,000, as of a few days ago.  As a side note, the final US troops also returned from Iraq on December 24, 2011.
7.  Conversely, there will be a huge troop increase along the US/Mexico Border as Americans demand border security.
TRUE:  As compared to this time last year, the number of troops along the US-Mexico border is substantially increased.  And, apparently the increased numbers are working because arrests are down significantly and authorities are actually considering reducing the numbe
rs again in 2012.
8.  Secretary Hillary Clinton will become even more powerful and well-respected as she negotiates for America overseas.  This will have the side-effect of causing pundits to acknowledge she should have been the Democratic candidate for president in 2008.
TRUE:  Not only was Secretary Clinton selected as the most admired woman in American for an unprecedented 16th time, but she has been basically single handedly running US relations with foreign governments.  In fact, admiration for her has grown so substantially, there have been several grass roots movements to either get her to run for president and challenge president Obama in a Democratic primary, or at the very least, to replace vice president Biden on the 2012 ticket.
9.  There will be an increase in home-grown terror attempts, and a similar increase in the number of attempts foiled by the law enforcement community, as we approach the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
FALSE:  It could be this was a poorly chosen prediction because it is nearly impossible to verify.  While we suspect we are right on this one, there is no publicly available information to substantiate the claim, so we will subtract a point from our score card for this one.
10.  New airport screening machines that don’t show body parts, require shoes to be removed, or liquids to be disposed, will be developed and deployed to quell the outrage over privacy violations in the current airport screening methodology.
FALSE:  Looks like we were a bit ahead of the manufacturers on this one.  There were some talks about machines of this nature in 2011, but so far, none have been deployed into production in any US airports.  So, we lose a point here.
In summary, looks like we got 8 out of 10 this year.  So, at least we redeemed ourselves from the not-so-great performance last time.  Predictions for 2012 will be here soon.  But, first, a quick historical recap, just for posterity.




Historical Recap

2009

75%

2010

60%

2011

 80% 

2012

 TBD 

There you have it, friends.  Have a healthy and happy 2012 and always remember to develop your skill on par with your talent.

Update on SOPA

Go Daddy has been an active supporter of legislation that allows US
businesses to address the theft of their intellectual property by
foreign criminals, most recently the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). This legislation relies upon current US federal law.
In recent weeks, it has become apparent that our support is no longer
sustainable. It’s critical that the Internet community is behind any
legislative efforts to combat the theft of US property by foreign
criminals. Unless and until the Internet community can get behind
legislative language that accomplishes those goals, we must withdraw our
support.