It is not a new phenomenon for the end of a 'cast to leave me wishing for more. It is rare, if it's ever happened, for one to leave me unsatisfied, as this one did.

I found the first section, establishing Mike & Mark's credibility to speak on the subject, much longer than it needed to be. I accept that every 'cast may reach new listeners with whom the Ms have not built up any credibility, but I just thought this was overdone. And even to some extent devalued by the later section in which Mark talked about being laid off.

And then to go on and on justifying the printing off of the contact list just seemed way out of proportion - it's almost self-evident that (a) the newly laid-off may have no access to a company-owned computer, and (b) even if he or she does, in the real world data disappears, usually at the least convenient time, so something as simple as a printed contact list is a pretty cheap insurance policy.

I'm not saying that you don't have doubters, but in this instance I found that spending so much time catering to them diluted the so-valuable content that you guys have to offer.

MikeK's picture

Its worth the time they spent on it to drill it into you which was obviously successful, you won't forget that part even if you seem to have a negative sense about it.

I have a suggestion. Bring this subject up at a one-on-one, I'm pretty sure you will end up spending at least the same amount of time talking about it in person. I have before.

And then ask all your colleagues who actually does this for themselves now. Do they have a list at home in case of lay-off. Most people don't. It is an important point, especially if you're not yet doing it.


US41's picture

I'm just sitting here all agape. :shock:

Mark's picture

I'm not agape, I'm having a good laugh.

Thanks for the comments Peter. Sorry you disagree with some of our choices. You say it's ALMOST self-evident...that's enough for me to make a point of it. And the hundreds of people I have worked with who also apparently thought it was ALMOST self evident made me spend a lot of time on it. Many of them were as scared as they have even been in their lives.

I would rather hear this from you than hear from ONE person who has lost their job that we could've done more to really drive home our key points.

Thanks for convincing me we were right.


AManagerTool's picture


Do you have a rooster? I thought I was hearing things but I swore I heard a rooster in the background of this cast....LOL

HMac's picture

For me, hearing Mark talk about his own experience when he was fired ADDED credibility. It's rare for Mike and Mark to preface a cast with a "learn from our mistakes" approach...

I DO think you guys shortchanged the value of an electronic backup, though. YES, paper has advantages. But if all I have is paper (and not a copy of the .PST file from Outlook), I will eventually have to manually replicate my entire contacts file in some other computer. Not very efficient. So I'd argue one should do both: regularly print it out, PLUS make a backup copy on a data stick.

PS - LOVED hearing the rooster crowing at about 5 minutes in. Glad you guys are working early!

arc1's picture

There was definitely a rooster.

Got round to listening to this one, can see Peter's point re. length, but thought the content was fine.

Length-wise, I tend to get a bit disappointed if the cast runs out halfway through my commute, which this one did. But that topic's probably been done to death already - some people want shorter ones, some want them longer, and none of us are going to get our $0.00 back.

Good point above re. electronics vs. paper. My attitude is that it's not the medium that matters so much, it's the backup plan. So all my info is stored in gmail, but I regularly export those contacts as a .csv and store it at a different location.

Nb. Peter, thanks for expressing an opinion that dared to disagree - it's good for the forum to have some genuine debate. Just my 2c, but good on you.

WillDuke's picture

I thought the rooster was a subliminal "wake up" call. :lol:

Paper vs digital - why is it one or the other?

Hey, wouldn't is sometimes be convenient to grab a piece of paper and pull a number from it anyway?

I'm all about backups. Backup to tape, backup to disk, backup to USB key, backup backup backup. For the cost of a few sheets of paper, it's just another cheap backup.

Can you imagine yourself saying "Gosh, I wish I didn't have this paper backup." Or "Gosh, I wish I didn't have this digital backup."

Someone else mentioned - TEST YOUR BACKUP! I have seen the results when you don't, and they suck. Oh, and testing paper backup's a snap. :)

ramiska's picture

[quote]Someone else mentioned - TEST YOUR BACKUP! I have seen the results when you don't, and they suck.[/quote]

I never back up using CDs. I have had nothing but problems with mine. My home PC has two hard drives and two operating systems in case of a crash. I put my most important files (digital photos of the kids and [i]now[/i] my contacts) on both drives.

arc1's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]I thought the rooster was a subliminal "wake up" call.[/quote]

Good odds already for the rooster quickly becoming an MT cult figure.

[quote="WillDuke"]Can you imagine yourself saying "Gosh, I wish I didn't have this paper backup." Or "Gosh, I wish I didn't have this digital backup."[/quote]

I can - for example, I've got various backups of my photos (following one harrowing experience a few years back), and have found that actually managing the backups can become a chore if you have too many. I think you're absolutely right that it's better to err on the side of too many, than too few; but I also crave simplicity and low amounts of admin.

peterlevy's picture


Happy to be able to provide a laugh. I figure there is likely to be constant debate between you & Mike about how deep to go into any given subject, how much emphasis, how to balance new listeners versus old hands. If you're like me you'll appreciate as many data points as you can get.

Arc - thanks for the kind words. You got it.

tcomeau's picture

[quote="arc1"]There was definitely a rooster.

I'm going through the interview series again (because I'm hiring again, not because I'm looking) and there's a rooster in the "How to Write a Cover Letter" segment, too. I didn't notice it the first time.


AManagerTool's picture


It's the official rooster hunt!!!

Please post all rooster casts!!!

This is going to be fun!

WillDuke's picture

Any conjectures on whose house has the rooster? My money's on Mike.

HMac's picture

I think Mark acknowledges that it's Mike's. Maybe left over from his restaurant days (he managed his own supply chain?). Try this alternative: because Mark travels so much and is often in different time zones, to make sure he wakes up, he packs a rooster...

WillDuke's picture

Can you see checking a rooster through airport security? Is a beak considered a blade? How long is his beak? How would a rooster handle time changes?

Finally, from the security guard: "Is that a rooster in your pocket? Or are you just glad to see me?" :lol:

mauzenne's picture


I can assure you that I do NOT have any roosters! Who do you think has a greater chance of a drive-by rooster attack -- someone just outside of Washington, DC or someone in TEXAS??? ;-)

And by the way, it wasn't just one rooster ... at one point in the show we had to stop so Mark could run outside and chase [b]30[/b] roosters off his neighbor's lawn. I don't know whether a herd of roosters is called a flock, a gaggle or whatever ... but whatever it is, they should change it to "pests".


P.S. Should we have an annual award for top forum contributors ... the prize being an MT Rooster? ;-)

HMac's picture

"I can't podcast right now, there are 30 roosters on my neighbor's lawn." I almost can't type, I'm laughing so hard... :lol:

I nominate the Rooster as the MT mascot. Maybe it will become part of a logo....or a "sounder" on future poscasts... Maybe, when we form a softball team, we will be the Mighty MT Roosters....

And FogHorn LegHorn is all alltime favorite cartoon character ("I say, I say...")And in true MT spirit, he has a line that represents the greatest example of planning ahead that I know: "fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered, for just such an occasion..."

Seriously (somewhat): the rooster represents a call to action, the beginning of a new day - lots of positive, action-oriented associations.

suedavis's picture

[quote="mauzenne"][A]t one point in the show we had to stop so Mark could run outside and chase [b]30[/b] roosters off his neighbor's lawn.[/quote]

Okay, this sounds like a story that we need to hear.... :-)

WillDuke's picture

Was Mark in Hawaii? Come on, you can tell us the truth. It's okay to be in Hawaii.

We were there and found out, at least on Kauai, a hurricane came in and blew the local roosters all over the island. They roam free and wild. There are frickin' chickens everywhere!

So come on, were you vacationing in Hawaii? :lol:

(And I'd pay good money to see a video of Mark chasing 30 chickens on the neighbors lawn in the early morning. What a great title for a podcast about managment - "Chasing Chickens."

Does that make all of us Chicken Chasers?

suedavis's picture

FWIW, this thread is now the #1 search result if you google for "drive by rooster attack."

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="HMacNiven"]"And FogHorn LegHorn is all alltime favorite cartoon character ("I say, I say...")And in true MT spirit, he has a line that represents the greatest example of planning ahead that I know: "fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered, for just such an occasion..."

Seriously (somewhat): the rooster represents a call to action, the beginning of a new day - lots of positive, action-oriented associations.[/quote]

The Foghorn Leghorn quote cinches it...Hugh, nice contribution to the rooster legacy of MT! :)

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]Does that make all of us Chicken Chasers?[/quote]

Managing programmers is often likened to herding cats.


Mark's picture

This is funny. :-)

Mike and I are in Amsterdam, having just spent the week in Munich for a client.

The roosters (and there are many) are near my house. We are arranging to eliminate the problem.

We do do casts early in the morning sometimes. But folks, surely you know that roosters crow all day. They crow MORE in the morning, and we are irritated and NOTICE more in the morning...but they crow all day.

And there has NEVER been any debate ever about the depth or breadth of any of our casts.


US41's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]We are arranging to eliminate the problem.[/quote]

Sounds ominous if you are a rooster.

HMac's picture

Now you get to choose with your premium membership: light or dark meat.

peterlevy's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]And there has NEVER been any debate ever about the depth or breadth of any of our casts.


I'm surprised at that. I also don't think it's necessarily a good thing. In any event I will continue to supply 'data points', whether or not anything is done with them. :)

jhack's picture

Don't be surprised...roosters rarely discuss human affairs.


Wolf996's picture

I'm sorry guys. Clearly you have a following here that may differ from my point of view but, come on, 23 minutes to say "please print a copy of your contact list and take it home" is just a bit much.

Surely this should have taken no more than 5 minutes and the whole thing could have been completed in once cast.

When I first started listening to your casts I found them informative and a good length. These days I find myself fast forwarding through them to find the nuggets of information that are in there...somewhere.

Try listening to something like the Killer Innovations podcast. Phil manages to get all of the points across without dragging it out or dumbing it down. These are managers you are supposed to be talking to, so one would expect a certain grasp of the situation...unless Dilbert really has nailed it with the pointy-haired guy.


Mark's picture

Thanks for the input. Sorry you think we're too long on this cast and others recently.

Many others said the same thing about the handshake cast, though we get thanks for it every week. We would have never spent that much time on it if we hadn't experienced so many terrible handshakes from people whose careers would be hindered by them. Those who have good handshakes didn't get it, of course, and that's cool. Those who have bad handshakes - and they are legion - would not be well served by a short cast which serves those with good handshakes.

And when it comes to being laid off, we have found that those who are affected do not mind length - they listen over and over to be sure they're getting everything right. They're scared to death, frankly. We get notes from people describing how listening to us comforted them. Maybe that seems weird to those to whom it hasn't happened...but we take that relationship quite seriously.

It's always fascinating to us that any one manager knows what everyone wants or should want regarding our content. We don't think that about ourselves at ALL. We try to put out a good product, for free, that would be beneficial to the most people most often, and therefore have to make judgments about what that means. We are routinely humbled by and appreciate the time that our listeners do choose to spend with us, believing that we deliver value to their professional lives.

We're doing our best, and sometimes some folks don't like parts of it. When one tries to serve perhaps 50,000 folks in a month, let's just say diversity gets the best of one.

That's cool with us.

Thanks again for sharing your point of view.



US41's picture

Mike and Mark spend quite a bit of time selling their ideas in these podcasts instead of just listing the steps, explaining them, and then ending the show. I'm glad for that, because it was their strong persuasiveness that got through my thick skull and turned me on to their stuff.

The podcasts are instructional, sympathetic, comprehensive... but most importantly, they are PERSUASIVE. I think for those already convinced, the persuasion may seem unnecessary fluff. Sorry, folks, but for guys like me two years ago, that persuasion is absolutely necessary.

There was a day years past when Mike first met Mark. I doubt Mark listed the four steps of feedback in 60 seconds and Mike just went and did it without questioning it at all. There was probably some selling of the idea involved. In my case, there was 16 straight hours of selling, then more selling on a 40 minutes podcast I listened to twice before I woke up and smelled the coffee. Mike was already an executive, so he was probably easier to sell.

You could push your FF button on your player if you don't need convincing, but I don't recommend it. Mark and Mike usually teach 20 odd things in the banter and persuasion phase of the podcast which are just as useful or link the topics together in a unified toolbox of management techniques.

I'm not a big fan of reading suggestions that M&M eliminate people like me from the audience. If you worked for me, you WANT me to be persuaded. It's just a little delay that does so much good in the world.

Wolf996's picture

Thanks for the replies.

I completely understand that telling stories is a much more effective and enduring way to get a message across. And I can understand that getting the length “right” is down to personal taste. So my message was really just to put my $0.02 in.

Personally I find the casts of late just too long and I have been meaning to send this note for some time. I do use the fast forward button sometimes but, since I usually listen while I am driving, this is not easy to do.

I appreciate what M&M do, and recognize that it is for free, so they have every right to tell me to take a hike. There is good information in the casts, sometimes telling me things I hadn’t thought of and sometimes just reminding me that is really is time to do something again. If I didn’t find it interesting then I would have simply unsubscribed and that would have been the end of it. But I like what M&M do and I want to make it better, so I am willing to stick my neck out and be the squeaky wheel.

While there are some people (as we have seen) that think the length is OK there will also be people in my camp. So, I would just ask M&M to take a good look at it before publishing and see if a little self editing wouldn’t go amiss.

Since I produce a podcast of my own (music related) I know that editing is a real PIA, but I usually find it is worth doing.


stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="Wolf996"]While there are some people (as we have seen) that think the length is OK there will also be people in my camp.[/quote]

And probably also people who think that the podcasts are too short, wishing that M&M would make them a bit longer. You can't please everyone all the time.

If you're finding that the length really grates you could maybe get a Premium subscription and read the show notes. That way you can skim the bits you're less interested in and highlight the key points. I do think you're missing out on some top grade material if you do that, but then you're probably not getting all the benefit if you're getting frustrated listening to what you consider unnecessary 'filler'.

In general I tend to prefer brevity (I started a fiction writing course some years ago and quit because the tutor was a real "spend 20 pages describing a sunset" type which drove me up the wall) but I have to say that I've never really felt that any of the MT podcasts have dragged on at all. Different strokes I suppose.


peterlevy's picture

As the thread-starter, let me just state that my issue was never about length. It's about the signal to noise ratio on this particular 'cast.

Part 2's ratio was back to the customary high standard.

mauzenne's picture

Peter, Stephen, others ...

Thank you for your comments. Regardless of whether we agree, we always listen. As you might expect, we are consistently making trade-offs -- and sometimes we get them wrong for some of our listeners. We wish it were not so, but alas, that is obviously not the case. And when we don't get it right, we'd rather hear about it. AND thanks for letting us know that Part 2 was better. :-)

That said, I have a couple of thoughts (and I'm NOT referring to anyone specifically here on this thread) ...

First, there are those that have built a relationship with us by being gracious, being respectful of the effort we're putting into the podcast, and building trust by sharing how we've *helped*. On occasion, someone feels that they are being particularly *helpful* by communicating our errors (my somewhat regular error of using "I" vs. "me" in a specific grammatical construction during the introduction) without EVER having said a positive word. I am not alone in the world when I tell you that THAT is not particularly "helpful".

Rest assured, I have NO doubt that those who comment on the forums with "constructive" feedback INTEND to be helpful. I respect that. I also don't like assuming intent (I am, like others, particularly BAD at it). I can also tell you that those who are trying to provide constructive criticism are more likely to influence our behavior if they spend just a bit of time on the relationship first. :-)

And lest you think I believe I'm a saint here, I will confess that *I* am particularly BAD at this. I'm better (having gone through the 12-step program for recovering high-C jerks), much better. With the increasing danger of sounding defensive, and hoping to be instructive, can I suggest an alternative approach to how this thread started? I could have found a podcast that was particularly crisp and concise and said, "Mark/Mike, I love it when you are so concise, eliminate all the chatter and get straight to the point with meaningful material that I can apply immediately. Thanks!" Same message, positive, and MUCH more likely to encourage continued effective behavior.

Ok ... I could have simply said thank you for folks' earlier remarks and left it at that. PERHAPS that would have been better. Unfortunately, other than Mark and I, not many others get a lot of constructive criticism here (notice I did NOT say feedback ... if you think that it is feedback, write me -- we need to talk). So, at a bit of risk, I took the opportunity to share some thoughts on the subject. I hope it is taken in the manner intended.

All the best!


peterlevy's picture


I am afraid it doesn't carry the same weight from me as when Mark says it, but...GREAT post. :D

So much food for thought here, and an important lesson to learn (I am now thinking of how much better an adjusting feedback that I delivered today might have been had I read this post first!).

Thank you for taking the time. I will do my best to honour your effort by trying to live up to this standard.

Wolf996's picture

Thanks for listening. BTW I totally agree with the other post that the 2nd one was much better in length.

You are quite right in that relationships should be fostered. I may not have done that on this forum, but I have voted for you many, many times and passed along your podcast as one of my recommendations to a number of people who are now regular subscribers.

So, please, take my comments for what they are worth - just one opinion out of many.

For my part, thank you for the great content that I have enjoyed - even if [u]some[/u] of them have been a little long for me.

Thanks - and keep up the good work

jhack's picture

Wolfe996 et al,

This thread: should demonstrate why M&M spent so much time on this one topic. How do you convince folks that they need it on paper? They’ve seen resistance to paper before, and they knew they would have to make a case.

It’s taken me a few days to respond here because I wanted to listen to the Killer Innovations podcasts. I listened to a few, and will listen to more. Yes, he covers topics quickly. Consider cast KI_20060211. I chose it because it covers a topic M&M have also covered (Finding a Mentor). This cast had two segments, the first based on an interview with the CEO of Frog Design. Phil runs through a list of things we should do to achieve design innovation. He runs through this quickly, throwing out lists that include: “#3. Better integration of complex offerings.” and “5. Faster product development cycles.”

I’m all for faster product development cycles, but Phil's cast doesn’t provide any information on how to do it. Maybe it’s in another cast. The KI casts I listened to were largely about ideas, not specific action. (I love ideas, by the way). Likewise the Mentor cast – some good ideas, but less about the “how.”

Fundamentally, Manager-Tools is about HOW to do things. It’s not theory (but it’s well grounded in it). Immunization Cast 1 wasn’t just about “put it on paper” but how, and what data elements go with each contact, and where you keep the paper, and how often you update it, and how you measure whether your list is good enough, and a host of other little facts.

My belated two cents.