Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Deer in the Headlights

If you haven't deduced by now from previous posts, I am a full-fledged, card-carrying podcast junkie. They're a great way for me to pass time and exercise my mind on my hour-each-way, six-days-a-week commute from my home in the southern tier of New York to my business in Ithaca, in the finger lakes region.

I stayed in Ithaca late on Monday night, honored to be a guest of the City of Ithaca at the Downtown Ithaca Alliance Annual Dinner. They seated me at Table One along with the presenters and City staff, and I enjoyed the evening watching a dear retiring friend and colleague of mine receiving a special recognition award. We had a blizzard on the way and winter storm warnings coming from every direction, so I was eager to get on the road after the event ended, nevertheless feeling great about the evening, the new contacts I made, the bonds I strengthened, and the potential for the future; I was feeling pretty invincible.

It hadn't started snowing yet, so I was driving at my normal pace—admittedly too fast—along the long, hilly stretch of two-lane roads that I know oh so well … over mountains, alongside streams, and through the breathtaking upstate New York landscape and once-beautiful little towns that pepper its valleys. About halfway through the drive, my podcast ended. For the life of me, I can't figure out why my app sometimes will play another podcast in succession and other times won't. I also can't figure out how to take the episode lineup off shuffle mode and put it on oldest-first mode. But I digress…

The podcast ended and I opened my phone to queue up another one. As I was scrolling through the list, trying to decide if I wanted to listen to another episode of The Bowery Boys or Stuff You Should Know, the podcast app suddenly closed without my prompting. Overreacting, I let out a calm expletive, rolled my eyes, and glanced up at the road … instantly slamming on my breaks and letting out a number of other not-so-calm expletives. A deer was right in front of me, bounding across the road inches from my front bumper!

It was a narrow miss—entirely too narrow, and nothing short of a miracle. If my podcast app hadn't shut down as it did, causing me to look up, I'd likely be in pretty bad shape right now. It takes my breath away even now as I think about it, five days later.

There are times when you coast along, day after day, mile after mile, along the same road, doing the same thing, numb, dumb, and in a blinding routine. There are times when we feel great, or even invincible. And then moments happen—sharp, sudden moments that wake you up and make you realize that you're incredibly mortal, part of something much greater, and by no means alone. There are moments when you see clear, unmistakable intervention on your behalf … and a necessary wake-up call.

#DistractedDrivingIsSerious #DontTextandDrive #KeepYourEyesUp #AskUncleMarty

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We Got Social in New York

What a weekend!

My coaching partner Fahim Mojawalla and I had the honor and privilege of attending another PostalMate regional training weekend, this time in a little place near and dear to both of us: New York City. PC Synergy, the makers of PostalMate, a leading software in the mail and business center industry, asked the Association of Mail & Business Center (AMBC) to send representatives to their events again this year … and when we say it was an "honor and a privilege" to attend, we really do mean it!

The PostalMate team is a delightful lot. Their three main amigos, Rhonda, Karen, and Henry, are a joy to be around, engage their audience like few others are able to, and their combined knowledge and experience are hard to top; they make software training fun! We were glad to join other vendor representatives who also presented, including iPostal1, Pacific Office, Anytime Mailbox, FotoZoomer, Supply Side, and RSA, who lead their RS BootCamp new owners training session on Saturday. It's a tremendous group--each one bringing something unique and game-changing--and indeed we love being a part of it.

As a non-profit, member-owned industry advocacy, certification, and training organization, my fellow AMBC Board of Directors members and I love attending training events, industry summits, conventions, expos, and forums across the country. We go as volunteers and fellow store owners to share what AMBC has done for us personally and for the industry as a whole, to teach, to inspire, to raise the bar, and most of all to talk face-to-face with other store owners … sharing, learning, and growing together.

This weekend, in addition to wearing our AMBC hats and talking with our friends and peers about AMBC's programs, news, and focus, Fahim and I were also asked to wear our business coach hats and teach a marketing and social media session. The PC Synergy team has been involved in plenty of #FahimFix social media seminars and Marketing with Marty™ marketing and image seminars in the past, and this weekend gave us the opportunity to collaborate, blend our cohesive messages, and co-teach brand new #FahimFix and Marketing with Marty™ creation: Get Social!

Get Social! takes a new approach to how we think about social media. As Fahim often says and I often quote, "It's social media, people, not solicitation media!" Our aim through this class is to encourage businesses to take a community-minded approach through modern platforms with the goal to create a network of loyal advocates and friends of your business. And this can and will happen simply because you are involved in and a voice for your neighborhood, not because you're trying to sell something.

We were thrilled to debut Get Social! this weekend, and look forward to sharing it and a number of our other classes with similar groups and upcoming industry events. In fact, AMBC's Executive Director Sarah Rohde, Fahim, and/or myselfalong with our selfie sticksare slated to be at five more PostalMate regional training weekends and four ShipRite regional training weekends this year, in addition to AMBC's own event near Niagara Falls in October. Look for one or more of us popping up in cities like Charlotte, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Orlando, Utica, Biloxi, Grand Island, and San Diego soon!

#PostalMate17 #NYC #AMBC4ME #MembersHelpingMembers #FahimFix #AskUncleMarty #EmbracetheSelfieEmbracetheCommunity


For more photos from the event, please visit


Edited version published on the AMBC blog on March 7, 2017.