Monthly Archives: January 2016

Bright Or Brilliant? Smart Pills May Make All The Difference.

More aspects to the mind. Greater perspective. Can smart pill do that?
More aspects to the mind. Greater perspective. Can smart pills do that?

Many say techies and business people are getting brainer in Silicon Valley.

Or should we say Silicon Valley of the Dolls?

‘Dolls’ is code for pills as in Jacqueline Susann’s book, Valley of the Dolls.

But this time we have smart pills sling-shotting intelligence higher in the Bay Area and beyond.

One smart pill is Modafinil. Prescription only, it was developed for narcolepsy.

You could run across it as Alertec, Modavigil, and Provigil, as well.

Here the benefit is increased cognitive ability that comes with an impressive checklist:

Mental consistency.

Sharper memory and the ability to concentrate.

An easy way to solve complex problems.

Online reviews come with revealing quotes:

‘Brilliantly awake’.

‘You’ve got new purpose, direction and will.’

‘Brain 2.0’.

‘What’s interesting suddenly becomes fascinating. You’re in gear; any inability is airbrushed away.’

Those remarks make you wonder, don’t they?

The thing is with Modafinil, neurotransmitters in the brain gain an unfair advantage. Science becomes your genie.

Now for a definition …

Wikipedia says Modafinil is a Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor, whatever that may be.

We’re thinking it’s an upper of sorts.

Maybe your kids can tell you.

By more than a few accounts high school and college students use Modafinil to ace tests.

Getting a 91 is good, but a 97 gets you closer to Summa Cum Laude.

It’s said the Army was smart-pill-empowered in Iraq.

We’ll, an Abrams Tank is mighty, however it’s even better when manned by a brilliant driver, right?

But hold on a minute, the lights are turning amber on smart pills.

The reason for writing today is to pass on a caution.

A marketer we know purchased Modafinil on the Internet.

The result was nil, no effect.

He bought fakes.

But that’s not as bad as ingesting something that could play havoc with your health and wellbeing.

There’s counterfeiting with Modafinil and other pharmaceuticals. Forgeries extend to medical devices and hospital equipment.

Maybe the fake Rolex watchmakers are looking for new revenue streams.

Of course, there’s risk involved with fakes and maybe the real stuff. No long-term studies have been done on Modafinil.

Still, if Silicon Valley starts wowing us even more than usual we can hazard a guess at one thing.

Someone’s neurotransmitters are getting extra help.

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Regards, Steve Ulin. LinkedIn:


First, A Little Music …

Ground Control to Major Tom Ground Control to Major Tom Take your protein pill and put your helmet on. -- David Bowie
Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pill
and put your helmet on.
— David Bowie

Nobody spits at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

They’re pretty great no matter what your religion may be.

An American icon … that describes them.

But the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing ‘God So Loved the World’ is fully expected.

Nothing new about that.

It confirms what we already know and believe about them.

So to widen interest and engagement how about something a bit more surprising.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir doing Space Oddity, Ziggy Stardust or Life On Mars?

It’s the MTC meets David Bowie, so to speak.

With a bit of enlightened orchestration the Bowie pieces could be musically remarkable.

Well, don’t laugh just yet; the Daily Mail reported last week that the Archbishop of Canterbury is a Bowie fan.

The point here for business people is maybe we should begin to think beyond accepted beliefs and avoid what’s predictable.

Too many absorb the thinking in their work environment and run with it – no questions asked.

More’s the pity because those individuals aren’t exploring their own potential.

The likelihood of discovering something better remains pretty small.

What was it Steve Jobs said?

We don’t hire smart people and tell them what to do.

We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.

Of course, that can change everything for a brand.

So can ideas.

Remember ideas?

One negative of advertising today is that the technology is modern but the ideas aren’t always so.

Which is why those who go for the unexpected get attention.

Old Spice, Snickers and the Honda work in the UK succeed with strong ideas.

Space Oddity, which you probably heard several times last week, still gets your attention despite the fact it was written ages ago.

The reason is that it was a good idea in the first place.

It endures.

If you happen to be the choral master of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir you might want to make a mental note of that.

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Regards, Steve Ulin LinkedIn:


Strategy By Habit. A Great Way To Become the Best of the Ordinary.

Søren Kierkegaard. The Danish philosopher who said ‘To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself’.
Søren Kierkegaard. The Danish philosopher who said ‘To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself’.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

So said the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

True enough.

But what’s wrong with making an effort to create the future?

Why do many content themselves with hindsight instead of trying to break new ground?

Could it be it’s easier and less risky than trying to figure out what’s next?

You don’t need me to tell you it’s not simple to become an innovator.

It’s tough to extend your boundaries in the marketplace.

Is that why a lot of thinking becomes commoditized?

Maybe it’s the reason some marketers rely on old certainties and strategy by habit.

People become rubber stamps for thinking.

Well, it is difficult to teach the future.

If you’re like most companies, training is based on an established strategy.

What the boss says.

And if C-Suite ideas are producing revenue it’s hard to argue for change when the money is rolling in.

However, one area could be easier for improvement.


As many HR people hire only in their company’s image they may be limiting the ability of their organization.

Selling it short.

Creating a downstream effect that makes it harder to compete.

Some HR execs don’t take into account the advantages of diverse thinking. Viewpoints that prompt thought, discussion and reexamined opinions.

To many it feels safer to duplicate the kind of people on your team. Common ground is reassuring.

Yet more of the same doesn’t always equal more in terms of an organization’s ability to see ahead and move ahead.

Especially when you see the same ideas tabled.

The ones that merely restate what you and everyone else already believes.

Those with different backgrounds and experiences could bring a new perspective to products and progress in the marketplace.

They could accelerate your future.

So, what if HR could think differently to find the kind of enquiring minds that created Uber, Airbnb, Tesla or the Dyson line of products?

Of course fresh thinking can be contrary thinking.

But isn’t that what Kodak needed when they invented digital imaging and fluffed the chance to capitalize on it?

It’s useful to remember contrarians were lionized in an ad campaign we’re betting you noticed.

The Crazy Ones from Apple.

The ads aren’t new, 2002, but they’re still talked about. Put that down to the fact we all want to find new ways to move ahead.

The thing is, did The Crazy Ones cut any ice with your HR people?

Did the campaign extend their thinking? Did it encourage them to question everything?

Because as you know, crazy ones like Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi can change everything.

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Regards, Steve Ulin. LinkedIn: