S6E1: Milk Carton Musings and Leadership with Nick Lozano

“As much as we need technical skills in the business world, soft skills are even more important.” Nick Lozano

Today’s guest is Nick Lozano who is a technology professional who has a love for digital media. He co-hosts a podcast called >Lead.exe, which is for anyone who wants to level up their leadership skills and enhance their careers. ​ As someone in Tech, you need soft skills because you will have to sell yourself and the business to your clients and potential prospects. So much as we need technical skills in the business world, softer skills are even more critical.

During the initial talks about Tech, Nick brings about the analogy of building a house; you can make it as high as you need to go, as big as you want, or it can be a simple one-room house and still be great. The complex sides of technology can be a headache, especially for someone outside the industry. Nick’s soft skills make it easier to understand the technical side of technology in a fun way.

The audience you present to will determine how you will do your presentation for your message to go through. This is even more so when you have a paid sponsorship and must make the audience get the news across. Sometimes being simple and precise works better than using jargon.

Making mistakes is part of the process, and I know there is room for failure, but the lowest point is if you fail once, learn from it; this is how you gain experience. The downside is that if you are making mistakes and you aren’t learning from them, you are wasting your time and energy. Be prepared for how you will receive feedback, which will broaden your perspective on issues. All feedback is there to build you; the good and the bad appreciate everyone who will give it to you.

Nick humorously shares his story and experiences making this a unique and fantastic interview to begin the year.

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Saving You a Two Drink Minimium

This blog posting is part of a standup routine that I have performed.  The reason for sharing this is because standup comedy has taught me a lot about standing in front of a group of people, delivering a presentation and writing the presentation.  A recent quote sums up writing, “Brevity is the soul of lingerie. It has to be long enough to cover the important parts but short enough to keep it interesting.”  This type of writing is necessary in today’s short-attention span world.  Stage lights come up……

My name is Peter Margaritis and I pronounced my last name like a cocktail but as you can see my last name ends IS and should be pronounced like an inflammation,  MargarITIS [pause] like hepatitis, gingivitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, conjunctivitis and vaginitis, you get the picture.

  • [tag] My name’s NOT FUN It sounds like something that needs a [pause] Z-Pack.

All parents have their little dirty secrets. When I was 12, I learned my parents’ secret, I was adopted. My dad slipped up during an argument. Instead of saying, “Look son, I brought you into this world and I can take you out” he said, “Look son, I bought you [pause] and I can sell you.”

  • [tag] My brother was adopted and because we were paid for out of same checking account [pause] and I consider us identical twins.
  • [tag] They didn’t have a receipt for my sister because she was [pause] shoplifted.

There are benefits to being adopted. It can be fun. Under family medical history, I write Abandoned at Walmart.  At family reunions, I can hit on my hot cousins. At state fairs, I look for carnies [pause] and give them father’s day cards.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in today’s society.  Watching the Macy’s Parade, I heard the announcer say, “McDonald’s spreads across the globe: joy, happiness [pause] and diabetes.”

  • [tag] WOW, that hit way too close because I am a Type 1 diabetic, which is ok. [pause] It’s the only time I’ve ever been #1.
  • [tag] Being diabetic, there are some FOODS I miss. White Castle, Skyline [pause] and edible undies.

I am like many of us who is trying to lose weight. Researches say if you want to lose 15 lbs in 15 days, drink eight glasses of water a day. If you want to lose 15 lbs in 15 hours, make sure that water [pause] is Third World.

  • [tag] Losing weight is easy, I am on the bourbon diet.  I have lost 30 pounds, 10 points of body fat [pause] and my driver’s license.

Marriage takes a lot of work and I have been married for 21 years, consecutively. We agreed to hang in there for the first 10 and if we did, she would find a creative way of keeping the suspense in our marriage.  She has, because for each of the last 11 years she has exercised [pause] the marriage option.

Marriage is more of a compromise and I am trying to get more of what I want. The other day she was looking in the mirror and asked me “Honey do you think I need a facelift?” I tried to turn this to my advantage and said “no one will look at your face [pause] if you get a boob job.”

  • [tag] Hey, I took a shot! But then she said, [pause] You option has expired

Raising kids is hard.  Relationships change. My son, Stephen and I were like tight like fingers crossed when he was eight. At 12 we drifted apart a little like fingers side-by-side. Now at 16 we are like [pause] the middle finger.

I don’t understand why parents complain about their teenagers texting all the time.  I encourage my son to text because who really WANTS to talk to teenage. He will ask,  “Dad, I can I borrow some money?” I reply, “send me a text!”  He will ask, “Dad, I can I stay up late?”  I reply, Send Me A Text.  He will say, “Really, Dad.” Then I will text him [pause] an emoji of the middle finger.

A friend of mine called me before my son’s 16th birthday and asked, “What does a 16 year old boy want for his birthday.”  I replied, [pause] hand lotion.

I realize that I haven’t done the best job of bring my son up in the church. My mother asked my son if he knew the 10 commandments. He said , of course, [pause] “you have the right to remain silent and anything you say can be used anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law.”

  • [tag] Guess what, [pause] I am up for adoption again.

Thank you very much. You have been a great audience.
In future blog posts, I will share more of my stand-up writing, along with some of my sketch comedy writing.  If you want to be a better writer, you must practice.  If you want to add humor to your presentations, you must practice.  Don’t be Allen Iverson! Practice everyday.

The Killer of Creativity in Corporate America

Thinking out-of-the-box – the ubiquitous buzzword used in today’s business world, especially in corporate America. Why not just say what you mean: we want management to be more creative. Right? Sadly, they can’t be. They don’t seem to have the necessary tools to inspire  creativity.  Management, you ARE the killer of creativity. Let me explain.  

In the book Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley, he states, “An Adobe Systems poll of 5,000 people on three continents reports that 80% of people see unlocking creative potential as key to economic growth. Only 25% of these individuals feel that they’re living up to their creative potential in their lives and careers.”

What? Only 25% are living up to their creative potential? What is killing the creativity in corporate America?  Is it lack of time – no! Is It that we are too busy – no! What then?

It’s khakis!  That’s right, those drab pants and skirts that are proudly worn in every corporate office. Khakis, along with a polo shirt – preferably blue!  

The definition of khaki, according to dictionary.com is “dull yellowish brown.” You can’t be creative when you are wearing blah. You might as well be an actuary or an accountant.  Dictionary.com also states, “a stout, twilled cotton cloth of this color, used especially in making uniforms.” That’s right; you are wearing a uniform.  All you need to complete the look is a lanyard and name badge while eating at restaurant, as if to say, “Yes I am attending this conference and I am still wearing my name badge.  I still don’t know how the waiter new my name.”

Khakis are to creativity as accountants are to sales.  Khakis go with almost everything. They are the ketchup of clothing. Well, not entirely true. Ketchup has flavor!  My apologies to the Speciality Food Association, the National Hot Dog Council, and to ketchup lovers everywhere.  Ketchup is cooler and more creative than khakis.

Here are the top three things I hate about khakis:

  1. The word is hard to spell. It just doesn’t flow. K-H-A-K-I It is spelled like you need lots of phlegm for the H sound, which of course is silent.  Then why use the letter if it is silent?  
  2. If you wear a khaki colored shirt with khaki colored pants to work, you’ll be eating lunch by yourself for a very long time unless you are Jack Hanna, aka Jungle Jack.
  3. For men, I have three words for you: urinal back splash. You can’t walk out of the men’s room with wetness in your zipper area.  I’ll take you 10 – 20 minutes to get them dry.  Unless your restroom has a hand air dryer.  But then the ballerina moves you need to get close enough to dry your khakis will be the reason that human resources calls you into a meeting.  

Khakis are the killer of creativity.  What if Bruce Springsteen wore khakis instead of jeans?  His concerts would last an hour; his biggest hit song would be titled Born to Walk; and Courtney Cox would have never done a music video with him.  Look around, those who are highly creative don’t wear khakis, PERIOD.

Let’s start a movement to have khakis banned at work! Call your congressmen, call your senators. Better yet, let’s make the khaki ban a Presidential Executive Order.  Now that is a ban both parties can support, and we can bring creativity back to corporate America today!