Unforeseen Consequences

I had a fascinating discussion with my son-in-law the other day.  He is transiting to a new job with a new employer and one requirement was to have a drug test.  He easily passed but he described the discussion he had with the person administering the test.  It appears […]

Truth as YOUR Defense

On November 17, 1734, the royal governor of New York, William Cosby, ordered the sheriff to arrest John Peter Zenger on the charge of libel because of his criticisms of the colonial governor. After a grand jury refused to indict him, the attorney general Richard Bradley charged him with […]

Why You Should Think Twice About Getting a Patent

Patents can be valuable – but most are a waste of resources. On the anniversary of the USPTO opening its doors, let’s discuss the real costs – and risks.

On July 31, 1970, the US Patent Office opened its doors for the first time. The very first patent was issued […]

How to Tell When You’re Screwing Over Your Employees

In my last post I promised that I would take the employer’s point of view when they have an employee who thinks they are being screwed by the employer.
Now this is a binary situation: Either (1) you are not screwing your employee or (2) you are screwing your employee. […]

How to Deal with Your Employer Who’s Screwing You

It was déjà vu all over again – someone looking for a new job because things were really bad at their present place of employment.  How bad?  Managers cutting commissions based on under the table deals with customers, arbitrary changing schedules and telling employees by sending e-mails after […]

Free Speech Ain’t

There have been a recurring theme in the news about executives and celebrities who opened their mouths and inserted their foot down their throats.  And when the inevitable backlash occurs – usually in short order because of modern social media – there is always a minor chorus of “They […]

#SpokaneAMA Question: Posting Pictures

By Frank Hutchison
Can I legally post pictures of guests on my Facebook Business page without written waiver?  Can a verbal be OK? 
This question has two answers – Yes and Maybe.
Yes, you can post pictures of guests on Facebook or elsewhere if the pictures are:

Taken in a public forum – […]

#SpokaneAMA Question: Where to find free photos and images?

By Frank Hutchison and Deanna Tiemann, Guest Blogger

#SpokaneAMA Question: Where do you go to find free photos and images?
First of all, we have to make a distinction between personal and business use of images, whether they are photos or graphics.
Personal use is given greater latitude primary because it’s just […]

Winning in a Crisis: How Sonic Built Trust, Created Loyalty, and Neutralized a Racist PR Nightmare

We spend a lot of time explaining case studies of what NOT to do – just last week, we discussed How McDonald’s Convinces Employees It Doesn’t Care.  It gets frustrating. So when a company responds to a crisis with empathy, skill, and honesty, I can’t help but crow.

And that’s exactly […]

Case Study: Why Information Leaks to the Press – Podcast Episode 6

When a scandal hits the news, the story you’re reading is never the whole story — and that’s not an accident. Information leaks for a reason. Anytime anyone shares any kind of information with another person, it’s because they hope it will help them somehow. They want to make […]

Why Sending an E-mail to Customers in a Crisis May Be Worse than the Crisis Itself

We consulted on an emergency recently (shocking, I know). The very short of it is that a large service-based corporation contacted me after discovering an independent franchise owner skipped town without delivering services clients had paid for. It’s easily high-five-to-six-figures in fraud. The corporate isn’t legally responsible for his actions […]

How NOT to Be a Hero: A Beginner’s Guide to Abusing Power

photo credit: Chicago Art Department here

Have you ever wondered where the point is when a person can become a hero or a louse?*

Darlene Druyun
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

In the late 90s I provided support for Acquisition Reform to the Undersecretary of the Air Force.  In those days, there was […]

Crisis Management and Mental Illness: What We Can Learn from Paula Deen

photo credit: lifescript hereIt’s been a bad week for celebrity chefs.In three short days, Paula Deen gone from Food Network darling to being publicly fired by the network. You can read more about it here, but let me sum up: A former employee filed a lawsuit against her charging […]

Q&A: Should I Pay An Independent Contractor for Cancelled Appointments?

Photo Credit: Mike Knapak via FlickrDear Meredith, Here is the situation: What is your opinion on canceled appointments and paying independent contractors? I run a tutoring business and have a few independent contractors for special subjects like math – until the business builds and I can hire them full-time.  When parents […]

Number Crunching (or, Understanding Accounting)

I have to admit that in my early life I regarded accountants as a lower life form – I was so thankful that I didn’t have to spend my day adding and subtracting numbers. But a few years in the Navy made me realize that I was seriously mistaken […]