Seth's Blog: The talking pad

Zig Ziglar taught me about the most powerful way to use a yellow legal pad. He calls it a “talking pad.”

When you’re in a small meeting (you and one or two other people) it’s awkward to use a laptop or Powerpoint, because it destroys the intimacy of the discussion. Basically, it says, “I’m going to talk to the screen and you can watch, okay?”

The alternative is to use a thick pen or marker and a legal pad.

Whenever you mention a number or make an assertion or promise, write it down. The act of writing is a verb, it’s the process of putting it on the page that underlines what you’ve said, that highlights the moment. You’re also creating a record of what you said, which emphasizes that you’re not a weasel.

Salespeople can use this technique as well. Let’s say you’re trying to sell energy-efficient windows. They cost $800 each, the person needs 30, so you’re trying to make a $24,000 sale. That’s a big deal, right?

Start by writing these facts down.

Then, working with the person you’re sitting with, identify how much is going to be saved every day. Not your opinion, but their estimate based on their energy bill and comparable homes. Agree on a number. Write it down.

Cut it in half. Now it’s truly a realistic, conservative estimate. Write it down.

Multiply it by the number of windows. Write it down. People hate math.

Now, pull out your calculator and figure out the cost of the monthly financing. Oh! The cost is way lower than the amount saved. The windows are free.

The talking pad makes the sale. It builds credibility and helps you run the meeting.

Brad Lomenick Talks Developing Credibility

Young guys, SEEK OUT mentors and training! Don’t be afraid to ask those you would like to mentor/coach you! Usually (not always, but usually) there are already people in your life who could function in that role. Who are individuals that have influenced you or that you are being influenced by now? Be specific when you ask too, How much time are you hoping the mentor can give to you? What kind of investment are you willing to put into the mentoring relationship (in terms of time and effort)?

Another thing, having a mentor/coach is not just a “young person” thing. I think it’s important to always be seeking out those with more “credibility” (in terms of the equation being discussed here than you to assist in your growth as an individual. It fits in with the whole “discipleship” paradigm that Jesus modeled.

Picking a studio, engineer or producer – discount the silly list of names.

How many of you have read a resume or bio from someone in the music industry such as a studio, an engineer or a producer and run into a strange list of names. You know, “I work with This Person who worked with That Person.” While this impresses a few fans and friends, it actually makes you look worse to the industry. The name dropping doesn’t fool anyone….anyone = the people who matter. Yeah, I’m talking to you, studios and producers. Instead of just appearing strong, why not funnel that energy into actually being strong?

There is referencing that is beneficial and then there is just outright bragging. Like I said, come off strong, but let’s clearly define that. Ego, bragging and arrogance are overdone. In a way, by going over the top, instead of standing out, you are just dropping yourself in to the bag with a truck load of other mediocre studios, engineers and producers. Instead, showcase what you have really done and how you really do things.

Too many musicians are presented such a line of crap when it comes to booking a studio or hiring a producer or an engineer. They spend the time, the money and the effort and then find out they were not able to get what they wanted or what they thought they would get for their recording.

It is the responsibility of the studio, producer and engineer to showcase what they have done. It is the responsibility of the artist to find out exactly what has been done at the studio and the reliability of the resume that the producers and engineers offer. Market yourself and/or your studio to its strengths. Be up front about what you are bringing to the table so when someone checks up on you, you still look honorable.

How does it really work in your favor to lie or exaggerate?

Studios talk about how so and so recorded there twenty years ago. Should that really be something that compels someone to want to use that studio? Was it the same engineer, the same producer, the same budget or the same session players? A lot more should go into the decision for someone who is choosing a studio. It comes down to what is happening now. People brag about recording in the same studio as this musician or that musician, but this really doesn’t help the musician.

It is basically the equivalent of someone saying, hey, I pitched two innings of baseball at Fenway Park in Boston for a little league championship. Now, while it is cool to be in the same room, that is nowhere near the caliber of the Red Sox pitchers that play professional baseball. It is like giddy-happy joy that “I recorded where Personal Musical Hero of Mine recorded!” Which is great, but doesn’t really do much for someone who isn’t them.


Listen to the most recent stuff from that studio. Find out who is engineering there now and their abilities. Find out what the budget was for the recordings and demos you hear.

I have done a great deal of over-produced and excessively budgeted albums that I do not use as samples these days. I play people the samples from the studio I use now, the team I work with now and under the budgets that I work with now. Hearing a two-hundred thousand dollar recording when you’re after a budget that is ten percent of that or less is the equivalent of a car salesman saying, “Hey, I know your price range is a Hyundai but let’s test drive the BMW to give you a sense of it.”

That makes no sense does it? Would you test drive the BMW? Hell, no. You’d find a salesman who actually listened to what you wanted and could afford.

When a studio says that this band or that band recorded there, make sure you know the details. Just because someone has recorded in a room or a studio or worked with a producer or engineer does not mean they that particular artist liked it. I have been credited with working in studios that I went in to as a favor for someone else or was paid to do a session in that I would personally never choose to return to. I know there are people I have worked with where I didn’t click with them and they didn’t click with me, so in turn, I don’t reference them as I am sure they don’t reference me.

The point is make calls, send emails, ask questions and make sure you know what you are getting into before you invest into it. Make sure you can find out all the information you can to secure the right choice.

Conclusion: Replace the soft BS with the hard facts.

Find out the facts about the rooms, the engineers, the producers. Find out what has been recorded there and find out the details, like what kind of budget was involved, how many days, what other aspects played a part of the recording. In the end, your recording is a key part of presenting your sound, your songs and music. Make sure you are doing it right, and with the right people and in the right places.

© Loren Weisman 2009 — shorten your links


Check out this address:

If you visit it, you’ll end up right back here. The nice thing about it is that it’s a short link, about 70% smaller than the permalink for this post. URL shorteners are nothing new, Tiny URL has been around for 100 years, but is different in a few ways.

  • is the only two-letter .me domain in the world.
  • Every blog and post on has a URL now.
  • These are all exposed in the <head> using rel=shortlink.
  • It doesn’t work for any URL in the world, just ones.
  • The links are permanent, they will work as long as is around.
  • is spam-free, because we are constantly monitoring and removing spam from

I think a few of these points are worth following up on. While URL shorteners have had some incredible usage tied to the growth (and constraints) of Twitter, I question their sustainability as a business. This point was underscored a few days ago when a popular one,, announced they were going to shut down at the end of the year.

Their story had a happy ending in that someone came in and saved them, but it was hard not to think of what would have happened if all their links stopped redirecting one day: part of the web would go dark. I also worry that because shorteners are essentially open proxies of HTTP they’ll be exploited by spammers and malware distributors to the point where businesses, anti-phishing, and anti-virus services will be forced to block them.

WordPress links have the structure they do, which is longer, because they’re meant to be permanent and portable. (And of course friendly to search engines.) Even if you weren’t using WordPress, the links contain no arbitrary IDs or other platform-specific implementation cruft so they should be trivial to serve from any system, even if you don’t use WordPress in the future. But if all the links to you use a shorter version, that sort of defeats the point!

But as Dave Winer articulated, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have a shortener ourselves, and here we are. :) People are already using it.

How can you use it?

There is now a “Get Shortlink” button next to your permalink when you edit or write a post, and when you click it you’ll get a popup with the beautiful link already highlighted for your copy and pasting pleasure.

If you’re logged in you can also get the shortlink for any page on, there’s a link under the “Blog Info” menu in your admin bar.

Our thanks also go out to our friends at GoDaddy and in Montenegro for help with the domain.