February 23, 2010

An Apple A Day…

In August 2008 Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in August 2009 for 21 nights. He won the bet!

The new iPad, beautiful, sleek, cool and highly desirable (like a pocket version of Kylie Minogue).

Now maybe you’re a PC or BlackBerry person, but I must confess I’m a Mac fan, I have 2 iPods an iPhone and a Mac Book Pro.

I moved to Mac after my second iPod. I was a victim of the Halo Effect.  I had a positive experience with one Apple product and then moved on to purchasing their premium Mac product, and I’m not the only one.

According to analysts Needham & Co, Mac computer sales have grown by 16.4% in their 4th fiscal quarter of 2009 compared to 2.3% growth in the rest of the PC market.

In 3 years of using Keynote (Apple’s version of PowerPoint) it has never broken, frozen or flashed the blue screen of death (surely it would have been more entertaining if Bill Gates frozen face appeared every time my PC crashed?).

When I present my S.A.L.E.S. course I talk about how customers want to avoid 4 major risks that I call the TRAP:

Technological Risks – Will it be up to the job?

Relationship Risks – Will I have a good relationship with this supplier?

Acknowledgement – Will my peers and friends agree with my purchase?

Price – If it meets all of the above is it a fair price?

Apple appear to have achieved all of the above with the iPhone and iPod.

So as soon as I saw the new iPad I instantly wanted one.

Or did I? I bought an iPhone 3G pretty much when they came out in July 2008 and 11 months later the 3GS arrived which was twice as fast as the launch model.

I know things move pretty quickly on the technology front but on past form how long will it be before iPad 2 launches?

So I’m going to be strong and try and resist. I will feign complete disinterest whilst secretly retiring  to my office to look longingly at it on Apple’s website, and when I can stand it no more I will try and use clear headed logic to avoid buying one.

However like my designs on Kylie Minogue, I fear logic has no part in it …

Click here to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.

February 18, 2010

The Importance of TRUST

In August 2008 Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in August 2009 for 21 nights. He won the bet!

This week after a Funny Business presentation, I was asked how I would go about creating trust in a business relationship.

In my mind trust is the most important element of any relationship whether it be business, friendship, or even love.

It’s why companies spend millions on their brand and on PR.  Once trust is lost it’s very difficult to get it back (just ask John Terry, Ashley Cole or Toyota).

Trust for me is made up of 5 elements, and can be summed up with this simple acronym (I love a good acronym).

Truth between the interested parties.

Relationships should be mutually beneficial.

Understand and value each other’s point of view.

Solutions based. How can you help each other?

Transparency. No hidden agendas.

My first question at the start of any potential business relationship is to ask:

“What’s important to you when you work with a new partner?”

Or

“When you’ve worked with partners in the past, what did the person, or company do well?”

Listen to their answers and act on them!

Trust begins with great communication but remember, everyone is different – some business relationships will need a status update every day, whilst others may not want to be bothered unless there is an issue.

The only way to find out is to ask!

The other key element to remember is that in order for someone to trust you, you should trust yourself.  Can you deliver on your promises?

A comedy audience can spot a mile off any comedian who isn’t confident with their material.  If you appear nervous so will your audience be.  That’s why it’s really important to prepare. The more prepared you are, the more confidant you will be and that will come across in any situation and help create a strong trusting relationship!

Click here to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.

February 17, 2010

“Get busy living, or get busy dying…”

In August 2008 Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in August 2009 for 21 nights. He won the bet!

Last week I did 2 Funny Business corporate events that went really well.  But since then something has been nagging me. At the end of both events people came up to me and asked if I was still performing comedy.   Now, with the exception of my Funny Business corporate presentations I hadn’t performed any “real” comedy in 2010.  This got me thinking, what was stopping me, was I scared?

There’s a great comedy night in London called “Desperately Seeking Stage Time” where comics try out new material in front of a nice friendly audience.  Where better to go and try out some new jokes?

When I arrived at the venue there were 25 of us who wanted to go on stage, which meant we only had about 3 minutes of performance time each.  Now 3 minutes doesn’t sound like a very long time, but 3 minutes infront of a comedy crowd can be a very long time!

The whole point of the night is that it’s meant to be for new material.  I’d heard a lot of the comics before and I was surprised to hear many of them reverting to their old “safe” jokes if their new stuff didn’t get the response they were expecting.

In comedy we call that “listening to your Editor”. The Editor is the voice in your head that talks you out of going up on stage, or stops you telling the joke you really want to in case it offends someone, or tells you that, “your new jokes aren’t that funny – you should tell them your old material.”

I was determined not to let that happen, but my Editor was doing overtime as I watched the other comics and I actually started to get butterflies in my stomach.

Not just any butterflies either; I had a whole flock of those huge Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing butterflies from Papa New Guinea. Google them, they’re ginormous!

I never feel nervous in front of a corporate audience but a comedy audience still scares me, even now.  You’d think after performing 21 one-hour shows at Edinburgh I’d no longer be nervous, but this was new material, untried, untested, this was altogether different…

The crowd wasn’t being that responsive to some of the other acts, perhaps this new material stuff wasn’t going to be such a good idea?

No! I wasn’t going to let my Editor beat me so I decided to take control. I decided to make my Editor talk like Morgan Freeman.

Try it, no matter what your inner voice is saying, when it talks like Morgan Freeman the world is a better place!

After a few minutes of listening to Morgan’s dulcet tones I felt ok, and I got on stage and launched into my 3 minutes. It felt like a complete blur, but the whole 3 minutes was new material, not one old joke.

Afterwards as I walked home I listened to the recording I had made of my performance (again another tip from the comedy world – record and review every performance).  It wasn’t perfect but in those 3 minutes I had 3 good loud laughs and 2 giggles from the audience.

A laugh every 45 seconds. “Not bad” I thought, “not bad, but I know Morgan and I can do better next time…”

Click here to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.

February 7, 2010

Plate Spinning

In August 2008 Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in August 2009 for 21 nights. He won the bet!

Last week I was asked who would I invite to dinner, alive or dead.

I chose “alive” obviously, inviting a dead person would be stupid, they’re useless conversationalists and they don’t help with the washing up. Not that I need help with the washing up I’ve got a dishwasher, not that I know how to use it.

Firstly I have to load it with ½ a tonne of salt to get my dishes clean. What the hell is going on in there? Is it snowing inside, are there plates careering dangerously from side to side, have I discovered a new portal into Narnia?

No wonder we had no salt on the streets during the bad weather, it was all in my dishwasher!

But hang on, I’ve checked my bottle of washing up liquid and that doesn’t have salt in it and it still manages to clean the dishes perfectly adequately.

According to the manual its because the waters “hard”.  Hard! I live in the south. There’s nothing down south that’s HARD.

And then to add insult to injury I have to add a water softener tablet to prevent calcium & lime scale build up. Apparently if I don’t my machine will be useless in a week, and all my plates will turn green

On a scale of 1 to 10 I’m now at completely bewildered, but its Ok because apparently all this calcium is good for my teeth and bones which is great as I repeatedly punch myself in the face with frustration

And then there’s the rinse aid? What does rinse aid actually do? I looked up the definition of “rinse” in a dictionary

“Rinse: to wash lightly, as by pouring water into or over or by dipping in water.”

What the hell is the rinse aid doing? How is it aiding the pouring of water, doesn’t the machine do that?

I then have to add a washing tablet

But what tablet to use?

When I go to the supermarket there’s tones of them

There’s:

Diamond with Powerball

Four in 1 with Powerball

Complete with Powerball

And original with (you guessed it) a bloomin’ Powerball

And what’s the difference between all of these I hear you cry. I just don’t know!

Apparently you don’t need to unwrap some of them.

But as I don’t do the washing up whilst wearing mittens I can’t see the  benefit and you have to unwrap the cellophane box to get at them anyway!

I then have to choose a setting, do I want to use a “pre-wash”?  What in Gods name is a pre-wash?  Is there a voice in there giving the plates a pep talk before the water comes in? I just want a wash setting;

“Sorry darling, I know I’m spending an extra 20 minutes in the shower, but I’m giving myself a damn good talking too, it’s called a pre wash”

I don’t care how you wash them just make them clean!

I’m glad I didn’t have a dead guest he’d be completely decomposed by the time I finished the washing up!!!

Click here to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.

February 5, 2010

2012

In August 2008 Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in August 2009 for 21 nights. He won the bet!

Yesterday walking past Blockbuster I saw a poster for the new global disaster film 2012. The poster has an image of an ugly, ruined, decimated city with the tag line:

“2012, WE WERE WARNED.”


Surely the London Olympics won’t be that bad?

I mean, I know cross rail probably won’t be finished on time, but surely that’s more of an inconvenience rather than a total disaster?

Click here to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.

February 1, 2010

The Rub

In August 2008 Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in August 2009 for 21 nights. He won the bet!

I’m typing this in complete agony (I’m allowed to say agony because I’m a man, and therefore not blessed with a high pain threshold).

I’ve hurt my back, my lower back to be specific. How did I do it? Well in a very manly way I was picking up a pair of socks.  They weren’t even a pair of thick heavy socks, Oh no just a normal pair of thin light socks. My wife found me curled foetal-like on the floor whimpering that I’m never going to try and clean the house again, my body clearly isn’t up to the job.

So now I’m smothered in Deep Heat, and reek of eucalyptus, I’ve had to cancel a trip to the zoo in case I’m attacked by a crazed ravenous Koala.

I’m 35 and this is the second time I’ve hurt my back in 2010. How can I have hurt my back twice in one month?  According to scientists we will now easily live to 90. Oh my God is this how I’m going to spend the next 55 years swallowing large amounts of ibuprofen and smelling like the Australian outback?

There’s nothing for it; I’m going to have to go back to the gym. I mean I pay £50 a month for it and I only went once in 2009.  The thing is I hate the gym, it’s not the exercise it’s the people.

I show up in my old trainers and “tracky” bottoms, and its like I’ve entered a fashion show.

Lots of young people artfully perspiring in their designer “wick away” t-shirts while I grunt, groan and sweat and generally feel wretched.

Oddly enough when I retuned to the gym, I saw my two favourite people. They are an old Chinese couple. They must be in their 80s. They slowly shuffle their way between each machine in Zen-like silence, picking the lightest weight and over 15 excruciating minutes manage to push out 10 reps.

They are amazing, and apparently they’re at the gym every day.  I know we may all be able to live to 90 but I’m not sure I want to get that old; as one of them walks by I’m sure I can smell eucalyptus…

Click here to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.