What I Learned After 7 Years Of Working For Free

  “Can you endorse some of my skills on LinkedIn?” my friend texted me. “I’d be happy to do the same for you. Just let me know.” LinkedIn endorsements? I wondered. Do people look at those? A couple weeks later, I met this friend over breakfast, and he explained, “I’m having a hard time landing full-time work, so I’m trying to boost my LinkedIn profile.”
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How I Taught Myself to Bartend

  I saved the empty liquor bottles and filled them with water. When the restaurant was quiet (we opened winter of ’08), the start of the Recession — it was quiet often) I took the rail liquors out. Placed them on the ground. Replaced them with the dummy bottles. Then I practiced making cocktails. Over and over again. For hours, six days a week. That first week, I only made 4 cocktails, our most popular ones (Raspberry Saketini (it was a Japanese restaurant), Dirty Martini (for Tom, that’s all he drank), Cosmo, Mai Tai). I learned with the jigger pour
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The Importance of Pre-Meal

On January 13, 2009, we opened our restaurant, Shogun, in Delmar, NY and my father held our first pre-meal inside the kitchen. As the first of the soft-opening customers trickled through the front door, he shared this nugget of instruction: “This is how you pour miso soup.” We were about to open a Japanese restaurant — and we didn’t know how to serve the soup. This is like asking for garlic bread at The Olive Garden and your server saying, “Garlic what?” Case Studies: The Difference Pre-Meal Makes I always thought pre-meal was the best part of a shift. Our pre-meals
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If You’re Looking for Permission You’ve Come to the Wrong Place

One of my favorite interviews of all time (and thanks to the handcrafted Aux Hook-up in my car, I listen to many) is Bryan Elliot’s interview of Seth Godin, for the Icarus Deception. In the interview, Seth says — and I’m going to paraphrase here: “The excuse that, ‘My boss doesn’t give me permission’ is a bad one. Why should he? You’re not asking for permission, what you’re saying is, ‘Can I go do this thing, and if it works, I’m going to take all the credit, and if it doesn’t, you’ll take all the blame.’ Who would agree to
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Why We Love Distractions

There was a contract on my desk I could not get through. Every time I sat down, fourth (fifth… sixth…) cup of coffee in hand, armed with a pen and true grit, distractions plagued me from every direction. I felt like Macaulay Culkin in the movie MY GIRL, who gets attacked by the Avenging Bee Hive, stung a million times, and dies. Oh. Spoiler alert. I’d get through three sentences, then someone would ping me on instant messenger, asking if we were having a staff meeting. Or an assistant would make a scheduling snafu, and would urgently need to reschedule —
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The Difference in Small Fears vs Big Fears

I’ve been thinking a lot about small failures lately. In my experience, they’re more difficult to publicly face than large failures.   For example, in 2008, when my father opened the first Shogun, the idea that “this might might work” didn’t cross my mind too often. I felt like: “Of course this might not work!” It’s a big risk. The economy is depressed. One out of 4 restaurants fail in their first year. That number rises, to three in 5, over the next 3 years. We faced plenty of other obstacles: Was there a market for Japanese food in Delmar?
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What I’m Reading: Understanding Michael Ovitz

I think understanding context is crucial for education and self-development. An example: my current employer, Intellectual Property Group is a successor to the H.N. Swanson Literary Agency, one of the greatest Hollywood Lit Agencies of all time. Swanie represented some of the greatest literary heavyweights: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, etc. The foreword to his memoir, SPRINKLED WITH RUBY DUST, was written by client, the late great Elmore Leonard. The Importance Of Context In reading Swanie’s memoir and understanding the circumstances in which he built his agency, I understand the nature of my work and my environment
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How Do You Decide: Take a New Job or Stay at Your Old Job?

I got offered the opportunity to work for a show runner the other day. Was it the right decision? My friend asked me to call him. He said, “This position is about to open up. I can tee it up for you, but you have to tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in four hours. You’re the first person I’m going to, but if you pass I need to get someone else in the room.” It’s a gun-to-the-head situation, but fair play. I thought it over, as I tried focusing on check letters and connecting calls and the minutia of the
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What I’m Reading: 10/1/2013

These are highlights of what I read (and watched and listened to) this past week: Better Chemistry Through Research: How Writers Make “Breaking Bad” So Uncomfortably Real Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy Filmmaker Lynn Shelton: ‘There’s This Real Deliciousness To Being Able To Do Exactly What You Want To Do’ Lynn Shelton is proof that you don’t have to appear on some variation of a “30 Under 30” list to be successful. “It was a long, circuitous route for me,” says the Seattle-based filmmaker. 10 revenue streams funding investigative journalism | Media news | Journalism.co.uk The Art of Speed:
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