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I’m a retail architect that studies human behavior, perception, and decision-making. I’m fascinated with the intersection of where commerce and community meet.

The five forces that can transform average companies into industry champions

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Have you ever wondered why some entrepreneurs “make it big” while others — who are just as bright and hardworking — don’t? This question is one I’ve studied for the last 30 years.

As an innovation design consultant, my colleagues and I have worked with over 600 business leaders and management teams from a wide variety of industries. And over the last three decades, I’ve encountered every type of organizational culture imaginable.

Just add any adjective you can think of — brilliant, bureaucratic, efficient, dysfunctional, corrupt, or visionary — and I’ve worked with them before. …


The invaluable business lesson I learned from one of Asia’s wealthiest entrepreneurs

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As a consultant, I’m inside my clients’ corporate offices several times a month. And after doing this routine for over 35 years, I can tell what a company’s management philosophy will be about just by the looks of their lobby and conference rooms.

I’ve worked for some clients that haven’t made a profit in five years but still have deluxe conference rooms — with expensive furniture, flashy technology systems, and plenty of snacks and bottles of Perrier sparkling waters.

And I’ve also worked for some of the world’s wealthiest companies with conference rooms with old, musty carpet, beat-up tables, chairs…


How to build a bootstrap marketing approach with limited resources

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Starting a business is akin to trying to build a utopian colony in the middle of the jungle. With no roads, electricity, plumbing, or running water, you spend the first year just getting the fundamentals of your base camp set up while trying to survive the harsh realities of the business wilderness.

When my business partner and I started our consulting firm in 1992, we had a mountain of issues to tackle every day. We’d work with staff and clients during the weekdays, do bookkeeping and accounting at night, and focus on marketing efforts on the weekends.

However, the most…


To love your lover is to love their dreams.

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

“I can’t wait for you to get this childish hobby out of your system!” Marie shouted as Harry laid on the floor, wrestling with one of his students.

And with that, she stormed out of the gym in a huff.

Harry looked embarrassed…as if his mother just told him he was too old to be still playing with GI Joe’s.

As students, we weren’t used to seeing our action-hero smacked down like this. There was an awkward silence for a few breathless seconds. …


The three fences couples must get over to “make it”.

Photo by Davids Kokainis on Unsplash

“So, what’d you think of my new girl?” Felix asked as if he were referring to a new convertible sports car he just leased.

“She seems like a wonderful human,” I said.

He was hoping for a more enthusiastic response from me. But I didn’t want to participate in this visual evaluation game with him like we were judges holding scorecards at a dog show.

Felix always had a new modelesque girl on his arm, but these relationships never went far beyond the first few dates.

My friend was a serial dater, and he had all the trappings of a…


Few people shaped my life more than my barber.

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With my car in a ditch, my grades in the toilet, and my long unruly hair covering my face, my dad asked with an earnest look of exhaustion, “What happened to you, son?” You were a top student, but you’re about to piss it all away on a stupid Friday night of fun?” I had no answers for him, but I promised to try to clean up my act.

Looking back now, I realize I was angry, reckless, and soaking in a 55-gallon drum of teenage testosterone. Like most sixteen-year-old boys, I thought I was immortal, but even immortals have…


America under attack

iStockphoto.com:Tatsiana Hrak

When I was a kid watching old war movies with my dad, I wondered what it must have been like to live in Hawaii during the surprise Pearl Harbor attacks just before eight on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. Nobody saw it coming, but I figured that kind of attack would never happen again on American soil — and then it did on 9/11.

Where were you on 9/11? Do you remember your first reaction? Who did you reach out to or call? How did it change your perception of safety in America?

I was thousands of miles away in…


Why it’s time to cut our losses and redefine the place of work

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When I watch old movies, I’m always fascinated by the absence of computer screens on manager’s desks. The same goes for secretaries taking dictation from their bosses. Likewise, future generations might find the elaborate cost of the traditional high-rise office buildings wasteful and the formal coat, tie, shiny shoes, and starched white shirts antiquated. They might also find the water bottle gossip ritual, power lunches, and 9–5 work schedules an odd if not unrecognizable behavior.

Twenty years from now, we’ll find ourselves trying to explain to younger generations how people worked BC (Before Covid) and AC (After Covid). When we…


I loved her. She loved him. He got off. But she went to jail.

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There’s nothing more torturous in life than wondering if you’ll ever get to be with your love interest or not. But after two years of waiting, praying, and losing my mind, Nicole finally said the magic words I’d been hungry to hear, “I want us to be together!”

Nicole was all I thought and cared about, but I wondered if it would ever happen. Here she was, though, standing at my front door, telling me she was ready to move in with me. She was the reward I’d been holding out for all my life, and I felt as if…

Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA

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