August 2014


Don King – Promotion with Commotion

MMA has kicked its butt in recent years. But the sport of boxing is still around.

Boxing has kicked Don King’s butt in recent years. But The King of Promotion with Commotion is still around.

As Don King has said thousands of times, “Only in America.”

Today is Don King’s 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday Don. Not bad for a convicted felon who once told me he never expected to make it to 50. Penitentiary he said changed his life.

You would be amazed at the long list of VIPs around the world who have posed for photos with Don King. The old photo above is me with him in Las Vegas. It’s one of a few photos I have with him from my television career.

Unfortunately, the best picture I have of being with Don King is only stored on the hard drive in my mind. I didn’t have a camera with me at the time. The classic photo opp took place before the smart phone era. This was back when dinosaurs and film cameras roamed the earth.

So picture this…

It’s a Saturday afternoon in summer. I walk off the Atlantic City Boardwalk into the closed theater at the Boardwalk Regency Hotel. I’m working on a TV concert series and B.B. King is performing for the cameras that night. (What a pro.) Standing alone in the lobby before me are two famous kings enjoying ice cream and conversation…none other than B.B. King and Don King. I joined them for a few minutes in what seemed surreal even at the time.

Don King had his share of friends. You would be amazed at the long list of VIPs around the world who have posed for photos with him. What’s equally amazing is that Don King had more than his fair share of enemies in the brutal sport of boxing. It’s a miracle he thrived. It’s a bigger miracle he survived.

His was arguably boxing’s greatest promoter. He was definitely his own greatest promoter. Every Don King promotion always sold tickets by having him creating commotion. We all got sucked in for a ride on his marketing machine every time.

Don King was also one of boxing’s most unique personalities. Now that is saying something. His hair and his mouth were known around the world. King is one of the most talented talkers I have ever met. You can’t always understand what he’s saying. You can’t usually get him off his message and get him to be relevant to your interview questions. But you can always count on being entertained and yes, even mesmerized.

Don King has always been a one-man show.

In the above photo I remember getting in a word with him and saying, “I’m guessing you’ve never come across a word you didn’t like!” Thankfully there was a camera around for that gem.

Don King promoted with some of boxing’s all-time greats. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and many more back when boxing packed a punch. Growing up in Philadelphia, Smokin Joe Frazier was one of my childhood heroes. It was always a thrill for me going to his boxing gym as a TV guy. God rest his soul.

Smokin Joe was also hard to understand. But his telling the story of driving in the limo with Don King to “The Thrilla in Manila,” and King leaving him to drive in Big George’s limo after Foreman took Frazier’s heavyweight title is truly a timeless classic.

Don King had the power to get rising fighters and champions to fall in love with him, and more importantly the money he could make for them. In most cases though, the fighters claimed to take a financial beating from King. The fallout from the breakups of those relationships is the stuff legends are made of. Tales of Mike Tyson and others wanting to kill King made what goes in the ring look like shadow boxing. Really.

Amazingly on his 83rd Birthday, not only is Don King is still around.. he is back on top. He is now promoting a new heavyweight champion, Bermane Stiverne. (Yeah, I’d never heard of him either). Marketing, promotion, and reputation management professionals should study Don King. People lost millions with him. People lost lives with him. He’s been knocked down, kicked around, but somehow still not knocked out. Only Father Time will get him for sure, like the rest of us.

Maybe somewhere today someone will be able to get Don King to stop talking long enough to blow out a whole bunch of candles on a birthday cake and enjoy more ice cream. Like the man says, “Only in America.”

By Thomas Baldrick   Google +

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Bad Writing is like Bad Breath

“Bad Writing is like Bad Breath. Most people won’t say anything to your face about it.” — Thomas Baldrick

It’s bad news if this comes as breaking news. Telling your stories well is important in business and in life. What is the quality of your writing? Does it help you or hurt you? Do you know or just hope? Bad writing could be hurting you and your business.

“Bad Writing is like Bad Breath. It could be turning people away, and keeping them away.” 

You can always learn. You can always improve. Yes, this includes writing. I had written hundreds or thousands of hours worth of content which aired on TV. I also authored two books among my many other writing projects. Still, a few years ago, I had the gift of working closely with “Radar” Roy Reyer. and the legendary Joe Sugarman (creator of Triggers). Their input, advice, and criticism made me a better writer, much better. Plus, I now enjoy writing more than ever. Thank you sirs. I’m forever grateful.

Back to the business at hand. If you want to stop bad breath right now…I suggest Listerine or Altoids. If you want to stop bad writing right now…here’s a hint not a mint. I suggest you take a look at these 12 Tips for Writing Success. I hope one or all 12 of these I’ve come up with may be of assistance to you.

12 Tips for Writing Success

12.  Think about your audience. Who is going to read your writing? Who is the ultimate end user or ideal customer? Think about this person. Picture this person in your mind. Write to this person. Write for this person.

11.  Focus on benefits. What does the reader want? Why are they reading your writing? Why do they care about the topic? Appeal to the benefits they seek. Benefits. Benefits. Benefits. This will get you the best results.

10.  Most people don’t read in groups. Most people read as individuals. Most people use the internet as individuals. Why try to write for the masses? Write to your ideal end user or customer for ideal results. Hopefully, you’ll reach the masses.

9.  Use shorter sentences. They are most effective, especially for the internet. Think instant gratification. Think short attention span. Think of “hooking” readers.

“Bad Writing is like Bad Breath. People won’t appreciate it or you.”

8.  How do you like THAT? Take notice the word “that” is a dead word. It is overused on the internet. You’ll learn quickly it can often be removed from a sentence without any loss of value.

7.  We all make mistakes. “Check before Send” is a wise motto which prevents showcasing your writing mistakes.

6.  I enjoyed a long successful career in television. If I missed writing deadlines but made excuses I’d have quickly become yesterday’s news.

5.  If you can, find your own writing system and stick to it. By writing system I mean how you write, where you write, when you write, etc.

“Bad writing is like Bad Breath. People will remember, and won’t want to get too close to you any time soon.” 

4.  When is the best time to write? Any time you can. Any time you are inspired. Writing gets easier with practice. Relax. Every writer gets “writer’s block.” If you don’t wait until the last minute, you’ll give yourself time to brainstorm, and time to walk away from writing if necessary. Doing something for fun or to relax often clears your block and helps you focus on great writing.

3. You don’t want to waste your time writing. You don’t want to waste anyone else’s time either. Give your readers accurate content with real value.

2. Don’t dare plagiarize. Unlike having bad tuna breath, people will call you on it.

1. Find your voice. Take pride in your writing. Like it or not, you sign your name to it.

“Bad writing is like Bad Breath. It’s bad for your personal brand. It’s bad business.” 

Leave a comment. Add one of your writing tips. Write on My Friend! 

By Thomas Baldrick  Google +

Emmy Award-Winning Writer, Author, and Passionate WordSmith.

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Lifecycles of Innovation

If you left early, you missed out. Those who stayed for the final general session event of the 2014 Innovation Arizona Summit were richly rewarded. There was tremendous value and insight shared during the Lifecycles of Innovation Panel Discussion for anyone interested in business and/or success.

The Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona SciTech Festival, and MIT Enterprise Forum Phoenix gave the conference a theme of “Innovation: From Inspiration to Commercialization.” This Lifecycles of Innovation session personified the theme. It featured outstanding Arizona business leaders who humbly and kindly shared details and advice from their economic successes.

Here was the cast on stage for Lifecycles of Innovation:

Mary Juetten: She was the moderator for the panel. Mary is the Founder and CEO of Traklight. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Traklight is the only the only self-guided software platform for creating your custom (IP) intellectual property strategy.

My key takeaways from Mary Juetten:

– If you’re looking for investment funding, just ask! Don’t dance around the subject. She said she was echoing the wishes of investors she knows.

– If you’re like most people, you get excited about building things. You have to remember someone has to buy it.

Justin Gray: CEO and Chief Marketing Evangelist of Lead MD. With offices in Scottsdale, Arizona and San Francisco, California, this company is a team of experts at automation marketing.

My key takeaways from Justin Gray:

– You have to build a business around your weaknesses. For example, Justin admitted he was overly optimistic in hiring talent. He now has others in place to help with the decision making process of hiring.

– Be fluid. Don’t be forced or stay committed to an original idea. He said he was able to do this and Lead MD is now doing what they do best and filling a critical need in the marketplace.

Craig Hughes: Founder and CEO ofTotal Transit. This is a fully integrated transportation company in Glendale, Arizona. It provides both public and private transportation management services.

My key takeaways from Craig Hughes:

– One thing can lead to another as it did with Total Transit. But when you get a good idea, just stick to it.

– Taking on partners, giving away equity often creates more problems than it solves.

– Say things like they are reality. Then ask, “What do we have to do to get there?”

Paul Jackson: CEO of Integrus Capital, Bright Ventures, Worthworm, & D-Strut. Paul is a former aerospace engineer. He bootstrapped his first company and then raised millions from his guest house in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

My key takeaways from Paul Jackson:

– Getting investors is all about the relationship. When you sit in front of someone, it comes down to if they like you and what you do.

– Mitigate risk wherever you can.

– The best place to get money is from a customer. Get some good customers. Do this before raising money.

– Don’t stop.

Bob LaLoggia: Founder and CEO of Appointment-Plus. This Scottsdale, Arizona company provides a scheduling software which helps organizations to be smarter, faster, and more efficient.

My key takeaways from Bob LaLoggia:

– Every business doesn’t need funding or a huge exit to be successful.

– People you need will change over time. A true CEO makes these tough decisions and often has difficult talks with people in the business you care about.

– Make your vision clear. Don’t give away anything in your business unless you are sure of the outcome. Have confidence in yourself before cutting in others.

Ibrahim Mesbah: He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Revolution Parts. This Tempe, Arizona company is a fully integrated eCommerce solution providing tools and service for growing online auto parts sales.

My key takeaways from Ibrahim Mesbah:

– Find a problem. Create a solution. Find some customers, and validate it.

– It’s easy to get distracted. Stay focused!

I’d like to offer my gratitude to the presenters in the Lifecycles of Innovation session. I appreciated their time and contributions. I was inspired and educated by the stories and lessons learned from their failures, not just their successes.

By Thomas Baldrick  Google +

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#InnovationArizona Experience

It’s Saturday. But my thoughts are still with Thursday. My guess is if you attended #InnovationArizona 2014 you might be going through the same thing. So I’m sharing my experience from the innovative summit. This might help if you were there but in different workshops than me. It might also give you insight if you don’t know what #InnovationArizona is or were unable to attend.

The summit is a one-day annual event held at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. Tickets were just $20 in advance. The day’s activities featured leaders of successful tech companies, investors, educators, and officials from government, and NGOs (non-government organizations).  Well-deserved kudos for presenting #InnovationArizona 2014 go the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona SciTech Festival, and the MIT Enterprise Forum Phoenix in a joint collaborative effort. Sponsors such as Cox Communications, APS, and the City of Scottsdale were also major players.

STEM is the star of #InnovationArizona.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It was everywhere, offering something of interest to seemingly everyone. At the core of most content was the theme of developing solutions to problems. These solutions are making for a better economy, and better ways of living and doing in Arizona and beyond our borders.

Why were educators and even students at #InnovationArizona ?

You don’t need a degree in nuclear physics to figure it out. There was a great deal of information and valuable free resources on hand from the dozens of exhibitors. For example, the Arizona Geographic Alliance and Project Lead the Way.

Living truly outside the box of standard education was 14-year old keynote speaker, Logan LaPlante. The innovative whiz kid from Nevada led the audience inside Generation Z with his talk, “Hackschooling Makes Me Happy.” He’s enjoyed a lifetime of experiences and is driven to succeed before he’s even old to legally drive.

I took to Twitter from the event on Thursday ( @ThomasBaldrick ) sending out a popular tweet which said, “Every school in Arizona should have a representative at #InnovationArizona. I truly believe it.

#InnovationArizona – Beyond Geeks and Techies

I also discovered you didn’t need to be a science geek or techie to benefit from attending this summit. I am a classic example. If you are simply interested in business, any kind of business, the Innovation Arizona Summit would be worth your time. I couldn’t help but feel and act like a sponge around the many wildly successful and innovative business leaders who presented, and graciously shared their successes and failures, and priceless advice.

Collaboration was in the air at #InnovationArizona. For instance, here are just a couple of the connections I enjoyed with innovative Arizonans at the summit.

Conrad Storad. The humble, and award-winning Children’s Author. He shared his stories of his creative approach to entertaining and educating young readers about science and nature.

Alan Baratz. The CEO of Amber Alert GPS. He has such a passion for this life-saving and life-changing technology business. It’s what led him from investing in the Scottsdale based company to literally taking it over.

Melissa Rose. Founder of Biz in a Boxx. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Melissa developed a solution for her daughter struggling in school and turned it into a successful business. But that’s not all. Her daughter is now on track for success and heading off to college.

The 2014 event was my first #InnovationArizona Summit. I look forward to going back and looking for opportunities to get even more involved.

It’s funny. I went there on behalf of my new brand, AZ STRONG. I came away with a greater awareness of how we are truly gifted in our state. AZ has really strong people. AZ has really smart people, too.

So much focus is on Arizona’s immigration problems. It’s nice to focus here on Arizona innovation solutions.

by Thomas Baldrick  Google +

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Innovation Arizona Summit 2014

I like being the best-looking person in the room. I like being the smartest in the room, too. I also like having the most powerful positive attitude in the room. Having said all that, tomorrow I am quite positive I have little to no chance at accomplishing all of these posted goals. You see, I’ll be one of many who is attending the Innovation Arizona Summit.

August 14, 2014. The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will be packed with people and bursting at the rafters with brain power. The one-day event boldly explores the ever-changing lifecycle of innovation. This runs the gamut from inspiration to commercialization. And of course, somewhere or everywhere along the way in the innovative process, (especially in the Arizona heat)…there is perspiration.


As one of the world’s greatest innovators, Thomas Alva Edison, so brilliantly stated…“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

And how. The Innovation Arizona Summit is presented as a joint collaborative effort by the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona SciTech Festival, and the MIT Enterprise Forum Phoenix. I’d like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to these organizations for their vision, as well as their efforts in making this happen.

Summing up the Innovation Arizona Summit

In a word it’s all about STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

It’s truly loaded with information about innovation. Attendees can choose from about 20 different educational sessions. They’re organized in tracks highlighting the areas of innovation, workforce, culture, SciTech, and STEAM (innovative ways to integrate science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

Roughly 60 different exhibitors will be showcasing themselves. Another 1,000 or so attendees round out the field which proudly embraces diversity. There will leaders representing industry, investing, business, education, communities, government, and NGOs (non-government organizations).

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out this coming together at the Innovation Arizona Summit 2014 makes for a powerful formula. There are networking opportunities designed to empower collaborators to enhance and expand their networks and resources. It’s just the right stuff for creating even more entrepreneurship and innovation.

Registration for the Innovation Arizona Summit is closed. If you can’t make to the event, be sure to check back here at AZ STRONG news/blog section. I’ll plan to come up with interesting content to share with you.

If you are attending the Innovation Arizona Summit 2014 version… and would like to collaborate and connect, be sure to look me up. We can meet and explore your marketing, messaging, and promotional needs. It could be improving your website and reach, video production, writing, photography, and more.

You can call me at (602) 535-2320 or email me. If you’d rather find me in person, just take another look at my photo above, or the ones on the AZ STRONG website.

I’ll be the good-looking, smart guy. Hopefully, I won’t be perspiring too much.

by Thomas Baldrick  Google +

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Down Memory Lane with Jacobson Elementary Kiddos

(Photo: Dr. Rosemarie Tipton at 9-11 Wall of Hope dedication. #Thomas Baldrick, Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker seated behind her).

Look out! I apologize. If you’re cruising down Memory Lane, I’m the guy who just went speeding by you…in reverse. There’s no one to blame, only plenty to credit thanks to the new Jacobson Elementary School traffic video we just produced at AZ STRONG.

Before getting to the present and future, I’ll quickly explain this relevant piece of my past. It’s hard to believe the 13th Anniversary of the September 11th tragedies is coming up. It’s hard to believe it’s also been more than a decade has flown by since my first book was published.

“Kids’ Rule! The Hopes and Dreams of 21st Century Children is now out of print. In my research for the book, I had over 10,000 kids across the country and around the world tell me what was most important to them. My job was to share it with readers.

Doing my first book was a long and winding labor of love. It was the cause of much laughter, and sadly some tears as little ones trusted with their hopes, dreams, and realities. I’ve never forgotten how enlightening the sacred journey of that book was for me. How could I?

Still, producing the new video about the traffic flow changes at Jacobson Elementary in Chandler, Arizona gave me the most powerful reminder I’ve had in years of this chapter of my life. I’m grateful.

Truth be told, I haven’t really allowed the memories of my work as an author and recognized “Champion for Children” to see the Arizona sun. My bad. The life choices I made including what led me to move to Arizona pretty much packed away much of my past. For years, I’ve had all of my heart, head, and hands full focusing on another sacred journey. This one centers around one amazing little boy, and doing my best day and night as his “Go To Guy.”

Videotaping dozens of Jacobson Elementary students on Friday brought my rear view mirror right in front of my face. They continued all weekend as I edited the video with their funny little lines and precious little personalities coming to life. From the kindergarten kiddos to the 6th grade rising stars, I couldn’t help but have flashbacks to how much I enjoyed blending my professional television/video and writing skills with my genuine enjoyment of kids being who they are…where they are at that early stage in their development.

Speaking of driving, a few weeks ago I almost drove off the road when I caught myself telling my son, “Someday Daddy might write more books.” I don’t know if I will. I don’t know when either. In the meantime, maybe I’ll look to do more video work at AZ STRONG like the video about Jacobson Elementary School traffic flow changes.

What I do know for sure is this:

– I’m grateful I allowed the idea of doing the video to pop into my head and out of my mouth at a recent Jacobson Site Council meeting.

– I’m grateful for Principal Susan Powell, the staff, and many parents to trust me in working with their Kiddos.

– I’m grateful to all of the students for their time and effort in making the video a success.

– Finally, I’m grateful right now for honoring my feelings around use of the word, “Kiddos.”

The word always reminds me of the late, great Dr. Rosemarie Tipton.

She was the amazing woman and educator at Shanksville Elementary School. Rosemarie guided, nurtured, and passionately protected her “kiddos” every single day, including September 11, 2001. That’s the unforgettable day when heroes battled terrorists and crashed United Flight 93 in a rural Pennsylvania field just missing Shanksville Elementary School.

I miss you my dear friend. My work with the Jacobson Elementary School “Kiddos” has me thinking of you.

by Thomas Baldrick Google +

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Arizona Rainbow Reminder

This is a true story. In fact it just happened. See how an Arizona Rainbow serves as a reminder for you that anything is possible in business and in life.

The state of Arizona has an abundance of beautiful views. There’s the awe inspiring Grand Canyon. There are amazing sunrises and sunsets. There’s countless photo opps of mountains, cactus, palm trees, desert landscape, and many lakes, too. Finally, there are millions of beautiful human examples of eye candy. I was told the best-looking people in the world reside in the state of Arizona.

Based on the wide range of beauty options, Arizona Rainbows aren’t even needed. But we do have them, and they are beautiful. They are breathtaking when you take in the background as well.

The most Spectacular Rainbow I ever saw…

It was years ago while producing a documentary about the Big Island of Hawaii for the Discovery Channel. I was standing waist deep in the Pacific Ocean near Hilo. I saw with my own two eyes why Hilo is known as “The City of Rainbows.” I felt the magical, mesmerizing effect, too.

It was late afternoon. I was with the guys from one of our camera crews. This particular rainbow stretched across the skies as far as the eye could see. If you were trying to capture it in a panoramic photo on your iPhone you would have gotten tired by the time you reached the end. This rainbow was that wide. I will remember that moment for as long as I live.

The most timely rainbow I ever saw…

It was last Saturday evening, August 2, 2014. Around 6:00 p.m. I was driving my son Julian and a pair of our little neighbors. I’ve chauffeured this trio before of ages 8, 6, and 4. We were on our way to a swim party at the marvelous Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center in Southeast Chandler.

This wasn’t just any party. It was a farewell. My neighbors were moving from Arizona as the family’s Big Daddy got a great job offer in Boise, Idaho. Storms coming in from the northwest caused concern about the swim party. But it was sunny in the direction we were heading.

The kids wanted to hear the Kermit the Frog sing “The Rainbow Connection” song sung by Kermit the Frog. Soon everyone was happily singing along. At the exact moment the song ended, we made a left turn onto Riggs Road from McQueen Road.  We were looking east.


Up in the sky there suddenly appeared a beautiful Arizona Rainbow.

The kids looked out the window with wide eyes. They were simply amazed at the timing. I was right there with them, amazed at this unique and shocking Arizona Rainbow Connection.

The kids said in that moment they would remember this rainbow forever. I suggested they always remember it as a sign anything in life is possible. I made a point of saying the same thing to myself specifically about business.

I joked with the kids how I was relieved they didn’t request hearing “Frosty the Snowman.” Naturally, they did. While I was able to play the song from YouTube, I didn’t have the power to make it snow in August in hot and sunny Chandler, Arizona. Maybe it will work next time. After all, anything in life and business is possible. You just have to believe.

Get creative. Think about what you want to create in business. Right now, it might feel more possible, especially when you compare it to having to manifest an Arizona Rainbow.

By Thomas Baldrick  Google +

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