J.K. Rowling Got ‘Busted for Flying Under the Radar’ with Her New Book


Theme:–The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (Old-School Flava)

The secret’s out the bag! The Cuckoo’s Calling is not by some newly emerging author named Robert Galbraith. Instead it’s written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Many publishing industry insiders were fooled and even stunned. Rowling got ‘busted for flying under the radar’ with her new book.

With limited sales and some mixed reviews, this crime novel didn’t debut with much fanfare. Rowling wanted to reinvent her writing without the added pressure of media hype. She wanted to connect with a new stream of audience feedback. So she came up with the fake name and storyline bio.

Sometimes this is how athletes and celebs reinvent their careers. First, there’s a time for ‘flying under the radar’ just to regroup. They look for new opportunities to connect their skills. Some go from retired to re-hired in a fresh role on Reality TV. Their careers get a new identity and 1-page bio.

Then there are the top-dogs in business who look to reinvent their brand. While ‘under the radar,’ Rowling was busy re-branding how she ‘dots the i’s and crosses the t’s.’ As @TaraDowdellGrp tweet reminds us of a Walter Landor quote, “products are made in the factory but brands are created in the mind.”

If there’s a plot line to Rowling’s makeover success it’s in moving from brand development to discovery to name recognition. The book went from bottom to #1 on Amazon. In baseball ‘the game’s not over until the fat lady sings.’ Well in career and business it’s not over as long as the brand name in the market rings.


The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (New-School Flava)

Secret’s out the bag! Author with unknown tag. The Cuckoo’s Calling not by some new writer. Instead by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter creator. Robert Galbraith was the pen-name. Editor for both found to be the same. Insiders stunned and feeling the fool. Rowling ‘flying under the radar’ around the press pool.

Limited sales, modest reviews. A crime novel with some hidden clues. Low attention on the pop culture front. Many glossed over deciding to punt. Wanting to reinvent her writing career. By shifting her game starting last year. With a new fan-feedback stream. Adding a fake name, bio and PR team.

Athletes and celebs do it all the time. Reinventing their careers at the drop of a dime. First, ‘flying under the radar’ to regroup. Adding skills that bring opportunities to recoup. Some go from retired to re-hired in a ‘New York minute.’ Using Reality TV to take things to the limit.

Other top-dogs in the world of biz. Look to reinvent their market fizz. Rowling went under the radar for a reason. To re-brand her work for a new season. By how she dots i’s and crosses t’s. With her own style of abc’s. As @TaraDowdellGrp tweet reminds. “Products made in the factory, brands made in the mind.”

A plot line to Rowling’s makeover success? Moving brand thru development, discovery and recognition in the press. Book went from bottom to #1 ranking. On Amazon and Kindle Rowling is banking. In baseball ‘the game’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings.’ Well, in biz it’s not over if the brand name still rings.

Tip: Upping your game means working on a new idea you hatch and sometimes having to start over from scratch.

Talkback: What do you remember most about a favorite celeb, artist or athlete who made a career move that gave their brand new life?

#TrayvonMartin Didn’t Stand a Chance Dead or Alive


The verdict came in after a day and a half of jury review. ‘Not guilty’ of Second-Degree Murder was the ruling. It seems the charge of Manslaughter was dropped from discussion. Even though Zimmerman went with basic self-defense over Stand your Ground, Trayvon Martin didn’t stand a chance dead or alive.

This case showed how hard it is to prove without reasonable doubt someone’s ill intentions. Zimmerman might not have left his house with the intent to cause harm. But his actions that evening lead-up to the tragedy. The Prosecution must have known the risk of not going with Manslaughter as the main charge.

It’s like leaving home to run an errand and getting a traffic ticket. No one leaves home saying “today is a good day for a ticket.” Even with the best of intentions it can happen. The officer will likely give the reason for the summons. Well, investigation at the scene of this case was influenced by Stand Your Ground.

Stand Your Ground gives someone the right to defend their space. The law is a ‘step-child’ of the Castle Doctrine argument where an individual has the right to use deadly force against a home intruder. Maybe Stand Your Ground and Racial Profiling have gone from ‘step-child to problem child’ in the justice system.

Some on CNN are asking the difference between criminal profiling and racial profiling. Criminal profiling does not always introduce race as a factor. However, racial profiling as a step-child of criminal profiling is where by using race you can cause real factors to be overlooked and assumed factors to be overplayed.

Trayvon Martin

Zimmerman made some assumptions about Martin based on past incidents. The legal experts and social scientists have to figure-out whether racial profiling is insensitive or an injustice. If emotion should take a backseat in legal arguments then racial profiling is an injustice as it brings a form of bias to the front-seat.

Many feel we’ve been here before. The justice system seems to play hardball with certain groups of people. Why is that? Well, we know that the system is imperfect. It is based on laws written by imperfect people. The problem is that the system’s imperfections tend to throw certain groups ‘under the bus.’

More often than not, these groups end up being treated unfairly by the system. Sometimes due to reasons like mandatory minimum drug laws or the inability to hire high profile Attorneys. These are not always matters of racial discrimination. But at a minimum they are examples of legal system dysfunction.

Martin was doing nothing wrong that fateful evening. He was just a normal teenager, being profiled by a neighborhood watch volunteer, who was carrying a loaded semi-automatic and was familiar with the Stand Your Ground law. A sadder reality beyond the verdict is Martin didn’t stand a chance dead or alive.

Tip: Equal justice and racial justice are not always the same due to legal system dysfunction.

Talkback: Which played a bigger role in this case, racial profiling or stand your ground?

Mohammed Morsi’s Social Revolution Was Like a Flashmob for Change


Theme:–The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (Old-School Flava)

Another official is sent packing! Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first elected President was removed by the military after one year in office. It seems the Egyptian people lost their patience. Some say it was a coup while others see it as course correction. In our social media age, a flashmob is easier but change is hard.

It’s easier to be a witness than an agent of change. In Egypt we watch as the country makes change a reality. First they got past the fear of dictatorship. Then they moved beyond the doubt that change was even possible. But making change stick means getting past the bad habits of status-quo military rule.

Consider the gun violence situation in Chicago. People feel like they’re under siege in some neighborhoods. While Egypt’s revolution coverage was easier, the events in Chicago may need change coverage. Let others see life is like a boomerang. What you put out comes back without a doubt.

Social change is not just rallies and speeches. It’s about shifting the mindset that’s blocking change. That’s how 12-step programs work. Gil Scott-Heron once said that “the revolution will not be televised.” Let’s just say change happens more by kicking bad habits than by having an addiction to revolution.

The Arab Spring saw demonstrations in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. The Chinese protests in ‘89 happened in Tiananmen Square. Maybe these say something about the power to change. At times change is more ‘square than round.’ It takes one or more shifts to see a change in direction or course correction.


The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (New-School Flava)

Another official sent packing! Egyptians think he was slacking. Mohammed Morsi got the pink slip. People lost patience, no longer seen as hip. Some say this was a military coup. Others see it as a course correction from old to new. In this the social media age. Flashmob is easier but change hard to stage.

Ready to be an eye-witness. Than to demonstrate change fitness. We watch as Egypt comes around. To a new reality that seems sound. Getting past the fear of dictatorship. And even past doubt by assuming ownership. What’s it gonna take for change to stick? Subtracting bad habits, that’s gotta be the trick.

Consider gun violence in Chicago central. Not simply by those gone mental. Some areas already under such stress. Feels worse than a living mess. While Egypt receives revolution coverage. Chicago needs to apply change leverage. Let peeps see life’s like a boomerang. What you put out comes back bang-bang.

Social change, a lot it teaches. Not just rallies and long speeches. Shifting the mindset to unblock change. That’s how 12-step programs flex your range. “The revolution will not be televised,” that’s what Scott-Heron said. You change by kicking bad habits and not letting revolution go to your head.

Arab Spring demonstrations in Tahrir Square. On TV it felt like you were there. Tiananmen Square and other places too. Some spots where social change began anew. At times change more ‘square than round.’ By shifts in direction and course correction from the hog pound.

Tip: Upping your game by embracing change means kicking bad habits and avoiding an addiction to revolution.

Talkback: From Flashmobs to Occupy Wall Street, how has social media changed the revolution game?

Has Paula Deen’s Food Franchise Gotten Lost in the Sauce?


Theme:–The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (Old-School Flava)

It seems like Paula Deen’s ‘bread & butter’ franchise is in a tailspin. Reports surfaced that she used racial slurs in the past. One by one the big-box retailers began dropping her like a hot potato. Her public responses have been more ‘miss than hit.’ Has Paula Deen’s food franchise gotten lost in the sauce?

So she’s hired Judy Smith to help with crisis management. Smith is the inspiration behind the highly-rated TV show Scandal. To help make a comeback Deen has gone from PR to ER in handling the situation. Her public relation has been a disaster. Now things call for an emergency response to stop the bleeding.

Where did Deen go wrong, and can Smith make things right? She might help Deen see the difference between being closed versus locked. A door that is locked is also closed. But a door can be closed without being locked. Career or brand comebacks are possible before doors go from closed to locked.

R&B Music star Charlie Wilson is a good example of a comeback after being ‘down but not out.’ His career went from highs to lows. Sort of like Deen and others faced with a business setback or slow job market. But with the right support, focus and pure genius he found a way to go from zero to hero.

We tend to forget scandals after a while. The short-term pain can be difficult. But the long-term effects are lessons for a lifetime. Smith will coach Deen on putting her brand back on the block. It’s probably not too late since comebacks are a matter of leaving a mark so that when you’re gone you’re not forgotten.


The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (New-School Flava)

Seems like Paula Deen’s franchise is in a spin. Many lost opportunities to win. Reports surfaced of using racial slur. Saying her past was just a blur. Big-box stores dropped her one by one. Like a hot potato her biz put under the gun. Public responses haven’t been a hit. Will these troubles cause her to quit?

Added Judy Smith to her crisis team. A point of inspiration from a bad dream. With TV show Scandal based on Smith’s story. Deen hoping to strike-up new glory. Going from PR to ER in this situation. As an emergency response to bad public relation. To help stop the bleeding and personal frustration.

Where did Deen go wrong? This was like a bad song. With branding advice Smith is stocked. Knowing the difference between closed and locked. Door that is locked also closed. But doesn’t always mean your chances are hosed. Market comeback may still be doable. Closed, not locked says brand is renewable.

R&B Music star Charlie Wilson a good example. Of a ‘down but not out’ music gamble. Going from career highs to new low. Falling out the pop culture flow. Like Deen and other biz setbacks. A slow job market means a hard comeback. But with the right support and focus. Takes pure genius, ditch the hocus pocus.

Scandals are forgotten after a while. Short-term pain can affect your style. Long-term effects are lessons in forever. As the saying goes, “never say never.” Smith will coach Deen through the paces. To put her brand in good graces. Not too late to be back on the block. From leaving a mark while punching the clock.

Tip: Upping your game means seeing ‘down but not out’ as a preview for going from zero to hero.

Talkback: What do you think Paula Deen can do to get back in good graces?