Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Our Social Dilemma: What Big Tech Doesn’t Want You to Know This Holiday Season

With Covid cases spiking and freezing weather descending on the Northeast, my wife and I decided to test out our self-quarantining skills last weekend. Bottom line: we won’t be making a habit of self-imposed hibernation, but at least we caught up on yard work and all the shows we’ve been planning to watch.

Most of the shows are crap, but we did uncover 90 minutes’ worth of docudrama gold in the form of The Social Dilemma on Netflix.

With Holiday festivities and family gatherings likely to be dialed back this year, more people than ever are likely to seek solace and human engagement on their devices. That’s a downer for most folks, but the tech industry will be laughing all the way to the bank. As they say in Silicon Valley: “If you aren’t paying for the product then you ARE the product.”

The Social Dilemma is based on interviews with dozens of former Silicon Valley developers, product managers and business managers. It deftly exposes the hard truths about things like “surveillance capitalism” and “positive intermittent reinforcement” and explains them in a non-wonky way.

Director Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Ice and Chasing Coral) takes us inside the digital manipulation of human behavior for profit: Infinite scrolling and push notifications that keep users constantly engaged. Personalized recommendations use data not just to predict, but also to influence our actions, turning users into “easy prey for advertisers and propagandists.”

Think about how the tobacco industry targeted teens and tweens a generation ago and now multiply that by 1,000. As a parent of two Gen Z kids, I knew all the devices, apps and platforms were addictive--I just didn’t know how intentional the tech companies were about manipulating young peoples’ need for digital dopamine 24/7. A great line from the film asks viewers which other industries besides tech refer to their customers as “users”? Answer: Only one--drug dealers.

In one chilling graphic we see how an enormous spike in teen suicide and self-mutilation closely mirrors the rapid adoption rate of the iPhone first introduced in 2007. “What many people don’t realize is that these companies have entire teams of highly paid engineers whose job it is to use your psychology against you and use it for their profit,” related Tristan Harris, a former design “ethicist” at Google.

And that’s what is perhaps so disturbing in this era of “truth decay.” Our tech addiction has had a dangerous distortion of reality on everything from middle school popularity or Presidential elections.

During the film, Silicon Valley VC, Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook, delivers a chilling allegation: Russia didn’t hack Facebook; it simply used the platform.


The Social Dilemma is a cautionary tale for anyone who’s thinking about giving a tech gift this year or who’s thinking about hunkering around down with their devices to help them get through a long, dark, socially isolated winter. Just know that your streaming, clicking and swiping habits will be fed instantly into Netflix’s massive data-based algorithm.

What’s your take? I’d love to hear from you.

#Techaddiction #socialmedia  #TristanHarris  #JeffOrlowski #socialdilemma

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

6 Tips for Being a Great Podcast Guest

By TINA DIETZ, guest columnist

In today’s fast-paced, time-compressed world, audio is becoming an increasingly popular medium. More than one-third of Americans are tuning in to podcasts on a monthly basis and that number is expected to reach 132 million by 2022. 

In many ways, podcasting is the ideal learning and entertainment medium for busy, successful people like you and your clients. You can consume podcasts anytime, anywhere. For senior advisors, podcasting is an excellent platform for sharing your stories and for engaging in deeper conversation with time-pressed clients and other decisionmakers.

As a thought leader in our industry, I’m sure you’ve been invited on podcasts or have several that you’d like to be on. Before accepting and strapping on the headphones, consider these tips below:

6 Tips for Being a Great Podcast Guest:

1. Establish rapport with the host 

If the host likes to reading from scripted questions, then as a guest you will need some skills in developing intimacy with the host. Consider doing a thematic exercise in which you pretend the host is someone you know and like. In order to connect and calm your nerves, it’s helpful to imagine engaging in conversation with someone you have a close relationship with. 

Be warm and conversational. Coming across as relatable is more important than coming across as an expert. The more that you can create the vibe that you are sitting across from someone having a cup of coffee, the more successful you will be as a podcast guest.  

2. Imagine you are talking to the audience one-on-one 

When you’re speaking on a podcast, never forget you’re speaking directly into the listener’s ear. This is unlike speaking on a stage where there are multiple body language techniques and nonverbal cues to keep in mind. 

Podcasting is meant to be a more personal experience. When thinking about your message, make sure to start from that mentality. Leaders are the voice of their firms, so it’s important to ask yourself: “How do I want people to experience me? In terms of my energy and presence, how do I want to come across? What do I want listeners to take away from this?” 

3. Utilize different vocal techniques to increase your trustworthiness and credibility 

When it comes to positioning yourself as an expert, there are numerous factors that come into play – and your voice is one that often gets overlooked. The way you sound affects the way you are perceived; it affects your ability to get your message across. Mastering this technique takes practice. 

For example, lower pitched voices tend to be viewed as more credible. That’s not to suggest you’re doomed if you have a naturally high voice; however, it’s one piece of the puzzle, and having a deep voice will definitely give you a competitive edge. I have found there are four main areas to focus on: 

a)      Articulation – Clear pronunciation will make listeners consider you well-educated and intelligent. If you want to improve your articulation, repeat challenging words before going on the air until you pronounce them properly. Also, it’s very important to slow down the rate at which you speak when you’re on the air. Nerves and inexperience tend to make you talk faster than you think.

b)     Tempo – The speed at which you speak is what captivates the attention of the listener.  Tempo is highly individual but can make a difference in how listeners process the information you are sharing with them. When speech is too slow, people often become bored or disinterested. On the other hand, when speech is too fast, speakers may slur their words or fail to convey their message effectively.  

In terms of perceived credibility, a “normal” rate of delivery is ranked the highest. This means you need to be authentic and communicate in a way that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Your tempo can be improved by focusing on your breath. Many people don’t realize they hold their breath when they speak.  Make sure you are breathing naturally. 

c)      Fluidity – Your speech should have a smooth flow. Try to avoid using “um,” “like,” “you know” and other filler words that make you appear less articulate. We are often don’t realize how often we use these lazy filler words in our everyday speech. Break the habit! The less you reach for your filler words, the more confident you will appear. 

It’s better to be transparent with your thinking process. When asked a question, pause for a moment and if you need more time to answer, you can say “let me think about that.” This shows you care about the question and want to provide a thoughtful response.  

d)     Sonority – This refers to the pleasantness of your voice. To come across as more confident and credible, avoid uptalk--the tendency to make every statement you make sound like a question -- ”I think we should order an appetizer first?” It gives the impression that you don’t know what you’re talking about, or have very little confidence in what you are saying.  

Also, it’s important to be mindful of vocal fry.” This is a way of speaking in which your voice sounds low and cracked. This speaking style is often associated with boredom and ditziness. 

4. Be willing to make requests  

Most podcasts are recorded ahead of time so edits can be made.  This is within the parameters of podcast etiquette, and hosts are generally appreciative when guests ask to revise and re-record their answers.  It takes a great deal of pressure off of you and the host if you make requests during an interview. So, if something isn’t sitting right with you, let the host know.  

5. Change up the narrative 

We are all familiar with the story structure, “Once upon a time…” and are used to hearing a narrative in chronological order with the big reveal uncovered only at the end of the story. 

What’s more interesting as a listener? “Once upon a time there was a boy named Johnny?” or “Johnny couldn’t believe his eyes. He turned the corner and saw…” 

When you write out a narrative, start at the middle or at the end, rather than the beginning. Here’s why: We lean into the conversations when we hear a result. We think to ourselves, “Well how did that happen? And then what?”  

This is how you pull in a listener.  On a podcast when you have limited time to tell your full story, a ‘once upon a time’ narrative risks causing most people to zone out after 30 seconds. Try to turn stories on their head to make storytelling more exciting. Drop people into the story from the middle or the end to create intrigue. 

6. Help the host prepare beforehand and follow up after  

In terms of preparing for the podcast, send the host the proper pronunciation of your first and last name, links to your social media profiles, your headshot, and suggested questions that might help the host get inspired. This will make you stand out as a guest. 

Finally, follow up with a thank you email to the host after your interview, and share your podcast episode with your networks when it goes live. Thank the host again in any communications on social media. This courtesy helps strengthen your relationships and increases your chances of being referred to another interview opportunity.  


As the old saying goes: “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be invited back again and again to share your expertise with an ever-expanding number of followers and admirers.

Did you find these tips helpful? Do you know of any that aren’t on the list?

Tina Dietz is an internationally acclaimed speaker, audio publisher and podcast advisor to HB Publishing & Marketing Company. Visit her at Twin Flames Studios

#Podcasting #practicemanagement #thoughtleadership #avoiduptalk #vocalfry 

Monday, November 02, 2020

Let’s Agree to Disagree

I finally got around to reading A Warning,” the best-selling insider look at the Trump White House by the author known simply as “Anonymous.” Published in late 2019, there has been tremendous speculation about who the author was. He or she seemed to have deep insider access to many high-level meetings in and around the Oval Office. 

Last week the author finally came forward. In somewhat of a letdown, it turned out to be Miles Taylor, a youthful former mid-level staffer in the Department of Homeland Security. Not exactly in Trump’s inner circle, but close enough to provide a reasonably accurate assessment of what he saw from the “box seats” as one reviewer described the author’s reporting.

While the book was generally panned by the critics, A Warning did remind us about what happens in all types of organizations when people become lose their courage to question authority when they see things that are morally, ethically and legally wrong. Taylor left government work in 2018, and hid his identity in order to avoid the President’s personal attacks and to force Trump to address the issues the book raised.

Regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, I still recommend reading Anonymous as we wait for Tuesday’s election results to be officially tallied. Taylor—a self-described history buff—weaves in valuable perspective about what happens when powerful societies as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans let hubris and divisiveness get in the way of democracy and common sense. Perhaps the books should be re-titled: “A Cautionary Tale.”

Taylor argues that we have two choices today:  ”We can bury our heads in the sand hoping it gets better by itself. Or we can recognize the situation for what it is and, rather than allow political turmoil to hasten our demise, begin a restoration.” He adds that we need a “civil renaissance for our day and age that requires active participation in our civic life.”

Moving forward

One of the first steps in making that happen, wrote Taylor, is straightening out the media by “restoring a climate of truth, by clearing the air of misinformation and changing how we report, consume and share news so we aren’t living in different realities.”

Ironically, Taylor told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an on-air interview in August that he WAS NOT the author of “Anonymous.” A month later he became a paid CNN contributor and remains employed there as this post went live.

If you do plunk down hard cash on the book, know that Taylor refused advance payment for his work and he has pledged to donate a large portion of any royalties to nonprofit organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, the membership organization for reporters who cover the president. Hmmm.

Taylor concludes his book with the observation that we must also “relearn the art of agreeing to disagree with people whose political views we don’t share.” He added that it’s also important for us to “begin re-associating in person. Sadly, our growing interconnectedness online is making us disconnected from one another, so we must find new ways to engage,” he adds in the final pages.


You may not agree with Taylor’s account of the White House or the politically motivated timing of his self-revelation. However, it’s important to gain perspective from people from all walks of life, not just from those who share your own viewpoints, experiences and financial circumstances.

Bottom line: You don’t need to read “A Warning” from cover to cover, but it’s worth a good skim shortly before or after you head to the polls.

What’s your take? I’d love to hear from you.

#Election #civildiscourse #respect #milestaylor #AWarning

Monday, October 26, 2020

Why We Need Youth Sports Back

With the cool weather, longer nights and changing leaves here in late October, my car seems to be on autopilot to the nearest soccer field. For the better part of 15 years, I’ve always had at least one kids on the soccer pitch—or more accurately “between the pipes.” But here we are, on the cusp of Halloween, when the state playoffs should be underway, and most of the teams are in quarantine, lockdown or some other form of self-imposed purgatory, waiting to see if the season will resume. 

Something’s just been off this autumn.

My wife claims she doesn’t miss all the stress of watching our sons (both goalkeepers) sweat out another tight 1-0 or 0-0 game destined to be decided on penalty kicks or a last-minute breakdown by one our defenders. But I do. You’d think we’d be used to it after all of those games watching them on the pitcher’s mound, but being a goalkeeper’s parent is a different kind of stress. I’m sure you have clients in the same situation minding the nets for their soccer, lacrosse or hockey teams.

Nothing to slow down time this fall

I actually started to embrace the stress of being a goalkeeper’s parent as an antidote to our otherwise hyper-caffeinated, fast-paced lives. To a goalkeeper’s parent, the clock seems to move in super-slow motion, each agonizing second on the click ticking at a snail’s pace. Your stomach’s in knots each time the opposing team mounts a charge into the final third of the field—and why aren’t any of the other players paying attention!

I really miss the adrenaline rush. It’s like if you forget to shower, brush your teeth or put the coffee pot on in the morning. You can survive the day, but you’re just sort of out of it and never up to full speed.

Mostly, I feel bad for all the kids (and the parents), especially those finishing their high school and college careers under the cloud of the pandemic. They won’t get to experience the improbable comebacks, the agonizing defeats, the grueling practices, the day to day ups and down of the league standings, the teamwork, the camaraderie and the pride of representing you school and town against your bitter arch rivals. They won’t get the thrill of wearing jersey to school, being dismissed early for the long-drive upstate to play a distant team from a town you’ve never heard of, to (hopefully) start a Cinderella run through the state tournament bracket.

It's even harder to see all the pros and elite college football players on TV playing through the pandemic.
I know the pros (and Power 5 football players) are being very well compensated for their efforts. But if you’ve watched any of the emotional roller-coaster World Series games this year or all the NFL games that have gone down to the wire, the players are in it for more than just the money. With Tampa down to its last strike, little-used outfielder, Brett Phillips, delivered a bizarre walk-off base hit that allowed the Rays to steal Game 4 from the heavily favored Dodgers and even the Series at two games apiece. Watching the tearful Dodgers in the dugout and the giddy Rays airplane-gliding and making snow angels in the outfield grass, you’d think you were watching the final game of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.

Too bad the real 12-year-old athletes are still on the sidelines.

As a parent and former youth sports coach, I worry about the long-term impact that the dearth of youth sports will have on our kids. Numerous studies confirm a strong correlation between regular exercise and mental health. “Both male and female high school athletes are less likely to smoke cigarettes and suffer from loneliness and low self-esteem, when compared to non-athlete peers, according to research used for the Healthy Sport Index (Women’s Sports Foundation, 2018). Further, the report argued that getting people active could save the the global economy nearly $68 billion annually in medical costs and productivity. The U.S. alone could save up to $28 billion. And individuals could find $2,500 or more in their pocket if they move for 30 minutes five times per week (The Lancet Physical Activity Series).  


Mostly I worry about how the kids are supposed to have fun. They have the rest of their lives to worry about healthcare crises, political bickering and punishing economic conditions. The pros and elite college athletes get to play sports and have fun. Why can’t our kids?

What’s your take? I’d love to hear from you.

#youthsports #youthsportsmissing #mentalhealthkids #teensports

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

HB to present CPA/Wealth Advisor Confidence Survey™ Findings, Wednesday 10am ET

Back in 1986, Warren Buffet made one of his most astute observations: “Occasional outbreaks of two super-contagious diseases—fear and greed—will forever occur in the investment community. The timing of these epidemics will be unpredictable.”

He could have not been more prophetic.

As we were winding up our 4th annual CPA/Wealth Advisor Confidence Survey  in late February, Covid tore through the country. We decided to extend the survey another six weeks so we could have a more balanced view of advisor sentiment pre- and post-Covid onset.

*** NOTE: I’ll be sharing our research findings Wed. 10/21 at Terrapin Media’s annual USA Accounting & Finance Show (see Practice Management Track, 10am ET)

While the carnage has been wide and deep throughout the world, our research shows U.S. advisors remain buoyant. In fact, four out of five advisors (79%) told us they expected to see their practices grow in 2020—up from 74 percent who said so in January and February of this year, shortly before Covid emerged in the U.S.

The prevailing sentiment seemed to be that we would recover relatively quickly from the crisis after enduring severe short-term pain.

As one survey respondent told us: “We have never seen a recession as a deliberate policy choice before (this is very important to understand).”

Another respondent told us: “We’re most likely in an ‘event-driven’ bear market which was triggered by an exogenous shock (i.e. pandemic) rather than in a more serious type of bear market that is structural or cyclical.”

Yet another said today’s situation reminded him of other event-driven downturns such as the ’73 oil crisis, or earlier World Wars. “Event-driven bear markets are the easiest breed of bear to tame,” he said. “We tend to recover much faster from event-driven bear markets than we do from structural and cyclical bear markets.”

Further, “Recessions only follow bear market about two-thirds of the time,” one respondent chided us.

Looking ahead

Clearly, the pandemic has created enormous demand for financial advice and reassurance. Millions of Americans are contemplating their own legacy (perhaps demise). Uncertainty about markets, economy, interest rates, taxes, estate exemptions and Covid relief is keeping advisors very, very busy.

In fact, the percentage of firms expecting to grow by double digits in 2020 increased to (38%) since the COVID onset, from 35% in early 2020 and from 28% in Q1/2019.

Tomorrow morning at 10am ET (see Practice Management track) I’ll be sharing our research findings at Terrapin Media’s annual USA Accounting & Finance Show—the nation’s largest independent virtual conference for accounting and financial professionals.

*** I’ve been given some free registration passes to share with you

Thanks as always to my research partners since 2016: Rick Telberg of CPA Trendlines and Valentino Sabuco of The Financial Awareness Foundation.

I hope you can join me.


As Albert Einstein famously said: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”


#wealthadvisorconfidence #ricktelberg #valentinosabuco  #AccountingShowUS #CPAconfidence #practicemanagement

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

7 Ways to Re-purpose Podcast Interviews into Marketing Gold

By Tina Dietz, guest columnist

So, you got interviewed on a podcast as an expert? Congrats!

Rather than simply letting the host of the podcast be 100 percent responsible for sharing and promoting that podcast episode, let’s explore the ways you can use this invaluable content to create content marketing assets for your brand and/or business.

Repurposing your content in different ways will also help more people find you, based on their preferences for consuming media. An ideal client may not have heard of the podcast you were on, but they may be avid readers of LinkedIn and find a repurposed article from you. Or, perhaps your Audiogram catches the eye of one of your contacts on LinkedIn, and they get excited to learn and hear more.

  1. Create blog posts on your website using the image and show notes from the original show, and also link to the original content. EXAMPLE
  2. Use services like Missing Lettr to then create social media posts automatically from those show notes. 
  3. Make your social media content “evergreen” by using SmarterQueue, Social Jukebox, etc.  You can copy/paste posts from MissingLettr into one of these other tools.
  4. Add the original link and description of your podcast interview to the Publications section of your LinkedIn profile.
  5. Take an excerpt of your audio and turn it into a quick audiogram for eye-catching sharing on social media.
  6. Create longer blog posts and articles for outlets like LinkedIn Pulse or industry publications based on your content, either by listening back to your interview and taking notes, or getting your interview transcribed by machine or live person.
  7. For each interview you do, take one juicy point you discussed and create a 2-minute video talking about that topic and sending people to the interview/podcast you were on for more information. 

A. Import your video to Headliner and it will transcribe and caption it for you for free.

B. Share your video on social media and make sure to tag the host of the show!


If this list seems like a lot to add to your workflows, start with just one or two of the above to get started and then you can always add on more as you develop your podcasting and repurposing prowess. 

What’s your take on podcasting? We’d like to know.

Tina Dietz is an internationally acclaimed speaker, audio publisher and podcast advisor to HB Publishing & Marketing Company. Visit her at Twin Flames Studios

#Podcasting #practicemanagement #thoughtleadership



What’s your take? I’d love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Our Most Popular Posts of Q3

The college tuition trap, Zombie philanthropy and real life’s similarity to high school and are topics that have been weighing on your minds—and your clients’ minds.

Here are our most popular posts of the past month, chock full of insights from our clients:

Colleges: Adjust Tuition or Kiss Alumni Donations Goodbye:
The more colleges stick it to students and their families now, the less likely they’ll give post-graduation. I’ll tell you why and how you can help clients with this dilemma.

2. Real Life Is Like High School and Why You Should Care:  Kyle Walters explains why your likeability matters more than your proficiency.

3. Zombie Philanthropy: Randy Fox explains why tax savings aren’t always a donor’s motivation for giving. 


4. Wall Street’s Latest Disruption of the American Dream: Just because single family leasebacks are legal and lucrative, doesn’t mean you should take part. Brad Kraus explains why.


5. Are Your Clients Making These 5 Early Retirement Mistakes?  Tom Suvansri, Mark Rioboli and Dr. Guy Baker, Ph.D, weigh in.

 You can find more of our popular posts right here.

 Have a great Q4.

Your clients are counting on you.