Bartenders, Boundaries, & Bunkbeds

May 21, 2024

A photorealistic image of a pink cocktail in a stemmed wine glass on a marble table. The table is illuminated by soft lighting, and the background is blurred. The glass has a long stem and a wide, round bowl. The cocktail is a light shade of pink and is garnished with a lime wedge.

Dear Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Dreamers, and Creators of Great Things: I write these Love Letters each month with the hope of bringing you a little encouragement, some marketing help, and a few minutes of joy. Whether we are already friends or have yet to meet, I hope you’ll enjoy my stories from the road and some awesomely random takeaways, tools, tips, and updates.

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Last week, while traveling, I watched people try to order drinks at the airport bar.

An employee stood behind the bar mixing drinks. Over and over, people approached and asked to order a drink. Each time, she directed the person to a sign with the QR code, telling them they had to order online.

Some people turned and walked away. Some pulled out their phones and attempted to scan and order. Some started the process and then gave up. A few managed to scan, order, and pay through the online site.

I sat and watched this process for at least 30 minutes, observing the frustration and irritation that the people felt and expressed toward the bartender… who stood waiting for the machine to spit out an order so she could mix a drink.

Finally, a server appeared. He handed out the drinks, walked people through the app, offered to take orders manually and let people pay the “old fashioned way” and gave each person a sympathetic and kind smile. When two people approached with airline vouchers, he was quick to tell them the QR code wouldn’t accept those, but he could help.

Suddenly, the entire vibe changed. People sat down. They relaxed. The bartender relaxed. The frustration disappeared and the bar filled with people, drinking and chatting. The shift was kind of mind blowing, to be honest. I wondered how many hours the bartender worked per week without the assistance of a server, and how many times she followed protocol, directing them to a QR code, and was faced with frustration and irritation. And I wondered what the turnover was like for that position.

I’ve seen some pretty amazing things come from technology and AI in the past few months. AI that can listen to a Zoom call and spit out a full, detailed summary of the entire call after. AI that can see what is in my suitcase at the airport screener, eliminating the need for a human to visually scan each bag. AI that can listen to your phone calls and alert you if the call appears to be a scam. The capability of these tools and technologies are only beginning to be revealed. And the rush to automate with artificial is full speed ahead.

But as I sat in that airport bar last week, I couldn’t help but think that someday soon businesses might be saying, “Talk to a real human!” like it’s a differentiator.
And the truth is, it just might be.


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A quick story about questions (and answers)

I am getting to the pointy end of the book publishing process, and last month I had to do the scariest part… I had to send my book to people and ask them to read it and give me an endorsement.

I selected 22 people that I respect and admire and sent them the digital copy with a request for a few words to help market the book. And then I waited. Other than my editing and publishing team, these would be the first people to read my book and give me feedback. I am not going to lie, I was kind of nervous.

Out of the 22 people, I received 12 responses.
Seven said yes! (And they sent lovely and kind words that made me teary.)
Five said no, for various reasons related to timing or capacity.
And ten didn’t respond at all.

A while back, I got to meet Joanna Griffiths, the founder of Knix. At the event we spoke at, she talked about the nearly one hundred (!) times she was rejected before she raised funding to start her company. In speaking about those rejections, she said:

“Yes’ are the best
No’s aren’t great.
But maybes are the worst.
I’d rather get a quick no than a maybe.”

I was so touched and grateful for the people who took the time to read my book and endorse it. But I was equally thankful for those who replied and said things like, “My schedule doesn’t allow for this right now,” or “Thank you for asking, but I only endorse books for people I know.” Was I happy to get a no? Nope. But those answers allowed me to quickly move on and focus on other things.

Boundaries are good and healthy, friends. And as Brené Brown says, “Clear is kind.” This entire process encouraged me to look for more ways I can be more clear with my clients. Maybe this is something you need to look at too.


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This is where I share the good stuff

… the latest websites, books, & tools that are inspiring me, the people who are making me smile, and the stuff I have been writing on sticky notes.

Two events you must put on your calendar:

Summer Camp! 
If you want to tell better stories, create marketing that turns conversations into clients, and make better use of the tools you already have – join me for 9 days in June for a virtual event that will change your business forever. Seats are almost gone!

Camp B13
Speaking of summer camp, this exclusive, small group camp is happening in September and I want you there! I can’t wait to sleep in bunks, do campy activities, and work on creating businesses that are profitable and joyful. Get your ticket now!


Thanks for reading, friends! If you want to get these in your inbox every month, be sure to get on the mailing list. And if you are looking for a speaker who will motivate your organization to get up, get moving, and face change head-on, I would love to chat.