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We got a number of emails yesterday responding to Michael Sansolo’s column, which essentially was a reaction to a letter he received about a previous piece. The letter criticized not his opinion, but the title “Sansolo Speaks” that has been used since he started writing for MNB almost two years ago.

The MNB user who wrote in said that he found “Sansolo Speaks” to be pretentious, and that it seemed to refer back to the “when E.F. Hutton talks, people listen” ad campaign.

Michael responded that “Sansolo Speaks” was actually designed to refer back to the “FMI Speaks” presentations that he used to do annually for more than a dozen years when he was with the Food Marketing Institute; he also found the E.F. Hutton reference interesting because that company was absorbed into a larger brokerage in 1988. “It was a stark reminder to me that the cultural references I think of so easily are completely foreign to a staggering number of people who I hope are reading this column,” Michael wrote. “It probably an issue we all have with associates, customers, business partners and certainly our children.”

MNB user Alison Kenney Paul wrote:

Wow—you said a mouthful!

1.) I attended the FMI show for years and did not realize that your ‘Sansolo Speaks’ was an inside joke or reference……just thought you and Kevin liked the alliteration.

2.) Your E.F. Hutton reference was NOT lost on me because, I, like you and (and probably half of your readers) am OLD! I am constantly making references to things from the 80’s and 90’s to younger co-workers….and getting that blank, ‘what is she talking about?’ stare….

We are constantly challenged by consumers, customers and colleagues to not only stay relevant but to understand what IS relevant. In my role as a principal at Deloitte and perhaps, even more so as President of the Network of Executive Women (NEW), I look for ways to relate to and understand one of the key diversity dimensions in our culture—generational diversity.

Great reminder in your column today– I remain “teach-able…” on the topic!

Another MNB user wrote:

I like your column, and if the material applies to me, I’ll read it. I read MNB every day. Therefore, I’d classify myself as a fan. However, I have also always felt the “Sansolo Speaks” label a little of a turn off……

Please just take as constructive…..I’ll keep on reading daily.

Thanks for your efforts / insights.

MNB user Philip Bradley wrote:

I am a big fan of yours, but agree (somewhat), that your critic has a point. Frankly, I didn't even realize that your column title was a take-off on the old Hutton add, which I only remembered when you described it--I simply thought that your title was a catchy, alliterative headline.

So--how about "Sansolo Surmises"? 🙂 Also alliterative, but a little more humble...

Seriously, I love your columns. And I agree--it helps, every so often, when someone challenges our assumptions--it keeps us honest and a bit humble, and frankly, humility is a trait we could all use a little more of.

While Michael didn’t say this yesterday, to be fair I should take the hit on this one – I chose the “Sansolo Speaks” title for his column…because I liked the alliteration and because the reference back to “FMI Speaks” seemed appropriate. It was never meant to be arrogant…and I might consider changing it if someone comes up with an outstanding and compelling alternative. (After all, I’ve changed section titles before….) And I’ll tell you what…the person who comes up with the best new title for Michael’s column will get a special MNB prize package: 1) an MNB t-shirt, 2) a pound of MNB coffee, and 3) a limited edition MNB canvas shopping bag.

Keep those suggestions coming in. Michael and I get to be the final judges.

One other thing…whether it be references to obsolete brokerage houses or quotes from old Jimmy Buffett songs or “Star Trek” episodes, I love obscure cultural or historical references and plan to continue using them. They are part of what makes MNB fun … I want to be relevant to the younger generation, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop reflecting the times in which I grew up, and that I share with so many of you.

And like I say, it’s fun.
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