Spammer Wants Your Bank Account

Like me, I am sure you have received many a piece of unsolicited email asking you to send your checking account information to Africa so that mysterious government officials can deposit large sums into it. You can read a lot the classics here.

However, you might not have received this one, currently making the rounds of the Internet:

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.This is a
matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to http://tinyurl.com/2ojg6m <http://tinyurl.com/2ojg6m>  so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully,

Minister of Treasury Paulson

Blogging From Even Higher

Today I am blogging from Jackson Hole, Wyoming where the population and the elevation run neck-and-neck. I am the guest of Cecil Smith and Carol Gonnella of the Teton Institute. This is their sixth annual conference, in which they work with estate planning attorneys and teach them how to use a Wyoming Close LLC as an asset protection technique in estate planning. Yesterday, I gave a 90-minute presentation on marketing to the attorneys, and since no one threw tomatoes, I am going to attend the Institute events again today. I strongly recommend attendance at future events to any estate planning attorney. The level of talent and the quality of the teaching are quite amazing. However, if you come from Florida, as I did, I advise bringing an oxygen bottle. There isn’t much of it up here.

Blogging While A Mile High

Okay, this post is not what you think. It just means I am in Denver, participating in the ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law’s 3rd annual CLE conference. I was part of a panel discussion on "Growing Your LEL Practice." An older attorney, one of my co-panelists, said (and I’m paraphrasing), "You don’t need all this blogging stuff. I never needed any of this blogging stuff. All I ever needed was a great reputation. That’s how you get business!" I didn’t know quite what to say. I felt bad for the guy, because new technology and new ways of marketing are obviously threatening to his sense of himself, and the success he had building his business. It would be more convenient, I know, if we lived in a world where simply being good at your job was enough to guarantee a steady stream of new clients. I certainly wish that was so for my own business, and I didn’t need to go to conferences or buy exhibit booths, or spend time and money on search engine optimization. But in business, a great reputation is not worth much if nobody has ever heard about it. You can be a brilliant attorney and starve.

Plus ça change…

Recently I was talking to a friend about the history of advertising (a discussion inspired by our mutual interest in the TV show Mad Men) and I told her about an ad that is generally seen as one of the first really impactful American advertisements. Published in 1925, the ad’s famous headline is "They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano, But When I Started To Play! —" The ad tells the story of some poor loser like you who is among Caples
those at a fancy salon listening to others play classical piano pieces, thus earning the applause and envy of everyone in the room. When Poor Loser strides forward to take his place at the keyboard, people snicker. But unbeknownst to them Poor Loser has been taking piano lessons from the U.S. School of Music! And he proceeds to wow everyone with his rendition of a Beethoven sonata. You can view and read the famous ad here. It is number 45 on Advertising Age’s list of the top 100 advertising campaigns.

No sooner had the conversation occurred than I heard an ad on the radio for Rosetta Stone language software. The ad went something like this: "My friends laughed when I told them I would order in French, but when the waiter arrived, I just said ‘Je voudrais le poulet et les frites.‘ "

Then my friend and fellow marketing guru Ben Glass sent me some info on his presentation last week to the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association entitled "They Laughed When I Cancelled My Yellow Pages Ad."

The moral: a great ad concept is a great ad concept, now and forever. The other moral: Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.