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What's your pitch for 2014? 

Looking for a new job? More sales? Maybe even a new romance.  Whatever it is, having a great pitch can help you get what you're looking for in the New Year. Leave a comment here and "Pitch for What You WISH for" in 2014.


Hampton's Jitney: Killer Bus?  

What do you do when you are on a bus that is driving erratically and you fear the driver may be drunk? I was on this bus last night and I still don’t know what we should have done. Would you?

I got on the 7:40 Hampton’s Jitney bus in Westhampton Beach headed to Manhattan.  It was packed and I was stuffed in one of the last seats near the bathroom. The bus gets underway and makes a sudden stop.  Did it stall or breakdown? 5 minutes later we’re back on the road and the rumors start. “The driver was out puking by the side of the bus,” someone up front says to no one in particular.

I did not see this for myself, but my first question is, “Why?” Did the driver have the stomach flu or did he down 7 shots of Tequila with dinner?” I choose to believe that he’s just a hard working guy trying to make it through his shift. We’ve all been there.  Too sick to work, but afraid to call in.

The bus is now going faster. And it is veering off the road. A lot.

The woman in front of me is getting more upset .  She tells the Hampton Jitney girl collecting the money, that she wants the bus to pull over. Now.

Exit after exit passes. We’re now getting close to the tunnel. The woman says that there is no way she’s going into the tunnel with this guy. He will crash for sure. 

Others are getting increasingly scared too.  The Hampton Jitney girl tries to reason with the driver. He goes faster.

The woman in front of me goes up to see the driver herself and demands that he pull the bus over. She now says that she can bring this bus safely to a halt if she needs to. I believe her.

This has now turned into an urban mutiny of sorts. There are those with the driver and those against him. The guy in the front of the bus declares, “I’ve been watching him. He’s doing fine.”  Someone else says, “I NEED to get to Manhattan and I don’t give a shit, HOW.”

Several people are now calling the Hampton’s Jitney number to beg them to please stop this bus, to no avail.  It is not clear to me whether the company spoke to the driver and he still wouldn’t stop or if they never spoke to him at all.

Is this what the survivors of other bus crashes experienced? Did they know that something awful was about to happen and were they powerless to stop it?

The woman next to me dials 9-1-1. As she’s on the phone with the dispatcher, telling him the bus number to look for, explaining what exit we just passed, and how we need a cop to come and stop this bus and see if the driver is drunk, the Money Girl is still trying to collect our fares.  I tell her there’s absolutely no way we are paying for this ride.  More people are now calling 9-1-1.  I secretly wish some rogue cop like Bruce Willis’ character in the Die Hard movies will come and save us, but I know this is not going to happen.

The fact that we are not paying, actually seems to get their attention! The bus is now slowing down and comes safely to a stop.  10-12 of us get off and we find ourselves directly off the L.I.E.  We still have to figure out how to get home. Out of desperation, someone calls the company one last time and is told, “YOU all were drunk, YOU should have stayed on the bus!” Obviously they are not going to send another bus or help in anyway. Some  get on city buses heading into Queens and others call car services.

Did we over react? Was the driver perfectly safe? I don't think so.  But more importantly, what SHOULD we have done? Calling the company didn’t work. Appealing to the driver failed. 9-1-1 couldn’t help.  I am writing this story now as a kind of “Public Service Pitch” to alert people of the dangers and also to start a dialogue about what people could do in the future if they find themselves in this situation.  What would YOU do? 

UPDATE: I spoke to someone in the Jitney's Safety Department who sounded genuinely shocked by this story. He said it was now his job to follow up with the driver and see what happened. I will continue to let people know about this, because I want to find out if this was an isolated incident or if there are ongoing issues. 


Even Rock Stars Get Fired Sometimes—But Scott Weiland doesn’t quit

I was interested to see the news today that Stone Temple Pilots fired their lead singer Scott Weiland—and even more excited to see that he’s come out in the press saying, he wasn't.

This led me to think about how Mr. Weiland might create a 15SecondPitch that would highlight his past experiences, without mentioning he was fired, since he says he wasn't, and also promote his upcoming solo tour. And to do this all in 15 seconds. 

Scott Weiland’s pretend 15SecondPitch (that I crafted for him.)

Hi, I’m Scott Weiland founder of Stone Temple Pilots.  STP sold nearly 40 million albums and you’ve probably heard some of our hits including: “Sex Type Thing.”  We’ve actually scored 16 top ten singles over the years.  I kick off my solo tour titled “Purple at the Core” in Flint, Michigan this Friday March 1st.  

I like this idea, because when I work with people who have been fired or even laid off, they often feel so embarrassed/humiliated/afraid/angry. 

I really love how Scott just turns this whole scenario around and works it to his advantage. Very PLUSH. 


Chef Ceffo's Pitch as seen on the wall of Fratelli La Bufala on the UWS

Here’s a great example of a personal and professional pitch on the corner of 76th St. and Broadway on the Upper West Side of NYC.  This is so creative because they used their own building façade to showcase it.. What would normally be a wall of blank plywood, has been transformed into a black backdrop for a colorfull Warhol-esque image of the chef and his pitch which which reads: I’m Chef Ceffo and I’m coming to the Upper West Side.

 I'm Chef Ceffo and I'm coming to the Upper West Side!

Then, it lists their other locations, Miami, Milano, Berlin and Palermo


The story continues on the front of the building reading: Fratelli La Bufala Pizzaioli Emigranti and then then still more locations: Madrid, Roma, London, Venezia, Istanbul and Napoli.) It now occurs to me that this is a worldwide chain of restaurants and I think this personalized pitch is especially clever, given that fact. 


Fratelli La Bufala Pizzaioli Emigranti: Madrid, Roma, London, Venezia, Istanbul and Napoli


There are 3 images of young men on the front of the Fratelli La Bufala sign.  Are these photos of the chef through the years? Chefs of other locations? It is unclear.

Here’s a link to an older version of the sign—that seems to be a variation on this same theme, but based on this photo alone, doesn’t seem to have the same artsy flare as the newer one.

And here's the Fratelli La Bufala website:

As cool as you would expect from a place that puts this kind of thought into their branding.


Would this type of personalized pitch make you more likely to check out this restaurant once it is opens? 


Should job seekers give their facebook password to potential employers?!

Should job seekers give potential employers their facebook password? See my interview with the Associated Press. What's YOUR opinon?