The lease on my wife’s car was expiring in three days.  She drove a 2015 Nissan Murano SV which we liked, but was also 16,300 miles over the lease mileage allotment.  We had three choices: 1) Buy out the 2015 for about $19k, but according to Kelly Blue Book, the car was only worth about $13k.  2) Return the car in three days, pay $2650 for the excess miles, then lease or buy another car.  3) Roll the excess mileage into a new Nissan lease.  Since we both like the Murano, we opted for the latter.  First, I went to the dealership that leased us the current car to determine our base cost.  Their offer was $401 per month, $1,000 down, for a 12K/year 3-year lease of a 2019 Murano S. The 2019 S has virtually all the options that are in the 2015 SV, except power seats.  The saleswoman offered $399 per month, then asked what it would take for us to lease the 2019 S.  I stated $350 per month, knowing that we might not be able to get all the way there, but also knowing there was a lot of room in her initial offer.  She said that she could not get to $350, and offered the 2019 S for $389.  I thanked her and left.  Worst case, I would comeback two-days later for the $389.

The next morning (8/30), I called several dealers and sent the following note to dealers thru their websites:

Hi there.  I would like to lease a 2019 Nissan Murano S for $360 per month, 15K miles/year, with $1000 down, with the previous mileage rolled into this lease.  I would like to sign the lease either 8/31 or 9/1.  I currently have a Nissan Murano SV with the lease expiring on 9/1.  Current car info below:

Current Car:  2015 Nissan Murano SV.
42 month expires 9/1/19. (Never late on a payment; credit score 750)
Total Allowable miles: 42,000
Current miles: 58,282
Overage (.15+CT tax): $2600

Last month, unrelatedly, while renting a car, I noticed there was a 30% difference in the base rate of identical cars from the same rental car companies located about 45 minutes north of here.  Therefore, I hypothesized that we might see significant lease savings if expanded our dealer search, which I limited to about 60 miles.

Each Nissan dealer I called asked me to schedule an appointment to come in, to which I replied, I knew exact what I wanted and preferred to do everything over the phone. Most stated that they could not discuss it over the phone but then either preceded to continue the discussion over the phone, or have a salesperson call me back.  I was amazed at the range of prices.  Nissan City in Port Chester, who advertises heavily on TV stated that rolling over the mileage of the previous lease, and leasing a 2019 S with only $1,000 down would cost $500/month (Looks like high margins are necessary to pay for that TV advertising).  A relatively close CT dealer stated that they could only get to $400 per month on a 2019 S. I then started to get responses to my website inquiries.  If the dealer asked me to set up an in-person appointment, I simply restated the above note, ending with ‘I will come in if you can please confirm that the above terms are acceptable’.

Next I received a response to a web inquiry from a dealership about 60 miles away, Crowley Nissan, that hit my offer of a 2019 S for $350/month with 12K miles or $360/month with 15K.  I called the salesperson, Steve, to confirm everything was included, and set up an appointment to see the car the following day.  I told him I would need a quick test drive, to see how easily the manual seats maneuvered, and if satisfied would sign the new lease on the spot. A little while later, I received a call back from a different dealer about 45 miles away, Paul at County Line Nissan, also matching the requested offer; however I told him that I had already given my word accepting an offer.  He followed up with a polite text stating that he could save me a few more bucks a month and asking if I would change my mind?  I thanked him, texted that I was going to keep my word, but also mentioned that he would be the first person I call if I ran into any issues the following day.  At this point I felt comfortable that I would be able to rollover the excess miles from the current lease and pick up a 2019 Murano S with 15k miles for $360/month and $1,000 down.

The next day I drove an hour to Crowley Nissan to meet Steve to test drive the 2019 S.  The car drove fine, but the manual seats bothered me. Our current car is driven by my wife 99% of the time, but since we have a newborn and the new Murano will be the baby car, it will be driven by both of us.  I asked Steve what he could do for an SV rather than an S, but he said the SV would be $400/month with 12K miles or $410/month with $15K.  I quickly sent a short text to Paul, asking “what’s the beast deal I can get with an SV”.  About ten minutes later, he offered to match the same price as the S for the SV whose MSRP was $38k (vs $34k on the S).  Steve was surprised by the offer, said that he could not do that deal, and to accept it if they are matching the price without any additional extra charges.  I shot Paul a text questioning if it includes “all taxes and other stuff” which Paul quickly confirmed.  I replied, it sounds good, and I will be there in thirty minutes.  About 15 minutes into the trip, Steve called saying that he found a workaround to be able to match the $360/month, 15K miles for a black 2019 Murano SV, but as I had now given my word, I drove the remaining 10 minutes to County Line.  At this point I felt confident that we would be able to lease an SV with 15K miles for $360 per month, already a significant improvement from the base expectation including saving $1000 with 3K additional annual miles on a better car.

When I met Paul, sure enough he had a 2019 SV in Pearl White, and there were no additional costs. The car was beautiful with a metallic White exterior and cream interior, however as I looked at the bright, pristine interior, I could only imagine all the dirt and colorful artwork our newborn would showcase throughout the interior.




I told Paul, I loved the car, but the interior (of a new car with only 10 miles) which already naturally started to show some dirt did not make sense with a baby.  Paul understood and went to see what he could do.  I reconfirmed that I wanted to drive home the new car today, and knew we had the black 2019 SV as a back-up at the previous dealer.  I was pleasantly surprised when he located a perfect 2019 SV Magnetic Black exterior, black interior which included the Premium Package (an additional $3.5k MSRP) of a power panoramic sunroof, 360-degree view monitoring around the vehicle in one image, Bose stereo and heated front seats.  All very cool features, but I stated that wanted to keep near the prior price.   County Line offered the SV with the premium package for $367 per month (including rolling in the excess miles from the prior lease), 15K miles, $1,000 down which I gladly accepted (there was no need to fight for the last couple of dollars).

In under 48 hours, through research, various dealer inquires and negotiations, we went from an initial base deal of $399 per month with 12K miles for a 2019 Murano S (MSRP $34,600) to saving over $1,000, increasing the annual mileage by 3K, upgrading the model and including the premium package in a 2019 Murano SV (MSRP $41,700).

A few recommendations:

  1. Research the market to determine which vehicle and options you prefer.
  2. Understand your current lease to know the true cost of each option.
  3. Once you have determined which car you want to lease/buy, obtain a base price that establishes your worst-case scenario.
  4. Create a short write-up that includes all your current lease info as well as the specific terms you are seeking. The write-up should be very direct and demonstrate that you want to close a deal quickly.
  5. Send the note directly to dealers through their website contact links.
  6. Call dealers directly. Do not be afraid to expand your search as the one-time slightly further drive can be worthwhile to receive a significantly better deal (Future car services can still be done at your local dealer).
  7. Do not go into dealerships until after they have agreed to terms that are acceptable to you, but confirm that you want to close a deal quick and will go to the dealership if they agree to your terms.
  8. Have your lease end on the 1st of a month, as the ability to close a deal at the end of a month helps dealer’s current monthly numbers.


#AutoLease #CarLease #Negotiating #Saved1000onmycarlease #Carleasing #Autoleasing #NissanMurano

May and June featured seven books bring the 2019 total to twenty-two.  My favorite of the bunch was Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption, by Ben Mezrich.  It’s a fast, fun read focusing on the Winklevoss twins and some wild west aspects of Bitcoin as it continually marches from the chaotic towards inching its way into the mainstream.  In their ‘second act’ the Winklevoss twins receive a positive depiction, in stark contrast to their unflattering portrayal in the movie The Social Network, which was based on Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires:  The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and BetrayalBitcoin Billionaires is written at the same pace of Bringing Down the House, Busting Vegas, Rigged and Ugly Americans(all enjoyable reads by the same author).

May & June Readings:

  1. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, by Steven Johnson
  2. Triggers: 30 Sales Tools You Can Use to Control the Mind of Your Prospect to Motivate, Influence and Persuade, by Joseph Sugarman
  3. Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption, by Ben Mezrich
  4. Overdeliver: Build a Business for a Lifetime Playing the Long Game in Direct Response Marketing, by Brian Kurtz
  5. How To Hire People Who Give A Sh*T: The Golden Rules, by Erika Weinstein
  6. Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life, by Rory Sutherland
  7. The Tangled Mind: Unraveling the Origin of Human Nature, by Nick Kolenda

There were thought provoking aspects to each book.  Triggers, written by Joseph Sugarman twenty years ago focuses on old style direct response, with many lessons still applicable today. Overdeliver discusses details of direct response that are often overlooked in the short-term oriented focus of some of today’s marketing.

Alchemy pushes you to question aggregate information (economists, big data etc).  Aggregately macro analysis is math based, but this does not necessarily hold in individual or smaller samples.  In math 1×10=10×1, however, in reality 10 people may be fooled once each, but it is unlikely to fool the same person 10 times.  Big data is fantastic, but you also need to question whether the data is depicting a false positive, versus actionable information.  It is important to potentially question the big data headline by examining the underlying data and how it was obtained.

The Tangled Mind is also an interesting read, although I would have preferred to dive deeper into a small number of areas, rather than continually stating results without digging deeper into the reasoning (beyond simply siting appropriate research).  The way data is presented and requested has a significant impact on the results received.  Researchers asked people to distribute financial aid to families and presented two different categorizations of income: survey 1 a) $15k or less, b) $15k-$30k, c) $30k-$45k, d) $46k-$60k, e) $60k-$75k; f) $75k+; survey 2 a) $75k or less, b) $75k-$85k, c) $85k-$100k, d) $100k-$120k, e) $120k-$145k, f) $145k or more. According to most economic theories, the results of both surveys should be the same, since participants are offered the same overall economic range on both surveys, but presentation can make a significant different.  In survey 1, participants allocated 96% of the money to families $75k or lower; however, in survey 2, only 48% was allocated to $75k or lower (due to the manner the options were depicted).  Thought provoking books are always worth reading, especially when they cause you to examine unexpected areas.

#ContinuousLearning  #ContinuousImprovement #Readings

April featured two books from marketing/strategy/business genres, as well as two books outside those arenas.  From the business side, Loonshots and Turning The Flywheel are worthwhile reads.  Loonshots: How To Nurture The Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, And Transform Industries, by Safi Bahcall presents several thought-provoking ideas. One concerns phase transition –  when water is above 32 it is purely liquid, at 32 degrees it may have pockets of liquid and pockets of ice, while a few degrees below 32 it is solid ice.  Loonshots relates phase transition to group behavior and how group think changes depending on size and dynamics.  Turning The Flywheel: Why Some Companies Build Momentum… And Other Don’t is a short companion book to Jim Collin’s Good To Great discussing the steps of building and maintaining a flywheel in which each step continually builds on the prior aspects to create continuous momentum for exponential long-term success.

From outside the business arena, two were more personal booksMensch Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi, Wisdom For Untethered Times, by Joshua Hammerman depicts how someone develops his personal perspectives.  It is brave to openly write about one’s life, and Mensch Marks is a very open look at his life, as well as man’s quest for continual improvement.  Rabbi Hammerman performed the wedding ceremony of my wife and I in Jerusalem in 2012, so his perspectives have additional personal meanings.  Cribsheet: a data-driven guide to better, more relaxed parenting from birth to pre-school, by Emily Oster, is an economist’s discussion of events from birth to the first few years of a baby’s life and an analysis of the data compiled from studies examining these various events.  As a numbers nerd, I take comfort in knowing the data associated with events and can theoretically utilize that information when making future decisions.  Some of the info was scary to learn, but it is better to be armed with the data to be able to make more informed decisions during potentially stressful times.

For coursework, April featured the re-watching of several sections of the Digital Marketing Program, by The Wharton School in collaboration with edX, which I originally completed in March.  In addition, Growth Hacking Foundations by Brad Batesole is a short worthwhile viewing.


  1. Mensch Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi, Wisdom For Untethered Times, by Joshua Hammerman
  2. Loonshots: How To Nurture The Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, And Transform Industries, by Safi Bahcall
  3. Turning The Flywheel: Why Some Companies Build Momentum… And Other Don’t, by Jim Collins
  4. Cribsheet: a data-driven guide to better, more relaxed parenting from birth to pre-school, by Emily Oster


  1. LinkedIn Learning Course: Growth Hacking Foundations

It is hard to believe that 1/3 of 2019 has already past, but the pace to top 40 books for the year continues.  Let’s see what May brings.

#ContinuousLearning  #ContinuousImprovement

The Amazon annual shareholder letter by Jeff Bezos is always full of fascinating information and perspective, especially the views on risk/reward experiments.  What Amazon has accomplished (and continues to accomplish) is mind-blowing.  The letter is inspiring and a must read! A few snippets are below:

Fulfillment by Amazon and Amazon Prime Membership:

With the success of these two programs now so well established, it’s difficult for most people to fully appreciate today just how radical those two offerings were at the time we launched them. We invested in both of these programs at significant financial risk and after much internal debate. We had to continue investing significantly over time as we experimented with different ideas and iterations. We could not foresee with certainty what those programs would eventually look like, let alone whether they would succeed, but they were pushed forward with intuition and heart, and nourished with optimism.

Non-linear success:

A builder’s mentality helps us approach big, hard-to-solve opportunities with a humble conviction that success can come through iteration: invent, launch, reinvent, relaunch, start over, rinse, repeat, again and again. They know the path to success is anything but straight. 

Sometimes (often actually) in business, you do know where you’re going, and when you do, you can be efficient. Put in place a plan and execute. In contrast, wandering in business is not efficient … but it’s also not random. It’s guided – by hunch, gut, intuition, curiosity, and powered by a deep conviction that the prize for customers is big enough that it’s worth being a little messy and tangential to find our way there. Wandering is an essential counter-balance to efficiency. You need to employ both. The outsized discoveries – the “non-linear” ones – are highly likely to require wandering.


As a company grows, everything needs to scale, including the size of your failed experiments. If the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle. Amazon will be experimenting at the right scale for a company of our size if we occasionally have multibillion-dollar failures. 

Amazon Echo:

No customer was asking for Echo. This was definitely us wandering. Market research doesn’t help. If you had gone to a customer in 2013 and said “Would you like a black, always-on cylinder in your kitchen about the size of a Pringles can that you can talk to and ask questions, that also turns on your lights and plays music?” I guarantee you they’d have looked at you strangely and said “No, thank you.”  Since that first-generation Echo, customers have purchased more than 100 million Alexa-enabled devices. 

In 2018, Third-party sales were $160 billion; First party sales were $117 billion.  Although Mr. Bezos states that “Third-party sellers are kicking our first party butt. Badly” as compound growth rates are 52% vs 25%.  This is simply an attempt to underplay Amazon’s dominance since the growth rate differential is directly attributable to the small third-party denominator in 1999 of .1 billion.  Today, as 50% of all online sales occur through the Amazon platform, Amazon’s success is clear.

#Amazon #Risk/Reward #Non-linearSuccess

Digital Marketing Professional Certificate from Wharton Online

The Digital Marketing Professional Certificate program consisted of four courses:

March was a busy month as I decided to take the entire Digital Marketing Professional Certificate Program from The Wharton School Online thru edX.  The program consists of four courses, each with four or five units, each unit is three to five hours, and the program recommends one unit per week.  I rearranged various client-scheduled engagements to the afternoons, to free up my mornings to pursue the program.  I started early each morning and took one unit (course recommendation of one week) per day and achieved completion of the program over several weeks.  While much of the material was reiteration of previous knowledge, overall it was time well spent as often marketing aspects were presented from a different perspective.  New ways of thinking and new viewpoints are priceless.  I am a strong believer in the analytics of digital marketing, and the courses were a solid mix of ‘new digital’, its growth from variations of “old-world” direct response, and an overall online-offline mixture.

The course I enjoyed most was Customer Centricity, Managing the Value of Customer Relationships which discusses marketing philosophies that I have believed since my very first entrepreneurial venture: not all customers are created equal.  The majority of profits come from a company’s top ten or twenty percent of its customers, as well as the lesser customers which can be moved-up into this high value group.  The remaining customers are still important, as they help amortize substantial fixed costs, but enhanced service efforts should be focused on top tier customers.  Professor Fader, in Customer Centricity, also interwove marketing and finance in Customer Based Corporate Valuations.  I am a big proponent of the similarity in analytical aspects of data-driven marketing to finance, as has been demonstrated in the crisscrossing of the two throughout my career.

The courses also featured numerous acronyms including GRAVITY (geography, resistance, adjacency, vicinity, isolation, topography, you), SUCCES (simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, stories; they did not include the last S in success, but it would stand for stickiness), and STEPPS (social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, stories).

Two of this month’s readings are books by Professors who taught the Wharton – edX courses:  The Customer Centricity Playbook: Implement a Winning Strategy Driven by Customer Lifetime Value, by Peter Fader, and Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior, by Jonah Berger.  The third book for March, Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction, by Chris Sims & Hillary Louise Johnson is a short, but worthwhile description of Scrum, an agile framework of efficient, iterative development.


  1. Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction, by Chris Sims & Hillary Louise Johnson
  2. The Customer Centricity Playbook: Implement a Winning Strategy Driven by Customer Lifetime Value, by Peter Fader and Sarah Toms
  3. Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior, by Jonah Berger


  1. Google Analytics Academy: Advanced Google Analytics
  2. The Wharton School in collaboration with edX: Digital Marketing, Social Media, & E-Commerce
  3. The Wharton School in collaboration with edX: Marketing Analytics: Tools & Techniques
  4. The Wharton School in collaboration with edX: Customer Centricity: Managing the Value of Customer Relationships
  5. The Wharton School in collaboration with edX: Selling Ideas: How to Influence Others and Get Your Message to Catch On

Unlike the Google Analytics Academy, Advanced Analytics course which was free, The Wharton School courses cost $580 per course, but they reminded me of my days at Wharton undergrad, as the quality of each course was top-notch.  March was the busiest and most challenging month of online course work, and the book total of eleven is slightly above pace to reach the 40 book goal for 2019.


Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 4.41.08 PM


#ContinuousLearning  #ContinuousImprovement

Aggregated Credibility is a valuable, dynamic asset most businesses underutilize.  The products and services your business sells everyday have positive impacts on your customers lives and each sale (or service you provide) inspires trust in your company and brand.  This trustworthiness adds up over time to impressive, confidence-inspiring information that should be shared with your current and future customers.

Small, as well as large businesses, can create powerful, compelling headlines and press releases proudly proclaiming their Aggregated Credibility.  If Joe’s Plumbing, a local plumbing company, services 10 customers a day, five days a week, over the course of a year it earns the Aggregated Credibility of Happily Servicing Over 2,000 Local Neighbors in the Past Year or Joe’s Plumbing, Your Local Plumber, Proudly Servicing 2,000 Fairfield County Neighbors in the Past Year.

Many people choose their supermarket based on coupons.  If a supermarket sees 400 customers a day, and the average customer saves $10, then in six months the supermarket has saved customers $700,000.  We saved customers over $700,000 in the last six months, how much can we save for you?  Or We saved customers over $123,000 last month, how much will you save today?  Both are potentially enticing headlines. utilizes Aggregated Credibility to inspire confidence in the company and the company’s mission of donating socks to those in need for every pair purchased.  The constantly growing ticker displayed on their website of the 16.6 Million Pairs Donated shouts instant credibility for Bombas and encourages customers to engage in their socially responsible mission.

Aggregated Credibility needs to be relatable to resonate with customers.  In 1955 McDonald’s, under its famous Golden Arches displayed Over 1 Million Served.  In 1960, the sign was increased to 400 Million, and to 1 Billion in 1963.  McDonald’s periodically increased it at various milestones (5 Billion in 1969, 20 Billion in 1976 and 50 Billion in 1984), until 1994, when McDonald’s served its 100 Billionth customer and changed the iconic Golden Arches signage to Billions and Billions Served.  Even though they have served over 300 billion customers to date, McDonald’s continues displaying Billions and Billions Served.

Your company has worked hard to develop trust and authenticity one customer at a time, and deserves to effectively utilize the impressive, persuasive headlines it has earned. What is your Aggregated Credibility?

#AggregatedCredibility  #UnderutilizedAssets


Aggregated Credibility Cloud

February continued 2019’s strong continuous learning agenda.  The three books read were excellent for varied reasons.  Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller and Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins by Mark Schaefer, both pushed the human aspect of marketing which was a distant approach from the programmatic, digital side discussed in most of the online courses.  In reality, marketing is not an either/or scenario, as optimally both sides are symbiotic.  The information obtainable from digital, which makes any data-junkie salivate, can inform and enhance personal story-telling strategies.

The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking, by Saifedean Ammous, did not discuss Bitcoin significantly for the first 2/3rd of the book, instead focusing history gold as well as other monetary commodities and discussed hard versus soft money.  A fascinating read (although a biased anti-Keynesian view) on hard versus soft money.


  1. Building a Story Brand, by Donald Miller discusses the ebb and flow of a story and positions the company as the guide to the hero (the customer)
  2. The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking, by Saifedean Ammous
  3. Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins, by Mark Schaefer


  1. LinkedIn Learning Course: Building Your Marketing Stack (2hrs 19 min)
  2. LinkedIn Learning Course: Business Intelligence for Consultants (29 min)
  3. LinkedIn Learning Course: Strategic Partnerships (49 min)
  4. LinkedIn Learning Course: Agile Marketing Foundations (1hr 13 min)
  5. Udemy Digital Marketing 301 (2hrs)
  6. Udemy Scrum Prep + Scrum Master + Scrum Training (3hrs)
  7. Google Analytics Academy

The LinkedIn Courses as well as the Google Analytics Academy were free.  Udemy was $15-$20 per course.  The total cost for February was again under $100; that’s a lot of information to digest for less than a single dinner for two, but, then again, it is a lot easier for your stomach to feel full, than your head.

#ContinuousLearning  #ContinuousImprovement

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