The Check Mate Glitch: A Closer Look.

When I see a story like this, I have three different perspectives that digest the information.
1. Spending my whole life in Chapel Hill, I am a North Carolina resident.
2. Going to NC State and UNCG, I am a former student of our Public higher education system.
3. As a partner at CDM Think Tank, I am also an entrepreneur.
As a NC resident (aside from my other perspectives), when I read articles on this story – all I see is “$250K for a logo.”  We don’t see the consulting, we don’t see the branding and marketing strategy…the only tangible product we see is a logo.  When I see the logo that took a year and outsourcing team to create, I am left unimpressed.  The logo looks nothing more than what you would see on Etsy or a gift shop – a common NC state outline with “NC” and a star.
I am also left wondering why they outsourced $200k to an Ohio-based company…we have plenty of creative arts/marketing businesses right here in our own state. When your mission statement is “The University of North Carolina is a public, multi-campus university dedicated to the service of North Carolina and its people. It encompasses the 17 diverse constituent institutions and other educational, research, and public service organizations. Each shares in the overall mission of the University. That mission is to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society. This mission is accomplished through instruction, which communicates the knowledge and values and imparts the skills necessary for individuals to lead responsible, productive, and personally satisfying lives; through research, scholarship, and creative activities, which advance knowledge and enhance the educational process; and through public service, which contributes to the solution of societal problems and enriches the quality of life in the State. In the fulfillment of this mission, the University shall seek an efficient use of available resources to ensure the highest quality in its service to the citizens of the State…”  would a better PR campaign not have been to reach out to the schools in your own system, perhaps someone obtaining a masters in marketing/communication or graphic design?  Perhaps run a contest for NC Public School System students to submit their ideas and design?  Invest in your own people and schools?
As a former student of the UNC Public School System (that paid for my own education) – this story reenforces my frustration with the rising costs of obtaining a college degree.  The current system of higher education is perceived more as a profit-hungry business rather than a public service aimed to improve the quality of educated minds in this country.  A story like this does nothing to negate that feeling.
As an entrepreneur, I wish we could set a better example for our students and residents.  $250,000 is no small amount of money – a hefty investment for any business.  I ask myself what could be accomplished with a quarter million dollars? When your admitted business goal is to overcome perceptions such as, “I think people are often rightly skeptical about higher education including public higher education…They see prices go up. They see debt levels high. They wonder about the value proposition and that’s why it’s important that we do a much better job at telling our story,” did your PR/Branding/Marketing team not advise on the impact of headlines across media that focus on a massive dollar amount and a very average logo?  The story across media outlets is consistently “$250,000 spent on logo” that’s what residents and consumers see.
Ultimately, I would expect more efficient use of taxpayer money, more pride in leveraging in-state resources, and overall better business decisions and strategic investments.  The story, the result of this initiative, does not support the overall strategic goal and misses the mark.  Frankly, I believe the result is a 180 from the direction they intended to set forth on.
Written by: Joshua Collins CSO,  CDM Think Tank

The Check Mate Glitch

noun: glitch; plural noun: glitches
1. a sudden surge of current. Usually a temporary malfunction or irregularity of equipment. A brief or sudden interruption or surge.

A glitch as we see them in everyday life is something like a misfire or a temporary set back. They tend to be a quick snafu, a mishap, or a flaw. The point is that the nature of a glitch in the traditional sense is that it can be stabilized rapidly. The remediation of a likely glitch occurs so fast that we do not call it a problem.

At least that is how most glitches work.

We see a new era of glitches popping up as we gaze from a macro perspective on the unravelling of traditional business support beams across the world.

We have decided to call these malfunctions Check Mate Glitches. These glitches occur when a company makes a decision that has the potential to take them out. Our philosophy is that in this economic environment of hyper connectivity and mass awareness that it is our own decisions that will yield us the highest probability of winning or loosing.

Businesses are placing themselves in a positions where the marketplace says “Check Mate” and their game ends. This does not happen because the internet is evil. The internet is neither good nor bad in nature. Only humans bring nature to the table. With this in mind, a company makes a decision and that decision then goes live for the world to see.

The internet will expedite your good decisions which make up great brand stories.
The internet will also expose bad decision and share that story at lightning speed.
Either way, the stories you create are composed from the series of decisions you make.
All of these stories will travel on the word of mouth express train that is the internet.
Word will travel fast and then it will loom there as long as word of mouth keeps it suspended in googles most seen content algorithm for capturing attention. The looming nature of what uses to be a bad decision that could be covered up gives the Check Mate Glitch its longer duration.

It is the length of story exposure that your decision initiates that will ultimately place you in the vulnerable check mate position.

Let’s apply this to a real world situation:

We have seen a trend bubbling up for a few years amongst businesses that spend a lot of money on changing their branding. Unfortunately this trend is just getting warmed up and it will likely put some long time key players in a check mated position faster than if they did nothing.

First, lets talk about branding.
Branding is far more than a logo. Branding is the feelings that are triggered in the marketplace as a collective when we see your logo. In this way a new logo for a brand does nothing more than bring awareness to what stories you are putting out for the marketplace to feel out.

Click Here for an article and a deeper break down example of a decision gone wrong.

For the short cut-keep reading.

To summarize the article above:
Paying 250K in 2018 to a company outside of the state you represent is a bad story to have looming over your organization. Another bad decision that this branding represents is a decision making process that keeps blowing our minds. Companies seem to have this instinctual to get their new website, branding, or whatever from a company whose proposition value is “we make this for all companies in your industry”. In other words, you may have a hard time getting the better logo made in your industry when the company you pay $250k to does ALL the logos in the industry. How did you think you could stand out when you are buying a supposedly stand out product from a company that literally would go out of business if they delivered you something different from their other clients?

How to avoid the Check Mate Glitch factor:

Think about everything you do as if it was being done in front of a live audience of millions of people who will judge you on everything that they see.

It is important to think this way because that is exactly what is happening-many of you just do not realize it yet.

Next we will talk about how to use the Check Mate Glitch to your brands favor. Good news, there is a ton of upside to this if you are willing to do what is necessary to lead the pack.



Written by: Alexandra Gretter CEO, CDM Think Tank

#strikeamatch #cdmthinktank #raleighbusiness

The Traditional Story of New Year’s

Soon we will put 2018 on our documents and it will feel new.

Why does the conclusion of one calendar for the beginning of another hold so much of our attention?

Why do we anticipate coming of a new year with such hopeful possibility?

Is this time of year more magical in its influence over us than any other time?

Of course!

But why?

The Decision:

Reality exists in your mind before you will see it in your life.

We have nominated the coming of a new year as special in our culture.

We have decided to make it special.

The New Decision:

What if you didn’t reserve this positive outlook for one time of year?

What if you decided that every day you would feel the newness of the traditional New Years optimism?

Is it possible to think this way?


Here is the truth:

You can.

You can start every day with the same refreshed perception of your future.

It is as simple as deciding to practice being optimistic and energetic.

Here is the mindset:

Every hour is new.

Every day and every minute.

Why celebrate just once a year?

What good is it?

Why isn’t it enough to say we are always in a position to do what we want?

I believe it is enough and I believe you deserve to feel powerful every day.

The new year starts in September, March, April, January and other months depending on the culture you observe.

Do we magically change as a human that day?

No, we don’t.

We can be better as we go.

Here is a darker and more urgent truth about life:

It ends.

The best New Years resolution goals live in the graveyard. Unrealized dreams because they were always put off for the new year.

You are alive.

Take a hold of your every day and race it until nightfall.

Take control of your goals by acting on them.

Know that a goal is just a dream unless you act.

The Motto:

The happiest I have ever been is now.

I am my own boss.

I own my decisions.

I accept the challenges that come as part of my journey.

I have decided not need a new year.

I have accepted being in a constant state of gratitude because it is the way to greatness.

I have no competition outside of myself.

I am in control of my journey because I can always make different decisions.

I steer the course.

Today and every day.

Soon we will put 2018 on our documents.

Happy New Years will be said.
Resolutions will be made.

Resolutions will broken…but not by you.


#cdmthinktank  #byoalpha

We have to.

If we want something different to happen we must:

Lower our tolerance for making excuses.

Work actively and with purpose towards discovering answers to problems, then go to work on them.

Solutions based thinking leads to productivity, wealth, happiness, success and sales.

When we place blame we have jumped on the hamster wheel.

This does not mean that someone or something is not to blame.

It just means the activity of “blame” does more damage to our productivity than quitting.

When we blame our hope is diminished.

Instead, consider what happened

No, it was not ideal.

No it was not a happy ending.

We have to remind ourselves that every beginning starts because something else has ended.

There is no more work to be done on the past.

We have to accept it as done and learning from it.

After we accept it, we must immediately move on.

Do we know anyone who has dwelled on a past event for years and experienced feelings of hope from dwelling?


To get more we must make our inner voice our advocate instead of our adversary.

Use experiences as lessons and resist making past events the justification for putting walls up.

One situation that ended badly does not have to indicate that all future situations will end the same way.

The reason we feel like we keep experiencing the same old results is because we EXPECT to experience the same result because of the emotional damage from the first bad ending.

Thoughts become things.

That which we anticipate.

That which we dwell on will happen.

That can be very good or very bad.

Next time something goes wrong, we will vow to let it be.

Actively decided to let it go.

Actively decide we will believe in our own tenacity.

We will not just get back up physically…


Get back up on the inside.

‪#‎thoughtsbecomethings #strikeamatch


Self Talk

Have you ever noticed that the last person you extend your forgiveness to is yourself?
When someone hurts us, we immediately need to hear “I am sorry”.
There is a healing property in the words “I was wrong”.
As humans, we forgive others if we hear “I am sorry” or “I was wrong”.

We just don’t… forgive ourselves when we make a mistake.

Most golden rules advise that we should forgive the people in our lives that have mistreated us.
When did that start not including us too?
You are a person in your own life after all.
It is in our best interest and the interest of those around us to extend forgiveness and positive self-talk.
Including us.
I have found this works best when you say it out loud.
You are the only person you have to spend every moment of your life with.
You may as well be friends.
I find that the better I am to myself, the better I can be for other people.
We promise to be good partners to the people we work with and live with.
It is a good habit to practice on us what we promise to others.
When you forgive yourself you free yourself up to be generous again.
When you are feeling generous you are out there trying and doing.
That is when all good things happen.

Value Behind Motives

Having value behind your motives means doing groundwork.


The groundwork for yourself.

Motives are the seeds we sew in hope of reaping our future success.

The value of your motives determines what kind of success you can expect to reap.

People can have success with bad motives.

It happens all the time.

But truly sustainable success almost always comes from honesty and wanting to do right by other people.

You cant cut many corners when you start from this place.

It is going to be hard work.

But it will be good work too.

Rewarding work.

The kind of work people will refer their friends too.

The kind of work that is hard to retire from.

Not because you won’t be ready to retire eventually (because you will be).

It is just that when you begin with value at your core, it ends up reaching the core of many other people.

Spiraling, spreading and reaching in every direction.

You will be ready to retire if you live a life like this.

The problem will be everyone who has come to know your core service value won’t want you too.

That is a good retirement problem.

“If you help enough other people get what they want, you will get what you want” Zig Zigglar




Generosity is Different.

Interest is what you pay to rent money that isn’t yours.

Borrowing money is seen as a win-win.

One party gets the money they need now and the bank ends up with more money at the end of the deal for renting their money.

With payments and money, we can physically see that this system can work and be good for everyone before engaging in the deal.

Generosity is different.

Generosity usually means you are willing to do something and not expect to be paid back.

The good news is you can be generous without it costing money.

There is generosity in listening deeply to someone’s concerns.

There is generosity in being patient and explaining things again.

Generosity shows us that it isn’t always a monetary investment that has the best return.

Most of us can loan someone a dollar when we stand to earn two in return.

Something phenomenal happens when you give without thinking about what you will receive in return.