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Being A Professional

Ralph And Carol Lynn Say: Hyphens Ain’t The Boss Of Us!

By May 8, 20172 Comments
Ralph And Carol Lynn Say: Hyphens Ain’t The Boss Of Us!

Genius In A Bottle

We started this episode with an overview of the few things we wanted to talk about. But before we jumped in I had a brilliant idea to share with Ralph that I wanted him to hear for the first time while we were on mic.

The other day as I was working out on the elliptical and listening to the Make It Snappy Productivity Show with Nick Snapp, I noticed that Nick refers to his listeners as “Snappy Nation.” And that’s when it struck me that you, Fred, are rulers of a very special domain. And yours is called…


Get it? And don’t you love the idea of being fizzy and zesty and full of energy with a total excitement for life?

My genius on full display. I’m so proud of myself for this little revelation that it’s kind of embarrassing.

Nick Snapp Throws The Gauntlet Back

On our first episode of Carbon Based Business Units, otherwise known as episode 181, we challenged Nick Snapp (he’s getting pretty famous at this point, don’t you think?) to tell us why he always says that he wants to grow his business to be a $2-5-million-dollar business.

On episode 114 of his show, Nick answers us. You’ll have to listen to it to find out why (hey, we don’t do spoilers!) but he did issue a challenge of his own.

And what Nick wanted to know from us was: why didn’t we put a hyphen between Carbon and Based?

According to rules of grammar, a compound adjective of the Carbon-Based variety definitely needs a hyphen.

Well, after he threw my inner grammar nerd into a snit, I Googled it to find out if I had to use the hyphen. I mean, in a world where I can use the word literally to mean not literally, could I get away without the hyphen?

Nope, not according to the internets.

Once it was clear that we were breaking grammar rules, I thought about it for a bit and decided hey, I’m no Grammar Nazi! I can break rules if I want to. But it nagged a bit, so I thought well, if I ask Michael our creative director to change it – again – he’ll probably shoot me.

But finally I decided that since our very existence – our raison d’ être if you will – depends on us challenging the status quo, it would be remiss of us to succumb to something as banal as a grammar rule just to say we followed the book.

We don’t want a hyphen. It doesn’t look very cool.

And thus the hyphen is being completely and deliberately ignored. Because hyphens ain’t the boss of us!

A Bit Of Oddball Business Advice

Recently Ralph was having a conversation with a fellow entrepreneur who asked Ralph to give him a bit of business advice – but the requirement was that it couldn’t be remotely like any of the usual advice. You know, get up early, do yoga, all the stuff that makes it onto all the lists.

So Ralph dropped this knowledge bomb: go buy an electric toothbrush and a metal tongue scraper.

Ralph bought a brand new electric toothbrush recently, the Oral B Genius Pro 8000, and he’s a big fan. He’s got me using it now, too. It comes with different heads for different purposes, like plaque removal and whitening. Since we both drink a lot of tea and coffee (and one of us has a love affair with red wine), it helps us restore our less-than-pearly whites.

It’s a pretty awesome toothbrush and within days of starting to use it, our teeth were noticeably whiter.

And that’s cool but… how does that relate to business?

The answer is: appearance.

In our travels and business ventures we’ve met with a lot of people who are less than hygienic. Stink breath, sloppy clothes, nothing particularly appealing. They don’t exactly exude the kind of image you’re looking for in a business colleague.

And we’re not being judge-y, but it does matter. Appearance matters. How you are perceived, especially upon meeting someone, matters.

The Professional Pajama Wearer

A friend recently asked Ralph to critique the intro to her new podcast. And in it, she mentioned being a professional pajama wearer.

Well, Ralph thought that wasn’t a good impression to make, especially since sitting around in her pajamas is not her M.O. So why give people that impression? Why imply that you’re perhaps lazy or not-quite-so-professional?

Ralph thinks she was just trying to be “cute” but the result was to diminish her work ethic. So she changed it to “bacon lover” which is still kind of weird but at least doesn’t conjure images of her sitting in her basement wearing a hairnet or something.

Now, if you really do sit around working in your pajamas and that’s your thing, and you’re looking to use it as part of your image to attract a certain type of client, then go for it. But for a person like our friend who is looking to portray herself as a professional, she was doing herself a disservice.

Portray an image that says, “I respect myself therefore I will respect you.” If you don’t look like you can take care of yourself, why would clients believe you can take care of them?


Take a look in the mirror! How do you present yourself to your clients, prospects, colleagues?  What’s your hygiene ritual? Do you pay attention to the impression you make?

The Google Doc Scam

If you’re like one of the billion zillion of us who got sucked into the Google phishing scam recently, then you know what happened. If not, lucky you!

A scam circulated like wildfire last week where an email appeared to come from someone you knew with a request to view a Google doc. And when you clicked the link, it then asked for permission to access your account, like many apps do. But once you gave it permission it then took over your contact list and sent the same email to everyone in your address book.

Well, Ralph received that scam email and the timing couldn’t have been worse. Normally he’s on top of these things, but it just so happens that it’s the end of the semester at the college where he teaches and he was expecting his students to send him their final projects. So when he received an email appearing to come from one of his students, he clicked it, thinking she was submitting her final assignment. And once the scammers had access to his contacts, the same scam email went out to them.

On the plus side, after years of preaching to friends and colleagues about the dangers of scam emails and warning about clicking on links, a bunch of people contacted Ralph to ask if the email was legitimate before clicking. So it was nice to see that!

The other fortunate thing is that the day before this all happened, we’d decided to start using two-factor authentication for our accounts. More on that in a minute, but the good news is that even with “permission” the scammers couldn’t actually take over Ralph’s account beyond simply sending out an annoying email.

So. What’s with the two-factor thing?

Trust me, you want to know.

Two-Factor Authentication

Security is not getting any better. These things happen every day. So you have to protect yourself. And in spite of big scary words like “two-factor authentication”, it’s not hard to do.

Two factor authentication is actually quite simple. It means that in order to log into your account, you need two things. One is a password, and the other is “something else”. That something else is typically a code.

So to log into your account, say your Gmail, you enter your password and then Google sends you a super secret code via text (or you can use an app). Then you enter the code and that’s it. So even if someone knows or illegitimately obtains your password, they still can’t access your account because they can’t get the code.

The cool thing about the code is that it expires after about 30 seconds, so even if that code ends up floating around, it would be useless after a few seconds anyway.

It’s so easy to set up. And it’s free. If you have a phone with text, there’s no reason you can’t easily set up two-factor and save yourself from the nightmare of someone getting your password and getting into your account. Just go into the security settings of your account, look for it by name, and follow the (very super ridiculously simple) instructions. It’s too easy not to do.

Sadly, there are a lot of websites that don’t use it. Surprisingly, I found out that my banks don’t. Nor do my credit cards! You’d think they would be at the top of the list when it comes to locking down your accounts. I couldn’t even find it for my QuickBooks account. But Google does, and so does Facebook, so at a minimum, start there.

Here’s an example of two-factor authentication in real life. When you go to a restaurant and hand over your credit card to pay for dinner, that is the first factor. When you sign it, that’s the second. And we know full well what the consequence is of paying without signing. We’ve had our debit and credit card numbers stolen more times than we can count when we’ve been on the road and used our cards at convenience stores and gas stations that don’t require a signature. There’s been a bit of a crackdown on that recently, but it just goes to show that two “proofs” that you’re for real are better than one.

My Password Is…

Actually neither Ralph nor I have any idea what any of our 700-odd passwords are. That’s because we use a password manager that automatically generates and secures the passwords for us.

So we don’t have to remember them. We don’t have to worry about where they are. And whether we’re on our computers or on our phones, it’s easy to log into any account safely.

If you don’t use a password manager, if you’re one of those people who use the same basic password for everything because you can’t remember so many, if you’ve got any password on a sticky note on your computer monitor… check out any one of the myriad password managers. We’ve used Passpack for a long time, but it’s a pain on mobile. So we recently switched to 1Password and so far we love it, especially how easy it is to use on the phone, where it can be annoying to try to type in a password all the time.

They’re all super cheap or even free and there’s no reason to remember – or even know – your passwords ever again.

More Homework!

What password manager do you use? And if you don’t, why not?

And I know what the excuse is going to be if you don’t. “Because it’s inconvenient.”

But which is more inconvenient: taking that extra two seconds to set up your password manager and using it to log into your accounts, or dealing with someone stealing your password, getting into your accounts, stealing your money or even your identity?

What Did We Learn?

I’m a genius. ‘Nuf said.

And you should be listening to the Make It Snappy Productivity Show.

We learned that we do judge a book by its cover, so how you present yourself at first glance is important.

Plus, your security chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Don’t be that weak link! Go get yourself a password manager and start using two-factor authentication.

And finally, if you have a Mailchimp account and enable two-factor authentication, they’ll give you 10% off your monthly payments. That’s how important they think your security is. We only wish everyone else did, too!

Next Time In Carbonation

We talk about why we just spent a bunch of money on a third computer for Ralph. Sounds like a dumb decision. Stay tuned!


Listen to episode 114 of The Make It Snappy Productivity Show where Nick Snapp answers our challenge

Listen to our friend “no longer a professional pajama wearer” Sophia’s podcast, Ridiculously Happy People

Take a look at 1Password

Check out the Genius 8000 electric toothbrush