The Big Picture

18 Apr

December 12, 2011… The world has lost a great man… and I lost my mentor and dear friend, Stan Harris.

He was the most genuine, polite and talented human being I will ever know. The lessons he taught me are innumerable and ingrained, inspiring all the work I do today.

My Mentor

As an avid photographer, Stan had a knack for composing images so that every element played a specific role in the photograph. I distinctly recall one photo of an old farmhouse, framed by trees, and supported by a quaint country bridge in the foreground, taken while visiting his daughter Sam in Arkansas. Separately, the elements would’ve looked incomplete, yet together they were captivating, and begged you to learn more about this old building.

When it came to business, Stan saw it through the same wide lens. By asking all the right questions, he would bring a client’s objectives into focus, while all the other details faded into the background. After listening to a few new client consultations, it became clear that many businesses had buried themselves in the details, and, to keep the analogy going, lost sight of their “big picture” goals. They had gotten too close to their cause and developed tunnel vision to the point they could no longer see the forest for the trees. They needed someone to open their eyes and help them refocus, and this was Stan’s gift.

So, when it comes to your business and its marketing, try and do the following every quarter:

1. Take a step back and review the “big picture” with a wide lens.

2. Bring your business objectives back into “focus”.


3. Close the “shutter” and capture your plan for the next three months.

Stan will be greatly missed by many, but he will never be forgotten. He was the inspiration for this blog, and by sharing his lessons, I hope you all can learn as much from him as I did.

If you have any questions, comment below or ask me directly on Twitter.

Until next time…



Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Uncategorized


10 responses to “The Big Picture

  1. Tragash

    April 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    I am so glad that this post found its way to you. Your words made me smile. Your Dad was an incredible man, one who deserves to be remembered by those who knew him, and introduced to others who have not had the same pleasure. Seeing as this blog was his very idea, I could think of no better way to honor him than with a very special tribute here. His words guide me daily, and he will never be forgotten.

  2. Samantha Avivi

    April 23, 2012 at 12:28 PM


    Thank you for remembering my dad so acurrately and eliquently. I miss him every day as a father, mentor and friend. It’s nice to know I am not alone.


  3. Tragash

    April 19, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    It is so great to hear from you. I am really happy to see you had a chance to see this post and stay connected with Stan over the years. I know we all truly enjoyed working with you and appreciated all of the fantastic expertise you brought to us during that time. I know that I still use you as an example in many situations today. I hope you are doing well and it would be great to catch up. Thank you so much for the comment an I hope you continue to follow along.

  4. Tragash

    April 19, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Your words could not be more true. I learned so much from Stan in the brief time I had to work with him, and I am forever reminded of the important lessons about business, family, life, and relationships he taught me. I am so happy to see that this blog has reached members of his immediate family and I hope that you will share it with Linda, Scott, Sam, Tomer, and all the grandkids. Thank you for taking the time to read it and leave your thoughts. I hope to hear from many more people.

  5. Lauren Kaps

    April 19, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    I just received this blog as a forward from my father, Norman Talpins, who initially received it from my cousin, Scott Harris. Stan Harris was my very beloved, admired, and respected uncle. He was a true favorite amongst my husband and me, my siblings, their spouses, and our children, We feel very fortunate that he was our family and our friend. Your words truly reflect the man that Uncle Stan was. His smile lit up a room, his laugh was infectious, his kind words always felt like a hug. The world did lose one of the greats with his passing; and, there are not many. Now, we may honor his memory by cherishing his wonderful wife, Aunt Linda; his children, Sam and Tomer, and Scott and Pam; and his beautiful grandchildren, Rya, Tali, David, Henry, and Spencer Louis (who is named for him).

  6. Carol Milliron (@millic)

    April 18, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Here’s to your marketing team of the past, indeed! Great group and Stan believed in all of you. The last time I saw him he spoke proudly of both you and Niki. Continue doing what he taught you, and you will continue to honor him. Best to you, Carol

  7. Robin

    April 18, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Just beautiful! He was your inspiration!

  8. Brian Bialik

    April 18, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Michael – what in the world? Stan was such a great guy – and young! When did this happen? I can’t believe it. I’m shocked.

  9. Tragash

    April 18, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Niki, Thank you for the compliment. It gave me such great pride to be able to write this post. I had a chance to sit down with him in March of last year. I was in FL with family because my grandmother had passed and going through a long period of unemployment. He seemed fine, proud of me, and had the same confidence in me he had when we worked together. This blog was one of his great ideas that came out of that very conversation, and it seemed only right that I pay tribute this way.

    While we lost a great person on Earth, it is clear he has not gone far from our hearts or minds. We rarely meet people like Stan, but when we do, their impact can be felt forever. Knowing Stan as well as you did, it would be great to share this blog or re-blog it so that we can honor him by sharing the knowledge he gave so freely. I know not all of our old cohorts will get to see this, so please pass it on to anyone else that had the opportunity to know him as well.

  10. Niki Fuller

    April 18, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    What a wonderful tribute to a gifted and genuine man! It is unique when you meet someone who who gets smarter the older you get. Stan was a force…the “speak softly, carrying that stick” kind of creative marketing mind and business man. He was my first marketing mentor and through many tears and laughs, taught me to keep creating….and having fun with each project. Stan, I went to message you the other day as we did over the years. What a lump in my throat when I realized I couldn’t. Your ideas will always stand in the minds of many; your influence in lives forever. Michael, you nailed it. This was a treat. Here’s to our marketing team of the past. Stan wouldn’t have it any other way. He believed in the team! Great post. Wonderful advice!

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