About this blog

After more than 20 years operating a trial consulting practice together as co-founding partners of Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. and Magnus Graphics, Inc., and more than 25 years of marriage, Dr. Melissa Pigott and David Fauss decided to share some of their thoughts, experiences, pet peeves, and perspectives on operating a small “mom & pop” business. The intended audience for their writings is other business owners, as well as employees of small businesses. Trial consulting is a professional service business, as was David’s photography business. There are many unique issues faced by professional service providers; Melissa and David share some of their insights on running a successful business.

When we all think the same, watch out

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 25, 2016

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

I recently read a Wall Street Journal article with the same title as this post, “When we all think the same, watch out.” I smiled when I saw it because I was already thinking I could figure out where this was going. As it turned out, it related to the economy and the factors that […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 25, 2016

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

Groupthink is a dangerous social psychological phenomenon. It was first defined by Irving Janis in 1971 as pressures toward uniformity due to group members’ desire to agree with their leader. Groupthink is most likely to occur when: (1) the group is cohesive; (2) there are structural faults in the group (such as an absence of […]

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What is social psychology?

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 23, 2016

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

When I tell people I am a social psychologist, I usually have to follow up with an explanation of what it means to be a psychologist who specializes in something other than counseling people with mental health issues (the purview of clinical psychologists). Social psychology is the scientific study of people in groups. Social psychology […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 23, 2016

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

I admit that when Melissa and I met, I did not know how to define the sub fields of psychology.  I took a general psychology course in college and considered minoring it psychology, but with 3 majors I didn’t have time to add it.  However, as I got to know Melissa and learned more about […]

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Sharpening the Saw

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 18, 2016

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Small Business Success

The last of the 7 habits discussed in the 1989 book by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is entitled “Sharpening the Saw.” This habit has been summarized as focusing on continuous growth and improvement. Dr. Covey focused on 4 areas of self-renewal: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. I read […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 18, 2016

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Small Business Success

It is an irony of modern litigation that “trial lawyers” rarely go to trial. In fact, many of Magnus’ clients, all of whom are trial lawyers, have not had a jury trial in several years. Not only are these attorneys in danger of losing their edge in the courtroom due to an absence of practicing […]

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Be precise

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 16, 2016

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Partnerships

My education and training in social psychology taught me to be precise. For example, when reporting research results, it is essential to include the level of statistical significance so that other researchers know the strength of the research finding, as well as whether it can be generalized to other situations. My training also relates to […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 16, 2016

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Partnerships

Melissa’s precision is well beyond that required of her as a social scientist. But, it is clearly strong in her rigor of both research design and the analysis of the findings. It is those things that make her a well regarded trial consultant. It is, however, more due to her personality as she clearly explains. […]

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The Bedside Note Pad

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 11, 2016

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Small Business Success

Ask an entrepreneur what keeps him or her up at night and one of many answers you will likely get is a fear of forgetting to do something. I don’t know how many things I tried to make myself remember at 3 or 4 a.m. before I read a very simple, and what should be […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 11, 2016

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Small Business Success

As fond as I am of making lists, writing notes, and keeping records of my life on various calendars, I do not share David’s penchant for writing notes to myself in the middle of the night. The middle of the night, in my opinion, is for sleeping, not note writing. I have never, ever, stayed […]

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New friends

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 9, 2016

Category: Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, Work-Life

I genuinely like people. I am what many people call “a people person.” I gravitate toward people and most people gravitate toward me (with some very notable exceptions, of course!). I have never had any problems making new friends; furthermore, my friends are real, live people, as opposed to a list of names of people […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 9, 2016

Category: Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, Work-Life

It is interesting how we make friends. It seems to just happen. We don’t go looking for them usually. Making a friend doesn’t happen overnight. I feel fortunate to have made some good friends along the way. Thinking back to how these friendships formed I realize that in addition to Diana, whom Melissa mentioned, my […]

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Speaking Engagements; You Never Know

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 4, 2016

Category: Marketing your business, Small Business Success, Trial Consulting, Work-Life, Workplace Technology

The 1997 book by Harry Beckwith, Selling the Invisible, is about the differences in marketing a tangible product, the good old generic widget, as compared to selling an intangible product – a service. It is a wonderful book for those of us selling services, like we do as trial consultants. As a working photographer, this […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 4, 2016

Category: Marketing your business, Small Business Success, Trial Consulting, Work-Life, Workplace Technology

In the time David and I have co-owned Magnus, I have given hundreds of presentations to audiences ranging from a handful of people in a law firm to hundreds of people in huge hotel ballrooms. Thus far, I have never received any compensation for making one of these speeches. On some occasions, the law firm […]

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Old friends

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 2, 2016

Category: Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, Work-Life

At the time of writing this post, I am devastated over the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends. As the years pass and we get older, it is inevitable that we will lose some of our old friends, however, when the inevitable happens, it doesn’t lessen our grief. I grew up in […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 2, 2016

Category: Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, Work-Life

As I wrote in the blog about best friends, I do not have people go back as far in my life as Melissa does. Her experience is not unique perhaps, especially in smaller towns, but it different from my experience. I have friends from as far back as 6th grade, but only a few that […]

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Don’t rely on memory; make lists

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On July 28, 2016

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Managing Employees

It sometimes surprises me that things I find very basic are not obvious to new hires. I know that my brain cannot possibly keep track of all I need to do such that I have long used lists. I recall being very organized in college about classes, assignments, etc., and perhaps not everyone has to […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On July 28, 2016

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Managing Employees

People vary in their memory function, just as they vary on other personal dimensions. There are some people, like me, who remember most things, in great detail and with accuracy; then, there are other people who don’t (or can’t) remember much of anything. Most people, of course, are someplace in the middle of these two […]

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Best friend(s)

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to have many friends. In fact, due to the vast age difference between my two older brothers and me, I have friendships that have strong bonds that most people usually associate with family members. Among my friends there are a few extraordinary people whom I consider my “best […]

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Starting at the end of Melissa’s post I’ll say it is great to have her as my bestie. As we have written this blog it has been interesting to see how we have different perspectives sometimes, but have a common bond, and a perspective on life and work. I’m not sure it would be possible […]

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