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.

Take a book

I love to read. At any given time, I am in the process of reading one or more books, one or more scientific publications, and several magazines. I read books, psychology journals, and magazines in both formats, the old school hard copy, bound format, and the modern electronic format. Mom instilled in me a love […]

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I share Melissa’s love of reading and, for me, this includes reading 3 daily papers, weekly news magazines, and “fun” reading on things like photography. We also both read publications like Florida Trend to keep up with statewide developments. I recently finished my first e-book on my phone – I’ve read them on an iPad […]

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Put a label on it

Though I’ve previously written about a similar topic with a post which appeared on December 10, 2015 “Organize & Label the Equipment,” recent experiences lead me to revisit the topic from a different angle. That post was about our efforts to label our equipment as ours such that it doesn’t get confused with that owned […]

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David’s fondness for labels, checklists, and written protocols is well known by those of us at Magnus. It seems, at least to me, that we have written documentation of almost everything we do, thus, it came as a surprise to me that, in our haste to make hurricane preparations, we overlooked anything, including the important […]

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That old dude in the suit went to Woodstock….

This has happened to me several times and it is worth writing about in this post. Sometimes, things, and sometimes, people, are not what they seem. When I am working for attorneys, I conduct myself in an entirely different manner, while wearing entirely different attire, than when I am in the presence of friends. Almost […]

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Some of our clients are people who will relate to the line from a song “get a real hair cut and get a real job,” because they did.  In a business suit, with that real hair cut, and probably a neck tie, it is sometimes difficult to imagine them in any way other than as  […]

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If all else fails…

I remember that I first heard “If all else fails, read the directions” from my Dad, decades ago. He really didn’t operate that way, but the point was, if you can’t figure it out on your own, the directions might help. (Not always – I wonder who writes some of them!) Anyway, this year has […]

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It is strange to consider that, for an increasing number of attorneys, obtaining advice from a trial consultant is done only as a last resort. Thinking within this narrow frame of reference is harmful to the attorney, not to mention his or her client, for a variety of reasons: (1) last minute research is usually […]

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Venice and Asa

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 24, 2017

Category: Life Outside of Work, Magnus, MagnusInsights, MagnusResearch, Work-Life

I am writing this post on the birthday of my late cousin, Venice. Venice was my dad’s first cousin. She lived her entire life of 88 years in Ivan, near Crawfordville, Florida. Ivan and Crawfordville are located in Wakulla County, near Tallahassee, Florida. My dad was born in Medart, also in Wakulla County, a few […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 24, 2017

Category: Life Outside of Work, Magnus, MagnusInsights, MagnusResearch, Work-Life

I heard about Venice and Asa for quite a while prior to meeting them. But, Melissa took me to Crawfordville to meet them not too long after I met her. Talk about off the grid -they lived out in the country for sure! But, what a cool part of Florida and, as someone who enjoys […]

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Irma Aftermath 5: Disasters bring out the Good and the Bad in people

There have been plenty of examples of how storms and the other disasters like Irma bring out the worst in people, e.g., those fighting over bottled water. (Hey, people – fill up bottles from your taps!) Or they bring out the worst people – like the home invaders or looters who end up in the […]

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I believe there are more good people than bad people, however, it is often the bad people who receive the most attention.  The news media focus on all the negativity in the world because “it’s news,” while sometimes ignoring the positivity that surrounds us.  David’s and my friend who offered to use his airboat to […]

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Chicken Salad

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 17, 2017

Category: Life Outside of Work, Magnus, MagnusInsights, MagnusResearch, Work-Life

David’s mother, Carole, is not only my mother-in-law; she is my friend. Carole and I have been friends since the day I met her. There are many wonderful things I could, and do, say about Carole, including we went to a Stevie Wonder concert together (how cool is that?), and she is smart, pretty, and […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 17, 2017

Category: Life Outside of Work, Magnus, MagnusInsights, MagnusResearch, Work-Life

The realization that we had eaten Mom’s chicken salad for the last time hit us months after it happened. It had just always been there, as part of lunch, whenever we visited from out of town (given that we left Jacksonville in 1989). And, it had been a part of my life throughout high school […]

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Irma Aftermath 4: Critical Comms

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 12, 2017

Category: Business Frustrations, Business Travel, Getting the Job Done, Small Business Success, Travel, Trial Consulting

The adage “communication is key” could not be more apropos when talking about events such as a hurricane. Irma provided us with several examples of how true this is. Whether it is the absence of communications (comms) when telephones, television, or internet is down, or the overload of comms when some of those devices (think […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 12, 2017

Category: Business Frustrations, Business Travel, Getting the Job Done, Small Business Success, Travel, Trial Consulting

There is a great song by Led Zeppelin called, “Communication Breakdown.” The song’s chorus is: Communication breakdown It’s always the same I’m having a nervous breakdown I’m going insane There is also a famous line from a great movie, “Cool Hand Luke,” “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” I’m thinking of both […]

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Things We Can’t Charge to Clients

David’s mother, my dear mother-in-law, is such a nice, kind, compassionate person that the worst thing I have ever heard her say about someone or a situation is that he/she/it, it is “interesting.” When I say something or someone is “interesting,” I am using the word as it is typically used, to imply someone or […]

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Lest any client read this and think they have been charged for items #1 to 7, rest assured that, when compiling a bill, the charges are reviewed by me. I am pretty sure I’ve caught it when employees have attempted to slide something by in this regard. But, it has amazed me that these employees […]

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Irma Aftermath 3: Get Ready/Have a Plan

Maybe it is because I was a Boy Scout whose motto of “Be Prepared” has stuck with me that I have plans and have made preparations for hurricanes, the number 1 threat we face in Florida. We don’t get snowstorms, earthquakes (well, not often), or mountain slides, but as a Florida native, I know hurricanes […]

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David is as prepared for a hurricane as anyone I know.  The only way he could be more prepared is if he had an airboat loaded onto a trailer and ready to pull behind a big truck if needed.  (David, I sure would love to have an airboat, but for fun outings, not hurricanes!)  The […]

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