About this blog

After more than 25 years operating a trial consulting practice together as co-founding partners of Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. and Magnus Graphics, Inc., and more than 30 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.

My job is to help people

Sometimes, when I am asked what I do for a living, I answer, “I help people.” Although the details of my job description have changed over the years, my entire career has been devoted to helping people. In my job as Director of Marketing Research at a large hospital, I was tasked with helping improve […]

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A client called for help this week.  He faces a unexpected challenge of a case that he didn’t think would get to trial – then the judge set a trial date.  With a trial looming, and some extra challenges on the part of his client, he called.  It helped that he is a regular reader […]

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Fatal Resumé Flaws

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 14, 2019

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Magnus Insights, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

I’m thinking back to the thousands of resumés I have seen over the years about several that doomed the applicant from the time it was received. The impression one makes with a resumé is critical. Standing out in a crowd can be difficult. Fundamentally, the resumé should be well structured, organized, and easy to read. […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 14, 2019

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Magnus Insights, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

One’s resumé (or in the case of someone like me, one’s curriculum vita) should be a concise overview of one’s professional career and accomplishments.  However, due to the fact that things other than mere words can convey important information about a person, attention to detail when preparing one’s resumé is essential.  For example, a resumé […]

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Comforts of home – travel candle

In a previous post, I mentioned my use of earplugs to mask unwanted sounds while sleeping, particularly, in hotel rooms (where I spend a lot of my time!). In this, related, post, I will mention another helpful travel aid that I employ on a frequent basis: a small, scented candle. I have entered many hotel […]

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This is another example of learning from others.  Those who have been there, done that, and survived to tell about it, can be invaluable teachers.  And, travel candles are quite popular when you begin looking for them.  They are often in a tin jar with a lid that makes them easy to travel with, easy […]

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Illumination

A client who has made several comments that have prompted prior blogs mentioned recently that, sometimes, things look great in the war room, but in the bright lights of the courtroom, they fall flat. I think he made a great point. As a photographer, I know that one of the keys to success in photography […]

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People differ in their ability to see things from other people’s point of view.  I am in the process of becoming a circuit civil mediator and I recently completed the training program that is a required part of this process.  As I expected, most of my co-students were attorneys and I was the only psychologist […]

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Sleep – ear plugs

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 5, 2019

Category: Business Travel, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Getting Through Life and Work, Mental Health, RoadWarrior, Travel

I am a light sleeper. I travel a lot, for both business and pleasure. These two realities often conflict, but, over the years, I have learned how to minimize the conflict with a simple and inexpensive solution: earplugs. Although I routinely request a room as far away as possible from the elevator and ice machine […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 5, 2019

Category: Business Travel, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Getting Through Life and Work, Mental Health, RoadWarrior, Travel

Earplugs are but one of many travel tricks learned by years of being a road warrior.  Not that you can’t use them at home as well; Melissa can, and often does, wear them for the rare occasions when sleeping late is an option.  On the road though, with so many strange and unfamiliar variables at […]

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Which Path?

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 31, 2019

Category: Getting the Job Done, Jury Consultants, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Trial Consultants, Trial Consulting

I was recently contemplating a question commonly asked by our clients – which alternative is best? For example, a client recently asked, “We can call the situation a complication, we can call it unforeseen, we can call it an accident; which is best?” For whatever reason that day, my mind did, as it often does, […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 31, 2019

Category: Getting the Job Done, Jury Consultants, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Trial Consultants, Trial Consulting

Kudos to David for quoting lyrics of a Led Zeppelin song!  Yes, there are two (or more) paths one can take, such that deciding which path will result in the best litigation outcome is often difficult for Magnus’ clients and other attorneys.  Generally speaking, Magnus is in the business of using social science research to […]

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I’m happiest when I have a new data set

One of Magnus’ former employees once remarked that the times he saw me at my happiest were the days when I was analyzing a new data set. How true! There are few things in life I enjoy more than delving into a raw data file from a recently conducted survey of potential jurors. I eagerly […]

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Some girls get excited about diamonds; Melissa gets excited about data (well, diamonds too). Data sets give her the chance to use her favorite computer program – SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). She fires up SPSS and digs in whenever she can. Sometimes the data sets are large and she can really poke […]

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Unpaid Work

As entrepreneurs, Melissa and I often work without getting paid.  The most common example from “my department” is talking with a prospective client about a new case, preparing a proposal, following up, only to hear that the project is a no go.  Perhaps the price was beyond their budget, or the client wanted to use […]

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People who lack the entrepreneurial mindset often can’t relate to David’s and my perspective regarding doing copious amounts of work for which we are not compensated.  As an example, I have made hundreds of presentations to attorneys’ and insurance companies’ associations, most of which have involved zero payment to me.  Why would I do such […]

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Rainbows in Hawai’i

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 22, 2019

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Mental Health, Travel

I have had the fantastic experience of visiting Hawai’i on several occasions. Growing up in Florida, I frequently heard people say not to bother going to Hawai’i because, in their opinion, it was similar to Florida. These people, in my opinion, are wrong. There are a few similarities but, overall, Florida and Hawai’i have little […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 22, 2019

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Mental Health, Travel

There is a reason that the song (Somewhere) Over the Rainbow resonates with Hawaiians. Sung by many, including Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, my favorite version is the one by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, better known as Iz. His take on the words written in 1939, combined with Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, is […]

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Abbey Road and Technology

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 17, 2019

Category: Life Outside of Work, Travel, Work-Life, Workplace Technology

Melissa and I recently took a Magical Mystery Tour of England, both London and Liverpool, on a Beatles quest. Part of that tour included a visit to Abbey Road Studios. That visit included a unique opportunity to go inside Studio 2, where the Beatles recorded most of their music, for a lecture. It also included […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 17, 2019

Category: Life Outside of Work, Travel, Work-Life, Workplace Technology

Think about the many ways the scenario described by David is truly amazing. First, it is important to consider the fact that there is a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Earth cam web camera mounted near Abbey Road Studios in London that records every single person who crosses the famous crosswalk where […]

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