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.

Run of the House

I booked a hotel room recently and, while navigating the rates, I came across one that said “run of house.” I know this means “you get what we’ve got left.” It is doubtful that this would ever be an exciting upgrade, but maybe. In my experience, upgrades rarely happen even when I’m paying higher rates. […]

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The expression, “run of the house” does not have a positive connotation for me.  I prefer to know what I am getting and even more than that, I prefer to know I am getting the best I can possibly get.  I dislike most surprises because many people are not as discerning as me, therefore, what […]

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An Ode to Mullet

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On June 28, 2022

Category: Getting the Job Done, Giving Back, Life Outside of Work, Magnus Insights, Work-Life

Recently, my friend, Button, and I were talking about our fondness for fresh fish. We discussed our shared opinion that fish is best prepared fried, not baked, smoked, grilled, blackened, or en papillote. (I enjoy eating fish that has been prepared in all these ways, but in my opinion, there is nothing quite as good […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On June 28, 2022

Category: Getting the Job Done, Giving Back, Life Outside of Work, Magnus Insights, Work-Life

Mullet – now that I can relate to indeed!  I was probably about 10 when I met my first mullet.  We lived near the St. Johns River and my brother and I liked fishing.  Our neighbors lived on the river and had a dock.  Dale and I spent hours, almost daily, and definitely on the […]

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Modern Communications

Writing this post in mid 2022, I want to comment on modern communications technologies. Especially due to the pandemic, the “modern” technologies of cellular telephones and virtual meetings (Zoom, etc.) have become more common in the world of business. This is for better or worse, depending on point of view. These technologies are great because […]

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David spends significantly more time talking on the telephone than I do, but I share his frustrations.  The poor quality of some people’s internet connections make it difficult to have a meaningful telephone conversation.  This is compounded when the conversation is via a platform, such as Zoom, that includes both audio and video components.  Constant reminders […]

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Zenobia

Recently, a long time friend of my family’s, Woody Hanson, posted an old photo on a social media site that brought back fond memories. The photo was of Zenobia King Hill, the owner of a modeling school in my hometown of Fort Myers, Florida. Zenobia was from Alabama; she attended the famous John Robert Powers […]

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I’ve heard many stories about Zenobia over the years, but it was not until I saw the photo Melissa referenced, with the description, that I actually knew how her name was spelled.   Melissa, as well as some of her friends, have spoken fondly of Zenobia over the years.  I’ve heard about the life skills learned, […]

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is a phrase used to suggest one should relax, chill out, and not worry about the little things, things which sometime seem out of one’s control. Well, that’s great. But, our “day job” as trial consultants doesn’t allow it. Neither does my prior advocation, photography. For example, when photographing people […]

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This topic, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” came up recently during a slightly heated debate David and I were having about the proper way to prepare something we were having for dinner.  (As the reader might imagine, David and I have many debates, some over trivial matters, on an almost daily basis.)  I don’t recall […]

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Big Family

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On June 14, 2022

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Magnus, Psychology, Work-Life

I come from a big family. My dad, Park, was 1 of 17 children and my mom, Leola, was 1 of 8 children. As best as I can recall, I have 38 first cousins and an even larger number of first cousins, once removed, second cousins, and more. My dad was the proverbial middle child; […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On June 14, 2022

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Magnus, Psychology, Work-Life

In contrast to Melissa, my family was about average.  Dad was an only child, Mom had 2 siblings.  There are some cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts, etc., but when I learned about her parents’ families, I was blown away.  I mean 17 children!!!  From what I know, her grandmother was a tough woman who, in […]

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Are They Paying Attention?

My post about whether the mock jurors take it seriously reminded me of another aspect of this client related surprise. Watching a group of people, mock jurors, listen to the case arguments in a mock trial can sometimes be misleading. Some mock jurors are clearly engaged, others have their eyes closed, others are frantically taking […]

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Similar to some attorneys’ concern about whether the mock jurors take their participation seriously is their concern about whether the mock jurors are paying attention.  And, just as it pertains to the issue of the mock jurors taking the case, and their participation, seriously, I have found that most of them pay attention. There is […]

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If You Won’t Practice, Don’t Bother Learning

As I mentioned in my previous post, “practice makes perfect,” my childhood piano teacher, Corella Johnson, insisted that all her piano and organ students practice their instrument(s) at least 30 minutes a day. The first thing she did at every lesson was ask her students to play the piece of music they were learning, so […]

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Childhood music lessons didn’t work well for me.  I tried guitar and piano but found I’d much rather go fishing or tromp through the woods than hone those skills.  Perhaps it was also because my early music lessons focused too much on fundamentals, rather than playing a song, these music experiences were not attractive to […]

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Do They Always Take it Seriously?

A client, who had never observed a Magnus mock trial, asked the question which is the title of this post during a recent mock trial. The “they” is the mock jurors. The “it” is the case. The answer is YES! The rest of the story is that, despite the mock jurors knowing they are only […]

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It is difficult for new clients to understand the seriousness with which most of Magnus’ mock jurors conduct themselves during mock jury research.  Everyone who attends a mock jury, of course, knows they are part of a research exercise, thus, the word “mock” precedes the word “jury.”  Not only do the attorneys recognize we are […]

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