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.

If you want something done right…

I recently heard a program on NPR involving an incredible story that the host presented as a situation when the person involved should have “done it himself.” The story was from China, where someone hired a hitman to eliminate a competitor. The hitman subcontracted the job to someone else and that person hired someone else […]

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The DIY attitude is another example of many people’s inability to recognize their limitations.  I was searching for flooring not too long ago and discovered numerous references to DIY flooring, including instructional videos on how to install all types of flooring, from laminate to tile.  I didn’t want to know how to install flooring (by […]

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My Armor is Chink-proof

In the over 3 decades we have known each other, David has frequently remarked that some of my long term friends have a tendency to search for “chinks in my armor.” (For readers who are unfamiliar with this expression, it has been used since the 17th century to refer to a weak spot in a […]

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It is interesting that people “snipe” at others in an attempt, I guess, to make themselves feel better about their own situation.  Such behavior was first pointed out to me by a high school classmate, Steve, during our first years in college.   He told me that his roommate was always looking for chinks in his […]

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Blue Intake Forms

As someone who thrives on forms and checklists, I also know that it is critical to improve them, as well as update them. I learned this practice from my photography mentor, Jon Peters. I’ve adapted what I did as a photographer, that is, providing a service to clients, to what I/we do as trial consultants, […]

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David loves forms.  He enjoys devising them and he enjoys having everyone who works at Magnus complete them.  He even has forms prepared for our clients to complete, to ensure we are doing everything they want us to do on their behalf.  For the most part, I don’t share David’s fondness for forms.  Although I […]

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No one hires me for an easy case

On numerous occasions throughout my career as a jury/trial consultant, prospective clients, not to mention family members and friends, have asked me if I have ever worked on a “big” case or a “difficult” case. I used to bristle when asked this question, due to its implication that I am not intelligent, experienced, or good […]

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The fact that we are called on to work on large, difficult, challenging, and unique cases is one of the intellectual thrills of working as trial consultants.  And, what were once challenges are not as intimidating as they might have been years ago.  The money involved in some of the cases is part of the […]

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Don’t say yes, when you mean, I don’t know…

We once had an employee who was full of lessons for us. She worked hard, but sometimes she had to work extra hard to overcome her own limitations. This resulted in her inability to focus on a question at hand. And, I don’t know if it was to be dismissive in order to return to […]

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It’s a long, long way from “Yes” to “I don’t know” and, for that matter, from “No” to “I don’t know.”  As anyone who knows me well will assert, I speak in a direct manner, as succinctly as possible.  I rarely “beat around the bush.”  Instead, I say what I mean and I mean what […]

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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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