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.

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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Ask Me a Question, then LISTEN to My Answer

Recently, I have had several experiences in which someone asked me one or more questions, then constantly interrupted me while I attempted to answer the question(s). This has happened more times than I can count, however, it happened several times in the period of a few days, both in business and personal situations. One of […]

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I think part of the listening dilemma is an occupational hazard. Our clients are mostly attorneys and attorneys are paid to talk. Listening seems more difficult for some, not all, of them. This manifests itself during jury selection when some seem to have difficulty actively listening to the responses to the questions they are asking. […]

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Trial Consultant as Secret Weapons

Over the years Melissa and I have been working as trial consultants, we have often been called “a secret weapon” numerous times. In reality, the fact that we, or any trial consultant, is working on a case, at least in conducting pre-trial research, preparing witnesses and the like, is secret. It is confidential attorney work […]

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It is interesting for me to be frequently called a “secret weapon” by my clients. As long time readers of David’s and my posts know, the client who utilized Magnus’ services most effectively is Kim Hart, from my hometown, Fort Myers, Florida. Kim Hart “gets it,” he really does. He, along with many other of […]

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In appreciation of Rats

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 8, 2019

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Psychology

I am among the psychologists whose education included taking a class in experimental psychology, specifically, animal learning. The basic premise of this class was, after being assigned to a rat, training the rat in all sorts of classical and instrumental conditioning paradigms. (Classical conditioning is when a stimulus is presented to elicit a response. Instrumental […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 8, 2019

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Psychology

While I’ll agree lab rats, and often other animals, serve a worthwhile purpose, I don’t share Melissa’s fondness for them. I particularly dislike rats and other critters that enter our human world uninvited. Especially the ones that get in the house, seen or unseen, and scurry about. A recent dead rat lodged in the engine […]

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Talk to the Boss

Many years ago when we were first starting Magnus, we learned a lesson, the hard way, about trusting clients, even prior clients, or their associates, when making research plans. We met with a client from our prior employer, at his request, and we came up a research plan for one of his cases. After the […]

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“Talk to the boss” was an early, and painful, lesson learned in the early days of Magnus Research Consultants. Related to this learning experience was the realization that, when a client says, “The check is in the mail” or something similar, the check might not actually be in the mail (or sent via overnight delivery […]

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Sunsets

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 1, 2019

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Magnus, Magnus Research, Mental Health, Travel, Uncategorized, Work-Life

I was born, and grew up in, Fort Myers, Florida, located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Watching the sun set over the Caloosahatchee or the Gulf of Mexico was a huge part of my existence as a child. I have had the fortunate experience of watching sunsets in all 50 states in […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 1, 2019

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Magnus, Magnus Research, Mental Health, Travel, Uncategorized, Work-Life

I love the colors of sunsets. And I love that you don’t have to get up before sunrise to experience a sunset – I’m not that much of an early bird! Some of the first photos I ever took were of sunsets as viewed across the St. Johns River, a few minutes walk from my […]

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