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.

COVID Brain

As I write this, the world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, this is my first post related to this universal experience. I have noticed a phenomenon soon after restrictions were placed on movement, gathering, socializing, etc., which seems to be a form of shell shock. As the gravity of the […]

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In times like these, mindless behavior is, unfortunately, the norm.  Many people are suffering from duress due to lost employment, inability to pay bills, and worry about their future.  Forced to stay at home, we are realizing that, maybe, going to work every day is something we used to take for granted.  Many of us […]

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If the cake is bad, what good is the frosting?

David and I become inspired to write our blog posts in a variety of ways, including by sources that many people would not find particularly inspiring. As an example, this post was inspired by a fortune cookie that was included in a recent delivery from a local Chinese restaurant. Many so called fortunes found inside […]

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If the cake is bad, what good is the frosting?  I guess this is similar to the adage about not judging a book by its cover.  The book cover, or the frosting, can cover up what is worn or rotten inside.  Cutting the cake, looking under the hood, or beyond a glossy cover, reveals what […]

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Twilight Zone

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 16, 2020

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Growing Old is Not for Sissies, Life Outside of Work, Mental Health, Psychology, Work-Life

“Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone” go the lyrics of the 1982 song by Golden Earring. The twilight zone, where things are not as they seem, was envisioned, and brought to the small and big screen, by the imagination of Rod Serling. I hear this song in my head each time I enter the […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 16, 2020

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Growing Old is Not for Sissies, Life Outside of Work, Mental Health, Psychology, Work-Life

Dementia is a strange disease that plays strange tricks on the minds of those who suffer from it, and sometimes, on the minds of those who interact with dementia patients.  Based on my education as a psychologist, as well as my experience with family members and friends who suffer from dementia and mental illness, I […]

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We Can’t Make our Clients Do Anything

David and I recently attended a meeting with attorneys and their clients regarding a case for which they were considering retaining Magnus. The clients of the attorneys are a group of wealthy, sophisticated people who are accustomed to getting their way in all aspects of their lives. These individuals are from a variety of professional […]

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Many years ago, after we had completed a mock jury project for a first time client and he had resolved the case, I made a follow up call to him to ask his impressions.  He said everything was great, but he did have one complaint, he said, “You should have made me do this sooner.” […]

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It’s all guesswork…

I was recently discussing with a client Melissa’s involvement as a trial consultant during jury selection. The attorney was well seasoned, has had many trials, but has never engaged a trial consultant to assist during jury selection. And, like most attorneys these days, the opportunities to conduct jury selection, and go to trial, with everything […]

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I’m not sure which of Magnus’ uninformed/misinformed clients made this remark to David, but this remark is another reminder that seemingly intelligent, sophisticated people are sometimes not as intelligent or sophisticated as they would like other people to believe.  Guesswork?  Did this guy say guesswork?  There is nothing, absolutely nothing, involving guesswork in my jury […]

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Theo

I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms. During my career as a jury/trial consultant, I have traveled across the U.S.A. to work with attorneys. Part of my travel experience is staying in hotels in the cities where I am working. In places where Magnus works on a frequent basis, such as David’s hometown, […]

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Anonymity is the norm when traveling.  Different flights, different airports, different hotels, and different restaurants. It is a relatively rare situation to end up getting acquainted with someone who works in one of these places.  And, if you do see a familiar person from time to time on subsequent trips, the connection is generally perfunctory.  […]

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Chopstick solutions

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 2, 2020

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Entrepreneurship, Getting the Job Done, Life Outside of Work, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research

I recently had several opportunities to fix a few things around the house. Most recently, it was the flag on the mailbox. These things were small and required me to figure out how to fix them absent specific parts. As it happened, I had some chopsticks, which were part of a Chinese food delivery, available. […]

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David saves almost everything, “just in case” he might need it in the future.  I will give credit to David for his creative use of chopsticks, among other things he has used for non intended purposes.  I have little use for chopsticks.  I do not eat with them.  In fact, I have embarrassed David in […]

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In a flock of pigeons, be the flamingo

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 31, 2020

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting Through Life and Work, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Managing Employees

A few years ago, in some faraway location where the Magnus team was conducting mock jury research, I noticed a woman who was wearing a bright pink shirt that was festooned with sequins. I love glittery things and I walked closer so that I could see the details on her shirt. Her shirt had lovely […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 31, 2020

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting Through Life and Work, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Managing Employees

Flamingos have pizzazz.  They get attention just by standing around and foraging for crustaceans in a pond.  They stand out against the water, sky, or foliage.  Camouflage is not their strong suit.  There are times when keeping one’s head down, and trying to go unnoticed, makes sense. This is especially true if the bullets, real […]

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Check SPAM for Treasure

I was recently reminded that email systems are far from infallible. I was purging email in my spam folder when I found an email from a prospective client asking for a proposal for mock jury research. The email was sent via OUR OWN WEBSITE through the “contact us” form. But, despite being sent from my […]

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Until this experience, I have never liked Spam.  When David and I have visited Hawai’i, we noticed the popularity of the canned meat type of Spam, which is prevalent in many restaurants.  But, the kind of Spam to which David refers is the computer variety that most computer users despise for its pesky intrusiveness.  Since […]

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Judges are People: Some are nice and others, not so nice

Judges are people, just like the rest of us. There are many types of judges, young, old, women, men, smart, not so smart, nice, and not nice. In my years of working as a jury/trial consultant, I have encountered many judges. I have met judges during hundreds of jury selections; I have made presentations with […]

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I’m sure in most professions there are good and bad.  I can’t think of any profession without such outliers at the extremes.  I don’t get to observe many judges in action, I’ve met plenty, but seeing them in action is in Melissa’s bailiwick, not mine.  Most judges I know are courteous and professional, but I […]

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