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.

Quid pro quo

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On June 2, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

All of my company’s clients, that is, 100% of them, are attorneys. Although I am a psychologist, I have spent far more time during my career with attorneys than with my colleagues in psychology. Early in my career as a trial/jury consultant, I learned the expression, “quid pro quo” from one of the attorneys with […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On June 2, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

Quid pro quo typically is a 1 to 1 exchange – and sometimes it is understood in a negative context of sexual harassment or even public corruption.  But, it is not really a negative concept especially in the broader sense of the law of reciprocity.  I suppose the issue is that such laws of reciprocity […]

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Don’t pass the rest area

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On May 29, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Small Business Success

The simple and obvious message here is, when you gotta go, you gotta go.  Stop, take the opportunity, when you have it.  You never know about the traffic ahead or whether you will have a flat tire.  Don’t get yourself into an emergency situation.  The bigger message is there are lots of parallels to this […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On May 29, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Small Business Success

I plan ahead and I try to anticipate everything that could go wrong.  All of the work performed by my company and me has a deadline.  Some of the deadlines are imposed by the court system, others by our clients and their desire to quickly obtain our report from the research they hired us to […]

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Bargaining

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On May 20, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Partnerships, Trial Consulting, Work-Life

As a social psychologist, I possess expertise in bargaining and negotiation that surpasses laypersons’ commonsense knowledge about these topics. (Bargaining and negotiation are often the subjects of an entire textbook in both undergraduate and graduate social psychology classes; I have taught both.) Knowledge of bargaining and negotiation is more important in everyday life than in […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On May 20, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Partnerships, Trial Consulting, Work-Life

The key in any bargaining is determining what is really important, both overall, and to the other individual.  And, bargaining is a skill important to many aspects of life; few of us can just demand to get things our way and have it happen (unless maybe one is Donald Trump or perhaps a federal judge). […]

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Network for Business & Ideas

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On May 15, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Small Business Success

Networking.  It is one of the main tools in a marketing toolbox.  So, you find the events that potential clients attend, you put your name on the attendee list, and you go.  Then what?  If you are good at working a room, you introduce yourself to as many people as you can as you make […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On May 15, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Small Business Success

Between the two of us, my spouse/business partner is the networker.  I am just not good at networking and I guess I never will be.  On the rare occasions when I have to attend a networking event, I spend most of my time at the event hoping no one will talk to me.  I dislike […]

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Introverts

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On May 13, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Small Business Success, Trial Consulting

My spouse/business partner and I are introverts. It may be a common assumption to assume most entrepreneurs are gregarious, outgoing, extroverts, however, the reality is entrepreneurs come in all sizes, shapes, and types, just like the general population. As introverts, it takes a long time for my partner and me to “warm up” to strangers, […]

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It is difficult for me to socialize on the “cocktail party” or even lunch/dinner circuit.  But, networking through these means has been important in the development of Magnus’ business.  The key for me is meeting one or more like minded person and using that person as a “wing person” through which to meet more and […]

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Using “do not disturb”

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On May 8, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

No matter where one works, there is always “noise” of some sort that can interfere with certain tasks. Some tasks require absolute focus and attention, without interruptions. Realizing this, it is sometimes important to close the door, turn off the phone and put out the “do not disturb” sign. Even without a private office there […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On May 8, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

There is nothing I like more than LOUD music, except when I want it to be quiet. I often find the noise pollution in my daily life intolerable, to the point I cannot think. Our company’s headquarters are located on the ground floor, in a suburban area that contains other businesses, including retail establishments as […]

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Do Attorneys Make Excellent Jury Consultants?

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On May 6, 2014

Category: Trial Consulting

The philosophy of, “anything someone else can do, I can do better” resonates with some attorneys, who truly believe they can do just as good a job, if not a better job, working as a jury consultant than most, if not all, jury consultants. Some attorneys, after having had negative experiences with a particular jury […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On May 6, 2014

Category: Trial Consulting

Melissa has never been accused of being subtle in her opinions.  What is driving this blog are some recent observations she and I have had about the expansion of do it yourself mock jury research into some of these do it yourselfers turning into for hire jury consultants.  The do it yourself model might be […]

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Biting your tongue

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 30, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees, Partnerships, Work-Life

Learning to control oneself and not say the first thing that comes to mind is critical in operating a business, and in being an employee or employer.  Self control like this, in the form of “biting one’s tongue” is important.  This may have to do with interacting with clients or customers, but it may well […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 30, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees, Partnerships, Work-Life

As my mother always said, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything, at all.”  This dictum is actually tough to follow, but when clients are involved, it is often impossible.  All of my clients are attorneys who rarely see the world and the people in it in the same way I do, […]

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Do it now, right now

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 28, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Partnerships, Small Business Success, Work-Life

The late, great bass guitar player, Jaco Pastorius, was known to have a favorite expression, “RIGHT NOW.” Because I am a bass player, and an impatient person, I have adopted this expression during times when I am trying to communicate that something must be done with extreme urgency. Unlike the expression, “Git ‘er dun,” which […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 28, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Partnerships, Small Business Success, Work-Life

Building on the discussion of “Git ‘er dun,” the reality is that we all need help sometime figuring out what must be the top priority of the moment.  Another reality we all face in a work environment requiring every bit of productivity per person possible, is that priorities change, often on a moment’s notice.  In […]

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Give her some ideas, tactfully

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 23, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Partnerships, Work-Life

Working with one’s spouse requires some unique considerations.  Perhaps the thought contained in this post is true in other partnerships, but given that spouses work, and live, together, being extra sensitive to each other is critical.  What I am writing about here is when you have an idea or suggestion to give your spouse/partner about […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 23, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Partnerships, Work-Life

When one’s business partner is one’s spouse and thus, life partner, there are many overlaps in work and personal roles.  My spouse/partner has realized for decades that I am not the easiest person to live or work with; the level of tactfulness he has to employ when dealing with me is well beyond what most […]

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