Sunday Night Confessions. Feeding My Inner Cookie Monster

Last week I spoke and attend the Optimization Summit in Dallas, TX. “OptSum” is primarily focused on multi-family real estate, a business category that I had no experience in.

I want to acknowledge Tami Siewruk for some brilliant thinking on shaking up a single-category conference, with a heavy dose of us word of mouth–social media folks in a workshop format. When you look at the speakers and topics, ranging from Lionel Menchaca, Mack Collier, Jason Falls, John Jantsch, and Chris Penn (and that’s just off the top of my head)… you could have been at a Social Media conference.

As I kicked off OptSum with an 8am workshop, I quickly realized the attendees came to be engaged. For some weird reason at the end of my presentation “Cookie Monster’” popped into my head.

Cookie Monster has a passion bordering on fanaticism for cookies. Each individual cookie is a remarkable experience to Cookie Monster. That might be why I love him, because every cookie is followed by an exciting “Om Nom nom nom”, over, and over, and over. Oddly I have a similar habit.

Being remarkable in your job is hard work, its hard to be up for every single day. No matter how much we love our jobs some days it’s just work.

This is my own theory, so therefore it probably holds as much weight as a WWE wrestling title belt: Cookie Monster feeds his passion for cookies because, he simply enjoys each cookie like it was the first cookie he’s ever tasted. Cookie Monster feeds his soul with his mantra, “Me want Cookie.”

I feed my soul last week… it actually wasn’t my doing, it was the people around me; the attendees, and the other presenters. Sometime schedules dictate that you present and leave, but this time I had the opportunity to attend OptSum.

I try to relate stories into lessons learned, and for the first time in a long time, that’s what I got from being an attendee. Having conversations and sharing stories over lunch, breakouts, dinner, and sitting as an attendee listening to my peers present.

I didn’t go to Dallas hoping to feed my soul, but meeting so many people inspired by doing their jobs, inspired me. I don’t take my job for granted but we could all use a recharge every now and then.

My simply advice, find that spark that got you doing what it is you do… and share it.

Back in 2003, I felt like the right thing to do was to build a movement for empowering teens, to led the charge to talk to other South Carolina teens, about choosing to be tobacco free. It was a spark to my soul… to trust that people can be the message.

  • Pingback: LisaPetrilli (Lisa Petrilli)

  • Geno

    Thanks Lisa… you gotta spark to share?

  • Mack Collier

    Geno it was so good to meet you last week, and get to be ‘front row’ for your People Are the Killer App workshop was a big treat. In a way, speaking at #OptSum last week reminded me of why I love the potential social media holds for companies. The ‘rockstar’ analogy that my workshop was based off of is my favorite because social media holds such enormous potential for companies to not just connect with customers, but to have those connections grow into relationships. To have customers become fans. And when that happens, the closer connections have SUCH benefits for the company, they better understand their customers, which means they can better serve them, and more efficiently market to them. And the customers feed off this and become more closely connected to the company, and trust begins to become a factor, and so the cycle is created.

    Thanks for the reminder, Geno. I think we all need to hold onto our inner Cookie Monster for as long as we can ;)

  • Pingback: MackCollier (Mack Collier)

  • Lisa Petrilli


    Why thanks for asking! Yes, I do have a spark to share… :) I feed my soul by volunteering in a variety of ways to promote organ donation.

    My first opportunity was back in 2006 when I was asked to be in an Illinois State TV commercial for Donate Life Illinois and the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. At the time I was on dialysis and waiting for a kidney and the team at the University of Chicago recommended me for the role. The TV commercial ran for a year and I was shocked at the number of people who recognized me from the commercial and told me that they had signed up to become a donor!

    I was further overwhelmed by the outpouring of friends and strangers who had their blood type checked on my behalf and even went through the entire screening process to see if they could donate their kidney. It was truly life-changing to experience the generosity. Because it is a genetic thing, none of my family members could donate, which made finding a donor much harder.

    Ultimately, after feeling like I was running out of options and with the waiting time in Chicago about 6 years, I wrote a letter in my church bulletin. It ran once, and no one called. A week later I got a call from a woman that I had never met. She told me she was on the way to church that morning and had never read the bulletin from the previous week. She decided to flip through it before throwing it away, and she was calling to tell me she was my blood type and would gladly give me her kidney.

    Her name is Rose and I just celebrated the 3-year anniversary of my transplant. She reminds me every St. Patrick’s Day that I am now just a little bit Irish. And she’ll be with me at an event that I have organized to celebrate organ donation at my church during Donate Life Month in Illinois (April). You can learn about this amazing event (amazing because of my transplant community friends who will be joining me and speaking) at

    My spark is miracles and I volunteer on their behalf! :)

  • Geno

    Lisa, thank you so much for sharing your story… organ donation is a wonderful thing and we’ve got a long way to go to get people to understand the organ donation issue..

    Much love, Geno

  • Geno

    Mack, thanks for leaving a comment. It was great meeting you in person, I also really appreciated how you communicated during your preso. Humble, educated, and empowering the attendees to be more.

    Great stuff.

  • Jonathan Saar

    I could never have said it better Geno. I felt amazingly honored to have met you and the other presenters. Your workshop was one of the tops for me and I cannot stop talking about it. I have been actively meditating on creating my own movement for the industry I am in. I am a huge advocate of education so I am working hard to create and enhance our outreach program. Thanks so much for the inspiration and constructive application. You mentioned that creating movements for apartment communities definitely has its advantages since you have the core material of having humans speak for your brand. It will be interesting to see how this is applied and who will be able to take the lead in this way.

    Thanks for the post sir. I look forward to seeing you again sometime. :)

  • Jeremy Bromberg

    Geno –
    Thank you for sharing not just today, but on other occasions as well. I am a Brains on Fire fan; a firm believer in and practitioner of living the life I want with spirit and drive.

    My spark, my passion is in helping others make their professional lives valuable and happy. OK, it’s not the altruistic (and critically important) “good works,” but if I can help others achieve their vision and feel good in the process then I’ve succeeded.

    I have seen how well a company can do as a result of focus and human decency. I love it when folks can stop living in a constant state of judgment, and instead address the challenges as they are, without adding layers to the onion. Recognizing that personal success is an outgrowth of company success (not the other way around) produces really cool results. Standing up for what you believe while still actively listening and considering other points of view (ahem, Wash DC), admitting to being wrong (when it occurs), and always working towards the most good for the most people is a great feeling – especially when others join in.

    Coupling a great ability to listen with a free-associative mind yields powerful ideas (and occasional fits of offbeat humor). These are the sparks that fire up my life.

    Thanks for reading.


  • Geno

    Jonathan, and Jeremy… guys thanks so much for sharing.

    Jeremy, I also value fits of offbeat humor too, maybe a bit too much:-)

  • rubina

    Hello from Sweden! I have found your article post on alltheweb. Good content! Melissa M. Clayton x

  • Geno

    Hi Rubina, thanks for joining us from Sweden… glad you enjoyed the post. Geno

  • Tami Siewruk

    Geno, thanks so much for this cookie monster post very though provoking! As I told Mack on his blog I’m thrilled that so many people enjoyed the event as much as we enjoyed putting it together! I do want to add one footnote, though… this particular event attracted largely from the multifamily community because that’s the industry I’m coming from and this was our first production of this kind; but we designed the event to meet the needs of anyone, from any industry, who’s interested making better use of social media. I’m confident we’ll see broader participation at future Optimization Summits, starting with the next one in September!

  • Pingback: Recaps and Links from #Optsum | Optimization Summits

  • tracy

    Okay. Despite the fact that I’m overly analytical and given to viewing all things with a certain level of suspicion – I find that I have become a bit of a Brains on Fire groupie. ‘People are the killer app’ is my new email tag. Out of a corporation of thousands, I am turning people on to BoF and the BoF School of Thought one email at a time. Just thought you should know. Best school I’ve ever attended.

  • Eric


    We couldn’t be more thankful for the kind words. What is happiness to us? More brains on fire. It’s what keeps us coming to work everyday (well, that and coffee). So thank YOU for the inspiration. And stop in for a coffee sometime, will ya?

  • Robbin

    The comments on this post have inspired me for the rest of the day. Heck the month. The year.

    @tami, sounds like a terrific event. Keep it up and let us know how we can help you in the future.

    @jeremy what a great set of words: I have seen how well a company can do as a result of focus and human decency. Yes I am living my dream by the way.

    Great discussion. Keep up the Sunday NIght Confessions Geno!


  • Geno

    Tami… I have no doubt OptSum we see broader participation. Great WOM will ensure that.

    Tracy… We’re all in this together… let’s forget the titles of experts, we’re all in “grad school,” fun times are ahead.

  • Payton_vege

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!