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Editor's Note

What Sign Pros Can Learn from “Goodfellas”

A memorable exchange between a couple of wiseguys illustrates why humor is important in business.




ANYTIME I COME ACROSS Goodfellas, I’m compelled to watch, and hope I haven’t missed my favorite part: Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) in the famous restaurant scene with Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and other wiseguys: “… funny, like I’m a clown?” Tommy says, “I amuse you?” It’s wonderfully hilarious and terrifying at the same time. Even after it’s clear he’s joking, Tommy says, “I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.”

But because Tommy is a funny guy, we’re drawn to him, we give him something of a pass despite being a psycho who, among other things, shoots the same kid on two different occasions for daring to mouth off. Now, before I get completely carried away, the reason for this reference is our lead story (see page 22) on the roles and importance of humor in business. Our Brain Squad split on the degree to which levity lifts their pursuits, but absolutely no one responded that “it has no place within the sign industry.”

“Laughing Matters” offers 15 tips on how, when, where and why to apply humor to business situations — and on being open to humor, laughing along. Some people seem more naturally funny than others, but it’s often because humor was a way to get attention while young; thus, those folks actually worked at it back then to be good at it now. Developing your funny bone is something you can do, too.

As one Brain Squad respondent put it: “I strongly believe humor is one reason all my clients adore me.” Now that’s a funny guy!

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5 Smart Tips from This Issue

  1. Help the environment while making sales to sustainability-conscious customers. (Tech Products, p. 18)
  2. Create branded experiences using local design and material/finish influences. (Coast to Coast, p. 30)
  3. Lead by example by showing up first to work and getting ahead of the day’s chaos. (Tip Sheet, p. 38).
  4. Stay connected to your customers via POS systems, responding to all online reviews and more. (Maggie Harlow, p. 43)
  5. Reflect on why you want your sign business to grow before trying out any new ideas. (Heidi Tillmanns, p. 44)

Mark Kissling is Signs of the Times’ Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at [email protected].



PRINTING United 2021

Put on by the PRINTING United Alliance, the 2021 PRINTING United expo is slated for Oct. 6-8, 2021 in Orlando, FL at the Orange County Convention Center.

The 2020 show, eventually converted into the PRINTING United Digital Experience due to COVID-19, was slated to cover print and finishing technologies in these segments: digital, garment, graphic, packaging, commercial and industrial.

Registration for the 2021 show will open in spring 2021.

For more information, visit

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