Monday, April 30, 2012


Last night at a 60th Birthday party with friends, W.U. said he wondered if he should have "repotted his career". On that very Sunday, I had transplanted the four pumpkin plants from the indoor pot to the prepared soil in the backyard.  The roots were fragile and completely intertwined and root bound.  It was time to repot - no room to grow, and a good chance that some of the plants might get choked off.

Choosing a career is an important decsion.  Looking for large garden areas, or opportunities to "repot" within the same company can optimize your growth.  I was fortunate to land in a very big garden, however there were many times in my career that I had to "repot" - either because of the decline in the overall economy, decline in a particular industry, a change in technology, or just too crowded of a field to compete with your peers.

W.U.'s comment was really about "uprooting" and switching to a brand new pot (or a complete transplant).  That process takes more courage and careful "planting".  Proper preparation of the soil, water and plant food and complete attention to the early stages can help ensure success.  But the transition is delicate and dangerous.

Be careful of the weeds.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Horse Sense

Today I was researching the Chinese Astrology signs.  As you read the predictive description (and I'm sure this works with Western Horoscopes), you gravitate to the words that sound like you and ignore the others.  Consequently, it becomes very believable.

The Chinese lunar calendar is made up of five cycles of twelve years each - so a complete cycle is 60 years.  An animal represents each of the twelve years, and elements (Water, Wood, Fire, Metal and Earth) make up the five cycles.  The elements have either negative or positive poles (Yin - and Yang +).  Animals are also assigned a fixed time - so your time of birth can create a secondary animal influence.  There is a fixed element for each animal and a second element ascribed to the year cycle. Confused yet?

So my year - 1954 is the year of the Horse; the fixed element is Fire; Season is Summer; Direction is South; Polarity (+); the second element is Wood; time of birth for me is 9am (just verified with a phone call to Mom) which is the Hour of the Snake (9am to 11am).  In short I am a Wood Horse.

"These are more reasonable and less impatient Horses who are able to discipline their minds and think systematically.  They will have happy dispositions and be highly gregarious and good conversationalists.  Their interests are many and varied. They are athletic and hard working. Progressive and unsentimental, they can easily throw out the old in order to welcome the new."

Hour of the Snake: "The Snake lends wisdom and discernment to the Horse, making it move more slowly but with a greater assurance of success.

 From "Simple Chinese Astrology" by Damian Sharp

The triangle of affinity - Horses, Tigers and Dogs.  Incompatible with Rats.

Makes sense to me (the Horse) :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Faith vs Trust

Faith and Trust was the subject of this morning's Men's Fellowship.  Immediately Dave Phillip's comment at the Health Foundation Audit Committee meeting popped into my memory - "In God we Trust, everyone else we audit". 

For me Trust is verifiable, but Faith is unverifiable.  "Trust but verify" - was the saying I used for being at the mall while Jenna (and now Ellen) would hang out with friends.  G.M joined in saying Trust is more tangible and visible and Faith intangible and in fact mysterious. 

I previously blogged about Irreplaceable Trust - and pondered how to  measure Trust.  So how can we measure Faith?  James felt Faith could be measured in works (deeds) - "I will show you my faith by my deeds" ...  "Faith without deeds is dead" (James 2:18; James 2:26).

Deeds are what we use to verify character.  How did you act when faced with an ethical decision?  In the gray world of determining what is right and wrong - faith provides our answer to what is truth.  This faith journey (of deeds) is played out in the Chutes and Ladder game (full of ethical and character  messages to the child)  ---  one small mistake can be a long side down the hill.  A magnanimous deed provides higher ladder to the 100% blue ribbon.

Where are you in the game?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

He made me do it

With the power of choice, comes the acceptance of responsibility.  It is just not acceptable to hide behind other causes - people, circumstances, or the unknown.  Flip Wilson on his comedy TV show made the statement "The Devil made me do it" famous.  We all laughed because it was clear this was a way to get out of an uncomfortable exposure. 

But what about -  "God made me do it"?   I think using God as an excuse for actions is equally unappealing and could be used as a shield for a person's action.  Afterall, if God is the source - the action must be based in truth, righteousness, and proper.  A diluted version of this is "God is calling me to .......". 

Don't get me wrong, spiritual direction, messages from above, and nudges from "angels" are real to me and many others.  Communicating your actions in reference to these feelings can be appropriate.  However, it is when the actions are worded as "pure" and "holy" that I object. 

Like wireless reception, spiritual messages can get garbled in the human world of interpretation.  It may be God's voice and idea - but you can be sure humans will hear and interpret it with mistakes.  Just look around.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Password Please

The internet has created a new layer of memory challenges - passwords.  Rightfully so, there is big concerns about identity theft, fraud and abuse.  Most sites ask you to register and create a password.  I hate those sites that put requirements on the password - length (8 long), special characters, alpha and numeric needed, and are capital sensitive.  Then you have the financial institutions that want a special picture and phrase combined with three questions that only you should know.

That's the ironic part.  Questions like where you were born, grew up, went to school, city you were married in ....  Don't these sites understand what can be access through public records!   Given all the public records that are now available on-line there are very little personal secrets. 

God bless the browsers that try to help -  Explorer, Firefox and others will "remember" your passwords for you.  That is until this list mysteriously gets cleared, or you switch computers.  That causes many people to post their passwords on the "yellow stickys" attached to their desktop screen.

I wonder how many hours of customer service representative time has been wasted because customers are calling in frustration having lost or forgotten their username and password.  Or the wasted time of individuals trying to find that tattered piece of paper where you have listed all your sites with old passwords and user names.  U.S. Treasury abandonded their complicated matrix card of special symbols to log on since they discovered their users had no hope of accessing their account and decided to move to other ways of buying Treasuries.

So what was the maiden name of your maternal Grandmother's oldest sister?   

Monday, April 23, 2012

What's the Point?

As I reflect (and discuss with others) on nearly three years of blogging (this is the 590th entry), the question begs - Why do you blog?  The answer is partially addressed at various blogging points in time .....    but there is no single answer (or point).  Interestingly, the world of blogging continues to be a phenomenon - along with Facebooking, Tweeting etc. 

I have noticed a trend  [ although I have not graphed it :) ] that my recent blog entries have become longer and longer.  The frequency has decreased, yet the words per entry have increased.  That's like in business trying to offset lower revenue by buying more inventory.

I think it's time to increase the margins - which will force less words :)

Get the point?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thought Won't Write

Had dinner with J.P. last night and we were discussing blogging, writing and speeches. I couldn't help but smile when J.P. said one of his professors or colleagues used to say "that thought won't write" - when critiquing a written document. It sounded too much like the saying "That Dog won't hunt".

As J.P said, the act of writing forces a person to organize their thoughts and coherently compose them on paper. He described his process from idea to composition. J.P. is one of the most comprehensive and diligent writers I have come to know as he has given me the privilege of reviewing many of his articles or speeches in the early stages of development. He makes sure his ideas will translate on paper and verbally.

The correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams allows us even today to re-create their thoughts and feelings about the invention and early evolution of the American Republic.

So the country can't "go to the dogs" since their "thoughts did write".

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lost and Found

Do you know who you are?   Seems like a funny question as I was reading "What Happy People Know" by Dan Baker.  You can only be yourself - if you know who you are. " Finding yourself is just the begining", Baker writes, "The important thing is being yourself". 

Self evaluation is a way to "find yourself".  As a self help junkie, I'm continously spending time stepping outside myself and trying to see as others see.  Several years ago, I discovered the Johari methodology and tried to use that for any insight with friends and family.  Yesterday at lunch with T.H. (Vistage Bud), described my personality with the enneagram methodology.  But in both of these cases, the "finding" is elusive and incomplete. 

Baker's view is that your values and individual beliefs are what make you,   you.  "Without them, you -- as an individual -- cease to exist".  So from a list of 39 values he suggests you pick five or six (similar to the Johari exercise).  This is an extremely hard exercise.  Picking values is different than living values.  I think the real test is, after picking a value, to give an example where you have lived the value..... but that is best validated by those around you.

"Who we really are" - From "The Emporer's Club"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wall of Worry

How ironic today in the Vistage meeting, I talked about fear, uncertainty and doubt (in various contexts including the stock market).  Then, returning to my office I read the Jeff Miller's blog "A Dash of Insight" where he used the term "A Wall of Worry".  The term is actually defined in investopedia.

As I read through his list of 33 worries finding some inaccuracies, he quickly pointed out  that the list (which contained 80% of my current worries) was originally written December 2010 (14 months ago).  That list could easily  easily blocked an investor from doing anything since December 2010 - frozen in uncertainty. Yet the market broke through that wall and continued on its way - both up and down. 

I/ve blogged about "Worry" several times (What me Worry, The Weary Worry Index, Wasted Worry).  Creating walls of worry, whether in the stock market or life, can be a waste of time.  Better use of time is to eliminate the wall - one brick at a time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Powers - Growth and Patience

I couldn't resist showing more mathematical visual mystery/art.  In the world of "Compounding Power", which is more powerful - Growth or Patience?

 It's a trick question.  First let me explain these two pieces of art (to a Satistician a graph is art!).  Each graph shows the impact of $1 with time and growth rates. 

So for example, Chart 1 (Power of Growth rate) shows that at 20% growth rate if you save the last 5 years (from 50 to 55) your original $1 will earn $13,544 more dollars (look at the tan line vs the blue line).   But look how flat the line is from 5% to 10% - it didn't look flat to Ellen last night when I showed her how waiting 45 years could multiply her money at growth rates of 5% and 10%. 

Expand the yellow highlight into Chart 2 (The Power of Patience) and change the perspective (growth rates are now the lines).  Wow - what a difference an addtional 1% growth rate makes if you patiently wait over 30 years.  This would indicate that patience is the key to success.

In Chart 1 - nothing seems to happen until a growth rate of 14% regardless of saving time.  In Chart 2 nothing seems to happen until 30 years of saving regardless of growth rate. So we should just all give up because no one gets 14% or can have the patience of 30 years - Right?

NO! - Remember we are talking about just one George Washington Dollar bill. Notice the scales again - $25,000 in Chart 1 and $200 in Chart 2. And saving $1 doesn't seem like much today.

We would all prefer to trade $1 for $25,000 - so the power is in the growth rate (Chart 1)!

But  wait  :)  It still requires extreme patience - waiting the last 25 years (from  30 to 55)  is worth almost 100 times ($237 vs $22,645).  That makes patience pretty powerful!  If I had limited Chart 1 to just 30 years the scale would have been only $237 (like Chart 2). 

Growth and Patience combined require WILL POWER!  Confound it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mysterious Compounding

Tonight I demonstrated to Ellen the power of compounding.  She has a small Roth  from her earned income when Susan was operating The Laurel House.  Using Ellen's calculator we calculated the amount of money she could have based on 5% and 10%  growth rate from age 12 to age 57 (45 years).  It always astonishes me - everytime I do it   -- even without a visual!  Blog 10/27/2009 -  Moore's Law Ending.

One Dollar 45 years later at 5% growth  = $8.99   and for a 10% growth  = $72.89. 

For double the growth rate - OVER 8 times the money!!!

Take this test.  Suppose the growth rate is 20% (double the 10%).   How much would Ellen's $1 be worth at age 57?
(a)  Another 8 times -       $583
(b)  Another 16 times -  $1,166
(c)  Another 32 times -  $2,332
(d) Another 50 times -   $3,657

Answer:  D -  Compounding is Confounding :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fearing Not Enough

"Contemporary fear, fits into one of two categories: fear of not having enough and fear of not being enough" says Dan Baker Director of the Life Enhancement Program at the Canyon Ranch and author of "What Happy People Know".  Our prehistorical ancestral survival fear was programmed in our reptilian brain and is only overcome by our neocortex (the "physical site of the human spirit"). Consequently, there is a delicate "oscillating balance in the dance of the spirit and the reptile". 

I've blogged about "enough" (e.g. Enough  and Joy to Stuff Ratio) but only about the fear of not having enough (i.e. money, pleasure, stuff, etc.)  But reading Baker's book these fears are inter-related and the second fear feeds the first - fear of not being enough (manifesting in power, status, perfectionism, etc.).

What is "being enough" and how do you measure that?  I think the flaw here is letting other people over influence our image of "being enough".  It reminds me of the Wemmicks in the wonderful spiritual book by Max Lucado ("You are Special")  that I read to both Jenna and Ellen during childhood.  Punchinello always seems to get "dots" in the wooden people world of the Wemmicks measuring each other with "gray dots" and "gold stars". Yet he learns that he is "enough" from the Creator. 

Yet it is a dance - between the spirit and the world.  Who cares how you look dancing - join the dance.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Insurance on Life

S.S. asked if my life insurance was paid up in his forwarded email coupon deal for the day - "Thrillant Skydiving ($279 value for $139)".  It reminded my of 1986 skydiving experience with my Accenture buddies.  It would be the first and last time I would do that.

Insurance is a form of risk management -  a hedge against uncertainty.  However most insurance benefits the individual paying the premiums - Car Insurance (to replace the car); Homeowners Insurance (to replace the house); Health Insurance (to pay to repair the body).  Now we come to Life Insurance  -  to replace the life?   - to replace the time?

Life is filled with uncertainty and risk.  It is just not possible to transfer that risk to a third party.  You can't "buy" anymore time.  I enjoyed watching the movie "In Time" with Jenna and Paul the other night.  It was the premise that was intriguing not the actual story or acting.  A person stops aging at 25 and must buy their time to continue to live.  Interesting - you spend time to make money to buy time to live.  A quick break even calculation would determine how to spend your time. 

Just yesterday, I read in a blog ("The Path to Prosperity") that - "A good rule of thumb is that workers are paid about 2/3 the value of what they produce".  Thinking further about the time and money equation above, you want to spend your time on the highest value of production/outcomes to accumulate the capital to buy time (but for what purpose? more time?).

The ageless question in life is - what is the highest value outcome?   That becomes your insurance on life.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Detailing the Devil

The other night, I quipped in an e-mail that "The Devil is in the Details" - obviously meaning that it is always easy to describe something at a high or conceptual level (and probably self evident to you) but when it comes to implementation it is much more difficult.

This is always the challenge of executing what your boss inaccurately describes, envisions, and naively believes can be done in less time, for less money for the sole reason that he doesn't understand the technical details.  In my years at Accenture implementing complex computer systems, it was always a challenge to translate how difficult a change to computer code can be to a user.  This was especially true in the old non relational database days, when a client wanted to add a field (e.g. "Let's just add an extra field to the part number").  Something as simple as this request, might require a change to every program that used that "key" to access the data - translation ..... big DOLLARS and TIME.

I looked up this idiom only to discover it's origin started with "God is in the detail" or  "the good God is in the detail".  I think I prefer this statement actually.  Look historically how mankind has explored any subject area (science, mathematics, etc) - we continually look deeper and deeper (learning more yet less) only to discover it is an infinite journey of understanding.  But it is the human condition - curiosity and the quest for the truth.  Alas - as we get closer, it gets farther away; infinitely farther away.

I think I will stop using the common expression.  Time to de-tail the devil.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Frugal Whiner

I was stumped about what to Blog about today - until I saw the CNN article about Verizon charging a new $30 fee to existing customers who are upgrading their phone with a new two year contract.   This follows three other carriers - TMobile ($18); ATT and Sprint ($36).  So if you haven't heard me gripe enough about the cell phone charges for data plans (with their shenanigans on throttling) now I can whine about Verizon's new "upgrade" charge.  I just wonder if and when they will start to charge a fee for switching phones.

Let's see -  I am paying Verizon $226/mth for the four family cell phones  (Susan and I stilll have dinosaur - non smart - phones).  I have tracked cell phone usage for the last 107 months (April 2003 to present) and Verizon has received $18,288 from me over those 9 years.  Now they want to charge me $120 extra (4 people * $30) every two years to "continue to provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect".

It is time to revolt and reverse the trendline!  Don't bother calling my cell phone - Skype, Magic Jack and  emails only.  Dumb down the smart phones!

PS -  A linear trendline is not mathematically correct for this analysis.  The costs are typically a "step function".  We have stepped up recently (Oct 2011) due to Ellen and Jenna's iphone data plans ($30/phone).  What Verizon has done is "step up the price" again.  A better measure is the Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from $130/mth to $230/mth for the 9 years - 6.6%  - now that's inflation!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Waves and Cycles

Biorhythms are about wave and cycles (see September Seasonal Change).  I have studied the Elliot Wave theory about economics and the stock market movements.  The business/ economic cycle is well studied by  MBA's.  The study of waves exists in every field - astronomy, climate, agricultural, biological, electronics, music and rhythm, social and cultural, spiritual, time ...  and the list goes on (in waves).  Even Yin and Yang can be thought of in a 24 hour cycle:


The momentum shift in sports is what makes a game of equally match opponents exciting.  Predicting when a momentum shift will occur is an endless exercise in forecasting the top of the wave or cycle.  It keeps market timers busy trying to beat the stock market.  When to buy at the utmost low and sell at the utmost high - but of what - a single stock, an industry, a sector, a country, a region ......  it all blends together. 

So with enough blending of waves - you get a straight line.  But is it down? 

"There you go again..... more negative waves...  Have alittle faith baby, have alittle faith"   Donald Sutherland as Oddball in Kelly's Heroes

Monday, April 9, 2012


Playing tennis at Lunken today, the court was filled with "Whirlybirds" - at least that's what I called them as a kid. The maple seeds, when dropped, spin like a helicopter's blade.  I remember watching reruns of the Whirlybirds when I was a kid.  The black and white late 50's TV series was about two guys and a helicopter for hire.   Unfortunately no authorized DVD's available for me to revist the show - just still pictures from the internet.

It was comforting to see that NASA has a web-site (Maple Seed "Helicopters") for crafting the different shapes of these seeds - a sort of Oragami Maple Seed Project. 

How ironic that a Military Helicopter began hovering the tennis courts during the break in our game.   Then later while eating at the Sky Galley, the six soldiers/airmen (and women) stopped in for a bite to eat.  A. M. asked if they were indeed flying the helicopter we saw hovering  and if they were awaiting our tennis rematch.  They admitted that they were flying the Whirlybird,  but they were more interested in viewing the golf course than our  tennis rematch. 

The seeds of memory playing out on the tennis court.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sweepstakes Contests

Just recently the Mega Millions Lottery sold $1.5Billion tickets for a $640Million jackpot.  The lottery is criticized as promoting gambling.  While this may be true for the habitual player, I think the lottery is just an paid form of a sweepstakes contest.  We are a nation of dreamers - dreaming about a big win.

The most famous sweepstakes is the Publishing Clearing House Sweepstakes.  This was a direct marketing mail that would arrive attempting to get you to subscribe to magazines.  All sweepstakes must show the odds of winning.    In 2007 the odds of winning $10 million from PCH was 1 in 330 million; 2010 the odds are 1 in 1.21Billion; 2011 the odds are 1 in 1.75Billion.  Hmmmmm - that's another form of inflation - a compounded inflation of 39.6% per year.

Other companies use sweepstakes to get consumer information from you or just get your email address.  Since all sweepstakes are forced to allow you to play without purchasing the product, the company at least gets your name, address and direct mailing information in return for your entry.  It is rare to get a receipt from a restaurant without a sweepstakes offer if you just fill out the simple consumer survey. 

So the question is - have  you ever won a contest?   The only contest I have personally won is about $100 for filling out a survey.  All that time of entering different contests has yielded only $100.  I do remember Mom received the benefit of my childhood obsession with winning when I filled a form out for her at the local grocery store and she was contacted and won a bag of groceries.

We'll see if luck strikes again -  I filled out a contest on-line entry this morning. 

"You've got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky?  Well do ya Punk?"   Clint Eastwood  as Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry

PS - Trivia Alert -  The TV ad with Ed McMahon  showing up  at the doorstep with your  million dollar check, was NOT Publishers Clearing House -  that was competitor American Family Publishers

Friday, April 6, 2012

Four Eyes

You never know when an event will "tap the floodwater's" of your memory banks.  Today this occurred when A.M. sent me an email about his grandaughter playing "parade" in New Orleans (referring to the  cultural tradition of Mardi Gras down South).  He asked if that was something I had been exposed to while living there. 

The memory floodwater's opened -  What did D'lane, Vana and I play back in those days?   I was in elementary (now called middle) school (5th -  7th grade; 3/65 to 3/68) during those years.  Much of our play was influenced by network television shows of the 60's - Combat, Daniel Boone, Man From U.N.C.L.E. etc. Those "heros" would appear "cool" to an young teenage boy. So I remember playing make believe as a soldier, American pioneer and spy - but not designing parade floats or playing Mardi Gras. 

Moving from Utah to Louisiana as a early teen was exciting but the real "self esteem event" was becoming "four eyes" for the first time - Sept. 1966.  Discovered by my 6th grade teacher as I would sit in the front row and squint at the blackboard, I remember asking the ophthalmologist how often I would need to wear the glasses.  His response:  "Anytime you want to see leaves on trees" :)

Now why did "Four Eyes" flood into my memory from A.M.'s question?  

It's much easier to catch the flying Mardi Gras trinkets as a spectator (with spectacles) during the parade.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Relative Rules

J.P likes to stereotype me as a moral relativist during our political debates.  It is always dangerous debating with a professional lawyer - but my personality can't avoid the temptation.  At the heart of our many debates centered around the rule of law, is the issue of relativism

Our Forefathers used deliberate words in the Declaration of Independence  -- "truths", "self-evident",  "unalienable Rights", "among these", "their Creator", "Laws of Nature" and "Nature's God", "Supreme Judge of the world".  I interpret the Declaration of Independence (and the Constitution) as principles for "one people", "created equal" to use for establishing "relative rules" to govern behavior (civil and moral behavior).

The Healthcare Mandate was reviewed last week by the Supreme Court Justices.  I believe the core of the issue is the definition of Liberty (one of the unalienable Rights specifically identified among those that are self-evident).  The key question is whether Liberty is absolute or relative?

I think it is both - spoken just like a relativist :)   My definition of liberty is self-evident to me.  Your definition of liberty is self- evident to you.  And when those definitions differ - we look to a Supreme Judge.  Absent a judge, the definitions are resolved in war  (hence the Declaration of Independence and  the Revolutionary War). Yet, I do believe there is absolute truth.  The problem is that absolute truth is only known by "their Creator".  Interesting the Forefathers didn't say THE Creator.

When is a relativist wrong?   When he argues with God :)       

And to paraphase a previous quote that I just read in "The Behavior Gap" and heard in the movie "A Thousand Words":

"We make rules" ......    God laughs

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Coupon Wars

Today I received Google's newest strategy to fight the e-commerce wars with Amazon and Group-on - called "Google Offers".  In an unsolicited email, this evening, they had a limited time offer (14 hours are left) to spend $5 card to buy a  $10 egift card redeemable at any Starbucks location.  In addition Google said they would contribute $3/offer (up to $3million) to OFN (Opportunity Finance Network) for the Create Jobs for USA fund.  Last week Amazon got me to part with $5 for a $10 gift card (from ACI giftcards Inc.).  Group-on has sent me daily deals in an email everyday for the last month.

Both of these offers were the equivalent of giving me $5.  The offers had no conditions (no time limit, no purchase quantity, no new product offering, etc. - just spend the money (which I already would have) at their establishment.  So you could argue there were two possible (pro or con) outcomes for Starbucks:

(1) They have delighted the customer and created a viral marketing event (after all I am blogging about it).  Consequently they reinforce the brand loyalty and continue to "earn" my business.


(2) They just cannibalized the margin of existing revenue that they were already assured of for their existing customer base - without the associated new customer acquisition.

And what are the two possible outcomes for Google:

(1) They continue to provide eyeballs (for advertising value) with demonstrated click through email performance for their merchants (with associated financial back office infrastructure).  And they demonstrate to the merchants the "google" customer power push through performance.


(2) The merchants spend less Google generic advertising in favor of a coupon advertising model (e.g. Google cannibalizes their existing advertising revenue stream).

The key measure for both Google and Starbucks is how many new customers can they drive with this promotional event - and what is the life time value of that new customer (yet to be determined and/or measured).

Who is the winner in the coupon wars - is it the consumer, advertiser or retailer?

Answer -  There is a reason the combined market capitalization of Google, Amazon, and Group-on is $304 Billion.

PS -  There another winner I overlooked - the non-profit Create Jobs for USA.  Starbucks had already funded this non-profit with $5 Million which has leveraged to over $50 million in loans and created or retained 2300 jobs.   Maybe this is a better method of a stimulus package - donor driven vs government driven.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wise Words

Ellen, Mom, Dad and I saw the Eddie Murphy movie "A Thousand Words".  Not a great flick, but the story line was intriguing.  What would you do if you only had 1000 words left in your life? - choose your words wisely! 

Since we speak on average 16000 words per day (see Diarrhea Mouth),  as the movie depicts - it is a very difficult task to limit your words.  The "Word Tree" in the movie lost a leaf for each word spoken or written (Eddie tried to communicate with a pen and tablet to avoid the limitation).  The most interesting social impact was the power of silence.  Most people feel uncomfortable with prolonged silence - almost to the point of guilt.  Consequently they were always explaining their sins or feeling the pressure (self inflicted) of what they thought the silence meant. 

It shows the power of listening and letting other people talk.  Too often as other people talk, we are not listening - just waiting for the proper break in silence to begin our own soliloquy.  Not listening means not understanding. Not understanding means not connecting.  Not connecting means no relationship.  No relationship means ......

How conincidental that the book on tape I was listening to returning from the 12 hour drive from Kansas was "Words that Work:  It's not what you say, it's what people hear" by Frank Luntz.  Luntz give 10 powerful techniques for chosing your words wisely:

(1) Simplicity: Use Small Words  (see Cloudy and Foggy)
(2) Brevity: Use short sentences  (see You Lose)
(3) Credibility is as Important as Philosophy
(4) Consistency: Say what you mean and mean what you say
(5) Novelty: Offer something new
(6) Sound and Texture Matters  (see Intonation of Text)
(7) Speak Aspirationally
(8) Visualize (see Painting Words and Picture = 1000 Words)
(9) Ask a Question
(10) Provide Context and Explain Relevance

And what is the number one memorable movie one liners from the AFI (American Film Institute) 2004 survey?????

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"  (Gone with the Wind - Clark Gable as Rhett Butler)