Ron's Blog

Wed

02

Mar

2016

Tolls- No Tolls

My neighborhood is adjacent to a small beach town that has a bridge to connect us. Interestingly, the road that leads to the  bridge and to my neighborhood is controlled by this small town (Treasure Island, FL). In their short-sighted wisdom, they are considering adding a toll to the bridge. This  would require me to pay a toll to go home even though I live in a different city (St. Petersburg) and NEVER leave my city to go home.

 

I helped create a website to share and capture information on this topic as part of a civic cause. It is frustrating to experience such short-sighted thinking.

 

www.treasureislandbridgetoll.com

 

Some additional information on this topic:

 

This website was created and moderated by the Hollis family, residents of Yacht Club Estates. While we think that Treasure Island CITIZENS should be able to make their own choices, we are activists in this cause because of the threat of paying a toll just to go to our home, no matter which city we visit (Treasure Island or St. Petersburg)! We pay higher property taxes in St. Petersburg (in comparison to Treasure Island) and resent being in this situation.

 

As a businessman, I think repressive taxes (e.g., tolls) inhibit economic progress. Over time, the vicious cycle of economic decline causes a once quaint and prosperous beach town to become extinct. Restricting visitors will restrict tourist revenue in the city, which casues the residents to be taxed more, make them slowly leave, decline property values, and increase property taxes. Not a new phenomenon, but one that many politicians ignore.

 

So, adding a toll to the Treasure Island Bridge is a bad idea for Treasure Island.

 

***Other rantings that are entirely my views and opinions***

 

A rebuttal to comments that "the bridge has to be maintained and it's not fair for the residents of TI to pay for it alone."

 

One, why would you agree to have the federal government build a bridge you can't afford to maintain? Why not chose a $20M bridge that gets people across the water?

 

Two, if there was not an agreement with Representative Bill Young to remove the tolls, then they would not have been removed. It's seems vague and unethical to say that you agreed to remove the toll so you could get a new bridge, BUT you didn't mean the promise to last very long.

 

Three, how did the old bridge become dilapidated and dangerous while collecting tolls for decades? If the tolls had been appropriately invested in the maintenance of the old bridge, then there would NOT have been a reason for it to be replaced. Where are those funds?

 

Four, why would a city ignore the position of their own businesses and residents?? This has been a trend with TI since I moved here a few years ago, including the recent litigation between local business and the government regarding parking on the beach. Makes you wonder the wisdom of the leadership -- the same leadership that has spent several hundred thousand dollars on a cracked sidewalk.

 

Lastly, TI has lower property taxes than St. Petersburg and still enjoy municipal services (police, fire, etc.). But now they want  others to be "fair" and help them pay for their bridge. There are approximately 6,700 citizens of TI, so charging a $100 per citizen fee will create $670,000 in new revenue, which covers most of maintaining the bridge. Use the increased taxes from visitors to the city to get the rest. TI residents will still be getting a lower total tax experience than St. Petersburg residents, and no one will need to pay a toll just to get to their home!

 

 

1 Comments

Sat

04

Jul

2015

Hill's Laws of Success Summary

I'm a huge fan of Napoleon Hill's Laws of Success. I discovered his work when I was 22 and it literally changed my life. I bought the tome and studied every day until I had been introduced to every concept. Then I started over. Eventually, I found a correspondence school (this was before online education :)) for Hill's Laws of Success. It took me a year to complete the course and get my certificate.


Attached is the PDF of a well done article that just summarizes the laws of Hill. If you find this intriguing, as I did, then you may be inspired to start a journey to apply the laws to your life in pursuit of your success.


The link to the original article is here.



Business Intelligence_Laws of Success Summary_by K. Elkins
Web article published July 2015 on Business Intelligence.
http://www.businessinsider.com/napoleon-hill-think-and-grow-rich-2015-7
Business Intelligence_Summary of Laws of
Adobe Acrobat Document 4.9 MB
0 Comments

Wed

01

Jul

2015

Energy Drains- Blog Response

The following is a response to a blog posting by an excellent entrepreneur, David Cummings. His posts are insightful and this particular one is applicable to a primary weakness that entrepreneurs struggle with.

 

Solving One Problem Magnifies Another

 

My response:


Another excellent topic!!


Solving problems is what the entrepreneurial CEO position does. You provide the vision, lead the development of the strategies to execute the vision, provide resources and solve problems so your team can execute. I chat with many entrepreneurs and when they start complaining about all the problems, then we discuss assessing their best role in the company.

 

I call these problems “energy drains” since they are typically dwelling around in your mind sucking out mental energy that could be best applied elsewhere. My approach is to document all of the problems, prioritize their importance and develop a plan (with timeline) to eliminate or mitigate the energy drain. As part of my daily planning, I reviewed my energy drains list (I use mind maps to make it easy to manage) and determined my action for the day regarding that energy drain.


As an example….as the organization grows, you find that most of your “energy drains” are people. You are fretting about your CXO doing the right things, being overwhelmed, distracted, unable to execute, misaligned to your culture, etc. You hope that by putting off the issue, then a miracle will occur and he/she will resume appropriate execution and your problem goes away. However, this seldom happens without candid leadership. As part of my plan to eliminate the energy drain, I would have a candid chat with the person, let them know they are currently on my energy drain list and why I “feel” that they are. Collaboratively, the issue is discussed and resolution is sought.  I challenged myself to eliminate people related energy drains within a week. Some of these conversations are tough and require leadership and finesse to make them productive. However, avoiding the issue does not help a fast growth company prosper.


By documenting (which requires intellectualizing) the problem, then solutions can become more apparent and the criticality of the issue is prioritized. There can be many problems, so you want to address the ones that matter the most. Just solving the easy problems doesn’t make the business healthy.



 

 

 

0 Comments

Mon

29

Jun

2015

Be GLAD for Kids

I added a new section to my headers called Be GLAD for Kids. This is a basic program that was created to inspire conversations within families on some basic human values that contribute to one's success and happiness.


Please check it out at Be GLAD for Kids

0 Comments

Sat

31

Jan

2015

Cuba Visit- January 2015

 

Before you read, please understand the following:
 

I am not an expert on Cuba, so all, some, or none of my information may be incorrect. The following is my opinion based on observation.

I’m an American Capitalist and detest the horrible effects of a socialistic country. I don’t think everyone should have the same stuff, live at the same level of comfort, or have the same creature comforts. I do think that everyone should have the “opportunity” to pursue and achieve those things that they desire. If they are willing to work hard enough and do enough right things right, then success should follow. I don’t resent the rich or the poor. So, a socialistic Cuba is unacceptable for the people of Cuba, but they have to change it themselves.

CUBA January 2015

The following is a sharing of my observations and opinions on my recent visit to Cuba.  Coincidentally, Cuba has been a hot press item with the normalization talks initiated by the Obama administration. So, the timeliness of the talks, the imminent death of Castro, and strong Cuban influence in Florida have made Cuba an interesting topic of discussion.

I traveled to Cuba, along with my wife, Melanie, as part of a delegation of politicians and business people from the Tampa Bay area. I was invited to go through happenstance. I befriended Albert Fox while sitting at the same poker table over the past year or so. We have had many conversations about Cuba and he shared his experiences, opinions, and efforts to eliminate the current US embargo against Cuba. Mr. Fox is the founder of the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation. While I may disagree with some of his positions, I respect him and was interested in increasing my personal knowledge of the situation.  Essentially, Cuba is just another third world Caribbean island to me, but I resent that I, as an American, cannot freely travel to this country while citizens of our allies, like the Canadians, can. This disconnect reeks of emotional influences in US policies that were established over 50 years ago.

Due to my experiences abroad, my viewpoint on Cuba is probably a bit skewed compared to most Americans that develop their opinions from the comforts of their communities without ever really traveling abroad. I have been fortunate to travel the world, including spending a lot of time in China, a country that does not hide that they are an oppressive Communist country. However, China has spent the past 30 years transforming themselves into a powerful nation by developing a mixture of open capitalism (which offsets a closed state-owned economy) while maintaining the control of a single party communistic country. The story is not over, but my experience with the entrepreneurs of China provided a foundation of expectations with the Cuban people.  I have travelled to China as a business man developing relationships for my company, as well as, part of a delegation representing the US.  We traveled through China meeting with dignitaries to enhance relationships between our countries.

Overview of Trip

For this trip, we spent a Thursday through Sunday in Cuba. It was a structured agenda, however, we were free to travel around as we desired.

We flew into Havana.  We arrived at a dedicated airport terminal for air traffic between the US and Cuba. It was very busy. This was the first bit of confusion about the embargo and the perceived lack of interactivity between the countries. They have several flights that arrive and depart between the US and Cuba daily. There are 100’s of people (Americans and Cubans) traveling back and forth. The Cubans going back to Cuba had a ton of items (bicycles, microwaves, etc.) they were taking home. So, either the embargo has some major loopholes or I don’t understand what it means…I’m going with the latter.

During our visit, we stayed in the Cohiba-Melia hotel. It is a partnership between the Cuban government and Spain. The hotel was rated a 5-star hotel that was far from 5 stars on quality and upkeep, by American standards. It worked, but resembled the rest of the city in regards to lack of maintenance, attention to detail and customer service. It was clearly a way to trap the tourists and then squeeze out the dollars on pricing. Regardless, it was mostly clean and worked for our visit.

We ate at several restaurants in the city, which was a mix of state-owned and privately-owned restaurants. In the past few years, the Cuban Government has opened up the business laws to allow for private or citizen owned restaurants and renting your spare bedroom. So restauranteurs are picking places and setting up shop. Of course their attention to customer service and quality is better than the socialistic influence of the state owned restaurants.

We travelled to Veradera beach on Saturday. This is about 100 miles east of Havana and took a couple of hours. We were traveling around in a big, comfortable, Chinese manufactured touring bus. Veradera is primarily the part of the country developed by the DuPont’s in the early 1900’s.  They had invested millions of dollars in infrastructure, buildings, etc. that was taken away from them in the revolution and given to the state to basically destroy over the past 55 years.  It was not that special but in relation to the rest of Cuba that we visited, it would be considered elaborate.  While the tour guide pushed that the locals vacationed here all the time and it was part of their lives, I don’t recall seeing very many Cubans anywhere near the place (except for the workers) and a newly married couple walking the beach.

We departed on Sunday on an easy bus ride to the airport and a normal experience of checking in to the airline (Sun Country); paying a $25 Cuban peso departure tax; going through customs; and waiting for our flight. Similar experience as any other country heading back to the USA. Arriving in the US was basic as well, and customs was a breeze.

Ron’s Opinions- Top 3 Perspectives

The following is a compilation of general observations and opinions based on my trip. They are prone to be incorrect, misrepresented, or have other fallacies that goes with an opinionated person taking a trip to a Socialistic nation that has been considered a non-friendly neighbor (they did allow themselves to be prostituted by the Russians and have nuclear missiles installed on their land to threaten the US) for my entire life.

  1. History Lesson- It WAS a Beautiful Country

It is obvious that there was a point in time when Havana was a modern, gorgeous city. The architecture is fabulous and some of the buildings were obviously advanced for their time. However, there has not been any maintenance, innovation or development in over 55 years, and it is very obvious. Our tour guide was very proud of the architecture, fortresses and statues, all the while referring to how they used to be. Yet there is no obvious acceptance that prior to the Castro revolution, Havana was prosperous, and since that event, the city has been in continuous decline.  We heard the story of the Hilton Hotel that was built in Havana and complete right before the revolution (late 1950’s) and being one of the most advanced in the world (at that time) with its own energy creation system (generators) and eco-system. Before it was open for business, Castro had taken over the country, took over the Hilton, and claimed it as his headquarters and home. Now, it’s another dilapidated building that the Cubans (or at least the tour guide) is proud of discussing how it used to be without any thought about what caused the hotel to have been built (economic prosperity) and what caused the hotel to be destroyed (socialism). This is what I view as illogical thinking.

It was apparent, at least to me when I compare to my experiences in China, that the long-term effects of socialism have taken hold of the society. There is a lack of industriousness, hardworking, motivated, energetic people. You don’t see people working hard. Most are lollygagging around, gently pushing their wares or just doing nothing. It seems that the equality promised by socialism has worked and now everyone is poor. While we didn’t see the entire city, it was not obvious that there were a huge gap in classes for the masses. There was the poor that had run down homes and then the “very poor” that had shanties for homes.  While this is not abnormal for any country, however, one would expect to see more dispersion between the economic conditions of the people. I expect that this the case and we did not go to the right places to see where the government officials live and hang out.

One thing that was continuously pointed out to us was that the government provides for its people. They give food, healthcare, and education.  There was some confusion as to what was free or subsidized but regardless, it is considered a perk. However, it’s easy for a country to declare that it gives great perks, like food, to the people and the reality is that it only provides one slice of bread per day (or some other paltry amount). The declaration is still true, “we feed our people”, but the reality is that their people are still hungry. I suspect this is the case for many citizens when it comes to food, healthcare, and education.

As we are taught, but seldom appreciate, history is written by the victors. In this case, the people want to believe they are better off now than before the revolution. In discussion about the obvious prosperity of Havana in the early 1900’s and how the economy must have been great. They agree but quickly point out that it was only good for the very few. One guy (a Cuban that had defected to US but a defender of the revolution, I think) said that while 20K may have been living well, there were 4 million people starving and that is why Castro took over the government. He could take care of all of the people and he would do this with a socialistic model that made him the president. I’m not a Cuban historian anything, but do think that rising tides raise all boats. As such, I have to believe that things in Havana had to increase opportunities for most people if they were willing to change their lives with appropriate skills and relocation. If the starving people were insisting on living out on the farms with no support and then starving, then that is a choice. The point is that history for Cuba has been written for the past 55 years that things are better now since the people all have food, healthcare, education and what is called private ownership.  This is where they own their houses (but they don’t own the land). It was never very clear how someone actually gets a house since the government provides housing, but you own it if you got it. There is no intellectualization of opportunities that may have existed before, just that the perception of economic equality is paramount.

It’s was also an interesting observation how the government is motivated to protect the people from themselves. For instance, there is no gambling anywhere and it was emphatically declared to us that there never will be. I personally think that gambling can be a societal pariah, but also think one should make their own choices. It’s not clear as to why gambling is not acceptable.  When it comes to vices, however, it was interesting that prostitution was seemingly rampant. I was told that the girls were very aggressive in their pursuits of a customer and for a 100 Cuban pesos, one could pick their activity from some young ladies. When you take her to your hotel, then you pay the hotel a “tax” for her to visit you. Again, prostitution is part of life in most countries so not a unique blight on the Cuban society, but I did find irony in the government collecting a tax for such a debilitating activity.  This activity was not validated by me, just repeating what I was told. It is possible there is not a prostitute within 100 mile of Havana, but highly unlikely.

In summary, to be able to actually visit a country some 50 years after a revolution that was to make the country better is fascinating when you can actually see the results, or lack thereof, of the changes promised in the shift of power. It could make one think that the country was stolen by a gang of revolutionaries that were masters at taking (stealing) and horrible at building, leading, and innovating. So, they spent the past half-century leeching off the prosperity that they were committed to absolving. 

        2. No Real Work being Done

There was no visual validation of progress or real work being done as you travel through the city and country. You don’t see cranes, workers, bulldozers, or other signs of infrastructure being created, which is a clear sign of a healthy economy and/or willing workforce. Construction is the backbone of a healthy economy as the infrastructure of the country must expand with success.  So the lack of this activity is a sign of the real situation. When we saw some scaffolds, the tour guide would point out the progress being made in the restoration of buildings. When you ask how long until they are done, or when they started, the answers were nebulous and there would not be any manpower at the work site.  As a comparison to China, you always saw 100’s of cranes with 1000’s of workers doing something. They would be constructing a road, building, bridge, something that helped expand infrastructure and create jobs, as the natural results of an expanding economy.

         3. Blame Game

Okay, the obvious question is why there is a lack of infrastructure in the country. This was asked of a government official, who quickly said it was due to the bullying tactics of the US with the US “blockade”, which is what I called the US embargo on Cuba. They call it a blockage because the US has negatively influenced other countries from doing business with Cuba (while an embargo would just impose restrictions between the US and Cuba).  I’m not an expert on anything Cuban so this may be true.  Wikipedia is a great way to read all of the legislation with regards to Cuba.

Anyway, the high level government official reminded me of meeting with the upper level communist Chinese officials that were of an age (40-50’s) that had been totally immersed in the communistic regime and they believed the propaganda without questioning the logic.

The summary of his discussion was that Cuba was doing well, and that the people were happy and healthy.  Cuba has some problems but they are working on them and many of their problems are created by their neighboring bully, the US.  The US keeps them from getting food (he said they have to buy their milk from New Zealand) and investments from other countries. He ignores that the US can (and does) provide them food. After some digging, it seems the issue is that the US companies do not extend credit to Cuba, so they have to pay cash. As for the investments, it was hard to get more information since they ignored that we stayed in a Spain-partnered hotel, traveled around in a Chinese manufactured touring bus, drove past a couple of Chinese and Canadian oil rigs, could drink Coca-Cola with our lunch and have Macallan before my dinner, all the while one can see the tall, drab, Russian embassy from many parts of the city. There is no doubt that the US embargo, which does have sanctions for countries doing business with Cuba, has a negative effect. My point is to not ignore the obvious that these embargoes are only an excuse or rationalization for the lack of development when there is external involvement.  Having poor relations has not stopped other countries, including China, from developing their infrastructure.

When asked about Internet, they say they have it and it is open to all to use. However, when I tried to do a Google search from my hotel, Google would not come up and it had some Spanish comment about it being unavailable along with the name of Che Guevara, one of the revolutionaries. So, I am suspect as to how open the Internet actually is to all of the citizens. Of course, the use of computers and mobile phones was not obviously widespread (there were some mobile phone users) so it doesn’t really matter if you don’t have the tools to use the Internet anyway.

Summary

In summary, it was an excellent experience to visit a country that has such a complex relationship with the US. A country that could have thrived as a close US ally, but instead chose to become the antithesis of the United States. A country that allowed itself to be prostituted by the Russians to serve as a launching pad for nuclear weapons. A country that subsequently suffered, and continues to suffer, at the demise of socialism in the Soviet Union.

Should the embargo be removed? Absolutely. While it made sense when it was implemented, the times, people, and world have changed. I think a modern approach to sanctions or restrictions are more appropriate in order to strategically drive the change that the US wants to care about.  It’s not about trying to make Cuba an ally because they are geographically nearby, but about being smarter with our weapons to protect and influence.  I think if the embargo had been lifted in the early 90’s after the demise of the Soviet Union, there would have already been change in Cuba. The excuse of the US causing their problems, which is used by their government for their own ineptitude, would not be available and the people would be forced to accept more reality than they do today.  It’s easy to blame others of your own failures. 

What would you consider some the good things observed? There were many good or positive observations, which helped create a positive experience.

  • The people were friendly, even to Americans. There were no signs of hate or anger toward Americans and the people were willing to engage. It was shared that this friendliness was the result of Castro positively promoting their liking the American people while they hate the American government’s policies. While this could be an entirely new discussion, at least it provides a positive framework for interactivity between the people.
  • Very convenient travel from the US. With an hour flight from Tampa, it was very easy to travel to Havana on a commercial airliner. They have a dedicated terminal for the US traffic and it was as efficient as any other airport.

  • Traffic and roads were good. There were very little, if any, traffic related issues during our stay. Of course this is the result of the limitations of getting more cars to the country, which has created a situation of limited traffic issues and the creation of a classic car niche (1950’s American cars) that still operate mostly as taxis. Some of these cars are beautiful in their upkeep and restoration. The roads we did travel on were good. It appeared that the basics of the roadway system had been established for a while and one could assume that they were built by the Russians in the cold war days for transportation of their hardware or the result of the vibrant economy prior to the revolution.

What would you consider some the less favorable things observed? 

  • Poor or no maintenance of buildings. There were some amazing buildings that are dilapidated due to negligence. It’s like a time warp where the maintainers of the city just disappeared overnight and the results of time are apparent.

  • Lack of infrastructure.  It’s hard to quantify the investment in infrastructure, so this could be my lack of knowledge, but one could reasonably expect to see an expansion of cell phone towers for communication, proliferation of Internet technology for global connectivity, modern water (and perhaps sewage) system for rural areas; and other modern-day conveniences.

  • People lack motivation. The people seem content to live as they are and lack any ambition to innovate or change. They accept their current state as being normal or better than others because that is what they are told by the government. 

 January 2015

 

1 Comments

Thu

08

Jan

2015

Blog Response- Tactical and Strategic Work

The following is a response to a blog posting by an excellent entrepreneur, David Cummings. His posts are insightful and this particular one is applicable to a primary weakness that entrepreneurs struggle with.

 

The post is Time for Tactical and Strategic Work

 

My Response:

 

It’s easy to say that CEO entrepreneurs need to be sure they “work ON the business, as well as, work IN the business” but without context, this is just a “what” without a “how”..… 

 

The entrepreneur needs a holistic system of their business that clearly identifies the cause-effect for the functionals (sales, marketing, tech, etc.) and how it aggregates for a consolidated outcome.  Like the human body is comprised of many systems that all are contribute to the daily outcomes of that body. 

 

Many years ago, I was faced with a similar problem and we created a Systems of Business that clearly segments the strategic part of a business by functionals with clear integration of the tactics with metrics. As the business grows, the system adapts but the fundamentals and logic stay intact.  Using this system allowed our team to understand what is strategic and what is tactical so they can invest their time better and focus energy appropriately. When the strategically designed tactics are being executed, then the strategic outcome is pre-determined. If you don’t define the desired strategic outcome and just execute on tactics, then the outcome can be unknown.  Many businesses just “do” every day without a strong understanding of the potential outcome from the conglomeration of many people from many areas of the business all “doing”. 

 

I share this to make the point that you need an approach to the business that makes the denunciation between strategy and tactics clear and purposeful.  I see many folks confuse these elements and misunderstand the consequences. Understanding the “cause-effect” relationships is the beginning of applying real strategy to business.

 

Even with a system,  working on the designed strategy is a challenge for many entrepreneurs because it requires discipline to be willing to execute the strategies.  They find it easier to become distracted and work harder IN the business in their area of expertise (selling, coding, marketing, etc.).

 

I think the primary responsibility of the CEO entrepreneur is to manage this process and ensure that the entire team understands the system and use it in their planning and execution. Strategic development is not isolated to the CEO but to the leaders of the functionals with orchestration by the CEO. The CEO is aligning the strategies to the Vision of the company and ensuring the company is leveraging their core competencies.

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Tue

30

Sep

2014

Weak documentary on 3D Printing- Netflix  "Print the Legend"

Netflix recently released a documentary on 3D printing called Print the Legend.  The following was my review on Netflix. I'm a big Netflix fan but this really damages their brand equity.

 

Review for Netflix:

This movie was an absolute injustice on the power and beauty of 3D Printing. It was a piss poor soap opera that served to illuminate a few neophytes instead of talking about the true pioneers of this industry. Other than Reichental, there was no education on the pioneers that actually used the past 30 years to develop one of the critical technologies of the advancement of product development. Where is the story about Hull and Crump and the countless others that actually spent their careers building an industry instead of 99 minutes of babbling about a few folks that were late to the party and spent their time “stealing” the technology that others had already developed? It was about the re-packaging of other companies intellectual property under the pretenses of “open-source”, which is a great idea when you have nothing to share and then becomes an easy change in philosophy when you think you have something special.  There was nothing shared in this movie about the innovation, the technology, the process or the real applications.

 

Summary: This was a crappy infomercial to promote a few folks that are not innovators or visionaries. The only credibility was the inclusion of  Avi Reichental, who has made bold decisions (not necessarily harmonious decisions) and deserving of much credit for the advancement of the industry in the past few years.

 

 

As for the reviews, they must be from the mommies of the guys in the movie. You definitely didn't learn anything of substance about 3D printing in this movie.

3 Comments

Thu

12

Jun

2014

Ron's Rant: Market Growth Projections

The following is a Ron’s Rant….it may not be useful, educational or accurate but something I felt like documenting at this moment.

 

Since I was fortunate enough to build my career in the Additive Manufacturing (3d printing) industry, I still keep a very close to the companies, news and advancements of the industry.  The past few years have been crazy with so many new, non-technical, usually smart people that are keenly interested in the industry for their own gain.  Having the advantage of a long history and strong direct experience in the field, it’s very easy to see the BS when it hits the pages from articles, blogs, etc.

 

 

With the public market interest so high, there are a ton of folks from the investor community (traders, analyst, etc.). While most that I have interacted with are very smart and actually understand what you say, it’s interesting to read some of the blogs and reports from those that may not actually understand what they write.

 

This morning I was reading an analyst review of a recent 3D Systems analyst presentation. He is making his case as to why the stock has potential (which I have no comment on). What struck the funny bone was one of his listed reasons (see below cut directly from the report):

 

3. The global manufacturing market presents a $10.5 trillion opportunity, and the 3D printing market accounts for just 0.1% of the market. There is a large market for the 3D printing industry to grow into, and if 3D printing was just 1% of the overall manufacturing market, the size of the market would be around $105 billion, or 10 times larger than it is today.

 

Ok….many years ago when I was aggressively studying business to help increase my likelihood of success as an entrepreneur, I recall an article by some proven business person (Jobs, Gates, Drucker, etc.) that was talking about all of the business plans of the late 90’s (dot com boom) and how ridiculous it was to see the market growth projections for the company to be based on the premise that if they only sold their product to 1% of the Chinese population, then they would be worth the zillion dollar valuation they were seeking.

Everyone knows that every Chinese person needs a whoopie cushion, dog food, US Road Map, etc.  There was no reasonable correlation to their product and the Chinese market. Just that if they capture the magical 1%, then “hooray!"  

 

It’s a weak and illogical approach to estimate a markets growth, however, the guy that wrote this article just used the same logic to extrapolate the growth of the 3d printing market without any direct correlation as to why 3d printing would substitute 1% of an existing, mature market. Perhaps with pixie dust and strong dose of hope, this might happen, but having a real reason “why” provides more creditability.

 

 

The following is the link to the entire article for your enjoyment (you may have to cut/paste the link):

 

 

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2264463-3d-systems-a-look-at-analyst-day-and-the-future?uprof=45

0 Comments

Wed

11

Jun

2014

Facing Reality- Conversation with an Entrepreneur

I invest some of my time consulting/coaching entrepreneurs. Typically, they desire external coaching when they are stuck and unsure what to do. They have too many problems to solve or they want to build a business but don’t have a real solution.

 

The following is a typical “condensed” conversation that I experience:

 

Entrepreneur:  Can you give me your thoughts on this product/idea/plan/etc.?

Ron:   Sure, do you want the “bullshit feel good version” or the “candid and useful” version?

 

Entrepreneur:  Candid all the way. That’s the only way I roll.

Ron: Excellent, that’s great to hear. I have a saying…. “Face reality as it is, not as it was or you wish to be”. So, you have to have candor to allow reality to be faced.

 

Entrepreneur:  That sounds great.

 

Ron reviews the product/idea/plan/etc. and reports back to the entrepreneur.

 

Ron: Ok. I have reviewed the work and think that it is weak.  It lacks any real purpose/depth/utility/innovation.  More work needs to be done in these areas, blah, blah, blah.

 

Silence….

 

Entrepreneur:  Ok...well, we think it’s great (and so does our mommy) so we will keep on going…..by the way, if you have any input for us, please let us know.

 

Ron: Sure, I will get right on that!

 

 

Summary:

It is fascinating how many entrepreneurs seek the advice of external “experts” with the only real desire is for validation of their pursuits.

 

They totally dismiss the advice provided and typically refuse to even question themselves with this new, misaligned input.  From my experience, most end up wasting months of their career and blowing critical investment dollars that could have gone into a better plan or a better entrepreneur.

 

 

2 Comments

Mon

02

Sep

2013

Great Interview for Entrepreneurs- Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview

I just watched a documentary discussion with Steve Jobs. It's a lost interview between Cringely and Steve Jobs and it outstanding.

 

What makes this interview so powerful is that it is 1995, a time when Jobs is out of Apple and trying to build another tech company called NeXT. He is in his early 40's and able to reflect on his life and share what was really important in his journey. He didn't know he was going to die just 16 year later at a young 56, NOR take over Apple again to build it back to a great company.


The discussion is candid and really demonstrates the personality of Jobs and the humanization of his experiences with Apple, which is clearly something he loved. His discussion of people is the key to his success. He only wanted to work with A-players and was willing to accept the friction that comes from leading the best.

 

The discussion provides him the opportunity to demonstrate his intellect and vision for the technology foundation of society, as well as his appreciation for being at the right place at the right time.

 

I highly recommend this for any entrepreneur.

 

1 Comments

Sat

17

Aug

2013

How to be a Great CEO- reblog

The following is a cut/paste from the blog of Brad Feld (http://www.feld.com/wp/).

 

He is a long time entrepreneur and VC that has been willing to invest some of his time helping other entrepreneurs with his experience.  I loved this blog topic of a new book coming out on being a CEO. The steps that are listed are excellent. It's unclear if they are part of the book since he references another CEO, but these steps would make an excellent outline for a book on being an effective CEO.

 

I think too many early stage companies underestimate that the CEO is the MOST IMPORTANT position on the team and a weak CEO will typically mean death of a otherwise promising business. The CEO sets the tone, ensure they have the right people doing the right things at the right time, allocates the resources and equally important, makes 1000's of small decisions that affect the overall outcome of success for the organization. The CEO is the Head Coach on the sidelines. He is not on the field making the plays, but without him, there would be no championships.

 

I hope this book is based on the steps listed and provides practical guidance on the position. I have coached many entrepreneurs (as part of my entrepreneurial altruism) and am dismayed how you can educate smart people that will still continue NOT DOING THEIR JOB  as CEO.

 

Relisted here:

1. Lead by example by holding myself and all accountable, no matter how hard.

2. Set the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicate it to all stakeholders.

3. Recruit, hire, and retain the very best talent and inspire them.

4. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.

5. Be the advocate for the customer over the company’s short-term needs.

6. Drive the execution and evolve the operating system.

7. Champion the company and our mission to the world.

 

 

 

Being A Great CEO

 
 

Matt Blumberg’s new book, Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Businessis about to come out. If you are a CEO and haven’t preordered it, I recommend you go get it right now.

I had a chat with a CEO I work with who has had a challenging year scaling up his company. He – and the company – have made a lot of progress after hitting a low point this spring. After the call, he sent me the following note he has pasted on his desk.

1. Lead by example by holding myself and all accountable, no matter how hard.

2. Set the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicate it to all stakeholders.

3. Recruit, hire, and retain the very best talent and inspire them.

4. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.

5. Be the advocate for the customer over the company’s short-term needs.

6. Drive the execution and evolve the operating system.

7. Champion the company and our mission to the world.

You might recognize #2, 3, and 4 from Fred Wilson’s magnificent post What A CEO DoesI give a talk for many of the Techstars CEOs called “How to be a Great CEO” and I focus the conversation around Fred’s points. Matt’s book also uses Fred’s three points as a framework. And when I think about how a CEO is doing, I always start with 2, 3, and 4.

I’ve come to believe that you can’t be a great CEO if you don’t do these three things. But, great CEOs do many more than just these three things. So – I view them as “price of admission” – if you can’t / aren’t doing these three things, you won’t be a great CEO.

I always encourage the CEOs I talk with to create a clear framework for what they are doing. What you are doing, and spending time on, will change over time based on the stage of your company. When you are 10 people, you’ll have a different set of priorities then when you are 100, or a 1,000 people. But having a clear framework for what you, and how you do it, is powerful.

I love what this CEO has done to make Fred’s framework his own. Notice that each sentence starts out with the imperative form of an action verb (Amy told me that – doesn’t it sound smart!) – basically a statement of action. Lead, set, recruit, make, be, drive, champion. Great words.

If you break it down, it also defines a value set for the CEO, and for the company.

Finally, you are going to hear a lot more from me about the Company Operation System (what you see in #6). That’s the essence of what Matt Blumberg has figured out in scaling up Return Path, and uses to define his approach to scaling a business in Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business.

My experience with all of this is that it’s incredibly hard, breaks regularly at different points in the life of a company, and requires a great CEO to continually grow and learn from mistakes, adjust course based on new information, and work diligently at being honest with himself, his team, and his board about what is going on. But, if you get it right, it’s magical.

7 Comments

Mon

01

Jul

2013

3D Systems CEO on 3D Printing

Well produced video interview of Avi Reinchental, CEO of 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD), on the frontier of 3D Printing with Peter Marsh from the Financial Times.

 

 

0 Comments

Fri

28

Jun

2013

MOM Makes Things Happen

Recently, I was engaged by the author of a new business book on the politics in the office regarding Power, Affiliation and Achievement. She asked me if I would read and review her book, so we scheduled a call to get to know each other. In preparation for the call, I was researching her company and learned something new.

 

I learned that MOM makes things happen. Well, you probably knew that, but what is cool here is that this MOM stands for Motive, Opportuntity and Means.

 

No behavior can occur without all 3 components co-existing or ALL behavior requires all 3 components to exist. A great example is the detective program where folks are trying to solve the crime and find the bad guy. Each case requires research and reasoning to identify who has the Motive to commit the crime (a reason to do it), the Opportunity to commit the crime (were they even around or have an alibi) and a Means to commit the crime (did they have access to the resources required, like a gun).

 

So, how does this apply to business? Well, that's a big question, but not so hard to summarize.

 

If you need someone to take care of a need in your business, then keep MOM in mind.

 

Motive: Does the person you are picking have the MOTIVE to do the job? Do they feel challenged, aligned, interested and/or passionate about doing the job?

 

Opportunity: Does the person have the OPPORTUNITY to do the job? Do they have the time and freedom to do the job or do you have them doing other jobs as well?

 

Means: Does the person have the MEANS to do the job? Does the person have adequate training and resources to do the job.

 

This simple, yet powerful, acronym can save your company time, money and energy just by thinking about MOM when you hire or select someone for a role in your company. It does not matter if your hiring the receptionist or the CEO, MOM is the only way to go.

 

BTW, the author is Linda Sommers. She is a rock star in CEO coaching and decision theory. Her new book is called Beyond Office Politics: The Hidden Story of Power, Affiliation and Achievement in the Workplace.

 

0 Comments

Sat

15

Jun

2013

Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?

I provide the following from the viewpoint of a mentor, instead of an aspiring entrepreneur since I have already gotten the “t-shirt” with years of extreme dedication that lead to the achievement of some of my life goals.

 

As a successful entrepreneur, I appreciate the power that is afforded to every person that chooses to take advantage of the freedoms and opportunities in the great United States of America! It is the land of opportunity that will allow a dirt poor boy from Alabama the opportunity to work very hard, be very focused and willing to take risk to pursue his dreams of financial and schedule freedom.

 

Being an entrepreneur is the most empowering opportunity of our time. However, being a successful entrepreneur is reserved for the special people that are willing to do more than asked, push the limits of acceptability and bear the burden of changing the world. Most folks dream of being entrepreneurs because they see the successful lifestyles of those that have succeeded. However, most are unwilling to ever put forth the efforts required to breathe life into an innovative idea and allow it to mature to have a permanent mark on the history of mankind. It’s easy to admire the “over night” successes of entrepreneurs without appreciating the years of investment that were required to allow those success to come to fruition.

 

The market is filled with folks that aspire to be successful entrepreneurs, but the natural laws of success ensure that only the few that make the commitments, take the risks and have the luck make it. Interestingly, those that aspire to be entrepreneurs are not relegated to the unsuccessful, or poor, or uneducated, or any other classifications. As I grew in my journey, I was very surprised to learn how many corporate executives were envious of the entrepreneur and aspired to be one themselves. It's actually humourous to read some of the biographies of CEO's that include in their successes that thay too are entrepreneurs, yet they have never started a business from scratch, missed a paycheck, put their financial well-being at risk, or climbed the mountain of market obscurity.

 

As an entrepreneur, I have a personal desire to give back to the pool of aspiring entrepreneurs and ensure they have the full opportunity of success. I call this “entrepreneurial altruism” and it is a burden that every successful entrepreneur should accept as their gratitude for their own success. It is this reason I am always willing to take their calls, meet for discussions and be very candid in my feedback to so they can grow from the experience and increase their likelihood of success.

 

Fortunately, today there are many resources for folks to study about business and entrepreurship. I have been involved in a few, including supporting and mentoring with the Founder Institute, whose approach starts with finding those that are committed to being an entrepreneur and then providing them the information to increase the liklihood of success. It's an efficient approach in weeding out the weak and uncommitted to save precious oxygen for the those that are willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.

 

1 Comments

Thu

13

Jun

2013

3D Printing and Open Source- an opinion

There was an article on 3D Printing Industry this week about some guy wanting push more about open source.....I'm amazed at the utopianism folk espouse about open sharing innovation.

 

The article is here.

 

and my rebuttal...

 

Just my 2 cents… the adoption of open source seems to receive the most support from those that don’t really have much innovation to share. Once these open source supporters actually develop something of true value, then they quickly change their position to being less than open source. Makrbots Replicator 2 is a decent and pertinent example of this behavior. Real companies are less inclined to giving their innovation away since they have made the real investment to create their innovation. Other than being a services play, such as Redhat, there are few real businesses able to be created in a pure open source world.

 

And another penny….the point about the influence of the media on the 3d printing industry is excellent. They are pushing the positive side now, since that this popular. However, after many of the unrealistic claims by folks that don’t know what they are talking about fail, the the media will shift to the negative side and start to tell us they told us so.

 


0 Comments

Wed

12

Jun

2013

3D Printing and China- Ron's Input

I read a blog recently on China and 3D printing. It was a well written report of the plans of China for 3D printing. While the report was quite general and vague, it was informational.  I took exception to the latter points about the threats of China with 3D printing and how the Western world needed to wake up in their preparedness of 3D printing and prduction.

 

The blog was posted here.

 

My comment is:

Respectfully, your position is quite general, leaving the predictability of the future wide open to interpretation. It would be informative to be exposed to the latest, real, innovations that have originated in China, or elsewhere. The vast majority of AM "innovation" has originated and evolved out the US and Germany.


The largest known production factories leveraging AM are in the US. So, throwing out an edict "mature your RP technology.." is out of sync with current reality. For clarity, the operative word here is innovation, not duplication, copy, or replication. Also, it does not mean that change is not imminent and that China will not strive for their plan. However, the first step would be to catch up, which I'm sure they are aware.

0 Comments

Mon

10

Jun

2013

Power of 3D Printing

The following article was written in 2005 explaining why 3D printing was/is so powerful. The points are still applicable today.

 

 

3D Printers and the Consumer
Article in Product Design and Development on the power of 3D printing and how it really applies to the consumer.
2010.05_PDDBlog3DPrintersAndTheConsumer.
Adobe Acrobat Document 141.8 KB
0 Comments

Sat

08

Jun

2013

Real Applications for 3D Printing

I am intrigued by how much new press there is on 3D Printing, of which most is created with the belief it is breaking information on this amazing new technology called 3D Printing. Of course folks like to forget that 3D printing has been around for over 30 years and that much of the media noise today is re-hashing the past.

 

I ran across an article that was well-written way back in 2009 on 3D printing. It provides a summary of the technologies and players at that time. It's interesting how one could make some mild edits, change the date and publish again today.

 

 

Cadalyst_ Almost Real_2009
An overview of 3D printing, applications and technologies.
03.26.09_CadalystAlmostRealRPOverview.pd
Adobe Acrobat Document 5.4 MB

Here is another good article on using service bureaus to actually buy parts from 3D printing. Accessing the part service market is the ideal way to access the latest technologies and materials for your part needs.

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Tue

04

Jun

2013

Bezos on 3D Printing

An interesting thread on some comments by Jeff Bezos of Amazon about 3D Printing. He is absolutely correct in his assessment, yet many comments from folks illustrate how naive people are about how products are developed. They must think it's some magic that can be replaced with a single device.

 

Here's the link...



 

 

My comments below:

Bezos is absolutely correct in his assessment. Much of the super-hype on 3D printing today is created from journalist that do not have a clue how products are developed and transition to manufacturing. 3D printing a powerful technology in product development, particularly in fit and form analysis (prototyping), but a loooonngg way from being a complete product manufacturing magic box.

As for interesting objects, NASA has been "evaluating" using 3D Printing in space since the early 90's...there was an incredible lab at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL that had every available technology for use and assessment. So, not new (unless 20 years is considered such).

0 Comments

Wed

22

May

2013

3D Printing- New Faces Old Ideas

3D Printing has evolved over the past 25+ years. It is amazing how many folks have recently entered the industry and become enamored with technology. After speaking with them a few minutes, they start sharing their "new" ideas about new businesses, applications and directions for the technology. However, many of these "new" ideas are over a decade old and ideas that the veterans have come up with, and in many cases, tried and failed. It's like a time warp thing where you are going to back in time but you already know the future.

0 Comments

Thu

18

Oct

2012

What’s the Problem?- Calisthenics for Wantrepreneurs* and Entrepreneurs

There is so much information - news, blogs, and garbage - in the world today that I have reduced my interest in adding to the noise. However, I do a keep a log of pertinent observations from my involvement in entrepreneurism and life. When something reaches a critical mass, I remind myself to jot down the key points and add to the world of information and noise. Hopefully, some aspiring entrepreneur will stumble across my words, read them, process their meaning, and then make a minor change in their strategy that can help lead to their overall success.


There are many folks in the world that think they want to be entrepreneurs. Today, entrepreneurs are looked upon as risk-taking, pioneering change agents that took fate into their own hands and have become successful and super rich. Of course most of the time you never hear about the other 99% of the folks that try, fail and sometimes lose everything in the process. Typically, it’s the result of flawed strategies and execution that differentiate the successful entrepreneur from the rest.


As a successful entrepreneur, I was always willing to take risks; however, they were always calculated and managed. It seldom was the flip of a coin as to the outcome, but something that I could visualize as successful and think that I have a clear path of execution to achieve. When it comes to starting a new business, this is even more important because there is no cushion for being wrong or failing in the execution. After you get business momentum, have some customers, generate some revenue and profits, then you can absorb some of failures. When you have nothing, then every decision has to be dead on.


In working with entrepreneurs for the past decade, and intensely over the past two years, I have a basic observation or simple rules that I highly recommend to each aspiring entrepreneur before they quit their job and roll the dice with their house. Interestingly, many rebuke my suggestions and rationalize their actions with the flawed strategy that they will “figure it out”.Now, that is real risk! The following are three simple assessments every business, both new and existing, should master and document to ensure a strong foundation for their future.


Clearly and simply define a “real” problem that exists.
Business is typically about solving a problem in the market, so your bright idea of a new business should be aligned to just that - solving a problem! The key is being able to define the problem so that anyone can understand it. It turns out that this is much harder than it sounds for the wantrepreneur. They typically have a solution to something, but unsure what problem they are really solving in the market. For example, the wantrepreneur has developed a new app that sends you a text message when it’s time to feed the fish. What is cool to him/her is the creation of an app and then waiting on Facebook to buy their company. However, is there a real problem with remembering to feed the fish?


Determine how big the problem is in the market.
While there are a lot of problems, many are too small to build a company around to solve. Even if you develop the best solution to a real problem but the only one that has this problem is you, then it’s a going to be a small market with a very limited opportunity for revenue (other than your mom supporting you). It’s amazing how myopic some wantrepreneurs can be with this assessment. I have worked with inventors for the past 20 years and seen so many interesting inventions where the inventor has invested their time and life savings into something in which they are one of the few folks that actually have the problem they are solving with their invention. This assessment requires the ability to face reality as it is and not try to make something that does not exist.


Clearly and simply describe your solution to the problem.
If the wantrepreneur has completed the first couple of steps, then this step should be pretty easy. It’s not uncommon for many businesses to begin with a solution and work backwards, so if they have defined the problem and the market size, then this would be a modification of the solution to maximize the opportunity. A couple of things that make this a bit tougher is that the solution has to actually solve the defined problem and it needs to have a competitive advantage over current solutions, if any, to the problem being addressed. If the solution is obvious, or simple, then you have to ask yourself why is it not already available or how do you keep someone from copying in order to compete with you. A patent is typically not the right answer. If you don’t have a competitive advantage, then don’t compete.


By starting with these three basic steps, then the wantrepreneur could begin the journey to entrepreneur land with better clarity and slightly reduced risks for their success. Of course, there is still a very long road to having a successful journey, however one can treat these steps as the warm-up stretches before you hit the road and you might avoid pulling a muscle.

 

What do you think?


 

 

*Wantrepreneur: An individual that desires to be, but is not quite yet, an entrepreneur (Source: Urban Dictionary)

0 Comments

Sun

11

Dec

2011

Sense of Urgency- An Attribute of Execution!

In my years of working with fellow CEO’s, I have slowly developed a list of attributes that I have found common in the high performing C-level executives for growing entrepreneurial businesses. Over the past few months, since the selling of Quickparts, I have been heavily involved in the roles of several CEO’s by providing coaching to them to help them move their businesses to the next level. During this time, the importance of these attributes has proven to be critical to making positive progress. One particular attribute missing from a few of these CEO’s has been so frustrating that it’s like a neon sign on the Vegas strip flashing “No Sense of Urgency Here”. Unfortunately, for most businesses, this quality transcends throughout the organization and puts the company on the path to their demise.

As a person that has an intense sense of urgency, it can easily be taken for granted. If you are programmed to always want everything to have happened yesterday because you are ready to be working on tomorrow, then you have a high sense of urgency. If you are a person that is unwilling to sacrifice time and performance to get things done, then you have a low sense of urgency. When one of your executives was to have a phone chat with a hot new prospect, but he keeps pushing it out, then you are accepting this low sense of urgency and it reflects on you. Get Stuff Done Now!

I’m not sure if having a high sense of urgency is innate or developed over time, but my experience for entrepreneurial businesses is that this is absolutely critical for the CEO to have a high sense of urgency. Just letting things happens as they happen or when convenient for all involved is unacceptable.

Regrettably, I find that most entrepreneurial CEO's don’t have it and act like they are in some big corporate structure where putting in your 9-5 is fine and just getting what gets done works. It’s not about the number of hours, as most put in way more than 40 hours but effective for much less, but the use of their time get everything done today that must be done.

What is not appropriately appreciated by most low sense of urgency CEO's is that in an entrepreneurial business, it is like a raging river where the next challenge is right behind the current ones. Putting things off is allowing the system to backlog until the problems are insurmountable, the options are limited, and the future of the business in jeopardy. We all should know that “time kills all deals” because of this same principle that the world is dynamic, so you need to take action with the current state of the world instead of increasing the risk of the unknown future state.

Delaying a decision today will typically make it a harder decision later that has greater ramifications. Some easy and obvious examples include the following:

Slow Hiring. You have the opportunity to hire a rock star for your organization. Instead of driving action to get the prospect through your hiring process, you keep making excuses about not completing the phone interview, or scheduling the interview. The result is that rock stars don’t wait on you, so they get hired by your competition and then beat you in your market. Not only has a low sense of urgency cost you a great team member, but empowered your competition.

Slow Firing. It’s the middle of summer and you have a c-player that you know needs to be released to the world for CDE (career development elsewhere). You keep making excuses about why it’s better to wait or you are just too busy to do your job. By the end of the year, the c-player has continued to erode your organization's morale, lose key customers, and lower the overall quality of the company. However, now it’s the holiday season and you have to include the human aspects of firing someone right before the holidays and what message this sends to your company and what impact it could have on that person's family. If you had done your job in the summer, the c-player may have found a job in another great company, where they could be a-player, love their job, and have the best holiday of their lives.

Raising Money. You need another round of funding to grow your business. This is a top priority for the CEO. You have interested investors calling you requesting an updated business plan, financials, or investor presentations. Every day you leave the office before updating this information, sending it to the interested investors, or replying back to their emails. Your lack of performance sends a couple of signals to the interested investors. Either you are not interested in their money, or you are under-performing CEO. Either one creates hurdles that reduce the likelihood of success with the potential investor and/or reduces your leverage to negotiate favorable terms because they feel the need to mitigate their risk. This can easily be the beginning of the end for the company regardless of how good the business model or product.

It is easy to rationalize the lack of success a CEO can have with their full loads. However, they took the role of CEO with an acceptance that they are responsible for the entire organization, including themselves and if things are not done, then they are responsible. I guess the criticality of this attributes drives another key attribute for a successful CEO and that is personal organization skills. You have got to have a strong system to let you get everything done and the unwillingness to fail to ensure that nothing is pushed to the next day.

0 Comments

Tue

27

Sep

2011

Telemarketing Thank Yous- Allstate in Action...Poorly

Oddly ineffective marketing strategy- I just got a call from Allstate (interestingly called my cell and asked for my wife, but that beside the point) to "thank me for my business" on behalf of my agent. The caller (Shyeana?) was very scripted and unnatural in her speaking (but friendly).

When I asked why didn't my agent just call me to thank me for my business, she said that Allstate was calling on behalf of the agent. When I asked if she knew my agent, she acknowledged she did not.

 

Not sure...of course it is great to be appreciated, but to have a telemarketing strategy to "thank you" seems very insincere, especially when I see my agent practically every weekend and he does not make it a point to say "thanks"....

0 Comments

Thu

23

Jun

2011

Does it take a village or just Chrome

After my exit from Quickparts, it was time for me to face the long hard reality that I really enjoyed having a powerful IT team that handled my email, websites, blog, etc. Over time I had become addicted to the convenience of having a system that work.

 

So, recently, I had the pleasure (really) to re-learn how IT systems work today and what my options were. The great news is that they have matured fantastically over the past decade. Email is easy to setup and work with my all of my gadgets. Also easy is the blogging platform. Of course a decade ago, blogging was something you did on Saturday night at the club...or was that clogging. Anyway, I was using Wordpress for our blogging platform that my IT expert (Eddie) has setup for me, so it was a piece a cake.

 

Now, I'm using Blogger (or Blogspot, not sure of the name), which is now owned by Google. It is super easy to setup and begin blogging and integrates with Google Business Apps, which is what I am using for the rest of my IT needs.

 

1ST PROBLEM---need to call Eddie now

 

It turns out that there is an issue for folks to post comments. I got my first comment and it was cool. Then I got an email saying the user tried to post a comment and was unable to make it happen. So, I tested it this morning and got unexpected results.

 

When I view the blog with IE 9 and then proceed to post a comment, it wants me to pick a "profile" with a drop down. Not sure what that means, but I did recognize Google, so let's pick that. Then it takes you to a login screen, which I proceeded to do with my Google account. It takes you back to the Blog without your comment and you get to repeat cycle.

 

HOWEVER..

If I do the same thing with Chrome as the browser, it works like it should.

 

So, we can leverage the village of Google as long as the rest of the world uses Chrome.?.?

 

I think I saw this movie before except it was a village from Seattle :)

0 Comments

Sat

11

Jun

2011

Do You Know the Sum of Actions for your Business?

A business boils down to the SUM OF THE ACTIONS of the people in it. Period.

 

Logical enough…right!? My experience is that many business leaders don’t have a clue.

 

All actions of the individuals associated with a business contribute to it, whether positively or negatively. When every action of every team member is molded to optimum performance, then you get the optimal business execution. The outcome of a business will always be the product of the system of the business. If you don’t like the outcome of your business, then change the system.

 

The real challenge is that business systems are typically large, complex, and have this huge variable component called humans. With this in mind, we have to focus on having the highest quality inputs -- the humans -- in a well-defined system where the most important actions are done efficiently and the negative impacts are minimized. At the end of the day, every business needs to be sure all customer-interacting actions are executed optimally since a business only exists to serve their customers.

 

While this is common sense, you can easily find the opposite is true when you call a company to place an order and get the lowest paid, sometimes even temporary, employee answering the phone that does not have any training or expectations as to how to handle all of the inputs into the business system. Or one of my favorites is when the poorly-trained cashier is trying to take my money at the counter and clearly does not care or treat me as if I am allowing him to take home his paycheck while the managers hide in the back doing “more important work”. Any leader allowing these type situations in their system will cause their business to crumble and then try to blame it on the economy as to why their business failed.

 

Do you know the actions that drive your prospects, quotes, customer orders, revenue, and profits?

 

This is an excellent foundation for your strategic planning that will provide much more value than having a consultant write a bunch of words in a plan for you to not look at until next year.

 

What do you think?

 

0 Comments

Sun

29

May

2011

In The Beginning 2.1

This started out as my blog on Blogger, but in May 2013, I moved everything over to Jimdo.

 

**

This is my first blog in my new world. I have spent the past several days trying to re-establish my systems of social communication. From email to blogging, I have been working to maintain a system. I am thankful that in 2011 it is much easier than it was in 1997.

 

Ron

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