Sunday, March 4, 2018

I'm pumped up!

"I'll wait for you". Remember these words.

This weekend, we experienced a Nor'easter with high winds, downed trees, and lots and lots of RAIN.

My wife and I were home alone, and yet I heard a "scream" coming from the basement. Turns out it was not a person screaming, but our sump pump blowing a gasket, and hence, giving out a death scream as it kicked the bucket.

And now, our normally dry basement was becoming - less dry. In fact, it was getting very, very wet. The water was rising. Fast. If the water continued to rise at its current rate, our furnace would short out and stop working. The electrical connections to the furnace would be under water.

I Googled the exact make and model of the sump pump, hoping to (by some miracle) find a local store that might have one in stock. If I could find an exact match, I MIGHT be able to "do this myself" and swap out the pump. [ My family will be laughing hysterically when they read this. I'm not very handy. ]

It was around 5:55 pm and I found a hardware store that carries that brand of pump. The Denville, New Jersey True Value Hardware store closes at 6:00 pm. I called and explained my situation.

"I'll wait for you.  Take your time, I'll wait for you."

By some miracle, I was able to bring the broken pump with me to the store. The owner met me at the door. He got a replacement pump off the shelf, and also collected all of the tools and parts that I "might need" to do the job myself. Any tools and any parts that I did not need, I could simply return for a full refund.

I explained that I am not that handy, but if I don't get this pump working tonight, we surely would lose our heat and most likely lose our power tonight.

"Take my cell phone number. I'll walk you through it. If you want, I'll go on video chat with you, and we'll get it done together".

Remember the scene in the movie "Castaway" where Tom Hank's character makes fire? That is how I felt as I got this replacement pump working. I had the right tools. I had the parts. And I had my new best friend at my side on video chat. My friend, the owner of True Value Hardware in Denville, New Jersey.

Also, the price of the pump was "the best price" that I could find on the Internet. Talk about a time where someone could charge more. I would have paid anything, I was in a bind. But not only did I get a great price for the sump pump, I received what might be the best customer service experience of my life.

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. The owner of True Value Hardware in Denville, New Jersey not only saved the day, he threw in a Master Class in how to put the customer first. Small, family owned Hardware Store. Since 1946.

I wonder if my customers and clients talk about me, the way I am talking about the owner of True Value Hardware in Denville, New Jersey. Does anyone blog about "me" or my staff? Time for a little reflection and introspection, me thinks.

In the age of Amazon and eCommerce and business where we never meet our customers face to face, I was reminded what really matters.

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. As business owners, we can't always control the selling price, but we can ALWAYS control the value. We control the ROI that we deliver to our clients and our customers.

I also think it is time to take the "e" out of eCommerce. It's all just "commerce" at this point. Customer Service from people who truly care will never go out of style. In person, or via technology, we control the value that we deliver.

Yeah, I'm pretty pumped about how this all went down.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

My bot will call your bot

When did you start loving robots? I was born in 1960 and I grew up loving "The Jetsons" and Gigantor the space aged robot. Robots were always a big part of my life. I was 17 years old when Star Wars made (all of us) REALLY love robots. Or shall we call them droids? 

Remember when R2-D2 stopped the Death Star trash compactor? Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca would have all become much thinner if not for R2-D2 shutting down the garbage compactor on the Death Star.

R2-D2 took care of the buzz droids. R2-D2 never backs down. He doesn’t technically have feelings and can’t be scared, but I would say he is fearless. He’s loyal and reliable and stopped Anakin’s ship from being destroyed by buzz droids.

Remember when R2-D2 repaired the Millennium Falcon hyperdrive? Counting on the Millennium Falcon for an escape is always risky. When Leia, Chewbacca, and Lando tried to escape Cloud City, the hyperdrive wasn’t fixed as Lando said it would be. R2-D2 fixed the hyperdrive under pressure.

2018: AI robots and droids are all the rage. We have loved robots for decades. A few years ago, we had our first robots "sweeping up" our floors. Flying droids, self-driving cars, AI chatbots are now a part of our business world. Voice controlled, machine learning AI droids are now a multi-billion dollar business. 

It seems that for decades, we wanted robots in our lives. We wanted automation, we wanted a future where autonomous robots become our friends, our colleagues, our co-workers. 

Today, I have an AI robot ("Amy" of and she runs my calendar.  I have another AI robot "Eva" who attends my online meetings. Eva sends me a written transcription of everything said in the meetings. Amy and Eva never take a vacation, and they never call in sick. But they also never laugh at my jokes. ( If you want your own Amy or Eva, email me and I'll hook you up:

It has been 40 years since we first met R2-D2. Yeah, Gigantor was cool in the 60's but he would not work without you. Cartoon robots. Movie robots. And now, reality. Gigantor the cartoon robot needed "us" for him to operate. Today's REAL robots and autonomous AI droids, not so much. 

We have always loved robots. I hope robots will always love us back. 

[Point: The year 2062That was the prediction in the Jetsons cartoon TV show. The futuristic series, first produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1962, was set in 2062. So we've still got some time before we are all zipping around in self-driving flying cars. Unless Elon Musk wants it to be sooner......]

Gigantor the space aged robot, 
He is at your command. 
Gigantor the space aged robot, 
His power is in your hand. 


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Super Brawl 2018

Super Bowl 52: the NFL and US Bank Stadium are ready to make digital history. Super Bowl LII, the Patriots vs. Eagles contest will break a record for the largest data usage ever during (any) event. Fans will stream live video and upload massive quantities of photos to social apps.
The NFL expects football fans to surpass all previous data usage during the big game, with key moments such as the kickoff between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. And of course, the Justin Timberlake halftime show. Every year data usage numbers go up. Last year's Super Bowl 51 matchup between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons resulted in 11.8 terabytes of data going through the Wi-Fi network at NRG Stadium in Houston. In 2016, Super Bowl 50 had 10.1 TB of total data used over Wi-Fi at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, which was a 63% increase of the data usage at Super Bowl 49 in Glendale, AZ in 2015.
You say you want Wi-Fi antennas in every handrail? You got it!

NFL has changed dramatically over the past several years by providing high-density Wi-Fi solutions at stadiums to ensure that fans stay connected while at a game. While at the Super Bowl, fans want to take photos and videos and upload them to social media to share the experience. Fans friends and family need to know they are at one of the most sought-after sporting events in the world. After all, what's the point of going to the Super Bowl if no one knows you're there?
Every year, people find more and more to do with their smartphones. And while at the most shared event on the planet (a Super Bowl) people need to be able to upload video, Tweet and be able to do heavy video usage. And as their phone takes pictures and video, they back them up in the cloud. Smartphones are constantly chatting with the network. 
This amazing super fast Wi-Fi technology is all of course, Super. 
Want to know what else would be Super?
It would be SUPER if this same super fast safe and secure Wi-Fi technology was launched at every public High School in the country.
It would be SUPER if this same broadband technology was launched on every "Main Street USA" from LA to NYC.
It would be SUPER if this same technology was launched in every hospital, every clinic, every airport, every library, every gathering place of significance. 
It would be "Super" if the best thing that came out of "The NFL Experience" was super high speed Wi-Fi broadband to everyone in the country. Remember how "NASA" technology ultimately gave us GPS, computers and cell phones? Technology spreads. 
Broadband for all. Telemedicine for all. Education for all. Business for all.

"A school - a coach - a teacher - a business mentor - YOUR staff in your pocket" with live access to the smartest people - the brightest minds in the world, from anywhere in the world. 
Yeah, that would indeed be "Super" if we deployed this amazing super fast Wi-Fi technology everywhere, not just at football stadiums. Oh, how that would change all of our lives forever. 

From sea to shining sea - super fast safe and secure Wi-Fi for all. 

Let's do it!
[ Or, we could take that money and build a wall. Sorry, had to......]

If you can do it for a stadium, you can do it for an entire town.
Or an entire city. Even the greatest city in the world.
Spend Billions on Super fast safe and secure Wi-Fi for all.
Not a wall - Broadband!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Hey! I'm talking here!

Tonight, “The Big Apple” is hosting the 60th Grammy awards. I’ll tune in for sure.

You won’t see it on TV, because it is not yet ready for prime time. But the award for “Best Podcast” will one day make it to the live broadcast. Podcasts are hot and they are getting hotter.

Shows like S-Town and Finding Richard Simmons are common water-cooler conversation topics. More people are listening than ever: 24% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month, and 40% have listened to at least one.

Brands are now getting in on the action. From a marketing perspective, podcasts represent a conversational (and low-cost) format to educate and entertain an audience. For example, Virgin Atlantic has a new podcast on entrepreneurship.

Podcasting continues to rise, with Monthly listeners growing from 21% to 24% year over year. The audience for podcasts continues to be predominately 18-54, and leans slightly male. Podcast listeners remains an affluent, educated consumers - and ones that are increasingly more likely to gravitate to ad-free subscription experiences.

Clicking on a podcast to listen to it immediately (either streamed or via progressive download) is the dominant paradigm for listening, though 27% do subscribe to podcasts. Subscribers tend to have been podcast consumers for longer than non-subscribers, consume more podcasts, and are more likely to use their smartphone as their primary player.

While “Home” continues to be the most often named location for podcast listening, the vehicle is a strong second.

Most podcast consumers listen to most of the podcast episodes they download, and the vast majority listen to at least most of each episode. Podcasts are the number one audio source by time of consumption among podcast listeners.

Over the years, “Books on Tape” morphed into downloadable audio books.

And now audio books have morphed into podcasts. Today, successful podcast owners have taken their audio podcast archives, and transcribed them into downloadable eBooks.

You know what I think? Media is media.

And “Mass Media” is massive and growing. Netflix continues to grow FAST. And YouTube can make anyone a video star. Amazon Prime. and “TED Talks” have become badges of honor.

OK! So, do YOU have your own podcast yet?

When my friend Adam Carolla’s career as a comedian hit a speed bump, he created his own digital media empire. Today, Adam Carolla is the Guinness Book of World Records Most Downloaded Podcaster in history with 50 Million downloads in the first year. Now Adam has launched a new online class teaching anyone how to launch and profit from their very own podcast.

So, who will win the Grammy for “Podcast of the Year” tonight? We won’t know from tonight’s live TV broadcast. But one day soon - “Podcast of the Year” will be as big as “Album of the Year”. and attend Adam's Master Class on Podcasting for FREE.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

This is my last blog!

Of 2017.  

That was tricky, right? “Wow, Tom’s blogs are always amazing -
why would he stop blogging???”

Made you look. Made you click. Made you read this far. If this was “fake news”
it’s too late. Let’s come back to this later.

Standing is good for you. Sitting at a desk all day long is bad for you.
They say that just standing - getting up from your desk - once every
twenty minutes will make an AMAZING difference in your health.
Just stand up. Once every twenty minutes.

Cool!  What a perfect New Year’s resolution! Take your smartphone,
and set the timer to ring once every twenty minutes. Stand up.
Take a few steps away from your desk. OK, you can go sit down again.
Boom! Done!

Google “Standing for Health”

You will see many articles that talk about standing desks, standing at work,
and how doing something as simple as STANDING UP will change your life.

It’s better than going to the gym!

On the circle of health hype, what was bad becomes good, then it becomes
overrated, then it becomes bad again. That’s what happened to barefoot
running and multivitamins, and it’s where the purported dangers of
“too much sitting” seem to be headed.
But, like all hype cycles, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle rather
than on the peaks or in the valleys.
It’s worth looking at an interesting study published in the American Journal of
Epidemiology that finds jobs that require a lot of standing to be much worse for
your health than jobs that require mostly sitting. The new study is a surprising
opposite of the “sitting is the new smoking” message.
Standing all day long is no good for you.
Sitting all day long is no good for you.
But if you stand up and take a few steps away from your desk every
twenty minutes during your day, you are on your way to perfect health!
Unless you take a few steps away from you desk to go outside and smoke.
Or go eat junk food.

Where are you going with this Tom?
Having New Year’s resolutions are good for you.
Unless of course, having New Year’s resolutions are bad for you.
If you cannot stand up and take a few steps away from your desk every
twenty minutes, what chance do you have of going to the gym, or quitting
smoking, or getting more sleep, or keeping any of your other noble
New Year’s resolutions?
OK, if you are not going to stand up and take a few steps away from your desk
every twenty minutes for your own physical health, how about doing something
for your own mental health?
Do not click on fake news in 2018.
Do not read fake news in 2018.
Do not spread or share or promote fake news in 2018.
How can you possibly know if something is fake news you ask?
Well, you can click on everything.
Or you can click on nothing.
Or you can take the time to read, research, validate what you read before you
share it or promote it on social media. Alternative facts are by definition,
not facts at all.
Just like standing all day long - or not standing at all - the best most healthy
answer is always going to be somewhere in the middle.
OK, that’s it.
My last blog!
Of 2017.

[ Insert standing ovation here. Go ahead, standing is good for you. I think. ]

Sunday, December 10, 2017

In physics, a quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity
involved in an interaction. The fundamental notion that a physical property
may be "quantized" is referred to as "the hypothesis of quantization".

Quantum Computing studies computation systems (quantum computers)
that make direct use of quantum-mechanical phenomena, such as
superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data.

Quantum computers are different from binary
digital electronic computers based on transistors.

Shit is about to get real.

This past Friday, the co-sponsored an event with and SAP on Quantum Computing. The event was held at SAP
on the 48th floor at 10 Hudson Yards.

The view from the 48th floor was amazing.

I need to keep this blog post short, so let me say it this way:

Encryption is what allows things like Bitcoin to exist. Encryption
is what allows us to do online banking. Encryption is what allows Nuclear
Power Plants to operate. If there was no such thing as “encryption”
the Internet would shut down almost overnight.

Without encryption, there is no more Amazon, no Netflix, no Uber,
no cloud.

If someone tried to break the encryption of Bitcoin, or break the encryption of a Nuclear Reactor, or break into the NSA, or break into ANY financial institution (using today's technology) it would take around 2,700 years.

If you had access to a Quantum Computer, it would take
around 400 minutes to break the encryption.

If a "bad actor" had access to a Quantum Computer, the value of
every Bitcoin in the world would to go $0 in less than 400 minutes.

This is why schools like and companies like SAP, Microsoft,
Google, Amazon are betting all of their chips on Quantum Computing.

Quantum Computing is the new “space race” and we need to make sure
that the bad guys don’t win.

Quantum Computing will be here before you know it.

There are “countries” that are storing everything - every email,
every document, truly storing everything digital.


Because storage is cheap. And because they know that (one day)
there will be a Quantum Computer that can read, analyze and
BREAK into anything digital and encrypted. In minutes.

The first country with mastery of Quantum Computing will be
the next superpower.

Forget about nuclear weapons.

One fully functional Quantum Computer is more dangerous than 1000 nuclear bombs.

“The view” from the 48th floor was amazing.
Thrilling. Mesmerizing. It was also terrifying.

^^^ A great article on Quantum Computing

View from the 48th Floor - SAP - 10 Hudson Yards

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tell 'em about the food

This past week the was invited to attend the AVIT Summit in New York City. It was very well done. Very well done indeed.

The Stewart Hotel was an amazing venue for such an event, right across the street from Madison Square Garden. I don’t think there is a venue anywhere in the world that competes with “The Big Apple” for meetings or live events.

The AV/IT Leadership Summit is a must-attend for stakeholders making AV and IT technology decisions and those needing to know how these decisions can affect a company or institution. Not knowing can put the health of an institution or facility at risk.

The stakeholder table expanded to include AV/IT technology directors, managers, CIOs, CTOs, VPs, technology engineers, media directors, educational technology directors, and facilities managers tasked with moving an organization forward and shaping the bottom line through technology.

The Summit covered today’s most important AV/IT topics through panel discussions, AV/IT Talks, idea exchanges, and networking opportunities. Once disparate systems now ride on the enterprise network, with some moving to the cloud. We discussed solutions and methods for analyzing data and creating efficiencies. We explored the pitfalls to avoid with networked AV. From control systems to displays to managed services, attendees met with key vendors about the products in the pipeline that could make a real and immediate difference in how we all live, learn, work and play - in the clouds.

Enough “geek speak” for today. Here was my epiphany - the just attended “A Summit” to discuss how to NOT attend - Summits.

The technology that allows us to NOT travel - technology solutions that allow us to NOT physically attend meetings, or not physically attend a class, or learning of ways to collaborate around the world without the need to travel - required an in-person live summit.

We attended a LIVE Summit - to learn how to NOT attend LIVE Summits.

I love working from home. And I also love going into New York City for the day - and then sleeping in my own bed at night. I LOVE hosting meetings on Zoom with a distributed global workforce. But I also love hosting dinner meetings with staff and clients at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ across the street from Madison Square Garden. Or the Beer Authority, across the street from Microsoft at 11 Times Square. I have a list. Email me for a list of “go to” NYC meeting venues with SUPER fast WiFi and extra wet naps:

We need both. We need live, and we need virtual events. Humans need both real and virtual realities.

Technology enables us to live, learn, work and play in the clouds. But we are people. We are humans and we need human interaction. You can do some amazing things with global collaboration technology. But you cannot buy a round of drinks for the table.

When we advertised and launched marketing the AV/IT Summit we stated WHO SHOULD ATTEND:

• AV and IT Managers
• Technology Directors
• CIOs, CTOs, VPs of Technology
• Technology Coordinators
• AV Media Engineers
• Classroom Technology Specialists
• Conferencing and Media Services Directors
• AV and Studio Service Directors
• Multimedia Managers
• Collaborative Infrastructure and Audiovisual Strategy Director
• Facilities Directors
• Other staff involved in AV/IT technology decisions

We should have added Brother Jimmy’s BBQ as “a draw” for the event. It would have sold out twice as fast.

On the 27th of this month, we have another event, just a few hours south of The Big Apple. It will be an amazing gathering of thought leaders, subject matter experts and amazing vendors from the world of telecom and technology - at The Logan Hotel in Philadelphia. “The Logan” is one of the best venues in the City of Brotherly Love. Oh yes, on the 27th of this month there will be Philly Cheesesteaks at our event.  

We need to remember to tell ‘em about the Philly Cheesesteaks, and the amazing view from the rooftop bar of The Logan. The outdoor heaters will be cranking on the rooftop, of this I am certain.

When hosting live events, always remember to tell ‘em about the food. After all, we are only human.