Sunday, July 25, 2021

I'm feeling a little tipsy

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A gratuity (also known as a tip) is a sum of money customarily given by a client or customer to certain service sector workers for the service they have performed. Tipping servers in bars, restaurants, taxi drivers (including ridesharing), hair stylists and so on, but this is depends on country or location.

How did tips (and the amounts) become a social custom or etiquette? 

And, it is illegal to offer tips to some groups of workers, such as U.S. government workers, police officers, etc. as the tips might be considered bribery. 

And, sometimes a fixed percentage service charge can be added to bills in restaurants and similar establishments. Beware of hidden fees! Did you ever leave a tip - when there was ALREADY a service fee built in? I have. 

Studies of the practice in America suggests that tipping is often discriminatory or arbitrary: workers receive different levels of gratuity based on factors such as age, sex, race, hair color, and the size of the gratuity is found to be only very weakly related to the quality of service. 

Exhibit A: HYATT REGENCY RESORT

During a recent stay at a HYATT, I was charged a GREAT rate for a room - cool!  And then City Occupancy tax, HB Assessment, CA Assessment, a Resort Fee, and then (again) City Occupancy Tax and HB Assessment on the Resort Fee. Extra fees of $61.46 per day or $122.92 in total for two days. 

When I questioned the extra charges, I was told it was all on their website. When I asked what the "Resort Fees" were, I was told - they were not just a hotel, but a resort. But the "resort" was on lock down at the time, due to COVID-19. But the resort fees are automatic, even though you cannot use the resort. Sorry. 

Exhibit B: Angelina's in Florham Park, New Jersey.

We went out to dinner for the first time with friends, in like......forever. I had the Clams Oreganata and the Zuppa di Pesce. All of us had a great meal. It was a BYOB place, and we DID. We were really good on the BYOB assignment. 

When our waitress (Gabby) first came to the table, I whispered to her, "I get the check" to head off the classic fight for the check. Alas, there was a fight anyway, and we wound up splitting the bill, $59.24 each couple. Fine

I would guess that Gabby was in her 20's. Gabby was a very good server, a little ray of sunshine. 

Gabby got a $50 tip from our table, against a $120 bill. 


Epilogue

A tip is not a tip if it is forced upon you. From a theoretical economic point of view, gratuities may solve the principle-agent problem (the situation in which an agent such a server, is working for a principle, such as a restaurant owner or manager) and many managers believe that tips provide incentive for greater work effort. 

Why do we tip waiters, taxi cab drivers and bar tenders, but not webmasters, landscapers and others in the service industry? Also this: if you are going to have hidden fees, you better hide them really good. Because once a hidden fee is no longer hidden, those little hidden fees will become the only thing people will talk about. Heck, they might even BLOG on it. 

Gabby for the win. 

Oh, and HYATT, meet my new friend HILTON. 



Sunday, July 18, 2021

A 2nd Bite of the Apple

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We're back baby!!!!  Jerry Seinfeld was RIGHT!

Last week was our first "sleepover" event in New York since COVID first hit in 2020. I live around 30 miles west of Times Square, so I am (was) very spoiled for years. $11.35 bus ride and less than 60 minutes later, I can be teleported from BOONTON USA to 11 TIME SQUARE. 

Man, did I miss our Lunch 'n Learns and Sunset Seminars in The Big Apple. Our Sapphire Sponsor Microsoft is so generous with their space at 11 Times Square. Events on THE INTREPID. Happy Hours at Beer Authority. Bryant Park. Oh, and the CONVENE! The CONVENE on 42nd Street is AMAZING. 

NYC IS BACK!  Yeah, but not every day. 

When I first started working in the "Distance Learning" world, there were people still using dial-up modems. Audio conferencing was still north of $0.15 per minute, so a meeting with ten people was going to cost "someone" $1.50 per minute. Unless, of course, you were going to use things like FreeConferenceCall.com or Skype for free, but then you looked like you were broke. And no one wants to do business with a business that looks like they are broke or have no money for tools, right? (Hello, I'm looking at you - Zoom Basic users....)

Yeah, The Big Apple is back baby!  But, The Big Apple might have been bruised. 

The economics of New York City (or any city) is based on volume. Commuters. Foot traffic. Every day. I just asked "OK, Google: how many people commute to and from NYC every day?" and she came back with 1.6M+ people flowing in and out of NYC every day, via bus, train, subway, and car. 

I was all alone on the bus to NYC. A bus that normally has "standing room only" during rush hour. I was able to get a room at the Hilton in Times Square for well less than $200 on Thursday night, with a free breakfast. I did notice that Uber, Lyft and Via were MORE expensive, due to a lack of VOLUME. Ah so - their business model is based on VOLUME. 

Here is what I know to be true. I will now be going to NYC (at a minimum) twice a month for stay-over events. I will go to NYC a few more times a month for "day trips" for meetings and events. I will go to Orlando, San Diego and probably Mexico at least once a year. And, I will go to London and Toronto at least once a year for major events.

The rest of the time, I will be working from BOONTON USA. I will be teaching, training, coaching, mentoring from BOONTON USA. I will be living, learning, working, playing from BOONTON USA in the heart of Morris County, New Jersey. Also this: Google Morris County NJ - it's amazing for business.  

This past Thursday was a blast. An afternoon in Bryant Park, after a great meeting in Salesforce Tower. A fantastic dinner at Capital Grille (thanks Star2Star!) and an amazing rooftop bar experience at The Knickerbocker (thanks Jabra!). But, I don't have to go to NYC tomorrow (Monday) or any day this upcoming week. Unless something happens, and then I'll catch the bus to NYC, but I will still sleep in my own bed that night. 

Distance Learning has become DIGITAL Learning, and now post-COVID it is all just DIGITAL LIVING. 

I love going to New York City. Just not every day. New York (or any major city) became "big" because that is where the business phone system was, that is where "the files" were, the fax machine, the computers, the (damn I'm old) typewriters were. How many of the things that you HAD to go "to the city" to access are now in your smartphone? And here comes 5G which will make business grade high speed Wi-Fi available to most of the country. 

LAST WEEK OF THIS MONTH, I shall fly to San Diego for our first major LIVE event of 2021. It shall cost me an easy $2,000 in airfare and hotel. Probably closer to $3,000 for the week, all in, when I add up all food and Uber and such. Now my brain compares $3,000 for four days, vs. 10+ two-day events in "the city that never sleeps" for less than $3,000. Yeah, I'm still going to fly to San Diego to hang out with a few hundred people LIVE (in the heat of the summer no less) but I am still crunching the numbers. I see the opportunity cost analysis of staying with NYC (ten times) vs. flying to San Diego (one time) clearly, do you? 

I think the biggest thing that COVID-19 did (to all of us) is it forced us to calculate opportunity costs. Going to the city to work vs. working from home. Travel vs. Not Traveling. Going to school "on campus" vs. attending a class in the clouds. "Zoom" vs. Hotel Room. Humans like to have choices. 

It was GREAT to meet people in real life. LIVE is better than VIDEO, 100% true, no debate. The brain chemistry is different when you are in the same room. It is visceral, you can feel human connection, or lack thereof. Note to self: always have breath mints - for you - and for them! 

And the steak that I had at Capital Grille was amazing. But you cannot eat Filet Mignon every day, right? All things in moderation. This is why I only blog on Sundays, and not every day. The people that I met (shook hands, and even a few hugs) will make our NEXT meeting on video that much better. Meeting LIVE and then meeting on video is always very different than only meeting on video and never meeting live. 

Yeah, absence (scarcity) makes the heart grow fonder. 

Scarcity: good for Zoom and Blogs and Filet Mignon. Bad for any business or for any city that needs (requires) high volume of foot traffic (or paying customers) daily

This Thursday's Commute to NYC



Sunday, July 4, 2021

Happy Truth Dependence Day 2021

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Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.

Dependence: the quality or state of being dependent; especially: the quality or state of being influenced or determined by or subject to another.

Examples of DEPENDENCE

  • The company was hurt by its dependence on government loans.
  • Our dependence upon foreign oil makes our economy vulnerable.
  • The country has a dependence on foreign trade.

I find it interesting, that our great country, our entire way of life was built on the concept of
Independence. But everything that we talk about, everything that we fight for, and everything that we pay for is the opposite of living a life of independence.

The same country that was born out of independence is now very dependent indeed. And technology has always been at the heart of it all.

We fought for our independence in 1776. And we used the technology of the day (ships, muskets, cannon, maps) to fight and win that war. How long ago was that exactly?

From and including: Thursday, July 4, 1776
To, but not including Sunday, July 4, 2021

Result: 89,485 days. Or:


  • 7,731,504,000 seconds
  • 128,858,400 minutes
  • 2,147,640 hours
  • 12,783 weeks and 4 days.

It took me just a few seconds to figure out exactly how many days (or even hours) ago the Declaration of Independence was signed. But, I could not do the above cut and paste magic without - wait for it - my good friend Google and his father (the military brat who was born in the USA) The Internet.

As a self-employed businessman, I am very dependent on technology, and I am not alone. Business, Higher Education, Medicine, the world of Finance, and certainly the Military is very deeply DEPENDENT on many things, but none so much as our deep and growing mutual
dependence on technology. Ships, trains, automobiles, computers, telephone. The mastery of the sea, air and space. All of this since our declaring our INDEPENDENCE.

From Google:
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory. The opposite of independence is a dependent territory. Independence does not necessarily mean freedom.

Catch that?  
Independence does not necessarily mean freedom. Freedom is not free, and neither is the Internet, or solar power, or electric cars, or any of the things that we connect to living in the country known as the home of the free and the land of the brave.


July 4th, 1776 was the date that we DECLARED our Day of Independence. Funny how we never declared our date of DEPENDENCE.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident....."
Monarchy asserts that all men are NOT created equal, that the King or Emperor possesses rights significantly greater than those persons subject to the ruler. A monarch has the ability to create, suspend or obviate existing laws by their own volition. Life could be taken by a King. Liberty could be suspended or destroyed by an emperor, and the pursuit of happiness did not factor into many lives subject to tyrannical rulers.

Today, Freedom requires the Mastery of Technology. No Question.

But also this: Freedom cannot exist without the rule of law.
Freedom cannot co-exist with lies.

Above all: Freedom DEPENDS on the Truth.
And the enemies of FREEDOM know this all too well.
No "Alternative Facts" allowed, thank you very much.

Our founding fathers were fueled on ideals that were once seemingly revolutionary: freedom and democracy. America was born from the idea of providing opportunity and equality for all. The Mastery of Technology made the USA possible. Lies stop us from reaching our full potential in business and life - and as a country.

America: The Great Experiment. Today: the misuse of technology (to spread lies and falsehoods) can destroy our country. And that's the truth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_facts

https://www.politicususa.com/2021/07/02/rudy-giuliani-fox-news-big-lie.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2021/06/facebook-insurrection-was-not-our-fault/619114/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/05/06/twitter-facebook-trump-posts/


Truth, Justice and the American Way






Sunday, June 27, 2021

Question: is the poop well formed?

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Our little Senior Doggie Colin has a pooper problem.

He is getting up there in years. We think he is around 15, not sure exactly, as he was a "failed foster" rescue. Two days ago, he started pooping in the house. When we first fostered him many years ago, he pooped in the house and I was not amused.

On Friday, I called my wife on her cell to tell her that Colin pooped in the house. My wife, the RN, asked: "Is the poop well formed?" I told her yes, it is a work of art. I'm going to sell it online as a unique NFT token. 

Like I said, when we first got Colin, he pooped in the house, often. The person who helped us to foster Colin years ago said he was being "defiant" because he mad about getting moved around so much. Once he realized that he was HOME, and that he was now a successful "failed foster" the pooping in the house indeed stopped. 

Our vet, Park View Veterinary Hospital in Boonton USA is amazing. We think that Colin ate something in the woods that he should not have. We think this episode shall pass over time. 

Colin is now on special food, meds, and over time he should be fine. But for now - he's still a super pooper. How is it POSSIBLE that such a small dog can poop this much? No, seriously, how is more coming out than what is going in?  Oh, and by the way, the poop is NOT well formed. Not at all. Colin put the "dire" in diarrhea. I did learn that Acute Diarrhea is diarrhea that lasts a short time. There is nothing "cute" about it, trust me.

I find myself this Sunday morning searching the Internet for Doggie Diapers. Google Doggie Diapers. Seriously, even if you don't have a dog - just do it. You will be amazed about this cottage industry. 

I had NO IDEA. How many brands, sizes, types, styles there are for Doggie Diapers. Doggie Diapers for old doggies, young doggies, big, small, disposable, reusable.  There are blogs - many blogs - just about doggie diapers. 

I can get Doggie Diapers today - on a Sunday - at Walmart, Pet Smart, Petco, and many other places.  I can get Doggie Diapers delivered to my home - on a Sunday. Same day delivery of Doggie Diapers. On a Sunday! Is this not amazing? 

We are truly all living, learning, working, playing in the global cloud economy.

Colin's Diaper Caper makes me pause. When we are born, we live in diapers. As we get older, we no longer wear diapers. If we live a long and fulfilled life, we might find ourselves (once again) back in diapers. 

We must all do our best to "make the best" of our non-diaper years. But - thank God for diapers!

Diapers > No Diapers > Back to Diapers. The circle of life. This weekend, my wife would say many times: "No! Colin! No! Outside!!!!"

Fast Forward (20, 30 years....)  "No! Dad! No! Outside!!!!!!!"

Did my Sunday blog resonate with you?  Well, that depends, right? 

Rescue Doggie "Old Man" Colin Capone



Sunday, June 20, 2021

OK Daddy-O

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Daddio is a variant form of daddy-o, slang or hip variant of Dad or Daddy. A cool male. From the 1950s Beatnick culture. Ah, but is it Daddio or Daddy-O? And which came first: Dad or Daddy?

Pop or Poppa, or is it Pappy? Maybe it is Papi. 

I really don't think Darth Vader would have said "Luke, I am your Daddy" (or Pop, or Pappy). 

My kids always called me Dad. Sometimes my wife says "Daddy" when talking about me - on the phone - to the kids. Now that both boys are married, I have two new daughters. Hearing "Dad" from anyone but my two boys was (is now) very cool. 

I remember the TV show Daddio, an American sitcom that aired on NBC from March 23 to October 23, 2000. It stared Michael Chiklis and Anita Barone. 

The show's first season consisted of five episodes, but was renewed for a second season of 13 more episodes. However, only four (4) shows were aired, before NBC canceled the show in October 2000 due to low ratings. Four shows were aired. 

Four

Season one of Seinfeld, was originally called The Seinfeld Chronicles. The series name was shortened to Seinfeld because there was already ANOTHER sitcom called The Marshall Chronicles. The Seinfeld pilot was originally met with very poor responses from test audiences, and NBC decided not to pick up the show. However, believing the series had potential, NBC executive Rick Ludwin ordered four episodes - about a year after NBC's rejection. With only four episodes after the pilot, season one of Seinfeld is one of the smallest sitcom orders in television history. 

Daddio. Seinfeld. One had a Rick Ludwin in their corner. The other, not so much. 

To me, a business is like a marriage. It can be short lived, or it can last a lifetime. You have hopes and dreams, but there are no guarantees. I had to ask my wife Dianne (my mother's nurse at the time) to go out with me many, many, many times before she FINALLY said yes. Five years later, we were married. I was my own Rick Ludwin. 

I see business, and family, like a sitcom. The cast of characters can come and go. The ratings can be high, the ratings can be low. The road can be rocky, as there are never guarantees of success. 

But when it's right, you will have the time of your life. 


Family. Business. Family Business!!!!


Time of your life







Sunday, June 13, 2021

Loki Dokie

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Is Tom Hiddleston OK?

One theory is that "OK" actually originated with the Hessians soldiers during the Revolutionary War in the US, where the acronym OK stood for "ohne Korrektur," (without correction). 

I also heard that when doctors inspected the camping areas of injured soldiers, trying to count the number of dead bodies........ if nobody had died in a specific tent, they used to mark it as OK (zero K), or Zero Killed. And, that would create happiness, since "OK" on the side of the tent meant that no one died inside.

The Scots expression och aye, the Greek ola kala ('it is good'), the Choctaw Indian oke or okeh ('it is so') the French aux Cayes ('from Cayes', a port in Haiti with a reputation for good rum) could be the source.

Or, the initials of a railway freight agent called Obediah Kelly who is said to have written OK on all of the documents he had personally checked and approved. 

Ah, but is it OK to say Okey-dokey? Or is it "Okie-dokie" 

Okey-dokey is a playful or humorous way of saying "okay." It means the same thing, but would be used in fewer situations. It would not be used as a verb: "The boss has to okay the decision" is acceptable, "The boss has to okey-dokey the decision" is not. 

Disney+ / Marvel Studios "Loki" launched on June 9th and it broke the internet. Loki, the God of Mischief, steps out of his brother's shadow to embark on an adventure that takes place after the events of "Avengers: Endgame" which also, previously broke the internet. Rotten Tomatoes has Loki at 96% and rising. 

By the way, how is Disney+ doing these days? Is it just OK? Or is Disney+ doing Okay? I am kinda feeling that Disney+ is doing Okie Dokie Artichokie!  

Is Loki a bad guy? Or is Loki now a good guy? Or is Loki such a bad guy that we love him? Maybe we shall love Loki like he is the "Tony Soprano" of the Marvel Universe, right? 

Tom! Where are you going with this? Seriously, are YOU OK?

Before June 9th, there was a slim chance that YOU (the person reading this) knew who Loki was from reading comic books. There is a better chance that you knew who Loki was from the Marvel movies. There is now a VERY good chance that you (or someone that you know) is going to talk to you about Loki, a delightful diversion from the MCU as we know it. Test: did you know what MCU means? 

Yeah, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) owned by The Walt Disney Company became a thing. A very big thing. 

Disney+ was launched on November 12, 1999 and has 103.6 million paid users as of April 2021. Disney owns Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ have become the ultimate streaming trio. You did catch WandaVision on Disney+ right? 

If I said "Mandalorian" around a year ago, would you know what I was talking about? 

Today, you do.

Tom Hiddleston, who (currently?) plays Loki will never be the same. Just as when we say Thor, we think Chris Hemsworth. And when we say Iron Man, we think Robert Downey Jr. 

But - when we say HULK, we think..... Lou Ferrigno???? Who did YOU see in your mind when you just read HULK? Edward Norton? Mark Ruffalo? Eric Bana? Don't tell me Bill Bixby......

When I say Captain America do you not IMMEDIATELY see Chris Evans in your mind?

BRANDING is an art. And Walt Disney, was at his core, an artist. 

OK. That's my blog for today. My "Master Class" on branding has ended. Okay? 

See? I fooled you all. Just like Loki..... the God of Mischief. 

Before the days of SMS, "K" was used as Morse code prosign form "Go Ahead". This slang term was popularized in the film "The Little Rascals" (Oki doki). The phrase can be extended further, e.g. "Okie dokie (aka) pokie / smokie / atrichokie / karaoke. 

And that folks is......

The Matthew McConaughey Brand

https://youtu.be/WIsiLZBIEQI




Sunday, June 6, 2021

We're back baby!

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August 24, 2020. "The Feud" between Jerry Seinfeld and James Altucher was hot and heavy. 

James launched the first salvo with his "NYC IS DEAD FOREVER. HERE'S WHY" post. Jerry shot back with his "SO YOU THINK NEW YORK IS DEAD (IT'S NOT)" New York Times opinion rebuttal. FIGHT!!!

I remember reading the post in LinkedIn from James and saying to myself: "Holy Shit, he's right."

I also remember reading the Op-Ed response to James from Jerry and saying to myself: "Holy Shit, he's right." 

June 6th, 1944. 28,125 days ago. 

The Normandy landings were the landing operations and associated airborne operations on Tuesday, June 6th 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front. 

The day before, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was preparing to send Allied troops across the English Channel to France. There he hoped they would push the German troops, who fought for an authoritarian fascist state, back across Europe, securing a victory for democracy over authoritarianism. 

On the afternoon of June 5th, Eisenhower went to see the men he was almost certainly sending to their deaths. He joked with the troops, with his letter "The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!"

But after cheering his men on, he went back to headquarters and wrote another letter. This letter was designed to blame himself alone if Operation Overlord failed. It read:

"Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and Devotion to Duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone." 

The second letter of course, was never delivered. 

Operation Overlord was a success, launching the final assault in which western democracy (defended by ordinary men and women) would beat back - and destroy European fascism. 

June 6th, 2021. It has now been 287 days since the Jerry Seinfeld New York Times Op-Ed response to James Altucher. 

This month, NYDLA ( and now NADLA) will be hosting it's first LIVE (yet hybrid) event in NYC. Fittingly and ironically our first LIVE event will be hosted on THE INTREPID Sea, Air and Space museum. Launched in 1943, the former aircraft carrier USS Intrepid fought in World War II, surviving five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike. Intrepid, indeed. 

Today I pause to reflect on how General Dwight D. Eisenhower did not need to send his second letter 28,125 days ago. I also pause to reflect on the Jerry / James feud regarding the fate of New York City from 287 days ago. And now: I look forward to our "Building Back Better" event - the first of MANY events - in the city that never sleeps. 

As George Costanza of Seinfeld would say: "We're back baby!"