Sunday, January 23, 2022

Do you have any Sanka?

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

We were watching the comedian Sebastian Maniscalco last night on Netflix. He was talking about having "company" come over. In the comedy bit, he talked about how every household would have "Sanka" in the pantry, waiting for company, and waiting for the company to ask: "Do you have any Sanka?"  

YES! Why yes, OF COURSE we have Sanka! 

There are two kinds of people in the world today. Those who will say "Oh, yeah... Sanka!" And those who will say "What the heck is Sanka?" 

Decaffeinated coffee was developed in 1903. The brand name Sanka was derived from the French words sans caffeine (without caffeine) and the brand came to the United States and first marketed in the U.S. in 1923. Sanka was initially sold at two Sanka Coffee Houses in New York, but Sanka was soon brought into retail. 

Intense American advertising started in 1927 with radio broadcasts of Sanka After-Dinner Hour. Sanka was a sponsor of I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone and The Andy Griffith Show. James Bond drank Sanka in Live and Let Die. Sanka was mentioned in an episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry, Elaine and George all order Sanka from different cafes. Tony Soprano drank Sanka. And now, in the Netflix series Cobra Kai season 2 episode 1, Johnny says "...and bring me a cup of Sanka, red hot...just like you, doll face." 

I checked, and you can still buy Sanka on Amazon. And Walmart. I bet they have Sanka at our local stores, as well. I'll check. In the 1970s there were 300+ brands of coffee sold in the America, and Sanka was number three out of three hundred. 

Where are you going with this, Tom?

How does a product go from a major brand, something that is on every radio station, every popular TV show, a product that is #3 in its market, to something that a comedian puts in their comedy bit?

"Do you have any Sanka?" from Sebastian Maniscalco makes the crowd howl with laughter. It seems that Sanka was in EVERY RESPECTABLE HOUSEHOLD in America just a few years ago. Today, not so much. Today, Sanka is a punchline. Even asking for Sanka is the setup for a joke in today's media. 

Today, there is no Sanka in our house. I have no memory of Sanka EVER being in our house - but Sanka WAS in our house when I was growing up. When I was a kid growing up in Cedar Grove, New Jersey we were the "We've got company!" family in the Maniscalco comedy bit. 

2022: Sanka was renamed Maxwell House Sanka and sold as a part of the larger, more popular line of Maxwell House coffees that include Colombian, French Roast and Cappuccino products. The original formula for Sanka was NOT changed. 

Here is the point of today's Sunday blog: How does a BRAND go from being the #3 coffee out of 300+ in the country, to being the butt of a joke?  There are hundreds of Sanka Jokes on the Internet: What kind of coffee did they serve on the Titanic? Sanka

To all of my CMO friends out there - what happened to Sanka? I say The Sanka Chronicles should be a Harvard School of Business Marketing Case Study. 

"Sanka Decaffeinated Instant Coffee delivers superb flavor without the caffeine. This decaffeinated coffee is 99.7% caffeine free, so you can relax and rest easy. Add one teaspoon of Sanka decaffeinated instant coffee to 6 fluid ounces of boiling water and stir. Sanka!" ~ Thomas Capone, CEO

Cool. Now I'm a product spokesman for Sanka, just like James Bond and Tony Soprano. 

But this morning, I'll have "a Nespresso" thanks to brand spokesman George Clooney. Alas, there is (still) no Sanka in our house. And we all know, it's not coffee........ it's NESPRESSO. 

Sanka Commercial 1970s - The 3rd Largest Coffee in America!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Choking Hazards

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A choking hazard is any object that could be caught in a child's throat blocking their airway and making it difficult or impossible to breathe. 

10 Choking Hazards for Babies and Toddlers are whole grapes, hard candies, taffy, gum, nuts, seeds, popcorn, peanut butter and raw vegetables and cookies. 

Toys, household items and foods can all be a choking hazard for a young child. The most common cause of nonfatal choking in young children is food. At least one child dies from choking on food every five days in the USA. More than 12,000 children are taken to a hospital emergency room each year for food choking injuries. 

What size is a choking hazard in children? 

Avoid marbles, coins, balls, and games that are 1.75 inches (4.4 centimeters) in diameter or less because they get stuck in the throat above the windpipe and make breathing difficult. 

Are wooden blocks a choking hazard? Well, yes - if splinters off wooden blocks are not smoothly finished. Choking on small parts of building block sets or on broken parts of brittle plastic blocks. You can also get cuts from the sharp edges of broken brittle plastic blocks. 

How wide is a 3 year old's esophagus? Well, the opening is slightly wider than a quarter, or about the width of two fingers. Some parents use a toilet paper roll tube as a practical alternative to a small parts tester. If it fits down the tube, it's too small. 

Where are you going with this Tom?

Well, is there ANYTHING that I said so far that you would call fake news? Is there anything that I said so far that you could twist into a political argument? Is there anything about child choking hazards that should be (could be) blocked, or hidden or twisted into misinformation

Again: At least one child dies from choking on food every five days in the USA.

Fact. Not fake news, sadly

Now ask yourself: regardless of your political affiliation, regardless of your age, your religion, is there ANYTHING I said so far in this Sunday Blog that you would take offense? Is there anything in this blog that you would not share immediately with a new parent, or someone that you cared about? Is there anything in this blog that should not be read by everyone in the USA?

Or, are there people out there fighting for their FREEDOM! Don't tell me what my kid can put in his mouth! Don't push your science or research on me! I'll decide what my kid can and cannot eat, or play with! Fake Science! You are anti-toy! You are anti-grape!!!! 

My guess, is that there are very (very) few people who are Pro-Choking Hazard in the USA. What do you think? 

So why does SCIENCE and RESEARCH make so much sense, and feel so right for combating Childhood Choking, and not for combating a pandemic? 

I guess we should just be thankful that the Anti-Anti-Choking coalition never took hold in this country, am I right? 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Batteries, Bulbs, Blogs and Bucks

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When the kids were little, we always made sure that we had plenty of batteries around the house during the holidays and birthdays. Because it was always a mood killer when one of the boys got a cool toy that they cannot use because the batteries were not included. Ah, but how many batteries should we stockpile?

Well, it was always more than five, but less than fifty. In other words, it was never imagined that we would EVER need more than FIFTY batteries in a single day.

And, hording batteries is not a good idea, because having MORE than you could ever need, does not give you an incremental peace of mind. MORE batteries in the junk drawer in the kitchen did not help anything. And, the money spent on hoarding batteries could be spent on something else, something more useful. And, batteries will slowly lose their power when sitting in the junk drawer. So the rule became: more than five, less than fifty. 

Similar but different rules for light bulbs. In our house, we don't have a major surplus of light bulbs in storage. In our house, we have normal light bulbs, low voltage bulbs, and some lights where they are fancy, high intensity floodlights. "Hey, the light is out in the master bedroom shower". Well if we don't have THAT BULB, we can take the bulb out of the guest bathroom, swap them out, and then put on the shopping list: light bulbs. Very low stress transaction. Now, the light bulb for the floodlight on the deck is expensive. And the package says lasts for 1,000+ hours guaranteed. And it is long, not round, so technically is it even a "bulb" at all? We never have spares for the deck floodlight. None. Damn, is it light bulb or lightbulb???

Spoiler Alert: you are currently reading my Sunday Blog. I was on a Seth Godin LinkedIn Live session yesterday, at noon - on Saturday. There was around 3,000+ attending LIVE. At noon. On a Saturday. But the recording of the session is now available. What is the difference between attending LIVE, vs. watching the archive? I predict that there is a small percentage of people who attended the LinkedIn LIVE yesterday (a Saturday) AND they will watch the archive of that LinkedIn LIVE AGAIN

I noticed that the New York Times just charged my card (again) $17 for my monthly access to their online subscription. I cannot remember the last time I actually used it. 

Then I started to think about money. You know, bucks. Is money more like batteries or light bulbs or blogs? Don't even get me started on podcasts. 

Money seems to be more like batteries. If you have MORE than you can possibly need or use, having EXCESS will not produce additional peace of mind. And, the time you spend acquiring the surplus could be spent on something more useful (your family, your health, your community). And, the surplus dollars will slowly lose their buying power while sitting in storage. The world needs more George Bailey, less Mr. Potter. 

OK, land the plane Tom...

It's all about time. Not money. Time is the only measure that matters. How much TIME it takes to run to the store (on a Christmas morning?) to buy batteries for the toys. Or to get the light bulbs for the bathroom or the deck floodlight. You cannot read two blogs at once. If you are reading THIS right now, you are NOT reading someone else's blog - right now. It's impossible. 

How many audio books do you have in your Audible library? How many blogs enter your inbox every day? How many subscriptions do you pay for, and then never use? 

Everything, everything, EVERYTHING is about Time Management. Not money management. Time. You can make more money, you cannot make more time. And Leadership is about Options Management. Good leaders help their people make the best possible decisions, on what and where to spend - their TIME. 

There is a cool Navy SEAL saying: "Two is one and one is none". In other words, have two knives, one is a backup. Have two guns, one is a backup. Have two of anything important, because if you only had ONE and lose that are toast. So, two is one and one is none makes good sense. But not twenty - just two. This idea simply emphasizes the importance of a backup plan. That having one of something is like having none at all and that having two of anything is the same as what you think having one is.

OH TOM! You can never have too much money! 

OK Google: how many hours are in 72 years (the average life expectancy) 

631,139 hours. That is how much time you have to make the money - to then - buy the batteries, the light bulbs, read the blogs or listen to those Audible books. And don't even get me started on listening to podcasts. You can always make more money, but you cannot (ever) make more time

Batteries, Bulbs, Blogs and Bucks: it's all really about time management. 

OK, see you right here next Sunday! Now, please excuse me while I go cancel that New York Times subscription. I can use that $17 to buy... well, not light bulbs. Or batteries. 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

One, Two, Twenty Twenty Two

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

I am told via the Twitterverse that 2022 is the only year that will have 3 numbers the same, until 2111. So that is 89 years from now. Cool. 

And then, I thought: Hey - I won't be here for that. And my wife and kids will not be here for that! And that was slightly depressing. Slightly distressing, dreary, gloomy, dispiriting, disheartening, discouraging, upsetting and even somewhat sad. I said out loud "OK Google, what are the SYNONYMS for depressing? And you can see the Googleverse response above.

And then, THAT response made me pause, reflect and then ask: "OK Google: what are the ANTONYMS for depressing?

Bright, cheerful, comforting, encouraging, exhilarating, glad, happy, joyful, light, pleasant, sunny, cheering. 

One of my favorite humans is Seth Godin. He blogs DAILY. I myself, blog on Sundays. Seth writes a blog if the sun comes up. I blog EVERY Sunday without fail - sorta. is all about how Time doesn't scale. And why Time is worth so much. 

"OK, Google. What was big news in 1922?"

1) The Harlem Renaissance. 2) The Dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. 3) The Teapot Dome Scandal. 4) The Great Railroad Strike of 1922. 5) The Disarmament Conference 6) Sinclair Lewis published Babbitt. 7) Amelia Earhart Sets Altitude Record for Females. 8) T.S. Eliot "The Wasteland" is published. 9) Rebecca Felton becomes the First Female Senator. 10) First Automated Telephone Service. 

Wow, right? Saying "OK Google" over my shoulder (the smart speaker is behind me) is like my own personal time machine. 

On October 14th, 1922 the first automated telephones began service at the Pennsylvania exchange in NYC. The purpose of the automated telephone service was to replace the human operators necessary to connect calls. 

Did you catch that? Replace. The. Humans. In 1922. Wow, they have been talking about replacing humans with technology for 100+ years, eh? A few years ago, before COVID hit, the big news was all about Climate Change, and Crypto, and Cyber, and  AI, and how robots were going to take all of our jobs. 

Right now, if you are so inclined, you can ask Google about Rebecca Felton, or learn more about The Teapot Dome Scandal, or better understand The Great Railroad Strike. And instantly, you will have way more knowledge, way more information, way more....( do I need to Google "way more")? 

So I was (slightly) depressed when I thought about how I won't be around in 2111. And, there is a 99% chance that every fully-formed adult that knows me will also not be around in 2111. But something that I worked on, something that I created, something that I contributed to - might be. 

Maybe something that I worked on, or created, or made or supported WILL be around in 2111. Cool! 

As we celebrate a New Year, what we are really celebrating is Time. A snapshot of time, a window of time. The next 12 months - who will you spend time with? What will you spend time on

Your time, my time, their time - we all get the same number of minutes per day. We all can have our own George Bailey Moment (It's a Wonderful Life) if we spend our time well. If you read this far, you just invested TIME in reading my blog. Sorry? (Not Sorry....). 

"OK, Google, how can I better manage my time?"

You, Tom? Or people in general? 

No one likes a smartass robot. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Magic 8 Ball says......

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Remember the Magic 8 Ball? It was a special toy used for fortune telling process or seeking guidance manufactured by Mattel in the 1950s.

It had a 20 sided die - an icosahedron (geek much?) with 20 possible answers. 10 positive, 5 maybe, maybe not, and 5 negative. So, if you would shake it and "try again" the odds were that you would get a POSITIVE answer twice as often as a negative answer. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Will we go back to the office in 2022?


After many years of disruption, life in the USA is slowly returning to normal - except where it is not. Normal may never be normal again. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed us, made us question our values and rethink what is important, not important, and what IMPORTANT even means. 

What is an office, anyway? And why do we seek to RETURN to it? In 2022 the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we prioritize our time will be different - and will CONTINUE to morph. In 2022 businesses of any size will need to adjust to meet the new demands of PEOPLE, and this will be directly connected to the way we all use and implement technology. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Will we return to simpler times in 2022?


COVID-19 forced us to slow down, which was one of the more positive outcomes. During lockdown, people did begin to appreciate the little things, to enjoy time spent with family, to connect with loved ones, and to appreciate not having to "rush" everywhere. And DOGS and CATS were the big winners during the pandemic, to be sure. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Will we return to the office, or to a college campus in 2022?


The desire for simplicity will extend to work, to school - to everywhere. The term "meetings" or "class" shall never be the same. Business will need technology that just works - every time. And, the people who DO go to an office will simply walk into a room, have their meeting, and get on with their day. Simple, easy to use, high-quality technology which allows people (workers or students) to connect seamlessly with co-workers, classmates and clients with zero fuss will be mandatory

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Will we still commute to work in 2022?


There is a thing now called the 15 minute rule. During COVID-19 people realized what a total waste of time and money commuting to work was. They want to live within 15 minutes of the office - any office - if there even is an office to commute to. It has become widely accepted that we can be productive from anywhere. Workers who no longer wish to commute each day will demand that HYBRID working is a part of their default working arrangement. We shall see a rise in satellite offices, smaller offices located in suburban areas. As of this blog, Sears is converting their distressed mall properties into co-working places, low cost apartments, telemedicine centers, and business development zones. We hung out at "the mall" when we were kids. Now, we shall do it again, as fully-formed adults. Hanging out at the mall will become cool again. 

Business shall be conducted from anywhere and everywhere. Gartner believes that by the end of 2023, 40% of companies will use "operations anywhere" to combine virtual and physical interactions with customers and employees. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Should I Join the NYDLA (now NADLA) in 2022?


In the past two years, we have witnessed the rise in telemedicine, the boom of eCommerce, the rise of digital banking, and just about every business type adopting decentralized work practices and processes as a result of the pandemic. Cloud technologies and services, combined with the update of 5G and ever faster internet speeds, will continue to drive the decentralized workforce. 2022 will enable productivity and business continuity from any (every) time zone. Early in the pandemic, we were all scrambling to get headsets, laptops, cameras, even desks and chairs. 2022 will be the year that we all DEMAND work quality via technology. Pro-quality sound, crystal clear video, super fast internet will be table stakes for work in the New Year. We are all now living, learning, working, playing - teaching, training, coaching, mentoring - in the global Cloud Economy. But there is no need to go it alone. There is a support group for the future. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Will VR take off in 2022?

"My sources say no"

Video is king, and it will continue to dominate as we all move into 2022. Virtual workspaces are coming, but not in the near future. Comfort is key for remote work, and wearing a VR headset that is not lightweight is a deal breaker. VR meetings will happen when the hardware can be designed in a way that is comfortable, lightweight, and easy to wear for hours on end. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Should I continue to write a Sunday Blog in 2022?

"Reply hazy try again"

[shake shake shake]

"Better not tell you now"

[shake shake shake]

"Ask again later"

[shake shake shake]

"Cannot predict now"

[shake shake shake]

"Concentrate and ask again"

Will save me time and money in 2022?

Sunday, December 19, 2021

I can't have another byte of pie

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

A byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bits. Historically, the byte was the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in a computer and for this reason it is the smallest addressable unit of memory in many computer architectures. 

Ah, bytes and bits. FitbitGot it.

Fitbit is an American consumer electronics and fitness company. It produces wireless-enabled wearable technology, physical fitness monitors and activity trackers such as smartwatches, pedometers and monitors for heart rate, quality of sleep, and stairs climbed. Google bought Fitbit in 2021. 

The acquisition was scrutinized by regulators who were concerned over Google's access to personal data.

For some reason (too much time on my hands?) I went down the Fitbit Privacy Policy rabbit hole here: and

Does anyone ever read this stuff? Like, other than 0.01% of the population? And, the real question is this: would there be anything in that legal stuff that would make anyone say "Hey! Wait a minute - no way!" 

I wear my Fitbit pretty much 24 x 7. The only time I take it off is in the shower and when I need to charge it up. Fitbit (Google) knows everything about me now. They know my sleep patterns, my physical location, activity, heart rate, food plan, even how much water I drink (not enough). And, now has me in a local dog walking club. And I also know when and where MY FITBIT FRIENDS are located, and what they are doing (or not doing). There is an AMAZING amount of stuff found here at for those who want to find out what is possible

Folks, Google (and Facebook) knows everything. And - when you willingly "feed them" your personal data from things like Fitbit - well, that is over the top. When and where we are, what we are doing (dog park, shopping mall, office, home...) truly everything. Privacy is over. Especially when we willingly feed the machine. 

"OK, Google, what is pie?"  3.14159265359.....

"OK, Google, can I BUY pie in Boonton, NJ?"

[ OK, Tom: here is a list...of bakeries near Boonton, NJ.]  And now, on my personal Facebook page, up pops an ad for a local bakery in Boonton USA. Just like that, the wizards of both Google AND Facebook know that THIS Fitbit user is shopping for... pie

As of this blog, COVID-19 is, well, back. Was it ever gone? Around 30% of the US population has NOT been vaccinated. That number is not moving. There is a very interesting post about COVID-19 and Fitbit here: It talks about how Fitbit devices can identify signs of COVID-19 at its earliest stages. As of today, NHL and NFL teams are not playing scheduled games due to COVID-19. 

Cardio, Strength Training, Walking, Running, Yoga, Recipes, Health Eating Strategies, Snaking Tips, Smart Food Shopping, Stress, Mindfulness, Sleep Tips...and where to buy pie. These are all available to me, and for anyone who wants to know about me

The privacy train has left the station long ago. You can Google Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) all you want. Do you know who is NOT required to follow HIPAA? Life Insurers, Employers, Worker's Compensation Carriers, most schools and school districts, many state agencies, including child protective agencies, most law enforcement agencies, and many municipal offices. 

Saturday Night Live was (not) live-live "from New York" last night due to COVID-19 surging in New York City. At this point in the game, why not GO ALL IN on using technology to FIGHT COVID-19 with everything we got? 

Why not have my Fitbit "buzz" when I am in a COVID-19 hotspot? Why not have my Fitbit alert me when there is a "hint" of my having COVID-19 symptoms? Why not have my Fitbit talk to my primary care physician in real-time, 24x7? If my Fitbit can organize my Dog Park Walking Club, just imagine what it can do for a KICK COVID IN THE ASS Club? 

I see 2.9M+ people today on the page. I am sure the numbers are MUCH HIGHER on the Apple Watch pages. 

"OK, Google, how many people wear an Apple Watch?" 100M+

Privacy is a joke. Deep in our hearts, we know that Google, Facebook and Apple (and Amazon, and Netflix, and...) already know EVERYTHING about us - especially when we willingly SEND THEM our most personal data. Might as well put Big Tech to work saving lives, full guns, all in, right? 

Hey Big Tech: want to help your brand? KICK COVID'S ASS! For all of us. Thanks. 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Everyone Listen Up!!!

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

On December 10th, Seth's Blog declared this as his Book of the Year. I always find it cool how you can just say "Seth" and you know who I am talking about. If you simply type "Seth" into Google, he comes up first. Anyway, Seth says:
"The Wizard and the Prophet (book) delivers on so many things that we want a book to do - it could never be replicated by a website or even a film. The audiobook is even better - it's engaging, powerful and resonates really deeply."

Seth Godin said the audiobook is even better. Let that sink in.

There has been the debate of reading vs. audiobooks for years. For a 2016 study, Beth Rogowsky, an associate professor of education put her assumptions to the test. One group listened to Unbroken, a nonfiction book about World War II (by Laura Hillenbrand) while a second group read the same. A third group read AND listened at the same time. Afterward, everyone took a quiz designed to measure how well they had absorbed the material. "We found no significant differences in comprehension between reading, listening, or reading AND listening simultaneously," Rogowsky says. 

Personally, I love listening to audiobooks. And, when "read by the author" it is even better. It feels like a Master Class, with the author right there in the room (or in the car, or in the park) with me

Audiobooks have some strengths. Humans have been sharing information orally for tens of thousands of years, while the written word is a much more recent invention. When we are reading we are using parts of the brain that evolved for other purposes. We are making our brains do something that our brains were not really made to do - the cognitive task of reading is not normal. Listeners however, can derive a lot of information from a speaker's inflections, or intonations. Sarcasm is much more easily communicated via audio than printed text. People who hear Shakespeare spoken out loud tend to glean much more meaning from the actor's delivery, for example. was always all about distance learning, morphing into DIGITAL learning, and today it is really just DIGITAL LIVING. From TED talks to audio/video podcasts, to Zoom becoming a verb, technology based learning systems (TBLS) are now in every part of our lives. I always felt that Audiobooks were front and center in the distance (digital) learning world. 

And so, I have downloaded The Wizard and the Prophet from Audible. 

Brevity is bliss: Seth was right.