Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Cool Table


Last night we all went out for dinner with the family and friends. There is a cool “All You Can Eat” Sushi Bar called Mr. Sushi.  Well, if this is the place that Sushi is named after, it must be great, right?

My job (beyond financing the meal) is to torture the waiter / waitress whenever we go out to dinner. I let them know that I am good tipper straight up, so that we don’t get kicked out before the food arrives.

When we go out to eat, there is always good food, lots of laughs, and lots of snarly and snarky comments. No one asked last night for us to “keep it down” which has happened on several occasions.

The place had a policy - you can order all the Sushi that you wanted - but - if you WASTE any food, they will charge you FULL PRICE for anything that you don’t eat.

Scene I
The waiter told us that the place will soon get busy, so if we want to order MORE food, we might want to order the 2nd round - now - otherwise we might have to wait. “Oh, sure, let me double down right now, so we don’t have to wait! Thanks for the advice, Mr. Waiter!”

The girls all ordered WAY MORE than they could possibly eat. So, the boys had to eat what they could not, otherwise the bill at the end of the night (according the to fine print on the menu) COULD be 2x.

So, the scene turned from happy and silly, to “EAT THAT DAMN SUSHI!”  Why the hell did you order so much food!  We are gonna have to pay double you fool!  I can’t eat another bite! Does anyone have a purse? Put it in your purse!

It ended well. We only had one or two pieces go begging, and we were able to break them apart and spread the rice around, destroying the evidence. REMINDING the waiter that I am a good tipper, we all said how much we loved the place and how we would be back again soon!

We are never going back.

This was not just an Sushi Bar, it was an ALL YOU CAN EAT Sushi Bar. The ALL YOU CAN EAT was the hook. The ALL YOU CAN EAT made them stand out from the rest. We drove an extra 10 miles to see Mr. Sushi, because HE was going to let us be gluttons!

This morning all of our house guests - we all KNOW what we did last night. We all did the walk of shame. Let’s just say that we all used the Febreze® in the bathroom this morning. Too vivid? Sorry.

Scene II
As I sit here thinking about ALL YOU CAN EAT things in other areas of life, how do they really work? At the end of the day, are there any ALL YOU CAN EAT things where people are truly glad and more happy due to the fact that they made pigs of themselves?

All you can eat data plans on cell phones. All you can eat voice and text. All the movies you can download and watch in the month. All the books you can read for a flat fee. Is there anything in business or in life where UNLIMITED really makes it better? We know that UNLIMITED makes it MORE, but does it make it any better?

Last night, my first bite of Sushi was amazing. In fact, the first few bites made me say the frequently uttered line “Oh, this is the best Sushi I have ever had - ever.” And then, bite after bite, piece after piece, I was slowly starting to wish that Mr. Sushi would commit hara-kiri.

“That bastard Mr. Sushi is running a scam!” was the general consensus at the cool table, less than an hour after we all sat down.

The things in life that we have unlimited access (Social Media, for one) do not get better because of quantity.

Quality does not come from quantity. But our brains see ALL YOU CAN EAT and we will drive further, and wait in line longer to get it. Lemmings, all of us.

Bigger is not better.  Better is better.  

With that being said, I would not say no to one of the kids running out and buying the LARGER size bottle of Pepto-Bismol this morning.

We DO love the VALUE PACK, however....

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lemonade Antidote


Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business or other organization. The entrepreneur chooses/develops a business model, acquires the human and other required resources and is fully responsible for its success or failure. Entrepreneurship operates within an entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Entrepreneurship within an existing firm or large organization has been referred to as intrapreneurship and may include corporate ventures where large entities spin off subsidiary organizations. Entrepreneurs are leaders willing to take risk and exercise initiative, taking advantage of market opportunities by planning, organizing, and employing resources, often by innovating new or improving existing products. More recently, the term entrepreneurship has been extended to include a specific mindset resulting in entrepreneurial initiatives, e.g. in the form of social entrepreneurshippolitical entrepreneurship, or knowledge entrepreneurship.

This was the scene that I saw when I left my driveway yesterday around noon. Six adorable girls, doing a well choreographed dance with pom poms and umbrellas, getting people to slow down, stop, and then buy Lemonade for $0.50 per cup. And, with 1/2 of the profits from their enterprise going to charity - Animal Rescue no less. I asked the father who was in charge of quality control and supervising (my neighbor who I had yet to meet) if I could take few pictures for my blog, since this week's topic would be...wait for it....Entrepreneurship

It turns our that our new neighbor works for one of my largest clients. I am so glad that I already gave a big tip to the girls BEFORE learning this fact.

According to Paul Reynolds, founder of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, "by the time they reach their retirement years, half of all working men and women in the United States probably have a period of self-employment of one or more years; one in four may have engaged in self-employment for six or more years. Participating in a new business creation is a common activity among U.S. workers over the course of their careers." In recent years, entrepreneurship has been claimed as a major driver of economic growth in both the United States and Western Europe.

There are many definitions for Entrepreneur, but one is as follows: an individual who organizes or operates a business or businesses. Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to lead a business in a positive direction by proper planning, to adapt to changing environments and understand their own strengths and weakness.  These adorable six girls having a blast on a Saturday afternoon - while doing great work for our society - they are the future of business in this country. 

I am an Entrepreneur. I know that my greatest strength is in sales, marketing and in business development. I can wear many hats, but some hats fit better than others. And, some hats make me look like a fool (like a beanie with a propeller on top).  The key is to know your weakness, and to find others who can complement your weakness. Walt had his brother Roy Disney. Hewlett had his friend Packard. Very few people make it alone. And the sooner an Entrepreneur can figure this out, the better the chances of success. 

Yes, I have many weaknesses.  And one big one is that I can never, ever say no to Girl Scouts selling cookies, or say no to little girls twirling umbrellas (no matter WHAT they are selling). 

Let's just say that here are some very happy dogs and cats at 11th Hour Rescue.  

Left to right, Eric SchmidtSergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, which is 
sometimes cited as an example of entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation.
Sergey and Larry needed help, and they hired Eric. Google it!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

TED knows best

Sugata Mitra is the winner of the 2013 TED Prize: 
Build a School in the Cloud, where children can explore and learn from one another.

 Education is a self-organizing system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon.

 The Victorians were great engineers. They engineered a [schooling] system that was so robust that it's still with us today, continuously producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists.

   It's quite fashionable to say that the education system's broken — it's not broken, it's wonderfully constructed. It's just that we don't need it anymore. It's outdated. 

Ever watch a talk?
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan: "Ideas Worth Spreading".

TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event. The annual conference began in 1990, in Monterey, California. TED's early emphasis was technology and design, consistent with its origins in the Silicon Valley. Since June 2006, the talks have been offered for free viewing online, through As of April 2014, over 1,700 talks are available free online. By January 2009 they had been viewed 50 million times. In June 2011, the viewing figure stood at more than 500 million, and on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, TED Talks had been watched one billion times worldwide. TED's mission statement:
We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we're building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

The TED Prize was introduced in 2005. Until 2010, it annually granted three individuals $100,000 and a "wish to change the world". Each winner unveils their wish at the main annual conference. Since 2010, in a changed selection process, a single winner is chosen to ensure that TED can maximize its efforts in achieving the winner's wish. For 2013, the prize amount was increased to $1 million.

Now, here is your homework assignment:
  • Watch this prize winning talk
  • Think
  • Spread

Why? Because "Everything is Distance Learning"