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. 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Our Client's Customer's Membership End-User Subscription Fees

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

Do you have clients or customers? And do you know (or care) about the difference?

Simply put, a client is the one who wants professional support or services from the company. Whereas, a customer refers to a person who purchases products or services from the company. Most of the time, clients commit to a longer business relationship, which may or may not end after the first purchase. 

Zoom became "a verb" long before COVID-19 changed the world forever. Last estimate, there are 1B+ people using Zoom for free - which costs Zoom Video Communications, Inc. around $100M+ per year, just to keep the free service, free. And yet, there are enough people in the world to make Zoom around $2.7B in 2021. So, even with giving Zoom away for FREE to over a billion people, Zoom had a net income of around $340M+ for the Q3 2021. 

Way back in 2014: "The Consumer Product Zoom - Zoom's HD video and screen sharing platform has an unprecedented ability to produce and stream a distinctively crisp image and a very clear audio transmission throughout your conversation, regardless of your bandwidth situation." 

Customers. Clients. Members. Users. Subscribers. 

I am old enough to remember paying AOL by the HOUR for their service. Then - AOL went to a flat monthly fee. Then - AOL became FREE. Today, from time to time, I still see people using an AOL email, like For me, that just makes me snicker, and I think to myself like DUDE! Get a Gmail, you look like a luddite with that AOL email.

BACK IN THE DAY: I remember paying around $0.50 per minute for my NYNEX cellular phone service - plus a monthly fee. It did not take much to have a $200+ monthly car phone bill. Today, you can get an "all you can" eat plan from most carriers for $15 per month. So back in the 1980's if you had a phone installed in your car you were in business (in some capacity) or very wealthy. What did you do for a living that you NEEDED to make phone calls from the car for around $0.50 per minute, plus taxes and fees? 

Peloton. Disney+. Netflix. Amazon Prime. Salesforce. NetSuite. QuickBooks. Workplace from Meta. Facebook from Meta. So ask yourself: the monthly cellular phone service that you are getting from ONE of the Big Three Wireless Carriers - are you a customer, a client, a member or a user - or a subscriber? 

With roughly 2.89B monthly active users, Facebook (from Meta) is the biggest social network worldwide. But Workplace (from Meta) has around 7M+ users worldwide. Facebook is free, Workplace is not free. Companies pay to have access to Workplace. But both have users. Not clients or customers or members, but they call them users

Twitter. LinkedIn. Uber. Airbnb. The Harvard Club. Your (local) country club. If you are reading this blog (and, you are - if you got this far) are you a subscriber of my blog, or is this a one-time thing? And do you have a favorite podcast

Zoom has 1B+ users world wide, but only a fraction of those users pay for Zoom. And yet, things are very good over at Zoom Video Communications, Inc. The community that I run NYDLA (and now NADLA) shall have 10M+ members come 2022 - mostly thanks to (sadly) the global pandemic. Other than Zoom, I don't know who could have grown more (or faster) during a global pandemic, as we pivoted from distance learning to DIGITAL learning to DIGITAL LIVING. And trust me (like Zoom) only a fraction of our membership pays. Otherwise I would be writing this blog from the beach in Fiji.

So, what do you have in YOUR business, in YOUR company? Customers? Clients? Members? Users? Subscribers?

Yes. The answer is yes, all of the above.

You have Customers, Clients, Members, Users AND Subscribers. It just depends on the day (or the year) you ask the question. 

Robbie is also the host of the podcast
"Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches" She coined the popular business term “Membership Economy"
which is now being used by organizations and journalists
around the country and beyond.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

I saw what you did there

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

Q:  When is a business not a business?  

A: When it is a Christmas Tree Farm

A few hours earlier today, we were with the kids in Madison, Connecticut. We were heading home from Thanksgiving Weekend. Last minute, we decided to tag along with Tommy and Danielle to get their Christmas Tree. First Christmas in their new home! 

I was in charge of Konta our dog, so I was also in charge of photography. And I guess videography, if we want to get technical. Here is what struck me - but not until our ride home to New Jersey.

  • Trees are all $60 regardless of size, shape, or condition.
  • You are Paul Bunyan. They hand you a saw, and wish you good luck.
  • You pick the tree, you cut the tree, you haul the tree to your car.
It truly did not hit me until our 2+ hour drive home. Is this a business, or is this something else? And what other business - seasonal or otherwise - operates under such a model? 
  • The more you sell - the worse the quality of the product. (The good ones go fast).
  • The customer is always right - and - the customer is also always wrong.
  • There is a short window of opportunity - Christmas Trees are hard to sell on December 26th.
Hey Google: How long does it take to grow a Christmas Tree big enough to harvest? 

Hey Tom: Most tree varieties are ready to harvest at the popular height of 5 to 7 feet in around eight years. 

Damn, sounds like a terrible business. Except of course, when it is NOT a terrible business. 

Turns out that Christmas Trees are a very profitable cash crop for a small acreage farm. They are low maintenance, ideal for a spare time project, and can produce a good income for years to come. According to the American Christmas Tree Association (this is a thing) the average price of a Christmas Tree at a U-Cut lot was $74 in 2020. With 200 ready to harvest trees per acre, that is $14,800 of pretty close to net profit. 

And the market for live Christmas Trees is growing, as the buying public is turning it's back on plastic artificial trees in favor of the "real thing."  And, in addition to making a good income, Christmas Tree Farmers provide erosion control, wildlife habitat and improve the environment.  

So, I stand corrected. Ninety-Four Million U.S. Households will celebrate the holidays with AT LEAST ONE REAL Christmas Tree this year. And at the bargain price of $60 that would be $5.6B+ in sales - all very high in net profit. And all in around 30 days of active selling. Yeah, selling - I mean 30 days of  standing there, handing out a saw, and collecting the cash. And saying "See you next year!" 

Ho-Ho-Ho, now I want Garden Hoe for Christmas. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Hell Yeah!

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

The Great Resignation has been in full swing for some time now. It is an informal name for the widespread trend of a significant number of workers leaving their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is sometimes called the Big Quit. Personally, I think the better name would be the Big Reset or the Big Rethink.

Reports of the Big Quit may have been exaggerated.

Over the past several months, a rapidly growing number of Americans left their jobs - more than 4.4 million in September. During that time, most of the narrative has been focused on burned-out employees stomping out of their jobs in which many workers are demanding higher wages, better working conditions and more mobility. 

It's complicated. 

Long before COVID, my buddy Derek Sivers wrote the book "Hell Yeah or No." As he tells it, at one point he sold his company, and because he signed a non-compete agreement, he was prevented from doing the one thing that he loved doing for most of his adult life. So, now what?  His book Hell Yeah or No is all about his thoughts about what's worth doing, fixing faulty thinking, and making things happen. Here is the link from 2018 where he says if you're not feeling "Hell Yeah!" then say no. 

Derek has another book "Anything You Want" and it was written for exactly the times we are now living. Get his books. Read his books. Even better, listen to them. It is like he is in the room with you - it is like a Master Class for life.

Which of course, brings me to Occam's RazorWhy, of course, right?

Occam's razor, also known as the principle of parsimony or the law of parsimony is the problem-solving principle that "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity", sometimes inaccurately paraphrased as "the simplest explanation is usually the best one." You know, the "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck - and not an eagle" logic. 

And, of course, we all know that Hickam's Dictum is the opposite of Occam's Razor. In a complex system, problems usually have more than one cause. For example, in medicine, it is possible that people have more than one disease or medical problem at the same time. It would really suck to get an X-Ray for a broken bone from let's say a car accident, and then ALSO find out that you have cancer

Or - did that car accident just save your life?  Did that X-Ray for the broken bone just allow you to catch the cancer early enough, so that it is treatable with a strong probability of a full recovery? 

OK, land the plane, Tom.......

COVID made the world rethink - everything. Our jobs, our careers, our lives. Quality of life. COVID made us think about what is really important. Issues of family, priorities, personal self-worth and fulfillment. I think that the cause of The Great Resignation is more Hickam's Dictum than Occam's Razor. It's complicated. 

COVID made ALL OF US to see that life is so very short - and time is the coin of the realm. Did COVID, even though tragic and terrible, give us something good - something positive? Like the unscheduled broken bone X-Ray that caught the cancer in time? And why does it take something as terrible as a global pandemic to make us stop, pause, and reflect on what we are doing with our life, what we are doing with our time, and our careers?

Happiness is what you feel along that long and tedious path towards your goals. Fulfillment is the feeling of hard work and dedication, leading you up to your destination. Happiness is enjoying those moments during the journey that help you create the best memories possible. 

Should you listen to Derek's books?  

Hell Yeah. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

My Inflated Ego

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

What do you call someone who has an inflated ego? Don't you dare say Tom Capone...

Someone who is egotistical is full of themselves, completely self-absorbed. The prefix ego refers to a person's sense of self, or self-importance. To be egotistical is to have an inflated view of self-importance - basically to think you are better than everyone else. 

None of this sounds good. None of this is attractive, or compelling, or a very good strategy for winning friends and influencing people. Unless, of course, you are running for President in 2016. But I digress. 

Inflation. Runaway inflation. Or, the big one - Hyperinflation - rapid, excessive, and out of control general price increases in an economy. While inflation is a measure of the pace of rising prices for goods and services, hyperinflation is rapidly rising inflation, typically measuring more than 50% per month. This also - does not sound good. Or, can inflation be a good thing, sometimes? 

I am NOT an economist. Not even close. But I have been in business since 1983. And, I got my drivers license in the 70's during the gas crisis. I am like that Insurance TV commercial: "I know a thing or two because I've seen a thing or two...."

Today, prices for everything from gasoline to groceries are surging as the economy roars back from the pandemic recession. And that is raising concerns about whether the USA is headed back to the awful economic days of the 1970's, when the country was gripped by double-digit inflation that required painful action by the Federal Reserve. 

I came of age in the 1970's and I remember what that terrible period was like. Today, I feel that the current run-up in prices is a temporary phenomenon, sparked by supply shocks tied to the pandemic, and pent-up demand from consumers - not the beginning of a persistent, upward spiral like the one that spawned "stagflation" in the 70's. 

We lived it. It was not that long ago. The BEST thing that anyone can do, is to do a little personal research on exactly what inflation is - and what it is not. By 1983, inflation had retreated back to just over 3%. 

But it was a painful correction, taking many years. Nearly 4 million people lost jobs in back-to-back recessions in the early 1980's. But for the last four decades, inflation has not been a serious problem in the U.S. 

The generation that were adults in that high-inflation period will always remember it. But there are a lot of Americans that never lived with inflation at all. So naturally, they don't expect it - and they certainly don't understand it. 

If you want to fill your brain with some easy to understand inflation stuff, click here

In 1970 the cost of a cup of coffee was $0.25. 1980, $0.45. 1990, $0.75. 2000, $1.00. $2010, $1.25.  $2020, $1.75. Now hot water is hot water, so - did coffee beans really change that much over time? Now - what is the cost of a cup of coffee when YOU make it in YOUR OWN KITCHEN, and fill a thermos to take the coffee WITH YOU to work? Or - do you work at home - so no need to buy coffee at all? See, you have more control than you think you do. 

Inflation is powered by choices - the choices that we (all) make. You, me, all of us - we have way more control over inflation that we think we do

How we buy, what we buy, and when we buy it - is what makes inflation - or even deflation! It's a dance, folks. Inflation occurs when the process of goods and services rise, while deflation occurs when those prices decrease. Moderate inflation is good because it increases national output, employment and income. Whereas deflation reduces national income and brings the economy backward to a state of depression. 

Inflation, like most things in life, has two sides to the same coin. Everything in moderation, right? Just like ego. A healthy ego, vs. a narcissistic ego. Since you got to have an ego, you might as well have a healthy one. 

"Everything in moderation, including moderation." ~ Oscar Wilde. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Every Dollar is a Vote

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

 "Voters don't decide issues, they decide who will decide the issues." ~ George Will

Every dollar is a vote - in some principles of economics, "Dollar Voting" was the term used to describe the process by which consumer's choices influence production decisions. Products that consumers buy will tend to be produced in the future. Products that do not do as well as expected will receive fewer productive resources in the future. Effectively, according to this analogy, consumers are voting for "winners" and "losers" with their purchases. This argument was used to explain and justify market allocations of goods and services under the catchphrase "consumer sovereignty". 

Do consumer boycotts ever work? The goals of selective boycotts, or dollar voting, have been diverse, and have included a desire to see decreased corporate revenues, removal of key executives, or reputational damage. 

Colin Rand Kaepernick is an American civil rights activist and former football quarterback of the NFL.

Aaron Charles Rodgers is an American football quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.

One of these guys got into trouble for protesting against racial injustice, police brutality, and systematic oppression in the country. The other, committed multiple violations of NFL COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players, including attending parties with teammates while not using PPE and appearing unmasked at multiple postgame conferences. One of them lied to the world about their position. Let's see how it all unfolds. 

AT&T is now "in the barrel" for supporting far-right media companies like OANN. 

Facebook (now Meta Platforms, Inc.) is "in the barrel" for, well... there is a list. 

I learned of the website - a tool that suggests whether a consumer should buy or avoid products and/or services based on how well it aligns with the consumer's values and principles. The consumer joins to various Buycott campaigns to indicate their support or their opposition to various issues and topics. Via using the app, the average supermarket shopper now (can instantly) know that buying Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper or Dixie cups equals contributing cash to Koch Industries through its subsidiary Georgia-Pacific. The Koch Family is an American family engaged in business, best known for their political activities and their control of Koch Industries, the largest privately owned business in the United States. 

Where are you going with this Tom?

Billionaires with "more money than God" should have the freedom to listen to their conscious. Are you "for or against" clean drinking water, feeding hungry children, saving the planet - basically protecting truth, justice and the American way? Billionaires with more money than they can ever spend in their lifetime, should be able to make fast, easy decisions on (many) very simple questions, yes? 

When you buy something - anything - you are voting. Dollars are Votes. Corporations Power Politics. No one can get elected for any office in the USA without significant financial backing. 

Remember back in 2010 when boycotts of BP filling stations were in overdrive? This was due to BP's failed efforts to stop a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. In hindsight, it turns out that roughly 10,000 BP filling stations/convenience stores in the USA are independently operated. Ultimately small, local entrepreneurs and their families were the ones that got hurt by the boycotts, not BP. 

If Facebook offered me a ton of money to sponsor should I take the money? What about AT&T? Or Koch Industries? 

This past week, there was a BIG vote on Infrastructure here in the USA. There were some who voted AGAINST clean and safe drinking water. Let me say that again: there were some elected officials from Michigan - who voted AGAINST clean and safe drinking water. Ahem. Google Flint, Michigan. 

Let me end it here. Consciousness and Awareness, both words seem to carry the same meaning, but they do not. Conscious simply means alert and awake. Awareness is having knowledge of something. And guilt is responsibility for wrongdoing, while conscience is the moral sense of right and wrong. 

Land the plane, Tom.........

How you spend your money - IS your vote. Politicians cannot survive without BIG money from BIG companies. Politicians cannot do ANYTHING if they cannot get elected, and NO POLITICIAN can get elected without money. Lots and lots of money. 

 "Voters don't decide issues, they decide who will decide the issues." ~ George Will

Yes, very true. And money is the oxygen of politics. And you (you) control the flow of that oxygen. How you spend YOUR MONEY will determine voting rights in the USA. How YOU spend YOUR MONEY determines, well it determines everything

2010: I get it - but you hurt the wrong people.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

In a Daze for 60 Days

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

If someone is in a daze, they are feeling confused and unable to think clearly, often because they have a shock or surprise. But a daze can also be from bewilderment, fatigue, etc.

Today is 10/31/2021 - Halloween 2021. Despite the pandemic, Halloween continues to be important to retailers as people find ways to celebrate. The National Retail Federation estimates that 65% of Americans will celebrate the holiday. Total spending on costumes, candy, decorations, and greeting cards will reach $10.14 billion. Average spending is expected to be $104.74 (up from $92.12 in 2020). Hand-out candy is expected to be higher this year, as are increases in home decorating and party giving. 

For the past many years, we have received no (none, zip, nada....) Trick-or-Treaters to our house. And yet, I spent at least $30 on Halloween candy this year - just to be safe. Ahem.

So, I will go from a sugar coma at around 8:30 pm EST tonight to a major Monday Morning LAUNCH into the 60 days of holiday business blitz here in the USA. 

Normally, November and December are the crazy busy times for any size business in the USA. The Black Friday sales will probably start - tomorrow. Here in NYC, the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is thrilled to be welcoming back its most popular attractions for the winter. Oh, it opened for its 20th season - LAST FRIDAY - October 29, 2021. It will be open through Sunday, March 6th, 2022. 

Normally, all of the above would be true, and topical, and blog worthy - in normal times. Throw a pandemic on top, and you have 60 days of intense debate and business marketing strategy.

We are all going to be working from home. No, we are not. We are all going back to the office. No, we are not. We are all going to have an amazing Holiday Party this year in NYC. Perhaps. The supply chain issues caused by the pandemic are going to ruin the holidays. No, it is going to be fine. Two months ago, did you ever even hear the words Supply Chain? Also this: there is a HUGE difference between MADE IN AMERICA and ASSEMBLED IN AMERICA. If you can shop local, if you can buy things for the holidays that are in stock and ready to ship, fantastic. If you want something that is made with microchips, you might have to wait for delivery. 

Technically, the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere is marked by the winter solstice, which occurs on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at 10:59 A.M. EST. But according to Bank of America, it was last Friday. 

For me, personally, the next 60 days will be like training for the Olympics, with "my event" on January 3rd, 2022. That will be the first working MONDAY of the New Year. Starting tomorrow, 11/01/2021 the starter's pistol goes off for the end of year push. Business (of any size) will be pushing to "make their numbers" for the holiday season. Broadway Shows will hope to sell holiday tickets. Restaurants will hope to book parties. Airlines will hope that people will travel again - for both business and pleasure.

Starting tomorrow, everyone with a website or eCommerce store will try to get ready for the holiday rush. (Ah, you are already late). I DO KNOW that sales of headsets, laptops, cameras, and all things "remote" will be hot sellers. As we Build Back Better, the tools of "The Cloud Workers" will be in high demand. 

Back to Halloween. Will anyone come to OUR house tonight? According to Good Housekeeping, trick-or-treating usually begins across the U.S. around sunset. Our town does the "trunk-or-treat" at the  local school parking lot, but there are a few streets in our town that will get (literally) thousands of kids. 

How will my next 60 days go? Ask me in January. But my starter's pistol goes off at around 7:00 A.M. EST tomorrow, and it's a 60 day marathon. 

An amusing anecdote states that baseball great Yogi Berra was once asked whether he wished to have dinner at a highly-regarded NYC restaurant, and he replied with a remark combining wisdom with contradiction: "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded." And with that, ratings for this year's World Series are at an all-time low. But Halloween Candy Sales are at an all time high. During a pandemic. Weird, right? 

Why do things happen the way they do? Assuming this year will go down as one of the least-watched World Series ever, Major League Baseball now has to ask itself why. There is no real answer, and baseball can point to the overall ratings drop for the NBA finals, the Stanley Cup Final and other big sporting events that suffered similar declines in 2020 and 2021. 

I DO know that my (personal) next 60 days are going to be nuts. I also understand that TOMORROW there will be great sales on Halloween candy. 

Speaking of nuts, who does not love good 'ol Almond Joy? Remember, Almond Joy has nuts........... Mounds don't. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

It's not like it's carved in stone or anything...

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

This morning, I got my "daily" blog from Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Beth Fitzgerald - and several others. I think I get around a solid dozen daily blogs into my inbox, give or take a dozen. There was a connected theme to many of today's blogs, which prompted me to say out loud, over my shoulder: "OK Google.  What is the oldest recorded history?"

Our ancient human ancestors developed language around 35,000 BCE, which is when the world's oldest cave paintings were created.  "OK Google. What does BCE stand for?"

Half second later: "BCE stands for "before the common (or current) era". It is a secular version of BC (Before Christ). "

Thanks, Google. 

In 2016, a 5,000 year old Sumerian cuneiform tablet from the ancient city of Uruk (what is now Iraq) was revealed to be a payslip. The most interesting thing about this payslip is that it says that workers were sometimes paid with - beer. Compensating workers with alcohol wasn't a practice unique to the Sumerians, the Egyptians also paid workers with beer for working on the pyramids. While it might seem a little odd to our modern customs, paying workers with beer was sensible because it doubled as a food source because it was loaded with starches and nutrients. 

Bottom line: the span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with the Sumerian cuneiform script. That's all folks: five thousand years

One of the earliest known humans is Homo habilis, who lived about 2.4 million to 1.4 million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa. Wow. 2.4 million years. And we (humans) only started to "write stuff down" a few thousand years ago!

May 29, 1953. At 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953 Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, became the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. 

"OK, Google. How many people of reached the summit of Mount Everest?" Around four thousand, as of 8:31 a.m. on 10/24/2021. 

Thanks, Google. 

A few years ago, I started doing an audio podcast. Because, well, everyone was doing it. "OK, Google. When did podcasting become popular?"  2004

So, blogging gave way to audio podcasting, which led to video podcasting. I just was told that we ( have just completed our 100th "NYDLAcast" video podcast interview with actors, authors, entrepreneurs, and overall very cool people. 

Since 1953, we went from reaching the summit of Mount Everest for the first time - to "trash and overcrowding" at the top of the world to becoming a real problem. Today, Everest is so overcrowded and full of trash that it has been called the "world's highest garbage dump." 

And so, because of ALL OF THIS...  I am now very optimistic. Yes. I am amazingly and shockingly optimistic for the future - our future. Recorded history is only a recent development. Folks, we only started to WRITE STUFF DOWN a few thousand years ago! Less than 5,000 years! 

Everything good (or bad) that we did to the planet (and to other people) only became HISTORY a few thousand years ago. If it was not "carved in stone" (or painted on a cave wall) it was not going to make it past the weekend. "OK, Google. When did the term "weekend" first come to be?"  1900's during the Industrial Revolution. 

From pollution and tons of trash left behind on Mount Everest, to the International Space Station, it all happened in the blink of an eye. Heck, electricity only started to become popular in 1882, when the USA started to generate electric power, to give the newly invented electric lightbulb its juice. 

Everything that we humans broke on the planet, we can fix. Everything that we consider to be "good" in the world, happened in only the past several thousand years. We went from carving stuff in stone, to having around, 6,542 satellites orbiting the earth as of January 1st, 2021. I did not know this number 40 seconds ago. Google just told me. In less than a second, Google spoke to me. SPOKE to me, like the way a living person would speak to me. Just pause and think about that for a few seconds. 

The "DL" in NYDLA went from Distance Learning to DIGITAL Learning to DIGITAL LIVING, thanks to the Internet. And, "The Internet" is less than 50 years old, in total. Now we have AI, and IoT and smartphones, and YouTube and TED Talks and listening to books on Audible. This blog (yeah, this one...) will reach millions of people this Sunday morning. Not for any other reason than this: it's on the Internet. Well, I have been writing a Sunday Blog for around ten years. Almost every Sunday. And I do have a following. 

Hey, I did not say my Sunday Blog was any good. I just said that millions of people will see it... I have no idea how many will actually READ it. 

Wow. In less than 5,000 years, we went from writing almost NOTHING down, to writing EVERYTHING down. No hammer and chisel required. Heck, no pen or paper required! 

Just....speak it out loud. 

How long before we just need to think it, and it is in the history books....???

Alan Watts ~ How To Enjoy Life

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Rommel, You Magnificent Bastard. I Read Your Book!

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

In the movie Patton, my favorite scene is when U.S. General George S. Patton has just spent weeks studying the writing of his German adversary Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and is crushing him in an epic tank battle in Tunisia. Patton, sensing victory as he peers onto the battlefield from his command post, growls, "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book! 

Today, I feel myself wanting to send an email to Congressman Adam Schiff:  "Adam you magnificent bastard, I LISTENED to your new book!

If you polled one thousand people and asked them: paper books, eBooks, audio books - I am sure that you will get a nice spread. This is something that I guess you can Google and find out quickly. 

I am old enough to remember when "eBooks" first made their debut. There is a pretty good article about paper books vs. eBooks here. Some people really love holding a dead tree in their hands, others love using a Kindle. 

For me, I am now hooked on Audible. When I listen to a book - especially a book read by the author - I feel like I am in a lecture. I feel like the author is right there, in the room with me. Their voice inflections, their tone, their words seem to come alive to me.  

Another benefit of Audible is that once you buy the book via technology - you can get updates, edits, even new chapters - over the air. Recently, a book that I bought via Audible gave me an alert - that a NEW chapter was added to the book, due to recent world events. It's hard to do that via the dead tree version. 

I have watched audio podcasts become video podcasts. I have watched paper books become eBooks. I truly think that the future of books - even the future of the term "reading" is making a pivot. There is now a term called Bookiness. That's the term that Glenn Fleishman, a technology writer and longtime bookmaker, uses to describe the situation. It's how you feel when you are USING a book. You FEEL it. Ask yourself: do you READ a book, or USE a book? Ah so. 

Two thousand years after the codex and 500 after the Guttenberg press, the paper (dead tree) book persists. Why?

OK, joke time. Mother and Daughter are cooking a roast. The daughter asks: "Mom, I see that you always cut off the ends of the roast before you put the roast in the pan. Why?" Mom says: "You know, I don't know why. That is how MY mother always did it." So, they call Grandma on the phone. "Hey Mom, quick question: why did you always cut the ends of the roast before putting the roast in the pan, before putting the pan in the oven?" Grandma says: "Well, I never had a pan big enough, so I would cut off the ends, so it would fit in the pan."

Sometimes things don't change, because we don't ask why. 

Today's blog was ALMOST about paper business cards. Why are paper business cards still a thing? I mean, everyone has LinkedIn, everyone has a smart phone. Heck, why do we need to SCAN a paper business card with our smartphone, INTO our CRM or other tool?  And yet, we still have little mini dead tree billboards that we hand out, just so that someone can scan them, or find us on LinkedIn, and throw the little bits of dead trees into the trash. Or, they throw them into the trash, without scanning them... the horror!

On 11/8, VIP members of shall be attending the NYC book signing for Adam's new book. He will be signing the dead tree version of his AMAZING new book, probably several hundred times that evening. And, I am confident that the dead tree version of Adam's new book will be a best seller, many times over.  

Maybe Adam will sign my smartphone... since that is where I keep my Audible library. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

73° Mainly cloudy. High 73F. Winds light and variable. 8% chance of rain.

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

This Wednesday: 73° Mainly cloudy. High 73F. Winds light and variable. 8%  chance of rain. For the first time (in a very long time) I was worried about the weather. 

I was worried about the weather, because for the first time (in a very long time) we have a major event, outdoors. "Propelify is a wonderful celebration of the technology and innovation hat makes our cities and towns thrive, our bodies and minds healthier, our planet cleaner, and our community full of inclusion and opportunity. I'm excited to see so many startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators learning and connecting to propel their ideas into action." ~ Governor Phil Murphy | State of New Jersey.

The NYDLA (and now, NADLA) have supported the Propelify Innovation Festival every year, since 2016. Aaron Price is the founder and CEO of Propelify, built to empower those who propel their ideas into action. Aaron has served as the tech community expert for Governor Phil Murphy, The White House, NJ Economic Development Authority, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. 

At its peak year, there were 10,000 attendees from 43 states and 10 countries attending Propelify. 

Many years ago, I heard a quote that resonated with me so much, it became one of my guiding principles. Often attributed to Pablo Picasso, "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." 

A serial entrepreneur, Aaron has founded several technology startups. He started his first commercial venture while still in High School, after he was awarded a patent for a weight lifting device. 

Innovation. Creativity. Passion. There is certainly something to be said to having a career, a job, a calling where you "get" to go to work, rather than "having" to go to work. Due to COVID-19 Propelify 2020 was virtual. Digital. Live, but not LIVE live. Propelify made the pivot to a live virtual event. And, it was one of the best events that I ever attended. I did not say it was the best virtual event that I ever attended. I said best EVENT, period. 

October 6th, In Person Festival. And, it looks like it is going to be PERFECT weather. In order to attend Propelify LIVE this year, you will need to have proof that you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. You can sign up here to get a free pass, and $1000+ of "swag" from our various vendors and sponsors. Even if you cannot make it down to Maxwell Place Park, Hoboken, New Jersey, sign up anyway. We will send you your swag. 

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." Well done, Aaron Price. Well done. 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

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

Truth, Justice, and the American Way is a catch-phrase of the comic book character Superman.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on the history of Superman, because - well - you already know most of it. But I do want to spend some time on the creators - writer Jerry Siegal and artist Joe Shuster. 

In a contract dated March 1st, 1938, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster gave away the copyright to Superman to their employer, DC Comics (then known as Detective Comics, Inc.) prior to Super man's first publication in April. Contrary to popular perception, the $130 that DC Comics paid them was for their first Superman story, not the copyright to the character - that, they gave away for free. This was normal practice in the comics magazine industry at the time. 

In 1965, Siegel and Shuster attempted to regain rights to Superman using the renewal option in the Copyright Act of 1909, but the court ruled that Siegel and Shuster had transferred the renewal right to DC Comics in 1938. 

Under current US copyright law, Superman is due to enter the public domain in 2033. 

Shuster died in 1992. DC Comics offered Shuster's heirs a stipend in exchange for never challenging ownership of Superman, which they accepted.

Siegel died in 1996. His heirs attempted to take the rights to Superman using the termination provision of the Copyright Act of 1976. DC Comics negotiated an agreement wherein it would pay the Siegel heirs several million dollars and a yearly stipend of $500,000 in exchange for permanently granting DC Comics the rights to Superman. 

Truth, Justice, and the American Way. At the time, $130 seemed like a good deal. In 1938, who would have known that Superman would become - well - SUPER! Who knew that the copyright of Superman would be such a big deal?  

And now I fast-forward to 2021. Who would have known that "The Facebook" would become Facebook, Inc. with 2.9 billion monthly users as of 2021? Or that near bankrupt Apple would become the world's most valuable company since January 2021?

Truth, Justice, and the American Way reminds me of the quote:

Speed, Quality, Price. 

You can pick any two. 

"My" Superman from childhood.