Sunday, June 26, 2022

So, now I'm a minimalist?

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

A few months ago while the kids were home, I saw that my oldest son had a Rossm Wallet.
I asked him how long he had it, where he got it, did he like it, how much it cost... blah, blah. blah. He got it on Amazon, and he sent me the link.  

Before I realized it (minutes later) I ordered: ROSSM Slim Minimalist Front Pocket RFID Blocking Carbon Fiber Metal Wallets for Men with Cash Strap for $29 with free next day delivery. 

What I did not realize is that with this single purchase, I am now considered to be a
 card carrying member of the minimalist society. 

When you live as a minimalist, you strive to only use things that serve a purpose. It's about living simply and having only what you need to go about your daily life. For instance, some people may start a no-spend challenge or only fill their home with items they absolutely need. 

Actually, I just wanted to get rid of my fat wallet. 

A few weeks ago, while I was doing a walkabout on MAIN STREET BOONTON USA I stumbled across Bear Minimum. They are an eco-hub for earth conscious folks. Products and events dedicated to reducing our impact on the environment and toxins on our bodies. The folks at Bear Minimum believe it is possible to live with minimal impact on our environment and without the use of harmful chemicals that both negatively affect us and our planet. Through the right knowledge, habits and products we can all live less wasteful lives that will positively affect our health, our environment, and our wallets.

Right! But I just wanted to get rid of my fat wallet. 

Because I got the Rossm Wallet, I was considered by the Amazon Marketing Universe to be a minimalist. I started getting all kinds of ads for things for a minimalist lifestyle

I learned that minimalism allows us to focus on priorities. By maintaining a clutter-free environment, one is able to increase focus and productivity - thus reducing stress. It is about reducing and removing all of the clutter from our lives, be it physical, mental, emotional, or time-related, so that we can really focus on what's important. 

It all started so simply - all because I just wanted to get rid of my George Costanza wallet. Now, the world thinks I am a minimalist. Amazon: "people who bought this, also bought that..." and they read this book, or watched this movie, etc. 

BECAUSE of the ads (and my new Rossm Wallet) when I did walk into Bear Minimum located at 618 MainStreet BOONTON USA I was already in the minimalist mindset

I was open to it, I was not completely ignorant to minimalism. Now, I'm card-carrying member. And of course, since we are talking about minimalism, there is (actually) no membership card to carry. And just last week, I did a interview with the owners of Bear Minimum. I think that EVERYONE in BOONTON USA should stop in and visit the folks at 618 Main Street. Join the movement!!!

Ah yes, minimalism in all things - except for in matters of sales and marketing. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Darth Vader, CEO

Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming on Disney+

The story begins 10 years after the dramatic events of "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat - the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.

Oh yeah, and Anakin was Luke and Leia's Daddy. 

No, scratch that. Anakin Skywalker was THEIR FATHER.

The words "father" and "dad" are more than just plain words. Although both are technically the same, the truth is, there are many very important differences between the two. Determining whether one is a dad and not just a father can be accomplished by not only looking at the person as he is, but also looking at him with his immediate surroundings (family, friends, coworkers). 

As I sit and write my Sunday Blog on Father's Day, I think of phrases like "The Founding Fathers" and "The Father of our Country" or "The Father of..." and, well, you can fill in the blank. 

In business, the head of the company, the boss, the leader, is somewhat like the father. Ala, The Godfather. The head of the family. 

If you can see a child look at their father with glowing eyes, happy, safe, protected, and at the same time they are resting assured that everything will be okay because "dad" is here, then you are probably seeing the difference between dad and father. "Daddy's Home!" is certainly not the same as "Father has arrived." 

A father simply thinks about caring for his family, per se. As long as he can pay the bills on time, as long as he can supply food or the basic necessities for the family, then he's already good with that. 

My dad passed away in the 90s. Definitely a "dad" and not just a father. He was a great provider for his family, but he was a natural dad. He truly enjoyed spending time with the family. He could not fake it - he truly loved being a dad. My dad. And the lessons that I learned from spending quality time with my dad are the most valuable. Tony Capone was "bigger than life" as they say, and we still tell Tony Capone stories at family outings. 

This father's day I am finding myself reflecting on the difference between being a boss, the CEO, a leader - the "father" of the company. And, how some business leaders are more like a dad. How some business leaders are all about the stock price, the financials, and shareholder value. And how some business leaders are truly people first. How some leaders care more about the people in their charge - their people first - and company profits are only counted after the needs of their people are met. 

I am also reflecting on Fathers and Dads in the media. Bill Cosby was "America's Dad" until, well, until he was not. When it comes to fictional dads, Jack Pearson on This Is Us is easily one of the most beloved. Stanley Pearson, Jack's dad - was no dad - he was just a father. 

And this brings me back to Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. As the biological father of Luke and Leia, Anakin could have been a dad, but certainly never made it to dad status. And Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi was more of a father - no - he was more of a dad to the kids than anyone could hope for. 

OK, bring it home for us Tom........

You don't have to be the founder of a company - the "biological father" of the business - to be a good dad to your people. Just as Jack Pearson was an AMAZING father to his adopted son Randall Pearson, being a good, great, AMAZING "dad" to people is always possible. Stanley Pearson was a father, but he was never a dad. 

"Luke, I am your father" is one of the most iconic lines in movie history, right? And yet, that Darth Vader reveal misquote is probably the most famous line in all  the Star Wars films - that iconic moment when Vader tells Luke the truth about his family history:

Darth Vader: "Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father."

Luke Skywalker: "He told me enough! He told me you killed him!"

Darth Vader: "No. I am your father."

Stanley Pearson lent money to his son Jack Pearson to buy a home (Father move).

Jack Pearson ran into their house on fire to save his family - and the family dog (Dad move). 

You don't have to be someone's biological father to be their dad. You reach "the dad zone" via your actions, not via your words. You cannot claim the title dad, it must be awarded to you. 

So on this Father's Day remember: you don't have to be a father to be someone's dad. And, if you own or run a business, you should always aspire to be like Jack Pearson, not like Stanley Pearson. Your people are your kids. Your people in your care, the employees in your charge, are indeed your family. CEO is just a title. The "DAD" of the company is the title that really matters. Your people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care about them

Enjoy your Sunday. And "May the (Dad) Force Be With You......Always."

Me and my two Padawan in the 90s

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Stimulating Your Vegas Nerve

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InfoComm 2022 from the Press Box

Hey Tom, what happens if you stimulate the vagus nerve? 

Glad you asked! When stimulated, you feel calmer, more compassionate, and clearer. It benefits your autonomic nervous system and mental health. Healthy vagal tone means emotional regulation, greater connection, and better physical health as well. 

You know, like the OPPOSITE of a trip to Las Vegas. 

OK, so trade shows - LIVE trade shows - are back! 

Ah, maybe. 

LIVE! From Las Vegas! InfoComm 2022 is now in the history books. I declare InfoComm a success, in my humble opinion. For many people, this was the first LIVE trade show since the pandemic. During the LAST day of the show, everyone's smartphones got the text - the CDC changed the COVID-19 level to HIGH. Mask up people! 

So, here is the deal. Las Vegas is GREAT! LIVE trade shows (anywhere) are GREAT! And the COVID-19 virus is (still) saying to all of us "hold my beer" - oh, and please meet my friend, Inflation

Inflation is causing gas prices and therefore travel costs to skyrocket. Now, I am seeing many people saying on social media that they are feeling symptoms of COVID-19 after returning home from Vegas. This Wednesday I am supposed to attend an event at Hershey Lodge in Pennsylvania with several hundred people. Later this month, members are all supposed to attend COLLISION in Toronto, with 33,000+ of our closest friends. 

COLLISION in 2021 had 38,000+ attend online, 100% virtual

I did a BBC interview about COLLISION online. Almost that same number of people are expected to physically travel to ENERCARE CENTRE, TORONTO for June 20-23, 2022. If COVID-19 continues to spike, will this change the attendance numbers? Will people cancel their travel, but still attend COLLISION - virtually from their homes? 

Are you going to ??? members get in for FREE. 

I said in my BBC interview last year: "You cannot replace the power of a handshake, or a hug. There is just something about human touch that is in our DNA. After the (first) COVID-19 lockdown was lifted, what was the first thing you did with a friend or relative? You gave them a hug. Humans crave touch, you cannot get that from a 100% virtual experience. What do people do at the airport? Whether people are coming or going, there will definitely be hugging."

Because I run the NYDLA (and now, NADLA) I'm all about hybrid. Hybrid events. Hybrid meetings. I don't think there shall be another meeting or event or trade show (moving forward) that does not offer a virtual option. And who knows what is coming with the adoption and acceptance of the metaverse, right? 

So! I'll see you at the Hershey Lodge next week! 

And I'll see you in Toronto! LIVE, later this month.

Unless COVID-19 spikes again. Because if that happens - then I'll see you LIVE - but from my home in GOOD OL' BOONTON USA. And, if my travel plans are effected, I'll be sure to stimulate my vagus nerve like a true trade show veteran. 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

BoontonWorks - the Business Foundry

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YESTERDAY, I was asked to speak at InfoComm in Las Vegas. At 5pm on this upcoming Wednesday. Turns out that someone had to drop out, and I'm considered to be a decent last minute replacement. Well, since I never met a microphone that I did not like, of course I said yes. The topic I am to cover? The future of work. 

Ah yes, the FUTURE of WORK. Got it!
Eh, so what what the heck am I going to talk about? 

I live in Boonton Township, New Jersey. 30 miles West of Times Square. We share a zip code (07005) with the Town of Boonton. There is only one BOONTON USA. The Boonton Iron Works were founded around 1770 by Samuel Ogden who, with others in his family, purchased a 6-acre tract along the Rockaway River. Here, rolling and slitting mills were erected in the manufacture of nail rods and bar iron. With the construction of the Morris Canal, the New Jersey Iron Company was born. This new company was a big deal, for the entire country. It imported skilled mechanics from England, and BOONTON USA was thriving. The new Iron Company flourished for nearly 75 years. Yes, the Iron Works flourished - until it didn't. 

An Iron Foundry needs lots of raw materials. Transportation. Water. People

Now let's fast forward to 2022. What does a BUSINESS Foundry need? You know, a thing that can produce all of the things that enable a business to thrive?

High Speed Internet. Computers. Transportation. People. 

The Boonton Station provides train service on the NJ Transit Montclair-Boonton Line with service to Newark Broad Street Station, Penn Station New York and Hoboken Terminal. Lakeland Bus lines provides bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. 

BOONTON USA is in the heart of Morris County New Jersey. One of the wealthiest counties in the entire country. An easy ride to NYC or Philly or Stamford, Connecticut (also 30 miles outside of Manhattan). Verizon has its HQ just 17 miles south of BOONTON USA.  

At last count, there were 11 Pizzerias in BOONTON USA. I figure at least a half a dozen nail salons, a few dry cleaners, and multiple Italian, Mexican, Japanese restaurants. To support so many competing businesses, there must be......people. Lots and lots of people in and around BOONTON USA. 

OK, land the plane Tom........ where are you going with this?

BoontonWorks - the Business Foundry. In the spirit of the old Iron Works days, the things necessary to give birth to a new business: Knowledge + Technology + Talent. BoontonWorks - from the Heart of Morris County. 

Give someone a (Lenovo?) laptop, a (Jabra?) headset and 5G (Verizon?) and they are ready to work. From ANYWHERE. Add in cloud products like Zoom and BlueJeans and Box and Salesforce and FreshBooks and QuickBooks and Klaxoon and Workplace and Shopify and BigCommerce (and...and...and...) well, you get the idea.

Work from home. And "home" can be ANYWHERE. Work from Main Street BOONTON USA. Take the bus which runs down Main Street and you are in Times Square in around an hour, if there is no traffic. Take the train to Philly for the day. Or have clients / customers come to BOONTON USA for the day. Have your Lunch 'n Learns and your Sunset Seminars from BOONTON USA. There is even an old theater on Main Street that used to have vaudeville acts. A perfect location for "TED Talk like" hybrid meetings and events. For example, you can have 200+ LIVE in the theater, and 200,000+ LIVE but Powered by BlueJeans Studio and then 20M+ watching the archives via Workplace from Meta. Easy to cater such events, when half the town seems to be restaurants and pizzerias, right? 

InfoComm is all about Pro AV. The products and services that enable all of us to live, learn, work, play, teach, train, coach, mentor PEOPLE - in the global cloud economy. The future of work, the future of education, is in the clouds. is changing the game for everything, for everyone - no matter where they live. 

"OK, Google: How many LA Fitness gyms are there?"
"Good morning Thomas, there are more than 700 LA Fitness locations, worldwide" 

Ah, so LA FITNESS is NOT just in Los Angeles alone? Got it. 

"OK, Google: How many locations are there in the USA?"
"Good morning, Thomas. Today, I see only one - but I've got a feeling you should ask me again after InfoComm." 

Photo Credit: Heather Kohut

Sunday, May 29, 2022

What happens in Vegas...

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The Word of the Day for May 29, 2022 was: Junket.

Junket refers to a trip that is paid for by someone else, such as a promotional trip made at another's expense, or an official's trip made at public expense. The word junket started out connected to food - banquets or feasts. Apparently, traveling must have been involved to reach some junkets because eventually the term broadened to apply to pleasure outings or trips, whether or not food was the focus. 

JUNKET in Context: "I'm getting ready for my junket to InfoComm 2022 in Las Vegas next month." 

For me, things tend to go very slow - and then very fast. Literally, a month ago I did not know what InfoComm was, exactly. I heard of it, but honestly I had to Google it. And then, it seemed that every other person that I know was asking me if I was going to InfoComm in Las Vegas next month. 

And then - just this past week - I was invited to attend InfoComm as a VIP guest via one of our sponsorsHey - I'm going on a junket! 

It has now become crystal clear to me that InfoComm (the event produced by AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association) is a very big deal indeed. Folks go to InfoComm to see new products, to find the best AV training and certification offered anywhere, and to grow their professional networks. Audio, Visual, Digital Signage, Events and Entertainment. Conferencing and Collaboration solutions. All the stuff that allows people to live, learn, work, play, teach, train, coach, mentor in the GLOBAL Cloud Economy. Ah so sensei.....

You can now see InfoComm on page one of and on our EVENTS page. We are inviting the entire NYDLA (and now, NADLA) community to attend InfoComm LIVE in Las Vegas. 

We expect 20,000+ to attend LIVE in Las Vegas (as in, wearing comfortable shoes) but - we expect 200,000+ of our members to join us LIVE but virtually via BlueJeans by Verizon as we (I'm bringing a team now...) walk the convention floor. The folks at AVIXA will be doing their own streaming media as well. Over the course of the next let's say 120 days, 2M+ people from the distance learning - DIGITAL learning - DIGITAL LIVING world shall benefit from all things InfoComm

This will be my first trip to Las Vegas since long before COVID. I live 30 miles West of Times Square, so I am very spoiled. There is ALWAYS SOMETHING GOOD going on (every single day) in THE BIG APPLE. Ah, but Vegas. 

Before COVID, around 40 million people would visit Las Vegas. That number shall now be much higher, as all of us want to make up for lost time. And, moving forward, ALL EVENTS shall be hybrid events. Omni-media, Transmedia, Multimedia, VR powered events

Back in 2003, the phrase "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" was the advertising slogan created by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. They hoped to rebrand Vegas as a place where visitors could let loose. The original phrase was "what happens here, stays here."

Well, it is now 2022, and we are due for a new slogan. "What happens in Vegas, is livestreamed to everyone in the world, to ANY device." 

Like I said above, things tend to go very slow - until they go very fast, indeed. and attend InfoComm 2022

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Time Square Rocks Hard

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This past week the helped Hard Rock International to "take the wrapper off" their new property Hard Rock Hotel New York. 

Other than Orlando and Las Vegas, no other city has more hotel rooms than THE BIG APPLE. 

When I first took over running the association over ten years ago, our first significant event was at the Hard Rock Café NYC. We chose that event location because it was in the heart of Times Square - and - it had an amazing technology powered venue. This was when doing TED Talks type events (live and livestreamed) were just starting to become a thing. It was easy to make the connection with technology, music, entertainment, and travel - and BUSINESS. 

Around ten years ago, we hosted folks from Skywalker Ranch - virtually to Hard Rock Café NYC - to talk to students about TBLS - Technology Based Learning Systems and the movie business. The technology of the day allowed for Lucasfilm to perform motion picture sound mixing and recording, animation and visual effects, sound, music and associated services - many miles away from Los Angeles or (any) big city.

While at lunch this past Tuesday, I was sitting at a table with a big guy named John. Big guy, big voice. And I overheard John say something something something "Mario Perillo" something something. I said, "Mario Perillo? You mean Mr. Italy? I sold Mario his 800# for his TV commercials around 20, maybe 25 years ago!" 

Turns out that Mario's son Steve Perillo (who I met so many years ago...) now runs the show at Perillo Tours, and they have launched a new company, Travel World VR. It is a virtual reality and 360 video sales/marketing/production company. They specialize in the rapidly growing role of virtual reality in marketing to promote and sell the travel experience. This past Friday we did a Zoom meeting with John, Steve and myself to learn all about their new VR company and - oh man - what a PERFECT FIT for the community! 

While in New York I also met the Director of Sales & Marketing for Hard Rock DUBLIN. Just that fast, we are working on a "cross the pond" event for to host an event with Trinity College Dublin, Ireland's leading university. and travel the world - live or virtually.

"OK, Google, how many hotels are there in New York City?"

"Good morning Thomas, there are over 700 hotels in New York City as of 2022."

Moving forward, all events shall be hybrid events. Moving forward, all meetings shall be hybrid meetings. Powered by tools like ZoomBlueJeans and many others, you can have hundreds of people LIVE (Live) in the room, you can have thousands of people LIVE (but virtually) and then MILLIONS of people watching the curated archives, like a TED Talk experience. 

"OK, Google, members going to be having hybrid meetings in NYC, but they are open to other locations and venues worldwide, what should we tell them?"

"Good morning Thomas - did you even read your own blog today?"


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Rolling University

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A master class is a class given to students of a particular discipline by an expert of that discipline - usually music, but also science, painting, drama, games, or on any other occasion where skills are being developed. 

Yesterday, my entire family attended a Master Class, held by Marshall Goldsmith.

Well, sorta.

We had around eight hours in the car this weekend. And I had the new Audible book, The Earned Life in my phone - and so - we (all of us) enjoyed having Marshall Goldsmith riding along with us. For eight hours.

There is something about an audio book, read by the author. Some people love the good old fashioned paper book, I get that. Me, I'm a big fan of Audible - but ESPECIALLY when it is a business book read by the author. It feels like they are speaking directly to me

My two sons graduated from Schools of Business. I am in business - I have been a serial entrepreneur since the 80s. I am also an executive coach, so I am a little bit in awe of Marshall, the "Coach of Coaches" if you will. 

We live in a multimedia, transmedia, omnimedia world. BOOKS have been around for thousands of years, especially if we count the ones that are carved in stone. As I write this Sunday's blog, I have CNN on my TV, I have three screens open on my computer, I have laptop, an iPad and a smartphone all turned on, and everything is displaying - something. Oh, I also have my Jabra wireless headset, listening to music.

Just as how "books" have been around for a very long time, so has distance learning. I always say that Distance Learning has become DIGITAL Learning, and now, it is all just DIGITIAL LIVNG. If you really want to get down into the weeds, the phonograph (or gramophone) was invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison (we think). Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory made several improvements in the 1880s while Emile Berliner moved things from phonograph cylinders to flat disks. 

The disc phonograph record was the dominant commercial audio recording format through most of the 20th century. In the 1960s 8-track cartridges and cassette tapes were introduced as alternatives. In the 1980s phonograph use declined sharply due to the popularity of cassettes and the rise of the compact disk. And then came digital music in the 2000s. Ah yes, Napster, Spotify and the like. 

"OK, Google, how many podcasts are there?"

"Good morning, Thomas. In short, if you're asking 'how many podcasts are there', I think the right answer is more than 4 million, and not just what's in Apple."

I am one of the 4 million. Our (aka Coffee in the Clouds) video podcasts reach millions of eyeballs, because many times our show guests have millions of followers. Actors, authors, celebrities, entrepreneurs all "teaching everything they know" in a fireside chat style interview. And, whenever possible, we "gift" the books of authors to our global community, as a value-added member benefit. So everyone wins: the publicists, the publishers, the PR firms, the authors and of course, the growing NYDLA membership

And so, this weekend, our car was a rolling university with Marshall Goldsmith as the guest lecturer at  

In The Earned Life, Marshall teaches us how to live our own lives, not someone else's version of them. The key to living the earned life, unbound by regret, requires a commitment to a habit of earning and connecting it to something greater than the isolated achievements of our personal ambition. 

For many years my battle cry was "everything is distance learning" and people would say I was wrong. I would ask: Did you ever watch a TED Talk? Did you ever watch a Netflix documentary? Did you ever listen to a podcast? Very quickly I usually win the argument as I lay out the case for the Distance Learning > DIGITAL Learning > DIGITAL LIVING journey. 

My family got to meet Marshall Goldsmith this weekend. Again, sorta. Marshall rode along with us for 8+ hours in our rolling university. Sadly, he did not chip in for gas. 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

“Mothers’ Day” with the apostrophe in the plural

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Heather Cox Richardson reposted her blog from two years ago regarding the history of "Mothers' Day" - with the apostrophe in the plural. A link to it is here and I sincerely hope that you read it and share it. 

When you hear the word "mother" do you first think of the noun, the verb or the adjective? 

A female parent. A woman in authority. Or, an old or elderly woman, like Mother Hubbard.

Necessity is the mother of invention. The mother of all construction projects. The mother of all ocean liners. To give rise to, to give birth to, to care for or protect like a mother. Birth mother, den mother, expectant mother. Mother country, mother figure, mother hen. Mother ship, mother tongue, queen mother. Single mother, surrogate mother, mother-in-law.

There is great power in the word mother. I think that power comes from the fact that if you are reading this blog, you have (or had) a mother. It is a word that unifies us all. A good friend of mine, Lee Cockerell, who ran Disneyworld with 40,000+ under his care, would say "Manage like a Mother." 

How many times have we heard that mothers are the true superheroes in our world? Multitasking masters, proper prioritizers, consummate communicators. And of course, the keeper of the snacks. Great managers, like moms, are natural leaders. They build a culture of trust, candor, and accomplishment. They have teams of people that love their jobs and feel lucky to go to work everyday. 

Moms (and managers) when seen in action, they seem a little magical. But it is not magic. A large part of their success as leaders is that they work hard on developing appropriate soft skills. And, in fact, many of the same soft skills that lend themselves to being a great mother are also what makes a great manager

The Mother of Soft Skills

Soft skills, defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and professionally with other people, are related to our attitudes and intuitions, which mothers are well known for. These skills are valuable because they enable people to function and thrive in teams and organizations as a whole. A productive and healthy work environment depends heavily on managers with great soft skills. Any workplace is an interpersonal space where relationships must be built and fostered, perspectives must be exchanged and occasionally, conflicts must be resolved.

Another good friend Loralyn Mears, PhD has recently launched Today, especially in our post-pandemic world, the mastery of soft skills is critical. Her company STEERus is the world's first soft skills academy. So, I guess one could say that Loralyn gave birth to right? 

Letters from an American is the newsletter from Heather Cox Richardson where she ties the day's news to events of the past. Her day job is a professor of 19th century American History at Boston College. But her newsletter (and now podcast) reaches millions of people. Her newsletter is her baby. 

Historians are fond of saying that the past doesn't repeat itself; it rhymes. To understand the present, we have to understand how we got here. 

Ah yes. How we got here. 

Well, we know one thing for sure: it all started with a mother.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

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May Day
, also called Workers' Day or International Workers' Day, is a day to commemorate the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labor movement. It is usually observed in most countries on May 1.

So, May Day - a day that we reserve for fun springtime activities, like the maypole and picnics and golf and tennis - a day that kicks off summer with days at the beach and ice cream and such stuff, well of course that would be perfect for airplane pilots calling for help, right? 

Well. May Day is not Mayday, the internationally recognized radio word to signal distress. It is used mostly by aircraft and boats. How many times do we hear Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! on a TV show or movie.

Mayday first came to be in 1923. There was a lot of traffic between England and France in those days, and there were enough traffic (and disaster) problems over the English Channel that a good distress signal was needed. One that everyone could easily use and understand. And, there were some problems with using S.O.S. for the radio (voice) such as: 

S.O.S. was great with Morse code. But aircraft used the radio and a pilot would not have time to clarify to anyone that it was S as in Sam and not F as in Frank. A short, easily understood WORD that could not be mistaken for something else, was necessary. 

Mayday was the phonetic equivalent of "M'aidez", the French for "Help me." 

So, there was an RAF "flying boat" whose engines failed over the Channel. And the pilot shouted out M'aidez M'aidez M'aidez over the radio and that was it. It stuck. M'aidez becomes Mayday. In 1927 the United States formally adopted Mayday as an official radiotelegraph distress signal. 

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

Today is SUNDAY ("sun's day") and tomorrow is MONDAY ("the moon's day") and May Day is an ancient festival marking the first day of summer. International Workers' Day took over "May Day" but it is very different from the traditional May Day. 

These days, both workers (and pilots) needed saving. See the Haymarket Affair, also known as the Haymarket Massacre, The Haymarket Riot, or the Haymarket Incident. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day. 

So, on this SUNDAY we celebrate May Day and tomorrow will be MONDAY, where hopefully while at work - you do not feel the need to shout out Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! 

Now you must excuse me, I need to get ready to dance around the maypole. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Book 'em, Danno!

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If you are not at least 50 years old or watch old reruns of Hawaii Five-O, the phrase "Book 'em, Danno" might not mean very much to you. This was the catch phrase of McGarrett, the leader of a fictional state police force in Hawaii, in a television show called "Hawaii Five-O." 

Generally at the end of most shows, McGarrett would instruct his sidekick, Danny Williams, to take the bad guy into custody by telling him to "Book 'em, Danno."

Ah, but - did you know - that "Hookem and Bookem" means handcuffing someone and booking them? In police slang, the term "hookem and bookem" means handcuffing someone and booking them into the system. 

The book 'em derives from the image of a judge sentencing a criminal to every penalty found in the books of law. To charge them with a particular offense; to inflict a severe punishment on them. The "book" is an imaginary book of rules or offenses and their prescribed penalties. The expression dates from the 1930s and is of American origin. 

I went down this rabbit hole today, about "Books" because I have been interviewing lots of authors lately. For many years, if you were a published author, that was a big deal. It was a big deal because it was expensive and very difficult to publish, sell and market a new book. If one of the "Big Five" like Penguin/Random House, Hachette, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, or Macmillan published your book, that was a very big deal indeed. And you would be right to brag on it. 

Today, to achieve "bestseller status" within a single Amazon category rather than overall of Amazon, all you have to do is hit the top of any subcategory for a brief moment in time, and chances are that you'll be awarded the prized orange button with the word "Bestseller", giving you legit bragging rights. 

The reason people aspire to call themselves "bestselling author" is because it dramatically increases credibility and personal brand. It can establish someone as a thought leader. But surprise - there is no certain number of sales that it takes to become a best seller. One author I interviewed became a New York Times best-selling author selling just under 3,000 books. 

Another author that I interviewed sold 20,000+ in the first week - and didn't make that same list. 

The job of an author is a weird one. There is a lot of pressure to do all kinds of things that have nothing to do with writing, or with delivering value to the readers you want to reach. Book launches can do weird things to people. They can cloud judgment. The title "best selling author" does NOT necessarily mean higher speaker fees, more consulting gigs, or more publicity around your brand, as many think it does. You can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to become a NYT best-seller. The ROI (most of the time) is simply not there. 

My wife and I just watched Julia on HBO Max. All about Julia Child's extraordinary life and her long-running television series, "The French Chef," which pioneered the modern cooking show. The HBO series explores a pivotal time in American history - the emergence of public television as a new social institution, feminism and the women's movement, the nature of celebrity and America's cultural evolution. 

How many copies of 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' have sold? 

1.5 million copies of the book when it was published in 1961. And now, in 2022, thanks to HBO Max, the sales are growing (again) and the book is (once again) back on the best sellers list. And - the same thing happened once before -  in 2009 - when the movie "Julie and Julia" was a hit, with Meryl Streep playing Julia Child. 

It all started with the PBS TV interview on "books" and authors being interviewed about their books. That was it - that was the TV show. And so, strong Julia Child book sales in the 60s gave birth to the Julia Child PBS TV show, which of course grew Julia Child books sales, which then gave birth to a Julia Child movie, which once again grew Julia Child books sales, which gave birth to (another) Julia Child movie, which.....

Wow. I just heard in my mind - in her high Julia Child voice..... 

"Book 'em Danno!" 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

The Easter Platypus

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

Are you sure it was not an Easter Platypus?

Monotremes are mammals that reproduce by laying eggs. Their name comes from Greek and means "single opening," which refers to the fact that they have only one opening for both reproductive and waste removal purposes. 

Mammals that lay eggs are found only in Australia and New Guinea. 

So, what does the Easter Bunny have to do with Easter? The Easter Bunny origins are varied and go back centuries. How did the Bunny become the mascot of the holiest Christian holiday? And does the Easter Bunny actually lay eggs (ah, not a monotreme) or is the Easter Bunny just in charge of Supply Chain and Logistics? 


The history of the Easter Bunny has almost nothing to do with Easter beyond marketing. There aren't any mentions of bunnies, fluffy yellow chicks, baskets of goodies, or chocolate in the Biblical story of Easter, let alone in terms of the resurrection specifically. 

According to Time, the concept of the Easter Bunny stems from pagan rituals around the vernal equinox (the first day of spring). The pagan goddess of fertility, Eostre, was also symbolized by a hare and eggs. It is believed that when missionaries spread Christianity throughout Europe, they combined the pagan spring rituals with Easter and resurrection celebrations to make the transition from paganism to Christianity easier for new converts. 


In terms of the Easter Bunny's specific ties to the Christian holiday, German writings from the 1600s were reportedly among the first to mention an Easter hare. Called "Oschter Haws" the Easter Bunny was said to have left colorful eggs for good (get it, GOOD children) around Easter. And said GOOD CHILDREN would prepare "nests" for the eggs and leave carrots for the hare. German immigrants are believed to have brought the Easter Bunny tradition to the United States around the 1700s. 

Why is the Easter Bunny a Bunny and not a Chicken?

Despite Easter's association with eggs as a symbol of new life and the resurrection, the cute critter symbol of Easter being a bunny and not a chicken (or a Platypus) is no accident. The thinking behind the tradition was simply that rabbits reproduce A LOT, so as a symbol representing new life, rabbits took the edge over chickens. This pen-and-ink sketch is the earliest known American picture of The Easter Bunny, dated to around 1810, from Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. 

Easter 2022 is projected to be sweeter than Easter 2021. The National Confectioners Association (NCA) predicts that candy and confections sales for this year's Easter season will be 5% to 7% higher than last year, when sales topped $4 billion. 


More than 77% of people say they will absolutely or probably buy Easter candy this year. Easter beats Halloween. The Cadbury Easter Creme Egg is the most popular Easter Candy in 24 states, closely followed by Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs in 20 states. Egg-shaped chocolates are the top candy in 88% of the USA.

AND SO... The Easter Bunny got its start in the 18th century with German Lutherans who settled in Pennsylvania. "Oschter Haws" laid the eggs. Good children would get decorated eggs and other treats. Naughty children who did not behave would find rabbit pellets in their nests. 

I am happy to report that the Easter Bunny (not Platypus) made it to BOONTON USA this morning. Thankfully, nice little chocolate eggs. No rabbit pellets.  

My hand, Easter Morning 4/17/2022