Sunday, March 27, 2022

An Uber Fail

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

Uber means super. An extreme or excessive degree. Mega, ultra, great, super, extreme. 

I first heard of "Uber" with UberConference, born out of Google Ventures. Today, it is safe to say that when you hear or say "Uber" you think of Uber Technologies, Inc. the American mobility service provider. Formerly Ubercab, they became "just Uber" the way that The Facebook became "just Facebook". 

The big news today is that you can hail a Yellow Cab via the Uber app. 

In other news, Ubercab founder Travis Kalanick's head exploded. 

A few years ago, I formed a new staffing company for the global gig economy. Ah yes, what to name it? Of course: UberStaff

Uber became so prominent in the sharing economy that commoditization of service industries using computing platforms has been referred to as uberisation, and several startups have described their offerings as "Uber for X".  Yeah, like I did with 

Uber has posted hundreds of millions (or billions) of dollars of losses each year since 2014. Like similar companies, Uber has been criticized for the treatment of its drivers as gig workers and independent contractors, disruption of the taxicab business, and an increase in traffic congestion. Uber has been criticized for various unethical practices and for ignoring local regulations. 

Last week in my blog I mentioned how NFL Head Football Coach Bill Parcells would say "You are what your record says you are" and I love that quote. I think that the same goes for the naming of a company. You cannot be Uber if you are not really Uber. If the world says you are Uber (great, good, super, excellent) then that is fine. 

But just naming yourself Uber because you say so, well, that could lead to failure. 

Like, an Uber Failure. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

People First, Then Money, Then Things

Financial Solutions Expert Suze Orman has a great saying: "People First, Then Money, Then Things"

Facebook was built on people. Any social media channel or social technology, any and all digital channels that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, interests, and other forms of expressions through virtual communities and networks is now at the heart of our global cloud based society. 

One cool feature of Facebook is the "memories" feature that shows you what you were doing exactly 1, 2, 5 or even 10 years ago. 

Exactly 10 years ago today, 3/20/2012 we were at my first event since taking over the reigns. As a non-profit, during a recession, there was "less than $0" in the NYDLA bank account and prospects were not looking good. There were no jobs in tech - even in Cybersecurity. We had nothing to lose. 

We rebooted the NYDLA as a "for profit" trade association. And I tapped into my personal network of relationships, like the NFL. My first official duty as the new CEO of the NYDLA was to host an event at the NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS training facility at GIANTS STADIUM. Hey, if you got the cards - play 'em! 

Things were bad - very bad - in 2012. And then, they got better. Slowly the recession passed. The economy picked up. The country went from saying "there are no jobs to be found in Cybersecurity" to WE ARE HIRING IN CYBERSECURITY!!! 

Taking over a bankrupt entity seems scary, but it is really the opposite. leadership Hubert Joly tells the story well of bringing Best Buy back from death's door. You should check out our interview, and pick up a copy of his new book for free. 

There was a time when the NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS we terrible. Like, really bad. And then, they became Super Bowl Champions. 

2012 was bad, then things got better. Now in 2022, we are exiting a Global Pandemic, and dealing with high inflation and a war in Ukraine. 

Professional Sports Teams might be the best example of how things cycle from bad to good to bad to good, ongoing. A "Sports Dynasty" is a team or individual that dominates their sport or league for an extended period of time. In the NBA, the 1995-98 Chicago Bulls is considered to be the greatest All-Time dynasty, and had a 72-10 winning season that stood the mark until 2016. And that is why we have The Hall of Fame for every sport. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the world forever. But, the world works in cycles. Good, bad, good, bad. Zoom became "a verb" before COVID ever hit, but now in 2022 the future of work, the future of education, will never be the same. 

Yes, Suze Orman says: "People First, Then Money, Then Things" and I now have my own "things of three" saying: "Knowledge, Technology and Talent" which has become the core philosophy and culture of the NYDLA.

I grew up watching former NFL head coach Bill Parcells who had the famous quote that encapsulates his philosophy about excellence which says, "You are what your record says you are." 

Results speak for themselves. A sports dynasty, a global economy, a pandemic. They cycle of good, to bad, to good, to bad will always be there. Since the cycle of good to bad to good seems to be a constant, it makes sense to have another constant: 

People First. Since everything is going to go from good to bad to good to bad anyway - why not just commit to making people first above all else? 

Make people the constant. Make people the core, the rock that you build everything. Make people the foundation that you build upon to weather the storm. Because, there is always going to be another storm. 

Today, right now, my beloved NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS are not, well, they are not great.

This too shall pass. GO BIG BLUE! 

NFL head coach Bill Parcells

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Coffee, Tea or Me?

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

Coffee, Tea or Me? is a book of purported memoirs by the fictitious stewardesses Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones first published in 1967. Written by Donald Bain, he said, "I wrote it in 1966 while working in public relations for American Airlines, and it went on to spawn an entire genre of wacky comedies. The books sold in the millions, and became my annuity for almost 17 years."

The book was originally written to emphasize the "sexy" parts of the job, during the golden age of airline travel. 

Times change. That is possibly the biggest understatement, ever. In the sixties and seventies, the general public may have thought that being an airline stewardess was an exciting job, but in reality, stewardesses worked long hours for little pay and were subject to sexism and discrimination. Fast forward to today, and we see flight attendants being assaulted in the air. In 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration received 5,114 reports of unruly passengers. 

My brain went down this rabbit hole because of "Coffee" and how the local Coffee Shop in BOONTON USA has moved to a bigger, better, cooler location. So many things have changed forever, because of technology, because of changes in society, and certainly because of the pandemic. 

It has been a LONG TIME since the golden age of airline travel. And now, the local Coffee Shop has become the office, the meeting place, the community center of well, the community. 

There was great anticipation in BOONTON USA for the "new and improved Boonton Coffee Co. to reopen at their new location, just a few steps up MAIN STREET BOONTON. And that made me pause. We (well, me) did not or would not get so excited about a local Pizzeria or Barber Shop or "any" shop moving up the street to a bigger, new location. It would not make the news. It would not be such a big deal. But the move of Boonton Coffee Co. to a new bigger location became big news - in Morris County New Jersey. 

I guess the lesson of today's blog is all about how things make you FEEL. In business, anyway. In the 60s and 70s, if you said out loud "Airline Stewardess" it made you feel a certain way. Did the TV show Friends change coffee shops forever? In every episode, the gang somehow always ends up getting the same set of chairs, and the couch. Yeah, in New York City's Greenwich Village. Right.....

Anyway, personally, I am very excited about the New and Improved Boonton Coffee Co. A much bigger space, which now serves - wine! And cheeses, and foods and all kinds of cool Coffee Swag. In the heart of Morris County New Jersey - one of the most populated counties in THE COUNTRY, in the heart of BOONTON USA. Somehow those who live in and around the 07005 zip code now feel an ownership, and a sense of pride, and excitement about their local community. In my own mind's eye, I can see us hosting our monthly events at Boonton Coffee Co., where the coffee is on me. 

OK, land the plane, Tom... (see what I did there?)

There are many places to get "coffee" in BOONTON USA, and certainly thousands in Morris County. Starbucks, Dunkin' and only Google knows how many diners. But Boonton Coffee Co. has become a feeling, an emotional oasis. The Company became a Community. 

If you can get your own company or business (including an online business) to become part of the community, where the customers - the people - feel a sense of ownership - where the community becomes a stakeholder in your business - yeah, you won.

Sunday, March 6, 2022


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

Californication (word), an expression that refers to the influx of Californians into various western states in the U.S. 

The band Red Hot Chili Peppers also did the song Californication about the deterioration of society. The song is about how the world is becoming very superficial and plastic, much like California. The band formed in Hollywood and are quite familiar with the quirky nature of life in Los Angeles. 

I think that a new word is ready to be born: the Social Mediation of the world. Maybe we shall call this process Socialmedication. (Social-medi-cation...)

As of this blog, war is raging in Ukraine. I am old enough to remember the first "TV War" - Vietnam. Before then, war was reported NOT in real time, and very rarely with such visuals. 

The Vietnam War (1955-75) was a time of great controversy in the United States. Cold War tensions ran high as the country relentlessly fought against the alleged evils of communism. 

At the same time, advances in video and audio recording enabled both easier and more news coverage. From 1950 to 1966, the percentage of Americans who owned a television skyrocketed from 9 percent to 93 percent as televisions became essential for everyday life.

So why was Vietnam called the first "Television War"?

During World War II, morale was high. Camera crews stayed in noncombat areas to show the happier, more upbeat side of war. The stories were broadcast as motion pictures shown in theaters. And the newscasters shared only good news and reported bad news with a cheery disposition. 

In the 1940s, Government Censorship over the media influenced this outlook. If the press wanted access to stories about the war, they had to receive credentials from the military. This ensured that the news didn't report anything that the military did not want disclosed to the public. Big stories like the A-bomb stayed out of the news until long after the war ended. The main focus (and purpose) of the media was this: maintain high morale and solid support for the war effort. 

Televising the Vietnam War helped to divide a nation that took pride in its ability to unify. The dramatization of stories in the news distorted the public's perception of what was actually happening in the field. Since it was visible in their homes, Americans were able to connect and empathize with the soldiers more than ever before. The Tet Offensive and the My Lai Massacre, both in 1968. It was all on TV. More and more people felt that the United States was involved in a war in which they shouldn't be involved at all. 

And now, in 2022, the war in Ukraine is not only in our living rooms - it is in our hands. The war is in our smartphones. In real-time. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook. Private websites, with streaming media of horrifying scenes. For me, Twitter has become the fastest source of global news, period. And yes, disinformation and fake news is also part of the socialmedication. Just as TV went from 9 percent to 93 percent, access to social media via smartphones rival this growth. I say, is much higher than 93 percent, and much faster that the sixteen years for TV to hit these numbers. 

Twitter. Facebook. Yesterday, U.S. lawmakers held a secure Zoom meeting with the President of Ukraine. And then, the "security" of that meeting was broken, as U.S. lawmakers posted screen shots and notes from that Zoom meeting across social media. 

Social media - all media - is now one of the biggest tools of any war - on all sides. How many years ago did Putin and other bad actors begin using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms? It did not begin in 2022. The Socialmedication of the world (and of war) began many years ago. 

On April 1, 1968, the day after President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that he would not run for reelection, he stated: "As I sat in my office last evening, waiting to speak, I thought of the many times each week when television brings the war into the American home. No one can say exactly what effect that television would have had on earlier conflicts - the Korean war, or even World War II. If every horror of war is televised, I don't think any American back home would have the stomach for it, ever, no matter how dire the circumstance." 

OK, back to music. Jim Morrison of The Doors once famously said, "Whoever controls the media, controls the mind," and I agree with him. The media is a means of mass communication that is impactful and a reflection of our society. The media is a powerful influence that affects opinions and attitudes, affects the lives of individuals and their perceptions, and affects society as a whole. Jim Morrison died in 1971 in Paris. I wonder what Jim Morrison would think about our world today. 

Maybe he would write a song about it. 

Dream of Socialmedication. 

The Doors