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

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

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

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

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