Sunday, July 31, 2022

Author! Author!

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

In short, "author" can be a person who writes books or articles, usually for money. It can also refer to the person responsible for something, like the author of a plan. Author comes from the Latin word auctorem, meaning "founder, master, leader." Bow to the author!

When can you call yourself an author?

Well, an author is someone whose written work has been published. In addition to producing published work, people who write are considered authors when they originate the ideas and content of their written work. For this reason, most authors are writers, but not all writers are considered to be authors. 

What do you call a person who likes to write? A writer.

Ah, but an author is a person who is the originator of a written work like an article, a book. A writer is a person who writes a piece of literature, articles, blogs, novels or short stories not necessarily on their ideas. A person becomes an author once their works get published. 

AND SO: if some publisher took all the Sunday Blogs that I have written since 2010 and combined them, cleaned them up, and PUBLISHED them, Thomas A. Capone would become - wait for it - a published author. Today, I'm just a writer. Maybe I should edit out the word..."just". 

There seems to be something magical that happens when a writer becomes a published author. The phrase "wrote the book on" means the writer (now published author) is well known for being extremely experienced in or knowledgeable about something - to be a renowned expert or to know nearly everything about something. The phrase has become so cliched that it is often used after the word "literally" to describe someone who has actually written a book about a certain topic. 

Hey Google: how many books have been published in 2021?

As a result of print-on-demand technology, the number of book titles has increased from 2.3 million book titles published in 2012 to approximately 4 million new books published in 2021, with nearly half of those titles coming from self-published authors. 

The average book in America sells about 500 copies. Only 10 books sold more than a million copies last year, and fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000. There are all kinds of statistics bouncing around out there, but generally speaking, most self-published authors will likely sell around 250 books or less. A typical book author barely makes minimum wage. If one receives an advance and royalties on the net profit from a book - the math can be: Book sells for $25 per copy, you would need to sell at least 4,000 copies to break even on a $5,000 advance. 

Damn, Tom. This is a depressing blog today.

But wait! There's more!!!!!!

For the past several years, I have been doing video podcast interviews of Actors, Authors, Athletes, Celebrities, Entrepreneurs, etc. Ah so: Authors. And, because our video podcasts ( reach millions of people - if 1% of our community buy the book(s) of an author that we interview, well now, that is 10,000+ new book sales. Cut that number in half - cut that projection number in half again - it would still be quite an amazing virtual book signing event, yes? Our became and our audio-only podcasts became "a show" that now reaches millions of eyeballs each month. Cool. 

It turns out: Leaders Are Readers. And Audible books (especially when read by the author) are like virtual Master Classes on ( fill in topic). If one is a Professor at an Ivy League School of Business, and they "wrote the book on" (fill in topic) there is a very good chance that their status as a published author is going to sell books. Maybe, their new book will even become a New York Times or an Amazon best seller. 

There are some folks with millions of followers on their social media accounts. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram - these millions of followers can dramatically drive book sales. When I interview published authors, they tell everyone they know about their online interview: "Hey everyone - click here to watch and listen to my Coffee in the Clouds interview about my new book!"

[works for me.....and this works for ALL published authors, not just the famous....]

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

On July 16, 1995, Amazon officially opens for business as a online bookseller. Within a month, the fledgling retailer had shipped books to all 50 U.S. states and to 45 countries. 

If it were not for writers - if it were not for published authors - there would be no Amazon today. Full stop. There would be no Amazon Prime, no Amazon Web Services (AWS) and, no Jeff Bezos $500M+ yacht. And there would definitely be no Jeff Bezos Blue Origin space company. 

Author! Author! 

The first sale (ever) on Amazon: THIS book. 

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Does your Firework come with a report?

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 
Let's say I tell you something that you knew already. For example, "Did you know that giraffes have blue tongues?" You might respond "I was 12 years old when I learned that."

Now, let's say I tell you something that you did not know, that genuinely surprises you. "Did you know that the loud BOOM you hear when a Firework goes off, is called in the industry - a report??? Well, now you know.  

A REPORT is a component of an aerial display shell or mine. A report contains salute powder, a powerful pyrotechnic composition (usually flash powder) which explodes VIOLENTLY, producing a loud noise with the visual effect of a bright flash and smoke.

AND SO: "I was today years old when I learned that THE LOUD BOOM with Fireworks is called a report." Wait for it.......wait for it........and there it is.......... KA-BOOM!!!!!!!!

Yesterday was our Boonton Township New Jersey town picnic. Food trucks opened at 2 PM. Fireworks at 9 PM presented by TerrAscend NJ. Free admission and open to all. I love Boonton Township. Living around 30 miles West of Times Square, my town is best mix of country/city living. I can have morning coffee with my neighbor, Dominic the Donkey. I can jump on a bus (without Dominic) and be in THE BIG APPLE Times Square in less than an hour. Some days I get so much work done in the last row of the bus, that I actually feel myself secretly praying for a little traffic. 

And so just this morning, I was going to post in the Boonton Township social media feed, just a short "thank you" to all who had anything to do with the town picnic. Bravo!

I was today years old when I learned who TerrAscend NJ is and what they do. 

Now I don't know how the Fireworks portion of the town picnic came to be. I don't know if there was a Fireworks Committee, who searched for a sponsor. Or if companies volunteered to sponsor the fireworks portion of the day. And, I don't know if I am the only person who paid attention to the fact that the unforgettable fireworks display was presented and paid for by TerrAscend NJ. 

When companies sponsor things like golf outings, community events, maybe the local Little League team, I wonder how much thought they put into it. Does the owner calculate an ROI in their head? I have to believe that last night's fireworks (which was actually pretty amazing) cost TerrAscend NJ several thousand dollars. I would probably be shocked to learn how much a 45 minute long fireworks show costs, all in.

Here's the BOOM. You never know how your BRAND is going to be received. In business, you never know how (or when) your BRAND is going to get attention, or become highlighted out of the blue. You never know when someone is going to GOOGLE you, to learn more. Or mention you in a blog. I mean, I truly was today years old when I learned about TerrAscend, the leading North American cannabis operator with vertically integrated operations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and California. 

And so, I already knew what a braying ass is, because my neighbor has a donkey. I now know what it means when a Firework has a report. And I am now sipping my coffee on my deck, listening to Dominic the Donkey (as he is waking up the neighbors) while I am reading and learning more about TerrAscend. 

NOT Dominic, but it could be......

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Man of the Moment

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

Last Friday I had the pleasure, the honor, the gift (...pass me the Thesaurus) of hosting a video podcast interview with Bill George. Bill George and Zach Clayton have a new book coming out in August. I have read Bill's past works, and I read the advance copy of the new book. THIS book - Bill's new book - is his best book. 

Yes, the newest book is indeed the best book - at the moment. 

During the interview, I asked Bill about Jack Welch. In the 90s I did a lot of business with GE when they got into the "long distance" game. There was a time when "GE Exchange" was shaking up the telecom world. Heck, at the time, GE could have bought long distance company Sprint with pocket change. 

I was in my 30s and I was in awe of all things GE and all things Jack Welch. I lived in northern New Jersey at the time, and at least once a month I would make the drive to GE headquarters in Connecticut. On my FIRST trip to GE, I met Jack. He shook my hand and asked three questions: who I was - what company I was with - and what is my golf handicap. His assistant wrote it down - name, what I do/who I was with - and my golf handicap. Back then - if you did not play golf - you were not serious about business. In fact, back in the day, if you were in Business School or studying for your MBA, it was highly recommended for all of the guys and gals to learn how to play golf

During the early 1980s, Welch sought to streamline GE. In 1981, Jack made a speech in NYC called "Growing fast in a slow-growth economy." Under Welch's leadership, GE increased market value from $12 billion in 1981 to $410 billion when he retired, making 600 acquisitions while shifting into emerging markets. Welch was dubbed "Neutron Jack" (in reference to the neutron bomb) for eliminating employees while leaving buildings intact. Welch valued surprise and made unexpected visits to GE plants and offices. Welch popularized so-called "rank and yank" policies. Each year, Welch would fire the bottom 10% of his managers, regardless of absolute performance. NO MATTER WHAT - the bottom 10% were fired

By 1999 Jack Welch was named "Manager of the Century" by Fortune magazine. 

There is a phrase "the man of the moment" which means the man who is the most popular or successful at a particular time. During our interview, Bill George affirmed that AT THE TIME, Jack Welch was indeed the man of the moment. Jack Welch's GE was the gold standard in business. The best of the best - GE and Jack Welch. At the time, for the times - Jack Welch was the model of excellence. Be like Jack. 

Upon his retirement from GE, Welch stated that his effectiveness as its CEO for two decades would be measured by the company's performance for a comparable period under his successors. Jack had grown GE to over $450 billion in market capitalization. As of July 2022 GE has a market cap of $69 billion. Down from #1 to #184 (most valuable company). Oops! 

GE was the best company - at the moment. "Neutron Jack" was the best CEO in the world - the leader of the century - at the moment. 

As I write my Sunday Blog, I am reflecting on my business career. I thought Jack Welch was everything that I wanted to be. There was a time when I thought Donald Trump was cool. I rode in limousines with "The Donald" to Mike Tyson fights in Atlantic City. I would let my two young sons listen in on speakerphone to my calls with Trump, because that was impressive. Doing business with or simply hanging out with Donald Trump was impressive - at the moment. One year, my wife and I sat in Trump's VIP box at the US OPEN (Mats Wilander beat Ivan Lendl). "The Art of the Deal" was read by aspiring business leaders. In the 80s and early 90s it was cool to be like Donald Trump. Cool, impressive, something to brag about - at the moment

In December 2016, Jack Welch joined a business forum assembled by then president-elect Donald Trump - to provide strategic and policy advice on economic issues. 

In True North: Emerging Leaders Edition, Bill George and Zach Clayton issue the challenge to emerging leaders - from Gen X to Millennials and Gen Z - to lead their organizations authentically throughout never-ending crises to make this world a better place for everyone. members shall get Bill and Zach's new book for free - as part of their paid membership.

And I can honestly say that the video podcast interview, my with Bill was my best "Coffee in the Clouds" interview, ever

At the moment. 

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Attention to detail at alll times!!!

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

So, I made this post on Twitter today. And as you can see, it has a minor error. It should have been like-minded people. Not like minded-people.

Oh, the shame, the horror. 

And so, I had to make another Tweet to make sure the Twitterverse knows that I am not an idiot. However, I might be anal. 

And then, I asked myself: "Self, why is there no edit button on Twitter?"

Facebook allows you to edit a post. LinkedIn allows you to edit a post. Twitter allows you to DELETE a Tweet, but not edit a Tweet.


Ah, it turns out that the answer might not be as simple as it appears. The first thing to know about tweets is that, unlike posts on many other platforms, there is fundamentally no way for Twitter to pull them back after they are sent. 

Turns out that Twitter has what's called an Application Programming Interface (or API) which allows third parties such as other apps or researchers to download tweets in real time. Once third parties have downloaded tweets, there is no way for Twitter to get them back or edit them. Something like sending an email - once you send it, and they download it, you cannot change your mind. 

So, if I sent a Tweet that says "I love dogs" and you quote my tweet saying "Me too!" and then I EDIT my tweet to "I hate dogs" then you look like YOU hate dogs, too. Ah, not cool. 

The entire Elon Musk bid to buy Twitter thing lead to speculation that he would make changes - including adding an edit button to Twitter. Social media is weird, and it could become even MORE weird, the more we fiddle with it. 

Would an edit button change Twitter's power or brand? There might be no way to ameliorate this, such as only allowing edits within a short period of time (ala fixing typos). But we should think about it. And now, you can go Google: ameliorate. 

So, today, you can DELETE a stupid tweet, but if someone grabbed it, then that tweet is not really GONE. And, if it is a simple fix for a typo, well, you are a HUMAN, not a bot, right? You might need to retweet your tweet to fix your tweet. 

Years ago, before email, I learned: "Never send a letter, and never throw a letter away." What that means is a letter is forever, so be careful what you put in writing. 

And so, for now, just like a carpenter who says "measure twice, cut once..." you need to read and re-read your tweet before you tweet it. 

And: "If your tweet ain't sweet, you must delete!" 

And do it fast, before the bots retweet you. 

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Stan has a Van

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

On our way to see the kids yesterday, driving up from New Jersey, we hit a little traffic in Stamford. For some reason, there is always a little traffic in Stamford. Too many people getting on and off the highway, in too short a span. Mostly, it is from people in the left lane, who need to get over to the right lane, at the last minute. Even people who live in the area find themselves having to get over a lane or two, or they will miss their exit. 

So, we hit some traffic. 

Ah yes, the (now famous) Stamford traffic. 

Right in front of us was a little pick up truck, hauling what looked to be an Ice Cream push cart. The wording on the tailgate of the pickup caught my eye.

Young Man With a Truck

Trying to Make a Buck

(203) 898-4948

It made me laugh. It made my wife laugh. My wife snapped a picture with her phone. Next thing you know, I said "OK, Google, dial 203-898-4948. 

"This is James"

"Hey, James - are you a Young Man With a Truck?"

And, we're off to the races. Turns out that James is now in the Ice Cream business as well. James has expanded from being a young man with a truck, to a young entrepreneur with trucks (plural) and employees and a great "no job is too big or to small" attitude. Here we are, going SLOW in traffic, but we now have a new FAST friend, James.

I asked James if he had a website, and he said yes but it is down right now. is indeed down. Our conversation lasted a good ten minutes. My wife marveled at how nice James was, how it felt like we were talking to an old friend. From total stranger to total friend, in minutes. 

This morning I found James here:  I have a few student interns working for me this summer. I am going to see if we can build out a new website for James Clark. We are also doing a ton of business in the Stamford, Connecticut area. We shall see if any of our clients can use the services of A Young Man with a Truck.

Or Ice Cream. We shall see if anyone in Stamford, Connecticut likes Ice Cream. 

I told this story yesterday while sitting on the deck at my son's house in Madison, Connecticut. One of my (new) daughters said "Wow, I could NEVER do that. Calling a stranger like that. That is"

And I guess that is the point of the post. I could not NOT call that number. I mean, it is right in front of me, on the tailgate of the pickup truck right in front of me.  And, it made me laugh. Of course I am going to make that call. I was ready to leave a voice mail, but nope - James Clark himself picked up the phone.

From the looks of the YMWAT Facebook page, James Clark gives back to the community as well. It looks like James Clark (and friends) work hard - and they do good work, and they are paying it forward.

Now play it forward in your own mind: by the end of this summer James Clark has a brand new website, and a marketing strategy to grow his business (in and around) the Stamford, Connecticut area 

Make it so. 

At the end of last year, I got a phone call (out of the blue) from Verizon. As in, They saw what we were doing with Zoom, and they asked if we would be interested in selling, marketing, promoting and servicing all things BlueJeans, the Verizon service that competes with Zoom. I said sure, set it up.

So we became a Verizon partner. Then, we became a DIRECT partner. And then, we became a Tier 1 partner. And now today, we are a Tier 1 ELITE partner: All of this happened with Verizon, very fast. 

All because of a phone call. A random phone call. What if I never took the call? What if it got lost in voicemail? Oh, and now we are going to run for all things BlueJeans. Across all of North America. 

Is there even such a thing as a random phone call? Is there even such a thing as a chance meeting? Maybe everything happens for a reason. Right, James Clark? 

James made his own luck, with the witty saying for his business. A young man with a truck, trying to make a buck. That just made me smile. 

And dial. That witty phrase also made me... dial