Sunday, January 28, 2024

Are you related to Al Capone?

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

The Godfather is a crime novel by American author Mario Puzo. Originally published in 1969 by G. P. Putnam's Sons, the novel details the story of a fictional Mafia family in New York City (and Long Island), headed by Vito Corleone, the Godfather. The novel covers the years 1945 to 1955 and includes the backstory of Vito Corleone from early childhood to adulthood.

Born in 1960 I was nine years old when the book came out. The Godfather (the movie) premiered at the Loew's State Theatre on March 14, 1972, and was widely released in the United States on March 24, 1972. It was the highest-grossing film of 1972, and was for a time the highest-grossing film ever made, earning between $250 and $291 million at the box office.

And, I was fourteen years old when The Godfather Part II premiered in New York City on December 12, 1974. It grossed $48 million in the United States and Canada and up to $93 million worldwide on a $13 million budget. 

The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, and became the first sequel to win Best Picture. Its six Oscar wins also included Best Director for Coppola, Best Supporting Actor for De Niro and Best Adapted Screenplay for Coppola and Puzo. Pacino won Best Actor at the BAFTAs and was nominated at the Oscars. Like its predecessor, The Godfather Part II remains a highly influential film, especially in the gangster genre. It is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, as well as the rare example of a sequel that may be superior to its predecessor. In 1997, the American Film Institute ranked it as the 32nd-greatest film in American film history and it retained this position 10 years later. It was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1993, being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". 

And I was thirty years old when The Godfather Part III, the final installment in the trilogy, was released in 1990. 

I first saw The Godfather when it was released on VHS in the 80s. Somewhere in the house is The Godfather DVD COLLECTION, 5-Disc set. It was given to me as a birthday gift, many years ago. 

And now, in 2024, at 63 years old I am listening to........ 


Publisher's summary: Mario Puzo's classic saga of an American crime family that became a global phenomenon - nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read.

With its brilliant and brutal portrayal of the Corleone family, The Godfather burned its way into our national consciousness. This unforgettable saga of crime and corruption, passion and loyalty continues to stand the test of time, as the definitive novel of the Mafia underworld.

A #1 New York Times bestseller in 1969, Mario Puzo's epic was turned into the incomparable film of the same name, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It is the original classic that has been often imitated, but never matched. A tale of family and society, law and order, obedience and rebellion, it reveals the dark passions of human nature played out against a backdrop of the American dream.


Did you catch that? "...burned its way into our national consciousness..." So, for me, personally, from 1972 to 2024, The Godfather has been a part of my life. I never read (any) of the paper books from Mario Puzo. I have now watched ALL of The Godfather movies, well over a dozen times. But movies are not paper books. 

I love - and I especially love audio books "read by the Author" as it makes me feel like they are talking directly TO ME. But most of the time, I listen to BUSINESS BOOKS. This is the first time that I am listening to a non-business book on Audible. And, it is.... amazing

In The Godfather movies, I don't remember them ever mentioning Al Capone by name. In the audio book, his name comes up. Often. Many, many times. And, in the audible book (all 18 hours, 48 minutes worth) they go deeply into the various characters - much more deeply than possible in the movie (The Godfather Part I was just under 3 hours in total). When watching a movie, we forget how many hours are edited out, how much content will find its way to the editing room floor. An author of a book is not a movie director, nor a movie editor. And actors tend to ad-lib. 

One of The Godfather Part I most memorable lines -- “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli” was entirely improvised and, but for a moment of inspiration, might not have happened. It's not in the book, and it almost never made it into the movie. 

The director Coppola left it in. The results take an already great scene into the realm of immortality, maintaining the harsh message of the dead man in public view while closing with the supposedly ordinary lifestyle of “normal” Americans. Assassination is just another chore on Clemenza’s checklist, and while shooting a traitor to the family in the head is no big deal, he doesn’t want his wife getting angry at him for losing an expensive dessert. Coppola recognized the greatness of the improv by including it in the film, proof that greatness can come from serendipity as much as careful planning.

It was serendipity that made me download and listen to The Godfather 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION. Normally, I would have downloaded a business book for my business trip. And now, I am thinking about doing this again (and again) especially for all the movies of my life

Next up: JAWS. Ah yes - the movie that kept me from swimming in the ocean for years. I never read the book. It's time to give it a listen. 

OK, so go ahead. Ask me. You want to know if I am related to Al Capone? 

Yes. Yes I am. 

Especially when I am on the phone, making last-minute dinner reservations in NYC. Being in "sales" from time to time, "I make people an offer they cannot refuse..."

And that quote WAS in the book AND in the movie....... 

“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

Sunday, January 21, 2024

You don't have to tell me once

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

I have been a customer (fan?) of 37signals for years. I'm thinking 20 years. I have interviewed Jason Fried, the CEO and founder three times. There is something about their culture, their style that grabs me. If I was ever unemployed, I would beg for a job with those guys.

I don't need to steal his thunder, so you can read all about "Once" right here. 

And, you can read my email to Jason right (sent this around two hours ago, 1/21/2024 7:25 AM EST) here:

Hey Jason, {} this is one of the hosting vendors that we resell who gives us excellent margins and excellent support. 

One of many vendors. We can promote and Campfire 1.0  and the "Once" story to the millions in the global DLA community.  Evangelize the logic of buying / Campfire for their needs. 

They pay you full price for / Campfire 1.0 directly from you, I help them to see the value of hosting with us. Hosting via the DLA is a member benefit. Our buying power is massive based on our millions of members. If they host on their own, without us, that is fine. No hard feelings. Maybe we sell them their server, their hardware? Lenovo? We still turned them on to a cool thing which "fits" the DLA community and our global collaboration world...

My logic: worst case scenario, we are helping our friends at 37signals to spread the word about

Best case scenario: this all becomes a home run, we make 100+ sales for you, and then you contemplate allowing us to resell the same way that we resell {realnamegoeshere}. 

So unless you stop me, I'm going to do all of the above. No risk or downside to you, only upside..... 


Now, as of this Sunday Blog, I did not hear back from Jason. I think he is in CA, so it is still early out there. He might say "Hell no, Tom! Over my dead body...." But I feel that there is less than 0.01% chance of that. Why would he say no? 

There is another cool story about how the folks at 37signals came up with the name "Once" and how they bought the domain name. But that is fodder for a future Sunday Blog. 

AND SO...... this blog is LIVE on 1/21/2024. If this blog post remains live.... well then you know that Jason did not say no. Nor did he say Hell No, or any variation of "No". I might not get a HELL YES! but I don't think I'll get a no, or a soft no, or anything that even remotely sounds like "Hey, hold up there Tommy Baby...".  { is also from 37signals.... 😎 }

One of my favorite quotes from Jason is this: "When you say "No" to something, you are saying no to one thing. When you say "Yes" to something, you are saying "No" to MANY things. In other words, there are only so many hours in the day. You cannot do everything. So be careful what you say Yes to, because that YES might actually equal hundreds of NOs. 

But don't be AFRAID to say.......... YES.

The Genius of

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Are you trying to show me up?

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

The NRF Big Show, or the National Retail Federation Big Show, is an annual retail industry event organized by the National Retail Federation (NRF). It is one of the largest retail conferences and expos globally, bringing together retailers, industry professionals, and technology providers. The event typically features keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, and an exhibition floor showcasing the latest technologies and solutions in the retail sector. Attendees have the opportunity to learn about emerging trends, network with peers, and explore innovations that impact the retail industry. The NRF Big Show aims to provide insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the retail sector and to foster collaboration among industry stakeholders.

This year, we expect 50K+ to attend NRF BIG SHOW LIVE at Javits Center, and 10X that number to attend virtually

The Javits Center, officially known as the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, is a large convention center located in New York City, USA. It is situated on the West Side of Manhattan, along the Hudson River. The Javits Center is a prominent venue for hosting conventions, trade shows, conferences, and special events.

Named after the former U.S. Senator Jacob K. Javits, the center spans several city blocks and features a significant amount of exhibition space. It has been a key hub for a wide range of events, including business conferences, cultural exhibitions, and large-scale gatherings.

The Javits Center is known for its modern architecture and versatile facilities, making it a popular choice for hosting events of various sizes and industries. It plays a crucial role in facilitating business interactions, showcasing products and innovations, and bringing together professionals from different sectors.

Last week was CES in Las Vegas. Later this month shall be ISE in Spain. Last night kicked off THE BIG SHOW in THE BIG APPLE. 

OK, Google: how far am I from Javits Center? { 33.8 miles away, 41 minutes by car if you leave right now } What about Times Square? { 33.6 miles, figure 42 minutes if you drive }

So, here's the thing: people attend Trade Shows because there are things at Trade Shows that they cannot get, cannot experience, cannot acquire, cannot obtain, cannot learn, if they DON'T attend the show. And, the first thing that comes to mind are the Speakers

Subject Matter Experts. Thought Leaders. Industry Experts. Yes, the booths are cool, the energy of the expo floors is palpable. People that return from CES will take weeks (months?) to unpack what they experienced. But live speakers will always be "the draw" for events like CES, NRF, ISE and others. 

I am spoiled. Living less than an hour (door to door) from the Center of the Known Universe (New York City) I could go to Javits Center every month (every week?) as there is ALWAYS SOMETHING going on at Javits. People travel from all around the world to meetings and events at Javits. Yes, Vegas is probably Trade Show / Expo mecca, but no one ever says no to a trip to New York City. 

I did not go to CES this year (120K+ attending live) but many on my team did physically go. NRF BIG SHOW is in my backyard - I could take an Uber round trip, every day (starting today) and save on hotel rooms. I will not be attending ISE (LIVE) in Spain, but we shall attend virtually. 

Direct office space in Manhattan costs an average of $82 per sq ft each year. Class A space is more expensive, costing an average of around $91 per square foot per year. New York's office vacancy rate has surged more than 70 percent since 2019; there's some 96 million square feet of office real estate available for lease in the city.

During the first three months of 2023, U.S. office vacancy topped 20 percent for the first time in decades. In San Francisco, Dallas, and Houston, vacancy rates are as high as 25 percent. These figures understate the severity of the crisis because they only cover spaces that are no longer leased. Most office leases were signed before the pandemic and have yet to come up for renewal. Actual office use points to a further decrease in demand. Attendance in the 10 largest business districts is still below 50 percent of its pre-COVID level, as white-collar employees spend an estimated 28 percent of their workdays at home.

With a third of all office leases expiring by 2026, we can expect higher vacancies, significantly lower rents, or both. And while we wrestle with the effects of distributed work, artificial intelligence could drive office demand even lower. Some pundits point out that the most expensive offices are still doing okay and that others could be saved by introducing new amenities and services. But landlords can’t very well lease all empty retail stores to Louis Vuitton and Apple. There’s simply not enough demand for such space, and new features make buildings even more expensive to build and operate.

AND SO.................. Trade Shows!

Trade Shows like CES, NRF, ISE allow people to get together, at least a few times a year - LIVE. You don't have to go to the office every day (or even every week) if you can all meet up a few times a year - in Vegas, in Orlando, in Chicago, in Dublin, in Toronto, or of course, meet up in the Center of the Known Universe.... THE BIG APPLE. 

My Uber shall be here in a few minutes.... will I see you at Javits today? 

Also this: members in NY/NJ/CT who work from home can use our NYC office for meetings and events. You are welcome. 

Whew! I made the cut...

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Show me!

CES. NRF. Web Summit. ISE. What am I missing? 

Trade shows were devastated during the pandemic. All we had was virtual events, attending from home. Now in 2024, Trade Shows seem to be back, bigger and better than ever. 

CES stands for the Consumer Electronics Show. It is an annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) that takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. CES is one of the largest and most influential technology events globally, showcasing a wide range of consumer electronics and technology innovations. At CES, companies from around the world unveil and demonstrate their latest products and technologies in various sectors, including electronics, automotive, robotics, smart home devices, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and more. The event attracts industry professionals, journalists, and enthusiasts, providing a platform for networking, business development, and a glimpse into the future of technology.

The NRF Big Show, officially known as the NRF Annual Convention & EXPO or Retail's Big Show, is an annual event organized by the National Retail Federation (NRF). It is one of the largest and most prominent retail conferences and expos globally. The event typically attracts retail industry professionals, executives, experts, and technology providers. The NRF Big Show serves as a platform for networking, learning, and exploring the latest trends and technologies in the retail sector. Attendees have the opportunity to participate in educational sessions, workshops, and keynote presentations featuring industry leaders. The expo portion of the event showcases a wide range of technologies, products, and services from companies in areas such as e-commerce, point-of-sale systems, customer experience, supply chain management, and more. This annual event provides a comprehensive overview of the current state and future direction of the retail industry, offering valuable insights for retailers, vendors, and anyone involved in the business of retail.

The Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show is one of the world's largest exhibitions for the audiovisual and systems integration industry. The event brings together professionals from various sectors, including audio, video, smart home technology, digital signage, and other related fields. ISE was traditionally held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, but starting from 2021, it moved to Barcelona, Spain. The show provides a platform for companies to showcase their latest products, technologies, and solutions in the audiovisual and integrated systems space. Attendees typically include professionals, integrators, manufacturers, and others interested in the latest developments in the industry.

Web Summit is one of the largest technology conferences in the world, bringing together a diverse range of professionals, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts. The event covers a broad spectrum of topics, including technology, business, entrepreneurship, innovation, and more. Web Summit originally started in Dublin, Ireland, in 2010 and has since grown exponentially. It has been held in various locations, including Lisbon, Portugal, and more recently in other cities. The conference covers a wide range of topics, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, marketing, fintech, health tech, and many others. It is known for its large scale, diverse audience, and its ability to attract influential figures from the tech and business communities.

Attending trade shows can be worth it for many individuals and businesses, but the value often depends on various factors, including your goals, industry, and how you approach the event. Here are some considerations:

Networking Opportunities: Trade shows provide excellent opportunities to network with professionals, potential clients, suppliers, and industry peers. If building relationships and expanding your professional network is a priority, attending trade shows can be highly valuable.

Market Research: Trade shows offer a chance to stay updated on industry trends, new technologies, and competitors. You can gather insights into the latest developments and innovations, helping you make informed decisions about your business.

Brand Visibility: For businesses looking to increase brand visibility, participating in or attending trade shows can be beneficial. It's an opportunity to showcase your products or services to a targeted audience and potentially generate leads.

Education and Learning: Many trade shows feature seminars, workshops, and keynote presentations by industry experts. Attending these sessions can provide valuable knowledge and insights that you might not easily find elsewhere.

Product Launches and Demonstrations: Trade shows are often used as platforms for launching new products or demonstrating existing ones. If you have a new offering, a trade show can provide the visibility and audience to make a significant impact.

Competitive Advantage: Being present at industry events can give you a competitive advantage. It shows that you are engaged in your industry and invested in staying current with trends and developments.

However, it's essential to approach trade show attendance strategically. Consider factors like the cost of participation, the potential return on investment, and whether the event aligns with your business objectives. Additionally, effective planning and follow-up are crucial to maximizing the benefits of attending trade shows.

Keep in mind that the value of trade shows can vary by industry and individual circumstances. Some businesses may find them essential for growth and networking, while others may achieve their goals through alternative means, such as permission based, 100% opt-in email and social media marketing (LinkedIn).

The Distance Learning Association always SPONSORS trade shows at the level necessary to obtain the entire attendee list. And then, our marketing teams will follow up, follow up, follow up. Our DLA community emails normally enjoy a 40% open rate, which is very high. This is because we have a trusted brand, and we never spam. So, with CES expecting 130K+ and NRF expecting 50K+ (and 10X those numbers attending virtually) we shall have a very full sales funnel THIS MONTH. 

And 2024 is just getting started...

Yes, Trade Shows are back, in a big way... 

in the GLOBAL cloud economy.