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    Entries in list (29)

    Monday
    Feb192018

    Presidents, ranked

    For a 'one of those holidays, but is it really a holiday?' Monday, I present to you, faithful reader, this unscientific, unresearched, highly subjective, incredibly incomplete, and 100% accurate ranking of Presidents - defined very loosely.

    Here goes...

    15. Francis Underwood (House of Cards)

    14. Grover Cleveland (Often overlooked. But not on this list. You go Grover)

    13. President Snow (Hunger Games)

    12. John F. Kennedy (Little known fact, my high school was named after JFK)

    11. (Future) President Dawn Staley (USC Gamecocks Women's Basketball Coach, amazing leader)

    10. Selina Meyer (Veep)

    9. Thomas Jefferson (Louisiana Purchase - best real estate deal ever?)

    8. (Future) President Jeff Bezos (it is inevitable, no?)

    7. Thomas J. Whitmore ('Independence Day' the movie)

    6. Dwight Eisenhower (defined the Power Bald for a century)

    5. Colonel Sanders (not really a President, probably does not belong on this list. Oh well.)

    4. Teddy Roosevelt (altogether a tough customer)

    3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (also tough. Also the only person you have ever heard of named 'Delano')

    2. Abraham Lincoln (the best #2 ever. Kind of like LeBron)

    1. George Washington ('Independence Day' the actual thing)

    You could disagree with these rankings but of course you would be wrong.

    Happy President's Day! 

    Thursday
    Feb012018

    Steve's 12 Rules For Life

    Apologies if this '12 Rules for Life' meme is a bit worn out (I confess to have only just seen it in the last week or so here and here and since I am pretty much absent on most forms of social media these days I have a feeling these kinds of things come and go and I usually don't catch them), but since it reminded me a bit of blogging say, 10 years ago when these kinds of themes were passed around in blog 'tags' and comments, I thought I would give it a shot.

    So here goes - in no order of importance, relevance, research, or general applicability. 

    And, there are lots of more important rules - like the ones concerning family, relationships, etc. that I have no desire to even try to offer advice, let alone rules. Consider these the most unimportant, but somehow vital 12 rules for life you will ever read. If you read them that is.

    And now here goes...

    1. Pick up the tab - You don't have to do this all the time, just sometimes. There is nothing more awkward than handing a server or bartender seven different credit cards to try and settle a $132 check. Pick up the tab and you just made six friends. And made a deposit in the bank of good karma. You may need that one day.

    2. No talking in a public restroom - with the exception of someone in authority if they need to shout 'The building is on fire, everyone evacuate!'

    3. Do whatever you can to control your schedule. Most of us will end up with some kind of job or career where bosses, colleagues, customers, clients, etc. all have some kind of claim on our time. The more you can limit the number of people who can lock up your time and the amount of time you have to be available to others, the more you will be able to focus on what you truly want to do, and I bet you will be happier overall. Call it your own 'Executive Time' if you have to, and block your own calendar.

    4. Don't stress over the dessert or the third slice of pizza or the french fries or whatever you consider your dietary weakness. No one ever looks back on their life and says 'Gee, I wish I drank more water and ate more salad.' 

    5. Jog/walk/move a little bit more. Sometimes when I travel I have to take two pretty long connecting flights in a row. And sometimes I see the some of the same people get off the first plane, where we had all been sitting for three hours or so, and immediately park themselves down in another seat to wait an hour just to get on another three hour flight where once again, we will all be sitting. It baffles me. And while you are at it, you don't need to find the closest parking space to the grocery store or post office or theater. Park a little farther out and walk for two minutes. It's fun. 

    6. Never place a bet on any animal that can't talk. Betting on ones that can talk is also advised against, but it is fun. Except for tennis. Don't bet on tennis, it is pretty likely the match is fixed.

    7. Don't spend too much time on social networks. I know, that 'rule' is everywhere. But even Zuckerberg has admitted that Facebook (heavy use of Facebook anyway), is not that great for you. Check it like you check your snail mail - a quick scan for a minute as you bring it in from the mailbox and then maybe for 15-20 minutes later as you sort out what is important, what can be trashed and what you need to read. Reading long lists on blogs is, however, very admirable and good for you. So keep doing that. Well done.

    8. Sign up for TSA Pre-check. Even if you only travel a few times a year it is worth every cent. 

    9. Figure out the three things or types of work that you like to do the most, (or which you want to become more proficient), and make sure you reserve time every week to work on these three things. Keep (loose) track of the time you spend on these things and do a kind a self-audit every few months to determine two things. One, are you actually making time to do the things you really want to do? And two, are you getting better at these things? I think the thing that holds us back the most at work and maybe even in life, is that we are not good or comfortable with self-examination and making an honest assessment of things. If that sounds like a bit of a confession/admission you are right.

    10. Set expectations (where you can). In a project or a negotiation or even just 'normal' business, people are generally going to be happy or at least satisfied as long as they are not disappointed or surprised. If you have to, set an email auto-responder during your busy times, (maybe all the time), that lays out when people can expect to hear back from you or the time it will take for you to take some action. If you email me today, (it's a Thursday as I write this), and I auto-respond I will get back to you by Monday COB, then at least you understand not to expect a reply on Friday. This is also a confession/admission of sorts.

    11. It's ok to be a snob about something, (wine, beer, cheese, movies, books, etc.) but not everything. Popular culture is called that because it's you know, popular. Lots and lots of people drink Coors Light, eat at Taco Bell, and go on Dunkin' runs. Jumanji grossed about $340M in 2017. And the people that drink Coors Light and hit the Taco Bell on the way to catch Jumanji? You have to work with them, serve them as customers, and socialize with them. You are not any better than them because you like some triple-hopped craft IPA that was brewed in someone's backyard. 

    12. Don't listen to anyone's rules about how to live. Except for number 8 above. You will never regret not waiting in the 'regular' line at security.

    If you decide to post your '12 Rules' somewhere let me know in the comments, or add a rule or two of your own there. 

    Have a great day!

    Thursday
    Dec142017

    Code words for 'Get ready for some layoffs', ranked

    Big news on the corporate M&A front announced this morning with the news that Disney has reached an agreement to acquire substantial portions of the Fox media empire (including Twentieth Century Fox film and TV studios, a bunch of cable and international TV businesses), for approximately $52.4B in Disney stock.

    While most of the coverage I read and heard this morning focused on the business and content strategy implications of the deal (basically these assets strengthen and augment Disney's content inventory for their eventual direct to consumer streaming service which will compete with Netflix), less attention was given to the inevitable 'people' costs of these kinds of transactions. Namely, the almost certain reductions in headcounts from the newly combined (and larger) entity as execs look for ways to try and pay for the huge acquisition cost, and wring more profit and efficiency from the combined entity.

    And the fun part (it is not really fun, I am being sarcastic), is that when the 'people' issues are discussed in these M&A deals the word 'layoffs' is never, ever used. No, we get other, less direct and more corporate-speak words and phrases that more or less try to mask what is really going to happen to a whole bunch of people that through no fault of their own become part of the costs (ironically savings to the corporation), of these transactions. This topic will always resonate with me because a few years back I was caught on the wrong side of one of these transactions myself.

    In that light then, I present my unscientific, unresearched, incomplete, subjective, and 100% accurate ranking of 'Code words for 'Get ready for some layoffs''...

    5. More than one appearance in a Press Release of any of the following words - 'Nimble', 'Optimize', 'Simplify', 'Align', ''Strategic', 'Targeted', (I could keep going but you get the idea). The key is the more corporate buzzwords you see, the more you need to worry.

    4. 'Refocus', 'Restructure', or for a modern spin 'Pivot to (insert something slightly different from what the company has been doing here)' - The 'Pivot to' something else one is my new favorite. Somehow most corporations equate 'trying something new' with 'get rid or everyone who was doing the old thing'

    3. 'Cost savings from efficiencies' - this phrase is actually used in the Disney-Fox press release. But be certain that most of these cost savings will come from the fact that the new entity won't need separate administrative and back office functions. Running payroll for 12,000 employees isn't that much more labor intensive than running it for 9,000 employees.

    2.'Rightsizing' - Ever notice that getting the company sized 'right' always means 'making the company smaller?'

    1. 'Synergies'- Any time 'synergies' are mentioned anywhere in the Press Release, time to polish up your LinkedIn profile 

    Of course you could disagree with these rankings, but sadly, you would be wrong.

    Happy Thursday. Hope you don't get M&A'ed before the holidays.

    Thursday
    Nov232017

    Holidays, ranked

    I looked through the blog archives with the intention of re-running my 'Holidays, ranked' post today, and could not find one!. Turns out I had not gotten around to ranking the holidays, and since today is Thanksgiving in the US, I had to take 10 minutes away from meal prep and bust out my rankings.

    Two notes about the rankings. One, these are just holidays/celebrations that I personally recognize or resonate with me. So we don't have things like 'Bastille Day' or any of the scores of religious celebrations that are important around the world. So don't take offense if I left off a day that is meaningful to you.

    Second, as always these rankings are unscientific, unresearched, highly subjective, and 100% accurate. Use at your own risk.

    To the list of Holidays, ranked:

    10. Columbus Day - Holds a soft spot for me because in grade school Columbus Day was often the same day as my birthday, which i always thought was cool. Like they were closing school for my birthday.

    9. President's Day - Needed something in the #9 slot. That's about it for this one.

    8. Fourth of July - Hot weather, beach, barbecue, beer, patriotism. Pretty good mix.

    7. New Year's Day - Whether you are shrugging off a hangover or just gearing up for the new year ahead, all-around a good day. Bonus points if the Gamecocks are in a bowl game that day.

    6. St. Patrick's Day - Sentimental pick as my son's name is Patrick and he always loved the idea of having his own holiday.

    5. Labor Day - Great way to unofficially end the summer and take a day to rest up for the Q4 push that many of us deal with

    4. Memorial Day - Similarly, great way to start the summer and to take time to remember and thank those that served and sacrificed

    3. Halloween - Probably overrated at this point, but the kids love it. But if you are an adult getting really wound up for Halloween, you may need to think about some of your decision making

    2. Christmas - The big daddy of holidays. Still strong after all these years. Watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' again soon.

    1. Thanksgiving - A holiday primarily identified by food? I will take all that you've got.

    Of course you could dispute these rankings, but sadly you'd be wrong.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today!

    Saturday
    Oct282017

    'Melos, ranked

    In honor of the recent return of NBA basketball and in homage to a (now former), and often unfairly mailgned New York Knick, Carmelo 'Melo' Anthony, I present this unresearched, subjective, unscientific, and 100% accurate list of 'Melos, ranked.

    Here we go...

    6. Oklahoma City Thunder 'Melo     

     

     

    5. Denver Nuggets 'Melo

     

    4. New York Knicks 'Melo

     

    3. Syracuse Orange 'Melo

     

    2. Team USA 'Melo

     

    1. Hoodie 'Melo

     

    Of course you can disagree with this ranking, but sadly you would be wrong.

    Happy Saturday.

    Go Knicks.