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    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.

    Friday
    Jun232017

    UPDATE: Ways to describe a basketball player's talent, ranked

    NOTE: Ran a version of this post 2 years ago the day after the 2015 NBA Draft, the draft were my New York Knicks did indeed select the 'Unicorn' Kristaps Porzingis in the first round. Fast forward two years later and these same Knicks apparently are flirting with the idea of trading the Unicorn, who is quite literally the only player worth watching on what has become a terrible team. If they do indeed decide to trade Porzingis, I want to make it publicly known that I am no longer a Knicks fan, and will be in search of a new team to support.

    Having said all that, let's take another look at the many ways that the NBA analysts and pundits have come up with to describe a basketball player's skills and talents. Did you think 'fast', 'tall', or 'can jump high?' were good enough? Oh no, my naive friend.

    After watching about 5 hours of draft coverage, (and pre-draft and post-draft shows), I offer up ways to describe basketball talent, ranked, and as always, these are unscientific, unresearched, and 100% correct.

    Here goes...

    15. Floor spacer

    14. Efficient

    13. Switch-capable

    12. Rim-runner

    11. Twitchy

    10. Bouncy

    9. Wingspan

    8. Fluid

    7. Motor

    6. Elite-level athleticism

    5. Second jumpability

    4. High ceiling

    3. Grit

    2. High basketball IQ

    1. Tremendous upside

    As always, you can disagree with these rankings, but of course you would be wrong.

    Have a great weekend!

    Sunday
    Apr302017

    Juniors, ranked

    There seems to be a lot more 'Juniors' or if you prefer, 'Jrs.' around lately. I am not really sure why. But I heard a couple of guys on a podcast toss around some of their favorite Juniors, I thought it made sense to take 8 minutes on a rainy Sunday to set down a marker.

    Thus, here is your unscientific, incomplete, unresearched, and 100% accurate break down of the 'Junior's that matter.

    10. Ed Begley, Jr.

    9. Cuba Gooding, Jr.

    8. Ken Griffey, Jr.

    7. Sammy Davis, Jr.

    6. Junior Mints

    5. Cal Ripken, Jr.

    4. Junior Soprano

    3. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

    2. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    1. Junior's Cheesecake

    Of course you could disagree with this list, but you would be wrong.

    Happy Sunday.