Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ideas.....A few quotes for Saturday

"Capital isn't important in business. Experience isn't that
important. You can get both these things. What is
important is ideas."
-Harvey S. Firestone

"An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea
whose time has come."
-Victor Hugo

"Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to
open the door is just one more good idea."
-Jim Rohn

"In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor
have always lost. The only good weapon against bad
ideas is better ideas."
-Alfred Whitney Griswold

"Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around."
-Anna Quindlen

"Everyone who's ever taken a shower has an idea. Its
the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does
something about it who makes a difference."
-Nolan Bushnell

"If you don't execute your ideas, they die."
-Roger von Oech

"Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it is the
only one you have."
-Emile Auguste Chartier

"Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes."
-Napoleon Hill

"...playing with ideas is extremely exhilarating."
-Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi

If I had to pick between two really bad choices.....

I'd vote for inflation rather than deflation. Krugman's
take is here.

It would be nice if this wasn't one of those either/or
situations.

"The opposite of play is not work. It is depression"

So says the home page of the National Institute for Play.

Their motto: Play + Science = Transformation.

Their belief statement reads. "The National Institute for
Play believes that as play is woven into the fabric of social
practices, we will dramatically transform our personal
health, our relationships, the education we provide our
children, and the capacity of our corporations to innovate."

Those are great and powerful transformations. I am
tickled pink that there is such as thing as the National
Institute for Play, although I do wish their web site was
more playful.

I do know that when things get a bit too heavy at work,
my partner is apt to shoot a rubber band at me. He
understands the play thing pretty well. That capacity
undoubtedly has been a major factor in the success of
our partnership.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jim Rohn, one of my teachers, tells the story of Jesus and the Widow

with her "two mites". As Jesus and his disciples are watching
people contribute at the Temple, Jesus states that the Widow
gave more than all the others. (Luke 21: 1-4) Rohn goes on to
talk about what Jesus did not do. Jesus did not tell the Widow
that she was too poor to contribute and that she should take
her money back. No, he extended to her the dignity of
participation, of contributing what she could.

Rohn calls paying taxes the "care and feeding of the goose
that lays the golden eggs". (Rohn also said that while he
understood that maybe the goose was eating too well, we
should be careful about judging, because one appetite should
not accuse another). Rohn further believed that everyone
should contribute, even if it is only "two mites". Not expecting
everyone to fully participate in the responsibilities of
citizenship, is to deny them the dignity of saying, "I did my
share".

What brought his story to mind is the Associated Press
story here. 47%. Wow.

We have met the enemy and he is us: Part 2

















Of course without all these Offices, who would
we put in all those nice big office buildings?


Thanks G.L.

Content isn't King. Context is King.

More from Alan Webber. The title of this post is Rule #32.

He talks about interviewing former Citibank CEO Walter
Wriston:

"'Every day I'm presented with three types of information,'
Wriston said. 'Facts, wrong facts, and damned lies. My job
is to know which is which.'

In other words, his job was to assert the value of context
over content.

But he also had a larger message. In business what we
value most is a trusted point of view. That's what Wriston
was paying his top people for; it's what the best bosses
everywhere want from their value-adding employees:
evaluation, interpretation, analysis, synthesis, perspective,
judgement - context.

Information is cheap. It's bland. It lacks texture, energy,
purpose, meaning, or value.

What we are looking for in others- and what we should
hone as our own capability- is a convincing, compelling
vision of how the world works.

What's valuable is having your own point of view and
having the confidence to express it. Anything else is
available 24/7 on the Web and everywhere else- which
makes it worthless."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One of the things I love about my job.....

is getting to meet and know some really fine people.

We have listed Clark's Restaurant for sale. Located at
the corner of State Route 13 and U. S. Route 40, Clark's
has been a local fixture for three generations. Whenever
my parents visited from Philadelphia, we made the
pilgrimage to Clark's for a family style fried chicken
meal. We were never disappointed- except when Clark's
closed for good this winter.

Had lunch yesterday with Tom Clark, bringing him up to
date on our efforts to market his restaurant property.

When Tom decided it was time to close the business, he
also decided to make all of the old recipes available to his
customers and the public at large.

His first job in retirement was that of writer/publisher/
book distributor- of a cookbook. The cookbook, pictured
below, sells for $20.00. Out of the $20.00, Big Brothers/
Big Sisters of Licking County
receives $10.00. In other
words, this is a labor of love. By the time he winds this
project up, Tom figures he will have sold more than
2,000 books. You can do the math, this is a huge boon
for an agency that has served this community well for
forty years.

Thanks Tom.


If you think innovation is important....

please read Alan Webber's April 7th post here.

He offers a new take on the old "is the glass half full or half
empty?" question. "We need to reframe the old debates
that turn into dead-end 'either-or' choices."

Reframing. I suspect there is a rather large market
for it.

Ten fastest growing retailers...

Forbes just published a list of the ten fastest growing
retailers. Apple Stores top the list, which will probably
not be a surprise to those of us who like to stroll around
Easton. Two of the ten, Amazon and Net Flix, do not have
"bricks and mortar" type stores. Darn. Four of the ten are
restaurants. As one might suspect, based on the popularity
of their local operation, Texas Road House is on the list.
Texas Road House started in 1993 with one restaurant.
They now have 360. Other eateries on the list are Chipotle
Mexican Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings, and BJ's. Clothing stores,
The Buckle and Urban Outfitters, and Price Smart round
out the top ten.

Thoughts....

"Nothing is either good or bad. It's thinking that makes it so."
-Benjamin Franklin

"No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched."
-George Jean Nathan

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

School matters......

Faithful readers might get the idea that I think individual
responsibility is an important component of successful
living. Perhaps the most important individual
responsibility is to gain the right, and right amount, of
knowledge and training to allow for personal growth and
development. While this clearly varies from person to
person, consider the March 2010 jobless rate
statistics:

for those without a high school diploma: 14.5%

for those with only a high school diploma: 10.8 %

for those with some college, or an Associate's degree: 8.2%

for those with a college degree, or more: 4.9%

Education would seem to be a pretty good investment.

Thanks Jeff.

Reasons why I like living in Newark and Licking County

Reason #55 : SPRING

There is a certain comfort to the natural rhythm of the
change of seasons. The sure knowledge that Spring
always follows Winter takes the stress out of February.


April is one of those months that makes me thankful I live
here. Can't imagine wanting to be anywhere else right now.
And the dogwoods haven't even bloomed yet!














































It is all a matter of perspective....

Kelly Evans, a Wall Street Journal writer, offered some
insight into the impact of the current housing market on
today's economy in her Monday column. Three quotes-
taken out of context:

"The housing market, typically one of the first sectors
to rebound after recessions, still looks perilously weak."

"...other pillars of the U.S. economy-manufacturing,
consumer spending, business investment, and even
hiring- show improvement."

"Activity is down sharply from the boom, but that is
arguably a positive development."

Just a few comments from the cheap seats:

This recession, and this recovery, will likely not be
judged typical from the vantage point of history. As
commented on before, the crash in the residential
real estate market was caused by the combination of mass
hysteria (real estate values always go up), builders
continuing to construct houses in overdrive when there
was no viable market for them, way-to-easy access to
mortgage money (many lenders got paid by how fast they
could shovel the money out the door- oh, and by the way,
just don't worry about repayment, we will sell the loan),
a complete dismissal of traditional lending standards
(the no-document liars' loans and governmental pressure
to expand the "right" of home ownership to those who
could not afford it), and financial hi jinks on Wall Street
(still wondering why no one went to jail over some of
the mortgage backed securities that got sold as
AAA rated bonds when they clearly weren't).

The retail, office, and industrial markets suffered from
many of the same foibles. The crash there is just as real.

Essentially, the U.S. economy binged on real estate for
almost three years. After the binge comes the hangover.
The only cure for a hangover is time and the cessation of
bingeing. It is in no way realistic to expect real estate to
rebound quickly, or to be an "engine" of recovery.

The second quote worries me a bit. Smart people still
believe that "consumer spending" should be a pillar of our
economy. Most of the consumer spending we witnessed
in the past decade was financed by debt. Surely, that is
not a sustainable path.

The third quote is the one that makes me think Kelly
Evans is insightful. The real estate market needs to take a
"time out", to go sit quietly in the corner and just spend
some time licking its wounds and rebuilding the
fundamentals of a market. You know- a return to a
reasonable balance between supply and demand, a return
to the notion that the primary function of a house is to
provide shelter and a sense of place- not to be the biggest
investment a family ever makes, a return of common sense
lending and borrowing, and finally, a return to the time
when real estate development was an important
cog in the machinery of the economy- just not the main
engine.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reasons why I like living in Newark and Licking County


Reason #51: Taking in a lacrosse game at Denison on a fine
Spring day.














When I was growing up, lacrosse was mainly played in the Baltimore, Philadelphia, Long Island and up-state New York areas. Slowly, but steadily it has spread across the country. High Schools around Columbus now produce some very good players. I played competitively from around 1967 to 1975. I was an assistant coach at Denison between 1977 and 1991.














It is a fast paced and physical game. Offensive and defensive strategy are fairly similar to basket ball with one major exception- like ice hockey the game can be played behind the goal. Well played, it is a graceful game. More than most sports, lacrosse has benefited from technological changes. In the old days (when I started playing), the sticks were made out of hard wood (heavy and prone to breaking) with one side wall and the pockets made from rawhide and animal gut (which made them change with any change in humidity). Today the sticks are made from composites and plastic, with pockets of nylon mesh. They are lighter, more uniform, and the same whether you go right or left handed. Better sticks have made simple throwing and catching a lot easier, which has allowed for players to start at a younger age. High school kids today routinely do things with the ball that only the greatest players could do thirty years ago. It is a much better and much more athletic game today.














On Saturday, Denison played it's arch-rival Ohio Wesleyan. It was a hard fought, back and forth game. The good guys prevailed. It just doesn't get much better than this.

A rainbow by any other name....















Jeff Gill's blog offers a link to the Astronomy
Picture of the Day. Great fun! Thanks, Jeff

Monday, April 5, 2010

After writing the post below.....

I wondered if there already was a "how to be remarkable
handbook". Typing those works (with quotes around them)
into Google provided no direct hit. It did however, lead me
to bighow.com, where interspersed among tons of other stuff
thesuccessmanual has it's "100 ways of being remarkable".

I suspect I will return there again, but my first reaction was
"overload". Maybe that is why I have joined the legions of
fans of Nicholas Bate. A clean and simple site, loaded with bite
sized nuggets of thought provoking wisdom and uncommon
sense. The good stuff.

We talked on Saturday about being 'remarkable'...

One of the beauties of blogging and the Internet in general is
how many great influences are just a few key strokes away.

Visiting Nicholas Bate I found a connection here that should
become part of the how to be remarkable handbook.

Don't agree with the line "you're the sum of your projects
you are working on", but as they say in Al-Anon, 'take what
you like and leave the rest'. I liked this a lot.

Poetry for Monday

Yesterday was Maya Angelou's birthday. Seemed right
to select one of her poems.

Touched by an Angel

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

-Maya Angelou

Welcome to Ohio.....

Came across this gem while looking through Jessica
Hagy's site thisisindexed. She titled it, "See: we're
optimists here".