Monthly Archives: July 2010

In Case You Were Wondering What I Was Thinking


• Why is it that people leaving a theater stop at the bottom of the stairs or in the doorways to chat? Are they practicing being corks?

• Why do people change the temperature in a public room or conveyance when a single person—usually inappropriately dressed or smothered in self-absorption—requests it be changed?

• People driving with their dogs on their laps—looking out the driver’s window and obscuring the view—might as well be doing crossword puzzles at 40 miles per hour.

• If you run a seasonal business, like ice cream or lemonade, why would you have highly restrictive hours? Isn’t the point to serve as many customers as you can while you can?

• Deep fried hot dogs are probably worse than crack cocaine for your health, but they are the best dogs I’ve ever eaten. Try Hiram’s in Fort Lee, NJ.

• There seems to be more concern about who the new American Idol judges will be than who the next Supreme Court justice will be.

• Speaking of which, if Piers Morgan has any discernable talent other than being nasty and snide, I’ve missed it completely. (He has a history of questionable financial deals, inappropriate claims, and being fired in the UK journalism business.)

• Airports are made for airplanes, not people. Nothing will improve until and unless that philosophy changes.

• How often have you ever used (and could you even locate) those extended warranties that are pushed at you when buying an appliance or television? These are usually much higher profit items for the company than the actual product.

• I’m going to try to be an exception to what appears to be a rule of nature: The older the person the stronger the perfume and the larger the car.

• Speed reading is a nice concept but, unfortunately, too many people don’t even hit moderate comprehension, even reading slowly.

• “Volunteer” is not a synonym for “amateur.” If you volunteer you should do the job competently and conscientiously. Not being paid doesn’t justify missing deadlines, rudeness, and mediocre work.

• Having hundreds of “apps” is like having hundreds of numbers on speed dial. When you need a separate list to help you remember what’s where, I’m thinking you’re defeating the purpose.

• If you chose to ignore all unsolicited feedback, in worst case you might have some lettuce in your teeth longer than necessary, but your life will hardly be diminished at all.

• The people driving in the left lane who go slower than traffic in the right lanes, but who speed up to prevent you from moving ahead when you try to pass them, are not very happy people, I’m betting.

• If a few typos in a book ruin the value of the content for you, then I’m sorry to tell you there are errors in the Declaration of Independence and you ought to start making plans to leave the country.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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Alan Weiss Appearances in Denver

I’ll be conducting a full-day workshop called “Alan 101″ at the Ritz-Carlton in Denver on October 7, then doing a half-day for the combined forces of the ASTD, IMC, NSA, and RMC on October 8 at the Westin. The first day is the least investment for any of my workshops in years, and it’s intended to enable new people to the profession and those still affected by the recent downturn to “jump start” their practices at a cost that can be gained back in less than a week. The second morning is to provide the parameters that will build an exceptional business for professional services providers through 2011. You can attend either or both, and we encourage you to attend both.


Link for Oct. 8 Master Class:

Link for Oct. 7 full day course (links to Summit Consulting site):

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Posted in Announcements, Business of Consulting, Personal Improvement | 4 Comments

Modernizing the Buggy Whip

Mentor Program member David Gammel sent me a fascinating url—it is a “modern” technique to calculate hourly fees (!!

I’m now off to create an electric buggy whip, larger vacuum tube, and stronger struts for biplanes.

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle


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The Globalization Map

Everyone talks about “going global” which is easier said than done. But it’s also done a lot by independent consultants. Here are a dozen overlapping issues—many of which you may already do quite well—that will get you on a jet rather than the slow boat to China.

1. Ensure your intellectual property is phrased in a culturally acceptable manner.
Remove jargon and references to national sporting events. Don’t use phrases that are confusing or worse in other languages. “Napkin,” for example, means significantly different things in American English and England English.

2. Internationalize your materials.
When I consulted with State Street Bank and visited global sites, I found local management seething because the promotional materials suggested that the reader call a local Boston phone number for more information! Change photos, reference points, and contact options as appropriate.

3. Don’t be modest in your planning.
Think big. Don’t act like a stranger in a strange land. Focus on the great value you bring to clients. Don’t be afraid to state when you’ll be present (see point #6) and set up advance meetings and events. The farther you travel, the less timid you can be.

4. Begin with low hanging fruit.
Americans would be best off seeking other English-speaking countries, or those with which they share language capabilities. Spanish is spoken in large parts of the world. Look for these easier entry points. Also (see point #10) seek extensions of businesses with which you currently consult.

5. Investigate logical multilingual opportunities.
You may be able to expand on point #4 if you can create an alliance with a partner who can help with local translation and acculturation of materials. You may be able to teach multilingual local professionals your approaches, which they can then use in the vernacular.

6. Visit.
The Internet is fine, but it’s a black and white film compared to the high definition color of being present. If you’re serious about a given locale, due it the justice of making a visit. This is very important for future references in conversations and remote dealings. When I visited Kuala Lumpur I found that the heat and humidity were going to affect the way I dressed, traveled, and even worked with clients. That was important to know in advance.

7. Begin with the most logical products and services.
You need an effective ski trail not an avalanche. What are the greatest local needs that you can address, create, or anticipate? Not all domestic products and services are readily exportable.

8. Seek local alliances.
As in point #5, you may be able to accelerate your penetration of new markets with synergistic partnerships. You needn’t make these legal, though in some countries local representation greatly enhances your ability to operate. Start slowly. This is a great reason to engage in early visits (point #6).

9. Maximize technology.
Everyone has a cell phone these days, and a computer, and a host of other gizmos. Technology is becoming smaller, cheaper, and ubiquitous. Use it to offset time zone changes, hold virtual meetings, provide support, and be accessible despite the actual distances.

10. Use domestic leads and connections.
Find your current client contacts who can help introduce you to counterparts overseas. I always encourage visiting managers to spend time with me on client sites because I can suggest to them aspects of current projects which may make sense in their own operations.

11. Consider local production sources.
Utilize local printing, video, audio, travel, and whatever else makes sense to create a local presence (and, ethically, to reinvest in your market). I’ve always found it appalling to ship in vast materials from outside a country that could just as easily have been created locally.

12. Conform with local regulation and financial rationale.
Make sure you understand taxes, exchange rates, export and import limits, and so forth. Have your bank’s “SWIFT” numbers for wire transfers memorized! I once saw a company principal forced to take a $50,000 payment in the form of local baskets from a Philippine island, since he could not legally export the currency at the time. Unfortunately, his plan to resell the baskets in the U.S. failed, since he lived in Arizona, adjacent to a huge Native American tribe whose baskets were well known and quite popular, and undersold his!

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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The Accelerant Curve (Episode 47)

Click Here for entire series table of contents

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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Posted in The Movies: The Writing on the Wall | 18 Comments

Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 7/26/10

July 26, 2010—Issue #45

This week’s focus point: Consulting is art and science. There are things we know which we can influence. There are things we know which we can’t influence. There are things we don’t know that we can find out, and some things we don’t know we’ll never find out. Actually, that’s not a bad approach to life, either.

Monday Morning Perspective: …to find the best in others, to give of one’s self, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Contact information:
ISSN 2151-0091

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved

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Delta Redeems Itself

After a long delay, and lambasting Delta several posts ago and on Twitter, they have responded quite well. Mr. Anderson, referred to below, is the CEO. Credit where credit is due:

Dear Dr. Weiss:

RE: Case Number XXXXXXX

Thank you for alerting Richard Anderson to the unsatisfactory customer
service you encountered at Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) on May 29.
Richard has asked that I extend his personal apology,
on behalf of Delta Air Lines and our Delta Connection Carrier, Mesaba
Airlines, for the many inconveniences you suffered with a duplicate
billing and for not receiving a refund for your original flight coupon
from MSP to Boston. We are also truly sorry for our delayed response.

Your comments are well received and your frustration is understandable.
Clearly, we recognize the value of your time. Our goal is to provide
caring and accurate service at all times. I am truly sorry in this
instance you did not receive the service you expected and had every
right to receive. Feedback like yours will help us improve our overall
customer experience. Be assured Richard has shared your letter with our
Airport Customer Service leadership team at MSP for internal follow up.

As a result of your experience, I will be taking the following actions.

-ticket XXXXXXXXX – asking passenger refunds to issue a full refund
for the MSP-Boston flight coupon
-ticket XXXXXXXXX – asking passenger refunds to check your AX card
for a duplicate billing of $934.70 for your travel from MSP to

As a Gold Medallion member, you are an integral part of our customer
base. Thank you for writing and again, we apologize for your
inconvenience. We deeply value your business.


Kathy Johnston
Executive Communications
Delta Air Lines/KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

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Posted in The Good Ones | 3 Comments

Jersey Shore Finale

Made it home all the way from Cape May in about 5:40. Major accidents closed the southbound Merritt Parkway in Connecticut (we were going north) but then slowed everything else. After two detours with our GPS, we finally got by the pasta al dente that passes for highway in New Haven. (Connecticut is, I believe, the wealthiest state per capita, yet it has the absolute worst roads and worst cell phone coverage I know of.)

We had seven consecutive days of glorious weather, perhaps our best ever. We’ve decided to make changes next year: We’ll either rent a different condo location, or rent a house on the beach. We’re also going to change some restaurants. Friday night at the Ebbit Room was adequate but not outstanding. We think our former favorites are getting a bit tired, so it’s time to change things around.

The Jersey shore resorts are clearly suffering. You can see a big crowd on the Wildwood boardwalk in a photo I’ve posted below, but the rides were not well populated, the fast food joints were mostly empty, and virtually no one was playing the games. There are “vacancy” signs everywhere in the middle of the summer. We’re in the midst of a slow-but-sure recovery, but it’s not accelerating still more because consumer spending (even at luxury levels) has become very conservative, I think because people don’t know whom to trust any more. But the market had a ferociously good week last week. Now is the time to get bargains.

In another three weeks, we’re off to Nantucket, aka: God’s Country.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle


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