The Dog Star: Beagle Lessons

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition) On our second day after returning from Europe a couple of weeks ago, my wife wasn’t yet completely unpacked. When we returned from dinner, we found Koufax ensconced on his dog bed, and Buddy Beagle making a fuss for his own dinner, since he’s deathly afraid that, after eight years, …


John, Redux

We returned to one of our favorite restaurants in Naples (or anywhere else), Cafe Lurcat. I’ve taken groups of people here, and my wife and I decided on a private dinner. We asked for John, the best server I’ve ever known. I’ve written about him here before. John takes an interest in every person with whom he works, while handling a variety of tables. He’s never rushed, but somehow coordinates more activity than I care to think about. His advice …



In Case You Were Wondering What I Was Thinking

• Why is it we can evaluate the performance of a civil engineer, a violinist, a neurosurgeon, a librarian, and a botanist, but there are claims that it’s impossible to evaluate a classroom teacher? • Have someone shop your own business. If a retail clerk or telephone service person doesn’t begin with, “Hello, how may I help you?” and use “please” and “thank you,” fire them. That’s not a skill problem it’s an attitude problem. • Why are the iPhone and …



Dumb-Ass Stupid Management: Schnooks Brothers

I’m walking up Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, ahead of schedule for my next appointment, and pass by Brooks Brothers. I’ve never been a Brooks Brothers kind of guy, but I realize I do need some slacks and, on impulse, I go inside. A very helpful woman shows me some nice slacks, I try on a pair, they look good, I said, “Please get the tailor to make the alterations and I’ll try on the rest.” She makes a phone call …


Stop Listening to Customers and Have Them Listen to You

Henry Ford said, famously, that if he had asked customers what they most wanted in transportation they would have replied, “Faster horses.” Steve Jobs’s biography demonstrates that he virtually never asked customers for any feedback, but simply focused on providing exciting products, accepting the occasional dud. Akio Morita invented the Walkman in a complete vacuum of customer demand for such a device. So why, then, do we still hear of organizations being “customer focused” or “customer driven” or incessantly convening …



Citibank CEO Resigns

News item: “Vikram Pandit abruptly stepped down as CEO of Citigroup on Tuesday, surprising Wall Street, after steering the bank through 2008 financial crisis and the choppy years that followed.” I have been bringing up the pitiful performance of Citibank over the last week, and sent my cut-up credit card to Mr. Pandit several days ago. Does anyone believe this is a coincidence? I think not. Perhaps he can find a job worthy of his abilities: perhaps a TSA bag …


Million Dollar Club Fifth Annual Meeting

We had a fabulously successful 5th meeting, and a “full house”—we accommodate only ten firm owners, plus spouses. We’ve now met in Naples (FL), St. Lucia, Bora Bora, Stresa, and Monte Carlo. Next year is Hong Kong. The photo was taken at one of our incredible dinners, this one at the Vista Palace, high on the cliffs above Monaco.