Providence: The Incompetence of Small Numbers

Rhode Island has well under a million adults. Providence, the capital, is by far the largest city and the Greater Providence Area probably has about 400,000 people. But the state has almost 20 geopolitical jurisdictions, so it needs 20 chiefs of police, fire chiefs, head librarians, superintendents of schools, mayors/city managers, and so on. Almost every week it seems as if a member of the state legislature or Providence city council is charged, indicted, and/or convicted of crimes, from not …

Podcast – The Uncomfortable Truth – Episode 10: Overkill

“Pounding away until the point is crushed under the weight of redundancy.” Transcript: Welcome to the Uncomfortable Truth, today we’re talking about overkill. You ever hear anyone say that someone else is belaboring the point? A woman was trying to explain a bill to me the other day and I understood what she was saying and I said, “Okay, that’s good.”  Yet she kept telling me and I said, “I’ve got it, I’ll pay it.”, and she said, “No, let …

Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 06/26/17

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

Film critic Pauline Kael, 40 years ago, actually said this: “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.” That is extraordinarily provincial. Yet it seems to me that today many people expect things to happen simply because “it’s their time.” No matter what your political persuasion, I think the Democrats lost …

Well, Hello, Dolly

Hello, Dolly is over half a century old on Broadway alone, and based on Thornton Wilder’s 1938 book, The Merchant of Yonkers. And that was based on an 1835 English play, A Day Well Spent. The setting of the work currently on Broadway is the 1890s. We’re not talking contemporary theater, here. Bette Midler won the Tony for her lead role this year. (It also won Tonys for Gavin Creel as best supporting actor, best musical revival, and best costumes …


People make decisions about spending money as if it’s a finite resource and they’ll never see it again. I’m shocked when people want to wait to invest in order to hold onto their money a little loner. Buy the car. Attend the program. Take the vacation. Fix the sink. Yet, they think nothing about throwing their time away—which they will truly never see again—one, for example, social media banality and mindless TV shows. And they want to advise others?

The Slow Train

We had to catch an early Sunday train to New York and the only option was the Amtrak local, no Acelas until after noon. We had a “business class” car, which essentially meant a little extra leg room. The train stops everywhere—like a Greyhound Bus, you can wave it down in your driveway or backyard. But it’s clean, has a decent café car, and the staff is quite courteous. We departed from Providence two minutes late. Here are my observations: …

Dear Friend, Send Money

I just read a Facebook post by a guy who said his new book is coming out in a few months, but if you send him $20 now he’ll send a digital copy, an autographed copy, and will include the purchaser’s name in the “acknowledgements” as a “friend and patron”! In other words, any stranger with $20 is acknowledged in the book. I wonder how much would buy co-authorship?

Take It Or Leave It

I’m told that Cisco takes 120 days—four months—to pay its venders and suppliers. Of course, there’s no sound reason for that except to maximize their cash flow by taking advantage of small businesses for whom cash flow is even more critical. But Cisco apparently isn’t interested in partnerships, just in being the 2,000-pound gorilla. There’s a word for that: bullying.