Author Archives: Alan Weiss

Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 7/28/14

This week’s focus point: What draws people to the oceans? What is there about the Atlantic pounding on the Jersey shore, or the vivid aquamarines of Polynesian waters that draw people to the edge? It may just be the unconquerable aspect of nature. We’ve explored the moon with more certainty than the depths of the Pacific. Sometimes the sea delivers up strange plants and animals, flotsam and jetsam, and sometimes it swallows things never to return them. We can stare out at the horizon, but never be sure of what’s between us and that point where the earth curves. We believed the coelacanth to be extinct for millions of years but we know now they are alive and well in the Indian Ocean. We know next to nothing about the giant squid. We look at the stars without understanding what my be beneath us. That may be the attraction. Three-quarters of the earth is a mystery.

Monday Morning Perspective: He would go to Halifax for half a chance to show off, and to hell for a whole one. — Mark Twain on Teddy Roosevelt.

The Power of Personal Worth and Fulfillment: Begins in September, brief, weekly videos, audios, and print to build and nurture self-worth and fulfillment, THE major components to happiness and success. Join a thousand others globally.

Last Million Dollar Consulting® College: Last one scheduled, December in Newport at a great property, build your practice to the next level in 4.5 days with a small group in intensive work.

The Innovation Formula: In one day, learn and apply systematic innovation for yourself and your clients to build higher fees. Based on my book used at the Wharton School. First time ever presented.


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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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Alan’s Thought For Today

It’s wonderful believing in others, but true success comes when you believe in yourself.


© Alan Weiss 2014

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When Your Audience Is Clearly Tired of Listening


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My granddaughters call fireworks “booms.” Every Thursday evening, the beach here at Point Pleasant explodes with them for 15 minutes or so. The town does a great job, better than most of the July 4th celebrations I’ve seen. We watch from the porch of our house.

People in boats, on the beach, on the boardwalk, and outside of their homes are mesmerized. As each rocket lights the darkness, you can see people staring, silently and intently, at each new array. Even if they hadn’t come specifically for the event, they stop what they’re doing, cease their travels, and watch.

What are you doing to create fireworks around your business? What are you creating that lights up the dark and allows people to marvel at the ingenuity and spectacle? Or are you merely hoping that people will somehow find you in the dark?


© Alan Weiss 2014

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Facebook Update

Some reflections from time spent on Facebook and the most profound patterns I observe:


• Conversations reflect bias predisposition, not openness to debate. Obama is a moron. Obama is undermined by Republican morons. (No one seems to call this a great presidency, so there is an empirical limitation even to bias.) A great many minds are exposed but very few converted.


• Boldness is magnified artificially by lack of presence. People become more aggressive, less tolerant, more ad hominem when “safe” in the ether. The type of name-calling that often occurs would result in physical violence if done in person.


• The opportunity to achieve “instant peer status” by taking on someone of much more visibility and respect is a sport. Making a name at others’ expense is free and always available. I believe these people are called “trolls.”


• Public expressions of grief provide a palliative, to the point of ignoring personal contacts and simply issuing public pronouncements about death of loved ones, pets, personal illness, and so on. It appears that general contact has often replaced personal contact.


• Propriety is lost. A woman complaining—and receiving comfort from others—because her maid broke a tsotchkes, on the same day that hundreds died on the Malaysian plane that was shot down and Israel and Hamas were engaged in new warfare, is just one example of appalling self-absorption.


• Revelations of natural behavior are somewhat frightening. The amount of profanity (which is surpassed by a factor of one thousand on YouTube, which is often disgusting) falls into two categories: 1) The natural way many people talk who don’t have the intellect to use more effective adjectives and descriptors; 2) Those trying to impress others with the shock value.


• A startling neediness. Please like me. Just print one word to prove you’ve read this. Look, here I am standing next to someone who once spoke to an assistant to Ralph Jones, the finest speaker at Toastmasters in Lostintheclouds, North Dakota. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such completely unembarrassed, desperate need to be liked.


• Invitations to create affiliations. Birthday notices. Groups to join. It’s astounding how technology has seemed to replace actual interpersonal affiliation needs.


• Public grievances. The electric company overbilled me. The restaurant service was awful. I was treated unfairly by my boss. Politics forced me out. There is an entrenched victimization philosophy in many posts.


• Agenda people. It’s all a conspiracy. Everything is a result of profit mongers, government bureaucracy, international cartels, the CIA, the war on women, the Supreme Court, and so on, and on, and on.


• Promotionalists: I can cure your ills, help you speak, believe in yourself, change your life. I love the people I’ve never heard of who arrange “live your dreams” or “a cosmic awakening” session.


I’d calculate that a lot of people spend at least an hour a day on Facebook, which is 365 hours per year, or 30 12-hour days, which is a month of their available time! Perhaps people should come to my promotion: “How to regain an entire month of your time.”


© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Analysts

Apple had a brilliant last quarter, ahead of last year’s, but not quite up to the analysts’ “expectations.” By any empirical measure, Apple is a phenomenon, innovative beyond the death of its founder, with giant cash reserves, and huge profit margins, a global player making deep inroads in the China market.

But the “analysts” were disappointed because their arbitrary goals weren’t quite met. (Apple stock slightly declined that day, but then went up significantly the next day, obviously from investors taking advantage of the slight dip.)

As consultants, we have to agree with our buyers about what’s reasonable and expected in terms of project goals. We need metrics to both measure progress AND validate that our contribution is making the difference. We also must stipulate the value of achieving the new levels of performance, so that our fees demonstrate a significant ROI.

Don’t allow anyone else—from accounting, procurement, HR, or the owner’s family if a small business—to become the “analyst” making independent and arbitrary conclusions about performance. That’s between you and the buyer, as partners in the project.

I bought Apple stock at $17. “Experts” told me they were a niche player; that they were lucky; that too much of my portfolio was in technology; that Apple wouldn’t be a player without Steve Jobs. I ignored them all, because I use their products and have known people who have worked there. I know they’re the best, both products and people. I’d guess my portfolio is far larger than most of the “analysts.” So is my income.

March to your own drummer. Just make sure you buyer shares the beat. Ignore the critics who claim the music should be different but who can’t play an instrument.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 7/21/14

This week’s focus point: It’s 6:30 am on the Jersey shore, and I’m watching some rather plump people run and walk on the boardwalk adjoining the beach, a few who are disciplined, others in movement to some inaudible scherzo. I see some of these same people stuffing themselves at the boardwalk food stands at night. Just as working out at 6 pm to relieve stress which you then experience all over again at 9 am the next day on the job is fruitless, so is pseudo-exercise. If you want to dramatically change something, attack the cause, not the effect. Bandaids don’t cure anything, the point is to avoid cutting yourself. Palliatives never address underlying cause, whether social, economic, or business. If you want to prevent weight gain, be careful about what you eat. If you want to avoid brain drain, be careful about whom you listen to.

Monday Morning Perspective: Poor Mexico, so far from God and near the United States. — Porfirio Diaz during the Mexican Civil War

The Power of Personal Worth and Fulfillment: You can still join the series from the first week, beginning in September, with brief weekly audio, video, and print designed to build self-esteem systematically, a chronic issue for too many people.

The Innovation Formula: Based on my book used at the Wharton School, learn the methodology of innovation for yourself and your clients, which will boost business and fees.

Last Million Dollar Consulting® College:The only one remaining in 2014, 4.5 days of comprehensive work in moving your practice up several levels, small group, incredible property.


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Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

July 21


It’s 6:30 in the morning, and I’m sitting on a small beach chair on our terrace overlooking the Atlantic, which is so serene it’s as if it’s asking permission to come on shore. There’s a light drizzle falling despite the newly-arisen sun, which is why I’m not using the regular furniture out here, but rather cowering under an eave with my lap top.


We dined with the family last night in a local landmark, Graziano’s, which has good but not great old-fashioned southern Italian food. The owner herself personally cooks only on Sunday, which she’s done for 47 years, and is a good reason to avoid the place. I was wondering why it was unusually unoccupied until it took over an hour for our meals to appear. The regulars obviously know this. She’s the owner, she can do that if she wants to, but decent food doesn’t overcome extraordinary ineptitude.


I bought a “credit card” for $40 at one of the arcades last night, which I can swipe in any of hundreds of machines in our insatiable quest to win the granddaughters 100,000,000 points so that they can buy a A380 for free. It’s a funny sequence: You swipe the card to play the game, the game upchucks tickets for the points you acquire, you then take the tickets (thousands of them bound in a long train) to the ticket-eating machine, which gobbles them up like some kind of rejected creature from the Muppets, and then issues a credit slip, which you take the counter where a human writes you a “check” for the credits which can be used for years (I kid you not). I get my kicks from the ticket-eating machine which is both bizarre and frightening, and I’ve been known to tell small kids in line that I was there before them even though I’m really referring to being on earth before them.


The economy is thriving. For the past two years here we’ve seen “vacancy” signs and easily negotiable crowds on the boardwalk and piers. No longer—all the signs are “no vacancy,” traffic is much thicker, and the boardwalk is jammed. These beach resorts are the destination of middle class America (and the odd Canadians who keep apologizing for bumping into you even when it wasn’t them) and people are clearly spending again. (It’s not cheap to come for a long weekend or a week, counting gas, lodging, food (even casual food), beach passes, rentals, games, rides, souvenirs, and so forth.


The rain is letting up, and the 1,876th jogger/runner has passed my perch (no bikes allowed). I admire their intent and I’m sure they have the goal of maintaining this exercise post-vacation, but that isn’t going to happen for most of them. That’s because they mostly return to “work” and “jobs,” wherein I don’t have to, because my career is involved with making these kinds of observations.


And now I’m done.


© Alan Weiss 2014

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Talent Outs

There was an extensive article in the International Wall Street Journal a few days ago about talent. And it cites research that refutes the “practice 10,000 hours” nonsense. It shows that in some pursuits, very little practice (or none at all) still provided for top performance.


I’ve always thought speakers who claimed they practiced the same (boring) speech they’ve given for 20 years regularly before they delivered it yet again were either lying or had a severe learning disability. When you’re really good at something, you can do it regularly and easily “cold.”


The amount of practice I put in (with my coach’s evil glare presiding) to shoot free throws (then “foul shots”) didn’t improve my average. On a “cold” day with no practice, I could still shoot 90%. No amount of guided practice made me into a decent baseball pitcher, but I made the all-star team as a lousy shortstop who could hit like crazy. An observer told me, “You have the most natural swing I’ve ever seen.” Still do. Don’t ask me why, I never had a batting coach.


I’m not saying that practice doesn’t help many people. I’m sure it aids concert pianists and maybe some golfers, but no amount of it could help me master the simplest of songs or hit a ball on the ground by swinging a club. A great deal of practice hasn’t helped a lot of speakers, from clergy to executives, yet I can speak extemporaneously and galvanize a room.


If it were only as simple as “practice” then everyone would master whatever they chose. There is improvement possible, no doubt, but not guaranteed.


Talent outs.


© Alan Weiss 2014

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