Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 5/18/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: When someone gives you an option or alternative to critique or improve, first ask what the objective is. Don’t try to improve a route unless you know the destination, otherwise you’re washing a car with a flat tire to try to get to dinner. The worth of an alternative is dependent on the nature of the goal you are supposed to achieve AND the risks inherent in the alternative. Objectives and alternatives without considering risk are …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 5/11/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: Conspiracy theories are based on the blind belief that a covert yet powerful plan is in place to cause harm. They usually fly against fact, scientific method, rationality, and consensus opinion. For example, one claim is that the government has been covering up aliens that crash landed in the US 60 years ago, yet the government can’t even keep its own data secret from hackers! Some people want to believe that we never landed on the …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 5/4/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: Upwards of 90% of the standing ovations I see aren’t deserved. A good but not great performance was overly rewarded by an audience that wanted to convince itself that the $400 expenditure and four hour investment for the evening was a wise decision. It’s staggering to think of the money raised for the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight Saturday night. But the “two greatest fighters of their generation” put on a pretty boring show, Pacquiao, though a great guy, …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 4/27/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: When John Lindsay was mayor of New York he was called upon to speak at a major event with a sophisticated crowd. He referenced French philosopher Albert Camus (pronounced “kamoo”) but pronounced the name as “kam-us.” Many attendees, unable to believe he would make such a mistake, assumed he was referring to an obscure Greek philosopher by the name of “kam-us.” There’s a line in Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevye, singing “If I Were A …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 4/20/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: The tighter the comparison, the better the distinction you can identify. “Apples and oranges” is meant to convey a poor distinction, not a good one. But comparing a McIntosh with a Delicious apple is a tight comparison. Thus, comparing best and worst performers doesn’t provide as much useful, specific information as comparing best and next-best. This is why realtors and appraisers spend so much time evaluating house sales according to “comparables,” homes in the area which …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 4/13/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: Someone allows me to turn left into Dunkin’ Donuts in heavy traffic. A passerby tells me I’ve dropped something. A store clerk finds something out of stock in another store and gets it for me the next day. The lawn guys clear up some debris that has nothing to do with their work. A bill is $10.03 and the cashier says not to worry about the change which I don’t have. Someone offers tickets to a …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 4/6/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: Wisconsin upset Kentucky Saturday in a thrilling Final Four basketball game. I heard that Kentucky never looks at films of its opponents, while Wisconsin studies films in detail. I don’t know if that is true or the cause of the outcome, but I do know that the more familiar we make ourselves with approaching challenges, the more comfortable we are. I used to visualize what it might be like in a buyer’s office, then apply the …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 3/30/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: The horrible plane crash in France caused by the co-pilot is an indication that when your time comes, your time comes. Two people have apparently died in New York because of the illegal tapping of a gas main which started a horrible explosion and fire (we were heading toward it, a few blocks away, when it occurred). Are you really afraid of eating sushi, or of public speaking, or of traveling to foreign ports of call? …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 3/23/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: We are fond of pointing out that there is more power in our cell phones today than in the computers that first put a man on the moon. We’ve produced cars with over 1,000 horsepower, not because they’re useful for transportation, but because we can. Yet the power of the written word seems to have diminished, with a proliferation of publication without scrutiny over quality or even facts. The power of privacy is a distant memory, …