Category Archives: Alan’s Thought For Today

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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The Free Ride

Big headlines today about car service Uber raising around $18 billion, surpassing all start-ups except Facebook. Uber is a brilliant idea, but what happens from here?

Obviously, there will be competitive entries from others, offering cheaper rates or particular vehicles. Perhaps cab companies will embrace the technology and use their massive fleets to out-hustle Uber. Perhaps, instead of an app, a competitor will offer something you can carry on your key chain to summon a vehicle.

But here’s another thought: We’re riding around to local restaurants in Beverly Hill for free in the Peninsula Hotel’s Rolls Royce. There is no charge at all, save a tip to the driver. Other hotels around the world do the same thing, though not always with this level of vehicular excellence. (Even in Beverly Hills, a Rolls discharging you at a restaurant draws carefully veiled stares. What show are we producing?)

My point is “the free ride.” The hotel accommodates this expense in return for loyal guests in expensive rooms. They can charge a higher rent to the jewelry stores on the property, and provide more expensive food and drink. They will get more referral business (which they’re getting right here in this column).

What if Amazon or Barnes and Noble provided free books which were subsidized by advertising within them? What if newspapers stopped the inefficient and expensive revenue generator of subscriptions, and relied solely on more expensive advertising rates (spurred by technology’s ability to identify and isolate ideal readers for various offerings)? I’ve often thought that restaurants that charge for valet parking are silly—it ought to be free for “frequent diners” just as hotels should offer it for free to certain guests.

We get free internet access in many airports by agreeing to listen to a 30-second commercial first. Could you run a short-haul air flight for free if there were a product demonstration during the trip? How about a free rental car if you agree to visit a time share demonstration?

Using the house car is a considerable benefit. Although it’s build into the hotel cost structure and charges, it certainly seems free (just as frequent flyer miles seem free). There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but apparently there is a free ride.

And that might just be the next big thing.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Random Thoughts

• My thanks to the people at the National Speakers Association who met in Williamsburg on Friday and invited me to spend the morning with them. My wife and I had a wonderful time.

• I recently provided a free teleconference and free download on innovation to over 20,000 people on my various lists (all subscribed or opt-in). One wrote back with questions he wanted answered, two demanded I remove them from my lists, and two complained about the technology. One other couldn’t open the download and, of course, told me I had a problem. But that’s a very tiny minority, I’m pleased to report, because hundreds wrote to thank me, which was unnecessary but a nice gesture.

• The Virginia countryside is gorgeous, but the notion of staying right except to pass is as alien to the drivers down there as is how to conduct a high tea for the queen, I’d suspect. The roads become clogged because people refuse to get out of the way, as if their ego were a hood ornament.

• Republic Airways, subcontracting to USAir, ran a fine first class from Providence to Washington and back: Embraer aircraft with plenty of leg room.

• We’re going to see Renée Taylor tonight in her one-woman show in Woonsocket (of all places, I’ll have to use GPS). She’s 81. We used to sit five feet away from Elaine Stritch, in her 80s, doing her act at Café Carlyle in Manhattan. Maybe I have a few more years before I hit my peak….

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Alan’s Thought For Today: Where’s Your Power Going?

It’s tough to coach people who create their own fears. They’re afraid of failing but don’t appreciate succeeding. They are always afraid of the worst, never confident of the best.

Fear soaks up energy, diverts attention, masks talent, and creates a very dismal and uninteresting persona.

Is your power going to waste in anticipation of invented and unlikely problems, or are you using it to fuel your potential? Every day, that choice is yours.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Alan’s Thought For Today

Michelangelo was supposed to have explained that he created David out of a single block of marble by carving away everything that didn’t look like the David.

Your career should revolve around those things you are passionate about and are superb at accomplishing. Carve away everything that doesn’t look like that, and you’ll be your own work of art.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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CVS Pharmacies Ban Tobacco Products

Yet, in many of them, you can purchase beer and wine.

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Alan’s Thought For Today

Did you see where Brazil and India, once part of the three “emerging economies” (with China) that were going to alter the world stage are now part of the “fragile five” which can’t really sustain their own growth without unreliable foreign investment? (And, of course, China’s corruption, infrastructure, and environmental problems are undermining its growth considerably.)

Take a longer view and don’t listen to pundits who are merely paid to place unsubstantiated thoughts on a page. We are still in an American-dominated world driven by the brains, industrial might, and independent spirit of this country. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than anything else, and once the idiotic gridlock in Washington is broken in coming elections, maybe things will improve still more, though I’m beginning to doubt we need any of them down there.

I do know this: If you keep increasing the burden on successful people to pay more and more you will have fewer and fewer successful people to ask to share that burden.

© Alan Weiss 2015

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Incivility

I’ve been regularly blocking the boors on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter who are uncivil: They whine, complain, use obscenity, have no patience, expect everyone to accept their agenda, boast unceasingly.

One cause for all this is the fact that we seldom deal with each other in person. “Friends” on Facebook is a stretch. A friend is someone you trust, can rely upon, and who thinks of your best interests. These are mere acquaintances, at best. (Just as “Dancing With the Stars” is, in reality, “Dancing With the Vaguely Familiar.” Is “C List” really a “star”?)

When people aren’t with you, they take more liberties, are bolder, and become more uncaring. I’ve noticed that even Skype creates better manners than merely a phone call, and phone calls are far superior—in terms of civility—to email. I’ve had people send me email with epithets and slurs they wouldn’t dare say to me or anyone else in person. Remoteness emboldens the faint-hearted, empowers the coward, and engenders otherwise unthinkable language. (The same holds true for many profile pictures on Facebook. I mean, seriously?)

Of course, the bright side is that it’s far easier to “block” someone on Facebook than at a party or at dinner. But people aren’t usually insulting or insufferable at parties or dinner unless they’re drunk, which may be the only rational condition to be in when you read some of the outrageous garbage on Facebook.

© Alan Weiss 2014.

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Alan’s Thought For The Day

Would people have preferred that Obama shake hands with the woman who is the Brazilian president and kissed Raoul Castro? The problem with social media and empty-headed major media is that non-issues predominate real issues.

Roosevelt shook Stalin’s hand, Nixon shook Khrushchev’s hand, and Obama was at an event honoring a legendary figure who fostered and symbolized forgiveness.

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Alan’s Thought For The Day

I notice that many people on Facebook show up and then need to say something, and it’s often banal and meandering like, “Did you have coffee this morning?” or “Another day!”

Many consultants show up at prospects the same way, not understanding their own objective for the meeting and asking meaningless, futile questions like, “How long have you been in this industry?” or “How is business?”

Business meetings are not like social media, where you get points on Klout just for showing up. Klout can’t pay the mortgage.

© Alan Weiss 2013

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