Conspiracies and Paranoia

I’m reading more and more from people who believe there are vast conspiracies preventing their success. The conspirators are usually the government, drug companies, the media, the United Nations, the wealthy, and so forth. (Any notion of a government which can’t keep the tiniest secret engaging in decades-long conspiracies is comical, but I digress.) A widespread believe in conspiracies is paranoid. Here’s the definition of paranoia: a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into …


Get Rich Quick (Or Maybe Not)

I recall the old multi-level marketing (Ponzi Scheme) pitch that went: “I’m making more money part time today than I did in my full time job. Come to our meeting tomorrow night.”  At the meeting, some guy with a diamond pinky ring and an ostentatious Caddy showed us how we could make money selling detergent or phone cards—oh, and also by recruiting new members. Today, we’re asked to subscribe to series of videos and seminars to learn what? To learn …


CBS News in New York

I’m up early looking over Manhattan arising, the most powerful city on earth. In a center of commerce, culture, and culinary arts, you’d think the media would set the standard for excellence. AT 5 am the CBS news has a blown-dry male host who makes pointless jokes, which are laughed at hysterically by the female host who has a completely inappropriate low-cut dress, raccoon-like eye makeup, and puffy lips. Six people must have worked on her hair. The weather guy, …


The Customer Isn’t Always Right Or Even Close

I was talking to an entrepreneur who had established a terrific retail business. He was making money, obtaining strong word-of-mouth, and had wonderful employees. “There’s only one unexpected problem,” he told me, “and that’s dealing with the public!” Recently, a guy writes to tell me that I keep sending him a newsletter to which he’s unsubscribed repeatedly. He is snarky and rude. I told him that his address was not anywhere on my system, and further investigation showed that it …


Volkswagen: DASM (Dumb Ass Stupid Management)

In my consulting experience, most unethical conduct I found was on behalf of the company. It wasn’t so much a case of an individual’s self-enrichment, but more of a crazy rationalization that if the act were on behalf of the greater good of the company it could be justified. I suspect hundreds of people were party to this when the Volkswagen organization placed software in 11 million diesels to fake the emissions tests. That’s hardly something that can be kept …


Beware of Cavemen

I’m walking out of the Capital Grill in Providence last night—very upscale, wonderful food, superb service, great environment—and I notice a guy in a booth who has picked up his bone-in ribeye, and is gnawing the meat off the bone, with steak shmutz all over his mouth. This is why I believe we all have the right to carry tasers and use them for offenses against nature.


Why the Canadian Postal Service Would Make A Fourth World Country Embarrassed

Dumb Ass Stupid Management A friend in Canada did a nice favor for me with a referral, and knowing he likes cigars, I asked my local tobacconist to send a good box of Davidoff’s. The price was $525. They checked with customs, and were told it was permissible in the US mail. My friend told me that the Canadian postal system added a duty of $457.71, excise tax of $805.82, GST/HST (?) of $232.51, and handling costs of $9.95, to bring …


The Great Debate

All of the Republican candidates looked like Lincoln compared to the three-person circus that Fox News put on the moderator’s stand: Brett Baier, Megan Kelly, and Chris Wallace. Mr. Baier looked as though he was just pleased as punch to be there and couldn’t wait to join in the fun. Mr. Wallace seemed ill-at-ease, probably wondering what his father, a serious newsman for seven decades, would think of this brand of amateur journalism. And Ms. Kelly proved that you can …


DASM: Diversify This

I get an email from a guy I’ve never heard of who wants to interview me on his podcast. I get these requests weekly, and politely turn down 99% of them. This guy’s specialty is international cultural diversity. He lists his former guests, of whom I’ve never heard. He describes his audience, which is tiny and composed of people who are not my buyers. He tells me to go to an automated link to program my interview slot! When I …


Faceoff

Facebook has become one of the largest organizations in the world largely because it doesn’t have an intelligence test to qualify members. This morning some moron posted that we have to become like Canada in the US: triple our union membership percentage, raise the minimum wage by 50%, and escalate taxes “on the rich.” By all means, let’s become a country one-tenth our present size and find a much larger country with which to share a long border that will …