There’s A Sommelier in My Wine!

My wife and I were dining at Toppers, the very high-end restaurant at the Wauwinet Inn on Nantucket, as we have been doing for over 20 years every summer. On this particular evening, I ordered a very nice Meursault. The opening and tasting ritual was successful, and we were enjoying the wine when I noticed the sommelier fussing around with the decanter nearby. She soon returned to tell me that she was not happy enough with the wine, and was …


When Do Most People Want To Buy Coffee?

If you owned a coffee shop, would you open for business at noon? If you owned a car dealership, would you locate it ten miles down a dirt road? If you wanted to sell surfboards would you open a shop in Aspen? If you’re a consultant, why would you be humble in terms of what you can accomplish for people? Why would you spend time fooling yourself that you’re “marketing” on social media when corporate  buyers rely on peer-level referrals …


Taxi, Anyone?

Taxis in New York (and other cities) require medallions to legally operate, and the medallions, being fixed in number, have often sold for six figures, with taxi fleets sometimes spending millions. However, medallion prices are now declining for the fist time in my memory. Why? Because of industry disruption, AKA: Uber. Whether you use Uber or even like it (I do and I do), it is a disruptive idea that is changing an industry. It’s not even that innovative, since …


Hi, Neighbor

Occasionally, I’ll see someone doing something odd, like blocking traffic to stop to talk to someone. If I don’t recognize them, I tend to think, “Really a dumb move.” But if I know them, I just sit patiently figuring there’s a good reason. We give people we know the benefit of the doubt because we are familiar with many aspects of their lives: children, jobs, residence, hobbies, relationships, family, possessions, and so on. With the exception of the familiar “pest,” …


The Ragin’ Cajun

James Carville was my guest yesterday at my annual Thought Leadership Conference at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach. He is a fast-talking, straight-shooting guy who goes full bore, start to finish, and he joined us for dinner, as well. I asked him why Barak Obama, elected amid speeches between Doric Columns and Greek Porticos, with a rock star excitement in the audience, is now shunned by members of his own party seeking reelection in states he originally carried. James …


What Do You Need, What Do You Want?

I observe in amazement people who pile-on every digital gadget that comes out, and upgrade from 4.6.541a to 4.6.541b. They have to have it first and fast. I have no issue with that. My own inclination is to wait three weeks for the new iPhone to be delivered and not wait on a long line in Manhattan. I’l also set it up when I have time, not the moment that UPS drops it in my hands. I have my own …


Checked by Choice

I used to play military games on my computer that were intuitive and simple. If I built enough battleships or bombers or tanks, and brought them against inferior forces, I would win. I played against the computer at various levels. I could choose the type of terrain. Recently, I was offered a game of fighting tanks. The instructions alone were stupefying: dials to read, varied ways to move and fire, getting the tank out of the garage, and so on. …


The Irrelevancy of Fresh Pupperoni

Bentley and Buddy Beagle adore Pupperoni and dog bacon strips. Not too long ago, I noticed the bags were different. They enabled me to tear off the top, but then reseal them with a locking mechanism such as you’d find on the cold cuts you buy in the supermarket. It never occurred to me to keep the dog treats “fresh.” The dogs loved them equally when they became somewhat harder in composition, I’m assuming (neither dog would sit for an …


Duck Beaks and Empiricism

My son was home for a visit and watched me feed the ducks as we talked. We have cement steps which go down to the pond, and I threw a bucketful of feed down the steps. “Why are you throwing their food on the steps instead of the grass?” he asked. “Because the ducks are like rototillers and the dig up everything when they eat, causing a mess and ruining the grass.” “But their beaks will be hurt by the …


Don’t Cut Your Client’s Steak

I find consultants assuming they can improve their buyer’s behavior, even though that’s not part of the project. They listen to employees complain about the boss and figure they should “fix” the boss, sort of as a public service. That they have no hard evidence other than schoolyard gossip doesn’t seem to deter them. I once heard a woman who re-entered consulting after achieving an “empty nest” during the day say she was worried, out of force of habit, that …