Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 10/6/14

This week’s focus point: Our goal should be to build and sustain the kind of lifestyle we cherish, not to merely make as much money as we can. “Kerching” does nothing for me, but a beautiful sunset or great play does. TIAABB: There is always a bigger boat. Don’t allow “yacht envy” to rule your life. “Getting comfortable in your own skin” doesn’t mean the constant pursuit of money, but rather the rational pursuit of happiness. That differs for all of us, but for none of us is it simply a large bank account. I’ve met quite a few rich, unhappy people.

Monday Morning Perspective: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. — Harry Truman

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Porsche: Dumb Ass Stupid Management

We leased a Cayenne Turbo S, which we love. It’s well built, high performance, and much more intuitive and practical than our insane BMW X7 and its loopy computer.

However, Porsche Financial is run by people so dumb it’s hard to believe the same company can also build fine cars. First, they failed—failed—to bill property taxes they paid back to the owners/lessors of the cars, and then instead of sending a correct bill, they turned the amounts over to a collection agency! So we all received threatening letters out of the blue from one of these dirt-bag attorneys for a couple of hundred dollars.

Second, they informed me I was in violation of our lease, since they weren’t named as payee on my auto insurance for the vehicle. Yet it’s impossible for the dealer to register or release the car in Rhode Island without this information reflecting the financing entity, and the policy was done correctly. The dealer had to straighten them out.

I’ve had similar problems with Bentley Financial (often run under the auspices of Audi or Volkswagen Credit), which forgets to bill property taxes or assigns a late fee because they send you the bill barely a week before its due date!

Letters to these people go unanswered, and phone calls, after interminable waits, wind up with mindless, robot-like employees who only keep repeating what the script tells them and have no judgment whatsoever, like a crew of the lobotomized.

Great cars, fine engineers, terrific sales and service people. But the dumbest, stupidest back office operation in automotive history. VW: Very Woeful.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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Introducing Ann’s Clarity App

Ann Latham, a member of my community, has created Ann’s Clarity App, which is the cheat sheet for clarity. It will help you get better results faster, with greater confidence and commitment. It is even more valuable if you use it to create shared clarity. Using Ann’s Clarity App as a group will get everyone on the same page quickly, focused on the same thing, and able to contribute much more effectively.
Here is the link:
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Social Needia

When I visit Twitter, I see a lot of people trying to express something of value within 140 characters, or far less if they want to be retweeted. That’s not a bad exercise. There are others who “follow” 15,000 or 50,000 others, which we know is a joke. But if you follow those people producing value every day, I can see the point.

When I visit Linkedin, I find a lot of people looking for work, either employment or to sell me something. I also find it to be drifting, not having its own personality, but seeming to be a mini-Facebook as well as networking function. It reminds me of a room full of networkers just talking to each other.

When I visit YouTube I find a lot of people who are original and opportunistic, and a lot of others who are amazingly crass and vulgar. It staggers me to read comments that reflect arrant ignorance, bigotry, and hatred. I don’t care about dull videos, but dull minds are not something I seek to be around.

When I visit Facebook, I find a lot of people who are exceedingly needy and lonely seeking commiseration from others who are needy and lonely. One guy actually posted, “Gee, I have nothing to post today,” and others insist that you prove yourself by responding to their post so they know who their true friends are! Others express the most intimate aspects of their relationships, health, and tragedies that I guess some find therapeutic but I see as desperate.

I paint with a broad brush and their are exceptions, but spending hours a day on these sites seems to me like throwing your life away in part and in piecemeal, an elongated diminishment of productivity, like the proverbial frog in the gradually boiling water.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Consultant Needed to Work in France

Looking for a candidate to lead an 18 month, full time, onsite, contract assignment in the South of France. This is a full time, contract position and requires experience in transformational change. A background in strategy and organizational change management is needed. The project will probably extend beyond the 18 months but this is the initial phase.

If you are interested, please email your CV to

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The Writing on the Wall Episode 97: Alan’s Morning Flight Instructions

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The Commuting Conundrum

I’m sitting in my New York hotel catching up on email and writing with the TV on in the background at 8 am. Bear in mind that I am originally a New Yorker and I’m here very often. I know the place well and thrive here. Few things surprise me.

The TV traffic reporter is noting matter-of-factly that the delays at the George Washington bridge are 30 minutes, the Holland Tunnel 20 minutes, and the Lincoln Tunnel 40 minutes. That means, for those of you in Wyoming, that when you hit the approaches to the Lincoln Tunnel from Jersey it will take you 40 minutes of barely inching forward to get through into Manhattan. (It’s probably taken you 40 minutes or more to get there, and you’ll have another 20 or 30 minutes maneuvering around Manhattan to your ultimate destination.)

Not long ago I had to be in Boston for a meeting, and I read in the back seat while the limo driver spent 90 minutes getting me there for what is a 60-minute trip in non-rush hour traffic. (Both New  York and Boston have access by train from many directions, by the way.)

I don’t know of a more stressful life that people deliberately enter other than joining Delta Force or the Navy Seals (or standing through a rock concert). You can see the stress on the faces of the drivers (except those who are texting, reading, or putting on makeup). It’s a horrid way to begin or end a day. You arrive at work or at home worn out and angry. There is always someone trying to gain an advantage that doesn’t exist, and the insane bikers (especially in LA) motivate you to open your door as they whiz by with two inches of clearance or cut you off at the lights.

In this age or electronic wizardry, why do people commute at the same times every day, increasing their stress levels and damaging their health? Maybe they all need the Paleo Diet….

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 9/29/14

This week’s focus point: There is a difference between aging and maturing. To age is to live longer and conform with the sizes and shapes common for that process. People conform to a certain range of physical attributes. Pine trees grow to a certain width and height. All cheetahs are within certain predicted ranges once fully grown. But maturing is about learning and cognitive growth, not merely physical growth. It seems to me that maturity is about using knowledge to gain wisdom, not merely seeking data to create information. Maturity is knowing when not to speak instead of trying to figure out what to say, knowing how to persuade and not demand, being resilient and not resigned. I always liked being called “smart” but I think “wise” is a rarer accolade. And “mature” is just fine, as in “fit for consumption.”

Monday Morning Perspective: The price of eternal vigilance is indifference. — Marshall McLuhan

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Some nagging questions that go unanswered:

• Why are so many people globally trying to learn English while so many people in the US aren’t bothering?

• Why would a restaurant hire a woman with no personality whatsoever and make her the hostess?

• Why do only 10% of the drivers in Rhode Island know how to parallel park? (Some have to take a cab from where they leave their car to the curb.)

• Who buys a condo on the ocean with the apartment and terrace facing inland?

• Why do you own a boat if you just sit on it at the dock drinking? Isn’t a bar more comfortable, and with better food?

• Shouldn’t cruising for a week with a thousand strangers all shoving to grab as much of the buffet food as they can be considered punishment for some offense, not a vacation?

• How on earth can anyone consider the TV show “The Big Bang Theory” funny?

• Why don’t people realize that the sole thing congress people are really adept at is maneuvering the get themselves reelected? (About 400 of the 435 are considered sure bets for reelection in the House and 64 in the Senate at the moment. Source: Rothenberg political reports.)

• Why does almost every woman on TV news, weather, and traffic-reporting duty dress and groom as if about to appear on The Bachelorette?

© Alan Weiss 2014

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