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 …


Lessons from the Million Dollar Club

These notes courtesy of Matt Kolbusa, from Hamburg, who joined us for the first time and made excellent summary observations of our three days together. The Million Dollar Club comprises no more than ten firms whose principals meet annually in exotic locations to discuss business, life, and the future.   What do I do from January to March 2015 to increase my earnings from last year by 50%? New value to existing clients: what exactly to whom? Make a list! …


Evergreen

Here’s a copy of the foreword I wrote for Noah Fleming’s new book, Evergreen:   Los Angeles is a warm-weather creation, at a similar latitude as much of North Africa and Southeast Asia. But whenever I’ve flown in I’ve had the feeling it’s not as lush as my native northeastern United States. Yet, back home, we routinely endure winters with feet of snow and temperatures below zero. How can that disparity exist?   It exists because L.A. is not verdant. New …


Guest Column: Inventions, Innovations, and Improvements

Inventions, Innovations and Improvements: Know How Each Contributes to Your Business Growth By Susan Trivers Airplanes, assembly-lines and telephones are examples of familiar objects that began as inventions, were then subject to innovations and that are continually being improved. What’s the difference? Invention refers to the creation of the idea or method itself. In patent-office language, it’s the creation of the non-obvious. Innovation refers to a novel idea or method applied to an invention. Improvement refers to the notion of doing the same thing better. …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 12/1/14

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: Saudi Arabia has decided not to reduce its oil production, despite the lowest prices in five years, a glut of oil on the market, and insufficient prices to support the economies of some OPEC members. OPEC’s power has dramatically diminished. There are more US oil reserves today than in the 1950s. These are geopolitical shifts which are changing global relationships, alliances, and economies. Don’t look at the future assuming it’s simply a gradual extrapolation of the …



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 …



The Price of Televisions and the Cost of Lack of Innovation

There are some incredibly good sales deals for large screen TVs these days. The reason is that there has been no new technology introduced over the past year, so there is no competitive edge available to raise prices. In other words, value to the customer has not increased and can’t be created virtually. Hence, the stores are doing the only thing they can to drive sales on these items—lowering prices, decreasing their margins, even using the TVs as loss leaders …