Who Cares How It Works?

Understand how your customers apply and use things, not how those things work. My father-in-law was able to stick his head under a car’s hood and fix anything in there that went wrong. But he didn’t drive his car any better than I drove mine, which I took to the dealer for any servicing. You may be adept at using your computer, but you don’t know (I hope) how the innards actually cause typing to become words and email. It …



A “Typical” Day

I’ve been requested to describe a typical day. When I’m home, and not traveling, it looks like this: • Arise around 6 • Quick bowl of cereal, shared with the dogs. • If non-workout day, take the dogs for coffee and biscuits. If workout day, do some of the below before leaving at 7:45 for my 8:00 appointment at the gym with my trainer. • Review all email and respond, trash, or file. It is seldom filed, since I don’t …


Is That Dog Ignoring Me?

A German-speaking man visited us and began talking to Bentley in German. Bentley, who’s quite good with English commands, was as befuddled as I was. “Odd,” said the man, “I thought the dog was a German Shepherd.” “He was born here,” I told him, not understanding if he were serious or not. Recently, I heard someone from Spain use “leitmotif” in a sentence. “Wow,” I thought, “what a great command of English he has!” But that’s equally dumb. Leitmotif is a …


Once An Accident, Twice A Coincidence, Three Times A Pattern

Find the cause of your success and failures. Correlation is certainly not cause, and neither is coincidence. My dogs paw a door they want opened. The door is only opened when I’m around and going where they want to go. An occasional correlation isn’t cause. Some people find the real buyer in a meeting they were having with a non-buyer they thought was the buyer. That’s coincidence (luck). So is wearing a favorite outfit or rubbing a lucky coin. All this …


Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 01/09/17

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

I hear a lot about “seeking meaning,” especially in the face of tragedy and uncertainty. But how would you know it if you tripped over it? I doubt it’s like the justice’s definition of pornography—I’ll know it when I see it. I’d think our brief time here is about creating meaning, first and foremost for ourselves. When we have a lighted path, a goal for our journey (whether or not we reach our destination), we tend to serve a greater …


Mixed Media Effect

Marshall McLuhan wrote about someone with expertise in one area being seen by others as (or actually claiming to be) expert in all areas. Hence, Barbra Streisand’s constant political harangues, causing the opposing sentiment, Shut Up and Sing. We saw it again last night at the Golden Globe Awards. People who can claim a public moment for any legitimate reason often use it for personal (and illegitimate) reasons. My point here, however, is not about partisanship, it’s about success. Be careful about …


What Next? No Checked Baggage

Someone is now going to suggest security measures and barred public entry to baggage claim areas, and try to create another billion dollar boondoggle because of this tragedy in  Ft. Lauderdale, or perhaps ban checked luggage, which only exacerbates the harm. This mentally disturbed shooter should have been stopped long ago when he had a criminal record and told the FBI that he heard voices urging him to do harm. The FBI merely suggested that he “get help.” The circus …


“We expected better results” Dumb Ass Stupid Management

This morning’s papers reveal that Macy’s, Sears, and Barnes & Noble are all experiencing slowdowns, with extreme measures being taken by the first two (closings, layoffs, divestitures). One Macy’s executive commented, “We had expected better results.” In what world would you expect better results from old-time, brick and mortar operations with no zest and no appeal? On those occasions when I’ve been in a mall with a Macy’s,  it is always the dullest, most depressing of all the large stores. …


Blues At the Blue Moon Fish Company: Dumb Ass Stupid Management

In Ft. Lauderdale, four of us arrive for dinner at the Blue Moon Fish Co. with two more about ten minutes behind us in another car. The two hostesses snootily inform us that we can’t be seated until “everyone is present.” I was a guest, not the host, but I asked, “Why can’t you seat us now, the restaurant is empty?” And the airhead hostesses reply: “Because it makes it smoother for the wait staff and kitchen if you’re all …