Tagged: Random Nonsense

Cocktails & Sandwiches

cocktails-dreamsCocktails and sandwiches. Not to be confused with “Cocktails & Dreams”, perhaps the best cocktail bar ever conceived.

No, we’re referring to a mysterious universal force, initially brought to my attention by my thoughtful spouse.

“A sandwich tastes better when someone else makes it for you”. Quite true. The same can be said for cocktails: the margarita, the Old Fashioned, the G&T, it doesn’t matter.

Why is that?

There’s a tremendous amount of satisfaction in DIY: completing a Lego set your kids got for Christmas that you put together because it was fun, building your own patio, changing that flat tire. You look back at your work, reflect for a moment on your ingenuity and persistence, and feel proud for contributing something meaningful. But…

There’s a trace of intrigue, a wisp of romance, an element of mystery when someone else makes something for you, even though you know all of the ingredients that make the sausage.

Many times the hand of an expert and a trained eye wields that extra flavor. Sometimes it’s the act of kindness, making someone else a sandwich, that adds a savory kick.

There’s a business lesson or life analogy in here somewhere…



When Is It Okay To Pull The Emergency Cord?

nyc-emergsignAs I cruised back on the E train to Long Island City after a full day of work conferencing, I noticed this sign. It’s easy to notice because on the subway you either look at your phone, your feet, or the walls.

This sign lets passengers know what to do in case of emergency.

I’ll summarize:


A Medical emergency – DON’T PULL THE EMERGENCY CORD!


Evacuation – Get the F out!

In the first three, you’re supposed to find, locate, and speak with the non-existent train personnel. Whatever you do, DON’T PULL THE EMERGENCY CORD!

So when is it okay to pull the emergency cord?

  • Terrible flatulence
  • Imminent childbirth (Dammit, that’s a medical emergency. Never mind)
  • Voldemort returns
  • Your iPhone battery dies

Why have an emergency cord if you can’t pull it during an emergency?

Ask More Questions

Do you have kids? They’re amazing and terrible. There are numerous studies from reputable, non fake, sources that show kids will ask so many questions and push so many buttons that they’ll figure something out better and faster than adults. Like iPads and Minecraft. They’re not afraid of asking questions or making mistakes by hitting the wrong button.

The downside is that they ask so many questions they drive you insane.

[There’s a cognitive dissonance that occurs as a parent when you tell your kids to stop asking so many questions but want them to always remain curious and ask more questions. Your head explodes.]

I heard a story today about a company whose own employee embezzled serious loot. He figured out how to divert their website’s advertising revenue from the company’s bank account to his own. The management team saw discrepancies, asked a few questions, and was satisfied with the answer.

Hamburglar5 months later they finally asked more questions, then figured out that a Digital Hamburglar was on staff.

I can count on both hands the times the past 12 months that I’ve seen something that looked weird, and took the first answer, but should have probed deeper and harder. The key is going both deep and hard. Watch out.

Ask more questions. I’ve regretted asking too few.


How to Remain a Kid (at heart)

Our daughter reflected that she wants to stay a kid forever. Cute. We told her that is possible, assuming you can stay a kid at heart.

That concept floats over the heads of six year olds. Hmm…how do you dumb that down  explain that to small children?

Here’s what we offered:

  1. Have fun
  2. Keep making new friends
  3. Keep learning new things

That’ll work.

The Power of a Pointed Question

I spent 3 days of back-to-back meetings at a conference recently. We pitched, we listened.

By far the best questions I received were from my final meeting of the show. While delivering my normal feature-benefit shtick, this Chief Revenue Officer honed in.

Exactly how long have you been doing this?

Exactly how much revenue are your customers generating as a result of this data?

Tell me specifically how they’re using this data…

Not only was she paying attention, she immediately got to the most salient points.

Most of our other conversations at the show meandered around the edges. Now that I think about it, a big chunk of daily conversations never get to the point.

Sometimes that’s intentional – you don’t always need to be right, make your point, or reach a conclusive answer.

For professional conversations, I think I’d rather ask, and be asked, the pointed questions. Lesson learned.

Old Hands

Last week I looked at my hands. For the very first time they looked old. Wrinkly and dry.

These days they’re mostly used for typing and steering down I-40..

Long ago, they lived a tougher, more adventurous life life amongst pool chemicals, window cleaning, high pressure water, cold weather, and repeated beatings against stringed instruments of all sorts.

I’d like to say that my hands became wiser with age. They didn’t. They just got old.

The Selfish Fan

We’ve all suffered through it: the selfish fan. The person at the basketball, baseball, football, or futbol game. The one who hurls insults repeatedly at the refs, who yells louder and longer than everyone else, who screams obscenities, who becomes so angered their face reddens, brow furrows, and spittle flies.

Live sports events create and stimulate emotion and reaction. That’s what makes them so enjoyable and thrilling to attend. At some point, however, over-reacting becomes less about your emotion, and more about the person delivering it. The need for attention.

Look at me. I’m important because I’m angry, loud, obscene, aggressive.

We attended a basketball game. One fan sitting directly in front of us, yelled an elongated “brrrrriiiiiiiiick” during the hushed moment of a foul shout. Hahaha! Everyone had a chuckle, despite cheering for the wrong team.

He then repeated this chant for each repeating foul shout. All 15 of them. Fans from both sides shot him frustrated glares after the third outburst.

I festered in my annoyance. I dreamt of dousing water on his head to shut him up, or shoving him in the back. Doing what any rationale person would do, I decided to passive aggressively write about it instead.

It didn’t help his team, didn’t hurt ours, it just drew attention to himself. Selfish.

The best part about being at the game was the people. That was also the worst part.

LA Is Different than CHRDU

I’m traveling for work in Los Angeles. It’s 35 degrees back home in Chapel Hill right now, and 81 here. The warm weather, along with a completely different landscape, combine for a mild dose of culture shock.

Cars. Lots of cars. Lots of really expensive cars. Everywhere. Lots of Porsches. Who the hell drives Porches in North Carolina? Not many. Too pretentious. In LA, every other garage or parking spot has a Porsche in it. You know you’ve made it when…

Big, busy roads. I know this makes me sound like a country bumpkin. North Carolina indeed has paved roads. I commute almost 2 hours every day on an eight-lane highway.

The problem with LA’s big roads is that they’re foiling my plan to walk. I found quaint lodging a few blocks from my conference, thinking it would be simple to walk everywhere. While each road has sidewalks, only being able to cross a six lane highway every half mile isn’t completely pedestrian friendly. During an afternoon jog I almost replaced the hood ornament on a glossy Mercedes, then proceeded to get scolded by a crossing guard at a Jewish school. WTF, LA?

But as I’m walking out of Ralph’s grocery near Century City, I see a BMW driving, rich looking dude in designer jeans and t-shirt hand a bum a few bucks and a bottle of water in the parking lot. Beemer guy waves goodbye, drives off, and grateful homeless man salutes farewell.

Does not compute.

In the land of designer everything, a brief moment of compassion restores balance to the universe.