Wednesday, November 27, 2013


The other day I was sitting in Washington Square Park when I noticed the squirrels were hustling to garner their acorns.  Funny, three weeks ago they were busy chasing each other engaged in x-rated foreplay.  Made me realize I was witnessing a lesson from Mother Nature.

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What was the lesson?  Continuity!  

Mother Nature, uninterrupted has definitive cycles, continuity.  Apparently three weeks ago was mating season.  That window has closed and now it is time for squirrels to prepare for their nesting and winter.  Over the winter the next generation will be incubating for spring arrival.  A definitive cycle even though I still believe I have yet to spot a baby squirrel.

Why can’t we learn from Mother Nature and have more continuity in business?  A company has an off year, the first thing they do is reorganize versus accepting they had a bad year or maybe just outright over forecasted.  I am a marketing geek.  I have lost count of how many times I have witnessed new brand managers come in wanting to put their stamp on a business, thus change marketing direction, continuity.  Friendship in the age of social networking has impacted continuity.  It has become too easy to hit the delete button.  Family should represent continuity. Yet we are now witnessing divorce rates that are higher than marriage rates, which is a sign of lack of continuity since divorce leads to family disruption.  According to a recent American Community Survey, divorce rates per thousand people are slightly over 3.5; marriage rates slightly under 3.5.  Unfortunately, the continuity of this trend will denote 75% of households in America will be childless by 2030 compared to 68% in 2012 (source: Mortgage Bankers Association of America).  A derivative of these statistics, the percentage of one-person households as a share of total U.S. households is expected to rise to 29 percent by 2050 compared to 13 percent in the 1960s. 

What continuity do you still experience in life?  Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fusion Holiday

Did you know November 28th will be a significant double holiday this year?  Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah – “Thanksgivukkah.”  It happened once before in 1888 according to those that track the Jewish calendar.  Are you prepared to light your Menurkey and do some gifting? 

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What is a Menurkey?  It is a menorah, the candelabrum that is the centerpiece of Hanukkah in the shape of a turkey.  It is the creation of a 9-year old New Yorker named Asher Weintraub.  He raised close to $50 thousand for his project via Kickstarter, the fund raising website.  Asher plans to sell both a ceramic ($150) and plaster ($50) version of the Menurkey, plus with the help of his parents, he is developing an iPhone app for a Menurkey theme song.  Smart kidpreneur!

Looking for a great gift?  Hanukkah gelt is the standard traditional gift.  Want to ruffle some feathers?  How about the most popular premium gift this past year during South Korea’s thanksgiving holiday known as Chuseok – a Spam gift pack consisting of Andalucia olive oil and nine tins of Spam (e.g., Classic, Mild, Garlic, etc.) packed in a Black Label box complete with a ribbon.  Only $75!  Chances are recipients will regift your present December 19th, National Regifting Day.

How do you plan to celebrate “Thanksgivukkah” this year?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


When I was on OPM, I learned a lot about wine.  Yes, OPM = Other Peoples’ Money, as in the Corporate America expense accounts from which I benefited.  Consequently, I find it interesting that today’s business travelers have become extremely frugal.  Why?   

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Certify, a software management company, publishes SpendSmart, a quarterly spending analysis on business travel.  According to their report, under food spending, the top three most expensed restaurants in order were Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subway.  SpendSmart also ranks restaurants based on travelers’ preferences rather than frequency of purchases; the top five (in order) were Jimmy John’s, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Panera Bread and Dunkin Donuts.  Another expense-report tracking company Concur indicated that spending on dining has declined approximately 11.1 percent.

What is driving business travelers’ frugal dining behavior?  According to the Global Business Travel Association, overall spending will be up 5.4 percent this year versus last.  In the United States they project spending will be an estimated $272 billion, up from $262 billion in 2012.  A major contributing factor is the rise in airfares and hotel rates.  As a result, some analysts believe as companies cut back on travel budgets, their employees compensate by spending less on dining.  More significantly there is our “grab & go” culture which includes the availability of takeout food, speedy delivery services, as well as mobile online ordering.  Oh yes, let’s not forget Wi-Fi available at the restaurants mentioned above and in most hotels, an essential connectivity tool for today’s road warriors.  
Have you reduced your OPM?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Public Space

Recently I sat in on a heated meeting.  I learned: “IT is f**king clueless!  First they tell us they are moving forward and now they are telling us the project is on hold until we give them additional funding.  Tomorrow I will give Roger a piece of my mind!”

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Ironically I was sitting in the terminal of US Airways during the meeting which was being conducted by the individual next to me in his iPhone bubble.  It is a given we live in a world dominated by smartphones and tablets.  However, I am amazed how oblivious people are about sharing TMI in extremely communal places (e.g., Starbucks, buses and trains, standing on line at movie theaters, etc.). 
Psychologists have all sorts of explanations for this new behavioral pattern.  One that I find amusing is coined “defensible space” – an area of public territory which individuals turn into personal space to gain some measurable cognitive control.  What?   
Now may I continue my story.  I boarded my plane which was packed.  The good news was the middle seat next to me was empty.  The bad news was the individual by the window lost in the tunes he was listening to on his Bose headphones decided to ball up in a fetal position and take a nap.  He had removed his flip flops.  Bare feet in my face!   

Do you respect your public space?