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He I, He I... Oh

Sometimes friends and associates give me grief for over-using the first person during discussions. I am aware it sometimes comes off as egotistical, but there is a more central reason for it. The practice stems from my viewpoint on the world.

"I" seems, to me, more honest and based on personal experience.

"You" or "they" is more often judgmental, a degree removed, and likely to be wrong.

What is satisfaction? Invite your customers to spy on you.

In the news recently. A couple who wanted to have their wedding at a ritzy five-star hotel found out in a not-so-pleasant way... it isn't going to happen. The hotel's wedding planner sent an email to her boss and accidentally cc'd the couple saying, "I know this probably doesn't sound very nice, but I am trying to put this wedding off as I don't think they are the type of people that we would want to have at Stoke Park."

I will avoid debating the rights of a private establishment to refuse service to whomever they choose. I'll also ignore the fact the bride in question is adult glamour model Pauline Bailey.

There’s another customer service lesson here besides remembering to watch the cc line in those emails. The lesson is: think positively about your customers and pretend like they’re eavesdropping on everything you say about them.

Not-so-super man?

For those who don’t follow comics, the movie character Iron Man comes from a long tradition of comic stories about a billionaire playboy who moonlights as a superhero. This hedonist-with-a-heart has played well for some time. It is no surprise Iron Man enjoys high popularity in today’s society. But now publishers are altering other, even more iconic characters in order to “relate” to modern audiences. This is not a crisis. But does it really serve us and our social dialog, or does it just further promote our propensity to live in bubbles of isolation?

The Two-Team Fallacy and The Sports Centerization of Politics

Although I discuss politics very little (so far) in public forums, I have long opined to my friends about US politics being incorrectly cast in the framework of “home versus away”, “red versus blue”, and even “good versus evil”.  

Plan as though you'll live forever...

Many of us have seen the saying, "plan for tomorrow, but live for today."

After pondering what bothered me about that saying, I finally landed on a replacement thought...

"Plan as though you'll live forever. Live as if it is your first day on earth."

The Power of Coming Right Out and Saying It

This post and its excellent title really spoke to me. It helped me bolt together a few loose observations I’ve had laying around for awhile.

Modern Fashion?

In other news...

Police are still searching for the suspect or suspects who slaughtered the entire cast of My Little Pony and used the remnants to start a new line of clothing.

Quick, hide, or the Interstellar Cops will roust us!

We’ve finally arrived. Voyager I, the probe launched 35 years ago, has become the first man-made object to exit the solar system and enter “interstellar space”.

“Pioneering” versus “Wallowing in Risk”

I have difficulty faulting people who take risks that initially test the limits of what humans can do. However, people need to be honest with themselves. “Pioneering” is different from people who simply take outrageous personal risks.

Why Impact is More Important than Effect

This is a quirk in my writing which may be useful for others to understand. In business communications, I usually use the word “impact” instead of the word “effect”. Why?

Wherefore Art Thou, Counselors?

When I read the many articles like this floating around, my first question is no longer about the student loan bubble. My first question is no longer about the employment crisis. I’ve seen plenty of coverage on those topics. My first question is about the apparent career counseling crisis. This is an area in which we’ve invested relatively little and we’re now paying for it, in spades.

Moderation in (Most) Things

 “The further you stray from the natural, the more diligent you need to be about understanding the consequences.” That’s a useful personal maxim I arrived at over the years.

The reason: Nature has had eons to work through the mechanics of interaction. Nature uses its own slow mechanisms to weed out the dangerous, balanced against a universe of… well… everything. It’s not perfect. But it has a major leg up on humanity in this regard.

I’ve found it holds true in most matters of business modeling. I assert it holds doubly true in matters that are themselves more primal and central, such as nutrition. 

A Testament to the Age of No Excuses

My dear grandmother passed away earlier this month at the age of 94.

What strikes me is not how she died, but how long she simply didn’t find the time to die.

If spelling is rong, I don’t want to be rite.

Today I discovered the UNC journalism school has done away with spelling as a journalism test topic.

<Link removed since the source removed my cross-link. Two can play that game.>

This strikes me as concerning in many ways. I’m having trouble limiting myself to just a few key observations. As a lifelong management and communication professional, however, here are my most urgent thoughts.

Is the US now inflating a Lower Education bubble?

While we have our eye on the higher education debt bubble that just passed $1 Trillion, the average cost of K-12 private schooling is up 26% in just the last 4 years. And Americans are taking out a record amount in loans to pay for it.

"I feel" does not cut it in today's complex world

Recent conversations remind me of a troubling point. We're in an age dominated by people who begin arguments on virtually every topic with, "Well, I feel..."

This poisonous phrase increasingly passes for valid critical thinking. Such thinking is especially true in America.

The Benevolence of the Aristocrats

People who cite history need to display at least a veneer of intellectual honesty when referencing historical arguments. This is particularly true in a modern America, where much of our population is ignorant of history beyond last week.

Interactivity, Relevancy, Immediacy

Fifteen years ago, someone attending a talk would expect a speaker to stand up and deliver 45 minutes to an hour of speech, with a few minutes for questions at the end. Attendees didn’t expect too much interactivity, relevancy or immediacy regarding their own concerns. Now, EVERYONE expects that.