Mar 24

Change is Good

Posted by Simon

Many years ago when we were in the frantic first days of building our company one of my slogans was Change is Good.  Until that is someone pointed out to me that some changes are not good like droughts or getting fired.  So we changed the slogan to Change is…… Implying not that it is bad or good but it is going to happen.

As we age we tend to get more resistant to change.  We want to keep things the way they were.  It turns out that even though I’m aware of this tendency I also resist change.  Here are two examples of changes that I was forced to make that turned out to be very good.

I was forced to get a new razor.  I’d had a Gillette Sensor for about 30 years and it was getting harder to find replacement blades for it.  So finally reluctantly I changes over to a Gillette Mach 3.  Wow! It gives a better shave, is much more comfortable to use and it looks and feels good.  Design genius.

I lost my wire cutters/strippers, which is another story, so I had to buy some new ones.  The new wire stripper is much better made it actually works.  I don’t know why I stuck with the old ones so long.

Now I’m constantly on the alert for other things that I can upgrade.  The pleasure of a simple upgrades to your life should not be underrated.

Here are a few that we have benefited from in recent years:  back up cameras in cars, smart phones, electric toothbrushes, WiFi everywhere, memory sticks instead of floppy discs, iTunes, nonstick pans, detergent pods and many more.

 

Nov 15

A New Collectable

Posted by Simon

Do you recognize what is in this picture? You can click on the picture to see a larger image.

PB280007.JPG

They are the little label that come on fruit, you know, with the secret code number. I predict that they will become a serious collectable in the next few years. I checked e-bay and there are already a few for sale in amongst the vintage orange crate labels. Imagine the joy of having a 1995 Gala Apple 3548 from Oregon in mint condition. I think they will be the postage stamps of the future.

This would be a great project for elementary school teachers. The kids could collect a free thing that would relate to geography, health and math.  It would be a fun learning experience.  They could stick them all on a world map board for instance or try to figure out the secret behind the code numbers.

The reason I have such great ideas is that I am an Ideapreneur.

Oct 13

Football Every Night

Posted by Simon

The Movement for Football Every Night

Has a theme song and it is perfect.

YouTube Preview Image
Sep 2

Labor Day at $15/Hour

Posted by Simon

This year to celebrate Labor Day many in the labor movement are demanding that we raise the minimum wage.  Beware the urge to do good when it violates the laws of economics.

Cowpeople working

This year the major cry we are hearing on Labor Day is that we should raise the minimum wage to $15.00/hour.  I say don’t do it.  If you raise the price of something you are going to sell less of it.  Raising the minimum wage is a sure way to kill jobs, increase unemployment and decrease opportunity for the most disadvantaged.  It is a terrible idea and I can show you why.

Example One:  You run a fast food restaurant called Paul’s Burgers and the minimum wage goes up by 50% so you decide to buy an automated order entry system.  It will be like the ones they have installed at airports for boarding passes.  That way you don’t have to raise prices because you can eliminate most of the order writer jobs at the counter.  Good news for your customers: their burgers and the price stay the same.  Bad news for your future employees: there are four or five less entry level jobs at Paul’s.

Example Two: You work in a garment factory in Los Angeles, on a sewing assembly line, sewing sleeves on bridesmaids dresses.  You make just above the minimum wage but during busy times you get lots of overtime.  You welcome the increase in the minimum wage because it means more money for you right away.  But then you notice that the overtime has gone away and during the slow times your only working three days a week.  It turns out that the bosses have started sending the long lead time orders to a contractor in Mexico (or China or Myanmar).  Since labor cost went up it makes sense to organize to send more of the work to places where labor is cheaper.

Example Three:  You run a non-profit business that provides intensive English language and cultural training to recent immigrants from around the world.  Most of your trainers are college student who you train and pay roughly $10/hour for the mostly evening work.  Your source of funds is government grants, corporate sponsorships and private donations.  You welcome the minimum wage increase because it will promote “social justice.”  What you didn’t expect was that now your pretty constant sources of funding will only pay for about 60% as much of your services.  You have to lay off a third of your trainers and can now serve a third less clients.

A higher minimum wage is a trick.  It seems like it will help the poorest people but all it does in the long run is reduce their opportunities and therefore their net earnings.

BTW I think it is hypocritical to support a higher minimum wage and then to buy things on sale.  When you buy something based on price you are sending a signal to the marketplace that you want it to be cheaper.  So you are telling the supply chain that they should lower the cost of the item out of one side of your mouth and out of the other telling them to pay higher wages.  Make up your mind don’t be a hypocrite.

 

 

Jul 10

SherpaLife

Posted by Simon

“It’s time to get in touch and get outgoing.”

is the opening line in the glossy full color brochure from

Sherpalife.

www.sherpalife.com

On the website it says:

“Welcome to Sherpa -an innovative membership community

and your bridge to a world of new opportunities.”

It appears that it is an organized meetup type of organization that will help people (probably retired people) find new activities, friends and places.

Will it work.  Even if it doesn’t it is a good idea.  Baby boomers are retiring in droves and not all of them golf, hike or quilt.  This type of organization might be just the thing.  I’ll report back in a year or so and let you know.

Jan 28

Carnegie Libraries

Posted by Simon

On our drive from Santa Fe to visit the Pecos Pueblo we visited the Carnegie Library in Las Vegas, New Mexico.  It was Sunday so the library was closed but as we drove up the sky cleared and I got this great photo.

Yes it was designed as a copy of Monticello.  The building of the Carnegie Libraries was an amazing thing.  It seems that someone like Stephen Fried who wrote Appetite for America about Fred Harvey and the Harvey Houses could do a great job telling the Carnegie Library story and sell a lot of books.

From the Wikipedia article: ” 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929″

When in Las Vegas NM eat at Charlies Spic & Span.  They have excellent Sopapillas and even better freshly made flour tortillas.

Dec 7

Smart Phone Holiday

Posted by Simon

If you have a smart phone here are a few easy things you can do to with it to improve the holidays:

  • When you get a gift from Aunt Sally in Coral Gables immediately take a photo of it and email her  a thank you. The photo email is the new thank you note.
  • Take a photo of a particularly nice Christmas display and email it to the oldest person in your family.  Say “I saw this and wanted to share it with you.”  Be sure to copy or blind copy your Mom.
  • Set your ring tone to a holiday jingle
  • Give the gift of Apps.
  • Learn to dictate and transcribe notes.  Then teach someone else.
  • Use a holiday symbol, Tree, Star etc as your background in December.
  • Use Postagram to send some real cards without ever going to the post office.
  • Share pictures of a few things that made you laugh.
  • Email your grandmother a picture of you having fun.

“Thanks Aunt Sally.”

Nov 28

Baby Food Update

Posted by Simon

This post is for those of you who are not in the child care loop.  It used to be that when a baby was ready to switch from a bottle or breast to more solid food she was literally spoon fed baby food.  Now those clever people at Gerber (owned by Nestle) have taken the mess, and the acculturation out of feeding toddlers.  They are marketing tubes of food.  It is a great idea, in the short run.  Grabbers are cleaner, more convenient and more hygienic.

But think about the long term effects.  It is now theoretically possible for a young person to grow to adulthood without ever having to chew food or learning to use a spoon or fork.  I can visualize a world where all food is the consistency of soft Brie.  And teeth are no longer necessary.  But eating will be more convenient.

You’re laughing but exactly the same thing is happening with the need to run and with the need to read.  Video has to a large extent ended the need to read and almost all running today is for pleasure.

I can visualize life without forks can you?

Jul 25

While traveling on the lifts and trains in Switzerland we met some young men who were base jumpers.  It is a sport in which you jump off a cliff and free fall for a few seconds then release a parachute. For those of you not familiar with this seemingly irrational behavior there is more on Wikipedia.  The few base jumpers we met were handsome, virile young men from middle class backgrounds.  The question raised in our minds was: “Why do they do it?  They have about a one in fifty chance of dying!”

Base jumping is regulated behavior in Switzerland

The only answer I could think of was that they are base jumping for the same reason that other young men join gangs, deal drugs or drive cars too fast.  They have a genetic urge to be virile, to tempt fate.  They want risk.  It seems to me that a successful society should allow young people space for this risky behavior.  The ideal space will be one in which they risk their lives without putting anyone else in danger.  So, by my criteria base jumping is a good sport. Drug dealing is not so good because it risks the lives of others.  Street racing is bad but NHRA racing is a good.

A perfect base jumping cliff

 

Jul 6

Remote Idea

Posted by Simon

At a hotel I stayed at in North Carolina they had a “Clean Remote” for the TV.

Apparently there are enough people in the world who worry about germs on remote controls to make this product feasible.  It reminded me of when remotes were new and the hotels bolted them down to keep them from being stolen.

“Lets stay at the Blank Hotel they have a clean remote.”

What an amazing world we live in.

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