Monday, December 23, 2013

Are We Ashamed Yet?



"The haves are increasing arithmetically. The have-nots are increasing geometrically." The Quotations of Slim Fairview.

"The real problem with the gap between the haves and the have-nots is not the number of dollars between them but the number of people.”  Slim Fairview.

True Story.

Scout Camp. Summer: Circa 1964.

Our Troop was at scout camp.  Long story short:  we brought a watermelon with us.  During the week, one of the Dads, brought up a watermelon.  Now we have two.

Saturday came and we played softball against a neighboring troop.  The bet was a watermelon.  We bet on of our two watermelons agains their only one.  It was a sucker bet.  We had heavy hitters in our troop.  Needless to say, we won.

When it came time to pay up, the other team’s melon was nowhere to be found.  One of their honest and respectable scouts told their scoutmaster who’d hid the watermelon.  The perpetrator, having been identified was being questioned by the scoutmaster. He was being given the opportunity to fess-up.  He was slow to do so.

Then (Back in the day when words carried some weight, when words meant something) the scoutmaster, towering over the offender, and hovering over him, said, “You get that watermelon or your name is Mudd.  Do you hear me? Your name is Mudd.”

The formula for True Confession Magazines: Sin. Suffer. Repent.  I could actually feel that scouts shame.  He went to get the watermelon.  Now we have three.

At this point I must point out that I truly do not remember if our scoutmaster and or the assistant scoutmaster were there.  I should also disclose that I do not like watermelon.  I always associated them with the anarchy of youth: spitting seeds, flinging rinds, and they are messy and sticky and they drip everywhere.

I must also disclose that I put up a mental block.  I cannot recall whether we did or did not invite the other troop to the victory party.  I believe that we did not.  And this leads up to my point.

Inviting losers to join the victory party is dicey at best. Even for skilled diplomats.  And we were only adolescents.  True, we did “the cheer”.  “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate…”  But that is a hollow gesture at best.  Also, it should be noted that not inviting them is bad grace.  And with that, I could remember feeling my own shame.

Now, the whole point of this article:

Take out scout troop and put in emerging nations.  Take out watermelon and put in natural resources.

Are we ashamed yet?

Warmest regards,

Slim Fairview




Copyright © 2013 Slim Fairview
All rights reserved.



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Musical Chairs and Cognitive Development

Not too long ago, it was fashionable to dis the childhood game of musical chairs. This dis even appeared in the comic "Family Circus." (From the Latin word circulus, from whence we get circle. No coincidence that the single frame cartoon appears in a circle.) Dolly, the daughter, is in tears because she didn't get a chair. Okay, now back to our posting. (For this we must rely on some familiar names.)
The teacher has the class playing musical chairs. Each child wants to win. Alas, Whoopi is the first to be left without a chair. Only, this is first grade so no one has yet taught her about feeling marginalized and low self-esteem. But Whoopi is encouraged to root for her good friend, Joy. So, Whoopi roots for her friend Joy.

In the next round, Barbara is eliminated. She, too, has not yet been taught to feel marginalized and low self-esteem. So, Barbara roots for her friend Sheri. Barbara and Whoopi learn a valuable lesson: they can disagree without being disagreeable.

But wait! In the next round, Joy is eliminated. Now, does Joy root for Elisabeth? Or, does Joy join Barbara in rooting for Sheri?

Ultimately, someone wins. The class learns a valuable lesson. They can root for people other than themselves. They learn that they can celebrate someone else's victory.

The following day, the class plays the same game all over again, and everyone gets a brand new chance.

What are some of the lessons we've learned?

1. We don't always win. We learn how to be a good sport. WE LEARN NOT TO BE SELFISH.

2. It isn't always about us. We can root for a classmate and don't need to feel marginalized and low self-esteem. We learn to focus on the feelings of others. WE LEARN EMPATHY FOR OTHERS.

3. We can disagree without being disagreeable. We can root for one classmate while a friend roots for another. WE LEARN RESPECT FOR THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS.

4. Ultimately, one of our classmates will win. We learn to cheer for one of our group even when we are not the one hogging the spotlight. WE LEARN TO ADMIRE THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF OTHERS.

5. Tomorrow, we play the game all over again. And everyone gets another chance. WE LEARN TO PERSEVERE, THAT WE GET A SECOND CHANCE, THAT WE CAN PUT A FAILURE BEHIND US AND TRY AGAIN.

Imagine, all those great lessons we can learn as little children. Those great lessons we learned as little children. But many of those lessons are not being taught. The game was vilified, trashed, and disrespected with a barrage of cliches, slogans, and platitudes. Then, when children grow up without those valuable lessons having been taught to them, the same people who caused the problem in the first place are out preaching the need to be sensitive, empathetic, and persevering. Isn't that special. The people who caused the problems with cliches, slogans, and platitudes, are trying to solve the problem with the same cliches, slogans, and platitudes. Don't tell me no!


Warmest regards,



Slim

slimfairview@yahoo.com
 



Copyright (c) 2009 Slim Fairview 
 All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 30, 2013

Consultants: Credentials or Qualifications?


 
Recently, what caught my attention was a discussion about people graduating with MBAs who want to go into consulting. Isn’t consulting a later-in-your-career choice?  Something you do after a few decades of experience?  The way a retired General working for defence contractors after decades of military experience as opposed to a 2nd Lieutenant graduating from West Point choosing to go into consulting as an alternative to going into the Army?

Case in point:  The GSA did not waste money hiring jugglers and clowns.  The GSA wasted money hiring consultants to teach teamwork and leadership skills by having employees build bicycles.

Why?

Well, what are the deliverables?  The target dates?  The measure of value added?  The argument could be made that we are dealing with intangibles. I will refute that later.

 
The Back Story:

A few decades ago, I participated in an exercise for a class on teamwork.  The class was broken up into groups of four or five.

The exercise?  You are stranded on an islands with a list of provisions that you are to rank in order of importance.  Then to explain your decisions.  Then to discuss all the decisions to come up with a list.  In addition:  The weather is damp. It will get colder in the night. And we are told that there are no right or wrong answers.  The purpose is to learn to work as a team.

Briefly: a knife, a rope, a gun, a cigarette lighter with no fluid, a bottle of whisky.

I listened. I waited.  I began my list”

1. Cigarette lighter with no fluid.

2. Bottle of whisky—

AHA!!!!!  Whisky does not make you warmer. It only makes you feel warmer because you are losing body heat because alcohol dilates the blood vessels….!

True. But…

1.  That was not my point.

2.  The interrupter did not wait for me to finish speaking

3. The interrupter interrupted to repudiate my point based on an assumption

4.  The interrupter did not ask me why I made the rankings.


My Choices:

I was a Boy Scout. It is difficult enough to make a fire by rubbing two sticks together or by using flint and steel with tinder under the best of conditions.  It is damp. It will get cold.  The Whisky burns.  No claim of right or wrong.  Only the failed procedure.  Or is it?

You can figure out most of the above yourself.  The “aha” moment for me was when I realised that the instructions said, “There are no right or wrong answers.”  Yes there are.

Remember, “Who’s to say what’s right or wrong?”  I won’t go there. Why not? Simple.

You make the right choices, you live.

You make the wrong choices, you die!

Simple? 

No.

Simple!

 
In Business It Is The Same.

Remember Ron Johnson?  CEO at JCP?

Johnson tried to sell, “Everyday Low Pricing.”

Consumers want to buy, “Coupons and Discounts.”

Johnson tried to convince the customers to buy what he wanted to sell instead of selling what the customers wanted to buy.

Now, Bill Ackman, successful investor, has many credentials.  In fact, he has about a billion credentials.  Still, he appears on Mad Money, with Jim Cramer, in an effort to sell Penney-Stocks. I will not belabour the point.

Credentials.

Diet books, get rich quick books, and self help books, do not work.  If they did, then, as a nation, we would all be skinny, rich, and happy.  Instead, as a nation, we are fat, poor, and polarised.

The authors all have credentials.  They all sell books. They are all successful.  Like Bill Ackma, they are successful at being successful.

How many millionaires and billionaires do you know, who became millionaires and billionaires, by reading books written by millionaires and billionaires?  Get the point?


Deliverables:

 
Case 1

“Hello, Bigelow?  Highpower here. Standwell Industries.  The reason why I am calling is because the consulting firm of Seniors and Elder LLC put you down as a reference….”

“Great Job, Highpower.  In 2011, we had 41 incidents.  In 2012, that dropped to 27. And in the first half of this year, only 8.   And production went up 10% in 2012 and 10% in the first half of 2013.”

 
Case 2

“Hello, Downhill?  Highpower here. Standwell Industries. The reason I’m calling is  because the consulting firm of Young, Turk, and Wiseacre put you down as a reference….”

 
Enough said? 

No.

Enough Said!

 
If you find anything here to be helpful in terms of marketing your consulting firm, or saving money by rethinking your choices….

Please do not hesitate to send me a really tricked out MacPro and to tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note.

 
Warmest regards,

Slim

slimfairview@yahoo.com

LinkedIn Profile:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/slimfairview


Copyright © 2013. Slim Fairview

All rights reserved.
 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Russia's Syrian Diplomacy

Lest we forget. 


Try This Theory

Russia sends ships to Syria. Not to repulse the United States, but rather as a signal to Syria. President Assad gets the message and invites Russia to send peace keeping troops to Syria. 

Sound familiar?  It should to anyone 75 years old. 

President Assad relinquishes control of chemical weapons that he does not need, repulses the United States picking up credibility in the Middle East, cements ties with his allies in the Middle East and with Russia--as does Russia--and forestalls US Military action. 

Speak softly and carry a big stick is fine when you are the only one with a big stick; or the only one with any stick.  However, when someone else also carries a big stick, you need an alternative foreign policy.  Then, too, if many people have small sticks, you must work harder at diplomacy.  Still, even if you are the only one with a big stick, someone with a book of matches will reduce the potency of your big stick.

Let's compliment President Putin on his diplomatic finesse: 

He comes up with a way of letting Assad save face....as my Mom taught me 52 years ago, "Always give someone an out." Something we've never learned. 

Meanwhile, we watch Russia prove that they are as good at "diplomacy" as ever. 

Warmest regards, 

Slim. 

slimfairview@yahoo.com 

The companion pieces: 

The Business of Wisdom in Global Affairs 

The Future of the G 20 in Good Times and Bad


Copyright 2013 Slim Fairview 

All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Pitch: Screenplay: A Guide to Fine Dining


A Guide to Fine Dining—TV Pilot for the Series “A Guide to the High Life.”
A Scripted sitcom.

Three marginally inept rogues, rascals, and scalawags plot, scheme, cajole, but mostly charm their way through a series of misadventures in an effort to succeed at something….anything, and motivated to move on to the next adventure by the failure of the previous one.  A Guide to High Fashion; A Guide to High Finance; A Guide to High Tech—in short, a failed guide to the high life is the series’ plot-line.

A Guide to Fine Dining: Comedy/Caper


THE PITCH:


The great and wonderful Chef Aurique wants to open his own restaurant and he has a plan. He will pretend to open his own restaurant where he will launch a new and exciting cuisine hoping to attract the attention of Monsieur Patronat, owner of Chez Palace, assuming that Mons. Patronat will hire him as a chef, thus attracting backers for him to open his own restaurant. He faces only two small obstacles. He has no money, and he can’t actually cook.


However, Aurie, as his girlfriend, Patty, calls him, does have two friends:  Rammy, who owns the hole in the wall Schnitzel Haus in the village, and Ali, who has no visible means of support but does have a sunny and optimistic disposition, to help him.
Through a series of various and very temporary Chef jobs which he loses for various reason—one being that he overcooked the Sushi at a Sushi Restaurant—and a few scams, which include posing as a Health Inspector, a Waiter, and a Gourmand, he nearly achieves his dream.


Now, if you have “The Boys” you must have, “The Girls”.
Patty, the naïf. I love my Aurie. You’re just jealous. You just wait and see. Wait til Aurie is a big important chef, then you’ll be sorry you made fun of him. (She loves Aurie the way Daisy loves Onslow.)
Lesje, Rammy’s GF, the suave, sophisticate and lawyer.
Gia, Ali’s GF, the cool and sophisticated investment fund manager.

You've heard the saying, “Smart women, stupid choices?”  Well, this is “Smart women, silly choices,” as they repeatedly bail their boyfriends out of each mishap.

Aside from Patty, the girls wonder if their boyfriends will ever grow up.


At the end, the girls do bail the boys out, and make them repay the victims of their well intentioned but misguided efforts.  Except for a few dollars that Aurique had concealed in a hidden compartment of his briefcase:  just enough to finance his next venture.
But can he pull it off?  Can he!  Aurique grabs a large sketch pad and a marker, and with a few bold strokes, reveals the sketch for the sign for his new enterprise.


Chez D’Aurique
Maison de Pouvant être Façonné



The Budget


Except for a few outside shots, most of the scenes take place in an apartment, an upscale restaurant, or the kitchen of a restaurant.  This, to keep the set costs down.


The final scene is intended to segue into the sequels or the series and product placement.

A Guide to High Fashion

Easy tie-in to Fashion Week and Fashion-Wear.

A Guide to High Tech 

Easy tie-in to Tech Expos and to Tech-Compay Product Placement.

A Guide to High Finance  

Linked to Financial Conferences and Financial Services.

A Guide to High Rises

Real Estate

A Guide to Fine Filmmaking  

Cameos.


The Screenplay:



Thank you for your attention to my query;

Sincerest regards,


Slim


Contact information on


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Who Moved the Store? The Industry?




























































































 





Pack it up and ship it off to me.























Thursday, May 9, 2013

Great Product: Bad Management



Morning Coffee 

In a quiet corner of the supermarket.


I'm having coffee this morning in a supermarket. It is early. There is almost no one around. It is quiet. I am writing in my notebook. (Marble Composition®: Open the cover--paper, lines, write with a retractable ballpoint stylus.) This I do while waiting for the Library to open.

I see the Entenmann® Man


I see the Entenmann man checking a rack of snack-sized products.  I have to ask:

"Whatever happened to that cake, two layers, mocha filled, powdered sugar?  He vaguely remembers it.  How could he?"  He probably never saw it on the shelf.


Flashback 



The company delivers 3 to the supermarket. I grab one.  I say to my wife, 


"Look! Do you want me to get one for your Mother?" 

I go back. I grab one.  I know I won't see them again for a few weeks.  Well, maybe in another store.  I know it won't be long before the company does away with the product. How do I know?


For years I shopped the European style.  I was in a supermarket everyday.  Sometimes twice a day.  But what I know is not limited to Supermarkets.  What do I know?  I know that no matter what you sell, I guarantee I can tell you two products that do not sell.


  • The stuff on the shelf.  How do I know?  Because it is sitting on the shelf.
  • The stuff not on the shelf.  How do I know? Because you can't sell something that's not on the shelf!


PIZZA



When we moved out West, we could not find Pizza!  There was one place, Riccobono's, that was a ride. The owners moved there from Queens. Or the Bronx. The point? That, and a place downtown, were the only two places to buy Pizza! in the entire state. 


Plan B  We could always go to one of those PizzaMatics: The result of a corporate strategy to manufacture, assemble, and purvey an ersatz, pizza, substitute by-product.  If you have to go that way, I can recommend a good one.  Well, the good one, actually.  Peter Piper® Pizza.

Plan C   Frozen Pizza.  We buy frozen pizza for the nights we don't want to go to Peter Piper.  We try Red Baron®.  There are four: Plain, Pepperoni, Deluxe, Supreme Deluxe.  I grab, literally, a Plain.  It's great.  I go back for another.  Three left.  I buy two. Next day, none.  I ask the kid in frozen foods if he has more in the back. "No,  but we have more coming in." (Lyin' sack of crap. There won't be more until the next shipment.) When the new shipment comes in, "repeat process."  They stopped selling it. What do they sell now?  Four Cheese Pizza.  Nothing says Pizza like the taste of American Cheese.  Kind of like, a grilled cheese sandwich with ketchup on it. Great Product: Management?



Soft Drinks


Irony: now that I've reached the age where I need the caffeine and sugar to keep me going, I drink Caffeine-Free, Diet-Pepsi®.  Almost a 2-litre bottle a day.  What is the first thing to sell out on the grocers' shelf?  The Caffeine-Free, Diet-Pepsi.  Great Product. Management? 



Ice Cream Bars 


I like chocolate. So does my wife.  Now, that does not mean everyone shares our preference.  Still, have you ever heard a woman say, "I'm so excited. Last night my husband brought me a great-big, heart-shaped box of vanillas? And not for any occasion. Just because he loves me and he was thinking about me."   Probably not.  But Chocolate? 


So, it is no surprise that we cannot find Klondike® Chocolate Bars.  Not chocolate coated, not mint, not chip, not bars that taste like candy bars, but CHOCOLATE. 

I go into the local market.  Floyd is the dairy manager.  I ask him if he could ask the delivery guy to stock some chocolate.  When he comes in later that day, he does. The guy must be new.  He actually puts chocolate in the freezer.  I buy the package of six.  Two days later, I'm back. I buy another pack.  The chocolate is half goneI make a bet with myself.  "The next time I come back, there will be no chocolate. I will never see it again."  A few days later, I return to the store. The guy must definitely be new.  The Freezer is restocked with chocolate.  Yes. A Winner!  Not to worry. Management will put a stop to that.  After all, management put a stop to it in every other supermarket, why not the one downtown?  Great Product. Management?


Potato Chips


No matter how you spell it, Lay's Classic Potato Chips® routinely sell out.  Not that I don't like variety.  I started cooking Mexican Food when I was 12 years old.  I like the Nachos, the Doritos® , the Cool Ranch® ....but Lay's Classic are the Chip of Choice!  What always sells out? The Lay's Classic.  What do I always hear?  We are going to order more.

 
Order More? No.


What?  That's right.  Don't order more.  ORDER MORE HIGH BIG NUMBERS.


Great Products:


  • Red Baron® Cheese Pizza
  • Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi®
  • Klondike® CHOCOLATE Ice Cream Bars
  • Lay's Classic® Potato Chips
  • That Entenmann's® ® layer cake with the mocha filling and powdered sugar on top.

 
GREAT PRODUCTS!

Management?  Not so much.



I figured out the problem.  A consultant named Odious Dungnoodle. (Hey, if Dickens can do it with Ebeneezer Scrooge, Uriah Heep, and Mr. Fezziwig, I can too.)

Mr. Dungnoodle, a Marketing Consultant, looked at the sales figures and recommended that the products be removed from the product line.  

When the boss was asked why he agreed  to go along with this, he replied, "Mr. Dungnoodle is a consultant.  He had sales figures. He said words like, revenue enhancement, optimisation, and roi. Did you know that that means return on investment?  Mr. Dungnoodle is an expert. 


We found a new frozen pizza, we hoard Lay's Potato Chips and caffeine-free, diet Pepsi, and we have made alternative acquisition decisions. (We buy other stuff.)



Sincerest regards,



Slim


slimfairview@yahoo.com 


 NB

If you find anything here to be helpful, please do not hesitate to send me a really tricked-out laptop and to put a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note. Slim

My LinkedIn Profile:



Copyright (c) 2013 Slim Fairview
All Rights Reserved.