Archive for July, 2010
Posted in change on July 31st, 2010 by michaelrbaer – Be the first to comment
Not sure who wrote this but it’s worth reading:
Think About This
Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come!
1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.
2. The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.
3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.
4. The Book. You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can’t wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you’re holding a gadget instead of a book.
5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’re always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.
6. Music. This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates simply self-destruct. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalog items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, “Appetite for Self-Destruction” by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, “Before the Music Dies.”
7. Television. Revenues at the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it It’s time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.
8. The “Things” That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud services.” That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.
In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.
9. Privacy. If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7 “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And “They” will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.
All we will have that can’t be changed are Memories.
Posted in Mike Baer's Blog on July 27th, 2010 by michaelrbaer – Be the first to comment
Thanks to Alena Watts for sharing this article on the power of a handwritten note.
Posted in small business on July 26th, 2010 by michaelrbaer – Be the first to comment
A story worth reading and thinking about:
Posted in Mike Baer's Blog on July 20th, 2010 by michaelrbaer – Be the first to comment
A friend of mine wrote this morning of being stranded at La Guardia for a canceled, early flight. Up at 4am. Rushing to the airport. Discovering the flight was canceled.
Why didn’t Delta call? Email? Smoke signal? Something? There really is no excuse for an airline not to inform passengers of these kinds of things.
Posted in Mike Baer's Blog on July 17th, 2010 by michaelrbaer – Be the first to comment
To all my southern friends – those born here and those transplanted – no matter how long it took y’all to get down here and all y’all others who just wish you were here!
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
Southern women know their summer weather report:
Southern women know their vacation spots:
Southern women know everybody’s first name:
Southern women know the movies that speak to their hearts:
Fried Green Tomatoes
Driving Miss Daisy
Gone With The Wind
Southern women know their religions:
Southern women know their cities dripping with Southern charm:
Southern women know their elegant gentlemen:
Men in uniform
Men in tuxedos
Southern girls know their prime real estate:
The Country Club
The Beauty Salon
Southern girls know the 3 deadly sins:
Having bad hair and nails
Having bad manners
Cooking bad food
Only a Southerner knows the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit, and that you don’t “have” them, you “pitch” them.
Only a Southerner knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc…, make up “a mess.”
Only a Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of “yonder.”
Only a Southerner knows exactly how long “directly” is, as in: “Going to town, be back directly.”
Even Southern babies know that “Gimme some sugar” is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.
All Southerners know exactly when “by and by”is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well.
Only a Southerner knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who’s got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. If the neighbor’s trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large banana puddin!
Only Southerners grow up knowing the difference between “right near” and “a right far piece.” They also know that “just down the road” can be one mile or twenty.
No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.
A Southerner knows that “fixin” can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.
Only Southerners make friends while standing in lines – and when we’re “in line,” – we talk to everybody!
Put a hundred Southerners in a room and half of them will discover they’re related, even if only by marriage.
In the South, “y’all” is singular and “All y’all”is plural.
Southerners know grits come from corn and how to eat them.
Every Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful, that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food, and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.
When you hear someone say, “Well, I caught myself lookin’,” you know you are in the presence of a genuine Southerner!
Only true Southerners say “sweet tea” and “sweet milk.” Sweet tea indicates the need for sugar and lots of it – we do not like our tea unsweetened. “Sweet milk” means you don’t want buttermilk.
And a true Southerner knows you don’t scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 mph on the freeway. You just say, “Bless her heart” and go your own way.
To those of you who are still a little embarrassed by your Southerness: Take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the morning. Bless your heart!
And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Southern stuff, Bless your heart, I hear they are fixin’ to have classes on Southern’ness as a second language!
Southern girls know men may come and go, but friends are fahevah!
Now.Shugah, send this to someone who was raised in the South or wish they had been! If you’re a Northern transplant, bless your little heart, fake it. We know you got here as fast as you could.
Posted in politics on July 13th, 2010 by michaelrbaer – Be the first to comment
Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way you can understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic . Someone over there has it figured out.
“The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.”
Posted in politics on July 4th, 2010 by michaelrbaer – Be the first to comment
Celebrate America’s independence safely, enthusiastically, and patriotically. America is an exceptional
Posted in politics on July 2nd, 2010 by michaelrbaer – Be the first to comment
From Tom Peters’ blog–
Happy Birthday U.S.A. And 3 Throaty Cheers! – The Tom Peters Weblog
by Tom Peters on Jul 2, 2010 5:22 PM
There is a great deal of soul-searching going on in the United States as our 234th birthday arrives. Though nowhere near the soul-searching that loomed in Independence Hall 234 years ago today.
We fret about deficits. We fret, on the other side of the coin, about a slowing recovery that desperately needs more stimulation—the message of 1937′s halt to recovery looms. We fret about immigrants—too many of the undocumented sort; but not enough of those educated at our research universities sticking around. We fret about education in general—too many boys dropping out early, in a world where a college degree is almost a requirement for many jobs.
We fret about China’s amazing economy. And Osama’s plans for us.
We fret about the Supreme Court becoming to conservative—maybe cap “C” Conservative rather than a lower-case “c” conservative; and we worry about Ms. Kagan’s being too liberal—Liberal with an upper case “L.”
We fret about the Gulf spill; and we fret about the screaming need for energy independence.
And yet …
And yet we still lead the world in pretty much everything. Despite, or thanks to, our 234th consecutive year of political vitriol, our cap “D” Democracy is as strong or stronger than ever. (Incidentally, the political rancor was much worse then than now—and much, much worse in beloved Philly 11 years after the Declaration, in the muggy summer of 1787 when the Constitutional Convention was in full swing—by the by, the grandees of Philly ’87 took a long break to celebrate the Declaration of Independence.)
Our education system is not ready for the coming economy—but neither is anybody else’s. This transition is causing everyone to scramble. And our university system, despite budget woes of the first order, is waaaaay ahead of the pack in terms of research produced and at or near the head of the pack in share of population nabbing college degrees.
We still have a ways to go, but we are utilizing the one half+ of the population labeled female more productively than others.
Our entrepreneurs, though a little short of new cash are still, as they should be, the envy of the world—and now our women entrepreneurs are as vigorous as their male counterparts. (That is, the “other half”-plus is in the game with verve.)
Our small businesses by the million are still the rock upon which we stand.
Afghanistan is a godawful mess, but our defense in general is powerful beyond measure. And others’ soldiers are surely brave, but we have nothing but thanks to aim at our soldiers and sailors and airmen (and “airwomen”!) and marines and coast-guarders, and our reserves and their sacrifices. God bless those in uniform one and all.
And in the world at large there’s good news to balance the bad. While the papers feature the bad news, the good goes under-reported. The solid Democracies in Europe (cash flow issues not withstanding) and Japan and India and dozens of other places are more or less solid as a rock. Though we worry about China, China has a worry list to match us—the growing pains accompanying growth, and the hundreds of millions left behind, are enormous problems. The emergence of the likes of Brazil is nothing but good news—and even our brothers and sisters in Africa may be beginning their long march to less worse economically—and perhaps solid growth.
There’s enough bad news about which to fret to keep us occupied. And enough good news to, frankly, bring a pretty broad smile, as we get ready for #234.
We do not rule the world unchallenged as we foolishly, for 10 minutes, thought we did when the Cold War came to its 4-decade close. But we are in pretty damn good shape over all. I speak as an American with 67 years of experience when I say I sure as hell wouldn’t trade places with anybody, respect the others as I do.
Works for me!
Happy birthday, old girl. We’re having one hell of a run!
Posted in Mike Baer's Blog on July 1st, 2010 by michaelrbaer – Be the first to comment
When I was a kid one of the mind games we’d play on folks was to ask if they have the 4th of July in England or Canada or Japan. A lot of people would fall for it and say, “No.” Of course, the answer is that the 4th of July happens in every country and every year—not just the US.
But NO ONE ELSE has the celebration of the 4th of July like we do. NO ONE ELSE can claim the day as the birthday of their nation. NO ONE ELSE can call it by its rightful name: Independence Day. Only the United States of America can do this.
It’s hard for us to imagine (and easy to forget) that over that weekend, in the hot summer of 1776, a small group of patriots acted on their love of country and passion for liberty, affixing their signatures to what could well have been their death warrant: the Declaration of Independence. Risking literally everything they had as well as their lives, they proclaimed that these United States are and ought to be an independent nation, that we should no longer be ruled by a tyrant thousands of miles away, that men, by reason of their Creator’s design, had rights that NO ONE can take from them, and that the sole purpose of government was to protect these rights.
These were great men with great courage and great vision. They believed, as I do, that America was and still is a “city set on a hill, a shining example of what can and should be, a beacon of freedom” for others to follow and to imitate. Our country is far from perfect. We certainly have our share of problems and failures. But America is a country like no other—exceptional in every way; from her founding to her present, America is different, special, destined to do good in the world.
This weekend, take the time to reflect on what it means to be an American. Read the Declaration of Independence. Don’t let anyone tell you that America is just “another nation among nations” because it simply isn’t true.
Posted in Mike Baer's Blog on July 1st, 2010 by michaelrbaer – Be the first to comment
The next time you find yourself on the hook for a 40 minute presentation (with slides!) consider, at least for a moment, a radical idea:
A slide every 12 seconds. 200 slides in all.
You’re used to putting three or four bullet points on a slide. That’s at least four distinct ideas, but more often, each of those ideas has three or four sub ideas to it. In other words, you’re cramming 32 ideas on a slide, and you’re sitting on that slide as you drone on and on. Perhaps you spice it up with some reveals or animated bullets, but it’s still 32 ideas going stale before our eyes.
What if you blew it up? Just one word on a slide. Or, perhaps just one image (no cheesy stock please). Maybe you write, "Cheaper" on one slide and, "More durable" on the next…
Slides create action. When did you decide that the appropriate amount of action was six or twelve times every half hour?
How would your pace change if you had 200 slides? How much better would the integration of slides and talk be?
I don’t honestly expect you to do your presentation with 200 slides. I’m hoping this exercise will help you realize that you might not need any slides. Or that 50 or 100 slides will pick up your energy and make your argument more coherent.
But please, don’t do that presentation you did last time.
(taken from Seth Godin’s blog).