Serious Business.

books May 20, 2021

“Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up. Not really. They get older. But to grow up costs the earth, the earth. It means you take responsibility for the time you take up, for the space you occupy. It’s serious business. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed.”

— Maya Angelou

I’ll never be invited to give a motivational speech at the American Academy of Audiology and no one wants me dropping in on their Facebook group, reminding them that 99.9% of the “sharing” and “space to be vulnerable” is really just a dopamine feedback loop, fueled by ego and a desire for recognition. 

I’m too pragmatic and serious for most...

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On Memory.

books Apr 27, 2021

I listened to an interesting report on NPR recently about police hypnotists, which I didn’t know existed. Apparently hypnotism is one of many tools detectives will use in Texas to help get more information from victims and suspects. The problem and challenge, as you might imagine, is the power of suggestion and the imperfect nature of our memories. Because spring is the season of renewal, I’ve been thinking a lot about memory, particularly as it relates to all the financial pain and suffering, in addition to horrible loss of life, that started a year ago with the pandemic. 

One year ago, the S&P had dropped 34% in five weeks. Economies all over the world were shutting down. Millions of people lost their jobs and investors were terror-stricken. 

Here we are, 12 months later, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 have each gained 76%, the best annual performance for either index since 1934. What an unbelievable year of financial gains, but...

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Observe. The Formula for Success.

books Mar 15, 2021

One of my favorite cartoonists wrote in the introduction to his first book, “I’ll never forget the first time I ever laughed out loud at a cartoon. It was 1989.  I was casually wandering past a stationery display in a department store when a batch of greeting cards caught my eye. I picked one up, looked at the drawing, read the caption and then it happened. I laughed.

Not just a chuckle. I’m talking about a proper belly laugh. By the time I’d looked at the entire range my cheeks were aching. I didn’t know anything about the person behind the cartoons. All I knew was that each card had a logo on the back with the words, ‘The Far Side by Gary Larson.’

From that moment on, I was hooked. I became a cartoon junkie. At first I devoured every Gary Larson cartoon I could find. Then I moved on to the work of other great cartoonists like Charles Addams, B Kliban and many more. I developed a genuine love for cartoons as a comedic art form but it...

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Enthusiasm

books Feb 11, 2021

Massimo Chiapponi launched his Parma bike shop Italia Veloce in 2009 with fellow “retro- velo” enthusiasts Christian Grande, a multidisciplinary designer, and advertising executive Max Rabaglia.

He has been racing bicycles since he was a kid and turned his hobby of hand-built bikes into an Italian business that now ships to clients as far away as the U.S., Japan and New Zealand. Chiapponi’s lead mechanic is a skilled welder, leatherworker, fabricator and designer. Their bikes start at 2,900 Euros and go up from there.

From a small shop in Parma, these bicycle enthusiasts have garnered attention from Vanity Fair, Class, Gentleman, Marie Claire, GQ, Case & Country, Grazia, The Good Life, Monsieur, Maxim and The Financial Times.

Bicycle enthusiasts is an understatement. These guys eat, live and breathe bicycles.

Their leather seats are hand cut, sewn, stamped and designed on-site. The aluminum frames are bent and welded on-site. They even have hand-made wooden mud...

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On Burnout and Toggling.

books Jan 13, 2021

At the time of this writing, there are only a few days left in the year 2020. To quote Leslie Jones and her thoughts about the year, “I would say it was a train wreck and shit show but that would be unfair to trains and shit.” Naturally, we’re all ready to move on from this year and to set big goals for 2021. I recently hosted an entire training program with members, helping them set new direction, aspirations and resolutions for next year. And, in that training, I reminded private practice owners to acknowledge the internal conflict and imbalance created by these new resolutions or goals.

I quoted a brilliant Harvard study and wrote about it recently. We’re all striving for something better and that’s OK but it is vital to our mental health to be content; to enjoy the harvest and not go looking for problems where there are none. Thus, you might find yourself toggling between peaceful contentment and constant striving. Our world, including yours truly,...

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On Reaping Where You Have Not Sown.

books Dec 14, 2020

In The Law of Success, Napoleon Hill demonstrates how people have a tendency to reap where they have not sown. You see this with companies who assume the grass is greener and hop into another industry or mess with their core product or service, to their detriment. Coke did this with New Coke in the 80’s and it cost them billions in marketshare. Based on a few surveys, Coca-Cola thought they should make Coke taste more like Pepsi. The were reaping where they had not sown and they abandoned a very fertile garden and let it get overgrown with weeds. This went on during the early days with Uber, where they assumed they could continue to reap revenue while they haven’t sown in the field of employee satisfaction. You see it now with firms that have not embraced how consumers want to buy from them.

Conglomerates do this all the time. They take government contracts for granted, they take relationships with unions or local municipalities for granted and in short order, they...

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Flying Blind

books Nov 27, 2020

From Melanie Evans and Alexandra Berzon in The Wall Street Journal: “During a pandemic, hospitals and local, state and federal agencies rely on a range of real-time metrics to respond to emergencies quickly. They need to know how many beds are available at each facility, whether hospitals need more nurses and the available number of ventilators and other critical supplies. That way, patients can get transferred quickly and medicine distributed to those in most need. The U.S. has tried—and failed—over the past 15 years to build a system to share such information in a crisis. When the pandemic started, nothing like it existed.”

In am interview with best-selling author, Ozan Varol, the author discusses the principle of “test as you fly and fly as you test” from his book Think Like a Rocket Scientist. The reason so many businesses and organizations fail to deliver on their promises and to operate at maximum efficiency is that...

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Question Every Hand.

books Jul 31, 2020

Maria Konnikova holds a Ph.D. in psychology. She writes about her research on how quickly people make up their minds and how unwilling they are to change them. She’s a New York Times best-selling author and also a world-champion poker player. For her latest book, The Biggest Bluff, she trained with and then competed against some of the best poker players in the world. They taught her to question every hand. She learned to unpack every strategy and pushed herself out of her illusions–beyond her comfort zone–and she won. Konnikova’s research is so fascinating because it flies in the face of what we should do, when it comes to assumptions and failures, and what we actually tend to do. While being wrong should make us question our assumptions, it routinely has the opposite effect.

Dr. Konnikova’s rsearch shows, when we’re presented with signs that we’ve made a mistake, we very often (and quickly) choose to discard the evidence and...

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The Cycle of Growth

books Jun 30, 2020

During periods of growth, it is common to create certain complexities inside your business that, left unchecked, will stifle or even strangle growth. Consider this one of the great paradoxes of running a business. The more successful you are and the higher you reach for the stars, the more likely you are to get tripped up by the very things that brought you success.

I’ve seen this with nearly every brilliant chef, turned restaurant owner. They create something truly unique and rave-worthy. Customers start telling all their friends and family about this amazing new place they found and they encourage everyone to go try the restaurant.

Before you know it, the restaurant is over-crowded, the kitchen is bogged down with capacity constraints, long waits ensue, so corners are cut in an attempt to run on time and please the expanding customer base. The menu becomes a little less exciting and a lot less ambitious. The raving fans are no longer impressed. They stop coming, stop...

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Uninterrupted Time.

books May 28, 2020

In a recent course on passive income streams, while teaching the concept of leveraging one’s time, I quoted the author of Rework, Jason Fried, who also happens to be the co-founder of Basecamp.

Fried said, “40-hour weeks are made of 8-hour days. And 8 hours is actually a long time. It takes about 8 hours to fly direct from Chicago to London. Ever been on a transatlantic flight like that? It’s a long flight! You think it’s almost over, but you check the time and there’s still 3 hours left. Every day your workday is like flying from Chicago to London. But why does the flight feel longer than your time in the office? It’s because the flight is uninterrupted, continuous time. It feels long because it is long!”

Let this sobering fact sink in: every work week, you take the equivalent of five eight-hour flights to London. These days don’t seem so long because your time and attention are constantly interrupted.

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