Six of Your Jobs Robots Might Replace

When I got home from work the other day, Patti, my wife, was still smiling about a text she received that day. When she got out of a meeting and checked her phone for text messages and e-mails, this text jumped out at her, “Jeeves needs your immediate attention. His right front wheel is stuck.” I’m sure you are wondering who “Jeeves” is, right? If you are older you might remember that “Jeeves” was a butler or gentleman’s gentleman in author P. G. Wodehouse’s stories from the early 1900s. In our house we have no butler.  Jeeves is really what [...]

By | April 27th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

I Think We Need More Mattress Stores, Don’t You?

Okay, maybe I am crazy, but the other day as I drove by the third Mattress Firm store within about 500 feet of each other I thought, “Why do we need so many mattress stores?” The next day I was visiting one of our client work sites in a Macy’s department store and learned that successful Macy’s mattress sales people can make $100,000 per year. I thought, “Excuse me, say that again, I think I misunderstood what you just said.” (But I heard correctly.) All this mattress business stimulated my sleepy business brain. I had to learn more about why [...]

By | January 31st, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Learning from the Pivots Around Us

I find stories interesting about how entrepreneurs and businesses pivot and change directions. Later in this article I’ll share four of my favorite “pivot” stories from brands you will likely recognize. But first let me tell you about Barry Sansoucie. Barry Sansoucie was one of the most interesting entrepreneurs I knew in my early banking days. He was a person who saw every glass as half full. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, where his job was to parachute solo behind enemy lines and clear areas of jungle vegetation for helicopter landings. After the war Barry joined his father’s [...]

By | December 1st, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

The Business of Thanksgiving and Black Friday

In this week when we give thanks for all our blessings it seems crazy to me so much attention is on expanding our bounties. But that is the reality. So this week I thought I would look at the business that is Thanksgiving Week. But first, let us not forget the first “Thanksgiving.” It happened in late September or early October 1621 when the Pilgrims harvested their first crops – corn, squash, beans, barley, and peas. They also shot many migrating ducks and geese. They harvested and boiled the then plentiful lobster. William Bradford organized a harvest celebration and invited [...]

By | November 22nd, 2016|General|

I Am Just Curious

Curiosity is interesting. Have you noticed that what makes you curious sometimes is of no interest to other people? While other times you discover that you and others are curious about the same thing? For example, I took this photo of floating homes a few years ago in Victoria Harbor in British Columbia. To this day I am still curious about the orange-haired manikin sitting on the second story deck in the upper-left corner. The owners must be interesting people. Why did they do this? Where did they get the manikin? When I share this with others, sometimes, they think [...]

By | September 22nd, 2016|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Business of Fireworks

It just would not be Independence Day without fireworks. They are a blast to watch. We first celebrated this holiday in 1777, one year after the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Among the cities that lay claim to that first 1777 celebration are Bristol, Rhode Island (oldest parade) and Philadelphia, which had a fireworks celebration that first year. Trivia note – Rhode Island was the last of the 13 original colonies to join the United States and did so a full year after George Washington was inaugurated. I guess the folks in RI then really wanted to be independent. Origin [...]

By | June 30th, 2016|Business, Family Businesses|

No More Tips for You

The Modern restaurant at the Modern Museum of Art in NYC The first night Patti and I were in Friedrichshafen, Germany last fall I noticed there was no place on the credit card slip to give a tip. When I asked the waiter about this, in broken English he said something like “no tip on receipt.” So we left him a tip in Euros on the table. Little did we know then that Germany was pretty much a “no tip” country. We proceeded to give tips even though none of the credit card machines let us. While we [...]

By | May 17th, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Warby Parker Makes Eyeglasses Cool to Wear

When I was nine or ten years old I got my first set of glasses. Like many kids at the time, I was embarrassed to wear them and was often referred to as “four eyes”. In fact, one of my very first and few fights was when someone picked on me for wearing glasses. Today, thanks largely to the upstart billion dollar business Warby Parker, wearing glasses is cool. Heck, there are people wearing glasses with only clear glass (plastic) in them – what a world! Warby Parker. In 2008 four MBA students at the Wharton School in Philadelphia were [...]

By | May 5th, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Leave the Driving to Your Car

Within ten years your car (or truck) is going to be put out to pasture. And, while it is there, your new car will drop you off at your restaurant and then go find the cheapest parking space to wait for your text to come pick you up. The automobile and its related industries are about to go through the largest inflection point in its history, which goes back 120 years. For you and me, it’s going to be fun and it is starting now. Inflection Point. I first wrote about inflection points in my article about universities and Massive [...]

By | April 1st, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Dyslexia – The Upside of Being Outside

Claude Monet, Soleil Levant, 1872 Last week in my article When Disadvantage Gives You Advantage I wrote about how writer Malcolm Gladwell in his book David and Goliath explored how sometimes dyslexia can be a “desirable difficulty” - a major challenge that requires a person to adapt and learn new behavior in order to survive and thrive. In several sections of his book Gladwell writes about how often successful people come from “outside” the establishment of a particular industry. He told of how Impressionist artists finally emerged on the art scene in the 1870s only after they broke-off [...]

By | March 15th, 2016|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|