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Archive for May, 2015

We always hear “the rules” from the female side.
Now here are the rules from the male side.
These are our rules!

Please note… these are all numbered “1” ON PURPOSE!

Toilet_370x5801. Learn to work the toilet seat.  You’re a big girl.  If it’s up, put it down.  We need it up, you need it down.  You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports.  It’s like the full moon or the changing of the tides.  Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport!  And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want.  Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it.  That’s what we do.  Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem.  See a doctor – please!

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

1. If you think you’re fat, you probably are.  Don’t ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one!

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done.  Not both.  If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.  Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color.  Pumpkin is also a fruit.  We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched.  We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing,” we will act like nothing’s wrong.  We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, expect an answer you don’t want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine… Really!

1. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or monster trucks.

2246034144_c346df3fde_o1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape.  Round is a shape.

1. Thank you for reading this.  Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; but did you know men really don’t mind that? It’s like camping.

Comments 18 Comments »

7983928912_f18c81fb31_oWords are wonderful. They are much more useful in business than they get credit for. However, words are not much emphasized or particularly valued in current articles and discussions I see about entrepreneurship.

Sales articles are crammed full of an overwhelming amount of information about psychology, motivation, technology, social media, ROI, SEO, etc., yet seemingly never mention that simple cornerstone of human communication–words. Vocabulary. It’s as if words are unimportant or irrelevant to an au courant, cutting-edge businessman. Words are for poets and philosophers, academics and lawyers, journalists and judges. Words are old-fashioned. They are for dead white men. Words are of the past, supplanted by a world of Twitter abbreviation (OMG, NRN, LOL, TMI, L8R, WTF, etc) and verbal imprecision.

This is utterly wrong. Word usage and proficiency is important in branding a tonality of equal business stature when selling to real strategic corporate decision makers. CEO’s and strategic executives are especially well-educated, thoughtful people trained in the best schools in the world. Or, if they don’t have that specific educational pedigree, they are fierce autodidacts. Either way, they are usually people of probing, practical intellect and subtle ability to appreciate and communicate nuance.

Corporate decision makers like to do business with their peers. They want to deal with thoughtful people of equal business stature. A comfort level with precise and sophisticated word usage is one way of immediately establishing that tonality.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the annoying use of the ubiquitous and meaningless word awesome–a word often displayed by its users to seemingly show how “with it” and modern they are. (Why You Need to Stop Saying ‘Awesome’). What the users of “awesome” actually show is their verbal limitation, carelessness, and laziness of language. Awesome is a word that instantly identifies you as a member of the lemming-like herd. It absolutely damages your credibility.

Here are 7 words that instantly kill your trope of business gravitas:

  1. Awesome (of course)
  2. Amazing
  3. Fabulous
  4. Totally
  5. Incredible
  6. Unbelievable
  7. Cool

These words smack of the jejune. These are words of regurgitated, hyperventilating cliche that brand their practitioners as lightweight and unserious servants to the tyranny of the given. These words are a medley of breathless hyperbole and empty cacophony, without real import when applied to your or any business.

mark-twain-391112_640This does not mean you should pepper your business conversations with obscure parlance, artificially grandiose phrases, fustian excess or arbitrary verbal whimsy. Precise business vocabulary can be used simply. Note that Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address in 1865, one of the most effective speeches in the history of the world, was only 701 words long. 505 of these words were one syllable, and 122 had two syllables. But words of real meaning bring shadings of specificity and descriptive depth, even a sensual enlivening, to the most prosaic of business or product discussions. They matter.

As Mark Twain put it, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. It’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Thank you, Mark Twain.

Comments 10 Comments »

12303879306_1a8ba9cfa7_oWhen asked his reason for robbing banks, Willy Sutton said, “That’s where the money is.”

Right now our exponentially increasing federal government bureaucracy is where the money is and it worries the hell out of me.  I believe there is an increasing moral hazard here that is even more dangerous than innate governmental inefficiency.  I believe it may have implications for the future of US entrepreneurship and capitalism itself.

I started thinking about this a couple of weeks ago at the Inc. GrowCo convention in Nashville when I noticed an inordinate number of companies were focused on government business—how to get it, how to navigate it, how to penetrate it.  It seems to me this focus has enormous potential for skewing and perverting healthy capitalist business process. This is purely anecdotal, but it seemed to me there was extraordinary concern with the ROI of government ass-kissing.

And why not?  “That’s where the money is.”  But what does this say about the societal efficacy of entrepreneurship?  It says to me that the creative focus of our enormously fecund money generating, job creating community may be being subtly shifted from building better mousetraps to inventing schemes for feeding at the public trough, like a lamprey eel sucking on a big blue whale.

This new bureaucratic bloat is leeching energy and incentives away from the practical problem solving of traditional darwinian capitalism, into a focus on firstly looking for ways to manipulate and win within imposed oligarchic rules.  Once again—“That’s where the money is.”  It is a tax-payer funded moral and economic strangulation of healthy capitalist process.

scorpion_and_the_frogTo cite but one example, look no further than the rollout of Obamacare.  From what I can see from Congressional hearings, it’s pretty clear government IT procurement procedures are idiotic.  The Obamacare IT work went to insider firms whose proficiency was in jumping through hoops of government rules.  Efficient companies like Apple and Google didn’t even bother to bid on it.  What passionate entrepreneurial company wants to vitiate their originality and energy fighting bureaucratic torpor—energy that should be going into creating the new, disrupting the old?  Not only is a bloated bureaucracy a burden on efficient government and the taxpayer, but it also obviates the civic logic of the entrepreneurial process.

Indeed, please note Nicholas Eberstadt‘s best-selling book of 2012 called A Nation of Takers:  America’s Entitlement Epidemic.  Eberstadt holds up Eric Conn as poster boy for a new, destructive sort of mutant entrepreneur/legal con man.  Conn has established a whole new niche for legally snookering government into paying thousands of unworthy people disability benefits by effectively navigating the imprecise, easily abused strictures created by unaccountable and inept government rule makers with too much money and too much power.

Aesop tells this story:

A scorpion and a frog meet on the edge of the river, and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on his back. The frog asks,”How do I know you wont sting me?”  The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die, too.”

The frog says OK and then they set out, but at midstream, the scorpion stings the frog.  As the frog dies he gasps out, “Why?” The scorpion replies, “It is my nature.”

Gore_Vidal_by_Juan_F_BastosJoseph Schumpeter, the Austrian economist and Harvard professor, pointed out that an overweening bureaucratic class is in very much the same relation to healthy business as the scorpion to the frog.  Even if it is ultimately destructive to government itself, bureaucrats will drown free enterprise to create a controlling governmental hegemony.  It is their nature.

Gore Vidal said in his 1968 book Sex, Death and Money, “There is something about a bureaucrat that does not like a poem.” Or an entrepreneur. Thanks, Gore.

Comments 4 Comments »

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