Thursday, October 19, 2017

The lucky vs the happened to them

I notice a pattern.  Successful people say they are lucky,  Unsuccessful people have things happen to them.  What I have learned is you need to choose the former.

I meet people who tell me about all the great things they did and how they did it all on their own.  It tends to be those same people who have things happen to them.  It is almost as if "everything I did was perfect BUT then something happened that was not in my control ..."

The moral of the story - give luck its due. 

I have been lucky in my life.

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I was interested to read that Dysan is introducing a car.   It will be so great to have the streets cleaner.

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Interesting article on refugees being the problem.

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And only for those with a sense of humour (yes - I know I will get flamed for posting this but...).   Some people think guns have gone too far in the US.  See this.

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My little girls:


Monday, October 02, 2017

Tabatha Ann


My daughter, Laura had a daughter yesterday.  Mom and newborn are doing well.  The only reason Tabatha is crying is because someone put that silly hat on her.
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I do not do politics but the current state of affairs makes it hard not to comment.

I have a simple, genius idea to balance the Canadian budget and help benefit those least able to afford tax.  Raise HST/GST by 3% then pay all Canadians who make less than $35K 3%.  Anyone making $35K cannot spend more than 3% on HST since many things are not taxable sothey would be better off.

Balances the budget.  Saves getting the Canadian system too far out of sync with the US.   Saves Canada from increasing tax complexity.

I am worried the current track will create lots of work for accounting firms on how to work around paying 73% tax so in the end, the government will not get the 73% anyways.  Sorry to the accountants out there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Lying to ourselves

I thought this article from Nathan Collier was good so:

5 ways we lie to ourselves

Confirmation Bias: We look for evidence that confirms what we already believe and we discount that which makes us uncomfortable. Related to the Belief Bias; evaluating information not on the worthiness or credibility of the source but more upon how we feel (i.e. our beliefs) about the issue at hand.

Framing Bias: aka Blinders Effect: We define a problem or situation too narrowly, we laser in on certain aspects (often the most emotional or dramatic) to the determent of other, more salient aspects.

Self-Serving Bias: The tendency to see success as due to our ability/efforts, failures due to bad luck or outside influences; based upon a need to maintain our self-image/self-esteem and protect our egos. Success has a thousand fathers, failure is an orphan; in any success in which multiple groups/individuals participate, each tends to ascribe the lion’s share to themselves.

20/20 Hindsight Bias: aka “I knew it all along”. We forget the uncertainty that existed before the event, now see what happened as predictable, much more inevitable. This bias undermines our future decision making ability and greatly hinders our ability to learn from events.

Attribution Effect: We tend to judge ourselves by our good intentions (internal), others by their behavior (external) or even by the outcome of their actions/behavior whether intended or not. Worse, our fears often lead us to attribute negative motives to what may be benign motivation or unintentional/unforeseen. Or as the cynical saying goes: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”
Closing Quotes:

“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.” – John Dewey, 1859-1952, philosopher, psychologist, educational reformer
“Your job as a scientist is to figure out how you’re fooling yourself.” – Saul Perlmutter, b. 1959, astrophysicist, professor of physics, Berkeley
“Men judge things according to the disposition of their minds, and had rather imagine things than understand them.” – Baruch Spinoza; 1632-1677; Ethics, appendix to book I 
“When a man finds a conclusion agreeable, he accepts it without argument, but when he finds it disagreeable, he will bring against it all the forces of logic and reason.” – Thucydides, 460-395 BC

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I was approached recently by a company - Crowdster that I had invested in.  They do web sites/social media/programs to help non-profits and charities raise more money more easily.  They were asking for advice on how to sell more.  My answer:

Random thoughts:

1 - Persistence works but you need to keep pinging people.   Send FB, Twitter and Linkedin updates.  Not advertorial but for the benefit of the reader - enough the people remember you.  And add in the odd email and call and it is long term persistence.

2 - Fail often, Fail fast, Fail cheap.  So trying different approaches and tracking success.  EG - option 1 - buy a list and email, then call.  Option 2 - advertise on FB to get a prospect then email then call.  Option 3  -attend a show etc - you get the idea.  With limited resources, i track it.  EG - I have 1 sales rep on "alternative" channels like kitchen gadget stores.  He might spend 10 hours calling in person and compare that to 10 hours spent calling on the phone compared to 10 hours emailing etc.

3 - Sites like GoFundme, Fundly, Booster, Indegogo, Giveforward, Pursuit etc seem to be doing well.  Any way to scrape leads from them?  Many of these are not charities - they are individuals raising funds to help a sibling who was in a accident etc.  Some % might want to do a more organized event.

4 - I believe in buying lists.  Any way to buy a list of non-profit or charities?  Or races (thinking most 5K's are in support of some cause) or walkathons or Danceathons.  

5 - Try to develop a second way to source business.  You have a process and success with what you do - you can polish it but what I am thinking is a completely separate approach.  Might there be a different way.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Growing @ the Speed of Change

I suffer from great blogger guilt.  I have not posted for quite a while.  Not that I have not been doing anything but...

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I read a great book by Jim Clemmer - a famous local motivational speaker. The book is "Growing @ the Speed of Change".   Clemmer is a prolific author on leadership and motivation.  Clemmer is a story teller which makes the book more interesting - personal anecdotes interspersed with advice.

Clemmer is also a quote junkie like me so this book contains likely 100 great quotes.  Some of them:

Knowing is not enough, we must apply.  Willing is not enough, we must do -  Goethe 1749-1832

There is more to life than increasing its speed.  Ghandi

There ain't no answer, There ain't gonna be any answer.  There never has been an answer.  There's your answer.  Gertrude Stein

From an Amazon review: "The basic theme of the book is how to thrive in turbulent times. The first third of the book discusses and tries to convince you that change is actually happening at a great rate. One of the early chapters is even titled I Predict...More Unpredictability."

I loved the title since I believe change is the only way to move things forward.  I now at Danby Appliances sometimes I need to slow myself down to allow the organization to adjust to change.  Then I step back in and... more change.

A pleasant unexpected surprise was an excellent chapter on Quantum Mechanics that is worth reading just because it simplifies the theory.  You likely know most of it but the simplification and clarification is excellent.  Of course he uses it for leadership and business comparison.  And the next chapter even touches on string theory.

Much of the book is devoted to self development.  It seems a bit repetitive with all the other self help books out there.  Still - I always like the reminder.  As he says "Leader need a strong sense of self".

Good book - worth reading.

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Lifehack posted the 15 most important tips from productivity books.  First tip - Don't wait for others to set deadlines - do it yourself.

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Mom gave up her license and got a Harley.  Need to talk to her about wearing a helmut.






Monday, July 10, 2017

What To Do When Its Your Turn (and it's always your turn)

That is a title of one of Seth Godin's books.  Seth and I go way back - he was an early blogger as was I.  We communicated a bit in those early days before he became famous.  I also met him a couple of times at YPO events.  And we traded some email over a business venture he was coaching.  He is brilliant and insightful.

Like most of his books - What to do when it's your turn is about branding and marketing.  And to some extent - being remarkable.

When I first picked it up, it looked shallow.  It is a collection of articles - most only a page long interspersed with photos, diagrams, quotes etc.   The more I read, the more I liked it and the more gems I found.  I have a short attention span.  This book lends itself to reading a few pages at a time.  There is no continuity so you lose nothing by doing this.

There is quite a bit on failure (which of course I embrace).  Only those who try win.

I liked some of the pages on obligation.  No one owes you anything.  It ties into my recent blog entry about "What will you do for Canada".

Many of the pages provoke thought.  EG

"Motivation is for amateurs"  Chuck Close

"There is no terror in the bang - only the anticipation of it"  Alfred Hitchcock

"Fear is the mind killer" Frank Herbert

"How much do you get paid to watch TV?"

"The internet means you can learn anything you want, if you are thirsty enough to do the work to learn it.  We don't need badges."

Good book.
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And for those interested in the brain:

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And the grandkid pic of the week - this time with an efficiency tip included.

Elizabeth looks happy.  That must be because she does not know the next step is to go into the washing machine.  I do admire her mother for sharing my efficiency and do think it will be easier than giving her a bath - and gets the clothes clean at the same time.


Sunday, July 02, 2017

What will you do for Canada

Happy post Canada Day.

Danby has a couple of Canada Day things.  Our Canadian Translator is cute.   Would love to get that to go viral so please share it.

And this video on why we should be grateful - Danby New Canadians.  We are lucky.

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This blog post is inspired by one Randall Howard wrote here.

Canadians, and others living in Canada, have the privilege of living in a great country.  It is safe, wealthy, fair, resource rich, clean, fertile and a good place to live.  Yes, we can find many things to complain about but those are all first world problems.

Where there are imperfections and problems, each Canadian can do a small part to help fix the problem.  The message is what problem might you be able to help fix?  By help, I mean what will you give up yourself (time, money, brainpower, comfort etc) - not just complain to try to force others to help.

My experience is people who help in one area, help in others.  The person who volunteers teaching someone English is likely to also pick up trash in the street.  The person who supports Heart and Stroke is likely to support United Way.  Being a good person inspires you to be a better one.

People like to give but not when forced to.  I view tax as the ultimate charity but admit that even I feel resentful at being forced to pay when I feel it is inequitable.

I like the high school volunteer hour plan... and I don't.  There have been many studies done that show once people are rewarded financially or with credits to do something that they no longer want to do it for intrinsic reasons.  See Daniel Pink's Ted Talk.

Having such a good country and easy life can make people start to think in terms of entitlement.  And dissatisfaction that some other people have better things/treatment.  I call this comparison dissatisfaction.

My best solution to this comparison dissatisfaction is to focus on gratefulness.   What are you grateful for?  Count your blessing daily.   Give thanks for all we have been given.  From a strictly practical view, this is better for your health - less stress.  It creates happiness.

I am big on borrowing good ideas.  So "Think not what your country can do for you - think what can you do for your country".

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And of course - grandkid pics.  Notice the real baby lurking in the background.  And I included the one of her playing with a truck just so people don't think she is gender typed.  Although I do notice she seems to be way too gentle with it.  Not sure she knows at that age trucks are meant to be thrown, crashed and roughly handled.







Sunday, June 18, 2017

Steps to Getting Your Steps

Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.

Mahatma Ghandi

To this - I say - possibly.  Or is it the other way around mostly.  Your habits become your actions, your actions shape your destiny.

I am a big believer in habits.

We are the product of what we repeatedly do.  Aristotle

One habit I am good at is getting over 10,000 steps in per day.   I actually do over 10,605.  5% more than 10,000 plus 1% extra since I alway do an extra 1%.  I average more than 13,000/day because I also try to do one day at over 20,000 steps.

I have blogged before about how much I love my Fitbit but there are other products on the market that also do this.  With Fitbit, people can see how many steps I do and I can see how many they do (if we are connected).  Part of that motivates me that I want to inspire people.

Some tricks:

1 - Most important is planning.  I review each day to figure out when I am likely to get those steps in.

2 - I love walking meetings.  I have a trail near Danby that takes 35 minutes to walk (including a short drive to the trail).   This limits my meetings to 35 minutes which is good for time management.  Walking is also very good for the meeting.  People are more equal when walking.  People think better.  

3 - I do the little "extra" steps.   I usually stop by other people's offices rather than phone (and I have a great bluetooth headset so never miss a call if I am out of my office).  I tend to make my tea at the furtherest coffee station.  I park far from the door (Except at work where people usually leave me a spot near the door.

4 - I usually walk at least 500 steps when I get up.  This is only 5 minutes.  Sometimes I get this by weeding or watering the garden (although don't worry, there are still lots of weeds).

5 - I just do it.  Sometimes I get home at 11 PM and am short steps so I have to head out in the neighbourhood.

6 - I play all sorts of games.  Like trying to string together the longest string of perfect days in a row.  Or walking a quick 1% of what I still have left in the day for a break.   Setting intra day goals - EG - 5,000 steps before lunch.

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Better yet - just act like a child - allow them to be their natural selves and they will exercise.  So they need to be strapped in so they do not beat me on the steps.  Although in the case of Daniel, I am worried - he never gets any steps in.  He never walks.  Perhaps I need to have a chat with him.




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

People buy logically - Not

Education is the most powerful weapon which
you can use to change the
world.”
– Nelson Mandela

But education is not just school.  It is more about learning.   I pride myself in being a constant learner and want that to be part of the Danby Appliance culture.

When I have a challenge, I devise a deliberate study plan.

I have learned about learning from my Syrian project.  You can learn some English in ESL school but those that thrive and do well implement a deliberate learning plan that includes not just sitting through class but learning.  They study.  They practise.

To learn English, we suggest ESL class, Duolingo (a free language learning tool), Mango Language (free computer learning if you have a Guelph library card), watching English TV with English subtitles, reading a few pages each day, English word of the day, conversation circles etc.  And study/work hard at it.

And much of learning is practise and just speaking English so interact.  It takes courage and it is work.
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Speaking of education.  I am a big proponent of the "university in your car".  While driving, I always listen to audio books.  The most recent one was by a behavioural economist.  This is sort of a cross between a psychologist and an economist.   They study what people really do - rather than what pure economics would say.

The book is Misbehaving by Richard Thaler.

I love that the book is well researched and scientific.  Thaler is a university professor.  So many of the examples he uses are of studies.  For example - people who are buying a calculator for $20 are told by the clerk that the same item is on sale for $10 5 minutes away.  Most people spend the 5 minutes to save the $10.  The same experiment is repeated when someone is buying a $1,000 appliance and almost no one goes.  It is the same $10 so logic would say spending the same time makes logical sense but...

Another study was done on price differences for using credit cards.  When a gas station sells gas for $1 and says 2% surcharge for using a credit card - they are flamed.  When they price their gas at $1.02 and say cash price $1 - people love them.  But it is the same price.

When a store advertises buy 2 get 1 free, sales do much better than 33% off.

When a store advertises free knife with $40 cutting board, they sell much more than $10 knife with $30 cutting board.  The cost is the same but the sales are different.

I recall another book I read that had a study comparing free shipping to $0.30 shipping and the results were huge.  Even just $0.30 was enough to stop people from ordering.

Advertising and promotion is much about this psychology.

I have also thought a lot about value.  Some people can be "gamed" by the psychology but what really helps products to sell is offering a complete value.  People may say they want the cheapest product but in most cases they mean the best value.  So spending time considering what things consumers value and adding them to product is the best way to build sustainable edge in the market.

As a marketer, I find this subject fascinating.  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Power of 3

There was a video that went viral on my Syrian project.  11,283,000 views so far.  I did not know videos could get that many views.  It spread on Facebook.

One interest side effect - other videos that featured me and this project also got more views.  Pervious videos increased by 200,000 views.

Not even sure why it went viral.  It helps the cause but also creates volume.  If even 0.01% of the people contact me, that is over 1,000 contacts.  I try to respond to most of them but...

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I took a day out this week for a YPO HBS (Harvard) seminar this week by Boris Groysberg.  He was excellent.  Entertaining and challenging.  Prior to the day, we had homework (cases to read and questions to answer on them)

I always like taking a day out of my usual routine.  I wrote down a ton of ideas - many of them not directly associated with what was being covered.  My mind just goes into "thinking/imagination mode".

Not sure everyone at Danby Appliances appreciates it since I come back with a mass of questions/suggestions.

Spending some time on self development is a best practise that I highly recommend.

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NY Times had an article a while ago about exercise.    Did not particularly like the title on best exercise for aging muscles since I am not aging.  The gist of it was - high intensity interval training is best (I do that), weight training is very good (I do some) and regular intensity exercise (I do lots) is still good.

Bottom line is what I always know - exercise is good.

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The Power of 3

My to do list is a page long (and I use a small font).  I was listening to a book recently - The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey while driving that suggested a great time management tip that I have incorporated into my routine.

Every night decide what 3 things I hope to accomplish the next day.  Last night, for me, it was simply  -get caught up on my email (I was way behind), work out and do a blog (yes I feel guilty when I do not blog).  Then first thing in the morning say "what 3 things do I want to accomplish today" and figure out how to slot them in your day.

The key for me is to pick things that are big enough to move me forward but small enough to accomplish.  Gaining that balance took a bit of time.  I am one of those people who thinks I can get more done in a day than I can.

This simple practise has moved me forward.  Try it.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

The simple 42 steps to making a sale

Many companies know who their target customers are.  In many cases their targets are limited.  For example - at Danby Appliance, we might target appliance stores.  There are only so many of them.  So the key is persistence.

One suggested process:

1 - call them and introduce yourself, get an email address.

2 - follow up with snail mail with a hand written note.

3 - stop in for tea.

4 - Connect with your main contact on Linkedin (I love Linkedin).  

5 - Send Daily or every other day Linkedin updates.  Not directed at just one contact.

6 - Call them again.

7 - email a follow up.

8 - send than a link to an article that might interest them.

9 - Send them something physical - some tea, chocolates, a pen, a hat, a mug.  Always with a personal note.  Physical things get noticed since they are not very common.

10 - Connect to everyone else in their company on Linkedin that you can.

11 - repeat steps 3, 6, 8 and 9 a couple of times. 

12 - refer them a customer.  People who you help succeed will help you succeed.

13 - Visit them with a product.  Nothing like showing them real products to build excitement.

14 - Take them to a hockey game, a play, an outing.

15 - Send them a baby gift (assuming they have a baby).

16 - Repeat steps 3, 6, 8, 9, 12, and 14.

17 - Visit their store opening.

18 - Have your CEO, COO, Product people etc meet with them.

19 - Do anything you can to help them.

20 - take them to lunch (I generally do not like this one - takes too long)

21 - play golf with them (again - too long for me)

Mostly - be genuine.  Be who you are.  People buy sincerity.

And keep doing this until you sell.  Why do I say 42 steps?  Just to emphasize it takes time and persistence.  Nothing beats having a relationship and being there when someone needs what you are selling, when an existing supplier messes up, when things are changing.

I have found many sales people just give up.  They take a few steps and are rarely heard of again.  Those who persist politely win.

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The sales trick I am using here is sitting on my grandson Daniel so he does not get into things.  Like all happy customers, he does not even know he is trapped.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Happiness Equation

I just finished reading - The Happiness Equation; Want Nothing+Do Anything=Have Everything by Neil Pasricha.  It is a great book.

I like that the book started saying something like take what parts you like and it is ok to not agree with everything because I do not agree with everything.

Some of the ideas I liked:

1 - He believes in exercise.

2 - He has a concept of the 20 min replay.  When something goes well - replay it in your mind.  That act is like living it again.  It locks it into memory.  Of course the converse might also be true - do not keep replaying the things you want to minimize or forget.

3 - He like random acts of kindness.

4 - He talks about flow - concept I believe in and try to get to (although find it hard to achieve)

5 - He advocates 2 minute meditations.

6 - And he believes in Gratitude.  One success habit I believe is to have a gratitude journal.

7 - There is a section on the people who live in Okinawa.  They are known for longevity.  They have ikigai - a purpose to live -  a reason to get up in the morning.  He attributes their long lives to that, combines with their very tight social groups.

8 - One section on decision making suggests efficiency can be had by removing choice.  EG - have only black socks.

Concepts I am more on the fence on.  "do it for you".  He seems to advocate selfishness.  It seems to me the greatest pleasure is doing it for others.

Some Quotes from the book:

"I don't stand back and judge - I do"
"You can't have everything - where would you put it all?"
"Wealth consists not of having great possessions but in having few wants"  Epictetus
"Start doing something - you will continue"  (The power of momentum)
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Tea time





Monday, April 03, 2017

Leadership Ego

In my last post, I spoke about leadership ego.  A friend then asked me how to keep leadership ego in check:

“Leadership ego is what kills most companies.”

I hear this message a lot, and try to live by it, but I haven't had much luck finding information on how to make this value actionable, beyond things like valuing ideas over seniority, avoiding a superstar culture, and empowering the people on your team to shine more brightly, even if it means personally being in the background.  

I responded:

Random ideas that help keep leadership ego in check:

1 - keep a gratefulness log and log what you are grateful for each day.

2 - Look at those much larger and more successful than you.  EG - every time I travel to larger cities, I marvel at how large the companies are by comparison to mine.

3 - I like reading business bios of people who have had great success.

4 - Study servant leadership

5 - learn something new every day.

6 - Do something that challenges you daily.

7 - know that if you "arrive", you are starting to fail.  I always think of it like a mountain.  Get to the top and you will head down the other side.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Great CEOs and How They are Made - The 7 Imperatives

I recently read a book by John Wilson - Great CEOs and How They are Made - The 7 Imperatives.

The first imperative - EQ.  I have long known EQ is critical for success.  I also believe in AQ (ability to deal with adversity).  I know my IQ is not as high as many people (hopefully than most of my staff) so have to make up for it with EQ.

The Second is Ability to Inspire.  I have thought often how I manage to do that and there is not a simple answer.  Part of it is having a great vision for the company.  Part of it is constant communication.  And part of it is "do the right thing".

The third chapter talks about team.  Clearly I believe in team.  Where I diverge is there was a lot of reference to A players - as if they just are A players.  I believe the job of a good leader to to make people into A players by process, systems, training, mentoring, inspiring and slotting people in the right job for them.  If I have C players it is my fault for not making them better.

The 4th is accountability followed by 5 - tools and KPIs.  In my mind these tie together.  You need the measures to tie with the goals.  He recounts a cute story:

”An Accountability Fable”
Four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody, have an important job to be done…and Everybody was asked to  do it.  Everybody was sure Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about it because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody though Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done….and thus accountability was born”


Dan McCarthy, Director of Executive Development Programs, University of New Hampshire, Whitmore School of Business

And 7th is CEO connection.  No CEO should be alone.  CEOs need peers.  CEOs learn from other CEOs.  John runs CEO Global Network so has seen the power of CEO networks first hand.  And of course his book would speak to that.

Good book - fast read.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Linch Pin Habits

I think a lot about my habits (of course thinking about them and doing them are not always the same).  When I get a good Success Habit, I work hard to make it into a habit.  It got me thinking on why some habits stick and others fall by the wayside.

I have found I have certain linch pin habits.  If I do them, then I do the rest of the habits or if I do them, I fail or do things that do not help my productivity.

I know one thing that helps my productivity is sleep.  At one time, I preached "sleep is for wimps" but I now believe it is vital for health and productivity.   Interesting that now I believe that when I am sleeping worse than I did when I was young(er) (I still refuse to be old).

I try to get 6 hours per night or sometimes even a luxurious 7 1/2 hours (they say sleep cycles are 90 minutes so multiple of that).  For me, that means getting to bed early.

The linch pin for me to get to bed early is to not be on my computer.  Even though I do dim the blue light with f.lux software, I still sit at the computer too long.  Ironically when I am too tired, I will often sit at the computer instead of going to bed.

I also know being on the computer often makes my mind race or makes me think so I am too engaged to go to bed or to fall asleep.  Email particularly can raise issues that need dealing with or worse - cannot be dealt with until day so simply cause stress.

A similar "don't do" linch pin is exercise.  If I exercise less than an hour before I go to bed, I cannot get to sleep.

The simplest linch pin for working out for me is going to the gym.  If I simply get there - I work out.

So think of your habits and your linch pins to doing or not doing them.  Work on the linch pins and the habits follow.
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And I declare today as "National Steal a Habit Day".   The habit I am going to steal comes from the owner of Sweet Kyla.  Each day do just 1 thing new to move the business forward.

And since it is Steal a Habit Day - the nuns better lock their laundry up.

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I am thinking of running the Stirling Marathon although I am not doing enough running these days to even complete one.

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No blog is complete without kid pics.  I wonder when they are going to grow hair.


Thursday, March 02, 2017

Lent - Buy Lettuce

Lent made me think.  "not doing something is a decision and can often have more impact than actually doing something".  We make decisions by lack of action.

It is interesting that people give things up for lent and not take up doing something new.

Either can have a positive effect.  Give up eating sugar or add lettuce to every meal (yum - goes great on oatmeal).  Give up alcohol or take up drinking more water.  Give up wasting time watching TV, take up research and study on a new topic.  Give up fried foods or eat more lettuce (As you can likely tell, I am long on lettuce and trying to start a run on it so my lettuce stocks go up)

The Telegraph already reported on the shortage of salad ingredients on February 3rd.  I must have a leak in my blogging organization that tipped someone off that I was doing this post.

Most "stop doings" have a "start doing" that would have similar effect.

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I have a grand daughter (yes hard to believe).   My daughter was explaining the concept to giving something up for lent.  She thought about and said "I am going to give up wearing clothes for lent".

I wonder if she will speak to me when she is 16 and this blog is still out there for the whole world to see.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

You Priorities or Other People's Priorities

Someone said "Your in box is a convenient way for others to put things on your priority list".  I am finding this.  My email volume is incredible.  So my natural inclination is to figure out how to process it all efficiently.  Questions I have and some thoughts:

1 - Should I politely reply to every enquiry?  I try to do this now.  Or just delete?

2 - I like to triage.  Scan for things that need dealing with and leave other things.  I am wondering if leaving those other things for a few days might make them go away.

3 - Something in me causes stress when my in box is not at zero by the end of the day.  But I know that is "self stress" - stress that I cause myself.  Should I meditate or do email?

4 -Spam really does not bother me much.  I can delete 100 emails in a few minutes.  What takes time are the long emails I need to really read and the ones that require my action.

Net conclusion.  I am going to be a bit ruder to be a bit saner.

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“According to the National Floral Marketing Institute, men under the age of 35 spend $30 on flowers for Valentine’s Day while, simultaneously, men between the ages of 45 and 60 spend 350% more. The kicker… There’s no difference in the flowers. A 350% increase in revenue simply by targeting the right segment of the market.”

I am always fascinated by marketing and this is genius market segmentation.

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I don't recall my older brother playing this nice with me - or for that matter me playing that nice with my younger brothers.  How is he going to grow up tough?


 And why is Xavier not smiling?  Because smiling is not allowed on passport photos.  I guess they figure if you are enduring the hassles of travel you sure won's be smiling.


Thursday, February 02, 2017

Delayed Gratification

I am pleased Danby has the herb grower out.  It is called Danby Fresh.  I love it because:

1 - it is good the the environment.  We re-use the shell of a wine cooler.  Much better than recycling it.

2 - I am a health guy and love fresh herbs.  When you buy at the grocery store, they are often old.  And the quantity is not right so there is waste.

3 - I know what I grow is organic.



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We tend to overestimate what we can do in a day and under estimate what we can do in a decade.  I plan by the decade but break it down to the day.

I study success and know those who get furthest in life are long term.

From my friend Nick Collier:

Google “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow”! Among other things (books, articles) you will find hilarious videos of kids trying to resist temptation! Basically, it means “Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now!” Or put another way, do you have the ability to Delay Gratification” for sufficient future reward? Most don’t! Most whenever they get an extra buck or pay raise instantly spend it, always allowing their standard of living (borrowing?) to rise to or above their income with nary a dime saved for a rainy day. The marshmallow test is to leave a 4 or 5 year old kid in a room alone with a marshmallow for 5 minutes after telling them that they can have TWO marshmallows if they can resist the temptation to eat the one in front of them for 5 minutes. Some can, some can’t. Studies show that the kids who have the ability to delay gratification go on to do much better in life.

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I do not do politics but I am disturbed more than ever by world events.  We need to stand firm in peace.  Let good thrive.  Do the right thing.

Story telling has always been a way to get things across.    HBR wrote and article on the dark side of it.

I thought this video was inspirational.   It is done in a storytelling way.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Brother's Weekend

I am just off a weekend with my brothers.  This is a 25+ year tradition.  We get together and solve the problems of the world (so it was a tough weekend), predict the future and then figure out how to influence it.   I actually ended up with too many things on my to do list from it.

And of course we have a lot of laughs, walk and play some cards.

We always miss my brother Mark who died in Dec 2008.  He was the one who started the idea of brother's weekend.  My other brothers are funny but Mark was hilarious.  He liked to have sport with us.

We grew up without TV but on occasion would see some somewhere.  He told me Road Runner had a foul mouth which is why they had all the beeps.  The show was a poor depiction of wildlife because road runners run at a top speed of 20 MPH compared to coyotes at 45 MPH.  Good to know what we spend our valuable time contemplating...

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I am finding the sand and pebbles in my life are consuming too much of my time.  This is a concept pushed by Stephen Covey.  Some videos that best explain the concept here and here.  The little things for me are mostly email and calls.  But bigger time costs are meetings.

The big rocks for me would be strategy and planning and to some extent some of the marketing initiatives.

Because of Brother's Weekend, I am late getting through my emails.  I have developed a poor habit of leaving some email to clean up on the weekend and fairly consistently needing a few hours of weekend time to get caught up.

Proper use of weekend time should be on the big rocks or complete relaxation.

Of course I get more sand and pebbles even on the weekend.

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Feeling tired but I figure if Josh and Xaview can work out, so can I.  Bet you have never seen a treadmill backward crawl.  I assume it is a new exercise he found on the internet.  I should try it.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Habits

My refugee sponsorship story has gone international with mentions on BBC and The Guardian.

I did not do this project for fame or publicity.  At first I resisted publicity but now welcome it.  It helps leverage.  It helps get things done.

The downside is it generates a lot of volume.  People read it and ask for help.  Or people want to express an opinion.  And it adds pressure for me to be "perfect" and "profound".   I am just a regular person doing a tiny bit and even doing that imperfectly.  

So I have finally broken down and put up a donate page.  Lets see how much we can generate and how much good we can do.  The humanitarian crisis remains extreme.

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A friend asked me how to maintain habits.  He was slipping.  My answer:

I find when my habits are too hard, I will slip on them.

EG - I do a form of HIT (High Intensity Training).  Short duration time wise but really hard.  When I change to a lesser workout, I stick to it and then sometimes step it up anyways.

My other cause of failure is when I move aside something that is important.  EG - At times I have scrimped on sleep to work out.  But the sleep is important and ends up winning in time.  

Other tricks - make it easier or tougher to do.  EG - get dressed in shorts and tshirt and wear sweat pants when you get up.  I usually eat fairly healthy when I am home because I have no unhealthy food on hand.  Yes, I could go out and get cookies or make them but it is a barrier.  

Or add reward or punishment.  I like tea.  I do not allow myself to drink tea until X is done.

I say to myself:

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

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And a great article on the pace of change.   It includes a warning not to be complacent.   Change was fine at one time  but I have had quite enough of it - Anon

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I am worried my grand daughter will never learn to fly properly holding the broom that way.


Monday, January 02, 2017

Checklist Manifesto

With New Years comes examination of my systems.

I read a book - Checklist Manifesto written by a doctor with many examples of how checklists save lives.  He implemented checklist in operating rooms by being inspired by airline pilot checklists.

It has inspired me to do my own checklist.  The one I am experimenting with is a weekly 1 page sheet with some things to do daily (like pushups and meditation) and others to do weekly (like checking in with key people).  For some of my weekly things I put more than once (like working out).  Ironically, I do not add everything I do daily - just the things that are not yet fully engrained.

So on first try, I got it wrong (as is often the case).  I did not even get through my checklist.  I was too ambitious which is one affliction I have.  It reminds me of "We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a day and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade".

I judge a book as good if it causes me to make a permanent change.  This feels like it might stick.  Will see.

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A good friend from New York emailed me a story of "Man punches cougar outside of Tim Hortons to save his dog" saying - you don't see this in NY.

I replied "Too politically correct to punch cougars?"

She said "No a Tim Hortons"

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And as if we needed any more reason to burn less coal.  Lower mercury levels.  As someone who is largely pescatarian (not to be confused with Catholic or Methodist) or pescovegetarian, mercury in fish is a concern.  For that matter - so is breathing. 

Article here.

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Have a great 2017 and beyond.




Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Time Management Guest post


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Indispensable Time Management Hacks to Get More Out of Your Work Day



I rarely use guest blog posts but I thought this one was quite good.  And my time management tip for me might be to use more guest blogs (since they take less time).  Thanks to Surepayroll for these tips.

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- See more at: https://www.surepayroll.com/resources/blog/time-management-hacks#sthash.fgE5oeti.dpuf

Monday, December 12, 2016

New Years Resolutions

“Resolutions: So many will fail; NOT because they didn't set goals, but because they didn't set behaviors.” 
― Steve Maraboli

It is getting time to work on my goals.  I do not call them resolutions.  And I do them about 3-4 times per year.   I like to work on 3-5 goals at a time.  Each broken down with an action plan.

One rule I have is - it cannot be on my list unless I am prepared to spend an hour per week on it.  Of course for some, I spend way more than that.

I have get goals - things I strive for.  And stop goals (or reduce) - things I want to reduce.

We do things if there is more pleasure associated with doing them than not.  Or we do them if there is more pain caused by not doing them.  The pain part is emphasized in martial arts training - a bit if pain can motivate change.  So one trick is to add to the pleasure - EG - drink tea if I do do something or add to the pain - EG - not do something.  You get the idea.

I liked the quote because it is the behaviours that create the ultimate result.  As I call them - Success Habits.

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A good video by Simon Sinek on managing Millennials.   I generally dislike "labelling" a group and assuming they are all the same.  That said, I have found good support of my Syrian project by my Millenial staff.  It has become the Danby purpose.  And it fits with "do the right thing" which is one of the things we emphasize at Danby.

Speaking of Syrian project.  We need lightly used sheets, towels and snow gear.  We also need rugs. We need new pillows.    Drop them off at Danby Guelph.

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This is the most adorable video of my grand daughter doing a work out video with her mother.

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And another granddaughter accessorizing her PJs for winter (inside no less).  



Monday, December 05, 2016

Password Fun

Please help my young videographer friend Liam who is doing his part to help Syrian refugees.  See his Indigogo campaign.  Speaking of helping refugees - I have learned though this process that rugs and carpets are as important to Syrians as kitchen tables.  If you have any lightly used ones, we need them.

I was visiting a Syrian family on the weekend and the 80 year old grandmother chose to sit on the floor rather than a chair.  I will be able to do the same if I can improve my flexibility by the time I am 80.
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I always love snow.  This morning, it was perfect packing for a snowball fight but alas, my brothers do not live close by.  Lucky for them... or perhaps that is why.


Do not enjoy waking up in the dark which you can see in the background of the photo.
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Passwords are a pain.  Different sites have different requirements.  Different sites have you change them.  Password recovery is painful and slow.  So the temptation is to use the same password on multiple sites - DON'T DO IT.  Imagine the poor Yahoo users whose login and passwords were stolen.  The bad guys can just set up scripts to automatically try logging into multiple bank accounts and eventually find success.

I use Password Tricks to allow me to remember them and to keep them different on each site.  My tricks are not so complex that any amateur cryptographer could not figure them out but I am trying to foil machines - not real people who would need to do real work.

Here are 4 increasingly complex ways to generate unique memorable passwords.  Each start with a unique string of characters, numbers and symbols (We will say password321$ for example purposes) - something I can remember then:

1 - append the name of the site on the end.  EG - password321$yahoo or password321$RBC

2 - append the name of the site backwards.  EG - password321$oohay or password321$CBR

3 - append the name of the site but on the keys above it on the keyboard.  EG - password321$7qu00 or password321$%HF

4 - Same as 3 but add 17+the number of characters in the string on the end.  EG password321$7qu0034 or password321$%HF32.

You get the idea.  I call it "fun with passwords" or "fun with keyboards".   The variations can be many.  And any amateur cryptographer could break mine but when I hit to publish button on this post, I will change them all to an even more difficult and secret variation - so don't even try to hack me.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Our Reaction

Most things that happen - positive or negative happen because of our reactions.  It is not what happens - it is our reaction to it that is important.

I do not do politics.

The Trump victory will cause massive reactions in the stock market, housing prices, oil prices, gold prices, currency etc.  There will be great uncertainty while people try to figure out what is going to happen.  The reactions (and over reactions) are the issue.

The impacts are tough to know.  The US $ could weaken causing the Canadian $ to go up.  But the price of oil could weaken causing the Canadian $ to go down.  And the uncertainty in Canada could cause less buying.  In the end, it is impossible to figure out all the interactions.

Danby will do fine.  Danby has survived ups and downs and uncertainties.  Danby is actually better positioned than most companies.  We have significant business in Canada.  We are financially strong.

Leadership through these times usually calls for conservative and cautious thinking.  This, too, is a reaction that can cause less spending.  This is actually the natural reaction I have to this situation.   My frugal nature is well suited for difficult times.  This conservativeness can cause a shrinking in the economy which will allow conservatively managed companies to say "I told you so".

I have always thrived during times of high change - both up and down.  Change is opportunity.  This could be a period of high change.

Leadership at this times needs more fluidity.

But think.  Just because there are reactions happening, will you go hungry?  Will you have to live on the street?  You still have family and friends.  Count your blessings.  Now is the time to be zen.  Breathe.

If you do not have a gratitude journal, today is the day to start one.  Simply get a book and write in it all the things you are grateful for.

And know that time passes and things are always ok.

Be grateful.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dealing with Conditions

I had a great COO working for me at SYNNEX who talked about "Conditions".  Conditions are those things which you cannot change - you can only choose how to react to them.  For example - the exchange rates or if an accident has already happened.  It is done - now you can only react to the Condition.  Or as someone once wrote "you cannot ought to have done anything".  Dwelling on the "ought to have done" does not change it or add any value except in tearing down your self esteem.

Some tips for dealing with Conditions:

1 - Compartmentalize.  Often the Condition is high stress.  Once you have done all you can do.  Leave it.  Do something to take your mind off it.  Try to not let it spill into other compartments of your life.

2 - Choose your reaction.  Often the reaction chosen can hurt you even more than the condition.  This is like the person who chooses to say "my life if ruined because...".  Why do they choose to let the Condition ruin their life.  The more they assume they have no choice but to take the reaction they have the more helpless they are.

3 - Count your blessings.  Most Conditions are not as catastrophic as we imagine.  As Mark Twain said "I have suffered from a lot of worries in my life - a few of which actually happened".  The grateful in this world are happier and more in control.

4 - Help someone who is worse off than yourself.  This helps with gratefulness.  Focus on someone else.

5 - Focus on making another part of your life better.  Just because a Condition happened in one area does not mean you need it to poison all of life.  Often you can build better in another area.

6 - Be logical.  Often by exaggerating what it really means, you can see that it is not as big of a deal as it feels like at the time.  Sometimes a calm and insightful mentor can help this.

7 - Break a sweat.  I find there is nothing like a good workout to help me get perspective back.  And there is no downside.

8 - Control what you can.  Even though the nature of Conditions is you cannot control them, there often are parts of it or other things you can control.  Control gives hope and a part of us always like to be "doing something to fix it".

9 - Take a break.  Often the weight of the condition colours our whole view on life.  If you have already done what you can, take a break.  Breaks rejuvenate.  Figure out what rejuvenates you.

Good luck dealing with your Conditions.
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High blogger guilt.  Have not blogged lately.  I have been publishing some on Medium and Linkedin.  And have been invited to publish on Lifehack.

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I am a big believer in Linkedin.  It is a platform that people keep their own contact information current so you never lose touch.  And it is also an easy way to stay top of mind with prospects and clients by publishing updates and articles.  I have started re-publishing articles I had previously written. See this one on replicable sales models.

My stats on articles published is about 5% of my Linkedin connections or about 300 people read the articles.  Of course not all readers need to be my connections since anyone can see them.  I suppose in a way, that builds brand and has more people see the Danby name.

One of my more successful Linked articles got 772 views.  Not sure exactly why it go so many.   It did not have a particularly clickable title (One Effective Hiring Technique you Likely do not use)

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I am a self development person.  One author suggested he had success by using a login id which was his primary goal.  Interesting idea.  Article is here.  I have not tested the theory yet.

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Some press on Touch Bistro.  And the second CNBC article with 8 entrepreneurs sharing business advice.

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People think Xavier is smart because he knows the alphabet.  Big deal - I know the alphabet and no one says I am smart because I know the alphabet...






Sunday, September 11, 2016

Daniel Charles Maisonneuve Born Sept 10/2016

Headline says it all.  Brother to Baby Elizabeth who now likes to be called big sister Elizabeth.

Wondering what exciting things his life will bring.

Must be colder in Ottawa than here - he is wearing a hat.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Canadian Translator

Danby is Canadian.  People like to buy Canadian.  In Canada it means local.  In the US, it denotes quality and North American.  Everyone does not know Danby is Canadian and even if they do, they may not know our language.  We we put up a simple Canadian Translator.  Simply type in the word or phrase you want translated and it speaks back what that is in Canadian.

Try it out.

And ideally tweet it, re-blog it etc.  I want it to go viral and it is funny enough it might.

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Speaking of marketing ideas,  I read a book - Do it! Marketing  - 77 Instant ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits and Crush Your Competition by David Newman.

As I have often said - I love marketing.  And even more - I love guerrilla marketing.  And I have no attention span so love a book with 77 instant ideas (many of which are guerrilla).   Because it is 77 independent ideas, it is a quick and easy read that can be picked up for a minute here and there.

i read to inspire ideas and this book did that so for me it is a good book.

One cute story paraphrased from the book - "Sell like a girl"

What can we learn from girl guides from how they sell cookies.

1 - It is who you know.  So as I have always said - nurture a network.

2 - Its not about the product.  I can attest to that - since they changed the recipe 20 years ago, I have not particularly liked them...but I buy them.

3 - Its not about price.  Girl scout cookies are easily 50+% higher than other cookies.

4 - Its not about need.  Who really needs cookies.

5 - Its not about competition.  Cookies are available in any grocery store.

6 - "When times are tough and things look quiet, that's the time to push harder than ever.  Girl guides know how to be persistent.

They did not mention - it helps to be cute to sell - will have to work on that one.

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And a blatant plug for one of my investee companies that does employment pre-screening - Plum.  If you can save even one poor fit hire, it is worth screening with a tool like Plum.

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And if you thought you had problems getting your luggage - check out the olympians returning home.