The Monday Morning Quote #421

“Thinking is the hardest work there is,

which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”

Henry Ford

No car….

Living at Rees Acres I/we would be stuck without car/s. This week I have been in Manchester seeing clients and attending the BDA Conference in my role as Branch President, I have stayed in Hulme in some excellent accommodation arranged via Airbnb, and either walked or “Ubered” – (with apologies to you sensitive souls who shudder at the turning of a noun into a verb). 

I have often wondered about the point of car ownership, especially in the urban environment, and this posting from Bob Lefsetz made me realise how much city life is changing/has changed. OK, I know he’s talking about LA but how soon might these changes arrive?

……

And that’s when I ask her, DO YOU OWN A CAR?

SHE’S NEVER OWNED A CAR!

She’s got a driver’s license, but no, she sees no need for  car, she’s got an Uber package. She pays ten bucks for a month of rides, twenty to be exact, and then it’s $6 if she takes UberX and $3 if she takes Uber Pool.

Huh? HOW COME I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS?

I dove deeper. She’s not committed to twenty rides, she’s just got to pay the ten bucks. And then she has the option of twenty rides, which she pays for as she goes.

WHAT IF YOU WANT TO GO TO THE BEACH?

No problem, she can go to the beach, she said she could go anywhere for $6.

And then I wondered why it paid to have an automobile at all.

WHAT ABOUT GROCERIES?

There’s a market on the corner.

And she has a bicycle, and…

Continues ….or read the full piece here..

You can fight the old wars or jump into the pool. You can complain about recording revenue, you can talk about piracy, bitch about Ticketmaster, or you can realize those issues are all in the rearview mirror, because today’s generations don’t care about them. They’ll pay for convenience, they’ll overpay if they desire something, they’re about building their lives as opposed to accumulating goods.

This is not only a sea change for generations…

This is a sea change for America.

First they came for our CDs.

Then they came for our retail stores.

Now they’re coming for all our assets, all the stuff we thought immutable and desirable, that we had to have. You might build a shrine to yourself online, but in the real world?

Forget about it.

The Monday Morning Quote #420

“If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out all right.”

Jeff Bezos

 

The Painful Truth About Teeth (USA)

From The Washington Post

SALISBURY, Md. — Two hours before sunrise, Dee Matello joined the line outside the Wicomico Civic Center, where hundreds of people in hoodies, heavy coats and wool blankets braced against a bitter wind. Inside, reclining dental chairs were arrayed in neat rows across the arena’s vast floor. Days later, the venue would host Disney on Ice. On this Friday morning, dentists arriving from five states were getting ready to fix the teeth of the first 1,000 people in line. Matello was No. 503. The small-business owner who supports President Trump had a cracked molar, no dental insurance and a nagging soreness that had forced her to chew on the right side of her mouth for years. “It’s always bothering me,” she said. And although her toothache wasn’t why she voted for Trump, it was a constant reminder of one reason she did: the feeling that she had been abandoned, left struggling to meet basic needs in a country full of fantastically rich people.

As the distance between rich and poor grows in the United States, few consequences are so overlooked as the humiliating divide in dental care. High-end cosmetic dentistry is soaring, and better-off Americans spend well over $1 billion each year just to make their teeth a few shades whiter. Millions of others rely on charity clinics and hospital emergency rooms to treat painful and neglected teeth. Unable to afford expensive root canals and crowns, many simply have them pulled. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans older than 65 do not have a single real tooth left. Over two days at the civic center, volunteer dentists would pull 795 teeth. A remarkable number of patients held steady jobs — a forklift operator, a librarian, a postal worker — but said they had no dental insurance and not enough cash to pay for a dentist….

….Trump’s assurance that he would build a “beautiful” health-care system to serve every American, a system that would cost less and do more. But nearly four months into Trump’s presidency, Matello sees Trump backing a Republican health care plan that appears to leave low-income people and the elderly worse off…..

….“I am hearing about a number of people who will lose their coverage under the new plan,” Matello said. “Is Trump the wolf in grandma’s clothes? My husband and I are are now saying to each other: ‘Did we really vote for him?’ ”…..“Was he just out to get our votes?”

Full article here

The Weekend Read – 20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith

The concept of this book is simple, instead of living your life in years, as most of us do, measure it in days. On the 20,000th day of his life the author decided to test the concept and planned his next 20,000 days.

Written to be read quickly because, as he points out, “life is short”, Robert Smith urges you to read with a sense of urgency, with purpose and anticipation.

I routinely ask my clients what they truly want, and very few of them can come up with a specific answer. My role in life is not only to help them reach their goals but, more importantly, to assist them to find what those goals are.

When was the last time you thought of what you wanted to do with the next portion of your life? I mean sat down on your own for more than a few minutes and planned the next year, the next decade – I suggest that you take time away – a couple of days distanced from the routine day-to-day to think, to consider to decide what it is that you want to achieve, to be. It is rare that anybody does this unprompted.

In late December 2012, my wife and I did just that, instead of indulging in the “one-day, wouldn’t it be nice” we decided to sell our home in Gloucestershire and move to what had been our “holiday home” in West Cork as quickly as possible.

  • What is it easy? No way.
  • Was it the right decision? Without a doubt.
  • Are we happy? Definitely.
  • Might it all come crashing down tomorrow? Of course.  But then “life is dangerous, nobody gets out alive”.
  • “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.” (William Borden)

“Many men live lives of quiet desperation and die with the music still in them.” wrote Henry Thoreau in Walden, if that describes you in any shape or form then this little book will help you.

The chapters are short, the messages simple yet profound.

Take the time now and visit the day counter at Robert’s website HERE – to see how many days you have been alive – at the time of writing I’m at 23,438. Where  are you and what are you going to do with the rest?

Available from The Book Depository HERE

The Cost of Doing Nothing – in IT

From LRB comes Paul Taylor’s take on what has led up to the problems with NHS IT systems – the malware attack last Friday was a symptom of a far more complex and concerning issue.

Successive governments have spent billions without success. 

“There are no good news stories about computers and the NHS. The reporting of Friday’s malware attack may, however, be usefully different from the typical bad news story, in which hubristic politicians or nameless bureaucrats waste millions, if not billions, of public funds on projects which go over budget, fail to deliver, prove to be unusable or collapse under pressure. In this instance it seems that, for once, inaction and underinvestment have led to something sufficiently focused to be newsworthy, showing that there can be a political as well as a human cost to doing nothing.

For most of the 21st century, the story of NHS IT has been the slow unravelling of New Labour’s ambitions for the transformation of public services. In February 2002, Tony Blair committed his government to a programme that was supposed to take the NHS, in two years, from being largely paper-based to having a seamless IT architecture, enabling a new generation of consumer-friendly digital health services. The mistakes that were made in the pursuit of this vision, which became known as the National Programme for IT, have had devastating consequences for those whose care was supported by NHS IT systems over the last 15 years.

The government entered into huge contracts with large corporations that promised to supply systems they couldn’t engineer, and for which the NHS couldn’t specify the requirements…..”

Full article at LRB

Obsess Over Your Customers, Not Your Rivals

From HBR, worth a read and then asking yourself some questions….

The starting point of most competitive analysis is a question: Who is your competition? That’s because most companies view their competition as another brand, product, or service. But smart leaders and organizations go broader.

The question is not who your competition is but what it is. And the answer is this: Your competition is any and every obstacle your customers encounter along their journeys to solving the human, high-level problems your company exists to solve…..

….Sure, someone in your company needs to understand the marketplace: who your competition is, what other products are on the market, and how they are doing, at a basic level. But there’s a point at which paying attention to other companies and what they’re doing interferes with your team’s ability to immerse itself in the world of your consumer. Focusing on competitive products and companies often leads to “me-too” products, which purport to compete with or iterate on something that customers might not have liked much in the first place.

Conclusion:

  • First, rethink what you sell.
  • Next, rethink your customers.
  • Now, focus on their problems.

Read full article HERE