Herb Kelleher – Cheap can be cheerful

Herb Kelleher was the co-founder of Southwest Airlines, he died earlier this month. He had many attributes that I admire, not least of which was introducing a culture to the company where Southwest’s employees took themselves lightly but their jobs seriously.


Kelleher had a simple philosophy, “A motivated employee treats the customer well. The customer is happy, so they keep coming back. It’s not one of the enduring mysteries of all time; it is just the way it works.”

An article in the FT Michael Skapinker which celebrated Herb, contrasted his outlook with a recent email from a disappointed British Airways passenger. Skapinker concluded with this statement, “few people come to work intending to be unhelpful. If they are horrible, it is usually because their bosses are horrible to them, or they prioritise sticking to the rules, or cutting costs, over keeping customers happy.”

In 1987 Michael O’Leary (of RyanAir) visited Southwest Airlines and Herb Kelleher to learn about the airline industry. Although there were plans for them to meet again, O’Leary never went back to complete his tuition.

Read more about Southwest’s business model here.



Tea Pillow?

The renaming of what most of us would call a tea bag into a “Hand-Stitched Tea Pillow” smacks of a very long lunch in the marketing department. Nice tea though.

The Monday Morning Quote #518

“Plan for what is difficult while it is easy.

Do what is great while it is small.”

Sun Tzu

Cork Airport Hotel…the personal touch

I usually stay at the airport hotel because I have an early flight to the UK – or further. This time I had an evening meeting in Cork City and have a mid-morning flight today (snow permitting). It was a pleasure to find this card on my bed when I arrived yesterday. Better than chocolates. The team here are great, anyone who has read tales of my travel cockups will know that I sometimes don’t get things “quite” right – they have sorted me out on more than one occasion.

This shows a personal touch – even if it is a system, it’s a nice system.

The Monday Morning Quote #517

“You will remembered, in the long haul, for the quality of your work, not the quantity of your work.

No one evaluates Picasso on the number of paintings he churned out.”

Tom Peters

Mary Oliver RIP

….Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver RIP

From “The Summer Day”


Perhaps just remove my head from my own backside long enough to engage….

“As I begin 2019 I wonder how I might introduce to my own clinical space some of the human warmth I felt among those brave, breathless singers. Bring biscuits? Offer a choice of music from my phone?

Or perhaps just remove my head from my own backside long enough to engage meaningfully for a while with each of my patients, before reaching for the reassuring anonymity of my knife.”

Full article here.

Gabriel Weston writing on the joy of singing and how it is helping patients with COPD.

Scottish, British, whatever. Chumbawumba.

Many sports journalists and “fans” (I use the word guardedly) seem to love building individuals up and then knocking them down. It’s OK for someone to sweat blood for their sport, practice for hours, put up with injuries, defeats, interviewers who ask the same inane questions and then snide comments about whether they are dedicated or talented enough. Then when they are champions through their own talent and hard work they are lauded by the same people.

Then often knocked down again. Kicked and abused on social media.

In Andy Murray’s case the joke was “Scottish when he loses, British when he wins”. Could he have done any more? No. Was he the best to come out of the UK? Almost certainly. Does he deserve everything he has obtained? Without a doubt.

For Murray read Froome, Wiggins, even Paula Radcliffe.

The Economist has written a good piece on his retirement, which will be sooner rather later. Our loss as well as yours. Thanks for the edge of the seat matches, the pleasure of watching and enjoying and sometimes not being able to do either (a hedge was trimmed during the Olympic final) and have a great rest of your life Andy. You did it and we didnae’.


The Monday Morning Quote #516

“I think the big thing is don’t be afraid to fail.

I think, you know, in our society today, Instagram, Twitter, it’s a highlight reel.

It’s all the good things.

Failure is a part of life.

It’s a part of building character and growing.

Without failure, who would you be?”

Nick Foles

Winner Super Bowl MVP 2017.

The Ten Rules of Anti-Social Media (according to Alan Stevens)

(#1 in a series of newsletters that I recommend)

I didn’t write this but I am happy to share it. The writer was Alan Stevens, The Media Coach, and it came from his excellent, free weekly newsletter available at www.mediacoach.co.uk


I didn’t coin the phrase “anti-social media”, but I did come up with these rules back in 2009. I’ve updated them, and suggest that they still apply if you want to be really anti-social online. They should ensure that you use anti-social media for no gain and scant profit:

1) Promote yourself relentlessly, at all times. Make sure that every message is a selling one, so that your friends and followers understand what you are really about.

2) Never offer help. Why give away something that people should pay you for?

3) Re-send messages from experts, to give the impression that you have the same thoughts. Occasionally “forget” to mention their name to reinforce this impression.

4) Hide your identity behind a silly name or jumble of letters. You don’t want to end up on a spammers list, do you?

5) Try to get as many people to follow you as possible, but ignore them completely. They are just your potential customers, so they have nothing to offer you.

6) Cut and paste articles and pretend that you wrote them (or at least hint at it by making it hard to spot the name of the original author).

7) Automate everything so that you never have to be at your computer, There are better things to do than listen to the dull conversations in social networks.

8) Constantly promote money-making schemes that you don’t use yourself (because they don’t work). You can make loads of money selling these as an affiliate.

9) Insult and abuse others, to damage their reputations and reduce their chance of getting work.

10) Never miss an opportunity to tell people that they are doing it wrong, and you are doing it right. They will get the message eventually, and give up, leaving you the winner.

The information in this ezine may be freely re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line – “This information was written by Alan Stevens, and originally appeared in “The MediaCoach”, his free weekly ezine, available at http://www.mediacoach.co.uk.”

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