Scott Galloway is a Clinical Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business where he teaches Brand Strategy and Digital Marketing to second-year MBA students and is the author of the Digital IQ Index, a global ranking of prestige brands’ digital competence. In 2012, Professor Galloway was named “One of the World’s 50 Best Business School Professors” (Poets & Quants). Professor Galloway is also the founder of several firms including: L2, a subscription business intelligence firm serving prestige brands; Red Envelope [looks like they are now out of business], an e-commerce firm (2007, $100mm revs.); and Prophet, a global brand strategy consultancy with 250+ professionals.
He can also tear through 90 slides in 900 seconds. I caught his most recent presentation at DLD15: The Four Horsemen — Amazon/Apple/Facebook & Google — Who Wins/Loses.
He made a number of predictions including:
- Amazon will not make it as a pure play retailer
- The future of retail is multi-channel
- Facebook pulled the biggest bait and switch in history
- Google is facing stronger competition in search
- Apple will become the first trillion dollar company
He also shared a heat map which attempts to associate socioeconomic status with mobile operating systems.
Scott literally tore through his presentation without barely taking a breath. I won’t give him too many points on the quality of his public speaking skills however his content was fascinating to watch.
Shortly after this book is published, I will celebrate my seventy-fifth birthday. For nearly forty years, I have served as an advisor and confidant to executive leaders in both large and small organizations. Most often, my clients have been chief executive officers.
Early in this work, I was struck by how most of my clients were very principled, and yet they demonstrated so little concern for the common good. They weren’t hostile to the idea, just focused only on what was good for their specific business.
I was also surprised by how little insight most of my clients had about the real levers for creating value. The executives I advised typically undervalued methods for inspiring and energizing the workforce and overvalued strategic financial and competitive moves.
Preface, Return on Character — Fred Kiel
Leaders can have a profound impact on a community of people. This is just as true for leaders in government as it is for leaders in business. Kiel’s hope is to inspire a movement to change people’s expectations of leadership and performance in organizational life in the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.
His book is an interesting read on character-driven leadership.
As I was reading the book, I started to think about Al Dunlap, aka Chainsaw Al. I believe he reflects the opposite of character in leadership. Here are a few observations about Al Dunlap.
His career was based on one absolute: the primary purpose of business is to make money for its shareholders.
Albert John Dunlap (born July 26, 1937) is a retired corporate executive. He was best known as a turnaround specialist and professional down-sizer. The ruthless methods he employed to streamline failing companies, most notably Scott Paper, won him the nicknames “Chainsaw Al” and “Rambo in Pinstripes”. However, his reputation was ruined after he engineered a massive accounting scandal at Sunbeam-Oster.
Dunlap believed that the primary goal of any business should be to make money for its shareholders. To that end, he believed in making widespread cuts, including massive layoffs, in order to streamline operations. By firing thousands of employees at once and closing plants and factories, he drastically altered the economic status of such corporations as Scott Paper and Crown Zellerbach. He sold Scott Paper to Kimberly-Clark in 1995 for $7.8 billion and walked away with a $100 million golden parachute.
He was considered by many to be a psychopath. He was named as one of the Top 10 Worst Bosses by Time. He made a career out of business brutality by engineering a corporate restructuring that put 35% of the workforce at Scott Paper out of a job. He wrote a best-selling book titled Mean Business.
Al Dunlap had a profoundly negative impact on the employees he led and those employees had a right to expect better from their leader. And I think Dunlap’s leadership style serves to reinforce Kiel’s key message: character-driven leadership delivers higher value to all stakeholders — and it’s the right thing to do.
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
John Monteleone was born in Manhattan in 1947 to a family of craftsmen that traces their roots to Palermo. His grandfather, a pastry chef, established the Monteleone bakery downtown and the family later established a branch in Brooklyn. Monteleone’s father was a skilled sculptor who moved the family to Long Island and started a business as an industrial pattern maker, doing work for the aviation industry. Monteleone learned woodworking from his father as well as the ability to understand a variety of materials and read design drawings. He was also a musician, playing both the piano and guitar. A self-taught luthier who learned by examining high-quality instruments, Monteleone began experimenting with building and repairing stringed instruments at a young age. He first gained notoriety for the innovative design of his mandolins, which were admired and used by the best players in a variety of genres. Since the acoustic-guitar market has rebounded from its lull in the 1970s and 1980s, Monteleone has become increasingly respected as a guitar maker and has introduced a number of innovations, both acoustic and aesthetic. His work continues to evolve, expanding the boundaries of instrument making.
I came across this builder through a list of Monteleone guitars owned by Mark Knopfler. You can see the list here. Some beautiful instruments.
Premier Guitar did a profile on John a few years back. You can find it here.
This video provides some insight into the builder. He even provides some insights into the making of Italian Pizza.
With apologies to Stephen Covey.
I had a problem with my Colnago EPQ road bike. I had taken it out on the road for several long rides and I was getting a strange clicking noise from the drivetrain. It was a problem that I needed to solve. And this was my approach.
1. Be Reactive
Problems are never a good thing. It is always best to think of the very worst possible outcome and go from there.
Why is my Italian super bike making such a racket? It must be those non-Italian wheelsets and their hubs. I should have bought those Campy Bora wheels when I got the bike. Boy, this is so frustrating! Maybe what I really need is a new bike.
2. Begin without an End in Mind
There is often no consideration given to the context around a problem. If there is a problem, it seems to overwhelm everything else that is happening in life. And it stands alone, in isolation. It is, in other words, the very worst thing possible ever to happen.
How can I possibly enjoy a ride with all of that clacking going on? And surely it must be doing some serious damage to the bike? There is no way that I can be a happy, productive cyclist with noise on, or in, the bike.
Rule #65 reads, in part: No squeaks, creaks, or chain noise allowed.
3. Put First Things Last
There can be a reluctance to seek out help for a problem in the early stages. Far better to be self-reliant and independent. If I cannot solve my own problems, why do I think someone else can? Never seek out qualified help first. Leave that to the last. And only if absolutely necessary.
It was obvious to me that I needed to replace my wheelset. This was not the first time that those wheels had made a maddening sound. It happened last season. And I had to replace a hub. Now, where can I find a set of Boras?
4. Think Lose-Lose
If problems are really bad, the solution to problems can often be much worse. First up, there may not be a solution. Or, if there is one, it is usually really, really expensive.
Conclusion: I cannot afford a new set of Campy Boras. The noise will never go away now.
5. Seek First to Complain, Then be Depressed
The only good thing about a problem is that you have something to complain about. Something other than the Canadian weather. And, if you complain about your problem long enough, it begins to affect your mood, not for the better.
I told everyone I knew about the problem I was having with my Colnago EPQ and my faulty wheels. Even my therapist. Whom I went to see because I was depressed. Depressed about the noise coming from those darned faulty wheels.
There is a school of thought that problems are best addressed by bringing in a different perspective or collaborating with others. That school of thought is clearly flawed. The only way to really deal with a problem is to crush it! With brute force.
The only thing that prevented me from tossing the bike into the ditch, as that relentless clicking sound kept repeating itself over and over, was the incredible handiwork of Ernesto’s hand painted frame. Although I was so done with this problem, in a strange way I felt compelled to resolve it no matter what.
7. Sharpen the Saw
There is a tipping point somewhere with a problem. And that tipping point comes when you recognize that a) you are a complete imbecile and you cannot possibly solve the problem yourself even if you have made thousands of Google searches and b) you cannot ignore the problem any longer.
I took the Colnago in for service.
“Your rear wheel was put on crooked.”
“Hmmm, how did that happen?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t change your wheel.”
No. I did. When I started riding outdoors, I changed the quick release. And after I had put in the new quick release, I had locked the wheel so that it was crooked. I never noticed. The alignment of the chain was off slightly which caused a clicking sound.
Straightened the wheel and no more clicking.
The Colnago EPQ now supports the principle of silence. Life is good again.
I need to revisit my 7 habits of effective problem solving.
The above video summarizes some work that I did for my son’s company. He needed a theme song and he had some musical ideas that he sketched out on piano. We captured those ideas and we created a full arrangement. This next video is the finished soundtrack. It does have a gradual, soft ambient introduction for the first 45 seconds or so — as many soundtracks do — but it does pick up a little bit after that so be a little careful with your volume.
Matthew played the piano parts and the synth pad parts. I played all of the guitar parts and bass. I programmed the drum loops. As mentioned in the first video, I did use a software modeler for a number of the guitar parts: left guitar underneath the two guitar solo sections, the two guitar solos, and the two drone parts during the interlude that follows the first guitar solo. There are a number of synth-like guitar sounds as well including the part that doubles the main melodic line and the swells that are interspersed throughout portions of the track.
From Jeffrey’s website:
This year I decided to give my pedal board an overhal. New pedals, new layout, soldered cables. The guys at goodwoodaudio.com came to my rescue, and made something really special for me. They designed a new layout for me that would be perfect for travel and studio time. They custom soldered all my cables, making it as solid and compact as possible, and built me compact and cool junction boxes and lots of little customizations on the board that make it easy for me to try out new pedals, or plug in rack effects.
I had read about his pedal board makeover last year. It wasn’t until I happened to catch his YouTube video that I decided to take a closer look.
I run three pedal boards: a grab and go minimalist board (tuner, overdrive, boost and delay), a mid-sized board (tuner, volume pedal, boost, two overdrives, delay, reverb) and the big board with more of everything including a programmable midi-controlled true bypass. I use the mid-sized pedal board most of the time.
My big board is pretty complex but nothing like Jeffrey’s board. He takes about 20 minutes to walk you through his board in this video. Pretty impressive.
It was December 2010. I had an opportunity to add another guitar to my stable and I made the trip up to Lauzon’s Music in Ottawa. They are a terrific shop and they usually have a great collection of high-end instruments from Fender, Gibson and Collings.
On that day in the shop, I really wrestled with the choice between a Collings 290 or the Collings CL Deluxe (pictured above). The 290 was a basic guitar and it had incredible tones. The CL Deluxe was quite nuanced by comparison however it had an incredible build quality and overall feel between the hands and the neck. Perhaps it was the extreme difference in tone between the two guitars that led me to favour a more conservative sound. After several hours at the shop, I walked away with the Collings CL Deluxe.
It is without question an exquisite instrument, crafted to the highest possible standard.
I have another Collings guitar, an acoustic 14-fret dreadnought, the D2H. An incredible instrument to play and I always use it whenever I am playing acoustic. This particular D2H is the finest sounding acoustic guitar that I have ever played and I have played quite a few over the years.
My CL Deluxe, on the other hand, is hardly ever played. And I know why. It has too refined a sound for me that doesn’t seem to fit any of the styles of music that I play. Or perhaps it just doesn’t respond to the way I play. And now, after almost 5 years, I am really troubled having it in a guitar case. Unplayed.
Oh I have taken it out of the case several times. I’ve marveled at the fit and finish. The incredible neck. Then I start playing. The sound for me is refined. Way too refined. It just doesn’t fit with me.
A lot of players have swapped out the Lollar Imperials on the CL Deluxe for pickups like the Throbak ER Custom MXV PAFs. They are apparently “a full sounding, punchy, mid dominant P.A.F. with a pleasing high end.”
They also cost around $750 Canadian. Quite expensive to try out especially if the pickups won’t really change the conservative nature of the instrument.
I am at that point where I think I have to either trade or sell this instrument for another player to enjoy. It deserves to be played by someone. It does not deserve to be sitting in a guitar case.