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  • February 12, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on The final demise of substantiation
  • in Thinking

The final demise of substantiation

In the midst of this election season, I am ready to make my own projection.

I am now able to project that 2016 will mark the final demise of the era of substantiation.

It was a good era. Things you read or heard you could believe. It was an era during which I trusted a person the moment I met them and do so until they lost my trust. Sadly, I find that now I'm more likely to trust no one until he or she earns my trust.

I have seen the end coming for quite some time. It's made its slow but constant progress. In news reporting. In politics. In society. Everywhere.

I first began to take note of it as social media began its rise. All of a sudden, anyone with a keyboard and a connection to the internet could make a claim of any type and presto, it was news. You've heard the joke a thousand times (and probably even repeated it yourself): It must be true. It's on the internet. 

Just like that—in the literal blink of an eye—everyone became a reporter and everything enjoyed equal truth-bearing weight. It was a early trap for many of us, me included. I'd see something and retweet it without checking it at all. Or I'd repost a story on Facebook from a friend who was trusted and, as it often turned out, too trusting of the anonymous authors. I'd find myself in that sad trap of looking stupid for not realizing that can't be true.

Journalistic integrity.
Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in "All the President's Men." Even in the movies, substantiation used to be the order of the day.
Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in "All the President's Men." Even in the movies, substantiation used to be the order of the day.

We used to enjoy something called journalistic integrity. It encompassed much more than this, but it at least started with get two sources before you print it. Was it foolproof? Absolutely not. Were there instances when a writer or reported ran on a hunch? No doubt. But what we have now can hardly be called journalism at all. You have to search long and hard to find good, solid, non-biased investigative reporting. It's more about ratings, or shock, or increasingly propaganda.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the coverage of politics (except maybe politics itself, which I'll touch on later). Coverage of politics is no longer neutral. Some would argue it never was. I don't agree. There used to be some measure of impartial reporting. No longer. Today, you choose your team and you hear the news as you want to hear it. Conservative? You're all Fox. Liberal? You never turn MSNBC off. Somewhere in the middle? Well, you're a bit lost with me and a lot of other people. The segmented news outlets can appear substantiated, especially if you love the flavor they're selling. But if you review their sources, you realize something rather quickly It's all spin. It's one side's slant on the issue.

It would already be sad if that were the extent of it. But the politicians themselves take it many steps further. They either substantiate nothing, or they substantiate with unverifiable statements.

  • I have a plan to add 1,000,000 jobs. Sounds great. Can I see the plan? Of course not.
  • I voted for this, or I voted against that. I'm sure you did. But there are so many ways for a politician to get what he or she wants without voting for or against anything that it's a safe claim. Besides - who among us has time to really review 1,000-page bills passed and who voted on them anyway.
  • He's soft on XYZ and will not protect your rights as a citizen. Again, do you have any proof, or does it just sound good.
  • She will gut the Constitution. I can't even go here.

It would be a happy day for me if somehow we could go back to a time when a politician's claim, a reporter's story or the general dispersing of information had to have some foundation under it before it could be made. I don't see it happening.

Our last hope.

The last bastion of substantiation may be business (you probably never guessed that). As owner of two businesses, I still have to substantiate my claims - day in and day out. I must say what I'm going to deliver, deliver it and if I do not, be held accountable.

I must be on time. I'll get that project to you by EOD on Thursday. If I do not deliver it, I am accountable for that.

By the same token, I hold others accountable, too. We'll have your packaging done by the end of the week. I can easily substantiate the promise. If I don't get the packaging delivered, I don't get coffee delivered, and I hold the packaging company accountable for its shortcoming.

Substantiation still matters in business. If the free enterprise system is to survive, it has to.

Has the imminent death of substantiation impacted you - in business, in the news, in politics, anywhere? If so, what are you doing to save it?

 

  • February 8, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on It is not the critic who counts
  • in Thinking

It is not the critic who counts

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. (Teddy Roosevelt, from his speech Citizenship in a Republic, delivered in Paris on April 23, 1910)

Today, I and my friends in Charlotte are feeling the effects of a defeat. Our Carolina Panthers fell to the Denver Broncos 24-10 in Super Bowl 50. It was a tough loss. I guess all of them are. It seems when your team comes within sight of the pinnacle and can't make those final steps to the peak, the sting is a bit more intense.

I love the Panthers. I have been a fan since season 1, and I'll be a fan when they play their first game next season.

It was actually a pretty good game. Most people today want high-scoring, fun-and-gun games with long passes, acrobatic catches, twists, turns and spins. Most would rather see a 48-45 game than what this was: a massive defensive struggle fought deep in the trenches. Defense is part of the game, too - an equal part. The Carolina defense was stout. The Denver defense was stouter. My congratulations to the Denver Broncos.

But a lot of banter today is devoted to something that happened after the game. In the post-game interview, Cam Newton, Carolina's quarterback, gave a short, one-statement comment to the press and walked off. For this, he's being ridiculed.

I pause to offer two disclaimers:

  • Cam is my man. He's one of the leaders of the Panthers, and I love the Panthers.
  • Have there been people on the losing end who have handled it better and with more professionalism? Absolutely. It has been proven it can be done.

That having been said, here is my take: I am tired of the critics. He should handle himself better. That's a disgrace. He's the MVP, and I'm disappointed in him.

Here's my question for you:

Who among us has had to display his or her failure in front of 100million+ people, and 20 minutes later go in front of people and answer questions about it? Not you. Not me.

Your biggest failure.

What's the biggest failure in your life? Don't rush past the question. Think about it for a moment. What is that one thing you set out to do and you fell short? Do you have one? Have you, in Roosevelt's words dared greatly, even once? If you have, how many people witnessed it? In real time? Did you have to step in front of those people as soon as it happened and answer questions about what you could have done differently?

Cam Newton congratulates Peyton Manning on the field at the conclusion of Super Bowl 50.
Cam Newton congratulates Peyton Manning on the field at the conclusion of Super Bowl 50.

No, no you didn't.

The post-game interview is a practice that should be discontinued. Let the head coach speak for the organization after the game. The players—those actually in the arena—save those interviews for a day or two.

Get the widow on the set...

That will never happen, and here's why. Compassion is no longer in our nature or, if it is, what little there is is waning. I believe most people love the failure of those who lose more than they love the success of those who win. They build themselves up by tearing others down. America loves a winner, and loves to hate those who don't win. Don Henley may have said it best: get the widow on the set, we need dirty laundry.

The easiest targets are those in the public eye, and the preferred method of delivery the hygienic rant on social media that has little or no chance of being seen by those for whom the rant is intended. It's an easy potshot, largely anonymous, and in my opinion pure cowardice. Do those who rant on social media display any better sportsmanship than those they criticize with a stab in the back? #ISaidIt does not mean #TheyWillSeeIt, or that #AnyoneCares.

Those in the public eye live inside a crucible the rest of us don't. We can say they should or they shouldn't all we want. But we're really not qualified to do so.

Suppose you were named GPW (Greatest Parent in the World) and as a result, 100 million people watched you raise your children. What would they think of the time, out of frustration, you slammed a bottle down just a little hard and it shattered? He's the GWP and he's acting like that?

Or maybe you're BBU (Best Boss in the Universe) because of how you run your company. 100 million people are watching you on the day you explode because the garbage can should be emptied every night, and last night it wasn't! She's the BBU, and she's acting like that?

When you think of it that way, perhaps you see the unfairness.

Here's another question: if those of you so down on Cam Newton saw him in the grocery store this afternoon, would you ask him for his autograph, or would you take the time to counsel him on his inability to give a proper post-game interview and offer him a few pointers? I think we all know the answer. Face-to-face, people almost never level criticism the way they do in the safe, sterile environment of the computer keyboard with no fear of repercussion.

There have been times in my life I have been the critic. I own them, but they are over. If I have offended anyone reading this by a cowardly social rant, please email me and let me offer you a direct apology. I want always to celebrate winners for excellence in winning. And I aspire to congratulate those who come up short for the enormous effort that put them on the stage (much more effort than this armchair quarterback or the vast majority of critics have ever put in on any athletic field).

I don't know Cam Newton. I know he's made my city a really fun place to be the last 4 months. I know he has a foundation that does a lot of good works in the Carolinas.

But Greg Olsen, tight end for the Carolina Panthers knows him well. Asked to comment last night, he said, We can't turn this into the 'What's wrong with Cam Newton?' show. I'll trust Greg Olsen's opinion more than the man (or woman) who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

In Roosevelt's speech, there is a lesser-known passage. It occurs just before the Man in the Arena excerpt above. It reads:

The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twisted pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt. There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes second to achievement.

Well said, Teddy. Well said.

  • February 5, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on The Last Great Shared Experience
  • in Thinking

The Last Great Shared Experience

The Beatles appear for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show

 

On February 9, 1964, it would have been pretty easy to predict where most Americans were. They were at home watching television. But they weren't watching just any television show. They were watching The Beatles make their first television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The same could be said of one Sunday night in November, 1976. It was the first time Gone with the Wind was broadcast on network television.

Unlike a family vacation or a celebration dinner with your spouse, these events were common experiences shared by everyone. They became the water cooler fodder for the following day.

For the most part, shared common experiences are gone and likely, never to return. The last holdout happens this Sunday night. The Super Bowl is arguably the only shared common experience we have left.*

Why?

There are a lot of reasons. In 1964 there were three, maybe four choices of channels on those televisions. Today, there are hundreds.

In 1976 there was one blockbuster movie making its television premiere that night. Tonight, there will be dozens.

If you add streaming services to those numbers (and you cannot not add them), those same viewing options go into the thousands. Add YouTube (and you cannot not add YouTube), and it's millions.

In 1964, there was one phone on the wall at most. Today, everyone has his or her own phone in hand. Constantly. But it's not just a phone. It's a personal, private gateway to information, conversation, entertainment and all manner of diversions formerly limited to a personal computer which, as a point of note, did not exist in 1964 nor 1976.

We are now a self-segmenting society. In one way, it's good. Each of us has more than enough choices of what to do, what to watch, how to be entertained. At the same time, it has caused fractures. Did you see the....? No, I've been binge watching West Wing. Did you hear the news about...? No, I've been off social media for a few days.

I miss that. I miss knowing that most people are doing their version of what I am, too. No one loves individuality more than I do. But there is common ground to be made by experiencing the same things and sharing.

So we are left with the Super Bowl. It may not be the highest-rated show of the year. But Sunday night, between 110 and 120 million of us will gather around our television sets with our families, or with friends at a party, or in a bar or restaurant, and we will share the experience of watching the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers. (#keeppounding) Monday, we will talk about ads and the game and the halftime show.

Tuesday, we'll be back to binge-watching West Wing.

* It should be noted that we actually have many shared experiences. Sadly, they are mostly negative. We watch coverage of terrorist attacks, school shootings and weather events with great interest, and we share them as a society. But the days of shared entertainment experiences remains virtually over.

  • February 5, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on Pre-immediate Gratification
  • in Thinking

Pre-immediate Gratification

So, Sunday is Super Bowl 50. I'm pumped. I always like to watch the Super Bowl. But this year our Carolina Panthers are in the big game, playing for the first NFL Championship in the team's history. #keeppounding

For 18 years, it was simply the biggest NFL game of the year. Then in 1984, all of that changed. Apple Computer, an upstart tech company put virtually its entire marketing budget into one, high-profile ad. With the help of Ridley Scott, 1984 forever changed the event from simply the biggest NFL game of the year to an entertainment event with high-budget commercials. (Watch 1984 below.)

Fast forward 32 years. There have been countless commercials (now known as Super Bowl Ads) to come across the screen, garnering now billions of dollars for the networks broadcasting the event. But a strange thing has happened. Now, you can see virtually every ad developed for the Super Bowl before the Super Bowl.

It's a phenomenon that could not occur prior to the digital age. We have blown right past immediate gratification into what I have dubbed pre-immediate gratification. We have lost our ability to wait, to live in the moment. And it's manifested everywhere.

We cannot wait on Halloween to end before Christmas decorations start to go up. Before December 25 even arrives, Valentine's Day decor appears.

We have to know the gender of a child as soon as possible. Many times, we name him or her months before they are born.

We want the plotlines of movies or television series before they are released.

Call me a traditionalists, or a refugee from the analog age. But I run from advance viewings of Super Bowl Ads. I don't want to see them, nor do I want to even know who is planning to run one. I'll watch them the same way I watched 1984 on Super Bowl Sunday in 1984.

With surprise.

 

  • February 1, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on The Power of a Slogan
  • in Thinking

The Power of a Slogan

(Disclaimer: this post is not an endorsement of any candidate.)

Today is February 1, 2016. It is the first day that anyone can actually cast a vote of any type in the 2016 Presidential Election process (not the election, mind you). Caucus goers in the state of Iowa will gather and select delegates to represent the state in the political nominating conventions this summer.

Unless you've had your head buried in sand you know that the dominant news stream for the entire campaign has been the phenomenon that is Donald Trump. Like him or not, agree with him or not, offended by him or not—you cannot deny that his success in leading poll after poll in state after state has been more than a slight surprise. It has surprised everyone (with the possible exception of Trump himself).

Much has been written and debated about why Trump's message and unconventional approach has struck such a chord among so many people. He's a straight shooter. He tells it like it is. He's not afraid to call it like he sees it.

But I have heard no one acknowledge what I believe may be central to his success so far. His slogan.

Make America Great Again.

MakeIn four simple words, Trump has pounded, pounded and pounded a thought that everyone (whether you agree with Trump or not) can agree on. Who doesn't want American to be great? (Yes, one could argue with the word Again, but the emotional heartstring has already been pulled).

Words matter. What you say—about your product, or your service, or your skills, or your experience, or whatever you're trying to accomplish—matters.

Trump has made mistake after mistake after mistake, based on the conventional thinking about political campaigns. He has been politically incorrect so many times (and toward so many people) I have lost count. He has been about as counter to the common wisdom about how one runs a campaign for president as he could be. But he's had one thing to fall back on throughout: Make America Great Again.

As a marketer and communicator, I am always apt to write more words vs. fewer. Things need explaining, don't they? And who better to explain something than me? I need to be reminded (and to remember): a well-positioned phrase can cut through the clutter in ways we should never ignore.

Just in case you missed it, I repeat my disclaimer: this post is not an endorsement of any candidate.

I don't know how he'll do in the end. He is such an anomaly that to attempt to predict the results would be ludicrous. Regardless, he has found four words on which to build a pretty interesting platform. And upset the apple cart in the process.

  • February 1, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on Wired
  • in Thinking
Wired

Wired

I spent much of the first half of my life obsessed with wires. The first house we built in 1987 had no crawlspace and limited attic space. I coordinated with the builder to tell me the precise day ...Read More »
  • January 25, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on Not a bad return.
  • in Thinking

Not a bad return.

In 2002, Charlotte was in the throes of a discussion about building a new uptown arena. We were faced with losing the then Charlotte Hornets to another city with a higher bid.

We didn't build the arena...then. The Hornets left for New Orleans. When they skipped town we decided to build the arena, only for about twice the cost. With the new arena, we got the Bobcats, who floundered for years until Michael Jordan finally bought the team and got the name rights back to the Hornets. Fourteen years later, things seem to have finally begun to turn the corner.

esb
In 2002, I proposed the City of Charlotte buy the Empire State Building for $77.5 million. I wish we had done it.

Back to 2002. I wrote this editorial that was published in the Charlotte Observer, advocating purchasing the Empire State Building for $77.5 million instead of building a new arena at the cost of $220 million. (Remember, it ended up being $440 million.)

Today, for some reason, I thought what would the Empire State Building be worth today?

It's a little hard to put a finger on. In 2013, the building was sold yet again and placed inside a REIT (real estate investment trust).

But the best estimate is the value of the Empire State Building today is north of $1.89 billion.

That's a B.

$77,500.000 would now be worth $1,890,000,000.

That would cover one year (and a little change) of the CharMeck School annual budget. But that's another blog for another day.

  • January 25, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on Empire State Building, part II
  • in Thinking

Empire State Building, part II

 

(I wrote the following in 2002, and it was published on the Charlotte Observer editorial page.)

An Open Letter to the City of Charlotte

Let’s Buy the Empire State Building!

A couple of weeks ago, I read the following news release in the Observer:

NEW YORK - An investor group that holds the lease on the Empire State Building has agreed to purchase the building from real estate magnate Donald Trump and his partner for $57.5 million, Trump's spokeswoman said Tuesday.

It named real estate investor Peter Malkin (whose group has a 67-year lease on the property) as the purchaser, and followed with the same group of investors will own the building and control the long-term lease, meaning the building could be sold more easily and could ensure better financing terms.

$57.5 million. It seemed like a rather paltry sum of money for what has to be one of the five best-known man-made structures in the world, and it spawned an idea:

Instead of lamenting the loss of the Hornets and debating whether or not to spend $220+ million of our tax dollars on a new uptown arena to court some other financially-strapped team, why doesn’t the city of Charlotte make a bid to buy the Empire State Building? Wouldn’t that go a lot further toward making Charlotte a world-class city? Paris has the Eiffel Tower. San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. Charlotte has the Empire State Building. It’s not here, of course. But who cares? We’d own it anyway.

Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Price: New Uptown Arena – $220+ million; Empire State Building: $77.5 million! I’m no real estate investor, but I say we offer Peter Malkin a quick $20 million profit and pick it up. I have to believe that if he could realize a 35% gain on a $57.5 million investment within one year, he’d be tempted to take it. After all, one of the reasons the news release stated for his purchasing it was: the building could be sold more easily and could ensure better financing terms. Savings to Charlotte: $142.5 million, or 65%.

Economic Impact – Uptown Arena: Questionable; Empire State Building: Definite! With an uptown arena, Charlotte would realize some economic benefits. But calculating the increased tax liability against those economic benefits offsets some of the gain. Plus, most benefits would be in the immediate uptown area, and probably retail in nature.

Owning the Empire State Building, however, could open Charlotte business up to an even bigger piece of the world’s economic pie. Think of it – we could reserve 5 floors (under 5% of the total space) for temporary offices that businesses headquartered in Charlotte could use free of charge to sell, solicit and secure business from New York-based companies and international businesses operating in the New York area. This could result in major expansions of companies all over Charlotte…more jobs…higher sales revenues…and a higher tax base rather than a higher tax burden. Then we could use the money for activities all Charlotteans could participate in like parks and bike trails.

Over 3.8 million people visit the observatories each year, at an average cost of $7 per person. That’s $26.6 million annually – just in ticket revenue!

Not to mention the cold hard cash the building generates in office leases! There are 2.25 million square feet of available space and currently it’s 97% rented. That makes it an appreciating asset, meaning that in14 years it will be worth even more. History tell us that in 14 years we would be tearing down our new arena and building a newer one (probably near the airport!).

International Marquis Value – Uptown Arena: 0, Empire State Building: 10! Imagine the national and international press Charlotte would receive if we purchased this international landmark? Peter Malkin is a real estate investor. He invests in real estate as a profession. So does Donald Trump. They purchase a property, it’s not news at all – even if that property is the Empire State Building. But if another city – in this case the city of Charlotte purchases it, it’s big news – all over the country and perhaps all over the world. Charlotte builds a new uptown arena, no one past Greensboro cares (if they even know!).

Community Pride of Ownership – Uptown Arena: modest, Empire State Building: chest-pounding! Whether it’s uptown or not, Charlotte has an arena. We already own one. So owning another – even if it’s nicer and more modern – will bring only a modest sense of pride of ownership (especially since we are certain to emblazon it with some corporate moniker and lose the identity entirely). But owning the Empire State Building will be a tremendous boost to our community morale. With all due respect to Shallow Hal and Nell, movies and television shows with New York as a backdrop just have a higher prestige – Sleepless in Seattle, King Kong, Manhattan, NYPD Blue. Every time we see it on screen, we can say, “we own that.”

We could take our children there on field trips. Plus, we can make it a policy – show up at the Empire State Building with a Charlotte address on your driver’s license and you and your party go to the top for free. That’s better than a discount 4-pack to see the Hornets play the Memphis Grizzlies.

Snatching Victory out of the Jaws of Defeat – Uptown Arena: no win; Empire State Building: no lose! There’s no way we can lose on this. I’ll admit it – getting the Charlotte Hornets was a coup, and offered a fair amount of pizzazz. Keeping the Hornets, well, just doesn’t have the same sex appeal.

And, as has become evident over the last few months, we do not own the Hornets.

But we’d own the Empire State Building, and that would be snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. We’d be the only city in the world that owned another city’s most visible landmark – and New York’s on top of that. Instead of the Hornets owning the Knicks, Charlotte would own the Empire State Building! We’ll change all the red, white and blue lights to black and blue on NFL weekends. (In your face, Giants and Jets.), We’ll hang a 70-story tall banner from the side that reads, “Charlotte says ‘hey!’” We’ll let the Downtown Athletic Club use the “Charlotte” floors to host the Heisman Awards Ceremony. After the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet (held annually in New York), we’ll put the champion’s car on display in the lobby.

Here’s the bottom line:

Building a new uptown arena and keeping the Hornets: $220+ million and higher ticket prices. Owning the Empire State Building: priceless.

Let’s do it!

 

  • January 25, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on Headed to the Big Game
  • in Thinking

Headed to the Big Game

Last night, the Carolina Panthers demolished the Arizona Cardinals to win the NFC Championship Game and a spot in Big Game 50. (Did you know you have to be licensed to even use the words Super Bowl®? So, I won't use the words Super Bowl® in this post, even though much of the post is about the Super Bowl®.)

Demolished could be considered a subjective term. It is not. 49-15 is a demolishing. I thought about using the word embarrassed, but that seemed more subjective (even though, if you watched the game, you know it is not).

I am competitive. I always have been. I have my favorite teams (The University of Tennessee Volunteers, Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, whoever is playing Alabama). And I love games—board games, card games, team sports. You name it and I'll probably play it.

snoopyWhen I was in college, my roommate Alan was as competitive as I was. We used to compete at everything from Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac Man and Joust, to this game we created in our dorm room that consisted of trying to shoot a whiffle ball through a hoop made of an old coat hanger. There was a complex scoring system that I'm sure he remembers, but I don't. When quarters were abundant, we played video games. When scarce, we played the basketball-like game.

Alan would also run a college football pool. But it was not like any other pool. It had virtually every game at every level played on any given Saturday—probably 100+ games. I'll always remember trying to decide if I thought Newberry was going to beat Presbyterian, or Mars Hill was going to prevail over Lenoir-Rhyne.

On the wall on his side of the room, he had this poster. I remember it well. Of all the things I learned in college, the message on this poster has stuck in my mind.

It doesn't matter if you win or lose...until you lose.

You no doubt know the original phrase on which this poster is based: It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game.

This is true. I value sportsmanship. No one likes a rotten loser. Or a rotten winner. After all, it is a game.

And winning is always more fun, isn't it? Always. In sports. In business. In board games. I'll take a win over a loss 100 out of 100 times.

But today, I'm riding high—on last night's win, sure. But also on the fact that we have 13 days to enjoy the Panthers run-up to the Big Game. Our city is Panther crazy, and for 13 days the possibility of winning is out there, unspoiled. For the next 13 days, we'll play the game. It'll be fun and unifying. Every Charlottean, fan or not, will wear black and blue clothes and Panther logos on their cheeks. Every conversation will start with how about those Panthers? and the excitement will build.

Finally, in 13 days there'll be a game. We will win or we'll lose. Hopefully, we'll win. Make no mistake, I want to win. #keeppounding. But my guess is that even if we do, the celebration will not be as long, nor as intense, nor as satisfying as the next 13 days will be...

...the 13 days we simply play the game in our minds.

 

  • January 21, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on Reading for Success
  • in Thinking

Reading for Success

If I read a book that cost me $20 and I get one good idea, I've gotten one of the greatest bargains of all time. (Tom Peters)

 

Every investment of your time (or resources) doesn't have to deliver a windfall. Sometimes, it just needs to deliver something.

It think about this all the time. Everyone swings for the fences - in business pitches, marketing efforts, social media interaction. But to what end?

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 3.14.00 PMIn 1991, I read Thriving on Chaos by Tom Peters. It was the first book by Peters I ever read, and it started me on the path of reading almost all of his writing. He's a brilliant thinker. One passage I recall:

Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.

Do you have a something else you're preparing to do?

 

  • January 19, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on You sure know how to arrange things.
  • in Thinking
You sure know how to arrange things.

You sure know how to arrange things.

[caption id="attachment_1987" align="alignright" width="480"] My favorite line-up of the Eagles. They made one album - Hotel California. Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Randy Meisner, Glenn Frey and Don Felder...Read More »
  • January 15, 2016
  • By Chuck Jones
  • Comments Off on 16 Things I Know, part 6
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16 Things I Know, part 6

One of Ben Franklin's 13 virtues is tranquility. On tranquility, he wrote be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

An easier way to think of tranquility is don't get upset over small and unavoidable things.

As I continue to work on Franklin's 13 virtues throughout 2016, I have already learned something in the first 15 days. I have to put more marks (noting failure) next to tranquility than any of the others. On some days, I have more marks against tranquility than all the others combined.

Most of the time, I credit my tranquility being disrupted to someone, or someones. I'm irritated by a bad driver, or a client who doesn't get it, or someone in the office of the State of North Carolina telling me we didn't pay SUTA (which we always have and have records of each and every payment).

David Cain, in his post 16 Things I Know are True But Haven't Quite Learned Yet (at Raptitude.com) has a different take:

Whenever I think I’m mad at a person, I’m really just mad at a situation. I’m mad because suddenly life requires something new of me, and it’s easy to implicate a person who contributed to that situation. I want the situation to be responsible for fixing itself, so I attribute it to someone else’s moral failing, and then I don’t have to feel responsible for this new problem of mine.

Mind. Blown.

I know this. Deep down, I know this. But I haven't learned it. Whenever one or more people are involved in anything, there is the potential for variations...of thought, actions, intents or outcomes. Those combinations create the situations that take me from tranquil to boiling.

I'm working on it. At least now, 15 days in, I recognize (and acknowledge) tranquility as a virtue - something to be grasped and not just something that happens or does not.

Or as Frank Costanza might say...

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