Richard, Cork the Whine! Turning Retail into a Commodity. You Can’t Be Serious. Updates.
- From a very young age I have been a big fan and follower of the National Football League. I was lucky enough to get exposed to pro football due to my father and brother and Miami landing an NFL franchise. Similar to other sports, the television networks, knowing that the success of their overall ratings are attached to NFL broadcasts, pay the NFL hundreds of millions of dollars for broadcast rights. This money is then allotted to the NFL franchises allowing them to pay their players big salaries. Some of these salaries are staggering which alarms me when I hear a very high salaried player complain about the NFL schedule. Yes, maybe the NFL on TV (as well as college football) has hit a saturation point but as a player under contract you deal with the schedule that the NFL establishes just like every other professional athlete. I realize football brings a physicality unlike most sports but take a look at an NBA team’s schedule, or the NHL or Premier League. Richard Sherman, one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks, recently voiced his strong opinion about the NFL schedule, in particular Thursday night games. He complained that playing away to Green Bay on a Sunday and then playing last Thursday night at home led to him playing at “only 50-60% of his ability”. Seriously Richard, who are you comparing yourself to? A railroad worker up every morning at 4am? A steel worker dealing with freezing cold or incredibly humid weather conditions? Sherman’s comments are particularly bothersome knowing that he recently signed a four-year, $56m contract that included a $11.5m signing bonus. Don’t get me wrong, I admire his skills and ability, as well as his Stanford education, but he needs to shut his mouth, be respectful and very grateful that he plays professional football for a stupid amount of money. As a side note, refer to the October 30, 2016 post analyzing the 2nd quarter of an NFL game……total playing time in a fifteen minute quarter was a bit over 4 minutes, and that included both offense and defense. Man up Richard Sherman.
- Amazon Go seems like a great idea. As you walk into one of their stores you and your credit card that is imbedded on your smart phone are identified so you can fill your shopping cart and walk out of the store without waiting in line to check out. Being cashier-less achieves two customer desires: ease and speed of checkout. So I guess this benefit achieves what many call the basics of people shopping at retail including getting what you want/need, a break from the day, some type of experience, or interacting with other human beings. But what I am wondering is how much the retailer will miss out on making a connection with the customer? If there is no customer experience (think Nordstrom’s or Starbucks) doesn’t the retailer risk becoming a commodity? I totally get that to many the customer experience equals getting in and out with no hassles but it seems that this trend might be better suited to convenience stores. Speaking of Starbucks, they released a presser that they are looking to open 12,000 additional stores within the next five years….they do have a great customer experience for those who like their coffee. Starbucks realizes that customer service and interaction drives loyalty leading to year-over-year increases in top line revenue and profits. It will be interesting how well the Amazon Go test works out.
- Some strange observations while traveling this past week. The Hilton in downtown St. Petersburg was nice enough to give me access to their ‘lounge’ on the top floor overlooking beautiful Tampa Bay. Most of these lounges are reserved for Hilton’s top customers which in days past correlated to a more sophisticated crowd. No longer as early one morning while having breakfast I noticed many people coming into the lounge in workout clothes, shorts and t-shirts. Yep, times have changed but one guest to the lounge took it a bit too far. She was very short, very overweight but decided it was appropriate to walk into the lounge in some horrid color ‘silk’ pajamas and yes, the pajamas were at least a size too small. Hilarious in one way and a bit shocking to most, including me. On another note I somehow I got upgraded to first class on my flight back to Atlanta on Friday. Usually a nice experience unless you are sitting next to a “Pat” who, for sure, by their odor, had not taken a shower in days. So what does “Pat” do? How about climbing over me to go to the restroom AFTER the door is closed and the plane is backing off the ramp. The poor flight attendant really had no answers for this creature and simply let “it” go to the restroom. First class passengers….never judge a book by it’s cover.
- Updates: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte: be careful with your rhetoric and threats to the United States…..there is a new Secretary of Defense waiting in the wings to deal with people like you. Atlanta United has done well with the expansion draft and trade deadline. Cyber warfare is not only coming from the Russians. Can’t wait for Colin Kaepernick to come into the Georgia Dome later today. Christmas is in seven days!!
Adios and have a Sunday Funday!!
Note: no post next Sunday/Xmas Day or on New Years Day. Happy Holidays and all the best for a great 2017.
Mad Dogs and Lebanese. So the Trip is Only 2.5 Years? Finding the Right Players. Updates.
- Last week’s post regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of retired four-star General James Mattis as his choice for Secretary of Defense caused a bit of a stir with many readers. Most of the response was very positive including this comment from a gentleman who did a stint in the Lebanese army: “While I know the general is affectionately known as “Mad Dog”, I take issue with almost everybody ignoring his intellect. Our new secretary of defense is an avid reader, his personal book collection exceeds 7,000 books (mostly world history, warfare…) !! What is more amazing is the fact he did read them all. He used to require his troops to be well read regarding the culture and history of the regions where they were deployed. He has, in my opinion, a better nickname, the “warrior monk” mostly because he was never married.” I appreciate any and all comments and certainly agree with this take on our new Secretary of Defense. Godspeed, General Mattis!
- I previously mentioned the cable television series, MARS, now showing on the National Geographic channel. Now that the series is underway, I am pleased to report that the episodes to date have exceeded my expectations. This is especially interesting as in general I have little interest in Sci-Fi. What makes this series a bit different? It mixes both documentary and speculation to tell the parallel stories of two groups: the fictional year 2033 explorers who will make that first journey, and the scientists and astronauts of today who are working hard to figure out the go-forward with a mission to Mars. The task seems daunting for many reasons. One glaring hurdle: According to NASA, a vessel with humans on it would take roughly six months to travel to Mars and another six months to travel back. In addition, astronauts would have to stay 18-20 months on Mars before the planets re-align for a return trip. In all, the mission would take roughly 2 1/2 years. Understanding that the Elon Musk’s of the world eventually want to monetize travel to Mars, 30 months on that planet could be problematic. Watch the series as it provides a great deal of insight into science and technology with a very high level of production, writing, and vision of how we approach getting to Mars.
- Here is a scenario for you to ponder: You are an executive reporting to Steve Cannon, the former head of Mercedes Benz USA, who reports to Arthur Blank, a multi-millionaire, philanthropist, and CEO of the Arthur Blank Family of Companies. Mr. Blank, along with his never-ending desire for the Atlanta Falcons to win a championship, has made a huge investment to bring Major League Soccer to Atlanta. The initial investment all in was around $100m, but then Mr. Blank welcomes the idea of building a state-of-the-art headquarters and training facility for his new soccer team at a cost climbing to $70m. Those numbers are staggering without recognizing that the new Mercedes Benz stadium, opening next summer in downtown Atlanta, has a price tag of $1.6B, with at least $1B of that from Mr. Blank’s pocket. Those are the hard costs and now comes ‘simple’ things like player acquisition and their salaries. As that executive, you must be feeling a bit of pressure when trying to build a roster that will compete right out of the gate as Mr. Cannon and Mr. Blank have very high expectations with this soccer team, as well as 25,000 season ticket holders who are expecting big things from Atlanta United. The Club has acquired some players and is looking forward to next week’s MLS expansion draft, where United will have five picks. Along with the expansion draft and the short trade window that is later today, Atlanta United could have an additional seven players by this Tuesday afternoon. To follow this important process look for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution’s outstanding journalist, Doug Roberson, to provide detailed coverage of the trade window and expansion draft. Darren Eales, United’s president, is the executive I am referring to, and with his strong background and experience we can all look for great things to come from Atlanta United.
- Updates: I would not want to be the San Francisco ’49er executive who made the decision to get rid of Alex Smith and go with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback. Maybe new SecDef Mattis will call in the world’s special operations forces to deal with ISIS after all? Can we refrain from shopping on XMAS day? Matt Ryan: you have proved me wrong but NO more pick-sixes and pick-twos, please; To the honorable John Glenn: RIP.
Adios and have a Funday Sunday!
Experience with the Middle East. Can’t Afford a Tie. December 7, 1941.
- I am very careful with the topics of religion and politics with this blog. I will try to keep this topic short and sweet without bending my rules about those two subjects. With that said, the President-Elect has a daunting task to select a Cabinet that is effective and relevant. At this point I am only focused on Treasury and Defense as my two key appointments that seriously effect domestic and international policy. Last week, James Mattis was selected to be our next Secretary of Defense (SecDef). Like a lot of us, I have been very concerned about the direction of the Defense Department and the lack of presence and direction of our military stance, especially in the Middle East. With the appointment of “Mad Dog“, in which former four-star General James Mattis is affectionately called, the United States has announced to the world that the dynamics and decision-making with our military is about to change and change quickly. James Mattis is a decorated four-star General known for two things: 1) he is a soldiers’ soldier, having fought in the trenches of Falluja and leading our military through a very tough and bloody war; and 2) he is known to limit his sensitivity to collateral damage. Why is this important? It is very simple in my mind. No longer will terrorists in the Middle East ‘hide’ behind civilians thinking that the U.S. commanders would back off from bombing targets surrounded by civilians. No longer will terrorist leaders hide in schools and hospitals knowing that nothing will happen as long as the children or patients are present. “Mad Dog”, due to his many years in combat with Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda. and ISIS, clearly understands this strategy and has stated that collateral damage, unfortunately, is part of war. Is Mattis a bit controversial? Is he a bit of a loose cannon? Will he tow the line with our President and Congress? The answers remain to be seen but the rest of the world, especially the terrorists of the world, now have something different to deal with from the armed forces of the United States. Godspeed James Mattis.
- He is a professional athlete. He signed a contract that gave him a $22m signing bonus and a annual average salary of $20m a year. He is subject to injury as any NFL quarterback so his agent was able to negotiate a guaranteed amount of $60m. His name: Cam Newton, the quarterback of last year’s AFC champion Carolina Panthers. The Panthers, and Cam himself, are off to a very slow start and now find themselves with little chance of making the playoffs. You would think as a leader, Cam would set an example for his teammates and coaches in this very trying time. Instead, his coach, Ron Rivera, had to sit him down for the first series of yesterday’s game. In a game that seems like a must win, Cam is disciplined by his head coach for violating team rules. The Panthers played at Oakland last week and did not travel home, choosing instead to practice on the West Coast for the week before yesterday’s game in Seattle. It really does not matter what rule Cam decided not to follow as he is the leader of his team and should set an example for everyone. Carolina was run out of the stadium by Seattle yesterday, and Carolina’s season is about over. The rule Cam did not follow was a very simple one regarding team attire when traveling and Cam’s excuse is too lame to mention. It is just too bad that a tremendous athlete with more money than he knows what to do with has a child mentality. Maybe Coach Rivera should sit Cam down for an entire game? Not that it would have any effect on Cam based on the money he is making. Grow up Cam. Your young age is no longer an excuse.
- December 7, 1941. “A day that will live in infamy” stated by President Roosevelt shortly after Japan, while negotiating to improve diplomatic relations with the United States, executed an all-out attack on Pearl Harbor with the goal of destroying our Pacific naval fleet. You know the rest of the story and the surrender of Japan following the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with both countries slow to repair any type of diplomatic relations for many years. I really think that we should leave well and good alone but now we learn that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor the day after Christmas. While I think it is important for the U.S. and Japan to be allies, why open up all the wounds again? I felt the same way about President Obama visiting Hiroshima this past May…..just leave it alone and move on from the horrific tragedy and devastation of December 7, 1941. If you have a flag, please fly it this Wednesday. If you don’t have a flag go buy one.
- Updates: looking for a great place to bring family for a fun and different holiday dinner? Try Amalfi in Roswell and Flatlands Bourbon & Bayou in Alpharetta. Matt Ryan: no more interceptions resulting in points. If looking to watch a very interesting and well written movie…..try The Infiltrator starring Bryan Cranston.
Adios and have a great week!