Short Takes. My Perspective. The Countdown Has Started. Stapleton and Rihanna.

Some Random Thoughts As We Head Into February. Why Competing Is Important. Darkness, Go Away. February 12th Entertainment.

  • The United States and other ally countries are finally sending tanks to Ukraine to help their armed forces ward off Russian forces. Does this action prompt Vladimir Putin to escalate his level of warfare and use strategic nuclear weapons?

The United States is sending thirty-one M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

  • Electric automobile entities are betting big time on the consumer’s appetite to move away from gasoline-powered vehicles (internal combustion engines). There could be benefits to electric over gas-powered cars, but this tidbit will not make the decision to switch any easier: The Anderson Economic Group is reporting that gas-powered vehicles, over a one hundred mile trip, are actually less expensive to operate than electric vehicles. Marketers at Ford and GM have some positioning to do as both companies are moving to electric car manufacturing in a big way, especially by the year 2030.

  • Not surprisingly, but unfortunately, it looks like the Israeli – Palestinian issues have again resurfaced. Terrorism just outside Jerusalem’s Old City took the lives of seven people at a synagogue, of all of times on Holocaust Memorial Day, which commemorates the six million Jews and millions of non-Jewish people murdered during the Holocaust. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the site shortly after the incident, both far-right protagonists who have zero tolerance with the Palestinian regime. This incident adds on to many others in recent weeks, a really bad indication that this could escalate into a another war-type conflict we are experiencing around the world.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visiting the site of Friday’s terrorist attack – reportedly by a 14-year-old Palestinian boy.

  • California is trying to enact legislation that will raise the minimum wage to $22 per hour. My guess is that rate of pay will attract an older, and/or retired workforce to the likes of restaurants, bars, fast-food chains, and retailers. This is another in a series of issues the state of California is dealing with including immigration, floods, landslides, and fires.

  • Over the years, some of my friends have asked me about my high level of interest with the sport of soccer. I finally decided to put my thoughts on paper. The information below is my take and perspective:

I was fortunate to discover soccer at a young age. Raised in a sports family, I was encouraged to be competitive from day one. My dad loved sports but worked long hours, so he rarely had a chance to watch me participate in sports. I was lucky as my older brother decided that he would oversee my sports participation and eventually critiqued many of the soccer games I played from the youth level through college. My brother would make the effort to come watch my games, and in his thinking, if I did not play well, I was wasting his time and he was definitely not shy in questioning my commitment.

I was raised in a section of Southwest Miami where Lou Confessore (Mr. C) oversaw the local park and started one of South Florida’s first youth soccer clubs. Coral Estates Soccer Club started in the late 1960’s with the first team being under-10. Since this was the only team in the Club at that time, I got the chance to play with that team at six-years-old. What I do remember is being overrun and beaten down in practice and games, but as time went on, I learned to love the sport. My childhood friends, David and Pete, were influential with me learning to play and understanding the sport. I craved everything soccer, though in those days there was barely any soccer on TV. Fortunately, Miami had one of the first full-time Spanish language channels in the country, the infamous channel 23. My brother would track me down every Sunday afternoon as Channel 23 broadcast the Liga MX match of the week. He would watch the game with me every Sunday – our appetite for some soccer satisfied by these weekly Mexican league matches. We also had the privilege of watching Toby Charles host Soccer Made in Germany, which was broadcast on our local PBS station, but never on the same day or time.

Playing in the Coral Estates Soccer Club, I competed against the other start-up clubs in Miami including Key Biscayne, Cutler Ridge, Coral Gables, and Miami Shores. My playing career took me from Miami to Berry College, where I had the privilege of playing for Bob Warming, who is now a consultant with Union Omaha, a pro team playing in the United Soccer League. Bob’s coaching career is amazing, ending his career ranked seventh all-time for career wins. Bob also gave me the opportunity to coach at the college level, adding me on to his staff along with another outstanding coach, Bret Simon, while we earned our M.B.A. degrees.

From college I moved to Atlanta and played in the ADASL with Lenny Luckett’s Anheuser Busch club – which along with DataGraphics and Wolves were made up of many ex-pros and former college greats. A few years later, in 1995, I helped Rick Skirvin, the former Executive Director of Georgia Soccer, start the Rovers, an adult amateur team playing in the Cobb Amateur Soccer League (CASL). We started with an over-30 team, then an over-40 team, and then an over-50 team. We were fortunate enough to have some great players join the Club – again many ex-pros and former college stars. The Club now has eleven teams and the conservative estimate is that over the last twenty-eight years, 900 players have played on a Rovers’ team one time or another.

A Major League Soccer (MLS) team starting up in Atlanta was icing on the cake for me. A great front office, an ever-changing player pool, and one of the world’s best stadiums has made the sport top-of-mind for so many Atlantans. Atlanta United, over the last few years, has had many ups, and a few downs, but at a minimum they provide the city of Atlanta with top-level professional soccer.

Business took me to Orlando in the summer of 2017, where I enjoy the gameday experience and home matches at Exploria Stadium, where Orlando City of Major League Soccer plays its home games. Orlando City’s ownership and solid front office provide head coach Oscar Pareja with a great player pool. I am a big supporter of Orlando City, and of course keep my eye on the latest happenings with Atlanta United as well as the other MLS teams.

Many men and women in the Orlando, Atlanta, and Miami areas have similar stories to mine. We should all feel fortunate to have experienced the sport at one level or another.

  • The countdown to daylight savings time has started. We are only six weeks away from early-evening sunshine!

The Super Bowl, just two weeks from today, should be a great game. We always look forward to the big game, the creative commercials, the national anthem, and the sometimes great halftime show. The NFL has done us a solid with Chris Stapleton performing the national anthem and twelve-time Grammy winning R&B legend Babyface performing the ‘America the Beautiful.’ Rihanna, with sales of over 250 million records worldwide, and now the second-best-selling female music artist of all time, will perform at halftime. She is all about pure entertainment and I know she will deliver in front of a sold-out State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and an expected television audience of 105 million.

Super Bowl LVII will feature Rihanna performing at halftime.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and Have a Funday Sunday!

C, S, & N (and sometimes Y). Humility And Accountability. Toadzilla. Cruising. $430 Million Annually.

Peace and Love. Do It Right The First Time. That..Is Not Kermit. Travel Is Back. Messi To Cash In? Carry On.

  • No matter your taste in music, it is difficult not to like some or most of the songs from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and sometimes Neil Young. Their music really did symbolize what was happening in the late 1960’s and 70’s, with lyrics that mimicked the peace and love movement of the country. I guess their music could be called folk-rock, and with their great ability to harmonize, C, S & N’s music provided hit after hit. Before C, S, & N, David Crosby formed the Byrds in the mid-60’s. One of the Byrd’s greatest hits, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” was made popular again in the mid-90’s thanks to the movie “Forrest Gump.” David Crosby went on to be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame with the Byrds in 1991, and again with Crosby, Stills, & Nash in 1997. A salute to David Crosby, who at 81, passed away last Thursday at his home in California. RIP David Crosby.
David Crosby passed away last Thursday. A tribute to a music legend.

  • There is no doubt that the technology world and its providers are facing many challenges including rising interest rates, inflation, and online advertisers forced to cut back on ad spending. It was inevitable that these tech companies, enjoying the many years of hockey stick growth, added headcount at an unprecedented rate. The unfortunate consequence of a financial performance is cost-cutting, which is usually led by headcount reduction. In previous posts, I have expressed my disdain for some CEOs, who obviously have no conscience or accountability to their employees, announcing staff reductions on social media, including LinkedIn and Twitter. On Friday, Google announced they were laying off 12,000 people from its workforce, and I do admire the way CEO Sundar Pichai made the announcement with the email below. The email is very long, but I want everyone to read his way of announcing the layoffs. A clear and professional explanation, blended with empathy, and concern:


I have some difficult news to share. We’ve decided to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 roles. We’ve already sent a separate email to employees in the US who are affected. In other countries, this process will take longer due to local laws and practices.

This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with. I’m deeply sorry for that. The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.

Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.

I am confident about the huge opportunity in front of us thanks to the strength of our mission, the value of our products and services, and our early investments in AI. To fully capture it, we’ll need to make tough choices. So, we’ve undertaken a rigorous review across product areas and functions to ensure that our people and roles are aligned with our highest priorities as a company. The roles we’re eliminating reflect the outcome of that review. They cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions.

To the Googlers who are leaving us: Thank you for working so hard to help people and businesses everywhere. Your contributions have been invaluable and we are grateful for them.

While this transition won’t be easy, we’re going to support employees as they look for their next opportunity.

In the US:

  • We’ll pay employees during the full notification period (minimum 60 days).
  • We’ll also offer a severance package starting at 16 weeks salary plus two weeks for every additional year at Google, and accelerate at least 16 weeks of GSU vesting.
  • We’ll pay 2022 bonuses and remaining vacation time.
  • We’ll be offering 6 months of healthcare, job placement services, and immigration support for those affected.
  • Outside the US, we’ll support employees in line with local practices.

As an almost 25-year-old company, we’re bound to go through difficult economic cycles. These are important moments to sharpen our focus, reengineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities.

Being constrained in some areas allows us to bet big on others. Pivoting the company to be AI-first years ago led to groundbreaking advances across our businesses and the whole industry.

Thanks to those early investments, Google’s products are better than ever. And we’re getting ready to share some entirely new experiences for users, developers and businesses, too. We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.

All this work is a continuation of the “healthy disregard for the impossible” that’s been core to our culture from the beginning. When I look around Google today, I see that same spirit and energy driving our efforts. That’s why I remain optimistic about our ability to deliver on our mission, even on our toughest days. Today is certainly one of them.

I’m sure you have many questions about how we’ll move forward. We’ll be organizing a town hall on Monday. Check your calendar for details. Until then, please take good care of yourselves as you absorb this difficult news. As part of that, if you are just starting your work day, please feel free to work from home today.


  • Headline of the Week: Delta Passenger Grabs Fire Extinguisher And Comes Out Spraying After Stealing Chicken Wings. I am not making light of what could have been a very serious situation in the Atlanta airport. I am saying that there must be an island. Is it possible that this woman and George Santos would be good island mates? (No, I am not referring to Santos’ politics).
Situations similar to this event are becoming all to common.

  • A few of my friends have a high level of coaching experience with both soccer and basketball. Over the years, all of them have told me that the big difference today from the past in both sports is the level of the athlete’s physicality. This includes size, strength, speed, and flexibility, which must stem from the type of training these athletes get to enjoy at an early age. There is no exact comparison of Lebron James at 6’9″, and Lionel Messi at 5’5″ – but similarities with both are their strength and impact they bring to the court and field. Training and nutrition are a big part of physicality, and today’s athletes, for the most part, have advanced their physicality to a much higher level than the athletes of the past.

Does the same hold true for the animal kingdom? Animal scientists and veterinarians can hopefully answer that question, but one would assume that most species are continuing to evolve. One example may come out of northeastern Australia, where park rangers discovered a ‘mammoth’ toad -weighing in at six pounds. One ranger was quoted that the massive toad was immediately removed from the wild because a six-pound toad will eat “anything it can fit into its mouth.” Please let that beast and its offspring stay in northeastern Australia.

Meet ‘Toadzilla’. No, and no.

  • Along with other aspects of travel, including planes, trains, hotels, and cruise ships, no one could predict how all of these would come out of the pandemic. The cruise industry, already dealing with airborne, surface, and noroviruses on many of their ships, was hit extremely hard with the onslaught of Covid-19, especially during 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Though it took a good bit of time, it is remarkable how cruise carriers have recovered, now enjoying record passenger counts. Last Wednesday, six cruise ships set a record for the number of passengers visiting St. Maarten. Port of St Maarten Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said: “This is a significant development for the destination when we look back at what we and the region, and the world had to endure with the pandemic and the shutdown of the cruise industry for 15-months.” Well done to the cruise industry!

  • All of us enjoyed the performance of Argentina superstar Lionel Messi at last month’s World Cup. Messi earned his first World Cup trophy, in a dramatic 3-3 tie with France, which after thirty minutes of overtime, Argentina won on penalty kicks. Messi’s club team is Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), who competes in Ligue 1, the top division of French football. Last week, a Saudi Arabian Club, Al Hilal, has reportedly offered Messi $430 million a year to play with their club. This offer comes one month after Cristiano Ronaldo left massive club Manchester United and signed with another Saudi Arabian club for $300 million annually. When does this craziness stop?
Max Scherzer, Luka Dončić, Lebron James and Patrick Mahomes must saying: “What?”

  • In honor of David Crosby, here is Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young performing “Carry On”, a near perfect song with their harmonies, melody changes, and guitar skills. To say the least, David Crosby will be missed. Enjoy this song – one that will never be replicated.
There are no other words than “Carry On”

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and Have a Funday Sunday!

Mid-January Takes.

Things I Think I Think.

Coming off last week’s 2023 predictions, I now get back to my usual (or unusual) takes on things I am thinking.

  • $1.35 billion. The cash option and relative taxes will yield somewhere around $540 million. Friday the 13th has made someone in Maine very happy.
  • Since the war began nearly a year ago, the West has resisted giving some of its most potent weapons to Ukraine, fearing that supplying Ukraine with weapons to fight the Russians would bring NATO into direct conflict with Russia. NATO allies are walking that fine line now as the U.S. has provided Ukraine with a Patriot Air Defense System, and other NATO countries have relented and are finally offering up tanks to Ukraine’s forces. I am all in with this.
  • There will be a lot of love-making going on in this Chinese city. Shenzhen, a city of 13 million people, has offered its residents £2,300 to have more children.
  • First it was Southwest Airlines and late last week it was the FAA. Does anyone want to wager that there was some outside cyber interference with their IT infrastructures? A scary scenario to say the least.
  • Everyone seems to have classified documents just laying around. I looked last night and could not find any documents. You?
  • I really enjoy the guitar and the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen, and Billy Gibbons. There was also Jeff Beck, whose skills on the guitar were amazing. RIP, Jeff Beck.
Jeff Beck’s skills on the guitar were unprecedented.
  • Headline of the week: “This $8 billion startup is fining employees $1,200 for contacting colleagues on vacation.” Say what?
  • The following is a summary from The Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Last Thursday they released an unclassified version of the government’s new report on UFOs. “Initial characterization does not mean positively resolved or unidentified. This initial characterization better enables AARO and ODNI to efficiently and effectively leverage resources against the remaining 171 uncharacterized and unattributed UAP reports. Some of these uncharacterized UAP appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities, and require further analysis.” That is 171 reports of UFOs that the National Intelligence agency cannot explain, mostly from Air Force and Navy pilots. Any questions?
  • The University of Georgia overwhelmed TCU in the college football championship game. Never have we witnessed a bowl game where the result has been so lopsided. For sixty minutes, The Dawgs overwhelmed the Horned Frogs of TCU, but one of TCU’s players was not impressed with Georgia: “You know, defensive-wise, they didn’t really do anything special,” Winters said. “We just kind of beat ourselves up. Kind of just executed on our mis-alignments and kept scoring on those.” I think TCU’s Dee Winters must have hit his head.
  • “I have a dream…” Tomorrow we celebrate the federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr….a fierce and brave leader of the Civil Rights Movement.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

A Look Ahead.

Things I Think For 2023.

Over the holidays I took a break with JustMyTake and I am definitely ready get started with my weekly posts. As we are already into the second week of the new year, I thought I would provide some random thoughts and takes on what we may see and experience in 2023. I have a note in my calendar to review my predictions at year-end. As always, your comments are welcome.

The World, The Economy & Finance

The Russia-Ukraine war will continue with no cease fire. As long as Putin is in power, he will continue to justify his existence with his goal of a Ukrainian land grab. A sad and alarming conflict.

Imposition of Islamic law, a continuing economic crisis, lack of freedom of expression, violation of women’s rights, and the killing of Mahsa Amini. Yes, Iranians will continue to protest, and violence will continue throughout the year.

The environment again becomes top-of-mind for the world. Going green was ‘too costly’ years ago, but the world, based on science and data, has no choice but to level-set sustainable environmental policies and controls. It will be more than residential recycling. Way more. A new generation of thinking will want our planet to heal, dictating carbon-reducing agriculture and massive incentives for farmers and others who grow food. I know, I write like I am living in the Arlo Guthrie/Joan Baez era, but seriously, something has to give with the way all of us are altering the environment.

More banking institutions will shy away from consumer services, as the onslaught and availability of online banking continues to keep people out of bank branches. As more secure and encrypted virtual communication comes online, why would the consumer spend time to travel to a bricks and mortar branch when they can just simply schedule a ‘zoom-type’ virtual visit with their favorite banker?

Speaking of virtual visits, the number of virtual healthcare visits will skyrocket in 2023. Same as above: If you do not need to be examined by a doctor, there is no reason to wait days for your appointment, travel to the doctor’s office, sit in their sometimes unhealthy waiting room, and receive the same information and prescriptions from your doctor that you could have obtained on a virtual call.

Regarding unhealthy offices and waiting rooms, indoor air quality will become a mainstream strategy and practice. The science and data around indoor air quality having a direct correlation to airborne viruses and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is vast and eye-opening.

Look for the acronym ‘ACH’ to become mainstream. ACH, or air change rate, is the number of times that the total air volume in a room or space is completely removed and replaced in an hour. See above regarding indoor air quality. Why is this important? If your air change rate is too high, you are losing air that you are paying to heat or cool. If the rate is too low, your air becomes stale and stagnant, which can lead to a buildup of toxins, viruses, pathogens, VOCs and the like.

Equity markets, other than the S&P 500, will actually have a decent year. The pending recession has yet to fully bite into corporate earnings expectations or stock valuation…but it will later this year.

Investors will focus on profits this year and not worry too much about top-line growth. I always loved the old adage, “We want year-over-year double-digit growth AND we want a substantial increase with margins all the way down to the EBITDA line. Uh huh. I know my friend and private equity executive, Chris A., will chime in on this one. 🙂

The Fed will stay the course by raising rates to ensure inflation stays in check. See the next item.

Real estate will be problematic, with mortgage rates unacceptable and home prices still too steep. The Fed will continue to manage inflation by raising the fed rate, which bottom line will raise 30-year mortgage rates to 8%+ and lead to homes sales dropping 10% in 2023.

The cannabis industry will continue to scale, with bigger brands and entities entering the once ‘taboo’ space. There are many dynamics with cannabis, and the massive growth of the industry will be fueled by public policy to improve access and streamline regulations. Hockey stick growth may be waning, but the projected numbers show the industry will grow from $30 billion back in 2021 to $55 billion in 2026, a compound annual growth rate of 13%. It will be very interesting how regulation will play out with this industry.

Self-driving cars will still have barriers for consumer use, but government entities will quickly acquire self-driving fleets to offset labor costs.

Food, Media & Entertainment

Netflix will merge or be acquired by Paramount or Disney. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts…

Due to socio-economic drivers, we will see a surge in group outings and group activities. Bowling, which no longer is just bowling, will surge with continued development of multi-purpose bowling venues. Drink, eat, play, meet, socialize….and yes, bowl. Look for the continued swell of pickleball, indoor and outdoor soccer, chess and checkers parlors, group cooking, and art-type classes to get people engaged with one another. What a concept, huh?

Kitsch will be the go-to, cool design look. Why? I have no clue. I think we previously used the term ‘eclectic’ but I will leave the word kitsch to the interior and fashion designers of the world.

“Digital nomadism” will continue at a high rate and the ‘hush’ trip will be the travel trend of 2023. Scenario: Remote workers pack up and head somewhere new for a limited amount of time—think a week or two, rather than all year—without ever telling their employer. They then login, get to work, and save some time to explore a new city or area.

The National Football League will announce one or two international franchises. Think Munich, London, or Mexico City.

Disney, with their former CEO now back in the captain’s seat, will divest and refocus on core businesses. That could mean they spin off ESPN. Crazy right?

Twitter, with Elon Musk driving the ship, will alter its platform and offerings, driving subscription rates with comedy and other entertainment offerings. Yes, Musk will streamline Twitter’s headcount while expanding their platform.

The platform initiated by OGT Management, where you can order food at airports and other venues before you get to the restaurant, will quickly become a standard platform and practice. Think about the ease of ordering and limited time waiting on a server… and quickly receiving your food, drink, and tab.

Southwest Airlines, after their massive technology debacle last month, will take a $1 billion dollar hit…and become ripe for acquisition. Shame on their lack of technology and redundancies.

REALITY: Last Monday night’s football game, between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, reminded us of how precious and fragile life can be. It looks like Damar Hamlin has turned the corner and we can only hope he continues to progress to the point of having a normal quality of life. For all parents, and their children playing contact sports, take a look at this product from Unequal Technologies.

Unequal Technologies has done a great deal of work with commotio cordis.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!