November 25, 2021

What makes a great business?

Friday Thoughts: What makes a great business? In the early 2000s, Blockbuster was on top of the world, with more than 9,000 stores across the U.S. and a video tape in nearly every home’s VHS or BETA player (remember those?!). A new, obscure startup called “Netflix” even approached Blockbuster in 2000, asking if the video store king would like to buy them out for a mere $50 million. But Blockbuster’s CEO declined, calling Netflix “a very small fringe business.” The rest is history, with Blockbuster filing bankruptcy by 2010 and Netflix going on to have 213 million subscribers worldwide this […]
November 18, 2021

Value

As we entered the restaurant, morning sun streaming through the windows, and were led to our table, we chatted. Sam and I talked about our families, his life, and his recent retirement after 27 years of building his company to the powerhouse it now was. We sat, opened our menus, and chatted about what his plans were for the next stage of his life. As we took sips of our coffee, we talked about the Dodgers, contemplating if they’d be able to win another World Series with the roster as presently constructed. (We’re not optimistic!) Soon, with breakfasts ordered and […]
November 11, 2021

In Bora Bora, the air temp and water temp are the same…

Have you ever been to Bora Bora? In that French Polynesian island nestled in the South Pacific, on most days the temperature of the water and the air temperature are the same.  Whether you walk from the beach into the translucent aquamarine waters or from the waves onto land again, it feels the same, with no discernable change at all. Imagine that – going through life with conditions so comfortable and predictable, we experience and seek as little change as possible? This week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with my study group, a collection of successful and dynamic […]
November 3, 2021

October economic & market recap.

                  October economic & market recap: Wall Street booms, inflation bites, and the Fed to start their taper. A Banner Month for Wall Street In October, Wall Street had its best month of the year, with the S&P 500 gaining 6.9% from October 1st to 31st. That’s the S&P’s highest monthly gain since November 2020, when the stock market responded to a new president and optimistic news about possible coronavirus vaccines. The Nasdaq (+7.2%) and Dow Jones (+5.8%) posted similar gains. Wall Street’s S& P 6.9% gain last month was a welcome […]
October 27, 2021

Black velvet behind the diamond.

This week, I had a long conversation with a dear friend of mine.   We’ve been trying to catch up for quite some time but kept missing one another.   He’s in a similar business, and we have both been at “it” for the same number of years. Both of us have enjoyed a modicum of success along the way.  During our conversation, while hearing about some of the things he was doing and experiencing, I must admit to feeling a little bit of “FOMO” – fear of missing out. Did I do everything the right way? Was I missing out on […]
October 22, 2021

Action, Reaction. Outcome.

Action.  Reaction. Every action incites a reaction. That’s true whether in life, in business, striving for a certain level of fitness or other goals, or anything else in life. The concept of action/reaction probably goes all the way back to high school physics classes for most of us, although the phenomenon was intrinsic long before that. In fact, it was Sir Isaac Newtown who famously said, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” This week, that fundamental truth of the universe was tested for me. In a not-altogether pleasant exchange, my actions lead to a vehement reaction from my […]
October 14, 2021

Use things, not people.

Use things…not people. Many years ago, a good friend and mentor said that to me. I was only 22 at the time and had already enjoyed a modicum of success in business. Maybe he saw something in me, that I had blurred that line between using people and things on some occasion? Perhaps I had slipped into an all-too pragmatic, or even transactional mindset when interacting with friends, cohorts, and clients? It hit me like a gut punch that he saw that in me, at least enough to mention it in a positive, constructive way. Of course, it’s easy to […]
October 4, 2021

September 2021 Market & Economic Recap

Stocks hit choppy waters. September was a month characterized by volatility on Wall Street, although a U.S. stock swoon wasn’t all-together unexpected after a record run of gains. In fact, it was the worst month for the S&P 500 since March of 2020 – the epicenter of a stock selloff due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Through September, the S&P 500 fell 4.8%, the Dow Jones dropped 4.3%, and the Nasdaq sank 5.3%. But all was not lost since, for Q3, the S&P still posted a slight positive gain of 0.2%, its sixth straight quarter and 7th straight month of gains, […]
September 28, 2021

It’s never too late to change.

My grandfather suffered from Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 35. He was a warm and generous man, from what I remember. But suffering from such a debilitating progressive disease at such a young age, he faced struggles that we can’t even comprehend, both physical but also emotional. He tried his best, but couldn’t even play catch with his son, my father. By the time my grandfather was 45 years old, he was already in a wheelchair. At 50, he was almost totally incommunicado. By 62, he had passed away. Thinking of my grandfather recently – and my father, and down […]
September 22, 2021

“I really can’t complain.”

This morning, I drove to LAX before the crack of dawn. I silently cursed the early hour, trying to wake myself up and looking forward to getting my short flight over with so I could visit one of my favorite clients. Going through the clear/TSA line at the airport, a young man was working. He was in a wheelchair. As he began taking me and two others through the line at security, he asked, “How are you all doing?” I replied, “’Pretty good. A little tired but not bad. How about you?” This young man, who was in his early twenties, looked […]
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