Apple missed a HUGE boat

I love my Apple Watch.  The modular watch face with complications from each of:

  • personal calendar (Apple cal)
  • work calendar (Fantastical)
  • weather (Accueeather)
  • battery level (built-in)
  • fitness circles (built-in)

is EXACTLY what I want in a watch face.  Soon, I’ll get the Watch 3 with embedded LTE and I’ll be set for a while.

HOWEVER, I love my Alexa devices MORE.  If I could only have either Alexa in my house or Apple Watch on my wrist I’d TOTALLY take Alexa.

Now I’ve added my Insteon-based, ISY-orchestrated home automation to Alexa and, now, even my wife Cheryl wonders how we could ever do without.

Apple made a BIG (BIG) blunder grabbing Smart Watch territory before Smart Home / screen-less UX territory.

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Simple: The national debt DOES matter; make legislators responsible

2018 interest expense on US national debt


$175B in interest alone…American economic and political hubris is a dangerous thing.

If the American (nay, the global economy given how inter- and co-dependent we all are) economy never falters and continues on its way up then, I’ll concede, our national debt is not economically dangerous (though I’d still say it’s a terrible example…) But we KNOW what is going to happen to entitlement spending as the boomers retire.  We KNOW what is going to happen to the tax base with the boomers retire.  Wait…   increasing cost and decreasing revenue ties to the same event?

… and borrowing more is a good idea ‘cuz why?

Imagine you’re twenty years old and have $1k in credit card debt and you believe that your income with never do anything but increase.  If that “confidence” is well-placed and your income never takes a gap, always rises, you never need to take parental leave or, god forbid, disability then you can rationally allow your personal debt to increase along with income.

This is the fundamental argument of the “US National Debt doesn’t matter” crowd.

If, however, you stumble, there is a recession and you are laid off or need to take a disability NOW your ability to service that debt is in danger.  You may need to borrow just to pay the interest on your other debts.  What happens if that gets out and the cost of capital increases – you end up taking payday loans at usurious rates to pay the interest on the loan you took to pay the interest on the first loan.  Moreover, if you KNOW (see point about boomers) that your costs will increase and wages will decrease you’re an IDIOT to borrow more.  Yet, this is what we do.

How about this – legislators must each put $100k into T-bills for each $1T that gets added to the US debt during their term.

Legislators, you are welcome to borrow the $100k (at full recourse and ineligible for discharge during bankruptcy) to fund the t-bill purchase.

If our borrowing costs don’t exceed 0.75% of GDP (roughly current/2018 levels) during the ten (10) year period after their term then they get to redeem the treasuries.  If that costs exceeds the threshold they forfeit their t-bills with proceeds going to pay down the debt.

It is unhealthy and dangerous to separate Authority and Responsibility in any/every situation and yet we’ve done it with our nations treasure.

Stanley Druckenmiller, founder of Duquesne Capital Management

STANLEY DRUCKENMILLER: ‘This is the most unsustainable situation I have ever seen in my career’

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Alternatives to morning radio

I commute to northern Virginia (NoVA) a couple of times per week.  I make this longer-than-ideal commute to preserve a small-town experience for my family AND a morning waterskiing habit for myself during the summer 🙂 Few things make me more productive and happy that sitting down to work at 830a/9a with a cup of coffee having already taken 4-6 passes at the slalom course earlier that morning!

My commute takes one of two forms:  car or train.  I drive when I need to have total control of my movement when I’m in NoVA.  The drive is regrettable mostly because I lose the ability to produce.  I do, however, retain the opportunity to learn by listening to NPR, a book from Audible, and/or podcasts.

I had built a habit listing to long-form podcasts but that was getting frustrating.  Many podcast hosts mimic talk radio which adds WAY to much banter and who-gives-a-crap dialog to the preamble.  Dear podcast publishers – I assure you..  your opening banter is of no value – please STOP.

A month or so ago I searched for some short form podcasts and I was rewarded with some hits!  Using the Downcast podcast app on my phone I’ve assemble a Morning Commute playlist consisting of a series of 8-12 minute podcasts.

Downcast Website

I’ve configured Downcast to only keep the latest episode of each podcast making the playlist a custom radio talk show with the most recently and relevant (as curated by ME!).  Downcast automatically updates the playlist podcast when I open it.   I’ve built the playlist to take slightly longer than the average commute meaning I can get stuck in traffic now and again and still be learning until I pull into the office building.  Good stuff.  If you spend time commuting I recommend you give this a try!

Morning Commute Playlist



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Turning employees into stark raving fans

A simple idea with difficult implementation.  Making your employees stark-raving fans.  The issue?  Leadership shortcomings.  The value of turning employees into fans can’t be better expressed than in this blog post from Tony Robbins:

ARE YOU TREATING YOUR EMPLOYEES LIKE RAVING FANS? – You might be surprised by the results

“Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision” – Tony Robbins

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Hiring smart people


“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs

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Some people were raised by wolves | Why we can’t have nice things

Yesterday was a sad day.  LLBean, the iconic Freeport Maine-based clothing company, had to amend its famous return policy:

WHO DOES THIS?  Who thinks it is appropriate to go to a yard sale, buy a pair of used slippers and return them to LLBean?!  IF your family is hungry/homeless I could understand.  Somehow I doubt the perpetrators of this failure of integrity are down on their luck; rather, they are immoral opportunists.

How you conduct your affairs matters.  The Golden Rule is relevant to all of us in all situations.

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The importance of integrity

Most of what we do in life and business is done without legal or contractual cover.  In this wild majority of situations you are trading with your integrity.  Your integrity and the effect it has on your overall reputation is incalculable.

The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. Dwight D. Eisenhower


My integrity means everything to me.  When I make a commitment I want people to feel they can take it to the bank.

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