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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Autonomous Vehicles == Low Value


In “The race for autonomous vehicles is over.  Silicon Valley lost.” John McElroy (Twitter: @Autoline) makes some excellent points.  Here are my cliff notes:

  • Some companies are based on 10% margins
  • Some companies are based on 40% margins
  • Manufacturing at scale is HARD and requires years of DNA development
  • Innovation at web scale/speed might be best done in Silicon Valley
  • The battle for the the Autonomous Car itself is over; Detroit won.

The battle the the REAL prize; the data generated by people and families as they use Autonomous Vehicles is just being considered.


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Alfred 3 = Awesome


Macs without Alfred installed are… broken.


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