2014 Scorecard

I do it every year. Right about now, I go back and look at the prediction page that I wrote in early 2014 and see how I did. The unfortunate part? I let you see, too.

First I need to remind myself and everyone that it was just one year ago that I was named ‘Emperor of TimTech’. Actually, I think the technical term is CEO but let us not quibble. An incredible experience, I expect there will be a post about that in the next couple of days.

The prediction post that I wrote a year ago (cleverly named Predict 2014) is right here. You can see for yourself what I wrote. This is a recap of it.

TE’s

I predicted 200 new ones would be launched and 300 would fail or fade into insignificance. I believe I was low with both numbers. I did say that there would be a few that would make a long term impact, and I’ll stand with that.

Safelists/Mailers

I started with this:
“I simply can not imagine that there will be as many mailers launched in 2014 as there were in 2013, but I predict that there will be.”
I blew that pretty badly. There were WAY more mailers launched in 2014. The simple fact that most of them are so small as to be useless, and that a huge fraction are simply abandoned is testimony to the glut in that market.

PTCs

I predicted that the launches would continue unabated through the first quarter of 2014 and that there would be an explosive correction in that market. I was right, and from the perspective of a year it looks like it was a very easy call. I was the only one that made it however, and I’ll call that a huge win.

So. It was a so-so prediction list. Lots of things happened that I didn’t predict (who saw Lords of Lothar coming??) but I got enough right that my next prediction list will be out in the next couple of days.

For the year 2014, I published 118 blog posts on this site.  There were enough outside this site to make it very close to an average of 3 per week.  I like it.

Happy New Year’s friends. Be safe out there today, tonight and all the year long!

I’m just sayin’

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Practice

I actually started this the day after Christmas.  Other things kept pushing it back…

I got to watch some cool stuff today.  I live on a longish cul de sac or a short dead end street.  There are 16 houses on my street, and 4 children all girls.  2 boys, (I think visiting Grandma for Christmas) with brand new Razor Scooters.  Obvious Christmas presents.

I was standing outside when the smallest came out with his scooter.  It was a beautiful day, so I got a cigar and settled in to watch.  In about a minute, big brother came out with his brand new scooter.  Big brother was maybe 7 and little brother maybe 5.  I fully expected to see big brother ride around and the little guy struggle.  I was wrong.

Big got them side by side on the smooth street (we have very low traffic, and very smooth rubber capped streets that just don’t work in snow country) Big showed him how to put his hands on the bars, and how to put one foot on the scooter and push with the other.  Then he told little to try.  He did, and not very well.  Big showed him what he did wrong (more accurately, how to do it right) and they turned around to make another pass by Grandma’s.

It went on for half an hour.  Big very patiently showing little how to get better and better. And it worked.  Little got better by the minute, it was fun to watch.

So?  You just can’t overestimate the value of a mentor in business, either.  Somebody that has been there, done that can shorten your learning curve significantly.  It’s the way it really ought to work.

And what else?  I went back out an hour or so later.  Little was out there practicing his butt off.  He had gotten MUCH better in 2 hours.  I know he worked for at least 3 hours that day.  I’m sure he is doing tricks by now…

A little hard work and sweat goes a long way for your business and mine, too.

I’m just sayin’

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Stupid is as Stupid Does

I hope I’m not telling a huge secret here:  I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandler.  I regularly and routinely do stuff that makes me look like I’m as sharp as a sack of hair.

If I let it, my life could be a continuous stream of excuses.  I don’t like them, and I try real hard not to use them.  But…

For reasons that are just best left unsaid, I ended up on the day after Christmas with no coffee in the house.  That’s not quite accurate, I had roughly 2 cups left from the last pot yesterday.  Who knew that ALL the stores would be closed on Christmas???

4 hours, two cups of coffee.  I was just ready to bolt for the store when my buddy came by with a bag of coffee that had been made surplus by his wife’s new Keuirg coffee maker. Yay  (Yes he knew about my plight)

Now it is two hours later, I’m at the full line on coffee, and I can sort this out.  I doubt this will happen again (there really were extraordinary circumstances involved), but there were things I could have done even on Christmas Day.

1.  The local Starbucks opened at noon yesterday.  They not only sell made coffee….

2.  The service stations/quick stops have some sort of coffee for sale.  (Price and quality do not enter into a discussion of OUT)

3.  At least 2 of the regular coffee drinkers at my house would have been more than happy to gift me some beans until the store was open.

So, I had options.  For whatever reason, I didn’t consider them in the face of an emergency.  Back to the bag of hair.

I had multiple options that could have and should have come into play.  I just couldn’t think the problem through to a logical conclusion, I fixated on a poor substitute.  My business is like that sometimes.  I need to consider a much broader solution to many problems.

I’m just sayin’

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Merry Christmas!

I wish you one and all the very Merriest of Christmas.

I wish you (and everybody) Merry Christmas not to denigrate your beliefs, or to elevate mine.  I am sensitive to the diversity of one and all, and believe most sincerely in your need and desire to honor your own way.  That is how it should be.

My Merry Christmas to you is based not so much on a religious belief, but on a feeling of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.  All men and women.

It’s possible, I think.  Peace on Earth.  But it will take concerted effort on the part of a great many people.  Merry Christmas is my little bitty part of that.

So I mean it when I say it.  Merry Christmas.  Everyone.

I’m just sayin’

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“Turn the Page”

For the last 15 years I have had old folks to take care of and look after in my life. Yesterday I discovered that my aunt had died since the last time I had seen her.

How do I memorialize Haroldine June Haynie?  In the last 15 years I watched her memory go completely away.  She hung on and clung to some, but most was suspect at best. At least 4 times I took her to Walgrens and she told me it was the first time she had been in the store.

She was 91 years old, and got her final wish in life.  She died at home, in her bed.

At some point, she was nasty to everyone she knew, me included.  But, you see, I remember her as kind and caring.  She was that, once.

She had seen so much in her life.  She was in second grade when all the students in the little school she went to were rushed outside to see an Aeroplane flying by.  She flew on one to Australia.

She and her husband took my Grandfather and Grandmother to visit the old ancestral home in Virginia.  (My Grandfather was born in Kansas after they had been gone a few years)   They ended up doing a 10 month tour of the US.

Born in Pendelton, Oregon on June 18, 1923.  The eldest of 8 of which 3 are still living.

She was waiting tables at a local restaurant on December 7, 1941.  She had just heard of the attack before she went to work, and turned the radio on for the customers in the restaurant.  One of the memories that she kept was visiting the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

Her first boyfriend was a guy named Rex Manchester.  He rode an Indian Motorcycle and died in a Hydroplane crash years later.  That was one of the memories she didn’t keep (but my Mother did).

She smoked for 75 years, and was annoyingly proud of the fact.

She was the local campaign manager for the John F Kennedy campaign for president. She has a signed photo of JFK with her youngest daughter.

This comes out as a list of what she did.  She was much more than that.

She never owned a cellular phone.

I’m going to miss her.

I’m just sayin’

 

 

 

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Hey. Pssstt.

Hey.  It’s almost Christmas.  I am lured back to Christmas 1961, I was 10 years old.  My brother and I knew for a fact that there was no Santa, but didn’t slow the anticipation in the slightest.  In fact, may have revved it up, we had specific available targets to present our wants and needs to.

10 is a funny age.  Starting to grow up and understand the way of the world, but still so damn clueless as to be comical.  Still a kid, but you could see past that at times…

I knew at some level that my father’s farm hadn’t done too well that summer.  We’d lost our winter wheat crop and the spring wheat substitute never does well.  I was to learn first hand that losing a winter wheat crop guaranteed losing money for that year….

But it did’t stop me from wishing for a 26′ inch bike.  I was big enough (maybe) and I KNEW that it represented freedom.  I had a 24″ that my Dad had bought from somebody at a cattle auction, and I lusted for the freedom of a big bike.

I knew the chances were slim, Mother had already prepped the two of us for underwear and socks for Christmas.  Didn’t matter in the wish department.  It’s funny, but I don’t remember what my brother was lusting for that year.  I do know that the Sears Christmas Catalog was battered completely into submission by Christmas Morning.

So.  0500 December 25th, 1961.  We were well warned to stay upstairs until 0500 under penalty of death.  We probably woke up around 0400, and quivered with anticipation of the day.  Down the stairs and there is stood on it’s side stand.  The most beautiful bicycle that Schwinn has built before or since.  And it had TWO speeds.  Of course it was red (If you knew how red motorcycles I have owned in my life it would frighten you).

Then I looked outside, I wanted nothing but to get on that bike and ride.  It had snowed over a foot.

Logic and good sense said that I wait to ride.  It only made sense.  No way to ride that day, it was supposed to warm enough to melt the roads down in a day or two…

So.  After we all had opened our gifts, (My oldest sister got the doll she wanted, I remember THAT).  It was time to milk.  We only had one cow fresh at the time so it was all up to me to get that task done.  I put on my winter clothes and went out to do my chores.

While I was milking, my dad went out with a SHOVEL and cleared a track maybe 100 yards long for me to ride around.  I know today that my father funded that whole Christmas with borrowed money, but it took maybe 20 years until I understood the REAL gift that morning.

Merry Christmas

I’m just sayin’

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My Time

Shortest day of the year.  I hate it.

I love the night, i really am an amateur astronomer. But I hate the darkness, as if that makes any sense at all…There is just too much of it this time of year.

Today marks the start of what it historically a horrible time of year for me.  For about two weeks I’ll be churlish, short and undependable in general.  Whether or not you will be able to tell is the mark of how well I battle with this particular demon.

Astoundingly, it has absolutely nothing to do with the holidays, except for the excessive cheeriness of everybody that I meet.  That irritates me.  It just so happens that Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah and New Years fall right into my time.

No, for me it is somehow deeper than the holidays.  What do I do about it?  I have stuff scheduled all through the next two weeks, I WILL NOT let it tear me down.  If I schedule things I get them done.  Otherwise….

I’m just sayin’

 

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Cardinal Sin

So.  Today is the biggest game of the year for my local favorite NFL team, the Arizona Cardinals.  The Cards are 11-3, a full game ahead of everybody.  Why then has nobody (and I really do mean NOBODY) picked them to win the game tonight against the rival Seahawks?

Because nobody knows how the Cards have stacked up such an impressive record. They have suffered devastating injuries and a lack of respect all season.  On Thanksgiving day one prominent national pundit said “Arizona won’t win another game this year”,  They were 8-3 then…

So.  Overwhelming odds, given no chance by anybody, what will they do?  What they have done all season, play a football game and see what the scoreboard says at the end.  You see they KNOW it’s their turn.  They believe in one another and don’t give a tinker’s damn what anybody else thinks.  Find a way to win is what they have done all year.

Which is kinda sorta the premise to Seth Godin’s new book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn.  It’s a terrific book, I recommend it highly.  The answer to the question?  Pick yourself and go for it.

Godin’s book is NOT available at your local bookstore.  You can only get it here.  After 17 bestsellers that have paid him incredible piles of money, he decided it was time to distribute a book the same way that information is passed.  Horizontally, peer to peer.  An unbelievable change, a big risk, he took his turn.  Has it paid?  Yep.

Go Cards

I’m just sayin’

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Spirit of Christmas Present

I love the US Postal Service, I really do.  They bring personal stuff to my house 6 days per week.  And for the most part, pretty promptly.  A very worthwhile government agency.

It’s not the post office, but the people using it that I have a bellyache with today.

I got three pieces of mail yesterday.  I got a Christmas Card, which is always surprising to me because I haven’t sent a Christmas Card since 1978.  Not a one.  It is one of those things that I just quit and stayed quit.

I got a nice post card in the spirit of Christmas from my ISP, Century Link.  My shitty internet connection is going to cost me $2.00 more per month starting in January.  Merry   Christmas to you too, Century Link.  What corporate genius decided that the week before Christmas is a good time to raise rates?  Same as last year, matter of fact….

The third one is the one that really bothers me.  National Cremation Society.  I have a unique need in this matter, as I have donated my brain to Stanford University.  When they first asked me, I was flattered.  The most prestigious University in the US (take that, Harvard) wanted my brain.  Then they explained it was due to my having Narcolepsy, not due to my recognized genius.  Oh well.

Oh, yeah.  The National Cremation Society.  How in the hell did I ever get old enough to get a letter from the NCS?

I’m just sayin’

 

 

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