The best blogs or vlogs or art of any kind are an act of generosity. They offer a point of view, insight, encouragement, something interesting or even something beautiful. The worst try to sell you something: "And that's how the Dalai Lama approaches conflict. And speaking of conflict, how often have you seen people conflicted [...]
Being overwhelmed is a terrible state. It is essentially chronic panic. People in a panicked state don't think clearly and tend to make bad decisions. The thing about being overwhelmed is that it is by definition temporary. You can't spend your entire life, or ever more than a few days, overwhelmed. What is overwhelming usually passes [...]
There is an old joke in business: Good/Fast/Cheap. Pick any two. What if you took one off the table? What is everything you offer has to be good? Then it can be fast, but not cheap. Or it can be cheap, but not fast. So you get paid well for working under pressure (which feels good), [...]
It's probably not enough to know the tax code better than most other accountants. It is helpful, it shows that you are a serious and competent professional. But in the end clients don't care. What they care about is how you make them feel. That you take the time to carefully explain a matter, to [...]
Today I was described as "prompt." So I have that going for me.
I view my career as a marathon. I plan to work until I am not physically able. Alternatively, I plan to die in my sleep or while having sex. In order to accomplish this goal it became clear to me that it is imperative that I take care of my body. I go to the [...]
Since starting my own business in July 2001, just weeks before the world changed in September 2001, there have been no shortage of, um, challenges. 9/11 itself was one of the first. There has always been some problem, some obstacle. This Gloomy Gus really summed it up for me: "There are no pleasant surprises when [...]
People (not me) take vacations in August. Europeans take almost the whole month off. God bless 'em. I took Friday off to watch a little golf at the Northern Trust. And I have jury duty next week. So guess who is working all weekend? This guy. Ah, self-employment. Why did I do this again?
A lot of people really enjoy gambling. They play the lottery and bingo, go to a casino and play the slots or blackjack or roulette. They love the bright lights, the excitement, the risk. I am not one of them. I own my own business. Every day is a gamble. Am we getting calls for [...]
I inspected an industrial property the other day, one location in dozens (maybe hundreds?) of locations owned by this company. The company has got to be one of the most vertically integrated businesses in the world. They design, the manufacture, they distribute, they print point of service signs. They print one million labels a day. On [...]
Law: one of the best ways to relieve stress is to take action. You will be surprised at how a wildly intimidating project or situation becomes merely a challenge after a few well-placed hammer blows. Jump in with both feet. A couple of hours of focused work can change your world. Corollary to this Law [...]
Apropos of my recent blog on Pickleball, I owe the sport a debt of gratitude. The great delight I took in running in circles, in making fast cuts, in chasing and returning little balls led me to an inescapable conclusion, one that I had long suspected. My spirit animal is the Labrador Retriever.
I played Pickleball last week. I am going to a Kenny Chesney concert next week. These two things have one thing in common: I was only vaguely aware of them. But after I said yes I was opened not only to the things themselves, but the attitudes and cultures surrounding them. The Tribes, if you [...]
I am not old enough to remember party lines (I am not sure they were ever used in the densely populated New York Metropolitan area) but I do remember phone books. Now a relic ignored by all and probably threat to the environment, phone books were at one time revolutionary. Before the invention of the telegraph [...]
Social Entrepreneurship is a business concept that places public good over corporate profits. A lot of businesses have been founded on social entrepreneurship ideals in recent years TOMS is a well known company founded by Blake Mycoskie that donates a pair of shoes with every pair that's bought. Jacqueline Novogratz founded Acumen, which provides "patient capital" to [...]
The United States Gross Domestic Product will exceed 5% several times in the next six quarters. Health insurance regulations will be rewritten and national association offerings will lower costs and transform the industry. Wages will rise sharply. The Murphy Brown reboot will be a spectacular failure. Robert Pastorelli cannot be replaced. We will still be [...]
It is a tough business, real estate appraisal, especially the kind of work that I do. The data can be scattered and imperfect. All I can do is be reasonable, logical and credible. It would seem, for example, that it is not credible to be above or below the price range expressed in the data. [...]
To date I have published almost 300 blog posts. Recently, I started publishing a blog every day, seven days a week. And I love it. Writing is deeply fulfilling and I hope I can offer some encouragement, wisdom and insight. And maybe bring a smile. Maybe. It bothers me that my writing is often not [...]
We have all seen them. Perhaps you worked at one. Or work at one currently. My condolences. Huge, bureaucratic companies where no actual work gets done, unless you consider attending meetings to be work. Or preparing packages and presentations for meetings to be work. How did things get this way? How do they make any [...]
I assumed fulfilling my request was not a problem. Mostly because it is your job.
Miss Karen and I visited the Morgan Museum to see Drawn to Greatness, Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection. The exhibit had sketches from some great masters, but the work that intrigued me most was this one: It is called Fantastic Castle at Twilight. The artist, I was surprised to find, is Victor Hugo, author [...]
McDonald's recently reintroduced Chicken Tenders, a crispy fried chicken breast treat. And promptly ran out of them. For an entire month. Because they were too popular. To make Chicken Tenders one must have chicken breast meat, batter (which is mostly flour, eggs and spices) and a deep fryer. None of these ingredients are in short supply and every [...]
In my defense, the wreath seemed secure.
This week I spent several hours making telephone calls and sending messages to get automatic subscription charges removed from my company debit card. At my hourly rate this made absolutely no sense. I should have just let Pandora charge me $4.00 per month ad infinitum. We are not rational creatures.
Winning isn't the only thing, but it is the only thing that gets archived.
I have an affliction. It is incurable. It was first identified by The Buddha, who called it Kapicitta. Today we call it monkey mind. The incessant chattering of internal monologue. Monkey Mind sufferers are easy to spot. They can't sit still. They can't finish a task. They walk into rooms and forget why they went there [...]
Give away money. Want to grow? Take a risk. Want to get better? Make a mistake. Want to make art? Risk embarrassment. Want gratitude? Visit a children's hospital.
Where is the modern Algonquin Round Table where artists and thinkers from a variety of disciplines come together to discuss big ideas? Where are the coffeehouses of Vienna where the likes of Jung, Freud, Zweig, Klimt, Loos and Adler would get together and toss about some bon mots? Where are the non-fiction Central Perk, Cheers or [...]
I take issue with modern psychology. Sure we want to uncover repressed issues and deal with them, but discussing a problem ad nauseam hardly seems like the path to peace of mind. After all, nothing makes a wound fester like scratching at the scab. Let's say you bought a baby cobra (yes, a cobra, stick [...]
My extended (including boyfriends) family is planning a pre-Halloween outing this Saturday in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Last year Miss Kelly and her friends stumbled upon The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, where volunteers create sea serpents, dinosaurs, a train and yes, the Headless Horseman Himself using hundreds of carved pumpkins. Unbeknownst to us, the Blaze [...]
Listening to Spotify's Labor Day Cookout Mix, a song by Jill Scott song came on that caught my ear. The chorus was: Living my Life like it's stolen. Living my Life like it's stolen. Living my Life like it's stolen. Living my Life like it's stolen. Wow, I thought, what a profound lyric! Exciting, stolen [...]
Marketing is simply a way to get attention for your business, charity or organization. A way to stand out from the crowd, to create a story that attracts customers to your door (or website). Some gimmicks are personal in nature: Slash's top hat, Angus Young's schoolboy outfit, Richard Simmons' striped short-shorts, Steven Tyler's scarves. Some [...]
He is old school. His partners are old. They don't use email. Those kind of guys. I sent my proposal. He pushed back on the fee. I stood my ground, and he agreed, but he had to convince his partners that I was totally worth it. I did my research and analysis and wrote up [...]
All virtues have a vice flip side. Thrift can turn to greed. Self respect can turn to pride. Righteous anger can turn to wrath. And so it is with marketing. Marketing is meant influence behavior, to change people. Through empathy, generosity and vulnerability, trust in the marketer grows and the student-customers can be influenced to [...]
Look, your business is complicated. You have to know a lot to do your work. But listen to yourself. When you are talking to a lay person, how much jargon do you use? How many initials or acronyms? How many [shudder] buzz words? You don't have to dumb it down, just use plain English. So [...]
You may not be familiar with the initials ACC. ACC is Anthropogenic Climate Change, more commonly called Man-Made Global Warming. There are a lot of people who are deeply and sincerely concerned about the effects of ACC, and rightfully so. The stakes are high. Without taking a side, however, it is clear that ACC supporters [...]
I am pathologically prompt. Five minutes before meeting time is what I consider on time. I think it is a sign of respect. But it is probably just insecurity.
I don't want to name the item or the company, it is a brand I respect. It is not Delta Airlines for goodness sake. I bought eight of the item three years ago and recently bought two more. But the new ones were different, flimsier, cheaper. I rarely post reviews on Amazon, but this time I [...]
There are some fine blogs out there, well written, thoughtful and authoritative. Too bad nobody reads them. They are just too long. I realize that Twitter's 140 characters may be too few to make a fine point, but holy smoke, 500 words? Every day? Here's a hint: if you write something so long that the reader has [...]
Here is what you can control: How you spend your time, one day at a time. Your attitude. The rest is out of your control. So don't spend any time thinking about it.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Boston Properties Inc. Executive VP Raymond Ritchey pointed out, “...The millennial generation [is] moving out of the cities, forming households, having children, looking for better schools and that's going to drive rate demand in the suburbs.” Want to know how to predict the future? Follow the hype and say the opposite [...]
Miss Karen and I went on an impromptu pub crawl last evening, exploring parts of the Jersey Shore that we have not visited in some time. The fact that it was early on a Monday night speaks volumes about our thrilling social life. A lot happened in a couple of hours, which I will share with [...]
Yesterday on my way to get lunch I passed two restaurants and one retail store in a nearby strip center. All three businesses had Help Wanted signs in the windows. This is admittedly a small sample, but we have seen some solid economic growth in the past several months and both legal and illegal immigration are way [...]
We have several clients that send us a constant flow of small projects. They send the address of the property, some details about the assignment and a contact name and telephone number by email. Usually I reply, "We will take care of it, thank you." But from now on I am sending this guy:
The short answer: Nothing, we tend to blow things out of proportion at night when there is nothing else to think about. Here's an exercise worth trying. If anything is giving you anxiety, that oh-so-special tightness in the chest, especially at night, write it down. Two weeks later read what you wrote. I guarantee you will [...]
I have never regretted passing on a piece of business. However, I have deeply regretted taking on a piece of business.
Want success and happiness? Do these things: Smile. Say thank you. Be responsive. Be friendly. Take a personal interest in your coworkers and clients. Stick to your knitting. Not all work is right for you. Develop a list of professionals you trust and refer, refer, refer. The client you refer will be impressed with your [...]
It is springtime and the Gagliano back yard is the scene of an ornithological Battle of Thermopylae. It is mating season and it is time for the Robin Rumble. And these little guys really go at it. They battle briefly and return to their corners, eyeing each other coldly. Until one guy makes a move. [...]
As you know, The Ol' Prophet is keen on technology and productivity. Here are some recommendations that may help you get more connected and efficient: ToDoist This little gem of a Task Manager is worth its weight in gold. ToDoist works on all platforms: Apple iOS (there are iPhone and iPad apps), Android, Google Chrome, [...]