Monday, October 3, 2016

A Leprchaun made me do it!

I have not written for a long time.  But today I thought I would let you know I am still alive and kicking.  First of all I feel great; a long hot summer seems to have finely ended.  I have accomplished a lot this year, most importantly making up to my wife for 19 years without a vacation.  Settle back folks let me have a minutes of your time.

Last December Eloise and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary.  As a proper husband I did the husbandly thing and took her down to the jewelry store to pick out a new diamond ring.  Every wife wants a new ring right.  I had even done some research and knew there was a ring there she would love.  I certainly wanted to buy one for her, we had after all picked out her engagement ring together, and I thought it would be nice to do this together.   Thinking in purely male terms I thought this would be an easy way to make her happy.   How could I have a problem?  You would have thought I had learned a thing or two in fifty years.  First off she was not real thrilled with the idea of getting a new ring.  She seemed have an unreasonable attachment to the one she had.  But she did look if for no other reason than to make me happy.  As it turns out I was right, she did like the ring I thought she would like.  But before I could stop her she asked, how much?

After a short silence that could be measured in milliseconds, she announced loudly, “If I wanted to spend that much money I would buy a new horse!”  The next silence went on for a long time; to me it seemed like hours, I was crushed.  I sulked for weeks.  We went home without a new diamond.

But I never give up.  I was going to do something special for my wife.  After all she is special.  She has put up with me for 50 years.    So I spent a lot of time thinking about things my wife would love and I could afford.  Afford is big part of this story.  After I had settled on a few ideas, I had to figure out which one she would accept without saying no.  My ego was already bruised enough.  Did I ever tell you my wife has a bit of the Irish in her, red hair, temper and everything that goes with it?  Oh, yes, one more thing at 70 years old she is still riding a 16+ hand horse and jumping over low fences.  In my mind the final touch is she had always said she wanted to ride a horse in Ireland.  Now I have a new plan, what could go wrong?

Back to the internet to find a horsey trip in Ireland.  It really did not take that long there are lots of choices.  I found a week long ride across County Claire from Shannon to the Cliffs of Moher.  And it was affordable, included lodging and meals.  Then I found out if you want to go to Ireland after the middle of June not only did the trip go up but so did the airline tickets.  My affordable trip was getting very expensive very quick.  Back to the drawing board, I soon concluded it was go early or don’t go. 

So I was stuck, we were going to be gone when the calves were due to be born and the first cutting of hay should be on the ground, but that was the deal.   Bite the bullet and commit to the middle of May.  So I printed off the trip and hid the cost on the first set of sheets I took home.   The conversation started something like this “We are going on vacation and you are not going to say no.” The answer was pretty simple “Maybe”.  So I hand her the sheets and Eloise studied them for a few minutes and says “OK”.  She did not ask how much?

So we start writing checks for deposits and CC charges for airline tickets.  Then we decide since we would not spend a lot of time together the week she rode, we should add days to travel around Ireland after her ride.  Then we added days to visit relatives in England and to see Scotland.  It turns out that a 6 day ride in Ireland takes three weeks.

The Diamond would have been less expensive.  Now we have time to stop at least a half dozen thing on our combined bucket list.

To answer a few obvious questions and to short this tale, Ireland is as green as they say it is.  I am not sure how they hide dead leaves.  It is possible to drive safely on the wrong side of the road.  Not forgetting is a different problem. Always stay on the road under the green is a rock wall or a bog.  Always buy no deductible insurance on the rental car.  Guinness is better in Ireland, but not as good as an average IPA.  Personal opinion you do not have to agree.  The people are very friendly and helped every time I got lost.  The Irish and Americans do not speak the same dialect of English.  If you lose a hearing aid in a lake you will never see it again.  If you want to hold costs down on your trip to Ireland do not visit the Waterford Crystal Factory, the Belleek Pottery Factory or shops that sell wool clothing.  Everyone ships to America without charging tax on your purchase.  The trip to Blarney Castle is worth the trip to see people lay on their backs four stories above the ground and kiss a stone.  I do not like heights, I did not kiss it.

Now Eloise wants to go back because I got to see things she did not see.  The answer was pretty simple no.  Next time we buy a diamond!

And I still have a least a year before she will get mad at me again.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Thoughts on Millennials and Corporate Memory

Thoughts on Millennials and Corporate Memory

I must be getting really old and cranky.  I can remember way back in the 60’s, my mind has not failed yet.  I was in college and we were told as a caring society we should stop cutting down trees and we should become a paperless society.  In fact, once, during an interview with a catalog company I told them we would have to start looking for an alternative to paper catalogs.  As stupid as that was, I still got the job, they obviously saw something I did not know was there.  But here it is 2016, the world for me is a strange and different place and I still like to pick up a letter, the newspaper, or a book and read it.  Part of the time I do use a Nook. There is something so comfortable about paper with words that you hold in your hands.  Humans have been writing on things for a long time.  Cave men wrote on stone walls and we can try to understand them today.

Tom Curry was the best mentor I ever had.  He and I used to go to lunch almost every day and he would talk casually about his experiences in business and tell me how he had done things to solve problems.  I learned a lot of things without ever knowing I was learning them. I learned about how people and things worked, how customers reacted to various stimuli and what made them upset and most importantly what not to do.  Of course I asked a lot of questions and discussed a lot of my plans.  Tom almost never said no, but he would dig a story up from his past and talk about it until I understood that my plans were not the best new thing on the block.  Not all my plans were bad, some were dropped, some even worked, but they were all made better because they were touched by Corporate Memory.

I have made mistakes in the past.  The worst ones were the ones I refused to admit.   You cannot hide from a mistake.  Almost always things can be made better by admitting an error in judgment, correcting course and moving on.  You can actually gain a certain degree of respect from the admission.

I guess what I am trying to say is I am not a Millennial; I did not grow up with a phone, tablet and computer appendages.  I think book stores and libraries are wonderful places.   I would rather play cards with my friends than my computer. There are more people like me in the quilting industry than there are Millennials.  I contact my customers with catalogs and emails so I am changing.  Most of the time an email lasts for a few seconds and a catalog lasts until it is destroyed.  There may be a time when our society becomes paperless.  It is not today or tomorrow, and I doubt seriously it will be in my lifetime.  I was wrong back in the 60’s. 

If you are new in our industry you should find your Corporate Memory and learn from it.

I never consider it a mistake or moving backward to give my customers what they want, because they always reward me for the consideration.