News Round-Up

September 2011

+ Another milestone – 500th post –  #501 post October 3

+ Business challanges – Be positive and be realistic 

+ Getting it done – planning is fine – the real test is getting the project off the ground

+ Tried Google Chrome for the Internet….have always used IE ….Chrome is very good!

+ Textile manufacturing still exists in NC….with high value products.

+ The real story behind the new Amazon Tablet (Kindle Fire)….not the Fire itself….but connecting the Kindle to other Amazon products and cloud.



My first real job was at The Boeing Company in Seattle, WA in 1962. I was in the missile division….a first start in aerospace.

I left Boeing….went into the Air Force….eventually assigned to a ballistic missile program  in southern California….the center of the aerospace industry.

Work/career went in a different direction. Fortunately, an opportunity to get back into aviation by learning to fly in the early 80’s (in MI). My first aircraft  was N8432C….the Piper Cherokee in the photo.

Aviation is a vital part of the economy….airlines….business avaition….private aircraft. Many companies use business aircraft to successfully run their businesses. For the most part, while some top-end a/c are ultra luxurious, the day in day out a/c are nice and functional.

N842C remains my connection to the aviation world and surprisingly is hangered only an hour away from Cary.


A New Pace

Tom Ehrich wrote this:

All around us, the pace is speeding up. We must take that into account in leading organizations.

For example, just months after seeming on top of the world, Facebook is entering a strange crisis – irritating its users with recent changes in news feed, losing its special edge, seeming more a commodity than a special place to be – all in the period of a few days.

Facebook’s leaders will rally – they made a major announcement this afternoon – but it’s a sign of the fast lane that up to down to up can seem to happen overnight.

Another relatively mature company, Netflix, made a single increase in prices and immediately began to implode. Hewlett-Packard is said to be meeting today to oust its CEO – just a year after hiring him.

Technology startups now measure their window of opportunity in months, not years. College athletic conferences seem to be realigning daily. Television shows being rolled out this week will have two months to find an audience. A new restaurant, a longtime restaurateur told me, has six months to make it or close. Some movies lose their luster after two weekends.

Web sites mature faster and need to be refreshed every few months. Books seem to cycle through the best-seller lists faster. Colleges change presidents faster; baseball managers change pitchers faster.

And on it goes, a quickening pace that sweeps up everything, even things that seem timeless.  No one gets a free pass, not even entities that declare their intention to go slow or not move at all.

When the people we serve are caught up in this fast pace, when the needs we intend to address are changing scope and character faster, when our financial fortunes seem to fluctuate faster, there is no Go Slow button we can push.

While it is nice to reminisce about the good ole days….they are exactly that….the ole days.

Businesses/organizations operate in a speed world.


No. 1?

Raleigh again is a good place to be….according to Business Week.

We moved to Cary….a suburb of Raleigh in 1986. Raleigh and Austin, TX were our choices….both very similar and little snow!

Austin or Raleigh are both very nice and great places to live….and good business environments.

The only problem being #1 is that either a city stays there or moves down a notch or two.


U of M Ross School of Business

Creating new businesses is the most effective way of growing an economy. The University of Michigan’s Business School is pretty good at that. They were recognized as a top business school in entrepreneurship by Entrepreneur magazine.

During my days at that U of M that was not the case….most carreers were centered around Fortune 100 companies….Ford, GM, Chrysler were of course the major companies in Michigan.

While my original path was to follow that large company model….Ingersoll-Rand….I eventually went into an entrepreneurial family business. Perhaps way ahead of times.



A recent article in the Muskegon Chronicle reported the passing of a Muskegon industrialist….Gerorge Cannon. Muskegon was and to some extent is a manufacturing town. In the 50’s….60’s….70’s….manufacturing was centered around old-line manufacturing….like Campbell, Wyant, Cannon….a cast-iron foundry. Eventually many of the plants….closed or were merged with other companies.

The Cannon name however still remains….Cannon-Muskegon. Cannon-Muskegon is still in the foundry business….now it is high-tech….high-value metals….like those used in turbine blades.

The success in manufacturing or any business/organization is the ability to change/adapt to a changing environment. It’s not complicated….yet not every organization has the ability to do it.

Dave’s Burger

New from Wendy’s

Wendy’s (fast food hamburgers) has just brought out a new burger….Dave’s Hot ‘n’ Juicy Cheeseburger. The reports indicate that Wendy’s spent considerable time in developing this premium sandwich.

We frequent a local Wendy’s – a Sunday dinner….two baked potatoes….two senior drinks (free). Tab: $2.13! A great deal.

Wendy’s can’t compete with McDonald’s or even Hot ‘n Now. They have a market position that is OK….now they have to upgrade their stores….they are need of it.’s

Just an Observation

Gifts & Money

We went to a Greek Festival last weekend….plenty of food….Greek music/dancing and a scattering of booths….selling an assortment of trinket type gifts. The emphasis was on the food and the fund raising from the sponsoring organization.

It seems like there are several Greek festivals throughout the year….and the same gift vendors probably participate in them. They of course are not fund raising….this is a business for them.

The observation is this: The products are ordinary….though some related to Greek-type products. Price mark-ups are high. Bartering is OK. I suppose some folks enjoy doing this….and some people buy….mostly impulse….caught up in the moment.

Are these booths really worth the effort?….from a buyers view are these products that worthwile….especially when a sign proclaims – All Sales Final.


Constant Change

Best Buy was expected to do very well after Circuit City closed. That has not been the case. While concentrating on fairly large stores….Best Buy has been impacted by on-line retailers….especially in electronic sales.

Best Buy may not be the best buy….Amazon has it….other reputable on-line retailers also.

Best Buys strategy has to be one of adapting to a changing business model. Electronics are easily compared and bought on the Internet….appliances a different story.

Best Buy to survive must adapt….otherwise it may be on the Circuit City path.

Sunnyland Farms

Pecans – Plain & Fancy

In the mail was the annual Sunnyland Farms Pecans Catalog….along with other appealling nuts….fruits….cakes….candies. We receive the catalog every year and it’s a great reading experience.

The products of course look outstanding….pecans being the star attraction. What make the catalog unique are the stories of the Willson family….the company….and the employees woven throughout the catalog.

Not only are you buying the products… are buying the company experience. In a encompassing way….the customer is brought into the whole process.

I have yet to purchase from Sunnyland….though the pecans and cashews look very enticing.

The take-a-way: A family company (63 yrs.) with excellent products and superior marketing (mail order catalog).