Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fresno State does what? Isn't that the "raisin capital of the world?"

Well, actually, no. Fresno is NOT the raisin capital of the world. Any hoser knows that title belongs to the sweet town of Selma, right off the old Highway 99 just south of Fresno!

But Fresno State, CSU Fresno, Fresno State University, FSU or whatever you want to call it did pull off the unimaginable on Wednesday night, thumping University of Georgia for its first ever national championship in a men's Division 1 sport. (They follow the women's softball team who won the title in 1998.)

Now I would be disingenius...err..umm...disambigous...uhh...I would be not telling the truth if I told you that I had been following Fresno State's baseball team all year, because I had not. I just picked up watching them after defeating Arizona State in a regional (which was a pretty big deal in Fresno--right up there where the time Carol Burnett filmed a movie downtown--a spoof actually--with the original title "Fresno"...I am sure all of us saw it...)and everyone back home was pretty happy about that win and advancing to the College World Series. Nice stuff. But who really cares about this stuff...any connection to business or life of anything else?

Well my young Jedi knights...may I offer a quote from ESPN?

"It goes to show you don't need that first-round draft pick on your team to win that national championship," left fielder Steve Susdorf said. "You need 25 guys. We were all committed to the team. No one was about himself."

Pretty nice stuff there from young Mr. Susdorf...and something overlooked by most managers and business leaders. Forget the Donald Trump nonsense where it all focuses upon an icon or powerful leader...the best firms, companies, organizations in any sector or space or those who have a "deep bench" and that bench is not full of "All-Stars" who are full of themselves and need all the attention shone upon them. Look for people to hire (or if you are looking for an employer or company, who is more concerned about excellence than who gets the credit) and hang out with them.

So who are the guys in the picture above? It doesn't matteer. Just a bunch of San Joaquin Valley kids who worked hard and succeeded, listening to a coach who was more concerned about hard work than accolades. This is a good reminder for us in business and education.

So I am going to go off into this day feeling pretty good about that little sheet of paper on my wall (well, it is kind of aged now, looking like the Declaration of Independence or the sales contract on an Edsel, turning brown with time) from Fresno State, especially after all the messes the men's basketball team and suits in the athletic department have created in the recent past.
And did I mention 48 hours from now I walk my little girl Rachel down the aisle? Yepper-Depper, that is correct, as she starts her life with a fine young man from Visalia/San Diego.
So I may need a couple of days off on writing (as if that is something new!) and will return as soon as I can. Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"I think Google is doomed"
"Google and Microsoft will flip market capitalization values in the next five years."

Well which is it? I don't really know but I do know it was a fascinating discussion between Mark Mahaney, Director of Internet Research for Citigroup, and Karsten Weide, Program Director for Digital and Media Entertainment, IDC...both really smart guys. Weide thinks that Google is toast and Mahaney thinks Google is the next Microsoft (well, actually more than MS in his opinion of future value)...

So here is the prognosis:

Google is going up because 1)They learned from AOL and Yahoo mistakes; 2) They have good leadership; 3) They will maintain their core markets; 4) They have lots and lots of cash (did I say lots?)

Google is going down because 1) They are not diversified enough; 2) Their singular profit center is too narrow; 3) They have nothing to show for their attempts at diversification to date (can you say You Tube?)

Well then, again, which is it?

I am leaning towards the view that Google has some significant problems and will not be the darling of Wall Street in the future. Are they going to run out of gas? It may take a while but I am fascinated by the battle going on between "Cloud Computing" (content) vs. "Search Computing" (well, um, err, that would be search), and who does better at which? Mr. Weide (OK, he is a European but he seemed prettty cool anyway, and he actually didn't crack any George Bush jokes, so I was impressed), says that YAHOO actually is pretty well positioned in the area of content...and that Yahoo will look better in the future than it does right now. Wow! A pretty gutsy comment in light of everything that is going on in the world of Yahoo these days.

One final comment about this whole discussion...Weide made a forceful comment that our whole fixation on engineers at the helm of the internet has about run its course (see above comments on content vs. search), and that while engineers overly dominate both Yahoo and Google these days, that the internet is becoming a media and entertainment industry, driven by consumers (that would be you), and that the powers that be better start making this adjustment soon in their companies...or they will become the next Chrysler of the internet.

Interesting stuff!


HIGH U.S. GASOLINE PRICES WILL LEAD TO "NEW JOBS" IN "OLD INDUSTRIES." What could possibly be good about these high prices to fill up the old AMC Pacer? Well missy, let's just say that shipping is a major cost of business these days, and that low shipping costs and the low value of the dollar have made importing goods a primary reason why we have "off-shored" various businesses over the past could it be turning back our way? must learn to think differently about the headlines that you read. I will fill you in soon!

Friday, June 13, 2008

So is Google dying? Yep, I heard that very thing yesterday at a tech conference...and I will give you the exact quotes and sources very soon...but for today let me comment a bit about getting a job in this environment with the Dow tanking, mortgages being foreclosed upon, gas prices through the roof, global warming, chocolate prices up, and other incredibly serious I was asked about this recently and thought I would offer an opine.
Think of the job market like a fruit tree and all of the 'low hanging fruit' has been now you have a problem. Many people would look at this tree and sit down and want to wait for months if not years to pass by, seasons to change, others to come along and prune and fertilize and care for the tree until the low fruit appears again much later...fair enough...and if this is you I would recommend you go to and get yourself a government job, and prepare to wait your life for others to determine your future...if not taking action and getting things done is your cup of tea you really need to think about working for the government (and they are hiring big time!) and pursue that route...
But there are others who would not want to wait for others to "grow the fruit"...and these ones would go find a ladder or a stool or some extension of your arm to get to the fruit...notice the fruit is still there but it just takes different tools and skills and resourcefullness to get to it...Is it easy? Is it the same? Nope, and I would recommend we just get over it...but note the fruit is still there! For instance, last year I sat in a faculty committee meeting for education at PLNU and all I heard from my coslleagues was (literally said) "there are no jobs for teachers in San Diego." (Heard it multiple times actually!) So I got to thinking...did I miss that headline that every teacher in San Diego was staying in their position, that there were no retirements, moves, transfers or openings of any kind? Of course not. What my dear colleagues were actually saying was "there are fewer jobs than in past years for teachers in San Diego" (or at least I hope that is what they were saying) and they left the conversation at that, nodding in some sort of a forlorn way, tsk-tsking the poor young teachers trying to get a job in this dismal market...So I kept silent in the midst of this woeful gathering who were content to wait for another "season" or two to pass...and went home and talked to my daughter Rachel about the great opportunity that existed because others were convinced there were no teaching jobs...and this attitude creates opportunities for those willing to go get a ladder and pick the fruit! So Rachel does all the things that we have told other students to do---a great resume, strong letters of recommendation, business dress, positive and enthusiastic attitude, tenacity, networking through friends, faculty and connections, etc.---and ends up with two significant teaching opportunities by the end of the summer. Was it easy, stress free, and not without its mishaps along the way? Of course not! But the point is despite the headlines companies are still looking for talent, drive, iniative and a positive attitude regardless of the current economic companies are always on the prowl for good employees...
So my point here is to choose between crying about the low hanging fruit or about getting your future going...I know many of you who are corresponding with me about your futures and I have full confidence in your abilities...go for it!
An interesting current article about some hot jobs exists at
And there may even be some of you who want to go "build your own ladders" (e.g. entrepreneurs)...and you know how I feel about that!
Have a great weekend all of you and be looking for the info on the future of technology and the internet was interesting stuff....
and by the way the good news is I filled up my car for $3.60 a gallon on Wednesday...and I had multiple stations to choose from...seriously...but I guess the bad news was I was in western Kansas about 2 hours from Wichita....ouch!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

SORRY SORRY SORRY about nothing new in the past 10 days as I hit the ground running on my return and some other items needed my real excuse in light of everything that has been going on in the world in business, politics, natural disasters, and the Chuck Norris trilogy on AMC. What a great actor that guy is--I just don't see where critics accuse him of being "wooden." I think he really knows his craft, in the finest tradition of Olivier, Brando and Emelio Estevez.

So it looks like Obama and McCain...such great fun! Do you think she wants to be VP? Do you think Obama will ask her? Do you think Bill would agree? Really, for those who think this is the "Dream Ticket" for Democrats I just don't know how you could be the current President and have Bill Clinton as the spouse of your VP...Obama would have very little ability to control Bill...and Bill has shown himself to stumble into a few problems in the past...and I just think it is going to be very difficult for Obama to pull off...

$5 a gas is coming soon and it may not stop there based upon the spike in crude oil this past Friday...and I say bring it on! Why? Because we are so screwed up in our priorities, starting with our willingness to bankrupt our own country to give some of most oppressive and brutal regimes in the world an oil bonanza at our expense (where are the Feminists that are not speaking to this issue? Oh, wait a minute...they are pounding on the Christians! Makes sense to me!) Where is the morality in this? Where is the justice?) Some things to think about as you are having your signature notarized at the gas pump in filling your Daewoo...

*We are converting our food sources (corn) to gasoline (ethanol) using massive government subsidies to farmers which is causing global disasters in food prices. (I think some day historians will have a field day ruminating on what happens to civilizations when they give up their food just so they can take a drive to the Starbucks to get a organic soy low fat extra hot decaf extra shot Venti Caramel Latte, and then study the pithy quotation on global warming on the sleeve and feel good about contributing to a better world).

*High prices will (may) eventually drive us to reconsider our laziness and casual attitudes towards energy and life and all of its blessings...nothing else will, and anyone who has ever driven in heavy traffic in California knows how many of us are driving by ourselves. Look, the realities of modern life--the ability to eat, travel, consume, poop, and everything else--requires tools and systems and abilities that we usually don't think about and when we do we denigrate their worth...anyone who studies this at all knows that it is the plumbers and truckers and produce clerks and electricians and farm workers that keep this whole sucker we know as the world running...and as we have denigrated them and instead hold up Angelina and Brad and whomever else is on People that week we are paying a huge price that will come home to our kids and grandkids in a big way.

*We are propping up corrupt and brutal political structures (can anyone say Saudi Arabia, Venezuala?) with our bizarre decisions to buy their oil with no control or comment on the environmental damage they may be causing while not pumping our own oil which we can do using strict environmental controls and technology? Are you willing to bankrupt your country and your own bank account to not touch the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge sites (the equivalent in acreage of a postage stamp size of land on a dining table size piece of property), or our off-shore sites, our are oil shale or wind or solar or nuclear?

*We should reconsider nuclear power just like those environmental firebrands the French (which generates about 80% of its domestic power through nuclear power.) But oh no, we haven't built a new plant in nearly 30 years and instead have fueled the rise of state-funded terrorism.

At this moment I don't really care who wins the Presidency but I do care that one of them starts to think like some of the great leaders of the past...and it would be great if the winner could think in a new way and propose a "New Deal for Energy." (OK, don't get your undies in a bunch...I am not unaware that FDR made a bunch of bad decisions as well) but could you imagine if our President would propose legislation (heck, an Executive Order could do it!) that would have us reduce our foreign oil imports by 5% per year? This would have us out of this stupid cycle of oil addiction in one generation! But instead these morons talk about "oil windfall taxes" on the US oil companies! (Who are already paying most of their profits in taxes anyway...really...check it out before you argue with me about this point on taxation).

We have to stop this addiction to foreign oil and if it takes $10 a gallon gas in the long run it will be better for us. (And don't look elsewhere for global support for our high gasoline prices. It is $8-$11 per gallon right now in most parts of Europe and Asia--we have it cheap.)

Can we at least think and talk about this issue in a new way? Instead of blaming oil companies? Or farmers? Or all the other cheap shots? Can we start thinking about what we are doing?

I encourage you to read up on this issue and start talking to your friends and exerting influence on this oil addiction and see where it takes us. Something has got to be better than what we are doing now.