Another Manic Monday And Other Updates

Italy2011 015-1Yes, so it’s Monday again and there are so many things I need to comment on. Hopefully I will remember them all.

Let’s start by getting all the racism issues out of the way. As I have said many times, and each time I say it it becomes less true, I am surprised there is so much racism here in the U.S. today. But, really, why should any of us be surprised. The guy with the basketball team generates tons of revenue. And, as we know, here in America generating revenue trumps everything.

I do think the bigotry goes further. I have seen it in person in corporate America.  Almost all companies have a white CEO and a leading group of good ole white boys leading the company. This doesn’t only discriminate against blacks, but also gays and women. But, like I said, if you are making a good profit that’s all you need to do.

Until we treat all people as equals we will never be a whole society.

Another story that caught my eye and made me very happy was reading about Jodie Foster getting married to her long time girlfriend. Now, I grew up in the same era as Jodie. I had a really good friend who went to Yale with her (not together). My friend is a year older than I am, and Jodie is a few years older. Maybe 5 years older than I am. But, in the 1980s coming out as gay would have been unheard of. I think my, our, generation had a harder time with coming out than after us, and even before us. Maybe it had something to do with President Reagan who watched the AIDS epidemic happen and do nothing about it. He could have spared so many lives. He wouldn’t even say the word AIDS until he was almost ready to leave office. So, I am happy for Jodie Foster to finally come out and marry her partner. What a wonderful thing. I, myself am going through the exact opposite, but I’ll save that for another day.

Crimea? Russia? WW3? I don’t know what Putin is up to but I do think it’s a mistake to blame everything on Obama. Putin pulled the same crap with George W. and no one ever accused W. of being anti war. Obama’s foreign policy has been opaque at best, but Putin is the enemy here. It saddens me to hear all the GOP blame Obama for this fiasco. In times of crisis the United States of America should all stand together, behind our leader. Any advice should be behind closed doors.

Our economy still sucks. We are millions of jobs behind where we were in 2007. The jobs that have been replaced are much lower paying and don’t allow a family to live a normal life. That’s unacceptable.

On a parting note, I think everyone should listen to the Pope. Think and do what you can to help the needy and poor and stop being so greedy. His message resonates in just about everything in this post, and most of my posts. Do what he says.


It’s Time To Put An End to the Culture of NO; Here’s How

Image 141Job creation bill? NO. Extending Unemployment Insurance? NO. Immigration reform? NO. Flat listless economy that needs a major stimulus? NO.

I have been watching a few people I follow endless trying to get people out to Vote Blue in 2014. I want to add to their voices and ask all DEMS, UniteBlue, everyone to come together now to start preparing for the 2014 vote.

Imagine the possibilities of a Congress that actually worked to get things done for the American people? Hard to even fathom it, but the best hope we have to have a strong future is to vote out all GOP from House and Senate.

This, of course, will be no easy task. The GOP is running hard on ObamaCare and they have not lost the argument. I, myself, looked into it here in New York County in New York State i.e. Manhattan and what I found was draw droopingly horrible. To save on costs, the ACA exchanges won’t reimburse any doctor that is affiliated with a teaching hospital. You never want to go to a doctor that’s not afflicted with a teaching hospital. They are not quality doctors. Why am I bringing this up? So people will know what kind of resistance they face. I put this in the category of “things that need to be fixed.”

I want to do whatever I can to help turn out the vote for 2014. And I am asking all of you not only to vote but more. I am asking you to look to people in your community who might need a ride to the polling stations. Work with others to set up carpools. Be cognizant of the voter registration rules in your County today. Make sure you have what you need and also help others to get what they need so they can vote. Voter ID, fuck them. Get one, help someone get one. It’s only April there is time to get everything in order for the election.

We can change this, we can make the hard nosed, non thinking GOP go home and have a real live person that wants to work for our Country.

I call on everyone to help in this effort. Whether you are UniteBlue, Joan Walsh, Marko from the Daily Kos to Barack Obama to anyone that wants to see positive change. Let’s stop talking about this and start working on it. We can get rid of the dead wood and bring  America back to the shining city on the hill where everyone wants to be.

Let me hear from you; more importantly, let others hear from you. The time to act is NOW.

The two people who inspired this post and should be congratulated are Ed Hull  and Matthew Stuart  who should both be thanked by all of us. Thanks guys!

Smart Phone Rules, Take Notes

Silver decorations for horsesI am pretty sure I wrote a piece about this a few years ago but it’s time to update and refresh. This will include etiquette in general, for business, for friends and family. And, more importantly for you, the smartphone owner not being owned by your phone.

Let’s start with friends. If you are out with friends and constantly checking your phone, texting other people, emailing even more you should look for a new group of friends. The only time it is acceptable to look at your phone is before everyone is there. You can text about traffic delays or whatever. Once everyone is there the purpose of your getting together should be to enjoy everyone’s company, not to be checking Facebook or Twitter to see if people are contacting you. At the end of the evening if you are having a car pick you up or waiting for a ride home it’s totally acceptable to have your phone out. If you can’t put your phone away for a few hours to hang with friends you need new friends. Or, your friends need to dump you because you are being rude.

I should state here that when there are extenuating circumstances it’s fine to have your phone out. If you are waiting to hear a loved one’s doctors report; a child’s performance, your own doctors report. There are many things that are time sensitive, closing on real estate. All of that is in a different category and should be explained to everything attending so they will understand.

Next situation, business meetings. Turn off your phone and don’t look at it anytime you are with a client. It’s not only rude and disrespectful it’s something that can end a business relationship. The only exception would be is if you are waiting on per tenant  news regarding that client. I can’t tell you how many people I worked for who would look at their device during a business meeting with a big client. Stupid move.

Family, I think my brother put this in place in his home while their kids were growing up. No phones at the dinner table. I like that idea. When you have dinner, at home or out, no phones. You are there with your parents/children. Take a breather and enjoy what’s important.

If you are in any of the situations above and are expecting an important call/text/tweet alert people before hand so if you get up and check your phone it won’t seem rude.

The most important part of this piece is, do you control your phone or does it control you? I, for example always leave the volume/ringer off on my phone. Whomever calls, texts or tweets will have to wait until I decide I feel like looking at my phone. I don’t jump at the tone of a new email. If you are the type that does jump at every new text or email I suggest you try what I do. Keep the ringer off, check it every hour, then every 2 hours. You rule it, don’t let it rule you.

When I was in Naples a few weeks ago it was so liberating to leave my phone in the house. Like I said, I am not a prisoner of my phone, but I am used to picking it up and tweeting something. Unplugged was nice. Try it.

Are Women’s Successes Ignored?

photoI was talking to my Mother the other day and the subject of Joan Rivers came up. My Mother’s first comment was her looks and plastic surgery. My Mother didn’t know what a role model and success story Joan is.

So I will tell you. First, I might be biased because I think she is extremely funny. I have never been a fan of late night TV, never watched Carson, Leno, none of them. But, back in the 1980s (70s too maybe) Joan was Johnny’s fill in. If he wasn’t hosting the Tonight Show she was.

Sometime in the mid 80s Fox tried to become a player in late night and hired Joan as the host of their late night show. Joan called Carson to tell him about it (which he denied) and Joan’s show was launched. Carson, meantime, would never speak to her again and black balled her in all of Hollywood.

Joan’s show was cancelled. Then the big shock, her husband of many years committed suicide. So, there Joan was, penniless, no hope or prospect of a career and a daughter to raise. About 5 years later Joan got a TV talk show of her own. I remember her winning an award and the audience was practically in tears, everyone was so happy for her.

Joan went on to sell crap on QVC, create her “Fashion Police” franchise and now she is a very wealthy woman. What a success story. There are lessons here we can all learn from. To me, she has earned the right to do as much plastic surgery as she wants.

She prevailed. Are people at Harvard Business School studying her success and come back? No. Would they if she were a man? Probably.

I don’t think Madonna is given enough credit for changing the paradigm of how women are portrayed and how a woman could build an empire like she did. I personally wish she would stop trying to act like she is in her 20s and take on the role of the icon that she is. I do believe her work is recognized, but not to the effect of the difference she has made.

I believe the CEO of Yahoo being a woman gets far more media scrutiny than a male CEO would. Although Yahoo sees this as free publicity. But, is it? Or is it saying “can a woman really do this?”

Oprah is an institution, of course. I do think that she is given proper credit for the contributions she has given to society. From teaching people how to communicate better to funding a school for girls.

In my opinion Women’s accomplishments are not given the same credence as Men’s. It’s an exciting time, we have lived all of our lives with men in charge; so much to look forward to with a more equal balance or women in charge.

Why America Is Turning Into A Third World Country

IMG_2047You do hear this phrase bandied about often, from Joe Biden to countless commentators. The real reason is money.

Sounds a bit simplistic, but when you really think about what has happened to our Country in the last 50 years it does come down to money; and what we invest in in our Nation. In the 1950s Ike invested in the Super Highway system. Not only did this benefit everyone in the Country, it also produced a tremendous amount of jobs.

In the 1960s President Kennedy set a goal of sending a man to the moon and bringing him back by the end of the decade. This also was a large government spending program that created a lot of jobs. Many benefits came from this including velcro and the Internet itself. Where would we all be now with no Internet? The Billions of dollars that have been earned from it, the countless jobs created; it has literally transformed the world.

The 1970s were a bad economic time for our Country. Not to mention the first American President to resign.

The 1980s is when we started to go off track. Instead of investing more in our Country President Reagan and his administration played with the tax codes, allowing wealthy people to have many more tax breaks than ever before. As we know the net result of that is what we are going through today with the vast income inequality. But, what caused all of this was bringing in less money to the Federal Government.

Less money means we can’t even keep up with what we have in the way of infrastructure, bridges, airports. It also means there are no new investment programs to bring our Country more into the future. Hence, the downward slide.

The Trillions of dollars spent on useless wars is a travesty when that money could have been used for America’s future. Yes, we were attacked on 9/11 and yes we had to retaliate strongly. Instead we had a half assed strategy that 13 years later is still a mess. Planning? The Afghan war should have lasted no more than 2 years. Iraq? We can’t forget all of our frames of mind so closely post 9/11. President Bush had strong bipartisan to go to war in  Iraq. But, again, strategy? For the purpose of this piece I am discussing the wasted money.

What aren’t we investing in that we should? To start, fixing and upgrading our infrastructure to 21st Century standards. This includes airports, roads, bridges, schools. We want Americans to be the best and brightest and we aren’t. Because we haven’t been investing in ourselves. Think of 6 pack abs. If you don’t consistently go to the gym you won’t have them anymore. And, this is what has happened to our Country.

I don’t like it when I hear people villainizing  the rich when they are actually following the law. I don’t believe in wealth redistribution.

What to do? First, change the tax laws. Don’t let people or Corporations legally hide money overseas to keep it from being taxed. Get that money back in the Treasury. Second, close loop holes that only benefit the wealthy. Mortgage tax deduction is great, but keep it to only your first home and primary residence. Change the tax code so if you earn more you pay more. That to me is totally fair.

I am saying, change everything. Perhaps if you have a net worth of $40M you shouldn’t be collecting Medicare or Social Security. The point is the Federal Government needs to start massive future programs that will once again let the U.S. be number one in everything.

We have been investing in tax cuts and should be investing in the future of the Greatest Country on Earth!

Time For Some Ground Rules On Online Advertising ** Listen UP

Along the road in BarilocheYes, we all know that print has all but died and that online revenue isn’t enough to keep global news media outlets in business and there is a constant search for new ways of earning revenue. I get that, we all get that. However, when you cross the line from ‘advertising’ to ‘irritating’ you aren’t doing any good for anyone. Not the advertiser or the publication that is producing the ads.

If you want your brand to stick out from the crowd and have people purchase and explore your products the way NOT to do it is to bombard them with intrusive online advertising. This puts your brand and/or product in a bad light.

What needs to stop? The list is pretty long, but here are a few examples:

  • Ads that run on the left, right, top and bottom of a website. I have seen many sites do this and it’s extremely distracting to the content of the site. Today has that up and I haven’t gone to the site much because the ads are so distracting. If you are an advertiser don’t alienate your potential client base.
  • Video Pre Roll. The ads you are forced to watch before you see a video clip. This is a very tough place to be in. If you force your audience to see your message, you might find hostility is the result, not more interest in your product. Some video pre roll has an option to stop the ad after 15 seconds. Do advertisers ever ask how many people click that option? They should because it shows a potential clients interest in their product and it also shows that the news media outlet is annoying their followers.
  • Ads that come up before you can even get to the website you are looking for. Instant turn off. I don’t usually go back to sites that have that.
  • Any kind of advertising that covers the news that is on that particular site is unacceptable. The news a website is putting out should never be covered, it shows a complete disrespect for the news they are presenting and disregard for a viewers time.
  • Any kind of flashing, moving, spinning banner ads that make me feel like I am hung over.
  • Drop down ad unit that happens every time you come to that particular site. Those kinds of ads should be done once only to each unique visitor.

What’s the point of all this? First off, advertisers are alienating their current and potential client base, i.e. losing revenue. Secondly the media outlet that is allowing these kind of ads is showing desperation and turning their audiences off.

What is acceptable online advertising? I think the nicest form of online advertising is having a full page ad appear when you go to a site and click on an article. These ads are what we are all used to from newspapers and you can easily X them out and go directly to the article. I think that is the best way to introduce your brand to people. The second best way would be to have a creative, non moving, ad unit on pages that entices people to check it out.

For all of you advertisers and publications re-read this piece more than once. Your goal needs to be engagement of audience, not anger from the audience.

There is a better way to shape online advertising, keep listening, more to come.