Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Sunday Musings, 1/23/11

Sunday musings (tip o’the hat to J-Bird!)

1) Oxymoron. Mature boy.

2) Vision. My dog, a border collie/aussie shepherd mix, climbed up on my kitchen table and ate my work project. That’s right…my dog ate my homework. As if that wasn’t enough she also ate my reading glasses.

The irony of that is simply too perfect for words.

3) Candor. Do you have any management responsibility? Any direct reports? How do you manage criticism? Do you reward candor? Honesty? I’m always looking for an expanded vocabulary to both understand and explain things I do, or would like to do. Here’s a good one:

“In order to promote honesty and candor among staff you must offer ‘umbrellas of grace’, reassurance that candor won’t be punished.” William Hubels.

I would add that candor leavened with kindness is an invaluable trait in people who work for you.

4) Marketing. I just read the Slate article on P90X and Crossfit. Pretty light fare, if you ask me. I also read through the comments that followed. Deja vu barely touches the ennui they provoked. Best quote: “Is it possible to be supportive of Crossfit without being ridiculed as a fanboy?” P90X is cool, even if you are a Crossfitter. Think about it. You are a Crossfitter and you understand the value of actually WORKING during your workout. Compared with what you see in most settings the folks who do P90X do waaaay more work than, what, 90% of other workouters? You should be fine with that. Really.

The fun part, I think, is drilling down into the business of P90X (not too hard since it’s pretty standard marketing stuff) and Crossfit. I have been a student of the Crossfit business model from day one, and an unabashed fan from the start. Really. The business started in pure “react” mode, Coach and L responding to their clients’ requests/ideas/demands near and far (make a website, give us something to study, come teach us this stuff). In contrast P90X was corporate marketing 101 from day 1. No knock there–it’s certainly successful. Just much less INTERESTING for my mind.

Crossfit is a virtual company, one without a central location, with growth initially and still mostly viral in nature. Now both reactive and proactive as it moves into adolescence, Crossfit Inc. still appears to be very much a work in progress. Nothing more than the marketing style is greater evidence than this. Crossfit has been marketed like Facebook has been marketed, just earlier and with more sweat involved.

These are smart people doing stuff that is really new and different in business. Do you run a business of some sort? What can you learn from Crossfit?

5) Need. Mrs. bingo and I watched a rather disturbing movie last night, “Winter Bone”. Very impressive acting by the lead. Hard to watch, what with all of the privation displayed, hardships open to view without airbrush. The movie instantly became a part of my ongoing education in the vastness between ‘want’ and ‘need’. Compare the stated goal of the 17yo heroine–I can’t keep this family together if I lose this house, with the bleatings of some Gen Y’er in the WSJ yesterday–“we face a bleaker investment future that our parents did”.

Seriously, he used the word ‘bleak’. We have ‘evolved’ as a people in North America where someone, presumably with a straight face and in all seriousness, uses the word ‘bleak’ in the context of his potential lifetime ROI. That type of navel gazing is part and parcel of a society displaced from the concept of “need”.

Food, shelter, and clothing. We’ve mostly licked those issues in North America. That’s why a movie like “Winter Bone” with its unsparing depiction of a life in America still focused on food and shelter is so disturbing. A former partner’s son took his life last week on the day that his house was re-possessed. And yet, his family had already been re-sheltered, the ‘need’ covered. I’ll not cast aspersions on this young man and his tragedy; I do not for a moment pretend to understand it, and please trust me that Clan bingo has had much too much close experience with this sort of thing to be dismissive or disrespectful. I only bring it up in order to marvel at those who persevere, when all seems lost and hopeless, in the pursuit of real needs.

Look around you today. What do you need? I’ll go out on a limb and say the truth is ‘nothing’. We have 20% or so of the income of 5 years ago, 5% of the net worth, and yet we live in abundance chez bingo. Heck, we have a washer, a dryer, and a dishwasher! Mrs. bingo and I always said that we would be grown-ups, we will have made it when we have a washer and dryer of our own! And yet even those are simply ‘wants’ that are closer to our needs, but are still ‘wants’, nonetheless.

Look around yourself today. See that all of your needs, your true needs, are more than covered. Want what you need. Need what you have. You have it all. You are blessed.

Everything else is just ROI.

I’ll see you next week…

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