Week of September 5, 2016


“No man needs sympathy because he
has to work, because he has a burden to carry.

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” 

Theodore Roosevelt


“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead,

and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” 

Albert Einstein


Lucky or Smart?

The Roman philosopher Tacitus once remarked that  “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”  It may be one of the more regrettable aspects of human nature that most of us attribute our successes solely to our own merits, but we blame our failures on the deficiencies of others or, just as often, bad luck.

A Cornell economics professor had the tension between competence and luck brought home to him in a personal way during a medical emergency which he survived only by sheer, simple unadulterated luck.  His narrow escape led him to contemplate the competing roles of luck and merit not only in life but in business.   His findings? Both are involved in achieving financial success; but the relative influence of each will take most of us by surprise. 

If your aspirations include a high net worth, this short article,  “Why Luck Plays a Big Role in Making You Rich” , is well worth your time and may help you achieve your goals…as long as you’ll give luck its due!

The Memo You Should Have Written

Information technology has done much to “flatten” organizations.  Sadly this change has often not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in the CEO’s competency regarding IT in general, and IT Security in particular.    Many CEOs (think of the heads of Ashley Madison, Target and the Clinton Campaign) have learned this to their sorrow; to say nothing of the thousands of CEOs whose systems have been hacked and data held for ransom.    

A big first step for any CEO in understanding and managing IT Security has recently been offered by Vistage Speaker, IT Security Consultant to many Vistage members and Ethical Hacker Mike Foster in an outstanding guide  A Practical to Cyber Security and Their Executive Teams.”   

Mr. Foster has helped you get a conversation going about this topic by offering a sample memo that CEOs can edit and send to their IT teams (see page 9)

This is probably a memo you should have written already; don’t let it be the one you failed to send. More information about Mike Foster can be found at his website:  www.fosterinstitute.com

Labor Day Entrepreneurship

It’s hard to think of Labor Day without thinking about the traditional barbecue that so often accompanies this holiday. Many of you may be using the Weber Kettle to cook the day’s feast.  You may not know it,  but this humble device created a great business and remains a great example of American entrepreneurship born of a businessman’s dissatisfaction with the way things are, plus a little luck in the form of an indispensable offhand comment from his next door neighbor.

While you’re waiting for the charcoal to get going on Monday, take a minute to read this short offering from the Smithsonian  The Story of the Weber Grill.       

Mentorship Moment

On Labor Day, it seems appropriate to remember those who helped us along our career path.    Basketball Fans need no explanation of the photo below.  (If you’re not a fan, the picture on the left shows a young Kareem Abdul-Jabar and his mentor,  UCLA basketball coach John Wooden in the late 60’s;  on the right, escorting Wooden at an event recognizing the latter’s incredible career a few years before Wooden’s death at age 100.   Among other things, Wooden won 10 NCAA championships in a 12 year period.) 


Have you recently reached out to your mentor recently with a “Thank You”?


Econ Recon: Your State’s  800 lb. Gorilla..And The Bull Runs On!

Your State’s  800 lb. Gorilla:   Do you know the biggest company in your state, or the states where you do business? Check out the graphic below by for the answer.


And The Bull Runs On!:   The stock market has been running at all-time highs.  Is the market due for a pull back?  Not according to Economist Brian Wesbury who thinks The Bull Market Has Further to Run.  You may be surprised by his prediction for the S&P index by year end.