Week of October 10, 2016


“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”


Abraham Lincoln


The Edge of Stupid

This year’s presidential campaign has prompted WSJ Columnist Peggy Noonan to ask why both presidential candidates and their respective campaign lack the depth and character of earlier years.   


It’s easy to say it’s the candidates, but Noonan thinks they are the symptom, not the disease.    The real cause according to the former Reagan White House speech writer is “too much information and too little thought”  which she feels have driven the electorate in general, and Millennials in particular, to what she calls the “Edge of Stupid”  not only about politics, but other important areas of life.  Take a moment to learn about the “Politics of the Shallows.” 


Retiring at 40: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Habits

Baby Boomers are understandably concerned about their looming retirement and whether what they’ve set aside will get them to the finish line.   Some Millennials, however, have already checked out. These aren’t software entrepreneurs who went public and cashed out with a bundle; they’re quite ordinary folks with extraordinary habits.  These four brief case studies from Bloomberg show how they did it.

“Stand and Deliver” V2.0

Two hundred years ago, highwaymen would stop coaches in lonely areas and advise the passengers to“stand and deliver” their valuables.  Today, hackers advise you they’ve already taken your valuables (i.e. your data and access to it) and all that remains to be done is for you to ‘deliver” the ransom to regain your data.   

Call it “Stand and Deliver V2.0 .” According to HBR, half of US Companies faced this situation last year;and so may you…unless you’re prepared.

The CEO of online backup company Carbonite has some guidance for C-Level executives whose companies can be instantly paralyzed by this tactic.  Check out his short article from HBR so you won’t have to “stand and deliver.”

For additional information on avoiding this, check out Ethical Hacker and Vistage Speaker Mike Foster’s website.


Econ Recon: 

Inching Optimism: The third quarter Vistage CEO Confidence Index is out!  Your fellow CEOs share their outlook for the year ahead in a series of infographics with accompanying links to deeper dives on the economy. The general sense of your peers is one of an economy inching optimism.  Check it out!

Not Great, but Good Enough……:   Economists Alan and Brian Beaulieu of ITR Economics have been waiting for some data on corporate profits before updating their blog.  The numbers are in and their opinion is that things are not great, but good enough….   

…..or NOT:    Other economy watchers, however, are less sanguine and see a slowing bond market as an indicator of a slowing economy

By the way, if you’re in construction (commercial or residential) or in a business affected by itITR has a webinar coming up (at a nominal cost to participate) that should be viewed by anyone doing business in these sectors.