Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Starbucks are Marketing Geniuses

How does a coffee shop become an international juggernaut of a corporation? Great marketing and okay coffee. Starbucks are masters at branding and using social media for free advertising.

The whole writing a customer's name on the cup is brilliant idea. Since a large percentage of Starbuck's customers are millennials who can't survive without attention; they post a picture of of their moco-latte-frap-a-whatever to Instagram and Twitter before they take their first sip. Instant free advertising. One person I know has a theory that Starbucks employee's intentionally spell people's name's wrong just to give them reason to share their branded cup on social media.

But the latest social media buzz around Starbucks is pure genius. Now that a major customer demographic is worked up over President Trump tightening up Syrian refugees from entering the US, Starbucks CEO makes the statement that Starbucks will hired 10,000 refugees worldwide over the next five years. 

With one simple press release. Starbucks is on the 24/7 news networks, talked about on talk radio, blogs about on blogs, and hash tagged the crap out of social media. The social justice warriors who smashed the windows out of a Washing DC Starbucks last week are now all #Starbucksisawesome on Facebook. The people who have never stepped foot in a Starbucks before, who are outraged by the announcement, are now going to boycott the coffee shop they have never been to. #StarbuckshatesMerica 

Everywhere you look, Starbucks and it only took on little press release of a statement that sounds big. But doesn't amount to much at all.

Let's take a closer look at that statement. 10,000 hires over a five year period. As of 2016, Starbucks has 24,646 locations and 238,000 employees. What does 2,000 refugee employees per year amount to? How long will do these new hires have to stick around to count? What is the average turn around of a Starbucks employee? Will the first ones you hire even still be working for Strbucks in five years when they hire the 10,000th? How will they keep track? How will they prove that in 2022 that Starbucks did indeed hire 10,000 refugees? Starbucks is an international corporation, who many of these refugees will be US hires and how many overseas? What qualifies a person as a refugee anyway?

Will anyone remember this statement from Starbucks five years from now and hold them accountable to show the world if they made good on their promise? 

Well, it gave Q1 2017 sales a boost. Starbucks are marketing geniuses.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Little Things Matter

You know how Facebook has that annoying habit of reminding of stuff you posted a year or two again and suggest you post it again? Apparently Facebook thinks we're all like Hollywood. Out of original ideas and have to reboot everything.

Yes, I see the irony of the above statement while I post the below as a blog post. Just that I think it's something I  did at work that is worth noting here.

When he's not on the production floor, one of the Sample Techs pretty much always has a Mountain Dew in his hand. He worked into his lunch to get some extra parts molded for me, so I could send them off for testing before this afternoon.
When he placed the parts on my desk, I handed him an ice cold Mountain Dew as a thank you.
It is a small gesture that only cost me $1.25. But it showed my true appreciation of his effort and will bolster our working relationship. Well worth a buck & a quarter.
Little things like that can change the dynamics of your professional & personal lives. A simple smile, holding the door, and a sincere "thank you" are easy to do.
Just reminder; insincerity can be spotted a mile away. If you do things like this solely for the gain, it will backfire on you big time.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

You know we have it good, when you're outraged over what might happen

As some of my more liberal friends like, share, and post stuff in support of the women's march going on in DC right now, I can't help but think how good we really have it in America. From what I've seen from my couch today, the gathering on DC is very impressive. Even more impressive when you figure they have absolutely nothing to be outraged about.

When the motive of your demonstration and  the focal point of your outrage is that the new President might be a threat to you rights, based on your emotional reaction to him being elected; things are pretty damn good in your life.

Many in America used to demonstrate because of actual oppression. Now days it's over the potential of it. Sorry uber liberal women, having to pay for your own birth control with your own money is not oppression. It's something called responsibility.

Now is Trump a great choice for our President? Nope. But as the election has proved, he is the marginally better option between two normally un-electable choices presented to us from the two major political parties. Barely marginal.

But I may be wrong on that, for after all, I'm not a woman. Since I'm a male, I may not see that just become a woman won the popular vote for the Presidency, women have been nominated by this apparent sexist pig of a President to Cabinet level positions, roughly half of the Supreme Court of the United States is female, along with many members of Congress, State Governors, a woman CEO of a major corporation ran very good Presidential campaign under the flag of the evil woman hating GOP party.......

I'm sorry, while listing off some examples of accomplished women, I forgot what the problem was.



Oh yeah, Trump's going to destroy the world because he's said mean things...... If you need me, I'll be hiding under a blanket in my safe place.

It may be the best time to make a big deal out of something when something isn't a big deal.

After reading it again, I almost deleted my post on my thoughts regarding the women's march on DC. It sounded condescending and I was afraid my point would be missed. The point I was making is it truly is a great time if all activist have to be protesting a potential problem, and not a real one. But the more I thought about it, I decided to just leave it.

While I was doing that pondering another great point entered my mind. That thought was a peaceful protest, such as the current mark on DC, that is preemptive in nature IS the best time to protest.

Figuratively speaking, why wait for a fire to get out of control before you reach for the fire extinguisher? Put the fire out when it's still controllable. Takes a smaller amount of effort and less damage is caused.

It may be the best time to make a big deal out of something when something isn't a big deal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Muscles are weird.

I am not by any stretch of the imagination big on exercise and working out. While I am in decent shape, there is plenty of room for improvement. With that said, I do take some pride in one habit.

For several years now, I have walked at least a mile or two everyday. Now it's moved  more towards hiking. For one, I grew tired of walking a half mile or mile down my road, then go back to my house. And most of all, there are some really great hiking trails close to my house and on my way to and from work that run along the St. Croix River.

With winter here, and the snow and lack of daylight that comes with it, I try to cram my exercise routine in on the weekend by going on longer hikes and "rucking." Rucking is the new trend (or at least new to me, I'm usually a good 4 years behind the game) in workouts in which you carry a weighted backpack while walking or hiking.

I've been doing more and more of this with noticeable results. My endurance, along with the pace of my hikes has increased. I now typically hike at least 5 miles each day of the weekend while carrying a moderately heavy pack.

But muscles are weird. Last Saturday morning I made my usual hike of roughly five miles with pack weighing around 20 pounds through a trail covered in about four or five inches of snow. It was a decent workout, but I felt fine afterword,

Then Sunday I cross country skied for the first time this year. Went maybe a mile down freshly groomed Nordic style trails. Two days later my legs still hurt.

Muscles are weird. Use the same ones you use daily a little differently, and they freak.

Monday, January 16, 2017

What happen to Mondays?

What happen to Mondays? I used to be one of those weirdos who absolutely loved Mondays. They were great! A clean slate. Afresh start. A time to get back to being productive and conquering all the tasks and challenges my work week dared lay before me.

But over the past year or so, I've slowly became, well, normal. The average person who spends the last half of their Sunday dreading the next day. Monday.

How did this happen? Why did I allow this to happen? Most importantly, what am I going to do to correct this?

The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude."


I allowed others to change my attitude towards my work. That was a mistake I need to correct. I like what I do for a living. I should look forward to working everyday. Otherwise I'm wasting my time not doing what I want to do.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Inspiration





I have really gotten into hiking over the last year or so. It's now to the point where I watch a lot of videos on hiking and hiking gear on YouTube. I even started posting my own.



As I've mentioned before on this blog, my new found obsession with hiking has me pondering giving a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail an attempt. By watching videos on the AT, I came across this one.

It's a long video, so I won't expect you to watch it. But if this man doesn't inspire you, check to see if you have a pulse.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The little liberal that cried hate.

While scanning through the internet news headlines, I saw a few articles about a planned event at a California University being canceled at the last minute due to protesters.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative blogger / journalists / activist / etc. had an event planned at UC Davis. But protesters caused such a scene, the event had to be cancelled.

Here's a link to an article about it on LA Times' website  


Now to be completely honest, I don't know much about Milo. I've seen memes and stuff from his Facebook page being shared on Facebook. But that's about it. I don't follow him anywhere, or have even read anything he's written.

But man alive to the folks on the far left scream hate about him. They say he's a bigot. They say he spews nothing but hate speech. As the LA Times article above illustrates, they are so intolerant of him and his views, they will go out of their way to shut him down. That scares me a little for two reasons.

First, the far left are becoming like the "Little Boy Who Cried Wolf" in a way. They scream "hate speech" and "bigot" at everyone they disagree with. Others come running to see whats wrong only to find this "bigot" really only has an opposing view, then they go back to what they are doing.

This "hate speech" and "fake news" craze we are currently in is starting to wear thin with folks. Each time someone yells "that semi- pseudo-celebrity is a bigot" fewer and fewer people respond. Sooner or later, people will ignore the outraged left. Then what happens when there really is a wolf, or in this case a popular bigot spreading their hate?

The second reason is pretty much the opposite. Attacking everyone who disagrees with you the enemy to what's moral or correct is a very dangerous thing if people start believing you. Fueling intolerance in the name of tolerance and the greater good is how some terrible things happened through out the course of human history.

Taking a totalitarianism approach to getting your beliefs and values across is a dangerous thing. Especially if you'd take the time to listen to the opposing view, you'd find out those you want to censor and silence agree with you on 85% of what your core beliefs are.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flashback Friday: I Boycott Boycotts


Yesterday on the way to work there was a quick story about how word has gotten out about an L.L Bean executive who donated her personal money to the Republican Party. The news story continued that there are people on the far left who are calling a boycott of L.L. Bean.

That reminded me of a post I wrote back on 07/23/2013.

I Boycott Boycotts

Seems with every social or political issue flare up, comes a boycott. Don’t buy shoes from this store because their owners support abortion. Don’t buy gas from that station because their parent company extracts oil by fracking. Don’t buy this company’s product because they are against gay marriage. For every dividing issue in this country, there is at least one boycott or counter-boycott.
We are even taking up boycotting, or going out of our way to support entire states based on their policies regarding gun control, immigration, and a host of other issues.

This is a pretty stupid way of voicing your opinions if you think about it. The reason why the social issues that divide us are so hard to resolve is, well they divide us. They are not right or wrong, black or white in nature. The have a lot of maybe and gray mixed in to make a resolution palatable for everyone.

And there lays the problem. The big social issues, that never go away, typically divide us down the middle. Not always 50-50, but even 60-40 is close enough of a spread to prevent any real solution. And that is the reason why I feel it’s dumb to boycott for social-political reasons.

While the owners, and or Board of Directors, Shareholders, Union Leaders, etc. of corporation may take an official or unofficial stance on an issue; that does not speak fully of the employees. While a CEO for example may be for or against a social cause of your choosing, it’s reasonable to believe that 40% to 60% of the people who work for them agree with you. And who are you going to hurt more by not buying that $4.00 latte or $40 pair of jeans?

I do not wish to imply I don’t boycott. I do refuse to buy from or use the services of certain companies. But it’s not because I have strong beliefs that vary from management. I boycott mainly for poor service, poor quality, or for price gauging and other unethical business practices.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The White House not the Blue House

The other day was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. And in a way to honor out men and women in blue, buildings other structures were lit up in blue. I'm not sure where, when or why this trend started, but it seems more and more common to light sky scrappers, bridges and government buildings in one color or another for some reason or another.

As one would expect, the White House did not partake in this. Also as one would expect, there was a fair amount of criticism for this. After all, the White House was lit up like a rainbow flag not too long ago.


The White House was lit up like a rainbow flag a while back. There was criticism over that too. Much of it was by the same people who are criticizing about the White House not being blue as few nights ago.

Personally I don't think the White House should have been lit up like the rainbow flag. I also don't think it should have been lit up blue either. Or any other color for any other reason.

It should just be the White House. The home and working office of the President of the United States of America. That building shouldn't be used to celebrate, remember, or recognize something. It should just be the White House.