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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Winter Parades

There is an old saying in these parts during the winter. "It's better to be going slow wishing you were going faster, than going fast wishing you were going slower."

We had some snow today. Nothing much, just a few inches. But that was enough to slow things down on both my commute to and from work today. I don't mind it too badly. I now longer have to fight traffic on the city traffic interstate anymore. It's just country two lane highways now. So even when we all get in line and go 10 to 15 mph below the posted limit, it's not so bad.

But when the roads are clear and you're driving about 35 mph in a 55 zone, there are 32 cars backed up behind you, and on coming traffic is spaced out normally and going a good 20 mph faster than you; it should tell you something.

Now if your that driver by no means I'm I demanding you drive faster. If 35 mph is as fast as you feel comfortable going in those road conditions, by all means that's all the faster you should be going. But when it looks like you're leading a parade, then you should have some consideration to the world around you. Pull onto a side road and let the others pass on by.

That way more experienced winter drivers can get on their way. A long line of cars is just an accident waiting to happen. Sooner or later someone in the middle of that line is going to loose patience and try to pass five cars to get around your over cautious self.

Potentially your patience may cause someone's lack of patience to get them into a wreck with someone who's only fault was being positioned in a winter parade between the two of you.

Besides sparing an innocent bystander from getting sideswiped; you won't have the additional stress of having 32 vehicles getting increasingly impatience with your poor winter driving skills.

If you feel I might have described you as the winter parade grand marshal type, and you feel slightly offend; please don't. You are not the worst of the winter drivers out there. That would be the guy who thinks it's a great move to pass the snow plow on a winding two lane road.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Liberal Media 101: Keep Millennials Busy by Being Angry Over Nothing

Facebook's trending sidebar makes me laugh at times. I find it pretty interesting what they decide to place there to encourage their agenda pushing outrage.

Take for example a link they were pushing to a billboard.com article about how some gospel singer was refusing to apologies for calling gays perverted.

First off, how is that news in the first place? Is it really something to be surprised by? A gospel singer does not share the politically correct "we all must accept everyone for everything or else your a racist, sexist, fill-in-the-blank-phobe" mentality. Well, knock me over with a feather. I am shocked and outraged by what I should expect from a gospel singer. Why did billboard.com even post an article like this in the first place? Why should anyone care? Secondly, why is Facebook pushing this non-news news in it's click bait trending side bar in the first place?

The answer is simple. To work up the simple minded social justice warriors, of course. Let's ignore the real issues in the world around us, and focus our pity intolerant spiteful anger at people whom we disagree with. That is the liberal media way after all.

Keep the Millennials busy by being angry over nothing, so they'll ignore the real issues. That way they can keep as many of them as possible in the camp when the grow up not knowing any better.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Another Example of How the PC Mindset Makes People Racist

I belong to a couple of internet gun forums. Besides wasting countless hours of time that could be used for productive things. My time on them has also created many online friendships and I have learned a thing or two. But most of the time, I'm left shaking my head at some of the stupidity out there.

I shouldn't be shocked. Like the saying goes "look at how stupid the average person is, then consider half of the world is dumber than that." Then when you add the Politically Correct mindset into the mix, things go downhill from there.

On one of the forums I search through every few days was a discussion of how bad the image on the site's landing page was. The image is of a few males dressed like poster boys for a tactical gear outfitter. The are all in mid laugh and one is holding a handgun. The image provides the feeling of a couple of friends or colleagues enjoying some comradery on the gun range.

A new member to the forum has decided to make a post critiquing this image. For in his opinion, if you look at the image at just the right way, it looks like the barrel of a handgun might be point at one of the models in the image.

Of course gun is clearly not. Not to mention the slide of the gun is locked back, making it unable to fire, and there is no ammunition magazine in the gun. But in an effort to promote safe gun handling, this new member is requesting the owner of the social site replace the landing screen's image.

"Safety Sally's" are common on gun forums. With good intentions, they point out every safety violation and annoyingly everything that could be misconceived as a safety violation "just in case." There biggest argument is "if an anti-gunner saw this, they'd use it against us." I believe many of them are the type of person who would advocate wearing a helmet while driving a car. Because one can never be too safe.

Then it went politically correct......


Apparently the image is not diverse enough for these two marketing experts. Until I read this, I had no idea that an image of three white physically fit males could only be a picture members of the Law Enforcement or the Military "communities." Got to through in the cozy "community" designation to give it a feel that members of a demographic all live, work, and play together in a quaint little sleepy town with white picket fences and no crime or traffic.

Also I had no idea that any given demographic will not be interested in a product or service unless they are equally represented in all forms of product advertisement and placement.

I guess the major pistol manufacturer that has a huge market share in the industry, largely based on its marketing strategies over the last 30 years need to listen to these two. The company needs to redo the picture in question and be sure to throw in the token black guy and elderly Asian lady, so they won't appear to be racist. And for safety sake, and not to give the anti-gunner's any fodder, maybe just leave their product out of the advertisement all together. It would be the PC thing to do...

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Gift Bags are the Bomb

As the holiday season is behind us, my heart is still warmed by the fresh memories. Like how much better gift giving is now that I have completely transitioned to using gift bags.

Open the bag, drop in the present, cover with scrunched up tissue paper. Bam, Done.

I held on to wrapping a few presents with wrapping paper for the nieces. For it was fun watching them tear into the paper. But both of them are getting to the age where that novelty is less important.

So gone are the days of cursing the paper because I cut it a quarter of an inch too sort to cover the box, or the folds look like crap!


I even skip the labels and just write who the gift is for on a lightly press strip of Scotch tape. That way whoever get the present can reuse the bag without missing with replacing or covering the label. That's just shows how thoughtful I am.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Yeah! Boo....

Last Thursday was a big day for me at work. After roughly fours years in development, one of the most troublesome molds I ever had to deal with was finally ready for PQ (Performance Qualification) the final step before the mold is production ready.

The mold is ran at a different facility that I normally work at and there was some concern about the tool passing PQ without some grunt work upfront and some additional support at start up.
So I spent the day working out of a conference room at the other plant. I was at the press first thing in the morning. I was present during setup. Once the tool was running, I was out at the press every 20 minutes or so to check in with the Operator. I checked in with the Quality Lab to see how the in process inspections were looking. I stay a good forty five minutes past my normal quitting time to make sure things would be handed off at shift change.

At the end of the day, there was no need for me to be there at all. The first of three PQ runs went off without a hitch. I even made a celebratory post to Facebook to friends and family that I was having a celebratory "bump and a beer" to cap off the milestone.
Then I went to work on Friday.

Mid morning I got an email from a production manager at the other plant to inform me that the PQ was stopped due to a problem with the automation. A 6 axis robot with a custom fixture on the end is used to pick the molded part from the mold and place it on a conveyor belt. This was not working properly. No big deal, automation could fix that and we'll be off and running.

Then I got another email to tell me there was some problems with the part ejecting from the mold. But that was followed by another email from a Process Engineer to tell me they already had that fixed. Sweet.

The rest of the day I had no news, and no news is good news. Until the end of the day the Quality Engineer for the project informed me that the second of three PQ runs was stopped because the parts didn't pass cosmetically and they were not able to make adjustments at the press to correct this.


Sorry if this post is dry and boring due to too much technical jargon. To translate the engineering talk into English: I thought a pain in the ass project at work that's been going on for four years and has caused several people to quit their job at where I work was completed. I prematurely celebrated a victory. Now I am back to not being close to done.

Murphy lured me down a dark ally to kick my ass.....

Friday, January 6, 2017

Glad Someone Corrected One of the Worst Memes in History



"Just because you're right, does not mean, I am wrong."

In the case of is that a 9 or a 6, yes, Yes if one is right the other is wrong.

That original meme drove me nuts for that very reason! One of them is right and one of them is wrong and they need to get all the info to determine who is right so they BOTH can move on knowing the truth.

Ones side of the argument being correct and the other side "agreeing to disagree" solves nothing. The person who i wrong is still wrong. 

They learn nothing. The don't improve. They continue to make the same mistakes. All while most likely blaming the side that is correct while they do it.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

How cold was it at your place this morning?

How cold was it at your place this morning? I can't stand that question. I was asked it today by the one guy in the office who makes the ambient air temperature at everyone's residence a competition.

I don't why it's something he likes to brag about if the air is two degrees colder at his house than it was at the guy's in the next cube. It is not an accomplishment. He didn't make the air two degrees cooler.

Seriously people. Stop bragging about the cold. You live in a house that's well insulated and heated by a furnace that runs automatically. It's not impressive.

I told him it was the same temperature as it always every morning, 64. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Really?



A few days ago, our shipping department sent a mass email saying they having three boxes that came in from one of our other plants and they didn't know what they were for. I went back and found the three boxes. Sadly, they weren't joking.

If only they were labeled attention to...  somebody... I can't make up stuff better than this.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Business Fund Raising



There is a locate gas station that had to have their in ground fuel tanks removed, due to insurance. The story I was told is their insurance company wouldn't cover their aging tanks. Per small town gossip, there are of course, several versions varying in several level of detail. I'll leave that out.

Long story short. The gas station stopped selling gas and started asking for donations to help cover the costs of the new tanks. This had me torn.

First off, I wanted to help them out. I want to back the small town business. But then I was kind of put off by them asking for donations for a business expense. Granted it was unplanned, but still a business expense. It seemed weird, but in this GoFundMe day and age, I shouldn't be surprised. Just wondering how long before this is an accepted practice. Local restaurant asking for donations to seal coat their parking lot? Just seems like someone not good at business begging.

But then again, I want the small business to succeed. Just because the are "not good at business" doesn't mean I should shrug my shoulders and say "oh well." Maybe helping out a struggling small business that is just starting out will give it a chance to become " good at business" and allow it to prosper.

So, like many I gave them a donation. It's the small town thing to do, right? Neighbors helping neighbors. Seemed weird, but whatever. I want them to succeed.

Well flash forward from last summer to this winter. The gas station has brand new above ground fuel storage tanks, and the owners bought a second gas station... so the rumor goes.

I know I shouldn't post this until I confirm the purchase is true. But let's just say, I'm not happy at the rumor. Can't afford to upkeep and maintain the store you have, yet a few months later can afford to purchase a second store?

Events like this make me more and more unwilling to help others. Which is what really upsets me. If I don't have trust and faith in others, what really do I have?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Perfect morning outside

This morning I went for a mid morning hike along the St. Croix River. It was refreshing. I wish I got into hiking (especially in the winter) a long time ago. So fun to see the fresh snow on the trail and in the trees. The stark contrasts from the pure white of the new snow to the pitch black of the icy waters of the St. Croix on the stretches were the swift current keeps it open from ice.

I also wish I brought my camera on this trek. Not to mention the beautiful landscapes I could of caprtured images of, I had some nice photo opportunities for deer, grouse and bald eagle.

Oh well, it was nice to be outside all the same.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Thanks for the memory, Facebook


Thanks for the memory, Facebook.
Five years ago my advice to the world and to myself is still true. How good 2012 ended up for you depended primarily on you. Same holds true to 2017.