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Showing posts from 2017

The Future of Donuts

Friends, How will our lives be different in ten years? We’ll be older, sure, but what technological breakthroughs will drastically change the way we do things? It seems to me that we are reasonably good at predicting incremental change. When I tell folks bandwidth demands will increase, security needs will be more complex and reliability will be more important, I’m simply projecting longstanding trends. Electronics get smaller, pixel density gets larger and processors get faster. Change is gradual… until it’s not. Although I’m afraid I may not be visionary enough, here are some thoughts of what may be coming. Windowless cars. As our vehicles start to drive themselves and talk to other vehicles, traffic will speed-up and the need to stop (or even slow down) at intersections diminishes. In general, watching this as a hapless passenger is going to be scary, so why not replace the windshield with a screen so we don’t have to watch. These windowless cars would rely on artificial intelligen…

Muffins and Covfefe

Friends, I’m surprised that none of those trolling POTUS over the Covfefe tweet have suggested an acronym-related explanation. After all, he is the commander in chief, and much like telecom, the military is replete with acronyms and abbreviations. Here are some plausible explanations. ·A new top secret chemical weapon, inadvertently referenced due to an innate desire to Brag –it would explain the ensuing “oops” silence. Referenced by its chemical elements: Cobalt Vanadium di-Iron (CoVFeFe or CoVFe2). ·He may have been talking about the border wall: Concrete Obstacle Visioned to Forcefully Exclude Foreign Entry ·It could be that he was contemplating a new shorthand that packs a high concentration of superlatives. Charming Outrageously Very Fabulous Extremely Fantastic Eyepopping (which could be followed by any noun) ·It’s possible he was explaining the rationale for leaving the Paris accord: Climate Optimistic Views Fiercely Avoiding Factual Evidence ·It could also be a new telecom techno…

Designer Donuts

Friends,
A brand is a powerful thing. It succinctly conveys a large range of attributes, often charged with an array of values and emotions. By and large, brands stay within the narrow confines set forth by the company’s primary line of business. Tide, BF Goodrich and Starbucks are all examples of rule-abiding brands. They are well recognized, yet their association is specific to soap, tires and coffee -respectively. Sometimes, brands transcend. These special brands are generally synonymous with an attitude or a lifestyle. Think Harley Davidson clothing or the Ducks Unlimited edition Chevy Silverado. Their initial association with motorcycles and wetland conservation have broadened to appeal to the wannabe outlaw biker and nature-loving outdoorsman respectively. Another iconic brand, Nordstrom’s, is delving beyond their comfort zone to see whether their brand appeal extends outside the proverbial big box. They are venturing into the realm of designer donuts. So, slick your hair with …

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

Friends, When I wrote this week’s Stream post making a shocking admission concerning baseball, little did I know there would be some baseball karma following me around. 6:00 AM, I leave the house bright and early, looking to beat traffic and get the best donut selection at the usual spot. Unbeknownst to me, Holy Donuts closed their doors this week for an unannounced Spring Break. Strike 1! So I decide to drive down to Habit Donuts, after all, it is not a big detour and they have some awesome treats. 6:30 AM, I arrive only to find-out they open at 7:00. Strike 2!! I’m getting a little nervous. I’m downtown, somewhat of a donut desert. Any donut shop I drive to next will be a detour. So I decide to try LaMar’s off of Santa Fe and 6th Ave. (fortunately it’s still early and I’ve got some time). Home run!!! If you decided to brave the elements (it’s really not that bad out there), your courage is about to be rewarded with some delicious deep-fried dough.
Happy Friday!

Companies Begging for Spokepersons

Friends, When you hear certain letter combinations in brand names, do you ever catch yourself thinking of the perfect spokesperson? I must confess this sometimes happens to me. Here are a few that hit me this week: Progressive Insurance – Sean Connery. It’s just the perfect combination of “R” and “S” sounds.Noosa Yoghurt – Jar Jar Binks. Yousa agree?Magoosh Test Prep – Jack Black. Think Kung Fu Panda pinky grip.
As for Holy Donuts, the purveyor of this morning’s treats, I’ve been debating between John Cleese --perfect English accent—and Frances McDonald as Marge Gunderson, the police officer in the movie Fargo –those “O” sounds are just begging to be messed with. Any others come to mind?
Happy Friday!

Donut Inspiration

Friends, People sometimes ask about the writing process for my “donut manifestos”. Many assume I have a dossier of drafts queued-up in cold storage, waiting to be used. Most are surprised to learn I usually write them when I arrive at the office on Friday morning. Granted, I sometimes get an idea early in the week, but, more often than not, inspiration strikes on the drive to work. When it comes to creativity, I think it is good to remain open to ideas. As Mo’at, the sage in James Cameron’s Avatar put it “it’s hard to fill a cup that’s already full”. Remember that meeting where you wanted to sound smart so you neglected to hear what the person preceding you was saying because you were too busy preparing your own statement? Inspiration and writing are often mutually exclusive. Once I start writing, focus demands I shut-out a broad range of new ideas. So, I try to stay open until the last minute and then I decide what to write about. Sounds risky, but I feel it’s the best approach. Sur…

Seize the Moment

Friends,
Life is a succession of fleeting moments. Between these moments is change. Sometimes, this change is imperceptible, giving us the illusion of permanence. Mountains seem immutable despite being exposed to the competing forces of tectonic shift and erosion. Sequoias, yews and bristlecone pines can live thousands of years, so we presume they will always be there. Sometimes, change is quick. Blink and you missed it. Yesterday whilst running on the lake Michigan shore, I noticed a rainbow forming. I took my camera out and snapped a panoramic photo. Before I could snap a second, it was gone. Had I not looked up at that precise moment I would have missed it. The moral of the story is to enjoy this moment, you never know what might change. The corollary is that if you see a donut you like, take it before someone else does. I’m mixing it up this morning with some Dunkin’ (keeping with the running theme, I suppose J) Happy Friday!

Of Expiration Dates, Drugs and Donuts

Friends, Expiration dates have always been somewhat ominous. Once something expires, suddenly, it’s dangerous. Expired canned food can give you botulism. Expired chicken can give you salmonella. That’s why it feels somewhat ironic that the state of Arkansas is trying to go on an execution extravaganza on account of a nearing expiration date for one of its lethal injection drugs. Drugs are already dangerous -we’ve been warned against them all our lives. Won’t letting them expire make them even more dangerous? Speaking of drugs, if yesterday was unofficial marihuana day, then today must be unofficial munchies day. Fortuitously, it’s also Friday which means there’s a dozen donuts waiting here for you. What’s more, they’re fresh, so, regardless of what’s driving your appetite, come grab one (or two) -I can assure you they’re safe.
Happy Friday!

Good Donuts for Good Friday

Friends, Why do humans have such a propensity for discontent? No matter the achievement, no matter the progress, soon enough, it’s not enough. Discontent amongst heads of state leads to war, famine, disease and untimely death. And it’s not limited to the elite. Closer to home fighting, burglary and murder seem so unnecessary and preventable. If we let it, this unfillable void could drive us all ragged. They say the average citizen in the developed world has a higher standard of living than medieval royalty, yet we demand ever bigger TVs, faster computers and more luxurious cars. This season of hope, I propose we pause and take stock of our blessings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all become hippies and settle for mediocrity -just, maybe, envy a little less. Be grateful for life, health and, of course, Holy donuts. If we all did that a little more, I think the world would be a much better place.
Happy Friday!

Attractive Donuts

Friends, What makes something or someone attractive? Symmetry, texture and contrast no doubt play a role. Social conventions, mores and tabu also factor in. Imagine. A bright sunset over the Rockies, casting long shadows and painting the clouds gold, fuchsia and orange. Beautiful. Over-the-knee boots, a short skirt and a turtleneck Casimir sweater. Hot! Me wearing them. Not so much. Whether your image of sexy is a long sleeve shirt loosely draped over a model's shoulders -with not much else on or a smooth sax solo on a Barry White ballad, I think we can all agree a fresh dozen donuts is a sight to behold. Sexy! So, to all you beauty lovers out there I say, behold the Holy Donuts -and grab one while you're at it.
Happy Friday!

Timing is Everything

Friends, So this morning when I got up (I’m off today, so I’m off to a late start), I read about a fire in Atlanta which darkened the skies, made an overpass on I-85 collapse and has created a traffic nightmare for weeks to come. As it so happens, I had driven that route less than 24 hours earlier on my way to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Wednesday night. Imagine if my flight back would have been a day later. Timing is everything! Speaking of which, as you might of guessed, I regret to say I don’t have any donuts for you today.  Still, I hope you have a happy Friday!

The Comet Strategy for Mature Products

Friends, Looking at the expiration date on my Costco multi-vitamins it occurred to me that getting 500 at a time may not be such a good deal after all. It calls to mind the Comet powder strategy for mature products. In case you have not heard the story, legend has it that P&G was looking for ways to sell more Comet to an already saturated market when a clever product manager came-up with the idea to put eight holes on the top of the container instead of six –so more powder would come out each time it was used. Needless to say this resulted in higher sales. There’s evidence of this “sell them more than they need” approach all around us. Yesterday, while having lunch at Ostaria Marco’s I found I could only eat half of my personal pizza and two of the three colleagues with me didn’t appear to make much of a dent in their gigantic salads either. I figured I’d apply the same strategy to donuts this morning. Despite the looming spring break, I figured I would not deviate from the dozen…

Green Donuts!

Friends, Has society taken St. Patrick’s day a tad too far? What with the ubiquitous Walmart t-shirts boasting clever slogans like “I pinch back” or “Make St. Patrick’s day great again”, it’s gotten to a point where forgetting to wear green can make one feel as wanted as a frequent flyer with a Samsung galaxy note 7. Then there’s the green bowler hats, shamrocks galore, parades and let’s not forget green beer. Granted, I have yet to see any green light sets for sale, so perhaps that’s a sign we can take it further. In-fact there may be a whole segment of the market ready to be tapped with leprechaun projectors for your garage door, blarney castle-shaped green candy dispensers and gag snakes to freak-out that overly sensitive colleague. It is, after all, the American way –go big or go home, I say! I can see it now: fake red beards, green feather boas, body paint kits with clover-shaped stencils and collector’s edition vinyl records with 20 different versions of Danny Boy. We can throw…

Happy National Mario Day!

Friends, It seems there is a day for just about everything. Women’s day just passed, drunken Irish day is a week away, heck, today is Mario day! Looking at the U.N. calendar of world days there are days for human space flight (April 12th), midwives (May 5th) and the succinctly named “International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination – day 4” (March 24th). Despite the great variety of themes for days (and weeks and months), I believe I have identified a void. There is no Male W.A.S.P. (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) day. Say what you will, but if typewriters get a day (June 23rd), why not the Male WASP? The idea came to me last night as I was enjoying the sunset colors and cloud formation when, suddenly, there it was. An image of a WASP that has been incessantly taking the headlines for the past few months. I won’t name names, but su…

Caught In The Act

Friends, Have you ever been caught red-handed? One late night you forget to lock your bedroom door and your child walks in on you. There is an ensuing awkward pause while everything sinks in. You rush to hide the evidence but it's too late, they've seen too much. You and your significant other, in bed next to each other, caught reading your Facebook feeds at your smart phones. The shame! Nobody wants their kids to remember them that way. Fortunately, there is no shame in consuming a donut and there are a dozen Holy Donuts waiting for you to make your move. Enjoy! Happy Friday!

Donutism

Friends, Is  patriotism love of country or pride in country? True love is incompatible with fear and hate. Pride, on the other hand, is not. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins -the opposite of humility. Pride also comes before a fall. So, does your patriotism include the fear (and potentially hatred) of other countries? If so, there’s a better word for it: Nationalism, patriotism’s ugly sibling. Nationalism leads to isolation, stagnation and, ultimately, war. When it comes down to brass tacks, it’s really a form of populism (the manipulative circus of “us vs. them”). Since the suffix “ism” can be good or bad –depending on how it’s used—this morning I thought I’d conduct an experiment. I have mixed things up and brought-in a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts to find-out how you define Donutism. I’d like to see whether you embrace these new Donuts, or whether you discriminate against them for not being Holy Donuts. Happy Friday!

Valentine's Donuts

Friends, With Valentine’s day just behind us, this morning I thought I’d attempt to write a love poem. Here goes nothing:
My eyes have gazed and seen perfection Your curves so tight Your aroma fills me with intoxication My impulses, I can’t fight
When I can’t see you, I long for the day Your absence is torture Yet fate has decided that only Friday The day of good fortune
Though my thoughts may wander a plenty When writing about thee Without you my words would ring empty You’re fulfillment to me
You’re here and I feel the elation So comely and sweet Your sugar will increase my elevation My donuts, my treat!
Alright, I’ll keep the day job.
Happy Friday!

Consistently Consistent Donuts

Friends, Consistency is important. I’m not talking about how soggy oatmeal or crunchy bacon feel in your mouth. It’s more the relationship between the white dress and the bride at a wedding or the questions that inevitably come-up when you see that advertisement for a $5,000 2016 Cadillac Escalade. We expect consistency and when it’s not there, we wonder why. For instance, when I was commuting between the Detroit and the Dallas NetEx sales kick-offs this week I stopped for dinner at a place in the Houston airport called The Local. As you might expect from the name, they boast all-natural, local, farm-grown, sustainable products whenever possible. Consistent. However, front-and-center at every table you see a bottle of Icelandic glacial water. Can you guess where it comes from? –hint, it’s not Houston. You guessed it, Iceland! You’d think if anything can be sourced locally, that would be water. Or, take the Supreme car wash. My car was extra dirty this week. So dirty, in fact that som…

It's the end of the world, have a donut!

Friends, Looking back at the news this week, a couple of two-word phrases stand-out. Artificial Intelligence and Nuclear Option. Ignore, if you would, the context in which these catchy monikers were used –winner at Texas hold ‘em tournament and senate rules for supreme court confirmation, respectively. Just put them together and what do you get? You got it! The stage is set for the dystopian events that form the foundation for the movie Terminator. Skynet becomes self-aware (AI) and launches a literal preemptive Nuclear Option against humanity. Just add time travel. As it happens, yesterday was groundhog day… and in that movie, Bill Murray gets stuck in a time loop, forced to relive February 2nd - a form of time travel. Eerie! Also eerie, is the fact that, like last week, we have Holy Donuts this morning. Alright, that may be a tad of a stretch. In any event come enjoy a sweet treat (I would have brought Nachos Supreme and bacon-wrapped bacon, but with no team to root or in the Super…

Win-Win WIN

Friends, One of the more memorable books I read in business school was Getting to Yes. Its pages contained many insights about the art of negotiation. Some of the recent headlines call to mind the chapter on “Soviet-style negotiations” -the notion that negotiations are zero-sum games. If you win, I lose. I’ve been wondering what would happen if we applied some of the rhetoric we’re seeing at the international level to a smaller scale (all tongue in cheek, of course) Californians have been migrating to Colorado for some time now, driving-up the cost of housing and, with it, the overall cost of living. Should our governor build a wall at the border to keep all those unsavory characters out?What about the People’s Republic of Boulder? They think they’re so evolved and cultured. But all the worthwhile cultural venues are in Denver. Might it be a good idea to impose a tax on Subarus coming into Denver (we all know where those come from) to help pay for what those freeloader hippies are con…

Unpredictable Donuts

Friends, Words, the basic building block of communication. The English language has over 170,000 words in current use, so it’s not surprising that some of them might not mean what you think they might -or should. For instance, if you look-up the word “dite” in the dictionary, you find it means “bit” (most commonly used in the British expression “I don’t care a dite”). So, when one hears El Chapo Guzm├ín is being “extradited” to the U.S. one might be forgiven for thinking they were giving him a bonus (he was being given an “extra dite”, if you will). Also prompted by the news, this morning I was thinking of the word “Inauguration”. If you break it down, the core particle of the word would be “augur” (i.e. to predict), preceded by the prefix “in” (a negative or privative force -e.g. inorganic, indefensible). So, in-augur-ation should mean “an unpredictable activity”. Which is an odd name for something that has every activity scripted down to the minute. Then again, come to think about i…

Donuts Are Here - What A Bargain!

Friends, This morning’s two hour version of my usual thirty minute commute got me thinking about bargains and whether there is an antonym to the word (apparently the closest is ”rip-off”). Getting less for more is not pleasant (for instance less time to write this note on account of having more time on the road). I figured there were going to be less people in the office today, however, I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of you decided to brave the roads and close-out the week strong -quite the bargain! (chalk it up to better living through lower expectations). Unfortunately, that means you get the same number of donuts for the same number of people (is there a word for that? -value?)
Happy New Year!