06/11/18

Reading – You Are What You Read

Reading, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on a coolish, slightly sunny morning in the ATX. The sun is late on station this morning.

I have been reading the Ron Chernow book on Grant.

This book is 1,000 pages and has small print. I am halfway through. It is a little dog eared from trips to Savannah, Miramar Beach, Phoenix, Charlotte. Until finished, it is my constant travel companion. I try to read 15-60 minutes every night. I WILL finish this book this month.

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06/8/18

Liars & Leakers

Washington DC is filled to overflowing with classified information, classified information which continues to regularly appear in the media from the New York Times to the Washington Post to the Internet news sites. It is an epidemic.

It is a crime (Sec 793 of the Espionage Act lays it out) to reveal classified information.

 1. Reveal national defense information to someone who is not cleared to receive it — gets you a fine plus up to 10 years in prison.

 2. If you “steal” that information, you get 10 years and a fine.

 3. If the information is classified and pertinent to US or foreign communications intel activities – means and methods – yep, 10 years and a fine.

 4. If you obtain access to classified info by means of computer access without authorization or beyond the authorization you hold, you get 10 years plus a fine.

 5. If you disclose the identity of a covert agent (of any part of the government), directly or indirectly, you get 15 years plus a fine.

 6. If you lie to the FBI or obstruct a criminal investigation about classified information, you can be sentenced from 5 to 20 years in prison.

This is some serious stuff; and, yet, it happens all the time.

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06/7/18

Employment

Employment, Big Red Car – what about employment?

Dear reader, US employment and unemployment are both headed in the right direction, but there is a concern we need to discuss.

We need to discuss the Labor Force Participation Rate. Do you know what that means?

The LFPR is the percentage of folks aged 16-64 (the labor force) who are currently employed or seeking work.

Here is a picture of what that looks like today with our 3.8% unemployment rate. Notice, in particular, the comparison between our current LFPR/unemployment rate and the Jan-Apr 2000 all time high LFPR. Therein lies the story.

LFPR

Credit Doug Short over at Advisor Perspectives for this great chart. Read his stuff at dshort.com.

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06/7/18

Rebuilding a Reputation – Uber, Uber, Uber

Let’s talk reputation, shall we?

Big Red Car here on a dark and lonely Thursday morning. Hope you are well.

So, today, we talk about Uber’s latest attempts to rebuild its pathetic reputation.

Unless you have been summering over at the South Pole, you know that Uber has replaced its founder/CEO Travis Kalanick with Dara Khosrowshahi.

Uber’s board of directors hopes that Dara K can repair the reputation destruction wrought by Travis K. [Next in the chain of succession is Coach K?]

Read this:

Dara the K, new Uber CEO

That is a hard task. How do you rebuild a reputation which is in tatters? Tatters flavored by lawsuits? Class action lawsuits.

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06/6/18

Korea Summit

Korea summit, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on a lovely Texas day thinking about the impending summit between North Korea and the United States to be held next Tuesday in Singapore.

What is at stake and what are our reasonable expectations?

A mystery man who the CIA believes was educated in Switzerland through the 9th grade. He is NOT a Harvard or Wharton graduate. He is reported to have attended Kim Il-sung University for five years. He is thought to be thirty-five or thirty-six years old.

This is the guy, Kim Jong-un who is the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the Central Military Commission and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army. Like his father and grandfather before him, he is the dictator of North Korea.

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06/5/18

Buy the History, Sell the Future

Buy the history; sell the future, Big Red Car? Huh?

Big Red Car here on a lovely Austin By God Texas day with the sun shining and the world spinning.

So, I get into a chat with a couple of CEOs, experienced chaps, who are talking about buying and selling companies.

They ask me what I think and I say, “Buy the history; sell the future.”

“What does that mean, exactly, Big Red Car?” asks one of the CEOs. He was baiting me. I took the bait.

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05/30/18

CEO Shoptalk – Pruning the Organization

Pruning the organization, Big Red Car? Huh?

Big Red Car here on a gray day in the ATX. Just let that haze burn off, y’all.

Today, we talk to and about CEOs/founders/entrepreneurs who have spent a couple of years building an organization, have some revenue, and about 1-400 employees.

You know who I’m talking to, don’t you?

You are not quite happy with everything, but you have customers, revenue, a viable product, and you’re building your company.

Now, it’s time to do some pruning. Pruning the organization.

Even the Angel Oak outside Charleston could use some pruning? Don’t you dare touch this tree. There is a debate as to its age. Some say it is 500 years old. Some say it is 1500 years old. It was there before the American Revolution.

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05/17/18

Experience, Addressable Experience

What is addressable experience? Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on another glorious Thursday in the ATX in which the sun shines, the breeze blows, and life flourishes. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all.

So, I’m visiting with a gray haired eminence former CEO who is an old pal. We get on the issue of experience.

How much is enough?

How much is too much?

How much is relevant?

How much is addressable?

It was an interesting conversation. Between the two of us, we have more than seventy years of CEO-ing. That is a lot of time, a lot of experience.

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