04/30/19

Worshiping Satan With the Internal Revenue Service

OK, so I admit I haven’t been writing too much about Satanic Worship for the last few years, but something caught my eye the other day and I need to weigh in on it.

Krampus, Mask, Customs, Austria, Advent, Devil, Angry

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service recognized The Satanic Temple as a tax-exempt entity — yes, you read that correctly — challenging the adage that the only certain things in life are death and taxes. Now, if you want to worship Satan, The Satanic Temple doesn’t have to pay taxes.

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04/30/19

The Power of Competition

Competition — it’s what’s for breakfast these days.

Your Big Red Car sometimes feels like folks who are “in the fight” think they have to cede certain territory to their competitors without a fight. I am often reminded of a snippet of wisdom once placed before me by a Sergeant Major, “Lieutenant, when you get in a fight, remember to fight.”

That has always stuck with me which brings me to some interesting statistics from Q1-2019 related to advertising revenue growth, digital advertising revenue on the Internet.

One assumes that advertising revenue is owned by a few big companies — talking to you, Google. In case you didn’t know, Google has a new logo.

Image result for images google logo

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04/28/19

Great Moments in Entrepreneurship

Bit gloomy in the ATX, but who doesn’t like a few clouds? So, I have been reading several interesting books about the American Revolution. Two of my favorites are Ron Chernow’s biographies on Washington and Hamilton. They are both worth a read. I have read them both at least three times, but I learn something new every time I re-read them.

If you think these are beach books, plan on at least three months at the beach.

In both of them, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton come up for detailed scrutiny of their role at the First Battle of Trenton whereat George Washington undertook a Christmas Day, double envelopment, river crossing and attack on the Hessians in Trenton. It has been recognized as one of the most audacious military strokes in the history of the world.

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04/27/19

Joseph Robinette Biden For President 2020 — Exclusive Interview

Today, the Big Red Car sits down with former Vice President Joe Biden to discuss his campaign to obtain the Democrat nomination for President and, ultimately, his thoughts on the general election.

“Welcome, Vice President Biden.”

Image result for images joe biden

“Thanks, Big Red, wow are you looking good. By the way, where have we met before?”

“I don’t think we have, but I was born in 1966 and there are a lot of impostors out there. You would have been 24 back in 1966.”

“Well, you sure do look familiar. So where do we start, Big Red?”

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04/26/19

The Economy

Big Red Car here back from a nice tour of Savannah. Today, the numbers came out for Q1-2019. Gross Domestic Product is up 3.2%!

Image result for images savannah

[Special note to “you know who” — yes., the government fiscal year starts in October, so, yes, it would be Q2-2019 of the government year, but this is Q1-2019 of the CALENDAR YEAR 2019. The economic statistics are kept on a calendar year and it is not my fault or a conspiracy. OK?]

Folks were waiting for these numbers with baited breath because of the government shutdown of 35 days — 22 December 2018 until 25 January 2019. In addition, this impacted the first quarter, always the weakest quarter for economic activity.

This is a huge number, y’all.

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04/19/19

The Mueller Report

Sigh, a friend who constantly goads me in regard to all matters pertinent to President Trump has threatened me with physical violence if the Big Red Car fails to take note of the Mueller Report. I will try to restrain myself from discussing much of the detail, but I will touch on the process.

Robert Swan Mueller III investigating President Trump’s McDonald’s selections.

First, I believe that most reasonable people will conclude, as did Bobby Mueller, that there was no evidence of Trump campaign Russian collusion. That is, of course, the genesis of the report — “Bob, go take a look at whether the Trumpies were in bed with the Russians. Do it in accordance with the Special Counsel statute.”

Two years later, we now have the Mueller Report.

The charge then morphed into an investigation of whether the President obstructed justice. The charge to look at obstruction was focused at first, but then ran far afield during the course of the investigation.

I take issue with the process. Let us map the process, shall we?

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04/17/19

The Character Traits and Skills of the Successful CEO — Accountability

Cool day in the ATX and I like it. So, we are back to talking to and about CEOs. One of the most important elements of a successful company derives from the CEO’s creation of an environment of accountability.

Accountability is a two way street — the accountability of those from on high to those they serve and those served to those on high. Let me translate that: accountability goes up, down, and sideways.

Accountability? I’m confused, Big Red Car

OK, we have different levels of accountability:

 1. The bosses are accountable to the workers.

 2. The workers are accountable to the bosses for doing their jobs and accomplishing their objectives.

 3. Everyone is accountable to their peers.

 4. The CEO is uniquely accountable to the Board of Directors.

 5. The Board of Directors is accountable to the shareholders and the CEO.

One point that is essential — it takes a long time to develop an all-encompassing environment of accountability, but there are elements of it that should be in place from the beginning. Let’s break it down.

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04/16/19

Intellectual Testosterone

Big Red Car here after a trip to Lexington, Virginia for the Business Leadership and Innovation Summit at the Virginia Military Institute. I love a road trip and this was a good one.

Road trips give me a great chance to reflect on thorny issues without the press of other matters distracting me.

Today, I write to propose the addition of a bit of intellectual testosterone to our diets. Here is a world figure debating the wheat crop; with a trice of toadies on a warm day.

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04/15/19

The “B”s Have It — Biden, Bernie, Beto, Buttigieg

Today is the day we talk politics, more specifically, the Democrat Presidential Primary. We talk politics one day per week until the election.

[The Dem Convention is in Milwaukee on 13-16 July 2020 at Fiserv Forum. The first debate is in June 2019, only two months from now. The DNC has the campaign penciled in for a dozen debates though there were more than 40 in 2007-8 when Obama was vying for the nomination.]

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04/9/19

CEO — What Does a CEO Do?

An obnoxious friend of mine is constantly asking me: “What does a CEO actually do?” He does it on the page on the website whereat one may ask a question.

He then sends me irritating emails saying, “Big Red Car, you never answered my question. Do you even know the answer?”

He is a pest, but he is right I never answer him. Now, I will, but only because he has promised to buy me a steak at a restaurant of my choice — Capital Grille or Eddie V’s.

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04/9/19

Manliness Revisited

We are more desperately in need of this type of thinking than ever before. We need to produce MEN, not men.

We need guys like our fathers, who won World War II by kicking the crap out of the Nazis and the Japs and made the world safe. Guys like George (NMI) Washington, who founded the country, beat the Brits (most proficient army and navy of their times), and generally showed the world how the cow was going to eat the cabbage at this democracy stuff.

Maybe we’ve just forgotten what it means to be a man and need some remedial instruction.

So, here goes.

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04/9/19

Politics — Policy v Personality

We are in the beginning throes of the long dance to elect a President of the United States in November of 2020. Happens every four years. It has become a brutal ritual, an endurance test in which the entire range of human emotion is at play.

Today, we do not champion a candidate without also decrying the opposition. No revelation there. That is as old as the Republic.

Inasmuch as elections are binary (except for Ross Perot and Howard Schultz) it is not unusual for a prevailing candidate to be the beneficiary of a vote for the candidate, but, alternatively, also a vote against the opponent.

“I am voting for Madame X.”

“I am voting against Madame X’s opponent.”

Both of these votes show up in the final tally in the same manner. The successful candidate doesn’t really care.

We make these decisions — for or against — based on policy and personality.

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04/8/19

Peter Drucker

The other day I was reading a blog in which a particular management methodology was discussed. It seemed noticeably similar to Peter Drucker’s concept of Management by Objectives contained in his excellent book, The Practice of Management (1954). It got me thinking about Peter Drucker.

Image result for images peter drucker

One of the phenomenon in business, particularly in the venture capital funded startup business world, is a complete lack of appreciation that businesses existed long before the invention of the personal computer or the Internet.

I often joke, “Your generation did not invent sex or business” by which I mean it is worthwhile to have knowledge of things from before the Internet.

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04/5/19

The Joe Biden Hit

Job Biden, God love him, is the target of a political hit. Here’s Mr. Touchy-Feely in action with some woman I don’t recognize. He is, apparently, licking her ear while she fends him off with her hands.

Going out on a limb here, but the woman seems to be enjoying it. Possible? Oh, wait, it’s Nancy Pelosi. My bad. Sorry.

Pelosi Defends Biden: I Don’t Think the Accusations Are Disqualifying

Joe Biden is guilty of the most unforgivable crime in the current Democrat party — he is a moderate.

For that crime, he has been subjected to the dirty tricks of the Dem party, a bunch who knows something about dirty tricks (talking to you Dirty  Dossier).

In spite of being “off message” as it relates to the New Green Deal, abortion until third grade, open borders, amnesty, sanctuary cities, abolishing ICE, free education, reparations, and other Democrat shibboleths, Joe Biden still polls higher than any other candidate seeking the Democrat presidential nomination. How can anybody so “unwoke” be so damn strong at the polls?

It is for this reason Uncle Joe must be humbled and marginalized because he has the temerity to stand firmly in the middle of the road in a party that has lurched to the left, the hard left.

Biden has near universal name recognition earned by decades in the Senate representing MBNA (He used to be called the Senator from MBNA) and eight years as Vice President. His image was amiable, gaffe-prone, goofy, and a bit blue collar. He rode Amtrak and drank a beer.

He was never thought of as a predator until the #MeToo movement erupted. #MeToo is about powerful men — check, Biden is and has been powerful — using their power to shoplift inappropriate intimacies, like Harvey Weinstein. Joe Biden never ever whiffed such abuse, but the #MeToo politically weaponized crowd wants to take him out as if he were banging White House interns (or sharing cigars with them).

Image result for images monica lewinsky

“No, thank you. I don’t smoke.”

The Dems — clever folks who are not beyond trashing anybody for a middle school birthday party prank — have gone all in on Joe’s behavior. Specifically, he stands accused of being an Irish raconteur who is prone to a kiss, a hug, a squeeze, a slap on the back, and a sniff of somebody’s hair. Clearly, these are predatory actions that should be punishable by…………………………………………………………..death.  Well, at least, the death of his political ambition, no?

Please ignore the fact that former Vice President Joe Biden is the only candidate who has been part of a winning presidential team or that he has served in the Senate since the Holy Ghost was a corporal or that he was Vice President to President Barack H Obama. None of that matters (well, it would if you were “hiring” a president).

No, Joe suffers from being Old School at a time when the Dems exalt ideas like the New Green Deal that have zero chance of ever becoming policy and want to control the White House up until the year in which the Earth is destroyed unless the NGD is enacted.

[Look, I am confused as to whether we have 12 years remaining or 10. I lived through Al Gore’s deadline, I counted polar bears, I measured arctic ice, but I am confused as to AOC’s and Beto’s deadline. Forgive me.]

Joe, on the other hand, has a sense of humor — something missing from the Millenial psyche which is focused on the angst of AOC, the skateboard skill of Robbie Francis O’Rourke, or the languages of Mayor Pete Boot-Edge-Edge. [See what your Big Red Car did for you — that’s how you pronounce the guy’s name.]

Image of Robbie O’Rourke explaining he is the Vanilla Ice version of Barack Obama. Ice, ice, baby — anybody want to go skateboarding?

Image result for images beto

No, this thing with with Creepy Joe is just a hit. They don’t want to say, “Old white guy, get out the way for the Millenials” so they run this con about handsy Joe.

Biden is just an Old School Irish pol without an ounce of lust in his heart.

Still, the Dems take him out like a Mafia hit. Count on it. Joe will be humiliated and driven away with wailing and gnashing of teeth because he’s an old white dude. Sorry, Joe.

But, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Great weekend awaits you. Call your mothers or fathers. Please. It takes so desperately little to make your parents happy.

 

 

 

04/4/19

Lunch: President Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez = AOC

President Trump invited thought leader and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to lunch at the White House so they might get to know each other. The Big Red Car was allowed to sit in and listen to their conversation.

AOC arrived at the porto cochere in a black SUV that gets seven miles per gallon in city traffic. As she stepped down, she mounted the stairs and waved to the crowd on the other side of the drive. It was actually three members of the White House grounds crew who had been blowing leaves off the driveway. They waved back at her.

“Amigo, it’s AOC. Wave, man.”

President Donald J Trump met her at the door — he was a little late — and welcomed her to the White House.

“Have you ever been to the White House?” he asked, holding her hand.

“No, but I will live here one day.” She broke into laughter, riotous laughter.

Image result for aoc laughing image

DJT chuckled and waved a finger at her. [She’s 29 and you have to be 35 to be President.]

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04/3/19

Blue Apron and the Meal Kit Delivery Genie

Blue Apron — APRN NYSE — is a meal recipe/delivery company (OK, meal-kit delivery is the right buzz word, shoot me) that went public back in 2017. It was once upon a time a Unicorn. Here is what the stock has done since coming out at $10/share in July 2017 and thereby earning it a title as a $2B Unicorn. Bravo! Oh, wait. Belay that bravo, please.

stock chart

As you can also see, things have not gone so well since then. Most recently the last founder has shed the CEO role as the company brought in a new CEO, Linda Findley Kozlowski, the former COO of Etsy. [All of the founders have flown the coop now.]

Image result for images linda findley kozlowski

LFK left Etsy when they eliminated her position. She had been with them for three years. Folks fancy her an expert in eCommerce and consumer-focused business. She was also the COO of Evernote and the Director of Global Marketing and Customer Experience at Alibaba Group Holding, Ltd. Player, to be sure. Tough hill to climb.

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04/3/19

China — New Foreign Investment Law

China goes through a charade every year in which they convene a National Congress in the Great Hall of the People. This fiction pretends to consider “laws” and enacts them. This is an impressive building, no?

It is worth noting they have no desks, no? How can you work without a desk? [Asking for a friend.]

China’s new foreign investment law was approved during the National People’s Congress. Photo: Xinhua

This year, they enacted a new Foreign Investment Law to take the place of three prior laws:

 1. The Law on Sino-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures;

 2. the Law on Sino-Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures; and,

 3. the Law on Foreign-Capital Enterprises.

These “laws” were passed in the 1979-1990 time period, so they were overdue for an update. They, of course, had no impact on reality.

The new Law on Foreign Investment responds to the concern articulated by companies doing business in China regarding Chinese theft of intellectual property, amongst other issues. In a left handed way, it acknowledges the mischief and tomfoolery thereby contradicting the central government which says, “What? China is stealing intellectual property? No way.”

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04/2/19

C Suite Hiring Assistance

Lovely, chilly, sunny day in the ATX — a great day to discuss how a CEO obtains hiring assistance.

In the last month, I have assisted five CEOs in hiring a top flight C Suite or top management person. These are folks who are in the CTO, CMO, CFO range and in the business development, head of sales type positions.

This is where the maxim, “Hire people who are better than you” is tested. Catchy slogan, but it runs into two problems:

 1. Can you actually find such people; and,

 2. Can you afford such people?

The answer to the first question is YES. Hire lions. Do not hire cubs. Can you tell the difference? If you were going to war with someone which do you want on your side? The King of the Damn Startup Jumble.

The answer to the second question is MAYBE.

If you are a first time CEO, it is understandably worrisome as to how exactly you do this. In spite of this, I have seen CEOs time and again do this successfully.

All the successful first time CEOs have asked for hiring assistance from a trusted advisor, a boardmember, a CEO coach, or a mentor.

[Pro tip: Ask for help from someone who has actually done a ton of hiring as a CEO. Make sense? Do not ask a 28-year old VC novitiate on your board even if he went to Harvard, drives a BMW convertible, and has mousse in his hair. He has no idea. Get a salty CEO who has done this for a quarter of a century. A salty CEO can smell a phony.]

Do not go it alone.

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04/1/19

Mayor Pete

I have decided I will write about politics one day a week — maybe two, but definitely one — until the 2020 election. As you know, I predicted that Donald J Trump would win both the nomination and the election back in 2016.

Since his Inauguration, I have consistently held the position that I support some of his policies. I have previously described him as the political chemotherapy our nation needs. Chemo kills the bad cells before it kills the good cells. It is not really a compliment.

I only applaud policy, nothing else.

Chemotherapy Party Candidate? Trump

Today, I write about Mayor Pete Buttigieg (pronounced: “butt-edge-edge”) an exciting new Democrat candidate for his party’s nomination. Here is a picture of Mayor Pete threatening to poke Spartacus in the eye with his fingers.

“Booker, I’m going to stick these fingers in your eye!”

Image result for images mayor pete

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04/1/19

Believing — An Essential Leadership Skill

This is the big month for a few things — Christianity, college basketball, and CEOs. It is all about believing.

For Christians, Easter is the essence of their belief. Jesus came to Earth to atone for our sins, lived amongst us, taught, provided a living example, offered a few miracles for the disbelievers, was crucified, died, and buried. On the third day, He rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father to judge the living and the dead.

If you are a Christian you believe the preceding paragraph to be a true statement. That belief — faith — is the glue that holds your life together. It is, literally, what makes you a Christ follower.

If you are a college basketball fan, next weekend is the Final Four and you believe with all your heart that your team is going to win it all.

You have had a tough time of it as the #1 seeds have been decimated — Duke, North Carolina, Gonzaga — leaving only Virginia to represent the elite and the Atlantic Coast Conference. ACC had three #1 seeds and only one remains.

You — like me — have been forced to transfer your allegiance to, say, Auburn University. War Eagle!

Image result for war eagle images

[Allow me to digress for just a second, WAR EAGLE! Is that a great motto or what? I went to a military school and we never came up with WAR EAGLE! Auburn was, once upon a time, a military school, but still. WAR EAGLE!]

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