05/28/20

Hong Kong — Mayday, Mayday, Mayday

Hong Kong is in its last days as an “autonomous” region and part of the “One China, Two Systems” promise. Dust off your funeral suit and dress.

China has cracked the whip and made obvious its intentions to slap the snot out of Hong Kong, to terminate its faux autonomous region nonsense, and to quell any nascent thoughts of freedom.

Let’s examine the time line.

 1. In 1997, the British lease for Hong Kong terminated. The Brits returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty based on the promise that Hong Kong would be an autonomous region, though part of China.

 2. As part of that transfer, the Chinese solemnly promised to govern Hong Kong by allowing its own legislature and leadership to continue part of a plan they called “One China, Two Systems.”

 3. This system was to prevail until 2047 — fifty years.

 4. Based on this arrangement, this promise, countries agreed to treat Hong Kong in a manner similar to how they had when the Brits ran the place.

 5. In current terms that means that when the US imposed tariffs on China, these same tariffs did not fall on Hong Kong.

 6. The relationship with Hong Kong was so tight, that almost 100,000 American citizens reside full time in Hong Kong.

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05/27/20

American Values Evaporating

Memorial Day got me thinking about how America passes its values from one generation to the next. I was irked by how Memorial Day has lost its meaning — honoring American war dead.

In my work with CEOs, I call that concept The Wisdom of the Campfire.

Logo RED no background copy

We have two uniquely different holidays:

Memorial Day, the third Monday in May to honor American war dead

Veterans Day, the 11th day of the 11th month to honor American veterans

It is not a hard distinction to make and yet we fail to make it constantly.

There are other American values that are also evaporating from the American psyche. In no particular order, here they are:

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05/26/20

Fear V Danger — Perspective

Fear is an emotion. Scary things create fear. How we deal with fear and scary things is within our control. Sometimes, it takes real will power to control fear and to  deal with scary things.

Dealing with scary things is part of adulting. Not everybody is good at adulting. Not everybody wants to be good at adulting. Life is a swirl of choices. One of those choices is to be an adult about scary things.

Danger is a measure of risk. What is dangerous to one person — jumping out of an airplane, as an example — is not dangerous to another person. It is an acquired sense. You can mitigate danger through prudent action.

If you are a startup CEO/founder on your first company, everything is dangerous, risky, scary, and fills you with dread — fear. Sorry, that is normal.

If you are a startup CEO/founder on your sixth company, you are perfectly comfortable with the danger — yawn, been there, done that, hold my beer, on second thought go get me another beer — whilst it is not nearly as risky on No 6 as No 1, and it is not scary and you have no sense of fear.

You have learned how to deal with these two impostors — hat tip to Rudyard Kipling and that beauty of a poem, IF. Well played, Rudyard.

Glad I could be of service, Big Red Car, you lyrical bastard.

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05/24/20

Bugles Across America

Long ago, the US Congress decided that every veteran was entitled to two uniformed persons at his funeral. One to fold the flag provided by the government, and another to play a rendition of Taps on a CD player.

It seems a small reward for having served your country.

A bugler plays “Taps” during the burial service for three soldiers missing from Vietnam War, Army Major Dale W. Richardson, Army Staff Sgt. Bunyan D. Price Jr., and Army Sgt. Rodney L. Griffin, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia October 20, 2015.

For one man, a Marine named Tom Day, that was not enough. He formed an organization called Bugles Across America to send a live bugler to play live Taps for the dead veteran.

This is a purely volunteer organization and when the year ends and there is a financial shortfall, Tom Day dips into his pocket and pays the difference.

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05/24/20

Memorial Day — The View From Another Direction Revisited

I wrote this blog post last year. I still like it.

Having been an Army brat, having grown up on Army posts, having a mother and father who served in World War II, having a father who was a career soldier, having been educated at Virginia Military Institute, and having served in the Army for five years — I have a view of Memorial Day from a different point of the compass.

Both of my parents are buried in a military cemetery. This is the Central Texas military cemetery next to Fort Hood with the Hill Country in the background. It is hallowed ground.

Just a few years ago, it was a pasture. Now, it is filled as shown because a lot of soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

I went to school with men who are buried in places like this. Fifteen VMI graduates have been killed in the War on Terror.

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05/20/20

Eddie Haskell RIP

From 1957 to 1963, there was a black-and-white sitcom called Leave It To Beaver. The Beaver (acted by Jerry Mathers) was Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver.

His parents were June (Barbara Billingsley) and Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont). The Beave’s older brother was Wally (Tony Dow).

It became iconic American sitcom television, running six seasons for 234 sessions.

It ended when Wally grew up and went off to college. It was a fact-based ending as the family dynamic was about to change with Wally heading off to college, and the core of the story was the Cleaver family.

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05/13/20

The Delivery Wars

In the throes of COVID19, working from home, and using restaurants as communal kitchens without seating, comes the issue of delivery.

The delivery business is, essentially, unprofitable. It is also completely barren of customer loyalty.

The market share — restaurant delivery mind you — looks like this:

DoorDash 42%

GrubHub 28%

UberEats 20%

Postmates 9%

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05/12/20

Trusting the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Far away and long ago, my company was the landlord to the FBI’s Austin By God Texas office. This brought me into close contact with the men who worked there. I judged them to be good men.

There are a lot of peculiarities when you build an office for the FBI — wouldn’t be smart for me to discuss them.  You get to know them very well and the way the offices, the conference rooms, the reception area is built teaches you something about how they conduct their business. Amigos, they use a lot of technology. A lot.

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