Category Archives for "Special Interest"

Giant Little Man.

It’s interesting how legends are made and what conditions can lead to “luck” that set apart a career. I was listening to a farm radio program today and they did a piece on Robert Leatherwood (the leatherwood“little giant”). He lived from June 1844 – April of 1920 and spent much of his career in Arizona. After spending time with the Confederate Army, he moved to become a member of the Arizona Territorial Legislature Council, Arizona House of Representatives, Mayor of Tuscon, and Sheriff of Pima County, Arizona and most infamously, part of the Arizona Rangers responsible for chasing Geronimo.

 

He only stood 5’ 5” and weighed about 130 pounds.  But, he had a huge personality and gained notoriety for a run-in with Geronimo as part of the Arizona Rangers (which led to his “Little Giant” nickname).  News reports from the era say that he and three rangers came upon Geronimo and a full camp of his warriors. They were significantly outnumbered and Geronimo’s warriors were known as being fearless and among the strongest native Americans alive.  Although two of the rangers got scared and abruptly turned their horses and galloped away, Leatherwood rode his horse right into the middle of the camp and scattered Geronimo’s warriors, sending them into the mountains.

 

Years later, in an interview, Leatherwood revealed that his ranger partners yelled when they turned their horses and fled – which spooked his horse. Leatherwood was trying to turn his horse to run also, but his horse leaped forward and ran headlong right into the middle of the camp.  Despite him pulling and tugging on the reins, he wasn’t strong enough to counter the will of that horse to “get away”.  With him yelling and charging the camp (he was yelling at his own horse), it caught the warriors’ off-guard and was enough to scare them. They scattered and fled into the mountains.

 

Not all legends get started this way, but I thought it was a great story.  And, since he was willing to tell it on himself, it was worth sharing.

A Note (and a funny) about Firearm ‘Enhancements’. $

This is not a political statement at all, just and observation. You all probably read or heard about the President’s move to use an executive order to enact some firearm “controls”.  I’m trying to use my words carefully because I know this is a hot topic on both sides of this debate and I don’t want to upset anyone that may have had a loved one impacted by gun violence – we do take it seriously.

 

Apparently, these controls would do a number of different things, but the part I want to focus on for just a second is the development and implementation of new “firearm technology” component.

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Uber Experience. $

I had my first experience with Uber this week on a business trip, and it surprised me – to the upside. I took a quick ubertrip to Denver and we got an Uber vehicle from the airport to the client’s office. It was an interesting experience. The driver arrived in a new Toyota Avalon. It was spotless. He was well-dressed and groomed and was very pleasant and professional.

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Cotsbot and Autonomous Killing.

 

 The BBC ran an article yesterday on the Cotsbot, a robot that has been designed to search out and destroy a particular type of starfish. The Cotsbot will search for Crown-of-Thorns starfish along the Great Barrier Reef and inject them with a chemical that will kill them. The COT Starfish is currently destroying big sections of coral along the Great Barrier Reef.

 

cotbot

The robot (a mini-sub) is currently going through field tests, but should be ready for early deployment before long. The sub itself will use vision identification techniques to locate the Crown-of-Thorns starfish, matching camera angles with thousands of pictures of COT Starfish. Scientists hope that they can slowly turn the sub loose to go on a search-and-destroy mission up and down the Great Barrier Reef looking for these starfish, inject them and kill them.

 

I can’t describe to you why this really bothers me. The technology is sound. The vision identification system is outstanding. The safeguards that scientists are getting in place are secure.

 

There’s just something about turning a “killer robot” loose in the wild and letting it make decisions on which living organisms live or die. Perhaps I’ve been watching too many Terminator movies or something. They are coming, best to just get used to it – until one starts hunting me some day.

Blue Light Special. $

One of my best friends and I were trading texts today about the stock market – and I quipped back to him that it was a “Blue Light Special”. He’s my age, so he knows what that was in reference to.  But, it made me stop and think for a minute that there are a lot of young folks out there who don’t even know what a Blue Light Special is.

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Silly, But Interesting Personal Observation.

The Coca- Cola campaign to “Share a Coke with a Friend” is back on again this year. The company attributes that campaign in 2014 to leading to a significant increase in sales for its primary core product.

 

But this year, there are as many as 1,000 different names on Coke bottles. A consumer can go a long time cokeand not see many of the same names. And, for the eccentric collector out there, I’m sure there will be someone around the world that comes forth touting a collection of 1,000 Coke bottles with every name.

 

Maybe the campaign seems silly. Maybe it seems “hokey” (to those of us from the Midwest who know what that means).  But, today I found myself going through a cooler with 20 ounce Coke bottles trying to figure out what name I wanted on my desk all afternoon. Really? I caught myself doing that. Did I want April, Claudette, or Stephanie on my desk? Well, I work with a Stephanie, so I thought that might be cool to walk by and tell her that I stole her Coke. So, Stephanie it was.

 

You can see where this is going. This campaign reinforced the Coke brand to me, gave me a moment where Istephanie had to focus on the choice of not only a Classic Coke over other brands, but on which specific classic Coke bottle I wanted.  And then, on the elevator going back to the office, people comment about the name on the bottle and the brand is reinforced once again. If I seek out Stephanie, she gets the brand exposed to her and she develops an immediate reinforcement through 1) me endorsing it indirectly and 2) it identifies with her because Coke has thought enough to put her name on a bottle (that’s the emotion). Brilliant. And we haven’t even developed the whole notion of the collector crowd on the campaign. Who knows where that could go.

Finding ways to reinforce your brand in multi-dimensional ways may seem silly when you look at a specific campaign, but it can be wildly successful.

Look to the Skies…

 

NASA’s New Horizon’s Probe is, and rightfully so, taking us away from the daily grind to remind us of how small we are.  And perhaps more importantly, to distract us from some of the negativity that comes with life on this planet.

 

When we can see, for the first time, a photo taken from the closest distance to one of our planets in history, it is a big day. The probe is currently sending some of the most detailed photos ever taken of Pluto back to the earth. NASA has currently only published one of the photos, but it might release more over the second half of the day.

 

This will likely be nightly news material. But we wanted to run a quick article on it because it does remind us of the enormity of the solar system and just how small the solar system is in relation to the rest of the universe.

Further, think about the advancement in technology. The photo at right was taken by the New Horizon Probe 12,500 km from the planet moving at 14 km per second. And, as the probe twists and maneuvers topluto photograph Pluto’s five moons, the incredible advances of technology required to do so will be on further display.

Given all of this, why does it surprise us that a satellite in orbit around the earth can photograph a license plate or listen in to a conversation?  Oops, that’s another story for another day. Enjoy history being made and the closest photo view of Pluto ever taken.

The Tourney and Life.

We can take a great lesson from the opening day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Many of us saw our brackets busted as a few fairly powerful teams were upset. Many analysts will tell you that it was probably a difference in execution. Although some teams have what seem to be superior athletes, they have to execute at the right time – or it’s one and done. In a best out of 10 series, most of these teams that were knocked out would have won 7 or 8 out of ten. But on this particular Thursday, they weren’t the best team.

 

In all honesty, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. We see this in business all the time as small companies emerge from nowhere and based on a great idea and strong execution – they find a way to not only survive, but thrive. That’s what we do. We innovate. We adapt. And hopefully we overcome. We need great coaches and a strong bench.  But, perhaps more than anything, we need to see great heart among our employees and those who work with us.

 

It’s just a game. But wow, when the chips are down every great basketball tournament team has that “go-to” person that they count on to score at the right time. I think if we all would sit and think about it, we are probably the same way. We have a person, or group of people, that we count on to do the right thing with passion and incredible effort to keep our organizations steady and surviving.

 

Sports analogies can get tiring. But, given the current ongoing tournament, and thinking about most of you and the challenges you face very day, it seemed appropriate tonight to comment on it.

 

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