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IS AMERICA TOO BIG TO SUCCEED?

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 2, 2015

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Is this as good as it gets?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

We have all heard about companies being “too big to fail,” particularly companies in the automotive and financial industries where the government spent taxpayer money a few years ago to bail them out. Today, I am more concerned that America is too big to succeed. Let me explain.

Capitalism is no longer working well in America, probably because we have embraced Socialist policies. Had capitalism worked correctly, the companies who screwed up in the last decade should have been shut down and replaced by other companies. That’s how it works, survival of the fittest. By accepting the government bailout, the companies became obliged to the government and were not free to make their own decisions.

Most people do not realize the government heaps on new regulations every day, approximately 25,000 every year, a staggering number which inhibits how business is conducted, certainly not to promote growth. American companies are also saddled with the highest corporate tax rate in the world. No wonder the country suffers with a minimal Gross Domestic Product rate and jobs are shipped overseas due to stifling policies.

The federal government is a bloated bureaucracy and the largest employer in the country. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (opm.gov) in 2014, there were 4,185,000 federal employees; if you deduct 1,459,000 of military personnel, you are left with 2,726,000 people running the government. The only other company coming close to this is Walmart, which is listed as number one in the Fortune 500, and employs 2,200,000 people. The #2 – #10 companies in the Fortune 500 include such heavyweights as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, General Motors, Phillips 66, General Electric, Ford Motor, and CVS Health. Accumulatively, these companies employ 1,486,000 people, which should give you an idea of how large the federal government has become.

The 2.7M people running the government are charged with enforcing the bountiful rules and regulations. To do so, they monitor not only the performance of businesses, but they can now access information on every citizen, including their finances, criminal background, the titles and deeds of possessions, driving history, social security and welfare entitlements, job history, even their medical history. Everything is monitored by the state. For those believing “Big Brother” is coming, it is already here.

Interestingly, the more government invades our privacy, the less we know about the workings of the government. Accountability and transparency is a myth. So the question becomes, “Who serves who?” In a Republic, the government is supposed to be the servant of the people, but this doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. Today, the American public is subservient, and required to pay for the same government who controls them, thereby causing frustration and outrage. Bottom-line, the government is viewed more as a deterrent to personal and professional success as opposed to an expediter.

America has a fine work force, along with the most inventive and innovative businesses in the world. However, we are being asked to fight with one arm tied behind our backs, sometimes two. At our current rate, what we can expect is a minimal or negative GDP, a mounting federal debt, high taxes, unemployment, and an expanded welfare state. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is, this is the best we will ever get. Unless we can get government to work for the American people, and not the other way around, we better get used to it.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  EDUCATION AS A WEAPON – It’s a powerful weapon for making the country a better place to live.

LAST TIME:  THE FINAL ROUNDUP  – What I learned during the years I spent on the Board of Directors for nonprofit organizations.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

THE FINAL ROUNDUP

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 31, 2015

BRYCE ON NON-PROFITS

– What I learned during the years I spent on the Board of Directors for nonprofit organizations.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I made an important decision the other day, namely 2016 will be my last year serving on a board of directors for a nonprofit organization. It’s time for someone else to step up to the plate. For forty years I volunteered my time for dozens of organizations. So much so, I stopped counting when I reached fifty Boards. I’ve served on everything from professional societies for management, computers and systems, to homeowner groups, sports clubs, fraternal organizations, and more.

I coached and umpired baseball for ten years, also serving on the board for the local Little League. One day, we held a practice for my boys team and I was shagging balls in the outfield. It was a beautiful day and it had been a good practice. However, as I picked up the last few baseballs, I looked up and realized I was no longer enjoying myself and it had become more laborious than fun. It was at that moment when I realized my days with Little League baseball were over and I retired from it shortly thereafter. That is how I feel today where I am involved with two nonprofits. Following a board meeting, I suddenly realized it was time to go and I made a promise to myself not to extend any more commitments past 2016 when my tours of duty end.

I didn’t serve on these boards for any accolades or titles, just to help make the organizations better. As someone who has seen quite a bit of the world, I didn’t need such pomp and circumstance. As a management consultant I was fortunate to possess the skills needed to assist such groups, for example: I developed and balanced budgets, cleaned up finances, created data bases to manage memberships, developed web pages and promoted them accordingly, created and updated bylaws, took minutes, developed speaker programs, conducted special projects, developed and distributed newsletters and communications to memberships and met some interesting people along the way. Yes, it took some time to perform, but I had a lot of fun in the process. I like to believe I left each place better than I found it, which should be the objective of anyone serving on a board.

The question is, “Was it worth it?” For the professional societies, I met several people, earned their respect, and learned a lot in the process. For homeowner associations, I believe I played an important role in maintaining the value of homes in the community, if not increasing them. For sports clubs, it was a joy watching my kids, both boys and girls, grow and mature into adulthood. I was also appointed or elected as Chairman or Director at District, County, and State levels for a variety of tasks. All of which were rewarding experiences.

I have learned a lot about nonprofits over the years. However, there are primarily three lessons I wish to convey to my readers:

1. Most nonprofit organizations are run by nice people who haven’t got a clue as to what they are doing. They may have the best intentions, but do not understand a nonprofit is a legal entity in the eyes of the state and, as such, needs to be run like a business. No, it doesn’t take “A Village.” It takes business skills. You realize this when the group can no longer pay its bills or are sued. However, if you are lucky to get the right group together as a board, you’ll enjoy effective leadership, smooth administration, stable finances, good communications, and prosperity.

2. The work of a nonprofit is really not that difficult. It may require some time and effort but I have yet to see a truly difficult task in a nonprofit, and you have to remember I have served in just about every capacity. Something that helps immeasurably in this regard, is the development of “standard practices,” for such things as managing finances, membership, and communications to service constituents.

3. Anyone looking for accolades is joining for the wrong reason. They will likely perform little and assume credit for anything done. Such people are worthless for accomplishing anything of substance, and can hurt the spirit of the organization. Some people are afraid to reprimand such parasites fearing it will create a morale problem. The reality is the morale problem was created the moment the person assumed their position. “But they are volunteers, Tim; you cannot fire volunteers.” Yes you can, and Yes you should as their detrimental outlook will spread and cause problems in your group. Besides, if they are not truly doing anything, you have nothing to lose by replacing them. There is no room for politics in a nonprofit, but unfortunately it somehow creeps into most organizations.

However, when you have a board willing to roll up its sleeves and solve problems or tackle new projects with a spirit of teamwork, it can be a very rewarding experience, not only for how it was performed but also for knowing it will serve the institution for many years to come. In other words, you are adding value to the institution, and this is why I joined such groups, to make them better and perpetuate the group.

Now it is time for others to take my place. My generation of Baby Boomers were taught to provide assistance anywhere we could. I have friends who, like me, have served their Churches for years, civic clubs, local schools, hospitals, country clubs, and more, not just now and then, but for many years. However, it is time for someone else to shag the baseballs, to roll up their sleeves, and perpetuate all of these institutions we have come to love and depend on.

I will likely continue my participation in nonprofits but 2016 will be my final roundup for nonprofit board of directors. It has been a heck of a ride.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Managing a Nonprofit Organization
The Need for Checks and Balances in Nonprofits

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  IS AMERICA TOO BIG TO SUCCEED? – Is this as good as it gets?

LAST TIME:  WHY WE NEED A MIDDLE CLASS  – An argument for capitalism.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life, Management | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

WHY WE NEED A MIDDLE CLASS

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 28, 2015

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– An argument for capitalism.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Do people truly understand the power of the middle class? I think they’re starting to overseas. We may not have invented the concept of a middle class, but we sure perfected it, and everyone wants to emulate it. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, countries around the world have been reconfiguring their economic policies in order to remain competitive in a global economy. In case you haven’t been paying attention, new middle classes have slowly emerged in such places as China, Belarus, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam, and amongst South African blacks. People in these countries now have spending power thereby causing a demand for products and services, not to mention a call for construction of new houses and businesses.

The rise of middle classes around the world is significant as it is a recognition that capitalism works as opposed to socialism or communism. A sizable middle class represents an economic engine for a country. Capitalism encourages people to work and to invest and spend their money and allows a country to collectively compete. The average person wants nothing more than to earn a respectable livelihood, so they can enjoy life and raise a family unencumbered by overbearing government regulations. As President Calvin Coolidge observed, “After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life.”

In order for capitalism to work, you need to be allowed to have certain freedoms, such as the freedom of expression, the freedom to innovate and invent, the freedom to choose your own path, the freedom to conduct legitimate business, etc. This is why it is rather ironic how some of our former communist foes are now embracing capitalism.

In the absence of a middle class, you have just the rich and the poor (the “have’s” and the “have not’s”) which lends itself to being a feudal state controlled by dictators or monarchies. Such a state does not operate harmoniously, corruption is rampant, and unrest is common. The “have not’s”, which is a sizable majority, have little to earn and spend. Consequently, the economy sputters and stagnates which our communist friends discovered the hard way.

As mentioned, in order for capitalism to work, certain freedoms have to be permitted to allow a person to work, earn, and save their money, not to have it redistributed to others by government decree. This means there is an explicit relationship between freedom and capitalism. Implicitly, it means capitalism requires a certain amount of democracy to allow the citizens to participate in how the government runs, which means capitalism cannot work under a dictatorship (see Cuba, Iran, North Korea, et al). As an aside, it is the middle class who elects government officials, not the upper or lower classes. The upper class may support politicians economically, but it is the middle class that casts the votes.

When someone asks me about my political leanings, I tell them I am an unabashed capitalist. This of course means I believe in liberty, and the right of the individual to lead a meaningful life, and I abhor any attempt by government to alter this or forcibly redistribute the wealth earned by the individual. I can understand government monitoring the legality of someone’s occupation, but aside from this they should not hinder a person’s right to earn a living.

Capitalism is our greatest export. It represents the seeds of freedom and economic prosperity. If it spreads, it could lead to world stability and peace which, of course, certain tyrants and crackpots openly reject. For example, Iraq will be an interesting experiment in capitalism. If Iraq succeeds, freedom and democracy will succeed, which is why Middle Eastern terrorists desperately want to see it fail as it represents a challenge to their authority. It’s not so much about religion as it is about control. Capitalism is a genuine threat to feudalism, a system which has no regards for the rights of the human-being and respect for the human spirit. Make no mistake, feudalism is barbaric.

To summarize:

1. In order to effectively compete in a world economy, you need capitalism.

2. In order for capitalism to flourish, you need freedom and democracy.

3. A byproduct of capitalism is a sizable middle class with spending power.

4. Therefore, any attempt to change capitalism is a threat to freedom, democracy, and the middle class.

No, I am not a proponent of government sponsored bailouts, stimulus packages or the creation of artificial jobs. Such devices does a disservice to capitalism and is unnatural. It is not government’s role to tamper with capitalism, only to establish the environment for capitalism to flourish, namely assuring freedom and democracy, serving its constituents, and providing incentives to encourage new avenues of business.

Yes, the failing financial companies and automotive manufacturers should have been closed. They were corrupt, made bad decisions based on greed and stupidity, and do not deserve any sympathy for their plight. If they had been allowed to fail, new institutions would have surely been created to replace them which would have been leaner, stronger and smarter. It’s called “evolution.” By bringing back our right to fail, you assure our right to succeed.

Originally published: August 4, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE FINAL ROUNDUP – What I learned during the years I spent on the Board of Directors for nonprofit organizations.

LAST TIME:  PROTECTING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY  – Copyrights, trade secrets, patents, trade marks, and other things that go bump in the night.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

PROTECTING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 26, 2015

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Copyrights, trade secrets, patents, trade marks, and other things that go bump in the night.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The protection of intellectual property should be a significant concern to all Information Technology organizations. Without protection, commercial hardware/software vendors would quickly evaporate as others would inevitably steal their designs and programs. Corporate developers would also suffer if their ideas, inventions, and programs were misappropriated thereby causing them to lose their competitive advantage. In fact, our corporate landscape and standard of living would be radically different if we had no such protection. Fortunately, the framers of the U.S. Constitution were wise enough to implement legislation safeguarding the authorship and ownership of literature, art, and inventions, thus causing the United States to flourish in the arts and sciences. But the advent of the computer caused us to reconsider how we safeguard such property. For example, the concept of a computer program has been a bit nebulous to some people; should the source code be protected by copyright? What about the object code (executable)? Attorneys have been debating this subject over the last thirty years and there is still general confusion in the field.

In 1974, MBA embarked on our own lawsuit to protect the “PRIDE” methodology. This was a lengthy legal battle which took the courts into uncharted waters. At the time, “PRIDE” was nothing more than a methodology implemented with printed manuals and forms (no software support at the time). To safeguard our product, our lawyers drafted a standard nondisclosure agreement which all prospective buyers would sign prior to our sales presentation. Further, our contracts included similar verbiage instructing the customer to safeguard the physical embodiment of the product and not to divulge it to unauthorized third parties.

We were contacted in 1974 by Arthur Young & Company to conduct a “PRIDE” sales presentation for one of their consulting clients in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company (then a division of AMF). The attendees signed the nondisclosure agreement and the presentation was conducted as usual. Following the presentation, MBA was informed that Harley wouldn’t be purchasing our product, and that Arthur Young would be developing a similar methodology for Harley instead. This made MBA suspicious, particularly since one of Young’s consultants was a former “PRIDE” user. Consequently, MBA initiated a lawsuit over misappropriation of trade secrets.

This turned into a long and ugly legal battle which lasted eight years. Basically, the lawyers for the opposition contended that since the “PRIDE” materials had copyright notation printed on them, they were in the public domain. In contrast, it was our contention that “PRIDE” was a trade secret. In the end, we won the lawsuit and “PRIDE” was proven to be a trade secret in a court of law. This litigation established many precedents and is often referenced in similar cases; for example:

Chicago-Kent College of Law

Library Law

Many years have gone by since the verdict was passed. In 1989, Arthur Young & Company merged with Ernst and Ernst (now called Ernst & Young), the principals of the case have moved on and we no longer bear any ill-will towards the company.

As a result of the lawsuit, MBA learned a lot about the protection of intellectual property. I may not be an attorney, but you may look upon this as a convenient primer to protect yourself.

COPYRIGHTS

Copyrights are primarily concerned with the authorized reproduction of such things as text, graphics, music, and audio/video recordings. As such, it protects publishers, authors, artists, and designers from unauthorized republication or redistribution of their work. Not too long ago, in order for a copyright to be enforceable, it had to be registered with the copyright office. However, the laws were somewhat loosened in 1976 whereby copyright protection is now effective from the moment the work is first created in fixed form. Although the use of copyright notation is no longer mandatory, it is highly beneficial to include it whenever possible to indicate your work is protected by copyright. Notation typically appears as:

“Copyright © 2015 by ABC Company”

Since computer program source code is written as text, it is a wise idea to add such notation in the source code. But understand this, copyright only protects the work from unauthorized reproduction, it does not protect the author’s ideas (which is how the lawyers of Arthur Young argued against us). Although the exact source code cannot be reused, it does not protect the logic of the program. To illustrate, suppose a new employee brings with him some source code from his last place of employment. Copyright protection would prohibit him from reusing the source code, but it wouldn’t stop him from using the ideas contained in the program. Unfortunately, most programmers do not like to reinvent the wheel and, as such, frequently reuse source code over and over again. From this perspective, probably every company with an I.T. department is guilty of some form of copyright infringement.

TRADE SECRETS

A trade secret is much different than a copyright. Basically, it represents some unique formula, design or idea. Perhaps the best known example of a trade secret is the Coca-Cola syrup formula which is strictly protected in a vault. There are essentially two elements for establishing a trade secret; first, that it is a “unique” idea or formula, that it has distinguishable characteristics or properties to differentiate it from others, and; second, that you can demonstrate you are taking effective safeguards to protect it from unauthorized use (hence, making it a “secret”). In the lawsuit over “PRIDE”, we were able to successfully demonstrate that “PRIDE” was unique and that we had taken adequate steps to safeguard unauthorized use (our nondisclosure agreement).

PATENTS

A patent is similar to a trade secret in that the inventor has a unique idea or device he wishes to prevent others from producing. To implement a patent, the idea or device must be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A registration process is required which includes a fee. For an invention to be patented, it must be proven to be unique, useful, and not of an obvious nature. If a patent is granted, the inventor is protected from others producing a similar invention for a limited period of time (20 years). The patent is renewable at the end of this period.

The computer field makes active use of patents to establish unique inventions and protect them from others For example, IBM typically registers the most patents each year, both hardware and software.

TRADE MARKS/SERVICE MARKS

A trademark is an arbitrary word, name, symbol, or device used to distinguish a particular product. A service mark is similar except it is used to distinguish a particular service. For example, “PRIDE” is the registered trademark of M&JB Investment Company.

Like a patent, the trade/service mark has to be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. And, Yes, a registration fee is required. Notation normally accompanies the trademark to indicate it is registered ®. Use of such notation should be encouraged so that others know your product or service is a trademark.

A trade/service mark means no other company can use it to offer a competing product or service unless authorized by the company holding its title. As such, it is closely related to the integrity of the title company. If a competitor uses it, the public will assume they are somehow aligned with your business and, as customers of your competitor, are entitled to the same level of service or quality your business offers. If the competitor fails in this regards, it is a reflection of both your product/service and your company which could damage your business.

CONCLUSION

When MBA was founded, we were very lucky to get some good, sound legal advice for protecting our intellectual property. Because of this, I encourage anyone concerned in this regard to seek such advice from a qualified attorney.

Another way to assist in the protection of your intellectual property is to enact some form of employee agreement, whereby the employee agrees not to misappropriate your products (such as designs and software), or use other intellectual property without expressed authorization. This puts your employees on notice.

Devices such as copyrights, trade secrets, patents, trade/service marks are very helpful for preventing the unauthorized use or distribution of your products. However, if someone really wants to pirate your products, they will. When you catch someone in the act though, try to give them a way out. I always recommend that you try to avoid litigation whenever possible. I find such lawsuits primarily benefit the attorneys and nobody else. But if your livelihood is genuinely threatened, as ours was, then you have no alternative but to use the full force of the law.

Originally published: January 30, 2006

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHY WE NEED A MIDDLE CLASS – An argument for capitalism.

LAST TIME:  MUSIC IN THE WORKPLACE  – Using music to adjust the tempo and mood.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Intellectual Property | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

MUSIC IN THE WORKPLACE

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 24, 2015

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Using music to adjust the tempo and mood.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

“Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”

– William Congreve, in “The Mourning Bride,” 1697

No, it’s not “beast,” it’s about how music affects the human soul. Recently, I left work one evening and my head was swimming. Frankly, I was in a foul mood. However, as I was driving home I happened to turn on WZIG 104.1 FM, a favorite of mine, right here in Palm Harbor, and happens to be commercial free. The station rightfully touts itself as “extreme variety,” playing an eclectic assortment of music. At this particular moment, they didn’t play Rock and Roll, Rap, or Country, but rather some classic Big Band music. I know quite a few songs from this era but not the one playing on the radio. It featured some excellent work on clarinet and trombone. More importantly, the melody was just the tonic to snap me out of my mood and I began to relax and enjoy the day. I could literally feel my disposition change and a headache I had earlier in the day magically disappeared.

This reminded me of the important roll music plays in the workplace. A study in 1972 found factory workers performed at a higher level when upbeat, happy tunes were played in the background. This paper is often cited when discussing the impact of music, even to this day. In today’s world though, office workers are more likely to be found plugged into their own personal music. God only knows what they’re listening to; I doubt if it’s Tschaichovsky or Beethoven. Managers should be paying more attention but I’m afraid they are not, as they are probably plugged in themselves and haven’t noticed.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer of music in the workplace, but the volume and type of music is very important. Like it or not, music does affect our senses and concentration. As much as I like good, old-fashioned Rock and Roll, it is hardly the type of music I want played in the office. The same is true of Rap and Country. We may like such music personally, but I don’t think it is wise to play it in the office. Instead, jazz and “easy listening” stations are probably better choices, preferably instrumentals. The volume and tempo should not be too distracting. In fact, I don’t believe anyone really listens to “easy listening” music, and that is just the point. It’s nice to have something playing in the background without actually distracting us from our work. Offices get hectic enough and some calm music in the background can greatly relieve the tedium.

Any manager who allows workers to plug into their own music is asking for trouble. Basically, they are abdicating control over their environment. Take back control; outlaw the use of personal music, and tune in something more suitable for all of your workers.

Yes, music has charms to sooth a savage breast. It also is a smart way of controlling the tempo and mood of your workers.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  PROTECTING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY – Copyrights, trade secrets, patents, trade marks, and other things that go bump in the night.

LAST TIME:  MARRIAGE: IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO  – Like the Tango, marriage can be a thing of beauty if you and your partner are in synch.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Management, Music | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

MARRIAGE: IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 21, 2015

BRYCE ON MARRIAGE

– Like the Tango, marriage can be a thing of beauty if you and your partner are in synch.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

After seeing so many marriages end in divorce, you cannot help but wonder why couples get married in the first place. Maybe they see it as some kind of legal permission slip to do nothing more than to have sex. If so, that seems to be rather shallow thinking to me. I tend to believe most people get married to quell the biological clock in their heads to reproduce. Under this scenario, husband and wife are doomed to failure after their mission has been fulfilled. There are probably dozens of reasons for getting divorced, but regardless, I think most people go into marriage with impractical expectations and hidden incompatibilities that are slow to surface.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about marriage is that it is easy; that by simply getting married all of your difficulties you experienced as a single person will somehow disappear. Hardly. If anything, your problems are only beginning as you have to learn to live with a new person unfamiliar with your customs, mannerisms, and lifestyle. I have yet to meet the couple who was perfectly compatible at the time of taking their marriage vows. Regardless of how long you may have lived with someone prior to marriage, you really don’t know the person until it becomes “legal.”

A lot of people fail to grasp that marriage is a partnership. This disturbs me greatly. With me, I have always compared it to the Tango. It involves forming a team which works together towards common goals and objectives, until we learn to dance as one. True, each person has their own unique duties and responsibilities, but to make such a partnership work, it is necessary for some give and take which some people can accept and adapt to, while others cannot. This means you cannot always do the things you did unilaterally when you were single. Now you must consider and consult your partner. Like any business venture, you must do what is best for both parties, not just one. This is the part of marriage most people do not understand. Any time one party ignores or excludes consideration for the other, the marriage is doomed.

If you have any doubt whatsoever about getting married, don’t do it. You must go into it with both eyes wide open and possess a genuine willingness to try to work together. Anything less will inevitably result in either an unhappy marriage or a nasty divorce.

So, my only advice to young people considering marriage, always be cognizant of the expression, “It takes two to Tango.” If you do it right, it can be a thing of beauty.

Originally published: June 28, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  MUSIC IN THE WORKPLACE – Using music to adjust the tempo and mood. – Using music to adjust the tempo and mood.

LAST TIME:  HILLARY CAN BE BEATEN  – She is certainly not invincible as our president has already proven. In fact, she is quite vulnerable.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life, Marriage | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

HILLARY CAN BE BEATEN

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 19, 2015

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– She is certainly not invincible as our president has already proven. In fact, she is quite vulnerable.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Regardless of how the liberal media and Democrats try to portray the invincibility of Secretary Hillary Clinton as candidate for president of the United States, she can certainly be beaten. She has many weaknesses, one of which is the myth that it is “her turn” to be president as touted by her supporters. Obviously, presidents should be elected based on qualifications, not turns, but these are strange times we are living in and her supporters are willing to overlook her dismal record.

First, there is the issue of treating the Clintons as American royalty which can be intimidating for the faint of heart. In the 2008 election, then Senator Barack Obama, who was her biggest Democratic competitor, overcame this problem by simply leveling the playing field. By refusing to recognize her celebrity and kowtowing to her, voters discovered Mrs. Clinton was nothing more than an ordinary person. This time around though, she has the liberal media (NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBC) squarely in her corner and are charged with protecting her reputation.

To depose Mrs. Clinton from her throne, she needs to be embarrassingly beaten in the presidential debates, something she has never mastered. Her competitors, be it Democrat or Republican, cannot afford to pull their punches and must ask the tough questions the media will not.

Second, Hillary has an excessive amount of baggage she is carrying. There is, of course, the 2012 Benghazi attack and cover-up, and the Clinton Foundation scandal. These two incidents alone have already taken a toll on her credibility and trustworthiness. However, if you dig further, you will inevitably rediscover, the Vince Foster suicide the Whitewater controversy, Travelgate, Filegate, Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, and, of course, the Monica Lewinsky scandal involving her husband and a presidential intern. Let us also not forget her allegiance to radical Saul Alinsky, of whom she wrote her senior college thesis.

Hillary’s defenders will claim this is all “water under the bridge.” Not really. Instead, it speaks volumes about her character and the family’s pattern of abuse of power.

Third, her record of accomplishments is abysmal. As I have written in the past, the nagging question is in all her years as First Lady, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State, “What has she accomplished?” Unfortunately, nothing of substance.

Further, her positions on immigration, the economy, the Iran nuclear deal, and the president’s foreign policy, most of which she implemented, are naive attempts to sway voters. It also reveals her socialist ideology.

Unlike her competitors who clamor for the attention of the press, Mrs. Clinton wants to keep the press at bay, presumably in fear she will say something out of turn. Everything issued to the press is highly crafted and orchestrated for delivery. This means she is afraid of making an extemporaneous remark, and why she will again fail in the debates (assuming she agrees to participate in them). Her Achilles’ heel is answering any embarrassing questions which might be used against her in Congressional hearings or a court of law.

Before Hillary can face the Republicans, she must get by her Democratic challengers which currently includes Gov. Lincoln Chafee (RI), Gov. Martin O’Malley (MD), Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), Sen. James Webb (VA), and possibly VP Joe Biden. If “Uncle Joe” jumps into the race, it is a sure sign he sees Mrs. Clinton’s vulnerability and is ready to pounce on it.

If and when she faces the Republican candidate, she will have the uncomfortable task of distancing herself from President Obama. It’s a Catch-22 for her. If she aligns herself with the president, she makes herself an easy target for his unpopular policies and programs. If she tries to divorce herself from the president, she risks losing the liberal Democratic base she desperately needs. Either way, it is a lose-lose scenario for her.

The only way she can survive is if the Republican challenger fails to openly challenge her. If they show any signs of fear or weakness whatsoever, she will own her political opponent. The Republicans must take the argument to her and put her on the defensive whereby she will crumble under pressure. They cannot afford to retreat.

As should be apparent, her highness’ slip is showing.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  MARRIAGE: IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO – Like the Tango, marriage can be a thing of beauty if you and your partner are in synch.

LAST TIME:  “SOFTWARE FOR THE FINEST COMPUTER – THE MIND”  – It’s about people, not machines.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 21 Comments »

“SOFTWARE FOR THE FINEST COMPUTER – THE MIND”

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 17, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– It’s about people, not machines.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Now and then, I am asked about our corporate slogan, “Software for the finest computer – the Mind” which we have used since our company’s inception in 1971. “What does it mean, where did it come from?” I am asked. At first, it was used in connection with our “PRIDE” methodology for system design. There was nothing remotely like it on the market at the time. Consequently, people asked my father, Milt Bryce, what it was, “Is it hardware or software?” Recognizing their confusion, he said, “It’s neither, actually it is software for the finest computer – the Mind,” meaning it provides instructions so people could build information systems. At first, “PRIDE” consisted of nothing more than some manuals and forms for people to follow during system design. When asked what language it was programmed in, we said “English,” which amusingly confused the techies. Later we added computer software to help expedite the methodology, but make no mistake, “PRIDE” is a thinking process, a way of looking at systems and how to build them. Since then, the expression has gone on to represent other aspects of management and life in general, which is why I use it in my writings.

Keep in mind, machines will do whatever you program them to do, right or wrong, and with incredible efficiency. Humans, on the other hand, tend to be more emotional and illogical, only doing what they feel comfortable with, which is not necessarily the proper course of action.

For computer programming, it is necessary to provide explicit instructions regarding the definition of such things as transactions, the default values of data and editing rules, its physical characteristics (length, justification, picture, label, etc.), processing constructs such as sequence, iteration, and choice, and the layout of inputs, outputs and files. If the slightest thing is not properly defined, the program will not function correctly.

Humans are slightly different, they need to be taught concepts and terminology, techniques and methodologies, as well as the corporate culture. To do so, it is necessary to use persuasion to instruct them to perform the proper action using the three canons of speech: ethos (based on the character of the speaker), logos (logical argument), and pathos (emotional argument). Actually, a good argument makes use of all three to get a point across. Winston Churchill, for example, often relied on his reputation as elder statesman, as well as presenting arguments appealing to both logic and emotion. A careful blend of the three canons of speech, spoken at the right time and place can work wonders. Despite all of this, mankind can be indifferent, lazy, or just plain thick.

Consider this, regardless of how well our “PRIDE” manuals were written, and the lessons taught in our training classes, if a person didn’t read the books or pay attention in class, they would not execute the methodology correctly and produce inferior results. I only wish I had learned Spock’s Vulcan “Mind-Meld,” it sure would have simplified the transfer of knowledge.

Our slogan is also a reminder that people are of paramount importance in business and life. Some believe management is about analyzing numbers in spreadsheets, or the use of technology. In business, it is about customers, employees, and vendors. In life, it is about family, friends, neighbors, and the people we come in contact with while shopping, participating in clubs, traveling, and in our government.

It is true our technology addiction is making us more robotic in our mannerisms and thinking processes. It is also making us insensitive to our fellow human beings. As I have always contended, “As the use of technology increases, social skills decrease.” This concerns me greatly.

If you have observed my writings over the years, be it regarding management, technology, politics or whatever, you will notice it has always been about the human spirit. It is not about some new gimmick or number crunching, it is about “Software for the finest computer – the Mind.”

For more information on “PRIDE”, click HERE.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  HILLARY CAN BE BEATEN – She is certainly not invincible as our president has already proven. In fact, she is quite vulnerable.

LAST TIME:  THE WORLD’S BEST  – Come on, who is kidding who?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life, Management, Systems | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE WORLD’S BEST

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 14, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Come on, who is kidding who?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I find it rather amusing when people start touting their products as the “world’s best” or “world’s finest.” Such boasts are usually self-proclaimed and are not based on some independent person or group to impartially judge the products. In fact, such superficial claims detract from the company’s credibility as opposed to adding to it. For example, try an Internet search on “World’s Best (whatever)” and you’ll undoubtedly run into more opinions than facts.

I’ve been a baseball fan for a number of years, but even I snicker when I hear Americans brag about their “World Series” as the world championship. We’ve got some great talent in this country and in all likelihood we may very well win such a championship, but I think there are a lot of countries who would love to participate in such a series. Actually, calling it the “World Series” without such participation smacks of arrogance.

For years there has been a long ongoing argument amongst rock and roll aficionados as to which was the “World’s Best” band; with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Led Zepplin often mentioned. As much as I liked all three groups, I would have to say most adamantly, “Who cares!?” Isn’t it enough they each sold millions of records, made a lot of fans, and tons of money? Why can’t we just enjoy them for who they are?

There is something twisted in the American character requiring us to formulate a pecking order for everything thereby establishing bragging rights. I guess it is due to the competitive nature of this country. Somehow I don’t understand the logic when people say they have the “world’s best” philly cheese steak, chicken wings, chili, or whatever. Isn’t it sufficient to simply say something is either good or bad?

This obsession with “world’s best” has become so obnoxious, I openly laugh whenever I see it, which in Manhattan seems to be everywhere. Next time you see “world’s best” written down, ask the proprietor to show you the certificate awarded to them and the statistics used by the judges in the competition. Better yet, ask them if they would be willing to participate in an independent contest whereby you’ll act as the “world’s greatest” judge. Don’t be surprised if they balk at the offer.

Originally published: June 25, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  “SOFTWARE FOR THE FINEST COMPUTER – THE MIND” – It’s about people, not machines.

LAST TIME:  THE PRESS’ WAR WITH DONALD TRUMP   – The answer might surprise you.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE PRESS’ WAR WITH DONALD TRUMP

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 13, 2015

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– How will he spar with the press in the next debate?

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At the August 6th GOP presidential debate in Cleveland, and the ensuing fallout, it became clear the press had declared war on Donald Trump. They simply do not want him in the electoral mix as his roots are planted in business as opposed to politics. Calling it a “debate” is being much too generous. Rather, it was a modified version of a press conference where candidates field questions from the media. In a debate, a moderator coldly presents a topic and a speaker poses their argument, followed by a counter argument by an opposing person. This is not what happened during the debate where Fox moderators offered sensational questions and were not interested in discussing legitimate topics, such as how to stimulate the economy and GDP, what our policy should be in the Middle East, how we should attain energy independence, a discussion on diminished morality, race relations, our space program, etc. In contrast, the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon debate was perhaps the closest we’ll ever witness of a true debate, which was a civil exchange between two totally different candidates.

The 24 million viewers who tuned into the Cleveland debate was the largest audience ever for a primary debate. It was also the largest in the history of Fox News and the largest in all of cable news; all thanks to Donald Trump. Had he not been there, Fox would not have achieved such lofty ratings. Yet, I felt the debate was conducted unprofessionally, particularly when you compare it to the Kennedy/Nixon debate. The introduction of the candidates was clumsy and embarrassing, and the questions asked by the moderators lacked tact and significance. It sounded more like the women arguing on “The View,” as opposed to a presidential debate. Frankly, the earlier debate of seven candidates was much more dignified and to the point.

The press is exasperated by Trump. They complain he lacks specifics in solving problems. When they ask him, “How will you do this or that?”

His answer, “negotiate,” infuriates them.

They are also appalled he donated to the Hillary Clinton campaign back in January. “Sheer hypocrisy,” they claim. No, that is how business is performed in today’s world, right or wrong. As a businessman, I understand him perfectly, but the press obviously does not. In business, it is common not to tip your hand before you play your cards. However, the press not only wants to see his cards, they also want to argue how he should play them. If he doesn’t play the cards their way, they get very upset. It is no small wonder he doesn’t accept political correctness.

His unscripted candor is typical of board room discussions. Whereas such talk is remarkably refreshing to the people who have lost faith in government and political machines, it is unnerving to the press.

The next GOP debate will be on September 16th at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. It will be interesting to see if there will be any change in the give and take between Trump and the press. As Trump knows, the best form of defense is a strong offense. Now it is time for him to take on the irresponsible press. The people love every shot he takes at them.

If another superfluous question is asked, such as that posed by Fox’s Megyn Kelly, do not be surprised if Trump answers something to the effect, “Really, that is the best question you’ve got? Aren’t you aware this country has more serious problems we should be discussing?” The press will be climbing the walls. If they persevere, do not be surprised if Trump simply ignores them and discusses whatever he wants to.

If we have learned anything thus far in the Trump campaign, the more the press attacks him, the higher his numbers rise in the polls. When they tout he is nothing but a “flash in the pan,” the public rallies to his cause. This is indicative the public no longer trusts the media. One thing is for certain, as Trump continues to move ahead, the rhetoric from the press will become more visceral, much to Trump’s benefit. The press just doesn’t get it.

Stay tuned.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE WORLD’S BEST – Come on, who is kidding who?

LAST TIME:  ARE WE ALL RACISTS?  – The answer might surprise you.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Media, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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