THE BRYCE IS RIGHT!

Software for the finest computer – the Mind

  • Tim’s YouTube Channel

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,075 other followers


  • "BRYCE's UNCOMMON SENSE SERIES"
    4 New Printed Books & eBooks from Tim on:
    Change/Technology, Management, Politics, and the American Scene
    Click HERE.

  • Categories

  • Fan Page

  • Since 1971:
    "Software for the finest computer - The Mind"

    Follow me on Twitter: @timbryce

    hit counter

     

  • Subscribe

Archive for October, 2013

Bryce: Elevation certificates can mitigate some flood insurance woes

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 31, 2013

THIS WEEK’S COLUMN WITH THE ST. PETERSBURG TRIBUNE – 10/31/2013
http://tbo.com/pinellas-county/bryce-elevation-certificates-can-mitigate-some-flood-insurance-woes-20131030/

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

WHAT ARE YOU WEARING FOR HALLOWEEN?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 30, 2013

BRYCE ON HALLOWEEN

– The different types of costumes available and what is hot for 2013.

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

October is my favorite month. In my neck of the woods, the weather is not too cool and not too warm, it’s just right. The football season is well underway and Major League Baseball finally concludes its season. There are lots of festivals and outings, all of which are topped off by Halloween with “ghoulies and ghosties,” not to mention trick or treat.

I’ve always enjoyed the various Halloween costumes I’ve seen over the years. Some are prepared with great imagination, others are simply banged out by machine and available at various discount outlets. It has been my observation there are four categories of costumes:

1. TRADITIONAL – these are costumes representing the ghoulish side of Halloween, such as witches, ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, skeletons, pirates, Dracula, and the Frankenstein monster. Perhaps the best costume I have seen in this category was a friend dressed as the Wolf Man. He even went so far to glue dog hair on his head, chest, and hands. He also had some great artificial teeth with fangs. When he was done, he looked very much like the Wolf Man as portrayed by Lon Chaney, Jr. It was simply remarkable. I just wonder how long it took him to use mineral spirits to remove all of the hair afterwards.

Then of course there are the little girls dressed as princesses, and others dressed as clowns, maids and butlers, all of which represent the sedate side of Halloween.

2. TOPICAL – this involves some sort of pop culture reference. I suspect we will see a lot of Miley Cyrus lookalikes this year, but I shutter to think if they will be dancing like her. In the past, I’ve seen some great costumes to replicate people such as singer Dolly Parton, boxing promoter Don King (complete with his signature hair), and the various Presidents over the years, starting with Nixon. After the furor this summer, I’ll be curious to see if there will be any President Obama masks. It will either be incredibly popular or nonexistent as the NAACP has probably snapped up all of his masks.

Perhaps the best costume in this category, that I have seen, was someone dressed as John DeLorean, the famed automotive engineer responsible for creating the DeLorean DMC-12 sports car, which was made popular in the 1985 film, “Back to the Future.” As you might remember, DeLorean was arrested in 1982 for drug trafficking, a very high profile case. At a Halloween party later that year, we had a friend dress up as DeLorean, complete with business suit, loud tie, his signature gray hair, and little baggies filled with white cane sugar stuck on him and representing cocaine. He played the role perfectly and everybody loved it. It wasn’t a complicated costume but it was the hit of the party.

That’s just the point for costumes in this category, they need not be very elaborate, just something very timely that everyone has heard about. For example, a Michael Jackson impersonator may have been good a few years ago, but not today. Maybe there will be some George Zimmermans patrolling my neighborhood this year.

3. MOVIE/TV – this is perhaps the easiest category to find a costume, particularly kids who gravitate to comic book heroes now on the big screen, e.g., Spider Man, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Superman, Batman, etc. This year though, I expect to see some people dressed like Walter White from “Breaking Bad”, or perhaps some more zombies from “The Walking Dead.” I think we’ll also see some “Duck Dynasty” characters this year.

Years ago, Groucho Marx was a favorite. I also had a friend who had an outstanding Indiana Jones outfit, the best I’ve seen, complete with whip. One of my favorites though was a friend dressed as Father Guido Sarducci of SNL fame, and dating a pregnant nun. However, I don’t think too many people would recognize the character anymore. My wife and I dressed up as the SNL “Killer Bees” years ago and won the prize for best costume. The point is, SNL is still a good source for costume ideas.

4. AVANT GUARDE – this is my favorite category as you will see some rather nutty stuff dreamt up by people, with hand-made costumes and extensive makeup. I particularly enjoy those costumes where the person’s head is misplaced. It’s all rather creative, but I’m not sure how they go to the bathroom or have a drink. There are also the sexy and provocative outfits good for a laugh.

One of the best I’ve seen in this category was a friend who dressed as a legless beggar rolling around on a four wheel cart close to the ground. To this day, I still don’t know how he managed to hide his legs.

2013

I searched the Internet to see what was planned for this season. At Purecostumes.com, I found a listing of the top masks, including:

1. Dark Harvest Ani-Motion Mask (a demented Jack O’ Lantern)
2. In Stitches Ripper Mask (evil clown)
3. President G.W. Bush Mask
4. Tormented Soul Ani-Motion Mask (angry ghost)
5. Dungeon Dweller Ani-Motion Mask (Frankenstein monster)
6. President Obama Mask.
7. President Clinton Mask.
8. Bart Simpson Mask.
9. Homer Simpson Mask.
10. Muckmouth Ripper Mask (ghoulish).

Frankly, I was surprised President Bush is still more popular than Obama and Clinton. I was also surprised to see the Simpsons were still popular after all these years.

It’s interesting what you see on All Hallows’ Eve; some people go out to make a political statement, some to terrorize the neighborhood in their own small way, but most are out simply to have a good time and enjoy a few laughs. My personal favorite is to have a young child come to your door for his/her first trick or treat. The parents watch closely nearby as the child knocks on the door (as he cannot reach the doorbell). When you open the door, he modestly muffles a “Twick or tweet.” His eyes sparkle as you offer candy; he is still amazed by the idea of getting something free. The parents admonish him to say, “Thank you,” before scurrying down the sidewalk to the next house. The look on the child’s face and their pristine costume is simply priceless.

I’m really not too sure who enjoys Halloween more, the adults or the kids.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  CHATTY CATHIES – Dealing with those who talk incessantly.

LAST TIME:  ARE RESTAURANTS BEING BULLIED? – Is government bureaucracy choking restaurants unnecessarily?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

ARE RESTAURANTS BEING BULLIED?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 28, 2013

BRYCE ON RESTAURANTS

– Is government bureaucracy choking restaurants unnecessarily?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The restaurant business is a tough one, requiring skill, patience, and considerable fortitude. It’s much more than just having a good recipe or talented chef, you have to have good people skills, and a keen attention to detail. If you do not, your tenure will be brief. My restaurant friends have told me about dozens of restaurants which have gone out of business in Pinellas County. According to LoopNet.com, there are 65 restaurants currently for sale in Pinellas County, a few with some very prominent names. Back in July, Spotos, a longtime fixture in Dunedin closed its doors claiming rising costs and the economy took its toll on them. This surprised me as I had visited them for years and thought they would endure a lot longer. Frankly, it looks like the owners became frustrated and burned out, as I suspect many other owners are becoming likewise.

There are considerable regulations related to running a restaurant, primarily due to the health concerns involved. To get a restaurant operator’s license, you have to pass an extensive test every five years. Florida uses the National Restaurant Association’s “ServSafe Essentials” as the text book for testing. It contains a lot of common sense items but also includes a ton of technical jargon with questionable value. To illustrate, most of us are familiar with such things as salmonella, staph infections, botulism, and Hepatitis A. However, the operators must also learn such things as Hemorrhagic colitis, Listeriosis, Scombroid poisening, Shigellosis, Vibrio vulnificus primary septicemia, etc. They also have to learn about various illnesses and the bacteria causing them, such as Clostridium perfringens gastroenteritis as caused by the bacteria Clostridium perfringens. “Such pathogens can be found in food with low acidity, that is not being maintained by the proper temperature, sits out for too long, or gets too much oxygen and moisture to grow.”

I do not doubt the need to learn the basics about bacteria, molds, yeasts, toxins, and pests, but I question the validity of teaching them Latin. It would seem to make more sense to teach the restauranteur the need for simple cleanliness, organization for food preparation, climate control, and how to maintain their facilities.

Restaurants are visited by health inspectors at least two or three times a year. Such inspections are vital to assure the public is properly protected from unhealthy conditions, but there doesn’t seem to be a standard pattern for such inspections. I have heard owners complain about inspectors looking for something new with each visit and overlooking other infractions from prior visits.

I have yet to find a restaurant who hasn’t been cited for some offense, be it large or small. Even in some of the most pristine restaurants, owners complain the inspectors dig something up just to prove to their superiors they are doing their job. And there may very well be something to this accusation. If you go to “FindTheData.org” on the Internet you will be hard pressed not to find a Pinellas Restaurant listed. This leads you to believe the chances for getting away with a 100% clean record is next to impossible.

What I believe is happening is an example of Parkinson’s Law in action whereby, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, it appears the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County has turned into a bureaucracy for restaurant owners who are overwhelmed by red tape. Again, I recognize the need to safeguard public health, but there seems to be a fine line owners must walk between common sense and being bullied by the government.

Between rising food costs, a weak economy, and dealing with bureaucrats, it’s no small wonder restaurant owners are starting to throw in the towel. I would much rather have a restauranteur with some basic common sense and understands the necessities of cleanliness, temperature control, and the organization of food preparation, than having him learn “Clostridium perfringens gastroenteritis.”

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHAT ARE YOU WEARING FOR HALLOWEEN? – The different types of costumes available and what is hot for 2013.

LAST TIME:  THE FOUR DAY WORK WEEK – Is working at home a viable alternative to the office or just another perk?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Food, Government | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE FOUR DAY WORK WEEK

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 25, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Is working at home a viable alternative to the office or just another perk?

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

The four day work week has been back in the news lately. I am hearing of a lot of companies promoting the concept, whereby an employee works four days in the office and one at home or wherever he/she desires. The theory is to offer workers the freedom to work from home as opposed to the office which is commonly viewed as a pressure cooker. I never did buy into this concept and see it more as an excuse for employees to screw off. The only time I might accept it is when an employee is sick, particularly with an infectious disease, and it would serve the office better for that person to stay at home and not infect the other workers. Then again, we might get too many people calling in sick, but I digress.

The concept of telecommuting is an old one and something we would like to reward our more trusted employees with, but if you establish the precedent, others will claim unfair favoritism which may open Pandora’s Box in terms of legal ramifications. To overcome this, you will have to demonstrate the trusted worker is more productive than others, and since there is typically no metrics in this regards, it is difficult to substantiate the claim.

The problem as I see the four day work week is one of perspective. Most of today’s younger workers think in terms of hours worked, not what is produced during the period. This is a common flaw in today’s work mentality regardless of your occupation. As any true manager will tell you, it’s not the time you put in, it’s the work product you put out. Today, workers are more inclined to watch the clock as opposed to what they are supposed to be producing.

Assuming we allow employees to work at home, how do we substantiate the employee has been working? Blind faith? For those workers who make extensive use of computers, some simple software can be devised to monitor computer activity and gather statistics; e.g., number of keystrokes/mouse clicks, execution of programs, idle time, swapper file activity, data transmission over the Internet, etc. When you compare such statistics between the home and the office, it would be relatively easy to determine who is really working at home and who is abusing the system.

In its purest form, I really don’t have a problem with the concept of the four day work week, but it is ultimately based on worker trust, and I guess I have seen too many workers abuse a privilege like this over the years. As the old saying goes, “It’s not what I know about dogs that makes me an expert, it’s what I know about this dog that makes me an expert.”

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  ARE RESTAURANTS BEING BULLIED? – Is government bureaucracy chocking restaurants unnecessarily?

LAST TIME:  THE MOST STRESSFUL PLACE TO LIVE? – Is the Tampa Bay area as bad as it is being labeled?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THIS WEEK’S COLUMN WITH THE ST. PETERSBURG TRIBUNE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 24, 2013

“Wait for all the facts before voting on Clearwater aquarium deal” – 10/24/2013
http://tbo.com/pinellas-county/bryce-wait-for-all-the-facts-before-voting-on-clearwater-aquarium-deal-20131024/

Posted in Pinellas County, Politics | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

THE MOST STRESSFUL PLACE TO LIVE?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 23, 2013

BRYCE ON TAMPA BAY

– Is the Tampa Bay area as bad as it is being labeled?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The Tampa Bay area was recently distinguished as “the most stressful place to live in America” by Bert Sperling’s “Best Places” of Portland, Oregon. The company compiles and analyzes data on people and places which is quoted in magazines and used to assist people in finding a suitable place to live. When I recently mentioned our ranking in a local Internet discussion group, several people became offended and jumped to the defense of our area. So much so, I began to examine how Sperling calculated the rankings. Actually, there were several factors considered, all based on data derived from 2012:

Divorce Rate – according to Sperling, at 12.3% we are second to Las Vegas. I know we have a ton of divorce lawyers in our area, but I never realized it was such a big problem.

Commute Time – how much time we spend in traffic can definitely add to stress, particularly if people are texting as opposed to driving. Sperling reports 28.3 minutes for TB; Index Muni reports 23 minutes in Pinellas, 25.6 in Hillsborough. The real problem here is not distance but rather our traffic lights which were programmed by some clod in the Department of Transportation. They’re so long, most people fall asleep while waiting for them to change.

Unemployment Rate – Sperling lists us at 11.2% for 2012, but both Pinellas and Hillsborough were no higher than 9.5% last year and is currently at 6.5%

Violent crime rate – In checking FBI Violent Crime stats, the Tampa Bay area committed 3,148 violent offenses which pales in comparison to Orange County (Orlando) at 5,325, and Miami-Dade at 6,913.

Property crime rate – FBI stats show Pinellas/Hillsborough with 26,506 offenses which is less than Orange County at 27,348, and Miami-Dade at 44,395. Interestingly, the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas were listed below Tampa Bay in the FBI reports, but not Los Angeles.

The Sperling report also claimed to take into consideration:

Suicide rate – In 2012 suicide was the 8th leading cause of death for Floridians (whereas it is 10th in the USA) – source: FSPC.

Mental health (days per month with poor mental health, from an annual CDC survey) – 3.5 days for Floridians; however, many other states were higher: AL, AR, AZ, IN, LA, MI, MO, MS, OK, WV.

Poor rest (days per month without adequate restful sleep, CDC survey) – Florida ranges from 13-19% who do not sleep well, which is high.

Alcohol use (drinks per month, CDC survey) – couldn’t verify.

Cloudy days annually – according to Weather Today, Tampa averages 121 cloudy days (101 days of sunshine), compared to Buffalo with 208 cloudy days, 132 for New York City, and 176 for Chicago. By comparison, we do not look too bad.

Of the 50 major metropolitan areas in the study, Florida had six entries which all rated highly:

1 – Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
3 – Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall
4 – Jacksonville
6 – Orlando-Kissimmee
10 – West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach
11 – Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield

Interestingly, the big cities all ranked below Florida:

14 – Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale
16 – Chicago-Naperville-Joliet
23 – Philadelphia
27 – New York-White Plains-Wayne

It’s disturbing I couldn’t verify Sperling’s sources and the weighting factors used in its calculation. Tampa Bay is certainly not perfect but I hardly believe it to be the most stressful city in the country, as well as the other Florida metro areas mentioned in the report.

At the bottom of the list, and thereby being recognized as the “least stressful,” was the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metro area, a fine place which I have visited. Their forte is winter sports. Ours is great restaurants, year-round golf, beaches and parks, boating, fishing and water sports, but I guess Sperling has no interest in these variables. Maybe this is what chaffed the people in my discussion group and caused them to growl at the study. Then again, maybe they were just stressed out.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE FOUR DAY WORK WEEK – Is working at home a viable alternative to the office or just another perk?

LAST TIME:  IT’S ALL ABOUT TRANSACTIONS – Everything we do in systems and software involves the processing of transactions.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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

IT’S ALL ABOUT TRANSACTIONS

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 21, 2013

BRYCE ON SYSTEMS

– Everything we do in systems and software involves the processing of transactions.

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

Every now and then when I write about the systems field I’m sure a lot of my general readers yawn. My thinking is, if I can educate the general public, they will be less likely to be duped by the programmers running corporate America today. As such, it is important for me to illustrate most of what goes on in the systems and software world is really not as complicated as people make it.

To illustrate, most of what we do in business is process transactions, representing some sort of action or event, such as a purchase, a return, a back-order, a debit or a credit. On the highways, counting the number of automobiles on the highway, tracking traffic signals, recording moving violations, or paying a toll. Transactions are used to record new employees or members of a nonprofit, or make changes to their profiles. Requests to produce reports or obtain files also represent transactions. Commands such as “New,” “Add,” “Delete,” “Print,” “Download,” “Open,” “Save,” “Search,” are common transactions familiar to anyone who has used a computer. The point is, everything is based on some form of transaction.

My programmer friends who write computer games believe this is nonsense. Oh really? How do you keep score in the game; by tracking every right and wrong decision the player makes during the time allotted? Hmm, sounds like transactions are being recorded to me. Even Facebook and the other social networking programs keep track of the number of postings you make, not to mention the cookies placed on your computer to track your activities. A program without any form of transaction serves no useful business purpose.

Transactions can be processed either one at a time (as in “interactive”) or in groups (“batch”). The challenge becomes processing the volume of transactions within an acceptable amount of time. This determines the physical constraints of the equipment to be used. “Batch” processing has the advantage of processing high volumes of transactions within a relatively short period of time per transaction. “Interactive” processing has the advantage of processing individual transactions quickly.

Just remember, all processing involves some form of transaction. There, that wasn’t too complicated was 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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE MOST STRESSFUL PLACE TO LIVE? – Is the Tampa Bay area as bad as it is being labeled?

LAST TIME:  “FEEL GOOD” TYPES – You know the type: They walk away clueless; happy, but clueless.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Computers, Software, Systems | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

“FEEL GOOD” TYPES

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 18, 2013

BRYCE ON LIFE

– You know the type: You walk away clueless; happy, but clueless.

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

I recently attended a management seminar in my neck of the woods. I don’t want to mention any names here but the speaker represented a consortium of consultants who specialized in a variety of subjects, such as business process improvement, tax laws, planning, technical writing, etc. The person making the pitch specialized in “life coaching” which, as I gathered, offered the same type of advice a good parent, guidance counselor or mentor would. I judged the speaker to be in his mid-to-late 30’s and was very preppy in dress. He tried the usual speaker stunts to stimulate the audience, such as saying, “How many of you has had this happen to you? Can I see a show of hands?” He also passed out prizes if you answered a question correctly, which made people look like trained seals being rewarded for tooting the horn and clapping. In addition to his histrionics, he was an entertaining speaker and used a good multimedia presentation to support his points. After awhile though, it became apparent there was little substance in his presentation, but you were supposed to go away feeling good about yourself, the consultant’s service, and a possible business relationship.

After the seminar I ran into a couple of the attendees outside in the parking lot and asked them what they took away from the pitch. They both replied, “Not much,” but they sure felt good about themselves. (I even thought I heard them humming “Kumbaya” as they walked away).

I’ve always wondered how speakers who offered more baloney than a delicatessen survived, but I’ve got a feeling they do quite well for themselves. Frankly, I don’t think people want to know the truth and would much rather be entertained. Truth is often sacrificed for panaceas which the public seems to thrive on. After all, why exercise and diet properly when a little pill will cause you to lose weight instead? It should come as no small wonder that a lot of snake-oil has been sold over the years. It seems the public will buy anything if we pitch it with slick talk and make people feel good about themselves. In other words, tell the audience what they want to hear, not what they need to know.

People tend to resent brutal frankness – it may be correct, it may be something that needs to be said despite the political ramifications involved, but people just plain and simply have a hard time dealing with reality and prefer living in a surrealistic comic book world instead.

Years ago we were contracted to study the problems of an information systems department for a large Midwest life insurance company. We studied the group carefully and impartially, gathered the facts, and presented our conclusions to the board of directors. We didn’t sugarcoat anything and told the executives precisely what the problems were and how to rectify them. The executives went into a bit of a state of shock as they had previously believed everything was running smoothly in their systems department. It wasn’t. They didn’t exactly like what we had to tell them, but they listened and to their credit acted on the information. Despite this, we were never asked back due to the embarrassing snafus we uncovered.

The point is, you can only be conned if you allow yourself to be conned. “Feel Good” speakers may be entertaining, but beware of their facade and seek substance instead.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  IT’S ALL ABOUT TRANSACTIONS – Everything we do in systems and software involves the processing of transactions.

LAST TIME:  THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN JED CLAMPETT & THE MIDDLE EAST – “Come and listen to my story about a group from the Middle East…”

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Management | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

TIM’S FIRST COLUMN WITH THE ST. PETERSBURG TRIBUNE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 17, 2013

Today, I start a new gig with the “Saint Petersburg Tribune” as a correspondent where I will be commenting on local politics.
My column will run on Thursdays. Here is my first column where I was asked to give a Bio of myself – 10/17/2013

http://tbo.com/pinellas-county/bryce-we-need-rational-discussion-20131017/

Hope you enjoy it.

 

Posted in Life | 14 Comments »

THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN JED CLAMPETT & THE MIDDLE EAST

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 16, 2013

BRYCE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

– “Come and listen to my story about a group from the Middle East…”

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

Whenever you think of the Middle East, two things come to mind: oil and violence. If there was no oil, the rest of the world probably would not care about the region and let the tribes destroy themselves. It’s an area known as the birthplace of many religions, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, among many others. Ironically, all profess love, peace, and understanding, yet cannot wait to kill each other off.

The latter part of the 20th century represented a windfall for the Middle East in the sense of its oil production resulting in trillions of dollars thereby causing sparkling new cities to spring up in the region. Somehow the image of Jed Clampett comes to mind complete with his backwoods humor. Regardless of how Jed and his family tried to acclimate into Beverly Hills society, they found it impossible as they couldn’t shed their country roots. Unfortunately, the same is true of those in the Middle East. They may have struck a fortune, but they really haven’t adapted to the 21st century.

Most of the Arab world operates under monarchies with kings and princes, all of whom have become incredibly wealthy along the way. Most are benevolent monarchies who take care of their people by providing jobs, housing, and education. This pacifies the people, but make no mistake, the monarchy is still very much in control, not the people. A republic where representatives are elected by the people is still a foreign concept to them. In other words, they prefer to be told what to do. From this perspective, the basic Middle East culture has not changed for hundreds of years. They do not grasp true freedom and, instead, rely on the goodwill and leadership of their kings. In a nutshell, they are primitives with some rather barbaric ideas in sharp contrast to the rest of the world. While the rest of mankind grew and evolved over the years, the people of the Middle East kept steadfast to their ways.

Aside from the monarchies, you have the barbarous religious fanatics and dictators in the area, such as Saddam Hussein, who was only toppled by military force and at a heavy toll of human life. One has to wonder why the people didn’t rise up to overthrow Hussein. Was he really the madman he was accused of, or was he just another Arab leader with a tad more ambition? Keep in mind, his country was oil-rich and provided the basic necessities for his people, while living opulently himself. Hussein was depicted as callous to humans and treated them more as slaves than as constituents, and herein suggests their weakness.

Those in the Western world puzzled as to why the people of the Middle East accept their existence and do not aspire to freedom and democratic principles, the answer is simple, over the centuries they have been trained to accept autocratic rule and do not comprehend political concepts, such as republics and democracy. It is not in their nature, they simply cannot comprehend it. They have as much a chance of acclimating to such ideas as Jed Clampett had in Beverly Hills. You can take the Arab out of the desert, but you cannot take the desert out of the Arab. They honestly prefer to be told what to do rather than think for themselves.

As long as we remain dependent on oil from the Middle East, we will have to deal with the helter skelter of that region. The only way to keep them in check is to develop our shale oil and gas which, as they know, represents a genuine threat to their existence. It’s simple, no oil imports, no need for the United States to get entangled in a barbaric culture.

“Well now it’s time to say goodbye to Jed and all his kin and they would like to thank you folks for kindly dropping in…”

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  “FEEL GOOD” TYPES – You know the type: You walk away clueless; happy, but clueless.

LAST TIME:  THE BOND BETWEEN WORKERS AND BOSS – To build trust, begin by considering the perceptions of both parties.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: