On 9/11

Today is September 11th, instead of the business post I had planned for today; I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on how the events of that day impacted the business that I am fortunate to own and write about with this blog.
When I was very young I lived in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.  Every time my parents took me out of our apartment when I was young, I would look up and from right across the water, the first thing I would see was those two towers.  A few years later, my family moved to Staten Island, on the south shore of the island, there was no way to see those buildings from the front of my house.  When I was a bit older I noticed that on a clear day, I could see them (the towers) from the top of my street.  As a youth, my dream was to work in those towers one day when I was older; doing what, I didn’t know, but I knew that I wanted to be there.
I was a sophomore at St. Bonaventure University; the professor said that my 10:00AM class had been cancelled, and that we students were to go back to our dorm rooms and turn on our TVs.  I returned to the sight of 1 flaming tower, the other had fallen.  At 10:28 it fell; I fell as if a part of me was gone.  Something that had been ingrained into my entire existence, the symbol of NYC as the capital of the world had vanished in seconds into a fiery pile of rubble.  On my mind first was how many innocent unfortunate people must have passed away, I then moved on to feelings of fear of my family back home on Staten Island.   Upon returning to NYC in October, debris was still being cleared away.  I visited the site with a longtime friend.  Both of us were hit in the face with a horrible smell, I asked a firefighter what that was; I was told it was the smell of burnt flesh.  It was only then that the events truly sunk in.

As the years ticked away, design after design for the WTC came and went.  I am proud of the freedom tower, I wish it were even taller, but I understand the need to make sure that it is as secure as possible.  I am sad to see that 2 WTC is but a stump with construction permanently suspended.  3 WTC looks like it will be a great building, and the glass on 4 WTC is the best I have ever seen.


My Take on Trump Allegedly Leaking Classified Material to Russia

Kind of an old story but I wanted to let it settle and then get my thoughts out there.

The media has been in an uproar, pushing a narrative that Trump has broken a law, committed treason, and leaked classified information to the Russians.  I have been patient with this, looked for facts, and here's what I've learned:

First is that what Trump told the Russians was already public knowledge (that had been first leaked no less).

Second is that Trump, as President, can declassify anything he wants, whenever he wants.  This means that even if he did share classified material with them, it would be completely legal.

Lastly, John Brennan testified as part of the Obama administration saying "I shared classified information with the Russians as director of the CIA"  He further went on to say "CIA on a routine basis shares classified information with the Russians on terrorism matters"

On that last point, where is the scandal?  Why isn't the media tracking down members of his staff and threatening treason?  Simple, it doesn't fit the narrative.

All of this is just another set of false hype created by a news media hell bent on taking down the President.  Too often in our lives, we are more focused on hype and fluff.  I say live your life according to facts and truth; accept that sometimes the truth isn't what you want it to be and suck it up.  It's no longer safe to watch something on the news or on a news website and assume it's true.  Don't assume multiple sources to be true if they're unconfirmed or anonymous.

I didn't vote for the guy.  I've said on this blog in the past that I am a libertarian so it is probably clear who I chose on November 8th.  That said, I respect the office of President, regardless of who holds it.

Thank you for reading and comment if you choose.

I Don’t Like the Idea of This Textalyzer Software

Before I get into why I think this software leads to a host of problems, I want to first say that distracted driving is a serious problem and I am against texting and driving.  Personally I drive a car with a manual transmission and would find it almost impossible to do it myself, but I observe people doing it on an almost daily bases while out and about.

That said…

When Snowden leaked that the NSA was building a dossier of every American made up of all of their sent texts, phone calls, and emails people were shocked.  While these abilities have since been limited (or so they say),  the smallest non misdemeanor or felony traffic accident, a fender – bender would now lead to you surrendering your 4th amendment rights with this software fully implemented.

What I just stated at the end of the last paragraph represents a leap.  It’s already become clear we no longer have 4th amendment protection when sending and receiving data from any computer device.  In the event of a fender bender your device and all data on it would become subject to confiscation, even information that you’ve NOT transmitted.  Personal photos, bank information, passwords; those are things we do not transmit which would now be taken from us, in my opinion, in violation of the 4th amendment.

Let me ask, if every police officer had this software and could download a fully accessible disk image of your phone in 90 seconds, what would they do with the data?  Where would it then be stored?  For how long?  What about the actual text in all of your messages and emails there, would it be sent to the NSA?  Or would your local DA’s office hold it indefinitely in the event you ever committed a crime in the future so that they could hold it against you?

Let me ask, what if the phone was password protected?  We know that the government had to pay CellBrite almost $1,000,000 to crack into the iPhone of the San Bernardino attacker.  Would a phone that police couldn’t hack at the side of the road be seized and stored for later search once the technology became available to crack it?  There are already thousands upon thousands of phones sitting in evidence rooms that can’t be hacked.  In the event of a fender – bender, who would compensate you for the replacement device if the authorities seized yours?  Or would they say that if you never had the minor accident they wouldn’t be taking it in the first place?

One thing I know is the solution is not to force device manufacturers to make every device randomly hackable.  We all know that tools for these roadside hackings would hit the internet in short order, especially if provided to law enforcement all across the country.

Thank you for reading, and comment if you’d like.

My Thoughts on Becoming the new President of Business and Economics Alumni at CCNY

As I mentioned in a previous post, on July 1, 2017 I will begin my term as President of Business and Economics Alumni at CCNY (BEAS).

First it is an honor that the School of Social Sciences, the Alumni Association, and my fellow members of the Board of Directors all agree and find me fit to serve in this role.  This is a position that I have always held in a high regard and I will do my absolute maximum to live up to the title.

I have been in leadership roles since I was 18, I am now 35, I have less hair on my head and a bit of what remains has even turned a shade of gray.  I know I have the necessary experience to lead a board of highly accomplished men and women.  Members of this board are both older and younger than I am.  Some members of this board have more experience than I do in many areas.  I will be looking to those members to help guide me.  To those members where I have a bit more age and experience, I will always do the maximum to be there to assist and guide you.  I anticipate having a great time in learning about everyone in a greater level of detail than I have had in the past.

I’m taking over a board in transition.  I will have a new 2nd Vice President, 3rd Vice President, and Secretary.  I am replacing a President that has served for 7 years, and has at the same time achieved a long list of accomplishments in her own career.  As this is a unique opportunity to add members to the board, I will be adding 6 new members that have varied experience in architecture, business, economics, education, and history.  I am glad that I have had the opportunity to add recent graduates too.  The recent graduates come from the new undergraduate Economics Business and Finance Society that I have had the pleasure of working hard to put together over the semesters of FA 16 and SP 17.

To the departing members of the board, I thank you for your service.  Without your contributions, I wouldn’t be in this position.

To the members of the board that are staying on, I may have only been added to the board in the Fall of 2015 but my dedication to the university and to develop an undergrad – alumni community is why I want this position.  Things will be different coming from a previous presidency spanning 7 years; I ask that you please put faith in my leadership and management abilities and give me a chance to show you all what I can do.

To the new members of the board, I have known most of you going back to 2010 and 2011.  I’ve been a student with you, been your friend, and worked with you, we’ve built trust in each other.  I know I can count on you to be your best.

To the 2017 graduates joining the board, you’ve earned my trust over the academic year; get ready for the ride.

Lets all work together to raise BEAS up higher than it has ever been.  I know we can do it.



As always, thank you for reading, and comment if you see fit.


It Was an Honor to be on Stage for the CCNY Colin Powell School Commencement

One week ago today, on 6/1/17, I was given the honor of being on stage looking out onto a field of mostly young CCNY graduates.  

For most it was their first degree, for some their second or third but what united them was their sense of school community and spirit.  I tell people in business that I am always bluntly honest.  Speaking bluntly and honestly, I would put being up on that stage with the same kind of honor I felt when becoming President of Business and Economics Alumni for CCNY and my own commencement day.

I had the pleasure of speaking to many students, alumni, and faculty that day.  One thing that was clear was everyone shared the same sense of community and I think that, along with great faculty is what sets the Colin Powell School at CCNY apart from other departments.  The highlight of the day was being on the same stage as General Colin Powell himself.  Had someone told me 10 years ago that I would be in that position, I am certain I would have told them they were crazy.  To shake hands with General Powell afterward was a moment I surely will never forget.

I wish all of these students luck in their career endeavors; I encourage them to be bold, fair, to see both sides of an issue, and lastly to be unafraid to speak openly and honestly about their opinions on all matters.  I hope that some of those students get the chance to be on stage sitting right next to me in the future.

As always thanks for reading and comment if you see fit.

Why I’ve Been Away and the Next Series

On To The Next Series…
The last series of postings concluded in April, the next series will post in the month of June.
The next series of posts will cover topics on:
Leaking of Classified Material
Apple and the Pricing of its Products
And much more…
I have taken some time away from writing.  As April concluded a great honor was given to me.  I have become the new President of Business and Economics Alumni for the City College of New York.
After this next series of posts hits in June, the writing will become more constant.
So, that’s what’s up and I hope you look forward to the new series.

Successful Failure

In both life and business, people abhor failure.  Business people run from it and spend millions of dollars to avoid it.  Instead of attempting the impossible, avoiding failure; people should embrace the occasional failure.  Failing brings with it benefits that have never been seen before.  Right now, I am sure the majority of readers disagree with me, that’s OK.  Let me ask, how much good came out of Columbus’ failure to make it around the horn of Africa in 1492?  How much innovation came as a result of the successful failure of Apollo 13?
Before going further there are two types of failure that I must address as completely unacceptable.  The first is failure due to lack of effort, this should never be tolerated in any case.  I always stress that people hold themselves, their employees, and even their over-bosses to the same standard of effort.  Companies that incorporate this standard into their culture are on the whole, substantially more successful than organizations that do not.  I know of someone who recently bought a small business, not knowing exactly what they were getting into, they immediately announced that unlike the previous owner, they would not be working weekends.  What example does this set?  What do you think?
The second failure that cannot be tolerated is a lack of proper planning.  In the arena of large businesses, this is indicative of poor foresight from the beginning.  This is usually systemic from the bottom to the upper echelons of management within an organization.  While most large companies (publicly traded) can cover for this lack of efficiency and increase in costs, small businesses cannot.  At the small business level, a failure due to poor planning can lead to the end of a company.  Too often I see people who come up with an idea, and then make a plan; only to abandon their previous work and move onto something else the first second they encounter resistance. The idea should be followed through to completion.  The benefits of what you will learn from not reaching your desired goal far outweigh the costs and time spent on going back to the drawing board and reinvesting in new ideas.  What I described in that last sentence is proper failure, it teaches you what not to do again, and lessons are learned from it.
Beyond teaching us what not to do, failing properly leaves us with innovative ideas and the motivation to use them.  In my early years of operations management, I failed often.  I learned as I went along, and was fortunate to have a manager above me who gave me the necessary slack to go out and learn for myself by making mistakes.  Too often I see managers that micromanage with do as I say not as I do policies.  To describe this as poor management would be an understatement.  I note however, that these managers are often young in age and are in their position because they “knew someone” or had a degree that has nothing to do with the position they hold.  This is why when asked about the potential of an employee, I stress successful experience over GPA and degree; I wish more did the same.  Fortunately if any of my readers are currently under this type of manager, be patient.  Managers using this ineffective style are often removed and replaced; perhaps you can take their job.
People learn by taking chances and making mistakes; professionally and within reason employees and lower supervisors should be given the same leeway to do the same.  Do not be afraid of the risk.  By taking an operational risk, gains in efficiency and cost reductions can be made that were never before seen.  I have been hired by corporations in the past to find those improvements.  After working with the lower level employees to learn the operation, I implement changes that I believe will be successful based on my prior experience.  Over time I have developed a process for doing so and it has been successful across businesses of all sizes.  If you feel that can be of help to your business, feel free to contact me.




If the changes implemented as I described in the previous paragraph are ineffective, there are still gains to be made.  Firstly, this gives an evaluator like myself, the ability to determine which employees are just there for a job and which are company men and women.  There should be an effort by upper management to retain these “company people” whenever possible.
Lastly, to the experienced upper management professionals; remember that failures should not be shunned. When handled constructively, failure can bring teams together and shed new light on operational procedures that may look great from upper management, but may not be so great in reality.  Listen to your employees and lower team leaders, they do it every day, in this case, yes they do know better.  In my very first foray into management, I was told by a boss, “These are the new operational procedures and equipment, and this is how they are to be used”.  After one week I made my case, as the end user it was obvious to me that there were glaring inefficiencies, I was told to work and keep quiet.  Three weeks later, changes were made that I had suggested, I was given no credit, but my job was made easier; a silent victory.  Perhaps if you are in this situation, give a lower team leader a chance at solving the problem, you may be surprised with the results; and find a future member of upper management.
We are humans, creatures that use their God given senses and talents to learn, most of us learn by doing.  As people, we all fail in one form or another.  As long as we learn from it and do not exactly repeat the process that led to the first failure, all is well.  On average, an employee that is given the opportunity to attempt and fail will in my experience, become a faster and more efficient employee.  They will also hold a higher level of respect for their supervision.