Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sugar in my coffee? Can I trust you?

It's a small thing but when you buy a cup of coffee it's more or less a good with very small service component. Sure the coffee can taste good or taste bad but really it's a tangible product.

As soon as they ask you if you want sugar you need to make the choice "do I wish to enter a service relationship or not?"

Will they remember, will they put in the right amount, will they stir your coffee, will they use the correct type of sugar?

The poor girl who just forgot to put sugar in my coffee got all nervous as I took the photo you see. I wasn't cranky but I did just have an extra blog post to write.

Tangibles reliability assurance empathy and one other (I can't remember) are all the components of quality in a service product. That makes the production of a service product that much more tricky.

UPDATE: Chopper has his own service problems with Subway

Chopper hates Subway.
Move over Bunnings, now Subway is on my Shitlist
Posted by Heath Franklin's Chopper on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Harsh words on growing old

Rebecca Wilson doesn't pull any punches here. The ex captain of the Australian cricket team is considering a comeback.
Wilson's point is that there is a time for everything and that Michael Clarke should consider new horizons.
Hard words but they are facts that we all need to face at various points in our life.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Saying no: A new survival skill

I can't believe that my New Year's resolution is to say no a little more often.

From the first days of me trying to get employed I've always been trying to get other people to say yes to having me work for them. But it seems now there are many people asking me to work for them.

I've been counting on that Australian age demographic bulge to work in my favour for about 20 years. It's only now that I seem to be a little in demand as other people are slowing down or retiring.

But I made a pig of myself last year. I said yes to everybody - got half way through, was in huge trouble and continued to say yes. I didn't perform at my best and it was clearly obvious. When the blame game starts you have to eat the shit sandwiches that you prepared for yourself and I'm still munching furiously.

A very capable older guy - sort of a mentor at the time - had once said a couple of things about saying no:

When you are capable you have to say no fairly often
Your quality of life can be measured by the quality of the things you say no to.

I have one major client and a number of peripheral ones. I think this year maybe time for focus and that means saying know a little more often.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The "Hate" series: Love is blind, but hatred is numb to logic

I've had great cause to think about the phenomenon of hatred. I've danced with that devil many times, been the focus of it a number of times and have spent quite some time considering it. So - apparently have others. These are my reflections, based on the quotes of others.

Love may be blind, but this I'll state — it's eagle-eyed compared to hate. ~Robert Brault,

I have watched many intelligent people fail to separate the argument of a person from that person making it. It's embarrassing for me to watch a person I respect get twisted into a ball of contradictions because they hate the person who happened to make a point they agree with.

The "If" series, foes and loving friends

The "If" series contains a set of excerpts from Rudyard Kipling's magnificent poem. It's a shame about the gender specific language although the poem was written over 100 years ago. These thoughts are my reflections only.

"If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, if all men count with you but none too much."

I'm slowly arrived at what I think is the best way to deal with an intensely political environment. Places where people smile at you and talk behind your back, where people don't say what they mean or mean what they say, situations where you think you have a friend but really it's just a person keeping their enemy close.

Roughly I've come to think of it as being that it's important to have good people saying good things about you but equally as important to have bad people saying bad things about you. Most often the credibility of the critic's commentary does the talking for you.

That has saved my sanity more than once - when I am being pilloried it's good to remember that it's my own judgement that really matters. Often I'm proven right in these cases and when I'm wrong that's life.

But even so the only person whose thoughts really matter is you. I feel better about that because as I've grown I seem to have developed a conscience of sorts. So the sentence that all men count with you but none too much really carries some weight.

That also helps with the "being hated not give in to hating" part of this poem.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The metaphor of the busy airport: Be deliberate

Walking through busy airport this morning I came to think of a hokey metaphor. There are 3 types of people in this world; people who are actively going somewhere, people who are actively going nowhere, and people who are actively doing neither.

The first type of person is not getting in your way because they are in the flow of people. The second type of person have taken a spot somewhere out of the way and are just enjoying being.

The people who caused the problems where are those who are in the flow of people and slow down, stop, dawdle and generally slow things down.

So the moral of the story is you can be actively going somewhere or you can be actively going nowhere and won't be getting in anyone's way.

But it's when you think you're going somewhere and not really giving it all of your energy that really you just getting in the way. So be deliberate.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

"Rust paint" - it's a thing; go with it!

I know when paint is working. My wife and her sisters have made fun of her dad's "rust paint" which was red/brown, and everything made of steel was painted with it.

I bought some "rust paint" over a year ago but it was green. Didn't know what I would use it for but you never know.

Then mum died, we cleared at the house and the only thing left was an old bench seat. Eventually I took it away from Mum's old place and I have it here now dismembered and half painted. So I was lucky that I had that "rust paint" that primes perfectly to old iron.

And the nerd in me just loves the way that the paint perfectly keys to that iron surface.

A few palings and then I have a bench seat which I could have bought for $100 but this is worth infinitely more.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Yes I do miss my mum

I'm just clearing the backlog of messages from the last 6 months and have this one. Yes, I miss my mum.

She used herself up on other people - and herself - and flashed out early. I consider that to be honourable, but I miss her.

"Cullen I am proud to have called your Mum my dearest friend, she helped me greatly when we were both active in SAEBOW.

Actually we were friends even before that group came into being. We stirred the pot and pestered the hell out of the bureaucrats.

She would launch an attack from one side and me from the other.

Mum picked me up when I was down and pushed me when I had lost impetus.

She published my writings when I began to look for a way out of bullying.

Cullen she was my Pole Star and guided me greatly.

You have the right to be proud of her and I am sure she is proud of you.

On her passing I lost a great friend, my sounding board.


Another reason not to crap on people as you rise

I was thinking about the rise and demise of some of the people around me and it came to me yet another reason to not shit on people as you climb the ladder.

Sure I know the old cliche, and that is that you better be nice to people on the way up because you meet the same people on the way down but I think it's more complex than that.

Many people rise and don't come back down so they don't meet those same people on the way back down. But those people who rise leave a legacy - they leave a history.

And if I were to crap on people at every step on the way up then I just leave a whole bunch of detractors behind me.

For those people who are sitting at the top -  imagine having all of those enemies sitting down there just looking to take their shot at you?

That's all academic to me because there is no way I'm reaching the pinnacles of anything in my life. But I do like the idea that there is yet another reason not to crap on the people around me.

That said - no matter how hard one tries, one accumulates enemies. But if I can answer to myself, then the rest is up to those who chose to hate me.

Teaching skydiving: this is why I do it

Sure people always ask me about why I jump out of a plane. The simple answer is "why wouldn't you?" But it's a more complex question as to why you would act as an instructor for a student jumper.

Given that getting to the DZ takes a day out of your life, that you essentially get petrol money and willingly except a fairly large risk the question "why would you be an Accelerated Freefall (aff) instructor?" sounds quite reasonable.

I can answer with a story. The other day I left home at 5:30 a.m. to start at the DZ around 7. Two buddies doing their student program together; I got the one who was finding it a little easier - for now. We blasted through about 3 jumps and it was all good. Number 2 was experiencing a few challenges with his own jumps. We all get them - uncontrolled turns, some instability, nervous jitters. Everybody faces their own demons.

Randomness had it that I jumped next with number 2. He was a wreck. I just got him to calm down and have fun on the jump. I didn't do anything special - I just did another skydive - but for this guy we changed the path of his training.

When people ask me why I am so caught up in skydiving this is but one of the reasons. Perhaps I'm not creating world peace but I am making the world a tiny bit different - one piece of confidence at a time. More skydiving mindsets in the world can't be a bad thing.