They’re called “people”

Saw this quote in a business story in the Cincinnati Enquirer and had to laugh to keep from crying:

Chad Summe, Quotient’s central region vice president, will lead the Sycamore Township office. The company’s Greater Cincinnati office launched with three senior executives in 2012 and now has 60 full-time employees.

“We took a hard look at where we wanted to do expansion,” said Summe, who is also a member of the Kenton County Airport Board. “The result we’ve seen in Cincinnati has been phenomenal. (There’s) access to great human capital and I think you can see the momentum of the city overall translating to that. We’re just partaking in it. After looking across the country, we decided to double down here.”

“Human capital”? Gimme a break. Human beings yes, but human capital, no thanks.

Of course, it is a reality check… that’s how most execs at most companies see their employees – as “human capital” to be depleted, bartered, traded and degraded.

 

My favorite desktop background

At my workplace, every employee had a standard desktop background – one that was “on brand” for our company. But recently the powers that be decided that it would be okay for us to “personalize” our desktop. Here’s the background I chose:

20160113_072820

The stars look very different today

It’s good to know that David Bowie had a soft spot in his heart for Cincinnati.

 

(Good) content is king

If you don’t subscribe to the “Daily Cartoon” email from Hugh MacLeod, perhaps yesterday’s post will convince you to:

gaping void

There’s a lot of content out there.

There’s fun content: Hey, look at this dumb cat acting goofy.

There’s info-tainment content: Hey, look at this dumb politician acting goofy.

There’s personal content: Hey look at me and my friends, hanging out on Christmas Eve.

There’s “social proof” content: Hey, look at fabulous me at the gym/fancy restaurant/corporate boardroom, hanging out with rockstars/billionaires/celebrities etc.

There’s pundit content: Why Donald Trump is evil. Why handgun ownership is evil. Why Hillary Clinton is evil. Why USA/France/China/Norway/Mozambique/Paraguay is evil.

There’s expert content: Ten things every lawyer/dentist/CEO needs to know. Why house prices are going to tank net year. Why house prices are not going to tank net year. The future of this, the future of that.

There’s news content: What happened over in Russia. What happened over at Google. What happened over at Fenway Park.  What happened during the Oscars.

There’s lifestyle content: The best restaurants in Miami, the best shoe stores in New York, the best vacation spots in India.

And then there’s what I call “Transformative Content“. The stuff that actually inspires people, the stuff that actually changes lives.

The stuff that moves us, the stuff that pushes humanity forward. 

The stuff that actually matters.

It could be a blog post, sure. But it could just as easily be a song, a book, a drawing, a film, a poem, an idea. It doesn’t matter what it is, what matters is what it does. What matters is that it changes lives, somehow. What matters is that it rocks your world.

i.e. There’s “Transformative” content and there’s “Everything Else” content. The former is what people have an infinite need for, what. The latter is merely clutter that most sane people are looking to remove from their lives at the earliest convenient moment.

And what is true for content, is also true for business. There are the businesses that change the world, and there are businesses that are just there for the metaphorical paycheck. I know which one I want to be working for.

Not so Big on Ben

I’m a sports fan, but ESPN, the self-anointed”worldwide leader in sports” is a bit much for me to stomach sometimes. They love to create a story where no story exists, just to fill their 24-hour newshole. And they’re big fans of shameless self-promotion, cross-promotion and over-promotion.

Case in point for turning the hype machine volume up to 11 is Ben Simmons, a talented freshman basketball player for LSU. He’s very good, one of the best players in the nation, but if you watch more than an hour of ESPN (hey, I spend a lot of time at the gym and it’s on there) you’ll probably hear his name several times. Today they had a promo (of course) for this evening’s doubleheader of college hoops games. For the nightcap, they showed a photo of Mr. Simmons and said “See Ben Simmons and his LSU Tigers take on Texas A&M.” It’s worth noting that Texas A&M is ranked as the 10th best team in the country right now, whereas LSU is 11-6 and unranked. So why not tout the Aggies team instead of an individual player? Because ESPN is in the business of building idols. Ben Simmons is this year’s “next LeBron”… show more Ben highlights, put him in the daily “Top 10” (which unfailingly celebrates individual accomplishments over team play – the showier the better)… make him more marketable by marketing him 24/7.

That way, when LeBen declares for the NBA draft after a single season at LSU, ESPN will be there with round-the-clock NBA draft prognostications, then draft coverage, then Ben will be on a crappy NBA team that will sometimes be featured on ESPN’s NBA games. They’re investing more airtime in Ben now in hopes that it will pay dividends down the line.

It’s all a bit too much B.S. for me to take.

 

 

Giddy over Geddy

Paste Magazine has a nice interview with Geddy Lee, the singer/bassist for Canada’s premier power trio, Rush (sorry Triumph, better luck next time). Count me among the many “geeky nerds” (as Geddy himself says) who have always liked Rush. They were the first band I saw in concert, back in ’81 on the Moving Pictures tour, and they blew me away. I’ve seen them more than a dozen times over the ensuing years. They always put on a fantastic live show, which is a huge part of their enduring appeal. Better yet, they don’t seem to take themselves too seriously – must be that Canadian upbringing.

rush trio

It seems that Neil Peart, the Rush drummer, doesn’t want to tour anymore. Can’t blame him. He’s the best drummer in the world but kids a third of his age wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demands of single Rush set, much less an entire tour. I certainly hope  they still make studio albums, but if not it’s been a fantastic 40+ years. And as their R40 tour proved, they still have the chops.

Here’s a clip of one of their more recognizable songs…

 

… and this one’s for the geeky nerds:

 

Here’s a closing thought to keep in mind:

geddy

 

Favorite albums of 2015

Back by unpopular demand, it’s the dubbatrubba list of last year’s top albums, in no particular order, with a video from each album, because I don’t know how to do a Spotify playlist.

Calexico – Edge of the Sun

 

Royal Headache – High

 

Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material

 

Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

 

CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye

 

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

 

Tame Impala – Currents

 

The Mountain Goats – Beat the Champ

 

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit

 

Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear

 

 

 

Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter

 

Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp

 

Dwight Yoakam – Second Hand Heart

 

Patty Griffin – Servant of Love

 

Built to Spill – Untethered Moon

 

Chris Stapleton – Traveller

 

Tallest Man on Earth – Dark Bird is Home

 

Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

 

Low – Ones and Sixes

 

Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down

 

Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom

 

Houndmouth – Little Neon Limelight

 

New Year’s Res-illusions

  1. Write the Great American Novel.
  2. Remain calm when a bidding war erupts over the right to publish aforementioned novel.
  3. Deposit most of the six-figure check from Doubleday or Bantam (TBD).
  4. Remember to thank family when accepting Pulitzer Prize.
  5. Stay humble when movie rights are sold.
  6. Time-share a private jet instead of buying one outright.
  7. Work on follow-up novel.*

*Once renovations are complete on new home in Malibu.