Archive for December, 2011

Muppets & IBM- really!

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I stumbled across this video clip on the informative blog, Technologizer, as I considered tomorrow's transition of IBM CEOs from Sam Palmisano to Virginia (Ginny) Rometty. I had no idea that Jim Henson, founder of the Muppets, worked with IBM prior to making his mark with Sesame Street.

Related 31 Dec 11 article in NY Times by Steve Lohr.

Schumpeter in The Economist: The Art of Selling

Monday, December 12th, 2011

“Management theory mostly ignores selling. Peter Drucker, perhaps the most influential guru, wrote that “the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” Most business schools do not teach sales as a separate subject in MBA programmes. Consultants have rethought strategy to the nth degree but seldom furrow their brows about sales.

It shows. According to a new book, “Sales Growth: Insights from Leading Sales Executives” by Thomas Baumgartner, Homayoun Hatami and Jon Vander Ark, three consultants at McKinsey, the performance of salespeople within a single company typically varies by a factor of three. And the difference between the best and worst companies when it comes to selling is far greater than the difference for functions such as supply-chain management, purchasing or finance.”

Full 22 Oct 2011 Economist article here.

I thought of this article today as I met two young, promising friends venturing into the brave new world of adult employment. They could and will out-perform 2 or 3 others once that they meet the organization on their wavelengths. My other reminder was how important is sales, which equals revenue, and how this organizational function is so often disdained by the usual enterprise. I guess because the associated process is not measurable or actually controllable. Where or what is the bottom-line if there is not top-line or revenue?! In an unpredictable economy, those sales-types,the ones with trusting customer relationships and, of course, the capability to cultivate such, will always have satisfying employment, in my opinion.

Knowing What It Means to Belong

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Imagine being an Irish Catholic graduate of Penn State working for a large bank?! I am certain that we’ll endure these institutional failures of leadership; I only wish that the leaders of these institutions would be failed.

Tomorrow, my Naval Academy competes for its tenth consecutive win over the Army’s cadets of West Point. There will be a large gathering in Chapel Hill amongst the local alumni of both, er, institutions (that they are!). We’ll number about 250 representing graduating classes as far back as the 1940s. The chow is decent; the rivalry is good-hearted; we’ll collect a couple of thousand dollars for the local VA; we’ll be reminded that several who have shared such occasions with us are no longer with us. In the end, it’s a brotherhood, regardless of sex, of those who consciously or not, agreed to join something much larger than themselves. The players on the field embody what we hope are our better selves and best ambitions. We’ll be equally gratified by our implicit associations with those in the viewing stands, those afar watching from a tent or a mess-deck, those who have gone before and those who will follow.

My tennis partner’s son is in his first year at Annapolis. She and her Australian husband will attend the game in Washington, DC. She commented on the inconvenience of travel, the need to prepare for the holidays and the predicted cold weather at game-time. I offered that the game on the field is nearly secondary to pageantry and symbolism of the game in total. “Who knows?! The President might attend,” I murmured.

I believe that the best part of the game are those whom you see at the concession lines, roaming the stadium and in the stands. SEALs, Rangers, sailors, soldiers and Marines. Pilots, submariners, tank drivers, artillery officers, much decorated enlisted personnel. And we’re all – whether retiree, Academy grad or parent of a plebe – warmly affiliated with them all. It makes you feel good about them, yourself and all of us. They offer what is, indeed, the essence of leadership: inspiration to carry-on and to succeed amidst whatever genuine troubles and minor inconveniences lie ahead. Go Navy.

Been 2 months. Still not over it.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

Such an outlook impresses me and consoles me as we approach the turn of the year into 2012; as my son prepares to graduate from college and to genuinely enter that world of adults; as I try to reconcile the state of our financial and political affairs wondering how drastic will be the necessary reconciliation of the imbalances.

Prevent holiday theft. Advice courtesy of the Durham, NC PD.

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Ahhhh…the year is almost up and the holidays are approaching fast…and so are the bad guys! I’m sure that most of you have noticed the increased postings on the listserv when it comes to break-ins to vehicles. Some of you are unfortunate enough to have become victims. Every year about this time, break-ins and robberies increase…you shop for the holidays…they shop for the holidays. Cars get broken into in the neighborhoods and in parking lots. It’s time to put out a bit of information that might help you get through all of this mess unscathed. Sit back and grab a drink…this might take a minute.

I constantly get the question “What do you think Sgt. Gunter…should I wear white after Labor Day? Not even at my funeral…Fashion Citation issued!
Now, when it comes to vehicle break-ins, a lot of people ask “Should I lock my car up and risk damage and theft or… leave it unlocked and just risk theft?
Pretty good question. The Police Department recommends that you always lock your vehicle. These doodle doos are looking for the big easy…a crime of opportunity mostly. They walk by and look inside, check door handles…if it’s locked; they generally just go to the next one until they find one that’s unlocked. It takes very little time to wiggle a door and it’s attracts hardly any attention at all. A locked vehicle on the other hand requires more effort. Smashing the window, ripping the lock…whatever way they enter, makes noise and takes time. It increases the chances of getting caught. When they find a neighborhood that most folks consistently leaves their doors unlocked, they spread the word rather quickly.
They have one thing in common….they are lazy…and they don’t want confrontation. Well, that’s two things, but I put it in one sentence so it counts. Now, I know that some of you are saying “I’d rather leave it unlocked and deal with missing change than a $200 repair!” Well I can’t fault you there! I understand the line of thinking, nobody have “extra money” to shell out. When it comes down to the wire…whatever that means…it’s your decision to make. I’m not going to tell you that you’re wrong or right. It’s your car…it’s your decision.
Any who…lets take a look at what you can do to reduce the likelihood of getting ripped off. It’s pretty easy to thwart the thieves…take away the prize. “Thwart the thieves”… say that 10 times fast. These guys are window shopping in your neighborhood and we tend to make it easy for them….really easy…just like I just made you say “thwart the thieves” 10 times fast? You know you did…admit it.
Repeat after me…”I will NOT leave my stuff in the car where everybody can see it.”
I constantly see cars parked in neighborhoods and parking lots with purses on the seat, money in the console, iPODS, you name it. If I notice it…don’t you think the criminals will too?
I saw an unlocked car the other night with an iPOD in the console. I downloaded “Hee Haws Greatest Christmas Songs” on it…10,000 times…and then put it back. Can’t wait till they turn it on. “What the…?”
What’s the best self defense? Plain COMMON SENSE! It doesn’t matter if it’s just some pocket change, consider it temptation. Take a few extra seconds and take out your belongings. If you can’t take it with you, toss it in the trunk. Please take note…this does not apply to husbands who do not want to go inside the store with you. It’s dark in the trunk…they’ll be scared.

Ok…we just covered the biggie, now let’s go down the list and hit the other stuff.

Always lock you doors and roll up the windows all the way. “I was only going to be inside for a minute” doesn’t cut it. Leave it down and unlocked and your asking for trouble.

“Purse, cell phones, CDs, etc. should be kept out of sight. If you can look at it and say “It would kill me if this was stolen…then don’t leave it in the car at all.”

High dollar accessories (radios, speakers, laptops, etc.) should be engraved with your first, middle initial and last name and drivers license number (NCOL#12345) . The number never changes.

CD’s. “Sarge…my CD’s got stolen. I had 2 thousand dollars worth of Britney Spears CD’s!! I can’t engrave those!” Hold on money bags…use a Permanent Sharpie and mark the CD’s with youNCOL# right across the label. Then take that same sharpie and mark “I listen to crappy music” right across your forehead.”
Please let the Officer know if it’s Frank Sinatra CD’s. We’ll call out the helicopters, set up roadblocks and notify the FBI immediately. I’m pretty sure this is a law.

Don’t park beside big ol trucks. Those monsters offer great concealment for the bad guy to do his thing.

Stereos with that handy removable faceplate. “Removable” means REMOVE them! Don’t leave them on the radio. Don’t hide them in the car under the floor mat. REMOVE them from the car to the inside of your house. It’s not like its big and heavy….unless you listen to heavy metal. If that’s the case, just toss it in the trash, probably no good anyhow.

Alarm systems. If you have one, use it! Systems with the little blinking light visible to the outside of the car work great. That little flashing light is a great deterrent. They’ll generally pass your up for a car that doesn’t blink at em. It’s called “The blinky light theory.” Bet Santa’s sleigh never got broke into….ask Rudolph…he nose. Get it? Nose? Knows? I just kill myself sometimes!

Garages….ohhh… I love garages! It’s like the ultimate in “Man Cave Luxury.” If you have one, try parking your car in it…and lock the garage! Out of sight, out of mind. Sound familiar? “Sarge…that husband of mine has ours so full of stuff that we can’t hardly walk thru it, much less park a car in it!”
Well now, sounds like you need to snap the whip and get him off his duff. Start him to cleaning! Think how nice it would be to park in a nice warm garage…safe…cozy.
Note: Things do not work this way in my humble abode. I crack the whip, wear the pants and direct all things that should be directed. Is that okay for me to say sweetie pie?”

Big Winter Biggie…warming up the car. Everybody hates getting into a cold car. When the temperatures drop, vehicle thefts rise. Several of you warm the car up while you’re inside getting ready. Yahoo’s walk up and say “Hey….would you look at that…free car!” Make sure, if you must do this, have a spare key and at least lock the car up while it’s running. We do not really suggest that you let it run unattended anyhow….not to mention that it’s bad for the environment, waste gas and against the law.

Fingerprints… got to love those fingerprints! Why don’t we print every car that’s been broken into? Several reasons actually. We don’t get as many fingerprints from cars as we’d like these days. The plastic textured surfaces won’t hold a print well at all. Everybody uses Armor All and the like on the inside like it’s going out of style. Everything is so slick…even the slick slides off. Makes a great print…but we cant lift it. The owner goes in and checks for all the stuff missing before we get there. Contaminates the scene. Windows are broken out, condensation forms on the inside of the car. Another printscrewer upper. This aint CSI and I aint Horatio Caine. He’s not as nearly as handsome as I am.

Keys…that reminds me…house keys…everybody has a hidden key somewhere around the house. We commonly get calls to check on elderly folks who aren’t answering the door. Do we kick the door in? Nah…we just find the “hidden key”. It usually takes a whole 30 seconds as it’s always close by. Quit hiding it, you might as well hang it on a nail beside the door. If I can find your house key within seconds, the criminals can too.
“Oh but I have this fancy schmancy fake rock I put mine in!”
“You sure do, I found it…the only fake looking rock in the flower bed. I stole it too…”
Best bet is it to get a combination key vault, available at ye olde local hardware store. About 30 bucks. Install that turkey. It’s small, convenient and very difficult to break into.

When it comes down to it, most of this is common sense stuff. You can leave your doors unlocked with all your gadgets inside if you’d rather, but unless you have an ninja pygmy with a poison dart and a blow gun ready to jump out of the glove box…chances are you going be the next victim of the Grinch.

Last but not least…when someone does break in, MAKE A REPORT! Even if it’s just some pocket change, the reports let us know that your area is experiencing a rise in crime and we can respond to it. The technical Police term is “Callimus Copamus.” Too many times I see a slew of B&E’s reported on the List Serv, but only one or two actually have reported it. If it aint reported…it never happened.

Ho Ho Ho!!

Sgt. D. Gunter
Durham Police Department
District 2 HEAT
(919) 560-4582 ext. 29252
d.gunter@durhamnc.gov

“Be Alert…The World Needs More Lerts!”