Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How Disciplined Are You?

I have a new favorite tree- the Utah Juniper.  What makes this tree very special is that it will cut-off water to healthy branches when there isn't enough water...a self pruning tree.  Every time we spent time at Axium doing strategic planning, it was always easier to put things on the todo list than to put things on the not to do list.   Looking back we did so many things simply because that is what we had done despite not being able to quantify the return for customers or shareholders.  When there are plenty of resources (e.g water) this isn't a  problem.  That said, we were always constrained by talented people and their ability to focus.  We built a great business, but what if we had more discipline to turn off somewhat healthy sections of the business to divert our focus to even better parts of the business?  That's what has made the Utah Juniper such a tough tree in the inhospitable canyon lands of Utah.https://plus.google.com/+DanielLaun/posts/ez9Lij33iKd

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

There is nothing like momentum

Momentum- it's hard to get and all too often is easy to lose.  For small businesses it's critical to gain momentum.  Driving into Vegas reminded me just how powerful momentum can be.  Driving into Vegas I was stuck in a two hour traffic jam in the middle of the desert.  Californian's were driving past California casino's and Nevada state line casino's for Vegas...why? because Vegas has used it's casino momentum to create a destination.  The San Antonio spurs also reminded me of momentum when they signed Lamarcus Aldridge away from my beloved Blazers.  Over the past two years the blazers worked hard to get a bit of mojo working with 2 consecutive seasons of 50+ wins only to have Wes Mathews snap his achilles...and there went all of our momentum.  The spurs on the other hand haven't missed the playoffs for 18 years...in a word momentum.  If you don't have it you have to work 2 to 3x to get it.  Once you have it...don't squander it.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Slice of Americana

I've always been a fan of camping- I like sleeping outdoors, bonding with my camp mates and even sharing a knowing glance with a stranger to indicate how awful the bathroom is.  Usually you have just a bit of space separating you from others...  Well this week at Morro Strands was a bit different.  It was a parking lot where you could sleep next to the parking lot basically in sand.  Our neighbors on the first night weren't great...in hindsight I wish they had stayed.  Attached is a picture of our neighbor who showed up with is Pa...Sadly this picture only starts to capture the image...moonshine, missing limbs, cuss word bananza, beer for breakfast and dinner from a can....then came the intimidation, threats etc.  But after a interesting two days, we ended up in a hotel...thankfully we had the money to do this.  I suspect everyone else simply left.  It does setup my observation about C
alifornia- the gap between the have's and the have not's is incredible.  There is the homeless and near homeless and then the vineyard folks.  It's an astoundingly visible gap.  I suspect that it is also a gap of education, access to jobs etc.  If California is the american dream, we need to get back to work on making that dream come true.

Be sure to zoom in and weigh in on if he's wearing shoes...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Robbed- In Broad Daylight

Two days ago we were robbed in broad daylight of three bikes with a kids trailer bike maimed in addition.  While I went to look for bikes disposed someone came and grabbed a third bike off the trailer between 8 and 8.08AM.  This aggression has occupied my mind since.  A few thoughts
1.  If you are bringing bikes invest in real security- cables are useless.
2.  Bike theft is quiet- insurance is tagged (homeowner and renter policy deductables are most likely too high) and cops have no way of recovering.  I'm not even convinced our robbery will be part of the official statistics.
3.  Beware of hotels that back to greenspace/bike trails. The cop noted that this bike trail was known as the transient highway.  By day nannies, kids, housewives and atheletes....during the dark- homeless, etc.  It provides a quick escape route and most cops can't follow.
4.  Thieves aren't looking for real value- they will take anything.  Our bikes wouldn't have sold for $500 combined but it will cost us a lot more than that in aggravation.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

CA Water Conservation Observations

California is in the midst of a 4 year record drought, so I've been trying to observe what changes I might see taking place.  It's important for Oregonians as well because almost half of our counties declared a drought this year.  Here's what I've observed so far....not much.
1. a few yards have stopped watering (and maintained their yards)...hard to tell if it's water conservation or neglect.
2.  reclaimed water being used for irrigation (along with don't touch signs...wash your veggies!)
3.  notes at our vacation rental about conserving water.
4. note at campground to play in the river, not the water fountain.

Here are some things I thought I would observe
1. increased costs for showers at campgrounds (still only $0.50 per 5 minutes, in Oregon its $1 for 5 minutes at parks, $3per 5 minutes at private facilities.
2.  water saving shower heads- not at parks nor at rental house
3.  alternative yard planting with more native water independent plants

We're still in the north so it will be interested to see what happens as we travel to drier lands.

Quick update:
1.  At hearst castles they had shut down the bathrooms opting instead for portapotties...
2.  Beach cities still have free showers
3.  One restaurant noted they were only serving water to those that requested it.
4.  Vegas, 108 degrees....water conservation? ha ha

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fishing Vs. Fly Fishing

Diamond lake is apparently good fishing.  Monday morning there were at least a 100 boats on the water by 6.30AM.  To put it in perspective the path around the lake is 11 miles.  I haven't seen one guide though?  Why, to easy to just get out and figure it out?
Later this summer I'll visit one of my groomsmen Ron who is a professional guide in Yellowstone and Argentina.   I think he does pretty well for himself, especially doing something he loves.   I don't know a ton about fly fishing but I believe there is a lot more technique and local knowledge required to be successful- key ingredients for any business.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Great Local Business Secret

They say in real estate its all about location location location.  The same is true in business.  This business was started by a enterprising state park employee who recognized a pattern- she kept answering the same question over and over about where campers could do laundry and get a shower.  She then built her business right next to another source of customers- RV travelers.   This is like shooting fish in a barrel right?  Not quite, there is still competition.  This owner differentiated herself by providing a better environment, clean working machines.  The online reviews spoke volumes about the differentiation this owner provided on a coin operated laundry.  I saw it immediately when I came in- her name and cell# are prominently posted on the front window.  As I walked in and looked confused, I was pleasantly greeted by another launderer and she helped me decide which machine to use...I knew immediately this was the owner.  Great businesses share some common practices- they provide a great service at a great value.  They listen to their customers and then they act to provide a better experience.  Making money is an outcome of operating a great business.  Hats off to this entrepreneur!37th st coin operated laundry