Pirated CDs on Web Deal Another Blow to Music Industry

In the latest challenge for the battered music industry, pirates are flooding Amazon.com Inc. and other online retailers with counterfeit CDs that often cost nearly as much as the official versions and increasingly are difficult to distinguish from the real goods.

from the Wall Street Journal

What isn’t a fake nowadays?

The sham seems to be all the craze.

No one is curious

if it is spurious,

as long as it has the right glaze.


You CAN teach an old dog new tricks

According to the nonprofit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 represented 24.3% of the entrepreneurs who launched businesses in 2015, up from 14.8% in 1996.    

from the Wall Street Journal

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks;

as entrepreneurs they are NOT hicks.

We all know the score;

we’ve been there before —

and never will trust a quick fix. 


Bonus:  What is Homophonia?  http://bit.ly/WN0oVu

Research Finds Parenting Style Affects Children in Unexpected Ways

A growing body of research is finding that the way parents relate to their children affects more than their mental and emotional health, it also has an impact on their physical well-being.

from the Wall Street Journal  

I had to eat spinach for mom.

My dad gave me work without qualm.

That’s why nowadays

my eyes always glaze,

and toil has become a pogrom. 


Bonus:  Family Reunion.  http://bit.ly/2fi4vEX



12 Low-Tech Tips to Help You Get a Better Performance Review

Are American workers as productive, or more productive, than they used to be, with the burgeoning technology of apps all around?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the answer is: No.

In fact, they say that nonfarm productivity has fallen 0.6 percent during 2016.

Now, there are a bewildering number of productivity tools and apps that promise to increase your performance and productivity. Yet sometimes all you really need to better your focus at work are a few quick changes in environment and working habits. Try these uncomplicated off-line tips for increasing productivity at work and improving your next performance review:

Take out the trash.

Take a few moments at the end of each day to straighten up your working area. Never leave a mess behind at the end of the day, thinking “I’ll take care of it first thing when I get in to work”. Psychologically, you’ll feel more like getting right to productive work if you don’t have any ‘leftovers’ or trash from the previous day to deal with first.

Have a favorite color scheme, and some plants.

You don’t need to call in an interior decorator for this. Just put up a few random scraps of your favorite color to rest your eyes on occasionally. Don’t turn your cubicle into a hothouse, but have a few green plants around your work environment to keep it from feeling completely sterile. Succulents like cactus and aloe vera are ideal plants for the office; they thrive on neglect. Once your work space reflects your own personality, you’ll feel more confident and relaxed, and be able to work better.

Speaking of personality . . . 

Diplomas, family portraits, awards; these are the kind of work place decorations that make you feel appreciated, successful, and motivated.

Get it over with!

There’s always that one task that seems to be the most difficult and unpleasant, so it gets put off until the end of the day, and then put off until ‘first thing tomorrow’. Meanwhile, the stress of thinking about how unpleasant it’s going to be works as a distraction to your current task. Decide each day to get the most unpleasant work done first — the lift you’ll feel once it’s over with will make all your other assignments seem that much more easier and pleasant — and you’ll work better.

It’s a pyramid.

Prioritize your work, so that the most important sits at the top of your mind like the point of a pyramid. Then work on the next level, and then the next, and so on, until you’ve reached the bottom, where the least important work should always remain as the base of your pyramid. Also consider delegating your least important work to someone else, if you’re high enough on the food chain to do so.

Don’t let email become your boss.

Never interrupt your work schedule because of an email notification. Instead, turn off your email notification and only check it at certain scheduled times. Anyone who comes by to ask “Did you read my email yet?” will get the polite reply that you will read it at such and such a time. Stick to your schedule and you’ll discover much more time to work on your priority assignments without being unduly distracted.

Short breaks.

Take several ten minute breaks each day, instead of just one or two long ones. This may seem counter-intuitive, since it appears to break up your day more often with distractions, but in reality a brisk walk around the block or quick nosh in the break room will revive your focus much better. Longer breaks tend to make you sleepy and remain unfocused. The important thing is to physically leave your work space for a few minutes, so you can come back refreshed.

Move it.

A moderate workout either before or after work will keep your mind sharp and focused during business hours. More and more people are walking or riding bikes to work. And have you noticed . . . such people are NEVER the office losers. Never sit at work for more than an hour at a time; get up and stretch a little. Break the routine for just a few seconds; it’s better than a shot of Red Bull.

Music motivation.

You listened to it when you did homework in high school and college. So do it when you have a particularly difficult assignment to complete on deadline.  Your music, whatever it may be, can help you remained focused, while filtering out the distracting sounds around you. Plus, the headphones will indicate to co-workers that this is not a good time to come visiting about their love lives.

Move it: Part Two.

When you start to feel stale in your normal work space, it’s time to relocate temporarily — try the local library, or a coffee shop, or even a public park if the weather is nice. Or, find a quiet, comfortable spot at work that is NOT your cubicle/office/work space, with lots of natural light, and set up there for a few hours. The change in environment is like a micro-vacation — without the hassle of airports and passports.

Makin’ a list and checkin’ it twice . . . 

The politician Hubert Humphrey once said: “A goal that is not written down is no goal at all; it’s just a daydream.”  Take a moment at the start of each day to specifically write down each assignment you want to finish. And remember the pyramid from earlier; start the list with the most important task of the day. As each one is done, check it off. Sounds childish, but there truly is something satisfying about physically marking a task as done. You’ll stay more focused, plus you’ll have a daily work diary to consult when it’s time for your performance review.

The myth of multitasking.

Neuroscientist Earl Miller says our brains were never meant to multitask. Our sense of accomplish diminishes steeply as we attempt to multitask for any length of time — and with that diminishing sense of accomplishment comes discouragement and worry; and that inevitably leads to less work done. So concentrate on doing one thing at a time. When it’s done you will naturally feel good about yourself and want to reinforce that feeling by getting on to your next assignment, so you  can get some more of those good vibes. It’s a simple and effective way to remain self-motivated.

Your New Warehouse.

Picking the appropriate structure for your new warehouse is a make-or-break proposition. Should the building function poorly, it’s an automatic barrier to your business success. And should the location be inconvenient the time wasted in superfluous travel and shipping can also be horrendous. It just makes sense to consider every one of your major needs before the site is selected.

Your Fishbowl experts at Brandow Consultants can be valuable assistants to your quest for the perfect site. They’ve got the experience, expertise, and connections to insure you don’t look back with any regrets once your new warehouse is up and running, and your warehouse management and inventory management will flow as smooth as silk.

Consider the needs of your business

First and foremost, look to your business needs. With manufacturing, you’ll need to locate a structure in the appropriately zoned area. Also, how feasible will delivery be, along with an effective shipment plan, and the efficient flow of internal space for things like packaging and storage? You can’t ask too many question prior to beginning.

Location. Location. Location.

Customer demographics are your first consideration when it comes to location. Where is your target market located? Is it in a centralized area, or widely dispersed? Getting your warehouse as close as possible to your customers is, of course, very desirable. Consider as well your warehouse’s proximity to trucking facilities. Whittling down the distance your inventory has to travel is a guaranteed time and money saver.

Easy access. 

How much business could you lose if your building is hard to find? Or inconvenient? Think about the available parking, amenities close-by, delivery portals, the area demographics, etc. Make sure the warehouse itself is up to code; get those inspectors out there pronto, partner!

How much?

Cost overrides are not always easy to foresee and overcome, but you’ve got to make the effort from the get-go.

It’s a deciding factor in all cases. You may have a great location, but if you go bankrupt from the expensive of erecting it, what’s the good? Don’t forget about insurance, IT installation and future upgrades when picking the spot.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you need to consider in order to choose the right warehouse building. Time spent in pre-planning before the first shovelful of earth is moved will pay many dividends in the long run. Remember what carpenters say: Measure twice, cut once. 

Russia Declares Cyber War on the United States

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

from the Washington Post 

The Russians that deal in fake news

or hack emails as a sly ruse

to throw our election

should have no objection

when Trump bombs them out of their shoes.

Nurses Are Again in Demand

After years of relative equilibrium, the job market for nurses is heating up in many markets, driving up wages and sign-on bonuses for the nation’s fifth-largest occupation.  

from the Wall Street Journal

A nurse who remains calm and sweet

while standing all day on her feet

should certainly get

paid good for her sweat,

as long as she tucks in my sheet. 


The Proposition

There is no room for dating in this place of grief. Dating means hope. I’ve lost that hope in seeing the words “President-elect Trump.”

Stephanie Land, writing in the Washington Post

Dear Steph, I too am unattached

because my hopes have all been scratched.

That Trump is mean and rude and snide,

and so I’ll never find a bride!

An anchorite I shall remain,

and live alone with all my pain.

But if no longer I fixate,

how about a trial blind date? 

There was an old man from Milwaukee

There are more than 120,000 people in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant and not enough donors. The dire shortage has led some researchers to consider an unusual solution: They are breeding genetically modified pigs whose organs could be compatible for human transplant.

There was an old man from Milwaukee
whose liver was bloated and balky.
He went to the store
to buy a fine boar;
now he goes ‘oink’ and feels cocky!