Monthly Archive for April, 2005

Thank you for the coffee

I got up this morning at 5:15 (at least 15 minutes later than I should have gotten up) and started getting ready to get on a plane. My flight was scheduled for 6:30 a.m. and I needed to leave the house by 5:30. I was running slow this morning…

I didn’t leave the house until 5:45. I got to the airport and parked at 6:03. I got inside to the ticket counter and told the clerk that I needed to get on my 6:30 flight. She didn’t look happy.

She said “I don’t think I can get you on the flight” and then picked up her little walkie-talkie to ask the guy at the gate if I could still board. He didn’t answer her… not good.

So, I asked her to just give me a ticket for the plane, and I’d run all the way there. She said she’d try.

Ticket in hand, I rushed to the security check-point. Bad news: There were at least 30 people in front of me. It was 6:21. I decided to get to the front of the line quickly, so I started asking each person in line if I could cut, so I could catch my 6:30 flight. Thankfully, each person let me cut, so that I was at the front of the line within a minute.

I started unpacking my laptop and the entire flight crew for another United plane started cutting in front of me. I let two of them by, then I told the third one (there were 6 total) that I needed to catch a plane, and that I’d appreciate it if they didn’t cut in front of me. She aquiesced, and I got to go through security pretty quickly.

I then ran to the last gate in the terminal (United has crappy gates in Austin). Huffing and puffing, I was berated by the gate attendant, and I took the beating quite humbly. The gate attendant told me that I was only getting on the plane because the 1st Officer decided to get a cup of coffee. I smiled and asked him if I could by the 1st Officer his coffee. He told me to take it up with him… which was funny, because the 1st Officer was just walking up. I took out $2 and gave it to the 1st Officer. He got a kick out of that, and we boarded the plane.

I took my seat after cramming my bag into the overhead bin, and we got underway. I have never been so thankful to get on a plane as I was this morning.

Patton and Business

George S. Patton was a famous general in the US Army, and is one of those people that, in my mind, can teach us all a lot.

Jaffer Ali, of Penn Media, does a great job of taking one of Patton’s writings and applying the lessons to business.

We must guard against becoming so engrossed in the specific nature of the roots and bark of the trees of knowledge as to miss the meaning and grandeur of the forest they compose.
–George S. Patton 3/26/1926

How often do you “miss the forest for the trees”?

The iPod2Car

Last week, I stopped into the local Custom Sounds, around the corner from where I live, and asked the guy behind the counter if he could recommend a good replacement head unit for my car stereo.

He said “sure, but why do you need it?” Good salesman. Asking me questions before he recommends something.

I told him that I wanted to be able to use my iPod in my car, and that while I had a CD-player and a 6-disc changer, I didn’t have a tape deck, so I couldn’t listen to my iPod in the Accord. I absolutely hate the FM rebroadcasters, as in my opinion, while they all work, the sound quality that comes out of them, combined with the interference I usually pick up using them, makes them a solution that I’m just not interested in using anymore.

The sales guy says “You might not need to buy a new head unit.”

He then proceeded to start pouring through catalogs, until he found the one for Peripheral Electronics. He flipped a page or two, and pointed at the iPod2Car. It was compatible with the Honda Accord I own, and sounded like just the thing I needed. And was in-line with the price I was looking at for a good quality brand new head unit (about $325 installed).

So, I made an appointment for Saturday, and went about my week.

Yesterday, I dropped off the car and had them install the iPod2Car while I walked to H&R Block to get my taxes done. When I returned at noon, my car was done. I now have a fantastic way to use my iPod in my car, without changing the stock look and feel of the car. Also, because the iPod2Car charges my iPod while also letting me control the basic functions, all with one cable, the look is clean, and not nearly as messy as it is with a tape adapter and charging cable installed.

I had them pull out the old 6-disc changer (which was pretty beat up and broken after 5 years of hard use) I had mounted in the center console, and put the iPod2Car adapter cable in there, so I can select my favorite playlist, and put the iPod in the console, for an even cleaner look (you’d never know it was there).

While my stereo doesn’t tell me what track is playing on my iPod with the iPod2Car (I’ve seen other solutions that do, for example: ice>Link:plus for supported radios) I’m more than happy with the end result. I mean, the stereo didn’t tell me anything useful about my CD’s either, and sure doesn’t help me with the radio (which is a cool feature of some new radios I’ve seen in the rental cars I’ve driven).

The only downside to having a great way to play my iPod in my Accord is that I now feel like I need to update the speakers in the car (yes, I’ve blown most of them over the years while flying down the highway at 90 mph with the windows down, sunroof open, and stereo blazing – that, or I just got used to how good the stereo in my old Jetta sounded (that Monsoon sound system they put in the VW cars truly rocks)).

Owners salary when starting up your own business

I spent some time with my uncle Raymond last week. Raymond owns his own business – Framecrafters, and it’s quite a successful little venture. They make custom frames and framed art for retailers to sell, and do some direct to client work as well. They’re good at it, and do decently well.

I was telling him that someday I want to own my own business, because, in my opinion, that’s really the only way people become independently wealthy these days… and that owning my own business would help me get there, or at least enjoy working a whole lot more (that’s the romantic in my thinking).

Raymond told me to think about the idea of starting my own business, and to remember that most small business owners pay themselves 10 percent of gross revenues as a salary. So, if that’s true, and your business grosses $400,000 a year, you’ll earn $40,000. $500,000 = $50,000. $1,000,000 in gross profits = $100,000 in salary. That’s not true in all businesses, but it’s a great little goal to keep in mind, when I do get around to starting my own business.