New Year’s Resolutions … oh no, not again!

Happy New YearWell here we go again … it is that time of the year when many of us become introspective and motivated to do something about how we spend our time and other resources. Perhaps that is good, except of course when we don’t do what we should be doing in all of life … that is keep track of how we are doing in the past so we can be better stewards of what we plan to do in the future.

Lose weight, exercise, and spend more time with family and friends … you know the list that will once again be considered and perhaps even become a statement of intent: our New Year’s Resolution for 2016 in this case.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a news writer (TV Critic Ken Tucker) consider lots of things he was going to watch to be more impactful in 2016. Top of his list was watching more Big Bang Theory. Here is what he said:

I’ll Give The Big Bang Theory Another Shot It’s by far the most popular sitcom in America, measured by ratings, but gosh darn it, I never crack a smile whenever I’ve watched it. I really admire Jim Parsons’ performance; I think he’s a great comic talent, with a sense of timing the equal of such first-rate sitcom stars as — well, as Bob Newhart, and who’s popped up occasionally on Big Bang.


Finally, I have a New Year’s Resolution I can and will keep! Maybe this is the real key to success: paint the bull’s eye around the place you land and declare victory. Sounds like a plan to me.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Kung Fu Marketing

Kung Fu MarketingIt is funny how some words enter the English language. I think you know that Kung Fu is often thought of as a member of the martial arts. Upon closer study, the real meaning means “time spent” and that in turn is why the martial arts it often represents is called that: it takes a lot of time to learn this technique.

So, it is perhaps not a surprise that a firm who wants to market a device that reflects a lot of time and effort might use the phrase Kung Fu to reflect that. Innocent enough. Beware though what happens when you connect this to other thoughts.

Susan and I are remodeling a house and were concerned about putting electrical outlets in our brand new cabinets that would deface the beautiful wood finish. So, quite naturally, I went online to see if I could find a modern outlet design that would be less conspicuous. Here is the link to the Amazon advertisement we noticed offered one.

This design looked very clever and I ordered one. It came today and as I opened the box I became a bit alarmed at what I saw. See the picture to the right. My first reaction was that I had clearly ordered something other than what I thought. No … it was the pop up electric socket device and it was exactly the one pictured on

Now when I reread the advertisement, I can hear the foreign voice at work here. Translation is not the same as transcreation. Some things might work perfectly well in Chinese or Japanese, but lose or even gain something in translation.

You might like to know that Esso Oil company changed its name decades ago when they went international because Esso in Japanese meant broken down car. KungFuKing Socket seems to follow the same communication path.

So, be careful as you consider multiple languages on your web presentation or customer communication.


We’ll keep the lights on for you…


Or turn them off for you … or blink in any color you want for you!

The title of this blog comes from Thomas Edward “Tom” Bodett, an American author, voice actor, and radio host. Since 1986, he has been the spokesman for the hotel chain Motel 6, whose commercials end with the phrase, “I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we’ll leave the light on for you.”  Needless to say, he is a favorite among many electric utilities for that vote of support.

Well, things are changing dramatically this year.  Check out the way technology has changed the age old Christmas lights!

Read the WSJ article here.
What a world we live in.  Think about how all this is changing expectations!  Sure, there are a lot of people who are not tech junkies.  But, the world all around us is in a mad dash to become more personal and more controllable.

These same customers do not expect to pay less for this capability.  They expect to pay a premium for convenience.
Perhaps it is high time that we open a new conversation within our staff meetings and even our regulatory proceedings.  Might we not want to begin the migration towards premium products and services that our customers will gladly pay higher prices for?

I think the timing is perfect for this and this kind of thinking is certain to be considered “tidings of joy” to your senior leadership teams.

Thanksgiving Tradition – Do you know who Squanto was?


Thanksgiving is such a happy time of year for most of us, visiting friends and family, good food, and the beginning of the dreaded Christmas rush. We are reminded to be thankful, and that never goes out of style. We at Apogee are certainly thankful to each of you for your friendship and encouragement.

What struck me this year was how wrong the story of Thanksgiving I was told actually was. I never knew the full story about how we treated the Native Americans back then. Sure, I have been alerted to some of the unexpected consequences of Columbus’s expeditions spreading disease to the Americas.

But, as you read the “rest of the story” about this period of time in our history, you can’t help but see parallels to our modern times as others interact and battle for what they see as rights for their religious freedom and treat the establishment so cruelly. You have to also really wonder how balance can be maintained in such a diverse world with seemingly irreconcilable differences so prevalent.

If you google the question I asked to open this blog, you will see much of the backstory to Thanksgiving that we were not told and it reminds us about how what we call history is summarized quite eloquently in the lyrics in the Broadway play Wicked about history:


A man’s called a traitor or liberator. A rich man’s a thief or philanthropist.
Is one a crusader or ruthless invader? It’s all in which label is able to persist.
There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities, so we act as though they don’t exist.

Perhaps there is a deeper message here and someone we should be truly thankful for at this time. Squanto could have been vindictive given the way the world treated him at the time. Ironically, he used his gift of speaking English to negotiate a peace with those Pilgrims much to the chagrin of the elders of his people. He was truly an ambassador of peace in a situation that rightfully looked like the makings of a war. We need more people like Squanto in our society.