Good Enough…Isn’t

I remember the time when Tom Peters seemed to own the airwaves with his “In Search of Excellence” series of lectures and consulting.  His book by that name extolled the virtues and business acumen of firms like Federal Express with their motto: “When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight!”

As my prior blog on them pointed out, they no longer feel that way.  When I asked the package delivery agent how I could get my wife’s computer to Denver she said I first had to give her the dimensions and weight and would not answer the question when it would arrive until I did.  Little did I know that she was simply following the instructions for the tracking initiation software.

My wife Susan and I lectured using his stories and I recounted my experience at Nordstrom’s with shoe laces in another blog as one more example.  People in the audience laughed until it hurt as we recounted story after story in our own lives of how service excellence made a difference.

The word that seems to have replaced “ownership” of a customer’s situation is “monetization.”   If it is not saving money or making money it is discretionary.  Sure, airlines like Southwest seem to be getting away with this, but I suspect they can easily be disrupted by better value and service.  I know from our staff that they no longer buy the cheapest seats on their airline tickets because flexibility has value.

It is interesting to contrast this with things people do seem to care about.  The recent win of Tiger Woods is all the rage for golfers.  I don’t follow sports but I am sure each has its passionate followers of this or that team.  Does it make any sense to talk about “good enough” in these areas?  Good enough relegates you to a position pretty far back in the pack.

Nope, I still maintain good enough simply isn’t.


Climate Change Facts

“The Arctic Ocean is warming up!  Icebergs are growing scarcer, and in some places, seals are finding the water too hot according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulate at Bergen, Norway.  Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and historically unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.

Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.

Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points, well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

Within a few years, it is predicted that due to the ice melt, the sea will rise and make most coast cities uninhabitable.”

Oh, I neglected to mention that this news article was from November 2, 1922 , as reported by the AP and published in The Washington PostThat was 96 years ago. This must have been caused by the Model T Ford’s emissions or possibly from horses 🐎 🐎and cattle 🐄 🐄 passing gas. You can check this out for yourself on SNOPES, a liberal leaning truth checker and they found it is true.


Now there is a word I have not seen lately.  And, it struck me as refreshing, but a bit odd that the wind industry would be the one to point out that Iowans are gullible if they swallow the idea that wind creates jobs.  As we have all learned, there is almost always more the to the story.  It was especially remarkable that the article uses the famous movie The Music Man to illustrate the gullibility.

Read what National Wind Watch has to say. 

The word gullible is used to describe people who are easily duped or cheated.  I couldn’t agree more, but why stop with Iowans … why not simply tell everyone in the US and around the world for that matter that the emperor is nude.

But, there is more to this than that.  The underlying reason we become gullible is more sinister.  We fall prey to this when we lose our curiosity for the rest of the story and we accept superficially appealing notions to capture the argument.

Our national lack of dialogue around energy issues rests on our gullibility.  What is worse, those in leadership positions will not “disturb sleeping dogs” when they think the gullibility is in their favor on an argument.

We live in a democracy where we need an informed electorate.  Gullibility is a formidable enemy to its success.


Better than Bovine Flatulence

Most of us are fully aware of the concerns about methane released into our environment.  It has over 30 times the influence on trapping heat in our atmosphere.  So, it was without surprise that the cattle industry came under scrutiny and criticisms for methane release, which is called “bovine flatulence.”  Money was being spent studying this, which included research on reformulating the grasses as feedstock to see if these natural emissions could be reduced.

A much less obvious but extremely large methane release comes from mining coal.  This article is an excellent review of the size and possible remediation methods associated with coal mine methane releases:

Read the article in Climate Change News.

But almost nothing is said or done about these sources.  Unlike bovine flatulence, mine methane can be tapped and used as a fuel source.  It just isn’t sexy.  Plus, it is technically challenging to do because it requires a huge investment in projects to remediate the problem.  However, it might just make a bigger difference in the outcome while we are all trying to mitigate with our solar and wind energy advocacy.

Holistic least-cost planning seems to have fallen out of favor.  Planning itself seems to have been left to the invisible hand of the market forces.  The recent warning out of California about trusting this hand should be a wake-up call.

Read what Daily Energy Insider has to say.

“Fewer and fewer customers are getting power from the traditional large regional utilities and the central decision making that we use for keeping the grid reliable, safe, and affordable is splintering, becoming the task of dozens of decision-makers,” CPUC President Michael Picker wrote in the cover letter to the report.  “In the last deregulation, we had a plan, however flawed. Now, we are deregulating electric markets through dozens of different decisions and legislative actions, but we do not have a plan. If we are not careful, we can drift into another crisis,” Picker wrote.

Plans are good.  Better than just hoping that invisible hand does the right thing.