If you aren’t growing …

The adage then implies you are dying.  This was attributed to many people for obvious reasons.  Success implies things are getting better.  Better in business generally implies you are getting bigger.  We at Apogee have never defined success that way, but certainly celebrate successful growth as one metric, but learned early on that some business elements are winners and others are losers.  You always have some losers you keep because extracting them just to pump up earnings tends to render you an incomplete provider of services.

This is different than loss leaders that many companies use to “get you into the store.”  They are things that attract you, usually because of a low price, that hopefully results in you buying other things there because you are already there.

Today’s world of electronic overload and talking heads use flamboyant language to play on common fears, and with today’s 401Ks more like 201Ks, a common fear is not having enough money set aside for retirement.  Most of us have never really looked at our retirement accounts carefully, and when we do there can be a wakeup call about winners and losers.

Well, a recent news article about the TV personality who covers stocks caught my eye.  It is Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money” who has declared fossil fuels dead.  Read it for yourself. 

You see these antics all the time.  I wish they were all about thoughtful people trying to be helpful.  I have concluded they are not.  They are deliberate attempts to move stock prices using fear which then traders can detect and use to make windfall profits.  These are truly evil acts.  Here is how it works.

You take a commonly held long run belief: right now that is certainly the notion that the world is moving away from fossil fuels for a host of reasons.  You then scare people to believe the sky is falling using some recent stock movements, implying that the “end is near” and it never is.  The market responds and quickly.  You then wait for it to settle at the bottom of the moody cycle and buy knowing it will return to the long term trend line.  “The trend is your friend” is the rule for most trading organizations, and it is.  Market moods especially scares cause short term deviations.  Day traders just love these.

Look, folks, take a hard look at global oil production statistics.  Yes, they may not be increasing, but it is not going out of style quickly.  Yes, oil companies may now diversify to include renewables and energy efficiency investments to “green up” their appearances, but the majority of their business is still going strong, and will for many years.

One of our professional friends who mails things for people knows the long term trends on things being mailed, but still invests in the business because he is hoping that the others who mail things for people will go out of business.  His strategy is to be the last mailing firm in business and then face the realities.  His business is growing as a result.

Global Cooling

I know the title caught you off guard, but the research is in.  We are cooling off. The “we” being human beings.  The “normal” healthy body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is no longer normal.  The average American’s body temperature has evidently dropped. Take a look at the research for yourself.

The 98.6 F standard was established in 1851 and is now being updated to 97.9 F.  Anyone who has watched their own temperatures over their lifetime has probably noted that our body temperature moves around, so what does average really mean anyway.  Plus, if you have been infirmed in a hospital you may have noticed your body temperature changes all day long.

What I find most interesting is that for once, this is not being blamed on climate change!

We hear what we want to hear…

Perhaps you have been watching the Disney Plus online movies which include the series called The Mandalorian.  He is a bounty hunter in the Star Wars series who takes a liking to one of his assignments: finding and rescuing what looks like the baby form of Yoda we all know in that series.  The baby, by the way, is 50 years old, but given that the Yoda species can live 1,000 years or more, I guess this still qualifies as a baby.

You may not be aware, but Disney never anticipated people would be so captivated with baby Yoda that they wanted one for Christmas.  It was insane how many “knock-offs” emerged to fill this void.  That was certainly a missed opportunity for the Disney franchise.

Well, a cartoon showed up on my Facebook page which I thought was a riot.  It shows a girl receiving a baby Yoda for Christmas and her complaining that she wanted a Toyota.  That triggered a whole series of thoughts to me about how selective our hearing really is and how easy it is to miscommunicate and talk right past each other.

I am sure you can recount many situations where customers misinterpreted your ideas and offerings, and how difficult it is to be sure we are communicating.  That reminds me of a pastor who runs across one of his parishioners in the grocery store who had not been in church for a long time.  He asks her, after exchanging greetings, “I’ve noticed you haven’t been in church lately.  Aren’t you worried about the hereafter?”

She nods knowingly and states: “Yes, I worry about that all the time!  I walk into a room and ask myself ‘what am I here after?’”

I rest my case.

Banning Singing in Religious Gatherings

We really need to all take a deep breath and step away from the abyss.  Breath out … breath in … breath out … breath in.

Now, let’s stop the polarization over ideas and consider some obvious facts.  The question here, brought into focus by recent news in Germany, is the question of HOW we let people get back to things they value, with going to their places of worship is certainly one of them.  We can ask people to wear masks, gloves, and even hazmat suits if that is the right thing to consider, but posing an emotion-laden statement that we are going to ban singing in church fails to move the discussion along productively.

Notice this article from The Guardian that says: banning singing in churches, Read it here.

If you read it, which you should, you will see the key consideration in this reporting is the question of how we let choirs sing … NOT the congregants!

And, these are good questions.  Why should we take a group of generally elderly people and put them right next to each other and breathing forcibly over the heads of people right in front of us with no face masks repeatedly for an hour or so?  Doesn’t that seem to be an obvious risk?  Sure it does.

What are the creative answers here?  I hope you are not thinking face masks or hazmat suits …

How about we just let the choirmaster sing to lead us?  How about we just ask a few soloists to sing along or perform as a duet, trio, or quartet … spaced appropriately.

It is time we think critically about how we transition back to normal.

It is also time that journalists stop trying to scare the bejesus out of us.

Just sayin …