Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election Hangover - and survival of the yeast

Wow; it has been a while.  I hope everyone has a good brew in hand because I hate to break it to you all.  The world is not over for the old U.S of A..  It has only changed.  Good or bad, it is the readers perspective.  The question you should ask yourself is how you, your loved ones can evolve and survive.

Now, like our friends the yeast, they are productive, no matter how different their individual environment are.  They create many different delicious beers as long as the key ingredients remain true.  So must we as business owners must be like the yeast and determine that what ingredients we need to survive in our keg (world).

Let's visit the basic list:

  • Yeast - that's you bub.
  • Water - this is our personal environment that we work in our sanctuary.
  • Hops - Consider this your specific skill or talent.
  • Grain - Our clients we serve.
Simple enough right?  Not so fast. Any brewer knows that without a sterile environment, and the right balance of ingredients is needed.  Let's start with the hops.  This defines your services as a business Columbus, Cascade, Citra all can create different varieties of different beer and knowing what the end result of your batch will be (Stout, IPA, Pilsner)  Next, with enough quality grain you (and your employees), can work off what you do best as happy little yeast.  The right clients are the ones you market to within the niche of your services. You are the yeast, of course, magically working to create a wonderful concoction. The water, and what it is stored in (keg, bottle, etc) is the final, yet most misunderstood piece.  The quality of the water and cleanliness of the vessel must be pristine.  Soap, chemicals, other types of bacteria, temperatures too hot or cold all are detrimental to the productivity in your beer.  Know the source of your water folks, and the vessel you have it in.

What is tainting your business' water?  Bad Clients? Bad Employees?  Lack of Leadership?  Political policy? Poor skill set? Negativity? Fear?

When diving into your wort is everything ready for you to do your best work?

Look before you leap folks,  that's what makes a great brew.

Cheers folks!

* Note,  like yeast at times we hibernate. I am happy to say that I am finally out of hibernation, back consulting clients about their technical problems they have with their business lowering costs and creating systems to increase profit margins.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fighting Death at 36000ft

On my flight to Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific ocean the in flight movie “Man of Steel”  was over and I was bantering the flight attendants about having  “wayyy too much fun while working” as I returned from the lavatory.  I took my aisle seat 2 rows behind mid cabin.  A few minutes later a lady staggers pass me and hits my shoulder, I really didn't give it a second though.

About 10 minutes later there was a thud coming from within the lavatory.  The flight attendants helped the same woman from there to the jump seat.  They were murmuring to find her husband.  A few minutes later the PA asks if there are any available doctors, nurses or EMT’s on board.

Within a moments 2 doctors and nurse started working on the woman.  Who was once sitting up on one of the flight attendant’s jumper seats was now lying in the mid station.  As I and the other passengers watched the drama unfold things were getting worse.  An IV was given to the women and within the next 10 minutes they were administering CPR.  After about 15 more minutes passed a few others and I volunteered to help with chest compression considering the flight had about 2 more hours.  The next hour seemed like a blur one doctor taking the lead counting manual compression, defib-ing and watching vitals, the other continuously compressed the bag mask, the nurse deal with the IV and the rest of us were taking turns with the compression.   After a blur of over 90 minutes the doctors both agreed to call it.

The rest of the flight was a somber one.  The fight crew did their best to accommodate the husband and 3 year old granddaughter who was unaware of the gravity of the situation.  Some cried with the husband while others kept busy with the landing procedure, and dealt with other passengers.  After we landed, the paramedics boarded, the flight crew curtained up the middle area as the passengers left, we thanked each other as I left the plane.

I was on auto-pilot as I headed to baggage claim.  Deep in thought I walked right past my dad.  He grabbed me and I gave him a great big hug, realizing the lady that we attempted to help was years younger than him.  After telling him the story of, “How was your flight?”  He just said, “When your time comes it comes.”  Spending over a week with my parents seemed like overkill when scheduling the vacation.  But, I am now cherishing every moment with them and to celebrate Thanksgiving as a family.

For all the things we strive for in life, success, goals and values I learned to value not only our time, but how to spend it.  10 complete strangers tried our best to extend the life of one.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What 5th/6th Graders Reminded Me About Succeeding

     I have a few family members and friends that are teachers.  Usually, during the school year I hear the "horror stories"  of teaching 30+ kids for 8 hours, 5 days a week.  This year, a friend of mine who taught a split level class room of 5th and 6th graders was pleasantly surprised on how well behaved her students were throughout the school year.  She is known to be a strict teacher by student standards, so I though it would be generous to offer up a pizza party to the class.  Like all great educators my friend (Ms. E) wanted her students to write me letters on "Why they deserve a Pizza Party".  A week later, I received 30+ letters from the class and I was FLOORED.  Not having been in an classroom environment in over 12 years, I was reminded some of the basics in succeeding the most simplest of goals.

Here are some of the statements these group of kids made in their letters (and my comments on what I got out of it):

  •  "Now, when Ms. E gives us math packets or literacy work for homework its not as hard as was in the beginning of the year" -CJ.   
    • Progress is seen over the 9 month period, students see improved results and defined goals.  While trying to achieve any goal we need place holders that shows us where we are, where we are going, and if we are on the right path.
  • "Although it may have taken some tears and struggles, I am very grateful for my above grade level performance and knowledge." -MG  
    • Hard work is expected.  Just do it and focus on the long term goal.
  • "From my beliefs as a whole, our class has grown a ton.  But only for the reason that we have a great teacher.  She has helped everyone get over there struggles and challenges."  - EM 
    • The help of a mentor, coach, or teacher's support is with consistent positive feedback & criticism is crucial.  The teacher not only shows the next step, but gives guidance to help you overcome challenges.
  • "We have learned lots of new things this year.  On all of them we worked harder and kept trying" -MB  
    • It is easier to be motivated with others with the same goal. By surrounding yourself with others makes it easier to achieve, i.e. a mastermind group or classroom.
  • "The class and I laugh a lot and some of our stress goes away.  We can share, laugh, live, learn, and smile."  -LL  
    • Be open minded to learn, and have fun!  Kids "have to" go to school but make the best of it.  Take the opportunity to enjoy challenges and grow as person when learning or taking on new goals.
  • "Our teacher, Ms. E, gave us tons of homework, which I am thankful for because it helped me learn."  -OB   
    • Gratitude for the experience; hard work does pay off, be grateful to those that helped, and to yourself for achieving your goals.
Needless to say the students got their Pizza Party.  I was extremely impressed with the letters, and grateful for the reminders through their letters.  It goes to show with the right environment, guidance and hard work towards your goals makes success inevitable.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Perfect Environment to Succeed

Last week I recently had the opportunity to brew my own beer.  Steve, the owner of Station U-Brew in Puyallup, WA was kind enough to help me through the process.  Brewing has an interesting procedure with many set rules.  From the right water temperature, grinding of the grains, boiling the mash adding the malt and hops; all steps had to be completed at a certain points and certain temperatures. The whole purpose is to create a specific environment for the yeast to do its magic and create beer.  Each ingredient gives its own variable on affecting the taste of the beer.  From the different types of malts and grains to the different hop varieties all has a place on how it specifically affects the taste.  Then the yeast is added.  A brewer creates the wonderful environment for these microbes to thrive in and do their magic.

So that made me wonder... How do we create the perfect environment for us to succeed?

Do you have the right team?  Are the people in your business team motivated in helping you succeed?  The right working environment.  A clean de-cluttered working area.   Do things like music, an inspiring view, or photographs inspire you to work?  The proper tools.  A comfortable chair, keyboard, lighting, etc.  Have you created the best area environment that can help you to achieve that specific "flow state"?  I have found that with the proper working environment (comfortable chair, classical music, and large screen)  I find it easier to create documents, write blogs or do any other computer work at a faster rate.  Thus, I have created an environment that will allow me to get into that flow state.

So, I suggest give it a try.  Create that perfect environment that you would need to work efficiently, comfortable, and relaxed; so that you can achieve a better work-space for yourself.

Like the yeast, a perfect environment can create amazing results!

More on the beer in a later article.  Cheers!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Valued ... Customer or Business?

Customers will make or break every business.  They pay for your goods (services) and ultimately are your profit.  A business thrives on providing a value to a customer's needs.  As a business you have the challenge of attracting customers, but not just any customers; the RIGHT customers that you can serve best.  An ideal customer knows what they want and understands that you can fulfill that need.  It's a symbiotic relationship of having the best experience for that person and the possibility of creating a great long term partnership serving each other.  You make them feel comfortable, take care of their needs, and ensure they are happy.  

Take the perspective of a customer:  I NEED  ________!!!!  

What is their main concern, what would a client appreciate more?  Best value?  Best quality? Consistency?  Customer Service?  Customers are willing to pay more for what they perceive as most important service when dealing with a business.  There are two business challenges here:
How do you provide a value or service that the client is willing to pay a premium price?  And what is your greatest strength that you provide that you potential client finds valuable when doing business with you?  Answer those questions and the better off you are focusing on attracting the clients you wish to work with.

Now for a bit of bad news... not every client you come across will be happy with your product or services.  Your initial response is to try to please every customer and spend time attending to their needs.  BUT, this can be a time & energy waste if you feel that they are never happy with your attempts to reasonably solve their needs.  This is where networking with your competitors comes in handy; if you can't best serve that customer maybe someone else with the proper skills can.  This can be both a win-win situation for you, your competitor and the customer that you don't want.  This is not about  you pleasing the customer,  but giving the customer the value they need (even though you are not the one providing it).

The golden rule treat the customer as you want to be treated, and build a customer base that respects and value your services.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Passion and Purpose

For the longest time I was blinded by understanding what motivated me to be successful.  A key component to success in business (or life) is simply illustrated in the following Venn Diagram.

It focuses on making good money (providing for your physical self), skills (your knowledgeable self), and passion (your emotional self).  The center of the circle being that "Happy Place" encompassing all three areas.  Can you identify where are you at?

Passion is the most intimate of of the circles. Passion is defined as any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling  (emotional belief)*  It motivates, or gives you that burning desire that makes you jump out of bed every morning.  That LOVE of doing what you do.   Passion is pure energy.  People that are passionate about their business will find an abundance of energy even if they are deprived of sleep and food.

Purpose is the natural ability that you are talented with.  Your talent could be playing a sport, communicating, entertaining, an entrepreneur who creates new things for world, etc. basically that natural (God given) skills you posses.  That specific purpose that you have has value.

Money - any circulating medium of exchange.  In the United States it is the almighty dollar that pays for food, shelter, clothing, bills, and anything your heart desires.  The focus of money is that takes care of your physical well being.
Throughout our professional careers we trek all over the Venn Diagram above, trying to achieve or stay in that "Happy Place".  I was fortunate to find myself there several times.  Not knowing why or how,  I would state at time was "good week/month/year" for me.   Until a few years back I found that I lacked energy for my job.  Clients were more than satisfied with my work and the pay was exceptional.  But, I was missing something... I could not identify what it was.  I looked around for reasons.  Career was doing well, I was making money... so what was wrong?  I was blinded by my job and its pay to miss the fundamental thing that makes us run as human beings.  Emotional well being.  I wasn't happy.  Work politics and policies, clients egos, less free time, were all straining my relationships with family and friends, my energy, and health.   I was between the purpose and money circles.
I turned my focus from looking for external excuses and focused inward.  What did I enjoy doing and made me happy?   Having a few pints with friends popped into my mind, but I knew there was something much deeper. After some deep realization, mediation, and chatting with peers I found I enjoyed helping people over come limiting beliefs.  I truly understood what I would enjoy doing, what makes me happy... my passion.  The current challenge is now how to move back to that center. What needs to change, and opportunities that will arise as I push myself outside of my current comfort zone, to make my way back to the center of the diagram. 

The point is mapping where you currently are, where you want to go, and create steps on how to achieve it.  We often look externally on where we are in our career (how much we make and what's our status).  Looking forward we must not forget to do an internal check on how do we feel, think, and survive.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Utopia Tasting at the Pine Box

Not even a year old, the Pine Box in Seattle has been making a name for themselves. They provide patrons an impressive array of 33 beers on tap, a simple yet amazing food menu, and a great vibe for customers in the Capitol Hill area. This January, the Pine Box was kind enough to open their doors for Boston Beer Company, and hosted an intimate tasting of the following beers. Here are my notes:

Tasmania Red - 6.75% ABV
A fruity, ruby red IPA that flooded my taste buds with bitter hops and sweet grapefruit. The Galaxy Topaz hops gave this beer an interesting earthy flavor that toned down the sweet fruity taste.

Merry Mischief - 9% ABV
A miraculous beer focused for the holidays. The gingerbread sprung out with spices, following up with a hint chocolate and nutmeg, that left me warm, satisfied, and smiling. Sorry Santa, this bad boy kept Merry Mischief for himself.

Double Bock - 9.5% ABV
Double Bock had an amazing caramel flavor that matches its dark color.  A sweet and fruity flavor on the back end finished off this beer with the taster craving more.

New World -10% ABV
This triple sour gave a hint of citrus as the glass approached my lips, and did not disappoint. A light, sweet body, with a hint of a vanilla, danced on the tongue, and ended with a slight hoppy finish.

Utopia 2012 - 29% ABV
Utopia is the creme de la creme of Boston Brewing.  On first whiff, the aroma of a vanilla rum filled my nose.  It was my first time trying this amazing Rubik's cube of complexity.  I was bombarded by flavors of bourbon, vanilla, sweet sherry, and plum.  It was epic.  Each sip uncovered a new taste.

I sat down with owner Ian Roberts, from the Pine Box, for a quick interview about his current success.

BnB: What is the number one thing you love about your business?
Ian:  "Do what you love!  Man, I offer people good beer that I enjoy.  I have the opportunity to do what I absolutely love."
BnB: What is the most important lesson learned so far?
Ian:  "The people; from the staff to customers, being personable and serving their needs."
BnB: Favorite Beer?
Ian:  "The one in front of me of course!"

Cheers to you Ian for hosting!
The experience was nothing less than spectacular in the quality of beer, food and service.  Check out their website @

The interview sets the course for our next few business articles focusing on:
  • Purpose and Passion
  • Customers
  • Co Workers

PS.  I'd also like to thank Danna from The Boston Beer Company for running the event, and educating us about the beer, on tap!  For more information about the beer visit

PPS.  My apologies for the lack of pictures.  I lost my phone (photographs) shortly after the event.