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“Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.” – CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramercramerpigs

Which decision requires more mental gymnastics?

When to buy?

When to sell?

The author of Almost DailyBrett humbly opines that when to sell is the tougher call.

Why?

There are two kinds of remorse: ‘Darn it the stock kept going up after I sold’; and the worse one, ‘I could have sold when the stock was up, but I was a pig … and oh fiddlesticks, now I am selling when the stock is down.’

Yep, there are a lot of potential could-of, would-of, should-of when it comes to selling.

So what should you do in the view of this humble retail investor (read: Charles Schwab account)?

Don’t Fall in Love

“…Sometimes the most obvious question really is the question. In Enron’s case: How do you make money? – Bethany McLean, Fortune Magazine

Preparing to teach Corporate Public Relations/Investor Relations to Central Washington University seniors and a few juniors starting this coming Wednesday, yours truly will pose the same simple question that Fortune’s McLean posed to Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling: “How do you (Enron) make money?”

Communicators need to have elevator pitches at their ready when asked this very same straightforward question about their own employer. The same is true for investors: How does a company make money? If the answer is clear; you like the company; you understand the business strategy; you have done your homework including consulting with your financial advisor, then it may be time to purchase shares of the company stock.bullandbear

This particular company’s stock is now part of your diversified portfolio, which in turn represents a portion of your retirement savings, a child’s college education, that dream vacation etc.

All is good, but when does it make sense to sell?

Buy and hold is a sure loser. Why? At some point, stocks will stop growing. Your invested company certainly will change, and not necessarily for the better. Circumstances may shift and a wave of caca may hit a company or an industry.

Remember the Internet bubble two decades ago? It burst.

Remember the housing bubble a decade ago. It burst.

Don’t fall in love with your securities. Follow your instinct and your plan. When it is time to pull the trigger and unload the stock, then sell the shares.

Have a Plan

“I love the company. I hate the stock.” – Jim Cramer on Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA)

Okay, it’s time to confess: I fell in love with the Elon Musk Ion-Lithium Battery/Electric Car story at Tesla. Yes, I bought the stock and road it up and down (pardon the pun) and eventually got tired of the downward roller coaster.muskcar

Before I weighed selling, I considered at what average price point did I buy the stock and how low would it have to go before I would sell the stock? It hit that point, and it was time to sell.

Maybe at some future time, it will be low enough to once again purchase the stock, but only when one is convinced the company has a realistic plan for long-term profitability.

The same is true when selling a stock that is going up. Social media stock LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) recorded a blow-out quarter and the stock exceeded my prearranged sell price point. As Joseph Kennedy reportedly said: “Never apologize when taking a profit.”

And we should never worry about paying taxes on our profits; profits are taxable.

The point here is to follow your game plan and sell when it’s time. That’s a good thing, really.

What are some other signs that it is time to sell a stock?

  • The Music Stopped: Once upon a time, Intel (e.g., microprocessors), Microsoft (e.g., software operating systems) and Cisco (e.g., Internet routers and switches) were literally rocking and rolling. We couldn’t get enough of these stocks until … the music stopped. The PC is yesterday’s news. The 1990s came and went. It became time to sell and move on.
  • Commoditization: Just like Intel’s microprocessors became a commodity to serve as the brains of social, mobile and cloud, the same is true for all other semiconductors and those that build semiconductor manufacturing equipment and electronic design automation (EDA) software. Intel’s rumored takeover of Altera, similar to Avago’s absorption of LSI Corporation, are more signs of industry consolidation. If you have not sold already, it’s past time.
  • High Volatility: Sometimes an investor can benefit from a highly volatile stock. A perfect example is Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM). Lost track of how many times, yours truly has bought, sold, bought, sold, bought … this stock. As long as the trend line is consistently up, it’s okay to let go of the shares now and then, only to become reacquainted at a later date.
  • New Management: Tim Cook is proving that there is life at Apple following the ultimate demise of Steve Jobs, but that is the exception not the rule. Companies change. Business plans shift. Circumstances change. Markets explode or implode. Almost DailyBrett has always followed the mantra that if the old boss or new boss is a bosshole, it’s time to pass on the stock or sell the stock. Translated: Stay away from Larry Ellison and Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL)
  • No Balance Between Fiduciary and Corporate Social Responsibility: The best run publicly traded companies do NOT see “doing well” and “doing good” as being mutually exclusive. Publicly traded companies with their brands under a digital 21st. Century microscope must appreciate their respective brands are trading in the cloud 24/7/365. Worshipping exclusively at the altar of fiduciary responsibility will no longer cut it. If so, it’s time to sell.
  • Caca Happens: Planes land at the wrong airports (e.g., Southwest). Companies name shoes (e.g., Umbro) after the cyanide gas used in Nazi concentration camps. The CEO falls dead in the backseat of a car (e.g., Texas Instruments). Oil wells explode and gush on global video for three months (e.g., BP). Guano hits the fan. This is precisely the reason not to fall in love with any stock.

Sometimes, it is time to say goodbye.

Breaking up is hard to do.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10292084/1/bulls-bears-make-money-pigs-get-slaughtered.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Sr.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/what-happens-when-the-music-stops/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/how-does-a-company-make-money-2/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/donate-to-united-way-or-invest-in-tesla/

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/cramers-stop-trading-tesla-motors-135400997.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/farewell-lsi-logic/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Couldn’t believe my ears.

Did my post-graduate classmate in “Teaching and Professional Life” just state ex-cathedra that (being) “mean is awesome” when it comes to teaching impressionable undergraduate college students?larrysumners

For some reason, the author of Almost DailyBrett can’t just simply vanquish these words, uttered by a Ph.D candidate in communications, from his personal DRAM.

Sure wouldn’t want to be in her classroom.

The question for today is whether this brand of arrogance, callousness and potential cruelty is reaching epidemic proportions on college and university campuses?

What blew me away is that some were actually nodding their heads in affirmation.

I couldn’t agree less.

Who Are Our Customers?

Almost DailyBrett is not universally loved by privileged graduate teaching fellow (GTF) types, so these next thoughts may not be especially well-received either.

When it comes to colleges and universities, who is paying the bills (e.g., salaries, benefits, stipends)? Besides donors and grants, the main answer lies with parents/guardians of students, the students themselves waiting tables, taking out loans or the combination of all the above.

The Economist reported this week that average annual fees at private universities are $31,000 and approximately $10,000 at public universities. The typical college student, who may spend up to six years on campus, will be saddled with $40,000 in debt whether or not she or he graduates.studentloans

And you want to be mean to these students and by natural extension, their families?

And wouldn’t one think that since these students are indeed a prime source of college/university largesse, the service providers (e.g., professors, instructors, GTFs) would actually be nice to their “customers?”

What’s that?

Some believe strongly that colleges and universities should not be run like businesses? They are mostly non-profit. Right? So they should be oriented toward searching for the truth rather than preparing students to find a job? Maybe that attitude und Weltanschauung is at least partially the source of the meanness.

Mentoring/Not Meanness

Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” – Former Secretary of State and Harvard Professor Henry Kissinger

Let’s face the truth.

College and university faculty meetings are generally not happy gatherings. Hours are spent in academic debate, but little if anything changes with the exception of tuition, fees and administrative hirings going up.

Some faculty members have a difficult time impacting their own worlds, so they are not usually in a good mood entering the classroom. This is where meanness and ruthlessness is carried out, just make sure every rule and regulation is included in the syllabus. Maybe, these particular faculty types are more suited to being bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

Don’t get me wrong, faculty members (e.g., professors, instructors, GTFs) cannot be friends with students, but that doesn’t mean we should be enemies. We should care about our students, and the best teachers do just that.

This is where another “M-word” comes into play: Mentoring. We should not be teaching exclusively out of a book, but instead we should be providing real-time knowledge about how the professional world really works.

Our students should venture out into the work-place with their eyes wide open. They should be trained to speak not the words of students, but the language of the workplace. They should know the difference between the top-line and the bottom-line, between revenues and net income or loss.

They should embrace buy low, sell high. They should prove their own return on investment (ROI), not just their degree, but a record of solid experience articulated in cover letters, resumes and LinkedIn profiles.people1

If a student demonstrates and proves her/his preparedness for competition for publicly traded/privately held/for profit/non-profit positions, then we as educators should be willing to provide a graduating student with a reference and all the help that we can.

Will the mean professor do that?

Almost DailyBrett has found that very few things in life are more uplifting than reading/hearing about one of your former students being hired and embarking on what very well could be, a rewarding career.

Instead of being mean, let’s mentor with a little tough love, if necessary. Let’s encourage our students to seek out and attain the best anti-poverty, wealth-creation program ever invented: a well-paying private sector position with full benefits and maybe a stock option or two.

All it requires is a little TLC and some mentoring too.

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21646219-college-america-ruinously-expensive-some-digital-cures-are-emerging-log

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/are-striking-uo-graduate-teaching-fellows-certifiable/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/dealing-with-online-hecklers/

http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/08/18/acad-politics/

 

 

 

 

 

As a member of the California Governor’s Press Office team, all I wanted was a good wire-service photo, just one-awesome still … and okay maybe some video too.

And that photo and related earned-media would capture/cover Governor Duke and Mrs. Duke greeting the Prince of Wales and the Princess at Expo ’86 in Vancouver, B.C.diananews

Guess the best-laid plans of PR dudes/dudettes and mice often go astray …

… or to be more precise, fainted on the floor of the California Pavilion.

Princess Diana, the ever-telegenic Princess of Wales, ended up lying unconscious on the floor of our pavilion in front of dozens of American, Canadien and always charming Fleet Street reporters and photographers about 50-feet away from my loafers.

Say “goodbye” to one great photo; enter an international crisis communications incident relating to probably the most famous celebrity on the planet at the time in about four nanoseconds.

Out Cold on The Floor of the California Pavilion

“She (Princess Diana) was walking along and had gotten to the bicycle exhibit. It appeared to me that she moved closer to her husband (Prince Camilla Parker Bowles) and sort of tapped him on the arm and was beginning to say something when she fainted – very gracefully.” – California Governor George Deukmejian

It was an unusually warm day in early May in Vancouver, B.C. The Pacific Northwest is considered to be situated a temperate-maritime climate (read: clouds and rain), but on this day El Sol was high in the sky and the temps were mucho calor.

The British media described the Royals May 6 schedule as “heavy and relentless” including stops at the Saudi Arabian, Russian, British, American and the California pavilions. They even labeled our pavilion as “stuffy” even though “The Californias” was largely designed by Disney.

Prince Charlie and Lady Di were at the height of their global celebrity, five years after their supposedly fairytale wedding ceremony. Literally thousands of gawkers were lined-up outside for a mere glimpse of the royals.

The photographers were particularly out in force, including undoubtedly some of the same Paparazzi types that later contributed to Princess Diana’s ultimate demise in 1997.

As it turns out, the geography of Expo ’86 grounds and its dozens of pavilions mandated that the California pavilion was last on the royal couple’s exhausting schedule. That’s where Governor Deukmejian, Gloria Deukmejian, Chief of Staff Steve Merksamer and the author of Almost DailyBrett waited.georgegloria

Another factor that contributed to my desire for a super photo of the Duke and the Prince/Princess was that 1986 was a gubernatorial election year in the Golden State. We were running way in front of our two-time challenger, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, but nonetheless we were following the George Deukmejian Laws of Politics:

  1. Take Nothing for Granted;
  2. Always Run As If You Are Running Behind

Even though Expo ’86 was not a campaign event and easily qualified as official gubernatorial business promoting California as superb vacation destination, there was no denying the political implications in the traditional blue state.

Was The Princess in “Delicate” Condition?

“We have certainly heard nothing about her being pregnant though I am sure she will be given a check-up by her doctors when she returns home just to make sure.” — Vic Chapman, Buckingham Palace press secretary

Once the princess slumped to the floor of our pavilion, the Royal Family folks summoned the doctor and his ammonia inhalants. The media were immediately ushered outside among the throngs. The governor, Mrs. Deukmejian, Steve Merksamer and yours truly were moved into a holding room.

We were just in the process of being debriefed by the governor, when a Buckingham Palace type entered and announced that the Prince of Wales wished to continue the tour sans his fainted spouse … and you wonder why the marriage went kaputt 10 years later?

The governor expressed his concern to Charlie Prince of Wales, who gave him a look that translated, “This woman is embarrassing me again.” It was time to get back to the tour, which was cut short the moment Diana was revived.

Outside Buckingham Palace press secretary Vic Chapman was fending off the Fleet Street piranha inquiring whether the Princess was preggers. He insisted that was indeed not the case, which spurred further questions including: “How would you Mr. XY Chromosomes know?”

Just as the good government is good politics, it is also sound expedient politics to simply show compassion to someone, who seemed to break under the heat and the pressure. I was proud of my boss: California’s Governor George Deukmejian.

Alas I can’t say the same for Prince Charlie, who was personally mortified and was seemingly unconcerned about his spouse.

He  ultimately opted for ground beef (e.g., Camilla) as opposed to filet mignon (e.g., Diana).

It is still troubling nearly 30 years later to reflect on Diana prone on the floor of the California pavilion; it is far worse to contemplate her fatal car crash as she was chased by the Paparazzi.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufaxGcxfdPQ

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-05-07/news/mn-3572_1_princess-diana

http://articles.philly.com/1986-05-07/news/26051483_1_diana-princess-royal-visit-charles-and-diana

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana,_Princess_of_Wales

 

Meet the baby of the family, the unexpected/unplanned baby of the family.

This coming Saturday, Pi Day, the mathematically inept, right-brained baby will “celebrate” the successful navigation of 60 years on the planet, and look forward to hopefully plenty more.kmb2

Much has changed since the decade of Ike, Elvis, Disneyland, Sputnik, U2 (not the band) and “Senator, have you no sense of decency?”

The author of Almost DailyBrett has always been a tad vertically challenged; in time became follicly challenged, and still vows to never-ever be horizontally challenged. Looking forward to Saturday’s cross-training with Nike+, charting the results.

Tempted to mimic a lyric, “Oh, what a long, strange trip it has been,” but I was never into that kind of “trip.” When it comes to sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, always been a big fan of the first, still dig the latter (never was a Dead Head), and never understood the appeal of the “medicine.”

Baby Boomers are supposed to wax nostalgic for the 1960s and the demonstrations in the streets of Chicago and arrests on the quad at Berkeley. What the heck happened to your author? Instead, he pleasantly recollects the 1980s, when he tied the knot for the first time, became a father to Allison, when it was Morning in America.

California even balanced its budget, raised zero taxes and maintained a $1 billion for emergency. Almost sounds quaint when compared to today’s oceans of red ink for our children’s children to pay. Yep, the 1980s worked; they always will; historical revisionism be damned.

Come to think of it, during my life a Wall went up in 1961 (“Ich bin ein Berliner”) and it came down 28 years later (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”). O.J. sliced up UCLA’s defense in 1967 and Nicole Brown a generation later.

Nothing has ever been permanent, particularly disco, hem-and-tan lines.

Brady Bunch Neighborhood

Growing up in lily-white Glendale, California in the age of Hogan’s Heroes and the God-awful Brady Bunch, your blog writer will always be grateful for those priests and nuns who taught writing, reading and literature. They also transformed me into the rotten Catholic I am today with their unique combination of arrogance, boorishness and corporal punishment.

Sorry to say Padre, you were wrong: Mary Magdalene was not a whore.

There was the bitter divorce of 1967, but with it came life-long lessons about how to and how NOT to treat the fairer gender. Monogamy with a special one is best; you should try it and stick with it, fellow hombres.ibmselectric

My love of writing began at eight-years old, the very same year in which the school loud speakers told us about the death of a young president. This same infatuation with the pencil, pen, IBM Selectric, work station, PC, and now the mobile device continued as man walked on the moon, a president resigned, our diplomats were held hostage for 444 days, and planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Growing up, always thought that Nixon’s first name was “Damn.” Came to appreciate that Tricky Dick and Slick Willie were spot-on names for my least favorite presidents. Thankfully, Nixon abolished the draft. There was no ‘Nam for me, University of Oregon instead.

The Earth Shook

Eventually graduated from the University of Southern California with a Rose Bowl ring and no loans. Yes I was fortunate, but a long career laid before me. Cut my teeth covering the Proposition 13 tax-revolt earthquake in 1978. Toured the Soviet Union in 1981, seeing the Evil Empire and its grip on people up close and personal. Recruited to serve as the press director for the Deukmejian Campaign Committee the following year. We won the governorship of California at 5 am the day-after-the-election. We recorded the biggest landslide in blue state California’s history four years later.

Sacramento has two seasons: Hot and Cold. Served as the Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary as the earth shook San Francisco (e.g., Loma Prieta Earthquake). Was told “The Bay Bridge is in the Water.”  Whew, it was not true, even though the Cypress Structure mysteriously came down.cypressstructure

Next was trees, owls, chips and Japan, which led to the fifth most famous person from Liverpool, Wilf Corrigan, and LSI Logic. Saw the Internet bubble rise and inevitably it exploded, resulting in seven rounds of layoffs and a company on the brink. We survived and yet it was time for Wilf to retire … The world moved on to social, mobile and cloud.

Faced mortality twice, first with prostate cancer and then with Valley Fever/Meningitis. Fought off the first and battled the second to a draw, and yet it was my first wife, Robin, who lost her battle to cancer. Life is unfair. Life is fickle. Life is finite.

Attained the so-called “Holy Grail” of public relations, vaunted agency experience with a life-changing side-effect; subbing at Santa Clara University. Could I teach at the college level, maybe even at the school that caused time to stop with “Kenny Wheaton is going to score; Kenny Wheaton is going to score”?DSC01171

Accepted a fellowship to the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and earned 15 months later my master’s degree. The attainment of a second career was complete with a full-time instructor position at UO, and now a tenure-track assistant professor gig, teaching public relations/advertising/corporate communications/investor relations at Central Washington University.

And best of all, the author of Almost DailyBrett turned his attention away from his blog long enough to survey the field of contenders on Match.com. The result was a love affair with Jeanne, fireworks on the Fourth of July, and trips in the little green chariot. Next up is our long-overdue romantic honeymoon to Bavaria and Tuscany, Mad King Ludwig’s castles and Under the Tuscan Sun.

I am one lucky dude.

Today, I am inspired by Mick and Keith at 71, Ronnie at 68, and geriatric Charlie at 73 on worldwide tour. To use more than a few metaphors, there is still plenty of gas in the tank and the engine continues to rev every morning. It’s pedal to the metal time.

“Oh what a long, strange trip it has been.” Looking forward to continuing the ride with the top down and my few remaining hairs flowing in the breeze.DSC01421

 

“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.” – Winston Churchill

It (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speech) called into question the efficacy of any deal the administration might strike with Iran over its nuclear program; it likely renewed momentum for another round of Iranian sanctions on the Hill; it positioned the GOP politically as the party more worried about Israeli security, and, despite the White House’s best efforts, made the president appear petty and churlish.” – James Oliphant, National Journalbibicongress

To Almost DailyBrett, it appears to be a new dawn of pettiness.

What happened to taking the high road?

How about some Churchillian “tact”?

Seems like all the above is in short supply these days.

Drifting Further Apart

Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.” – Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry”

Let’s face it: There are 7 billion+ inhabiting our planet and everyone has a derriere and an opinion too.

Some we don’t want to hear; there are just as many that we don’t respect.

In the case of President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the former made it absolutely clear that he tuned out the speech of the latter. Aren’t the U.S. and Israel strategic, democratic “allies”?

The reason for the presidential tune-out? The former (e.g., executive branch) didn’t invite the latter to speak before a joint session of Congress (e.g., legislative branch). They (e.g., Obama and Netanyahu) also don’t like each other … pass the sand shovels and plastic buckets.

Is the White House’s behavior “petty and churlish?” The answer is “yes” according to one major publication and presumably others think so as well.

There is the far more important global issue of Israel’s survival and whether or not the warm-and-fuzzy Mullahs of Iran gets their hands on nuclear bombs.

There is also the mounting inability-to-converse behavior that is being exhibited as we seemingly grow further apart, even as technology is rapidly improving our ability to instantaneously “communicate.”

“Alone Together”

The Economist in its cover story this week, “Planet of the phones,” reported the 2 billion smart phones in circulation right now will grow to 4 billion in just five years-time. The stately British newspaper also projected that 80 percent of adults will have smart phones by 2020 as Moore’s Law holds sway and the number of apps/features doubles each-and-every 18-24 months.

The computing/communicating power of these hand-held mobile devices is awesome. What is not so fantabulous is how these devices in far too many ways help us in avoiding each other. M.I.T. Professor Sherry Turkle wrote her latest book: “Alone Together, What We Expect From Technology and Less From Each Other.”turkle

Taking a page from Rene Descartes and moving it to the 21st Century, Turkle told a recent TED Talk Conference (Technology, Entertainment and Design) that the new mantra very well could be: “I connect, therefore I am.”

And while we are digitally connected, we can avoid analog interaction (e.g., actual conversation) with others … and best of all, we conquer our fear of being alone. Yes we are in the presence of our fellow humans, but alas they have their faces buried in their smart-phone screen just as we do.

Is the barista taking too long making your grande no-whip mocha?

Do you feel alone?

Do you feel exposed?

Quick: Pull out your smart phone.

Turkle also said the smart-phone obsessed have a solution for being in the same room with those, who they may not want to know. It’s called the Goldilocks Effect for the Alone Together crowd, all present, but at the same time not there: “Not too close. Not too far. Just right.”

Maybe President Obama could have stopped by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress, and brought along his Blackberry? He could have texted, surfed golf course websites for tee times, checked his approval ratings etc. He would have been there, and yet not been there at the same time. Perfect.

From a public relations standpoint, his press secretary could proclaim the president while irked by the proceedings and the message was big enough to be there … even though he was mentally elsewhere.

Aren’t there executives who claim to be listening at board meetings, while they are texting at the same time, the ultimate in multi-tasking? Why can’t the über-chief executive do exactly the same thing?

At least the National Journal would not be accusing him of being petty and churlish.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/netanyahu-delivers-just-what-obama-feared-20150303

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/obama-aide-calls-netanyahu-visit-destructive-to-relations/2015/02/25/1f1d5b0c-bce6-11e4-9dfb-03366e719af8_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/netanyahus-churchillian-warning/2015/03/05/60ae7fd4-c366-11e4-9ec2-b418f57a4a99_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/33365-tact-is-the-ability-to-tell-someone-to-go-to

 

 

 

The University of Google is where I got my degree from.” – Anti-Vaccine Activist and Blonde Celebrity Jenny McCarthyjenny

“Even for scientists, the scientific method is a hard discipline. Like the rest of us, they’re vulnerable to what they call ‘confirmation bias’ – the tendency to look for and see only evidence that confirms what they already believe.” – Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post, writing for National Geographic

There have been a lot of –isms in global history … most of them were/are not good, even though a few of them are more than okay (e.g., Buddhism).

It seems like there is a relatively new –ism that is building in intensity in the First World: Foodism.

And with Foodism come its adherents/zealots: The Foodinistas.

It’s not hard to find this rapidly replicating species as its high-rent habitat keeps expanding from shade-growing, free-trade coffee with soy stands to gluten-free bakeries to vegan & veggie restaurants to über-expensive, organic Whole Foods.gluten-freefallon

And the frenzy does not stop there. How about the continued ban toward adding natural mineral fluoride in the water of Portland, Oregon? How about those who adamantly refuse to vaccinate their children against whooping-cough, measles and other diseases? And let’s not forget what columnist Charles Krauthammer has labeled, the narcissistic pursuit of the home-birth “experience”?

Like the devotees of other –isms of history, the Foodinistas are almost religious in their devotion to their cause(s), even though they are usually secular in their orientation. They are armed with their increasingly wireless Google, Bing or Yahoo search engines. Literally in nano-seconds with their personal “filter bubbles” they can find what they are looking for and conveniently ignore all the rest.

If you care to spend time with them (if you must), you will find bright, highly educated, well-compensated Foodinistas, inhabiting aware enclaves such as San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Alameda Counties (e.g., California examples), who are more than happy to proclaim the overwhelming virtues of their shade grown, gluten-free, pro-GMO labeling, anti-vaccination, pro home-birth, anti-vaccination, veggie/vegan existence.

First-World Starvation?

Foodinistas are hungry; they are always hungry, which means food is always top of mind. Is there any wonder why humor is not in great supply with this crowd? A growling stomach and a good time don’t typically go hand-in-hand.

Even though we live in the richest country on the planet, the one that has more than its fair share of food choices in its supermarkets and restaurants, there are ever-more that Foodinistas will not eat as opposed to what they will actually consume. And as time goes on and more pseudo-science articles are posted online, their acceptable food groups shrink even further as they grow more “mature.”chemicals

Some will chop veggies for two, three, four hours or longer in order to prepare a vegan feast (hold the honey, honey; it belongs to the bees). Guess what? The process is repeated for the next meal and the next and the next and …

In an extreme case, a Foodinista will break the vegan fast for a (gasp!) vegetarian meal on Fridays, only on Fridays. There is no alteration of this pattern permitted. The Swallows of Capistrano wish they could be this predictable.

A gluten-free prince or princess will challenge everything that is being served including white and red wine. What do grapes have to do with the gluten in grains?

And what are some of the places that require labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs)? How about China, Russia and Vermont? Maybe Vladimir Putin will next annex Ben and Jerry’s?

Is increasingly legal, taxed, regulated medicinal marijuana gluten free? Almost DailyBrett can see the coming Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) roll-out for gluten-free weed.

Pass the coconut oil

“The people who believe that vaccines cause autism, often well-educated and affluent — are undermining ‘herd immunity’ to such diseases as whooping-cough and measles.” — Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post, writing for National Geographic

Is it just Jimmy Fallon, little ole me and a few others who see that this Foodism religion taking on even more Kool-Aid drinking zealots?filterbubble

And what are the consequences of the behavior of Foodinistas? It ranges from forcing even more to listen to one more narcissistic epic tale of triumph over gluten and Porterhouses to the unnecessary spread of measles and other diseases. Have these folks ever weighed the impact of their behavior on their own personal brand and reputation? The most important public relations are personal public relations.

One would think that we have enough to worry about including the record $18 trillion+ and climbing federal deficit, ISIS atrocities, rampant obesity, whether the majority of Millennials will be able to buy a home anytime in their lifetimes, and if way too many Baby Boomers will live years/decades longer than their retirement funds. There are others who are obsessed with food: They live in the Third World.

Almost DailyBrett will humbly argue there are real issues that deserve our attention, not whether a scone is gluten free or not or whether it is safe to engage in have-a-blast vegetarianism on any day other than Friday.

Something tells me that fun and Foodism are two F-bombs that don’t go well together.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/science-doubters/barnes-photography

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-05-27/news/9605270029_1_midwife-first-child-childbirth

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2014/08/25/why-liberal-americans-are-turning-against-gmo-labeling/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble

 

 

When it comes to collegiate competitions, most would be inclined to think of the college football playoff and the national championship game.

Or how about “March Madness” and the “Final Four” … or even “The Frozen Four”?

Probably no one knows about the (Carroll J.) Bateman competition, established more than four decades ago by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).DSC01384

Even though Bateman draws far less attention … if any … than NCAA football and basketball, the competition is just as intense and success requires working well in a team setting for eight months or longer.

This point is magnified when every student today seemingly has his or her nose buried in a cell-phone screen. Some would contend that mobile technology and the explosion of “apps” has retarded our ability to communicate, let alone getting along well in a group setting. Sounds like a good subject for a future strategic communications blog post. Hmmm …

This point brings the author of Almost DailyBrett to the five members of the Central Washington University (CWU) Bateman team: (left to right in photo) Aubree Downing, Robyn Stewart, Madalyn Freeman (team leader); Masey Peone and Silver Caoili. As Millennials, they get it when it comes to social, mobile and cloud, but they have also demonstrated an increasingly rare characteristic: the remarkable ability to always get along and work well as a team.

“Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Backside … “

Having spent almost 15 years in Silicon Valley, yours truly knows how one disagreeable-and-detestable personality can become a cancer in any organization no matter the level of talent.

And when that person voluntarily (or involuntarily) decides to move on to another opportunity or to spend more time with his or her family, there is the obligatory going away party. Do you really want to go to this send-off? Well no, but in most cases you attend and say nice things even though you really don’t mean it.

In a few egregious cases, there are “going away” parties for former colleagues, who have already departed. To top it off, the person in question is not invited.

The reason for this digression is to point out how important it is to be a team player, and not only to “manage up” to superiors but to co-exist with colleagues and treat subordinates with respect and understanding.

Even though Almost DailyBrett is a tad biased, I am nonetheless floored by how well the CWU team worked together virtually every day for the past 240+ days to advance the university’s proposal to the deciders at PRSSA. They have set a standard that will be difficult for future CWU Bateman teams to match, let alone exceed.DSC01394

Your Home Matters: Affordable Housing Fair 2015

Each year, the best-and-the-brightest at PRSSA decide upon a subject for the participating university Bateman teams located across the fruited plain. This academic year drew a germane, timely subject: Home Matters and the compelling need for affordable housing.

Our five-team members after going back-and-forth for hours, embarked on a comprehensive conventional/digital campaign that was manifested (but not ended) Saturday with the “Your Home Matters: Affordable Housing Fair 2015” in Ellensburg, Washington.

What was particularly exciting was to witness the community involvement, spurred by our team, including the host of the fair: Mandy Hamlin of Allstate Insurance. The participants featured some big names including: Umpqua Bank, Coldwell Banker, Habitat for Humanity, HopeSource, Knudsen Lumber and the Kittitas Yakima Valley Community Land Trust.

Not bad, not bad at all.

There was even an opportunity for kidlets to draw on tiles to give input as to what “home” means to them. Considering that Baby Boomers may be the first generation to procreate offspring that may never have the opportunity to own a home (e.g., Bay Area, SoCal, New England, Mid-Atlantic, SeaTac … ), then “Home Matters” must extend to doable rents to go along with achievable mortgages. It also applies to reasonably priced, sustainable and environmentally friendly building materials.DSC01387

Having worked on close-knit teams in the California Office of the Governor, a publicly traded company and an international public relations firm, your author knows that a public relations team must be able to address conflict without making it personal. Some do well in this environment, and others … well they don’t.

Pettiness and childish name calling should be left to the sandboxes of yesteryear with their Tonka trucks. Today, our august communications segment needs public relations professionals that can not only access information from the screen of a cell phone, but also get along and produce results.

There are at least five students in Ellensburg, Washington who can do just that.

http://prssa.prsa.org/scholarships_competitions/bateman/

http://prssa.prsa.org/about/

http://prssa.prsa.org/about/PRSA/

http://www.cwu.edu/communication/

 

 

… and again, again, and again …

Why is it that some of the best and the brightest just don’t get it when it comes to personal public relations?

There will always be bad days.

And with these bad days are the prospects of worse days in the future.

Was Yogi Berra referring to Brian Williams, John Kitzhaber, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, George W. Bush, Tiger Woods …?

Almost DailyBrett seriously doubts that Yogi recognizes the name, John Kitzhaber, let alone his now-infamous girlfriend, and the state in which he until recently served as its governor.kitzhaberhayes

Having extended our due respect to Yogi, let’s contemplate another famous Berra-ism: “You can observe a lot by just watching.”

Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell it Fast, Move On …

The four principles of crisis communications live on, beginning with what mumsys all across the fruited plain have told daughters and sons: “Always tell the truth.”

These four principles or steps in quick order – Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell it Fast, Move On — also translate into another adage: Manage or be managed.

  • Brian Williams with his propensity for self-aggrandizement and exaggeration (e.g., starving at the well-stocked Ritz Carlton in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina) could not or would not recognize the danger signals of his own behavior. Williams became the story (a no-no for any reporter), lost control of this tale and eventually his NBC anchor desk, his position and quite possibly his career as we know it.williamsnbc
  • John Kitzhaber was starting his fourth term as the governor of Almost DailyBrett’s adopted, Oregon. His arrogance mounted over time, including his heavy-handed sacking of the president of the University of Oregon, Richard Lariviere. The ultimate downfall for Kitzhaber pertained to Oregon’s “First Lady” (the governor’s squeeze), her high-salary non-profit job, influence peddling and the governor’s refusal to acknowledge an obvious conflict of interest until it was too late. Yep he had the opportunity to manage, but in the end he was managed and with it he became a poster child for term limits.
  • Anthony Weiner attempted to bluff his way out of the mounting evidence of his “selfies” being sent to designated females from Seattle to New York.
  • John Edwards cheated on his dying wife with his videographer, and stonewalled the media about his love child, Frances, until he was caught by none other than the National Enquirer.
  • George W. Bush had the opportunity to reveal his 1976 DUI arrest in Kennebunkport, Maine (manage), but chose to keep it under wraps until the story exploded four days before the 2000 election (managed).
  • Tiger Woods repeatedly pleaded for familial privacy as TMZ kept listing the names and details of even more women that had affairs with the world’s number one golfer. Woods was managed by the media and his career has never been the same.

Who’s Next?

“I tell our players all the time, ‘As soon as you start going down the wrong track and you start doing something wrong, the clock starts ticking until the day you are caught, because it’s going to happen’…In our world today, you think it’s not going to be found out eventually?” – Nebraska Football Coach Mike Riley

“Who’s Next” is the question posed by Pete Townshend in 1971, but in this case it applies to who or what organization is going to fail to recognize the crisis communication warning signs, eventually losing control of an issue, and then being subjected to a seemingly never-ending story with “legs.”

For BP and its Deepwater Horizon oil platform, the media coverage of the 2009 catastrophic spill that immediately killed 11 workers lasted for more than three months. The multi-billion litigation and the permanent damage to the BP brand continues to this day. “BP” and “Spill” are synonymous terms.oilspillbird

For far too many in the reputation business, crisis communications is simply, response. Certainly, there is a response component to crisis communications, but just as important are the words, prevention and management.

Samsung could have prevented or at least blunted the effect of the movie producer Michael Bay meltdown at the Consumer Electronics Show by practicing how to respond to a faulty teleprompter.

Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol team managed the discovery of cyanide–laced capsules and provided a text-book example of management that not only saved the brand, but restored public confidence in pharmaceutical industry and generated an entirely new regime of safety packaging.

There is no doubt that we will soon be reading, commenting, tweeting, trolling, memeing about some preventable human or institutional failing as it applies to legal tender, sexual dalliances or personal aggrandizement that could have been prevented or at least managed.

Instead, the story takes off and spins out of control. Eventually the digital ones and zeroes go critical and the reactor core starts to melt down. The monster grows legs and runs for days, weeks, months …

What did mumsy say about telling the truth?

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/y/yogi_berra.html

http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2011/12/the_rise_and_fall_of_richard_l.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/loma-prieta/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/damn-the-teleprompters/

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meme

 

 

The author of Almost DailyBrett served as a chief spokesman for California Governor George Deukmejian for seven years (eight years when one counts the 1982 gubernatorial campaign).

He also cut his teeth as a reporter covering the Proposition 13 tax revolt way back in 1978.

And yet there is the realization that he may never return on a permanent basis to California.Calcoast

And likewise, there are literally hundreds of thousands who may never leave their present California residence/rental for another in the state or even across town because they simply can’t.

The problem:

Where can they move?

What will they pay?

How much is the new mortgage?

How much is the new rent?

How much are the increased property taxes?

How much are the income, sales and gas taxes?

How much are the bridge tolls?

Will it still take 45 minutes to drive five miles?

Yes, there are Golden State Handcuffs. Even though they glisten in the light, they are still handcuffs.

Stockton, Modesto, Visalia, Bakersfield

Lovely Central Valley destinations, such as Stockton, Modesto, Visalia and Bakersfield, are all doable for those who want to move to the Golden State. The Mercury rarely exceeds 115-degrees in the summer and the mind-numbing Tule fog usually lifts after about six weeks in the winter.bakersfield

The fortunate ones are those who have found their pads in livable places in the Golden State, but can they actually leave if they wanted to and go someplace else? For far too many, the answer is “no.”

One of the reasons is taxes. When it comes to levies California has every one of them: income, sales, property, gas, bridge tolls etc., etc., etc.

The top federal rate is 39.6 percent and 30 percent for capital gains, figures that need to be factored into this discussion. California’s “progressive” income tax rate tops out at 13.3 percent, the nation’s highest. Translated: high-salary earners spend more than half the year to pay both the feds and the state.

My present home in Ellensburg, Washington has nada state income tax, but we do pay an 8 percent sales tax.

My adopted state of Oregon has zero sales tax.

Folks in San Diego are paying 8 percent sales tax, Sacramento, 8.50 percent; San Francisco, 8.75 percent; Los Angeles, 9 percent. Can piercing the psychologically important double-digit rate to buy virtually anything be far behind? Don’t be surprised by a 10 percent+ sales tax coming soon in California’s blue counties.

For those living in the Bay Area, it costs $5 to drive across the Bay Bridge, ditto for the San Mateo and Dumbarton. The Golden Gate charges $6 for the privilege. Hey, weren’t the tolls for these bridges supposed to be rescinded once the bonds were paid off? Silly me.

California’s gas taxes (both federal/state combined) are 71.29 cents per gallon, leaving other high taxing states, such as New York, in the rear-view mirror.

The Proposition 13 Blessing/Curse

Looking back at the “Wonder Years” house that was my home for 15 years in suburban Pleasanton with its desultory hour-plus commute one way over the Sunol Grade, my mortgage was around $1,850 and my annual property tax was $5,225. The latter figure is high when one weighs it against my comparable size Eugene, Oregon house with a property tax levy of approximately $3,400.

Today, the very same house in Pleasanton would require a $3,400 mortgage or a $3,500 per month rent or about 2x what I shelled out in mortgage payments just four years ago. The property tax is now $8,600 or more than $700 per month. These figures come from Zillow, which is historically regarded to be low in its estimates.

An über-successful friend of mine pays an annual property tax rate of $75,000 for the privilege of living in his relatively new West Los Angeles house for just one year. He gets to repeat this pocket-digging exercise next year and presumably every year. His next neighbor pays a fraction of that amount because he has not sold his pad, thus triggering reappraisal.

The memories of the Proposition 13 property tax revolt (e.g., Jarvis-Gann) still linger. People were upset with inflation approaching 18 percent and resulting property tax bills of 30 percent higher than two years earlier. Proposition 13 simply kept many in their homes because California’s one-party Legislature failed to act.jarvisgann

And yet the sale-triggers-reappraisal-and-a-new-tax rate, coupled with the escalation of property values, has not only made California unaffordable for new home buyers (e.g., good luck Millennials), it is trapping Baby Boomers and X-Gens in their own homes, residences and in some cases apartments.

A rent controlled studio apartment in San Francisco will stay at a similar monthly stipend unless and until the renter moves. The real question: Can that renter actually afford to move? Is that renter essentially trapped in downtown San Francisco?

Granted there are worse fates in life than being “trapped” in a rent controlled studio apartment in the City by the Bay, but Golden State Handcuffs are just that, Golden State Handcuffs.

California has always enjoyed great weather, the best in the lower 48. The state never looks better than it does from the tailgate parties at Brookside Golf Course on New Year’s Day. Alas, there is a reality of skyrocketing housing and rental prices, every tax imaginable and conceivably more hikes to come, and traffic that saps your soul and Joie de Vivre.

It’s sad, but California is not the state it was when I grew up.

For some, you literally can’t go back home.

For others, you can’t leave home.

http://www.boe.ca.gov/cgi-bin/rates_2013.cgi

http://www.batolls.info/

http://taxfoundation.org/blog/top-state-income-tax-rates-2014

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/states-with-highest-gasoline-excise-taxes-2.aspx

 

 

 

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