Proud Dad Moment

“Merkle’s Boner! Merkle’s Boner!” Sean, my son, shouted at the TV to a surprised and somewhat horrified group of relatives last night.

For those of you that are not up to speed on a play that happened a mere 107 years ago, “Merkle’s Boner” is perhaps one of the most infamous (unless you are a Chicago Cubs fan) plays in baseball history.

In the heat of a pennant race, on September 23, 1908, with the scored tied 1-1 and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Moose McCormick was on at third base and Fred Merkle on at first base for the New York Giants. Al Birdwell rocketed a single into center field plating McCormick for the apparent winning run.

Giant’s fans stormed the field as was the custom after every game because the exit was out in centerfield and the Giant’s rookie first baseman, Fred Merkle, never got to second base mostly due to self preservation from the the on coming fans.

Cubs second baseman and future Hall of Famer, Johnny Evers, noticed this and called to centerfielder Solly Hoffman to thrown him the ball. With the Giants and their fans celebrating around him, Evers recevied the ball from Hoffman and promptly stepped on second base forcing out Merkle.

By rule, this would mean the run would not count and the score would remain tied. It was thusly ruled and the game was then scheduled to be replayed at the end of the season should the Giants or Cubs not be the clear winners of the pennant. Well, you can guess what happened. The Cubs and Giants ended the season with identical 98-55 records. The Cubs, this is before the Curse of the Billy Goat, won the game 4-2 and went on to win the 1908 World Series.

 

Now back to August 9, 2015 and Sean’s reaction.

Our family was asembled in the living room watching the end of the Cincinnati Reds/Arizona Diamondbacks game which ended with a bases loaded hit by rookie Chris Owings. The official MLB record says, “Chris Owings singles on a sharp line drive to center fielder Billy Hamilton. Paul Goldschmidt scores. David Peralta to 3rd. Jake Lamb to 2nd.”

Only Jake Lamb and David Peralta never made it to second and third, respectively. Just like in the Merkle game, an alert fielder, this time shortstop Brandon Phillips retrieved the ball, albeit from a security guard, and then tossed it to Hamilton who by this time was near second base. Hamilton caught the ball then touched second base. He then threw the ball to shortstop Eugenio Suarez, who was now standing on first base. Suarez then tossed it third baseman Ivan DeJesus who walked across the field and touched third.

Now this whole thing is just a mess.

First, shame on Peralta and Lamb for not touching the next base. Despite the result (a D-backs win), this was really dumb on each of their parts as the only people storming the field were their own teammates. I personally feel the “walk off” win celebration in the Major Leagues has gotten a bit out of hand.

Second, Phillips, or really Hamilton, should have retrieved the ball himself. Once the security guard touched the ball, it is likely a dead ball, although I am not 100 percent sure about it becasue it was in the field of play and not in the stands. Clearly, if the guard was in the stands and out of play, it is a dead ball and the rest is moot, but it is possible that by ground rule, the security guard on the field might, in fact, be in play. That said, if it is not a ground rule in Arizona then, it is a dead ball and the next paragraph, as mentioned, is moot.

Third, why did the Reds touch second base first? As they needed two outs, not just one, they needed to first force out Peralta at third before forcing out Lamb at second. Touching second base negated the force out at third. They should have first tossed the ball to DeJesus at third for the second out of the inning and then to Phillips, or whoever was at second, perhaps Hamilton. Had the Reds done this, the scoring would have been as follows: 6-5-8, or more precisely, SG (for security guard)-6-5-8. EIther way, it is a pretty odd double play combination.

Fourth, it turns out that all of this is moot because rule 5.08(b) in the 2015 Official Baseball Rules (4.09(b) in previous editions) reads, “When the winning run is scored in the last half-inning of a regulation game, or in the last half of an extra inning, as the result of a base on balls, hit batter or any other play with the bases full which forces the runner on third to advance, the umpire shall not declare the game ended until the runner forced to advance from third has touched home base and the batter-runner has touched first base.” I hope this rule gets changed, it should require all runners touch the next base to which they are forced.

Fifth and lastly, I am very proud of my son for recognizing the situation and making the connection to the Merkle play. And, that is really why I wrote this post.

Sage Summit 2015 Session – Measure what matters

This is the first in a series of three posts I will be doing featuring slides and audio from my sessions at Sage Summit 2015. Sorry that the audio is not quite the best. 

Measuring what matters (to customers)

Do your performance metrics reflect what’s truly important to your customers? This session explores the ways companies can increase financial performance by changing from inwardly facing measurements to measurements that extend outside the firm. Changing these metrics often requires firms to think differently than they have in the past. If you’re ready to think differently about your company’s measurement systems (or think you might be ready to think differently), join this conversational session facilitated by Ed Kless.

Slides

Listen

My Sage Summit 2015 Sessions

Sorry I am a bit late with this, but I have had a few requests for me to do this post even at this late date.

Here are the sessions I will presenting at Sage Summit 2015:

SageCity Live: Increasing user adoption – Tuesday, July 28th, 11:45am – 12:30pm – SageCity Live

This will be an intimate conversation on a topic I will presenting more formally on Thursday (see below). I hope to gather more stories for sharing and maybe even provide some advice to a Sage Customer or two that they can use back at their office.

Measuring what matters – Tuesday, July 28th, 4:30pm – 5:15pm – Learning commons 5D

Do your performance metrics reflect what’s truly important to your customers? This session explores the ways companies can increase financial performance by changing from inwardly facing measurements to measurements that extend outside the firm. Changing these metrics often requires firms to think differently than they have in the past. If you’re ready to think differently about your company’s measurement systems (or think you might be ready to think differently), join this conversational session facilitated by Ed Kless.

Creating strategy in a small business – Wednesday, July 29th, 11:45am – 12:30pm – Learning commons 4C

Even small organizations can create and execute meaningful strategic plans. Creating a well-defined strategy is hard work and not for everyone, as it requires us to begin to say “no” to stuff we usually say “yes” to. You are hereby invited by facilitator Ed Kless, to open a dialogue about how best to go about creating a strategy for your small business organization.

Creating Shared Vision in a Small Business 
– Wednesday, July 29th, 1:30pm – 2:15pm – Learning commons 4C

Have you defined a vision for your company and shared it with your teams? A shared vision enlists others in the work and provides guiding principles for day to day activities. Creating a shared vision can be hard work because it requires you to examine goals and beliefs and weave them into a cohesive picture of your future. If you’re ready to start this work on behalf of your organization, join Ed Kless to make this part of your 2015 action plan.

Leadership in the age of the quick fix – Wednesday, July 29th 3:30pm – 4:15pm – Learning commons 4D

Leadership thinking is is often based on manipulation – trying to “get someone to do something” which isn’t necessarily effective. Coming to terms with this idea is difficult and not for everyone because it requires us to examine some of our most deeply held beliefs and either dismiss them or at least think differently about them. If you are interested in rethinking the way you approach leadership, you are invited to attend this session facilitated by Ed Kless.

Increasing user adoption – dealing with resistance – Thursday, July 30th, 11:45am – 12:30pm – Learning commons 4B

Has your organization’s productivity or effectiveness been challenged by employees that are resistant to change? Perhaps you have new processes or tools you need them to adopt? This session is dedicated to the possibility that we can increase the level of adoption of new systems, processes, and tools in our businesses by changing the way we interact with our teams. If you are interesting in joining this conversation about dealing with resistance, you are invited to attend this session facilitated by Ed Kless.  

Changing conversations by asking better questions – Thursday, July 30th, 1:30pm – 2:15pm – Learning commons – Learning commons 4B

This session is dedicated to the possibility that professionals can greatly increase the value they provide to their customers if they hone their skills at asking better, more effective questions. Developing and enhancing this skill is not easy because it requires us to rethink and relearn conversation habitss. If you would like to learn how this questioning approach can strengthen your customer conversations, join Ed Kless us for this discussion-based session.

The Soul of Enterprise Live!

In addition, Ron Baker and I will be broadcasting live three episodes of our radio show The Soul of Enterprise from the Broadcast booth each day from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. We will be featuring Sage Customers and Partners, as well as Sage Summit Speakers and even a Sage Colleague or two. Come on by to listen in or even heckle some!

Book signings

Ron and I will also be selling ($20) and signing copies of our new book, The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on business in the knowledge economyat both 5:15pm on Tuesday and 3:15 on Thursday. All purchaser will receive a free Kindle-only edition of the book should they desire.

On Floccinaucinihilipilification

As many of you already know, I am sesquipedalian.

However, what I really love is a great word, long or short, in a proper context. To my amusement, a word that is both sesquipedalian and fits into the context of a subject (value or lack thereof) about which a regularly speak popped up in my Facebook stream last week. Many thanks to Shawn Slavin who posted the original link.

For the past few days I have been practicing saying it trippingly on the tongue. With any luck I will be able to break it out this morning as I speak at the AICPA PSTech conference.

Here is my practice sentence – “Timesheets are a great example of floccinaucinihilipilification.”

Everything I Needed to Know about Consulting My Daughter Learned in Kindergarten

As of last Friday, our daughter is a first grader, at least that is what she told me.

Actually, I asked her on the morning of the last day of school, “Cara, when do you become a ‘first grader’? Today after school? Over the summer? In August when you go back to school?”

Without hesistation she stated it was as soon as she left the school building later in the day. She also reminded me that she had mastered the “Rules of Kindergarten” and proceeded to remind me what they were.

If you can’t quite make them out, they are:

  1. Follow directions quickly.
  2. Use helpful hands and words.
  3. Stay on task.
  4. Make smart choices.

Some of you may recall Robert Fulghum’s classic All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. While his sixteen exhortions are pretty dang good advice. I think Cara’s rules take it to the next level with regard to a career in consulting.

My personal favorite in “Stay on task,” mostly because it is the one with which I have the most trouble.

On Supply-side Economics

This post began as a reply to a Facebook comment which excoriated “supply-side economics.” I took my reply and expanded it a bit for this post.

Supply-side econmics has been much miligned by pudits and popes as being about tax cuts and trickle down. However, it is the opponents of supply theory that have tagged it as such.

Real supply-side theorists never talk in terms of “trickle down,” but in fact, recognize that is really about a trickle up — of the wealth and value created by the individual.

There is no doubt in my mind that supply creates demand, at least initially.

For if demand created supply, Jamaica and Singapore would have similar GDPs because they have roughly the same number of people, therefore their “demands” would be about equal.

Singapore has grown more wealthy because it has decided to be an active participant in the “supply side” whereas, Jamaica and its leaders have chosen to just “demand.”

“What can I do that is of value to others?” is the basic question behind the system of market tested innovation and supply. Those individuals and companies and nations that as that question, are better off then those that say “I want some for me/us.”

On the Patriot Fans, Deflategate and Cheating

First of all, I have absolutely no doubt that, had steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs existed during Babe Ruth’s career, Babe Ruth would not only have used them, he would have used more of them than Barry Bonds. I don’t understand how anyone can be confused about this. The central theme of Babe Ruth’s life, which is the fulcrum of virtually every anecdote and every event of his career, is that Babe Ruth firmly believed that the rules did not apply to Babe Ruth.
– via Bill James in Slate Magazine

It is no surprise that many (if not most) star athletes will do anything they can to get an edge. Tom Brady is clearly no different. It does not make him a bad person, but I find it absurd that many Patriot’s fans seem to be in complete denial about it.

When the story first broke, the narrative of the Pats fans was basically, “Tom didn’t know.” Well, now it is pretty clear he did. The narrative is now, “There’s no direct evidence,” and “Even if he did it, everyone else does.”

Is the evidence circumstantial? Yes, but people are convicted on circumstancial evidence in this country every day. In fact, Pats fans will use circumstantial evidence in support of their arguement. “Oh, yeah, of course you think Brady did it, you are a fill-in-the-name-of-your-team fan!” Is that circumstantial and perhaps evidence of bias? Yes. Does it mean Brady is innocent? No.

As for the “everyone else is doing it” defense — Well, it didn’t work with my Mom and it sure doesn’t work here. In fact the most damning evidence I have seen is this chart:

This is for five years worth of data. I am sorry, but there is no way that great coaching or even dismissal of all running backs that fumble twice can explain it.

 

My only point is this — Tom Brady and the Patriots purposefully deflated footballs to try to gain a competitive advantage. Period. Full stop.

  • Could other teams also be doing it? Yes.
  • Are other teams doing things to gain an advantage that are outside the rules? Yes.
  • Is it a dumb rule? Maybe.
  • Does the NFL share blame for not having a sensible process to enforce the rule? Yes.
  • Is the penalty excessive? I don’t know. Probably.

All these are obfuscations to the main point and the central question.

I am willing to on record in saying that assuming the NFL creates a process to enforce this rule beginning next season and the Patriots continue to hold onto the football at their already amazing rate, I will be convinced that I am wrong and will repent.

So, Pats fans, what will it be? Are you willing to repent if the Patriots fall back to pack and start fumbling at a rate of say less than 150 plays per fumble over the course of the next three to five seasons?

My latest interview on value project management and pricing

I’m excited to share with you a recent interview I did with the Growing Your Firm Podcast with David Cristello. 

  • This interview is filled with actionable insights on: 
  • The trap of focusing on effort over duration
  • How to implement value pricing and management for your clients
  • And even why I prefer the term “customers” over “clients”

You can listen to the entire interview (for free!) here: http://jetpackworkflow.com/value-billing-ed-kless-verasage/

On public versus private sector receipts

Yesterday, I went to the United States Post Office location here in my hometown of Allen, Texas. I needed to send a package to a friend in Petaluma, California.

Upon arrival, I noticed a self service kiosk, so I decided to give it a try. The first step was to “Touch the screen to begin.” Okay, fair enough. Boop.

Up came a menu of five or six choices of service, “Send a parcel” being the top choice. Howver, underneath the description it said, “I am sorry I am unable to complete this type of transaction now.” Curiously, under all the choices it read the same. Hmmm, to the line I go.

It being after Christmas there was only one person ahead of me, so I waited only about five minutes since there was only one clerk working. I handed over my package and answered the needed questions and paid via my American Express card. 

No sooner had I put the card back in its proper slot in my wallet then did I receive a notice on my iPhone that a purchase of $6.65 had been made on my card. It came up so quickly that the receipt pictured below had not even finished printing. You can see why. It is so long that my scanner would not scan it in one pass, I had to cut the paper in half becasue it was perceived as a paper jam.

Does Algore know about this?