Our national anthem

I missed the first 6 minutes of the Super Bowl this year, which is the first time I can remember missing any of the game. But I do remember the announcers referencing how amazing Lady Gaga’s national anthem was.

It was just embedded in an article I was reading, so I decided to watch it.

I have to say… it was really good…

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Bonus plans

For most of my professional life, I’ve been part of my company’s bonus plan. And for most of my professional life, I’ve found it frustrating and confusing.

Nearly every year, for the past 20 years, I get asked to think of bonus goals that are above and beyond my job description and the company’s goals. And for exactly that long, I’d sit and try and figure out what I wouldn’t try to accomplish anyway that I might try and accomplish above and beyond my job description.

Now, there’s job description, as it’s written, and job description, as in how I perceive it.

I look at my job as anything it takes to make my company and the people around me successful. If that’s leading a strategic planning session to determine goals and roadmaps, I’m there. If it’s getting lunch for people who are working overtime to get a project completed, I’ll do it. Point being, whether it’s high level strategy work or running errands, I’ll do whatever it takes to get something done.

No job is too great, and no job is too small. If there’s one thing I learned from my Mom (and there’s lots), it’s that you do whatever it takes to get a job done.

And when that is your mindset, it’s hard to come up with a list of three-to-five things you plan to do on top of what you are otherwise planning to do. I’m planning on determining and/or following the company strategies and directions and do everything I can to make them reality.

There is no beyond that. That’s it. You can’t go beyond that.

If a company wants to give me a bonus plan, that’s fine. But to me, bonus plans seem to assume that I otherwise wouldn’t give a company everything I had. If I sign on, then they’re going to get it all.

I guess if there needs to be a bonus plan, it’d be great if it were simply a percentage of the profit. If we do well, let’s share it. If we don’t, no bonus.

If I could, we’d take the bonus plans out of the mix and just pay and give raises, with more discipline, according to the value of the employee to the company.

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What to do about homophonophobia

There’s a rising trend in America that we must work to reverse: homophonophobia.

This is the fear of words that sound the same, but mean different things.

There’s a terrific example in the “Spectrum” Monty Python sketch:

“Bow” and “bough.”

In my research of this trend, I came across a startling discussion of the homophonophobia problem in this article by Gretchen McCulloch.

This, of course, is not to be confused with homographobia, which is not a fear of graphs, but instead, a fear of ambiguity.

I think I know a few people with that affliction. Personally, I thrive in it.

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Feelin’ all political

Last night was the New Hampshire primary, and I can’t help but feel all political ‘n shi* today. So here are some thoughts on this election year…

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Can people stop trying to determine who is electable?

It’s like not going to eat at a restaurant that you love because you don’t think “the masses” will like it, so it’s probably doomed to go out of business.

If you love it, eat there. Eat there often. And tell everyone you know to eat there, as well. Bring people along. Pay for dinner. Have a party there. Support things that you love and be vocal about them. That’s how you keep them alive.

I simply don’t understand why people say “we shouldn’t support this or that candidate because they just can’t win a general election.” It’s the near definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy there is.

Here I am, regularly telling my daughter that if she says she “can’t” do something, she’ll nearly always be right. That she’s undercutting herself before she even begins and nearly ensuring the outcome.

And yet, here are adults all over this country – supporters of every candidate – determining that they’re going to only support they person they’re guessing is “most likely” to win. It’s gambling. They’re just trying to guess human behavior.

I’ll tell you who’s most likely to win an election. It’s the person who gets the most votes. And the person with the most votes is going to be the person the most people rallied behind and told their friends about and supported. It’s human nature to be more likely to support something that you see others supporting. Anyone can win if their supporters are vocal and let others know it’s OK to support that candidate.

Not supporting or voting for a candidate because you’ve determined they can’t win a general election is absolutely foolish. Every one of the candidates in either race can win the general election if people vocally support them. To suggest otherwise – especially about the candidate you support the most – is shooting yourself in the foot.

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I listened to some of Bernie Sanders’ victory speech last night. In the segment I saw, he repeated his call for a $15 minimum wage. Here’s the question his supporters should be asking:

If a $15/hour minimum wage will put more money in more people’s pockets, why not a $100/hour minimum wage? Or a $200/hour minimum wage? Then minimum wage workers would catch up with rich people even faster, right?

I don’t think he’s ambitious enough. We can solve poverty by making minimum wage $400/hour. Let’s do it. If only a candidate would have the courage to say so.

I was going to stop the post there, but in case my point is lost, let me just ask that people go through the exercise of determining how businesses would react to a $100/hour minimum wage.

Most couldn’t afford it and would go out of business. And that would mean fewer jobs and more unemployed people. It would also mean higher prices from the products and services  that did stick around, because they’d have to charge enough money to be able to pay their workforce.

Put another way, if you were running a business, and someone determined you had to pay a minimum of $100/hour, what would you do?

This is easy economics.

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A friend just shared this information about how much each GOP candidate (including PACs) spent, per vote, in New Hampshire, and I thought it was interesting:

> Cruz $780,000 = $25 per vote
> Trump $4,000,000 = $42 per vote
> Fiorina $2,000,000 = $182 per vote
> Kasich $12,000,000 = $279 per vote
> Rubio $15,000,000 = $535 per vote
> Christie $19,000,000 = $950 per vote
> Jeb Bush $36,000,000 = $1,200 per vote

As he pointed out, either Cruz is the most fiscally conservative, or his message and marketing are both outperforming the others. Or both. I guess if you’re considering a donation to any of these people, and you’re fiscally conservative, you’d want to put your money where you get the most bang for your buck.

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Regardless of your politics – whether you’re a liberal or conservative – I can’t understand why people would support Hillary Clinton. The Clintons have spent more than two decades giving us all the finger, thinking we’re all stupid.

Even if Hillary’s policies were the exact right ones for the country, I just can’t stand being taken for granted.

And speaking of being taken for granted, Trump’s comment that he could “shoot someone on 5th Avenue,” and his supporters would still vote for him, is a great illustration. Were I a Trump supporter, that he said that would make me think twice about ever supporting him again.

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Super Bowl ad explains trickle-down economics

People love to say “trickle down economics” doesn’t work, but I would submit those people don’t understand the premise.

It’s not even a question of whether or not it works. “Trickle down economics” is just nature.

What “trickle down economics” posits is that for every action, there is a reaction that ripples through the economy.

For example, the more money that people spend, the more money moving through our economy. And the more money moving through our economy means more people are touched in a positive way.

Whether they intended to or not, Quicken Loans’ new Super Bowl ad for Rocket Mortgage explains the essence of “trickle down economics.”

This ad has been criticized because some claims it describes the 2008 meltdown. But even in 2008, it was the actions of government and industry that led to the reactions that created the crash. (And as an aside, this product is not suggesting that now a teenager can download the app and start getting mortgages. One still has to qualify.)

What detractors of “trickle down economics” usually don’t realize is that sometimes people are negatively affected. It’s not all positive. In fact, when it’s negative, it’s still “trickle down” working.

For instance, if people stop spending money and start saving because they’re worried about the economy, that means less money circulation, which means less buying, which means less need for production or services, which means less need for employees. That is also “trickle down.”

The fact is, you can’t avoid it because it is essentially holistic science. The best you can do is understand that it exists and how to create economic conditions that get the most out of it.

Another example is a business tax. I recently read someone who said there’s no such thing as a business tax. What he meant was that any burden you place on a business will simply get passed on to the consumer. So a business tax becomes a consumer tax.

Raise the minimum wage, and a business will shrink its workforce and raise its prices. Raise a business tax, and the business will shrink its workforce and raise its prices.

Lower or remove the minimum wage, and a business can lower prices and increase its workforce. It’s all simple math, but math that I’m afraid too many voters don’t understand.

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