blogging, culture, life, philosophy, Politics, Relationships, technology, thoughts

What a difference a preposition makes

“Behind every great man is a great woman”

We hear that statement (or some variant: “Behind every successful man is a woman”) so often, particularly in politics. It’s so popular that with the rise of successful women in business and politics we hear the gender role reversal: Behind every great woman is a great man. Regardless of the gender roles, the statement has an underlying tone that the spouse of a great/successful person is hidden “behind” the successful person.

Maybe we see the significant other on the stage… Maybe the great wo/man is mentioned in an acceptance speech… Maybe in the memoirs…

The reality is that *Beside* every great wo/man is a great wo/man. It’s just a preposition, but this preposition swap accurately reflects the true spirit of this popular idiom. The spouse of a successful person stands besides them, not behind them. When they walked down the isle, they walked beside each other. No one individual was behind or in front of the other, and it’s the same in success and greatness.

When I achieve success in business or life, my wife is always beside me; not behind me. And I know that the same holds true for her. We’re on this adventure together. One of us certainly takes the lead depending on what obstacle is in front of us, but when we cross that finish line… When we achieve success, it’s beside one another.

blogging

Everything Awesome and Disappointing About the Chevy Volt

The following two pictures represent both what is great about the Chevy Volt and what is disappointing about the Chevy Volt.

Photo Sep 16, 6 26 56 PMPhoto Sep 16, 6 27 06 PM

This comes from starting with a full charge, almost getting to my destination without using any gas, recharging on a Level 2 for four hours and then driving home.

The Good
3.765 mi/kwh is pretty efficient given that this was all freeway driving in North Los Angeles County (that means a fair amount of hills and mostly 60+mph with the occasional slow-and-go). On the flip side, 3 miles on 0.1 gallons is a measly 30mpg. However, the gas wasn’t really used until the end of the first leg of my trip, which went from 768ft above sea level to 1200ft above sea level.

Great thing about the Chevy Volt is that you have that generator to take you the extra miles. Plus, 97 degrees at 6 at night… It was a hot day outside but plenty cool on the inside with the AC set way down.

That 210 lifetime MPG is really nice too!

The Bad
Obviously, 30MPG isn’t great. However, it was going uphill, which is actually really good. However, it was completely unnecessary given the true size of the Chevy Volt battery. After all, the 2014 Volt has 17.1 kwh battery, which is only 3 wkh less than this total trip that included a second charge.

I was fortunate enough to have access to 240 charging during this trip. Had I only had the trickle charger (8 hour recharge) that GM claims is perfectly acceptable, I would have been blowing fumes for the vast majority of the second leg of my trip. I charged for four hours between legs. The Volt’s measly 3.3 charger didn’t give me a full charge before I had to leave. Were GM to offer a 6.6 charger, I would have been recharged completely and used even less gas than I ended up using on this two legged trip.

Of course, if I needed to run errands after I got back home, I’d be blowing fumes out the back of my Volt unless I waited for hours and hours for my trickle charger at home to get me enough juice to go a few extra miles electric.

Chevy Volt fanboys might look at this and see only the great thing about the fact that the generator allowed me to make this trip with minimal gas usage. Sure, that definitely points to a great feature of the Volt. However, it also points to an annoying feature of the Volt: no extended electric setting. Aside from the painfully slow charge rate of the Volt (which I believe will cost GM thousands of customers with the Volt 2.0), the reality is that this trip didn’t require the use of any gasoline.

If the Volt gave you the ability to set an extended EV range (like the Leaf, Tesla, and every other EV) that gives you an extra 1-3 kwh of battery usage, the gas generator would have never been needed on this trip. Even with just an extra 1kwh, I would have gotten the extra 3 miles I needed to stay 100% electric. I have plenty of other trips that I have taken that far exceed this range, so it’s not like I’m expecting every trip I take to be 100% electric. However, when frequent trips are right outside the cusp the Volt’s 60% battery utilization, it’s plain to see that something as simple as an extended EV setting would be a simple software upgrade for the Volt that would make it all that much more appealing and satisfying to Volt owners.

Better in Every Way
Larry Nitz from GM mentioned some interesting stats the other day when talking about the Volt. A few of the numbers are particularly interesting to me because I think GM interpreted them the wrong way:

  • 60% of volt customers only charge on 110v rather than 240v.
    GM seems to think that this is consumers saying that they are okay with 8 hour charge times. That’s not the case. This is consumers not being willing to invested thousands of dollars for 240 charging when they reap little benefit. Most homes don’t have a 240 that you can just plug your ClipperCreek into and call it a day. Would Volt owners like faster charge times if it wasn’t a multi-thousand dollar investment? Of course. The use of 110 at home is merely because the car sits there for more than eight hours at night most days. Take it out to the beach on the weekend and get ICEd at the public chargers, and your Volt if blowing fumes like any other car.
  • 50% of all volts are at home at any one particular time.
    Well, when it takes you 8 hours to recharge, where else is the Volt going to be. This would also indicate that the Volt isn’t a highly used vehicle. Despite the notion that the Volt is a commuter car, this number would indicate that the Volt is more of a run the local errands car or a secondary to an EV family that uses it for road trips.
  • “Volts plug in on average 10 times per week, not 7. That surprised us. We figured a once a day charge but customers charge more”
    How GM hasn’t interpreted this to mean that a 6.6 charger is needed and 8 hour charge times is NOT completely acceptable is beyond me. My guess is that there is someone at GM who really has a thing for 3.3 chargers and is doing everything they can do to interpret the data to mean that 8 hours of charging is acceptable.
    If the Average Volt is charging more than 7x a week that means that there is data that is significantly skewing the data upwards. It would be interesting to actually see what the standard deviation is on number of weekly charges as well as a scatter chart.

While, I don’t actually have the raw data that GM has, I can easily make a guess as to what the data actually looks like. My guess is that Volt fit into three major categories: 1) Garage Space Consumption, (2) Everyday Local Commuter, and (3) The Work Horse.

The Garage Volt is what makes up the majority of that 50% of all volts are at home number. The Everyday Local Commuter are the people that are okay with the 8 hour charge time because they drive 15 miles to work and 15 miles back at 40 mph and have plenty of range to spare for the gym visit and grocery store. The Work Horse Volts are what skew the plug-in numbers to 10 plug-ins/week vs 7 plug-ins. This isn’t going to be as high as a percentage of the Volt customer base as the other two, but I believe these are the customers that GM should really be courting.

GM has missed their 30K Volts/year sales goals by a gap roughly the size of the Grand Canyon. I believe that’s because the Volt caters to the first two groups rather than the Work Horse Group. If GM wants to see the 30K/year sales volume, they need a Volt that provides more range and a more efficient generator for roughly $40K before tax incentives. That’s entirely possible with a slightly larger battery, an 80% battery utilization instead of 60-65% like the Volt has now, and a more efficient generator with smaller gas tank. Of course, if GM made the 80% battery utilization a software upgrade for current Volt owners, then they could retain a lot of Work Horse customers. Instead, it seems that GM is going to double down on the first two segments. This should net GM roughly the same results they have achieved so far: missed sales goals, new to GM customers, and low repeat.

blogging

Solving the Washington Name Controversy While Honoring Native Americans

Dan Snyder can easily solve his naming controversy AND add to the legacy of his brand with one simple change. Rename the “Redskins” to the “Americans”. Keep the iconic logo of a strong Native American, along with the burgundy, gold, and white color scheme and font. Color scheme and font are just as important to branding as an actual name. Snickers is the best resent example of this where they didn’t use the name “Snickers” in print advertisements but just the font and color scheme that are distinctly Snickers. Washington has the same level of recognition of it’s logo, color, and font.

Snyder has made it clear that he believes the Redskins name honors a heritage of Native Americans, despite numerous Native American tribes’ claims to the contrary. By keeping the logo and changing the name to Americans, Snyder would truly be honoring the native forefathers he believes his current team name honors. It would be a tremendous recognition of the original Americans, and I highly doubt that it would harm the brand in anyway. I’m willing to bet that it would strengthen the brand considerably. Snyder appears to be adamant about NOT being forced to change his team’s name, but the Washington Americans is a stronger brand than what he has now.

blogging

Reflecting on National Suicide Prevention Week

National Suicide Prevention Day was one week ago today. Suicide Prevention Week was the seven days leading up to September 10. This subject has a particular place in my heart because of my loss of a great friend years ago. I remember the moment I found out I lost my friend Rich like it was happening in real-time.

The sting of the news isn’t quite as sharp as it was a few years ago, but it still brings me to tears at times. There are still moments when I think about Rich or something reminds me about Rich and I’m beside myself with sadness. The loss of a truly great friend by his own hands is incomprehensible. It is an event that requires deep reflection and ultimately acceptance of what is so.

Two and a half years ago, I wrote a blog about pain. When I look back on the conclusions I came to at that time, I’m left with modifying what leads to my conclusion: The choice we make is whether we want to continue to pass along pain or not.

Pain ultimately stems from love. The love of someone/thing that has profound significance to you. Emotional and Physical pain are similar in many ways. Get hit by a bus, and you’re going to feel a lot more pain than a paper cut. Lose a close friend to suicide, and you’re going to feel a lot more pain getting dumped by a woman you barely knew even after one-and-a-half years of dating.

Not to diminish the pain felt in one moment over another. When you’re in the thick of it, the pain is much more real than when you reflect on it years later. That mostly holds true for losing someone to suicide, but there are still moments when the pain of Rich’s loss is just as real today as it was two-and-a-half years ago. I’ll always miss him and wish that we could have grown to be two crazy old folks together.

People always talk about soul mates in a romantic sense, but I honestly believe that soul mates have nothing to do with romance. Rich was a soul mate. I knew it the moment I met him and picked on him for his hairdo in Junior High. I loved him like a brother. I still love him to this day. And it still stings to have lost him. Suicide is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I hope that I never feel it with another person close to me.

If you know anyone who is truly depressed enough to take his/her own life, make sure they know how important they are to you. It’s amazing how much it can help make a difference. Just remember that sometimes, in spite of your efforts, they may still kill themselves. It isn’t a reflection upon you or your friendship. It is a personal choice that they have made, and unfortunately it is quite final.

blogging

100,000+ SPAMs blocked!!!

I feel somewhat accomplished now that my blog here has blocked over 100K SPAM comments! Looking at some of the current SPAM comments in my queue has me pretty excited about seeing what comes next! Here’s a few good ones!

I profit from coming back everyday to decide your thoughts. I have your page bookmarked on my daily read heel!

Hello there anyone I’m am a College student,eurpe girl.I am still searching regarding a weblog such as I and even lastly locate this response to many queries within this particular weblog but there numerous associated with feedback, whom addresses inside another topic I perform not necessarily know why . say thanks to you with regard to the content material director and continue operating like this .

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding|I gotta favorite this internet site it seems invaluable incredibly useful

Yes, these were all on my blog about people who don’t wash their hands after using the urinal.

blogging

The Moment You Realize Someone Isn’t Who You Thought They Were…

There is the world we live in and then there is our perception of that world. At times, they are at odds with one another or don’t necessarily agree. This happens often in romantic relationships. We create images in our brains of the person we are in a relationship with that can be vastly different from reality. The person we perceive to be kind, generous, genuine, loyal, truthful, caring, and supportive might be those things but not with you.

It’s not to say that romantic relationships are, by nature, bad. There is just a higher probability of a cloudy image to take hold when love is involved. Someone who is possibly an endearing match might very well not be who they appear to be.

Inevitably there comes that moment when you realize that the person you have been dating or were dating isn’t what you had in your head. I’m pretty sure that for most of us, the reaction to that moment is one of nausea, sadness, upset, disappointment… Something negative. However, once you peel back everything and really examine where you are in life (where you are with that person), you are left with a sense of gratitude.

Be thankful that you discovered who that person is, what that person brought out of you, the emotions, the experiences of life! Most importantly, be thankful that you now see that person for who they truly are and what their priorities actually are. This way when they communicate with you, you can actually get their entire communication instead of what you want to hear from the person you thought they were.

Then you can move on with your life and enjoy it the way that life is meant to be enjoyed! Obviously easier said than done when you’re in the midst of a romantic relationship or the end of one.

blogging

Onshoring as a Reality

There’s quite a bit of skepticism about claims of onshoring taking place in the United States. And rightfully so! When you look at the shell of what were once great manufacturing industries in the United States, it’s hard to believe that onshoring is taking place. When you drive through the vacuum of what was once thriving manufacturing sections of Los Angeles, you can’t help but second guess any politician’s claim to the return of American manufacturing.

Of course, when you look at the drain of manufacturing jobs over the last several decades, you’ll really understand how unrealistic it is that manufacturing jobs are being created in the United States. More importantly, when you look at the lack of industry that we have in place, it isn’t a pretty picture. There’s not going to be a massive flood of manufacturing jobs coming back to the United States anytime soon.

The difference between the myth of onshoring and the reality of onshoring is that the reality of onshoring takes a tremendous amount of work on the part of business management. Were I not the GM at my company, we certainly never would have onshored the manufacturing of our patent pending quick zip belt. Everything we knew about manufacturing was based in China. The first conversation of manufacturing the product in the United States was very quick: “There’s no way you’re going to be able to manufacture this product in the United States for anywhere near what it costs in China.”

For more than half of 2011 I drove all over Los Angeles, emailed all over the country, and made phone calls to countless resources to figure out how realistic onshoring was going to be. While it is now a reality, it wasn’t looking very promising for the first couple of month. It was long hours, late nights, frustrating conversations…

The bottom line is that the information that’s available for finding manufacturing resources in the United States is sparse at best. So much manufacturing has vacated America that you’ll find more disconnected numbers these days than companies open for business. It can be discouraging, especially when you find that even industry trade organizations are going out of business. If you have non-profit trade organizations going under, it’s going to make it tough.

When evaluating the potential to onshoring, there are a couple of things to always keep in the foreground of thought. First, costs are going to higher but not as much as you might think. Second, you don’t have to go swimming in the onshoring pool. You can get your toes wet one part at a time. Perhaps there are some parts that aren’t realistic to make in the United States right away (plastic and metal part tooling is RIDICULOUSLY expensive in the United States! And by RIDICULOUS, I mean 5000% more expensive in most cases than China).

Finding raw materials in the United States isn’t always as easy as doing a search on Google or trying to find an industry trade resource. Like I mentioned earlier, many of them are closed. However, raw materials in the United States aren’t going to be significantly higher than they are in China, and usually you’ll find better quality. In my case of looking for leathers, I found leathers that I can’t even find in China. In fact, I’ve even designed a version of the belt that can’t be replicated in China because the raw materials just aren’t available there! By the time the raw materials were exported to China, it wouldn’t be cost-effective to manufacture this other design in China because the labor savings would be offset by the material logistics costs.

Speaking of labor savings, that’s really where China has the US beat. Hands down, it costs significantly less for a worker in China to perform the same work as a worker in the US. While people often point to quality, it’s important to note that there are some TOP quality products being manufacturing in China. That being said, there is a stable of manufacturing knowledge that does exist in the United States that just doesn’t exist in China. The factories I work with for my belts have decades and decades of experience, even multi-generational experience! That’s very hard to find in China, and will be hard to find in Vietnam (where so many are looking to manufacture now that costs in China are skyrocketing).

Manufacturing my particular product in the United States brings about a much higher manufacturing quality, material quality, and over all value to the product. While we can still manufacture in China, the version of the product that can be manufactured in China is nowhere near the value of what we produce now in America. Of course, in the world of fashion accessories, it’s not just about how it looks! Quality of manufacturing make the difference between a belt that lasts you a lifetime and one you’re throwing away in 3 years.

Ultimately, onshoring is entirely feasible and has tremendous benefits.