Where There’s Smoke

We’ve written about sexual harassment before – there’s no secret there.  But I would like to examine the economic benefits and costs associated with harassment today.  This examination is prompted by Bill O’Reilly’s firing by Fox after it was revealed that five women had been paid $13.5 million to […]

When Things Go Wrong, COMPLAIN!

I generally encourage people to lower their voices and think before they speak – perhaps to not speak at all – it makes for more reasoned communication.  But there is one area that I personally violate that rule – when things go wrong.  And when things go wrong, I […]

2016 in Review

It’s the end of the year and it’s a common feeling to feel that the year wasn’t a good one – we didn’t accomplish much – we’re no better off than we were at the beginning of the year.  It isn’t true but the little devil sitting on our […]

Lessons Learned From Infamy

December 7, 2016 is the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the Hawaiian Islands.  There are newspaper inserts and TV specials as well as countless articles and speeches retelling the stories and pointing out the lessons that were learned.  Usually, the lessons can be summed up as “we […]

Hillary’s Suit and Meredith’s Hair – Dealing with Biases

I was listening to my local radio morning show last week when the discussion got to the clothes that Hillary Clinton wears.  The consensus was that she dresses horribly – she’s a multimillionaire and could afford better clothes so why does she wear dumpy pant suits?  This brought to […]

Ethics in the Workplace

The subject of ethics in the workplace always create conflicting emotions in me.  There’s the sterile “Here’s the rules that you should always follow” mode – a product of countless ethics training sessions while in the Navy, as a government contractor, and later as a government employee – and […]

Establishing Trust

In another blow to trust, on April 21st, the International New York Times reported that:

“Mitsubishi Motors said … that it had cheated on fuel-economy tests for an ultrasmall car it produces in Japan, acknowledging its engineers had intentionally manipulated evaluations.”

It’s known that at least 620,000 cars sold in Japan […]

Two Failures – and the Customer Service Responses to Them

I spent some time recently helping my son and his family move into a new house.  It’s been over three months since they moved out of their old house in Virginia and they were looking forward to being in their new house in Washington.  The situation was the usual […]

Never Enough

Have you ever considered how many convenience stores there could be? This question came up in the 70’s when 7-11 was expanding using the franchise model. As long as the number of franchises was growing, 7-11 was the darling of investors. But the question of how many 7-11 […]

Can You Keep a Secret?

Have you heard of the 3S method? In the West where wolves are a very polarizing subject – either you are for wolves or against wolves – it’s not uncommon for some people want to “eliminate” wolves. But shooting wolves is illegal except when you have a permit. So […]

Flint Michigan Water – déjà vu all over again

The crisis in Flint Michigan with their water supply brings back bad memories for me – my family and I lived a similar experience the last year I was in the Navy. We were living on the Yorktown Naval Weapon Station in base housing and our water suddenly became […]

Take a Moment

A while ago, one of my start-up clients messaged me. It began: “You’re probably going to hate me for this…!”

That’s always a good sign, right? Sigh.

She continued: “I just committed to an amazing opportunity for us to triple our advertising exposure,” she went on. “A sponsor dropped out of […]

Washington State Releases Prisoners Early – so what?

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a week before Christmas that as many as 3,200 prisoners since 2002 had been released early from state prisons because of a computer glitch which granted them more time off for good behavior than they should have received. The median number of days […]

Workers Will Arise!

I would like to take you back to 1900. Imagine that you are a blue collar worker*:

Your odds of dying on the job are more than 2500% higher than today.
You likely don’t have heating in the winter or cooling in the summer – unless your job involves heat or […]

How VW could have Avoided the Scandal

One of my favorite Demotivators (www.despair.com) – posters that mock those motivation posters a lot of companies put up on their walls to inspire their employees – shows a ship sinking with the caption “Mistakes – It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve […]

The VW Software Scandal Gets Bigger

The news today is that VW is in bigger trouble – their software evading of pollution testing appears to be not limited to their 6-cylinder diesels but also extends to the their 4-cylinder diesels. The company denies this but I suspect it’s true. Why?

First a little background. I have […]

Playing the Odds or Why Statistics is Fun!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a geek – a Ph.D. in physics was not an idle pastime. But there’s one area of study where I really revel in geekiness – statistics. (Go ahead and roll your eyes.) WARNING: There will be equations.

There are so many applications […]

General Mills and Gluten-Free Cheerios – Statistics That Really Matter

Meredith and I have been discussing the fiasco with Gluten-Free Cheerios not being really gluten free –some of the time. So today I thought I would give everyone a quick visual tutorial and what the fuss is all about and why we are not happy with General Mills’ response.

First […]

Inside Cheerios’s Gluten Free Fiasco – Podcast

Confused about the recall? This week, General Mills recalled 1.8M boxes of  “gluten-free” Cheerios — revealing that they were not only contaminated with wheat flour, but that they had failed to perform any final product testing before shipping them.

In these three episodes, Meredith & Frank explain what went wrong […]

VW – Expertise and Trust

Frank and Meredith discuss the Volkswagen scandal – why it happens and how we can protect ourselves.

The basic paradox is that we need experts but how do we know that we can trust them?

Listen to the podcast here.