Secrets Aren’t Secret

Because I’ve spent a lot of time in the Washington, DC area working in and for the federal government, I’ve been asked frequently about recent news reports coming from the national capital.  Most of the questions are of the type, “Can the President/FBI/CIA/NSA/etc. really do ___________________ and keep it […]

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 […]

Look Ahead

My wife and I go through a ritual most days – I’ll ask her sometime in the morning or early afternoon if she has given any thought to what to have for dinner and does she want me to get something out of the freezer?  Invariably, she’ll say no, […]

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 […]

What Samsung can learn from Chicago-Strength Tylenol*

In September 1982, the world was shocked at the cyanide deaths of seven people in the Chicago area.  It was soon followed with the discovery that Tylenol was the common link.  Johnson & Johnson mounted a total recall of Tylenol, halted production and distribution of the product and broadcast […]

You’re Goin’ to Lose – with Harrassment

I still remember the day in 1978 when every male staff member was ordered to the auditorium at the US Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, FL.  None knew why but the order was specific – every male staff member NOW.

After we all assembled, we came to attention when […]

Emergency Preparedness – Part 5 (Recovery)

Recovery is a state of mind – as well as a physical state of being.  That’s because an emergency always leaves a trail of experiences that never completely is gone.  Ever hear of PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

First of all, there’s a sense of violation – how could this […]

Emergency Preparedness – Part 4 (Response)

Unless your job is focused on dealing with emergencies – firefighter, police officer, paramedic, emergency room personnel, etc. – the odds are very small that you will deal with an actual emergency.  For example, in the eleven years I lived in Washington state, there have been only two real […]

Emergency Preparedness – Part 2

In part 1, we discussed the five possible actions that either must be done or can be done to minimize the loss from an emergency.  In this post, we are going to examine what is arguably the most important step of all – planning.

There is a lot of information […]

Emergency Preparedness – Part 1

I have been involved with the Boy Scouts since 1978 – I bought a canoe and one of my best friends, who was a scoutmaster, started inviting me to all the camp outs.  One aspect of Scouting was always planning what to do in case of an emergency.  The […]

Optimism is Crazy

In the past ten years I have dealt with over 250 entrepreneurs wanting to start new businesses.  Every single one came in with optimism that his or her idea would be a winner.  And there were plenty of great ideas – ideas that would save lives, improve safety or […]

Technical Debt

Technical debt is not really about money – it’s about why we are where we are today.  It’s been defined as:
A series of bad decisions (both business and technical) which lead to using more resources to accomplish less
We all deal with this problem.  What computer system did you first […]

The Last Straw Gets All the Blame

We have all heard the proverb: The straw that broke the camel’s back.  It’s illustrative of a fundamental human behavior – whatever happens just before a disaster is attributed as the cause of the disaster.

The 2014 Oso slide is an infamous example of this behavior:

“On Saturday, March 22, 2014, […]

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 […]

A Desperately Needed Lifeline

I heard a story long ago about Sigmund Freud when someone asked him what they should do if they were feeling depressed. He said, “Go out and find someone who is worse off than you and help them.”

We are now in that part of the year which is supposed […]

Three Mistakes for Someone to Die

Back in the late 80’s I fortunate to have the opportunity of attending a submarine design class held by Harry Jackson, CAPT, USN Ret. – perhaps the foremost American submarine designer of the second half of the twentieth century. While I still remember many of the principles of submarine […]

Why Scandals Are Bigger

Name any scandal that has hit the headlines lately –VW diesel emissions, Tanaka air bags, GM ignition switches – I’m not trying to pick on auto manufacturers – Veterans Administration medical services, Target getting hacked – you name any one and they are HUGE. Millions of cars, patients, clients […]