The Apple Battery Slowdown “Scandal”

I was recently asked for my take on the Apple Battery Slowdown “Scandal” by a nephew who works in the tech industry (Apple’s response is here).  My first impulse was what scandal and my second was submarine batteries – it may seem a weird connection but there is a […]

In Disasters, Preparation is Necessary But Luck is Key

I’ve written before about emergency response and preparation here.  But there was one aspect of emergency response and preparation that I neglected to mention – luck.

I bring this up because in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, some Texas politicians are calling for people to NOT donate to the American […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

How VW could have Avoided the Scandal

One of my favorite Demotivators ( – 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 […]

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.

The Two Questions Police Should Always Ask in Public Crisis

I spent most of last night following the #ferguson hashtag on Twitter. For those who aren’t up to date on the story, I won’t rehash all of the details. You can catch up here. There’s a lot to be said – that will be said – about this situation. […]

Free Speech Ain’t

There have been a recurring theme in the news about executives and celebrities who opened their mouths and inserted their foot down their throats.  And when the inevitable backlash occurs – usually in short order because of modern social media – there is always a minor chorus of “They […]

Strategic Thinking- Everyone needs it!

The Yom Kippur War in 1973 was, in many ways, a continuation of the 1967 Six-Day War, as WWII was a continuation of WWI.  And, as with many wars, there are many lessons to be learned – assumptions lead to surprises, modern weaponry changes the landscape, and strategic […]

Chevron, Fracking, and Free Pizza: Inspiring Confidence in a Crisis

It has all the makings for a blockbuster movie. Just image:
An earnest young engineer (played by a beefy, Chris Hemsworth-type) arrives in an idyllic rural Pennsylvania town determined to introduce the modern wonder that is fracking to the locals. It’ll revive the town’s fortunes! he swears.

A sincere young geologist […]

Honest Press Releases: How AOL’s Tim Armstrong Looked Like a Hypocrite and Alienated Employees

Tim Armstrong, AOL CEO
image via wikimedia commons

Once upon a time, Tim Armstrong was President of Google’s Americas operations. He was an idea generator in a complex machine with endless resources and competent executives who balanced each other out. He had a reputation for rallying the troops with coach-style pep […]

Date Rape Daiquiris, Crisis Management, and the Accidental Ouch Principle (Real Crisis in the News)

Spokane, my adopted hometown, is in the national news this morning. A new bar, The Downtown Daiquiri Factory, posted its grand opening menu on Facebook – including a drink called the “Date Grape Koolaid.” For those of you who aren’t up on the latest euphemisms, “Date Grape” […]

The 2013 Business Crappies: “Missing the Forest for the Trees (They Haven’t Even Planted Yet)” Award

The 2013 “Missing the Forest for the Trees (You Haven’t Even Planted Yet)” Award goes to…
Yahoo spent 2013 investing in an updated image – acquiring new technology companies and services (28 total!), launching new apps, logo redesigns, and updated user interfaces. Their new CEO, Marissa Mayer, put a human […]