Godspeed Hank Aaron

First ballgame, July 7, 1974
Braves vs. Cubs at Wrigley Field

Hank Aaron hits number 725 off a young Rick Reuschel. It would be his last home run at Wrigley. My father’s good friend, Dave Norman, from Atlanta who went with us bought me that Braves cap which I kept on my head every day for the next three years.

Later when my father and I stated our HOF baseball collection, Hank Aaron graciously signed two balls for me. One went to my brother’s friend who was named for the Hammer.

Incredible career filled with grace and dignity.

Business Advice From Van Halen

Godspeed Eddie Van Halen.

Recommend Van Halen Rising by Greg Renoff. A engaging read about the band, how they came together and took over rock and roll. Appreciated the entrepreneurial vision through the ups and downs to stardom.

I never did get to see Van Halen in their prime (pre-Hagar). Since I grew up in Chicago, we will always have that summer of 1984, Jump and the Chicago Cubs. I did get a chance to catch David Lee Roth at the House of Blues in Hollywood for a New Year’s Eve bash in 2003. No doubt DLR is a party. Great time and great show. I still truly think that “Panama” should be the national anthem of Panama.

Fast Company: Business Advice From Van Halen

State Title, 30 years later

This championship did not happen overnight. More than two years and hundreds of thousands of yards in the pool were needed to climb to that level. Lessons learned during this time have helped me to this day, primarily vision and resilience.

I have photo of this team tucked away in my office to remind myself of this team, what we accomplished, and what is possible. When you believe there are no limits and when you push past them, you will be a champion. Honored to be a part of Fenwick’s tradition of excellence.

The inevitable gCRM – 2020

Original post from 2011 below.

To date, gCRM has not happened. The Google G Suite Marketplace has a number of CRM players which are all capable. Some observations.


First SAS70 and now SASE 16 and whatever is next have become more important to the enterprise. Not just in the dataroom but down to the application level. This is also seen in other verticals such as healthcare with HIPPA and financial with PCI DSS

Cloud Wars

Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure grab most of the headlines. Enterprise clouds (IBM, etc.) are real and growing. Still the market is addressing computing power and not next level applications.

Market consolidation of LinkedIn, Jigsaw, Gist, etc.

Key sales tools nearly a decade ago are now no longer independent. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Jigsaw was acquired by Salesforce. Gist was acquired by Blackberry.

Email still key.

As a outreach tool email has become more important. Less time on the phone for cold calling. More rapport development through correspondence. Still hold by this thought that gCRM and Google entrance into the enterprise market will happen eventually.

Original 2011 post: Will Google enter the enterprise applications market?
It is a matter of time.

The recent GM announcement signal that the company is almost there. For many enterprises, the first business process to be put into place is CRM. Google will enter the enterprise application space in CRM to better leverage existing services.

1) gMail is becoming widely used in the enterprise. The cloud is proving privacy can work.

2) Email is the de facto CRM application. Sales, service and marketing all rely on email to connect with customers.

3) Google has great corporate data research with finance.google.com.

4) Searching for anyone (customer, prospect, etc.) involves a Google search in addition to searches in other services like LinkedIn, Jigsaw and Gist.

5) Alerts could be configured to prompt action based on search results.

6) Sales, service and marketing are becoming more about individual and less about the company due to social tools.

7) Microsoft and, Google partner, Salesforce are battling it out for cloud-based CRM. gCRM would be less robust, but give companies a reason to move from Office to Google Docs.

So what does Google need that they do not have today? I see 3 big pieces.

One, process across marketing, sales and service:
Process is a must. Organizations turn to a CRM system to give them best practices and process flows that they do not have. In my experience, all CRM clients are looking to improve process through technology — not the other way around. Process for marketing, sales and services organizations are very different, but all have a common thread of measuring the cost per call (also called contact, customer, or incident).

Two, sales pipeline and forecasting
Sales pipeline and forecasting is an extension of process, but it needs to be more flexible and dead simple to configure. Why? Because the average VP of Sales is on the job just 19 months. Every new VP of Sales will want to be measured by his or her own agreed to metrics, not by the old metrics that got the last VP ousted. This is very common and will be so for the foreseeable future.

Three, integration to back-end systems. Integration with back-end systems is one of the constants in CRM. This can be any system from ACD call routers to an ERP system. In the 30 or so CRM deployments I have been involved with, integration has played an critical part every time.

If Google will address these three missing pieces in a way that is robust yet flexible, gCRM will be a winner.



Congratulations to Seattle Mariners legend Edgar Martinez. Enshrined in Cooperstown at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 21, 2019. In many ways this is historic. Fans took to social media for several years to convince the Baseball Writers Association of America that Edgar was one of the game’s all-time greats.

It was a lot of fun to be a part of that effort.

Schwinn Bicycle conversions

Part hobby, part side hustle. Converting vintage Schwinn bicycles into single speed and fixed gear bicycles. Rolling history.

What is a Michigan Man?

What is a Michigan Man? I learned a little about that unexpectedly from the man himself, Bo Schembechler almost 25 years ago. I was in my sophomore year and in need of a hair cut. My barber at the time was Jerry Erickson at the Coach and 4 Barber Shop. I first went there because it was close to my freshman dorm, I later learned that Jerry was the barber of Michigan’s best and never charged much.
This one day, I was waiting for awhile and longer than usual, but the conversation was good. Bo, recently retired from coaching and still UM athletic director and president of the Detroit Tigers at that point, had just fired broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell. Bo’s house had been egged. It was on ESPN and was the talk all over campus. It was a barbershop full of righteous sermons about this pure sacrilege. I was about to be next when an old man in a suit bounced in and literally jumped in the the bathroom. Jerry, the barber, looked at me and said, “Mind the wait, will you?” At first I was annoyed, but I let it go. Turns out that old man was Bo. Here he was not some figurine on a faraway sideline. The man and legend in the flesh. He just canned the greatest living announcer in the great game of baseball and jumped the line at the barber shop. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Bo vented to Jerry that he was upset about the eggs. The shop agreed that it was unacceptable. I chimed in. It was clear that asking why the eggs happened was a non-starter, so I opened with how baseball broadcasters were different that other broadcasters. They paint a picture and connect with audiences. In those Detroit summers, the velvety smooth voice of Harwell made the terrible Tigers teams interesting night after night. He was not the rah-rah party animal I grew up with in Harry Carey. He was the bridge to the first great baseball broadcasters, like Red Barber. Bo listened and showed respect for my opinions in away that I never expected. I always have appreciated the respect shown and the confidence it gave me in that brief moment.