One-Hit Wonders

My first contributions to Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) have been published in SABR’s latest book, One-Hit Wonders. This book details the brief biographies of 70 players who accumulated just one major league hit.

Craig Cacek had a cup of coffee with the Astros and went a self-described “0 for America.” His only base knock was in 1977 in Montreal. Craig played 11 professional seasons in the minors behind perennial All Star Bob Watson in Houston and later Hall of Famer Willie Stargell in Pittsburgh. He never got another shot. After walking away from the game for more than a decade he found baseball redemption in men’s league baseball. I truly enjoyed his interview.

Jason Davis was a pitcher for the Indians, Mariners and Pirates. He had a career day in June of 2004 when he pitched in front of 100 family and friends and crushed his only hit, a home run in a win over the Braves in Atlanta. With all but one of his seven seasons in the American League, he only had nineteen plate appearances. I remember seeing Jason pitch at the end of his Indians career and his brief stint with the Mariners. For Jason’s biography I was able to connect with major league scouts and legendary sportswriters.

SABR One-Hit Wonders

Carroll Shelby

Recently had the opportunity to visit Shelby American in Las Vegas. Loved this bit of entrepreneurial spirit.

Full Timeline Article: https://www.motortrend.com/features/carroll-shelby-life-1923-2012-timeline/

April 1962: CSX 2000, the first Cobra, is painted a pearlescent yellow by Dean Jeffries and shipped to the New York auto show, where it appears in the Ford display. “I think I paid him $200,” Shelby recalls, “Actually I don’t think I paid him at all. Maybe I traded him something for the work.” With dealer orders and deposits coming in, Shelby American formally commits to building the Cobra.

May 1962: Shelby promotes the new Cobra by offering test drives to the automotive press. The May 1962 issue of Sports Car Graphic describes the Cobra’s acceleration as “explosive.” CSX 2001 (the second Cobra built) is shipped by from England to New York and is prepped by Ed Hugas in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. CSX 2002 is shipped out to Los Angeles and built into the first race-ready Cobra.

June 1962: Shelby American deals with start-up problems resulting in slower than anticipated production. The AC chassis the Cobra uses requires extensive re-engineering for Shelby’s intended application. Meanwhile, CSX 2000 is repainted a new color each time a different magazine test drives it, giving the appearance of many cars in production.

Grand Park

Mt Rainier with lenticular “cap” cloud

Grand Park is a high alpine meadow that was formed by an ancient lava flow. From this northwest corner of the national park, there are some amazing views of the mountain and few visitors. In this photo, a lenticular cloud caps the volcano. These clouds develop when fast moving air is forced over a physical obstacle and are common at Mount Rainier.

“Mojo” Reads

Originally posted this is 2009. Awful quick circle.

I have had a lot of conversations with very talented people that seem lost in this new economic reality. Understandably many are upset about their respective employment situations; however, as a whole they seem to be forgetting what has made them great. Here are some recommended reads for some positive “mojo”:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I first borrowed a copy of the Alchemist in 1996 while backpacking in Australia and devoured it in a single day. I hated to return it. Since then I have recommended the book countless times and given away many copies as gifts. It is worth checking out Coelho’s blog where he posts daily and even links to pirated copies of his work.

The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership by Steve Farber
This is a great short read about leadership. First read in 2004, I have taken the time to re-read it about once per year and see how I measure up.

The Magic Lamp: Goal Setting for People Who Hate Setting Goals by Keith Ellis
I recently came across this book. Would recommend. It is authentic and can help you get you from A to B.

Hang in there and read on.

Lessons from Kodak

Kodak Brownie No 2A, Model B

This is a Kodak Brownie No 2A, Model B that my great-grandmother purchased sometime around 1920. It still works. I was able to find some 116 film for it a few years ago and took this timeless picture of the Space Needle.

Seattle Space Needle taken with a Kodak Brownie No 2A, Model B

Much has already been written about the demise of Kodak and their likely impending bankruptcy filing. Many focus on the “cash cow” of film and how while Kodak invented many of the critical elements of digital photography they never capitalized as they should have. These articles are missing a critical piece to understand the long, slow death of an American great. Kodak had started to abandon and alienate even film customers as early as 1984.

What happened in 1984? Kodak eliminated the dated 116 and 616 formats used by my Brownie above. But that is not the real reason. Truth is that Kodak was starting to feel the heat of true competition from Japanese rivals like Fujiflim. How it responded is why the company failed. The company had twice been slapped with antitrust consent decrees. Kodak litigated its way to having those decrees removed in 1994. Later, Kodak attempted to inflame US-Japanese trade tensions with filing a Section 301 petition against Fujifilm. At the time, then CEO George Fisher had had success successfully used legal and political leverage to alter market behavior in Japan when he ran Motorola. The trade dispute was pre-emptive. Kodak’s never filed its concerned with the Japanese government before filing this petition. Amazingly the company disregarded that at the time it was being outspent in the Japanese market by a ratio of 10:1 while charging more for its own film. Somehow, Kodak was still able to have about 10% of the Japanese market. While the company sought to litigate in the US and Japanese markets, it failed to keep pace with innovation in film. Two examples where Kodak did not live up to its comparative advantage. First is the one-time use camera. Fujifilm introduced the one-time use camera that thrilled the Japanese public. A camera could now be purchased cheaply just about anywhere from a department store, drug store or kiosk. The product became an immediate hit. Kodak did not respond to this new product development for two years. Second is high resolution ISO 400 film, a technical breakthrough that addressed the image quality issues. It was a huge success. Again, Kodak did not respond to this new product development for two years.

Kodak consistently choose to cede two years of first-mover advantage to Fujifilm. This is not the Kodak you will read about over the coming days. This great American company lost its way long before the advent of the digital photography. Kodak lost the innovation edge and resorted to attacking the nature of free enterprise to protect its markets. As a result, it lost in the long-term.

That should be a lesson worth remembering today.

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.
Godspeed.

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.

Compliance

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.

Considerations:
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.