March 24, 2011 – 11:43 am
There’s a wonderful book called Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. It is full of interesting tidbits that involve getting people to make choices that are good for them. Rather than using punitive measures or trying to motivate people to do things that benefit them, the authors talk about making simple changes that can have a big impact. They use examples of arranging food in the cafeteria line so that the healthy foods get chosen first, setting up enrollment programs, and even organ donor programs at the DMV.
How it works.
Recently I found a great …
My Danish ancestors are apparently restless once again. Recently, in another close encounter of the ghost kind, I received a message on Facebook from a “stranger”. As I read the young woman’s note, I felt as though a spectral hand had just reached out and touched me on the shoulder. Her question was simple — was I related to the Henry and Maria Hollenstein who had lived near Salinas, California in the early 1900’s?
After noticing that the surname of the “stranger” was the same as that of Maria Bonde Hollenstein’s brother-in-law, I responded that, yes, I was their great-great …
February 13, 2011 – 12:01 pm
Growing your business is what you’re supposed to do, right? Talk to any business leader or member of academia — they will tell you that without growth you will eventually die. Sure, if your business never grew and your expenses continued to rise you would eventually lose money. But what about right NOW?
With the economy starting to move forward, most companies are happy to see any sign of growth. But how do we define growth? Typically we look at sales year over year. …
February 11, 2011 – 11:52 am
At least once a month, I make the drive from Napa to Modesto on Highway 12. It’s a long drive, especially when I start out early in the morning without ample caffeine. As most locals are aware, the road is mostly two-lane highway through fields so the drive can quickly become monotonous. It is easy to lose sight of the speed limit during some of the long stretches. I’m not intending to break the law by exceeding the speed limit, sometimes I just lose focus.
But there are a couple of stretches on the road where I pay extra attention to my driving speed.
It has to do …
January 9, 2011 – 7:26 pm
It was sunrise the day after Christmas when I captured the picture above from my son’s kitchen window. How appropriate that the morning began with a fresh layer of snow. There is something peaceful about seeing the snow drape the trees. For me, there is no better way to close out 2010.
With 2011 just getting underway, I can’t think of a better time to clear the slate and have a fresh start. This past year has been challenging for the wine industry but there are many positive signs that the economy is moving forward.
December 15, 2010 – 3:38 pm
I was rafting down a river in the Canadian Rockies when I first heard that my granddaughter, Mikyla, had a brain tumor. It was like getting struck by lightning, how a vibrant energetic seven year old could get struck down with such a serious disease. I stumbled home as quickly as I could to see a semi-conscious post-operative Mikyla surrounded by balloons, stuffed animals and many relatives. (Her Dad comes from a big family.) She had just endured a 15-hour surgery to remove the tumor and had five or six supplemental brain surgeries in the following week.
It has now been …
December 10, 2010 – 12:29 am
The news services have been reporting that the 2010 tax stalemate over the “Bush-era” tax cuts has ended in December 2010.
Are we counting our proverbial chickens before they hatch?
On December 6, 2010, President Obama and the GOP came to a handshake agreement to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for an additional two years for all taxpayers. I caution taxpayers that this is just a handshake agreement to extend tax cuts and not officially tax law.
We have not yet seen a bill presented and voted on by the House of Representatives or the Senate and definitely not signed by President Obama. …
December 1, 2010 – 11:25 am
Maybe Jimmy Buffet had the right idea.
My first trip to Cancun was thirteen years ago during “spring break”. Neither the accommodations nor the service at the resort at which I stayed made a good impression on me. I left with no desire to see Cancun or that particular resort ever again.
Fate, however, had other plans and I recently found myself returning to the same resort in Cancun in the “off season”. In the interim, the resort had undergone a cosmetic “face lift”.
In spite of my initial lack of enthusiasm about revisiting the resort in question, I found myself quite favorably …
October 29, 2010 – 3:24 pm
Wow, what a climb! Do you ever feel like there are just too many steps before you? On my recent business trip to the East coast I spent a day in Lynchburg, VA to visit family. While out and about as a tourist I came across these 132 steps. They serve as a memorial for local veterans dating back to WWI. As I ascended the steps and read each of the memorials I began to reflect on all of those who have given up so much, often their …
October 13, 2010 – 4:22 pm
The details matter. Nuances make a difference. Ask any winemaker in the middle of harvest if another day on the vine can really have that much impact on the taste of their wine. (I advise you to be out of striking distance if you ask that question now, when they are wrestling with that very issue.)
Millions of tiny details are the reason one bottle of wine scores 92 points and another scores 89. If the world was simpler, our choices would be black or white, on or off, true or false, and there would be no need to have 51 pages on Wikipedia devoted to …