The new Coke formula mistake you may be making!

Diversification is good, but don’t diversify due to boredom.

Do you remember New Coke? It was created in 1985, a new formula of Coke. What a marketing blunder. You’ve heard the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Coke along with many other companies have messed up a very successful business model by getting bored with what is working, thinking that others are getting bored as well, so what do they do? They mess with a very successful product that has performed very well. I’m sure it wasn’t just boredom, but wanting a larger slice of the market or copying what similar companies were doing.
old coke and new coke. Coca Cola is a successful company.

It’s easy to point the finger at other’s blunders. Being successful is difficult

Being a copy cat is easy. We see what someone else is doing and figure that we can do the same thing or we “should” do the same thing. One of my favorite sayings is “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” I will have to admit that I have fallen prey to this tactic. If you have a successful business, idea, family, blog or product, don’t change it to change it. If it is successful and you are bored, then let someone else run it and start something else. Don’t change it because you are bored and then lose business or interest from others because you have left your core values. Do what you do best.

5 Guys Burgers and Fries. A Successful Company.

Whenever I go into a 5 Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant, I am amazed at how simple their menu is. They don’t offer Fried Chicken, BBQ and corned beef sandwiches, they offer great burgers and fries. They also provide hot dogs, but that is not why I go there. I go there to five guys store front. Five Guys is a successful company.get a great burger and fresh Idaho fries. If they ever change their fries to some skinny fries, I will stop going there. They have a simple success story. I’m not trying to promote their restaurant, I am just amazed at their simple menu and hope they don’t start offering Gyros and Pizza. Stick to your core values. Know why your customers and audience love what you do and stick to it!

I am as guilty as the next guy

Yep, I’m as guilty as the next guy, but not the next Five Guys! I started my business online as an air compressor parts supplier. After repairing power tools for a good amount of time, I realized there wasn’t a whole lot of money to be made on small power tool repair, so I started repairing air compressors, the bigger ones that construction companies use. I began to make a profit and didn’t have to work so hard fixing small power tools. I started offering air compressor parts online, and the business started to grow. My mistake was that other companies were providing all kinds of power tool parts, drill parts, saw parts, leaf blower parts, you name the power tool, and they were offering parts. What did I do? I became a copy cat and started doing the same thing. After about ten years, I realized that I had left my core values. I could not concentrate on what had made me successful, and I didn’t have the time to focus on my core business. Instead of going deep I was going wide and shallow, and my margins began to slip.

Ripping off the band-aid is hard

I wrote several blog posts about ripping off the band-aid.  I wrote it because the band-aid I needed to rip off was 1,000’s of products that I had put on my website that were not air compressors. This was going to mean a loss of sales, but I had to do it. I had to get back to selling just burgers and fries, what I knew best. On January 24, 2019, I did just this, and it hurt. All of the thousands of hours I paid people to add all of this product would now be removed, but once I did it and accepted the results, I have found that by focusing on the core business that I know, I have seen my margins increase. I have fewer suppliers now, but I have more time to spend time with them coming up with creative ways to market their products and even coming up with our solutions when companies stop making a specific part so that we can help our customers continue to use their existing equipment.

It’s hard to go back to something when you think you were moving in the right direction, but continuing to walk away from what I know was keeping me up at night. I’m glad about the decision that I made to return to what made me successful. Maybe you will too, that is if you have gotten bored and changed the formula for your own Coke.

master tool repair index page

 

 

Who would you vote to live in Epcot?

Epcot was supposed to be a creative space where the brightest minds in many different disciplines would gather together to advance technology and improve the design of our larger cities. It was quite a stretch for even Walt Disney. Walt had so much success with creating movies and a theme park where people could leave feeling better than when they arrived, other than exhausted, from all of the walking in his theme park.  From what I have researched, Walt had a pretty positive outlook on life. I’m not saying he was always right or eternally happy. He pushed himself and others to get the most out of them. He was not an easy man to work for, but many people still want to work for the company or subsidiaries that he started.

Walt Disney Company Animation Team
Walt Disney Company Animation Team

A place to let your creative side out

Epcot was to be that creative space where the mind could flourish. There would hopefully be synergy when you put a bunch of talented and creative people together, giving them the tools necessary to make these ideas a reality. In the original plan, there would also be residential and commercial areas within the city. You would work and live in Epcot. This would be a vast planned community, not just for appearances, but a way of life, a model city that hopefully other cities in America would want to copy so that we could break the cycle of crime and many of the problems that we are having with our inner cities.
Nowadays, you hear the word ‘Creative Space,’ and it has come to mean a place where techy people gather to create new things.  Most of the ones that I am familiar with are merely a place to use Wifi and your laptop wearing earbuds while being charged by the hour, day or the month. Good grief, you can do that at home for much less money. Collaboration is the key as well as having tools to take these ideas from napkin to reality. Everything can’t simply be done on a laptop, but this is what I see most of these spaces being used for. I don’t know about you, but a laptop is good for putting your ideas somewhere, just like this blog or researching what others are doing, but as we all know, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. It requires actually meeting with people and hitting the pavement or the laboratory to do the testing and then performing the actual work.

Who are the creative minds that would live in Epcot?

Today, who are the creative minds that you would want to bring to Epcot? I’m talking the original concept of Epcot, not the theme park we know today.

Let me know who you think would be an inspiration to a modern-day Epcot by category.

Top 5 reasons Epcot is so popular with adults

Have you ever been to Epcot in Disney World? Many of us have. If you haven’t been to Epcot, you probably have been to Disneyland or the other parts of Disney World. For adults, Epcot seems to be the most popular of the four parks at Disney World.
Epcot logo

1. Are you a baby boomer?

I am a baby boomer. I grew up with Walt Disney coming into our homes weekly. I remember Walt promoting Epcot, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Walt was at the point in his life where he had acquired success in the movie industry and Disneyland.  He was ready to apply these successes to a much bigger project. He was a dreamer and was interested in new technology, just as he had learned to blend this new technology into his movies. Disneyland had many innovations; the monorail, the WED people mover and all of the automation required to keep the parks going. Walt was now ready to try his hand at finding like-minded people in all types of vocations. He wanted to find dreamers who would push the envelope to find new ways of doing things.

2. Epcot was a promise of a greater future

As Walt was getting older, thinking of the cities his grandchildren would grow up in, He saw what was happening to many of our large cities, between the crime, pollution and poorly designed communities. Walt wanted Epcot to be his attempt at developing the city of the future, different than what many American cities were becoming.

Above is an early artist rendering of what Epcot would look like.
Its purpose was to be a “real city that would ‘never cease to be a blueprint of the future,” designed to stimulate American ideas for urban living.

3. The success of Disneyland gave birth to many ideas in Epcot

Realizing that he and his Imagineers had learned a good number of things in the development of Disneyland, they could be put to use in planning communities, and perhaps even cities.  Walt began to immerse himself in books about city planning, such as Ebenezer Howard‘s Garden Cities of To-morrow.
This had a significant influence on Walt’s design for the Epcot he had dreamed about.

4. You remember Walt’s 25-minute talk about Disney World

A recording on October 27, 1966, less than two months before Disney’s death, was a 25-minute film about his plans for the Florida Project, then dubbed “Disney World.”  Epcot was supposed to be the central attraction. Walt showed the radial design of the city using his long pointing stick to describe this new Florida Project.
As you can see at the top of the picture is Epcot. Before the public was made aware of Epcot, it was called Project X  by Disney’s team.

5. The space race of the 1960s

Many of us remember seeing rocket launches during school, especially the momentous ones, like the first Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. If you were alive during Apollo 11, you know where you were when  Neil Armstrong placed his foot on the lunar surface. All of the technology that went into the space race was set before our eyes. Walt’s company had even been contracted to produce animated films about space travel and what the future might look like for humans. Tomorrowland in Epcot was an extension of what the world was experiencing, in a theme park venue.  Going to Tomorrowland in Epcot didn’t feel that foreign to most of us, because we had been a part of this technology revolution if only observers.

I don’t know about you, but the dreams that Walt had were shared with us before Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color each Sunday evening had been planted like a seed within me. There wasn’t anything that I couldn’t do. If man could go to the moon and Walt was going to build a city of the future, then why would I limit myself for my future? Some people might say that I am ignoring all of the problems that we are facing in the world today. But, I simply choose to focus on the future with the hope that I can be a part of making it better than it is now, that my excitement that I share isn’t too far off from what Walt must have felt. Here’s to you Walt, let’s get this thing built!

Where there is a will, there’s a way– Chapter 2

What did Rolf mean,  “I didn’t mean to pull the trigger.” ? He didn’t pull the trigger of the Luger that night in the Abbey cemetery or had he? I felt my chest as if to reassure myself that I had not been mortally wounded that night long ago. I continued to read the letter, not believing that Rolf had made it through the war. “Captain, that night in the Abbey, I knew you were probably going to be there. Leisl had contacted me earlier that evening when you performed at the concert hall in Salzberg. I also knew that there was a pretty good chance that they would catch you, you see Herr Zeller had all of your movements followed the minute you returned from your honeymoon. I told Leisl that if I were the one that found you during your attempted escape, I would do my best to put on a show almost as good as you and the children did. I replaced the bullets in my gun with blanks so that if I found you and were being watched, it would look as though I was attempting to shoot you when you tried to escape. I was so nervous that night. I quickly realized at what lengths the Nazi commanders were going to go to assure your return to naval service.rolf blowing whistle in the cemetery
You were either going to serve or die trying to escape. When I heard Leisl gasp behind the tombstone in the cemetery, I knew that you and the family were hiding there. It was better for me to find you than for my superiors. When I told you to come out, and I drew my gun, my hands were sweaty and shaking so bad. I didn’t mean to pull the trigger. I just wanted to put on a good show and let you run off with the children. I guess that my hand slipped and the gun went off. I remember the look in your eyes. You couldn’t believe that I would do such a thing. I don’t know if you didn’t realize that you had not been shot, but you took off and escaped as I hoped you would. It’s been many years. I heard about Leisl’s passing. I haven’t been able to get that night out of my mind for years. Leisl never forgave me for shooting you. She didn’t know that the gun didn’t have real bullets in it. She thought that I just missed. ”

How many years had it been? It had been 50 years since I left my home and my beloved Austria with my family in tow. We left everything behind. There were so many good memories, yet short-lived when had to leave that fateful night. Our home was taken over by the Nazis. Our friends had been dispersed throughout Europe trying to evade the evil that had come upon our little country. I turned the letter over, seeing that there was another paragraph.

von trapp home
Our home as it appeared when we were living there

“Captain von Trapp, if you can see in your heart to forgive me, I wanted to let you know that your home in Austria has fallen into disrepair. After the Nazi’s lost the war and left Austria, they left your home in a hurry. Your home was taken over by the state and sold to a Viennese family that owned it for many years. They just recently passed and they had no extended family. In their will, they stated that when their time had come, they wished to convey the property back to you and your family.”
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Was this true or was this just some hoax and why would Rolf keep tabs on our old home? I had vowed never again to think of that boy, even though that night was etched in my memory. I almost closed the envelope when I realized that there was something else in the envelope.  Included with the letter was a copy of the will. It had the section highlighted in regards to the home and the wishes of the owners. Even if this was true, we had a new life here in Vermont. We had a successful lodge, and the grandchildren were touring the states singing like their parents used to do. I grabbed my phone and fumbled with it until I could find Maria’s number. After a few rings, Maria answered, “Hello, Georg, I’m on my way back…..” Before she could finish, I interrupted her. “Maria, you’re never going to believe this. I want to show you something I just received in the mail today. It’s from a ghost of the past.”

Click here to read Chapter 1

Has your creative brain left the building like Elvis?

Do you remember what you said to your mom or dad when you were young in the middle of the summer? “I’m bored.” I don’t know about you, but I sure did. We lived in the country. There were three television stations at that time and AM radio. During the day there was hardly anything to watch on TV. We either played outside, read a book, built plastic models or did anything else that would keep us busy. At the time, I wished I lived closer to the city, but in retrospect, I’m glad that I didn’t. I had a chance to be genuinely bored, but I came up with some creative ideas! There was nothing that I couldn’t do. I built 12′ tall rockets, underground forts with tunnels, tree houses, bike paths, go-kart tracks, and my own bobsled track in the winter.I'm bored picture. Get creative!

The typical day for many

See if this describes you, or maybe someone that you know. You wake up, and you check your cell phone for texts, after that, emails, then all of your social media posts. After this ritual, you shower, grab a quick breakfast sandwich, get in the car and then head to work. At work, you keep your email open and check the inbox every 90 seconds. It’s time for lunch, so guess what you do during lunch? You check your cell phone for texts, then emails, then all of your social media posts.social media icons on cell phone

At the end of the workday, you leave work wondering what you got accomplished. You drive home fed with the latest news and music blaring. After dinner, you watch your favorite shows until it’s time to go to bed. You head off to bed, checking your social media posts one more time, then drift off into dreamland. When you wake up in the morning, you repeat this whole process.

Boredom births creativity

To be creative, you have to get away from pretty much all distractions. This requires being bored. Constant stimulation doesn’t allow our minds to have to work with that creative side of our brain.  If we are always spoon fed input, our brains start turning off these circuits of creativity in our mind. The neurons in these creative areas of our brain almost say, “Why should we try to bridge that synapse? You give me constant input from the time you wake until the time your head hits the pillow. I’m not needed any longer.”  The creative part of your brain has just shut down. It’s going to take a while for those rusty wheels to get going again.
A creative and colorful rendition of a human brain.

Can I be creative with a welder?

I started welding a few years back. This past Christmas, I received a book on using welding for making some artsy designs instead of just repairing broken things. I had a few pieces of metal in my garage, but for the longest time, I just stared at them. I couldn’t think of a thing that I could make. I almost gave up, but after about 30 minutes, I took these two pieces of metal and said to myself, “What can I do with these two pieces?” I held them up in all kinds of different positions until I finally came up with something, but it took just staring at them, no music in the background or TV to distract me. Finally, I figured out that I could put a design on the metal, thanks to the craft book. After I created a design, I thought of a use for the old muffler pipe, and voila, an idea had been birthed! This could not have been done if I had any of my distractions to keep me from creating something. Give it a try. Be bored on purpose and sit there with a pen and paper. Who knows, you might come up with something that we will all be reading about!
My creative genius. A welded artwork pencil holder by Gill Trotman

Perform these 7 daily tasks to ensure you don’t repeat 2018!

Do you want something different out of 2019?

I would imagine that many of us want 2019 to be different than 2018, even if 2018 was great. Life is about change. We don’t stay at the same age we were last year. Things change around us, and so do we. Our friendships change. We form new ones and old ones many times drift away. The friendships that we keep, they evolve. They tend to vary based upon what life brings our way.  The world around us changes. Staying stuck in one era is not healthy. Who wants to live in the past? This robs you of the joy of the present. For others, 2018 was a learning experience. I hope that you learned something from 2018, and apply what you learned to 2019.

new year saying, a new chapter, new vers, or just the same old story? ultimately we writ it. The choice is our. Alex Morritt

Band-aids, do-overs, rinse and repeat et al

Here on my blog site, I have covered the band-aids in our life that need to be pulled off, do-overs that are done the same way and how life can be a rinse and repeat of the previous day, like Groundhog Day.  Today, I will start the new year with this encouraging and eye-opening thought. Unless you apply what you learned from 2018, you are destined to repeat it in 2019. New Year’s day is all about resolutions, but I feel that unless you can look back on 2018 and write down what you did that brought value to you and others and what you did that detracted from your life, 2019 will be a repeat.

Take one hour to do this and 2019 will be different

Take some time to sit down where you will not be disturbed and where there are no distractions. You may have to get up early or stay up late to do this, but it is essential.

  • Write down those things that you did this past year that brought you joy and peace.
  • Write down those people who are in your life that encouraged you, challenged you and who you want to grow deeper in a relationship with.
  • Look at areas where you wanted to grow, learn or change and pat yourself on the back for doing so.
  • Now, look at the past year and write down what brought you stress, heartache and a sense of unfulfillment.
  • Are there people in your life that you need to distance yourself from to stay emotionally healthy? Write these people down and how you can distance yourself or talk to change the relationship honestly.
  • What did you pour a lot of effort, not just token effort, but a lot of effort into that did not bring back much of a return for the time that you invested? It’s time to stop that, our if you can’t stop it for whatever reason, not put as much effort into it knowing that the effort will go unrewarded.
  • Write down what you are going to focus on in 2019. There are only so many hours in a day. To begin something new, something old has to be given up.

the time for change is now
So, the challenge is, will you take the time to make 2019 one of the best years of your life? If so, put down that glass of champagne and take a look back in the rearview mirror. It’s worth it. You don’t want to back up over your former self. Be careful that you don’t repeat those things of 2018 that made you less than you were meant to be! You deserve it; it’s your life.

Strive to be a Fezziwig instead of a Scrooge

Do you remember old Fezziwig in Charles Dickens Christmas Carol?

He was Scrooges old boss when he was an apprentice. The man was a jolly old soul who wanted his employees to stop their labors and enjoy the holidays, so he cleared the work tables and had that first office party!image of old fezziwig
Scrooge should have learned from old Fezziwig, but he didn’t. He chased after the money and left his memory in the past.

I want to be a Fezziwig instead of a Scrooge

Typically, I’m a Fezziwig on the outside, but a Scrooge on the inside. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas, I seem to have work always on my mind. One of the things that I am learning is this thing called mindfulness. For someone my age, it’s a new concept. You see, in the back of my mind, I feel that if I keep this constant thought of work going, it will solve itself while I’m doing other things. Well, this hasn’t worked too well. I want to be fully present this Christmas season.

When the ghost of Christmas past brought him to his old boss Fezziwig, Scrooge said, “Bless his heart; it’s Fezziwig alive again!”
“Yo ho there! Ebenezer! No more work
tonight! He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to
make our service light or burdensome. The happiness
he gives is..as if it cost a fortune.”

It wasn’t how much that Fezziwig spent, it was that he knew when to stop working and to enjoy life. He exercised mindfulness before it was in style! It’s not that work isn’t still there, but when we are with our families this Christmas, let’s fully be with them both consciously and subconsciously. Let’s give them 100% of our attention, interacting with intent. If you start to sense Scrooge creeping up inside, remember old Fezziwig and how much joy he brought to those around him. God bless us, everyone.”

I don’t have a choice, it’s time to take that first step

It has come to the point that I don’t have a choice. Writing my previous blog on ripping off the band-aid has made me come to grips with a particular band-aid in my life. If you keep a band-aid on too long, what happens? The skin starts to turn white and instead of it healing, it starts to retain too much moisture. This is called skin maceration. It’s not very appealing.  Well, it’s also not very attractive when we put off pulling the metaphorical band-aids off in our lives. If we just kind of pick at it, then it’s not only annoying to ourselves, it’s annoying to others. Do you think everyone else doesn’t see what’s going on; our indecision? We are not doing this for others, but it affects those people in our lives when something that is not healthy for us continues to be front and center in our lives. It’s sort of like the proverbial elephant in the room.
elephant sitting on a couch with two people in the room.

Make the first step

Inaction breeds only more inaction. We have to start somewhere. If we just begin to make that first step, then the other steps will follow. I know that it is hard to make that first step. What if my first step is in the wrong direction? What if my first step is wrong? What if, what if…… Ok, here is a what if for you. What if you don’t make that first step to rip off the bandage? What if your health, both emotional and relational suffer even more? Can you imagine being in this same spot next year, going over the same questions and living with the same consequences that you are living with now? How would that feel? If it doesn’t feel right now, then next year, amplify it about three times, and that is what it will probably be like.

Take the first step

stair steps first step.

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.  It doesn’t matter if it is dark or if it is the middle of the day. You can feel your way and make that first step. Hanging out in the basement of your life, any stairway will take you up to where the light is. Pick a staircase, put your toe on the first step and raise your body one step into the light. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to leave the musty basement behind.

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