Getting to the Point | The Exkalibur Newsletter | June 30, 2017

This week we’re Getting to the Point on World Asteroid Day and one day following the 10th Anniversary of the iPhone. Both of them may signal the end of life as we know it.

But, while we’re still here, we’ll take a few moments to consider some of the other fascinating tidbits from the worlds of music, marketing, medical science, psychology and technology.

Our Featured Article considers your brand and how easy it is to abuse it and trash your customer relationships. We’ll also get to a lot of other valuable ideas in our Business Brief including insights into building a great leadership team, a checklist to help you assess your emotional intelligence, some examples of how to connect your purpose to greater success and even some investment advice from some pretty smart folks.

Around the Web helps us expand our knowledge about several critical subjects we’ve been covering, from the growing crisis of growing garbage and the increasingly tragic consequences of the opioid epidemic. You can also take a guess at how big the world population will be in 2050 and, even grosser, how much saliva you generate in a lifetime?

No, I haven’t forgotten a little Humor to lighten the day and some wisdom from Andrew Carnegie. Since I hope you’ve set aside some vacation time this summer, I’ve also provided a CEO reading list with some great non-fiction choices along with a terrific action movie and the celebration of an incredible fiction writer in our What We’re Reading (Fiction) segment.

Be sure to check out the entire Table of Contents so you can Get to the Point.

Enjoy the 4th of July holiday weekend!

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Today is World Asteroid Day

Here’s the premise of Asteroid Day, in the words of co-founder Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist, guitarist and songwriter for the band Queen:

“Our goal is to dedicate one day each year to learn about asteroids, the origins of our universe, and to support the resources necessary to see, track and deflect dangerous asteroids from Earth’s orbital path. Asteroids are a natural disaster we know how to prevent.”

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All You Need is Love

Fifty years ago, the Beatles debuted one of their treasured masterpieces, All You Need is Love.

Click on the link to see the original recording of this famous song and how the original black & white video looks when portions of it are colorized.

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What Goes Around Comes Around ….

You may have noticed a few weeks back that we decided not to notify you, our Valued Subscriber, about the Wednesday blog post, leaving it to our normal announcement in this Friday newsletter, Getting to the Point. At the time, we explained that we heard from many of you that you were simply too busy midweek, didn’t get to it and often lost the email below the fold.

After that decision, however, many more of you let us know that you DID WANT to keep receiving an email every Wednesday morning about the latest article.

While a few admitted they might not always get to it and welcomed a reminder in this Getting to the Point newsletter, they wanted to hear about it midweek anyway.

So, this past Wednesday, you DID receive our regular email pointing you to the blog post, If You Want To Trash Your Brand … Here’s a Good Way To Do It. Thanks to your input, we’re restoring that process every Wednesday and look forward to continuing to serve you in any way we can.

Stay tuned, too, for many more announcements. We’re very excited about some of the upcoming developments and can’t wait to share them with you.

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If You Want To Trash Your Brand … Here’s a Good Way To Do It

There’s something rather intriguing about a brand anthem, a term that many companies use to summarize EVERYTHING they wish for their brand.

But, what should you do to keep the anthem from getting out-of-tune?

In If You Want To Trash Your Brand … Here’s a Good Way To Do It, I describe a common problem that seems innocent enough … but can undo years … in this case, centuries … of how people view and understand your brand.

If you want to frequently update and refresh your brand, make sure you don’t change the tune so your customers and followers no longer understand the song.

It’s easy to do if you’re not paying attention.

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10th Anniversary of the iPhone

Can you imagine your life without your cell phone?

It’s the 10th Anniversary of the iPhone and I think it will prove to be one of the landmark inventions in human development.

My wife is the antithesis of a techie, so she’s quite unimpressed … but you’d still have to pry the phone from her cold dead hands, as the saying goes.

Think about it in terms of what else you no longer buy:

  • Pocket cameras
  • CD player
  • Radio
  • Movie camera
  • Camcorder
  • GPS device
  • Photo albums … and maybe more.

Yes, it’s only been 10 years, but I’ll bet for most of us, we can barely remember when we couldn’t call someone anytime from anywhere … and can’t imagine how the world functioned before that was possible.

There’s a lot more where that came from, including the landmark presentation from Steve Jobs announcing the first iPhone.

It’s really fascinating when you consider How Apple’s iPhone changed the world: 10 years in 10 charts.

Don’t miss some of these very interesting charts about what’s changed in the last 10 years and why …

gum sales have dropped 15% since that fateful year of 2007?

+ According to a report from research firm App Annie, the app economy will be worth $6.3 trillion by 2021, a 380% jump in just five years

Sadly, it’s not all unicorns and popcorn balls, since this is happening: Facebook Deletes 66,000 Hateful Posts Each Week

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Hang On Tight. We’re Growing Like a Weed

U.N. Says World’s Population Will Reach 9.8 Billion By 2050.

Need I say more?

The Garbage keeps Piling Up

And, yes, this matters, because we are losing this battle and our children and theirs may grow up in a garbage dump if we don’t clean up this problem.

You’ll recall that in our May 26 issue of Getting to the Point, we talked about the “Amazon Effect” on Garbage Bills. On May 12, we talked about how the recycling industry is struggling, and how low oil prices are making it cheaper to make new plastic bottles.

In A million bottles a minute: world’s plastic binge ‘as dangerous as climate change’, we learn that the annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to top 1/2 Trillion by 2021, a 20% increase.

“More than 480 billion plastic drinking bottles were sold in 2016 across the world, up from about 300 billion a decade ago. If placed end to end, they would extend more than halfway to the sun.”

In addition to plastic bottles, garbage dumps have another friend in shoeboxes, which Nike is trying to do something about.

There are many other ideas afoot, so let’s cheer on these pioneers.

I Can’t Wait for This

Who isn’t cheering for this decision … as explained in The FDA may move to shorten that grim list of side effects in every drug ad. Advertising execs can’t wait.

“Watching TV drug ads may put you to sleep. That’s no surprise to many of us who’ve heard about the countless ways prescription drugs can harm us. But now, the Food and Drug Administration is considering whether bombarding consumers with every last potential side effect might be overkill.”

Ya think?

I’d Like to Get Off This Opioid Kick … But

In the June 16 issue of Getting to the Point, I offered several articles, including the The Opioid Crisis Is Hurting People Who Really Need Them and shared an article about whether family members have a right to know when a loved one overdoses on opioids.

Not only is the crisis hurting those who really need the prescription, but 51 percent of opioid prescriptions go to people with depression and other mood disorders.

In Opioids could kill nearly 500,000 Americans in the next decade, we learn even more startling facts:

“Deaths from opioids have been rising sharply for years, and drug overdoses already kill more Americans under age 50 than anything else.”

“It’s already so bad that once unthinkable scenes of public overdose are now common:

  • “People are dying on public buses and inside fast-food restaurants.
  • They’re collapsing unconscious on street corners, and
  • in libraries after overdosing on prescription pain pills, heroin, and fentanyl.”

The good news in The game changers: 12 bold attempts to slow the opioid epidemic, is that we’ve got some people intensely focused on it. + Stat

Finally, a Justification for Eating More Peanut Butter … I Think

I don’t get the chance often enough to indulge in the longer articles in The Atlantic, but this one caught my eye, in part because what we usually hear about is the danger of peanut allergies and why so many places are banning them, not always for scientifically sound reasons.

So, in The Peril and Promise of Peanut Butter, it was some comfort to learn that peanut butter may also be the basis of a medical therapy to save the lives of millions of children.

Listen to their podcast and discover how the humble peanut got to be such a big deal.

Is Someone Burning San Francisco … On Purpose?

This is quite a statement in San Francisco Is Burning:

“The numbers cited by Campos and others—45 fires in two years—also weren’t necessarily as suspicious as they seemed. It turns out that 25 fires a year is about average for the Mission.

“But there’s a reason that arson is on everyone’s mind: While the number of fires has stayed steady, the value of the real estate in question has not. The 27 fires that burned in the Mission in 2006 caused $2.6 million in damage; the 22 fires in 2015 caused almost $15.6 million in damage.”

Snapple Factoid

This might gross you out:

The average human produces 10,000 gallons of saliva in a lifetime.”

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There’s No Substitute for a Great Leadership Team

This is my line and I’ve used it for years. When you’re up against it, and you’re struggling to get it done, any serious leader becomes very clear about that.

I learned this in many ways during my years as the founder of a boutique investment bank and managing general partner in a venture capital fund … and not always the easy way. I couldn’t agree more with these findings from High-performing teams: A timeless leadership topic:

“It’s why savvy investors in start-ups often value the quality of the team and the interaction of the founding members more than the idea itself.”

“It’s why 90 percent of investors think the quality of the management team is the single most important nonfinancial factor when evaluating an IPO. And it’s why there is a 1.9 times increased likelihood of having above-median financial performance when the top team is working together toward a common vision.”

You May Have More Good Habits Than You Realize

You may have read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the book that put Stephen Covey on the map.

We’ve all read about the power of Emotional Intelligence. Check out The 7 Habits of Emotionally Intelligent People, and see how many of these you represent.

Why Purpose is Critical To Your Success

If you were fortunate to attend this year’s Leadercast event, Powered by Purpose, you would have benefited from a wide range of inspiring messages and a robust discussion among fellow leaders who are intentional about raising their standard of leadership.

In Bringing Profits to Purpose: 6 Pointers from Interface CEO Jay Gould, you’ll find another perspective:

“in finding purpose, you need to find the intersection between what the world needs and what your company can be the very best at.”

Looking for Some Investment Advice?

In One Deceptively Simple Way to Beat the Market, Fortune announces their partnership with Barclay’s to launch a new family of stock indices based on the Fortune 500.

Here’s why:

“Because all the evidence we’ve seen suggests: 1) size matters in business, perhaps today more than ever; and 2) success tends to breed success. If you held an equal-weighted portfolio of Fortune 500 stocks since 1980, rebalancing with each new year’s list, you would have earned twice the return of an investment in broader market indices.”

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What Are CEOs Reading These Days?

If you don’t find a sweet ride in the Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre, here are some terrific selections from the world of non-fiction.

There’s a lot of good stuff here: What CEOs are reading in 2017.

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13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

I’m a little late to this party, but if you’re looking for an action-packed movie, this is a gem from last year.

I guarantee your heart will be beating a lot faster before you’re done.

There are many lessons you can take from this movie. Here are a few of mine:

  1. The rules of engagement in war are imperfect and unpredictable.
  2. Getting a single version of the truth after the fact is impossible.
  3. The veracity of the famous quote, from German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke, remains intact:

“No Battle Plan Survives Contact With the Enemy”

You may recall some of the questions that surrounded this incident, particularly as it related to the Presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State during this incident. Plenty of stories abound about the accuracy of the movie, and as you can imagine – see Lesson #2 – they’re hardly unanimous.

For a sample of the differing points of view, check out 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi from History vs. Hollywood and this article from the Guardian, Michael Bay’s Benghazi movie 13 Hours is ‘inaccurate’, according to CIA officer.

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J.K.Rowling & the Harry Potter Empire

I’m diverging a bit today from my usual recommendation to celebrate the incredible saga of J.K. Rowling’s fiction career … justified even more because, as you’ll see, she is already 3 books into a crime series of her own.

Monday was the 20th Anniversary of publication in Great Britain of first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, published in September in the U.S. under the name, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s the 5th best-selling book of all time, selling an astounding 107 million copies.

The Harry Potter series is the best-selling book series of all time, and the other 6 books in the Harry Potter series have each sold between 50–100 million copies.

“The last four books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history, with the final installment selling roughly 11 Million copies in the United States within 24 hours of its release.” Wikipedia

Incredibly …

“The original seven books were adapted into an eight-part film series by Warner Bros. Pictures, which has become the second highest-grossing film series of all time as of August 2015.

“In 2016, the total value of the Harry Potter franchise was estimated at $25 billion, making Harry Potter one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.” Wikipedia

Like many of you, I’ve been intrigued by her story and how she tediously and laboriously plotted the entire series:

“Jo conceived the idea of Harry Potter in 1990 while sitting on a delayed train from Manchester to London King’s Cross. Over the next five years, she began to map out all seven books of the series. She wrote mostly in longhand and gradually built up a mass of notes, many of which were scribbled on odd scraps of paper.” JKR Website

Her output is prodigious as she has followed the Harry Potter series with not only the film adaptation of the books, but …

  • 2 books based on the titles of Harry’s school books within the novels,
  • a novel for adults being adapted for TV by the BBC, and a 3-book (so far) crime series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike (with another BBC series underway),
  • an original new story for the stage. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two is now running at The Palace Theatre in London’s West End,
  • her screenwriting debut with the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a further extension of the Wizarding World, marking the start of a five-film series to be written by the author.


By any measure, an incredible story of achievement that few authors can even image.

Way to go, Jo!

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