The Outliers Inn is a place where people from all businesses and roles within business can examine goings-ons from different and hopefully humorous perspectives. It’s a place where we can be a lot less serious about ourselves, what we do, what our businesses do, and the manner in which they do it.
Episode-81; What I did on my summer vacation
About the Podcast
So welcome back to The Outliers Inn!
As is getting to be habit, our co-host Mule has somehow managed to weasel his way out of working his shift with some lame excuse about a traffic jam around Washington DC. How a person can live so long there and not expect traffic; well, perhaps we pick that up another time.
It is a good thing that my irregular regular, Don “the beer man” Burshnick is willing and able to work both sides of the bar.
JP Starts the conversation by sharing and experience from high school about returning from summer vacation. Inevitably the teacher would ask for a 500-word essay sharing what we did on our summer vacation. For me, I went fishing and I went swimming. Now I have to find another 494 words of blah-blah to get up to 500 words.
Maybe that’s why even today we feel we have to add a ton of words to a report to make it “credible” while knowing full well nobody will read after the first page (even if that) while simultaneously ensuring that the messaging in the document will be lost.
And JP and Don share their one thing in common this past summer was that they both had no summer vacation. Although JP won some good money in Saratoga betting on the ponies, he muses that he strung together a couple of days vacation here and there, but most people would simply call that the weekend.
Another regular at the Inn, Stephane, rejoins us. He shares with us that he and his family took summer vacation, and amongst other activities visited Pisa, Italy. His being from Belgium makes it sometimes difficult to understand him; which is why I added a picture of the Leaning Tower when he says “Pisa tour”. He also shares that the clutch in his car failed and that took three weeks to get the work done and it returned. But at least it was summer, and he could ride his bike to work.
And it was a real pleasure to welcome Bernard, a new guest, to The Outliers Inn. Bernard is from Indiana and works at a winery while going to school and raising a family. Even though Bernard has a lot going on, he managed to take a vacation with his family where they played games (including Fortnight) went to the beach, and visited other family members.
So welcome to The Outliers Inn. Open up a legal beverage of your choice and enjoy your stay.
Give a listen!
Episode-80; (Re)Setting Attitudes, The Peter Principle, Golf, and more.
About the Podcast
Another episode of The Outliers Inn with "The Beer Man" joining JP and Mule as co-co-host. Maybe he will become a regular co-co-host (he's already an irregular regular guest here at The Outliers Inn.
After a brief acknowledgement that the Super Bowl was pretty entertaining, but nobody we know really cared who won, we get into more interesting topics.
JP shares his recent experiences visiting southern Africa for an assignment with him starting in Johannesburg (Jo'berg) and then going to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He had been there many times before from around 1995(ish) through 2010(ish) and was looking very much forward to the return (JP simply loves southern Africa).
What he loves the most is that it provides a giant, and healthy, attitude adjustment. As he explains, people in G20 countries have a tendency to complain about every little thing (real or imagined) that might possibly go wrong. All you have to do is watch videos of "Karens" to know what we mean. But in southern Africa (and many other less developed locations), things not going right are the norm and folks celebrate when things go as they should.
The electricity is on? Yay! The internet is working? Yay! It's better to drive on the roads than on the shoulder? Yay! Getting arrested for speeding and being able to give the policeman $5 to be let go? Well, that works out better in southern Africa. Call it a "facilitation fee".
Mule then shares his experiences with "The Peter Principle", where people get promoted to a level of incompetence. I am sure we have all seen it in action; some real rockstar (sales person, mechanic, whatever) get promoted to manage others in the hopes that the "magic dust" that makes him an expert gets sprinkled on those they will now manage. But the person is an expert at what they do, not being a manager. And unless taught those skills, will likely fail.
Don shares his latest concoctions that are brewing. Sam shares his experiences training others in Denmark and that he will be supporting an office in Hamburg, Germany.
And steve from southern California shares his love of golf and the work he is doing with a golf foundation and their work with youths, especially those who might not normally have the opportunity to be exposed to the game. To hear Steve describe it, the effort is a significant and impactful one that is responsible for millions of dollars in its programs; certainly not like something a person might expect from the local Kiwanis chapter.
And no visit to The Outliers Inn would be complete without Mule going into very great detail about the high school robot competition with which he has been involved for many years.
Give a listen!
Episode-79; Travel, Robots, Focus, and ChatGPT
About the Podcast
What’s better than two hosts? Why, three, of course! Mule said he couldn’t make it, so JP drafted Don (who is an irregular regular and has stepped-in to the role of co-host in the past). But, wouldn’t you know it, Mule was able to join. So, we have a three-way!
The podcast starts as it normally does, with JP talking about air travel experiences and Mule talking about robots.
As “process and systems guys”, air travel is always a source for some head-scratching and musing. JP recounts a recent trip through Frankfurt where the “Gold Track” for security suddenly disappeared with the alternative being a 90 minute wait. Not wanting to wait 90 minutes, JP made his own “Gold Track”. Problem solved.
And Mule shares this year’s robot challenge and the operating parameters the robot must successfully complete. He seems happy with the progress so far.
Wilson joins us next. JP has known Wilson for well over a decade, having met at an industrial engineering conference. Both JP and Wilson vividly remember the encounter. Wilson came to JP at JP’s company booth and started complaining that his company lost the “focus”, and he needed to try to find a way to get the “focus” back. He went on an on lamenting about the “focus”. Except, with his heavy Brazilian accent, it didn’t sound like “focus”.
Next, we welcome Curtis from Charleston. Being a fairly recently-minted entrepreneur who left the corporate world a few years ago to start his own consultancy, Curtis shares the challenges of balancing roles and responsibilities; of particular challenge is the “honey-do” list.
And last, but not least, we welcome Stephane (another irregular regular, or is it regular irregular) to The Outliers Inn. Other than JP sharing the story of his failed attempt to meet Stephane for some holiday cheer, Stephane shares his recent introduction to ChatGPT (an Artificial Intelligence content generation app). Stephane then shares how an entire persona can be created out of thin air; pictures, video, resume, content that establishes the fictitious (or real) person as a “thought leader”. He even has ChatGPT create a couple of posts for LinkedIn while talking about ChatGPT.
Come and give a listen. We are sure you will enjoy this episode.
About the Podcast
This episode of The Outliers Inn finds the hosts, JP and Mule, a bit dazed and confused from the very start; as in, who’s going to start?!
JP starts by sharing that the year went by in a flash because of engagements and travel and this has left him a bit Holi-DAZED coming into the end of the year. This includes having to fight the horde on Thanksgiving Sunday and spending his 60th birthday in an airport hotel awaiting a return to Frankfurt (but at least the good folks at Saison at Newark Airport made a kind birthday gesture). Mule shares that he won’t travel from Thanksgiving through the New Year unless a dire emergency.
The conversation turns from travel to that seasonal sport; gift shopping. JP postulates that “women shop, guys buy” going back to pre-history when the women foraged, and the men hunted. As such, JP has relied heavily (exclusively) on Amazon-Germany for his Holiday shopping (bonus that you can buy all manner of legal beverages on Amazon-Germany).
Come give a listen and enjoy a hot toddy as you do…
About the Podcast
In this episode, JP is thankful to have a regular guest at The Outliers Inn, Don "Beer Man" Burshnick, able to step up and be the co-host on zero notice because Mule has forgotten (yet again) to be in a state of readiness to fulfill his hostly duties.
Thanks Beer Man!
Beer Man, coming from a long line of early starters, shares that he is thankful for recently becoming a great grandfather. And JP is thankful his book has been very well recieved and the thoughts contained therein has resonated with his intended audience and has generated a lot of business; his 2022 has been his busiest ever and 2023 looks to be at least as busy.
But come to find out that Mule (who joined as a guest a bit later) was away hunting pheasant in the midwest United States. And fortunately, neither he nor anyone else in his party pulled a "Dick Cheney"; or worse, and "Alec Baldwin".
They did manage to get 190 birds. JP, not being against hunting, was nonetheless concerned because that seemed like an aweful lot of birds. But Mule went to explain that the birds are raised to be harvested in the hunt. So the population is sustained and not strained.
JP shares that this is similar to the practices in Southern Africa where the herd is managed and maintained for hunting and, without this industry, the animals would surely be in jeapardy.
Stephane joins the conversation and continues Mule's conversation regarding the drought conditions he saw while on the hunt. He shares that it has been a very challenging year for the farm industry because of the weather and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But he is thankful that his company is working hard and making progress to help farmers and their crops endure the increasingly unpredictable weather.
So come and give a listen!
Episode-76; Harvest Time
About the Podcast
Mule welcomes everyone to The Outliers Inn and introduces this episode's theme; harvest time. And he kicks-off the conversation by sharing what he is presently harvesting from his garden; including sunflowers. Mule shares how there is some insect that infests the sunflowers and attacks the seeds so that they are empty. Not to be outdone, JP shares that his sunflowers would be just a day or two from being ready to pick and squirrels would beat him to it; gorging themselves on the sunflowers. JP also shares that the fruits in Europe are unusually tiny this year because of the draught that was experienced.
But the conversation soon turns to matters of business, and the harvesting of opportunities with companies wanting to pull in their numbers to end the year with a bang.
However, the business sowing, growing, and harvesting seasons do not (necessarily) follow that of crops. Sometimes it can take moments, sometimes it can take years, for an opportunity sown to be harvested. And also unlike crops, you have to sow many seeds all year long, every year, to have any yield whatsoever.
Sam joins us from Sweden and confesses he is a city-folk and the closest he comes to harvesting crops is going to the grocery store and filling a basket. But like Mule and JP, he is always sowing the seeds of opportunity; with his preferred soil for planting being LinkedIn.
And Stephane rejoins us to share his thoughts on sowing and growing. Being particularly close to the subject, he shares his thoughts on proper soil preparation and maintenance; which does not (necessarily) include spreading a liquid manure concoction over the fields.
It’s a good session with interesting conversations; even as we stretch and contort farming terminology to fit business.