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Getting to the Point | The Exkalibur Newsletter | July 7, 2017

I hope you got to enjoy one of the more than 16,000 fireworks displays across the country this past Tuesday as we celebrated our nation’s 241st birthday.

This week we’re Getting to the Point with insights from the business world as we fulfill the promise of The Exkalibur Organization to Help you Become a More Effective Leader. Our Featured Article describes the one thing you can be sure is missing when projects don’t get done. In our Business Brief, you’ll also read articles from leading journals about the best way to lead your team, how to learn more about your competition and what Google is doing with its Hacker SWAT team. You’ll also find an inspirational quote and see how superior performance leads to skyrocketing salaries … in the sports world. If you use your IOS devices (iPhone or iPad) to manage your photos, you’ll appreciate this tip in From the Apple Tree.

Of course, we can’t overlook the Centennial Celebration at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship in our Spotlight segment and the origin of a summer favorite, the popsicle. You may also be stunned to learn how deep is the ocean and what happens to our brain when music gets in there.

There’s a lot to learn about that three-pound jelly roll in our heads, too, so the scientists will help us understand more about our brain and its flaws and biases in our Around the Web segment. You’ll also get an underground tour of our nation’s super-bunker in the Cheyenne Mountain, learn of another sad byproduct of the opioid epidemic and what happens when we stop making babies.

Of course, there’s always a little Humor around and I’ll offer some additional ideas about more serious reading you can enjoy during your summer vacation as well as the latest beach read from John Grisham. You’ll also learn why movie producers are concerned about them rotten tomatoes.

Enjoy the beautiful weekend!

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100th Anniversary of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship

Weren’t you on pins and needles awaiting the outcome of this year’s centennial challenge?

Well, your favorite Joey “Jaws” Chestnut pulled his out of the fire and won it all. Just so you know, there’s no givebacks, so you’re either in the race …. or in the loo.

  • The 33-year old from Vallejo, California, downed a record 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win his 10th contest in 11 years.

How about these stats?

  • Calories: 20,160
  • Fat: 1,296 g
  • Cholesterol: 2,160 mg
  • Sodium: 56,160 mg
  • Protein: 720 g

Even though Jaws soaks the buns in water to get them down faster … so gross … you can learn how you’re really supposed to eat those bad boys in Put Down That Ketchup And Step Away From The Hot Dog Slowly.

Gotta love that headline!

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How Deep is the Ocean?

If like me, you’ve wondered about how deep the ocean REALLY is, this is a cool, short video that explains it all.

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This is VERY COOL: What Happens When Music Enters Our Brain?

Dr. Charles Limb, a surgeon and musician, has put jazz musicians and freestyle rappers into fMRI machines to study how musical creativity comes about.

In the video, WATCH: Ben Folds and a surgeon show what happens when music enters the brain.

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This Has Been My Universal Experience: No Momentum? No Results!

How often have you started a project which ran out of steam … not because the idea was no longer valid or the results desirable … but because other priorities jumped in line … energy was diverted to new projects … and the original project died on the vine?

Isn’t it interesting that Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion perfectly predicted this?

“An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

In other words … if an object is in motion, it tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by another force which slows it down … like unexpected obstacles, new priorities, emergencies … really, anything that gets in the way.

I’ve described this phenomenon in greater detail in Why the Lack of Momentum is the Most Lethal Force in Your Business because I want you to create and harness the concept of Momentum. You’ll find that while it’s invisible to the touch, it’s paramount to the energy that’s needed to successfully complete … almost anything.

The next time you find a project flailing about … and its energy dissipating … be sure to consider what you can do to jumpstart that project and renew its energy.

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It’s Not Enough to Just Lead Your Team. You Need to Include Your Boss & Colleagues

As you know, the mantra at The Exkalibur Organization is to Help YOU Become a More Effective Leader.

On that journey, here’s another perspective describing how important it is for senior leaders to also extend their influence upward and horizontally.

Take a moment to read, Why effective leaders must manage up, down, and sideways.


Hello, Mr. Robot? Do You Want My Job? No? Are You Sure?

In previous editions of Getting to the Point, we’ve discussed the growing integration of AI and robotics and its threat to both job growth and job security.

In Humans vs. Robots: How to Thrive in an Automated Workplace, Fortune interviews three executives, a researcher, an economist, and a futurist to tackle this issue and better understand how automation will impact society.


Yes, Google has a Hacker SWAT Team

Super interesting story about Project Zero, Google’s ace computer hacker/crackers, which you can read about in Google’s Elite Hacker SWAT Team vs. Everyone.

The headlines are sobering

-“More than 1 billion Yahoo accounts compromised.”

-“Tens of millions of dollars stolen through the SWIFT financial network.”

-“Countless private emails from the Democratic National Committee exposed ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

For more on how business is responding, read Hacked: How Business Is Fighting Back Against the Explosion of Cybercrime.


Strategy Also Includes Learning About Your Competitors

Read To Develop a Winning Strategy, Know Who You Are Fighting to learn how to outfox your rivals.

“Remember, strategic planning isn’t just about you. A winning plan also takes time to analyze what your rival might likely do.”

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The Popsicle’s Origin Story Starts In A Test Tube

“YOU MAY HAVE heard the iconic origin story of the popsicle—Frank Epperson forgot a cup of soda and a stirring stick on his porch one night in 1905, then found the world’s first popsicle in the morning (he called it an eppsicle, at first).

But there’s one tidbit that sweetens this tale: Your popsicle’s ancestors were probably made in test tubes.”

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Another Great Tip for Your iPhone and iPad

Here is another valuable tip to use on your IOS devices (iPhone or iPad).

If you use iCloud Photo Library and don’t want to re-identify people on every device, do this:

  • Open a person on the Mac,
  • Select all their photos, and
  • Add a keyword with their name.

Keywords sync through iCloud Photo library, so now you can search for their name on iOS to see all pictures that include them.

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Having a Brain is Kinda Handy. (I Wish More People Had One)

Not you. But some of them other guys? Don’t ask.

Anyways … this week there are several, rather troubling discussions of the power of our brain … its flaws … and some of its biases … not to mention what happens when music enters the brain.

In 3 Ways Your Brain Is Letting You Down, neuroscientist, Dean Burnett, author of the new book, Idiot Brain, details the many quirks and faults that plague our otherwise amazing brains.

As if we need more, it seems that our brains really like to divide people into two opposing groups as you can read about it in Why Your Brain Hates Other People.

“Humans universally make Us/Them dichotomies along lines of race, ethnicity, gender, language group, religion, age, socioeconomic status, and so on. And it’s not a pretty picture. We do so with remarkable speed and neurobiological efficiency; have complex taxonomies and classifications of ways in which we denigrate Thems; do so with a versatility that ranges from the minutest of microaggression to bloodbaths of savagery; and regularly decide what is inferior about Them based on pure emotion, followed by primitive rationalizations that we mistake for rationality. Pretty depressing.”


Remember the Big Bunker We Built into the Cheyenne Mountain?

Deep into this mountain, shielded by 2,500 feet of granite, sits one of the nation’s most secure military installations. (Miners had to excavate 693,000 tons of granite to build this baby.)

You’ll want to read about some of the fascinating insights from the bunker in
A Rare Journey Into The Cheyenne Mountain Complex, A Super-Bunker That Can Survive Anything.


Snapple Factoid

I haven’t personally verified this, but when you do, let me know if it’s true:

“The pupils in goats’ eyes are rectangular”


This Opioid Epidemic We’re Talkin’ About Has More Victims Than You Know

It seems like every week, there’s more bad news about the opioid epidemic, and following in the wake of its drug predecessors, there are many more victims than the users and abusers.

In Children of the Opioid Epidemic Are Flooding Foster Homes. America Is Turning a Blind Eye., we learn how, as a result of this epidemic, foster homes are overrun with displaced children.

These are just a few of the sobering statistics:

“Largely because of the opioid epidemic, there were 30,000 more children in foster care in 2015 than there were in 2012—an 8 percent increase.”

“In 14 states, from New Hampshire to North Dakota, the number of foster kids rose by more than a quarter between 2011 and 2015, according to data amassed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.”


We Ain’t Making’ Babies Like We Used To … Well, the Same Way … but NOT at the Same Rate ….

This is kinda surprising, isn’t it, particularly when you recall the article I shared with you last week, U.N. Says World’s Population Will Reach 9.8 Billion By 2050.

The U.S. fertility rate just hit a historic low. Why some demographers are freaking out

As you’ll discover, some think it’s about millennials.

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Vacation Reading of the More Serious Type

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Last week, I shared with you the list of the books CEOs are reading in 2017.

Here are two more lists you can choose from as you get your serious reading mojo on:

All of this, of course … if you don’t find a sweet ride in the Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre!

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Who Says This Movie is Any Good?

You may be familiar with Rotten Tomatoes, the popular film-rating site that uses a TOMATOMETER to rate movies, as you can see in their visual tutorial, below:

So, why have so many summer blockbusters busted? A strong case is made in Rotten Tomatoes And The Unbearable Heaviness Of Data, that’s it’s all about the data.

“After a spate of movies that failed to live up to commercial and critical expectations this summer, Hollywood’s evangelists have become increasingly likely to blame aggregated-scorekeepers like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic for harshing their buzz. Baywatch, The Mummy, Pirates of the Carribbean: Yarrrr Kidding, Right?—all of them perished, caught between the green-splatted Scylla of the Tomatometer and the sulfurous Charybdis of not-very-goodness”

Is there no end to Big Data?

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The Price of Success Is Going Up & Up … and Up ….

Now that the Golden State Warriors are the NBA Champions this year … and for 2 of the last 3 years … the bills are coming due. If it makes you insane to consider the high value of professional sports contracts … why should athletes get paid so much when people are starving? … you’ll want to stop reading right about here.

Steph Curry, the Warriors point guard, for example, just signed the largest contract in NBA history … and the largest contract in any of the 4 major sports … for just over $40 million/year for 5 years … for a total of $201 million. (If you know anyone in the Warriors front office, tell ’em I woulda done it for half that.)

Here’s a few more highlights:

  • Kevin Durant, the Warriors starting small forward and MVP of the 2017 NBA Finals, just signed for $53 million over 2 years. He was willing to take almost $10 million less than he could have earned … in a maximum contract he declined … to keep the championship team together. (He will likely earn the maximum contract at the end of the 2018 season.
  • Andre Iguodala, the Warriors shooting guard/small forward, also just signed for $48 million over 3 years.

It’s not uncommon for key players in a business to be rewarded when the company does well; see the Apple Compensation Structure, but that concept is also permeating professional sports:

“The club (Golden State Warriors) posted the highest average cable TV rating (9.8) during the 2015–16 season, more than double the previous year. The season ticket wait list is at 32,000 with a renewal rate of 99.5%. No wonder the team felt comfortable sending out season ticket invoices last week for next season with price hikes of 15–25%.”

You can read more about it in the Forbes article, The Knicks And Lakers Top The NBA’s Most Valuable Teams 2017.

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Camino Island by John Grisham

If you read anything in the Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre, you must have read something from John Grisham, so if you’re waiting, here’s his summer Beach Read].

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year and now has over 300 million books in print worldwide.

In Camino Island, A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars.

  • “Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts.
  • Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable’s circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets.
  • But eventually Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise as only John Grisham can deliver it.” Amazon

You can see a short video of Grisham’s conversation about his book at Book Expo, or see more here about what he calls his “beach read”.

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