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Monday, December 27, 2010

What or How?

What is more important to an organization, What you do, or How you do it?

That's the question Bec Kennedy of Australia asked Richard Branson in Entrepreneur magazine.

Is the organization's purpose and mission more important, or are the methods and efficiency of how the organization works more important?

After reading the question, I was curious as to what Mr. Branson's answer would be. What would you say?

Mr. Branson answered that while efficiency and profitability are certainly important to every company, but acting responsibly is more important for long term success. Do you agree? It's hard to argue with the logic.

Acting responsibly helps to motivate and engage your employees. This is especially true for many non-profit organizations. Motivated and engaged employees strive to work more efficiently and effectively to continue with and build upon the success of the organization. Motivated and engaged employees translates into higher levels of customer service. Motivated and engaged employees search for ways to develop, build, and deliver higher quality products and services.

This all translates to more loyal customers, more customers, and lower operating costs. That leads to higher profits. Mr. Branson calls this the virtuous cycle. Does this work in your organization? Can it?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Gumby Walk

The Gumby Walk, or Going to Gumby...

Oh,wait, that's not it. Gemba. Gemba, not Gumby.

If you are not familiar with gemba or the gemba walk, here's a couple of great posts that illustrate the concept so that you'll never forget it. The first is by Jon Wetzel at the Gemba Tales Blog, the second is by Norman Bodek. I heard Norman speak once. What a character! But also full of knowledge.

To summarize the concept of gemba in the Lean Management system, it means going to the source, or where things actually happen. If you want to know what's going on, go look. Don't just listen to what people tell you. Go look and see for yourself. If you run a manufacturing plant, go out onto the factory floor. If you provide services to clients, go to where those services are provided and see for yourself how it's being done. Go look.

As for Gumby? If you've never heard it, you have to listen to The Ballad of Gumby. Or, if country western ballads aren't your thing, try Zydeco Gumby Ya Ya.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Leading the Race?

... and it's Lean leading by two and a half lengths coming into the turn...

I just came across this report that says that Lean is leading Six Sigma as the preferred corporate improvement system. Maybe it is. Without reading the full research analysis I can only comment on what is reported in the press. But I am a bit skeptical about the whole thing.

A couple of points jump to mind. The first is that the analysis is based on job ads that list Lean and/or Six Sigma expertise and experience. I'm not sure how valid that is as a measure of the popularity of the systems. Sure, it says something, but what exactly I'm not sure I'd speculate about.

Second, I don't see these two management systems as competing against each other. First, they are complimentary systems. They work well together, and you could argue that either one is an extension of the other. Second, commitment and implementation are more important than which one you choose. Actually, what's more important is which one is the most appropriate for your organization at any given point in time.

A point I often make is that instead of focusing on what the particular system you're looking at using is called, understand what you're trying to accomplish and what tools you can use to get there. Use parts and pieces of the various formal systems and make them work for you.

Of course, many times it is advantageous to implement a formal, named, system, such as Lean, Six Sigma, or Sales & Operations Planning because that allows people to get their hands and heads around it and keep them focused. Only you know what's best for you.

But you have to have enough knowledge to make the decisions. My book will help.

Would You Like Customer Service With That?

Safeway has a new self-checkout line. Now you get to choose between poor service and no service.

Half the time the regular checkout is almost like a self checkout. Your existence barely registers a blip on their radar as they chat to their friends, check the break schedule, or get distracted by ... Oh! A squirrel! Sometimes while standing in line I move my hands back and forth like I'm scanning my items. No sense just standing there looking at a blank wall. No one notices. Except the people in line behind me. I tell them I'm playing air piano.

Customer Service is an integral part of Business Operations. Business Operations being the part of your organization directly responsible for the delivery of your products and services to your customers. Poor Customer Service means poor Business Operations. Poor Business Operations means lower profits, loss of customers, and in this economy can mean downfall of the business.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Cowsourcing - think the name will catch on?

There's an interesting article in Entrepreneur Magazine about what they call rural outsourcing. There is a growing trend among U.S. companies to outsource IT services to companies located in rural communities in the U.S., rather than overseas.

While the cost is still higher than many overseas locations, it is much less costly than in larger cities in the U.S. Add to the fact that the outsource partners are physically closer, which many people find comforting, the language and cultural gaps are far less. Though if you've ever watched the old TV program Green Acres (Ahh, Eva Gabor. Fellow Hungarian), you might disagree with that cultural gap.

I still like Cowsourcing...

I'm Somebody!

The Let's Talk Business! blog has been listed in Top 50 Resources for Students Attending Online Business Management Schools as a resource for Business Operations information.

But, wait, there's more.

I'm also listed in Top 50 Resources For Students Attending Online Organizational Leadership Schools.

I'm not sure what this is about. I usually ignore email like this, but I checked out the lists and looked at a couple of the other blogs listed. Some of them seem worth another look at. I'll take some time to check out some of the other blogs and list some of the ones I like here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

By The Numbers

Do you know who said this: "Guessing is dysfunctional. Ignoring prior experience is denial. Using valid numbers to project performance is rational."?

No? If I told you it was Harrison "Buzz" Price would you know? Don't know who "Buzz" Price is? I didn't either until today.

Mr. Price was a research economist. I don't really know what that entails, but Mr. Price was one, and he was very good at it. How good?

Mr. Price selected the site for Disneyland in Anaheim, CA in 1953. He also selected the site for Disney World in Orlando, FL. That's good.

How did he do it? By using numbers. Data, that is. Facts. He analyzed numerous factors, information like population trends in the area and how accessible the area was, to determine results. He didn't use gut feel or just follow what someone else was doing.

Today, we might say that sounds like Six Sigma or some other management fad (did I just call Six Sigma a fad? I didn't mean it to sound that way, because it's not.), but back in 1953 they probably just called it being smart.

Oh, the quote at the beginning of this post is from Mr. Price's book Walt's Revolution! and I read about him in the November, 2010 issue of Inc. Magazine

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who are They?

I know the name, but I no nothing about Richard Branson. Sir Richard Branson, I should say, of Virgin Group fame. Obviously successful, but when you only know someone from news stories about them you usually have some pre-conceived notion about them. Since I've never really paid attention to Sir Richard, I didn't really give him any thought beyond "probably just another arrogant rich guy."

But I read an article in Entrepreneur Magazine written by Sir Richard (what's the proper way to address him?) yesterday, and I now have a positive opinion of him. He makes some very insightful comments about something you probably haven't given any thought to, but certainly will if you read the article.

He writes about employees using the term "they" when speaking about something negative, but using "we" when talking about positive things. Very interesting, and thinking about it will change your perception of the culture of your workplace. As a leader, you want your employees to think "we" whether the news or issue is good or bad. "They", or Us vs. Them, is a mentality that hinders your organization's performance and must be overcome.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2010 Vietnam National Quality Awards

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced that 96 Vietnamese organizations received National Quality Awards this year, 11 at the Golden level and 85 at the Silver level.

Having just served as an examiner for the Arizona Excellence Award this year (and for the Hawaii award in the past), I know the level of commitment that it takes to earn recognition in these programs. Congratulations to all the award winners and all participants.

I could only find this one announcement, or press release, with no information on the winners. Maybe later, as the award ceremony will be held at a later date. Here's two links to the same article, this one without a picture, this one with a picture (just in case having a picture with your text matters to you).

I've read articles that quote various numbers for how many countries have National Performance Excellence or National Quality Awards. They say things like "over 85 countries" or "over 120 countries". So I started to wonder just what countries, exactly, do actually have active programs. I started to put together a list, but haven't finished it yet. The most accurate starting point I was able to find is at the NIST website, home of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (that's the U.S. national program). But I've found that the list is either out of date or incomplete.

It is interesting, though, to see the list of countries that have programs, many that I would not have thought of. Narrow mindedness on my part, I guess. When I get my list done I'll share it here or on my website.

If you are not familiar with the Criteria for Performance Excellence, you should definitely take the time to look at it. Even just reading the Criteria and being aware of the requirements will help you look at your organization differently, and lead to improvements.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Front Page News

OK, maybe not the front page, but there was a good size article on Hawaii Rugby in Friday's Honolulu Star Advertiser. Check it out here.

USA Rugby's head coach (men's) says that Hawaii is an untapped resource for rugby players. He'll be here to lead some clinics and scout some players. With the youth rugby doing well here, and the adult league continuing to progress in terms of organization and building the rugby community, there will be more and more high quality players coming out of Hawaii. Some are already making names for themselves.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Can't Get No... Job Satisfaction!

According to some recent research, the number one reason that employees leave their jobs is because of their relationship with their direct supervisor. There are many factors, of course. Some people will remain in a job even if they have a very poor relationship with their supervisor, but in many cases, employees leave because of their boss.

I once went to work for a company that had an extremely high level of turnover and an almost toxic environment. This was a small company, and the owner directly supervised all the employees. The owner knew he was the cause of the problems and hired a consultant to help him. One of the results of the consultant’s work was that I was hired to manage Operations and supervise the employees. In effect, I was a buffer between the owner and the other employees.

I was a good buffer. Eventually, it didn’t happen overnight, I stabilized the workforce and the Operations of the company. However, the effects on my health of being the buffer were not good and I left the company. But the experience did give me first hand knowledge of the effects of bosses on employees.

Other research has looked at the factors of job satisfaction. I was looking at this after a question was asked about how to retain employees when, in the current economic conditions, the company could not give raises or bonuses to employees. While base pay is an important consideration in job satisfaction, it is not the top factor. The factors that affect job satisfaction are complex. Base pay is usually ranked in the top 5, but a survey done by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) in 2009 showed that job security and benefits ranked the highest, with compensation coming in third. Given the state of the economy at the time of the survey, that is not surprising, but that would not be surprising even in a good economy.

Many factors contribute to job satisfaction, but if you look beyond job security and compensation, you will see that there are a number of factors that relate to the job or the work itself. And, of course, relationship with supervisors and management are important. The factors that relate to the work and the relationships with management are important for Business Operations professionals.

Employees want to perform work that utilizes their skills, and they want to perform work that is meaningful. What does meaningful mean in this situation? It means that the work they do is important for the success of the organization, and in many cases, important to the health and well being of society in general. For Business Operations professionals, the challenge is to ensure that the employees work is meaningful. How can you do that?

One place to look is within one of the core principles of the Lean Management system. Lean advocates, no, relies on, employee participation and input. Workers play an important role in designing and improving processes, establishing procedures, and developing work systems. When the workers themselves are heavily involved in their own destiny, their satisfaction with the job is very high.

The takeaway here for Business Operations professionals is to tap into your employees knowledge, bring them into the process of designing and improving how you do things, and understand and improve your relationships with your employees.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Setting the Stage

When the curtain opens it's time for the performers to perform. All the preparation that is done prior to the curtain opening is the time for the leaders to perform.

The leaders set the stage so that the performers can perform at their best. If the stage is not set properly, the performance will not be the best. Whether it's Rugby or Business, the leaders set the stage.

Jeremy Guscott has a question and answer column on the BBC's Rugby website where he answers reader's questions about professional rugby, particularly the home nations (England, Scotland, Wales, & Ireland) and international test rugby. Recently a reader asked about the erratic performance by Wales and whether it was a reflection of the coaching or of the player's mental state. In one short paragraph (5 sentences), Mr. Guscott gets to the heart of the issue of both rugby and business. Since I can't say it any better, here's what he says:

"Coaches put in place an environment for players to perform. Preparation is meticulously
considered and calculated, strategies worked out and training geared for the match ahead. The players have everything they need and then they have to perform. If players don't or can't step up they have to be dropped, and others who can brought in. I feel coaches can only be blamed for poor selection or not creating the best possible working environment."

I've heard this message before. At a business presentation by former college football coach Dick Tomey, Mr. Tomey made the following statement: "To achieve Excellence you have to create the right environment."

Lest you think this thought only comes from the world of sports, I've heard the same theme expressed numerous times in the interviews I've been conducting for my forthcoming book, "Deliver on Your Promises". The leaders set the stage. The set the tone of the organization, they create the environment, set the standards, and hire and put in place the guidelines for hiring the right people. They give everyone the tools they need to meet the expectations they are given.

Then they get out of the way and let the performers perform.

If you're not creating the right environment, what can you do to create it?
If you're not hiring the right people, how can you hire them?
If you're not setting goals and expectations, how can you develop a system to do that?

It's up to you as the leader to put in place the environment so that your performers can perform.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hawaii Rugby Schedule

A couple of emails and look at the Union's website prompts me to post this Hawaii Rugby events schedule:

November 20, 2010 - Wendall Sailor clinic at Kapiolani Park, 10:00 am

December 4, 2010 - Islander's 7's Tournament at Kapiolani Park, 9:00 am

December 9-11, 2010 - Game Plan Rugby Academy at BYU Hawaii campus in Laie, 9:00 am

December 11, 2010 - Hawaii Pacific University 7's Tournament at Laie Park, 10:00 am

January 15, 2011 - Hawaii Rugby Season Begins, Kapiolani Park

Also find contact info for the Union and the Hawaii clubs at the Union's website.

Game Plan Rugby Clinic at BYU Hawaii

This is a clinic for youth rugby players and coaches for youth or adults. Eddie O'Sullivan is the current USA Eagles coach and former Ireland coach, Liam Messam is a former New Zealand All Black. It doesn't get any better than that. Here's some more details:

Thursday, December 9–Saturday, December 11

Coaching clinic ($199 for 3 days - includes New Zealand Rugby Union coaching certification and meals)
Youth clinic ($25 for 2 days – includes 3 meals)

Coaches and youth will learn about the sport of rugby from three NZRU coaches, Former All Black and current NZ Maori captain Liam Messam and USA Eagles national coach Eddie O’Sullivan. Boys AND girls ages 13-18 are encouraged to sign up now on the website to secure a spot. Seven players and one coach will receive scholarships to attend a Rugby Academy in New Zealand (valued at over $3,000 each!)

Please check the website link and share it with your local sports contacts and networks.

Wendell Sailor at Kapiolani Park

There's going to be some sort of event or clinic at Kapiolani Park this Saturday (11/20/10) with Wendell Sailor. According to the flyer, it starts at 10:00 am. Meet a real life professional rugby player up close and personal.

Wendell represented Australia in both Rugby League and Rugby Union.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Have You Seen This Man?

Did I see Jim sitting on a bench at a bus stop by KCC and Diamond Head last Saturday?

The first time I walked by I said to myself "he looks familiar."

The second time I walked by I said to myself "is that Jim?"

The third time I walked by he wasn't there.

Why was I walking back and forth? Just happened to be going here and there.

Was that you Jim? Are you in Hawaii? If that was you, sorry I didn't stop.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I'm a bad boy. I've been branded a spammer. On the same day that a Russian spam sender was shut down for sending something like 50 billion spams, I tried sending my newsletter to 425 people. Because I added people to my list who I've met and collected their business cards and some of them no longer work at the same place or no longer have the same email address, I've been banned. Temporarily.

So, to receive my non-spam, monthly Newsletter, please officially sign up and help make me legal.

Here's the link: Let's Talk Business! Newsletter signup

Or you can signup on Facebook at my PPR Management Services page.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dialing for Dollars

I was listening to Hawaii Public Radio’s semi-annual fund drive when a couple of things struck me. Regardless of your views on public radio and their news coverage, there are some important business lessons to be learned from how they conduct their fund drives.

The first thing you notice is that they have set some very specific goals. The second is that their entire focus during the drive is on those goals. They are unwavering in their focus. They set their targets, focus all their efforts on achieving them, and monitor their progress in extreme detail in real-time.

Their goals start with the overall dollar amount they need. You will notice that this is a fairly precise number, not some generally rounded figure. For the just completed drive, the target was $808,000. Not $800,000 or $850,000, but $808,000. You get the feeling right from the beginning that they know what they’re doing and have a well developed plan because they have set such a precise target.

Not only do they set a dollar goal, they set a completion date goal. They communicate from the beginning just how long the drive is expected to take. Again, it is precise. Not “a week or two”, but a fixed number of days. For the current drive, the target was ten days. So you have set goals of $808,000 in ten days.

To help keep the focus strong, and to break down those large goals that are hard to really get your mind around, they break the goal down into segments. The segments are aligned with the programs that are broadcast throughout the day, and each segment has its own specific dollar goal. The dollar goals vary throughout each segment, so one segment might have a goal of $1,500, while another might have a goal of $3,000.

Another thing you will notice is that during the on-air campaign, the staff and volunteers are asking for specific, or target, donation levels. They don’t just ask for a donation, they ask for a specific level of support, such as the True-Believer, or the Dollar-A-Day levels.

You can clearly see that in order to be able to so finely tune their goals they have to have large amounts of data at their fingertips. But not just large amounts, they have the right data. They are able to effectively analyze prior results so that they can define their goals and break them down into segments. The whole thing is very impressive if you think about it.

The lesson is – set specific, measurable, goals, use data, the right data, to define those goals, and monitor progress towards achieving them.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I'm going to speak to an accounting class at UH tomorrow (University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business). Hopefully I will be more engaging than just standing in front of the room pontificating. Although I think I would look pretty good in a Pope's hat.

Shirely Daniel (Professor, PhD, all around good egg) invited me to speak to her senior level (undergrad) management accounting class. I do have a degree in accounting, although that's not what I do. But looking at the sample of materials she's sent me, the class is more about good business than just a narrow view of accounting.

The class includes discussions of Lean and Supply Chain Management as these topics relate to the accounting function. This is right up my alley, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Touch Me!

Touch rugby at Ke'ehi Lagoon Park.

Saturday, 9:30 am

Ke'ehi Lagoon Park is by the Honolulu Airport, on Lagoon Drive.

Now the sad part - I'm not sure where my boots are! Not that having proper boots would affect my performance in any way. When you move as slow as I do, cleats don't make that much difference. More sad parts - I'm not sure if I can even make it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fresh Air (Times Square!)

You're not famous or important until you've been interviewed by Terry Gross.

I'm waiting for her call. Does she have my number?

Do ya wanna Touch me?

Apparently there was a touch rugby tournament or some games last weekend. I have no other news except this link to some pictures in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Someone please tell me when and where the touch games are happening.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Da Plan, Da Plan!

There was a very good discussion on Strategic Planning today on HPR's weekly program, Business of the Arts. Listen to this discussion here.

It was one of the better discussions and explanations of Strategic Planning that I've heard. The program's focus is non-profit arts organizations, but business is business and many of the topics are relevant to any business. Especially so with today's discussion.

I would have added a few points, but the only thing I felt was really lacking was a discussion of a Performance Measurement System that will keep the plan on track and keep everyone aligned with the goals defined in the Strategic Plan.

A very good show, though, and well worth a listen.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Women's Rugby World Cup

If you have not watched any of the Women's Rugby World Cup games, you are missing out on some of the best rugby you'll ever see. I am impressed with the skill and talent of these women, and I have enjoyed watching these exciting and highly entertaining games. They are tough and they hit hard, but they also play a much more skill based game than what I see from the men. Ball handling, rucking and mauling, open field running - all top notch.

Watch full games online at the Women's World Cup site. Go to the Video page.

For a great re-cap of the final between New Zealand and England, take a look at Tom Fordyce's Blog.

The final game was really something. After watching New Zealand play a couple of matches I thought there would be no way that anyone could beat them. It was a nail biter though. England are tough and talented, and they pushed New Zealand to the limits.

I didn't watch enough games to make really knowledgeable picks, but from what I saw there were a few standouts, especially in the New Zealand (known as the Black Ferns) and England squads. I also don't know many of the women's names, shame on me.

Carla Hohepa (14, Black Ferns) - Top scorer in the tournament, and you can see why when she runs. Amazing. She couldn't have done it without fantastic support from the rest of the team, especially the rest of the back line.

New Zealand's Hooker, Fiao'o Fa'amausili I believe. Outstanding.

England's strong side Flanker (#7), possibly the best player in the tournament. She's got more talent in her big toe than I have in my whole body. Fun to watch her play.

England's Scrum Half (#9). She doesn't fit the look of a scrum half, but what does that matter (or mean, even) when you play that well.

Touch Rugby in Hawaii

The Hawaii Union is putting together touch rugby for fun and fitness. Starting September 11th there will be teams of men, women, and mixed. I am assured that there will be opportunities for old, slow people, should we feel the need to embarrass ourselves in public.

From Ma'afu "David" Wendt:

ALOHA to ALL the MEMBERS of RUGBY HAWAII UNION, Sialofi, Jope, Peni, Dan and myself is setting up a Touch League to start September 11th.

Fields to be announced. This league will have womens/youth/mens and co ed.

For fitness and preparation for the League games in January, we will add a 7's and possibly

a 10 man game before the season.

Please contact Lofi if you have a team.

It sounds like fun!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Plain English

Stephen Jannise sent me an email and called me twice. And I have been rude by not getting to this sooner. Stephen has a blog and he sent me a link to a post he wrote that he thought would be appropriate for readers of Let's Talk Business!

I'm rushing again, so won't write much, but will simply direct you to Stephen's post. Let me know what you think.

Sorry for the delay Stephen, and thanks for getting in touch with me.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I thought the Russian publisher of my book had gone out of business. I wasn't able to find them for a long time and my contact didn't answer my emails, so I just figured they were gone. But it turns out they are not.

Grevtsov is still there, and so is my book. And there are more reviews on the Russian publisher's site (9) than there are on (2).

I'm still trying to get it translated and published in Vietnam, as I'm writing articles for two different supply chain magazines in that country.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hawaii Rugby Awards

Sportsmanship Award:

The Rugby Hawaii Union Sportsmanship Award was presented and accepted by one of our rookie clubs TAMA LAIE LIONS! Without a doubt, they proved to be reckoned with in both Rounds of the season, their commitment and determination proved worthy, finishing in 2nd Place!

2010 Season MVP:

CONGRATULATIONS TO MICHAEL GARVEY! of the Hawaii Pacific University Rugby Football Club!

This new (and only) Rugby Hawaii Union College club tied for 4th Place after Round 1 & 2 with 36 points - Michael Garvey's seven tries this season are just the start of what this young and talented club can and will do!

Championship Match MVP:

CONGRATULATIONS TO IKUNA PALAVI! of the Kalihi Raiders Rugby Football Club.

With Ikuna's rugby skill set as a player, as a Coach, as a referee, this RHU Finals Match MVP title is most favorable. His seven tries this season, along with his converted tries and penalty kicks, assisted the Kalihi Raiders to #1!

Hawaii Rugby Facebook Group

I started a Facebook Group for Hawaii Rugby so I'd have a place to post all the pictures I took last week. It's an open group so you can post your own pictures, comments, news, whatever. I'm hoping it will be a central information spot for all Hawaii Rugby related news, men's, women's, and youth. Take a look, leave a comment, post some pictures.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hawaii Rugby Finals

I am glad I made it down to the park yesterday to watch the Hawaii Rugby Finals. It was a great game. Two semi-finals in the morning, then a Women's match, then the finals. I didn't get to see the semi-final games, but I'm sure they were exciting as well, based on what I saw in the finals.

Oh, before I forget, the finals pitted the Kalihi Raiders against the Tama Laie Lions. Kalihi Raiders won, 22-17. A close, and hard fought game.

The finals were a test of fitness since both teams had little rest after their morning matches. Although fitness has greatly improved over the last two years, it is still one of the things that the Hawaii teams need to work on. The game was delayed numerous times due to injuries, which only increased towards the later stages of the game. Injuries occur at a much higher rate when the players get tired.

I say this from me experience as a player and my own travels down the road to fitness. When I played rugby for the Pygmies in Socorro (New Mexico Tech Rugby Club), only a moderate amount of fitness was required. Since we often only had 15 or 16 players, and frequently less and had to "recruit" spectators, fitness was required to start or play. But then when I moved to Albuquerque and played club-side rugby for the Aardvarks, everything changed. I was competing for my position (blind side flanker) with one of the fittest people I've ever met. So I had to get fit. It took quite a while, but I did it. It also improved my game, because instead of gasping for breath I was able to actually play the game the was it was supposed to be played.

Another point that I think the Hawaii teams need to look at is the kicking. As in far too much of it. Kicking is important - when it's done right. But just kicking because you don't know what else to do, don't want to take the hit, or have no support, is wrong.

I also took lots of pictures. Some of which actually came out pretty well. Check some of them out here, and if I can get around to creating a Facebook page for them, I'll let you know.

Here's the women:

And here's the men:

Tama Laie

Kalihi Raiders

I got a few action shots. Not bad for my little camera.


Tama Laie scoring a try

Ikuna, Kalihi Raiders captain, kicking for goal

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hawaii Rugby Youth All-Stars

I should have posted this a long time ago, but it's not to late to send a donation (I sent mine on Saturday). From Kevin Perry of Hawaii Youth Rugby:

Aloha Ruggers,

The Hawaii Youth Rugby All State U17’s & U19’s are actively looking for funds through sponsorship or donation. These funds will allow us to travel & compete in the USA Rugby Regional All Star Tournament in San Francisco, California June 5, 6, 2010.

USA Rugby is officially endorsing this tournament, which will serve as the primary pathway for young players to make the Age Grade National Teams. We hope to take our HYR U17 & U19 All-Star teams to compete and show case our local talent. USA Rugby is partnering with these regional All Star sides to identify and develop the best young talent in the country bringing them together to compete against like opposition.

This is a great opportunity for the youth of Hawaii to participate on a national stage playing the game world renowned for its ability to encourage the development of sportsmanship, leadership, self-discipline and respect for authority in its players.

We would be grateful if you would consider our request for funding to support this epic endeavor. Please look over the budget below and our website at and check out the sponsor’s page where your company’s logo can be displayed.

Hawaii Rugby Finals

Hawaii Rugby Finals this Saturday. From David Ma'afu Wendt, Union President:



12:30PM : TAMA LAIE LIONS RFC VS HAWAII MARIST RFC ... 80 minutes game.


3:30PM RUGBY HAWAII UNION CHAMPIONSHIP GAME 2010 ... 80 minutes game.


Aye-yah! I've missed so much rugby this year. I've really got to make it to the park this Saturday.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Front Page News

It looks like Vietnam Supply Chain Insight magazine is going to re-launch after a brief hiatus. This is the magazine that I write a column for.

I also noticed that they have updated their website. Instead of the static starter site they previously had up, this one is content rich.

But imagine my surprise when I found my article front and center, very prominent at the top of the page. I'm going to be famous someday!

Of course, the only way I knew my article was so prominently displayed is because I spotted my name. The magazine is written in Vietnamese, and my articles are translated when I send them in. But being the curious type, I wondered if I could view the site in English. The site doesn't have an English language version, but I tried Google Translation.

So Google isn't the best translator, but you can sort of get the gist of my article (and the others). Check out the translated version here.

New Site

I set up a new, dedicated, website for the book. I'm still in the process of adding the shopping cart and more information. It's supposed to be easy with the web hosting company I'm using (1&1), but it's not quite as easy for me as I expected. Plus it takes some chunks of time that I find difficult.

But, the basic page is up, I'm working on the shopping cart, and will be adding more content soon.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What's Expected of You?

I pulled this off the BBC Rugby website (my homepage). One, because you wonder about this sort of thing. What actually does happen when you get called up to play for your national team. Well, not me personally, but someone with actual talent and athletic ability. And two, because what would happen if your company or organization provided a very detailed information package, equipment, and everything else needed, to employees who have been promoted into a supervisory or management position.

Few people are prepared for promotions, and few organizations provide this type of detailed information and equipment. Something to think about at your organization.

Called Up For Your Country

Let's allow ourselves a little fanciful day-dreaming on this busy working day.

After years of selfless toil out on the rugby pitch, slogging your guts out every weekend and having nothing to show for it but a bashed-up face and heavy limp on Monday morning, the reward you always craved has come: you've been called up to play for England against Scotland on Saturday. Nice feeling, isn't it - but how does it work? Who tells you you're in, where do you go, how are you introduced to the grizzled legends already in the team? How long do you have to learn the set plays, what do you do about kit and what dreadful initiation ritual is there to go through?

With the assistance of two of England's most recent debutants, prop Dan Cole and lock Courtney Lawes, plus team kit technician Mark Povey, let's step into the inner sanctum.

The call-up

Letter? Headline on Ceefax? Tip-off from a journalist in the know?

"When it first happened I got a call on my mobile from Martin Johnson," says Lawes. "The trouble was, I didn't have his number in my phone, so I didn't actually know who it was. I wasn't quite certain it was actually him.

"He told me I'd got the nod, and that he wanted me to come into camp. It was quite simple - be at the team's training base at Pennyhill Park at this time on this day."

The first day

"The drive down to Surrey was a nervous one," says Cole, who at the start of the season was only third choice tight-head for his club side Leicester.

"I could have got a lift with one of the other boys, but I didn't want to be presumptuous. The players who don't make the matchday 22 are sent back to their clubs on the Tuesday before a match, and I didn't want to make it look like I thought I was in, and then have to catch a bus home.

"I had no idea who was who and what the schedule was. Then, in your hotel room, you find a big welcome pack."

Introduced by former coach Clive Woodward, the pack (see below right) - a grey cloth folder, zipped around the edge and with the player's name embroidered on the front cover - contains everything an England player needs to know. "At the front is a welcome note from Jonno," says Lawes. "There are sections on what is expected of you as an England player, a description of the team ethics, the team plays for the week and a thick section on the tactics and strengths and weaknesses of that weekend's opposition - plus what we want to do to exploit those."

Cole's folder for the Scotland match contains homework - on England's plans for the lineout, on the set moves they hope to unleash and on his opposite number.

For obvious reasons - look away now, Andy Robinson - the exact details must remain under wraps. But there are pages on attack principles ("play at tempo"), team philosophy in bullet-point form ("We will give whatever it takes", "We will compete at every lineout") and explanations of team calls on the pitch.

An example? Should you hear Jonny Wilkinson scream, "KC!" at Murrayfield, a kick-chase will shortly follow.

"It's simple, but it helps reinforce the work we've done on the training pitch," says Cole, whose own book contains images of bulldogs with motivational slogans written underneath, courtesy of assistant coach Graham Rowntree. "Every decent team will have something similar, but each has a specific way of wording it."

There's advice on what to say to the media ("Basically, don't slag off your team-mates," deadpans Cole) and what kit you should wear at what session or function. Which, as we're about to see, is rather more important than you might think.

The kit

"Each player gets a phenomenal heap of stuff," says Povey, and he's not exaggerating.

If you were called into the elite squad for the Six Nations, the following would be delivered to your house before your first training session:

• A match-day jersey, embroidered with the fixture date and opposition details, plus a second one to be changed into at half-time
• Two pairs of match-day shorts
• Two pairs of match-day socks
• Two training shirts
• Two pairs of draw-pants (waterproof tracksuit bottoms)
• Two England t-shirts
• Four pairs of training socks
• Media-day polo shirts in white and purple
• One presentation top for the team line-up at the match (the purple tracksuit tops worn for the national anthem)
• Matching presentation pants
• Two pairs of padded pants (tracksuit bottoms) for contact training sessions
• Two compression tops, one long-sleeve and one short
• Two pairs of compression tights, one long, one short
• Compression socks
• An official bespoke team lounge suit
• Two formal shirts, two official England ties, cufflinks, belt and formal shoes
• A bespoke dinner jacket and trousers, plus bow tie
• Four England kit-bags - a large holdall, wheelie-bags large and small and a day-sack.

"The players' names are embroidered on all their kit," says Povey "not inside the collar, as if they're in PE at school, but initialled on the front of the kit.

"The only thing they need to worry about is bringing their own boots, as they have their own individual sponsorship deals."

When Johnson announces his matchday 22 on Tuesday, the details are sent to the kit warehouse in Basingstoke, where a woman named Annie has exactly 24 hours to embroider the 44 shirts and shorts and 88 socks with names and numbers.

Players keep this match kit. Everything else is placed in a personalised laundry bag. There is no need to worry about washing your kit. Povey takes care of it all.

"Twenty two years in the Army taught me a lot about attention to detail," he says laconically. "I've got my own underwear colour-coded."

The initiation

The stuff of fearful legend at amateur rugby clubs, the induction rites for a rugby new-boy are seldom pleasant. While England debutants are spared the regurgitated beverages and pint-pot horrors of the lower leagues, they are still forced to prove themselves to their new team-mates.

"You have to sing to the entire team," says Cole (see right, with England cap). "You do it on the coach after your first full cap. I don't like speaking in public, let alone singing, so I wasn't looking forward to it. I just searched my iPod for something that had short verses, a chorus that was easy to learn and ended pretty quickly."

His choice? "Stand By Me."

"I was lucky," says Cole. "Matt Mullan had to go first, and for some reason he chose 'Build Me Up Buttercup'. You get booed from the start anyway, but he got hammered. Everyone was shouting "No buttercup" at him as loud as they could. By the time it came to me, everyone was booed out. I just got told to get off."

Lawes is still waiting for his own moment, but has something special planned should he get the nod. "I'll do the theme tune from The Fresh Prince. I heard the rap when I was younger, so I can fall back on that."

The day of the match

Off the team coach, into the dressing-room. "Each player has a designated changing area," says Lawes. "Above your pegs is a sign on the wall with your name written in large letters."

Then, before kick-off, the final touch.

"You're given an actual cap by Martin Johnson to mark your first appearance," says Cole. "It's red velvet, with gold laces. It's smart. If you get 50 caps you get another one, in silver, and if you reach a hundred it's a gold one."

Finally, the call comes from the referee, and the players march into the tunnel. You're good to go.

Hawaii Rugby Week 5 Results

WEEK 5 Results 3/20/10

Tama Laie won by default against Rhinos ( didn’t show up )
UH 44 Harlequins 0
Raiders 20 HPU 17
Marist 8 Islanders 5

Hawaii Rugby Week 1 through 4 results

I've been a bit lax posting these updates. Sorry.

WEEK 1 Results 2/6/10
HPU won by default against UH ( playing unregister players )

Tama Laie 34 Harlequins 3
Marist won by default against Rhinos ( didn’t show up )
Islanders 8 Raiders 5
WEEK 2 Results 2/20/10
Both teams disqualified ( Raiders never turn in roster & Tama Laie never showed up )
Islandrs won by default against Rhinos ( didn’t show up )
Harlequins won by default against HPU ( playing unregister players )
Both teams disqualified ( Marist and UH played unregister players )
WEEK 3 Results 3/6/10
Islanders 31 Harlequins 5
Marist 19 Raiders 15
Tama Laie 8 UH 3
HPU won by default against Rhinos ( didn’t show up )
WEEK 4 Results 3/13/10
UH and Rhinos forfeit their game for not showing up on time
Tama Laie 7 Marist 5
Islanders 36 HPU 34
Raiders 37 Harlequins 5

Hawaii Youth Rugby Recognized

Certificate Honoring and Commending SFC Dana L. Mueller on his outstanding work with the Hawaii Youth Rugby Association

Through the efforts of SFC Dana L. Mueller, Marketing & Advertising Director-HIARNG, the Hawaii Youth Rugby Association has been able to receive nearly $100,000 worth of rugby uniforms and equipment kits, the use of National Guard facilities free of charge to offset costs of room and board for neighbor island teams, and enabled HIARNG to host a true State Rugby Championship Tournament for the last two years in a row.

The Rugby Kit Program was initially intended for High School and Collegiate Rugby teams across America. Realizing that Hawaii Rugby leagues were struggling to stay organized, SFC Dana Mueller, with the assistance of David Ma'afu Wendt, Kevin Perry, Siuaki Livai, and Jack Breen, petitioned the National Guard Bureau and USA Rugby to extend this program to HYR. This allowed HYR to become the only youth rugby league in the country to be awarded the National Guard/USA Rugby Kit Program in 2008, and it has continued to thrive and grow on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island.

The mission of this program is to provide teams with the necessary apparel and equipment to enjoy a higher level of rugby, and to help grow the sport within the state of Hawaii. While creating relationships between these young athletes and HIARNG Soldiers, this program instills the values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.

In 20098 the Hawaii Youth Rugby "All-Star" team competed, and finished fourth in the U19 National Championships held at Stanford University in California. Immediately recognizing Hawaii's young talent, Mr. Nigel Melville, President of USA Rugby, sent USA Rugby's current Back-line Coach, Mr. Matt Sherman, to recruit four HYR athletes (Lopaka Morris, Apelu So'oalu, Mafileo Lauhingoa, Semisi Vehikite) to compete on USA Rugby's U18/U19 teams. Not only did these young men represent the state of Hawaii, but also the United States as they competed against national team from Canada and England.

Other important catalysts who shared in this vision, and have made immeasurable contributions to this program's success include both Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Douglas K. Jackson, and Major (MAJ) Loren Penney.

Therefore, the Council on behalf of the people of the City and County of Honolulu, honors and commends SFC Dana L. Mueller. Further, the Council extends its best wishes for his continued success in all future endeavors.

Dated: November 18, 2009

CHARLES K. DJOU, Co-Introducer
TODD K. APO, Chair

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lessons Learned

Some lessons learned:

1) Don't believe everything you read.

2) Don't ship U.S. Postal Media Mail if you want something to get somewhere anytime soon. Refer to #1 when reading the USPS website regarding transit times for Media Mail.

3) Do NOT ship U.S. Postal Media Mail if shipping from Hawaii (or Alaska) if you want your package to get to the mainland in your life time.

4) Read the fine print. USPS website does, in fact, mention that transit times quoted do not apply to Alaska and Hawaii.

5) Media Mail means surface shipping, not a priority, hold on to the packages until the next ship leaves.

6) Just because the first time you shipped Media Mail your package arrived in about 7 days, doesn't mean that the next time it won't take 16 days.

7) Get a FedEx account.

8) Amazon, for all their 21st century internet wonder, can not put items into inventory when they are received.

9) Amazon takes 7-10 days to enter items into their system after they have been received.

10) Read the fine print.

11) People won't buy an item that is Temporarily Out of Stock.

12) When advertising that your items are "Available on", refer to items #2 - 11.

13) Temporarily Out of Stock sometimes means "we have it but we don't say we have it or we don't know we have it."

p.s. Feel free to order The Small Manufacturer's Toolkit on Amazon now, as they are in their warehouse at this very moment, despite what the status says.

Making A Splash

Hawaii Rugby has been making the news lately.

The Honolulu Advertiser posted an article and some pictures about the La'ie women's team winning the Las Vegas Invitational 7's tournament last month.

eRugbyNews posted an article about the Islanders on March 10th.

A little late, but here's some information from Ma'afu about the youth tournament going on this week at Kapiolani Park and a Positive Coaching Alliance Clinic:


12 NOON: WEDNESDAY KAPIOLANI PARK on the rugby field during the ALOHA 7's.

The POSITIVE COACHING ALLIANCE CLINIC sponsored by USA Rugby, Hawaii Youth Rugby and Rugby Hawaii Union ..... invites coaches, players, parents and fans to attend.
Please bring your own chair and coaches a pen.

See you all there ! Invite your friends.


ALOHA 7'S youth rugby.... Monday 3/15, Tuesday 3/16 and Wednesday 3/17.

Hawaii Youth Rugby Invitational 15's starts 8:30am on Thursday 3/18, Friday 3/19 and Saturday 3/20.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Truck Stolen

My truck was stolen sometime overnight. If you're in Honolulu and you see it, please call me (780-7911) or the police. 1998 Ford Ranger, Green, License JFW-740.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spice Up Your Life

I met Kai at a Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association holiday party. She’s the kind of person you just have to talk to, outgoing, pleasant, and very interesting. Since then I’ve gotten to know her better over coffee, at subsequent Food Manufacturers events, and at her booth at the KCC Farmer’s Market where she cooks up some great dishes.

Kai is the owner of Kaiulani Spices. She mixes and bottles spice blends that are just great. I use them almost daily. I like Hawaii Cajun in my scrambled eggs and omelets, the Kona Coffee Rub on chicken, and the mainstay Curry which makes a delicious dry curry rice with cranberries (hint: the trick is to use the jasmine rice that Kai uses).

So why am I talking about spices in my Business Operations, Rugby, and Golden Ox Publishing blog? Well, I need to help Kai somehow. She and her husband lost just about everything when their house burned down about two weeks ago. They were renting a house while their own house is being re-built. Their rental house burned to the ground suddenly with almost everything they own inside. So I was surprised to see her at the Farmer’s Market last weekend. She lost pots and pans and other utensils in the fire, but most of her market setup was in a separate garage so she was able to set up. Still, how do you go to the market and cook and sell spices when you’ve lost your house, clothes, furniture, and everything? She said she needs to work to keep her mind off the loss.

I asked here what I could do. She said the mostly need furniture and kitchen things, neither of which I have. I’m trying to live a minimal life, so I only have a couple pieces of furniture and just the essential kitchen gear. I offered my truck and my muscles, but don’t know what else to do. But I can blog, and I can give you the link to her website so you can buy spices. You need to eat and her spices make cooking easier and your meals tastier, so buy some spice.

Here it is, Kaiulan Spice. Enjoy (and remember, the jasmine rice really makes the difference).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hawaii Rugby Games Tomorrow

SATURDAY 2/20/10

11:45am Rosters for the teams turned in..... 11:50 am 1st whistle...... 12noon ...... TAMA LAIE vs RAIDERS.

1:15pm Rosters turned in...... 1 :20pm 1st whistle ... 1:30pm ...... KAHUKU vs ISLANDERS.

2:45pm Rosters turned in .... 2:50pm 1st whistle .. 3pm ........ HARLEQUINS vs HPU.

4:15pm Rosters turned in .... 4:20pm 1st whistle ... 4:30pm .... MARIST vs UH

ALL GAMES will start on time, the 1ST WHISTLE of each game will be 10 MINS BEFORE KICKOFF , its more than enough for all the teams to get on the field, 2ND WHISTLE is the KICKOFF TIME.

Books Shipped

I shipped out another 5 books to Amazon today. That's up from the 2 on their first order. I saw that the two I had sent them were sold and my page says Temporarily Out of Stock. Not good. People won't buy if it's out of stock. I thought Amazon had a super-duper inventory tracking and ordering system, but it is not as robust as I expected. Millions of items to keep track of, sure, but if you're going to be that big you've got to have the systems to back it up. They're good, but they need some work.

So after a couple of days of waiting for an order from them I contacted them. I am impressed at how quickly they do respond when I send them a message, and they answer the question too. Not bad. They told me I can monitor the inventory and send them an order request when their inventory is low. Not the best solution from my point of view, but I will do that since I want to sell the books. As soon as they answered my question they also placed the order, which I promptly sent them today.

I also found out about Amazon U.K. It is a totally separate entity (operated separately). I can register with them and do the same thing I'm doing with Amazon U.S. - Except - I have to have a U.K. bank account to do that.

O.K., I thought. Can I do that and is it worth it? Being an American English book, how well will it sell in the U.K.? But I thought with all the internet banks out there now setting up a U.K. bank account shouldn't be too difficult. Oh, how naive I am. No Can Do. Apparently, without being physically present in the U.K. and having a U.K. address it is impossible to open a bank account. And it sounds like even if you have those it's not always that easy to open an account if you're not a citizen. Being a business, I'd have to set up and register my business in the U.K. before I could open a bank account there.

Probably not feasible at this point, nor even necessary. This is when I start to re-think signing up with a distributor, one who has overseas offices. Or this could be a wonderful excuse to go back to Scotland!

Golden Ox Publishing

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hawaii Women's Rugby

Got some info from Shelly. Seems Hawaii Women's Rugby is a force to be reckoned with. You Go Girls!

Clubs Laie Park Ladies, Teine Toa O Laie and HPU are in the Las Vegas Invitational, here are some of the results -

Laie Park Ladies 26 vs Iowa 5.

HPU wins their first game 5 tries to 1.

Teine Toa O Laie wins by forfeit against the University of Minnesota.

Laie Rookies 7 tries .... Las Vegas Slots 0

Teine Toa O Laie 7 ... Oregon Beavers 10

Laie Rookies 35 ... Rochester 0

Teine Toa not in contention

Laie Rookies 21 ... Flamingos 12; move to the finals

Finals: Laie Park Ladies 19 ... Minnesota Amazons 7

LAIE PARK LADIES are the LVI Champions!!! Congratulations to our Women's Clubs for their hard work and determination!

This is the list of teams on their website:

Womens Open 7's

BYU Womens Cougar Rugby Club
Laie Park Ladies Rugby
Rochester Renegades Women's Rugby Club

Tenei Toa O' Laie
The Satiated Beavers
Twin Cities Amazons
UC Santa Cruz -W

University of Minnesota
Velvet Piglets

Golden Ox Update

Not a lot of news, but a few updates on the Golden Ox Publishing biz.

The Small Manufacturer's Toolkit is selling, though not yet like hotcakes, even before my first ads are printed. I'm starting with some advertising in some APICS Chapter Newsletters around the country. Pretty low cost and should hit a fair number of highly potential prospects. Advertising in the APICS Magazine is a little out of my budget at this point, and although the magazine goes out to at least 40,000 people around the world, for that kind of money I'd want to target a more narrow manufacturing niche. We'll see what happens when the ads start to hit.

I'm wondering about Amazon U.K. versus Amazon U.S. I went to the Amazon U.K. website and my book is listed, but I'm wondering about the connection between the U.S. and U.K. operations. The U.K. price is still at the higher price the original publisher was selling at, not my new lower price. Also, the content I updated was not updated there. I know the original publisher stocked books in the U.K., but I think that was at their own warehouse. I'm thinking the U.K. operation is totally separate and I need to work with them as a totally separate entity. I've contacted them, so we'll see what they say.

Still got plenty of other things I still need to do, like updating websites and such. Got to squeeze that in somewhere.

On another note, I'm evaluating my first real prospect for another author's book to publish. So far I like what I see, but there's a bit of work to do before I commit. I've talked with several other authors, but this one is the first real prospect. Meaning the author is well along with the writing and serious about looking for a publisher. It seems a lot of "authors" talk more than they write, or aren't as far along as they think they are. Still, I have a few potential books I'm keeping my eye on.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hawaii Rugby Photos

The Hawaii rugby season opened yesterday, and I missed it. But there are some great photos here. I hope I can make it out next week.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I have another interview scheduled this week. I've been interviewing people who's organizations are doing something well in the area of Business Operations, for inclusion in my upcoming book.

I've been a bit surprised at how difficult it is to find people to interview. You would think that most people would jump at the chance to talk about what their organization is doing well. It doesn't have to be the entire organization, doing something well in one area is enough for my needs and enough to inspire other people to improve their performance.

I also ask everyone I interview if they can refer me to someone else that they think I should speak with. But not one person has recommended someone else. Is it that no one is really happy with their suppliers, customers, or anyone else they do business with either professionally or personally? If that's the case, I need to change that. That's why I'm adding all the great information I'm getting in these interviews into the book.

If you know of any organization that's doing something well in the way of Operations, please let me know. Contact information would be even better, but just the name of the organization will give me a start.

First Sale

My first sale on Amazon! Since the book is under my control and with a new price, that is. Sometime this morning someone bought a copy. Here's to many more. The Year of the Ox (my year) transitioning into the Year of the Tiger (roar!). It looks like it's going to be a good one.

I've started placing ads, so we'll have to see how sales are affected by that.

Golden Ox Publishing

Monday, January 25, 2010

Temporarily Out of Stock

Amazon received my books two days ago, but they're not In Stock yet. Their system seems to know what's going on, up to a point, but it looks like a few tweaks are in order. I sent them an Advanced Shipping Notice, so they knew they were coming - but that wasn't reflected on my page. Could have said More on the Way or something. Now I know they've received them because I tracked the shipment. My page has been updated to Temporarily Out of Stock, but the books they've received are not In Stock yet.

I'm still looking into advertising. I'm creating a list of the larger APICS chapters around the U.S. and Canada and the price of ads in their newsletters, if they have one. Most are pretty reasonable, so I'll give them a try. Reasonable, that is, if it results in sales.

I've rearranged the boxes in my apartment so you hardly even know they're there. Hardly. Well, they're mostly out of the way, sort of.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Toolkit Update

It's been a few days since my last post, so here's an update. I shipped my first order to, so in a couple of days my page will show "In Stock", which I suspect is an important selling point. I still need to do a little editing and updating of the page, but for the most part I'm setup on Amazon.

Still researching possible advertising venues. APICS magazine is a bit pricey for now, so I'm looking at some APICS chapters that send out monthly newsletters to a relatively large number of people. I found a few good prospect, and will place a few ads there. Looking at other organizations and publications too. This takes time. But I'll have a pretty good start for future releases (mine and others).

Here's one version of the ad I created. Pretty straightforward.

I still have a list of things to do, but this week I was busy working on a proposal to do some Lean training for a local company. Also spent time last weekend at the APICS District Meeting that was held her in Honolulu, then had lunch on Monday with the Mission Peak Chapter representative and dinner Tuesday with the Portland (OR) chapter President. That's why I stay involved with APICS, the friends I make.

I've got a writer's group meeting tomorrow. Unfortunately, my writing hasn't been keeping up to pace, but I will get more worthwhile feedback, so that will be good.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Still Moving

Well, where are we at with the book? We almost up and running on Amazon. The update price and information is there, they just need to order from me so that the availability status says "In Stock".

I've completed my application to Powell's Books. I'm already on their site because I was on their shelves in Portland (Oregon), but they show Out-of-Stock. So I need to be registered as a vendor with them so they can stock the book again.

I have to finish the Barnes & Noble application.

At this point I'm not looking for one of the big distributors. I'm going to look into some smaller distributors that focus on business books and/or the independent bookstore market, because I think they will put more effort into the sales & marketing side. Not much, realistically, but more than the zero I would expect from the big guys.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


My books arrive Wednesday. 900+ pounds on a pallet. I figure about 25 cases or so. I will be getting my exercise that day. Anybody want to exercise with me? For now they will be joining me in my apartment, which means I'll be making about 25 trips up and down the stairs. I'm tired already.

I'm still waiting to hear from Amazon regarding my application and all the particulars of getting the book on there, or transferred over from the original publisher.

I was also looking into getting it onto, or keeping it on, Barnes & Noble and Borders. Barnes & Noble has a program for small publishers to list and stock their books, but Borders only works through one of the major distributors. That got me thinking more about using a distributor or wholesaler or not. Here's what I'm thinking.

At this point do I really need my book listed on every possible book selling website? Or is Amazon, where it seems the vast majority of people go, and Barnes & Noble, as well as my own website, enough? I'm thinking that I'm pretty well covered with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, my website, and personal sales when I give presentations. Then, if sales are going gangbusters I can re-evaluate. If the book was brand new it might be different, but since it's a few years old already (though the material is no different than if it were written today) the distributors aren't going to put as much effort into selling it. If they would anyway. I suspect I'd have the same complaints I had with my publisher. They have much higher selling, and newer, titles that the smaller market titles get little, if any, marketing effort.

The Small Manufacturer's Toolkit

Golden Ox Publishing

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What Bad Economy?

Went to Ryan's at Ward Center last night. Apparently they are not affected by the current economy, because they sure acted like they didn't need my business.

In contrast, I was at Kona Brewing today, and they were just the opposite. Attentive service, friendly staff, a very pleasant visit. And, of course, the beer was good.

Which one do you think I'll avoid, and which one do you think I'll return to?

There's a lesson here for your business.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Working the Numbers

Well, been doing a little calculating. Looking at how many books I'm going to have to sell to make money. On the bright side, I'm confident they will sell at the new lower price. $39.95 as opposed to the original price of $79.95, which was then raised to $93.95. I wonder if they really meant to take my advice and lower it to $39, but that somebody typed it wrong and it came out to $93?

To sell them, Amazon is a must and probably the primary channel, at least to start. The thing with them is that they take a hefty cut, 55% discount off the List Price. Sure they've got all the operations and the overhead that goes with it, but that's pretty steep. But besides Amazon, what else to do? That's a big question.

There are wholesalers and distributors, and there are the bookstore buyers. Some bookstores only buy from the largest wholesalers, and if you're not listed by those wholesalers you won't get in those bookstores. Some distributors supply the large wholesalers. It's all a bit convoluted. Especially if you're a small publisher or self-publisher.

Bookstores only want books that sell. That makes sense. So the wholesalers and distributors only want books that sell. That makes sense too. Large publisher's books are, on a whole, more likely to sell because 1) they have bigger marketing budgets, and 2) they go through a very rigorous vetting and production process meaning that the quality of the final book is likely to be very high.

But, with the proliferation of small publishers and self-published books there are plenty of distributors willing to service them. But here's where the decisions come in, many distributors want exclusive rights to distribute your book(s). That has advantages and disadvantages, so you have to decide. I won't go into that right now, but I'm at the decision making point right now.

Stay tuned.

The Small Manufacturer's Toolkit

Golden Ox Publishing