Manchester United Game – May 6, 2016

In the spring of 2016, I did a English / Dutch trip for the company and one day after doing some distributor training in Liverpool, we were asked if we would want to go to the last game of the season to see Manchester United in their home stadium Old Trafford. I was really excited to go since it is the most famous football/soccer team in the world! We had an amazing time and I really am gratful how lucky I was to go. Elarlier today I watched an ESPN 30 for 30 on George Best from Man U and it got me thinking about my visit.

This is the famous old Trafford the night I went. As you can see, it is an amazing holy place where giants of the sport world play!

We were in the Execitive club and this is a photo of George Best playing for Manchester united back in the 70’s that was on the wall when you come into the main entrance.

This is a selfie in front of the “captain’s” wall art. Such an amazing day!

Another of me looking into the stadium.

We had dinner as part of the ticket and it was a real swanky affair including the Manchester United logo on the butter!

I also took a video of the famous crowd singing a song during the game here.

Baton Rouge ExxonMobil Valve Accident

On Nov. 22, 2016 an incident at the Baton Rouge refinery lead to 3 people getting hurt.  This is  a clear case of poor maintenance training and the Chemical Safety Board issued a fine.

The video the CSB just released shows in such great detail what happened and how maintenance confusion and training caused the massive fire.  This actually fits into a valve and a flange issues all in one.  Not realizing that the “cap” actually is a pressure boundary to the top of the valve is a major oversight and specific training would of assisted in avoiding this happening in the future.

One issue that is not addressed in the video is the root cause of this being the failure of the actuator. It is hard to tell if the issue was the gear box or the packing friction could of been too large to actuate with the hand wheel. When the final report is released there will be more details on what actually happened.

The Alchemist

I had heard this book mentioned in other books as a journey into self reliance. As soon as I started reading I fell in love with the story of this young man searching for his destiny and fortune. Below are some of my favorite quotes.

The book really focuses on keeping laser focus on what you want to do in your life.  Also realizing that the fear of failure keeps us from our dreams is an important point people self destruct from.  Anohter


Another good quote that highlights passion transfers between co-workers and friends.  I see this all the time in great leaders and how they can get people on board to form a team that can do amazing things.

This is also a good quote about knowing the futuwistomwistomre – if you know bad things in advance the worrying is worst waiting for it to happen.  I think this also goes to positive thinking and how you need to make your own path and not look beyond the horizon very far.  It is better to have a pleasant surprise…

I like to think I have heard this language before and I have tried hard over the years to learn it myself.  it really does change your mindset and people around you.

Another quote about fear – I feel this emotion really cripples people and stops them from reaching goals.  It is so hard to get beyond the fear to try new things or meet new people.

I would recommend this book to anyone who really wants a good well written story that has many pearls of wisdom included in it.


The Everything Store Book

I had head about this book once on a podcast and added it to my list a few years ago.  After I heard Amazon bought Whole Foods a few months ago I decided it was time to read this book.

The book is fantastic and really goes deep into the culture and the mind of Jeff Bezos.  Besides being one of the most richest persons on the world, it should a side of a driven person who never gives up on making his company the biggest ever.  Below are a few highlights of quotes from the book.

80 year old reflection

The above quote I think sums up the drive Bezos has and what he wants to be known for.  As he says, “we are our choices” and how we make the little decisions and what guides us to do those shape us in ways we will continue to make the next choices.

The Values of Amazon

I liked the way Bezos came up with the values of the company.  I really like the bias for action that I take as don’t sit on the stands, make the action even if it is wrong it is better then sitting on the sidelines.

The Monk and the riddle

Another good quote about “take a missionary over a mercenary”.  I see this choice in many aspects of business.

This was interesting on getting into Bezos’s idea of corporate culture and where he wanted Amazon to be.  He was obsessed with Amazon’s perception in people’s minds and did not want to be considered not an innovator.

More on his list of why companies are loved or feared.  So true.

This story about the “Sev-B” I thought was very interesting.  Jeff wants to be as close to the customer as possible and the dreaded “??” email is meant to have the entire company response like the house is on fire.  Below the highlights discusses one such issue of the “lubricant” email that continues in the next highlight.

This is classic Bezos style – talk about the elephant in the room and make sure everyone holds no punches on how the boss feels about it.  This issue was only one customer response but he knows if one person went through the trouble of sending an email many many more are aware of it and just stop using amazon.

This last one is about the frugality part of the core values of Amazon.  For the company to ask for the backpacks back if someone leaves, I think that shows how they are some “scary” big company like Jeff outlined above.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to everyone!  It is well written and also shows a detailed look on how Amazon became Amazon.

Trip Review #169 Mexican Sales Meeting Ixtapa

Back in March of 2009 I was invited to the Mexican Sales meeting in Ixtapa on the Pacific coast. It was a great meeting run by our amazing Mexican Marketing team! I decided to bring my daughter to the meeting to expand her horizons.

Photo of the 2 of us at the awards dinner.

Steve, Meghan and myself with a member of our Mexican team.

The place was just gorgeous.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Read this book a few weeks ago and really thought it had some great qualities. The book is about Trevor Noah of the Daily Show growing up in the slums of South Africa. What made the story so interesting is how his mother had framed his life to dot he right thing. The book really is a tribute to her and how she raised him under such dire circumstances.
Below are a few of the best quotes from the book:

This quote is about his dog Fufi and how you can’t make someone love you – great story about how the dog had another during the day and Trevor thought the dog was 2 timing him.

This is a quote from his mother talking about how he nags and hits him because she loves him compared to the police who really do not care about him.

I would highly recommend this book – great read and an eye-opener about how lucky growing up here in the US is compared to others places like the transforming South Africa.

Trip Review #252 : 2nd Mass Maritime Cruise 1/29/16

My company has a special relationship with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy that includes helping train new cadets as they go on Sea Term every Winter. I have had the privilege of conducting packing and gasketing training on their ship twice – once in 2011 and the later in 2016.
The 2016 trip started by meeting the ship on the pacific side of Costa Rica in Punta Arenas. The ship then traveled down the pacific coast and through the Panama Canal until it stopped in Aruba. Here I ended my training as the ship headed north back to Cape Cod.

I thoroughly enjoyed these trips and met some amazing people on board. Below are some of the highlights of this trip:

** The TS Kennedy on the docks in Punta Arenas.

** The sunset from the Docks before we left.

** Panoramic of the ship while anchor dropped in the harbor before going through the Canal. Many ships are in a holding pattern until approved to go through.

** We hit some rough seas leaving the Canal on the Atlantic side; here is showing you how much the curtain is moving as the ship goes through the waves. The TS Kennedy is not like a cruise ship – it does not have any stabilzers to keep the ship for going from side to side.

**I photo of myself right after doing the fire drill on board the ship. ** Coming into Aruba.

I had a great time working with the people of the MMA and and very thankful I could provide training to such a great group while enjoying their hospitality on board their world class training ship.

Talking Heads: The name of the band is Talking Heads CD

I was listening to my Amazon music collection last week and to my surprise I found this old live Talking Heads album was on Amazon Prime Music!
I had heard songs from this before but never listened to it all the way though and I am blown away by it. Enyone who has ever listened to “stop Making Sense” knows the Heads are a great live band but this is before they were household names and you can really get another sense of them as a band.

Check it out.

Trip Review #56 South Korea 4/3/2002

om Seoul and I had nothing planned on Saturday. I called the airline and could rearrange my flight to leave on Saturday morning and Friday was going to be a travel day flying to Seoul.
The area Manager understood that it had been a long trip and I wanted to get home and see my family and promised he will ensure I would make my flight on Saturday Morning so I changed my flight.
Busan is right on the coast and has a serious issue with fog (only a few months after my trip a plane crashed into a mountain trying to land at the airport). When we arrived in the morning all flights were cancelled, but we were re-booked on flights in the afternoon. A few hours later, they were all cancelled.
I started to worry I would never get out of the city and miss my flight the next day but Ho Jin our manager looked me in the eye and said he will get me there. He started calling buses / trains / and other transportation options and grabbed me and said follow me. We went outside and got into a cab and we headed to another airport many hours away.

Most of the drive was a packed highway and again I started to worry we would miss the last flight out to Seoul. Ho Jin started talking to the cab driver and he started to drive faster down the breakdown lane. Then he came to the exit off the highway and started driving on the sidewalk around intersections! Still to this day the most scary cab ride ever!

As we pulled up to the terminal airline representatives met us at the curb and ushered us into the airport and the plane. As we walked onto the plane, the door closed and the plane started to the runway! We landed in Seoul and I made my flight for the next morning!

To this day, one of the most amazing quick dashes I have ever had and also one of the best promises I have ever had kept by my dear friend Ho Jin Lee.