Archive for August 2004

Finding a good contractor

August 26, 2004

I have finally figured out how to get a good home improvement contractor:

  1. Google the following: certified whatever, where whatever is what you’re looking for — window installer, plumber, etc.
  2. Find the link to the professional association that certifies the tradesmen
  3. Go to the website for the professional association and find the section with contractor referrals

Beats the guesswork or referral method.

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Happy employees

August 21, 2004

Still fuming over the travel approval incident, I realized that it takes just two simple principles to have happy, productive employees:

  1. Show them that you appreciate good work through praise and fair salary.
  2. Provide them all reasonable tools to do the job effectively.

Cut the pointless picnics, tiresome all-hands-meetings, and company logo T-shirts. Stick to the basics.

¢ wise, £ foolish

August 20, 2004

Ugh. I am waiting for approval to book my next business trip to Europe, and I receive the following email from the admin to the COO: “This itinerary looked quite expensive. Could you please look at the options that [the corporate travel agent] has just proposed?” No, I really wanted these flights as they would have allowed me to spend more time at home and reduce the time spent traveling. Nevermind that it also reduces hotel and meal expenses.

How much time do employees waste hunting for good flights, only to have some power-mad secretary block the purchase since it is $100 more than the cheapest flight? Who cares that the cheaper flight connects through Elbonia at 2am?

The day that I run a company, the travel policy will automatically approve any request that is close to the cheapest itinerary. This gives flexibility to the employee while keeping expenses in line. Why waste precious employee time and added per diem expenses just to save $150 on airfare?

Memo to the admin: thanks to your delays, my preferred flights are now completely booked, so now I will totally lose my labor day weekend with my family.

Kudos to … NBC?

August 16, 2004

I’m pleasantly surprised by the Olympics coverage from NBC. In past years, NBC has eschewed sports coverage for the human interest side of the Olympics. The popular belief was that NBC needed this to attract women to watch the Olympics. Sanity has returned, and now NBC actually shows sports coverage of the Olympics, even on the flagship NBC station. Crow does taste good.

P.S. Thanks to my father-in-law, who noted that the Olympics is generally better when watched in fast-forward with TiVo!

Update: Guilty

August 6, 2004

A few weeks ago, I wondered whether Enron’s trading tactics were illegal. Now we know: 3rd exec at Enron pleads guilty. But will we see signficant restitution in California? Highly unlikely. I predict that these jokers will only spend a relatively short time in minimum security prison, while the California ratepayers and taxpayers continue to be stuck paying the bill for this dastardly deed. Shame on Enron.

Hybrids when?

August 5, 2004

I just read that Ford unveils Hybrid SUV. Unveils? Didn’t they unveil it years ago? Didn’t Ford demonstrate the Hybrid Escape at last year’s auto shows? While Detroit has been promising hybrids, Japan has been delivering. People have been paying above the sticker price for the 2004 Prius. People are waiting in line to purchase hybrids, instead of waiting in line at the gas pump to fill a Suburban Excursion.

It kind of reminds me of the 1950’s-style “World of Tomorrow” where we will all have Jane Jetson-style picturephones. Where are they today? Nothing but empty promises.