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The Final 2014 Blog

I sat down to write this last blog with the idea that I needed to give you something to think about, going into the new year. Then, I stopped after my first sentence because I had too many thoughts with too few ideas. It felt like I was at the doorstep of inspiration, and inspiration refused to let me in! (or something like that)


So I decided to piece some stories together in an attempt to end up with my thoughts:

Not far from our Richmond  office stands a building with a sign that identifies it as a restaurant named Famous Dave’s Barbecue. This is an area that really enjoys BBQ for lunch as evidenced by the fact that there are three restaurants, within a 2 mile radius.IMG_0001

Regularly, we would drive by that restaurant at lunch, and invariably, someone in the car would remark that no cars are ever in the parking, “How do they stay open?”.

Prophetic! They just closed. In fact, the other two Dave’s restaurants in the Richmond area have also closed. (CBS 6) According to their CEO, the closings are part of a “strategic reevaluation”  as  “the current leadership team continues to evaluate the performance of our legacy company-owned portfolio as we drive toward a return to positive same store sales and improved unit and company-level profitability, while we actively pursue our re-franchising strategy”. (I don’t even know what that means)

It was 2005. Sheep herding was the primary livelihood in Gevas, Turkey. The average yearly income there was $2700. According to USA Today, every family had an average of 20 sheep.

On that fateful day, 26 families were eating breakfast together on the hillside, while they watched their sheep graze nearby. No one knows what caused it, but all of sudden the sheep began running toward the edge of a cliff.

In horror, the shepherds watched as their sheep began jumping off the cliff to a certain death. One sheep apparently started toward the cliff and 1500 followed that one sheep. Soon, more than 450 sheep had died.

The only thing that saved the other sheep was the fact that those who jumped later, were saved as the pile got higher and higher. Their fall was cushioned. According to one villager, “now only a few families have sheep left. It’s going to be real hard for us”.

Xiaomi,  a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, was founded in 2010 by several Chinese entrepreneurs. The company just announced that it has shipped 17.3 million phones in their third quarter of 2014, and that they have now become the third largest cell phone maker in the world, while trailing only Samsung and Apple.

They admit to mirroring the business model of Apple; including the Chairman and CEO, Jun Lei, appearing on stage at a shareholder meeting while wearing jeans and a black turtleneck … just like the late Apple founder Steve Jobs.  They attribute their success positioning themselves as a high end alternative to the status quo.

I have been thinking about what to write for my year-end blog. It has caused me to read articles and tweets of several entrepreneurs as they identified their 2015 goals and resolutions. That included reading this USA Today article with 15 inspirational quotes from the book Whatever You Are, Be a Good One. Still I kept searching.

I came to realize that goals have to be my goals. That someone else’s goals can be aspirational, but they aren’t mine.

I looked at these three stories in their randomness and this is what I took from them. First, you need customers. In our case as a firm, you need clients. If “no one is in the parking lot”, all other goals really don’t matter.

Second, I need to be a leader who matters and knows where we are going. Just being a leader can also mean taking everyone over the cliff of failure.

Third, relates to Firm growth and the status quo. It’s fine to look at other business models of success; but, ultimately it’s about me or about the firm. I cannot be satisfied with “how we have always done it”. I need to keep pushing!

Maybe something in this randomness will help you in your goal thinking. Thanks for reading the blog this year. I promise to do better next year!!!!! Have a wonderful New Year!

It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”

-W. Somerset Maugham

And for a final pic o’ day, I had a hard time picking what I wanted. So… I went with some “bad planning”.

bad Planning


Focusing on What’s Next

This is the tweener time of year between the holidays and the New Year. So, it makes me think about personal goals and law firm goals.

Dr John Whyte has written a new book titled New American Diet which includes the keywords lose weight and live longer. It suggests which foods to eat and which to avoid.

The book’s focus on food is a good thing, but I also think that there are other good tips to keep me focused. I won’t steal the book’s thunder like making sure that you get at least 6 hours of sleep each night (less is proven to cause obesity); or that you make sure to eat more dark chocolate. There are some who don’t like chocolate and others who might decide to incorporate 2 Hershey bars into their day.

Instead, let me focus specifically on one of the twelve tips in the book, to lose weight fast. It’s something we are incorporating in the practice. That item is wallking!

walking sign

The book reminds that walking doesn’t just help in losing weigh, it also helps clear your mind. Studies show that walking can help in combating an early onset of dementia. In fact, people who cannot walk a quarter-mile in 5 minutes have a higher mortality rate. So, fitness experts recommend walking at least 10,000 steps a day. But here’s the law firm idea.

This is probably going to sound like an advertisement. But we have decided to help each other in walking.

dog helping

     A couple of years ago, we started a wellness program at the firm that divided everyone into teams. Then, you could get points for gym attendance or various fitness goals. Still it was missing something.

     Since that time, I have been using a Fitbit on my belt. They come in various kinds that include a bracelet and there are other brands to measure walking and other activities. For me, I just wanted to keep it simple. This is what mine looks like.fitbit

     That led the social media team to come up with the idea of giving everyone a Fitbit. Then, we can tie them all together by an email report and set various goals with an automatic counter. Nothing magical about it. Just something to encourage us to walk.

It’s also what my parents wanted for Christmas. And, they have already updated me on their progress. It has encouraged them to walk a bit more each day. Here’s where you can buy one from Amazon. (Yes, it does sound like an advertisement; but no, operators are not standing by)

Ok, that’s enough sales. I promise a joke tomorrow instead!

And for our pic o’ day…



Jose Canseco on Resolutions

One last blog on resolutions in the New Year. So far, I am doing great on mine!!!! Well, almost.

Jose Canseco is known for playing baseball; playing baseball on steroids and writing about it; and among many other things: boxing very poorly, dating Madonna many years ago and going bankrupt,  despite trying to auction off an “opportunity” to “spend the day with Jose”.

I list that description in case you don’t know who he is or really could care less to click on his link to Wikipedia. The reason he is relevant to a blog on resolutions is because he just tweeted out his resolutions for the new year. I am posting them because it may give you some ideas on resolutions or ideas to make sure these are never your resolutions. Here they are from an article at Even the spelling and capitalization miss the mark:


1. spend more time with my daughter
2. get stronger and fitter
3. help people who are getting screwed wherever i can
4. return to pro baseball as player or manager and have dinners with McGwire, La Russa, Bonds, and Selig.
5. Fight Shaq in MMA cage match
5. develop and launch Ponce de CAnseco a real anti aging drink
6. Get elected to a important political office in the U.S. or canada to help all people and governments with there problems
7. Become a world class entreprenur and found at least two great companies that make peoples lives better and funner
8. Write a third book and do a move deal for Juiced!
9. Do at least 100 promotional deals for good companies and products like Animal Rights, Human health, Environmental, and Beer companies
10. Use position as A List entertainer doing reality, TV, movies, blogs, columns, appearances to be able to do more charity.

Yep, if this is your first time to my legal blog… welcome!!!! Somewhere in there is something connected to legal, Right?

For pic o’ day, just like Canseco resolutions, I went with one from Holiday photos gone wrong:


Skippy and Donovan Dog Resolutions

      My grandfather was a minister of a small church in Pennsylvania. At some point during one of the services, a man somehow sneaked into the back of the church with his dog. According to the story, the man’s alcohol breath was worse then dog breath. Maybe that’s why he had the courage or craziness to sneak the dog into church.   

     At the end of the service, and before one of the ushers could stop him; the man proceeded to go down the aisle with his dog. A deacon stepped in between my grandfather and the man. At that point, the man shouted, “Skippy needs Jesus”. Apparently, Skippy had not been a good and helpful dog.

     The Richmond Times-Dispatch recently reported on a Newport News priest who has a dog that comes to church with him. He’s a service dog, named Donovan, who has been trained to monitor the priest’s blood pressure.

     The priest has survived multiple strokes. So, the dog uses his senses to determine if the body chemistry of Reverend Joel Marble indicates that he might lose his balance and fall. He stands in front of the Reverend to get his attention to sit down. Must make for some interesting services for the congregation.

       When you compare these two stories, I guess you could say it’s a dog of two tales; Or, a tale of two dogs. (see what I just did there!!)   In real life, you and I don’t have anyone to stand in front of us to  tell us to settled down, sit down; or avoid or embrace something for our well-being.

     In yesterday’s blog, I said that I would do one more resolution blog that included some of my personal thoughts for 2012. To some extent, I think that resolutions should be personal. Yet, I keep getting bombarded by Weight Watchers emails. What are they trying to tell me? Do I have a public waistline??

     Let me just mention a few resolution thoughts in passing, and then I’ll leave the topic of resolutions until next year.  I don’t think that I need to mention the obvious like exercise, weight loss or quit smoking.

     Instead, I want to focus on the simple that I need to personally apply. When Jackey and I went to eat at the Lynnhaven Fish House, this past weekend, their saying on their napkins and menu stuck with me, “Eat well, laugh often, and live long”.

          With that goal in mind, here’s my quick “resolution reminder list” of the simple things:

     1. Be thankful.

     2. Be hungry for life.

     3. Be patient

     4. Don’t carry grudges.

     5. Pray more.

     6. Focus on being surrounded by positive and happy people.  Just seeing these two smiles makes me smile!


     Yep, I just need to remind myself of all the many blessings that I have. It’s going to be a great 2012!

     For pic o’ day, it’s the old “the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”.


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