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  • Aspire » Other

    23 Oct

    Chris's truck after the break-in

    It is one of those things you think only happens to people you don’t know, but this past week it happened to me. It was midday, between 10:30AM and 11:45AM, in broad daylight. Through the tinted rear windows of my pickup, someone spied my briefcase and decided they needed it more than I did. And just that fast I said goodbye to my laptop, my portable scanner, a digital recorder and other personal items.

    I don’t need to remind myself of the obvious, you shouldn’t leave a briefcase setting in a parked car, but the meeting was only supposed to last 90 minutes and it was the middle of the day! What was the risk? It wasn’t the first time I have experienced an auto break-in, shortly after I graduated college I learned not to leave $2.00 in quarters visible in the console between the front seats. Those 8 quarters cost just under a $100 (the window repair).

    During the years I owned my construction equipment dealership, I had at least three memorable events where thieves or (would be thieves) went after tools and equipment at the dealership. In one incident our crook was surprised around 5AM, by a semi-truck driver preparing for an early morning delivery. Prior to the driver arriving at the dealership, this bandit was using a forklift to literally pile brand new pedestrian trenchers ($7,000-$10,000/ea) on top of each other on a trailer. He also had loaded a large air compressor on the back of his flatbed pickup. When the truck driver spooked him, the coward sped out of the yard and the cargo on the truck bed rolled out into the street as he whipped out onto the boulevard. He never ended up getting a single machine, but the damage he caused to the machines was pretty significant. But we scored it a victory for the good guys.

    In round two, I wasn’t quite so lucky. We had a few small machines that were powered by a 25 HP Kohler gas engine. One Monday morning I arrived at the dealership to find 6-8 brand new machines setting in the equipment row without their engines! This time the crook(s) accessed the lot through a small fire hydrant access gate towards the rear of the property. Each engine was worth about $2,000. After that, I spent about $10,000 on a perimeter monitoring system, which I must say seemed to throttle down my issues with break-ins.

    Maybe I was overdue. I know there are millions of laptops and portable devices stolen every year, and many of you reading this have probably experienced it first hand, so I am not alone. But it was the first time it happened to me. I just hope the crook really needs the couple hundred dollars he is going to get hocking my stuff. Maybe I should have posted a big sign by my truck offering $1,000 for the prompt return of the stolen items and started shouting the same. If he was still in earshot it would have been a great way to increase his ROI about $800 and I wouldn’t have had to go through the process of changing all my passwords, account numbers, and electronics!

    There are several options to track computers if they are stolen and now that it’s happened to me I have been motivated to seriously consider that option. I am pretty good about backing up my hardrive and we use google apps so most of my information will land back on my new laptop. And the pity party I was having over the ordeal was promptly halted and put into perspective by a caringbridge post about a friend the following morning. There are worse things to deal with.

    With the holidays just around the corner I thought sharing this would be a good reminder for all of us to not leave valuables in your car. If you do, don’t leave them in plain sight. Don’t make your vehicle an easy target. And regarding your computer(s), if you don’t have a good plan for backing them up, the time to start one is not the day after your hard drive crashes or gets stolen.

    If you would like to share any thoughts or ideas on this please do so in the space below. And if by chance someone offers you a screaming deal on a 10 month old Toshiba L755-S5167 SN SZB165364W…please give me a call.

    Chris Steinlage   Kansas City Business Coach

    16 Jan

    gavel  photo by Sam Howzit

    I had the ‘opportunity’ to participate in Jury duty last week.  It was the 3rd time in the last 10 months that I had been called, but the first one that actually went to selection.  If you haven’t gone through the process before, you receive a notice in the mail and they have you call in the Friday before your date to find out if you need to show up that following Monday at the courthouse. 

    Because my previous experience had been a non-event, I didn’t really clear my schedule other than that Monday…and unfortunately I had a pretty full week planned.  At least until I actually got selected for a jury!  Everyone will tell you their theory or favorite way to get out of being selected (including wearing red because it implies you are assertive, which attorneys don’t like).  In this particular situation, I’m not sure it would have mattered – the court was very aggressive with reasons why jurors should be excused, and even most that were excused were sent to another courtroom that was still short of jury candidates.  End result -  I was on a live jury for the first time.

    Here’s what I learned from the ordeal overall:

    Read More…

    06 Oct

      photo by Noodle93

    Do you know the origin of the word cliché? (from a Seth Godin post):

    In printing, a cliché was a printing plate cast from movable type. This is also called a stereotype. When letters were set one at a time, it made sense to cast a phrase used repeatedly as a single slug of metal. "Cliché" came to mean such a ready-made phrase. The French word “cliché” comes from the sound made when the matrix is dropped into molten metal to make a printing plate.

    Who knew the word came from a sound effect?  Great information for your next party! 

    I was thinking about clichés this afternoon – I was listening to the audio book of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (fantastic, powerful book – I’ll write more on it later) and he had some quick thoughts on the importance of those well used (perhaps overused) statements often called clichés. 

    In his opinion, clichés became overused precisely because they have a powerful meaning – that doesn’t mean you should avoid them, just use them in the right way…especially if you’re talking with kids, because they haven’t heard them before!

    Read More…

    14 Aug

    So you know that a trend is becoming mainstream when people start making fun of it and doing spoof Broadway musicals about it.   Social Media is certainly ripe for satire and the clip below does a great (and very funny) job of bringing out the really silly things people do.  It’s very well done!

    Check out Web Site Story – an homage to the classic musical.

    See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.

     

    If you have trouble with the video above – go to CollegeHumor to see it there.

    Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach

    01 Nov

    photo by RandysonofRobert 

    I imagine I’m like a lot of people – I’m proud of being an American, I love this country and I strongly believe in the many things that makes the whole thing great.

    However I’m guilty of sometimes taking that for granted.  Which is made worse when you make the mistake of watching too much TV and getting inundated with all of the incredibly stupid, greedy, occasionally evil things that many of our politicians do.  It doesn’t take much before you tend to become jaded and a bit cynical.

    But this is still the greatest country out there – despite the constant bickering and the general stupidity that might go on in Washington. 

    I was reminded of this when I went out to vote yesterday morning.  The idea was to take advantage of the advance voting available here in Johnson County Kansas and to avoid the lines and the rush on election day.

    Apparently a few thousand other people had the same idea yesterday!

    I got to the voting location (Metcalf South for those that know the area) within 15 minutes of it

    opening and the line was several hundred yards long…! 

    The total wait ended up being about an hour and fifteen minutes – but that gave me a great time to people watch and to really reflect on why I was there and what the whole process means.

    photo by RandysonofRobert

    My fellow line mates came in all shapes and sizes, I’m sure they all had their own strong opinions on who they were voting for – but the one thing we all had in common was the willingness to invest a good chunk of our day to wait in line for more than an hour to participate in the civic process.  Kid were running around, people were smiling and pleasant and overall it was actually a very pleasant hour.

    I’m not normally moved by these kinds of things, but it was a very inspirational scene.  I’ve got my own opinions about how I would like the vote to turn out (although candidly I’m not thrilled with any of the candidates across the board).  But I respect that different people are going to reach different conclusions and based on my experience yesterday, the most important thing is people need to get out there and vote!

    It’s likely to be a hassle, but I encourage you to take the time and make it happen.  I bet you’ll end up with a sense of pride that you might not have expected.

    Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach