Published on: December 19, 2008
If you have not seen it, go to the “60 Minutes” website and check out last Sunday’s story about USC football coach Pete Carroll, which looks not just at his unique approach to molding the way young men behave on the gridiron, but also the way he spends much of his free time interacting with street gangs in Los Angeles. It is a remarkable story, and Carroll strikes me as a remarkable man – a winner in many ways, not least because he brings an unbridled enthusiasm and optimism to his various fields of endeavor.
It seems to me that in many ways, Carroll defines the very nature of leadership, appealing to people’s best natures rather than the lowest common denominator. That appeal ranges from scholar-athletes that he deals with in his job, as well as young men who wander the mean streets of Los Angeles, fully expecting that they could be dead before turning 30. That’s something that more people in leadership positions ought to do…realizing that leadership is different from management, and that real leaders find ways to connect with a wide variety of people and attitudes, not just those who look like them and think like them and live like them.
Check it out.
You should also read Peggy Noonan’s column in today’s Wall Street Journal
, which is a meditation on leadership and optimism from a completely different perspective. Noonan is one of our most elegant political writers, and the only thing I find hard to believe about her is that she was born in Brooklyn. (Listen to the soft cadences of her voice when he appears on television, and tell me you don't agree.)
The Los Angeles Times
reports on the latest application developed for the iPhone and iPod, called iBreath.
According to the story, “The $79 accessory plugs into the base of the iPod and functions like a field sobriety test. The person using the iBreath exhales into a retractable ‘blow wand’ and the internal sensor measures the blood-alcohol content. Within two seconds, it displays the results on an LED screen. A reading of 0.08 or above sets off an alarm, signaling a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit in all 50 states.”
Now, my first reaction to this was that it was a pretty cool application that had the potential to save lives.
But, needless to say, not everyone sees it that way.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) objects to the device because it says that young people may use it for drinking games, with the winner being the person who shows the highest reading after a night of binge drinking. And others object to it because they say it will give some people who have no business driving a false sense of security.
Both applications seem possible.
But that’s the great question that can be applied to almost all technology applications, isn’t it? Innovations can be used for good purposes and for bad, and it is hard for me to understand why we should abandon such innovations because some people behave badly.
It obviously has been a week loaded with interesting news stories, but I have to admit that the one that has most grabbed my attention was the one reporting that Drew Peterson is engaged to a woman who, if and when the nuptials take place, will be wife number five.
In case you’ve lost track, wife number three, Kathleen Savio, was the victim of a 2004 homicide that still has not been solved. Wife number four, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in October 2007 and still has not been found; police suspect that she is the victim of a homicide and have said that Drew Peterson is their only suspect.
Now, you'd think that this pattern would be enough for pretty much any young woman who think twice about spending any time with this guy. But, apparently not.
However, this isn’t the part of the story that grabbed my attention.
No, it was this sentence, from the Joliet Herald News
“Peterson's publicist, Glenn Selig, said Drew's betrothed is a 23-year-old woman from the Bolingbrook area, making her even younger than Stacy, who would be 24.”
This guy has a publicist? And just out of curiosity, is he paying for the publicist out of the insurance money he got when his third wife was killed?
How does this happen?
And more important, how do I get a publicist? (I hope I don't have to murder my wife.)
Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery.
Just ask Hertz and Zipcar.
The New York Times
reports that Zipcar, which has pioneered a car rental system that allows customers to easily rent vehicles in major cities by paying an annual fee, is getting new competition from Hertz, which is adapting pretty much the same model.
writes, “Like Zipcar, Connect by Hertz members can make reservations online and use swipe cards to open their cars, which will be parked at 10 lots in Midtown Manhattan. In a nod to Zipcar’s success in signing up young drivers, the Toyota Prius and the Mini Cooper will be among the first 35 cars that Connect by Hertz will offer in New York.
For the moment, Zipcar has the advantage with about 5,500 cars in 13 big cities, while Hertz is just testing the concept in New York…though Hertz plans a 20 US city rollout next year.
Which means that the folks at Zipcar will have to find their next differential advantage. They can't waste time moaning and groaning about being innovators; they have to work to find the next
Went down to the wine cellar the other day (okay, it isn’t really a wine cellar…it is more like a basement with wine racks) and found a bottle that had a lot of dust on it, a bottle that I have no recollection where it came from. And it was delicious – a 2003 Castano Solanera Vinas Viejas from Spain that was thick with flavor and, once it breathed for about 15 minutes, was incredibly smooth.
They say that one of the pleasures of the recession will be that those of us who have stashed wines in various corners over the years will have reason to dig them out and try them…which is cheaper than going to the wine store.
A more recent acquisition that I really liked is from Argentina, the 2006 Andeluna Winemaker’s Selection Malbec – fabulous with grilled meats and spicy food.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.