Urban Nomad

Chelsea Football Club have appointed former Vodafone boss Guy Laurence as their new chief executive. While at Vodafone his management was seen as unconventional because he got rid of desks for employees and landline telephones. They all had a draw in a filing cabinet for their paperwork and used a hot desk with the mobile phones and laptops. Meetings were conducted in the company coffee shop. Guy felt that the traditional approach to company offices was not relevant to Generation Y. Although I agree with his view that ‘cultural change’ in businesses is a good thing, I think everyone benefits and adapts, not just Generation Y. I look to expand this ‘change’ to all aspects of life.

Bennett does not have an office. I undertake work on planes, trains, coffee-shops, taxis, my apartment, restaurants, hotels and diners. It ensures I make the best use of time and use minimal amounts of paper. I use these venues to hold meetings and meet people. This is a familiar working lifestyle for many people today but I have transferred the same principal to other aspects of my life. I exercise differently everyday. It always includes some aspects of running, jumping, weights, cycling, high-intensity interval training and other approaches but never the same two days running. Consequently, my body is unable to ‘coast’ which is the case if you exercise the same way every day. As an approach it is helpful when visiting the gym. The treadmills are all being used and so are the rowing machines. Great, let’s do something else. I vary my meals in the same way, visiting different restaurants and diners as well as eating divergent things at home and at unfamiliar times. I have trained myself to sleep in dissimilar situations so that strange hotel beds do not prevent rest. I can work with just three and four hours sleep when having to get up early to get to an airport but can rest in bed for eight plus hours when I have the opportunity. This is important as sleep enables us to reinvigorate, build resistance and prevent injuries. These are just s few examples of my urban nomad existence – I apply the challenge to vacations, methods of travel, dressing, grooming and other lifestyle choices.

Being my ‘own boss’ enables me to function as an urban nomad, working, living, and socialising in many different places. However, it is not impossible to include some of the things I have mentioned in a more traditional workplace. It is about deciding to do unconventional things that suit your working habits and lifestyle so you can fulfil the goals you have set for yourself. Do not copy the things I do, they suit me. Become your own urban nomad.

AA, the worst business in the world? Is Enterprise the best?

Just before Christmas I flew with American Airlines to the UK in economy or whatever designation AA give to the cheapest seats. I was in one of two seats at the back of the aircraft where the fuselage begins to narrow. For some bizarre reason, this meant my seat was not properly aligned with the drop-down tray that passengers use to eat an  airline meal or work off. Additionally, the screen for films and TV shows was also off kilter. Before I go any further ………………..I must say………………..this situation did not lead to personal pain and only slight discomfort. However, I did think it was slightly unfair that everyone else was operating with the expected norms for cheap airline travel and I was not!!

I pointed this out to the first flight attendant who brought the pre-dinner drinks. Their response, ‘This is an aircraft not a restaurant!’ The attendant who brought dinner was more accommodating and suggested I should get on AA.com and ask for compensation. Her suggestion, not mine.

The wonders of modern air travel allowed me (at a cost) to email AA during my flight to share my displeasure. The theme of my email was, the seat was uncomfortable for eating, working and watching and that my drop-down tray overlapped into the personal space of the traveller next to me.

An automated reply came back almost immediately saying I was in ‘good hands’ and someone would come back to me soon. They did with the following – Thank you for contacting us. I’m sorry to hear about the issues with your seat alignment with the seat in front of you. As a traveler myself, I can definitely see how this would be inconvenient.

Our office not only responds to the needs and comments from our customers, but also shares those comments with the appropriate management teams. This method has proven very successful. That being said, I have forwarded your comments about that particular seat to the appropriate personnel. 

For future, we also have out Preferred Seats and Main Cabin Extra seats available. With the Preferred Seats product, customers have the option to purchase seat assignments favorably located throughout the aircraft. With Main Cabin Extra, customers can purchase seat assignments in the front of the Main Cabin with up to six inches of additional legroom to stretch out and relax.

Still, I understand you and your neighbor were inconvenienced and I sincerely regret any difficulties you experienced. Despite this recent experience, I hope you were able to enjoy your time in New York and it will be a privilege to welcome you aboard soon.

I was more frank with my reply. Given that I had probably paid at least the same as everyone else, should I not be entitled to compensation as I was not receiving the same service?

The AA response came back.

Thank you for writing back . I am sorry to hear you are still upset with us. That’s certainly not how we want our customers to feel.

For each flight, seats are made available at different prices based on a number of things including seat location, availability, day of travel, cities you are traveling, season, etc. Please be assured, all your concerns about this situation have been taken very seriously. We’re truly dedicated to making certain that our customers have a pleasant experience when flying with us. We’re also always looking at ways to improve and your constructive criticism gives us that opportunity.

While I know you didn’t have the best experience with us recently, I do hope you’ll give us another try. We look forward to having you onboard an American Airlines flight in the future.

Organizations are rightly wary about seemingly giving something away every time someone complains. My concerns could have been easily checked and it was an AA employee who suggested asking for compensation. In the big picture of AA’s financial operations, it would have been nothing to them to offer me a modest voucher towards a future flight. They were not prepared to do that and as a result my company will not use them again for transatlantic flights, I have told this story to other travellers and friends. In relative terms they have lost. The refusal to offer a little compensation has cost them thousands of dollars.

Compare AA’s attitudes to Enterprise the car rental group. Last October I flew into London Heathrow and there was a fault with the first car Enterprise gave me. It delayed me for about ten minutes. While they changed the car, fifty pounds was taken off my bill! At Rochester airport in December, I was overcharged by Enterprise for some fuel, a genuine mistake. All fuel charges were removed. With both of these events there was no prompting by myself. It was Enterprise who made the move. AA need to look at all the research on consumer choice. Will I use Enterprise again, of course? Will I use AA……………………??

 

I promised myself I wouldn’t do this……

Let’s get it out there……

Trump only cares about one person – himself. The importance of the Presidential office, telling the truth, the daily challenging predicaments of millions of Americans, the world in general, he is not interested. But, this is his weakness and will be his downfall. Most really rich people are quite open about their wealth. Their earnings, companies, interests are an open book. If Trump is as rich as he says he is, he would be the first person to brag about it and provide the evidence of his success and material prosperity. He can’t, so he lies about it instead. He was banking on his stint in the White House to improve the success of his companies and other investments. What he did not expect, was the significant scrutiny the leader of a democracy undergoes, mainly because he did not understand the role. He thought he would be up there, on an equal footing with Putin, Duterte and Xi Jinping, saying and doing what he wanted, and not having to answer anyone. He has been shocked to learn that Americans don’t always believe what he says or do as he asks. For that reason, he will bow out at the end of his one term saying (lying) that he has achieved what he wanted. Once out of office, and he will not be able to help himself, he’ll start to brag about how much cleverer he was than everyone else and how he used the office to improve his businesses and make money. He’ll boast how he duped his supporters because they were not as smart as him and made fools out of the Washington elite. He will not be able to resist and that is when he’ll dig himself the legal and constitutional hole that he will not be able to get out of, or……………………………………………………………… he’ll choke on his dentures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Either way, he will lose.

Independence – Find out about yourself

I’m stuck at a small regional airport doing what most people do. Laptop out, cell on charge and a cup of poor coffee. I always base myself at a gate where the last flight is long-departed or the next flight will not be going for a few hours. This allows me space and quiet. I watch the people passing by, balding red-faced guy with a hard hat and deep voice, handsome African-American man in a blue checked shirt and a well-trimmed beard, man running as he’s probably late for his flight, sad person pushing an empty wheelchair and a woman wearing a white golf visor! That was in a space of about thirty seconds. We are all different – but do not do enough for ourselves to benefit from these differences. Let’s start with exercise.

I turned up at my hotel gym this morning – there was a middle-aged guy on a stationary bike, cycling gently and reading the paper. We engaged in small talk and then I got on with my regime and he continued his ‘cycling.’ I’m happy to bet, that at some stage today, the guy will tell someone about his early morning workout in the gym. Such was the intensity, he would have used up more calories walking around the hotel car-park. I must stress at this stage, that any exercise is better than nothing but I think too many people watch others, read the wrong books or are taken through generic routines by personal trainers.

People need to consider – why am I exercising? If I had asked the gentleman in the gym this morning, I am pretty sure he would have been about keeping on top of his weight. His morning ‘tour’ would have made little impression. The body quickly adjusts to the same exercise every day so that it starts to have little impact. But, like many people he is probably thinking – exercise uses calories, you lose weight. This was reinforced by the ‘bike’ he was on telling him that his forty-five minutes cycling had lost him three hundred calories. That number would then be exceeded by the hotel breakfast!

Let’s go back to my original question – why do we want to exercise? To lose weight, build muscle, train for a particular sport, feel good etc, etc? All commendable but all requiring different kinds of exercise. If I am a rugby forward at the weekends my time in the gym will be different to the tennis player wanting to sharpen up for the club’s mixed-doubles competition. If I want to build muscle, which often results in putting on weight, my work-out needs to be different to the individual who feels they are carrying a little too much around the middle. Unfortunately, I cannot provide individualised programs for everyone but we can all undertake some self-evaluations before deciding what we need to do. We are not all natural cardiovascular machines. Some of us are built like racing snakes while others are tall and big-boned. If you genuinely just want to keep fit and reasonably lithe try high intensity exercises, regularly but over short periods of time. Find out what works for you. Some people who start a running regime actually put on weight and remember, professional cyclists who participate on the many tours around the world cycle hundreds of miles a week and for hours and hours. Find out, what is right for you and remember exercise needs to be aligned to diet, rest, work and many other factors – we’ll come on to those!

Another solution

Post the terrible news out of Las Vegas, the rest of the world struggles to understand why these incidents continue to happen and nothing is ever done. Bennett will not get into the debate about whether citizens should, or should not, have access to arms. There could be a way to move forward. Each gun owner has a unique registration number which a gun dealer would use to get a photo of the purchaser and see an up-to-date record of their purchases. If the customer for example, appeared to be running up an arms cache, the sale could be declined. At gun shows, a seller would need a laptop and internet to do the same thing – not an impossibility these days. I am sure the ‘live free’ brigade would argue that this would mean ‘federal’ control. However, they forget that a government has a duty to keep all of its citizens safe, so everyone can ‘live free’.

One final point for the debate that will take place over the next few weeks. There are other countries that have liberal gun laws or accessibility to firearms is not restricted. Why do these incidents not take place as often in these countries……………………???

Out of the box

We appear to be living in a dangerous world with the on-going aggravation between the two children who are supposedly in charge of North Korea and the United States. I expect most observers and commentators would conclude that they are both mad egoists. Unfortunately, that is the worrying point. Although I do not expect Trump to start anything (because of the checks and balances in place – he would love to blitz his nemesis if only to get a statue put up somewhere), the same can not be said of the North Korean leader. It is time for someone to think out of the box.

My answer is simple. Encourage China to invade Korea and take over the country. It could become a province and once the situation is settled, it could be an autonomous region reflecting its history, economy and culture. If undertaken subtly, or to quote Mao ‘In waking a tiger, use a long stick’, there would be minimal loss of life, the day-to-day lives of ‘normal’ North Koreans would improve and there would be stability. Not all in South Korea would want a border with China but  as Confucius said, ‘ Recompense kindness with kindness’.

Be honest about yourself

I was going to write a critical piece about Hilary Clinton. I was stirred by the recent publication of her reflections about last year’s election and the unfair challenges of Comey, Bernie, emails, reminders of her husband’s previous indiscretions and voter misogyny. I have continually heard excuses and never any admission along the lines of ‘The electorate didn’t like me because I had no personality,’ ‘People saw me as dishonest and I understand why’ or ‘I shouldn’t have been a candidate.’

The feeling of humiliation must have been overwhelming. This was the experienced politician beaten by a reality show presenter who also had challenges during his campaign – little support from the mainstream press, numerous sexual harassment allegations, the Billy Bush video, support from racist organisations and a poor haircut. Okay, Hilary won the popular vote but the US does not operate a ‘first the post system’ and you cannot complain after the event.

Anyway, I read an article today which acknowledged that Hilary had been critical of herself . If this is the case, good for her. It is not always easy to critique oneself honestly. I have not read her book because I think during the election she came across as ‘It’s my turn now’ and did not offer an alternative to Trump but I feel happier that she might have acknowledged her shortcomings.

One last thing Hilary – leave 2020 to someone else!!!!!!

Solutions

What does the word Trump mean to you? Bigot, liar, racist, womaniser, bully, egoist, etc etc. Or, patriot, truth-teller, swamp cleaner, jobs provider etc, etc. The word Trump provokes all sorts of opinions and arguments. Interestingly, in the majority of instances the work ‘Trump’ is used rather than ‘President Trump.’ One thing he has done, very successfully, is lower any respect for the post of President.

Bennett falls into the first category above but feels that the shortcomings of Trump, the President or our dear leader are clouding why he is there in the first place. Why was a man with some many shortcomings elected? He is often described as arrogant, yet it was the arrogance of the opposition, that allowed his election success to happen. It can only be described as arrogance when a political party puts forward a candidate, who was so disliked and out of touch, and felt they could win. Democrats can call out Republicans for not publically criticising Trump but where were they after the election when there was the opportunity to say ‘we chose the wrong candidate’ or ‘we need to change.’

Good leaders, politicians, people, find solutions when things have need to change. Invariably in finding that solution there needs to be a critique of what went wrong in the past (an admission of failure) and a change for the future. Democrats have not done that. Same people, same attitudes and a reliance on Trump’s failures leading to a demand for change. He was not expected to win last time and if the opposition cannot come up with something better………………………………………???

Solutions.

Misinformed

My name is Bennett – I live in the UK and US and am constantly bombarded with people’s thoughts, ideas, research, evidence, misinformation, fake news, mainstream media and probably lies. Why do I decide to believe some and disregard others? Why is Trump more unbelievable than say, Trudeau? Why is coffee suddenly a health drink after being disparaged? Why do some believe we should drink water at room temperature while others promote cold water as a healthy elixir?

I want to try and get to the truth so that it is easier for everyone to self-manage themselves………………………………………………………………..I will be back, promise

Self-management

Why are successful people, successful? Ronaldo, Trump, Cruise, Musk et al. Some we admire, some we hate. However, they all have something in common – self-management.

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