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Archive for July 2014

Candid Camera

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Smile

Smile

If you are a certain age this TV show evokes fond memories of hilarity that ensued when unknowing participants were pranked so their reaction could be caught on camera. The reactions were priceless. The show started in the late 40’s and continued until 1967. Starting again in 1974 it was on network TV and in syndication sporadically until 2004.

The Creator and host of the show for much of its run was Allen Funt. I am sure this was one of the first TV shows in the reality format that is so popular now. Many clips of this show can now be viewed on YouTube or on the Candid Camera Website.

I never saw the MTV show but I believe it was harder edged and other imitations tended to humiliate the person who was being pranked. Candid Camera was much gentler and they laughed along with you at the reaction rather than laughing at you.

For those of you who have never seen the show or very little I encourage you to go online and check out the show. It will leave you feeling better than when you started watching it. With today’s TV shows especially the reality TV genre you feel worse for having watched it. Below is a list of shows that were similar that you may also enjoy or remember:

  • Truth Or Consequences
  • To Tell The Truth and What’s My Line (Yes, they are games shows)
  • TV bloopers and practical jokes – with Ed McMahon and Dick Clark how could it go wrong?
  • America’s Funniest Home Videos (This got tiresome after a while)
  • Mythbusters – a relatively new show based on science to prove or disprove myths.

Have a great week and smile you’re on candid camera!

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Written by pacelinebiz

July 28, 2014 at 8:01 am

Christmas In July

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Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

If retailers can have Christmas in July then why can’t I join the party? Today, in the middle of the warmest season of the year in the Northern Hemisphere let’s dream about that magical time of year. As we begin our adventure, let’s imagine a softly falling snow flurry or two drifting down to blanket the ground.

As we look outside the window we hear our fireplace crackling, and the aroma of Christmas cookies floating out of the oven and into our noses. We have a cup of creamy hot chocolate in our hand and some cozy knitted slippers on our feet courtesy of Grandma from a Christmas long ago. Today we are taking it all in without a hint of worry about crossing names off our list. No lines at the register or traffic hassles to deal with just the good things about the season.

Ah yes, Christmas is just a few days away and all the shopping is done and now the relaxation can begin. Thoughts about the sledding down the hill with the family, making snowmen and playing games in the snow. Building snow forts and having good-natured snow ball fights with the neighborhood kids. Gently moving back and forth in the rocking chair just adds to the calming effect of the warm milk. Did I mention the cookies are now out of the oven cooling and Mrs. Claus brought one over for me to nibble on? I could easily sit here until I drift off to sleep for a wee little nap. Life is good…

Good night.

 

Written by pacelinebiz

July 21, 2014 at 8:01 am

Things We Do When Bored At Work

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What's for lunch?

What’s for lunch?

One slow summer afternoon at work in the early 90’s, a co-worker and I were bored with the exciting world of auditing and needed a diversion. Since this was before the internet was broadly available to people outside of the tight circle of friends of Al Gore, the creator of the internet, we had few options to pass the day.

If we were going to goof off, we decided that we would at least be somewhat productive. So we naturally created a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet (yes, Lotus 1-2-3 NOT excel) that would randomly select our lunch destination when we were not in agreement on where to go or had no preference – which was very often. Back then I have no idea what we used to do this other than we used the random number generator formula.

I decided to try this again using Excel just before I wrote this which is how I decided upon this topic. I am happy to report that I was able to do it in about a minute or two using the RANDBETWEEN function and a VLOOKUP. It is really pretty simple so everyone should do it.

Below I have attached a picture of the spreadsheet with the formulas showing rather than the cell contents so you can see how it is built. You can have formulas show in a worksheet by selecting the excel options/advanced/”display options for this worksheet” and then check the box to activate this option.

The Secret Sauce Revealed

The Secret Sauce Revealed

I hope you have a great week and when you get bored, I gave you one less thing to do to ruin your productivity.

Business Lessons Are Everywhere

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Slow But Steady Costs Time And Money

Slow But Steady Costs Time And Money

Today I write about another business lesson that played out in front of my eyes without even looking for it. I find that these are the best kind of lessons, if you can recognize them. As I was cutting my grass on Memorial Day weekend I noticed that my neighbor was getting his grass cut by a crew of two people with push lawn mowers. The whole time I was cutting my lawn I was thinking about this and decided it would be a worthy topic to write about.

The two-man crew took at least an hour to finish the job and I would estimate they could have cut that in half had they had a riding lawnmower. This problem was so basic that I had to stop and comment to my wife about it. Apparently the first problem they have is inadequate access to capital. This best thing they could do would be scrape together $500 and buy a used riding lawnmower. The pay back on this capital expenditure would be very fast.

Let’s look at the numbers. If they can cut an additional three lawns per day at $30 per lawn due to this equipment upgrade ($90 more per day) it would take about 6 days to recoup their initial investment. The extra cost of gas for the riding mower versus two push mowers is assumed to be negligible. They already had a pickup truck that would fit the riding mower as long as they could figure out how to build a ramp to load and unload it.

As I was running the numbers in my head while finishing up my lawn, I envisioned myself becoming an Angel investor for the company. I would buy the riding mower and the two-man crew would cut my grass until they satisfied their debt. It would only take about 17 weeks at $30 a week to complete the repayment. After the 17 weeks, the mower would be theirs with no interest charged. If they were able to find the additional three customers they would now have time for each day, the extra $90 daily revenue would amount to an astonishing $11,700 more in revenue during a 26 week mowing season.

I realize this is an extreme example, but can you take a similar step that will move your business to the next level? Business is risky and there is no such thing as a sure thing but risk does get rewarded. Perhaps it is time to step out and risk a little for a great potential reward. At one point you took a risk and started a business – where has that spirit gone?

Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

July 7, 2014 at 8:01 am