If college is a scam, what about social inequality of college-educated, married parents on their kids?

Two data points to ponder on the day of days to give thanks:

  1. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/11/27/the-links-between-education-marriage-and-parenting/
  2. http://www.salon.com/2013/11/24/millennials_rise_up_college_is_a_scam_you_have_nothing_to_lose_but_student_debt/

In other words, why call an extinct phone booth a Tardis?

Customer Service — the KISS principle in practice

More quotes from Frederiek Toney, Ford corporate VP, at the Distinguished Speaker Event on 21st November 2013:

Henry Ford built his company upon one belief: “Open the highways to all mankind.”

So, how to run a company like Ford on Earth today?  Changing the approach to management methods: regional vs. multinational vs. global — the old fiefdoms vs. today’s centralised decisionmaking implemented in 2006 at headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, USA, realising at the same time that business is no longer U.S.-centric…

  • profits consolidated,
  • high economies of scale (leverage procurement, lower total cost),
  • better operating efficiency (avoid duplication, seek simplification),
  • reduced complexity (design/build once).

Trust and transparency supported by the business environment, changes of leadership — new CEO in 2006, Alan Mulally from Boeing, who chose to maximise the most from the existing executive team at Ford rather than replacing all of them.

Unchanging principles:

  • One Ford Better Plan — One Team, One Plan, One Goal

Improve the balance sheet — took $34B loan before economy collapsed, didn’t depend on government bailout — in 3Q ’13, 17th consecutive quarter of profitability, 14th consecutive quarter of positive cash flow

“Competing to leading…” — Four Pillars of Global Product Strategy: Quality, Green, Safe, Smart

Changed Ford’s organisational structure from silo-based fiefdoms to a matrix-based system, business units intersecting skill teams.

Recipe for Global Success

  • Cultures — respect and work across cultures
  • Time zones — open for global business 24/7
  • Weekly reviews — “data will set you free”; facts, not emotions
  • Global special attention reviews — “cannot manage a secret”
  • Sharing best practices — compensation based on global results
  • Team spirit — crossregional/functional cooperation
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Hard and rewarding work

Two models — mass market (Ford) and luxury (Lincoln)

Consumer Experience Movement — customer taken care of by dealer who is taken care of by Ford

Lessons learned

  • “Must be present to win”
  • Good ideas come from anywhere
  • Consistent and constant communication
  • Global team members help each other when objects are aligned

Formula for success

  • Geographical region shift + consumer preference shift + One Ford = profitable growth

What is the secret to effective leadership? Being a great delegator, knowing all the employees in your organisation are aligned to the same principles on which you base your delegation decisions, with diversity in thinking.

What makes Ford a great place to stay? Incumbent on company to attract, train and retain employees; in other words, if you see someone mistreated, you think it will be you next, too.

What happened to Ford’s famously bad relationship with suppliers/vendors?  Went from worst to first in supplier trust/respect, rebooting the supply chain expectations and delivering upon them.

How do you increase Ford owner’s use of the Ford service department? Paying attention to the total value chain.  New slogan: Bring your Ford “back home!.  The old adage still applies: “Good service sells.”


When Irish eyes are hypermiling

There was a time, afore his nuclear stress test, not knowin’ what his heart was a’sayin’ that Lee took eternity as a given.

He danced like there was no tomorrow.

He flirted like the beautiful dame in front of him, friend or foe, male or female (fuh-MAHL-eh), was the only game in town.

He cherished the moments when Bai drove her elbow into him, sending him into a new bliss, an unexplored territory, an endorphin rush of pain that took him into un/subconsciousness, forgetting the seconds on the clock, losing himself in the foreverness of forgetfulness, her derriere pressed against his left cheek, her body pushing a knot in his muscles, not a skin ailment, into oblivion.

He danced with Kelly.  He looked at Patrick’s face for permission.  They both agreed he had the room to maneuver, to make his way out of Bai’s chamber of happy pain and into the room of traditional Irish bliss.

Karen held his hand for a brief marital instance, reminding Lee that he had a wife who wanted, not demanded, a West Coast Swing dance on a evening dedicated to the monetary support of military veterans transitioning from government to civilian work conditions.

He thought outside of time, reminding himself that the dance lessons with Bai and Stacy were two-hundred years away from his time with Guin taking care of Martian settlers intent on making a go at building a sense of community on another planet, when the difference between a naturalborn Earthling and a synaesthetic Martian was indistinguishable but recordable.

Lee passed a palm in front of his face.

He remembered Guin.

He remembered Bai.

He remembered Karen.

He remembered Kelly.

He passed through his thoughts his friends and lovers, his dance partners and academic study partners with equal aplomb.

Despite the fermented products that had passed through his system in an evening of whiskey/whisky tasting, he steadied his thoughts.

Gamma rays out of collapsed star systems equated to education systems out of whack with the times.

He separated the Zeitgeist from the poltergeists and geysers.

He dismissed comets from cupids and Donner Passes from blitzkriegs.

He pressed his palms together and calmed himself.

He removed himself from the equation.

It was not about him.

Suddenly, the room filled with light.

He saw Guin in anguished pain, concerned not only about herself but her family.

He was no longer alive.

The universe filled the room, extinguished the concept of self.

A phrase entered, saying, “Transferring from: Rick01. Do not disconnect your smartpen.”

A power setting requested permission to continue.

An Irish band disbanded for the evening.

A Martian settlement waited for the next moment.

Lee briefly reappeared, showing himself to be real, the universe part and parcel to the event.

Guin wanted support to know her place 200 years later was secure, if different.

Lee and Time agreed.

Bai nodded.

Karen slept.

The cats snored.

All was right, if only briefly.

A football team rested, its future in its hands.


Thanks to everyone at Jackson Center; Huntsville-Madison County Public Library; Sonic; Dr. Brooke and Marjorie at Gleneagles Family Medicine; Dr. Staup, Mary, and Amanda at SE Eyecare; Dr. Pugh, Amanda and Linda at Artistic Dentistry; Abi the miracle worker massage therapist/sadomasochist/friend.

Easy to do business with, the endless saga

Yesterday evening, I sat down in the Chan Auditorium on the campus of UAH (the University of Alabama in Huntsville) to listen to Frederiek Toney, Corporate Vice President and President, Global Ford Customer Service Division, alumnus of both UAH and Lee High School in Huntsville, Alabama.

Fred’s talk was interesting and underscored several topics of personal interest to me, which I’ll get to later on.

However, one point stood out more than the others: his emphasis on “you can’t manage a secret,” which he repeated more than once.

I agree wholeheartedly.

Ford, originally started in the United States of America, is a global competitor.

Should I be concerned about Ford’s electronics offering backdoor access to governmental agencies?  Will car owners have to sign EULAs (end user licence agreements) that state something like the following:


  • IMPORTANT NOTICE: As part of Ford’s quality assurance analysis, this vehicle automatically sends anonymous, non-personally identifiable system information to Ford (and/or other entities as volunteered for or required by law) upon first approach, when the vehicle attempts to connect to an electronic network such as the Internet, and periodically thereafter.  It also automatically searches for updates for your vehicle.  Personal information may be gathered, retrieved and sent in accordance with applicable laws in your jurisdiction at any place and any time.  See details in the Ford End User Licence Agreement included with your vehicle.

The software products preinstalled in your vehicle are copyrighted products.  Please carefully read all of the licence agreements furnished with each product because it may send anonymous/personal data not only to the product manufacturer but also to Ford and/or other entities as volunteered for or required by law.

Ford and its affiliates are not responsible for the accuracy and/or use of data stored or collected about your vehicle.  Any and all disputes will be resolved through the mandatory and binding arbitration policy which went into effect the moment you expressed interest in this vehicle.