Thursday, 29 November 2018

MacBook Air November 29, 2018

After numerous trips to Apple studying the merits of iPad Pro and MacBook Air I bit the bullet on November 29, 2018 and bought the MacBook Air. The system and the people involved with this acquisition of electronic wizardry are top drawer. It's no wonder this company has topped the $1,000,000,000,000.00 threshold in Market Capitalization (if only for a short period this fall; and so did Microsoft due to their focus on cloud computing). Never-the-less I chose Apple once again, and I couldn't be more pleased with their online presence through the Apple App, the smart decor and welcoming attendants at the door, the knowledgeable and helpful staff circling the products' perfectly placed items and table tops, the ease with which these attendants discuss the features without appearing to Want or Need A Sale, the simple task of committing your purchase without budging an inch to his/her hand held device, to receiving the entire purchase in an impeccable beautifully designed box in a matter of minutes without budging another inch, to having the entire purchase consummated by an expert who sets your machine with your past footprint and to top it all off with your fingerprint to start it up. 
What a treat!


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The Fifth Risk, Liar's Poker, Money Ball, The Big Short and others by Michael Lewis November 27, 2018

I have read the titles listed above, all written by Michael Lewis over a considerable amount of time. You can read his work by clicking on
I'm currently diving through The Fifth Risk (purchased from Amazon) that deals with the USA government departments transition from the Obama to the Trump administrations. There are 2,000,000 employees in the government doing their daily work and reporting to their bosses who report to their bosses and on up to the top. It's the absence of qualified individuals to lead these departments that is the focus of this book.
When Trump and Clinton won their respective party nominations the rules mandate a transitional team be put in place well before the election in November. This team seeks out agreeable candidates to head up all of the government's departments such as secretary of Defence, State, Commerce, Agriculture and a host of others and gets them on side and committed to take over the job after the inauguration in January. The cost of this work is borne by the candidate. When Mr. Trump got wind of this expense he yelled and screamed at his campaign people (who knew the rules) that they weren't going to use his money for any such nonsense; he was going to break the law and he didn't give a damn. Of course his campaign team and advisors had to agree if they wanted to stay employed. The pattern in the Whitehouse was going to be the same if he was elected.
When Trump was elected there was a few weeks to get the transitional team in place, and Trump had his list of candidates ready to go. Look at the money he saved! However, his would-be appointments left plenty to be desired: one example was Rick Perry (who had stated in his campaign speeches that he would get rid of the Department of Energy, and when asked, he didn't know what the department was all about). Perry was slated by Mr. Trump to be Secretary of Energy. Did this mean that Trump wanted to dump Energy, or underfund it to save money? After all, its budget was $30,000,000,000.00 to toss around every year and to whom? Perry had no idea; he was going to be the top man reporting to the Whitehouse.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Duncan McGregor, Dean Grant, Ray Cassar, Chris Fraser, Don Cambridge, Romy Hahn

These gentlemen and one lady contributed significantly to my years in the Printing Industry. We worked together and became friends. I've singled these six only because we talked and met in November 2018. Duncan McGregor and I have luncheoned twice a year since our retirement and visited The Masters Golf Tournament to celebrate his 70th birthday in 2010. Dunc was the catalyst that caused my shift in employment at Arthurs-Jones from feeder to sales representative. We had met on several other occasions, this one at the coffee machine when he asked me if I'd like to join the sales department. Duncan had recently graduated from Ryerson and joined his father's printing company as a newly minted sales rep. Without a pause I said yes, and he said he would set up a meeting with his father. It was 1965 when Mr. McGregor and I met in his office after my shift feeding the Harris 35x45 two colour for my pressman Art Hill.
Mr. McGregor had been in the industry in sales all of his working-life and co-owned the company with Mr. Bill Adams who was in charge of production. They made a good team, something I would find out in due course. In my meeting Mr. McGregor began by giving me a monologue on the company and his sales activity that lasted approximately twenty minutes. And then he asked me a question that required a several sentence response; following my answer he asked me to write something on a piece of paper. He thought about my verbal and written replies momentarily and then asked me to come to the plant and office wearing a suit and tie the next morning. I had the job and I was elated.
The preceding paragraphs are meant to set the stage for a career that flourished because of my good fortune in meeting numerous key individuals. These particular five wonderful gentlemen and I met individually in November of 2018 after I reached out to them. They have their own stories of success and I'd like to share some of these anecdotes with you through this blog.

Dean Grant and I met as a direct result of both of us doing business with Fiberglas Canada's Advertising and Marketing Manager Mr. Grant McDiarmaid in the late 1970's. Dean owned and ran a design company and from time to time we'd meet in Grant's office but mostly (I admit) when we were socializing on the golf course. That sounds terrible, but it wasn't, it just seemed like the right thing to do outside of business hours. The three of us loved our golf; Dean was at Islington; Grant was at Mississauga and I was at Brampton. We'd have home and home games and a few really cold beers that quickly disappeared on those really hot days. Because of our mutual interest as well as the skills we could provide to each other, we were a good fit socially as well as professionally. The three of us and Len Hughes of Fibeglas did a lot of award winning work and improved our handicaps. Dean is married with two daughters and continues to live in Mississauga. He works just a little now and founded a system whereby he spends about six months in Scottsdale Arizona in his home on Troon Golf and Country Club, and the other six right here in Canada. He has several qualified assistants working out of his office in Canada while he does what he does best working out of Troon.
We met at the Brampton Golf Club for lunch with Dean saying we'll have "Two Cleansing Ales Please." I hadn't heard that phrase for twenty years. It was one of my signature calls after a days golf. What a laugh we had. And then he pulled out another, "Give Me Fifteen Minutes of Solid Rock and Roll." When Dean, Grant, Herb Marshall and I met in Palm Springs for a little golf and relaxation in a local establishment with an entertainer who called out, "What would you like to hear?" I roared that line out for all to hear. Dean never forgot it. Our lunch was a plethora of laughs and reminiscing that I will never forget. On the second 'cleansing ale' Dean asked me to come to Scottsdale with him and to give him an idea on how long I'd like to stay. I promised myself that I would.

One of my favourite guys in my Arthurs Jones days was Ray Cassar. He ran a colour separation film house and I had suggested he call on us and do some of our work. He did, and he did a great job for us.
I looked him up on LinkedIn and we typed a few messages back and forth which included, “Let’s have a few beers sometime.” Ray and I met at Snug Harbour in Port Credit at noon on November 14, 2018 and had a fabulous time booting the old stories around many of our current anecdotes.
This would have been a great place to drop in his picture if only I had taken one.
Ray enjoyed great success in his business and personal life. He came from Malta with his parents and siblings right after WW11 and settled in Toronto. One of his first jobs was at AJ as a helper on a big Harris press with a bronzer attached dispersing bronze dust on Rust Craft greeting cards. This dust would end up all over the place including down Ray’s throat and up his nose. An antidote for this was milk, and drink plenty of it all day long. Ray had better ideas for his life’s work.
He left AJ and we lost touch until I had heard that Graphic Specialties was doing great work in its field. And there was Ray, the owner and brains behind that enterprise.

I planted a few welcoming phrases on LinkedIn to Chris Fraser suggesting that we might find the time to meet over lunch and a beer. It worked; we met at Cactus Cafe in Sherway Gardens on November 21, 2018 at noon. Chris and I had worked together at AJ during an explosion of positive, productive and profitable sales: a time of wonderful expansion and growth for the company. Chris   had an enquiring mind and abundant energy to run down his ideas and grow the business, sometime even more than his personal sales. He hasn't changed a bit. Now he's doing it with Moveable (Type) as their Chief Finder and has been doing it beautifully for twenty years.
We talked at length about our time at AJ and the friendships we created, yes, and a little bit about the sale of Arthurs Jones shares (this time to Clark Litho) and its questionable leadership. [The sale  happened after I had retired in 1998.] Chris resigned shortly after this change in ownership.
The Stock Market: not the one that trades shares such as the TSX, but one that trades stock, paper stock that is. This will be a new venture whereby the remaining dribs and drabs of paper left over on the plant floors from other printings will be turned into cash instead of gathering dust forever. One  printer's garbage can be another printer's gold! Does this concept have merit? It will require the usual amount of intense start up execution and salesmanship to get potential traders on board.
Chris is on his way to Copenhagen with his daughter Sophie for a month and I'm going to Antartica in January. We will talk about this in the spring of 2019.
On August 29, 2019 Chris and I met Duncan McGregor at the Cactus Club and spent two and a half hours discussing current events and our lives with AJ all prior to 1998 when most, but not all, had been spent taking her to extraordinary heights in our industry. Life was good then and still is for the three of us.

Don Cambridge came to Arthurs Jones as a seasoned professional salesman; he and Duncan had known each other for many years and decided to work together at AJ. He fit in perfectly, and brought another warrior into our growing and effective salesforce. As per the gentlemen stated above, Don was one friend I wanted to reach; I knew he lived in Bala, Muskoka two hours from Toronto, and that he was having several medical issues. Therefore I hoped that a telephone call would suffice. Gloria, his wife, picked up the phone and I said, "Is this the beautiful Gloria Cambridge?" She said, "Gary McDonald, how the hell are you?" We had a lovely conversation centred around our kids and current activity for several minutes when I heard Don's voice nearing the phone.
Don and I energetically spoke for about thirty minutes about the old days when we were selling tons of print and enjoying the friendships we were making as the premiere printing company in Canada. We socialized with our suppliers, customers, employees and I reminded him about the time he, Bingler, Woodford and myself were in Florida golfing and after a great day on the links, after consuming numerous drinks with a splendid Greek dinner in Tarpon Springs, we were driving to Innisbrook G.C. and our hotel, when I was pulled over by a benevolent State Trouper who asked me were I was going because I had been driving in the left turn lane for ten minutes. I told him our destination and he asked me how many drinks I'd had this evening? I said two. He asked if there was anyone in the car who only had one? I agreeably moved to the front windows of our rental car and asked? One of you drove the rest of the way home. (I couldn't remember who, but it was another ten minutes down the road before the unseen left turn.) I could have been put in the slammer that night.
Don's health has been challenging for several years now. He's doing the best that he can and is under significant medical encumbrances. He and Gloria winter in Florida which is a great benefit. By the way Don didn't remember the Innisbrook driving story; Bingler and Woodford have passed away I'm sad to say.

Romy Hahn joined Arthurs Jones and quickly became a delightful, energetic accomplished producer who was liked by all. She was young and eager to learn from the successes of others. In her case  several others were happy to comply. You knew when she advised management that another salesperson was trying to get business from Sprint, and in particular, from Carlo. How did she know this? Carlo was her personal friend and told her that someone from AJ was knocking on his door. Romy's solution was to re-aim the other salesman to another account or even two other accounts and let Romy get on to Sprint. That was a win for both of them. In very little time Romy was writing and producing tons of work with Sprint and another big time account was added to AJ's client list.
Like so many others, Romy's name appeared on social media and I wrote to her inviting her to a luncheon meeting and she accepted saying, 'Thank you for reaching out to me, I'd love to.' We met on  July 19, 2019, I was early and she was right on time. The staff were busy handling numerous customers when she arrived so Romy came unescorted into the dining room carrying a box of stuff but mostly a great big smile when she saw me. Our conversation began as if I could have been a prospect. I was delighted to see and feel some of this material along with an explanation on how it was produced digitally, effectively, and saved her clients money with Romy's value added input. She was on point; I was sold.
We talked about our kids of which she has two, both young adults that she is very proud of and are finding their way in society and business. Romy has had enormous success in her career after AJC folded in 2001, much of which was with a Trade Printing firm where Romy paved the way into Commercial Printing just like AJ. When this business was sold to another Commercial Printer the acquiring management wanted her to return to commission sales. This wasn't in the cards from her viewpoint and she said so. Management was adamant. Discussions took place and finally Romy left that firm and took her clients to her new environment where she does it all. You can reach her at:
You won't regret it.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Yuval Noah Harari's book "21 Lessons for the 21st Century"

I went to my mailbox at Greenway on October 21, 2018 and found this book. Greg had sent it to me; at the same time he had purchased a copy for himself. We've been doing this for several years now with several meaningful writings. Our procedure is to read and discuss the content (and merits or otherwise). We usually talk about it on the phone, and sometimes in person which can happen several times a year. This time Terryl and I scheduled a cruise to Cuba from Miami on October 25 with a return to Toronto on November 1, 2018; so I left this book at home and started my read asap. Greg started a new position in Shawinigan on November 5 causing his priorities to be altered so to speak.

Professor Harari is 40 years old and lectures in History at the University of Israel. His knowledge transcends the study of past events and this book solidifies his well-earned position to discuss civilized nations of the world and, if I may, to predict future cultural aspects and habits of the world we will be living in. And we can expect more change than we have learned to live with over the last two generations. What is an algorithm? "It is a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer." Harari suggests that because we will find algorisms useful for all manner of human thinking and calculations, so functional in fact that society will turn to computers to diagnose human medical conditions, decide legal advice, teach our children, assemble complex mechanical devices and other operations that traditionally were satisfied by accomplished well-trained men and women. That in itself can be satisfactory but what will these replaced professional people do with all this free time?

You can reach the author here:
On Twitter: @harari_yuval

If you decided to visit Yuval's website you have seen several interview videos providing insight to his thought process which is unstrained and natural. His thoughtful answers and delivery are as natural as his meditative and philosophical writing.

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