It May Be Time for a Change

Amazingly (to me anyway), I have been publishing TNT – These Nine Things, the newsletter I use to share interesting items I come across online, for almost 4 years, at least as of this writing at the end of 2017. Many of you have been subscribers for the entire stretch, some have come along more recently. I love the opportunity to find things that others may have overlooked and pass them on. As frequent readers know, I try to mix practical advice and information with fun, wonder and whimsy – and sometimes things that defy description.

My plans are to continue dropping into your in-box three times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday morning, but a recent review of the feedback I get from my email program has gotten me to think about mixing things up a bit. I can look at data like open rates and click through rates for every TNT I’ve ever sent, and one statistic has popped out that seems consistent enough to remark upon and to cause me to try to do something new.

My Wednesday TNT has always been an “intensive”, meaning that all nine of the links I share relate to the same topic. A sampling of the topics going back to early 2014 includes Alternatives to PowerPoint, Chilling Out Online, The Future of Texting, Emotional Intelligence, Millennials, Exposing Fake News, Understanding Blockchain, and Net Neutrality. By the way, if anyone would like a copy of all of the Wednesday Intensive Topics can get the full list. Just email me ( and put “Send Weds Intensive List” in the subject line and I’ll pass it right along! If you see something you missed, I’ll be happy to send you a copy of the links for that edition.

I like digging deeper into a single subject every week, but the reader response rates for the Wednesday Intensive TNT is typically lower than for the other two days of the week. When you see consistent data – particularly data that you don’t like to see – it’s a good idea to respond and consider changing things up.

Rather than scrap the idea of a weekly deep dive into a subject, I’m going to try something new to see if it makes a difference. For the next several weeks the Wednesday edition of TNT will be presented in a more narrative fashion, rather than the list you are accustomed to getting. I’ll still work nine things into the narrative, but will also try to include more context and analysis as I do. So, you will be getting more of an article than just an accounting of resources. (An article which could also be a blog post, btw – I love multi-purposing). I’m going to see if that format changes the open rate for the positive. If it does, I’ll continue. If it fails, I may decide to ditch the intensive format altogether.

Of course, feel free to send any feedback on this idea to the email I already listed above. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy and respond to the change!

Some Thoughts on the Forbes 400

I didn’t make the Forbes list of the 400 Wealthiest people in America. Again.

If I live long enough, I could capture the record for most consecutive years of failing to land on the list, but that’s a long way off as well.

Don’t feel bad for me. If you must, have some sympathy for the 8 guys (most of the people on the list are men, still) who tied for 401st making them the “also ran” victims of this celebration of fiscal superlatives. It seems that even having a net worth of $1.5 billion is not good enough to get you into the top 400 category anymore. What a shame. Interestingly enough – to me anyway – is that I only recognized the name of one of the eight “just missed it” crew, Nicholas Pritzker of Hyatt Hotels fame. By contrast I knew three of the six names who just made the cut with $1.55 billion. Think of it, a mere 50 million separated the ins from the outs.

Now I have no political agenda, and this is not a call to action, but reading about this upper echelon of wealth did leave me with a few reflections to share. Take them for what they are worth.

The total net worth of the Fortune 400 is $2.3 trillion, translating into an average of $5.7 billion dollars each. The per capita net worth of everyone in the country is $260,000, meaning the top tier folks have about 22 thousand times as much money as the average person in the country. Estimates that about one family in three live one paycheck from bankruptcy might bring this all into sharper focus. All things considered, the top folks could give up less than 2% of their net worth and double the safety net for the 40 million families living on the edge. I’m not suggesting this. Although “a rising tide lifts all boats” (we think) just giving money away is not usually a good idea. Besides, CSC or Bechtel or another of the government’s Super Contractors would probably get involved in the project and after their fees were paid, who knows what would be left?

Besides, it’s not like the uber rich (can we still use uber like that?) are necessarily stingy with their money. Bill and Melinda Gates (Bill ranked #1 on the Fortune 400), Warren Buffet (#2), and Leonard Lauder (#52) each donated more than a billion dollars last year, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (#11) was not far behind at $990 million. The top 20 donors on the 400 list gave away $11.6 billion in 2014 (and we thank you!). The magazine from which this information is taken highlights a lot of others – many not on the top 400 list – who are incredibly generous with their fortunes.

Wondering where the rich and famous live? Wherever they want to! O.K. bad joke. As you might expect, for reasons including financial markets (New York has 65 of the Forbes 400), sun (California at 93 and Florida at 31) and oil (Texas – 39), some states have more billionaires than others. In most cases, make that waaaay more. 12 of the 50 United States have no F400 listers –zero, none, nada. Seven more have only 1 (Who is the most popular guy in Kentucky, eh?). The only states not already mentioned with double digit ultra-rich denizens are Washington and Illinois. Eight live abroad. Consider this if you are planning to move soon.

One other piece of the Forbes list that many will find interesting is the “Self-made Score” assigned to each listee. Using a proprietary metric, Forbes has ranked each person with a score from 1 (inherited wealth – doing nothing to grow it) to 10 (raised poor, endured great hardships, succeeded anyway). Although there is nothing pejorative attached to the numbers, it is not hard to see that the average reader might have a different feeling for Oprah Winfrey than for Sam Walton’s daughter! You can see the whole story about this ranking system on the Forbes website.

Reading some of the background stories of many of the people highlighted on the Forbe’s list is actually quite entertaining, and it’s always interesting to get a glimpse into how the other half (or more accurately, the other .000001%) live. I’ll leave you to get online or buy the magazine to find out more. Me? I’m off to talk to Larry Ellison (#3) about a loan.

Innovaision, LLC Participates in Important Summit

On July 22, Dick Dillon, CEO of Innovaision, LLC participated in the Boston University School of Public Health/Conrad N. Hilton Foundation workshop on social media, web & mobile interventions for college drinking in Boston, MA. The invitation only event brought together researchers and thought leaders from Harvard, Indiana University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Washington, as well as several additional centers of higher education and creative entrepreneurs. The proceedings of the conference will be available at a later date. The group collaborated as a whole, and through small group processes, to consider and project ideas for using social media and mobile tools to create an impact on the problem of college-age drinking.

10 Things I Learned from MY Dad

I’ll add my entry to the many lists of this type that you’re likely to read on this Father’s Day, 2014. Actually, the title should probably be “11 Things I Learned…” because one of the most important lessons was the understanding that you can learn as much by paying attention what NOT to do as you can be imitating the good things. My father, like me, was not the perfect Dad. So, there are some items on here that Dad taught me by demonstrating them in his own life, and a few that he slyly sneaked in there by behaving less than perfectly. Either way, I’m grateful for Dad, and I miss him.

  1. It’s more important to tell your kids what you hope to see them accomplish, than what you don’t want them to do.
  2. Sometimes you should apologize, it doesn’t undermine your credibility as a parent – it enhances it!
  3. Spending time with your kids is important, and paying attention to them when you’re with them is even more important.
  4. You can fix almost anything temporarily with duct tape and WD-40.
  5. Taking risks insures you will never look back with regret.
  6. Your child needs to know that you are his/her biggest fan.
  7. Sooner or later, you have to let your children make mistakes. Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.
  8. Hard work is not a bad thing.
  9. It is impossible to say “I love you” too often.
  10. Being “Dad” is the most important job you will ever have.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dads out there, and thank you to my sweet daughters for giving me the opportunity to be your Dad!

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