The Bernie Sanders Miracle: American Crowd in Brooklyn Cheers Palestinian Dignity


he Democratic debate in Brooklyn last night took an unusual turn when a grumpy old Jewish American upbraided a slightly younger Illinois Methodist for not respecting the dignity of the Palestinian people.

BLITZER [Used to work for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby] : . . . Senator, let’s talk about the U.S. relationship with Israel. Senator Sanders, you maintained that Israel’s response in Gaza in 2014 was, quote, “disproportionate and led to the unnecessary loss of innocent life.”


What do you say to those who believe that Israel has a right to defend itself as it sees fit?

SANDERS [former kubbutznik, i.e. left wing Zionist annoyed by the rise of the far right wing Likud Party]: Well, as somebody who spent many months of my life when I was a kid in Israel, who has family in Israel, of course Israel has a right not only to defend themselves, but to live in peace and security without fear of terrorist attack. That is not a debate.


But — but what you just read, yeah, I do believe that. Israel was subjected to terrorist attacks, has every right in the world to destroy terrorism. But we had in the Gaza area — not a very large area — some 10,000 civilians who were wounded and some 1,500 who were killed.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Free Palestine!

SANDERS: Now, if you’re asking not just me, but countries all over the world was that a disproportionate attack, the answer is that I believe it was, and let me say something else.


SANDERS: And, let me say something else. As somebody who is 100% pro-Israel, in the long run — and this is not going to be easy, God only knows, but in the long run if we are ever going to bring peace to that region which has seen so much hatred and so much war, we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.


SANDERS: So what is not to say — to say that right now in Gaza, right now in Gaza unemployment is s somewhere around 40%. You got a log of that area continues, it hasn’t been built, decimated, houses decimated health care decimated, schools decimated. I believe the United States and the rest of the world have got to work together to help the Palestinian people.

That does not make me anti-Israel. That paves the way, I think…

BLITZER: … Thank you, Senator…

SANDERS: …to an approach that works in the Middle East.

The Israeli propaganda line is that the Palestinians are natural, intrinsic terrorists who are always attacking Israelis out of blind hatred for Jews and who casually deploy terrorism on a mass scale and refuse to recognize the inexorability and naturalness of several million European and North African and other Jews living in Palestine.

Perhaps Sen. Sanders would not agree with what I am going to say. But this narrative ignores that in 1800 there were virtually no Jews in Palestine. It ignores that the Jewish settlers in British Mandate Palestine derailed British plans for a Palestinian state by 1949 (as put forward in the 1939 White Paper), in accordance with all the other Class A Mandates established at and after the Versailles Peace Conference that ended World War I. That is, the French Mandate of Syria became Syria and Syrians have Syrian citizenship, the British Mandate of Iraq became Iraq and Iraqis have Iraqi citizenship. Even Class B Mandates became independent countries and their inhabitants became citizens– Tanganyika became Tanzania and Zanzibar, Ruanda-Urundi became Rwanda and Burundi. Why did not the Mandate of Palestine result in a state of Palestine in which the Palestinians were citizens?

It was because the Jewish settlers let in by British Mandate authorities over the objections of the native Palestinians (whose families had lived there since time immemorial) who conducted an ethnic cleansing campaign in 1947-1948 and expelled 720,000 Palestinians out of 1.2 million, then declared Israel and locked the refugees out. Many of those refugees were forced to crowd into refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, where they still huddle, penniless and displaced and besieged permanently by the Israelis.

The simple-minded Zionist talking point that the British split their Mandate into Palestine and Jordan, and that Jordan is Palestine, is historically laughable and does not answer the question of why the Palestinians don’t have a state of their own and why over 5 million of them are stateless, lacking the rights of citizenship in any state. French Syria was also split into Syria and Lebanon, and everybody got citizenship; this is also true of Ruanda-Urundi, which was split.

Part of what Sen. Sanders likely means by Palestinian dignity is that you can’t have dignity as a human being in the modern world if you don’t have the right of citizenship in a state. Palestinians are deprived of that dignity. There are likely only about 12 million stateless people in the world, and Palestinians are the largest single such group. Not only do Palestinians not have a state and not only are they therefore left without the basic human rights that come with citizenship, they labor under Israeli military occupation

Israel is actively depriving the Palestinians of the right to be citizens of a state. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu actually ran on this platform in the last election in Israel, and won on it.

Sen. Hillary Clinton [whose campaign in part is being funded by billionaire cartoonist Haim Saban, a virulent opponent of Palestinian rights and investor in squatter settlements in the West Bank] responded that Israel withdrew from Gaza (which it occupied in 1967) in 2005, but then was subjected to thousands of rocket attacks, and had no choice but to attack Gaza.

She also alleged that Hamas uses human shields and that therefore Israelis have no choice but to kill women and children.

Neither of these allegations is true. Even if they were, you’re not allowed deliberately to kill women and children and innocent non-combatants in order to get at the enemy.

Israel did not actually withdraw from Gaza. It retains 1/3 of Gaza land as a buffer zone, and routinely shoots Palestinian farmers who own that land and try to farm it. It denies Gaza an airport and a seaport. It even routinely shoots Gaza fishermen. It controls the major checkpoint. It coerces Egypt (with a standing threat of violence) into policing the Rafah checkpoint on the Sinai. It keeps Gaza Palestinians in a large outdoor concentration camp. In a particularly evil and creepy move, the Israeli military even set a calorie limit for Palestinians, including Palestinian children, in Gaza (a limit it has been embarrassed into lifting). Gaza is still occupied, and the UN recognizes Israel as the occupying authority, which lays all the obligations of the Geneva Convention of 1949 on the Israeli state with regard to nurturing the welfare of the people living under its occupation.

Sen. Sanders’ statistics give a good indication of whether Israel is fulfilling its duties under the Geneva Conventions (Conventions that were intended to forestall any more Axis-like aggression and war crimes).

As for configuring the nearly two million people in Gaza, half of them children, as terrorists, usually this discourse is just a form of racism. And although small chemistry-experiment rockets fired from Gaza (often not by Hamas) occasionally do property damage or inflict human casualties, saying that there are “thousands” of them gives a propagandistic impression. All but a handful land uselessly in the desert. All life is precious, but in 2005-2008 in the lead-up to the 2008-09 Israeli assault on Gaza, rockets killed 11 Israelis; in the same period, Israel killed 1,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children.

Oh, and those towns on which the rockets sometimes manage to fall? They are the home towns of the Palestinians displaced to wretched huts in Gaza, to which they could walk home in an hour or a few hours if they were allowed to.

The biggest problem is actually the future of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Are you going to keep them under Occupation forever? Are you going to push them into the Mediterranean and give Europe millions more refugees?

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment


7 Reasons Why Supply Chains Will Be Sexy in 2016

Let’s face it: Supply chains have a reputation for being boring, complicated, and entirely un-sexy. But with the advent of the digital economy, and as businesses enable the extended supply chain as part of their digital transformation strategies, that is all about to change.

The extended supply chain driving business today is certainly not your grandfather’s supply chain. There are huge opportunities and ramifications associated with the extended supply chain. According to the SCM World 2014 Supply Chain officer survey, 49% of supply chain executives expect digital supply chains to be both disruptive and important within the next three years.

Image via Shutterstock

Image via Shutterstock

So will our kids come home from school someday soon and tell us that they want to be supply chain executives when they grow up? That remains to be seen, but here are seven reasons why supply chains are sexy:

1. Amazon one-hour delivery

Same-day delivery is so last year. If your business wants to compete with Amazon now or in the near future, your supply chain will have to be prepared to deliver in an hour! Last year, Amazon quietly rolled out no fewer than 43 smaller urban facilities (Amazon Prime Now hubs and AmazonFresh delivery stations) in the United States, with the goal of enabling front-door delivery in 60 minutes or less. Amazon also opened up four university bookstores and entered into the world of retail brick and mortar with big plans to open 300-400 new bookstores this year. Rest assured that this is just the tip of the iceberg, as the company is only getting started on its national quick-response assault.

2. 3D printing

In many ways, 3D printing represents the other extreme of traditional manufacturing. It produces objects by adding, rather than subtracting, material and allows us to seemingly create objects such as shoes and toys out of thin air. Supply chains have typically been all about warehousing and shifting products outwards from the point of manufacture.

Consumers today love to customize everything and anything, from iPhone cases to chocolate to sneakers. And 3D printing makes all of this both possible and affordable. Printing your Instagram photos on chocolate bars and your jersey number on your basketball shoes is undeniably sexy.

3. Driverless cars

Self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles (AV), represent an array of exciting possibilities for economic change. On a personal level, they appeal to those of us who strongly dislike driving. They also have significant potential impacts on the extended supply chain.

Accordingly to a 2015 McKinsey study, AV technologies could help to optimize the industry supply chains and logistics operations of the future, as players employ automation to increase efficiency and flexibility. AVs, in combination with smart technologies, could reduce labor costs while boosting equipment and facility productivity. What’s more, a fully automated and lean supply chain can help minimize load sizes and stocks by leveraging smart distribution technologies and smaller AVs.

4. Fashion

Remember “The Dress?” The outcome of this short-lived but high-profile event went beyond Internet noise to significant sales revenue. The dress manufacturer, Roman Originals, presumably never knew what hit it when thousands of orders flooded in from all over the world for the $77 dress. Such viral fashion phenomena have become both a blessing and a curse for the fashion industry. Can they be predicted or, at the very least, anticipated? How can production and inventory fulfillment be ramped up quickly to meet demand? Brands with healthy and responsive extended supply chains will be better prepared and able to meet consumer demand.

5. Social media

With the digital economy comes digital demand signals, both structured and unstructured, from customers placing orders to making comments via social media on mobile devices. The ability to capture and analyze this new, unstructured “sentiment” data is a key capability in getting closer to the customer and fulfilling real-time demand.

6. Sustainability

Demand is exceeding supply for many resources around the world. Raw materials such as water, minerals, oil, and gas are key components to many supply chains, but it is often challenging to obtain them. We also see an aging and shrinking workforce that struggles to adapt to the changing skillsets required by the extended supply chain, creating a form of human resource scarcity.

Sustainability in the supply chain is a hot topic in boardrooms all over the world, as executives have deemed it as essential to delivering long-term profitability. It has replaced monetary cost, value, and speed as the dominant topic of discussion among purchasing and supply professionals.

7. Internet of Things

Companies are embedding sensors in their products and, as a result, are becoming more and more technology-focused, hiring software engineers and re-thinking the value delivered by their products. For example, John Deere tractors are now equipped with sensors to transmit moisture and temperature data from the fields.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 are changing traditional business models by connecting people, products, and assets. Manufacturers are investigating how these new technologies can help their customers get more value and how new business engagements can change established business models.

What’s next for supply chains?

In the connected world, where every company is rapidly becoming a technology company, smarter products, assets, and services will drive new processes and opportunities across the extended supply chain.

If you would like to hear more about the future of supply chains, I invite you to attend an upcoming Webinar on February 18: “Disruptions in Supply Chain – Are You Ready for 2016?” In the session, Simon Ellis of IDC and Hans Thalbauer, SVP for Extended Supply Chain at SAP, will discuss:

  • Why the current supply chain is poorly equipped to manage high levels of customization.
  • Why the future of the supply chain is one of an outwardly networked and collaborative organization that will sit at the center of three lobes – a demand network (“demand-aware”), a supply network (“supply-visible”), and a product network (“innovation-connected”).
  • How cloud-based business-to-business platforms, and other technologies, are key enablers to reimagining operations and the supply chain.

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SUNDAY JAZZ CONCERT: Paolo Fresu Quintet at Jazz à Vienne 2014

Jazz You Too

It wasn’t difficult to choose this concert: Paolo Fresu Quintet impresses as soon as their music swirls in the air – their Latin lyricism evokes the warmth of long days in the sun waiting for the night to cool things down. Time stops, and it feels good! The quintet plays together for more than 30 years.

Paolo Fresu: trumpet Tino Tracanna: tenor/soprano sax Roberto Cipelli: piano and Fender Rhodes electric piano Attilio Zanchi: bass Ettore Fioravanti: drums

How to find Paolo Fresu? Soon enough he will be at:

paolo fresu

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A Message of Hope: My Speech at the Vatican


am honored to be with you today and was pleased to receive your invitation to speak to this conference of The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Today we celebrate the encyclical Centesimus Annus and reflect on its meaning for our world a quarter-century after it was presented by Pope John Paul II. With the fall of Communism, Pope John Paul II gave a clarion call for human freedom in its truest sense: freedom that defends the dignity of every person and that is always oriented towards the common good.

The Church’s social teachings, stretching back to the first modern encyclical about the industrial economy, Rerum Novarum in 1891, to Centesimus Annus, to Pope Francis’s inspiring encyclical Laudato Si’ this past year, have grappled with the challenges of the market economy. There are few places in modern thought that rival the depth and insight of the Church’s moral teachings on the market economy. Over a century ago, Pope Leo XIII highlighted economic issues and challenges in Rerum Novarum that continue to haunt us today, such as what he called “the enormous wealth of a few as opposed to the poverty of the many.”

And let us be clear. That situation is worse today. In the year 2016, the top one percent of the people on this planet own more wealth than the bottom 99 percent, while the wealthiest 60 people – 60 people – own more than the bottom half – 3 1/2 billion people. At a time when so few have so much, and so many have so little, we must reject the foundations of this contemporary economy as immoral and unsustainable.The words of Centesimus Annus likewise resonate with us today. One striking example:

Furthermore, society and the State must ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his family, including a certain amount for savings. This requires a continuous effort to improve workers’ training and capability so that their work will be more skilled and productive, as well as careful controls and adequate legislative measures to block shameful forms of exploitation, especially to the disadvantage of the most vulnerable workers, of immigrants and of those on the margins of society. The role of trade unions in negotiating minimum salaries and working conditions is decisive in this area. (Para15)

The essential wisdom of Centesimus Annus is this: A market economy is beneficial for productivity and economic freedom. But if we let the quest for profits dominate society; if workers become disposable cogs of the financial system; if vast inequalities of power and wealth lead to marginalization of the poor and the powerless; then the common good is squandered and the market economy fails us. Pope John Paul II puts it this way: profit that is the result of “illicit exploitation, speculation, or the breaking of solidarity among working people . . . has not justification, and represents an abuse in the sight of God and man.” (Para43).

We are now twenty-five years after the fall of Communist rule in Eastern Europe. Yet we have to acknowledge that Pope John Paul’s warnings about the excesses of untrammeled finance were deeply prescient. Twenty-five years after Centesimus Annus, speculation, illicit financial flows, environmental destruction, and the weakening of the rights of workers is far more severe than it was a quarter century ago. Financial excesses, indeed widespread financial criminality on Wall Street, played a direct role in causing the world’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

We need a political analysis as well as a moral and anthropological analysis to understand what has happened since 1991. We can say that with unregulated globalization, a world market economy built on speculative finance burst through the legal, political, and moral constraints that had once served to protect the common good. In my country, home of the world’s largest financial markets, globalization was used as a pretext to deregulate the banks, ending decades of legal protections for working people and small businesses. Politicians joined hands with the leading bankers to allow the banks to become “too big to fail.” The result: eight years ago the American economy and much of the world was plunged into the worst economic decline since the 1930s. Working people lost their jobs, their homes and their savings, while the government bailed out the banks.

Inexplicably, the United States political system doubled down on this reckless financial deregulation, when the U.S. Supreme Court in a series of deeply misguided decisions, unleashed an unprecedented flow of money into American politics. These decisions culminated in the infamous Citizen United case, which opened the financial spigots for huge campaign donations by billionaires and large corporations to turn the U.S. political system to their narrow and greedy advantage. It has established a system in which billionaires can buy elections. Rather than an economy aimed at the common good, we have been left with an economy operated for the top 1 percent, who get richer and richer as the working class, the young and the poor fall further and further behind. And the billionaires and banks have reaped the returns of their campaign investments, in the form of special tax privileges, imbalanced trade agreements that favor investors over workers, and that even give multinational companies extra-judicial power over governments that are trying to regulate them.

But as both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis have warned us and the world, the consequences have been even direr than the disastrous effects of financial bubbles and falling living standards of working-class families. Our very soul as a nation has suffered as the public lost faith in political and social institutions. As Pope Francis has stated: “Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules.” And the Pope has also stated: “We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.”

And further: “While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good.”

Pope Francis has called on the world to say: “No to a financial system that rules rather than serves” in Evangeli Gaudium. And he called upon financial executives and political leaders to pursue financial reform that is informed by ethical considerations. He stated plainly and powerfully that the role of wealth and resources in a moral economy must be that of servant, not master.

The widening gaps between the rich and poor, the desperation of the marginalized, the power of corporations over politics, is not a phenomenon of the United States alone. The excesses of the unregulated global economy have caused even more damage in the developing countries. They suffer not only from the boom-bust cycles on Wall Street, but from a world economy that puts profits over pollution, oil companies over climate safety, and arms trade over peace. And as an increasing share of new wealth and income goes to a small fraction of those at the top, fixing this gross inequality has become a central challenge. The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great economic issue of our time, the great political issue of our time, and the great moral issue of our time. It is an issue that we must confront in my nation and across the world.

Pope Francis has given the most powerful name to the predicament of modern society: the Globalization of Indifference. “Almost without being aware of it,” he noted, “we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.” We have seen on Wall Street that financial fraud became not only the norm but in many ways the new business model. Top bankers have shown no shame for their bad behavior and have made no apologies to the public. The billions and billions of dollars of fines they have paid for financial fraud are just another cost of doing business, another short cut to unjust profits.

Some might feel that it is hopeless to fight the economic juggernaut, that once the market economy escaped the boundaries of morality it would be impossible to bring the economy back under the dictates of morality and the common good. I am told time and time again by the rich and powerful, and the mainstream media that represent them, that we should be “practical,” that we should accept the status quo; that a truly moral economy is beyond our reach. Yet Pope Francis himself is surely the world’s greatest demonstration against such a surrender to despair and cynicism. He has opened the eyes of the world once again to the claims of mercy, justice and the possibilities of a better world. He is inspiring the world to find a new global consensus for our common home.

I see that hope and sense of possibility every day among America’s young people. Our youth are no longer satisfied with corrupt and broken politics and an economy of stark inequality and injustice. They are not satisfied with the destruction of our environment by a fossil fuel industry whose greed has put short term profits ahead of climate change and the future of our planet. They want to live in harmony with nature, not destroy it. They are calling out for a return to fairness; for an economy that defends the common good by ensuring that every person, rich or poor, has access to quality health care, nutrition and education.

As Pope Francis made powerfully clear last year in Laudato Si’, we have the technology and know-how to solve our problems – from poverty to climate change to health care to protection of biodiversity. We also have the vast wealth to do so, especially if the rich pay their way in fair taxes rather than hiding their funds in the world’s tax and secrecy havens- as the Panama Papers have shown.

The challenges facing our planet are not mainly technological or even financial, because as a world we are rich enough to increase our investments in skills, infrastructure, and technological know-how to meet our needs and to protect the planet. Our challenge is mostly a moral one, to redirect our efforts and vision to the common good. Centesimus Annus, which we celebrate and reflect on today, and Laudato Si’, are powerful, eloquent and hopeful messages of this possibility. It is up to us to learn from them, and to move boldly toward the common good in our time.

By Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

Why I Know You Are Failing

Sarah Buxton

Maybe you think that I’m too disconnected from your reality to be qualified to comment. But maybe you’re curious enough to read on and see if I have something that may change your perception.

You’re failing because, at least 2 of following observations are currently true about you (you, as well as me).

You are:

  1. Getting comfortable
  2. Waiting for change
  3. Using history a reference point
  4. Intent on being unique
  5. Framing too early
  6. Just putting a tick in the research box
  7. Creating product to prove concept
  8. Not learning anything
  9. Too wedded to your idea
  10. Getting hung up on details
  11. Putting product first
  12. Commentating not telling a story
  13. Using personas
  14. Falling into the perception gap

1. Getting Comfortable

  • You feel in control
  • You think you’re on the bleeding edge
  • You’ve have current and/or past success

But consider. Consider you are surrounded by peers and people who are a lot like you. And when you’re around people like you, you create a new norm – norms can be disrupted. My perspective: be open to strategies and new ideas (from new sources) that make you feel a little uncomfortable.

2. Waiting for Change

“If you defer investing your time and energy until you see you need to, chances are it will already be too late” Clay Christensen.

It’s widely accepted that the customer now dictates the strategic and tactical plays we choose to make. Yet even if your sales numbers are good and your team is busy, there remains no tangible barrier between your customers and your competitors. The next challenger is already building relationships that you cannot control. My perspective: Anticipate more, react less – stay relevant, don’t let the field move forward without you. Catching up is harder than keeping pace.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it” Alan Kay

3. Using History as a Reference Point

The pace of change is now so rapid that it’s almost incomprehensible. Technology hasn’t just impacted the products we build, or how we deliver them to market – it’s fundamentally changed the way we behave.

  • You use your Facebook more than your Driving License for ID
  • You check your bank balance while sitting on a train
  • You tell people you’re going to be late – before you join the traffic jam

And you think nothing of it.

Our capability is accelerating at such a rate that it is impossible to predict future behaviour based on past points of reference – especially if those points are more than a couple of years old. We don’t behave the way we used to. My perspective:
Don’t just look at the data you have, leverage its value by matching it with observational, qualitative and real time customer feedback. Get closer to the people who will dictate the ways in which you can grow.

4. Intent on being Unique

You have confused the idea of disruption with the idea of being first. You don’t need to be unique to be an innovator – people don’t want new, they want better.

Think of Victoria’s Secret. A bricks and mortar success story. They didn’t create a new category or invent the first bra yet they’ve now eclipsed many established underwear brands and taken La Senza’s place on the UK High Street. My perspective: To disrupt the thinking of others, you don’t need to be first, you just need to be more appealing than the last.

5. Framing too early

Just because you sell or do one thing, doesn’t mean that it should dictate the next thing you do. If you are building or developing a product based on your own capability and current offering then, at some point, you are going to have to retro-fit it to a customer need. Just because it makes sense for you, doesn’t mean it makes sense to your customer. My perspective: Resist framing your opportunity too early as you might not see your opportunity at all.

6. Just putting a tick in the Research Box

Some questions for you …

  1. did you ask the questions?
  2. what did you ask?
  3. were they based mainly around you – your idea or product?
  4. how far down your line of thinking were you when you asked them?
  5. had you built something already?
  6. did they tell you anything that fundamentally challenged your thinking?
  7. do you think there’s a hint of bias in these questions?

    My perspective: It is better to accept that you’re working/learning from your own hypothesis than it is to convince yourself that you’re acting in line with your customer’s point of view.


7. Creating product to prove concept

Creating a prototype or MVP (minimal viable product) is not about making a refined picture of your first idea – it’s about exploring the alternatives.

My perspective:
Don’t build then ask, ask then build.

8. Not learning anything

There is no such thing as customer testing, there is customer insight and there is usability testing. The most successful entrepreneurs have a natural curiosity about people – they really do care.

“If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse” Henry Ford.

Did you know that there is no proof that Henry actually said this? It is however documented that he said:

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own”.

My perspective: You need three factors continuously present to create success – credibility, persistence, and true empathy.

9. Too wedded to your idea

You have so much belief that you’re unable to change your mind.

93% of all companies that ultimately become successful have to abandon their original strategy. Instagram started as a check-in style app called Burbn (similar to FourSquare), until they noticed that people only valued their photo sharing features.


My perspective:
It’s better to pivot and catch the ball, than it is to stayed faced in a direction where you can’t see it coming.


10. Getting hung up on details

“Be strong on vision and flexible on detail”. Jeff Bezos, Amazon.

It might be tempting to convince yourself that success lies in action and outputs – pace and activity. But don’t confuse being fast with being successful. When you start to value action over results you begin to compromise, little things begin to pile up, things start to be skipped.

My perspective: Your product should be built from purpose, the end goal has to remain focused on the “why are we releasing this?”, not the methodology you have used to get it to market. 


11. Putting product first

There are three distinct areas which dictate our success to innovate:

  • Team
  • Product
  • Market

All are important – but if you had to pick, if you could only select one what where would your focus be? My perspective: You can have an imperfect product and an inexperienced team, yet if you have a market then you have an opportunity – without a market you’ve nothing. Prioritised your market fit.


12. Commentating not telling a story

Despite  the world changing around us, human beings, by our very nature are unpredictable, emotive, impulsive, illogical creatures. We communicate, as we always have, through stories. The most successful brands tell the best stories – creating a narrative that we want to connect to and share. Stories take products from being functional to being valuable. My perspective: Get to grips with your own story.


13. Using personas

Still works
Travels a lot
Grown Children
Has Grandchildren
Loves dogs
Obsessed with exercise

The above describes Richard Branson, Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles – I’m not sure I’d talk to them the same way, would you? My perspective:
Personas are a good place to start, they make you think more in human terms accept that they have limitations. The only way to bring personas to life is by meeting the people behind them.

14. The Perception Gap

How you look at things affects what you believe you see. But what do they say when they see your design? Even when sitting in a room with 10 execs from the same company they tell their story and describe their vision differently – you can only imagine how much it changes by the time it has filtered down to your customer and they have connected it (or not) to their world.

I don’t believe you have to be customer obsessed as some claim – I just think we all need to be more a little more conscious as to the impression we give out – after all perception is reality.

My perspective:
Change the way you look at things; and the things you look at change.

Just to note – I’m currently failing because I am: 9, 10, 12 and 14.


Sarah Buxton, is managing partner of The Observer Effect, a Growth Consultancy. We harness the power of insight and innovation to create customer-compelling propositions. Together we help businesses to adapt their thinking, change their perceptions and continue on their path to growth.

Comets Claim Third Consecutive Galaxy Cup

The Utica Comets weathered losing three different leads through the course of the game, and needed just 33 seconds of extra time to take the coveted Galaxy Cup Trophy home with a 4-3 win over the Syracuse Crunch. With a series record of 6-4-0-0, the Comets claimed their third consecutive Galaxy Cup title with a 12-9 edge in points.

Michael Zalewski (2-1-3), and Brendan Gaunce (1-2-3) enjoyed three-point nights while Taylor Fedun (0-2-2) chipped in a multi-point game with two assists. Richard Bachman made 32 saves for his 101st career American Hockey League victory. Friesen’s short-handed marker in the second period was the Comets 17th short-handed goal of the season, the most scored by any team in the AHL.

The Comets wasted no time getting on the board, just 18 seconds in fact, courtesy of a perfectly placed wrist shot from Zalewski. The New Hartford, NY native received a pass from Brendan Gaunce and expertly ripped a wrist shot from a step above the hashmarks past Gudlevskis outstretched glove for his 15th goal of the season. Curtis Valk also assisted on the tally.

Less than five minutes later the Crunch tied it up when Ben Thomas’s shot from the point snaked its way through traffic and in to the net.

With 5:50 remaining in the second frame the Comets claimed their second lead of the night. While the Comets killed a Crunch two-man advantage, Alex Friesen intercepted Joel Vermin’s pass and was off to the races. The first Comets penalty expired shortly before Friesen’s wrister escaped Gudlevskis paddle for his 14th goal of the season.

However, the lead was short-lived as Matthew Peca stuffed home a rebound on his third whack just 3:02 into the third period to tie the game at 2-2.

The Comets answered right back when Taylor Fedun’s perfect breakout pass through two Crunch defenders sprung Zalewski on a partial breakaway. Zalewski’s wrist shot beat Gudlevskis on the shortside for his second goal of the night.

Just like most Comets-Crunch match-ups this game was rich with the dramatics. Peca scored his second of the night after his shot from the top of the slot snuck past a screen Richard Bachman to tie the game at 3-3 with 5:56 to play.

After Bachman turned aside a Crunch shot on goal, Fedun pounced on the loose puck and sprung Zalewski and Gaunce on a two-on-one fast break. Gaunce’s first slid the puck to Zalewski who saw his chance get turned aside before Brendan Gaunce cleaned up the rebound for his 16th goal of the season.

With the win the Comets record improves to 38-25-8-4.

The Comets wrap up the regular season schedule with a matinee tilt against the Binghamton Senators at The AUD Sunday afternoon. Fan Appreciation Weekend will conclude with a plethora of activity during the game. The Save of the Day Foundation will be selling 1,000 mystery boxes behind section 204 when doors open. Prior to puck drop, the Comets will announce their 2015-16 awards winners. Stick around after the game for the live auction of the Comets green alternate sweaters. Puck drop is scheduled for 3pm.